Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review of Hunger by Karen E Taylor: Bewitching Tour Stop

Karen E. Taylor is a horror/paranormal author, with eight published novels to date and an eclectic assortment of short fiction which ranges from vampires to ghosts to telepathic, romantic dinosaurs.  She claims she starts out to write a "normal" story, but then her characters turn spectral or grow fangs or fur or wings.  So she writes what she loves and hopes her readers love it too.  She started writing her first novel (Beauty Like the Night) in 1988.  It was that novel, published in 1993 under the title of Blood Secrets, that started Karen's career.

In real life, she is mother of two sons, has been married for 32+ years, and owned by two cats and a dog. In her spare time she makes candles and cosmetic creams/lotions. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Karen attended Grove City College where she earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Communication Arts.  She currently lives in Los Angeles, but is planning a cross-country relocation this summer.  Her newest book is entitled HUNGER: The Vampire Legacy and is an omnibus edition containing her first two novels (Blood Secrets and Bitter Blood) to be released June 28, 2011.

Deirdre Griffin didn't choose to be a vampire. But she is. And she's determined to make the most of her fate. For Deirdre that means surrendering to the raging hunger ignited by even the slightest whiff of blood ‑ a hunger that pulses through her body like a fever, demanding release. It means making friends in dark places ‑ and savouring every hot, salty, bitter, revitalizing drop of life force the night has to offer...
From Book #1 of HUNGER: Blood Secrets

After the kiss, I buried my face in his neck. Now, I thought as I heard the blood pulse in his veins, Oh, please, now.

I nipped him at first, savoring the moment, my low moans echoed by his. Then when my teeth grew longer and sharper, I could hold back no longer. I bit him brutally, tapping the artery and was rewarded by the flow of his blood: hot, salty and bitter. He shuddered violently and fought to push me away, but his resistance was futile. Finally his struggles ceased and his body grew limp as I continued to draw on him, gently now, almost tenderly. I drank a long time, slowly, relishing the feel of my own body being replenished, then I withdrew.

Arising from the couch, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. No longer pale and haggard, my skin glowed with life and my eyes shone, victorious and demonic. A few drops of blood were trickling down my chin; I wiped them away with the back of my hand and turned from my reflection in disgust...

From Book #2 of HUNGER: Bitter Blood

He was trembling violently under my touch, but that merely encouraged me and I spoke his name again.


This time I connected. I knew he heard me and understood, his hands tightened on mine and he whispered my name. Then before I could react, he quickly dropped my hands, formed a fist and silently punched me on the jaw, striking me with such force that I fell to the floor.

As I pulled myself up, shaking my head and gingerly feeling my jaw, I saw him running from the room, pursued by a nurse and two orderlies.

I stood, swaying in the air slightly, oblivious to the uproar Mitch's action must have been causing around me. The noise level in the room rose, as if from a long distance. I could hear the laughing and crying and shouting of the rest of the patients in the room. But my eyes were fastened on the door through which he had disappeared.

What the hell did you expect, you fool, I thought, a passionate embrace, a warm welcome-back kiss? His eyes had been the eyes of one who looked on hell, and I had helped to put him there...


Hunger is actually a compilation of the first two books in the Vampire Legacy series, Blood Secrets and Bitter Blood.  First published back in 1993 when vampire novels were not yet in vogue, these books are being revitalized and re-released.

I quite like the cover of this book.  It is mysterious and alluring; a flawless depiction of the protagonist.  Deirdre Griffin is a vampire who was turned over one hundred years ago.  Her beloved husband and she were in a carriage accident, and he was instantly killed; however, Deirdre was rescued by an unknown Samaritan who also became her Maker.  As far as Deirdre knows she is the only being of her kind in the world, except for her unknown sire.  She dislikes her immortal life, which she considers a curse, and vows vengeance upon her sire if she ever discovers who he is. Having made a new life for herself as a successful designer, Deirdre is content though lonely in her reclusiveness.  Then, the unimaginable happens, and Deirdre becomes the prime suspect when a man’s body is discovered utterly drained of blood.  The investigating detective, Mitch Greer, begins to painstakingly uncover the truth and in the process Deirdre and he become involved in a relationship that will survive against all odds, and will cause a severe breach between her and her only truly close friend, Max.

I thought both books were beautifully written, lyrical, and conveyed an intensely gothic voice and tone throughout.  Deirdre’s loneliness and vulnerability, so at odds with her public persona, was, for me, captured with breathtaking believability and heart-rending honesty. I did not have any trouble at all getting into the rather formal style of writing that is incorporated in the two novels that comprise this anthology. I was almost immediately caught up in Deirdre’s life, and I loved the way in which her story unfolded at a sedate pace.  The descriptive narration flowed smoothly, and I found I sympathized with her while being envious of her at the same time.  I came to understand her better as the story progressed, but still, she was always uniquely herself, and only rarely could I totally fault her carefully reasoned, though sometimes foolhardy decisions.

The 2nd book, Bitter Blood, picks up the story two years after the first, Blood Secrets. Deirdre and Mitch have been separated, and both are haunted by ghosts which seem unconquerable. Though an ocean separates them, Mitch’s son appeals to Deirdre for help.  To her dismay, Mitch has slipped away into an almost catatonic state.  Deirdre must face the consequences of her actions in the previous book, and the price is formidable. Beautifully constructed, intelligently portrayed, and impeccably presented, this thrilling beginning is an hors d’oeuvre sure to whet your appetite for the rest of the books comprising the Vampire Legacy series.   

Reviewed by Laurie-J  

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Next Stops on this Tour

July 15 Review

July 15 Review and Guest Post A Chick Who Reads

July 16 Review
July 16 Review All things books

July 17 Kay Dee Royal Interview and Review
July 18 Guest Blog and Review Black lagoon Reviews

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Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for a review.  I have not received any monetary compensation in return for my honest review, whether positive or negative. Promotional banners and information was provided through Bewitching Book Tours. I am an authorized Tour Host.

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