Lycans, vampires and serryns – oh my! Review Time: Blood Torn by Lindsay J Pryor

So this review has been a long time coming!

And when I say a long time, I mean eight months to be exact, a fact that I feel quite ashamed of as there really was no excuse not to shout this book from the rooftops as soon as I finished reading it. But as usual, I was distracted by life in general and this review is now LONG overdue, so I hope Lindsay will forgive me.

I’m a huge fan of the Blackthorn series, I just happen to be terrible at writing reviews so I’m just glad to be finally getting around to reviewing Blood Torn, the third book in the series and the one I was probably most eagerly anticipating, which is a little strange seeing as I’m not a huge fan of Lycan books. I’m a vampire girl and with the exception of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, I’ve never really delved into the world of the fictional Lycan.

But this is Blackthorn, after all, so Lindsay could probably throw me a B-movie zombie and I’d be happy, plus of course, there was the teeny tiny matter of the main character Jask having been inspired by my favourite Followill, Kings of Leon’s Caleb, so for me this was always going to be a no brainer.

We start out where Blood Roses left off, with Sophia, the AWOL sister of Leila and Alisha, who also happens to be a member of The Alliance, the human vigilant group intent on destroying the third-species underworld rule of Blackthorn, captured by Jask, leader of the Blackthorn Lycans and having to explain just why she’s been found with two dead vampires at her feet.
With Leila’s serryn powers switching over to her sister when she fell in love with the vampire Caleb, Sophia now finds herself prisoner of the hot-tempered, fierce Lycan who just so happens to be one of the very underworld figures she should be hunting.

Taken back to the Lycan compound with its fifty-foot barb-wire topped fences, Sophia decides to use her incarceration to her advantage, learning what she can about the Lycans and about the mysterious Jask himself. What she learns is far more than she ever bargained for: a leader fighting to keep his pack alive, despite imminent threats from the Lycan Control Unit and the Third Species Control Division, a leader fiercely loyal to his pack and yet strong enough to punish those who step out of line and a Lycan who she can’t help but be fascinated by, despite the fact as she is a member of The Alliance, Jask is the one person she shouldn’t be interested in. What ensues is a battle of wills between the feisty, strong-willed serryn and the tough Lycan, with both trying to second guess the other and both vying to be the one who ends up on top.

As always in Blackthorn, the twists and turns will have you eagerly turning each page in anxious anticipation and Lindsay’s canny ability to have you guessing right up until the end is very much evident in Blood Torn. Lycans might be the minor third-species in the dark, grimy streets of Blackthorn, but Lindsay makes them stand out, worthy to sit side by side with the vampires in a way that makes them completely believable, utterly engaging and always intriguing. For me, the vampire girl, I fell completely in love with the Lycans struggle, their intra-pack relationships, their fight against those who would wipe them out and let me tell you, it definitely surprised me, because as much as I knew I would love the book, I never thought I would love the Lycans.

So am I converted? Yes okay, I admit, I’m a Lycan-lover. Just don’t tell Caleb Dehain or Kane Malloy that I said that, okay?

Five stars for this wonderful third Blackthorn instalment!

IMG_1501-1.PNG

2 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Writer Wednesday

Blackthorn Does It Again!

Sequels so rarely hit the mark. I remember reading books two and three in the Blackthorn series and wondering how on earth Lindsay had managed to successfully pull it off. But to reach book four Blood Deep and to find it is even better (if that’s possible?!) than the first three? Surely it can’t be done?

But yes, I’m VERY pleased to say that Blood Deep is very much the crowning glory of the series so far. Before now, we’ve seen Lindsay weave the threads of her plot very expertly throughout the first three books, although she always maintained each could be read as a standalone and not necessarily in order (although I’d urge you to ignore that and go for the sequence read!) and now, in book four, it still amazes me how she can still surprise with each new turn of event, each new twist, whilst also adding into the mix completely new characters who keep the reader hooked from the word go.

It’s a skill to keep readers interested when you get them invested in characters, just to then switch characters in the next book, but somehow, magically, Lindsay manages to do this and quickly you find yourself torn over which ones are your favourite – personally my loyalties lie with Jask AND Eden, and I just ADORE Jessie. She’s another fabulous female character to bring the men to their knees – as do ALL of Blackthorns’s leading ladies – feisty, strong, courageous and with the right amount of vulnerability to make them believable and real.

It’s never easy to work out just where Lindsay will take us in Blackthorn – more supernatural creatures, new villains, wonderful twists and harsh revelations (not to mention the uber sexy scenes!) but I am more excited than ever to read the next book – bring on Blood Dark 2015!

Well done Mrs Blackthorn – five stars!!

IMG_1499.PNG

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews, Writer Wednesday

O Captain My Captain!

I’ve no doubt this blog post will be one of the many thousands written today, motivated (because I hate to use the word inspired here, after all, it doesn’t seem quite appropriate to be inspired to write following somebody’s death) by the passing of the great Robin Williams. And I’ve no doubt that the web is being inundated with an outpouring of affection for this funny man, who it turns out didn’t feel quite as funny on the inside as we all saw on the outside.
I never met Robin Williams. I didn’t know him personally. I, like many others, was a fan, having been raised on a diet of Mork and Mindy, Hook, Good Morning Vietnam and many more, but I did not know him. I did not know that he was a man plagued with depression and afflicted by addiction. And yet today, I found myself looking at pictures of him in a very different way. I found myself feeling a connection with this man that I never knew and probably would never have met, even if he had not made the tragic decision to take his own life.
My brush with depression was fleeting compared to Robin Williams. In fact, my experience of this horrible illness was brief compared to the many thousands who have battled with it for most of their lives.
I spent the first two years of my son’s life struggling with this ‘other person’ that I had become, the one that I hid behind smiles and constant reassurances of ‘I’m fine, I’m just tired‘ or ‘I’ll be okay, I don’t need help.’
If you have never suffered from depression or have never been close to someone who has or does experience it, none of this will make much sense to you. You might even think, of someone like Robin Williams, ‘he had everything anyone could wish for. He had wealth and he had fame, what right did he have to feel a bit sad’. I can even understand why you might think that, which might sound a bit strange, but if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, you will think it’s a case of someone feeling sad or down in the dumps.
Of course, I can’t talk for Robin or any other sufferer of depression, but I can try to explain it from my own personal perspective.
Imagine if you will, waking up one day and feeling like a completely different person. Imagine thinking completely differently, most of which is totally irrational (although you convince yourself otherwise). Imagine convincing yourself that everyone around you is against you. Imagine starting to think you are against them, some of them you might even start to hate a bit. Imagine getting in your car everyday and thinking about just putting your foot down and driving somewhere, anywhere, as long as it is far away from everything and everyone you know. Imagine getting up each day and planning your escape, where you will go, what you will do, how you will change your name so nobody can find you.
You can imagine that, but for me, that was my reality and it was my reality every day for at least two years.
And yet every day, I got up, I ironed my husband’s work shirts, I made his lunch, I looked after our young son, I did the grocery shopping, I met friends for lunch, I did the laundry, I chatted to neighbours, I went for walks in the sunshine and I smiled. Sometimes I even laughed out loud. To the outside world I was the same as I ever was, and yet I knew I wasn’t. I was somebody else.
And that’s just how it is. That’s depression, in a very small and very simple nutshell.
Just by coincidence, I bumped into an old friend today. If she ever reads this and realises I am talking about her, I hope she forgives me for writing this, but after I saw her, I thought about her all day, mainly because it had some connection to what I had been feeling since learning about Robin Williams and the memories stirred up by his death. This friend, who I haven’t seen for maybe four or five years, was always the friendliest, bubbliest girl, someone who could talk ten to the dozen without barely coming up for air and who could light up the room with her funny stories and lighthearted chat.
When I saw this girl today, she was sat on a park bench in a children’s playground as her kids played happily around her. Everything about her seemed different. She sat, staring into space, her hands clasped tightly together in her lap and I think if she could have made herself invisible, she would have done so. I watched her for a couple of minutes, in fact, I almost wondered whether I had got it wrong and it wasn’t even her. Maybe I was mistaken? It didn’t seem like her and yet it was.
As soon as she saw me, her whole face changed. The grin appeared, her body language changed, she jumped up and gave me a hug and then she began talking again, ten to the dozen, chatter, chatter, chatter almost as if I were the first person she had spoken to all day. Maybe even all week. We talked about life after children. She mentioned she had been ‘ill’ and didn’t go out much. She didn’t say the actual word at that point but I knew what she meant. I had heard from a mutual friend that maybe she had been suffering since the birth of her children and had become somewhat reclusive. When I looked at her and listened to her talk, I realised she was the person I had been three years ago.
Now I don’t mind talking about having depression, it’s not anything I’m ashamed of, but I know it makes plenty of people uncomfortable when I talk about it. That doesn’t bother me either, that’s more their problem than it is mine. In fact, I think it’s vitally important to talk about it. Because you see, for the most part, people don’t talk about it. They’re scared to talk about it. They’re ashamed to admit they’re not quite coping with life. They’re afraid people will look at them differently.
I get that. I really do. The simple facts are that as a society we don’t cope well with people who don’t cope well. There’s still a huge stigma attached to any form of mental illness and the less we talk about it, the longer that stigma will remain.
And so, I somehow slipped into the conversation with my friend that I had suffered from depression after my son was born. I’m not sure what she thought about that. I’m not sure whether she walked away feeling a little less alone. I’m not sure whether by saying it out loud it made her realise that it was actually okay to say it out loud. I hope so.
Because it is okay. It really is.
And it’s okay to say you’re not coping. Say it to whoever you feel comfortable saying it to. Say it to you parents. Say it to your brother or sister. Say it to your best friend. Say it to your doctor. Pick up the phone and say it to the Samaritans or Mind.
Just say it to someone. Please.

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.samaritans.org/

RIP Robin Williams, your smile will never fade.

IMG_1462-1.PNG

4 Comments

Filed under Random stuff

39 Wattpad Wonders for You to Feast on

Evening friends, bloggers, writers and weirdos,

I am sitting here on the Eve of my 39th birthday, otherwise known as ‘that one that’s a little too close to The Big 4-0′ and I’ve had a number of work colleagues today ask me what my plans are for tomorrow’s celebrations.

‘Oh, you know, try not to lament the loss of my youth, buy a pair of mum jeans and slather myself in anti-wrinkle Q10.’

Of course, that’s not quite what I said.

‘A bit of shopping and maybe a spot of dinner.’

Which is very tame, I know, but whatever I do, I thought that maybe a good way to celebrate my birthday, would be to celebrate the talents of my fellow Wattpad writers. Thirty-nine of them to be precise. And why not? One Wattpad wonder for every year of my life so far.

So, if you’re a Wattpad reader and you’re looking for something new to read this Friday 13th, or if you just enjoy seeking out new stories in general, then why not take a peek at this lovely bunch and see if you can find yourself a new favourite author?

By the way, this list comes in no particular order and is not exhaustive, I could easily name many many more. Just saying ;-)

1. @deathofcool
2. @hellvis
3. @alysarden
4. @LaDameBlanche
5. @Lana_sky
6. @AuRevoirSimone
7. @AuthorGMichelle
8. @DavidJThirteen
9. @RodneyVSmith
10. @KateHauxwell
11. @xXSMXx
12. @Kuronoshio
13. @LovinLife808
14. @CaptainDecus
15. @garyjarvis1975
16. @Imogen_Isles
17. @DrSocks
18. @nekohonabara
19. @The-Dark-One
20. @Lydia161290
21. @Reese_Kelly
22. @Sexyglamoruz
23. @MartinDouglas
24. @LizzytheBrit
25. @keepaustinweird
26. @StephanieOlivia
27. @misslittleDHP
28. @CaoimheGrace
29. @northernlights136
30. @Katrina_Crane
31. @ReynaAlvarez
32. @lolly80
33. @CatRyer
34. @CaptainHope
35. @ELatimer
36. @KatherineArlene
37. @Onadustyrock
38. @TaureanDelight
39. @KeathenWench

Go on, take a peek. And if you find any new faves, be sure to come back and let me know!

Enjoy Friday 13th. I shall be eating copious amounts of cake and congratulating myself on buying those mum jeans with the elasticated waistband.

Linz xxxx

3 Comments

Filed under Random stuff, Wattpad, Writing

The Rules of Write Club

20140515-230605.jpg

Okay, so the first rule of Write Club is……

You’re waiting for the list, right? Hmm. The problem is, I don’t have one. I’ve never had one. I probably never will.

You see the things is, I’m one of these weird writers that simply hates to follow rules. I’ve never understood it. All those ‘How To Write A Novel’ guides. All those ‘Do’s’ and ‘Do Not’s’. There’s something about all those instruction manuals that just scream at me to run in the opposite direction.

When I first started writing (which wasn’t that long ago, as contrary to popular belief, not all writers pen their first novel when they’re barely out of nappies) it was a fairly insular affair. Prompted to do something during the early stages of post-natal depression, I started writing and randomly ended up writing something that resembled a novel. I had an idea I wanted to work on, something which held my interest, and I sat down each day for about an hour and just wrote. I didn’t make notes. I didn’t plot. I didn’t write endless character outlines. I just did it. And that’s pretty much how I still work today.

During that time, I also began to dip my toes into social media more than I ever had. I connected with other writers on Twitter and on blogs and of course, came across the inevitable ‘How to Write’ guides. They’re everywhere, you can’t miss them. Give me a writer, and there are ten more out there telling everyone how to do it. “You want to be a writer? Then buy my book and I’ll tell you how it must be done.” “You want to write a best selling novel? Here’s the guide that you must follow or be cast into the pit of penniless failed writers.”

Okay, I’m being ever so slightly flippant, I know. But, if truth be told, I just don’t get it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m always keen on hearing advice from my fellow writers who have made it in the trad publishing or indie publishing world. That’s important. Crucial, even, because you’re talking to people who can give you a wealth of valuable information. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the people who claim there are hard and fast rules on how to write.

And again, I’m not talking about rules on grammar, sentence structure etc. That is something you should never stop educating yourself about. But I am talking about those who will say: You must do this. You must do that. Look, I’m not saying these people don’t have good advice, in fact, I’m sure some of them have great advice. But you have to remember that what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for the other. You have to find your own way as a writer and if you catch onto a method that another writer uses and you find that works for you too, then great. But, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong.

I’m prompted to write this following a recent conversation with a friend of mine who expressed an interest in joining Wattpad. She wants to start posting her work online, but she’s understandably anxious. Of course, it’s bloody nerve-wracking posting your work on a public forum for the first time. Will people like it? Will people even read it? However, in my friend’s case, her fears have been doubled and why might this be?

She’s currently finishing a creative writing module at college.

Now I studied a creative writing module at university too. Well, actually it was a women in literature poetry module with creative writing elements and yeah, it was scary as hell having to write poetry and read it out loud to the class, but I was fortunate in that we had a very supportive tutor. My friend, however, doesn’t seem to have been blessed with the same. In fact, her tutor sounds exactly like the type of tutor NO creative writing student needs because she’s a ‘it’s my way or the highway’ kind of person. The result? My friend now doubts herself and her abilities. And that just makes my blood boil. Advise. Educate. Support. But don’t damn someone because they don’t want to do things your way.

Another friend of mine, a successful writer who I admire greatly, once told me that she was astounded to learn that I never really plot. But she wasn’t saying that in a negative way, she was merely surprised, because she always plots. It’s her thing. She didn’t berate me at all for not plotting, because she understood clearly that everyone follows their own rules. Again, I reiterate: what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

Okay so I’m not going to sit here and say that first novel I wrote would win any awards, far from it, and I’m not here to say ‘hey look at me writing a novel and NOT following the rules, you should do that too.’

I’m saying, make your own rules. Take what you think will work for you. Mix and match rules if you need to. Or don’t. It’s up to you.

It’s your Write Club.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writer Wednesday, Writing

Plagiarism: it’s not big and it’s not clever.

Imagine this if you will.

It’s Friday. (It doesn’t have to be a Friday, it could be any day, I’m just using Friday for analogical purposes). You’ve had a long day. Hell, scrap that, you’ve had a long week. You’re looking forward to getting home and having dinner with your husband and son (you can change characters to fit your own story). You pull up outside, put the key in the lock and walk in – only to find another woman sitting in your seat at the dinner table. She’s wearing your clothes. She’s sitting with your husband and son. And even worse, she’s eating your damn dinner.

You ask her what the hell she is doing there and she just shakes her head and smiles. ‘No, no,’ she replies, still smiling. ‘These may look like your clothes. This may look like your husband and son. This may look your dinner table, your chair, your house. But it is all mine.’

You look in her eyes and realise she actually believes this. She is staking claim to your life and she is sure – no, wait, she is insistent – that it all belongs to her.

It has the makings of a horror story, doesn’t it? Crazy woman stealing your clothes, your family, your life and the whole time she is just smiling at you, like it’s nothing. Like it doesn’t matter.

Well, this is what happened to me yesterday. Okay, so I didn’t come home to find some mad woman stealing my life, but I did come home to find that someone had stolen one of my stories on Wattpad. Only this particular person messaged me to ask my express permission to steal one of my stories. That’s new, right? A wannabe plagiarist asking permission to plagiarise? Let’s forget, for a moment, that the plagiarist wasn’t a wannabe at all, in fact, the crime had already been committed so she was asking after the fact. Instead let’s look at what she said:

‘I love your story The Fan and I want to write something similar. Only it won’t be your story, it will be mine. I want your permission.’

Hmmmm, I thought, raising an eyebrow. Somebody who feels the need to ask for permission surely must know that she wants to write something remarkably similar.

So I asked her what she meant by ‘similar’.

‘I want to write a story about a fan who gets stuck in a lift with (insert name of famous boy band member) and he kills her. But it will be my story. I just want to make sure that if anyone reads it they will know that you said it was okay.’

Ooooooooh well obviously that’s okay then! (insert heavily sarcastic intonation).

After explaining to Plagiarist Girl that actually it would be MY story but with different characters and that, no, I would not give her permission to plagiarise, I discovered via a Wattpad friend that PG had in fact, already posted ‘her’ story. It wasn’t her story. It was my story. And I mean, actually my story with a few minor word changes. It wasn’t just similar. It was a direct copy.

Well after reporting her to Wattpad and warning her that she had been reported with a request that she remove the story immediately, PG thankfully did just that. She apologised. I said okay. She asked to credit me on a new story. I said no thank you. Case closed, Dr Watson.

But the point is, apology or not, PG took a story that was not hers, changed a couple of very small details, and tried to stake claim to it. And then had the gall to ask for my permission. I wonder if she ever really thought I would say yes? What sane person would give up their life and let someone move into their home and take everything for themselves? She knew it was wrong and yet felt perfectly comfortable in stealing it as long as I said it was fine. And isn’t that just the problem with plagiarists? Ultimately they don’t care.

I have to say, however, that I am one of the lucky ones. Of course, I have to thank PG for alerting me to her own theft in the first place. Others I know haven’t been so lucky and this is happening on a regular basis on Wattpad and to many people who have posted their work on other writing sites. You can’t blame the site itself. It’s not something they can control. They can only remove the offending stories and warn the users when they themselves are alerted to the crime via the support ticket system or by somebody contacting one of the moderators. Wattpad writers have to rely on the beady eyes of their followers and friends to spot evidence of plagiarism. And unfortunately the more visible you become on the site, the higher the chance of you falling prey to the plagiarists.

In my case, I became what is known as a Featured Writer.

‘Well, that sounds wonderful!’ you say. ‘Hold on. What’s a Featured Writer?’

Getting ‘featured’ by Wattpad means that they have deemed one of your offerings as worthy of making their Featured List, which is basically Wattpad’s recommended reads. It’s the Go To List for all new members. It’s also the place for existing members to find something new to read that is officially supported by Wattpad.

Now I admit to punching the air with glee when I was contacted by one of the site’s lovely ambassadors and told the news. After all, a few of my closest Wattpad buddies had been featured and have seen the reads, comments and votes rocket, not to mention gain followers and have their work make the Hot Lists. So I was extremely happy and honoured that Wattpad would want The Fan to be featured. I still am. The Fan climbed to number one in the horror hot list and the current reads stand at almost 170,000 since it was first featured in April. I’d be a fool not to appreciate that.

But make no bones about it, getting featured isn’t all hunky dory. I’ve been lambasted for posting a copyright notice at the beginning of the story (why that should offend people, I have no idea). I’ve been accused of not knowing how to spell because I write in British English and apparently there are some people who aren’t aware that different versions of the English language exist outside of the US borders (to be fair these people probably don’t know that anything exists outside of the US, nor that the earth is round or that it orbits around the sun). I’ve been scolded for the use of swear words in the story. I’ve been harassed by readers who think it’s too short (the clue is in the short story genre tag, duh!) I’ve been plagued a gazillion times by people advertising their story on mine, most of whom haven’t even had the courtesy to read my story first. I’ve had people tell me it’s crap. The list is endless.

And now I can add plagiarism to that list. The difference here is that if this was just bottom-dweller trolls, I could block them and the harassment would stop. But you can’t block a plagiarist from seeing your stories and potentially stealing your ideas. The block function doesn’t work that way. It stops them from commenting on your stories and from contacting you, but for me, that really isn’t the issue. Plagiarist Girl has been very nice in all her communication. She even commented on another of my short stories and left some positive feedback. Ultimately if she wants to take another of my stories and copy it, she could, although I hope that she will now appreciate that all beady eyes will be on the look-out for this.

This isn’t a horror story about getting Featured, far from it. All in all, I am still very grateful for being Featured. I’ve received some amazing feedback. And getting the backing of Wattpad is very gratifying. It makes you feel like you’re on the right track after all and maybe not everything you write is a pile of steaming donkey poop. But there’s no denying that the latest ‘free gift’ is one that I’d like to return to sender. It doesn’t taste good. And it’s certainly left me feeling slightly disillusioned and itching to delete my works. I don’t want to of course, and most likely won’t, the pro’s vastly out weigh the cons for me (although this hasn’t been the case with some of my friends who have recently left the site).

Plagiarism hurts. That’s a simple fact. It hurts, not only because someone else is trying to stake their claim on your property, but it makes you think about what you had to do to write the damn thing in the first place. It’s not just someone staking a claim on your life, it’s like someone is stealing a little piece of your soul. And I don’t even make money from my stories. Can you imagine if I did? It would be like someone reaching into my bag and stealing my purse. It would be like someone frogmarching me to the cash point on payday and making me withdraw a month’s wages.

If you’re considering copying somebody else’s work, don’t. Find your own ideas. Create your own damn stories. Trust me, it’s far more gratifying to see your ‘light bulb moment’ grow and develop on the page. Far more pleasurable to be able to sit back and say ‘This is mine. I created it. It belongs to me.’

And if you can’t write your own, then just read the ones you like and leave it at that.

5 Comments

Filed under Writing

Review Time! Bleeder by Monica Kuebler

Hello bloggers, writers, friends and readers,

As you know I’ve been pretty much engrossed in the world of Wattpad for some time now, much to the chagrin of my poor neglected WordPress blog and so recently I decided that the best way to combat this was to combine the two. Why not bring some of the wonders of Wattpad over here and review some of my favourite stories?

I’ve lost count recently of how many times I’ve been told by my readers that they had become disillusioned with vampire fiction, mostly due to those sparkly fangsters and the subsequent saturation of the market that followed with writers churning out glossy vamp slush in a bid to emulate Meyer’s success. Many readers have said how refreshing it has been to finally read vamp stories that have a bit of bite about them (sorry, couldn’t resist). But I have to admit, this leaves me feeling slightly dismayed, because when you start to say how refreshing you find stories that focus on the original idea of vampires as dark works of horror, you realise that maybe something has gone very awry with people’s perception of vampire fiction.

Readers are expecting glitter, romance and a touch of piano-playing. They’re no longing anticipating blood, gore and a touch of the heebie-jeebies.

Well, in answer to that, I give you Bleeder, the first novel in the Blood Magic Saga by Canadian author Monica Keubler. Monica, by day the managing editor of horror magazine Rue Morgue and by night the mighty dark goddess of the pen, knows a thing or two about blood, gore and the heebie-jeebies. In fact, she’s an expert on all three and what’s more is that she’s definitely not scared to prove that horror does have a place in the Young Adult market. Yeah, teens like horror, who knew? And whether you’re a teen or an adult who loves YA, I will guarantee that Bleeder will restore your faith in vampire fiction.

Readers, meet Mildred Millhattan. Or Mills to her friend, of which she doesn’t have many admittedly. Mills is a slightly awkward, almost-sixteen year old, who might be invisible to most of her classmates, but actually turns out to be part of an underground world that isn’t just invisible to her peers, it’s unbelievable too. It’s a world of myth, fantasy, sorcery and the supernatural and Mills is about to be thrown right into the middle of it in spectacular and bloodied fashion.

Pulled out of school abruptly by her parents one day during an algebra exam, Mills is taken to a remote cabin in the Nevada desert and discovers that not only have they lied to her about this spontaneous road trip, but they’ve been lying to her for her whole life. Heartbroken and lost, Mills is struggling to deal with her world crashing down around her ears when strangers descend on the cabin and life suddenly gets a hell of a lot darker.

Now is is where it gets really interesting. Forget what you think you know about vampires in YA novels. Think unrelentingly cruel. Think brutality to the point you will grimace. Think monsters with long nails, sunken cheekbones and an insatiable desire for blood. Think about the stuff of nightmares who keep their victims shackled in caged cells so they can feed on them…again and again and again. And we haven’t even touched on the King of the Nosferatu himself yet. Over seven feet tall, burning red eyes and draped in a cape decorated with human bones, YA hasn’t ever seen the like of this type of monster before, trust me.

Locked up in her torture chamber, Mills discovers that not only is her blood – the blood of a sorcerer – a much-desired delicacy, she is about to become a bleeder to the King himself. And if you thought the vampires were unrelenting, then Monica herself is (thankfully) unrelenting in her description of Mills’ torment as she is fed upon by the King until she’s nothing but a glorified pin-cushion who is starting to give up the fight. It’s beautifully gruesome, horribly cruel and wonderfully captivating because she dares to go where others who write YA often fear to tread.

Just when we start to think Mills has lost all hope, she acquires a new visitor to her cell, a vampire unlike all the others she has had the misfortune to meet so far.

Keel is the skinny teenage son of the King, who is yet to go through his transformation into Nosferatu but who is still a vampire nevertheless. Drawn to Mills’ cell out of boyish curiosity, Keel begins to secretly visit Mills and the two form an uneasy relationship, and surprisingly the vampire prince becomes Mills’ only chink of light in an unfathomable darkness.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Keel is about to become your archetypal YA hero. When we first meet Keel, there’s a touch of immaturity and arrogance about him (well he is destined to be King one day) and he definitely doesn’t know the meaning of personal space, in fact his matter-of-fact insistence on feeding from Mills borders on downright sinister. But as the story progress we get to see his rebellious nature and his strength and we come to realise that while he is undoubtedly a vampire, there’s far more to Keel than we are first led to believe.

Together they discover that their growing bond has less to do with two natural enemies who happen to harbour a strange fascination for each other, but something far deeper than either of them could ever imagine, something that will change both their worlds forever and set them apart from their own kind in a way that leaves them struggling to work out where they do really belong.

All in all, Monica gives us a captivating discourse on friendship, loneliness and trust, all set against the most wickedly dark backdrop. It’s a world painted vividly in all its gruesome splendour, with characters who constantly surprise the reader and leave us wondering just who can be counted on and who cannot. The history between the Nosferatu and the sorcerers is detailed and interesting which allows for a really fresh take on the vampire myth, while sticking to the more traditional roots of the vampire as the monster. The relationship between our main protagonists is addictive and it’s very hard not to root for these two fabulously intriguing characters.

Bleeder is truly a compelling read and whether you’re a teen looking for something a little darker, a little grittier and a little bloodier than the norm, or you’re an adult who loves reading YA but prefers a horror twist, then this is absolutely the book for you.

Five out of five blood-splattered stars!

—————————–

Please do go check out Bleeder here on Wattpad:

http://www.wattpad.com/story/856099-bleeder-blood-magic-book-1

20140416-230517.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews, Writer Wednesday, Writing