Tag: vampires

Book Review and Blog Tour: Mayhem, by Estelle Laure

mayhem
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:   Mayhem
Author Estelle Laure
Genre:   YA
Rating:   3.8 out of 5

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

I really loved the movie The Lost Boys, and I liked the idea of this book, but…this felt like it did more than take inspiration from The Lost Boys. Some thing were exactly the same as that movie, which both unsettled and disappointed me.

There’s a lot going on here: family issues/drama/secrets, the serial killer angle/mystery, the magic plotline, the romance, teen angst…While I enjoyed the writing, the plethora of things going on + the strong similarities with The Lost Boys made this an unsettling and somewhat disappointing read.

Estelle Laure was born in London but grew up in the United States. Mayhem is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: What We Do for Truth, by C.L. Mannarino

what we do for truth
Image belongs to C.L. Mannarino

Title:   What We Do for Truth
Author:   C.L. Mannarino
Genre:   Fantasy
Rating:   3.5 out of 5

In Northam, Massachusetts, the world is falling apart. 17-year-old Zara de Jaager’s lost one of her moms to a vampire. The other is struggling to make things seem as normal as possible. And Scott Whitney, the only person who knows the truth about her mom’s death, has gone missing.

Zara’s read the notes. She’s studied the lore. She’s even made a connection between Scott’s story and a job her mom was working on. Except no one wants to talk about it. And when she finds out that there might even be an entire village of vampires existing under their noses, her family shuts her down. So Zara pushes back, hard. But when she realizes what’s at stake, she’s left wondering:  is taking up her mom’s job really worth it?

It’s been a while since I’ve read in this world, so it took me a bit to get up to speed. Honestly, Zara and her attitude were a stumbling block for me. I understand she’s grieving in the beginning and trying to find an explanation, but she was pretty hateful to everyone around her, and that made it very difficult for me to continue reading about her.

Lots of secrets in this book. Secrets are a given in books like this—well, a requirement, if the supernatural isn’t an open fact—so that wasn’t a problem. As I said, Zara was a stumbling block to me, and I think my mood/outlook on society when I was reading this really affected how I felt about the book.

C.L. Mannarino has been writing books since high school. What We Do for Truth is the third book in the Almost Human series.

(Galley courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Immortal Conquistador, by Carrie Vaughn

the immortal conquistador
Image belongs to Tachyon Publications.

Title:  The Immortal Conquistador
AuthorCarrie Vaughn
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

Set in the world of Kitty Norville…

Ricardo de Avila—now called Rick—would have followed Coronado anywhere. Yes, that Coronado, the conquistador. But Coronado never found what he sought—and Rick found immortality as a turned-against-his-will vampire.

Five hundred years later, Rick has spent his life going against the immortal grain. While he at first thought he was the only self-named-demon in existence—so ignorant of the truth he didn’t even know he was called vampire—now he keeps to himself and protects his mortal family. He’s spent his days as a bartender, helped a legendary gunslinger, appointed himself Master of Santa Fe, and now discovered a church hidden under the Vatican.

Immortal life is no piece of cake.

It’s been years since I read any of the Kitty books (Looking back, it seems I stopped reading after book six). I enjoyed them, and I have no idea why I stopped reading, so this was run return to that world. I love how different Rick is from traditional or more-popular vampire tropes. He’s a loner, and he’s fine with that. He didn’t even know what he was, thinking himself a demon, but drama and trouble seem to dog his steps. A quick, fun read.

Carrie Vaughn is a bestselling author. The Immortal Conquistador is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review.)

What We’ll Do for Blood, by C.L. Mannarino

what-well-do-for-blood
I do not own this image. Image belongs to C.L. Mannarino.

C.L. Mannarino lives in Massachusetts, and writes about family, friendship, and things that go bump in the night. The first novel in her Almost Human series is What We’ll Do for Blood.

Scott Whitney just wants to survive his final exams and finish up his senior year of high school. He has a great girlfriend, but dreams of getting away from his status-conscious family and going to college. He doesn’t fit into his family’s perfect little lives, although that doesn’t stop Scott from trying.

While celebrating his father’s promotion, Scott meets Maria, his father’s gorgeous co-worker. Soon, Maria is at the house all the time, helping his father, bonding with his mother, and setting Scott’s teeth on edge. Then one night, Scott finds Maria drinking his father’s blood, and he realizes he has no idea what’s going on. Scott is determined to save his father, despite Maria’s efforts to keep him quiet.  Family has always been important to Scott, but now “blood” takes on a whole new meaning.

 s set in 1989, so there’s no cell phones to call for help, and no internet to scour for information. This is a very diverse book, not the typical YA vampire fare, and Scott is an out-of-the-ordinary hero. This book is less Twilight, and more Interview with the Vampire, not bothering to romanticize vampires and instead putting a great character front and center.

(I was contacted by the author to do an impartial review of this novel.)

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic, by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

 

Meghan Ciana Doidge is a writer from Vancouver, Canada. She writes about magic and the supernatural, fantasy with a tint of romance. The newest book in her Dowser series, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic, is out now, and mixes werewolves, vampires, and cupcakes for a sweet twist on the urban fantasy genre.

Jade’s life was normal: bake cupcakes for her boutique bakery every morning, get in the occasional bit of trouble with her sister, Sienna, create art out of the magical items that seemed to find their way to her. Well, maybe not normal, but when you’re a dowser, half-witch and half…something else, “normal” is relative. Right up until the moment the vampire showed up on her doorstep.

Someone has been murdering werewolves in Vancouver. Someone with a lot of power at their disposal. Someone whose magic smells a whole lot like Jade’s.

She manages to convince the vampire investigator of her innocence, but is swept up into the search for the black magic murderer. Jade discovers that everything she has always thought she’s known is not the truth. Her family has been hiding things from her, things that will affect her life, her abilities, and her future…if she manages to stay alive at all when her barely-tested powers battle black magic for high stakes. And chocolate.

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic is a light-hearted urban fantasy with darker shadings. The characters are unique and well-realized, and the setting does not have the traditional feel of most urban fantasies. Instead, the author offers up appealing glimpses into the quirky setting of Vancouver that will have the reader eager for more. The tasty cupcake descriptions aren’t bad, either.

 

Julie Kagawa’s “The Eternity Cure”

The Eternity Cure (Harlequin Teen)
The Eternity Cure (Harlequin Teen)

Julie Kagawa, best-selling author of The Iron Fey series, has a new book out in her The Blood of Eden series, The Eternity Cure. Set in a dystopian future where a deadly virus has destroyed most of the population, human beings are now reduced to scavengers…and to nothing more than food for vampires.

Allison Sekemoto has lost everything she cared about. Her friends. Her humanity. Her love. But she still has a chance to get one thing back: her creator, Kanin, kidnapped by the Psycho Vamp who almost destroyed her once. Following the call of blood, Allie follows Kanin’s trail and finds more than she ever bargained for.

Forced to work with an old enemy—and someone she never thought she’d see again—she races to rescue Kanin in an effort to find a cure for the disease that will wipe out all life on earth if they can’t stop it. A psychotic vampire, a vindictive Prince, and heat-wrenching betrayal aren’t enough to deter Allie, but will a more devastating loss finally destroy her?

The dystopian world of New Covington is darker and more dangerous this time around. Allie is stronger, but she’s struggling to hang on to her humanity—and her hope. The Eternity Cure takes the reader from the pinnacles of hope to the very depths of despair, on the roller-coaster ride to save earth from complete destruction.
(Galley provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley)

Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter

Aurora Sky:  Vampire Hunter, by Nikki Jefford
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter, by Nikki Jefford

Nikki Jefford is “a third generation Alaskan who loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.”  Ms Jefford is the author of the Spellbound trilogy (Entangled, Duplicity).  Aurora Sky:  Vampire Hunter is her newest novel.  Full of action from the very first page, Aurora Sky is a book that will have the reader hanging onto every word, staying up late into the night to in out just what is going to happen next!

Aurora Sky has had all of Alaska she can take.  She just wants to finish her senior year, get on with her life, and never look back.  She’s had enough cold and snow to last a lifetime and she can’t wait to go to college anywhere else.  But all that changes with a car crash on an icy road.  Suddenly, getting out of Alaska is the last thing on her mind.

When she wakes up after the wreck, Aurora discovers she’s been saved by government agents because of her special blood type.  In return for a medical miracle, now she’s forced to become a vampire hunter.  Worse than the thought of having to kill monsters she never dreamed actually existed is the fact that she can’t leave Alaska.

Now, instead of worrying about college essays and making good grades, Aurora spends her free time training and thinking about a certain mysterious boy from school.  Her old best friend doesn’t talk to her anymore, so she makes friends with some vampire groupies in an effort to find out more about the undead scene…and finds out that the boy of her dreams is more than he seems.