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.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review: Amulet of Elusion by Katie Lynn Johnson

Title: Amulet of Elusion

Author: Katie Lynn Johnson

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: July, 2012

Softcover: 378 pages

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

How I got this book: Copy provided by the author.


Why I chose this book: What really got my attention with this book was the synopsis.  It sounded original and intriguing, so I wanted to give it a try.

Synopsis:

Alexa Costa has a life-altering secret…only she doesn’t know it yet. 

Confined by law to the kingdom of Alvair until the age of eighteen, Alexa has lived a sheltered existence under the watchful eye of her sword-wielding guardian, Ivy. Her love interest, Caleb Whitman, is exactly the opposite. A merchant sailor and seeker of rare artifacts, Caleb has lived a life of adventure in nearby San Lucero, the long-time rival of Alvair. 

After her eighteenth birthday, Alexa’s quiet existence becomes tumultuous, and she realizes she does not need to seek to find adventure. Myths become real, legend becomes fact, and Alexa discovers that she possesses rare abilities which make her a target for both sides in a centuries-old struggle for power. She must use every resource available to her—including her talents with the supernatural Amulets— to help her friends, rekindle her romance with Caleb, and save her island home from destruction.


Review:

I went into this book with a lot of expectations of what was to come.  The synopsis led me to be hopeful for a really original, unique story.  I wasn't disappointed, either.  This was such a great read in that respect.  I always have a lot of respect for authors who can create a whole new world, especially one than can immerse me like this one did.

However, there were some issues I had with this story.  When I first started the book, it began slowly, and I wanted the plot to pick up the pace, to find out what was going to happen.  I trudged on, half because I thought the book might pick up, and half because I still wanted to know what was at least going to happen to the characters.  At around the halfway point is when things started picking up and the plot got thicker and thicker.  If the first half of the book mirrored the second half as far as pacing, it would have been almost perfect.

Overall, I liked this story, though I'm not sure if I will continue on with the rest of the series.  Out of five stars I would give it three and a half.