Bites
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

April 11, 2017

Published: November 8, 2009
Publisher: Warwick House Press
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Caught in a violent and abusive relationship, Serenity thinks there is no escape. Then she meets a stranger, Sebastian, who shows her the possibility of a different future.
Only Sebastian has a dark secret; he is a vampire.

As Serenity’s life takes a terrifying turn, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed; one of murder, love, and immortality. She is forced to confront her own weaknesses to save both her own life and that of the vampire she has come to love. But in the end all that matters is; can she find the strength to be Alone? (goodreads.com)

This has got to be one of the most unoriginal, uninspiring books I’ve read in a long time, if not ever. It’s TWILIGHT but with adult characters. You have Serenity (a name I hate, but that’s completely unrelated to the book), this meek, sometimes simpering, psychotically manipulative woman stuck in a severely abusive relationship. There’s an added level of self-awareness there that I think is supposed to bolster her a little bit, but it doesn’t add to her character. It just makes her more annoying because she knows all these things are bad yet she does them anyway.

And then you have Sebastian, the brooding loner of a vampire who wants to be with Serenity but it’s too dangerous and he keeps trying to warn her off but she keeps coming back and he just can’t stay away from her and her blood is just so temping. Sound familiar?

The book’s plot spans a week at most and by the end of it they’re obsessively in love with Serenity getting panicky and withdrawn and possessive if Sebastian isn’t around. Enter in the red-headed female antagonist whose weak plot line serves as the tension in the story as she tries to drive a wedge between Serenity and Sebastian to the point where she threatens the poor little human and Serenity ends up doing something incredibly stupid by putting herself in harm’s way to save the vampire she loves. Sound familiar yet?

And of course Sebastian is rich and drives an Audi (a departure because I think Edward drives a Volvo) and he tries not to kill his prey. His and Serenity’s relationship is so unhealthy that on like day four Serenity threatens to kill herself if Sebastian leaves her. That’s a totally healthy and logical response to any situation. O_o

When she takes that “next step” in her relationship with her abusive husband I did find myself rooting for her. But then that was quickly watered down as she glommed on to Sebastian all the while being aware that she shouldn’t jump from man to man and she needs to stand on her own (I’ll refer you back to threatening to kill herself if Sebastian leaves her). Her personality is erratic at best, poorly written and inconsistent at worst. If she were a well-written abuse victim I’d feel sorry for her and pity her thinking and how she feels that what’s happened to her was her fault. But her personality is just peaks and valleys that play to the plot.

I didn’t realize so many PNR vampire cliches could even fit into a single book and such an obvious copy of a more popular book would actually get published. And if it’s not a copy then an eyebrow-raising coincidence that I’m going to remain skeptical of. If I wanted to read TWILIGHT, which I never want to again, I’d just read TWILIGHT (which was published three years prior to this book). I’m not going to bother with a story where the only practical differences are the ages of the characters and the names. I mean this rightly could have been a wave book trying to capitalize on the success of a given formula, but my god, man. For all of TWILIGHT’s failings at least it had its own personality. ALONE does not. It’s a pale copy of someone else’s that leaves words limp and lifeless on the page and a plot that leaves a whole hell of a lot of be desired.

The concept of being alone gets beaten over your head as a reader throughout the book and the tension with Madeline (the red-headed vampire who decides to war with Serenity over Sebastian because reasons) is so contrived and forced that I can’t help but wonder if the author couldn’t think of anything better. It’s so incredibly lackluster. TWILIGHT spawned a lot of wannabes, but I’ve yet to read anything that compares to ALONE with being such a pale, unimaginative reproduction. Don’t waste your time. That’s not to say the formula doesn’t work; just don’t give me a cheap reproduction of something. It needs to be its own thing and ALONE definitely is not that. I imagine that’s rather ironic.

1

Published: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Broken Angels (self)
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Eight years ago, vampire Justus de Wynter fell in love with bluestocking, Bethany Mead, and suffered the consequences. He was sentenced to exile as a rogue vampire, and she was imprisoned in a mental institution.

After years of searching, and dodging patrolling vampires, Justus has finally found his love. But even after he breaks Bethany out of the asylum, the challenges that face them have only begun. For Justus is still a rogue, with no territory to grant them safety, and Bethany is a fugitive.

As they flee across the English countryside in search of refuge, Bethany and Justus must overcome the challenges of their past and find out if love is possible on the run. (goodreads.com)

Ugh. I love Ann’s writing. I really do. With the way WYNTER’S BITE ended I’m wondering if this is the last of the series. Each book has set up the next book’s protagonist nicely and obviously. This one . . . it could be a couple different people. I’m wondering if the intent is to let the series lie with this one and if she decides to carry it on she at least has a couple options. Methinks that might be the case.

The one thing that stood out to me about WYNTER’S BITE against the other books was that the sexual tension wasn’t as fantastic here. I’ve always praised Ann’s ability to write panty-soaking tension with her character. She likes to build up, dangle a piece, and then take it away at least one or twice before the culmination actually happens. Here, though, the tension was subdued. I didn’t feel that squirmy anxiousness that I normally felt in the other books.

That could have to do with the character situations and pacing being vastly different from the previous books. In all the other books the female protagonist and love interest are new to each other. Here Justus and Bethany have known each other and he’s rescuing her. So we have some flashbacks to set up their meeting, flashing forward to the rescue, peril as they remain on the run, both for Bethany as an escaped lunatic and Justus, a rogue vampire, before they finally settle. So no surprise that in a book that deviates from the norm of the series it’s going to deviate in more than one way.

Just don’t think this is me saying that the book was bad. Not at all. It just stands out against the others and I wasn’t prepared for such a different take on the standard plot so it threw me a little bit. I still loved Justus’s development and Ann creates fantastic, strong female characters that fit the regency mold in their limitations but break clean out of it with their strong minds and strong wills. Ann uses women that would have otherwise been rejected from society and gives them life with other societal rejects in the vampires. I love it.

I do hope Ann keeps writing in the Scandals with Bite series, but if she is setting this one aside for now I would understand. She has plenty else for me to read, and I can always re-read some of my favorite books!

4.5

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

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)

23304539Published: September 8, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Star
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

When Kiley learns firsthand what evil lurks in the heart of her boyfriend, he’ll learn about the Cold Girl, and her penchant for retribution. (goodreads.com)

I’ve known of Caine for years now and while I haven’t read any of her stuff, I do have INK AND BONE on my want list and of course I’ve heard of the Morganville Vampires series. Haven’t read it, but I haven’t been living under a rock either. To be honest I thought it lumped itself in with that rash of teen vampire books that came out following TWILIGHT. I’ve been assured that is not the case AT ALL and I’ve since added the series to my want list as well. I need me more brutal vampires in my life.

And ‘The Cold Girl’ gave me that, and with a neat little spin.

Initially I wasn’t digging the story. I wasn’t really liking the voice or the set-up at all, with the girl and her crappy boyfriend and how she lost everyone close to her because she was totally in love with this guy and it was just all so typical. Rolling my eyes, all that jazz.

And then it got dark. Like, really dark. Like murder and revenge and cold-blooded death dark and then Caine had my full attention.

I loved how the carnival was set up, this old rickety, creaky thing that looked like a death trap and IRONY. I really liked where the story went and how it revealed what the carnival really was, and I liked how Caine went THERE with Kiley and what she needed and, deep down in her heart, wanted to do. It put Caine’s vampires in a whole new light for me and I’m about to be all over this.

So totally glad I read ‘The Cold Girl’ and that I didn’t stop reading it after the first few pages. Really it was too short to stop reading. Not even 35 pages. But Caine slapped me in the face with darkness after the stereotypical set-up and now I can’t get enough of it.

4.5