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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Saturday, October 8, 2011


TITLE: Fangs for Nothing              AUTHOR: Adrianne Ambrose
PUB. DATE: June 2011                 FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: from author in exchange for honest review

Fangs for Nothing
Grab some garlic and start sharpening your mother's wooden spoons because there are vampires living in the most unlikely of places.

I’ve always wanted to meet a vampire. Not to stake some poor bloodsucker as he sleeps in his coffin or have some sexy vampiress bite me on the neck, but just to see a creature so rare and infamous. What can I say? Some people want to sail to Easter Island, others want to fling themselves out of an airplane, I want to shake hands with a vampire. Well, maybe I should prioritize getting a girlfriend first, but a vampire sighting is pretty high up on the list. Trust me, a lot of kids my age dream about it. Like my two best friends, Rini and Xander. We spent half the summer searching the most notorious cities in the United States for the undead, but so far, no luck.

That’s why it came as a total shock to discover a living, breathing vampire in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. (Okay, so he’s more undead and not breathing, but you get the picture.) At first we were kind of excited, but then pretty freaked because it turns out our new fanged friend has a hold on the city's teenage population and a specific thirst for their blood. Which, in a word—bites.

THREE WORDS: Funny. Smart. Original

MY "I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK" REACTION: HAHAHAHA! and OMG No Way! Ya just can't leave it like that. More please!

MY REVIEW: There is definitely no shortage of YA vampire novels these days and after awhile it seems that one vamp story just sorta runs into the next, which is why Adrianne Ambrose’s Fangs for Nothing was such a delightful surprise. Fangs for Nothing is one of the most fun, original, smart YA vampire books that I have read in a long time. This book is delightfully tongue in cheek sarcastic, well written, and full of impossible to not like characters.

Herbert, better known as Sherbie, and is best friends Rini and Xander are on an interesting mission: to find vampires…or at least just one vampire. They have spent the better part of their summer traveling around the USA in search of vampires in what they assume are the most likely places to find them (New Orleans, San Fransico), so you can imagine their surprise when they discover a vampire right in their hometown Cleveland. But the trio soon discovers that vampires aren’t really as cool and sensational as pop culture as made them out to be…in fact they kind of suck, and not in the Dracula sense (although they do that too). The group of friends must deal with the new Cleveland Sucker while also dealing with the suckiness that comes with being a teenager.

Ambrose has taken our culture’s fascination with vampires and has both paid homage to it and lightheartedly made fun of it, and the end result is a witty page turner with a captivating and enticing story.

I read this book in one sitting, simply because I just couldn’t stop reading. The story is neither super fast paced or slow, it has a nice flow and never drags. I didn’t find myself bored once, which is rare for me when it comes to vampire novels. Ambrose’s particular spin on vampire lore/myth is refreshing. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I found the main vampire ‘s (Vincent) abilities and specific hold over Cleveland’s teenagers to be original and intriguing. But what I really liked is that underneath the cheeky sarcasm and fun fantastical elements, there exist a real powerful look at our culture and the lives of teenagers. Yet, at the same time I really enjoyed the fact that this book, and Ambrose, don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.

The characters in this book are great! They’re funny, smart, different, relatable, and easy to like. The main character Sherbie is one of those guys that girls may not notice right away, but once they get to know him they can’t believe they never bothered paying attention to him sooner. Sherbie isn’t cool in the traditional sense-he’s a little awkward, insecure, and totally clueless in the way most teenage guys are- and he couldn’t care less. He’s everything poser hipsters want to be, without actually being a poser hipster. His best friend Xander is rich, gorgeous, and has perfected his charm and he knows it. He can come across a bit arrogant at times, but he’s really a good guy and a great friend with a good heart. Rini is a tough chick, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but her insecurities make her very realistic. All in all, the three friends make for a quirky, fun and amusing trio. And I really appreciate how organic and natural Ambrose’s characters come across in their dialogue, actions, and thoughts. Not once while reading did I stop and think “A teenager would never say that or real teenagers don’t act like that”.

I must mention Sherbie’s grandma briefly, because I found her incredibly funny and realistic. She was so much like my own grandma that I found myself laughing out loud and nodding my head everytime Sherbie described her or complained about her.

I have to talk about romance because all good vampire novels have romance right? Well, Fangs for Nothing is no exception, except it kind of is in the way that there is no intense, fated, “We’re meant to be cause we’re soulmates, I’ve only know you for a week but I’m completely in love with you and you’re my whole world now” kind of romance. Instead there’s very realistic, relatable, hot, actually enjoyable to see unfold teenage romance in the form of new love and unexpected, yet formed from a natural progression kind of love. Basically, the romance in this book is well written, enticing, and actually believable.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, I really liked this book and thought it was pretty awesome. It was original and a refreshing reprieve from other similar fantasy/paranormal YA books. Ambrose writes with a witty, smart, fun confidence that definitely comes through throughout the novel. The characters are well developed and relatable, and the story itself is fun and captivating. If you are looking for a different, fun and clever paranormal book then this is definitely the book for you.
My Rating

You can learn more about and connect with Adrianne Ambrose here:
You can now purchase Fangs for Nothing here:

I received this ebook review copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

When you first started brainstorming ideas for Fangs for Nothing did you know right away that you wanted to write a different kind of vampire story or did you set out to write a very traditional vampire story?

AA – Actually, I was working on a Choose Your Own Adventure video game with a programmer and we thought it’d be fun to do a vampire game. He was insisting that the story had to be set in traditional vampire location like San Francisco or New Orleans or maybe even New York. None of those cities felt very fresh to me, so I was pushing for Cleveland. He dropped out of the project for a steady programming gig but I still wanted to write a vampire story in Cleveland. Once you choose a location like Cleveland for your vampires it seems awkward to go on with a traditional story. I felt I had to mix things up a little or there would be no point in setting it there.

I love that Fangs is set in such an unexpected city like Cleveland and I'm so glad you decided to stray from the traditional vampire route.

Several vampire pop culture references are found in Fangs for Nothing, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. Were you inspired by these icons or any others in any way, whether positively or negatively? Did you find it easy or difficult to maintain a balance between paying homage to vampire pop culture and also lightheartedly making fun of it?

AA – I’ve seen the Buffy movie, but never really watched the TV show. I specifically wanted to name a character Xander, but a friend kept insisting I shouldn’t because there was a character with the same name on Buffy. I decided to turn the coincidence to my advantage.
Weirdly, I haven’t read that many vampire books. I’ve read the first two Sookie Stackhouse books, two of the Twilight series, Interview with a Vampire and Dracula. But then again, I wrote Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice which is a parody of the barbarian genre and I’ve never read a Conan type book. Just an unusual skill I have, I guess.

Xander was actually one of my favorite characters from the Buffy tv show, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that name pop up in your book. And yes, you most definitely have a knack for parody! 

Your characters in Fangs for Nothing, especially the main trio, are very realistic and relatable. Are any of them based on people in your real life? Did you put a little bit of yourself into any of the characters?

AA - Thank you. That makes me feel good.
Nope, this time around they are all just characters in my head. In my middle grade novel, What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader, a ton of characters are based on my disastrous eighth grade year when I landed a spot on the cheerleading squad, but in Fangs they are all fiction. The only little smidge of me that worked its way into the story is my love of Cleveland history.

You're most welcome! You created some fantastic characters.

You’ve written several books, do you have a personal favorite? Is there one that you are most proud of?

AA - I think almost everyone has a portion of a book tucked in a drawer or saved on a disc somewhere. Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice was my version of that half finished book. I’d get motivated and crank out a few dozen pages or re-write chapter two, again, but then lose momentum and it would molder for a few more days / months / years. It was significant for me to have finished that book and then landed a contract with a small press. It taught me that yes, I can finish a story and have a publisher like it enough to print it. That’s pretty thrilling and motivated me to keep writing.
Now that I have the rights to Confessions back , it’s available on all ereaders for 99 cents.

I'm so glad that you're experience with Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice motivated you to keep writing. I know I'll definitely be giving this book a read!

In Fangs for Nothing, the main trio set out across the country in search of vampires. I’d love to explore the icy waters of Scotland in search of Nessie or spend my days traipsing around the forest looking for faeries. Are there any mythical/fantasy beings that you’d love to go on the hunt for?

AA – When I was in elementary school, I loved unicorns and really wanted to find one in the valley near our house. (I still secretly do.) When I was in my twenties, I did a lot of freelance journalism and one time I followed a parapsychologist through the old Mansfield Prison. (Google it - Super cool Gothic building. Used as the set for The Shawshank Redemption.) That was fun. In modern times, I’m more of a treasure hunter. I love going to flea markets and thrifts stores to search for antiques. I do not enjoy going to the mall for traditional shopping, but put me in a bazaar in Istanbul and I’m happy for hours.

I think I'll always secretly be on the lookout for unicorns too ;). I love a good ghost hunting trip, I've been on a few myself!

One of the things I love best about books are all the worlds that can be found within them. I’d love to catch the train to Hogwarts or have tea with Mr. Tumnus in Narnia. What magical or made up world would you love to be swept away into?

AA- I love history and travel so I’ve always wanted to have adventures like Indiana Jones. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with visiting the chocolate room from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, although I never read the actual book until I was an adult.

Oh I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, especially the original movie. When I was a kid I always wanted to try the Fizzy Lifting Drink :D

I’m a big fan of movies based on books. If Fangs for Nothing were made into a movie, who would be your dream cast to play your main characters?

AA – This is a tough question and I haven’t quite perfected my answer yet, but here goes:
Sherbie – Hmmm – Someone like a slightly younger Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Xander – This is a tough one. Xander is tall, well built with black hair and electric blue eyes. Zack Efron’s got the dark hair and blue eyes, but not the stature. From back several years ago I’d say Michael St. Gerard (he was in the original Hairspray), who has completely disappeared from Hollywood.
Rini – Chloe Moretz maybe - ? – She’s way too pretty to be Rini, but doesn’t Hollywood always do that? Anyway, she’s saucy and she’s got a good voice so I think it could work. Abigail Breslin might also work.
Lana – Can I say Emma Stone? I’m not sure she’s exactly Lana, but I think she’s fabulous and am glad she’s getting work.
Short Vincent – Romain Duris – French actor that was in Heartbreaker (there are subtitles, but well worth the investment – super funny)
Aerony – Okay, this one is easy – Aisha Tyler – Gorgeous and great voice. She does the voice of Lana Kane on Archer.

Excellent casting! I love Chloe Moretz and Emma Stone.

 Heroes and heroines are great, but villains are awesome! Who’s your favorite literary villain? Who do you love to hate or hate to love?

AA - Harry Flashman from the series called The Flashman Papers by George MacDonald Fraser. He is such a rogue, but you can’t help but like him. I’ve had a literary crush on Fraser for years for creating such a genius antihero and for blending history with humor. In addition, Fraser puts footnotes throughout The Flashman Papers giving you cool tidbits from history. If he hadn’t passed away back in 2008, I would stalk the man.

Harry Flashman sounds like an intriguing antihero! Good to know I'm not the only one adorkable enough to have a literary crush (mine's Lauren Myracle...shhh don't tell her though).

What is the one book that you think everyone should read at least once in their life? Why?

AA-Hmmm… I’m going to narrow the question down to one book I think every aspiring writer should read. (I’ve been pondering the everyone should read and can’t come up with a satisfactory answer) I’m going to go with John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. What I think is instructional about this book to aspiring authors is the range of emotions that the reader experiences while engrossed in the story. Some parts of it are straight up funny, some are bitter sweet, some are filled with longing, anger, sadness, despair and joy. Now I love Twain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, all the classic American authors, but none of them put you through the range of emotions the way Steinbeck does. 

I want to thank Adrianne for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving us all a chance to get to know her and her work a little better.

I'd also like to thank her for generously offering 3 ebook copies of her book Fangs for Nothing to three of you!

Fangs for Nothing Ebook Giveaway
Prizes: 3 Ebook Copies of Fangs for Nothing
Winners: There will be 3 winners, chosen randomly

To enter simply fill out the Raffle copter form below. Giveaway ends 10/14 at 11:59pm


Didn't win? Visit my Giveaways page to enter the 3 other giveaways happening now


Deena Graves said...

I have to say I have seen this book floating around the Twitter world, as well as Miss Adrianne, and am very intrigued. Fangs for Nothing sounds pretty freakin awesome... =^)

Bookluvr Mindy said...

I have been stalking you ever since you entered your Lie or Die idea! Nice work.

Bookluvr Mindy said...

When I say "stalking you" I'm meaning stalking your blog...he!he!

roro said...

Fangs for Nothing sounds pretty freakin awesome... =^)

Anonymous said...

Seems really refreshing when you compare it to the trending YA vampire romances.

Priya said...

I haven't read a good book involving vampires in a really long time! This sounds like a wonderful read :)

Sebrina said...

I've many talk about this book, so I think it's time I picked up a copy. Thanks for the chance at winning it first. :)