My Blood Approves

My Blood Approves - Amanda Hocking Technically my first Amanda Hocking read ever, and I picked it up not only on an Amazon Kindle recommendation, but also as a challenge to read ten titles within the vein of contemporary paranormal romance (i.e. unofficial Reading Challenge as of yet untitled - I'm not sure when I'll complete it, but we'll see). It was 0.99 cents, so I figured, you know what, I might as well wing it and read it to see what she has to offer. I've known about Hocking's success as an indie publisher, and respect her in writing and releasing her works in succession with the success she's had.That said, let me start this review by saying that I think Hocking has a good flare for humor. I hope at some point I get to read a book from her where she has an emphasis on comedy/parody, because honestly I think she could make a fun story with some of the back and forth banter and references incorporated (albeit brief) in spurts within My Blood Approves. Honestly, if there were a little more of that, I probably would've enjoyed this book. Unfortunately, I found more cons than pros within the story. For one, and probably no surprise to people who have read many contemporary paranormal romance titles, it's highly derivative. I have the feeling if you like predestined/predetermined romances where the heroine tangles between two vampires who want her on different levels (and she quite actively "tempts" them), it may appeal because it's cut of the same cloth. Simple story, easy read for me in terms of flow and readability, though I do take issue that the writing is clunky in many places. To add to its cons, it succumbs to more cliches than a little bit."My Blood Approves" is written from the perspective of Alice, a young woman out with her friend Jane one night until Jane's caught in a precarious situation with a group of sketchy guys. Enter Jack with his "Real Men Wear Pink" shirt and distinctive clothes including Blue Converses to save the day. Never mind that I suspect he's a vampire - the first thought in my mind is "Holy crud, he wears clothes like that and listens to Weezer and Motion City Soundtrack - I think I might like this kid." Except he's not a kid at all, he's 24, but moving on...So Alice and Jack start hanging out with each other and for me, that was a part of the book that I liked the most, even when the age difference slightly deters me a little. The two seem to have a natural chemistry and some of their interactions are genuinely funny. Case in point: "You asked me what my angle was, so I said isosceles," Jack explained, looking down at me to make sure that he wasn't losing me in the crowd. "It's a triangle with two equal sides. I suppose that's not really an angle, and I would've said something like acute or obtuse, but I thought that would either sound like I was hitting on you or calling you stupid. I should've said oblique. That would've been good. Damn! I'm gonna remember that for next time."To me, that was rather adorkable (adorable in a dorkish way), and I decided that I liked Jack. Hocking actually does well with Alice's character around that time as well, because she seems like a peppy, spunky person with a little brother who checks up on her every once in a while, and a mother who's difficult and distant in spurts, but seems to care about whom her daughter is associating with. Alice herself is well-humored, and I had it in my mind that this might be something different than the usual.All things taken into consideration, Alice discovers that Jack isn't like other guys. (Lending the 80s references peppered through this book, if you got the reference from the previous line, I applaud you). But that's not this kind of story.Jack's a babe magnet from the perspective of either sex (pending sexual orientation), he heals easily, and well...long story short - he's a vampire. It takes a bit for this to come across, and somehow, I'd think that Alice would've started putting the pieces together a little sooner, but the thought process she goes through is plausible for her character. And she goes through the motions trying to deal with this news. But when Jack's family comes into the picture, I think that's when the derivative factors start hitting home. Peter, Jack's "brother," seems funny in his introduction and there were moments where I thought his character would amount to more, but unfortunately, he never did. I hated his character, not just because of what he was, but because of how obvious of a contrast he was supposed to be to Jack and for the whole "predetermined" link he shares with Alice.From that point on, I read to see where the story went, but Alice becomes a weepy mess, tempts both Jack and Peter to take her blood, and basically every character feels like they're drawn out in a melodramatic mesh that only has a few bright moments to shine from that point on with an ending that's supposed to be cliffhanger-ish, but the dangling threads bothered the heck out of me. I was thrown out of the story because the derivations were too strong for me *not* to be pulled out. I wanted to feel sorry for Alice, but I really couldn't, and while I still managed to like Jack's character, I didn't really understand Alice's attraction to Peter at all. I think it would've helped if Peter had a little more normal "screentime" to showcase his character, but it felt too one-sided. Peter was too much into the "I'm a bad influence, stay away from me vibe. I wouldn't mind if he had some more dark-humored moments and then transitioned into the dark-side persona that we see in spurts. Instead, it was way too obvious. Proper love-triangle this is not.In the end, this probably won't be the last book I read from Hocking, but I don't know if I'll continue this series. I'm on the fence about it, and while I'll say the book wasn't terrible, it really wasn't good either. Still, there are sparks in Hocking's writing that tell me that she can do much, MUCH better than this.Overall score: 1.5/5