Book Review: The Pageant

cover-review-the pageantTitle: The Pageant [Vampire Royals 1]

Author: Leigh Walker

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult, Dystopian, Vampires

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Who’s the fairest of them all?

Young women from every settlement in the land are being handpicked to enter The Pageant, a beauty contest reminiscent of Miss Universe from the old days. Gwyneth West’s social-climbing mother wants her to compete, by Gwyn isn’t so sure…

The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.

And then there’s the prize…

The winner of The Pageant gets a marriage proposal from Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and now governs the new settlements. The Royal Family is mysterious. Rumor has it they don’t sleep. Rumor has it they eschew the sun.

Rumor has it they’re immortal.

When Gwyn is thrust into The Pageant, she fights to survive the competitive nature of the other contestants.

But even if wins…can she survive a vampire fiancé?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed The Pageant by Leigh Walker, but it wasn’t perfect. The narrative itself was easy to follow, flowed well, and was devoid of major errors. the premise, while not exactly unique, had a nice twist with the addition of vampires. I liked the characters for the most part, and overall, simply enjoyed the story.

But that doesn’t mean everything was puppies and rainbows. Gwyneth was infuriating as a main female lead. She constantly broke the rules and put herself in danger – not for good reasons, but because she couldn’t seem to help herself. She was reckless.

On top of that, the romance between Gwyn and Dallas was almost non-existent, despite what the narrative tried to convince me. I just didn’t see it.

Were these enough to ruin the book? No. I still really liked the story. It was a fun and easy read – I only wish there had been a little more depth to it. If you enjoy YA Dystopian Romances, you’ll most likely enjoy this book. I look forward to reading further into the series.

Book Review: Red Night

cover-review-red nightTitle: Red Night [Vampire Files Trilogy 1]

Author: R.K. Close

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Samantha knows what hides in the shadows…and now they know about her.

Beautiful, immortal, deadly, and living right under our noses. Vampires are real. How do I know this?
Because I met Adam, and he’s one of them.

My name is Samantha Chase, and I’m a private investigator. My life is about to change forever. Everything I thought I knew about the world around me is wrong, so very wrong.

Death in the desert.

A serial killer with an appetite for young blondes is on the loose in my city, and he’s just added me to the menu. I’m a pawn in a game played by beautiful monsters, and one wrong move could be my last.

If having one immortal after my heart isn’t enough to convince me I’m out of my league, there’s another one after my blood.

When did I become so popular?

Adam may be my only hope. Or he might be the wildest—and deadliest—mistake I’ve ever made.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed Red Night by R.K. Close. To be honest, I had some hesitation when I first picked up the book. The beginning of the story was eerily similar to another vampire book I’d read, and the comparison didn’t go unnoticed – but, that initial spark of familiarity quickly died out. The stories were vastly different, and frankly, this one was done better.

The writing was easy to follow and engaging. The characters had complexity and unique voices. Though not revolutionary, the plot at least followed through, though I’ll admit, it was a tad flimsy. Overall, I enjoyed the narrative voice and the story as a whole.

Would I recommend it? Yes. if you like paranormal stories, vampires, and tense, slow-burn relationships, you will probably enjoy this book. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Book Review: Death Beckons

review-cover-death beckonsTitle: Death Beckons [Mortis Vampire Series 1]

Author: J.C. Diem

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Working late one night, Natalie Pierce is kidnapped by a creature that looks like a harmless old man, but is something far more terrifying. Waking up in a creepy mausoleum, she is forced to endure three nights of indescribable agony. Her life is forever altered when she is transformed into a monster of myth and legend; a vampire.

Lonely and full of despair, she comes face to face with the irresistible and enigmatic Lord Lucentio. Justice bringer for the European Vampire Council, Luc has been sent to Australia to kill Natalie’s maker, but someone has already beaten him to it. He quickly discovers that Nat is far from an ordinary fledgling. He suspects that she is Mortis, a figure of both hope and dread among their kind.

Natalie is propelled into a dark and mysterious underworld that takes her far away from her hometown of Brisbane. Her arrival was foretold long ago and her fate is already sealed. Nat’s entire species is in danger and it is her job to save them. She desperately wants to escape from the burden that has been thrust upon her, but she is inextricably linked to a two thousand year old prophecy. An unknown enemy has begun to whittle down their already limited numbers. If Nat fails to accept her destiny, all vampires will soon cease to exist.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I fought with myself about how to rate Death Beckons by J.C. Diem. On the one hand, I enjoyed the book – the plot was new and interesting, the world-building was unique, and I enjoyed the dynamic of Luc and Nat’s relationship.

The major problem for me was that I hated the narrative voice the story was written in. It was juvenile, snarky, and lacked a sense of depth. I didn’t particularly like Nat as a person, and my dislike of her made it hard to enjoy the story at times. I think the book could have been so much better than it was if only Nat had been a little more likable, and a little less of a show-off. Similarly, the romance between Nat and Luc was relatively lukewarm. There was no sexual tension, and little romance to be had – their “romantic” relationship was more of a sexual need spurred on by being vampires, rather than anything I’d truly consider romantic. I wish there had been more to it.

Overall, yes, I liked the book. I had fun, and I’m happy I read it – but it wasn’t perfect, or even in the top ten books of its kind that I’ve read. If you are looking for a fun afternoon of vampire shenanigans, then I encourage you to give it a try, but it isn’t going to fill that need for an involved, sexy paranormal romance.

Book Review: Bite of a Vampire

review-cover-bite of a vampireTitle: Bite of a Vampire [Volume 1]

Author: Anna Belsky

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

I never was a romance novel kind of girl, maybe that’s why I decided to get in the business of proving that love was meant to be unfaithful. Call me bitter but my full name is Emily Johnson, and I work as a private investigator for Jonesville Extramarital Affairs. It’s my daily job to investigate, snap photos of and usually proves that a spouse has found someone else to dilly-dally with. It was a bit of a dream job after having my own respect and dignity broken so many times in college by a guy named Robert, Bob for short. I don’t hold a grudge against him, he was my first, and he taught me that love relationships are not really things that exist. My best friend Abby doesn’t believe me so I decided to prove my point and become a Private Investigator.

On this night Emily’s world turns upside down when she comes across a vampire attacking one of her investigations. She is swept into a world of the supernatural and must draw from all her experiences as Private Investigator to survive… or so she thinks until she meets Michael.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Bite of a Vampire by Anna Belsky was a fun, if short, endeavor into an imaginative vampire-filled world. To be honest, I’m a little up in the air over it. It was a fun book. I liked the characters, I liked the intrigue of the plotline, the danger, and the steamy romance. There was a good amount of gore and danger, and the more paranormal aspects of the books (like the ghosts) were really well done.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the book was perfect. The editing in this book was poorly done. I ran into dozens of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, and sentences that just made no sense. The errors made me pause several times to re-read, and ultimately pulled me out of the book. The writing style was first person, present tense…but sometimes that tense was messed up. The style of the writing was a little underdeveloped, and it often felt like I was being ‘told’ the story a little too much, rather than the author letting me sink into the narrative.

Was the book terrible? No. I did enjoy it—but I think it could have easily been better than what it was. The story was just too short to do it’s characters and plotline justice, and the editing was sub-par, making it a difficult book to get into. This is something I’d recommend for people looking for a light, paranormal read to soak in on a bus ride.

Book Review: Beyond The Reach of Judgment

review-cover-beyond the reach of judgement

Title: Beyond The Reach of Judgment

Author: Jo Bissell

Genre: Paranormal, Vampire, Romance, Tragedy

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Julien Rene Durant was once a good man. Born in France, he took the oath as a Jesuit Priest in the 1600s. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. Now, he was a monster surviving off the blood of others; killing for survival even as he wished for nothing other than for his own extinction. After almost four centuries of guilt and hopelessness, he encounters someone who might just be able to rescue the good man trapped within the monster, but will his judgments deny him a second chance?

Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan is nothing special; a small town girl stuck in a rut. Married to a Veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who turned out not to be the perfect guy she fell in love with before the war, she is desperate for a way out. When things turn from bad to worse, she runs with plans to never look back. She quickly finds, however, that her search for a better future may lead her down a path with no future at all.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I had a hard time with this book. I wanted to like it so badly—I’d heard of the author before, and had the general idea floating through my mind that they were a good author, and so when I got ahold of Beyond the Reach of Judgment by Jo Bissell, I was excited to dig in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to walk into.

Right off the bat, I felt like the main characters, Ruth and Julien, lacked chemistry. The characterizations didn’t feel as intimate as I’d come to expect from a romance novel, and the detached, emotionless way Julien acted made it hard to like him as a main male lead. I didn’t like them—not as individual characters, and not as a couple. Both Julien and Ruth made decisions that reeked of poor judgment and immaturity, and considering the fact that Julien was a vampire, I found it hard to reconcile their decisions with the author’s fictitious reality. It wasn’t believable.

I’d also like to take a moment to point out how infuriating the Agent (I can’t be bothered with her name) was. Instead of being professional, she hunted down the wife of a man she only knew through association, a man who obviously had issues and willingly admitted to stalking said wife. It was clear to anyone with half a brain that this man was unstable, and yet she continued to help him—even when she eventually did have doubts about his sanity. She put another woman (Ruth) in danger. I’m pretty positive there’s some kind of girl-code floating around that says you don’t help an insane, dangerous man stalk another woman. I was disgusted with her as a character. Despite all the evidence that Ruth and Julien were happy and Ruth was in no danger, she continued to harass the couple…. it was sickening.

For the most part, the POV of the narrative stayed locked on Julien and Ruth—which was great… until it wasn’t. At one point, the POV switched to a third party POV to view their breakup, and I couldn’t help but sit back and wonder why I’d been pulled out of the intimate, tension-filled moment to a bystander POV. Another time closer to the end of the book, and perhaps more problematic, I was thrust into the unfavorable POV of Ruth’s soon-to-be-ex husband. This is a man who abused her, suffered from PTSD, and was in general, a creepy, stalker-type-personality. I did not like this man, and I liked being in his head even less. It felt like the author was trying to make me feel bad for this obviously sick individual who, for a brief moment, felt some remorse over the way he’d treated Ruth in the past, but even that was wiped away when he hunted her down and shot her.

The story was filled with potholes, cliché moments, unbelievable character actions, and lackluster characterization that made me want to put the book down. I slogged on, and I do mean slogged. I very nearly put down the book down and gave up, but I kept telling myself “I’m at 40%… maybe it’ll pick up… I’m at 80%… it’s almost over.” and I did, in fact, get through the book.  Did I enjoy it? Not at all. This was not a sexy or heart warming read. It was a definite tragedy, and one that in my opinion, wasn’t written well.

In the end, the book was “meh.” I’m not particularly glad I read it, and I certainly wouldn’t read it again. I wouldn’t recommend it either. Obviously, I am in the minority of reviews for this book, so I can admit that there are probably a lot of people who will love this book, but I went into this novel expecting to find a sexy, paranormal romance, and instead I got a tragic thriller with a shoddy plotline and an infuriating cast of characters. It may not be a popular opinion, but it is my opinion. I implore you to read it for yourself if you’re so inclined, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Book Review: Alone

cover-AloneTitle: Alone [Serenity 1]

Author: Marissa Farrar

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: 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 ?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

So let’s start with the cover: It was done quite well. The text isn’t obtrusive, the images are relevant to the story. *thumbs up* The lighting may be a bit off, making it obvious that it was a cut-and-paste job, but even considering that, it was pretty well done. Someone knew what they were doing when they pieced it together.

As for the plot… I have deep seated issues with it. I think a story about a girl who’s abused who gets help from outside forces, even a love interest, isn’t a bad idea. In fact, done well, it would make an excellent story. By the same token, a Vampire falling in love with someone who clearly needs help in their life… not a bad idea–but a vampire trying to rescue a girl from an abusive relationship? That’s where we’re getting a little too far over the border for me. I guess it’s the basic idea behind it that bothers me. Someone who’s in an abusive relationship is going to find it very hard to leave, that’s just how these things work (whether it makes sense to the rest of us or not). I’m not an expert (though I have been in an abusive situation before) but I think for the most part this trickles down to three explanations:

1) Fear. They’re afraid they won’t get away, and what will happen if they fail and are caught.

2) Love. For whatever reason, they really do love the person abusing them, and despite what is happening to them, they don’t want to leave. There is still hope that the person will change and things will go back to how they used to be.

3) Dependency. For some people it’s nearly impossible to leave because they have no way to get away. They may not have a job, or a home to go to if they leave. Bank accounts are tangled, they may have a disability, or there may be children involved… for whatever reason, this can make someone unwilling to leave.

This boils down to a very difficult decision when someone does choose to leave an abusive relationship. It’s a scary prospect. Even if the rest of us say “i’d never stay if someone did that to me” the reality of the situation is that it isn’t so clear cut.

Oddly, in this story, Serenity doesn’t seem to have a good reason to stay. She doesn’t particularly love her husband. She is the independent party of the couple (she has a job, he doesn’t), and her husband already lets her leave the house to go to work/shopping etc.  Getting away wouldn’t be that difficult. I honestly don’t know what the author was thinking when she made Serenity as independent as she did, and that’s part of why I found her situation so unbelievable. It didn’t feel like she was in a difficult position… just that she was too stupid to do anything about it, and that made me angry. If you’re going to write about abuse, at least write it convincingly, to do otherwise is almost an insult; it seems as if you’re throwing in an abusive relationship just for drama purposes, and the misuse of such a touchy subject is bound to make some readers (like me) very angry.

The abuse aside, I had a difficult time believing in the romance between Serenity and Sebastian. I think Serenity was drawn to him mostly because she was desperate (though the author tried to pawn it off as sexual attraction). Sebastian on the other hand spent most of the story narrating how he couldn’t ever have a relationship with Serenity because he was a vampire and he didn’t want her to be one… yet he was super attracted to her. Why? I don’t know. She was helpless and none too bright if you ask me. I really didn’t see anything about her that made her stand out from the crowd to a supernatural being. It gave the story this vibe of “I want you to wonder if they’re going to get together… but you really know it’s never going to happen.” There wasn’t enough between the couple to make me earnestly feel they were headed towards a relationship, and so the few scenes there were between them felt misplaced and fake. In the end, I didn’t want them to get together, and as a consequence, the whole thing seemed forced.

Unfortunately, there were also -other- love interests involved: A police officer that seemed mostly irrelevant to the story who was obviously in puppy-love with serenity (and spoiler: she ends up dating him in the end despite the fact she wasn’t all that attracted to him), and also,  the vampire who made Sebastian into what he is,  and is jealous of Serenity and wants him to herself. Again, she seemed mostly irrelevant to the story other than to provide yet another reason the two couldn’t be together.

In the end I couldn’t like the characters because I didn’t feel a connection to them. I didn’t understand their wishy-washy relationship or the ill-plotted reasons behind why they were together. It just didn’t make sense to me. This book made me angry because it wasn’t convincing. It was a story–a story that seemed to use dramatic quirks (vampires, abuse, the random and irrelevant sire-vampire, and goody-two-shoes cop in puppy love) to try and raise the tension, but instead, it just made it a jumbled mess of tropes. I didn’t enjoy it, and though I did finish the book, I don’t think I’d recommend it. It’s free right now on Amazon, so feel free to go give it a look, but honestly, it just wasn’t a good story.

Book Review: The Awakening

 

cover-theawakeningTitle: The Awakening [The Vampire Diaries 1]

Author: L.J. Smith

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Horror, Suspense

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: A deadly love triangle

Elena: beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him.

Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . .

who will she choose?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

So, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about the cover. There’s actually several covers for this book, but take it from me, most of them are very dated. I had no idea how old these book was until I saw the original cover. Wow. Time warp back to my childhood! The one I’ve picked to show here is the prettiest, but also the most inaccurate. Why? Because Elena, the main female lead, is blonde. Woops! It also has that annoying CW brand marketing across the top, but I won’t hold it against them. They want people to watch the show, and they should… because it’s so much better than the book.

I’m one of those people that 9 times out of 10 will tell you that reading the book is better than watching the movie/show. It’s one of those things that Hollywood has ingrained in my head for years. The books are cannon–nay, gospel–and I tend to view the movie/show attached to them as annoying attempts to remake something that didn’t need to be remade. Details are always changed, and it feels like sacrilege. It makes me angry.  Now, in a strange twist of things, if the movie/show comes first and the book second, my opinion usually falls more along the line of “Yay! More content!” It doesn’t bother me that the book is different than the movie, because it’s just more of the thing I already loved. I’m not sure why there’s a double standard, but that’s how it is. Unfortunately, in this case all that gets thrown out the window.

The show is better than the book. Hands down.

The book centers around Elena Gilbert, a popular, blonde-haired, blue-eyed high-school student that always gets her way. (Gag) Her parents have just died in a car accident 3 months prior to the story’s start, and she’s not particularly looking forward to the new year. Her endearing, boy-next-door boyfriend gives her feelings of “meh” in general, but he’s the cute jock, and she’s the pretty cheerleader, and they’ve been friends forever. The perfect couple, right? Introduce Elena’s shallow and ditzy friends, stir in a hot new boy, and suddenly Elena’s dumping her boyfriend and scheming up ways to get in good with the new kid, manipulating her friends and the student body in order to finagle herself onto his radar.

Go ahead. Soak that in.

What Elena doesn’t know yet is that the new hot boy, Stefan Salvatore, is a vampire, and Elena is a dead-ringer for his ex-girlfriend. Throw in a few deaths, Stefan’s hotter older brother (Damon), who just wants to make Stefan’s life a nightmare in any way possible, and you have… well… a really shallow plot.

The writing was good.  The grammar was clean, the style was engaging and clear. From a technical standpoint, there wasn’t anything wrong with the story. I did manage to read it all the way to the end (though that may have to do more with loving the show than enjoying the book). The problem, for the most part, was the characters. They weren’t likeable. Elena was manipulative, shallow,and selfish. Bonnie was a ditz. Matt was cute in a lost puppy sort of way, but mostly just let Elena walk all over him.  Tyler was a rapist. Caroline seemed to only be present to be snotty and jealous of Elena… though the reasoning was never really explained. I can barely be bothered to even remember who Meredith was. Damon was evil for the sake of needing someone for the rest of the characters to hate. Stefan… Stefan was surprisingly juvenile given his age, and a little bit of a lost puppy when it came to Elena.Tanner (the teacher) hated all his students for no particular reason. He just wanted to be an ass.

Overall, I honestly didn’t like any of the characters, and spent most of the book with this feeling that nothing was actually happening. There didn’t seem to be a real motive behind anyone’s actions except for the immediate “I want this. Now. Right now. Why? Because I do.”  This kind of barely-there plot works with the TV show because it’s serialized. The first episode introduces the world (which equated to this book by the way) but no major plot issues came up… those were saved for later in the season. This book worked the same way. It was an introduction to the characters and the world… but nothing really happened. Unfortunately, the characters just couldn’t hold it up on their own.

The romance was laughable. Honestly. Elena wasn’t particularly drawn to Stefan, she spotted a hot guy and said “dibs!” She wanted him because he was the hot new guy, not because there was sexual chemistry or his personality was endearing. Stefan was intrigued by Elena, mostly because she looked like his ex-girlfriend. I didn’t feel the chemistry. They were your basic teen couple that “fell in love” based on the premise that they could. It was maddening to see how flimsy the whole thing was. In fact, the most interesting part of the story was when people started getting murdered. Thank god for the irrelevant deaths of teens and a teacher, or I would have closed the book.

Overall, did I like the book? Surprisingly, no. I say surprisingly because I AM an avid watcher of the show. I’ve seen every episode of the past four seasons. I honestly thought I’d love the books. Instead, I finally understand why the show is so different from the novels. It had to change–that was the only way they could make it into half-way decent entertainment. I don’t recommend the book. Seriously. Go watch the show instead. It may be your typical YA Paranormal Romance full of vampires and angsty love, but at least there’s a plot.

Book Review: Breathless

cover-breathlessTitle: Breathless [Blue Fire Saga 1]

Author: Scott Prussing

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: College freshman Leesa Nyland has been fascinated by vampires since she was three years old. That’s when her mom started acting weird, refusing to go outside during the day and insisting the sunlight hurt her skin because she had been bitten by a one-fanged vampire…

But fascinated doesn’t mean Leesa believes—any more than she believes in blue fire, people who live for centuries, and kisses that can kill. When her beloved older brother suddenly disappears, she is forced to confront all these and more.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I really wanted to like this book. The cover was gorgeous, the writing was clear, and easy to follow… and the author obviously took their time to really explore the lore and world-building behind this series.  It had a down-to-earth but intriguing plot. Unfortunately, the characters had the depth of a half-mopped spill. Their actions in this story were so utterly unbelievable that I was actually angry by the time I finished the book.

It’s not that I didn’t like the characters. I found Leesa’s shyness endearing. Stefan and Rave were a gorgeous mix of masculinity, kindness, and brooding predator. Even Leesa’s almost-non-existent friends had great personalities… but that’s pretty much as far as they went. There was no back-story to any of the characters except to mention Leesa’s part-vampire mother, and we rarely even saw her in the story. Most of the narrative consisted of Leesa going to class, hanging out in her dorm room with friends, or awkwardly wandering around campus.  It was mostly mundane tasks and conversations and very little action, intrigue, or suspense… which… given the plot, should have been present.

The most infuriating part of this story, however, was the wishy-washy nature of all the characters… and complete lack of common sense.  Vampires, Volkaane… all the immortal beings were perfectly fine divulging all of their secrets to the human populace despite the fact they frequently talked about how they wanted to stay under the radar.  It was a good thing though – because Leesa couldn’t keep her mouth shut. She told all of her friends, her family, even the enemy of her “boyfriend” everything there was to know about everyone else’s business. She couldn’t keep a secret to save her life–not that anyone seemed to mind. Also, despite the fact that Rave and Stefan were supposedly mortal enemies (though it was never explained why), Leesa was magically able to tell them to quit fighting… and they listened. Suddenly everyone was behaving as though they had no choice. Hello? These two immortal beings are centuries older than this shy little mouse of a college student, but they were both willing to do whatever she asked.  In fact, by the time I was half-way through the story, the two men were so completely smitten with her they were more than willing to marry her.

W. T. F.

Between her selfishness, stupidity, and inability to keep her mouth shut… I just couldn’t understand the appeal.

Another oddity was that despite the fact that these two immortal species were supposed to be “secret”, the minute Leesa informed everyone (and I do mean everyone) that they existed… no one questioned her. Everyone took it at face value and went “oh.. okay. cool!”  and we’re not just talking about her close friends; I’m talking friends, family, even her teacher. No one questioned it. No one thought she was crazy, no one seemed to be frightened either. How does this happen? I’m still trying to understand.  There was a complete lack of any sort of tension or mystery to this story. Everyone… got along in a sort-of saturday morning cartoon way, and the one or two “fights” that were presented were easily dissolved away once Leesa stepped into the middle of them. She’s like a magic tranquilizer in human form.

The frustrating part of it was that there were so many instances where tension and conflict could have been introduced. I would have killed to have Edwina show up and harass Leesa, or to have seen the Volkaane lead an assault against the Vampire coven. They never did. Rave wouldn’t even fight to keep Leesa. At the final moment when Leesa revealed her plan to sacrifice herself for her brother, he pretty much stepped aside and agreed with her. He didn’t try to stop her or rescue her… there were no daring plans to steal her brother back.  The ending was wrapped up in a shiny little perfect bow, and no one got hurt, or angry, or swore retaliation. Nothing.

I am completely baffled.

The one truly redeeming feature of the story was the lore/world building. It was obvious the author had taken a lot of time to research vampire lore and adapt it to their own unique version. The concept of the Volkaane was interesting and unique (though now that I think about it, the moodus noises never were explained…), and a bit of a neat twist on the usual immortal beings we find in these kinds of stories. The only area that lacked in their development was an explanation of WHY the Volkaane fought the Vampires at all. I knew they hunted the vamps, but never why. The vampires didn’t seem all that evil to me. A total of.. what… 3 people were murdered during the entire book? Considering their food source and the circumstances they were in… I’d consider that pretty damn nice of them.

In the end, I just couldn’t enjoy the story. It wasn’t a bad idea for a novel, and there were certain aspects of it that were done very well, but in the end the execution was more of a “limp rag” than a “taunt bowstring”. It lacked any sense of immediacy, action, tension, or suspense. The pieces fell into place easily and without effort… to the point that the narrative became mundane and unfulfilling. Would I recommend it? No. I don’t think I would. If I had one way to sum up how ill-written this book was, it would be to quote the first line of chapter 33:

“It was a dark and stormy night.”