Book Review: Holding back the Day by Jamie Wasserman

Details from Amazon:

Holding Back the Day [Kindle Edition]

Jamie Wasserman (Author), Anna Maska (Photographer)

3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews) | Like (7)


Kindle Price:
$2.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet


Formats

Kindle Edition
$2.99 
Paperback
$11.99


Book Description

Publication Date: December 27, 2011

Claire Vincent is a misunderstood and confused girl who has no friends her own age. The kids at school think she’s weird, and she’d rather be left alone than have to deal with their rude stares and hurtful comments. Her only friend is her bold and adventurous grandmother Millie, who’s traveled the world and done everything from going on safaris to flying planes. Claire wants to be just like her, but that’s much harder for her than anyone realizes. She’s not courageous enough to even try – and so she remains a loner, burying her nose in books and escaping into the imaginative magical worlds she reads about.
But when a new kid, Matt, moves next door, she finds herself slowly drawn into the world of the living, despite her misgivings. Matt would do anything to please her, and she finds herself depending on him for everything – friends, social life, and recognition. But it’s a dependence she eventually grows to despise because it just makes her own weakness that much more apparent. She yearns for more – real magic in her life, to sweep her away from the land of the boring.
When Claire’s father decides to throw her grandmother a surprise seventy-fifth birthday party despite her grandmother’s vehement aversion to celebrating birthdays, Claire finds out that a magical life might not be as desirable as she naïvely believed. An unexpected guest at her grandmother’s party – Jack, a handsome boy new to town – seems to know Gran very well. Claire soon discovers her grandmother has been keeping a very big secret – and that secret might just be the perennially mysterious Jack.

Initial Thoughts:

I got this book free as a promotion from Penumbra Publishing but I would have paid for it as I read and enjoyed Jamie’s previous book "Blood and Sunlight". Also I am going to try my best to make this a shorter and spoiler-free review, as I realize I had been doing my reviews wrong to some extent Smile

As you all know I’m a huge vampire fan (and author) so naturally I’m inclined to read and enjoy any vampire story. This one did not let me down. I will admit though that I did not read the description closely and I thought at first this was a sequel to "Blood and Sunlight" when in fact it stands apart. This was a surprise but a pleasant one and since the book was free I’m certainly not complaining. Vampire bat

Main Points:

The book is divided into 3 distinct sections and deals mainly with 4 characters Millie, Claire, Jack and Lazlo (the last two are vampires). Millie is a head-strong, independent, intelligent and adventurous woman who we see both when she first meets Jack in the 50’s and again in 2010 when he shows up to see her at her 75th birthday. We also have Claire who is Millie’s granddaughter and also has many similar traits but likes her adventure in the forms of books and short, controlled encounters but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Part 1 is full of short chapters that jump back and forth between the 50’s and 2010. I found that the chapters were rather short and the constant jumping back and forth made the story a little hard to follow.We are introduced to Jack and see him as a dashing,
romantic but still dangerous figure that always attracts the attention of women wherever he goes. Millie had a relationship with Jack and even though it ended he continued to keep an eye on her for the rest of her life.

Part 2 is where I really got into the book. We learn more about Jack and Lazlo (his creator) and get to visit some fascinating places like London (1888) New York (1891) and California in 1898. I love the way Wasserman describes the vampires, their need for blood, the speed, the terror they can cause and of course I love that they can make choices and still try to do some good in the world. Jack is just a orphan when we meet him and Lazlo is a powerful, mysterious and creepy vampire (at least on the surface). Jack is shown as a complex character who lets his vampire nature dominate him for many years and only lets his human side out when he meets the right woman. I loved his attention to detail when it came to describing the places and time in the past (including of the 50’s) and the references to "Peter Pan" and "Dracula"’are greatly appreciated (though I’m a little ashamed to admit I never read the former).I also thought his ability to make a mundane area instantly scary and foreboding  is quite a treat. I compliment Jamie on dialogue as it flows very naturally and is quite snappy.Hot smile

Part 3 we concentrate more on the present as Jack sets his sights on Claire when he realizes he will never have Millie he sees that he needs to be with a human to ground him and help him remember what it was like to be human. Meanwhile Claire has her own issues as she deals with the death of a loved one, her best friend (Matt) is missing and there has been grizzly murder that may or not have been caused by Jack in an effort to make Claire run away with him.

Final Thoughts:

I like a book with a big showdown in near the end and this book doesn’t really have it. I also thought (without giving anything away) that the choice he makes about Millie is the wrong one. It was a surprise but it seems contrary to what he was building up to and I was a little annoyed. There is also a scene with Claire and Jack where she just passes out and wakes up somewhere different and it is never explained. There is some mention that Jack can fly but we never actually see him do it and we’re not sure if he told the truth. I suppose this is meant as a mystery but again I just thought it distracted me from the main story. I did enjoy the final chapter very much and I am certainly looking forward to a sequel (I loved Jack, he is my mind of vampire)and to the sequel to "Blood and Sunlight". I give this a strong 8 out of 10 and would recommend it to any horror/vampire/romance fan. He’s a Penumbra author after all and like someone said on the mailing list, we’re rocks stars Winking smile. Hopefully my next review won’t take so darn long, until then I am as always…

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