Caroline’s Top Reads 2014

Hi readers, it’s that time of year again when Tina and myself have lots of fun going through our reviews of the past year and choose our favourites to share with you! And, wow, there are so many it is difficult to narrow them down!Australian xmas card (2)

This is the end of our second full year and we cannot thank you all enough for following us and sharing our posts. We have made so many friends, be they authors, bloggers, agents, publishers and more, it has been overwhelming. We have received our first Christmas card from Australia (pictured), which was an absolute pleasure to receive. It’s amazing to see the sun and summer holiday reminders when the usual card for us is full of snow, log fires and dark evenings.

We hope that you have had a great year and are looking forward to the festive season. We are looking forward to sharing it with you. And I hope that you enjoy us sharing our favourite reads. Tina’s Top Reads will also be coming your way very soon. And here are mine!

Please click on the titles for my full review and much more info!

Contemporary Romance

Books of this genre and some contemporary rom-coms have been a big hit for me this year, and Helena Fairfax’s The Silk Romance was an absolute pleasure to read. It was written so beautifully, powerfully and thoughtfully, and certainly a read you will not forget! It is a Cinderella-type story that is highly intense and completely grips the reader. I have also likened it to some high-profile romance movies in my review as some aspects are similar and captivating!

TheLoveofMarisol_WP2014The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras is a short story of love and loss, but with the possibility of finding new love after. It is, again, very powerful and emotive, beginning as quite a dark and realistic read (although fiction). Taking only around an hour to read, it was one of my favourite reading hours of the year!

Contemporary Rom-Coms

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda's Story)As well as the serious side of romance, it is always uplifting and refreshing to read some fun reads, even though they still hold a serious undertone. The book that enlightened me in this manner is C.J. Pinard’s Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) (Duty & Desire #3). It is my favourite book of the Duty & Desire series. It is a light-hearted, fun and cheeky read. And I love how C.J. Pinard follows both Miranda’s career, as well as her romances, and at the same time the reader sees a different side to the friendship that Miranda has with Cara.

An Autumn CrushWanting to read a seasonal book at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed An Autumn Crush by Milly Johnson. It was a Bridget Jones style read, with plenty of humour and a real feel-good and refreshing feel that really captured the time of year. And with some sombre storylines for some characters it has an awful lot going on, but is still relaxing and fun to read.

Historical Romance

Summer in RyeLucy Oliver’s novella Summer in Rye is an incredibly intense short story, with power and the ability to grip the reader. Following a new governess to children that have been badly affected by smallpox, and a master that is tyrannical, Eva only has one choice: to turn to the master’s brother, who was once engaged to her. Passion reignites between these two, but after he lied before, can Eva really accept him back?

Paranormal

Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5)To top off my favourite paranormal reads is Tim O’Rourke’s Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5). Last year the first of the series, Vampire Seeker, was one of my favourites, and again this series has really thrilled me. It has everything from vamps, shifters, action/adventure and time travel! The romance and passion is also very intense, making for a very HOT read! This is a series not to be missed, and I cannot wait to review Vampire Watchmen (Samantha Carter #2) in the new year!

And, not always a huge fan of short stories, this year has certainly changed my point of view. I used to think that to create great characters that full novels would be more fulfilling. However, there are a number of short stories in my top reads this year and a certain series of short stories really blew my mind – Alisa Woods’ True Alpha series. There are six shifter stories, which follow Mia and shifter Lucas, their attraction and heat for each other! Yet, the dilemma is that Lucas lost his last mate, and being to close to another is just not an option. But, when rival shifters kidnap Mia, Lucas has to face his true feelings. Each story is complete with action, heat and intensity. Shifter fans will LOVE this series. Here are the links to each review:-

Desired (True Alpha #1)

Guarded (True Alpha #2)

Hunted (True Alpha #3)

Captured (True Alpha #4)

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5)

Claimed (True Alpha #6)

I am also hoping to review another short A True Alpha Christmas over the coming days before the big day. And, in the new year Alisa Woods will be releasing her Dark Alpha short story series!

Soul RebelNow, for my second entry of author C.J. Pinard we have Soul Rebel. This is my favourite novel of C.J.’s. With plenty of action, suspense and romance it really does have it all. The characters and storyline are brilliant. Nolan loses his soul during a kiss with a female succubus in a nightclub and he only has 7 days to claim his soul back! Time constraints cause the tension and really make the pace quick. Plus there are many surprises which make it an exciting read.

Blue Moon (The Blue Crystal Trilogy #1)Recommended for the younger adult (15yrs+) Blue Moon (The Blue Crystal trilogy #1) by Pat Spence is an enchanting and fairytale-like read with supernatural mystery and horror. It is highly recommended to fans of the Twilight saga, but without the vamps. It follows the idea of eternal youth, ancient links and an attraction between Emily (17) and the handsome Theo. It is highly emotive, with a great eerie atmosphere as the reader gets sucked in to the mystery. Blue Moon is a fantastic beginning to this trilogy.

Horror

Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy, #3)This year saw the final instalment of Tim O’Rourke’s Moon trilogy, Moonshine (The Moon trilogy, #3). A paranormal horror series that has it all; action and adventure, vamps, weres, heart-warming moments and plenty of surprises. The running theme through the trilogy is whether or not vamps and weres can exist in peace together. Or, will they both have to try and annihilate each other? Will the love of Winnie be enough to hold it all together? (Clicking on the links for books 2 and 3 may spoil the storyline for those who haven’t read book one.)

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Crime Thriller

COLD CALL BOOK COVER - with blood SAFE COPYCold Call by Colin Llewelyn Chapman, was an instant like for me. After being likened to author Martina Cole, Luther (BBC tv series) and with a pinch of Fifty Shades, Cold Call proved to be a gritty, well-planned read that follows both the suspect and the police with their investigation into the deaths of several women from seedy backgrounds. This is another read with surprises along the way that will keep you gripped until the end.

21 Hours - Dustin Stevens_1Dustin Stevens’ 21 Hours is full of action and suspense as an uncle and ex-con is attempting to save his two year old niece after she has been kidnapped. Being an ex-con he is not entirely trusted by the authorities, but he is so desperate that he will do anything! I have likened it to some action movies, such as Lethal Weapon, Commando, Ransom and Con Air as there are some elements of these in the book and especially in they way it left me feeling after I had read it. It is also another read that is quick-paced, partly due to the time that it is believed that the young girl has left!

Ooh, and now for some Festive Contemporary reads

As an added treat, and because they were brilliant reads, I thought I would share the following two festive reads:

CANDY CAIN by C.L. Scholey - Click Image to CloseC.L. Scholey’s Candy Cain is a short 55 page read that is festive, hot and full of suspense. After being snowed in during a blizzard and left on a desolate road, with only the stranger that she dislikes after briefly bumping into him earlier, the only way they can keep warm is by body heat! Hmm, I wonder where this will lead and what the outcome will be for them? There are also heart-warming moments and an underlying storyline about helping those in need.

All I Want for ChristmasAnd finally, a full-length story with a Christmas build-up, new friendships and a new romance in Amy Silver’s All I Want for Christmas. Beginning from the fourteenth of December, the story is written with each chapter being a new day in the lead up to the big day, when there are plans at The Honey Pot café for people of the neighbourhood to meet for a party of food and friendship for the lonely.

I have read many more great reads that I cannot possibly add due to the amount I have here. Crossing many genres, I always hope that there are reads in here to suit many, and I feel that there is a great mix of both published and indie authors.

I hope that you enjoy our posts and would like to thank each and everyone of you for following and supporting us. I sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas and an absolutely brilliant New Year!

Caroline Barker 🙂

If you would like to check our Top Reads of 2013 to recap on our previous year, you can do so here:-

Caroline’s Top Reads 2013

Tina’s To Reads 2013

 

 

Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5) novella by Tim O’Rourke *REVIEW*

Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5)

Blurb: What happens in Paris . . .

Since returning home, Sammy’s been struggling desperately to remember her friends and her adventures back in the Wild West. Were they real? Could the vampires, the werewolves, even Harry be just figments of her imagination? Desperate for answers, Sammy has returned to the Underground, where it all began, and finds herself snatched back in time once again.

Plunged into the middle of a desperate battle, Sammy’s soon fighting for her life, for her memories . . . and for her man!

Short, sharp and sexy, this is the perfect remedy for O’Rourke addicts needing a quick hit, and for new readers looking for something new and exciting!

REVIEW

After the action and thrills from Samantha’s adventures in the Wild West (Vampire Seeker – Samantha Carter #1) Samantha is back in the present day wondering if it was all real or just a dream. She keeps returning to the Underground regularly in the hope that she could go back in time again. Despite the danger, fear or mystery she simply can’t let go of the idea of seeing her friends from Vampire Seeker, in particular Harry, again!

From the first few pages I could feel my muscles tense and my heart pace quicken, with the sense of excitement and thrills becoming more and more. Tim’s novella writing style is absolutely spot on in Vampire Flappers. The first few pages offer the reader an understanding of where the plot and characters are and then we jump straight into the action, adventure, mystery, violence and thrill!

The Samantha Carter series already has to be my favourite of Tim O’Rourke’s books. If I could be any character of any book it would be Sammy – partly because of Harry and also because she has everything I would be interested in, with her studying of criminology, her interest in vampires, her time travel experiences, her sense of adventure and keeping herself from living an average life in the hope that she could one day pursue her experience of time travel and the paranormal again.

Of course, it doesn’t take long for the reader, along with Sammy, to be sucked back into the 1920’s, France,, where all is a little confusing and mysterious for Sammy initially. However, it doesn’t take too long before O’Rourke plunges into the action and the reader is swept off their feet with chases, fight scenes, blood and gore, only to be led into a highly tense, powerful and intimate scene which will never leave your mind!!

The character Harry is the HOTTEST damn thing on the planet, and by far my favourite male character of any book I have ever read! He is demanding, aggressive, powerful and completely spellbinding. He can certainly handle himself well, not to mention Sammy. Tim O’Rourke certainly knows how to write a sexy, passionate scene!!

The reader is left curious when it comes to Sammy’s character in Harry’s life. Harry hints that she cannot remember what has been said to her or certain events, meaning that some part of Sammy must be/have been with Harry at certain times and yet she has no idea what he is talking about. For Sammy, she has only travelled back in time twice, and after the first time, she feels like she is forgetting moments already. The whole time travel aspect adds a great deal of mystery to Sammy, the reader and the story.

I could not lose the exhilarating feeling I had even many hours after I had read Vampire Flappers!!! I cannot wait to find out more in Vampire Watchmen (Samantha Carter #2), due out in September 2014.

A copy of Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5) was received for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Vampire Flappers (Samantha Carter #1.5) by Tim O’Rourke is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.


Reviewed by Caroline Barker

 

Tim O’Rourke’s Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1) release & signed paperback GIVEAWAY!!!

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU ALL WHO ENTERED!

To celebrate the release of author Tim O’Rourke’s first publication, Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1), by major publishing house Piatkus/Little Brown on THURSDAY 16TH JANUARY 2014 we are hosting a GIVEAWAY for one lucky winner to receive a signed paperback copy of this brilliant story. (Please check out book blurb and our review below.)

To win a copy all you have to do is add your name below in the comments box, or visit us on Facebook and add your name there. Closing date is Thursday 23rd January 2014 and the winner will be randomly selected thereafter! Good luck, guys!

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1)Book Blurb: Samantha Carter believes that a vampire is responsible for the brutal deaths of four women in Whitechapel, London, England. Each murder is identical to those committed a hundred years before by a very different serial killer.

Desperate to prove the killer’s identity, Samantha follows him onto a late night tube train. But Samantha doesn’t reach the next station and finds herself on a very different journey, where she discovers vampires are very real and far more dangerous than she had ever imagined. To stay alive, Samantha needs to figure out why things have gone so terribly wrong for her – and more importantly, why she is out of time?

‘Vampire Seeker’ is Book One in the Samantha Carter Series.

Below is my review (previously posted on 19th March 2013):-

I thought Tim O’Rourke had me with the Keira Hudson series. I thought the same again when I read ‘Moonlight’, from his Moon Trilogy, and then in his latest series, Sydney Hart, in the novel ‘Witch’. ‘Vampire Seeker’ is no exception to the rule. It’s wacky, adventurous, action-packed, fun and gory. From a vampire seeker in London, 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine.

‘Vampire Seeker’ begins with Samantha following a Jack the Ripper copy-cat killer in London 2012. Samantha believes that the killer is a vampire and, as she has had an obsession in trying to prove their very existence, when she hears of the latest murder via a police scanner she exploits the situation by tracking him down. This is a very brave and courageous move, and even though risky, Sammy is on a mission for what she believes in. She is studying criminology but reading about, researching and studying vampires is her thing. She cannot let this moment pass. She is so close to the truth.

With the police on her tail, as she is seen near the crime scene, she follows the stranger she believes a vampire and murderer as quickly and quietly as she can. She ends up at a Tube station and boarding a train she sees the stranger take. With only moments before the police reach her she pushes her way through the carriages to find her ‘vampire’. Throughout the following pages words are exchanged and then there is a bright light….

….when she wakes, Sammy is in the Wild West in 1888. She is dressed in denim and can handle a gun or two very well. She is in a tricky situation as soon as she wakes, with a gang of men lying around her that she has supposedly killed and another man behaving in a threatening manner towards her who has disarmed her and ready to take advantage. It is at this point that Samantha meets the Preacher, Louise, Zoe and Harry, a group of possible outlaws that treat Samantha as if she were one of their own.

To elaborate any further would completely spoil the story, however Samantha needs to work out how she arrived in the Wild West in 1888, why she woke up there and how she can get back to London, 2012. Is it connected to the murders taking place, or the possible vampire she had followed? Or is it all a dream?

Sammy’s character is very strong. She is a decisive gal with ambition and courage. She handles herself well in most situations and stands up to the other characters in the novel. Although she isn’t easily pushed around or deceived easily she still retains her femininity and sexiness. Samantha is wise and is able to pick up skills very quickly, despite having to get used to a new way of life.

Throughout ‘Vampire Seeker’ there are many action scenes that are quick-paced, violent, gory and sickening. This all adds to the thrill and excitement and the pace of the novel. Tim’s writing is so clear to the reader that although you are using your own imagination, the details of these action sequences are still vivid and clear from the writing. Every movement made can be imagined easily, allowing the reader to live in the moment themselves.

With Tim’s books that I have read thus far I have felt alive when reading them, as if beside the characters, like I am there with them. With ‘Vampire Seeker’ I felt most of this, however I not only wanted to be there with Samantha but I wanted to be Samantha Carter. I wanted to know how it would feel to shoot pistols and ride a horse in denims, belonging to a group of possible outlaws. Would I want to stay in the Wild West, 1888, or return to London in 2012?

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1)‘Vampire Seeker’ not only makes for such a great read, but it captivates the imagination so much that you can see it, you can feel it. I was taken on a roller-coaster ride of fantasy every few pages where one minute it is like the TV series ‘Life on Mars’, the next ‘Back to the Future Part III’. The only difference being that here we have a female lead character. I have been watching a few westerns on TV recently, such as ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Hell on Wheels’, and reading Vampire Seeker simply tied in with this theme with the added bonus of the faster, more adventurous pace, along with the paranormal direction. There are also so many twists and turns that one direction that the novel took made me think of the movie ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’ but I will not elaborate too much here, other than to say that a relationship between certain characters have similar circumstances.

The Preacher character is almost like a father-figure type character in my mind. He is out on a mission himself with his fellow riders and he is a leader. Samantha is helped by the Preacher and although he, Zoe and Louise have been friendly and accepting of Samantha, taking her in as one of their own, Sammy has her doubts about the group as the story unfolds and questions the Faith of the Preacher.

And then there is Harry, Harry Turner. I can definitely see why this novel is for new/young adults, 17 yrs plus, as the sexual tension is very hot and intense. If you are looking for a romance theme, or at least the hope of one with a strong and silent type cowboy you will not be disappointed. He is like Clint Eastwood in ‘High Plains Drifter’, which funnily enough has an almost paranormal feel but not in quite the same way that ‘Vampire Seeker’ has. Aside from Samantha, Harry is my favourite character that I cannot live without. I am just dying to know just how bad he is. I can honestly say that if the action and gore don’t get the blood pumping, Harry certainly will!

I need to read the sequel right now. I cannot wait for the release date!

‘Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One)’ was received gratefully from the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Check out the Amazon UK and Amazon US links!

Don’t forget to add your name below for a chance to win a SIGNED Paperback!!! Good luck 🙂

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

P.S. You can always check out our reviews of some of Tim’s other works here!

RELEASE DATE: Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book 1) by Tim O’Rourke – Piatkus/Little Brown Publishing

Congratulations to Tim O’Rourke on his release of Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book 1), published for the first time by Piatkus/Little Brown Publishing House on 15th August 2013. To help celebrate the release you can  have a chance at winning a Limited Edition t-shirt, check out the book blurb and you can also check out a little video interview introduction (by Tim) to Samantha Carter on the Piatkus website!

The e-book is released today and the paperback copies will be released in January 2014! You can find the Kindle edition on Amazon.co.uk for £4.99 and on Amazon.com for £7.74! (Prices correct at the time of publishing this post.)

Below is my review of Vampire Seeker (already published to the blog previously) with the new cover. (This is also my favourite review that I have written!!!)

I thought Tim O’Rourke had me with the Keira Hudson series. I thought the same again when I read ‘Moonlight’, from his Moon Trilogy, and then in his latest series, Sydney Hart, in the novel ‘Witch’. ‘Vampire Seeker’ is no exception to the rule. It’s wacky, adventurous, action-packed, fun and gory. From a vampire seeker in London, 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine.

‘Vampire Seeker’ begins with Samantha following a Jack the Ripper copy-cat killer in London 2012. Samantha believes that the killer is a vampire and, as she has had an obsession in trying to prove their very existence, when she hears of the latest murder via a police scanner she exploits the situation by tracking him down. This is a very brave and courageous move, and even though risky, Sammy is on a mission for what she believes in. She is studying criminology but reading about, researching and studying vampires is her thing. She cannot let this moment pass. She is so close to the truth.

With the police on her tail, as she is seen near the crime scene, she follows the stranger she believes is a vampire and murderer as quickly and quietly as she can. She ends up at a Tube station and boarding a train she sees the stranger take. With only moments before the police reach her she pushes her way through the carriages to find her ‘vampire’. Throughout the following pages words are exchanged and then there is a bright light….

….when she wakes, Sammy is in the Wild West in 1888. She is dressed in denim and can handle a gun or two very well. She is in a tricky situation as soon as she wakes, with a gang of men lying around her that she has supposedly killed and another man behaving in a threatening manner towards her who has disarmed her and ready to take advantage. It is at this point that Samantha meets the Preacher, Louise, Zoe and Harry, a group of possible outlaws that treat Samantha as if she were one of their own.

To elaborate any further would completely spoil the story, however Samantha needs to work out how she arrived in the Wild West in 1888, why she woke up there and how she can get back to London, 2012. Is it connected to the murders taking place, or the possible vampire she had followed? Or is it all a dream?

Sammy’s character is very strong. She is a decisive gal with ambition and courage. She handles herself well in most situations and stands up to the other characters in the novel. Although she isn’t easily pushed around or deceived easily she still retains her femininity and sexiness. Samantha is wise and is able to pick up skills very quickly, despite having to get used to a new way of life.

Throughout ‘Vampire Seeker’ there are many action scenes that are quick-paced, violent, gory and sickening. This all adds to the thrill and excitement and the pace of the novel. Tim’s writing is so clear to the reader that although you are using your own imagination, the details of these action sequences are still vivid and clear from the writing. Every movement made can be imagined easily, allowing the reader to live in the moment themselves.

With Tim’s books that I have read thus far I have felt alive when reading them, as if beside the characters, like I am there with them. With ‘Vampire Seeker’ I felt most of this, however I not only wanted to be there with Samantha but I wanted to be Samantha Carter. I wanted to know how it would feel to shoot pistols and ride a horse in denims, belonging to a group of possible outlaws. Would I want to stay in the Wild West, 1888, or return to London in 2012?

‘Vampire Seeker’ not only makes for such a great read, but it captivates the imagination so much that you can see it, you can feel it. I was taken on a roller-coaster ride of fantasy every few pages where one minute it is like the TV series ‘Life on Mars’, the next ‘Back to the Future Part III’. The only difference being that here we have a female lead character. I have been watching a few westerns on TV recently, such as ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Hell on Wheels’, and reading Vampire Seeker simply tied in with this theme with the added bonus of the faster, more adventurous pace, along with the paranormal direction. There are also so many twists and turns that one direction that the novel took made me think of the movie ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’ but I will not elaborate too much here, other than to say that a relationship between certain characters have similar circumstances.

The Preacher character is almost like a father-figure type character in my mind. He is out on a mission himself with his fellow riders and he is a leader. Samantha is helped by the Preacher and although he, Zoe and Louise have been friendly and accepting of Samantha, taking her in as one of their own, Sammy has her doubts about the group as the story unfolds and questions the Faith of the Preacher.

And then there is Harry, Harry Turner. I can definitely see why this novel is for new/young adults, 17 yrs plus, as the sexual tension is very hot and intense. If you are looking for a romance theme, or at least the hope of one with a strong and silent type cowboy you will not be disappointed. He is like Clint Eastwood in ‘High Plains Drifter’, which funnily enough has an almost paranormal feel but not in quite the same way that ‘Vampire Seeker’ has. Aside from Samantha, Harry is my favourite character that I cannot live without. I am just dying to know just how bad he is. I can honestly say that if the action and gore don’t get the blood pumping, Harry certainly will!

I need to read the sequel right now. I cannot wait for the release date!

‘Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One)’ was received gratefully from the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Other series’ to try are Keira Hudson, Black Hill Farm, The Moon Trilogy and Doorways. You can find all information on Tim’s website.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Author post/biog by Tim O’Rourke

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, #2)Hi guys, following our review of Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, Book 2) we have a fantastic author post/biog from my favourite author, Tim O’Rourke! We would like to thank Tim for taking the time to write this for A Reader’s Review Blog. We hope you all enjoy this treat as much as we did. Over to you, Tim :-

“I started writing at the age of fourteen. As a kid I had struggled with reading and writing, but after discovering the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I started to write myself. I wrote mainly short stories at first and these were often about ghosts or had some kind of macabre undertone. In fact, Isidor’s ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ which I included at the end of Kiera Hudson, Kiera Hudson‘Dead Angels’ (Kiera Hudson Series Two) Book 2 were all written by me between the ages of 14 and 15. I included those stories as Isidor was about 14 when he wrote them deep within the Hollows, so I thought they would be quite fitting.

Just like Isidor, I continued to read and write and it became my passion. I was taught to read by a dear friend, who just like Melody Rose, sat with me for hours and hours as I tried to make sense of the words.

I wrote poems, books and plays all the way through college, although I never tried to get any of my work published at that time. I didn’t have the confidence in myself or my writing. Shoot forward in time twenty or more years, and it wasn’t until my wife pulled a huge box from beneath the stairs and asked, “Tim what’s the point in writing all this stuff if you never share it with anyone?”, that I thought perhaps she had a point. I spent the next few years sending my work out to publishers and agents but without success. It wasn’t until I had written the first ‘Doorways’ book and ‘Black Hill Farm’ book that I decided I wouldn’t send them out to publishers or agents but publish them myself on Amazon. I remember thinking to myself as I hit the upload button on Amazon, that I would be happy if I sold 50 books. To my surprise, I sold more than that. Kiera HudsonBut it wasn’t until I wrote the first Kiera Hudson book (Vampire Shift) that things really changed for me. That book sold really well and still does two years later. Kiera Hudson seemed to connect with people. I get more emails about Kiera then any of my other characters. People really seem to love the character and identify with her on some level. I think it’s because Kiera struggles and each of us do that every single day one way or another.

It’s kind of odd because as a teenager I remember reading that Conan Doyle got tired of writing about Sherlock Holmes – so much so that he killed Holmes off in ‘The Final Problem’. At the time there was a public outcry demanding that Holmes be bought back to life. Kiera HudsonNow, I’ve not had anything like that and I wouldn’t compare my writing or characters to those created by the genius Conan Doyle, but when I let it be known that there wouldn’t be any more Kiera Hudson books after ‘Vampire Hollows (Kiera Hudson Series One) Book 5, I did get my fair share of emails asking me to write more Kiera books. It was then I realised how fond and attached some people had come to this character. So before publishing ‘Vampire Hollows’ I went back and rewrote the ending, leaving the pages open for more Kiera Hudson adventures. I’m now writing the eighth Kiera Hudson book in the second series and I’m very glad that I am. Unlike Conan Doyle, who really didn’t want to write any more Holmes books, I do want to write more Kiera Hudson books but only if I can think of great adventures for her to have. I do have a third series planned. But like Conan Doyle and his relationship with Holmes, there are plenty of other stories I want to tell other than those about Kiera Hudson. I have so many characters roaming around in my head that want to be let out, that’s why this year, I have taken so time away from Kiera, and written stories about some of those other characters whose stories I want to tell. I absolutely love writing about Sydney Hart and I have plenty more mysteries for her to solve – I can’t wait to start writing them. There is also Winter McCall and Thaddeus Blake from my ‘Moon Trilogy’, who I also love writing about. Thaddeus and Winnie are kind of special to me as I wrote the first draft of ‘Moonlight’ when I was 14. I’ve made some changes to the overall story but it remains pretty much the same. In fact, if you read the first draft it is virtually identical to what you read today – other than Winnie was originally called Frannie. Thaddeus had an identical twin brother in the original story, but that was edited out. Ruby Little was a new character I introduced and I’ve had a lot of fun writing about her.

In ‘Moonbeam’, I really wanted to explore Thaddeus’ back story as I knew it would impact on the rest of the series. Thaddeus is a mystery not only to the reader but to me also. He seems quite allusive not only on the page but inside my head too. I know Thaddeus’ story and how it ends in for him and Winnie and I think the reader will be more surprised by what happens than in any of my other series. Like all of my books, I have been dropping clues since ‘Moonlight’ Book 1 and even more in ‘Moonbeam’ Book 2. At the end of book 3, ‘Moonshine’, I’m hoping the reader will gasp as all the little pieces of the jigsaw slide into place. I’m hoping to have ‘Moonshine’ published by the end of the year.

Between now and then, I will be publishing ‘Dead Push’ (Kiera Hudson Series Two) Book 7 at the end of July, then I’m doing the rewrites for ‘Flashes’. Over the coming months I will be writing the second Samantha Carter book, ‘Dead Lost’ (Kiera Hudson Series Two) Book 8, the final ‘Doorways’ book and working on ‘Pick’ which is a zombie novel I’m writing with my son. There are some more surprises to come, but they wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you about them now!”

TIM O’ROURKE

You can find my review of Tim’s Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy, Book 2) below or by clicking on the link in the title. Check out our blog over the coming days for a giveaway of Tim’s Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, Book 1) and also Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson, Series One Book One)! Both books will be paper copies and signed by Tim O’Rourke himself!!! – Caroline Barker, A Reader’s Review Blog

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One) by Tim O’Rourke

I thought Tim O’Rourke had me with the Keira Hudson series. I thought the same again when I read ‘Moonlight’, from his Moon Trilogy, and then in his latest series, Sydney Hart, in the novel ‘Witch’. ‘Vampire Seeker’ is no exception to the rule. It’s wacky, adventurous, action-packed, fun and gory. From a vampire seeker in London, 2012, to a cowgirl in the Wild West in 1888, Samantha Carter is a brilliant heroine.

‘Vampire Seeker’ begins with Samantha following a Jack the Ripper copy-cat killer in London 2012. Samantha believes that the killer is a vampire and, as she has had an obsession in trying to prove their very existence, when she hears of the latest murder via a police scanner she exploits the situation by tracking him down. This is a very brave and courageous move, and even though risky, Sammy is on a mission for what she believes in. She is studying criminology but reading about, researching and studying vampires is her thing. She cannot let this moment pass. She is so close to the truth.

With the police on her tail, as she is seen near the crime scene, she follows the stranger she believes is a vampire and murderer as quickly and quietly as she can. She ends up at a Tube station and boarding a train she sees the stranger take. With only moments before the police reach her she pushes her way through the carriages to find her ‘vampire’. Throughout the following pages words are exchanged and then there is a bright light….

….when she wakes, Sammy is in the Wild West in 1888. She is dressed in denim and can handle a gun or two very well. She is in a tricky situation as soon as she wakes, with a gang of men lying around her that she has supposedly killed and another man behaving in a threatening manner towards her who has disarmed her and ready to take advantage. It is at this point that Samantha meets the Preacher, Louise, Zoe and Harry, a group of possible outlaws that treat Samantha as if she were one of their own.

To elaborate any further would completely spoil the story, however Samantha needs to work out how she arrived in the Wild West in 1888, why she woke up there and how she can get back to London, 2012. Is it connected to the murders taking place, or the possible vampire she had followed? Or is it all a dream?

Sammy’s character is very strong. She is a decisive gal with ambition and courage. She handles herself well in most situations and stands up to the other characters in the novel. Although she isn’t easily pushed around or deceived easily she still retains her femininity and sexiness. Samantha is wise and is able to pick up skills very quickly, despite having to get used to a new way of life.

Throughout ‘Vampire Seeker’ there are many action scenes that are quick-paced, violent, gory and sickening. This all adds to the thrill and excitement and the pace of the novel. Tim’s writing is so clear to the reader that although you are using your own imagination, the details of these action sequences are still vivid and clear from the writing. Every movement made can be imagined easily, allowing the reader to live in the moment themselves.

With Tim’s books that I have read thus far I have felt alive when reading them, as if beside the characters, like I am there with them. With ‘Vampire Seeker’ I felt most of this, however I not only wanted to be there with Samantha but I wanted to be Samantha Carter. I wanted to know how it would feel to shoot pistols and ride a horse in denims, belonging to a group of possible outlaws. Would I want to stay in the Wild West, 1888, or return to London in 2012?

‘Vampire Seeker’ not only makes for such a great read, but it captivates the imagination so much that you can see it, you can feel it. I was taken on a roller-coaster ride of fantasy every few pages where one minute it is like the TV series ‘Life on Mars’, the next ‘Back to the Future Part III’. The only difference being that here we have a female lead character. I have been watching a few westerns on TV recently, such as ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Hell on Wheels’, and reading Vampire Seeker simply tied in with this theme with the added bonus of the faster, more adventurous pace, along with the paranormal direction. There are also so many twists and turns that one direction that the novel took made me think of the movie ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’ but I will not elaborate too much here, other than to say that a relationship between certain characters have similar circumstances.

The Preacher character is almost like a father-figure type character in my mind. He is out on a mission himself with his fellow riders and he is a leader. Samantha is helped by the Preacher and although he, Zoe and Louise have been friendly and accepting of Samantha, taking her in as one of their own, Sammy has her doubts about the group as the story unfolds and questions the Faith of the Preacher.

And then there is Harry, Harry Turner. I can definitely see why this novel is for new/young adults, 17 yrs plus, as the sexual tension is very hot and intense. If you are looking for a romance theme, or at least the hope of one with a strong and silent type cowboy you will not be disappointed. He is like Clint Eastwood in ‘High Plains Drifter’, which funnily enough has an almost paranormal feel but not in quite the same way that ‘Vampire Seeker’ has. Aside from Samantha, Harry is my favourite character that I cannot live without. I am just dying to know just how bad he is. I can honestly say that if the action and gore don’t get the blood pumping, Harry certainly will!

I need to read the sequel right now. I cannot wait for the release date!

‘Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter, Book One)’ was received gratefully from the author in return for an honest and fair review.

Other series’ to try are Keira Hudson, Black Hill Farm, The Moon Trilogy and Doorways. You can find all information on Tim’s website.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker