I've said it a hundred times. I don't like vampires, werewolves, fairies, or sequels, but this series captivated me, and this book did NOT disappoint. I published my review here last week, but here are the highlights:
A.M. Manay has done it again. She is one of the absolute finest writers I've had the pleasure to read. And I don't like paranormal fantasy. I also don't read (or write) series, but I devoured this book. Manay's writing is THAT good.
November Snow is a likable heroine, who could be any one of us, except that she's psychic. And in this book, she's a vampire. In addition to dealing with Luka, who is intent on having her at all cost, she has to adjust to vampire life without the comfort of her maker and her friends. November is so strong, she pulls it off with cunning and even grace. One of Luka's henchmen is there to guide her, and my god, I pulled for the two of them through the whole book.
This book is not "erotica," but there are some surprisingly hot scenes in it. Manay is all-inclusive. With characters of different races, species, and sexual orientations, you'll find a pleasant array of relationships, and seriously, her sex scenes are something else, Writerotica readers.
Manay's writing is above and beyond so many writers in this genre. I've read Ann Rice (in another lifetime). November Snow is more endearing than Lestat. Manay is the real deal, and she'll be a household name before long.
The first book, She Dies at the End, was just as good. Here are my thoughts (Click here to see the rest of the review):
On page one, I thought, "Wow. This is slick writing." Very tight. No extra words. No unnecessary adverbs or weasel words. Just good, clean writing. By the end of the first chapter, I was in love with November, the main character. By the middle of the second chapter, I couldn't put the book down. I finished the book two days ago, and I still think of the characters as if they will show up in front of me, just to give me an update. To me, that is the mark of an excellent book. I crave book two.
This book gave me a rare "aha" moment. I thought I didn't care for fantasy/sci fi. As I read this book, I thought of the way I connected with Stephen King's Salem's Lot, and I finally understood. I LOVE a good fantasy novel, as long as it is well written. This one is superb.
The characters in this novel are magnetic. From the first pages, I felt as though they were people I knew and wanted to spend time with. To me, characters make the book. I LOVED these characters. I miss them already. I need that sequel. A.M. Manay is talented, and I can't wait to read another of her works.
I've also been holding onto another book in the series, She Sees in Her Sleep, a collection of short works about November Snow. I'm reading this today to celebrate the launch of She Lights Up the Dark, since I've already had the pleasure of reading the new installment.
Here are the details of Tuesday's release:
Vampires? In my Livermore? Livermore author A.M. Manay brings paranormal peril to the Tri-Valley in She Lights Up the Dark, part 2 in her November Snow Series, due for release on April 19, 2016. Main character November Snow has just risen from the grave, and while working to stop her nemesis Luka from executing his terrorist plots, she must learn how to survive as a vampire. What better place is there to hone her skills than the not-so-mean streets of lovely Livermore, California? A. M. Manay says,
"I enjoy grounding the fantasy elements of my work in a realistic , contemporary landscape. I get a kick out of setting scenes with vampires, fairies, and werewolves in locations I see every week. It makes me feel like I know a secret."
Manay includes a number of local landmarks in her story, though not always by name. Local readers will enjoy identifying some of their favorite haunts, both downtown and in our scenic natural locales.
She Dies at the End, part 1 of the series, also features Livermore, primarily by celebrating our ranches and striking landscapes. Other East Bay locales also appear in the new novel, particularly Oakland’s Uptown and Lake Merritt neighborhoods.
Plot Synopsis for She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)
A frightening vision stalks November, even in her grave . . . and things go severely sideways just as soon as she claws her way out of it. Continuing the story begun in the well-received paranormal romp She Dies at the End, She Lights Up the Dark finds November Snow struggling to adjust to her new life as a vampire with none of the support she'd expected. Her nemesis, Luka, has plotted to isolate November and scatter her allies as he executes his plan to bring human society under his control. Her loneliness leads her to become emotionally entangled with a charming but likely untrustworthy fellow vampire.
When danger flares, November discovers that her psychic gift has expanded in a powerful and perilous fashion. Coerced into close company with her enemy, she fights to master her power and to uncover the secrets that may help her to save both her friends and the human world from being crushed under Luka’s boot. November is determined to stop Luka as his plan builds toward an unknown and deadly climax, but she may find that lighting up the dark comes with a high price to pay.
This books contains violence, some sexual content, and occasional profanity. (But this is Writerotica.com, so you were hoping for that!)
Ebook copies of both She Dies at the End and She Lights Up the Dark are available to reviewers upon request.
A.M. Manay is a former Oakland teacher who is inspired by her students and her multiracial family to write fiction that includes a multicultural cast of characters. She writes intelligent paranormal fantasy featuring strong women and fascinating villains. Manay has resided in Livermore for nearly 9 years. She loves the town for its beauty, diversity, welcoming attitude, and focus on family, and she is thrilled to have been able to include her favorite town in her fantasy writing.
A.M. Manay can be found online in the following places:
- On her website: www.ammanay.net
- On Facebook: facebook.com/ammanaywrites
- On Twitter: @ammanay
- On Instagram: instagram.com/a.m.manay
- On her Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ammanay
Excerpt from Chapter 1
She knew only one thing after she clawed her way out of the ground: she had to eat. Two sheep and a billy goat gave their lives for November's first meal of her new one. She required no persuasion or instruction, falling upon them instinctively when she'd emerged from the earth, filthy and ravenous. She tore into them, a gleeful savage.
When she was full and they were empty, she knelt next to them, stunned, reaching up a tentative finger to touch the fangs protruding from her bloodstained mouth. The animals had tasted of grass and sunshine and milk. For a few moments, she had lived their bucolic lives, now over. She felt warm, fuzzy with pleasure. Her head spun.
November wasn't quite sure where she was, or even who she was, but then it all came back in a rush.
As she walks among her friends, a sniper's bullet finds her belly. She falls to the dirt as she takes the death meant for another. Ilyn carries her inside, eyes burning. She lies in front of a fireplace, her life bleeding away, but there is no pain on her face. Her friends surround her. She agrees to live to fight another day. He takes her blood and gives her his own. Now there is fear and struggle and rejection, but it is too late, far too late. They watch her die They watch her die because of them.
November returned to the present, the ground solid beneath her knees once again.
I died. I'm a vampire.
For a moment, she wasn't certain if she would laugh or weep. The amazed cackle that escaped between her fingers settled that question. It was only after the glow of feeding had faded that she noticed the pandemonium that had erupted around her.
They were looking for something. Zinnia was on the ground. She looked completely undone. And Ilyn . . . Ilyn looked terrible. It took November a long, confused moment to realize that what they were looking for . . . was her.