Books I’m Grateful I Read Hop: Sunshine


Welcome to the Books I’m Grateful I Read Blog Hop, hosted by Stuck in Books.

I’ve been staring at this screen for quite a long time now, trying to decide which of the many, many, many books I love I should feature in this post. I could come up with a huge list of Books that Changed My Life–but there’s one in particular that set me on my path to becoming a published fiction writer–and when I discovered that it is coming out in ebook for the first time ever this month, I knew I had to feature it: Robin McKinley’s novel Sunshine.

Sunshine certainly wasn’t the first vampire novel I read. It wasn’t the first urban fantasy novel I read. But it was certainly among the best. And the narrator, Rae, had a voice that echoed in my mind the same way the stories I sometimes told myself did. Sunshine also came to me at an opportune moment–just as my friend Bill suggested that I try NaNoWriMo, a then-still-fairly-new online program that challenged people to write a novel in thirty days.

So I did. I wrote my first novel that November in New York. And I wrote it about a vampire, because I had just finished reading Sunshine, and thus vampires (and snarky heroines) were on my mind. That book became Legally Undead, my third published novel.

And I still read Sunshine about once a year; it’s still that good.

For this blog hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Sunshine. I’m also giving away e-copies of my own vampire novels, Sanguinary and Legally Undead, and an e-copy of Bathory Gate Press’s latest publication, the vampire novella Night Home, by Rose Titus.

Check them all out below, tell me about a book that inspired you, enter to win, then HOP to the rest of the participating blogs!


In a world where darkness threatens, there is Sunshine . . .

Although it had been mostly deserted since the Voodoo Wars, there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years. Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, head baker at her family’s busy and popular café in downtown New Arcadia, needed a place to get away from all the noise and confusion—of the clientele and her family. Just for a few hours. Just to be able to hear herself think.

She knew about the Others, of course. Everyone did. And several of her family’s best regular customers were from SOF—Special Other Forces—which had been created to deal with the threat and the danger of the Others.

She drove out to her family’s old lakeside cabin and sat on the porch, swinging her feet and enjoying the silence and the silver moonlight on the water.

She never heard them coming. Of course, you don’t when they’re vampires.

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé, Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs—not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning to face them, Elle realizes Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.


She’s inherited more than just an old house…she’s also inherited an old enemy.

When college student Muriel Aubrey inherits an old house in a small town, she imagines that moving into the rural community will be deathly dull. But the old house once belonged to her eccentric granduncle, a professor said to be researching something mysterious before his untimely death. Then Muriel finds the research notes that had been hidden away in the old Victorian, and she discovers what the professor was researching: vampires.

It isn’t long before Muriel meets residents of the small town who knew the professor almost a century ago, and learns that everything he wrote in the notes he kept is true…

And then she finds herself stalked by a vampire hunter…


Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.

When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city’s vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.

But she didn’t know then what she knows now: there’s a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.

So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.

But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?


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20 comments on “Books I’m Grateful I Read Hop: Sunshine

  1. Tequila Rose says:

    A book that has inspired me is “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb. It’s been my favorite for decades now.

  2. Mary Preston says:

    I’m going way back, but I found LITTLE WOMEN to be inspiring.

  3. Mai Tran says:

    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell is the book that inspires me. The author’s views on social injustice is just amazing.

  4. ladymagnolia99 says:

    The only thing I can think of is She Said Yes. The true story about the school shooting!!!

    Judy Cox

  5. Sarah Miles says:

    Just Don’t Fall by Josh Sundquist. It’s about how he lost his leg to childhood cancer and went on to compete in skiing for the US Paralympic team.

  6. cherylsds says:

    Everything I read is romance from all sub-genres. My favorite book recently is A Beautiful Purpose by Alicia Rae

  7. Dogsmom says:

    I should probably have a long list. When I read I get deeply involved with the storyline and the characters. Away and then Stay by B.A. Wolfe were very emotional for me.
    A fun novel that inspired me was by Hollie Westring. Spirits & Spells. Now I have this irrepressible need to collect cauldrons!

  8. steelstammy says:

    “Gone With The Wind”, it was one of those ones that makes you think how tough women were way back in the day but also showed the feminine side.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Sunshine is pretty high up on my list as well. It’s a fantastic book that I revisit often. Rae’s character has helped me understand myself better in a lot of ways (although I can’t claim to be a vampire slayer), and it’s a fantastic escape from reality as well. My top favorite novel, though, that has shaped my worldview and helped me through many life transitions, is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. It’s genius, if you have a bent toward academic, sociological, psychological, and literary analysis all rolled into a mystery package set in Oxford with a lovely romance thrown into the mix. I’m definitely a fan. 🙂

    • Elizabeth: I love, love, LOVE Dorothy Sayers’ novels–Lord Peter Wimsey might be one of my favorite characters ever, and Harriet is his perfect match. 🙂

      • Elizabeth says:

        It’s always fun to find another Lord Peter fan!! I wonder if fans of Sayers and McKinley often come together? I wouldn’t have said they were very similar authors, writing in different times and genres, but they both write intelligent, somewhat snarky fiction with strong female leads and twisty plots, so it makes sense readers might be fans of bot. Knowing I share your taste in writers, now I think I definitely need to check out your own fiction. 🙂

      • And given YOUR taste in fiction, I suggest that if you read my work, you start with Legally Undead–snarky fiction with a strong female lead. 🙂

  10. Diane Elizabeth says:

    I read To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high school. It inspired me to actually start reading the books I was assigned to read instead of assuming they would be boring.

  11. BookLady says:

    I was touched by the classic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  12. cpsandu says:

    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  13. anne3230 says:

    I can’t think of a book that really inspired me. I tend to read fluff. When I travel I read guide books which have influenced what I’ve seen and done.

  14. Lotus says:

    Stranger in a Strange Land was very inspiring to me as a teenager.

  15. Erika says:

    I love books that push my limits in some way. They surprise me with a twist, have me read about things I know nothing about or that just opens my mind in some way.

  16. Kristi says:

    I love books that pushes me past my limits.

  17. lkish77123 says:

    Me Before You

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