Sep 13, 2013

Review--Candle Bay by Tamara Thorne

Shrouded in fog on a hillside high above an isolated California coastal town, The Candle Bay Hotel and Spa has been restored to its former glory after decades of neglect. Thanks to its new owners, the Darlings, the opulent inn is once again filled with prosperous guests. But its seemingly all-American hosts hide a chilling, age-old family secret.

Lured to the picturesque spot, assistant concierge Amanda Pearce is mesmerized by her surroundings—and her seductive new boss, Stephen Darling. But her employers’ eccentric ways and suspicious blood splatters in the hotel fill her with trepidation. Little does Amanda know that not only are the Darlings vampires, but that a murderous vampire vendetta is about to begin—and she will be caught in the middle. For as the feud unfolds and her feelings for Stephen deepen, Amanda must face the greatest decision of her life: to die, or join the forever undead.

So many many years ago, I read two of Tamara Thorne's books, Haunted and Moonfall, they were incredible! They were creepy scary and just down right frightening in some sense. So I decided I wanted to give her vampire novel a try, Candle Bay. I was expecting the same sort of creepy scary story that scared teh beejezus out of me, but that's not exactly what I go unfortunately.

That's not to say Candle Bay was a bad read, it was quite good. Sort of like one of my usual Urban Fantasy reads, except a bit different. Amanda, our heroine, isn't the fighter chick kicking ass, she's normal. Blissfully normal. She decides to be an assistant concierge at the Candle Bay Hotel and Resort, as she was always fascinated by the hotel growing up. And naturally, she's given the late shift.

But what we know and Amanda doesn't know is that the hotel is run by vampires. The Darlings, a family, run the hotel. And even vampire families have their troubles. 

There was a lot of vampire history to be understood in this story. One fact being the difference between human vampires and trueborns. Pretty simple, human vampires are humans that get turned into vampires--basically the vampire we all have come to know and love in some instances--and then the trueborns are ones that were never human. That they were just born vampires. You might wonder, so are they babies forever? The whole never aging process shitick. Well, that gets explained, rather simply too. It's different for all vampires and the aging just stops at a certain point. Usually in the height of life, mid-20s to early-mid thirties or so.

Julian, a trueborn vampire, is living it up in the hotel. It's clear early on, that he is no friend to the Darlings. He's looking for the famed Treasure that is said to be hidden in the tunnels below the hotel. And trying to find the entrance to said tunnels has been anything but easy. He's a tricky character to understand, he has a natural born hate for all human vampires, yet he gives the Darlings this special concoction that heals vampire bites. But it does a bit more than that too, not that he tells them that. The concoction soon becomes a drug to the Darlings, one that cannot get enough of. It plays on their base vampire instincts, and that of course is to drink blood. Which leads to some nasty results.

For a nearly 500 page read, this book was surprisingly fun to read and quite fast paced too. I just had a busy few days, otherwise I likely would've finished it in 2 days instead of 3. Two of the Darlings, Ivy and Lucy are teenagers, they were turned into vampires during their teenage years--sucky age to be stuck at forever--and they are quite the pair. They have definitely taken a liking to their vampireness. They are rather...eccentric, perhaps? I struggle with the word. Nothing fazes these girls. They like sex, no matter who the other person is. They like blood. They like power. They are just pretty freaking creepy if you ask me.

What becomes sort of a funny chapters long event is when the twins accidentally kill one of their hotel guests. They hide the body in a laundry cart, intent on getting rid of the body, yet the cart keeps getting all over the hotel! Then another guy is trying to show it to the Darlings thinking that it's from their enemy vampire clan the Dantes, but when he tries to show it the Boss, it's gone! Then Amanda, our heroine stumbles upon it and thinks its a prank, but she isn't too sure about it. It was quite funny, something that kind of reminds me of something you would see in an Abbot and Constello movie!

Anyway, as I am getting off track here, but again, the book was 28 pages short of 500, there's a lot to discuss! Amanda has caught the eye of two of our resident vampires. Stephen and Julian. But with Julian, there's something more to the attraction and that is Amanda reminds him of someone he once knew from very long ago in his early vampire years of life. But Amanda is a bit more drawn towards Stephen.

Oh and did I mention Amanda loves to read paranormal books?! Of course it isn't said like that, just that she enjoys all things ghost, werewolf, ghoul, whatever, and of course vampire! Be they movies or books! And she doesn't always share this fact else she has to endure endless teasing--hello my life! Yes, Amanda and I could have been the best of friends back in the day!

There's quite a bit of mystery surrounding the Treasure. That's what the story tends to focus on. Julian wants to find it, the Dantes want to find it. It's a pretty hot commodity! And we do get tales from Julian regarding his past and what eventually leads to what the Treasure is! It was all very exciting!

The here's where things get a tad upsetting. There's confirmation on the Treasure and that tale of the story ends nicely. But then there's the whole fate of Amanda that is up in the air. And for all the characters really. What will they do now? What's going to happen to them next? It's all unclear. For every single one of them. I usually don't like that kind of ending with my standalones. There's too many unknowns. I could be fine with not knowing what the secondary cast will do, but I am more curious about Amanda and her options. Although it's alluded to what he choices were, I just don't like knowing for sure, you know? Alluding is one thing, but knowing is another entirely.

And another thing that I didn't mention but feel like doing here is that there were quite a few deaths! These vampires are not always the kind hearted ones we see usually. They kill. Sometimes with intent and sometimes accidentally as well. Just a little something to throw out there!

Overall, it was a decent read. I enjoyed it all for the most part. The pacing was good, at times it was a mite slow, as it was told in third person from many characters' points of view. Which always lets you know what's happening and with whom. I was hoping for a little more terror, if not horror. The other two novels I read did scare me quite a bit while reading during those summer nights! Yeah, not recommending do that again, but I loved the thrill of the terror I got! Here, I didn't get that really. But it was still a decent read. Sort of another book that sets the course for Urban Fantasy reads...minus the kickbutt heroine and the ultra dreamy vampire man. He's dreamy, but he and the rest of them are still killers.

So would I recommend this one? Totally! If it sounds like one you might like to read, definitely give it a try! I was actually debating if I wanted to put this one in my Halloween giveaway next month, but I am not sure yet. What do you guys think? If you've lasted this long with my review--kudos to you and a virtual, imaginary cookie--would you consider reading this one if it was given to you?

Overall Rating 4/5 stars


1 comment:

  1. This one looks good. I remember reading her Sorority Trilogy years ago


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