At sixteen, Bay-Lee Bishop is not a typical girl. The last thing she wants is to be popular, but flying under the radar is nearly impossible when you’re the tallest kid in the eleventh grade. She works hard to maintain a steady C point average, never raises her hand in class, and avoids extra-curricular activity of any kind. The other students would be shocked to learn she’s living under an alias, relocating at her uncle’s whim, and hiding from monsters who want her dead because she’s Van Helsing’s daughter.
Life is weird. Then everything changes. A reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm right before her father whisks her away to a new school. This is the school she was born for, the school where she will learn to hunt and kill monsters, but it isn’t what she imagined. Students hate her, her mentor refuses to help her, and wraiths are murdering hunters on their birthdays. She is laser-focused on training. Love is not an option for her. Try telling that to her heart.
I really like the idea behind this book, with a child of the Van Helsing line and all. I was relieved to see that the story's monsters involved more than just vampires (of which I'm not the biggest fan). In fact, throughout the story vampires are something more mentioned in passing. The major monsters at play are the different forms of ghosts and what the book refers to as "border monsters".
Although the love story the book revolves around is your typical romance (boy meets girl, they hate each other, then they suddenly realize they actually love each other) and Nick's attitude is extremely typical for the male love interest (broken, broody, mood swings worse than a menopausal sociopath), I mean seriously people, find me a romance that isn't written like this these days! Still, a lot it actually makes sense for how this particular story plays out, which is way more than I can give other romances. Bay-Lee and Nick can't like each other from the get go and Nick treats Bay-Lee poorly due to a prophecy which trashed Nick's life. But hormones and the teenage belief that you will only love one person ever (thank you Romeo and Juliet) win out and set the lovers on a crash course for destruction.
I'm actually rather impressed with some of the risks K.C. Blake took in who she killed and who she left alive in this story. A lot of authors will skirt around killing anyone of actual importance, or save it for a late installment in the series. Blake was unabashed about who got the ax which added a lot to the story and helped build the suspense.
As for the characters, (aside from my comment about Nick) they were well defined and as a reader you like who you're supposed to like and are annoyed by those you're supposed to find annoying. I don't really think there was anyone to hate in this particular installment. There were bad guys, don't get me wrong, but their plans are intricate and, at times, almost beneficial to the good guys. Not to mention the specific bad guy in this book is a mystery until the end, so you don't have much time to hate him.
I'm interested to see where this series goes and am eagerly awaiting the next installment due in October.
The knowledge she was no longer alone in bed should have scared the crap out of Bay-Lee and normally it would have, but she was still floating on the fragments of a blissful dream. The soft whisper of a lover’s hands surfaced with her consciousness. She’d been dreaming about being in love, the kind that inspired people to die for each other, the Romeo and Juliet sort of love. Beyond that nothing seemed real to her.
An odd smell pierced the veil of sleep, and she wrinkled her nose. Jack Daniels?
The next thing to grab her attention was the feel of a hard body crowding her on the narrow mattress.
Warm breath lightly blew a trail down her face from forehead to mouth like the soft wings of a butterfly brushing against her skin. Fingers slid up one arm to curve around her shoulder. Her eyelids fluttered, and she smiled up at the gorgeous stranger. Fantasy wove a complicated tapestry with reality, and she decided she was still dreaming.
The dark-haired boy’s gaze settled on her lips. She could practically read his mind. He wanted to kiss her until neither of them could breathe. Still living on the leftover residue of an imagined love, she was going to allow it. A tingling sense of anticipation had her nearly breathless already.
She closed her eyes again, mentally preparing for the kiss.
The bed creaked as he leaned in to give her what she desired most. His hot breath teased her lips, and the smell of whiskey intoxicated her. She clenched her hands into tight fists, grabbing and holding bunched up bedding, silently willing him to hurry before she came to her senses. Outside of this moment nothing existed, not school, not her boyfriend, not the troubling circumstances that forced her to constantly move from state to state, nothing.
When her lips remained cool and untouched, she opened her eyes to find the boy staring down at her with pure contempt. A menacing light emanated from his eyes. He parted his lips on a soft growl, reminding her of a werewolf, and her blood turned to ice.
“You ruined my life,” he whispered in a semi-harsh tone, accusing.
Wide awake now, facts hit her like an avalanche. A stranger was in her bed, her gun was in the dresser, and he was big enough to overpower her. Feeling vulnerable made her sick to her stomach. It also filled her with unquenchable anger. How dare this stupid boy invade her bedroom, her bed, and threaten her!
Speaking in a firm tone without the slightest quiver, she asked, “How did you get in here?” He rolled off the mattress, no hurry, while she pulled the sheet higher to hide the bunny pajamas. They were ridiculous, sky blue with fluffy scampering white rabbits. Knowing her hair was a mess, she automatically reached up to smooth it down. At the last second she stayed her hand. Why should she care if he thought she was pretty? “Did Connor let you in?”
Her uncle wasn’t known for having the greatest judgment in the world.
The intruder grinned and took a two steps back until beams of moonlight exposed the left side of his body. Tall and muscular, the guy was built better than any of the boys at school. If she had to guess, she would say he was between eighteen and twenty-two. Utterly masculine, he also had a lot of features girls would be envious of, long lashes, thick hair, and beautiful eyes. They were the most amazing shade of green, like a place deep in the forest after a violent thunderstorm.
He grinned as if hearing her thoughts. “I thought it was every teen girl’s secret fantasy to have me in her bedroom. Was I wrong?”
It was then she recognized him, Tyler Beck, lead singer for the notorious band Bad-Rock. There was a celebrity in her bedroom. Gulp! For a moment she forgot to breathe. How was it even possible? Why would a rock star come to her home in the middle of the night? She had to be dreaming.
He picked the CD collection off the edge of the white wicker dresser and carelessly leafed through them, lips twisted in disgust. A few of the CDs wound up on the floor.
She blinked. “Am I... dreaming?”
“No.” The grin changed to a smirk. “I break into the homes of random girls all the time... just to talk. Being a rock star doesn’t keep me busy enough.” He raised an eyebrow and held up the next CD in the shortening stack. “Seriously? I wouldn’t listen to this if someone had a gun to my head.” He flicked it to the floor. “Your taste in music sucks.”
Although the CDs in his hands were a mixture of Country and Jazz, she loved Classic Rock like her dad. The discs didn’t belong to her. Nothing in the ridiculous girlie neon orange and pink room did with the exception of a few sentimental items she dragged from place to place, but she wasn’t going to explain her way of life to this intruder. If she wanted to bare her soul, she’d see a psychiatrist. Knowing it was a dream didn’t make her feel any better about him going through what he thought were her personal belongings.
“Why did you kill those people?” she asked out of curiosity. An image of dead bodies on a night club floor surfaced in her mind. It took effort not to shudder. “What did they ever do to you?”
He laughed, throaty and deep, sexy. The sound dried the inside of her mouth and she clenched her teeth, feeling betrayed by her own body. What was wrong with her? She hadn’t felt this way about a guy before. Why now? Why this murderer?
“What did they do to me?” he repeated her question. “Nothing.” Then he pointed a finger at her. “You, on the other hand, ruined my life.”
“Stop saying that. I don’t even know you. Before you killed those people I wasn’t aware we were on the same planet.”
“Ouch.” He placed a hand over his heart as if she’d wounded him. “So you aren’t one of my many adoring fans, huh?”
He put what was left of her CD collection on the dresser and reached for the tiny television, flipping it on without seeking permission. An old sit-com with a noisy family brought the square screen to life.
“No, I am not a fan. I don’t follow you on Twitter or turn the volume up when one of your dumb songs comes on the radio. I never think about you. Why are you in my head now?”
“You tell me. It’s your—”
“Dream. I know. You don’t have to keep saying it. I get it already.”
“Until this dream ends, what do you want to do?” His hungry gaze locked on her face, and he bit his lower lip as if he was once again thinking about kissing her.
Close to panicking now, she froze. The kisses she shared with Gavin were brief and passionless and always for the benefit of those watching. What would it feel like to kiss someone she actually wanted? Her skin burned from just looking at the guy. The chemistry between them had the potential to blow the roof off the house. If he touched her, she’d probably spontaneously combust.
Tyler Beck, the hottest rock singer on the planet, the boy every girl fantasized about stared at her with desire in his eyes. He planted a knee on the bed near her foot. His hand landed next to her upper thigh. The other knee and hand joined them on the mattress. Slowly he crawled up her body, careful not to touch her until he was once again hovering over her mouth. In a husky whisper he repeated, “What do you want to do? Talk? Fight? Make out?”
The challenging tone sent a chill through her, a bad sort of chill. Doubts surfaced. What if this wasn’t a dream? Maybe a monster had crossed over from the Spirit Realm in a Tyler Beck disguise to kill her. She needed to do something quick. If she died, it would be her own fault for being so stupid.
Her hand slid under the pink pillow behind her head to grab the ancient dagger she slept on. Gripping it hard, she prepared to attack. Something in her eyes tipped him off. Before she could bury the blade deep in his chest, he leaped off the bed without warning, flying backwards. He stumbled and hit the wall near the dresser. A picture of a girl sitting in a garden rocked sideways before falling off the nail.
“Another time then,” he mumbled before disappearing.
Bay-Lee blinked at the empty space where his body had been. A shaky laugh escaped her open mouth. She was dreaming. There wasn’t a monster out there that could vanish into thin air. Relaxed now, she collapsed on the mattress, breathing through her mouth. Something was seriously wrong with her, having a hot dream about a psycho rock star.
Maybe she should seek therapy.
Born and raised in California, I fell in love with writing while reading The Outsiders. Then I fell in love with Stephen King's writing style. I enjoy reading many types of books, but YA Paranormal is my favorite. I used to write for Harlequin under a different name. So that's my background. Exciting, no?