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Good Book Reads (S-Z)

Shelter Blood Haze

Book One

 By Tara Schuler

 

Synopsis:

 Two guys, one girl, and two dark secrets that threaten to tear her world apart.

Alice Wright is a young vampire going to high school for the first time at the age of seventeen at the behest of her eccentric mother. In many ways, she’s more afraid of the human students than they would be of her.

She feels lost and awkward in human society, but she soon develops a strong bond with the cousin of one of her human classmates, nineteen year old Kai. He is beautiful, but somewhat of an enigma. She discovers a dark secret in Kai’s life, and she instantly wants to shelter him from the pain that has tormented him all his life.

Then she meets Maksim Augustine, the incredibly gorgeous guy who seems more like he should be a model than a high school student. She is overwhelmingly attracted to him physically, but her love for Kai causes her to continually push him away. Eventually, she discovers a frightening secret about Max, too.

But Max’s secret threatens to destroy everything…

Overall:

Personally speaking, Tara Shuler’s first novel has a set of qualities that stunned me overall. Unlike the usual books that I have reviewed, the author has done an excellent job weaving in the essential elements that every novelist needs to adhere to when completing a work of art. Clearly, I think this work should be taken to a literary agent; it needs national attention.

The Good:

I love the fact that this book is written from a vampire’s perspective. The spinoffs from what they do to blend within human civilization not only unusually interesting, but also innovative, unlike any stereotypical relationships between vampires and human beings. Although Alice has grown up as a sheltered vampire, she begins to make dramatic changes within the first day of school. As the novel progresses, Alice begins to develop the romantic feelings for one of her new friends, Kai. The only problem I could imagine happening is that someone would instantly label this as a ‘copy cat’ version of the original Twilight Saga or any other type of paranormal romances and obviously, no one wants to have another novel in their hands with the same redundant plotline. I just hope that is not the case.

The Really Good:

I like the fact that Tara has done a tremendous amount of effort to maintain my interests as both an author and a reader. Not only have I read this book beyond the first 10 pages, but I have made it to the 50th pages when I resumed! I love how the style of writing is fairly well balanced between the dialogue and plot, the book maintains an easy rhythm which makes her books work reading a few times over. I have looked at both the blurbs and the book covers and I must say that she definitely carries the weight of authority. If anyone wants to get their books sold, I would highly recommend looking to her work as a standard example of professional writing, seeing that from the elements contained in both of these suggest the author is seriously considering getting the reader’s attention.

Tweaks:

The slight downfalls I think I have encountered in the book are the few sentence structures and weak openings/endings that are occasionally scattered throughout the book. For instance, no guy would ever use the word ‘enchanted’ to describe a classical piano piece, even if he wanted to flatter a girl. The other problem (as previously) discussed is the resemblance between this book and Twilight, which might require a few occasional tweaks in the book. I don’t think Kai or Alice’s mother could easily tell reveal the main character’s thoughts unless there is a deliberate intention of them having that capability. Apart from either one of these major issues, I honestly believe this book is worth a good read and people should buy this copy.

 Parker’s Overall Grade:

A

——————————————————————————————————

Draugr

By Arthur Slate

Synopsis:

“Are you afraid of the dead?” her grandfather asked.

Sarah Asmundson will discover the answer to that question. She is prepared for her grandfather’s scary stories, but is anything but prepared when events from the story about a draugr–a man who comes back from the dead–begin to happen around her. A tale to frighten and entertain the young and the young at heart. The first book in the Northern Frights series.

Overall:

For a YA book, this whole idea of a bloody monster evolving from an Icelandic myth is very interesting and compelling. I like the fast pace the author puts forth in the book; he’s trying to imitate the effects of time. While I have jumped from one chapter to another, I have managed to get through nearly 50% of the book the first time around and that’s not easy to pull. This really does have a lot of potential in the book.

The Good:

The fact that you got four kids involved with a spooky story told by their grandfather was good enough premise as it is, especially when you would never think any of the stories put forth by him would not be believable. My favorite character out of the book at this point is Sarah and it’s because of the comments she makes of the other people she talks about throughout the course of the book. I like how she attempts to lead the three others into chasing an Icelandic Zombie and tries to stop it. I really love the covers of the books and it tells me that you have made tremendous effort to grab an author’s attention for your story line. C’est vraiment excellent!

The Really Good:

Unlike most of the books I have examined, I think this book has done an excellent job in introducing the main characters gradually, not all at once. I love the formatting style the author has put forth because this tells me that he’s serious in his needs to make his name come out there. Not to mention that he has chosen for himself an excellent most hellish creature once can imagine. After researching the name of the creature, I can now imagine what powers lie within this ghastly beast and his innate abilities to control everything. He seems to be the best type of monster than can give anyone the chills and give them nightmares for weeks! I definitely want to say that I love it, Love it, Love it!

Tweaks:

You will not grab anyone’s interests beyond the 50 pages of your book (or perhaps 10 for that matter) if you are not going to evenly pace the book between the dialogue and plot. There were some chapters I could say are well written (e.g. 1, 4-6) because the every couple of pieces of conversational exchanges, I think there needs to be a time to explain to the reader about the surrounding the atmosphere and in the examples I provided, you have done well. Other times throughout the novel, most of the writing contains nothing but dialogue and lots of it. This is not going to be something anyone wants to read whenever they approach a book.

Another thing you might want to look at is the openings and endings. Readers love cliffhangers, but not lots of them. I think nearly 80% of your chapters contain these endings that don’t provide as much closure as the reader likes. I know cliffhangers are for effectual purposes (i.e. to get the reader to keep on reading), but doing so one chapter after another will exhaust the reader and will prevent either him or her from reading onward.

The last thing I would recommend that you do is inform us more about Draugr. I looked up the beast via Wikipedia and I have to say that you picked out a really good monster, I mean it. He’s almost like Dracula, Godzilla, and the Hulk combined all into one but your story is not pulling me into knowing him better than anticipated and partially it’s because I think you’re overuse of dialogue might be turning me off. However, if you get more information about this creature and take me up on the other suggestions I made, I really think this could pass as a thriller for both YA and Adults alike.

Parker’s Overall Grade:

A


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