Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review: Pivot point by Kasie West

Pivot Point
By Kasie West
Published by Harperteen
Publication Date:  February 12th 2013
Source: Won
Rating: 4.5/5


Synopsis: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

My thoughts

Expectations: Although there was great excitement for this title months before the release date I still wasn’t that intrigued to read it. The reviews that started to pop up hinted of 2 guys and one girl and I’m sick of most love triangles. That disgust is in fact the main reason why I did not want to read it. WHY did I act so freakin’ stupid?

Cover : It is an interesting cover were the same girl stares at her reflection as if it were a mirror. And if you can say it’s similar to a mirror the shimmering particles could represent glass of a just recently shaken up life, both possible lives. Maybe I’m over thinking but when I read the synopsis that’s what comes to mind when I see the cover.

Book: There have been titles in adult and young adult fiction, in which paranormal beings are presented, that are able to do amazing mental feats for example telekinesis and seeing the future. I liked how Miss West tweaked it to where it became a secluded society were people’s mind excelled the rest of humanity or in their term Norms. The powers are more scientifically explained than just let’s give them powers without a reason how they got them. Some books do that very same thing ‘the not explaining’. The not explaining is a pet peeve of mine. Addie Coleman can see in the future but not the way that is often perceived as cliché. She can see her own future and no one else’s and only when she wants the see the cause of actions she could take. The process of seeing it called the Search. So it is like being at a crossroad and seeing both paths of your life from that point on. Her parents announce they are getting a divorce and she must pick a parent to live with. In both possible future lives she will encounter love and loss, Addie must decide which one it will be.

Kasie West writes in a way you want to read everything she writes even her grocery store list. I meant that jokingly. Her writing is not super prosy or poetic but it lures you in. I don’t know how to explain it but it just fun to read. For me at least I loved how multiple moments in each possible life connected each other but from different vantage points. For example were Addie meets someone who is in fact very important in the novel and in each possible life, she learns his secret and further in the story she discovers the same secret in a different way altogether in another possible life. When the intense parts come around you begin to beg that nothing horrible happens to some of the characters you’ve come to love. In the end you feel some empathy to a person that manipulated her emotions to that particular person. And also saddened that the relationship with another person in, I have come to love, will be different than the one in the search. Secondly what I found unique is how Miss West at the start of every chapter gave it a title. Naming a chapter is often done but the title is a vocabulary explanation from a dictionary.

The characters are very enjoyable in this novel. I will only mention a few that cannot make me verge over the edge of Spoilerlandia.
Addie Coleman is the girl that’s always meticulous. For example she copies her study material from the school computer in case of a power outage which has not happened in 20 or more years in the compound. She is very kind but wants to remain in the background. A cool gal to gang around with.but she is very loud and exact opposite of Addie. How they became friends cute. I read somewhere that in the sequel there will be chapters from her point of view.

There are parents present in Pivot point. They appear often and I’m glad that they aren’t parents that are just characters for plot purposes. Addie’s parents are good people and parents who are noticeable in the novel. It is sad that they have problems but relationship problems happen in real life and gives it a more realistic touch.

There is a kind of a love triangle. But how is handled is to be admired. There is a romantic interest in each possible life and remember the opposite boys don’t know of each other because nothing in the search has happened yet. In each life the romance is at the beginning stage. It is attraction and liking each other but not actual love yet. Also in both cases Addie does not fall head over heal it is a slow going process that could have been real and only one of those romance will be real. At the end of the novel you find out what path she picks and the loss with it. The end has influences the romance that existed and the one that did not

I’m happy I entered the giveaway at Cuddlebuggery.com and that I won. Otherwise it could be a possibility that I would never want to read it. I wonder what will cause the Search in the sequel. Pivot point is a book where a teenage girl must pick a path at the middle of a crossroad. The choices we make in the past define us in the future.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Suicide Watch by Kelley York

Suicide Watch
By Kelley York
Independently Published
Date of Publication: December 20th 2012
Source: Review copy
Rating: 3.8/5

Synopis: 18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.
But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn't going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he's starting to think she had the right idea.
Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn't even notice.
As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie's guidance, coming to terms with Casper's imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn't plan on sticking around

My thoughts

Expectations Her contemporary debut is one of my favorite books. Hushed was emotional, gritty and dark at times. From what I have read coming from her first book is that I can point out that there is a non-stereotypical lgbt main character present. And I’m expecting the same thing from Suicide Watch. A site tailored for possible suicide attempts is freaky.

Cover: The cover is very depressing but heck it’s a very depressing one at moments. The model is supposed to be Vincent. I like his curly hair (the goofiest grin). Hushed has a better cover than SW but for an indie published book it is still good

Book: Welcome to Suicide Watch. This site is not for the faint of heart. Only the serious need apply. Please think carefully prior to filling out the registration form and submitting.

The novel starts when a teen girl dressed in a plaid jacket and jeans jumps from Woodshire Bridge and he could do nothing to save her. That was last Christmas and its June at the moment. Vincent Hazelwood has just graduated from High school and tragedy strikes. He loses a ‘family relative’’ or the closest to family he has. His foster mother and Vincent needs to live on his own. All of this resulted in finding the site. On SW he meets Casper and Adam, all longing to end their live on earth for different reasons. They form a bond, a friendship centering on death. Grief, loyalty and love are encountered throughout SW.

The writing in Suicide Watch is bit different than in Hushed. The complete story takes place in 5 months time. It is from June to December. Only specific moments or days in Vinny’s life during those months are mentioned. Instant messages on SW and emails between the characters are added in the chapters. It is always nice to see current forms of communication in books. I wished that some parts and the relationships were fleshed out more. I could connect with Vincent but not that much with Casper and the romantic interest, Adam.

Now to write what my thoughts are about the characters and the romance. The main character is Vincent Hazelwood. He is mad at the world and thinks it is unfair what fate has done to him. Not that he will ever say it. He is very pessimistic or you could say a realist. You get to see how he feels and you get to know him little by little on this journey with him. The journey to being an adult even if the time span is on the short side. The reason why I was so connected with is that I’m also often mad at the world. Tragedies are everyday occurrences and are reported on the news, manmade or caused by nature. It hurts seeing or knowing that innocent people die. A part of that anger also stems from not being accepted by accepted because of your sexuality and being out ( I’m currently out but only to a few and sadly only a few of that bunch are accepting ) But the silver lining is that I have not been suicidal at all and other people have it far worse.

Casper is the best friend he meets on the deprave site. She has a sunny personality despite her dying slowly. She wants to commit the act in order of sparing her parents grief seeing her dying in front of their eyes. He and Casper form a strong bound that is believable.

Adam Rockswell is the romantic interest and the one I have connected the least with. It sometimes occurs that I have no strong connection to the love interest. They are just there to fall in love with the protagonist. I feel that is not the case with Adam. He is a kind, shy and not that outspoken young man. Character traits I also have but to a lesser extent. Except being kind, I am a very kind person. He was not just for falling in love with but needed for the novel. It is sad that I feel that I got to know him from afar.

There are adults presented but not in the forefront. Maybe because it could be categorized as New Adult (I’m still not a fan of the name).

The romance is where I had the most problems with. You get to feel that they like each other and are attracted to each other but they fell to fast. Maybe how it is written but it did not feel that believable whereas in Hushed although it was also a bit quick I loved the love between Calder and his dude. The romance needed some fleshing out it does not mean I didn’t like the lovey dovy scenes.

Vincent learns that life is hard but living with people you love and admire makes it so much better. And that relationships in life need to be cherished. If you want to read a story about the reason of suicide and what teenagers struggle with give Suicide watch a try. It does not glorify suicide and maybe it could save some one from committing the act It is not perfection but still a solid read.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Demon eyes by Scott Tracey

Demon Eyes
by Scott Tracey
Published by Flux
Date of publication:  October 8th 2012
Source: gifted
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Demons don't die without a fight...
After destroying the demon Lucien, Braden—son of Belle Dam’s most powerful warlock, Jason Thorpe—doesn’t need the power of his witch eyes to see that everything in his life is turning against him: friends, family, and even his visions. When disturbing nightmares of Lucien’s return haunt him, Braden discovers that the simmering feud between the city’s two witch dynasties is fast approaching its explosive boiling point.
While struggling to come to terms with his attraction to Trey, Catherine Lansing’s son who should be his mortal enemy, a diabolical plan starts to unveil before Braden’s eyes. Young women are disappearing from Belle Dam, and as he investigates, Braden is forced to explore the dangerous unknown power within himself. But when the truth about his family is revealed, Braden must pay a terrible price.

My thoughts

Expectations : my expectations aren’t mile high. Maybe that’s a good thing. I hope it will be better and here’s hoping there’s more history on the founding of Belle Dam.

Cover : The sequel has another floating head but a grey one this time and the lighthouse from book one is shown. I like it less than its predecessor.

Book : Living in Belle Dam has become more welcoming and the drama at the end of book 1 has settled a bit. He has made some close friends and a relationship with the person he has strong feelings for. But the ugly heads of literal and figuratively demons begin to rear their heads again in Belle Dam and in his life. Local girls have been disappearing and a silver smooth haired being has appeared. Town secrets and history are exposed, how the feud came to be is further clarified and doubt creeps in his life and relationship. The headaches are still a major pain. Will Braden ever have peace of mind?

I will address the dislikes and likes of the sequel the same as I did in the review of Witch eyes.

The positives: I longed for more town secrets and history in Belle Dam and my wish came true. Finding out how a lot was connected with each other including: the founders of Belle Dam, the kidnappings and the visions that motivated his traveling to Belle Dam, was fun.

2nd. I went with no real attachments towards the romantic interest starting book two but he has grown on me. I don’t know him like a character on his own and he’s still just the boyfriend of a paranormal creature,but. You start feeling compassion towards him after the ending of book two and learning of the effects the feud has had on him.

3th. Demon eyes should have been the first book in a trilogy. It started with a bang and closed with firecrackers though I have to admit the middle felt like it was fizzling out but still far better than the first. Kidnappings are often used and it was cool how to see how Mr. Tracey handled it. It is sad that he didn’t write that way in the first book. I’m not an editor or a language expert but I could notice his progress as an author. If the last book in the trilogy is even better, it improves my desire to read the last book in the trilogy.

The negatives has somewhat stayed the same.

Braden has kind of improved. He was a lot darker and was becoming a master of lies and that resulted in thinking that people he cared about were going to turn on him and Braden redeemed himself a little bit more than in Witch eyes. But the whining stayed and still not getting attached to him is the reason why he’s still a negative.

2nd. My feelings towards the towns people and the romance has stayed the same. The romance has developed slightly that’s a plus but it still feels forced.

My reading experience was a better than witch eyes but sadly there were still some parts that were annoying. It does not deserve a 4 out 5, hence I’m giving it a 3.5. Give it a try if you read the first.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Witch eyes
by Scott Tracey
Published by Flux
Date of Publication: September 8th 2011
Source: gifted
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.
After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.
To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves

My thoughts

Expectations : Reading from a male’s perspective is always fun. I heard of this book after I had just become part of the Goodreads community. . I love fictional family feuds and the inclusion of witches makes it all the better. I have had it on my wish list for a while and I immediately said yes when a kind popular blogger said she could gift me witch eyes and its sequel.

Cover : I’m not normally a fan of floating heads. But this one isn’t that bad. The Thorpe mansion is shown on the cover with an edge of the belle dam forest behind it. And the picture of the guy is really cute. I’m weird, I know.

Book : Braden hasn’t had the typical normal childhood. He lives with his uncle and exercises loads of magical spells and etc daily. And he is seen as the weird kid with glasses. He has eyes than can unravel spells, memories and emotions etched in places. A splitting headache havocs his mind every time he uses his ‘’gift’’. He left his uncle in the middle of the night to goes to Belle Dam. The place where has a decent clue of his heritage and family and his uncle would stop him if he knew. Braden meets this mysterious and interesting good looking brown shaggy haired guy and finds outs about the feud. Among all the people he meets there is someone who’s more interested than usual in this feud and could be the Big Bad. Finding out who could be difficult because everyone seems suspicious. And will the new love that sprung with Braden and the handsome stranger suffer or bloom in this seemingly across the surface calm town.

Let me start with the positives :
So let the negatives follow. Sometimes you have to take good with the bad. Writing a book is easier said than done and publishing one is even more so. And I congratulate Mister Tracey for that. Quite some people liked or loved witch eyes. I’m not saying it is badly written but nothing really happened in the 1st book of the trilogy. It was like a 2nd title in a series with second book syndrome. The last 3 or 4 chapters were fast paced and somewhat intense but it could not rejuvenate my interest for witch eyes after I got bored with it. I often finish a book no matter how boring.

2. Braden Thorne was an okay leading male, but he was whining quite a lot at moments in this book and being bad tempered and rude when stuff didn’t work out. He was awfully rude to his dad and uncle He redeemed himself a bit in the end. They try to be good parental figures.

3. I could not care that much for the rest of the characters. Expect for Riley, a perky school reporter, and Braden‘s uncle. They were just characters for the sake of being characters that where needed for the plot.

4. The romance was like any other typical paranormal YA romance. A girl and a guy meet somewhere. The guy is so mysterious and they fall and care for in each other in an instant. But in this case it’s two dudes. It was forced and to make it more entertaining make it forbidden. Yep, that’s the whole romantic plotline. Trey was just another pretty boy who was busy being chivalrous by protecting Braden from harm. The only positive were the cute/hot kiss scenes.

That’s all I have to say. My experience with Witch eyes was nothing special but if you want to, read it. Go ahead and give it a try. I don’t know if I would have given book two a try if I did not have it already. If witch eyes was better I would not have given it a 3 out 5.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: The Culling by Steven dos Santos

The Culling (The Torch Keeper #1)
by Steven Dos Santos
Published by Flux
Date of Publication:   March 8th 2013 by
Source: gifted
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...
For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.
Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...
My thoughts

Expectations : I was in a dystopia and post-apocalyptic mood during a 2013 titles goodreads browse last year. And the mention of a LGTBQ relation and to be precise the G part of the acronym in the synopsis intrigued me . I have read some m/m fiction in 2012 but mostly in adult titles. That type of romantic relation is not that common in YA fiction. So I wondered if it would be as stereotypical as some YA titles that also highlight it.

Cover : The scene that the cover illustrates could be anywhere in the novel. But I think most likely during one of the trials. The dude on the cover is Lucian ‘’Lucky” Spark, the protagonist, the cover helped me paint a picture of him in my mind. The locator on wrist has a very important role during the trials. I love green, which I have mentioned at moments before and love the sickly greens used on the cover.

Book : There’s a city shrouded with smog and smoke. It’s called the parish. Workers slave away in the industrial borough. That powers the flickering gaslights. Most people don’t reach the age of forty and if they reach it, starvation or the Reaper’s cough struggle with each other to hand over that life to Mr. Death. The latter is caused by the smoke and stress in the factories and it has been rumored to be engineered by the Establishment. The Establishment, a big brother government in this novel, has the Recruitment day annually. Some ‘lucky ‘few get to be chosen, recruited to have a chance belonging to the elite military ops. Called The imposers or imps for short. 5 candidates are chosen in the recruitment. They face 2 months of excessive training before entering the trials. The recruit who places last after each trial will have to choose which incentive (the military term for loved one)will be murdered and if both incentives are expired, that recruit will be eliminated from continuing and immediately shipped off to work camps. This will go so forth till one recruit remains triumphant. This 16 year old fellow nicknamed Lucky is betrayed and accused of treason against the state. The only way to save his 4 year old brother is to win. Will he succeed?

When I read I try not to see similar storylines in books. Yes its sounds like THG at points. For example the recruitment day sounds as it was an adapted version of The Reaping. Some parts could be annoying to some readers if they don’t start with an open mind. This is not a rip off of The Hunger Games if you ask me but just a YA title with a totalitarian government with parts that seem similar to THG. This genre is crowed and of course you’ll find some similar plots or storylines along the way and it’s okay as long as they’re no copy cats. I have to admit the world building in THG was put together greatly and that’s where The Culling loses some points. The government and the world building were vague at parts. There are farms mentioned, are they outside the parish and I want to know the name of that region called. There are group of people that are miners and develop reaper’s cough when they’re older but it is mentioned that at age 16, the youth enters the normal military or the special ops. Lucians’ parents were miners and died of Reaper’s Cough. How does the Establishment get a hold of people to work in the mines or work camps? Let’s just say the new employees at the mines are former military personal, you have to replenish your livestock to do the manual labor because they die when they are a certain age from reaper’s cough. Can’t the former cadets fight back? Yes I have some problems with the word building but nothing other than that.

The negatives are out of the way, so let’s focus on the positives. The characters made The Culling what it is. A torture for the characters and the reader to experience scenes where their loved ones, are murdered. Whilst sending a message that love for the state is more important than loving people close to you. Getting attached to people is very dangerous because the Establishment will use it against you at any cost. Lucian and his fellow recruits, who he bonded and became close with, got to know. The manipulation and murders reminded me of high quality slasher movies. You are a very evil man Mr. Dos Santos for making me care about lucky’s competition.

You have to like the protagonist otherwise reading about him or her could be a chore. Lucian was very naïve at first but trough out the novel he became more level headed and I’m happy that he did not lose his kind heart. The remaining recruits are Digory, Gideon, Ophelia and Cyprus. Out of the remaining recruits, Cyprus tugged at my heart strings the most. She’s a female by the way and 17 or 18 with raven long hair. She came across as a bitch at times but if you read her back story and the situations she was thrust in you only feel sorry for her. She was hard like a rock but soft in side in the good meaning of the word. Another thing that I liked was the bond between the brothers. Lucky would do anything for his brother.

Hallelujah. Can I get an AMEN? The romantic angle was not forced, rushed or in your face. It was important to the story line but did not overpower it. And there was not a love triangle in sight but please don’t let there be one, it could be if you nudge it some. Digory and Lucian’s romance was slow building and I look forward seeing it grow more and more till it’s a crescendo in future books. There romance was handled Iike any other romantic love and not like HEY THIS IS A GAY LOVE.I read about 4 gay men in this book and none were stereotypical stick figure gay guys. Thank you Dos Santos. Digory was the kind next door type of guy. He has tawny wavy locks with blue eyes and 1 or 2 years older. Maybe in the next book some steamy kissing scenes. Poke, poke. (There aren’t any so far)

I whizzed through The Culling. There were some problems along the way and I hope that a love triangle will not be developed. I really want to know what happened to Digory. The ending was bitter sweet. I hope that there will be more details on the military, imposers, The Establishment and that thing that scares them. And more scenes with Lucky and Cole, his 4 year old brother would be lovely. Do want to read about loving someone and doing anything to save them. Even if it could mean sacrificing others loved ones. The bond between brothers and a slow building romance between two kind wonderful young men. Give The Culling a try.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Old AND New #3

Where i highlight old or new books . Ranging from contemp to fantasy to dystopia. Some i have read and some who sound lovely.

by Kelley York

Paperback, 229 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Entangled Publishing

He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her. 
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. 
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

by Betsy Cornwell

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universeby Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Hardcover, 359 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.


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