Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: Laney by Joann I. Martin Sowles

Title: Laney - The Brookehaven Vampires
Author: Joann I. Martin Sowles
Publisher: self published
Publish Date: October 30, 2010
Genre: YA, paranormal
Pages: 260 (ebook)
Source: From author for review
Series: The Brookehaven Vampires
1. Laney
2. Darkness

In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life-that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he? As Laney's sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure-including a love she didn't know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver's love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn't so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver's most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn...

When it comes to reading paranormal YA (which, lets face it, is pretty much 99% of what I read), I tend to veer more towards werewolves and angels rather than anything else. So, when Joann contacted me to read the first book in her vampire series, I figured I should give them vamps a chance.

Something that we don’t see too much in YA is more of a college setting. The majority of “young adult” novels are really just “teen” novels, with respect to setting and characters, so I liked that LANEY included a bit of an older demographic and was actually set after high school.

The story itself was really good, regardless of the love-at-first-sight factor which was a bit too quick in this one. One thing that I love about reading paranormal stories is the different takes that authors have on the various mythological creatures. Joann’s vampires are much more based in science. There’s one line in the story where being a vampire is compared to being a diabetic, they just need blood instead of insulin. At one point Oliver says, “We’re still people, just different.” I love that.

Although the love-at-first-sight was pretty quick out of the gate, the truth about the vampires was kind of drawn out. There were hints everywhere that were sometimes so obvious, I had to roll my eyes at Laney. I was hoping she’d catch on faster, especially when earlier in the story she blatantly said vampires, leprechauns, and unicorns could exist since no one has proven otherwise. I think that got me thinking she had an open mind, but there was no other evidence of it. My expectations were raised and not met in that sense. However, I think I may be biased because I knew there were going to be vampires, and so I was able to see the clues... But I still think I was led to believe she was open minded and then let down.

There was one big thing I didn’t like about this novel... the writing. It kind of seemed juvenile to me. There was lots of giggling and Laney was way too love struck considering she’d only known the guy for two days. There are a lot of instances where we got glimpses of Laney’s thoughts which were often highly exaggerated and, again, juvenile seeming (they were typically referring to the cuteness of Oliver and how much she wanted to jump his bones). When she stared reacting to her thoughts through things like giggling... I was irritated.

Regardless of the issues I had with the writing, I was able to make it through this book and enjoy it, too. It is an interesting take on vampires and I like that it’s set at a college with college-age characters. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to read DARKNESS, the second book in the series, when it comes out. I am interested to see where the story will take Laney and Oliver, but I have to decide if I can get over the writing style first. Overall, I think that LANEY is a good story with interesting take on vampires. I’d recommend it if you are ok with writing that’s not perfect.

Visit Joann's site here to grab yourself a copy, ebook or print!


  1. Great, honest review. I've got this sitting on my self to be read. I'm looking forward to reading about her take on vampires.

  2. Great review. I get tired of the love-at-first-sight thing too. :0)