My Thoughts: To be honest, I requested a free copy from Samantha Towle on Facebook in exchange for an honest review because I LOVE free books, and based on the cover, I was expecting to read another Twilight-esque vampire novel. Boy, was I surprised!
Samantha creates a unique world of vampires, werewolves, and shape shifters that I hadn’t expected. Add the fact that the story is set in England, where Samantha lives, and you have a wonderfully fresh setting and voice on the paranormal romance scene, especially for an American reader like myself.
This book was also notably different from Twilight and the other myriad of teen paranormal books out there in that this is written from an adult’s perspective. The main character, Alex (short for Alexandra), is about 29 years old, and being 27 myself, Samantha makes Alex very easy to relate to for someone who’s out of their teens. She brings in a whole new level of feelings and thoughts, coupled with more mature issues like marriage, children, jobs, etc.
Alex has just found out her scumbag boyfriend cheated on her — again. Her best friend Carrie, who she’s known for 15 years since the first day of freshman year of high school (I’m making an assumption here based on the translation of the British “senior school”) takes her out to forget about Eddie. That night changes both girls’ lives forever.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll move on to the meat of the story. Alex’s life is saved by a mysterious hunk named Nathan Hargreaves. He has a sexy, rural English accent, dirty blonde hair that falls into his eyes, and a motorcycle, as quoted below.
“I look past him and see waiting on the other side of the garden fence the red Ducati that lives in the barn. So, it is his bike. That makes him even sexier, if possible. Crap.”
So take note ladies, there’s a new heartbreaker on the fiction scene!
Alex is a shape shifter and he helps Alex adjust to her new life. Unfortunately for Alex, she wasn’t meant to survive, and now there’s a group of really bad werewolf/vampire hybrids called Vârcolacs looking for her. As if Alex didn’t have enough to adjust to, Nathan is so irresistible despite his abrasiveness, and Alex begins to have feelings for him.
I ended up enjoying First Bitten much more than I anticipated, and always love when I’m surprised by a book. I was completely sucked in to the fictional world that Samantha created and was pleased that not only is this story a fresh take on the vampire/werewolf tale, but that the characters have a subtle depth to them. There are a few grammatical hiccups, and some of these I admit may be due to differences in syntax and grammar from across the pond (I’ll ask Sam about those few excerpts and post the response later). Sam’s writing flows easily and I ended up finishing the book in about 14 hours, despite working out, showering, teaching for 7 hours, and making dinner.
My biggest complaint about this book is also my favorite thing about it — the suspense! Samantha has some of the best cliffhangers in her writing, and not just at the end of chapters (reminiscent of the TV show 24), but also within the chapters as well. She also draws out the tension in certain scenes throughout the novel, which was most evident to me in this quote from Alex’s point of view.
“He takes a step toward me, towering over me, the toes of his boots nearly flush with my trainers, leaving a veil of air between us.”
Along with the cliffhangers, suspense, and tense moments that are skillfully woven throughout the story, there are also funny moments that made me laugh out loud. This was a wonderful story with characters that are easy to relate to, and I loved that they are young adults, as opposed to the teens that populate many paranormal romance books today. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teen and YA fiction like no other, and practically live in that section at the bookstore where I work, but it’s nice to have a main character that those of us in our 20’s and 30’s can relate to. This was the beginning of Alex’s story, but as Sam writes,
“This just gets bloody better and better.”
I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series, and I highly recommend that you read this exciting book to get in on the story at the beginning, because I can see this series getting HUGE.
“And this is the exact moment I know everything has changed between us forever. We’ll never recover from this.”
Thank you Samantha Towle, for inviting me into your wonderful world, and for giving me as many more books to read as you can write in this series. I definitely will not recover from this series!
“The last thing I hear is screaming. An ear-piercing scream. And I can’t tell if it’s coming from Carrie or me.”
“I’m going to have to live with that knowledge for the rest of my existence. Because existing is all I’m doing now. What I’m left with isn’t anything resembling a life. And it’s nothing less than I deserve.”
“I think I’d die of shock if he came in and said, ‘Hi Alex, how are you doing?’ Actually, me dying of shock wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe I should ask him to try it.”
“Wrapping my arms around myself, I look up at the sky. There’s a star which has managed to break through the darkness, lighting up its small part of the sky. One single solitary star. And for a moment, I wonder if the world is actually trying to tell me something.”
“So instead, I sit here, torturing myself, desperately trying to hold onto my dignity, as I once again attempt to read my magazine. But for a long time all I can manage to do is read the same sentence over and over.”
P.S. If the review leaves you hungering for more, check out the first chapter FREE on Samantha’s blog! Be warned, she is a cliffhanger queen!!! ☺
Link to review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/326456364
You can buy First Bitten:
Samantha Towle’s website: http://samanthatowle.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Books-by-Samantha-Towle/230032170346603