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My Top Ten Picks for
Must Read Books

10. The Undead Series by Mary Janice Davidson

The Undead Series is a paranormal romance book series. Betsy Taylor turns 30, gets laid off, is killed by an SUV and wakes up undead in a funeral home all in the same week. After attempting to kill herself multiple times, she realizes that she is a vampire. The vampire community is convinced she's their prophesied Queen. But she's not having any of it - she's got shoes to buy! And now the undead world is being turned upside-down by a Bela Lugosi throwback and her subjects expect her to take care of it! Why didn't she read the handbook? But her would-be consort, Eric Sinclair, is (annoyingly) ever-present. If only he wasn't so tall, dark, gorgeous...and undead.

9. The Dark Series by Christine Feehan

Welcome to the home of the Carpathians. The extraordinary nature of these men and women make it a pleasure for the reader to revisit their land again and again in her novels. The Carpathians fire the imagination!

Their stories allow us to explore everything from shapeshifting, to wild, exotic and dangerous animals, to the nature of true love (and passion). I hope you enjoy the Carpathians and their Dark Series!

8. The Vampire Saga by Shannon Drake

A haunting vampire saga takes readers into a realm where dreams turn into nightmares. . .and pleasure beckons from beyond.

7. Books of Blood by Clive Barker

Books of Blood are a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker.

There are six books in total, each simply subtitled Volume 1 through to Volume 6, and were subsequently re-published in two omnibus editions containing three volumes each. Each volume contains four or five stories. The volume 1-3 omnibus was published with a forward by Barker's fellow Liverpudlian Ramsey Campbell.

They were published between 1984 and 1985. With the publication of the first volume, Barker became an overnight sensation and was hailed by Stephen King as "I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker". The book won both the British and World Fantasy Awards.

Although undoubtedly horror stories, like most of Barker's work they mix fantasy themes in as well. The tales invariably take place in a contemporary setting, usually featuring everyday people who become embroiled in terrifying or mysterious events. Barker has stated in Faces of Fear that an inspiration for The Books of Blood was when he read Dark Forces in the early 1980s and realized that a horror story collection must not have any narrow themes, consistent tone or restrictions. The stories could range from the humorous to the truly horrific.

For some editions, each book's cover was illustrated by Clive Barker himself.

Eighteen of the stories in the Books of Blood were adapted by Eclipse Books in the comic series "Tapping the Vein" as well as other titled adaptations.

6. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

The Dark Tower is a series of seven books written by American author Stephen King between 1970 and 2004. The series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror and western elements. They describe a gunslinger's quest toward a tower whose nature the books call both physical and metaphorical. King has described the series as his magnum opus; besides the seven novels that compose the series proper, many of his other books relate to the story, introducing concepts and characters that come into play as the series progresses.

The series was chiefly inspired by the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning, whose full text was included the final volume's appendix. In the preface to the revised 2003 edition of The Gunslinger, King also identifies The Lord of the Rings, the Arthurian Legend, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as inspirations. He identifies Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name" character as one of the major inspirations for Roland. King's style of location names in the series, such as Mid-World, and his development of a unique language abstract to our own, are also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien's work.

In the story, Roland is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West, as well as bearing magical powers and the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society. Roland's quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland's world is said to have "moved on," and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish from the face of the earth without a trace, time does not flow in an orderly fashion; even the sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland's motives, goals, and his age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.

5. Black House by Peter Straub & Stephen King

Black House is a novel by horror writers Stephen King and Peter Straub. Published in 2001, this is the sequel to The Talisman. As of yet there is no official news on a third book, but it has been heavily hinted that one will be written.

Twenty years earlier, in (The Talisman), a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her "twinner" (a similar person in this other world) from premature and agonizing deaths.

Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the small town of French Landing, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to unlock those memories. However, a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier by a real-life madman named Albert Fish. The new killer is dubbed "The Fisherman." Jack's buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced force find him. The investigation, which takes place on several levels and in at least two parallel universes, reawakens Jack to his previous experiences.

This is one of King's many mainstream novels, which also include Hearts in Atlantis and Insomnia, that tie in with the Dark Tower series.

Straub is from Wisconsin, which may be why the story is set there rather than King's frequently used backdrop of Maine. The town of "French Landing" is a fictionalized version of the town of Trempealeau, Wisconsin. There you will find "Chase Street" "Sumner Street", King Street (instead of "Queen Street") and the famous "Sand Bar". However, the reader will have to travel to La Crosse (called La Riviere in the book) to find the world's largest six pack, a site mentioned in the book.

A chapter of the book is written around Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven."

4. Necroscope Saga by Brian Lumley

You are about to join millions of followers down a path of no return. The journey that I speak of is one involving a man known as Harry Keogh, Necroscope, and his life, death, and undeath. Not to mention the lives and deaths of all he touches from the past, present and future.

This saga began as a single book back in 1986, spawned in the mind of Brian Lumley, one of today's great talents in the vampire genre and horror in general. It has since culminated into a cult following that encompasses 13 novels in the complete saga.

If you feel you have the courage, the stamina, and, shall we say, intestinal fortitude; then join us. Begin your journey into the World of the Necroscope, one of the many worlds in the Undead, Undying, Unforgettable Worlds of Brian Lumley.

There are four different areas in this world to explore: The Necroscope, the Vampire World, the Lost Years and E-Branch. Look at all of them in turn and explore them in depth. Enjoy and remember to watch out for the Wamphyri!

3. Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Anne Rice's vampires are different in several ways from classic vampires like Dracula. Rice's creatures are not affected by the usual weapons against classic vampires: garlic, crosses, and they cannot be killed with wooden stakes.

They need blood, but in some cases not every night. Human blood is preferred as it is more nutritious, but animal blood can also be drunk. They do not age physically (instead becoming more "statuesque" as they age, developing very smooth, white skin), and in all but a few cases, vampires younger than a thousand years old can usually be killed by exposure to sunlight or fire.

They do not possess stereotypically "vampiric" magical powers, such as changing into bats, but some of the stronger, older ones do have the power to fly. Most of them also have the power to read the thoughts of mortals and weaker vampires. They have other physical abilities: they can move very quickly (faster than human eyes can see), and possess great strength and extremely keen senses. Very old vampires or ones who have been made or strengthened by feeding on blood that is close to the root of the vampiric mother may have additional gifts like the ability to move matter with the mind and the ability to set things ablaze by the force of will. They have many artistic talents, like singing, painting and acting, and a preternatural "understanding" of any type of problem, puzzle or machine. They also have the uncanny ability to almost perfectly mimic anything (movement, playing musical instruments, etc.).

The main characteristic of Rice's vampires is that they are all excessively emotional, sensitive, and sensual, being easy prey to intense suffering and aesthetic passions. They are usually quite attractive, even beautiful, as vampires tend to make fledglings from humans they have grown to love.

The physical changes are apparent-- their eyes become luminous, their skin pale and reflective, their fingernails like glass, and their hair will grow back during their sleep if it is cut. As they lose all natural bodily fluids, they are unable to have children.

2. The Dark Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

"We are Darkness. We are Shadow.
We are the Rulers of the Night.
We, alone, stand between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. We are the Guardians.
The Soulless Keepers.
Our souls were cast out so that we would not forewarn the Daimons we pursue. By the time they see us coming, it's too late.
The Daimons and Apollites know us. They fear us. We are death to all those who prey upon the humans.

Neither Human, nor Apollite, we exist beyond the realm of the Living, beyond the realm of the Dead.

We are the Dark-Hunters.
And we are eternal."

"Yeah, yeah. Enough of the doom and gloom because, baby, that ain't us. You want to know what a Dark-Hunter is? We are what the intro says. We're Mad, Bad and Immortal. We're ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard. We are the scary things that go bump in the night. And we love every minute of it. So when you think you're being watched. You just might be. The question is...is it something evil or is it one of us?"


1. Anita Blake Series by Laurell K Hamilton

Overview of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series:

Anita Blake is an Animator and Vampire Slayer. Actually, she is a monster slayer. Though sometimes the monsters are human and even Anita is not sure she is not one of them.

Anita lives in a world very similar to our own. The difference: things that go bump in the night are real. Vampires, magic, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters all exist and are active. Owning businesses, having love lives and living or unliving their day to day existence.

Anita works for Animators, Inc. She routinely raises zombies for a living. Have a questionable will and died? Anita can raise you for your heirs to find out what you intended. Need to tell someone how you really feel about them but they died first? Anita can bring them back long enough for you to have your say. Anita also works as a consultant for the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RPIT), a division of the St. Louis Police force that deals with supernatural crimes.

Of course Anita's boss at Animator's Inc, Bert Vaughn, will farm out his folks for all kinds of things; if the price is right. Though there are some things that even Bert is not willing to do for money. Unfortunately for Anita, some folks don't take NO for an answer.

Don't worry, Anita is a tough lady. She can handle a gun with the best of them. Of course some things even a weapon won't help her with. Like her love life. Too complicated for even her, she is being wooed by the Master of the City, and a Alpha werewolf. Have to be careful not to give away too much here!

Join Anita as she solves mysteries relating to all the scary things in the world. If you enjoy a good mystery, a tough female character with an attitude, spiced with creatures that only exist in the realms of fantasy, Anita Blake is what you have been searching for.

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