I’ve found another series I love. Wanna know what I don’t love…. HAVING TO WAIT FOR MORE 🙂 LOL Hello guys, I wanna tell you about this really cool book, and guess what, there aren’t even any werewolves! 🙂 So let me show you!
Hell’s Belle Series Book One
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: June 17, 2013
Number of pages: 238
Word Count: 74,722
Cover Artist: Jeff Brennan
Half vampire, half human, Nina Martinez spent most of her life underground as part of an elite secret team of government agents that quietly take down rogue monsters, the human world none the wiser. She moves back to her hometown of to keep an eye on the recent uptick in supernatural activity, and to help run the bar she co-owns with her aunt. Her attempt at a “regular” life, not to mention a budding relationship with smoking hot FBI agent Max, is cut short because of a string of ritual murders targeting the city’s community of witches.
But Nina’s investigation unearths deadly secrets from her long buried parents. Now the target of supernatural assassins, could Nina be the most dangerous vampire hybrid to ever exist? No wonder she can’t get a date.
An urban fantasy set in a decaying Providence, Rhode Island, HELL’S BELLE is a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled roller-coaster ride through a city on the cusp of becoming an urban wasteland. HELL’S BELLE is an energetic, expansive, and cinematic beginning of a new series in the urban fantasy genre.
I was wearing the wrong damn shoes. Bounding through the pitch-black overgrown empty urban lots, my legs were long past aching and well into screaming territory. I gulped in the crisp fall air and forced myself to sprint harder.
“Do you need me to carry you?” My partner Frankie, the vampire I was trying to keep pace with, shouted over his shoulder. His voice was thick with sarcasm.
I slowed down just enough to yank off my heels, carrying one in each hand. I wasn’t expecting to play decoy tonight, and I’d be damned if I was going to lose my shoes in some godforsaken overgrown lot in the middle of Newark, New Jersey. These were custom-designed heels from SteamTropolis in Seattle, after all. These vampires would have to pry them from my cold, dead hands before I let them go.
Newark had a pretty major vampire infestation. The despair and decay that the city had fallen into over the past several decades lured us, and the population was exploding.
Frankie and I had spent the last three weeks here, advising the Mayor on how to eradicate the pests. We are part of a small but efficient top-secret task force of hunters that handle rogue supernaturals for the Defense Department. The program had the highest security clearance. Even the President had no idea we existed, or that the crew Frankie and I assembled to help eradicate their vampire pest problem was flying in to join Newark’s finest the next day.
So Mayor Cory Booker, head of a crime-soaked New Jersey city, had one up on the Commander-in-Chief. We only let the mayor in on what we were doing because he walked in on a vampire sucking the life out of one of his staffers in his office in City Hall. Even more shocking, Mayor Booker kicked the vampire’s ass before driving a stake through his chest. Not only was he unflappable politically, but Mayor Booker’s wild adrenaline surge also made him a first-rate vampire slayer. With that kind of muscle, he deserved to know the truth.
It was our last night in Newark and, to show his thanks, Mayor Booker threw us a bon voyage party at his home. I busted out my best outfit for the occasion: a beautiful strapless number that looked like long silk bandages crisscrossing over each other. The addition of a bustier underneath made my usually small boobs appear more ample. And, of course, finishing the outfit were my fabulously impractical heels.
Since Mayor Booker was the newest threat to the vampires’ stronghold, a vampire nest crashed the party. Six very motivated vamps thundered feet first through his front window. Clearly whoever was in charge considered it a suicide mission and sent out his flunkies. Dressed like a cheap imitation of a Hell’s Angels biker gang, it was vampire amateur hour at the Booker household. They actually brought human weapons in with them, including a submachine gun. Some waved metal pipes.
An amateur vampire is still a vampire, and still just as deadly. Between the fangs, the pipes and the gun, not to mention the glass shrapnel from the window, the place was a bloody mess. Newark’s police chief had a nasty gash on his throat, the vampire missing his jugular by mere centimeters. I was able to stake him with a broken broom handle before he could kill the poor man. Shattered window glass embedded into the arm of the Mayor’s press secretary. Vampire Moron started shooting up the place, so blood was flowing freely. The carnage appeared to be a violent political hit gone wrong. It’s shockingly easy to hide a supernatural attack.
It was bedlam. Frankie and I distracted the hit squad so the Mayor’s security forces could get him out of there. It was a good reminder of why I don’t usually get dressed up.
After kicking my heels off, I closed the distance between me and Frankie. I could barely make out his aristocratic profile in the sliver of moonlight peeking through the dark clouds. Frankie still looked impeccable in his fitted black blazer, skinny trousers and dress shoes, which he was running around in just fine.
“You need me to carry you, old man?” I huffed, throwing his earlier sarcasm back at him.
Frankie laughed, the rich sound echoed down the alleyway we had turned into. He wasn’t the least bit out of breath.
Wait. Echoed? Shit.
I reached out and grasped Frankie’s forearm and squeezed. We skidded to a stop, gaping at the brick wall in front of us. My eyes darted around. There was a fire escape about 15 feet above us. Frankie could probably jump it. But there was no way I would make it up there. And Frankie wouldn’t be able to jump it with me on his back. Too much weight for a straight-up vertical leap. At over 500 years old, Frankie was one of the strongest vampires I had ever met. But a jump like that was pushing it.
I bent over at the waist, grasped my kneecaps and sucked in air as my mind raced through scenarios for escape. None of them were good. We were going to have to fight our way out of this.
Reluctantly dropping my exquisite shoes on the ground, I reached down the front of my dress and pulled a silver-tipped stake from my bustier.
Frankie’s eyes were wide. “Nice tailoring.” He nodded appreciatively and peered down my dress. “What else do you have in there?”
I smacked him upside the head. “Focus!”
The five vampires appeared at the mouth of the alleyway.
I crouched low, trying to pick out the weakest link in the dim light. With my mixed blood, I was stronger than a regular human, but I had to be realistic.
“Second from right,” Frankie whispered, nostrils flaring. He knew my limits too. “Pretty new dead. Still smells almost human. But watch your back.”
I’m so pumped about this new series! It’s refreshing, it’s full of mystery, and it’s a fantastic new take on the supernatural world. And to top it off, this is the author’s first book! I’m definitely excited for more to come. So, Nina is pretty damn cool. She’s half human and half vamper. She was raised on a military base with an elite, secret supernatural government group, and she’s good at what she does. She’s in trouble because someone is definitely trying to kill her and a lot of other people are dying in the process.
I really liked Nina’s character. She wasn’t raised in our normal world, so she looks at things a little differently. She’s also fierce and loyal and a little crazy. She has some cool friends and family except that they kept a lot of her past under wraps. As she is trying to keep herself alive she is learning all of these little secrets and discovering some new powers she doesn’t understand. Lets just say she’s a new favorite heroine of mine 🙂
As usual, I’ve fallen in love with some of the secondary characters. Frankie is definitely a favorite. And though I like Max, I have a feeling he’s going to have competition fighting for Nina’s attention 🙂 her aunt and Dr O need a shout out too because they are funny in their own right. I really enjoyed all the conversations and learning their personalities. And then we mustn’t forget the bad guy! Marcello just gives me the creeps, and I’m still on the fence with Mr Bertrand. I have a feeling that’s going to get complicated pretty quick.
I extremely liked the mystery surrounding everything. And I am hoping Casper makes another appearance. These new twists are going to make for an excellent start to book two- which I can’t wait to get my hands on! I’m also a fan of the writing style. I love when I writer can suck me into a story right from the first few sentences and this definitely happened here! All I can say now is gimme gimme gimme more!! 5 EXCELLENT ASS KICKING PAWS!!
WELCOME!! First, tell me a little about your book ….
Hell’s Belle is about Nina Martinez, who is half vampire half and half human. She works for a secret government agency taking out supernatural monsters that pose a threat to the human population. When she returns to her hometown, a string of serial murders happen, and it turned out that she is the target of the killer. Her efforts to bring down this supernatural creature are complicated, however, by the smoking hot FBI agent who was brought in to help the police find the killer. There’s loads of kick-butt action, which I love reading and writing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I always wrote — short stories, poems, plays. And I never really thought anything of it. I just thought it was what everyone did!
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Hell’s Belle is my first full-length novel, and I think it was a whole combination of things that inspired me to write it. Mainly, it was a challenge to myself to see if I could do it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It has hints of my own experiences–people I have met, places I have lived, or visited or told about. But the story itself is pure fiction.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
I am struggling with this now. In Hell’s Belle, the only characters to die are the bad ones. But as Nina’s story expands, I need to make room for new supporting characters. And she needs to experience her own losses–people she loves will die, she may be betrayed. She and her friends are not untouchable, and it’s important that they fail. I still don’t know who is going to die, or how yet. But it’s absolutely a difficult choice to make.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Chris Ward. I don’t know if he’s new, but he’s new to me! I am in the middle of his excellent book Tube Riders, about a group of disaffected young adults who live in a strange Big Brother-type of London. They hang on to the edge of subway trains and “ride” them as a sort of sport–it gives something to live for. And there’s a rival faction trying to take them out. It’s a great read–reminds me a bit of The Warriors.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
David Johnston is a playwright that I have worked with a bunch in my day job. I think he does an extraordinary job telling compelling stories in ways that are welcoming and accessible to an audience. He’s probably one of the best American playwrights out there today. I’ve heard time and again writers being told to write what they want and not worry about the audience. I think that’s a huge mistake, unless you are writing for an audience of one.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don’t think so. I could edit forever and still not be 100 percent happy. Learning to let go–and actually letting go–is important.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time to do it! Between working my day job, my family responsibilities and promo for Hell’s Belle, writing time has been scant lately. It’s hard for me to write in fits and spurts, so finding a solid amount of time to do it has been a real challenge.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
Tube Riders, and I have the new Richard Kadrey on pre-order. I love horror too, and can’t wait to get started on book two of the Strain trilogy.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
Jeff Brennan, who is an amazing artist and has worked for places like DC Comics, did the cover. We worked together on it. We met and I showed him images from where the book was set, and we talked about the main character. Then he just took it from there.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
That I had the stamina to do it!
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I would totally be Dog. She naps a lot!
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
The Game of Thrones series. Absolutely epic.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading! I loved writing the words, and I hope you get great pleasure from reading them. An visit me over at my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hellsbellebykarengreco), where I am most active. I could talk about my characters endlessly, so I would love for anyone to pop by, ask questions, and just hang out!
Thank you SO much for stopping by today! I really hope we can do this again for book two!!
About the Author:
An award-winning playwright, Karen Greco has spent close to twenty years in New York City, working in publicity and marketing for the entertainment industry. A life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she can decapitate characters with impunity. HELL’S BELLE is her first novel.