Wednesday, 1 November 2017

REVIEW - CHIMERA - WEREGIRL SERIES BY C.D. BELL


Title: Chimera
Author: C.D. Bell
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifter 
Publisher: Chooseco
Release Date: 1st November 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
The forest is full of secrets. 

Nessa Kurland is adjusting to life as a weregirl—she is transforming with ease and running with a pack she cares for deeply. Her boyfriend Luc is a fellow shifter, and Paravida, the corporation responsible for unethical genetic experiments on the residents of Tether, has pulled out of town, leaving the community safe. 

But that’s just how it appears on the surface. 

Nessa returns home from a run with the pack to find an FBI raid and the shocking news that her mother Vivian is being held without bail for violations so serious she may be facing life in prison. What did Nessa’s mother, a small-town vet tech, do to threaten Homeland Security? Vivian’s secret past leads Nessa to discover there is more to her own story than she ever imagined. 

The wolves that are running through Tether’s woods are not the same pack Nessa knew before. These are not all natural wolves. And they are breeding. 

Nessa’s transformation is only just beginning. 


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REVIEW
After reading Weregirl I really wanted to know more about Nessa Kurland and her family. I also still wanted more of the shifter genre too. I had questions I wanted answering upon finishing Weregirl and was looking forward to the answers.

The main feature of this cover is the back of a girl's head. The girl has two plaits either side of her head. The hair is a mixture of browns and grey. The girls neck has fur that has a kind of mottled brown look to it. The byline on this cover says, "the forest is full of lies".
Prior to reading this book I of course had the obvious thought that this girl with animal markings was Nessa in a part wolf/girl form. However that is not the case and wow when it is revealed who this is, well it's most certainly a wow moment in this second book of the trilogy.

So as the blurb reveals Paravida have left Tether and everyone is safe, or maybe they feel safer. . .but are they? Nessa is adjusting well under the circumstances to her ability to transform into a wolf. In fact that's where this book picks up, Nessa is out in her wolf form running through the woods with Luc. Luc was born with the ability to transform into a wolf, and one day not that far away his human side will walk into the woods, transform into a wolf and never return to his human form or life again.
It's whilst Luc and Nessa are chasing around, kind of playing in their wolf forms that they scent Paravida wolves. They follow the trail of the wolves when Nessa scents something familiar, however it is not so familiar to her in her wolf form. The two wolves then smell blood, meaning the wolves they are following are hurt. Eventually Nessa's wolf brain/memory clears and she recognises the smell as one she has been around in her work at the vets surgery. The smell is anaesthesia, meaning the Paravida Wolf has been shot with a tranquilizer gun. Luc and Nessa finally find the end of the trail and discover the tyre tracks. Whoever tranquilized the wolves have taken the bodies with them. Obviously somewhat puzzled Luc and Nessa make their way back to their little cabin behind Lucs home but far enough into the woods to be hidden. They change back to their human forms and hug and talk about what they have just discovered. Luc and Nessa have been dating a while and are comfortable with each other in both their human and wolf forms.  I personally think Luc is a large part of the reason Nessa has adapted to her wolf so well. He has taught her about the transformation process, how to supress it and how to make it happen when you need it. Nessa still has to transform at both new and full moons. Nessa has also gotten to a point where she can move in and out of wolf form at will. Nessa merely thinks of her family to enable her to switch back easily into her human form. To become a wolf, Nessa think about the way she feels running as a wolf to transform into her wolf. Luc and Nessa's discovery soon becomes the least of her problems when she returns home to find the FBI and Homeland Security in and all around her home. Using her wolf hearing Nessa hears snippets of different conversations going on. Upon entering the house she and her family live in she first sees a worried Delphine, whose face instantly relaxes when she see's her older sister. Nate however is in an even worse state than Delphine. Nate is in the corner alone, as far away from the bustle as possible, hugging his knees and becoming more and more upset by all the people and police in his home which is usually his sanctuary. The officers are using Geiger counters and are searching every room and drawer and cupboard in the house. It's then Nessa's eyes finally land on her mother who is continually asking the officers what they are looking for. Vivian is sat at the table in an awkward bent forward position as her arms are in handcuffs behind her back. The officers pull Vivian upright to a standing position to take her away with them. Vivian has just moments to give orders to Nessa for her to call Aunt Jane to come get them. Vivian's other instructions are for Nessa to phone Dr Morgan to ask for more shifts at the vet surgery and to continue Vivian's work there. Both calling Aunt Jane and asking for extra shifts at the vets instantly make total sense to Nessa. It's the latter suggestion confuses Nessa somewhat as she is certainly not as qualified as her mum so couldn't possibly perform her duties at the veterinarian surgery. 

I also enjoyed reading the sections that featured the Paravida wolves. The Paravida wolves had been scientifically created and raised by human researchers at the secret laboratories on the Paravida Corporate Campus North of Tethers town. These wolves had been purposely bred to be highly aggressive and were isolated from each other, kept in individual cages instead of being allowed to co-exist or form a pack as they would naturally do. In this book, Chimera these wolves had escaped into the wild, fighting each other, starving or ransacking garbage for food. Sadly this meant they had no idea of how to interact with natural born wolves. Luc has taken on the task to attempt to teach them what being part of a pack is and how they should be co-existing with each other and other wolves in the area. I love the relationship between the Paravida wolf Jack and one of the Tether wolf pack resulting in super cute sounding baby wolf cubs. There's some great scenes within the book of Luc and Nessa playing with these wolf pups. 

There seemed to be a lot of things that had happened after the ending of Weregirl yet before Chimera begins, such as the whole Nessa & Luc relationship and also the incident where Bree, Luc and Nessa break into Paravida and take a box full of files and documentation. This box is mentioned as maybe being the information that the FBI and Homeland Security were searching for in the Kurland home? The box and it's contents could perhaps be a factor in Vivian's arrest too? The box is mentioned a couple of times and then nothing else about it. An envelope is found in the important roll top writing desk made or restored by grandpa, yet this piece of treasured furniture hadn't been mentioned before, in fact I initially thought that the girls were looking for a number/envelope in a roll-a-desk telephone number gadget from the description!  To say there is a lot going on in this book is an understatement where in book one, Weregirl the plot initially felt a little slow, in this book, Chimera everything happens so very, very fast! We even get to meet Nessa & Delphine's father. There are many questions around and concerning their father. The one that immediately came to my mind was, well who is Nate's father? Then there is the whole ethics of the scientific experiments her father is doing. The shock that her mother once approved and did similar experiments herself. Then Nessa comes face to face with an experiment that should no longer exist. I could seriously go on and on and on about everything that happens in this book.

Another issue Nessa has to deal with is the increasing support in her previously peaceful loving town of Tether for hunting and killing the wolves. . . .all the wolves, not just the Paravida one's. There are some fantastic scenes where Luc and Nessa are trying to help the wolves to leave the Tether wood and escape from impending death.

I really grew to love the character of Nessa even more in this book. Nessa goes through lots of changes from the person she was in Weregirl to who she is at the end of Chimera. Nessa has to deal with losses of things and people close to her. Nessa has to become more independent and confident, she has many choices ahead of her with very few people she can discuss them with. What should she believe about her mother Vivian, Why has she been arrested? Why is she so set that Nessa should avoid her father along with any help he ever offers? Then there is her father, how come he is so rich? and the rest of the Kurland family so poor? What sort of experiments is he really doing? How should she feel when he reveals Nessa is named after his mother Vanessa? Nessa was very young when her parents split but she does have flashbacks to that time, which she uses to decipher the lies within the truths she is presented with.

Nessa really goes through the ringer in this book, she has to accept that what she has with Luc is not permanent. Nessa feels pulled in many directions during this book by her mother, her father and her pack, the Tether wolves. Nessa has to deal with the feeling of ostracisation when some of the people of Tether turn against Vivian. Nessa also deals with bullies at school who seem to love talking about her mothers arrest. It both annoys and upsets Nessa, these are the same people whose pets Vivian has saved or treated for free when they were down on their luck and money. Poor Nessa seems to solve one problem only to have another one land in her lap.

Another much smaller character within Chimera that I really liked a lot was Vivian's court appointed lawyer, Zach Chandler. Zach is young but knows what is needed to help Vivian and when because of his firm not wanting to go up against a large company like Paravida reveal they would take a plea for a shorter jail sentence instead of going the whole way through the court to free Vivian he meets with Nessa, explains the situation and gives her pointers on where to find the right sort of help. 

My immediate thoughts upon reading the last page in Chimera was, Wow I really, really hope there are more books to come in this series! I now know, after a little research that this book is part of a trilogy. This book covered so much but I would truly love more! Loved it! I would love a novella or two, perhaps covering Nessa and Lucs relationship and him helping Nessa come to terms with what she transforms into. Also a novella on Vivian set before she returned to Tether, so we know exactly what she took part in and how she argued with Nessa's father about the ethics of what they were doing and maybe even more about Vivian after the ending of this book too. Every time I think about Chimera and its ending all I can think is wow when can I read the final book in the trilogy?

WEREGIRL REVIEW


Title: Weregirl
Author: C.D. Bell
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifter 
Publisher: Chooseco
Release Date: 1st November 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Eager to escape her small hometown, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. A chance encounter with a trapped wolf while out on a run leads to powerful and frightening changes, and one day, Nessa is transformed into a full werewolf. Now Nessa must navigate the challenges of high school while coming face to face with true human darkness, as she tries to make peace with her new wild nature.


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REVIEW
I'd had this book on my kindle quite a while and had just not gotten around to reading it. I decided to look back on my kindle and checkout the titles that weren't so new. I fancied a shifter/werewolf genre read so with a title like Weregirl this one seemed the perfect choice!

The first thing I noticed about the cover were the beautiful piercing icy blue eyes of a wolf. Before reading the book I automatically presumed they would belong to the werewolf/girl that was also the simple straight to the point title of the book. The fur of the werewolf on the front cover is a luxurious looking white, silver grey. The byline on the cover say's "everyone has an animal inside" and after reading the book I can say is a quote from another mystical character we meet in the book who tries and I feel succeeds in being instrumental to Nessa accepting her gift.

The central character of this book is Nessa Kurland who lives with her hardworking single parent mother Vivian Kurland and her younger siblings, Delphine and Nate. Vivian works as a veterinarian technician at the local vets in Tether. The youngest in the family Nate has ADHD/Autism so has to be handled in a certain way to prevent him withdrawing completely into himself or having a meltdown. Structure and routine are extremely important to Nate. Delphine is the middle child, she loves fashion, clothes and is probably the most social of the siblings. Nessa is more reserved than Delphine and enjoys working weekends at the vet surgery her mum works at earning her own money to fund her running necessities, such as trainers etc. It's whilst Nessa is doing her running through the woods that she comes across a wolf stuck in a farmers trap. Nessa is an animal lover and has a good calming way with animals and she cannot just run by, unlike the other runner Cynthia that was supposed to be meeting with Nessa for them to run together. Cynthia hadn't waited and it was whilst attempting to catch up with her that Nessa found the injured wolf. Nessa approaches the animal carefully making sure it knows she is wanting to help. It's whilst freeing the trapped wolf that Nessa is attacked by a different wolf and is bitten. Nessa passes out and when she wakens she is in the health centre with Dr Kallish dressing her fairly large, painful wound. Dr Kallish asks about the wolves Nessa encountered and reassures her he has given her shots to counteract infection and the possibility of rabies, he even gives her the tooth that the wolf left behind in her hip when it bit her. Dr Kallish and Dr Raab work at the health centre where Nate and other children his age are being regularly monitored to check for any ill health that could be the result of the enviromental waste that a local company called Dutch Chem has illegally and irresponsibly dumped in the area. 
Nessa heals much more rapidly than expected and is eager to abandon her crutches and get back to school and her running training with Coach Hoffman. Delphine, Nessa's younger sister takes the tooth to school and gets a hole drilled in the tooth to make into a necklace/talisman for her sisterDespite still being in pain from the bite, Nessa begins running faster times. It is good news as if Nessa is to get into college she will need a scholarship. Then things start to be a bit strange, her hearing becomes much more sensitive. One day whilst at her best friends studying, she hears a conversation between Bree and Gabe who are both downstairs whilst she is in the upstairs bathroom. Nessa's eyesight has also improved so much that she no longer needs her contact lenses. Nessa hides all these changes including the recurring nightmares she is still having about being attacked by the wolf. The final straw that finally makes her reach out for help is when she dreams that she is changing into the wolf. That's when a friends of Bree's rather hippy mum introduces Nessa to a local shaman who helps Nessa understand what is happening and how to deal with it.

I was immediately pulled in by the prologue, and wanted to learn more about the scientist featured in it called Camille Rogerson. Camille has been given a job on the team attempting to to clean up what Dutch Chem has left behind in the form of pollution. It's whilst working alone than Camille has an encounter with wolves. Then the book begins telling us Nessa's story. It was a shame we didn't revisit Camille and learn more about her work and her run in with the wolves. The genres I have seen this book labelled as are YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Shifter, which all fit the book well.  

I did really enjoy this book, its difficult to explain why on Goodreads I only gave the book 4/5 stars. The book felt a little slow in some places, though it is well worth sticking with and reading to the end. I enjoyed this book so much I read the second in the series that is called Chimera straight away. The cover of Chimera has me making all sorts of guesses and thoughts about what could happen next.


My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were that I found this to be an interesting start to what could be a fantastic book series! Not sure how to explain it other than to compare it to two Book/TV adaptations and say it's more like the Teen-wolf TV series and YA aimed than the Bitten series adaptation from Kelley Armstrong's Women Of The Otherworld book series.


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