Thursday, December 11, 2014

Two for One - Reign of the Vampires and An October Bride

A two for one today. I didn't love either of these two very different books, unfortunately, but I can see how they might appeal to a different reader. 

Reign of the Vampires by Rebekah Ganiere
Lyrical Press
Book One in The Society series
Romance, Fantasy
Published November 17, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo


She wants security. He wants freedom. Together their love could destroy the world.
Ten years after the outbreak of the V2000 virus turns the majority of humans into a mutated Vampire sub-species, the last remaining true humans are the world's hottest commodity. In this new world, it's The Society that rules.

Being the only female Vampire Lord in America isn't easy. Being thrust into the role of CEO is even harder. Danika Chekov refuses to let her father's legacy die. She’s resolved to keep everything under her tight control. But after she's almost killed, she’s forced to purchase a human guardian.

Mason is human, or so the Vampires think. He’s determined to protect his secret, but Lord Danika buys him before he can make his escape. Their passion for each other threatens everything they want most. And when Mason’s true nature is exposed, the results could be devastating.

My thoughts:

Reign of the Vampires starts with a great concept - a future wherein vampires rule, humans are sought after commodities, and a love story that crosses class lines. For anyone who has ever read a vampire novel and thought - why the heck don't vampires just enslave the humans and rule the world? - this book is for you!

Unfortunately, I didn't love the book. My problem was pretty basic - I couldn't connect with the characters. I think this stemmed a lot from the fact that I had a really hard time getting past the casual way in which humans were treated as slaves. A really, really hard time.

I ended up reading the book in a really mechanical way, not really caring about the outcome at all. I suppose that suggests the plot was pretty good because normally I drop books when the characters don't do it for me.

The business around Danika's tentative hold on her parents' company and their throne, while the main thrust of the plot line, didn't really grab me. Because I didn't care for Danika, I couldn't muster much interest in her troubles.

The only thing that had me curious was what Mason was - my early theories were entirely wrong!

I think Reign of the Vampires disappointed me because I just didn't find that point of connection that would have really engaged me. The story moved quickly enough but I was really skating along the surface.

Bottom line:

Reign of the Vampires should have been right up my alley but fell a little flat for me. Whether it was the idea and treatment of humans as slaves or maybe just characters that didn't quite work for me, Reign of the Vampires missed the mark. I can easily see how it might appeal to a different reader, and am disappointed that it didn't hit the right notes for me.

3 stars
For fans of vampires, upper class/lower class relationships


An October Bride by Katie Ganshert
Zondervan Fiction
A Year of Weddings Novella
Contemporary Romance
Published September 23, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo


She wants to make her father's dream come true. She doesn't realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.

Emma Tate isn't a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they're getting married-so Emma's dying father can walk her down the aisle.

While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father's dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future.

My thoughts:

An October Bride is a quick novella that does the 'fake wedding' thing - apparently a theme for me this week! I loved the concept of the series, and wish I'd checked it out earlier in the year. The covers make for a gorgeous collection!

Because of the novella format, everything was a bit rushed. I like romances that have long-time friends moving their relationship into new territory. I think these are often the most true-to-life stories (admittedly, falling in love with a friend in high school and eventually marrying him probably has biased me). Emma and Jake had a rather sweet history - I might have liked the story more if we'd approached it in skips and bumps chronologically through their timeline, as it would have built more towards the inevitable.

The story reaches for that small town feel but it felt more like I was being handed the expected markers of a small town instead of really indulging in one: the quirky waitress who knows all the local gossip, the big community event that everyone participates in, and so on. This seemed at odds with the idea that everyone bought into the lie that Emma and Jake had been carrying on a secret courtship.

There was a scene towards the end of the book that was stereotypical romantic comedy movie-worthy - I could definitely picture it on the big screen. I did think it was a bit... I don't know... bigger than this novella could support. It was this big, shining moment and it did make my heart go pitter-pat.

The other thing that really grated was Lily, Emma's best friend. I didn't feel like Lily was a particularly supportive best friend, and that irked me. Given that Emma's dealing with her father's cancer diagnosis, you'd think Lily could be a bit more supportive instead of getting so upset about Emma's coping mechanisms!

Bottom line:

For a short work, An October Bride tried to make the most of itself. There's some discussions question at the end - so perhaps for a book club looking for a break one week/month/whatever your schedule is like, this might be an okay selection?

3 stars
For fans of short contemporary romance

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