Reviews: Parker Blue’s Demons Underground Series

3 May

As of this moment there are three books in Parker Blue’s Demon Underground Series: Bite Me, Try Me and Fang Me. It’s a young adult, urban fantasy series about an 18-year-old that is 1/8th succubus. To combat the super strong, demon aspect of herself she fights vampires. I heard about this series when the first book was released in 2008, but didn’t pick it up until I was given an electronic review copy that contained all three books. It is a great series that I’m putting in the “Why did I wait to read this?” category. Without further ado…

Bite Me by Parker Blue
Bell Bridge Books (2008)
Trade: $14.95; e-book: 89¢
ISBN: 978-0980245387

Favorite Lines: “Yeah, right. They loved me, but only parts of me–the human parts. The small piece of me that was demon they didn’t even like. Or understand. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rip that bit out…or stop it from holding sway over my emotions. I’d tried. Oh, I’d tried.

And I was tired of being made to feel less than human for something I couldn’t help. Shaking my head and trying to keep my pain and fear tightly under wraps, I knew there was nothing I could say. I turned away from their judgmental faces and walked off.” (p. 14)

Eighteen-year-old Valentine Shapiro got a raw deal in the parent lottery. Her father was part incubus demon, and her mother’s never forgiven her for that. Thrown out of the house by her mother, Val does the only thing that seems to make any sense—she takes aim at the town vampires. A stake a day keeps the demon at bay. Soon enough, she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground with the help of her faithful hellhound, Fang, and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.

I fell in love with this series in the first chapter. The raw emotions Valentine feels are exhausting and endearing. I want her to be loved and am devastated along with her every  time her mother shows her how unloved she really is. Kicked out of her mother’s house hours after turning 18 and finding out she is fired from her job at the family bookstore, may build character but only after all her hopes (even those she didn’t know she had) are destroyed.

“So now I was utterly alone. I fought back a sob. Well, screw them. They didn’t have the only bookstore in the city. I could find another job, a place to live, even friends, damn it. I didn’t need them.” (p. 17)

And:

“”This is the real me. Like it or lump it.” I paused, then said sarcastically, “Oh, wait. You’ve already done that, haven’t you? Only I’m the one who took the lumps.”

Looking exasperated, Mom said, “You’re determined to be difficult, aren’t you?”

“Me?” I glared at the both of them. “What if I told you that you had to leave your family, that you weren’t wanted anymore, that you were less than human? How would you feel?”” (p. 23)

How can you not feel Valentine’s pain? And you should know that this is only the beginning of what she feels. Thankfully Val finds help in adapting to the changes thrown at her. Out of the many characters we are introduced to my favorite in the series so far is the terrier/hellhound mixed dog, Fang.

Fang and Val can talk telepathically which turns out to be hilarious as Fang acts like a trained, normal terrier around humans. He is a logical dog who has Val’s back like no other. With him at her side she applies and accepts a job working for the human police while patrolling the paranormal. Her job grants her access to several areas and gives her resources she needs to help her family. (I really don’t like Val’s sister. That is all.)

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Yep. Despite all the book reviews comparing and linking it to Buffy and Twilight, Bite Me stands on its own merits. It’s a keeper and a great first book in an awesome series.

Try Me  by Parker Blue
Belle Bridge Books (2010)
Trade: $14.95; e-book: $8.59
ISBN: 978-0984325665

Favorite Lines: “Damn it, just when I thought I finally belonged somewhere. A few days ago, these men had welcomed me into their midst, helped me celebrate my eighteenth birthday, and accepted me as one of them. Now, the suspicion and uncertainty practically rolled off them in waves. I turned to Dan, hoping for a spark of compassion, but his expression was closed, unreadable. A void opened up somewhere inside me.” (p. 252)

This part-demon teen vampire fighter and her faithful terrier hellhound are once again patrolling the dark streets of San Antonio, Texas. Val’s hunky human partner, Detective Dan Sullivan, is giving her the cold shoulder since she beheaded his vampire fiancée. Vamp leader Alejandro is struggling to keep the peace between vamps, demons and humans. The mucho powerful Encyclopedia Magicka has been stolen, someone in the Demon Underground is poisoning vamps, and Val’s inner lust demon, Lola, is getting very restless since Val’s now partnered with sexy Shade, the shadow demon with the blond good looks of an angel.

Book two in the Demons Underground series, Try Me, picks up with the fall out from the final battle scene in Bite Me. Val’s back to feeling left out and ostracized this time by both her mother and her co-workers. Good thing she has the demon underground to fall back on. One person in particular, Shade is proving to be a valuable asset and possibly more.

Shade is a demon unlike any I’ve ever read about before. His face is like a black, swirly hole unless he is touching someone. He is also a healer and a gentle young man who you don’t want to see mad for unknown reasons. (Well, unknown in the beginning of the book.  You’ve got to find out what happens when this dude gets pissed. It is totally worth it.)

Fang is still great and this book introduced a love interest for the hellhound, a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/hellhound. Kind of funny how the spaniel thinks she’s a purebred spaniel, but is really a hellhound mix. The scenes involving the dogs will have you laughing out loud.

Try Me is all about a possible war between demons and the “good” vampires. Demons seem to be around when bad things happen to vampires and the vampires are reacting. It’s rather obvious that the missing books are related to the vampire problem and you will probably see what’s coming from a mile away. The fun part comes in the form of the particulars of the story which aren’t as clear.

Pass this book on or ditch it? Pass it on, baby! The action scenes are vivid and the “will they reconcile” scenes revolving around Val and her mother are nail-biting. (I don’t like Val’s mother; she isn’t much of a mom.) Get the word out there about this fast paced, easy to read series. I couldn’t wait to start reading book three.

Fang Me by Parker Blue
Belle Bridge Books (March 2011)
Trade: $14.95; e-book: $8.59
ISBN: 978-1611940121

Favorite Lines: ” It was really nice to have an excuse to hold onto Shade, especially with Lola out of commission. Made me feel like a normal girl on a date with her boyfriend. Even Fang was quiet for a change. Closing my eyes, I enjoyed the sensation of being warmed against Shade’s body, feeling safe and cared for.” (p. 534)

The vampires want it. The demons want it too. And someone is willing to kill Val for it.

Val and Fang have to find the powerful Encyclopedia Magicka before either of San Antonio’s warring underworld factions locate it, or the consequences will be deadly for the entire city. As usual, Val’s vampire enemies (they still call her The Slayer), want her dead, and even some of her fellow demons may be less than trustworthy, since they’d like to grab the legendary book of spells before she does. Val has a personal claim to the Encyclopedia–her demon father left it to her when he died–but someone stole it recently. And that can’t be good.

Battling vamps and dodging demons, Val struggles to unravel the mystery and find the thief. At the same time, she’s fighting her attraction to sweet, sexy Shade, her favorite shadow demon. Rumor has it that Val will lose her part-demon, vampire-fighting powers if she gives herself to him.

With a crowd of vamps and demons out to trick her or kill her, it’s not a good time for her to risk her job as the city’s best vampire hunter by falling in love. The stakes are high and aimed right at her heart. But Lola, Val’s hungry little lust demon, doesn’t like being denied. Will Lola finally get her way?

What’s a part-lust-demon-teen supposed to do? Whatever it takes.

Val made an agreement in Try Me and it’s time for her to pay up. To do so she must interact with the vampire community on a larger scale than normal in the third installment in the Demons Underground series, Fang Me. It’s also a book that seems to span the distance between young adult and adult genres.

I have always loved the sexual undertones of the series. That Val doesn’t even realize how much enjoyment the men around her feel when she lets Lola (her inner succubus) free has always appealed to me. Sure the men don’t like losing control of themselves, but their little heads get quite the blast of pleasure and Val always seems to overlook it out of either fear of losing control or embarrassment. Something changes in this book and it puts a new light on everything. I’m even hoping that a few of the vampires get more “hands on” (wink wink) as the series progresses.

Like the previous book Try Me, Fang Me has some extremely predictable plot liens which never really bothered me as much as the secondary characters not seeing what was happening. The pleasure found in reading this series revolves around watching it the characters react to the different issues and seeing which path the author is going to lead the characters.

Pass it on or throw it away? Pass it on, of course. It’s a keeper and pivotal book in the series. Go out and buy this book along with the first two. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This book is a series changer. Something big happens which shifts the course of it all. The excerpt for book four is OMG wonderful. Holy crap! I can’t believe how long I have to wait to read the next installment in this series. Book four, Make Me will be released in the spring of 2012.

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