Bites

Published: March 29, 2011
Publisher: Chafie Press
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.

The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.

On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she’s sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all…

HOW DO YOU KILL A SURVIVOR?

The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie’s life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you’ll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.

And it is only the beginning. (goodreads.com)

I’m not sure what I was expecting from THE SURVIVORS, but it certainly wasn’t this. There’s very little plot, next to no forward momentum and character motivation, next to no character growth. I felt like I was reading story fodder that had no business being published because it was the author working out the kinks in her story and finding out where the real story was. I mean I guess you could say it’s a character-based story, but there’s hardly any character development. The only character development that happens is Sadie devolving into a love-sick muppet when she meets Everett.

Sadie as a character is kind of crappy. She’s not relatable, she comes off as wooden, and she’s overly concerned with high fashion. I know more about designer fashion than anything else from this book. I mean there was so much fashion name dropping I half-expected to find Hansel and Gretel strutting the runway at the end of that crumb trail. It was just so much. And of course Sadie basically looks like a supermodel, but she doesn’t like all eyes on her, but of course she’s super modest because of her upbringing. She’s not an endearing character and to watch her go from T1000 for all the personality she had to a simpering pile of love-struck goo was just annoying.

The nanosecond of antagonistic tension in the story is dissipated within pages as we find out Mark isn’t a threat and he’s part of this larger family that oMG LOVES SADIE BE OUR SISTER SADIE. Gag me it’s TWILIGHT all over again. I mean the author even references TWILIGHT a couple of times in her book. Sadie turns out to be a total Sue, especially when she meets the Winter family and she falls in obsession with Everett, one of the brothers in this family of collected misfits who are all trying to control their bloodlust and blend in with humans. Plus Sadie’s super special with her purple eyes and her powers and she’s fantastic at everything. I honestly couldn’t help but think of the crappy special effects in the Twilight movies when the vampires were running every time Sadie and Everett went for runs as a means of traveling. C’mon.

I just feel like THE SURVIVORS is trying so hard to be something it’s not. I think the underlying concept of the book is interesting (otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up) and I don’t mind all this mixing of supernatural elements. But this book was not a story. It was TWILIGHT and Glamour smashed together. There’s no motivation, there’s little to no tension, there’s little to no character growth, and at the end I don’t have many more answers than when I started. I feel duped. Instead of tension or thrills or mystery or even just a hint of something interesting I get a meandering expose told in a stilted voice about a woman who thinks rather highly of herself but in a clinical way falling unhealthily in love with someone she just met and by the end of the book you might have a hint of a story there. Might. I’m not sticking around to find out.

1.5

April 15, 2017

Published: 1991
Publisher: HarperCollins
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror…

Elena
Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.

Stefan
Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.

Damon
Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.

The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them. (goodreads.com)

Eh. I wouldn’t say it’s unspeakable horror. Or really a love triangle. That would insinuate Elena actually liked Damon, which she doesn’t appear to. At least in this first book.

I thought I was missing something all this time in never having read any of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES books. Nope. Can’t say I have. They wouldn’t have been my thing back when I was younger when these first came out and they’re definitely not my thing now.

Elena’s kind of a dick and is used to getting everything her way. When she sets her sights on Stefan she aims to get him, and eventually does. Of course she’s the special reincarnation of Stefan’s long lost love and the woman who originally turned him into a vampire. Of course this is also the same woman who came between Stefan and Damon and made their already antagonistic relationship even worse. And then it bred a centuries-old rivalry of Damon being the bad vampire who feeds to kill in order to absorb human energy and power, thus making himself more powerful, and Stefan. The “good” vampire who only feeds on animals and when he has to people whom he doesn’t kill, making him weaker.

And then there’s Elena, the vapid, superficial high school student who has to have the world revolve around her and throws a major hissy when she doesn’t. Blech. No thanks.

And the book just ends right in the middle of it all. Like right before a major confrontation. Done. WHY??? I mean obviously THE VAMPIRE DIARIES hit the mark because it practically spawned TWILIGHT and when it was revived with the re-release of the books and then the TV show people went nuts over it. It’s just in that segment of vampire fiction that doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t care for love triangles. I don’t care for whiny little brats getting what they want. I don’t care for instalove that transcends time for some unknown reason. It’s not poorly written. I just don’t connect with it.

Not my bag.

3

February 18, 2017

Published: May17, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke. (goodreads.com)

Well, the blurb is a great indicator of what the book’s like: something that goes on forever. Ugh. I stopped caring about the story probably around the 350 to 400 page mark. There are 750 pages, by the way. I accepted this book for review because I liked NOS4A2 and the premise sounded really good. Something kind of different.

I wanted to stop reading THE FIREMAN for the same reason I stopped watching The Walking Dead: I just couldn’t take the meandering nothing of people trying to make their way through a dead world anymore. At least THE FIREMAN wasn’t plagued by awful decision-making like TWD was. I hear it’s still a great show, but I just got bored with it. Like I got really bored with THE FIREMAN.

And not sure why it’s called that because the character of the same name is really a secondary character for about 3/4 of the book. He really only comes into play toward the very end and even then he’s literally dragged along because he’s so injured and useless.

I mean it was interesting watching the camp develop (or devolve, as it were) and how the whole vibe of the place can change and how quickly. But it got old. Reading a never-ending book of people just existing got really old. Once the plot shifted to the camp it stayed there for most of the story so it was just people going about their daily lives. Any kind of action or plot development came in violent, short-lived chunks that didn’t do enough to sustain me while reading. I’m just wondering how much of what I read could actually be cut and we’d still end up with the same story. I’m guessing at least 300 pages of it.

It felt like a story that Hill wanted to get out of his head in order to make room for better work. The book felt aimless, obviously incredibly drawn out, and went roughly nowhere with plot. There’s very little light at the end of the tunnel and the ending just pissed me off. All that reading, all that investment, for basically nothing.

I did like the characters. For all I didn’t like about the book the characters were at least engaging enough and every single one of them had growth from one end of the book to the other. All of them owned their little corner of this world and I felt each character was vivid and realistic and popped right off the page. That’s about all I liked here.

I’ll definitely think twice about picking up another Joe Hill book because he’s one and one right now. Starting to get a little leery.

2

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Published: May 25, 2013
Publisher: Aphrodisia
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

By day, Monica is a barista in a local Las Vegas cafe. It doesn’t pay a lot, but it puts her up close and personal with her sexy boss, Drew. Unfortunately, that’s as far as a succubus can go unless she wants to take his soul.

Monica needs mind blowing sex to sustain her, and she finds her victims every night at a local strip club where she’s an exotic dancer. But when her powers begin to diminish and her fellow succubi start turning up dead, all bets are off. Monica realizes she’s the one immortal who has a chance in hell of making things right… (goodreads.com)

I couldn’t help myself with SOUL STRIPPER. It was one of those deeply discounted eBooks that I got through some Kobo sale or something and it just sounded so ridiculous and appetizing that I just couldn’t not. So I did. And I’m kind of glad I did.

My biggest issue was that the editing wasn’t stellar. More typos than I’d care to see in a finished book, and Aphrodisia is a Kensington imprint so it’s not like it’s self-published or a super small indie or something. But there were enough for it to be irksome.

Other than that it was a fun, super hot little read. I mean if you’ve watched any of the TV show Lost Girl (which is also a fun, trashy little show that I need to get back into) then a succubus having to bang dudes to heal herself and sustain herself is nothing new. The fact that Monica’s a stripper just helps her out in that regard (and creates some hot sex scenes, let me tell you). It’s not a mind-blowingly awesome story, but it’s compelling. It had me hooked, especially because the book started on some incredibly hot sex. How could I not be?

I did like how Collins interjected some substance to it. There’s this whole unknown regarding Monica’s rise as a succubus and going through her history in little flashbacks was interesting. I did think, though, that her banging her way through a battle field in order to alleviate soldiers’ pain (and lessen her own guilt) was a bit much. Kind of lost me there a little. But other than that I was totally on board for the story I was being told (and the sex, have I mentioned that?).

I knew who the killer was from the beginning. It’s fairly obvious and the fact that no one in the story made the connection was a bit plot-serving (and a dead giveaway), but whatever. I had fun reading it.

SOUL STRIPPER isn’t fantastic, but it’s fun. You’ll have a good time with the story. From the action (non-sex action) to the sex (sex sex action) to the character development (believe it or not), it was all really enjoyable once you got over how silly and kind of ridiculous the premise is. There’s not much to not like here, not when you’re looking for a light romp through a demon-run strip club. I already have the second book on its way to me!

4

February 13, 2017

This was the book that first introduced me to Mari Mancusi about ten years ago and it’s been love ever since. And not only because she totally love-drops The Lost Boys in her Blood Coven series. It’s a fantastic set of books with awesome characters and a plot that’ll suck you in right from the beginning and won’t let you go until the very end.

Mari recently had the rights to the series returned to her so she’s re-releasing the whole set with brand new covers! And starting today through February 17th you can get a copy of BOYS THAT BITE for free on Amazon Kindle! If you haven’t checked out the Blood Coven series yet, now’s the perfect time to start.

Two sisters–as different as the sun and the rain. For one, getting into the Blood Coven is to die for. But for the other, getting out could be lethal…

When Sunny McDonald gets dragged to Club Fang by her twin sister Rayne, she doesn’t expect to find anything besides a bunch of Goth kids playing at being vampires. But when some guy mistakes Sunny for her dark-side-loving sister and bites her on the neck, she finds out that his fangs are real–and deadly.

Now, Sunny has less than a week to figure out how to reverse the bite, or else she’s going to end up as the perpetually undead. And not only will she be a vampire, she’ll also be bonded to Magnus–the bloodsucker who bit her–forever. And forever is a really long time… (Amazon.com)