Customer Reviews: Candle Bay
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on July 31, 2001
I finished this book in two days. Tamara Thorne is one of the few authors who can mix horror and humor without watering down either. The focus of the plot is a mafia style war between two families of vampires. There is also a dash of romance and quite a bit of sex, but don't worry-this is not a typical 'vampire romance', expect plently of gore and gothic atmosphere. Highly recommended for fans of Laurell Hamilton. A vampire novel with plenty of juice!
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on June 17, 2002
This story draws on so many disparate elements that it shouldn't work at all, but it does, and quite well.
Fresh-faced Amanda goes to work as San Francisco's Candle Bay hotel concierge, straight out of college. She's a lover of horror stories, but is completely oblivious to the fact that her employers, the Darling family, are an old vampire clan, and the Darlings do everything in their hypnotic power to keep her unaware. The Darlings have an ongoing gang-war with another vampire family, the Dantes, and are presently hosting one of the original trueborn vampire race - an extreme rarity, in the world - Julian Valentyne.
Julian comes bearing a gift: a precious, hitherto believed to be mythical elixir, that prolongs even vampire longevity and heals humans more quickly than usual, which is a valuable commodity to vampires whose hotel business is a front for a revolving food supply - the Darlings feed (lightly) on their sleeping guests, hypnotically erasing their memories of the nocturnal encounter, and being able to eliminate the wounds on their meals' throats before morning helps.
Julian is hardly an altruist, however. He has ulterior motives. He seeks a fabled treasure beneath the Darlings' hotel. Toward keeping his benefactor host family confused as to his true intentions, he turns them into drug addicts, exacerbates tensions between them and the Dantes, and works his charms on Amanda - who is the reincarnation of his sole human love, from Atlantis - to win her away from the attentions of Stephen Darling.
It may even be of importance for Julian to succeed in finding the treasure, despite his horrendous tactics - if he doesn't, both the human and vampire races may soon find themselves extinct.
This book succeeds on pure style and panache. It reads not like a horror novel, but like an epic black comedy - a good portion of the early part of the story is spent chasing the body of a murdered guest in a laundry cart, in true 1930s Hollywood comedy form. The dialogue is snappy, the characters credibly handled. Stephen and Amanda are the straightforward star-crossed lovers; sexy Barbara Steele-ish vamp Natasha is the hotel's CEO; Uncle Ori is obsessed with The Godfather, playing the soundtrack at family meetings; brother Ivor is a strong, silent brooder and thinker; and the psychopathic (but oddly charming) pre-teenage twins, Ivy and Lucy, are Wednesday and Pugsley Addams as serial killers.
This book is a lot of fun. It reads like a better-plotted Queen of the Damned, with more humorously likeable characters. Its only real flaws are a too-abrupt ending and a curious lack of developmental attention to human heroine Amanda. But the Darling family are delightfully demented and well-drawn, and the lengthy story moves at a pretty good clip.
Pass the AB-negative. Cheers!
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on August 20, 2002
This is the pinnacle of Tamara Thorne's brilliant writing career. And that says a mouthful; because this dame can write a yarn. She writes a great vampire novel here and does so much better than Ms.Rice.
This book has it all; sex, violence, gore, romance. What else can a horror fan ask for? Plot synopsis? You got it!!
Amanda, an innocent little thing, goes to work at Candle Bay resort, owned by the Darlings, a vampire clan. Candle Bay is an exclusive resort outside of San Francisco. The Darlings have an on-going feud with The Dante's. And the fun begins.
Thorne outdoes herself with each effort and is quickly becoming one of the best female horror writers published today. Her pacing of a novel is smooth and effortless, her characters are fleshed out, the violence quick and painful to the jugular, and the sex...Well you need to read this novel.
I have yet to read Eternity but it looks fantastic. Her new novel, The Forgotten, to be released in November 2002, also looks awesome.
Tamara, please, please, keep 'em coming!!!
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on October 30, 2013
Candle Bay is the third book I've read by Tamara Thorne. I almost feel suspect leaving another 5 star review, because I rated her books Haunted and Moonfall 5 stars as well. But, I have to rate Candle Bay 5 stars as well. I guess her style of writing is just my one of my favorites. Again she blends horror with subtle humor which is rare. Hell she could probably redesign my phone book at this point and it would be 5 stars. I'm sure it would have my neighbors all classified as "Freaks, Do-Gooders, Pompous Asses, Sex Maniacs, and Those That Must Be Avoided (at all costs). Anyway I'm off topic, Candle Bay is a vampire novel. I don't really like vampire novels, so I didn't think it would have the zing of the last two. And I will admit, it took me longer to get into than her other novels, but once I met the "twins" it was page after page of glee, interspersed with general creepiness. There are two classes of vampires in her world, Trueborns and human conversions. And there seems to be a class war among them, although Trueborns are extremely rare, maybe there is only one or two left. Julian Valentyn, a trueborn, shows up at the Candle Bay hotel after making a deal with the human vampires that own it. In return for protection, he gives them an elixir which, when rubbed on bite wounds, heals them. Makes it easier for them to snack you know, better logistics. But he isn't telling them what his real plans are, or who he really is. The elixir has some side effects too, and that vampire family, given more time, would soon need a vampire Jerry Springer to help them sort out their issues that the elixir is the true cause of. So the twins... the twins were my favorite. Ivy and Lucy. They were out of control to begin with, and the craziness just gets crazier when the start on the elixir. It was great fun, Coast Eddie the Candle Bay DJ was great, and I could just hear his silky voice warning people about what lurks in the fog. Well, I'm rambling now, but this is a great book, it will make you laugh, cringe, and in a few places open your eyes wide in shock. I highly recommend it.
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on May 26, 2013
This was one of the first "adult" books I read when I was younger, and honestly it remained one of my favorites for years. Recently I just had to read it again and it's even better than I remember. Honestly, I'm shocked there aren't more reviews.

The cast of characters in this book are spot on. Everyone has a purpose and there is no one I could consider "miscellaneous" or a space filler. I laughed, I cried, I gaped in shock -- even though when I was younger I read this book until the binding broke and knew everything that was going to happen. The human emotion element that is so hard to nail gets hit spot on with every character. Two of my favorite characters -- the destructive and easily manipulated Lucy and Ivy -- drive the story forward more than almost any other character, which is really unusual. In most novels it's the main character (here that would be Amanda), but everything that Lucy and Ivy do takes you a step closer to the grand finale.

This book is amazing, and reading it now as an adult I can appreciate it even more. Hopefully True Blood goes off the air and HBO picks up Candle Bay, because this is a novel that jumps off the pages.
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on January 25, 2002
Some of the reviews of Candle Bay I read compared it to work by Laurell K Hamilton. I agree that Thorne was influenced by Hamilton's style, and employs some similar horror/sex shock techniques. But Candle Bay reminded me more of some Ann Rice vampire tales. That's not necessarily a good thing.
I enjoyed Candle Bay overall and I think the plot is entertaining, if a bit convoluted at times (Julian is running so many schemes it's a bit amazing he can keep them all straight!). The main vampire characters - Julian and the Darling family vamps - are well-explained, well-defined and interesting throughout. The twins got on my nerves but I think they were supposed to.
Amanda -- the MAIN human character and unknowing catalyst for the brewing vampire war -- is the main thing about Candle Bay that really disappointed me. Amanda is a very thinly-based character; you have very little interaction with her beyong her reacting to the other characters (and Candle Bay itself). I never had a strong sense of who she was, or where she came from. There was nothing that convinced me she was special enough, interesting enough or dazzling enough for two vampires (and two generations of vamps!) to fight over. Anita Blake she is not.
The book ends with a cliffhanger, so I assume we will see more of the Darling clan and their potential new vamp member, Amanda. I hope she's a more interesting vampire than she was human in Candle Bay.
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Candle Bay by Tamara Thorne is a return to the vampires of old - you know, before they sparkled. These are old school vampires - scary and edgy!

Thorne has a real gift for characterization - her characters live and breathe on the page (or Kindle in my case). Her vampires are scary sexy - not in an Anne Rice Lestat sort of way - but in a much more horrifying way.

This is a fast read with impeccable plotting and gruesome delights. Not for the faint of heart, but fabulous entertainment if you want a good scare.

Will I read her again? I've downloaded half a dozen more samples of her books and I'll be making my way through all of them.

Simply a great read!
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on September 21, 2012
This was an early vampire-centered story just before Twilight made the genre really popular and I think that it can rival Twilight now that it is re-released and if we can convince the author to give us a sequel!
Tamara Thorne's writing creates a world you'll like to visit, only as a fly on the wall during the scary parts:)
She doesn't write standard, gut-wrenching horror. It is well-written stuff with fleshed out secondary characters and intentionally placed humor.
The book's synopsis lays out the general theme for you, but what makes this book a keeper and a fun read are the details of a vampire family patriarch with a Godfather fixation, a pair of the most amoral vamp teens ever, and a mythos for the Vampire origin story.
At this low price you'd be crazy not to get introduced to this author:)
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on April 11, 2003
What a great read. The vivid pictures of the hotel, the foggy coast, the mobster Uncle, the vampire family and love in bloom. This is just a hint of what's inside this book. This is an excellent story, written well, fast-paced and leaves you hanging, just a bit, in the end. I'm hoping...sequel???...but no matter. I enjoyed the charm of Stephen and Amanda, the cast of crazy vampires and the setting for this haunt. Run out and pick this up, easily one of her best!
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on August 3, 2001
Candle Bay is an awesome book. From the moment I cracked the spine open I have been enthralled in this story of lust, love,and revenge. Ms. Thorne tells a tantilating tale that will leave you dying for more. I suggest this book to anybody who is ready for a good read.
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