Book Review: What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

You might notice some special graphics in this review.  All previous reviews will eventually be edited to include them.  They were designed especially for the new blog.  Although I won’t be directing traffic there for another day or two, you can check out the new design HERE.


What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Self-published

What Kills Me is available as an ebook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  

The fight for survival begins.

An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?


Overview:  I think that I would of liked this book better if I hadn’t read so many in the genre.  I never got the feeling that this story and the characters were special.  The danger felt contrived and the characters safe in a formulated story.  I can understand why people love this book, but I don’t think it was unique enough for my liking.  It did have some humorous scenes and one-liners that were nothing short of awesome.  The excerpt is one of my favorites.

Characters:  Lucas felt short for me.  He was too rough and bitter in the beginning and his transformation by the end was too abrupt to be believable.  I liked Axelia for the majority of the story, although her part in the very beginning was nothing short of stupidity.  There’s no way that a “good” girl would decide to meet a stranger in the dark, after curfew, when everyone warns her not to…just not believable either.  Besides that, I did like her.  She acted like a dumb blonde sometimes, but the way Lucas played off of that trait was so darn funny that I liked it.

Plot:  Girl meets boy.  Girl dies and becomes vampire.  Girl has lots of people that want to kill her because she’s the chosen one.  If this was the first vampire novel I have ever read, I would have loved the plot.  I LOVE reading vampire books (and have read way too many) and so I the plot in this book kept reminding me of what I’ve read in other books.  It wasn’t predictable, however, and I wasn’t quite sure how Axelia and Lucas would escape the people wanting to kill them until it happened.

Ending:  The VERY end felt cheesy to me.  It wasn’t what I expected, but really disappointed me.

(I received a copy of this novel from the author (LibraryThing) in exchange for an honest review.)

This is a great novel for those who haven’t read many paranormal or vampire novels.

“What about guns with silver bullets?  Would that slow them down?”

“Silver bullets?  We’re not werewolves.”

“Werewolves are real too?”

He glaced at me and then did a double take, seeing my bewildered face.

“Yes,” he said, watching my eyes widen. “They hang out with Santa and the Easter Bunny.”

I remained frozen for a moment and then pushed his arm.

“Hey, I’m driving,” he said.  He turned away from me to check the left lane over his shoulder but not before I caught a subtle smile on his face.  It was gone so quickly tha I wasn’t sure if I had seen it at all.

A few minutes passed.  “So, they’re not real, right?”

(Picture and Information borrowed from Goodreads.)

Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist.
She started writing horror/fantasy tales as a girl. She still has the first novel that she wrote when she was 10. It’s (unintentionally) hilarious.

Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite).

She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook |

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Book Review: Secret of the Wolf by Cynthia Garner

Secret of the Wolf (Warriors of the Rift #2) by Cynthia Garner

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Available in ebook or paperback.

This is the second book in the Warriors of the Rift series and though the author does a great job slipping in details from the first book into this one, I wouldn’t recommend reading Secret of the Wolf before the first book, Kiss of a Vampire.  So much of the book is spent on telling the back-story, that the majority of the first half of the book is simply boring.  It seems like everything either happens off screen or in the past.  It becomes obvious very on in the book that there are two distinct plot lines – one is figuring out which werewolf is attacking humans; the other is deals with the rift device.  I like that the series has a definite goal: Close the rift that was opened in the first book and let in all these supernatural beings that are using humans as hosts.

Tori is a werewolf who has been living on Earth in a human host for 150 years.  Although she has been on Earth longer than most, there are many other supernaturals that are more powerful.  She’s a werewolf liaison in Scottsdale, Arizona (and yes, the setting is 100% authentic…I wish I lived in that part of Phoenix with the clubs and fancy restaurants.  Too rich for my wallet.) but is clearly anti-authority.  Its only a matter of time before she has to decide between doing her job and retaining loyalty to her friends and family.

Dante is a human detective who works with Tori on the case to solve the murders involving a crazed werewolf.  Tori and Dante, have amazing chemistry both on duty and off, yet Dante spends quite a bit of the book making excuses as to why they shouldn’t engage in a romantic relationship.  Its frustrating to Tori but a refreshing chance from the traditional love-at-first sight relationships in most books of this genre.

Secret of the Wolf began with an amazing shifting scene in the Sonora desert of Arizona, but besides mentions of werewolves, vampires, and faes there is little paranormal on screen until the last couple of chapters.  It felt like more of a detective mystery than a paranormal novel.  I like more of an active fantasy role in the books I read.

Overall, I had to let this story sit in my mind for a couple days before I could make up my mind if I liked it or not.  As a stand alone novel, it fails.  If you want to read this book, check out the first book in the series prior to trying this one out.  Fall in love with the characters and the world Cynthia Garner crafted.  Only then read this book.  As a second book in a series, it works.  It advances the master plot quite well.  I will check out the next book in the series when it comes out, despite the shortcomings of this one.

Characters 4/5

Concept 3/5

Pacing 2/5

Grammar 5/5

Ending 4/5

Summary

Once a generation, the rift between the paranormal world and the human world opens, allowing supernatural entities to cross. Vampire, demon, or shapeshifter, they can save the world-or send it spiraling into chaos.

As a werewolf liaison to the Council of Preternaturals, Tori Joseph is used to straddling the world between humans and immortals. She plays by the rules and always delivers justice, no matter the cost. But after a string of increasingly brutal attacks results in humans turning into werewolves, Tori doesn’t reveal her horrifying suspicion: Someone very close to her might be responsible.

Investigating the paranormal violence, no-nonsense detective Dante MacMillan believes Tori is hiding something. His search for the truth draws him into greater danger as he gets closer to the dark realm of the immortals-and to the sexy werewolf who stirs his primal lust. Now with evil closing in around them, Dante must convince Tori to trust him . . . before her deadly secret destroys them both.

Grade: C+

This book will appeal to fans of the series Warriors of the Rift.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, check it out at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews are available at Goodreads.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchanged for an honest review.

Book Review: The Soul’s Mark: Found by Ashley Stoyanoff

The Soul’s Mark: Found by Ashley Stoyanoff

Publisher: Self published

Available in ebook or paperback.

Although this book left me frustrated while reading, after I finished I thought how great of a story it was.  Not much happened in the first half of the book and it isn’t until the  halfway point that the book catches up with the blurb description.  And the other downfall was that despite having 19 and 20 year old characters, the book is written like a MG.  No sex scenes.  PG kissing and violence.  That said, if Amelia and her vampire soulmate were twelve or thirteen years old, I would rate this book a solid FIVE stars.  I love MG books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  But with older characters, most of the reading audience is late teens or adult.  It’s too sugarcoated to be a YA novel.  I would strongly suggest the author try a MG novel as her second, because that seems to be a better fit for her writing style.

The relationship between Amelia and her Vampire soulmate was a breath of fresh air.  They had a very dynamite love/hate relationship and as a reader I was constantly going back and forth on whether or not I wanted them together in the end.  Not until the last chapter did I know if they ended up together.

I loved the concept of the novel.  The fact that Amelia was tied to a vampire without any say or possibility of escape.  It was like an arranged marriage but with a paranormal twist.

I also thought that the minor characters were unique and well developed.  The only one that felt cliche was Fiona – the bad girl.  All the others kept surprising me with how they behaved towards the main couple and evolved with the main characters by the end.  Speaking of the end.  There was one part with Madam Crystal that I thought was completely out of the blue.  I wish there was some foreshadowing towards that twist in the plot.

Characters 5/5

Concept 5/5

Pacing 1/5

Grammar 4/5

Ending 4/5

Summary:

Anxious to leave her destructive past behind, Amelia Caldwell moves to Willowberg, excited for a fresh start. Once there, she discovers that her birthmark is more than it seems. She has been marked by a vampire’s soul. Not only does she hold his soul, but Amelia is also his soulmate.

After almost a century of searching for his soulmate, Mitchell Lang fears the worst—he is going to lose Amelia to another man. His heart takes over, and his impulsive decision to take away her free will and to intensify their bond quickly turns her growing love into hate.

When they become trapped in the emotional rollercoaster of their souls’ bond, open conflict erupts. Amelia has no intentions of belonging to anyone, not even her soulmate, and Mitchell refuses to let her go.

While she frantically searches for a way to escape his grasp, Amelia unlocks the painful memories of her past and uncovers a powerful secret. But before she has a chance to explore her newfound edge, she finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly game of revenge and is forced to realize that YOU CANNOT RUN FROM DESTINY.

Grade:  B

Fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and the Paranormal genre will enjoy this book and its twist on vampires.

If you’re interested in buying this book, check it out at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews and information available at Goodreads.