Bites

Published: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.

The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy.

Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

And neither are the rest of us. (goodreads.com)

What I liked about THE LESSER DEAD was that it was something different. A fourteen-year-old sort-of child vampire surviving in 70s New York. Excellent depiction of New York at the time. I practically felt like I was there, all the grit and grime and grossness, but also the endearing and nostalgic. I really liked that. Plus it’s a lot of how Joey gets by, how he feeds (kind of repugnantly but at least he recognizes what is and isn’t consent, especially as it pertains to his ability to hypnotize people), and how he passes in the world of the living.

I also liked how the vampires were slightly different and just how in the human world there are classes of people, there are classes of vampires. In this world vampires can’t tolerate direct sunlight and if they get hit with it it leaves scars. No vampire healing from that. They can tolerate cloudy days without little more than a headache and this particular group of vampires doesn’t kill people. Feeds from them, sure, but in order to keep the cops looking the other way they don’t do deaths.

The vampire children part of it was eerie too, especially how that whole relationship developed. I can’t go into details without spoiling, but Buehlman did a good job of making them creepy, that’s for sure. They’re kid vampires and they’re constantly hungry and that has devastating consequences. it also makes the vampires bat around the idea of just what the kids are, whether there are different species of vampires and if these kids are some of them. They do eventually get their answer, but it’s not one they’re going to like.

Joey has a great voice and I think the world Buehlman developed around him was vivid in its darkness and shadows and crusted corners. It’s a New York everyone thinks of, pre-Guiliani. It’s the dangerous city everyone knows and loves, made even more dangerous by the fact that vampires are living in the subway tunnels and feeding on people every night.

But I didn’t love it like I really wanted to. It just didn’t strike me in the way I wanted it to after reading the blurb. It’s not that I wanted it to necessarily be more than what I got but I wanted more out of it. That probably doesn’t make a ton of sense but there you go. Buehlman creates some great characters and sets a great scene. He also added to the vampire mythos and world nicely. But I’m just kind of meh about it. THE LESSER DEAD is a good book and I’d recommend it for any vampire fan. But it just has that little something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.

3

My next recap is up over at The Devil’s Elbow and this time I’m recapping the next and last book in Carmen Adams’s not-series-series, SONG OF THE VAMPIRE. Adams must have loved The Lost Boys so hard because, like Wing said, this book is the most Lost Boys book ever, even with the movie novelization thrown in there! Truly, it is. But truly it also has its total derp moments and those are supplemented nicely with various gifs.

So head on over to The Devil’s Elbow and check it out!

Published: March 3, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break. (goodreads.com)

I was expecting far more smut going into ANGELS’ BLOOD, but it was lacking. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, and it was there, filthy talk and sexual tension abound. But I adjusted my expectations quickly enough and settled into the story nicely.

I got the main character, Elena, who’s a strong woman and knows how to hold her own, acting and dressing and just existing in a way that I kind of adore. She has a don’t-give-a-crap attitude without being a bitch about things and she dresses in a way that makes sense for what she does. None of this skin tight crap. Cargoes and t-shirts and she’s this practically Amazonian woman who refuses to trade her strength in order to hook a guy. Instead she just goes for guys who can handle her strength, however grudgingly she does it.

The story’s a little slow to develop and there isn’t a whole lot of world-building going on, especially for a first in a series. This just seems like a world where angels and vampires and other creatures are part of the world and that’s about it. Nothing else to explain? Don’t know. But it isn’t a complicated world; just one where there are supernatural creatures with angels as the top tier having broken up the world into territories. It gets into Elena’s family history a little bit, shows her on a hunt, interacting with her best friend. And then finally she gets brought in for the big job run by a big angel.

No surprise there’s sexual tension between her and her boss, but I’m okay with it. It’s good sexual tension and they seem like a solid fit for each other. None of this bad boy bullcrap and she doesn’t swoon for the bad boy under her own devices so she gets a pass there. And somehow Elena also maintains an air of naïveté despite the world she lives in. It makes her more endearing.

It’s obvious the way future books are being set up in this one, with the vampires, the land wars among the angels, the development of some of the angels, and I’m looking forward to seeing were the series goes, especially with where the book leaves Elena. I also totally adore her relationship with the director of the guild there, whose name escapes me at the moment. They’re incredibly protective of each other and they stand by each other through thick and thin. It’s really nice seeing positive female relationships like this in books where one isn’t a sycophant to the other or they’re just enemies for whatever superficial reasons.

Looking forward in the series, looks like I have a whole pile of books to read in this world and I look forward to it. While I wanted more sex in the book, Singh creates an excellent balance of tension, play, character development, and plot that has me hooked, for sure.

4

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