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Review: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (anthology)

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The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance edited by Trisha Telep
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Paperback (RUNNING PRESS, 512 pages, $13.95)
Released: July 2008 (reviewed: September 2008)
The biggest names in paranormal romance have created a fascinating array of 30 short stories of hot blood and inhuman passions that will leave you thirsting for more. Authors include Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance, and Nancy Holder. These ain’t your mother’s vampires!
Author Site:

"Love is a weapon in the face of evil." (4 stars)

A savory collection of vampire tales of love and lust, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE, is a terrific sampler for fans of both the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. With offerings from some of the new big names in the vampire sub I highly recommend this for other readers who are seeking a taste of new authors. Others, not looking for new authors, might enjoy the few that tie into current series. To keep things brief let me offer information on each short story...

[FADE TO BLACK] by Sherri Erwin, When a vampire obsessed professor finds out one of her students is one of the undead their tryst forces choices on her she never saw coming. --While I liked the whole professor-has-vampire-as-student concept the story felt like it came out of another book and just didn't do it for me. 2/5 stars

[ODE TO EDVARD MUNCH] by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Our narrorator is a musician passing through Central Park each night where he befriends a mysterious young female vampire, one whom he dreams of in so many ways. --I loved the narration but this story was very short and poetic, not really romantic. 3/5 stars

[FANGS FOR HIRE] by Jenna Black, Gemma is a vampire hitwoman who is good at her job and when a client hires her to kill his step-father over an inheritance she gets a lot more than she bargained for. --I didn't think I'd like this one but the step-father character pulled the story together and would have made an excellent hero for a longer book. 4/5 stars

[THE RIGHTEOUS] by Jenna Mclaine, In this historical, when a vampire who is charged with weeding out the bad seeds of his race meets a human slayer who stirs his blood will they remain foes, or could he prove to her not all his kind are evil? --This tale was too cliched and sloppy for my tastes but fans who love historical vampire stories might like it. 1/5 stars

[KNOWLEDGE OF EVIL] by Raven Hart, Vampire Nick Manos has sought out a chance to study at the University of Georgia just to meet Professor Victoria Lennox, an expert on vampires... and they are both seeking forbidden knowledge. --A fluffy little tale with very little conflict, was a fun romp but not a real stand-out from the collection. 4/5 stars

[VIPER'S BITE] by Delilah Devlin, Viper is a vampire with an interest in Mariah, but just how deeply does tha interest go? --I feel like anything I can say about this story would be spoilery but it was very romantic and I loved it. 5/5 stars

[DREAMS] by Keri Arthur, Set around characters from Arthur's Riley Jenson series. --I feel bad cause I've never read any of the series so I was completely confused by the story and hence did not like it, my guess is fans of the series will love the extra 'screentime' with these characters. 2/5 stars

[LOVE BITES] by Kimberly Raye, Another offering that ties into the author's series, Danielle Blue is a newly minted SOB (Sniper of Otherworldy Beings) and she's due to make her first kill, but is sleeping with the enemy really breaking the rules? --I've got one of her books on my shelf so I was able to note the reference (though I haven't read it yet) to it... light and fluffy take on the slayer/vampire dilemna. 3/5 stars

[WHAT'S AT STAKE] by Alexis Morgan, I got the impression this may be related to a series Morgan is working on but can't be sure... When Josalyn Sloan is called in to make sure the legal rights of her former friend/almost lover are being met embers of their old flames come leaping back to life. --The set-up for a mythos got me interested but I didn't really care for the hero & heroine, they felt too familiar, like a cookie-cutter formatted H/H. 3/5 stars
[COMING HOME] by Lilith Saintcrow, Tying into Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series, Liana Spocarelli returns to Saint City for a job. --Another series tie-in I know nothing about but written with Saintcrow's distinct voice which is sure to please her fans and interest new ones. 4/5 stars

[TO EASE THE RAGE] by C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, There's been a break-in at Officer Sylvia Beck's home and the last thing she expects is the man she catches fleeing the scene... since he died two years ago! --Predictable but fresh, I liked the story here a lot and plan to look into these co-authors in the future. 5/5 stars

[DANCING WITH THE STAR] by Susan Sizemore, After a vampire receives a mysterious telepathic cry for help at a car wreck she later dreams of dancing with a handsome man who turns out to be a famous face. --Another very original premise that was really enjoyable and well written, one of my favorites from this collection. 5/5 stars

[PLAY DEAD] by Dina James, Shouldn't a vampire be able to choose his own bride, not have it chosen for him by his house? --I felt like this one dropped me into the middle of a series and didn't give me enough information to really understand what was going on. 2/5 stars

[IN WHICH A MASQUERADE BALL UNMASKS AN UNDEAD] by Colleen Gleason, Readers of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles will recognize Victoria Gardella Grantworth as the lead in this short story... Victoria's attempts at a private interlude with Rockley are interupted by undead stalking about the masquerade. --I've been waiting for the final book to come out before I read the series but I've been anxious so this little peek was tantalizing but not spoilerific. 3/5 stars

[A TEMPORARY VAMPIRE] by Barbara Emrys, Set in New Orleans this is a tale of a vampire looking for a new home who meets a fascinating mime. --New Orleans is so cliched in vampire stories I expected this one to be bad and I actually really enjoyed it, it was very original and a perfectly closed short story. 5/5 stars

[OVERBITE] by Savannah Russe, When a Manhattan dentist gets sucked (no pun intended) into the vampire underworld his life is forever changed. --I think this one ended up being my favorite of the entire collection because it was smutty, silly and very original, I have had Russe's books on my wishlist forever and I think it's time to buy! 5/5 stars

[HUNTER'S CHOICE] by Shiloh Walker, Sara's brother and best friend were murdered by vampires and she wanted revenge, can a vampire show her not all of the undead are evil? --This one was okay, but how many times have we heard this story before? 3/5 stars

[REMEMBER THE BLOOD] by Vicki Pettersson, Two vampires go to great lengths to remain forever tied to one another. --Fans of Pettersson's writing will enjoy seeing this offering which has no ties to her Zodiac series but the vampire mythos presented here might not appeal to many. 4/5 stars

[THE SACRIFICE] by Rebecca York, Princess Morgan of Balacord knows of only one way to save her kingdom from the invaders who have their land under seige - she must seek out the blood drinking monster known as Garon. --Fans of fantasy and traditonal romances will probably enjoy this one greatly, I found it to be pretty good though I prefer urban vampire tales. 4/5 stars

[THE MIDDAY MANGLER MEETS HIS MATCH] by Rachel Vincent, A serial killer is murdering vampire children and when Kez's little sister is abducted by the murderer she won't let him get away without a fight. --I lied earlier... this was my favorite of the entire collection - it was so different from everything else in it with it's teen heroine and her boyfriend, the idea of a vampire dominated world and all that would entail. Fellow fans of Vincent's werecats series will recognize her voice and enjoy seeing her writing something new. 5/5 stars

[THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT] by Amanda Ashley, A new take on the Phantom of the Opera story. --I'm surprised no one has done this one before (at least not that I've seen), I didn't really care for it but I think fans of TPOTO and more traditional romances will love it. 3/5 stars

[THE DAY OF THE DEAD] by Karen Chance, Readers of Chance's Cassie Palmer series will remember Tomas and soak up this South American adventure tale. --I like the series but never really cared for Tomas and while I liked the twist this story had I didn't really care for it as a whole. 3/5 stars

[VAMPIRE UNCHAINED] by Nancy Holder, Trapped in the tunnels under Central Park, vampire Liam Cadagon must protect his Gifted human lover from his fellow vampires. --Another one of those stories where I felt dropped into the middle of a series and not quite given enough details but the ending was pretty good. 3/5 stars

[A STAND-UP DAME] by Lilith Saintcrow, A noir-ish vampire tale. --Another favorite of mine, I normally don't care for Saintcrow's writing but this was so far from her norm it was delicious. 5/5 stars

[UNTITLED 12] by Caitlin R. Keirnan, A strange and very short narrative of being turned. --This one was too strange and grotesque for me and the female/female "romance" was kind of icky when normally a same sex romance doesn't bother me much. 1/5 stars

Overall there were some really enjoyable quick reads, some that felt too long and cliched and a few that tied into current series. What makes it worth buying is the variety. I chose it because I wanted to read some new stuff from authors I am a reader of already and some I wanted to try that I haven't yet. Several were authors I've never heard of but may look into now that I've tasted their style. If you don't like short stories this is definitely not for you as most are a lot shorter than your typical anthology offering where an author might have 60-90 pages to tell a story versus about 20-25 here.

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