Thursday, December 6, 2012

First Chapter Review: Avra's God by Ann Lee Miller

Author Ann Miller sent me the first chapter of her new Christian fiction release, Avra's God, for review.

BLURB:  In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.

Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.

Kallie shares her classically trained singing voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.

The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipe-out. But somehow, when they’re not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.

COVER: I've liked the covers of all Ann's books that I've read the first chapters of. The warm colors of this one capture the setting well. If on a bookshelf, I would pick this one up to flip over to the back cover and learn more.

FIRST CHAPTER: Avra is in Stavro's Pizza with her family when she runs into hunky Cisco. She's fairly certain he would never notice a girl like her, so when he strikes up a conversation with her on campus the next day, she's pleasantly surprised.

Cisco is coping with his parents' divorce and siblings that fight all the time. He would love to have a family that is more like Avra's. He runs into Jesse on campus and hints that he's interested in Avra, but Jesse's attention is already focused on the arrival of the attractive Kallie.

KEEP READING: Miller's strength is in creating characters you quickly care about. Like in  The Art of My Life and Kicking Eternity, the reader is dropped into a story that is immediately filled with conflict. Not all of the conflict is earth-shattering, but it's there.

The difference between Avra's God and Miller's earlier books is that I found myself a bit confused by the sheer number of characters in the opening chapter. By opting to have Cisco run into Avra and her family at the pizza joint, you already had more than two characters to focus on. Then Jesse is introduced, as is Billy--whose importance to the storyline you don't yet--and Kallie. The first chapter is also told from three characters' points of view: Avra, Cisco, and Jesse. It felt overloaded.

I would definitely keep reading based upon my enjoyment of Miller's earlier releases, and hope that the confusion diminishes as I get to know the characters better. I'm also encouraged to keep going based upon the synopsis. I want to see how it all turns out.

One thing I would like to mention is that Miller's stories (so far) combine the elements of music and water. This is a nice niche she's creating, which will encourage readers who have these interests to check out her work.

File Size: 840 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
SRP: $4.99
Also available at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords

I received the first chapter of this novel from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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