Category Archives: books

The Utterly Uninteresting and Uneventful Life of Fred the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes

fred-reveal

Is that blood… or red wine?

Do you love vampire novels? How about a gorgeous vampire who sweeps you off your feet with his elegance, grace, and danger? Do you like feeling chills of desire or fear in not knowing if it’ll be a kiss or a bite?  If that’s the case, The Utterly Uninteresting and Uneventful Life of Fred the Vampire Accountant, by Drew Hayes, is not for you.

Are you sick of Vampires that meet the above description? Good. Join the club, and grab yourself a copy of Drew’s book.

The story follows Fred, a vampire –victim of a dine n’ dash- who resumes his unassuming life after it becomes, well, non-unassuming. On a stroke of adventure, he decides to attend his high school reunion. There, he meets up with an old friend and new flame that sets a series of antics in motion. The plot heavily reminded me of a lot of anime I watch. Most of the episodes, though appear to be plot, actually turn out to be background filler stories. The real plot slaps you in the face with three episodes left. And no, it’s not a bad thing. Actually, it kinds of adds more nerdiness to it, but I’ll touch on that later.

Each section of the book tells a separate tale, like an anthology of short stories, and introduces us to his widening circle of friends. Again, it plays more like episodes. There’s predictability in that you know things will work out – every trouble irons itself out with a happy outcome – but the magic is in figuring out how they do. Fred, as a character, is completely unpredictable, despite what he may tell you.

I’ve heard the phrase “a character driven novel” more times than I can count, and I have always wondered what that really means. Fred. Fred is what it means. Drew Hayes has crafted characters with such real depth and uniqueness that the rapid page turning becomes more about wanting to see how the characters respond to the events given and not necessarily about how the events turn out.

Fred is not a dark read. In fact, if you need a pick-me-up between tragic novels, Fred is a fantastic option. I took screen shots of any line that made me laugh out loud, and there’s at least two or three per chapter. Also, if you’re unabashedly nerdy, you’ll find a camaraderie with Fred and his gang, with the LARPing, jousting, zombies, and games of Scrabble. There’s also romance… generally awkward and laden with innuendos.

All in all, Fred is a great read and definitely something unique to add to your to-read list.

Some people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort.

One fateful night – different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful – Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos that is the parahuman world, a world with chipper zombies, truck driver wereponies, maniacal necromancers, ancient dragons, and now one undead accountant trying his best to “survive.” Because even after it’s over, life can still be a downright bloody mess.

*Insert cheers here!* There’s going to be a Fred 2, with more Gideon!

Drew Hayes Author PhotoDrew Hayes is an aspiring author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.

Drew would like to sit down and have a beer with you. Or a cocktail. He’s not here to judge your preferences. Drew is terrible at being serious, and has no real idea what a snippet biography is meant to convey anyway. Drew thinks you are awesome just the way you are. That part, he meant. Drew is off to go high-five random people, because who doesn’t love a good high-five? No one, that’s who.

Leave a comment

Filed under books

Book Review – TWELVE STEPS

Last night I finished Veronica Bartles TWELVE STEPS, and I have to say that it is a light-hearted, fun read.

Without spoilers, I will say that I loved this book. It’s predictable in the way you want your favorite love stories to pan out, and yet it’s completely unpredictable, giving it a fresh edge. What starts as a love triangle quickly becomes a love… pentagon? Hexagon? Heptagon? I’ve read reviews where the readers had no clue who, nor could pick which love interest, each sister should ultimately end up with. While I was wrong on Laina’s choice, I pegged Andi’s from the very first scene they interacted.

The older/ younger sister dynamic is beautifully captured, and it felt very reminiscent of my life as a teenager. As the younger “rebellious” twin, my sister shown a brighter shade of gold than I did. And at the same time, we were both the Laina to my younger brother’s Andi. Actually, my younger brother’s name IS Andy. Andy Anderson. All of my yes, this book spoke to me.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that neither sister realizes just how amazing they are as a person by themselves. Yes, the storyline is through Andi, and while she is a little rough around the edges, you learn quickly that she’s as much of a power house as her sister, if not more. Yes, her sister gets glowing reviews from Andi, but as you watch her actions, you notice she’s just as flawed and tortured as Andi is, over different things. It’s like the grass is always greener on the other side – Andi admires her sister’s looks, talent, and brains, all the while Laina had been admiring her sister’s carefree attitude and social ability. Clearly, though, Andi is beautiful, talented, and intelligent in her own way. And Laina is more of an introvert and deals with social things in her own way, which is completely okay.

What I love is that, as a reader, I knew this early on, and it was just a matter of watching for the light bulb moment when Andi realizes it too. From the start, Andi’s character voice is brilliant, hilarious, and captivating – a glowing star in her own right.

One thing that originally bothered me early on in the story was Laina’s oblivious nature to the guys who crushed hardcore on her. I was with Andi on that one – How does she not see it? It’s so obvious! But then I think back to my years in high school, and I remember being just as oblivious as Laina. I think, as an adult, we forget how complicated our life felt to us as teenagers, and how we ignored or dealt with the new feelings and ideas exposed to us.

And my non-spoiler closing thoughts: I love that even though Andi viewed her sister as a rival, she always treated her like a sister. Despite crushes and best friends, she put family first. Kudos, Andi!

OKAY – SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON! You’ve been warned.

I started to dislike Jarod at one point, before the prom, after the start of the Cinderella rehearsals. I secretly hoped he’d get rejected by both sisters and that’s what he gets for not manning up and telling Leila how he feels at the same time he’s stringing Andi along. And I felt SO BADLY for Shane. I wanted him to win, to snag Laina, but between Jarod’s heroic efforts to keep Laina safe, and Shane’s inability to stand up for his feelings, I was okay with how it turned out.

And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Kendra finally got what she deserved. Holy crap, was Laina around the most poisonous person ever! I mentally high-fived Andi when she kicked the snot out of her. And then to follow it up with Jarod tearing Anthony apart – awesome.

Favorite moment: When she’s held after class from her Biology exam, because her teacher accused her of cheating. Her parting words to him made me laugh out loud for several minutes. Brilliant dialogue.

My only Criticism: While yes, the “twelve steps” that are mentioned in the title and synopsis are written in the book, they don’t feel like part of the story. They are a cute little note in the margin, right before or after a chapter. Aside from the first chapter where Andi says “I need a twelve-step program,” there is no reference to her actually doing any of the written steps in the story itself. I thought that was a little strange.

Regardless, the story is upbeat, fun, and will leave you with a sheepish grin long after the you close the book.

I gave this book a 5/5 on Goodreads.

Leave a comment

Filed under books

Book Review: Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann

Spoilers Abound – You have been warned

I was looking forward to this book since I read the first one on it’s book birthday back in January. Like the first book, it was a quick read for me, about four hours with some breaks interspersed. I was expecting it to be just like the first, but this time from Sawyers. They’d hash out the visions, solve the puzzle and save the day. My expectations were right on. There was nothing crazy, mind-bending or heart-wrenching. Nothing that would keep me up all night pondering the weird things or ripping up a box of tissues (like Hunger Games) It was a safe read, like watching a Disney channel movie, and I’m okay with that.

What I enjoyed about this book most was the first-person narrative. I love (love, love, love) well done inner monologues. Ones that don’t come off as constant angst and whining. Julia oozed her full personality in the first person perspective – completely unlike most first-person cookie cutter personalities from book to book (I felt that way about Hush, Hush). Jules created lists in her head periodically to analyzes her situation and added “Dot-com” in her head to the ends of things that had dirty connotations (which did get annoying after the third or fourth time). Regardless, her personality was obvious, and, though predictable, was still raw, energetic, and had a clear characterization.

However, I did feel like McMann was trying to push this too much into the romance genre. That’s the main reason this book got 4 stars from me instead of 5. I didn’t care how hot and bothered she got around Sawyer or that she could feel his bulge against her. She’d been dating him for just a handful of weeks by that point and barely seeing him for 5 minutes at a time. I wished the relationship played more relaxed and as a second note, like Cable & Janie from the Wake trilogy.

Another thing that bothered me was the sudden flash and death of the most interesting part of the whole book: a huge clue that her father is suffering from visions too. She’s picked up (or rather dragged from) the library by her crazy father and realizes the similarity in mannerisms between their driving habits when she was being overloaded by her visions. WHY – For all that is good and holy – WHY did she not say something?! Her anger at her father could not have been so potent that she couldn’t have the biggest secret of her life solved right there. She’s started to suspect it since the first book, and that was the biggest clue she had. She could have easily said something snarky if she wanted to be condescending by saying something like “you’re driving like you can’t see in the mirror. Maybe you’re seeing things.” If I had noticed something tragically wrong with my parent, no matter how angry, that would get shelved pretty quickly. Especially something that is similarly plaguing me.

I do think her suspicions are correct – that her father is also seeing visions. Is he seeing the same one for years? Or is he not solving his visions so he keeps getting new ones? And did the father really have an affair, or do the Angottis and Demarcos share more than just sauces… like mental disorders, maybe? Or is sawyer a half brother (please, no. Let me be wrong on that. I had my fill of pretend incest with Mortal Instruments.) I don’t know if I buy the whole contagious visions thing. But if that were true, I think Ben (aka, FINALLY Trey has a love interest. Yay Trey!) will be the next to see things. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book. Think it’ll be called Boom?

Leave a comment

Filed under books