Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bite Me by Parker Blue (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Bite Me Plot Overview:

When Val Shapiro turns eighteen her parents kick her out of the house and fire her from her job at the family bookstore.

Not exactly you hallmark moment . . . .

Val is part succubus and since she won’t give into her other half and feed on lust, she hunts vampires to take the edge off. Being part-demon gives Val special powers - she's fast, strong, heals quickly, and is immune to vampire mind control - all of this makes  for great vampire slaying. When Jen, Val’s human half-sister, follows her out on a vampire hunt their Mom blames Val and decides that she is too dangerous to be around.

A chance encounter with a police officer who watches her take down a vampire all by herself leads Val to a new life and job with the Special Crimes Unit. The Special Crimes Unit is investigating a new Vampire Movement in town. The usually unorganized and solo vampires are uniting and claim they seek peace between humans and vampires. However there has also been an increase in vampire-related deaths, now her own sister is mixed up in whatever is going on and that just makes Val more determined to find out the truth.

What I thought:

*I received Bite Me, part of the Demon Underground series, via NetGalley along with the second and third books in the series which I will review later*

I had actually read this one before but I liked it enough to want to read the other ones in the series so I got the bundled eBook edition from NetGalley. I re-read this first one as it had been a while and I wanted to give a good review about the book.
I liked the book from the start as it opens with an action scene. You feel like you really get to know Val right away and action is always a good way to start in my opinion. Bite Me is a Young Adult novel that easily spans the generational gap. Val is eighteen years old and not at school so it really reads a bit older than a lot of Young Adult stories where the protagonist is usually fifteen or sixteen and still in high school.

The story is a little bit dark and a lot sassy; it’s a great girl kick ass book. One of the best parts of the novel is the humor; the mystery part of the story is slightly predictable but it is still an enjoyable read. With any book about a teenage girl slaying vampires you are automatically going to think of Buffy, the writer deals with this by making references to this cult icon and essentially paying tribute wherever possible.

Val is the main character and we immediately feel sympathetic towards her when she is treated so poorly by her family. She is a tough, kick ass vampire slayer on the outside but we know how vulnerable she really is on the inside and how much inner turmoil is going on as she tries to reconcile her human and demon sides. One of the main themes of the book is self-discovery and Val goes though a lot, you really get the feeling that she grows as a character which is nice. I think that Val is one of my favourite YA heroines, she is strong and tough and has a kick ass attitude. She also has her soft side and literally her ‘inner demons’.

My favourite character in Bite Me was Val’s tiny, part hellhound, sidekick Fang. He provides the comedy and is a great counterpoint to the teen drama, making sure that the story does not get too melodramatic. Fang and Val’s relationship and conversations are definitely a highlight; I especially liked the scene where he helps her pick out what to wear to a club.

The rest of supporting characters are a bit thin, I did not like the love interest character - Dan, it felt like he was potentially a good character but just did not quite get there, he was also very judgemental which annoyed me. Val’s family are all a bit stereotypical and don’t really get enough coverage to be developed any more. I think that it would have been more enjoyable if the other characters had been fleshed out a bit more.

The main issues that I had with this book surround the plot, first off it was a bit simplistic which made it predictable but this can be forgiven because overall it was a good story. Another issue that was a bit harder to get over was how the police worked in the story. Val’s entry to the Special Crimes Unit is much too easy; she phones them up and starts work that same day - because Police Units always hire eighteen year old girls of the street? It was just such a gloss over; surely there was a way to have her working for the police as an outside consultant or something to make it a bit more believable. Lastly, the other noticeable thing was that there seemed to be a lot of travelling for no reason, they are always getting into a car to go somewhere. Surely that time could have been better spent.
Final Comments and Overall Rating:
This book was fun and easy to read if a little predictable, it had its issues but overall it is an entertaining and action packed novel and I enjoyed reading it.

I would recommend Bite Me for those who love a kickass female heroine, some good humor and a light read.

Demond Undergound Series: Bite Me,Try Me,Fang Me,Make Me

Rating: ☆☆☆

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cover Feature: The Willows by Krystal George

The Willows Book Cover

Life is easy when you have everything you want; great friends, a boyfriend who loves you, a happy family that supports you and brothers that both protect and annoy you. I had all of that… once.

That was before the accident. That was before the murder. That was before… The Willows.

Evelyn Magwire now has a choice to make. Does she turn her back on the mysteries that have consumed her life, or does she face the darkness and find the truth? When her brother goes missing, the choice is made for her; forced on a path where friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Evie soon learns that the changes happening to her are the scariest she will face. She’s not sure she will ever be the same again… Because some changes are forever… and bloodlust… never dies.

Release Date: April 2012
Available from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords

I offered to do a cover feature for Krystal George's new book 'The Willows' because I was really impressed with the cover.  It looks great and so I really wanted to share it with you all.  I have not read the book yet but Krystal has supplied me with a copy so I will read it as soon as possible and follow this up with a review.

Please comment if you have read the book, what did you think about it?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chimera by Rob Thurman (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Chimera Plot Overview:

When Stefan Korsak was fourteen his younger brother Lukas was kidnapped and he has never forgiven himself for the part he unwittingly played. It was Stefan who convinced Lukas that they should sneak out to ride their horses on the beach that day and so ten years later Stefan is still searching for answers.

In the meantime he has fallen into the family business – the Russian mafia, he has no illusions about his lifestyle choices and it funds his obsession to find his brother which is all Stefan cares about these days. Finally one of his contacts comes through with new lead that points him towards a shadowy ‘institute’ where a boy matching Lukas description has been seen.

Stefan mounts a dangerous rescue mission and finally is reunited with his brother, but after ten years Lukas is no longer the boy he remembers. Lukas insists that he does not know who Stefan is and that his name is Michael. The ‘institute’ has spent years training and conditioning Michael to be a weapon and they will do whatever it takes to get him back.

Now the two are on the run together, Michael from his captors and Stefan from the mafia he left behind, they must learn to trust one another if they want to stay alive. Michael has no reason to trust this stranger except that he has risked his life for him and Stefan will do anything to make sure his brother has a chance a real life.

 What I thought:

I really enjoy Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series so wanted to give this one ago as well. I ordered it off Amazon a while ago and finally got around to reading it recently. On the whole I think that I prefer Rob’s previous novels over this one, I might read the next one in the series but it’s not going to be high on my list.

That does not mean it was bad by any means, I just didn’t really feel that it was great. It was a compelling read, had some good points, and was pretty entertaining. There's not much of a supernatural aspect to this book compared to others that Rob Thurman has written. It’s a bit hard to categorise as it’s not completely mundane either but its more science fiction than fantasy as it deals with genetics.

The story starts off slow introducing Stefan and his mafia background but it soon picks up as Stefan finds and rescues Lukas, after that it rolls along pretty well towards the conclusion. It’s a good thriller, action type story with twists and turns in the plot to keep you interested.

Rob Thurman always does characters well so there are no complaints on that score, there is a lot of depth to the two main characters and she really works out their interactions very well. There is a lot of thought about how these two boys would deal with each other, one has been searching for the brother he lost 10 years ago and the other does not believe he has a brother. They both have their issues but they need to rely on each other to survive.

There is a good dose of Rob Thurman’s signature snarky dialogue and the brother’s relationship is well written. It does not come naturally as the boys have been estranged but Stefan is determined to get his brother back and Lukas despite himself wants to believe.

I thought that sometimes the plot seemed a bit easy,Stefan breaks into a top secret compound which surely would have top of the line security. Obviously this is needed for the story line as most of the reminder of the story is about them running but I think there could have been a more plausible way to get Lukas out. Something where there was less security like when they were outside on a trip or something. It’s just a small point but it’s at the start so it sets the scene.

I was not a huge fan of the ending but I don't want to give away so I won’t say too much. I didn't have a problem with the resolution of the story but the twist at the end left me feeling a bit underwhelmed, I’m sure many will see it coming and I thought it might happen but would have rather it had gone another way.

Finally I just thought I would mention I was not a big fan of the cover but as I knew the author from previous books it did not matter too much. If it was debut author I might have hesitated on the cover, it’s not the most attractive. A minor point I know but I really enjoy the cover art so thought I would add it in.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

Overall, Chimera does not disappoint, I myself preferred the Leandros series but it’s better to view this as something apart as it is not urban fantasy. It’s an exciting thriller about genetic experiments and sibling relationships. While it has its flaws it’s still a great read, well written and it will keep your interest.

So if you are interested in action, thriller type books then this might just be what you are looking for or if you are a Rob Thurman fan I’m sure you will not be disappointed if you give it a go.

Rating: ☆☆☆