Thursday, February 23, 2012
Published on: October 26, 2011
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It was a fun read overall, I especially enjoyed that I didn’t have to read the first book to understand all the dynamics of this world. The author did a great job on integrating the events that happened in the first book while continuing the story at the same time. And the concept of this book itself was intriguing and filled with fun and I enjoyed it very much. With this story came laughter, suspense, mystery and the ever need for more time.
The plot had all of the elements you expect to find, the rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Though this didn’t necessarily end with everything resolved I felt that it did end with was right for this particular story. This is the second book of the series and therefore will have the nagging sense of need at the end though there wasn’t any cliffhangers per say. I found that though there were limited sub-plots the ones that were there helped contribute to the overall story. I felt that so much happened in this book, it was like all of the characters and story had to make a mark; to leave the reader with a sense satisfaction. Like I had mentioned earlier though I haven’t read the first book I’ve learned a great deal about this world and all that is involved and this book definitely had a lot of changes within the world that helped contribute to the overall plot.
There were some likeable characters, there were some dislikeable characters and there were some lovable characters. Based upon the characters full creation was what helped me categorize these characters, some of them I felt fell flat where the author added them for only a few points on the overall graph of the plot and then there were the characters that hit almost every point in the graph but then there were the characters that shone above the rest, we as the reader were able to learn more about them and actually feel empathy towards them. Though I felt the minor characters had a few flaws they were needed in the overall plot of the story; without them the plot would lack important key points. So overall I did find them worthy of the story but in some categories lacking a few key elements to make them who they were. The main protagonists were the most real of the characters, each one had their own personality and we were able to get inside their minds and understand them; it allowed the reader to make a connection where some of the other characters repelled the reader.
Transformation of the Character:
There were a few transformation of characters in this story, while they were amazing to watch and see throughout the book they still were missing the final touches by the end; it was like perhaps these characters were making progress but had more transforming to go. But I mean we still were able to note a change within the character itself but there just weren’t any where I felt the transformation was complete. And while I found that some of the minor characters will never change I was able to see hints that perhaps some of the other characters will.
I felt that the description wasn’t overwhelming; it was well placed and didn’t drag the story out. The author did a great job on describing each place the character was visiting allowing the reader to distinguish between two “internal” worlds. And though I wouldn’t consider the description poetic it was very well written none the less and drew in the reader.
I really enjoyed the style of the book, I loved that the author was brave enough to switch the POV’s back and forth allowing the overall picture to become bigger. It really allowed the reader to become more involved in the story; to understand with a different clarity what was really happening. This was a story that really involved the reader and allowed them to become part of a world that isn’t necessarily better than their own but be part of something bigger than themselves.
Quote of the book:
“The pulse awakens the most dominant part of your personality and changes you into something else entirely.”
Seventeen-year-old Jaycie Lerner’s psychokinetic power surge is over, and her astounding powers are under control for the time being – sort of. As she struggles to maintain her humanity in the face of the awesome terror and responsibility of her abilities, she also yearns for the chance at a normal life – and a relationship with Matt Carter, the best friend she had to leave behind. But Matt’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, and he’s not about to give up on his feelings for Jaycie.
As Jaycie and her family grapple with the day-to-day routine of trying to keep their world together, Jaycie’s mother figure, Allison Young, endures a personal crisis of her own. The superhuman blonde possesses the physical equivalent of Jaycie’s awesome psychic power. So evolved, at ninety-two she still looks twenty. But what good is extended life when everyone else around her is so fragile? With no one to share her unusual life, she’s a uniquely lonely woman yearning for the romantic love she sees all around her. But in a dream she gets her wish – and it quickly turns to a nightmare for everyone else in her life. The memory of a rose is all she can hold onto in the storm of obsession that nearly sweeps her away.
Things quickly turn deadly for the vampires, but the Dey-Vah Guard fairies refuse to acknowledge there’s an imbalance in the nature they protect. As the danger gets ever closer to Jaycie and her family, the race is on to find answers before a secret plot can destroy them all.
I recommend this to any fans of evolution, the pure idea that this author conjured up is creative and witty. I would also recommend this to any fans of paranormal; though this a little bit different than your average paranormal story it is fun and intriguing. I wouldn’t however recommend this to anyone who is absolutely against Darwin’s view of evolution and also to anyone who doesn’t enjoy a book that deals with powers of the paranormal. I enjoyed this book and look forward to continuing its plot and I definitely plan on going back and reading the first book of the series, though it isn’t necessary I do feel the need to become even more familiar with the characters.
Monday, February 20, 2012
This is Part 1 of the two part “The Syndicate” Tour. I got the honor of interviewing Shelena Shorts about her up-coming book “The Syndicate”. If you don’t recall Shelena is the author of “The Pace” series, a series where aging and love are intertwined, click Here to learn more Wes and Sophie’s story.
Here’s the cover and summary of the book
For centuries, the Petrescu family has been protecting society from a danger that moves among the population undetected. Eighteen-year-old Vasi Petrescu has never had a problem carrying out his duty, but, when ordered to eliminate a seventeen-year-old girl, he is immediately taken out of his comfort zone.
The Syndicate has never targeted a female before, yet somehow this one has ended up on more than one hit list. Vasi would like to find out why, but there may not be time.
Now, he'll have to decide whether or not to keep her alive even if it means going against his own family.
The action, mystery, and conspiracy in The Syndicate will take readers on an immersing journey in which decisions are not only life changing, but irreversible.
I can’t wait to read this book, the summary alone has already drawn me in and the cover is so enticing! But the wait won’t be too, too long, “The Syndicate” is due to be released July 9, 2012, so be sure to pencil it in on your calendars!
And now here’s the fun interview with Shelena Shorts
What should we expect from "The Syndicate"?
Action, conspiracy and a forbidden relationship!
What inspired you to start writing this new series?
I was actually watching the movie Wanted a few years ago, and was drawn to the idea of an assassin, so my mind started spinning the concept until Vasi and his brothers popped in my head. I didn't want them targeting people for no reason, so I came up with the rest of the plot from there.
What are the main characters like?
Vasi is confident, tough, a loner for the most part, and doesn't like to be told what to do, so he usually follows his own intuition. Riley is independent, but lacks confidence on where she fits in to the mystery.
What soundtrack or songs helped inspire this story?
I listened to all of these over and over on a playlist while I wrote the first draft. I don't always listen to music when I write, but I did with this book! They really helped me feel this story!
How long did it take to write the first draft of "The Syndicate"?
I wrote the first draft in about two months, and then put it away for several months while I worked on the second and third books in The Pace series. When I went back to it, I spent another 2-4 months revising and editing it!
What was your favorite snack and beverage while writing this book?
Coffee and Caramels
Who has supported you the most while writing this book?
My mom for sure! She has a way of seeing the bones of a story and taking out all of what she calls, "blah blah blah" lines, and once I swallow the deletion pill, I can build up what's more important.
Is this a world where you would love to visit?
Not really. LOL. I would like to meet Vasi for about 10 minutes and then get out of that world, at least for now.
What is one thing you wish your readers to take from this book?
Hmm, I just hope they are entertained and feel like I've delivered two more characters worth knowing for a while.
What POV is this story from?
It's Vasi's and I really enjoyed writing his perspective! It feels fresh, different and wouldn't have worked any other way on this one.
I had a ton of fun learning all of the answers to my questions, thank you so much Shelena for taking the time to answer some questions I had about “The Syndicate”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this tour, there will be a special giveaway and even greater suprises! Coming March 19, 2012.
Click Here to be directed to this books official page J
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Date published: December 14, 2011
Wow…this story was so much more than I expected, the summary doesn’t do this story justice, so much happened, so many things unveiled, I could hardly believe the intensity of this book. The content was deeper and surprising than I expected. This definitely is a book that will open your eyes up to a world where drugs take control and people’s hidden identities come to the surface.
The plot hit the major key points of a plot line but the ending lacked a great deal. Not that I was upset of the outcome it was because I felt there was so much left unfinished, like some of the characters we had grown to like and love were left hanging; their stories left in the abyss of virtual space. There were some questions left unanswered; some ties left without a bow and after all that I had read through, all the hardships, joy, pain and love in the end I felt left down. But in all, the story was well paced and I found the action well-paced, there was plenty of slower moments where it allowed the characters to reveal things about themselves and to also allow previous scenes to sink in. So in all though I felt the resolution lacked some important things the overall feel of the plot was good; especially the sub-plots; they were well played out.
What to say about the characters? There were some well thought-out characters, I felt the author really took time to fill in the little details of the characters and allow us as the reader to get more aquatinted with them. They each were distinct and were essential to the overall story, each one added a different flavor to the story.
Transformation of the character:
There were some amazing transformations in this book and there were also some characters who yearned to break out of their mold but just couldn’t. I especially enjoyed Jolie’s transformation; I felt that it was realistic and true. The author took time for the character to explore her world, to make and learn from her mistakes. It was just so wonderful and amazing and the way she worded the transformations were poetic and smooth. I especially enjoyed that even some of the minor characters made short transformations in themselves. But as I mentioned earlier there were some of the characters in the sub-stories that tried to changed; they tried to break free but something in their world was holding them back, I loved that the author chose to keep that element; it gave the atmosphere a more realistic and true air about it.
I found that the detail in this story was well thought out and placed strategically. There wasn’t too little or too much, the author chose the moments to explain further inside the scenes when necessary. I felt that the attention to detail; the way she explored inside the mind of the characters was beautiful; each mind; each scene was explained well and efficiently.
I felt that this author went with a more poetic feel, the words and phrases the author chose had that vibe about them. They were put in order that helped both the reader and the characters themselves understand this complex and dark world. This was definitely written very nicely and I didn’t have a problem getting through it, it was just a nice and even read.
Quote of the book:
“She had been a fool. It was sad. It was stupid. It was damn tragic.”
Jolie Feinstein is a 16 year-old girl from a “good” family in an affluent New Jersey suburb. She’s popular, smart, attractive, and not unhappy, but the awareness of her mortality haunts her. Jolie seeks refuge in drugs and sex for a while, but a series of events and a revelation about an early childhood accident resulting in the death of her little sister pushes her to her breaking point. She runs away – but not before making a late-night call to her high-school math teacher, Mr. Keltz.
Daniel Keltz is a 32 year-old algebra teacher who, after Jolie’s call, begins to question his own solitary and unsatisfying life. When he learns of Jolie’s whereabouts, Daniel does the only crazy thing he’s ever done in his life, and takes off to find her.
The story follows Jolie to Colorado Springs and then to San Francisco, where she finds temporary solaces and unlikely friendships interspersed with more trouble, obsession, and death; and it follows Daniel’s journey to find Jolie and himself along the way.
I would recommend this to people who don’t mind reading realistic and tragic stories, there’s a lot of adult content in this book that isn’t suited for a younger audience. I would recommend this to readers who are looking for books about young teens and the world of drugs and emotional pain. This book was filled with so many events and ideas that I myself found some new information stored in my mind. There’s just so much out there that it’s impossible to ever keep track of it all. I enjoyed this book in the end I just wish the ending could have been expanded but I’d be more than willing to read more books by this author.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Date to be published: April 1, 2012
It was an enjoyable read, there were moments that were inspiring but there were moments where I didn’t agree with the characters line of thinking. There were definitely moments in this book where I wanted to knock some sense into them and then moments I wanted to hug them and tell them everything was alright. I’ll admit this wasn’t a book that made me cry but it did manage to stir some of those uncomfortable feelings.
This book held all the key elements, the end was concluded if not a bit rushed. The sub-plots were minimum but essential to the overall storyline. I do wish that some of the sub-plots were explored more; I think if the author could have done that we the reader would have learned even more about the characters. The action was average, there wasn’t a ton but there wasn’t little either, it was in a way balanced and perfect for this book. The story itself didn't feel lengthy and I had no trouble reading this book, this was essentially a fast read for me. But the ending like I said was conclusive but I felt that the author rushed it; it needed a smoother conclusion, the climax was solved too quickly; it needed a more drawn out resolution.
The characters each had their own personalities, some more than others. The main character Stella was weak at times and annoying but I guess when you go from a certain life style to another it can do some damage to a person and takes some adjustment. As for Stella’s best friend Ruby, she was the character I really enjoyed the most, she was a firecracker and a half, she had enough flare and spunk for all of the characters. Though she isn’t someone who I would essentially allow to be my role model she is one I would enjoy to meet. As for some of the minor characters they were okay but at times fell flat.
Transformation of the Character:
The main characters did transform some more than others. Stella for instance changed minimally but enough that the reader was able to see it. As for Ruby hers was more noticeable and enjoyable. I loved seeing all the transforming and the steps it took to get the end result. Though there were some transformations I didn’t enjoy I believe that they were true to the character, life isn’t all neat and tidy there will always be those jagged edges. And I won’t reveal which character but there was one surprising transformation that I didn’t see coming, it was so amazing and unexpected.
There wasn’t too much description; the author did a good job on describing the scenes and characters, I wasn’t left empty handed. I actually thought the description was really what allowed the reader to connect better with the characters to sympathize with and understand them better. I really enjoyed that the author made some strong statements in a simple matter; it was like I was being educated on a serious issue without feeling the pressure that these issues can sometimes cause. It wasn’t one of those books that made you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.
The author’s choice to write this story in first person and only from one point of view was good, it left the element of curiosity, I believe if she would have given us Ruby’s POV this whole story wouldn’t be worth reading. I mean what’s the point of reading when you already know what’s happening? Also I liked how this author chose to be more descriptive at times and then at others more dialogue formed, the author chose to keep the reader distant at times and then up close and personal at others; definitely a fun experience.
Quote of the book:
""I don't think you're weak." Mom gave me a curious look. "Believe me, I am. And it's only when you realize how weak you are that you can even start to be strong.""
Stella Chavez is your classic good girl: straight as, clean-cut boyfriends, and soccer trophies. You’d never guess that Stella’s dad was a drug addict who walked out when she was a kid or that inside, Stella wishes for something more.
New girl Ruby Caroline seems like Stella’s polar opposite: cursing, smoking, and teetering in sky-high heels. But with Ruby, Stella gets a taste of another world—a world in which parents act like roommates, college men are way more interesting than high school boys, and there is nothing that shouldn’t be tried once.
It’s not long before Stella finds herself torn: between the best friend she’s ever had and the friends she’s known forever, between her family and her own independence, between who she was and who she wants to be.
But Ruby has a darker side, a side she doesn’t show anyone—not even Stella. As Stella watches her friend slowly unravel, she will have to search deep inside herself for the strength to be a true friend, even if it means committing the ultimate betrayal.
I would recommend this to readers who enjoy realistic like readings and who want to be educated more on internal struggles, it was a way to learn the mind of a person and to see another’s POV. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who is a romance reader, the romance was very different in this book and there wasn’t any of that gooey kind, it was all jagged edges and dark. I enjoyed this book, it was worth the time to read but it just wasn’t all that I thought it was going to be, I guess that’s my fault for drawing expectations about a book, it sets you up for some form of disappointment. But I did enjoy it and would read more books by this author if given the opportunity.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Published: January 19, 2011
An emotional thriller that had me literally reading late up into the night. Once this story had its hooks in me it never let go; it pulled me into its depths and opened my eyes to a world unlike mine and taught me that everything is not always what it seems and danger lurks around every corner and perhaps behind many doors. This is one I’ll never forget, the connection from the reader to the story and the characters themselves helped tell a story that many are afraid to write.
It was laid out perfectly, there were plenty of suspense and thriller scenes, there were enough of those slow scenes where they gave the reader time to think over the previous actions and soak in the beautiful writing. The sub-plots were tied perfectly to the main plot and I wasn’t once left confused or disappointed. The pace was just right, I loved that it was really well balanced; I didn’t feel whiplashed or fighting to continue reading. This one is definitely a book that answered most of the questions and left you hungry for more.
To say they were strong would only be an understatement. I felt such a strong connect to the main protagonist and also the antagonist. Each and every character had their own spark that instantly connected you to them. I felt that each and every one stayed true to their “character”, the actions and decisions they chose did not in any way stray out to unbelievable. Every person in “real” life is different and how they react to real life situations is based upon them; not the “Norm”. I hate when people group everyone into categories, were not cattle, were real, living, breathing beings, we don’t have to fit the norm of our category, we have the chance to be our own category; to take as long as we need to pass into the next. So when reading this book I felt each character created their own category, whether they were snails or speedsters in moving to the next stage was up to them and their needs; I loved it.
Transformation of the Character:
There was definitely some transformations that took place in this story; some subtle and some not so much. Seth and Maggie’s were both enjoyable and inspiring. I loved that Maggie’s transformation was nothing like what I had imagined; I just love when a character can wrap you around their pinky and surprise you with something you thought you knew. Her transformation (I won’t talk about it too much; it spoil the book) was so different, yet something I am in the end satisfied with, the author was witty and connected with Maggie, that you can tell from page one all the way to the end. As for Seth’s transformation, his wasn’t so obvious but if you pay close enough attention you’ll see it and be so proud that you spotted it, he is definitely a character I fell in love with; I just wish there were more Seth’s out there! As for the rest of the characters some changed, some tried to change and some didn’t but in the end I felt very satisfied in this aspect.
I wouldn’t say there was a ton of description, actually there was more dialogue than description but for this book it was perfect. The author chose to reveal some of the description through dialogue which left this book both unique and creative. There were some parts of the story where the description overtook the dialogue which allowed the reader to get a great view of the scene and store it in their memory for further references. But overall I thought the description was just right.
I loved this author’s style, she chose the right moments to switch POV’s. It was always in the best interest to the reader, it was like the author knew exactly when I wished I could be in that person’s mind; it was mind blowing! Also I loved that the author chose to arrange the scenes the way she did, there could have been different ways to get this story across but the way she worded things and chose to end some scenes the way she did, really made me enjoy this book even more.
Quote of the book:
“I had allowed myself to fall in love with someone who didn’t return my feelings, who would never return my feelings. My mother was right. I am unlovable. I am nothing.”
Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He's been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren't going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He's harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he's trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.
Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother, a task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother's health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie's life into a tale-spin.
While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.
Seth and Maggie's romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading realistic and inspiring books. I would also recommend this to anyone who has little knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors; this will literally open your eyes. I wouldn’t however recommend this if you don’t enjoy romance (yes even this story can have it). And I wouldn’t recommend this if you look for more description, though I felt that it was adequate and perfect not all readers will. This is a book that will open your eyes and rip open your heart (I highly recommend that you grab some tissue to sit beside you). I simply loved this author’s story and writing and I cannot even begin to express how much I can’t wait to read the next book in the series “Unbelievable”.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Date Published: July 16, 2011
This was definitely a book filled with creativity and the stages of grief, at times it was realistic and others on the other end of the spectrum where I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. This is a book that will definitely question sanity and whether there really is a plane where reality and the imagination touch. This is one book I will always remember.
The plot was abnormal, though this book held all of the elements of a normal plot it varied in ways that other books don’t. It was filled with many ups and downs and mild action. This books plot did leave the reader with some questions by the end and though that is normally a big No, No in the writing world in this case it was perfectly acceptable. The author is allowing us as the reader to decide whether or not some of the things that happened in this book were real (kind of reminded me of the ending to “Inception). There weren’t really many sub-plots, the author focused on the characters thoughts and mind, it really left little room for more stories.
I felt that they were very much realistic (well as realistic as some of them could get). Each one had distinct qualities and flaws and though at times some of the characters felt disconnected it didn’t really draw the reader out of the story. The interaction between all the characters wasn’t awkward, I felt that they all in some way or another fit together, while some seemed a bit “weird” in the end they ended up being one of the better characters. I really enjoyed that the author created the main character to be more realistic; it really helped the reader better understand what was going on and make their own conclusion.
Transformation of the Character:
There wasn’t major transformations going on in this book but I do believe the main character did change some but nothing overly dramatic. I felt that some of the characters should have transformed, some needed just a little bit more pushing before they could go over the edge but it never happened to my disappointment. But though I felt the loss of transformation in this book I didn’t think that it ruined the book (By the end of the book you’ll understand what I mean).
The description was the perfect amount; the author did a great job on describing both worlds. There are some scenes she so vividly described that literally had me in that scene, like I was actually there. The description was both poetic and vivid at times, I absolutely just love one of the last scenes, it was described so perfectly; it felt so complete, it was definitely the major turning point for the main character.
The use of first person and transitions between worlds made this book even more enjoyable. The author was good at letting us the shift between mind and reality and that really made the understanding of the scenes that much better. This is a type of book that could have easily been ruined by transitions, no one wants to be lost while reading, it’s both a frustrating and annoying flaw but thankfully this author knew what she was doing.
Quote of the book:
“It was heaven ravaged by hell, good plagued by evil, life tormented by death. And as the most chaotic balance of my life continued, I found myself wearing thin.”
In a time of hardship and heartbreak, sometimes, reality just isn't enough. Slipping Reality is the story of fourteen-year-old Katelyn Emerson, who, when faced with the glaring reality of her brother's illness, rebels against the truth by slipping away into the depths of her own imagination. There, she finds the kind of support and comfort she feels she deserves. There, she does not have to feel so alone. And yet, as Katelyn's grasp on reality begins to unravel, so too does the story of a girl who grew up too fast and fell apart too soon. Emily Beaver's debut novel is a coming of age story that deals with the trials of young grief, insight, and growth where it's least expected.
I would recommend this to any fans of psychological pressure; to anyone who loves a good mind slipping agent, this book will literally have you questioning what’s real and what isn’t. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who doesn’t enjoy books that deal with the mind. This book was a fun and fast read and was well written by a fourteen year old, which to me was a great surprise. And to learn that there were some events in this book that were real was even more surprising. The ending was definitely something I won’t forget and though there were some things I would have liked to see differently it wasn’t all wrong, it’s all up to the reader.
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