Review: Getting a life… by Beth Watson

Getting a Life, Even if You’re Dead (No Going Back, Book 1) by Beth Watson is the next entry in The January Project, my one month effort to give authors reviews.

I love the title and cover for Getting A Life, Even if You’re Dead and I enjoyed a previous book by one of Beth Watson’s alter egos so picking this up on a Kindle free day was a no brainer.  Two female leads narrate. Kendra isn’t happy about being dragged along on her mother’s trip to photograph cemeteries in Paris.  How will operation get a boyfriend succeed if she’s not at home? Soon, Kendra has bigger problems in the form of her best friend, Amber. Amber (the other narrator) is dead and has been long before meeting Kendra three years ago.  Amber implores Kendra to help her with two lost souls, one alive, Pierrot and one dead, Loic. Loic doesn’t remember his death, but blames his brother Pierrot. To help Loic pass on to the afterlife, Kendra needs Amber to navigate mysteries in a physical world.

Great concept, but something fell a little flat for me in the execution and I wish I could pinpoint the issue. From a technical standpoint, I have no quibble with the book. The plot buzzed along.  The setting made me feel as though I were creeping around a Parisian cemetery and traipsing through the streets.  The hook at the end makes me want to read the next book in the series. A number of pity one liners prompted my husband to ask “Why are you smiling?” All the elements are there. I think the hiccup for me was a failure to develop a deep relationship with the characters.  It may be because I read this concurrent with the deeply emotional satisfying The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison.  The dual narrators may have thrown me for a loop. I only connected with Amber in the last few chapters. Maybe I’m too old to relate to this young adult/teen novel? Perhaps if I had dreamt of Paris or viewed it as a romantic city rather than one where I battled waves of tourists and couldn’t get service at restaurants, the story would have resonated more.

In my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I’ll go with a 4/5 although a 3.5 more accurately reflects my reaction.  If my daughter is interested, I’d share this book with her. The story is wholly appropriate for the intended audience of later tweens and teens. I suspect the failings to fully enjoy this novel fall more to this reader than the author.  Besides, due to that hook, I am looking forward to more of this series.

I make no money by offering these, but here are the buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Life-Even-Youre-Going-ebook/dp/B00G4BJ06O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1390153644&sr=1-1&keywords=beth+watson

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/getting-a-life-even-if-youre-dead-beth-watson/1117229236?ean=9780989521949

Review: Draculaville by Lara Nance

Next up on The January Project, Draculaville by Lara Nance.

Are you over vampires and ready to throw your kindle across the room next time read a heroine swoons at the sight of elongated teeth? Yeah, me too. I read Draculaville anyway based on my previous experience with indy author Lara Nance. By the end, I wanted to hug my little ereader and dance around the house singing “someone made vampires fun again” to a tune of my own invention.

The standard vampire is dark and broods over his (or her) lack of mortality, that is when they aren’t consuming blood and/or seducing everything on two legs. Some of Nance’s vampires do this, but the hero (and love interest) Drake isn’t your standard vampire.  Nance understands that as characters vampires have become victims of sorts of their own pop-culture success. They are too ubiquitous to be monsters. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Nance takes on familiar tropes of the vampire stories and pushes them to the next level in consumption. Huh? you ask.

Heroine Talia Quinton, an advertising exec, rescues her vampire, Drake, from a dark alley. Her head wasn’t working right after a bender over the career failure of being shut out of a big money advertising campaign and foisted onto a Romanian tourism project.  Her resident vampire inspires a new direction – vampire tourism. The pinnacle of the project will be an amusement park, Draculaville, where patrons will pay money to be chased by seductive “vampires” in costume under the shadow of a ruined Romanian castle.  Doesn’t this sound fun? I thought you’d agree.  Better yet, this is the first book in a trilogy so there is more cheeky fun to be had.  You can pick up book 1 (and 2 and 3) below

http://www.amazon.com/DraculaVille-I-Discovery-New-York-ebook/dp/B00APPJYN4/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1389299430&sr=1-9&keywords=lara+nance

Here’s my full disclosure – I received an ARC of Draculaville in exchange for honest review. I know the author personally and we have swapped works in progress in the past.  If I hated her book, trust me, I’d let her (and you) know.