Northern Bites by Nikki Jefford

JeffordNorthernBitesWhere I Got It: Bought an Audible copy

Narrator: Em Eldridge

Publisher: Nikki Jefford (2015)

Length: 7 hours 39 minutes

Series: Book 2 Vampire Hunter

Author’s Page

Note: This is Book 2 in the series and probably wouldn’t work so well as a stand alone.

Aurora Sky returns to keep on kicking vampire butt! Well, she tries. Aurora is still in high school and still in training with the secret government group of vampire hunters. Her mentor Dante isn’t being much help, not with his flirting. Also, she gets to spend lots of time working with fellow vampire hunter Valerie, who she detests. Her ex-boyfriend Fane isn’t making things any easier either. Life is tough.

This book is mostly flirty silliness, dating woes, and fighting over boyfriends. There was a good dollop of this in Book 1 (Aurora Sky), but I feel this book got seconds dished out. I went into this book looking forward to seeing how Aurora fared in her continued training, what would happen between her and Fane, and basically looking forward to her evolving into a badass vampire slayer. Largely, those things didn’t happen because most of the book was caught up in these high school dating dramas. I suspect I was suppose to care about Aurora’s beef with fellow agent Valerie, but I didn’t particularly. Aurora still has feelings for Fane but Fane is moving on and not making it easy for Aurora. Then there is Aurora’s friend (and fellow agent) Noelle who later on muddies the waters and is obviously keeping secrets. Really, I just wanted to sit them all down and knock their heads together so we could move on with the real plot.

There’s a few action scenes here and there. There’s a few mysteries – a high school kid (Michael) goes missing, an agent (Krist) turns up dead, Aurora is having very odd cravings – but so little time is spent on these that I was left wanting more out of the book. There is some family drama that unfolds. I found those scenes interesting too as they added depth to Aurora’s character. She can’t simply check out and not be a part of her family; she’s forced to at least acknowledge the situation. So all these little good parts were stretched out painfully thin into something resembling a plot and then we have all this empty, repeating, predictable teen angst dating stuff as filler. I wanted more meat and less whip cream.

Then there is Dante’s character. In Book 1, he was something of a mentor. Here, he starts off as that but then this terribly flirtatious side of him comes out. It doesn’t really fit what we know about him and the change isn’t explained. Also, there’s a reveal late in the book about who may be behind the death of the agent, and when Aurora tries to chat with Dante about that, he blows her off. This also is not like him. So, of course one of two things is going on: either it’s poor character development or something drastic has happened to Dante behind the scenes that us readers are not privy to in this book. And that brings me to another point – nothing is resolved in this book. While this is a series, I do like some resolution for some of the plot points per book. That didn’t happen here.

Lastly, there were a ton of vampires mentioned in this book and I am sure most, if not all, were in Book 1. But there were no reminders for who most of these characters are. Really, for most of them, it was just a series of names that could be swapped out. Descriptors were few and far between. So, after a while I gave up trying to keep them straight. So, yeah, I kept hoping the book would get meatier, that the plot would strengthen, and it didn’t. There’s plenty here to intrigue, just not much to satisfy. I am not sure yet if I will continue with the series. I want answers, action, mystery, vampire slaying… but not teen angst in large quantities.

Narration: Em Eldridge did another good job as the voice of Aurora Sky. She has a young lady’s voice that can hold great emotion or become an angsty, flippant teen as the scene demands. Her other character voices were distinct and her male voices were believable.

What I Liked: Mysteries to be solved; set in Alaska; government-sanctioned vampire hunting; Aurora’s family drama gives her depth.

What I Disliked: The bulk of the book is teen angst over dating and flirting; many of the side characters were interchangeable; Dante’s character change doesn’t fit with what we know from Book 1; very little time spent on the relevant plot; nothing is resolved in this book.

What Others Think:

Consuming Worlds

Bad Bird Reads

PinKindle

My Library In The Making

Scouting for Icebergs

Gizmo’s Reviews

Aurora Sky by Nikki Jefford

JeffordAuroraSkyWhere I Got It: Won a copy.

Narrator: Em Eldridge

Publisher: Nikki Jefford (2014)

Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

Series: Book 1 Vampire Hunter

Author’s Page

Aurora Sky just wants to finish out high school so that she can flee the frozen lands of Alaska for warmer weather and college. However, a nasty car accident leaves her life in the hands of some interesting secret government scientists that see a hidden potential in her. Now she’s stuck in Alaska receiving her necessary regular injections and paying off her debt by hunting vampires. As if high school was socially awkward enough.

I really liked how this was government sanctioned and assisted vampire hunting. I also liked that Aurora was given no choice about it and while she’s not terribly happy to have this life forced upon her, she pulls herself together and gives it a good try. Aurora’s blood can paralyze a sucking vampire for a short period of time, so she can turn around and behead the horror. Now, she just needs some fighting skills and a few sidekicks.

There’s plenty of action in this urban fantasy and I quite enjoyed all that. After all, if you are going to sit down to a vampire hunt, you need some good action scenes. There are nice breaks in between these scenes, giving depth to the book. For instance, since the car accident, Aurora has a very reasonable fear of being in vehicles and even driving. This obviously cramps her dating scene. Then there’s plenty of discussions with her assigned body guard. Home life is awkward too as her father has taken off while her mother feels both guilt (for signing off on the government procedure that kept her daughter alive) and huge relief (that her daughter is alive to be a bit miffed about the whole situation).

Then there is the romance element. So, there’s this somewhat bad boy at high school – Fane Donado. Obviously, this is the guy she’s going to fall for. Yet he has a secret and it is one that could put a permanent end to their budding romance. While I found the individual scenes flirty and even a little hot at times, the obviousness of Fane’s secret blared loud and clear. So, once Aurora figures it out, I am wondering if she’s been paying attention to all that special vampire hunter training or not. Over all, Aurora comes off as a little angsty, which is normal for someone who just had their life trajectory up ended, and pretty smart…. until she meets Fane. It’s like all her wits got pushed to the side and I felt it was too much even for puppy love to explain.

Also, this is a little pet peeve of mine. Why do we have a supernatural person who is a few hundred years old thinking it would fun to move to Alaska and go back to high school, again? It smacks a little of teen predator. I know this is a somewhat common theme right now in the vampire urban fantasy world, and yet it still gives me the creeps, just a little. So, I had to shove that tidbit aside and pretend Fane was as old as he acted in order to be OK with the romance.

Over all, it was an enjoyable quick listen. There’s several elements I enjoyed and I intend to check out the next in the series to see how Aurora meets her next challenge.

Narration: Em Eldridge had the perfect voice for Aurora – she was the teen who just had her life turned up side down, going through all these emotions and recovery, and settling into her new super secret life of vampire hunting while trying to finish out high school. Yep. Eldridge did an amazing job of portraying all that. She also had distinct and believable male voices and some wonderfully chilling vampire sounds as well.

What I Liked: The cover art; Aurora has her life turned up side down; the vampire hunting; great narration; the action scenes.

What I Disliked: Aurora loses her wits when it comes to romance; the romantic dude is like a couple hundred years older and trolling a high school for fun.

What Others Think:

Book Briefs

Justin Swapp

Gin’s Boo Notes & Design

Audiobook Reviewer

Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews