WATTPAD BOOKS · Writer Wednesday

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!

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Please do go check out Bleeder here on Wattpad:

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

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WATTPAD BOOKS · Writer Wednesday

#WriterWednesday – The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

Evening friends, bloggers, readers and weirdos.

Technically this is no longer a #WriterWednesday post seeing as its now Thursday, however I started writing this yesterday and never had time to finish as Dallas was calling me (the programme, not the city) so I had to call it quits for the night. Maybe instead I should call it #WattpadWorship seeing as this is my second review this week for one of my wonderful Wattpad finds!

I’ve mentioned The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden before, as some of you may remember me talking about discovering this stunning novel on Wattpad a while ago and I was hooked from page one. Novels like TCG (as I like to cheekily abbreviate it, sorry Alys) and The Key to Erebus (reviewed earlier this week) make me feel honoured to be a part of something like Wattpad – a site so popular that even published authors like Margaret Atwood, Marian Keyes and David Moody are now dipping their toes into the Wattpad waters – because they show what amazingly talented writers are out there just trying to get their work to the masses and doing a damn fine job of it too. Also it’s novels like these that send me into a frenzy of jealousy because of how fabulous they really are so if you haven’t yet wandered into the Wattpad world, The Casquette Girls would be a wonderful place to start your journey……

Set in a hurricane-aftermath New Orleans (although Alys is keen to emphasis this is not based on Katrina) Adele Le Moyne is on her way home following a mandatory evacuation when the storms hit, having spent the past two months in Paris with her difficult, distant mother and she’s not quite sure what she’s going back to.

Adele and her father move back into their storm-battered family home and set about trying to get the house into some kind of order and re-establish their lives in a devastated city, where dangers seem to lurk dangerously in the shadows. Since the storm, crime within the city has increased and the death rate is steadily increasing as bodies start turning up – deaths that might not have been results of the hurricane and in fact, caused by something even more sinister than the evil storm.

Soon, Adele learns that these mysterious deaths are not the only strange things happening when odd, supernatural events start occurring around her in particular; which lead her to discover that she is part of something much bigger than the storm and its something that started with one of her ancestors Adeline, back in 18th century Paris.

With vivid historical flashbacks via Adeline’s diary letters to her father, Alys successfully weaves an intoxicating mix of old with new, and gives the reader a stunning backdrop to understanding just who Adele is and why she is suddenly caught up in this edge-of-your-seat mystery of witchcraft, vampires and shape-shifters.

Being a Brit, I’m always a little bit in love with any novel set in a place where it’s highly likely I will never go and when novels are set in New Orleans, it’s fair to say I’m reeled in rather easily – which is why TCG reminded me a little of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles as it took me back to a world I hadn’t read about since I’d dallied with Lestat and Louis. What’s even more alluring about TCG is that Alys is a master at painting beautiful pictures with her words; her descriptive abilities are second to none and despite never having visited New Orleans in my life, I almost felt I had seen it for myself, so detailed is Alys’ depiction of the city.

With so many vibrant and mysterious characters pouring out of every page, you will have a hard job working out which one you love the most and lets not even get on to the battle between Isaac and Nicco; a reader discussion which still continues to cause quite a stir on Wattpad!

On reading this (which I’m quite sure you will now do), you will be forgiven for wondering why the hell The Casquette Girls isn’t yet published, however with almost half a million reads, I don’t think it will be too long before we see it gracing our bookstores. Until then, you can read it free – YES FREE!!! – on Wattpad and when this one does make it, I’ll be pleased to say I was a fan long before it hit the stores 🙂

Five out of five, Alys!!!

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WATTPAD BOOKS · Writer Wednesday

Review time! The Key To Erebus – Emma Leech

Afternoon friends, writers, readers and weirdos

Time for another rare review from yours truly, this time for another Wattpad devotee, Emma Leech and her fab novel The Key To Erebus.

The Key To Erebus was the first offering that I read from a fellow Wattpadder and also probably the first ever vampire/paranormal fiction I’ve read where the action is set in somewhere other than the UK or the U.S. I loved the backdrop of the Dordogne countryside and found it to be a refreshing break from the norm and one that immediately caught my attention. I mean, vampires and witches in the French countryside? Really? Yeah, why the hell not!

Immediately we are introduced to our main protagonist, Jehenne, somewhat a troubled girl, suffering from nightmarish visions of the future and around whom strange things tend to happen and strange ghostly figures tend to appear. After too many disagreements with her parents, Jehenne takes herself off to stay with her eccentric, odd grandmother; a lady who has her own herb room, has a penchant for croissants, reads tarot cards and doesn’t bat an eyelid when ghosts pop in for a chat. That’s right, Ines Corbeaux is a witch and Jehenne finds out she has definitely inherited the family abilities; in fact she’s a pretty damn good witch, only she doesn’t quite know this yet.

Not long after taking root in her grandmother’s home, Jehenne is soon thrust into the dangerous and unpredictable world of supernatural creatures: shape-shifters, faeries (not quite the Tinkerbell-like cuties you might expect), ghouls, sirens and vampires.

Talking of vampires, step forward elder vamp Corvus, dangerous, sexy and powerful and more than a little miffed when he learns of Jehenne’s existence seeing as she looks more than a bit like his long-lost beloved.

When a fledgling vampire kills a keeper; protector of one the supernatural worlds most precious artefacts, the whole supernatural council is called into session and all fingers start pointing towards the vampires themselves, and Corvus and Jehenne are reluctantly thrown together in the mission to discover the perpetrator. Throw in a serious grudge against Corvus from Ines and an unwanted attraction to the vampire her grandmother would like to see dead, you just know Jehenne’s troubles have only just begun.

What I loved most about Erebus, is that you never quite know who to trust. None of the characters are quite what they appear to be on the surface, there are many secrets, many lies and danger lurking around every corner which keeps you turning page after page, desperate to know who is telling the truth and who is the enemy.

Jehenne is feisty, strong-willed and independent with just that right amount of vulnerability you need to keep you rooting for her right to the very end and Corvus is fantastically alluring as the lead vamp. Chuck in the ghoulishly wonderful Londoner, Rodney with all his ‘blimeys’ and ‘luvs’ to add in a hint of humour and the whole novel is a recipe for a real page-turning romp of wicked proportions.

If you’re looking for a read that has all the right elements to keep you on the edge of your seat and characters you’ll fall in love with, then The Key To Erebus is the one for you!

Five out of five, Emma. Fabulous stuff!

Emma’s novel, The Key To Erebus, is available to read via Wattpad or you can also buy from Amazon currently for free!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Key-Erebus-Corbeaux-ebook/dp/B009OEKJ0E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1365252896&sr=1-1&keywords=the+key+to+erebus

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