I’m kind of hesitant about vampire stories. I’ve read a few that were crafted quite well, like those created by Anne Rice, which I loved and more than a few with twinkling vampires or other gimmicks which veered from traditional tropes, which turned my stomach just a little. But when I received a review invitation from Jordan Elizabeth for the new anthology in which she has a story featured, I didn’t think twice before saying yes.
The Creative Words anthology, First Bite is a varied collection of vampire romance stories: vampires romancing vampires, vampires romancing humans, vampires romancing hunters, or vice verse, etc…., which might be classified as vampire erotica. While I must admit that horny vampires don’t do a lot for me, but many of these stories were explicit and the erotic portions were tastefully done. But be aware that some of these stories bordered on sizzling.
Several of the stories featured are prequels, leading into the rest of the series, rather than complete stand-alone stories. This may be a clever marketing trick to entice readers into the series, but it may also be frustrating to a reader who is expecting a complete story arc in each offering.
I personally, find this tactic annoying, because just when the author has grabbed your attention and you are really getting into the story, they pull it all away and say, “If you want more, go buy my book.” Seems a little underhanded, doesn’t it? But, I know this is a marketing tactic authors are often using these days. You usually see it in newsletter magnets and freebies, although I’ve not seen it in an anthology before.
But… I loved the unique, (at least to me), story concept for “Vampire Occupation”, by Kat Parrish. Although it ends with “to be continued…”, it left me intrigued enough that I’d like to read more. Apparently the tactic works, annoying or not.
There were no prequels or “to be continueds…” from the author requesting the review, Jordan Elizabeth. I’ve reviewed many of her YA novels in the past, and always find them quite enjoyable, and her story, “October in Elmdale “, was no exception. I was drawn into this story immediately by her skillfully placed hook, and her full story arc kept me riveted to the end, where love blooms around a broken curse.
Also worth mention in this story collection is “Must Love Humans”, by Amada Aggie, a complete story where love is kindled over a bet on a game of billiards; “Immortally Yours”, by Lenore Danvers, a complete story in which the vampire plays the part of knight rescuing a damsel who doesn’t yet know she is in distress, and “Once Bitten”, by Kathleen Ryder, a complete story where lost love is reclaimed in spite of a dark secret.
Only a vampire can cherish you forever.
Hidden among average cities and quaint little towns, monsters hunt unsuspecting prey. Secret predators prowl in plain sight, watching. Waiting. The lost souls they consume never see the beast before it hits. If they did, they’d willingly give in to the intoxication of the vampire’s sex appeal.
Overall, First Bite: A Limited Edition Vampire Romance Collection is a captivating anthology of vampire romance stories for the adult reader. I give it four quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.