Sunday, June 30, 2013

Guest Post- Danielle DeVor

How Writing Made Me a Parent- Danielle DeVor

I’ve heard some people say that writing a book is like birthing a child. While I had no experience with birthing children, I do have a child and his name is Mathias. But, that isn’t quite true either. There’s a lot of Mathias in me.

One, I gave him my name. Truth be told, my last name should be Drvar. My grandfather changed his name after a family fall-out many years ago. He’d discovered a football player with the last name Devor and decided to go with it.

Two, Mathias has a bit of a potty mouth. While it makes sense for him to speak that way giving his time living on the streets, his voice is the voice in my head. He says the things I think a lot of the time.
Like Mathias, vampires were always on my radar. I’ve read hundreds of books about them. The one that stands out to me as a child was Prisoner of Vampires by Nancy Garden- great book if you haven’t read it.

But, there is more than an interest in vampires that links Mathias and I to the undead. My family’s original last name, Drvar, is  Serbian name. It is also the name of a town in a region currently located in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  And, we are distantly related to Vlad the Impaler- who of course was Bram Stoker’s inspiration for the evil count.

With all of this in mind, Mathias grew and formed in my head. His history, as well as vampire history, became what eventually grew into Tail of the Devil.

So, I guess you could say that in birthing a book, I did birth a child; a very willful, stubborn child who isn’t afraid of the dark and capable of both wonderful and horrible things.

Synopsis of book:
If Mathias thought being homeless sucked, being a vampire is worse. The vampires who transformed him believe he is the reincarnation of an ancient king. They expect him to quit swearing, use a napkin, and play by their weird, ancient rules. Screw that. But after the reigning queen assaults Mathias, he has visions of a past life in which he was that king. Turns out the current queen killed him then, and wants to kill him again. He’d better grow up fast, because if he doesn’t his second life may be shorter than his first.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger

Vampire hunter Damon Brock's first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she world solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covers, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs…and their newfound hearts. 

First off this book is a part of an anthology so keep in mind this review is only for Shadow Hunter. Novellas are hard for me to review because they often leave me wanting to know more, but novellas are really suppose to set up the main story and then produce intrigue and this novella certainly did that. 

To start with the novella is really character driven, or rather driven by a couple. Tiffany and Damon seem to really work as a couple, in spite of all the obstacles in their path. They have pretty good chemistry together, and I did find myself pulling for the two of them to work and be together. You can't under estimate the power of a reader pulling for your leading lady and leading man. 

Of the two characters I have to say I liked Tiffany a bit more than Damon, although they are both pretty well written. I like that Tiffany had personality and stuck to what she wanted/believed. I was really relieved that I didn't feel like she was ever "lost" in Damon, to the point where she loses herself. I like that she isn't perfect, and that her past is a hard one. I think a lot of what happened in her past really makes her personality more likable to the readers, because you can't help but understand and pull for her when you are reading the novella. 

The novella ends in a cliff hanger, which normally I don't like in books, but in novellas I don't mind them. There is romance in her for the paranormal romance fans and the urban fantasy fans should be pretty happy with this as well. Overall it was a solid effort and a good read. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Finding Esta by Shah Wharton

As an empath, Luna yearns for love and acceptance, for an end to her chronic isolation. Unable to touch, she settles for the lower's caress of a stranger who visits her dreams, and her only friends in the world are Shadows--spirits who reside within her fragile mind, seeking refuge from the Shadow Lands. 
Always desperate to earn parental respect, and to solve a twenty-year-old child abduction case, she travels to Cornwall to Esta's family home, situated on an abandoned cul-de-sac. Searching for clues to her tragic fate, she finds much more than she bargained for. A whole new reality is revealed, one where her accursed abnormalities are clarified, but her only friends vanish. 
More alone than ever and desperate for answers, Luna struggles to retain a sense of identity, and the light grip on reality she's been used to. Will she find Esta, and if so, will she live to tell her story? More terrifyingly, who will care enough to listen, and who will ever enough about Luna?

Finding Esta was an interesting read. I thought there were some elements that made the book unique and enjoyable and some elements that I personally thought needed a bit of work. 

Luna as a character has a rather disturbing history, and you can't help but to feel sorry for her and what she has gone through. But it is her history that makes her who she is and provides some sense to why she is the way she is and why she does the things she does. However, I do have to say Luna, while complex, is sometimes a little bit unbelievable for me, but never so much so that it detracts from the plot.

The writing in the book is pretty solid. The author is really good with descriptions and is good at setting a scene for the reader. There is a lot to be said for painting a picture with words. On the other hand there is a lot going on in the book at all times. There is not a lot of downtime for either the readers or the characters. While this is good, in that it is never boring, I could easily see how some readers might find everything hard to follow, or that the is just to much going on for it to be a truly enjoyable read from start to finish. 

The book ends in a cliff hanger, and I know that a lot of people don't like reading books with cliff hangers, so I put that out there for those of you who hate it. But for those of you who like series, the cliff-hanger will probably leave you wanting the next book in the series, and this is going to be a series, so you are in luck. Overall I think for the first book in a series it was a decent effort, and I think a lot of urban fantasy readers will enjoy the book. I hope to see the authors writing progress as the series continues. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Affairs of the Dead by A.J. Locke

Synopsis: Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.
But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules…

Review: I was first drawn to this book because of the cover, it's a really gorgeous cover, and I thought to myself if this book is as vibrant as the cover than I want to read it. The whole ghostly affairs concept, especially as a job, is really interesting, and I think could provide a huge range of ideas within the universe for a lot of fun stories. 

My first requirement for an urban fantasy book is that the heroine is not wimpy and dependent on a male. I love that Selene is super headstrong and doesn't back down from her opinion. The writing of Selene is really great, and I really appreciate good writing, especially the dry humor in this book, it really made the main character pop. 

I really want to touch on the aspect of the world building in this book. Part of what I really liked about the book was that this was a universe where the paranormal is known and accepted, so there isn't a lot of sneaky, hide and seek type stuff between people who are paranormal and the others who don't. I think what is awesome about this is the concept of ghosts becoming a part of the economy, in urban fantasy books you see a lot of witches offering their services or vampires owning clubs, but you rarely see ghosts as a business. This fresh element really helps with keeping the novel feeling like something you haven't read before. 

The book itself is really well paced, which I love. Of course like all books there is a few moments here and there where the story does slow down, however the book keeps a good pace. The best thing about a well paced book is that feeling that you can't put the book down, and I definitely got that feeling from reading this book. 

On the downside, the issues I have with the book come from a minor displeasure with the ending (you'll have to read the book to find out what the ending is, no spoilers here!). And secondly, while I really like Selene's character, I don't always appreciate or like her choices. And while every character needs a starting point to grow from, to evolve from, I felt like she could have used a few more good points to help make her stay likable. 

Anyone looking for something new in the urban fantasy genre should definitely check this book out, it's a fun read. I would like to mention that if you are a lover of paranormal romance and are looking for something with a lot of romance in it, then this might not be your book. Either way if the synopsis sounds good to you, you should totally pick up the book and read it! 


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