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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloodlust in Déjà-Vu, March 14, 2011
This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
So Zondra, this 22-year-old coed and sometime sculptor, doesn't know any more about vampires than the splatter-drivel we've all seen in movies. Then one of them gets a powerful thirst and attacks her while she's out ice skating on a pond within sight of the Washington Monument.

And she dies - not like she's bitten into an undead state - I mean she actually dies. Falls through the ice and drowns. But then she wakes up. Lying in a hospital bed being chatted up by a handsome but mysterious doctor whom nobody else can see.

Thus begins the seemingly uncontrolled skid of Zondra's life into a wild new direction.

She has always known that she was adopted, though she had questions when, at age 18, she was presented with a strange necklace allegedly worn by both her birth mother and grandmother before her. Then there's the matter of that odd birthmark on her hand. And the peculiar strangers who stare wonderingly at her, ask about her birthmark, then disappear in a blur before anyone else sees them.

You know, the usual stuff any normal kid goes through growing up.

But one of the odd side effects of having died seems to be a progression of terrifying visions - visions that abruptly commandeer her mind and throw her two hundred years back into the past where she experiences in real time the shocking events that had occurred to a woman named Gailene in the 18th century.

This switching back-and-forth between the centuries stitches together a surprisingly compelling story. Now, I'll admit it - I was a huge fan of Anne Rice when her first three or four Lestat novels were released, and I... well... I devoured them. But by the time I'd gotten through The Tale of the Body Thief, my thirst for more vampire blood had been slaked. I laid the whole genre aside and paid it no more attention until this book crossed my desktop (yes, I read it in ebook format).

And I have to admit, Original Blood not only held my attention, it gripped me. As in, I couldn't close the damned thing to go get some sleep. It's just simply a powerful read.

The character exhibits a certain gravitas despite her youth, and although she has plenty of both attitude and mouth, she's basically a level-headed girl who's tough minded enough to stick up for herself in a scrape. She's mostly a loner with just one close friend. Zondra is on good terms with her adoptive parents, but considers herself adult enough not to lean on them. In other words, she's a self reliant young lady accustomed to standing on her own two feet, but with a life that's rapidly turning to quicksand. You'll find her to be a likable character grappling with serious problems, and all the way to the last page, you'll be pulling for her to win.

Stuart Land has written several books, but his concepts are generally so original that the traditional industry gatekeepers - the agents and publishers - have been unable to slot his books into the simplistic marketing pigeonholes they so love. That used to be a bad thing, because so many really exciting books never made it past the gatekeepers to reach the public eye.

But with the coming of ebooks and self-publishing, you and I now have direct, unmoderated access to writers and stories that were formerly kept from us. Original Blood is one of these, and according to the author, several more of his very novel novels are due in short order.

I am glad to give this book my highest recommendation.

Charles Burke
Author, The Business Owner's Quantum Cash Pump (Kindle book)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vampires with more on their mind than (just) blood and sex, March 7, 2011
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This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
Gailene and Zondra live in two different times and places, but both are suddenly ripped from the comfort of their lives, and thrown into situations seemingly beyond their control. As the story switches between the present and the past, the tension builds. Both Gailene and Zondra slowly discover that they are impacting eachothers' lives as their timelines come closer to merging. Both learn to drawn on strengths they might not have expected to find to survive. Gailene leaves England to become a driving force in the new nation forming on another continent. As Gailene and Zondra uncover the ties bind them across generations, one sacrifices herself so that the other can fulfill their haunting love for the same man. The sensuality they share with those they love is warm and sometimes unexpected.

Stuart takes a very unique perspective on vampires, while staying within much of the traditional "rules" regarding their physical behavior, strengths and limitations. I really enjoyed the closing line in the book, and hope that it is a teaser of things to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG! This is a truly unique reading experience., August 6, 2011
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This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
I wish I could put my finger on what exactly made this one of the best reading experiences of 2011 for me but it seems elusive. The story moves at a decent pace and it never got boring for me. The take on vampires is original but not radical. The story covering so many years and the building of a vampire fortune and empire was amazing. It was amazing to see the love story you knew was there that kept eluding you for so long finally brought to fruition.

BOTTOM LINE: This is amazing and unique reading experience, it is NOT something you need to try to read while your attention is diverted, it is serious reading and truly rewarding in all aspects. 5/5 Stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FOLLOW THE BLOOD- The story unfolds, June 29, 2011
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This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
In the spring of this year, the Paranormal Romance Guild received a submission request from Stuart Land for two of his books, Original Blood and Shadow House (previously reviewed here by Penelope Adams) Thankfully I received one of his pieces for review. All I can say is, "Stuart Land, where have you been all my life?"

Synopsis of Original Blood by Stuart Land

Original Blood follows the transformation of two women born two hundred years apart as they become vampires, one to build a powerful vampire family, and her great-granddaughter who, though human, must lead the dynasty into the twenty-first century against its creator and those who fear her unique blood will destroy the vampire nation.

Since childhood, college coed, Zondra could recognize vampires. Jeremiah, her great-grandmother Gailene's former lover, saves her from a vampire attack, but though never bitten, she begins gaining vampire abilities. Her world flips into the `Twilight Zone' when her birth family finds her: a skewed Cinderella story filled with money, ancient houses, hot motorcycles, and the undead.

The matriarch's journey begins in rural 18th Century England where she's turned into a vampire and follows her tragic path as she creates a powerful vampire empire. The mysterious connection between the women across two centuries and the dangerous attraction Zondra has for Jeremiah are unraveled through her "visions" into her grandmother's past. But other vampires fear her unique blood could destroy the entire vampire nation.

And now, after 150 years, the vampire who turned her grandmother knows she exists and is coming for her.

My View:

Now that I let Mr. Land give you the background, I can share with you moments of this breathtaking story and tell you about how this book made me feel.

Original Blood opens quite furiously as a young girl, Zondra, is being chased across a frozen pond by a vampire, the ice breaks and she is drowning. Your thoughts are taken quickly into the story: the how, what, and why. This is the basis of our story. At the hospital she meets Jeremiah, who is not what he seems. Through visions and dreams, we the reader, travel with her as she goes back in time almost 200 years to learn her past and her future. Mr. Land has written a vampire story that envelopes your senses, using time, history, and a love story that defies the ages. His bold take on vampires is so original that one has to read this book, like drinking aged wine, taking small sips a little at a time, to discern its bouquet.

What I first enjoyed--considering myself a modern woman--was seeing a woman from the 1700's become `something,' as this is unheard of in that era. Seeing Gailene struggle from rags to riches by sheer willpower was stunning. We saw the movement of vampires journeying to the west along with the warmbloods because they politically want to mold this new country, The Americas, with their businesses and banking establishments. We get to mingle with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. I found as a lover of history, that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these great men and their lives, which Mr. Land so adeptly describes. I felt as if I was there myself within the ballrooms emblazoned with crystal chandeliers and beautiful music playing.

I also loved the now, as Zondra is a young coed and sculptress, who has been very alone as a girl, with few friends. She doesn't take herself too seriously, and has now been thrust into a new elegant Manor complete with butler. The family that surrounds her is waiting for the clash of her visions to come together, so she may truly know all the secrets they hold. Her visions are inspired at no specific time. They come closer and closer, so the reader struggles along with Zondra to uncover who she is and where she belongs; ever knowing that one piece of the puzzle is her undeniable love for Jeremiah, and his for her.

Mr. Land's story is captivating. His writing is forceful, drawing the reader in to be a participant. I felt like I lived every scene, experiencing every event, feeling breathless at the sensual and remarkable love that spans lifetimes... A stellar book, one you should add to your to be read pile. A birdie told me, there might be a sequel. One can only hope!

Review by Gloria Lakritz

Senior Reviewer and review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COUNT DRACULA HAS NOTHING ON JEREMIAH & ZONDRA, April 3, 2011
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This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
As a boy growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana I was forced by my big Sis to go to the Hollywood Theater's Saturday Matinee of "COUNT DRACULA" series of B-Movies on more than one occassion.

I was always into World War II, Air Force, cops & robbers, Superman, Dragnet and Perry Mason. My sister Janet was always into Tarzan, Count Dracula, Frankenstein, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry and Zorro.

HAVE I GOT A BOOK FOR HER!!!

ORIGINAL BLOOD by STUART LAND was a great departure in my normal and preferred reading.

When I first read the historic settings of Holly-on-Brighton, England, and then jumping to Gerogetown, Washington D.C., I was hooked. Then comes the election of my favorite President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln's bold mandate to free the "Slaves" precipitated the CIVIL WAR (another of my favorite historic topics). In all of my readings of the events of the Civil War, I missed the fact that families of VAMPIRES were quite active! There is Gailene, the Matriarch and Fenton, her want-to-be lover who becomes the nemises of Jeremiah who is her lover. You read about people living to be 100, 107 , 110 years of age. Well, little did I know, VAMPIRES can live for centuries - without the need for anti-aging cremes, plastic surgeons and hard phsyical work-outs at the Equinox Gym.

Enter ZONDRA, Gailene's great granddaughter. A beautiful college co-ed who had been adopted at birth by a nice young couple in New Jersey. She meets Jeremiah and transcends time. Love is in the air. In the two hundred plus years it takes for STUART LAND to weave this MASTERPIECE, trials and tribulations come face to face with Zondra, and she handles every situation with the calmness of a pro. The VAMPIRE families remind me of the New York, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Las Vegas Cosa Nostra families - always feuding about something with often-time bloody results.

STUART LAND had me turning page after page in awe, anticipating the next bite on my neck, feeling the blood being sucked from every vein and artery in my body. I was facinated as I read this tightly woven tale of fiction to the point Gailene, Fenton, Jeremiah, the twins, and Zondra seemed so real to me.

Shortly before two A.M. (Sunday morning, 3 April), I could not keep my eyes open, I had to leave the last coulple of chapters for the morning.

Funny thing, at just before seven-thirty this morning, I felt this cold, wet touch on my neck - I was startled, thinking it was Jeremiah! I jumped into an upright position, only to see the fangs on my beloved German Shepherd! He wanted to go for his ride to the park!

FIVE STARS is not enough for ORIGINAL BLOOD by STUART LAND! This is a terrific book and his attention to historic detail and descriptive words for the settings are outstanding. His character development is pure perfection! Each character fully evolves and fills their intended position to make ORIGIAL BLOOD a facinating and truly enjoyable book.

I purchased and read the Kindle Edition - NOW, I have to purchase the REAL BOOK to place in a prominent position on my bookshelves. IF you enjoy reading about VAMPIRES, or you just want to take a walk on the wild side, I highly recommend getting your copy of ORIGINAL BLOOD by STUART LAND. Having read this book, I wonder . . . DO VAMPIRES really walk among us?

I certainly will be reading STUART LAND as long as he keeps on writing.

Michael Phelps
Author
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Racing Vampire Tale, February 28, 2014
This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
I love how this story pulls you in at the beginning and seamlessly takes you from 18th Century England to present day Washington, D.C. Zondra may think she's a normal college co-ed, but her world is turned upside down after an attack by--a vampire (and a very creepy one, by the way).

She's soon thrust into a world of passion, intrigue, danger, and discovery as she uncovers her past and her blood tie to her great grandmother, Gailene.

This was a very enjoyable read, and Mr. Land has just released the second book of the series, Szenja's Revenge. I'm certainly going to continue this story!

Bravo, Mr. Land, for sharing this awesome story.

**I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. A review can also be found at my blog.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed by Iva for Kota's Book Kollection, December 26, 2013
By 
Kota (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
"Stuart Land's vampires borrow from both traditional stories and more modern vampire books in a way that is acceptable and pleasing. You still get the fangs and blood, but there is the modern twist of them living in families in the city and driving cars.

The story is infused with romance but it is subtle and doesn't steal the story's telling. The characters are well developed, especially the blending of the two personalities of the main characters as the book progresses. Minor characters spur the story on and gives Gailene's Vow a well balanced completeness." - Iva

For the full review visit

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love IT!!, December 20, 2013
This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
I knew I wanted to read this book from the start. Yet once I started I could not put it down. Wonderful story about finding love and family.
About 2 women who share memories from two different era's, the past and the present, coming together. Seeing each others lives and learning from it. Zondra had always known she was adopted on her 18th birthday she receives a necklace that belonged to her mother and grandmother. Questions are then raised about her family and her birthmark. Yet with no one to ask, she goes on with life when one day she drowns in an ice pond and awakens in the hospital alive yet not really human; something more than human. Shortly after that memories start to bring the past to the present. Some questions are answered and more questions are made. Through the memories Zondra finds love, family and acceptance. Dose this story have a cliff hanger? Yes and no, it does leave you wanting more wanting to know what happens next, with some of the other characters in the story. I found it to be Very well written and looking forward to reading the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original Blood, September 29, 2013
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This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
The novel deftly weaves together the best elements of historical fiction, romance, and modern vampire lore. Delivered in a variety of historical as well as modern settings, it's an excellent story where a young girl's life is changed by events spanning back through the ages. Fans of everything from Twilight to True Blood will find something to like here and will eagerly look forward to the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!!!, September 21, 2013
This review is from: ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow (Kindle Edition)
This is a vampire story that is not the usual run of the mill. It is a story that you take your time reading since it is much deeper than most vampire books. It is a story of two women one living in the present and one in rural England in the eighteenth century. Throughout the story we go back and forth in time.

Gailene lives in England with her husband Kerrick who she loves. But as much as she loves him she can't keep away from her husband's best friend Fenton Ryder. When she finally decides that she can't go on with the affair Fenton leaves with a man who promises him eternal life as a vampire. He is also promised that his obsession with the woman he loves will lessen. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. After years being away Fenton returns and finds that Gailene has a young daughter. Neither of them can stay away from each other and once again find themselves in bed together, only this time it would lead to disaster. Unable to control himself Fenton turns Gailene and kills Kerrick. Gailene's life as she knew it is ended. When she realizes what Fenton did her feelings for him turn to pure rage and a desire to kill him. Having thought she hurt Fenton she grabs her daughter knowing that she must find a place for her before Gailene does the unforgiveable and feeds from her.

Zondra lives in the present and was adopted. More and more she has dreams that are actual moments of reliving Gailene's life. Gailene is part of her and she relives every agonizing moment of what happened to her. Zondra has a connection to Gailene but what is it and why is she living her life in her dreams? Who was Gailene to her? If Gailene was a vampire and if they are related is Zondra one also?

A wonderful book and the first in the Original Blood series. The second book will be out soon and I can't wait for it but before it does be sure to read this one first you will not be sorry. There are surprises, secrets and romance.
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ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene's Vow
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