Posts Tagged ‘review


Sucks To Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe)

by Kimberly Pauley

Plot Synopsis: Mina’s parents and crazy uncle have been vampires her whole life, but she isn’t.  Now the vampire council has found out she exists and are making her go through vampire lessons so she can decide if she wants to turn (you know, turn into a vampire).  She goes in knowing she doesn’t want to, but certain facts come to light and she just might change her mind.  (Also she likes 234987 boys.)







Vampire Lore: 4
I think I have a slightly biased opinion here.  Pauley modernizes some of the vampire myths (sunlight just makes vampires more susceptible to sunburn) and dispells some other myths (the holy water one, for instance). So I suppose it slightly deviates from lore, but I personally always though the holy water (and the garlic bit) was a load of stupid crap and just never made sense, so HOORAY FOR THAT.

Love/Sex/Romance: 4
These are teenagers we’re talking about, so there wasn’t a lot of crazy stuff going on. What I liked about it was that it was unexpected (in the first few chapters at least, then it was pretty predictable). The comment above about Mina liking all the boys sounds mocking, but I’m just glad to see a teenager that isn’t completely fixated on one guy and is completely stupid about it. The fact that she encourages her best friend to date the dude that she had liked for five years or something made me hopeful that girls will read this and think, maybe I WON’T find my true love forever when I’m 16.

Fights: 0
There were none.

Entertainment Value: 3
This was a fast read, so obviously it kept me entertained (I mean, I read the thing in a day). But there were things about the characters and writing style that just irritated me, something I’ll get to below.

Characters: 3
I LOVED Aubrey. He was hilarious and I figured he’d wind up being a total flake. Nathan was kind of odd…I was in high school once, and I can’t remember anyone from another clique being that welcoming to something who is completely different. Everyone else was pretty average, but Mina was so stupid and time I wanted to give her a swift uppercut to the jaw. Through the book.

It has nothing to do with the author’s writing quality, it’s reading a book in teen-speak that annoys me. This is probably a personal thing, since I haven’t been a teenager in nearly ten years, but reading about people thinking in “omigawds” just gives me the jibblies. And the IM conversations – I never, even as a teen, used all the stupid abbreviations, so that just made my inner grammar nazi want to curl up and die.

This is definitely one of the better books I have reviewed here. A sequel exists for this book, and I wouldn’t mind reading it if I ever found the time. I feel like that’s a pretty good way to sum this one up.


Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries #1)

by Charlaine Harris

Plot Synopsis: Sookie Stackhouse is a weird telepathic barmaid/waitress who is inexperienced in sex and love.  Until she meets vampire Bill Compton, and they have sex ALL THE TIME.  Oh and someone’s killing people who have sex with vampires.  Sookie might be next!  NOOOOO!







Vampire Lore: 5
Haha, silver and garlic allergies.  Awesome.  Seriously though, spot on.

Love/Sex/Romance: 4
I think she must specify how inexperienced Sookie is in order to justify how much sex she has with Bill later on.  So yes, there was a lot, and they’re in love, but it was so much it was just absurd.  Also I don’t remember seeing sparkles or whatever the hell that was when I had sex for the first time.  She was clearly hallucinating.  So, since it was so prevalent, this would have gotten a 5, but it was too over the top.

Fights: 2
The only one I remember that actually involved vampires was when Bill kills the Rattays in the beginning of the novel.  And when Eric kills Long Shadow, but that’s hardly a fight.  Other than that, you hear about stuff, but you don’t see anything.  Except Sookie shanking that douchenozzle at the end.

Entertainment Value: 5
This novel is completely ridiculous and maybe a little trashy, but I can’t lie – I couldn’t put it down.  It’s not a work of literary genius, but if that’s what you want out of a vampire novel, go read Dave Eggers.  Who doesn’t write about vampires.

Characters: 3
Honestly?  I am in love with Sookie.  I think that every woman, in some capacity can, relate to her.  I mean, I find it pretty easy to remember what it was like being in my 20s and awkward with romance and whatnot, so I can’t help but find her incredibly endearing.  I also loved Adele so I was pissed that she was killed off so quickly.  Bill seems…odd.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in the south, or maybe it’s because he’s 200-or-whatever years old, but he just says really bizarre things.  And Jason was so annoying I WISH he had gotten framed for the murders.

Writing: 3
Eh, whatever.  I was turned off by the southern speech, but it obviously belonged there.  That’s just a personal preference.

Really, if you’re looking for a fun, light read, you might want to give Sookie a chance.  You’ll really adore it if you were awkward in your 20s (though I doubt your sex life evolved into anything remotely like this…I can’t get over out ridiculous it was).  I read this in a day – it’s the kind of book that’s perfect for taking on vacation, where you don’t have time to be invested and want to give your brain a break. Continue reading ‘Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries #1)’


Shakespeare Undead

by Lori Handeland

Plot Synopsis: A necromancer is raising people from the dead as zombies in London! Good thing that strapping young lad Will Shakespeare is a centuries-old vampire. Helping him is a young lad that goes out at night to kill them…or is it really a young woman who hates her husband and sneaks out at night dressed as a boy killing zombies, just like her nanny taught her to do? They fall in love and have lots of secks, but he can’t let her know he’s a vampire and necromancer, or she’ll think he’s raising the vampires!






Vampire Lore: 4
I can’t really knock this one. All the classics are in there, and they dispell the garlic and crucifix theories, which I never liked because they don’t make much sense.

Love/Sex/Romance: 2
Oh, there was plenty of it, don’t get me wrong. The attraction stuff was actually alright. It was the sex (and sex and sex) chapter that actually made me laugh out loud. Does anyone know if “pulse” is an actual 16th century term for orgasms? Other favorites include when she “palmed his length” and him going in and out of her like waves on the ocean, or something.

Fights: 4
There was blood! And zombies getting destroyed and turning into dust! And then Will rips off some other vampire’s head!

Entertainment Value: 2
It was interesting at first, and then I got bored, and then the hilarious sex scene, then I got bored, then there was a new vampire, and then Queen Elizabeth kicks his head across the Rose Theatre. So the entertainment value was kind of like the waves of the ocean.

Characters: 2
Sort of boring. And I’m tired of seeing Queen Elizabeth portrayed as such a badass rebel queen. Not that she wasn’t, but it’s getting old.

Writing: 3
The narration kept pretty true to the time period, but all the lines from Shakespeare plays (and elsewhere) got old a lot faster than I would have expected.

Overall, I’d say this is about a 2. It just didn’t hold my interest the way I hoped a book about vampire-Shakespeare fighting vampires would. Also it should be noted that the plot sounded so ridiculous, I assumed it was going to be a satire of the genre. Lori Handeland has actually authored many romance novels and is part of many supernatural romance collections, so not doing a search on Barnes & Noble before opening the book is attributed to my own ignorance. But, if you really enjoy supernatural romance fluff, you’ll probably like this one.


I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I actually read a book, and no, the main character isn’t a vampire. But there are vampires in it, and you’ll see why I love it so much once I explain. Take what you read about the categories with a grain of salt, since I’m sort of combining the lore of vampires AND zombies in this one…you know, if there is such a thing as zombie lore.

by Adam Selzer

Plot Synopsis: In a world where vampires, zombies, and werewolves are well known to exist! The equivalent of Wal-Mart brought dead people back to life to stock shelves, but the vampires that have been living among us for hundred of years outed them with a dead-people-ought-to-stick-together mentality, even though they apparently hate each other. Anyway, Alley loves making fun of everyone, especially the Bella Swans of the world, until she starts getting sucked into a relationship with Doug, who she finds out is a zombie after she starts dating him.






Vampire and Zombie Lore: 4
Definitely not the worst I’ve seen. Not everything is traditional at all, but everything is at least mentioned or explained away, with a few exceptions. That was appreciated. It’s also appreciated that zombies are gross and weren’t attempted to be made sexy or something.

Love/Sex/Romance: 3
This is the best fun I’ve seen poked at teen paranormal romance ever. In chapter ten, Alley researches the process of girls becoming various undead beings, and makes it a point to explain not only what trolls are, but how obviously delusional these girls who are head-over-heels for vampires are. She comes to the realization that other heroines seem to skirt over; killing yourself for a high school love is just an awful, awful idea.

Fights: 5
Nasty zombies wanting brains, at least three times! The last time, a main character dies from it!

Entertainment Value: 3
Once I realized that this book wasn’t what I expected it to be, I loved it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t until around page 120. Admittedly, this is just my own oversight, so this probably isn’t even that fair of a score.

Characters: 4
At first glance, they are nothing special. Until the Alley points out the flaws in the guys she’s dating OMG!!!!!!!!!!1

Writing: 3
Honestly, the writing isn’t bad at all. I think I’m just a bit bitter that I didn’t catch onto the joke until so close to the end, which just makes me feel dumb.

Overall, if you hate everything about Twilight, this is absolutely worth a read. I obtained an advance reader’s copy, courtesy of a coworker, but I believe it was recently released retail. I laughed out loud at the back flap description, which I think is part of what tricked me into thinking this was something else for so long. But, after I did, it was refreshing to read about a female protagonist that can be in love, but still see the flaws in her boyfriend. She convinced people not to be morons and kill themselves for their immortal boyfriends, but experienced patience in doing so – the kind of patience I don’t even have talking to Twilight fans about Edward Cullen. And, her experiences throughout the book make her a BETTER PERSON by the end. I can’t think of the last not-John-Green book I read where that happens.

Also, zombies are gross. And not sparkly and perfect. Thank goodness I didn’t have to read another scene where some girl sexes up a dude just by looking at him; barf.


Crushing Guilt! Plus Stephenie Meyer.

So, I am a full-time employee as well as a full-time student. As such, I don’t always get the time I wish I had to dedicate to reading books from the dredges of the Earth (and some that aren’t too awful), and I’ve been feeling guilty lately that I’ve been neglected BTB. It isn’t that I’ve run out of excellent candidates (Lord knows that’s not at all possible), I just seem to have run out of time to read. I’m going to make an effort to remedy this in the near future, but I feel compelled to write something until that time comes. So, feel free to read my review of “Twilight” on Goodreads. I mean, let’s face it, this is where the madness really began. I didn’t bother writing anything about the next two books (I can say all there is to say about them by informing you that I read them as quickly as possible just to get to the end), but “Breaking Dawn” was so deliciously awful, I had to say my piece on that one.

I’ll never bother doing a “proper” BTB review of any of these, since it’s been a while since I read them and I don’t care to revisit that time. Also, I have way better things to do with my time than reiterate that Stephenie Meyer is a terrible writer; you can find that anywhere on the internet.

Jeph Jacques has the lulz.
(via Questionable Content)


The Vampire Diaries Volume 1: The Awakening and The Struggle

by L.J. Smith

Plot Synopsis: Elena is the social queen at school, and gets whiny and offended when the new hot boy (Stefan) at school doesn’t pay attention to her. They eventually start dating, and she finds out he’s a vampire, with an evil brother (Damon) who wants to kill him. Fights and deaths ensue!







Vampire Lore: 2
Smith took some major liberties here, which I suppose you can get away with when you publish a book about vampires before they sparkled. For starters, a vampire drinking someone’s blood doesn’t turn them into a vampire; the victim then has to drink the vampire’s blood. Okay, I can buy that. What I CAN’T buy is that after a while the effects of vampirism can wear off, and that someone is only transformed fully into a vampire if they die. Damon can transform into a crow, and Stefan can transfer into a falcon…I’ll just leave you with the thought of vampires turning into what could be feathered pets.

Love/Sex/Romance: 2
Same stuff you see everywhere…vampire dude, human girl, want to get together but he feels obligated to not go near her to save her. Blah blah blah.

Fights: 4
I have to say, this was pretty cool. There was lots of human-human fights, vampire-vampire fights, human-vampire fights, and people dying. This should always be part of vampire novels.

Entertainment Value: 3
I have to admit, once I got past the first 20-30 pages, this wasn’t as much as a struggle as I had predicted it to be. And I give Smith credit for the way she ended each book, because the lack of resolution and the promise that it would come not-so-far into the following book kept me fairly interested.

Characters: 1
I hated Elena from page four; she was shallow and just…lame. Stefan was marginally better, but still pretty whiny. Elena’s friend Bonnie’s psychic powers made her MORE ridiculous and annoying. Elena’s friend/ex-boyfriend Matt is a sucker with no backbone. Damon was the only character that didn’t make me want to jump into the book and become homicidal.

Writing: 3
I wasn’t a fan of how, in The Awakening, the story was told in third person from Elena’s point-of-view, then Stefan’s, then Elena’s, then Stefan’s, etc. ESPECIALLY since we knew NOTHING about Stefan most of The Awakening.

Overall, this is worth a read if you plan on checking out the upcoming series on CW that’s based off of it. Because from what I’ve been reading about it, and series of books that is already questionable is being torn apart for this show. It promises to be pretty awful.


Got Fangs?

by Katie Maxwell

Plot Synopsis: Francesca is traveling Europe for the summer with her mom as part of GothFaire, a traveling show with magicians, psychics, and witches (like her mother). She just wants to be normal, which has been difficult since she inherited her mom’s weirdness and can read people’s minds by touching them. Anyway, her BFF (Imogen)’s brother, Benedikt, visits, and with her power she finds out he is a vampire. Her plan to stay away from him is thwarted when he tells her that he is her Beloved; the only person who can redeem his soul. (Also, he’s “open-your-mouth-and-let-the-drool-flow-out cute.”) Later, she accidently discovers that someone at the fair wants him dead, and she has to use her powers to find out who is stealing from the fair’s safe. Mystery ensues.





Vampire Lore: 4
I was actually pretty impressed. He gets burned by sunlight, drinks blood from humans, and dies if he gets staked in the heart. Maxwell makes a point to mention that Benedikt wears a cross around his neck, which was bizarre and random and I assume will come in later. However, he does get the crap beat out of him by a demon, and is injured like a regular person, and I wish he would have been more badass.

Love/Sex/Romance: 3
Well, there was no sex at all, for starters, so that’s out. But the whole book is based around the fact that Benedikt’s Movarian (means “vampire” in this book, not the Pennsylvania college) soul needs to be redeemed by being united with his Beloved, which, as luck would have it, is his sister’s best friend. The romantic interactions are FINALLY appropriate; she is wary of him and doesn’t automatically fall head over heels for him.

Fights: 1.5
This doesn’t get a 1 because it’s slightly better than this gem. You don’t actually see a fight, but you see what kind of shape he’s in afterwards, and that shape is pretty brutalized.

Entertainment Value: 3
I was entertained enough until about 30 pages from the end, where I guessed the ending. This annoyed me, mostly because I can never predict endings, which means it must have been pretty obvious. But I plugged through the rest, and I had guessed wrong. So for that, Katie Maxwell, a 3 for you.

Characters: 2
There were a lot of characters, but none of them were really given much depth, aside from Benedikt and Fran. Even the guy who turns out to be the bad guy never had much information revealed about him, except that he was skeevy and thought he was actually Elvis. I would care about if I didn’t think most of them needed to be developed a bit more, because I was sort of confused by their actions in the story because they just weren’t explained all that well. Also, cliche vampire dude with cliche outcast human girl. Of course.

Writing: 4
I’ll be honest, I actually hated the writing style. A lot. But I gave it a 4…what’s up with that? It was strangely written, but was, again, appropriate. It’s a first person point of view from Fran, so you’re in the mind of a sixteen-year-old girl. So all the dumb stuff that is written, is written because that’s how the mind of a sixteen-year-old works. Basically, all the awkward word and phrases to describe things are supposed to be there.

Overall…this actually wasn’t too bad. I got (and get) the impression that Katie Maxwell doesn’t take herself too seriously. Melissa de la Cruz tries to write meaningful novels with depth, Maxwell knows it’s pretty much fluff and has fun with it. Reading this book was an enjoyable two-day-long experience.