Saturday, 12 May 2012

Meet Joe Vampire

Joe Vampire by Steven Luna: A Review

What a deliciously scrumptious tasty treat this book is! Buy it NOW! If you need reasons then please read on although the author’s charming way with the words is magic enough to pull you in once you start reading.

Having finished my previous book I started this one while waiting for a train out of Brighton after a few days away. There I was sitting at the train station, eyes transfixed on my Kindle. I even resisted what is usually a strong urge to people watch while waiting for a connection out of London Euston; I just couldn't tear myself away from the story unfolding before me. For the final leg of the journey home you guessed it, I was glued to Joe Vampire thanks to the masterful skills of author Steven Luna in constructing such a gripping yarn. It became, quite literally, un-putdownable (why is this not yet a word? Come on dictionary peeps, get on it!). It’s a wonder I managed to get myself on to the correct trains although I honestly wouldn’t have minded ending up in the Scottish Highlands if it meant I got to carry on reading this book as I made my way back again.

A refreshing take on the vampire tale, Joe is an ordinary dude who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and for which his reward, or punishment if you prefer, is being turned into a vampire. This, as the ‘event’ becomes known, follows what turns out to be a monumental yet comical misunderstanding while out on a group date. Lesson learned – don’t go on group dates, folks!

The combination of humour and suspense Steven builds up around what actually happened that night as well as maintaining an eventful and observant pace throughout is pure joy. Various plot developments keep you thinking and guessing right up to their respective revelations. So, even when you are forced to stop reading - to ensure you feed and water yourself, shower and change underwear, that sort of thing - the wonderfully constructed style of Joe’s blog keeps you well and truly hooked in. There’s entertainment and plot twists aplenty.  

Steven has managed to write a truly original and thought provoking story in a genre that has become largely lacklustre and monotonous over the past decade. Vampires may well not need the air themselves but this author has breathed some much needed new life into the field. While the set up and story are radically different to, say that of The Sookie Stackhouse novels, it nevertheless delivers something as beautifully unique as did the earlier books in that series which no doubt led to it being picked up for television (And yes I do think Joe Vampire should be adapted thus, or a movie perhaps). Writing it in the form of a blog may not be a completely original idea itself but employing the method the way Steven does makes all the difference here.

He also pokes fun at the glamorous yet trashier Hollywood types of vampire franchises, mentioning no specific names. However, this never comes across as insulting or derogatory, instead it fits incredibly comfortably with the style of comedy utilised. Joe has a very dry sense of humour and a sarcastic wit so sharp you will end up checking your neck for vampire bites when you do manage to pull yourself away. ‘The girl behind the counter was a shade past Oompa Loompa,’ is just one observational line that had me startle those in my vicinity as I read and yelped out with laughter. (What? There is too such a thing as yelping with laughter.)

Joe isn’t the only well rounded character in the mix either as the lonesome newbie vampire details his relationships and interactions with best friend Hube, who is the kind of selfless, even overly helpful at times (he offers to be Joe’s food source but not in a sucker fucker way), buddy you’d need if you were to ever be subjected to this. When he shifts to the nightshift at work Joe is also befriended by a vampire he describes as, ‘a female Yoda with knee socks and knitting needles’. Then there’s the ‘overweight, socially-networked media-marketed vampire hunter from the south, Bo, who likes mud bogs and domestic beer’ oh and doing quite a bit of DIY.

There are even more though so get buying and reading to find out how becoming a vampire can have some really quite serious, if laughable consequences when it comes to the dating game. Dispel all those myths about the Nightwalkers and learn what it’s like from the real deal itself. From the sheer ferociousness of vampire toenails to the best way to round off your fangs several times a day and how to keep your skin from looking too sickly pale. This is very much a vampire book that breaks the mould, treating the subject in a way that instantly connects the reader so much more closely to the main character.

With Joe Vampire, Steven Luna has managed to stamp originality all over a heavily saturated market. If you haven’t already done so then get buying it because at such a fantastic price it’s an awesome not-to-be-missed bargain! Plus, you’ll want to get this first story done and dusted before the follow up is released in the coming months. I’m really excited to find out what may be in store for Joe, Hube and Co and if you read this first volume I’ve little doubt you will be too! 

Check out Steven's Joe Vampire blog for much more about Joe and the author himself with regular updates on what's going on. Steven works tirelessly via Twitter helping to promote fellow indie authors and I'm always happy to retweet these as and when I see them in my feed. Kindle and online publishing is one way forward in this digital age so if you do read Joe Vampire or any other book published this way please take time to share it with your friends. Whether this is by word of mouth (there are still book clubs, right? Oooh, idea sparked for a Kindle based book club maybe?), writing a review for Amazon (or wherever you purchased it from) or via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter & Co, it would be very much appreciated by the authors.

Joe has a page on Facebook > here too.

Music of the Moment:

Each and every time I mention this bit I say how much more of it there is that I'm listening to. I didn't think it possible but this time round there is even more still, so my reviews and specific music-related posts aside I will have to remain very brief.

Of particular note has to be the astounding Sam Beeton. Words really aren't required if you'll just go and check out his website. A 23 year old singer-songwriter from Nottingham, the talent I believe he's already shown is nothing less than phenomenal. 

He's set up something called The Record Club which you can read about on his website. It's a unique idea that puts this artist in direct contact with you in a way that makes you truly feel like these songs are written and recorded for you as fans. I've subscribed to season 2 which has only just begun so it's not too late for you to join and if you do Sam will send you all the the songs already released in that season so you won't miss out if you join later on.

I received my signed, personalised Volume 1 CD this morning with two gorgeous sounding tracks, Call Me the Loner and Something Out of Nothing

Needless to say I'll be purchasing the deluxe double CD of Season 1 pretty sharpish. Featuring 22 tracks I cannot wait to hear all the tunes Sam has to offer. I'm already loving the likes of Storyteller, Lie Low Lie while Good Natured Child and Rain Down On You just blew me clean away. Like I said this guy has a talent that belies his young age but this is certainly no bad thing. Something I'm finding so refreshing about Sam is the versatility he demonstrates in the songs I've heard so far.

Check out some of these below along with Sam talking about his Record Club.


Also - don't forget to check out Band of Badgers Presents. Episodes 1 & 2 are available via the sidebar or go the relevant posts to download or for the links. Sam will be featuring in the next episode.


I'm still to start Leiyatel's Embrace by Clive S. Johnson but this should finally be remedied this weekend. It's going to be a book that requires complete and full attention so I want to give it the respect it deserves as opposed to only grabbing an odd 15 or 20 minutes snippets. I do so require more time in which I can do all these things. I believe the recently released sequel Of Weft and Weave is going well. This also has a Facebook page you can check out and like > here!

A very good Twitter friend of mine, Dionne Lister also recently released her book, Shadows of the Realm (The Circle of Talia). Although I read quite widely when it comes to genre, fantasy is probably the one that features more than the rest so having read the blurb I'm really excited about reading this. You can check it out via the link above which takes you to Amazon or it's also available at Smashwords and there's a paperback edition you can get at Amazon via this link > here!

I bought my Kindle copy but will certainly invest in a hard copy too. Just look at that book cover and tell me you wouldn't want that showing off on your book case? I won't be getting it just for that of course but I do still have a fondness for traditional hard copy books.

There are just so many I need to be reading right now. I desperately want to start Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. Not just because I love the TV series which is back for its second season, as much as I really love it.


If you haven't been to see The Avengers movie yet then I apologise in advance for having to hunt you down and slap your face repeatedly with gigantic stinky wet kippers. Following all the tweetviews I was reading in my Twitter feed after it had been released I was expecting something special and I was not disappointed one bit. It is an amazing film. So beautifully shot and put together. No specific character (nor even the bigger named actors in their roles) hogged more screen time than the other and although there was so much going on and so many of them to keep track of, it didn't once feel too rushed or jumbled up. Mr Buffy, Joss Whedon did everyone proud with this masterpiece. 

And I know this probably means I'm a total geek but there were a number of moments where I actually got goosebumps. I kid you not. 

I highly recommend you get out and see this film, like NOW! Remember if you don't you're going to get a very red face and smell of bad fish!

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