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Blog Tour: Review: A Bite's Tale + Excerpt

my thoughts in a few sentences: A pleasantly cliche fairy tale retelling with a paranormal fantasy-ish backdrop and fun characters, A Bite's Tale proved to be an entertaining read, one which plays on our sympathies toward the main characters although the predictability of the plot should deter us. A happy ending is practically guaranteed with a story like A Bite's Tale, yet the journey from point A to point B is a heartening, attention-grabbing one that wonderfully manipulates our incessant need to see these two endearing characters come together, after tragedy has struck them down, at last.

intriguing first lines: "Seated on the log, I forced my limbs to hold still, but my foot had a mind of its own. My toes twitched, making tiny indentations in the soft dirt. Where was she?"

Rating: Guilty Pleasure | Self-Published • Blog Tour • Paranormal/Retelling • 1/7/12 • $1.99

A Cinderella who spends her nights as a wolf. A prince with a taste for blood.

Seventeen year old Cydney struggles against her werewolf nature, trying to keep everyone around her safe. No way will she risk exposing the beast at the prince’s ball, no matter how her two cousins try to persuade her. Even as she attempts to get on with her life, Cydney can’t forget the boy she loved three summers ago — or what she did to him after losing control.

Turned into a vampire to save his life, the prince refuses to live up to his royal duties. He just wants to find the girl he loved and lost...the werewolf girl who bit him. But his father, the king, commands him to attend a ball where he must choose a wife. Can he find his Cinderella before he's forced to marry another? He doesn’t even have her real name, much less a glass slipper.
I kept expecting A Bite's Tale to tire me out and wear away at my initial excitement, but I dutifully read on and was suitably impressed. I don't often read short stories, but A Bite's Tale attracted me with it's subtle promise of happily ever after and loose fairy tale origins. Could the characterizations have been better? Sure. Could the plot have been a little less unsurprising, with a little more twists and unexpected turns? Most definitely. However, A Bite's Tale successfully sells what it says it's going to give us in return—a rehashing of the Cinderella tale we can never get enough of, paranormal style, and with the added bonus of a lovely, sweet, somewhat surface romance that veers away from instalove, yet is tempered by this soulmate connection that borders on unbelievable, as we get a small, rather unsatisfactory insight into these characters whom are so deeply in love.

Even so, the characters are enjoyable. Setting off at their latest meeting as teenagers of fourteen and fifteen, we are introduced to a three-summers-worth friendship between two people hedging the idea of a romance, doubts creeping in and voicing their concerns, but are simultaneously anxious as the anticipation of what might be burns between them. Anxious, and, we realize, a bit hormonal, the characters try their hand at kissing and blossom with joy right before our eyes. It isn't long before that joy is rudely snatched away from them and the unexpected (or, in our case, notso unexpected) happens and the two are wrenched apart. Their separation poisons Cydney's thoughts with worry and anxiety and uncertainty, and pours determination into her gradually maturing young man who is bent on reuniting with her.

This love story could be considered classic or trite, but the fact is, it's hard to be bothered by it. Both characters are endearing and sweet, though there isn't much in the way of their personalities to catch our eyes. Still, like every good story, it's very rare that we don't pray for a happily ever after to sweep across those final moments of the story. Fun world-building and paranormals aside, the romance is my favorite aspect and kept me engrossed enough to be entertained by the story behind the cover of A Bite's Tale. While this short book isn't one of my favorite reads, it helped me end the day with a smile on my face and a light feeling in my chest, which will carry over into blissful dreams and a night filled with soft and simple contentment, as opposed to the heart-knocking angst that pairs well with A Bite's Tale's more tension-filled, volatile counterparts in the genre.

If I’d known it could be like this and that she’d wanted it too, I would’ve kissed her ages ago. I mentally kicked myself for wasting all those weeks when we could’ve been doing this the entire time.
Her hand crept up under my shirt and her fingers trailed along my back. Goosebumps danced on my skin. She pressed closer against me and I took the kiss deeper, letting loose my weeks of pent up craving for her.
I didn’t think life could get any more perfect than being with Cindy. And I no longer yearned for a normal life. I wanted things to stay exactly as they were at that moment. With my Cinderella.
A soft moan erupted from my throat when she angled her face to take the kiss still deeper. I slid my arms around her waist and the tips of my fingers inched up underneath her tank top.
She shivered.
But it wasn’t a usual shiver. Her whole body began to tremble and I nearly lost my hold on her. I pulled back. Cindy’s eyes grew huge and her pupils dilated.
She threw her head back, her limbs vibrating as she growled. No, not a growl. It was more like a dull roar, full of pain and anguish. Was she… was my Cindy about to turn into a werewolf? Or was it something else? Maybe if I held her again, whatever was happening to her might stop. I lunged for her.
“Get away from me!” Sobbing, she shoved me back, but in the process, one of her claws raked across my chest.
I flinched, as blood beaded on my skin. A little scratch wasn’t going to stop me though. Not when Cindy needed my help. I stepped forward again.
Her lips curled up, exposing long, growing teeth and she shrieked. Yeah, she’d hit werewolf maturity all right. But she hadn’t completely morphed. Just her teeth and nails. Maybe if I calmed her, she could prevent it from progressing. I wrapped my arms around her waist, as I’d done just moments ago, and pulled her close.
She shrieked again, then searing pain shot through my arm.
Werewolf bite. Oh, crap. My dad was going to kill me… unless the werewolf virus beat him to it.
The forest spun around me and I couldn’t keep my eyelids up. My muscles went lax and when the ground rose to slam against me, I didn’t feel a thing.


Giselleco said...

Great post Asher who doesn't like a Cinderella story!? :) I hadn't heard of this one before though it sounds good though with an actually good romance.

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Brilliant review! I haven't heard of this before but it sounds like a great read. I love the thought of Cinderella with a paranormal twist. :D I'm also really glad to hear you liked the romance - fairy-tales are practically always cliched but it's reassuring to hear you don't think readers will be bothered by the love story. :)

Hrose2931 said...

Sounds like an interesting spin on the Cinderella story. I like the excerpt. Might try it just for something different. Sometime. too much to read right now. Great reivew of it though. Especially as you didn't really care for it much.


Julie Witt said...

I rarely read short stories myself because I like to have time to really get into a story, but I read this one and really enjoyed it! I thought it was an interesting retelling of Cinderella and had enough meat to it that it didn't feel like a short story at all. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, too :) I've read other Veronica Blade stories and think she's very talented at fantasy short stories, as well as contemporary longer ones!

Asher_Knight said...

Exactly right about fairy tales, which is why I wasn't disappointed, because it's basically expected. But I wasn't bothered by it and I found it sweet. :)

Asher_Knight said...

 Yes, it's definitely not a must-read, something you have to drop everything for and rush off to read, but it's a nice, pleasant thing to get into when you need a break or you want something light.

Asher_Knight said...

That's the crux of it, it didn't totally feel like a short story, just a story that happened to go by fairly quickly. It was definitely enjoyable, and when I have the time, I might just check out some of her other ones. :)

Heidi said...

Well, being as I love short stories, I love retellings, and I love werewolves, I'm thinking I'm probably going to have to check this one out.  It's always good to hear about stories like this--you know where it's going to end up as soon as you start it, and yet, it's not tiring to get there.

Asher_Knight said...

Since I don't read very many short stories, this worked out splendidly. It was fun, not too angsty, and had enough emotion and fantasy-ish elements to get me to believe in it. :)