Vampire Month Bonus! Let’s talk Twilight!

giphy2

As a fun bonus for Vampire month, Beth and I got together and discussed the gateway drug of Vampire books for a generation of readers, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

41mkazgvlql-_sx331_bo1204203200_

We had a really good time discussing the novel, and we only digressed a couple of times into other things (like the movie Soapdish and The Red Queen books by Victoria Aveyard). We hope that you enjoy our little chat, too.

It can be found here.

You can catch up on Dracula, the centerpiece of Vampire Month, here.

Dracula Chapter 6

4164359360_9f4d2cfc0f_b

Cemetery in Whitby, England. Photo by Chris ( Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

In today’s installment, we hear more from Mina Murray and Dr. Seward! The chapter ends with some creepy foreshadowing! What will happen next?

The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Hear from Mina and Dr. Seward here.

Previous chapters can be found here.

Dracula Chapter 5

giphy1

In today’s installment, we move on from Jonathan Harker’s trials and catch up on the correspondence of Miss Mina Murray and Miss Lucy Westenra.

So much correspondence awaits! Chapter 5 is here!

The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

You can catch up on previous chapters here, here, here, and here.

Dracula, Chapter 3!

harker

Today we continue with Jonathan Harker’s journal. He is not in a good place, folks. Pray for Jonathan.

Chapter 3

And, now, once again, for the technical details. The novel is Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s read by Kate. The music is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) and this was edited in audacity.

Chapter 2 can be found here.
Chapter 1 can be found here.

Welcome to Vampire Month!

belalugosi

Welcome to Vampire Month! This month we will be reading and discussing vampire novels! The horror! The romance! The unbelievable nonsense! The glamour!

I am so excited.

In our post announcing Vampire Month, we said we had a special treat for you. Well, here it is! We will be reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. As in actually reading it, into a microphone while a machine is recording and then uploading the recordings here so that you can enjoy and/or mock them. (It’s cool, I expect some mocking. Especially as a newbie with a lot to learn about recording and editing.)

Before get down to Jonathan Harker’s thrilling journey to Castle Dracula, here are some technical details. The novel is Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s read by Kate. The music is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
(Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) and this was edited in audacity.

So, kick back, relax, and enjoy Chapter 1 of Dracula by Bram Stoker!

Chapter 1
 

Inspired by the Pop Culture Homework Assignment: Vampire Month!

In October, I am dragging Beth and all of you on a vampire-laden adventure inspired by this past summer’s pop culture homework assignment! We are going to review some vampire novels, discuss the vampires, the heroes and the heroines, and we have a special Dracula-related treat! So, prepare yourself for an influx of vampires (but don’t invite any strangers into your house!)

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

51t2iiv0uvl-_sl500_

 

Oh, man. Do I have the best sister. She knows me so well. I loved this so much. I loved this so much that now I want to re-read all of the vampire books that my younger self loved so much. (In the acknowledgements, Holly Black mentions some novels that I read and re-read when I was younger. I thought, “Huh, I wonder if we’re the same age?” I also thought, “Damn, I haven’t thought about Lost Souls in forever. Maybe I should dig out my well-worn copy and re-read it!” So, dear reader, there may be an upcoming vampire novel challenge. So, keep your eyes peeled.)

 

So, this is the story of Tana, who wakes up in a bathtub following a party to discover that, somehow, she was passed over while everyone else at the party was slaughtered by vampires. The vampires who massacred all of her classmates may still be in the house, so she has to get out without alerting them to her aliveness. She discovers, making her exit, that there are two other survivors. A boy she’s never seen before who has already been turned into a vampire (was he at the party? from the next town over? mystery!) and her ex-boyfriend, who has been infected with the vampire virus. She then has to decide, do get the hell out? Or do I stage a daring rescue. And, if she rescues the vampire and possible-future-vampire, what will she do with them once they are all free? Well, of course she stages a rescue and while breaking free, she gets bitten. Now she, too, might be infected. So, she takes herself and the others to the nearest Coldtown, a quarantine zone for vampires, people infected with the vampire virus, and vampire groupies in search of a good time and possible immortality.

 

This book set up such an interesting world and it was full of wonderfully written characters. They were flawed and likable (or flawed and incredibly not-likable). Tana was everything I want in a heroine. She worked through her feelings, she made plans and friends. She tried to save people, even when she could have been forgiven for just getting the hell out of dodge. I thought the potential love interests were both interesting, complicated and clearly driven by their own motives. The villain was entirely loathsome in his own cowardly, twisted selfish way.

 

I am so into this book.

 

Oh, and maybe best of all, no vampires in this book are champions of waiting until marriage or monogamy! (Both totally fine things, no judgment if those are things you care about. They’re just…nothing I want mixed in with my vampirism.)

 

So, if you’re into vampire novels, check this one out!

Review: Dark Guardian by Christine Feehan

The Carpathians are an immortal race that live off blood, like vampires.  Except, they’re not the undead.  They have souls.  The males lose all emotion and the ability to see color until they find their life mates who restore these to them.  They’re bonded forever.  
I should have stopped reading this book at the prologue and when I heard this explanation and thought, “NOPE!”  
I get that I might not be the audience for mainstream romance.  And, I get that media lets us explore situations and relationships that my interest us, intrigue us, turn us on, or whatever but that we don’t and shouldn’t do in real life.  I get that novels, not just romance novels, are an escape.  I get all of that.  
But, I can’t even think of an appropriate list of swear words to describe how terrible this novel was.  Seriously.  It was so bad that I can’t even swear at it.  
But, I can tell you what I didn’t like about it and why.

Massive Spoilers Ahead!

First, of course, was this idea that men (well, Carpathian men) are emotionless monsters that women have to save.  Nope.  Feelings are a human thing.  We all have amygdalas and emotional centers in our brains and anything that continues to perpetuate the stereotype that women are the ones that feel and men aren’t harms women, harms men, harms us all.  Second, after introducing our immortal badass vampire hunting Carpathian dudebro we’re introduced to Jaxon the heroine by looking into her life at ages 5, 10, 15, adulthood.  Jax was raised on a military base by her Mother (who wasn’t super maternal) and her father, a Navy Seal, and his Seal buddies were very involved in her life.  Until her Dad died and her Mom married his Seal buddy who then turned into an abusive pyscho and the descriptions were awful.  Psycho Step Dad then stalks our fair Jax and torments her by hurting people she loves.  Oh, but before we get there we are treated to these flashbacks where young Jax tells adults that her Step Dad is abusive and no one believes her.  I thought there was mandatory reporting of these sorts of things?  Like, if a kid tells her teacher that her Dad hits her Mom that the teacher had to tell the school and get Child Welfare involved?  Anyway, Jax grows up into an emotionally stunted police officer who has to keep everyone at arms length because Psycho Step Dad might be watching.  (At least that was a fun twist:  for once the psycho step parent wasn’t the mother.)  Then, her Carpathian dudebro inserts himself into her life, removes her from her friends and chosen family, disregards her concerns, commands her to stay in the house in the name of her safety (and gets violently upset when she disregards his commands and asserts her own autonomy), and initiates the life mate binding process without her consent and then completes it without ever explaining anything to her.  Being stalked by a Navy Seal is terrible.  Being swept up by an immortal who needs you to maintain his emotional life for him is also terrible.  
And, folks, I didn’t even get to the end.  I got the completion of the binding ritual and she started freaking out and Carpathian dudebro started mansplaining how they were meant for each other and she just needs to roll with the (irreversible) changes and I was like:
  

So, the only good choice with this book is to just not pick it up.  0/10.  Do not recommend.

I checked this book out from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries.