A gritty and compelling vampire story

coldest girl in coldtownTITLE = THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN




Imagine a world where vampires exist … not the sparkly kind, the dangerous kind. Imagine going to a party one night and waking up the next morning to find all the other party guests have been killed …. by vampires. That is, all but your ex-boyfriend. Do you run? Do you save him? And what about the vampire chained in the corner .. do you take him with you or escape while you can??

This may seem like a nightmare world but it is Tana’s reality.

And so begins a gripping new novel by that wondrous writer, Holly Black. As Tana tries to maintain her sanity, and her humanity, she is driven into increasingly desperate situations. Going on the run with a soon-to-be vampire she once loved and a somewhat crazed vampire who she seems to be falling for, may seem like an act of madness but Tana is intent on staying alive and staying one step ahead of danger. She is not trying to impress anyone, she is not looking for romance – she simply wants to stay alive and human …even if she must risk everything by entering the strange world of Coldtown, where vampires and reality TV seem to have merged.

Only Holly Black could have dreamed up a world like this one: dark and cruel and absolutely fascinating. A world where compassion may be found in the unlikeliest places and where no-one is quite as they seem. A compelling tale from go to whoa which will have readers spellbound, especially those who like their fantasy to be just a little bit gritty.

Highly Highly Recommended (dma) *****  

Will Vlad survive his final year at high school?




INTEREST LEVEL = years 7 – 9


The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod comes to a suitably nail-biting end in this book. The previous book ending with a surprising cliffhanger – had Vlad really met his dad or have some of his bloodsucking ways come back to haunt him (or at least, mess with his sanity)?

 Recommended for fans of the series (dma) ****

Check out the book trailer below for a taste of what is in store for Vlad:

(Note: all images in the book trailer courtesy of the Animoto site, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch Song: E For Extinction. Text created by dma)

And if you have enjoyed this series, look out for Heather Brewers’s latest sries: the Slayer Chronicles. Yes, now we are going to hear a Joss’ side of the story! It is every bit as exciting as you might expect.

An angel and a vampire … sounds doomed, doesn’t it?





Another delicious supernatural love story told in a deliciously sardonic way by Cynthia Leitich Smith. The two lead characters take turns telling their version of events: Zachary (once Miranda’s guardian angel, now fallen angel) and Miranda (once shy, withdrawn human now vampire princess… oops, that should be, “Eternal princess”). As Zachary is partly to blame for Miranda’s conversion, he seeks to reclaim his wings and Miranda’s soul … but life is never easy when dealing with rich vampires (ummm, eternals),  werecreatures and the angel code of practice. Be sure there will be a few obstacles in the path of these young lovers…. And a bit of blood splatter as well.

Read a review of the graphic novel version here.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 Why not check out this book trailer, too

(Note: all images in the book trailer courtesy of the Animoto site, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: Secrets in Stereo. Song: Happy. Text created by dma)

 And if you enjoy this novel, why not read Cynthia Leitich Smith’s other books set in a similar supernatural world of vamps, wereanimals and wisecracking humans: “Tantalize” (reviewed here) and its companion graphic novel, “Tantalize: Kieran’s story” (reviewed here on the Graphic Shelf blog).

A fresh twist to a werewolf love story





Quincie Morris has an unusual life. Despite being still in high school, she part-owns, part-runs a restaurant, one which has been in her family for years. Her parents have died so her guardian (who also helps her run the family restaurant) is her young uncle, barely out of college himself. Oh, and she is in love with Kieren, a werewolf hybrid, who seems to be keeping his distance from her. Does he not love her back??

Her life gets even more complicated when her beloved chef, Vaggio, is brutally murdered, and the prime suspect may well be her beloved Kieren. Then Quincie meets the new chef… and maybe, just maybe, she is falling for him? Is he just the person she needs to help her get over Kieren…or is her trust in him not only misplaced, but potentially dangerous??

Despite the central (forbidden) love triangle, this is not just another werewolf/vampire story. This is partly the location: Austin, Texas. It is also partly the structure – as befits a novel that is largely set inside a restaurant, the novel is divided into menu sections: antipasto, primo, secondo etc. It is also partly the inclusion of unusual supernatural shape shifters (such as werepossums and werearmadillos) as featured characters.

There are several twists and turns in the novel especially as it reaches its climax that will keep the reader eagerly turning the page, right up until the end. A fun read indeed.

And if you enjoy this novel, why not take a look at the story from a different angle: a graphic novel  which tells the story from Kieren’s point of view: “Tantalize: Kieren’s story” (written by the same author and illustrated by Mung Doyle). Read a review on The Graphic Shelf blog.

Recommended (dma) ****

A fresh and funny take on a vampire story

bloodthirstyTITLE = Bloodthirsty

AUTHOR  = Flynn Meaney



This is a delightfully fun and engaging novel which is sure to appeal to teen girls in particular. Finbar Frame is a twin. His twin brother, Luke, is athletic and popular, with loads of friends and most importantly, good with girls. Finn, on the other hand, is quiet, nerdy, tall and pale. He is anxious and timid, especially around bullies and girls.

But Finn has a brainwave: given that vampires have become so popular in books, on TV and in films, the solution to all his problems is obvious – with his pale looks and allergy to the sun – he will simply become a vampire! And so the fun begins.

And there is lot to laugh about in this engaging story as Finn tries to negotiate school and teenage life as a would-be vampire. Blissfully free of blood but full of pop references to recent books and shows, YA readers are sure to enjoy the ride as Finn learns a thing or two about honesty, truth and accepting oneself. An amusing novel with a refreshing take on vampirism, romance and reinvention.

Recommended (dma) ****

Can love truly conquer all??

afterlife_coverTITLE =AFTERLIFE




This is the fourth and final instalment in the Evernight series and readers of the third volume will know that it ended on a heartwrenching cliffhanger with Lucas being turned into a vampire, the one thing he hated most. Will he be able to handle this transition or will his self-loathing be the final nail in the coffin for any kind of future between Bianca and Lucas?

The action of this novel returns to the Evernight Academy where Lucas is surprisingly welcomed with open arms by Mrs Bethany. But despite the support of Vic, Ranulf and Balthazar, life is not easy for Lucas and Bianca. Lucas has a tough battle against his own vampirish hunger and is haunted in his dreams by Charity, his sire. Bianca yearns for an intimate relationship with Lucas but it seems that her wraith’s blood can  burn and harm him – so what hope for the future is there? Especially when fellow wraiths are demanding she turn more to them and break her ties with earth.

The action never slows down in this novel and readers will be on the edge of their seats as new plot twists arise bringing both complications and further torment for Lucas and Bianca. And the tortured love affair that began at the Academy seems destined to be resolved there – that is if a wraith and a vampire can ever have a meaningful future or does Bianca represent the greatest threat of all to Lucas??

This is a fitting conclusion to the Evernight series which began so brilliantlywith the first instalment: Evernight.

Readers will be delighted to realise the significance of the wonderful silver and red cover, too.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

The previous 3 novels in the series:

evernight_cover stargazer_cover hourglass_cover

Vlad's adventures continue

vlad tod ninthTITLE = NINTH GRADE SLAYS (The Chronicles of  Vladimir Tod

AUTHOR = Heather Brewer

GENRE =Horror, Vampires


Vladimir Tod returns for more adventures – and life seems just as complicated as ever. Whilst still bewitched by the lovely Meredith, Vlad remains too tongue-tied to talk to her. Although the school bullies are still a threat, this year, he has his best friend’s cousin (Joss) to help him out. But is Joss really a friend he can count on?? Meanwhile, it seems that Vlad’s secret may be about to be revealed … and on top of that, a slayer is in town – looking for Vlad. Is his life truly in danger?? Is it time for him to acknowledge his vampire heritage – for better or worse?

Life for Vlad certainly isn’t simple! Readers of the first novel in this series are sure to enjoy instalment 2 – there is plenty of action and intrigue as Vlad (and the reader) try to sort out the dilemmas he faces – and his uncertain future. Another terrific blend of teenage ansgst and vampire action!

Recommended (dma) ****

A more traditional Vampire tale

vlad tod 8th gradeTITLE =  EIGHTH GRADE BITES (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)




To his class mates, Vlad Tod seems like a pale goth but in reality he is a vampire. His father was also a vampire but his mother was human. Both of them died when Vlad was young so he has little knowledge about his vampire background or what lies in store for him. And life seems pretty complicated as it is – trying to keep his true identity a secret from his class mate, trying to pluck up the courage to ask out the girl of his dreams, Meredith. But when his teacher goes missing (feared dead) and the replacement teacher seems to know his secret, Vlad begins to fear for his life. There are plenty of unexpected twists in this story – enough to keep the reader guessing about the outcome. And despite the presence of danger and death, Vlad and his best friend Henry seem like normal teenage boys with a particular fondness for rather bloodthirsty video games and humorous digs at each other. There is a lot to enjoy in this story.

And the good news is – there are 4 more books in the series:

vlad tod ninth Why not check out the author’s website.

vlad tod tenthvlad tod eleventhvlad tod twelfth Highly recommended (dma) *****


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: Supernatural

Interest Level: Yr 8 and up

The book   is about a boy (Edward) and he is a vampire and he likes this girl (Bella). 
I enjoyed the bit where the girl gets attacked by the vampire.  
It could have been improved by more special effects.
I would recommend this novel to Year 8 students and up to 15 year olds.
I’d rate this novel 8  out of 10. **** (live)

Great Vampire action

EVERNIGHT by Claudia Gray

Genre: Horror

Interest Level: Years 9 and up

This is a great vampire book for anyone who enjoyed the “Twilight” series. Lucas and Bianca are attracted to each other after their first meeting but are also a bit wary of taking their relationship further. Bianca is shy and Lucas seems a tad too violent for her liking. Neither seem to be really enjoying life at their boarding school, the Evernight Academy. Just as it seems true love is going to take over… vampires and vampire hunters make an unexpected appearance and life is turned on its head for the young lovers. Will their relationship survive the horrors surrounding them? Are they a modern day Romeo and Juliet – torn apart by their families? This book contains some unexpected twists and turn; it also offers a wonderful romance that seems doomed from the start … despite the obvious attraction of the two teen lead characters. Lucas and Bianca just may rival Bella and Edward in their passion for each other and their frustration at being kept apart. The good news is that the sequel is already being written by Claudia Gray!

Highly Recommended (dma) *****