Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz

Title: Amish Vampires in Space

Author: Kerry Nietz

Publisher: Freeheads

Publication date: January, 2014

Softcover: 490 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Galley from the author.



Why I chose this book: I was very interested in what this book had to offer.  Obviously the title catches your attention, but the synopsis does so even more.  I knew I had to read this book and see what was in store for me.

Synopsis: 

Jebediah has a secret that will change his world forever and send his people into space. 

The Amish world of Alabaster calls upon an ancient promise to escape destruction. Then end up on a cargo ship bound for the stars. 

But they are not the only cargo on board. Some of it is alive...or used to be. 

Now, with vampires taking over and closing in on the Amish refugees, these simple believers must decide whether their faith depends upon their honored traditions or something even older.

Review:

I wasn't expecting too much going into this book.  I wanted to have my head clear to give this book the chance to prove itself.  And it did, plus much, much more.  I want to say that I was even pleasantly surprised.  With a title and synopsis like this book possesses, it was expected that the book would get a little absurd at times.  How could it not?  However, I found that this book was both sincere as well as entirely plausible.

This book may have started as a big joke, but it's turned into a story that carries a lot of weight.  The plotting throughout this book was brilliant, as well as excellently paced.  I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, without being left on the hook for so long that I got bored and no longer cared.  I didn't think that all these variables - Amish, Vampires, Space  - could fit together so well.  But they did.

I also want to make a point to say that the characterization done throughout the book was very good.  I find characterization to be just as important, sometimes even moreso than plot.  I want to love the characters, root for them, or at the very least understand them.  And I got all of that here.  I understood who my characters were, I could see them clearly, and I knew why they made the choices they made.

Overall, an excellent read, especially for lovers of the sci-fi genre.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Battle of the Book Boyfriends Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Battle of the Book Boyfriends

In celebration of the paperback release of Amazon Best-seller The Avery Shaw Experiment, YA author Kelly Oram is having a special Valentines Day sale and Giveaway. 
From science geeks & serial killers to warlocks & rockstars, no matter your flavor, Kelly Oram has a fictional boyfriend for you! Make the most of this holiday of love and cuddle up with a boy who's sure to make you swoon, will never talk back, and will never ever break your heart!
Visit KELLYORAM.COM to see which boy is right for you and enter the giveaway.
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children. Connect with Kelly on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, & her Blog.

Book Review: Unite by Jamie Campbell

Title: Unite

Author: Jamie Campbell

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication date: November, 2013

Softcover: 288 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series--this is the first in a series.

How I got this book: Galley from the publisher.

Why I chose this book: I really loved the synopsis of this book.  It got my excited and I couldn't wait to read an interesting novel about an alien race.

Synopsis: 

Seventeen years ago an entire generation of aliens were sent to Earth in order to save their home planet and integrate into the human population. Now, those aliens are being hunted. 

Amery Jones is your typical teenager, except for the fact she is an alien and a member of the government's secret Project Integrate. When Amery's best friend Lola is kidnapped in order to get to her, there is only one person that can help - the exceedingly annoying and charming Lochie Mercury. 

Together, Amery and Lochie must put aside their differences and attraction in order to rescue Lola before it's too late.


Review:

I really like the idea that this plot presented, or this setting in general.  It's got so many things going for it which really caught my attention off the bat.  One was the potential for romance, because let's face it, I'm a sucker for a good love story.  The other is this idea of an alien race joining forcing with humans and then it all goes wrong.  This itself made me want to read the story.  Aliens!  Where do they live?  Where did they come from?  How do they travel?  What do they know?  There's so much that could be done with just that alone.  I think it is very easy to say that I had high hopes for this book.

Maybe I shouldn't have had my hopes up, however, because I was severely disappointed.  The whole idea just seemed so fake to me.  Throughout the plot (no spoilers) decisions were made, and I couldn't help thinking to myself how fake the whole thing sounded.  The idea of a government is involved throughout the novel, but it is just so far from reality that I had a hard time being interested in the story.  Not to say that there can't be fantastical elements in a novel.  There definitely can!  But you still have to make the reader believe it.  You still have to bring this new world to life for me.  And Unite just didn't do it.

However, I don't want to say this whole novel was bad.  It had some good aspects to it.  I liked the characters themselves.  They were realistic, likable, and understandable.  I felt like I knew who they were and could understand why they made the decisions they did.


Overall, this book looks like a rough draft, and while it had the potential to have so much, it just fell flat.  Out of five stars, I would give it 2.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Review: Pretenders by Lisi Harrison

Title: Pretenders

Author: Lisi Harrison

Publisher: Poppy

Publication date: October, 2013

Hardcover: 304 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series--this is the first installment in a series.

How I got this book: Galley from the publisher.


Why I chose this book:
I previously read Lisi Harrison's Clique series, and was curious to see where she was headed next with the start of this new series.

Synopsis:

Three girls, two guys, five secret journals.

The five most popular students at Noble High have secrets to hide; secrets they wrote down in their journals. Now one of their own exposes the private entries...

I am leaking these because I'm tired and I know you are too. The success bar is too high and pretending has become the only way to reach it. Instagrams are filtered, Facebook profiles are embellished, photos are shopped, reality TV is scripted, body parts get upgraded like software, and even professional athletes are cheating. The things we believe in aren't real.

We are pretenders.

Review:

I think Harrison is really a great writer, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book, even though it's not about something I would typically be interested in.  That still stands for this book as well--it was written wonderfully.

The story itself is both intriguing and interesting.  It's different in that it's written in a diary format, so even though the reader doesn't get some of the depth with watching a situation go down, it really helps the reader get to know the protagonist in this up close and personal way.  And plus we get to see everything go down from five different point of views.  This can be very tricky for writers to do.  Sometimes finding that perfect blend of who gets to say what, and when, just isn't done right.  Sometimes there's too much happening, and it's hard to get a grasp on what's happening to who.  But Harrison does such an amazing job with this.  All of the points of views work together seamlessly so that we know who the characters are, fundamentally, and what they mean to the story.

Now, lets get down to the dirty.  While this book is well-done, well-written, etc., I just didn't see the point.  What happened?  Why did it all matter?  The end of the book just leaves us with this big gaping hole.  This whole was a cliff-hanger.  But it just seemed so misplaced and not right that I was very disappointed in general.  I know the idea of a cliffhanger is good for some writers (when it's well placed) and will leave readers ravenous for more.  But with this one?  It just wasn't the case.  It actually left me pretty mad that I'd read that far...and was left with nothing.  So will I be picking up the next installment in the series?  Probably not.  A lot of series that use the cliffhanger idea tend to use them in every single book, and that's not something I like.


Overall, I'd give this book 2.5 out of three stars.  Well-written, but overall frustrating.