Title: Summer Break Blues
Author: J.A. Campbell
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Length: 54000 words
Meg managed to survive her senior year of high school as a vampire, and now she’s looking forward to a relaxing summer with her friends before trying to tackle college. Unfortunately, some unfinished business from the previous year rears its ugly head. Meg is forced to deal with the Sidhe who are distinctly unhappy that she killed one of their kind last winter. Then Ann’s parents vanish while on their annual summer vacation in
and it’s up to Meg and the rest of the gang to come to the rescue. Though she
is still trying to figure out who and what she has become, Meg feels she and
her friends are up to the challenge. That is, until things really start to fall
My Review: Summer Break Blues is book two in the Clanless series by J.A. Campbell. If you haven’t already read book one, Senior Year Bites I suggest you read that one first. You won’t be completely lost if you read book two first, but there are weird circumstances surrounding Meg turning into a vampire, that were vaguely mentioned in book two, and if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to know all the juicy details. So I stopped, went back, read book one and then book two, and I was like, “Aaah!”
So here is what you need to know, about Summer Break Blues, Meg was transformed into a vampire in book one. I won’t spoil how it happened, in case you want to read the books in order. Meg is somehow not a normal vampire, or so she’s gathered from fiction and from a faery named Alexander. Alexander is her good friend Ann’s boyfriend, and by all rights vampires and faeries should be enemies. Vampires are selfish and disgusting and are hated by all other paranormal beings. That is the extent of Alexander’s knowledge. So Meg, who doesn’t know who her sire is, is trying to figure out why she isn’t killed by sunlight and trying to get a handle on her powers. She and her friends are supposed to stay at Ann’s house for the summer while her parents are out of town all the while keeping up the Buffy/Scooby Doo like patrols they started in the last book when they learned that vampires and faeries and other creatures that go bump in the night are real.
Some ticked off faeries are in town because Meg killed one of their brethren, and they’re keeping an eye on her, and hostile about the fact that she is a vamp. Then Ann’s parents go missing and Ann is acting weird. The group goes on a search and rescue mission to try to find her parents. Along the way sparks begin to fly between Meg and Alexander which could spell trouble for Meg and Ann’s friendship. Where are Ann’s parents? Do the Faeries have anything to do with it? Why is Ann being weird? Will Meg and Alexander be able to hide their feelings or decide to act on them? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Summer Break Blues.
I loved these stories. Though I mentioned Buffy and Scooby Doo, these stories are also uniquely their own. I like the characters with their different personalities and unique flaws. It reminds me of young adult books I read in the nineties. The characters were just themselves and weren’t cookie cutter molds of helpless Bella Swan or Kick Ass Katniss Everdeen. The characters just are. They’re not born tough as nails and ready to kick ass, but they do have their own strengths and weaknesses and grow as individuals and in their relationships. I’m not so old that I can’t remember what it was like to be a teenager. I remember the first stirrings of a crush. I remember what it must feel like to crush on someone your friend likes, not wanting to ruin your friendship and not able to get over your crush. I also remember what it feels like to have a best friend like the same guy as you. I think that all the characters acted believably in this regard. I also think that Meg acted realistically about learning she was a vampire and the stress and awkwardness about trying to figure out what she could do.
Overall I really liked both books, and I wish the third was already out so I could know what happens next.
I ran, almost flew over the sand. Alexander’s sheer panic drove me to move faster than I ever had before. I didn’t have much time to take in the scene, but he struggled with someone. Not having a better idea, or time to plan, I tackled them. We all tumbled to the ground, and I managed to keep hold of his attacker long enough to get him away from Alexander. We rolled, and I tried to come up on top, but the stranger was strong and pinned me before we even stopped moving.
“Aww, and here I’d thought you brought me dinner.” I had a brief impression of black eyes and gleaming fangs before he grabbed my shoulders and lifted me up, then slammed me back into the sand.
Pain lanced through my head. I groaned and tried to fight back, but before I’d even formulated a plan, the assailant’s weight was gone. Alexander cried out again.
“Damn it, why do I have to keep saving you!” I jumped up and plowed into them again. This time I dug claws into his ribcage and jerked him away. I thought I had a good grip, but he twisted free. The smell of blood was overpowering. Some of it was Alexander’s, but much of it was my opponent’s. He backed up, still smiling at me. He didn’t look at all concerned I’d just buried claws into his ribcage. He wasn’t much taller than me, and his dark hair and almond eyes made me think he was Asian. But the fangs he bared were all Vampire.
Terror lanced through me, making me weak. I wanted to run. The fear I’d felt when I’d faced the Unseelie last winter was nothing compared to my fear now. Vampires were real monsters, and I was certain I was about to die.
“Well, you do have a little bite to you.” His smile wasn’t friendly. He wasn’t much bigger than me, but he was a lot faster, and I lost sight of him until he stood right in front of me.
“But you’re young. And dumb. I told you to be more careful.”
I tried to block his next move, but he caught my arm and twisted me around, trapping me against his chest. I felt strangely exposed and panic turned my limbs,
and my brain, to jelly. I shrieked and tried to pull away.
The Vampire laughed.
“Run! Get out of here!” I thought that’s what I said, but in my panicked state I could have been shouting the periodic table. I kicked backward, and my heel connected with the Vampire’s shin. His grip never loosened.
I wasn’t sure if I actually heard the words or not, but they punched through my panicked fog, and I did the best I could. The Vampire still had hold of me so I twisted my face against his blood-covered chest.
Light flared and the Vampire screamed. I pulled away from him, small pinpricks of heat searing along my shoulder and back. He was still yelling as I ran away from him.
About the Author:
Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side. You can find out more about her and her writing at www.writerjacampbell.com