Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Forsaken, by Estevan Vega


DON'T LET IT IN.

The first victim has no natural wounds. No prints left behind. No lacerations. But the life has been gruesomely drained from the corpse, and a broken cross is now imprinted inside the skin.

Left for dead a year ago by his former partner, reckless and medicated Detective Jude Foster now endures mindless therapy sessions in order to be given another chance at his life.When the chief of police discovers the first victim strangely killed in this sadistic fashion, Jude enters a dark world all-too-familiar. He knows he’s seen this method of murder before, but he never caught the killer.

Could this be a copycat, or is it the one that got away?

Forced to take on a new partner for the case, Jude must come to terms with the fractured memories of his past, attempt to keep his younger brother safe, and chase down a ghost killer who is collecting human souls. But time is against him. How many more victims will there be before the killer is satisfied? And will Jude Foster be able to survive this new hell or in the chaos, will he risk becoming something else entirely?

Beautifully written, dangerously dark and inexplicably twisted.

I think that I could honestly stop my review right there and it would pretty much sum up how I feel about The Forsaken almost as well as anything else that I'm about to write. Just when you think Estevan Vega has delved far enough into the dark side of things, he goes just a little further with his next story.

Short of swooning and expressing my absolute love for this book, I just want to say that it's probably one of the darkest and best written books that I've read so far this year. The main character, Jude, is a character that you want to follow and can't help but cheer for throughout the story. The flashbacks of the past really help us to understand exactly what Jude has gone through and why he is the way he is. I'll admit, it's unusually depressing but it adds to the intrigue of the story.

There's an emphasis on a more surreal feeling to this book than just our reality that we are used to, which really takes the story to that next level. The twists and turns in this book will have you dizzy trying to keep up with everything going on in, but you'll stay on the edge of your seat anticipating what will happen next. And not everything is what it seems in this book. There was a time when I thought I knew exactly what was going on... and then there was another huge twist at the end, completely blowing all of my theories out of the water.

This book is not full of sunshine and rainbows, but I guarantee that you'll be hooked once you start this amazing book. If you like dark books, you'll definitely want to grab a copy of The Forsaken. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, I guarantee you'll fall in love with the genre all over again once you read this book. It's just THAT good.

Rating: Avg 2.71
Source: AuthorLink


Title: The Forsaken
Author
: Estevan Vega
Series:
N/A
Publisher:
StoneHouse Ink
Format:
Kindle, 158 pages
Release Date:
March 13, 2012

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Unbreak My Heart, by Melissa Walker


Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Melissa Walker has been an author on my radar ever since I read her novel, Small Town Sinners. The story and writing were both amazing, so I had some high expectations when it came to this book. Those high expectations were met with a lot of hesitation when I read the synopsis of Unbreak My Heart, only to find it dealt with what I would consider a form of cheating. Cheating is a huge no-no for me, but I thought I would go against my better judgment and give this book a shot - and I'm definitely glad that I did.

This book is told from Clementine's POV with alternating chapters, going between the past and the present. Clementine is a character that is very easy to relate to, and I'm sure that her story is also one that many can sympathize with. Though I cannot say I'm one of those sympathizers, I can say that reading about what happened between her and her best friend's boyfriend definitely helped to understand her side a lot better. It was hard not to hurt for Clem when she was being ostracized for something that was just not only her fault - it takes two. Thankfully, we have James in her present that turns out to be a good reprieve for her. I love the relationship that develops between these two characters, their interactions with one another seemed to flow so easily.

I also have to point out that we have a book where there are actual parents that are involved in their teenage daughter's life. No dead parents, no absentee parents, no self-absorbed parents... it was one of the best aspects of this book because, sadly, it's not something that you see a lot of in young adult books these days. There's also Clementine's younger sister Olive, who shines brightly and pretty much steals the show in each and every single scene that she's in. It's another point in this book that you don't see in many others, the secondary characters actually play a role in this book and aren't just lifeless fodder that fills all the extra pages. This is a definite plus in my book.

There's no complex storyline that's hard to follow, the plot of this book is fairly easy and straight-forward. The writing, like Melissa's other work, is amazing and flows well from page to page. Unbreak My Heart is a nice, easy read whose characters will steal your heart - though I don't think your heart will be broken when you finish this book. ;)

Rating: Avg 3.98
Source: Purchase



Title: Unbreak My Heart
Author
: Melissa Walker
Series:
N/A
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Format:
Hardcover, 240 pages
Release Date:
May 22, 2012

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Box, by Estevan Vega





Esther is getting old. No, she is old. Aging with every blink, with every breath.

After a life full of power and purpose, she is met with the harsh reality that she is now obsolete, and her fragile moments are short. On the eve of the last night in the city she has called home for years, Esther and her lover Jacob share their fears and their romance for this world over one last meal, as they wait in fearful unrest for what is coming.

Considering this is a short story (a little over 30 pages), I am going to be making this one of my short but sweet reviews as I do not want to give away too much of the actual story.

Much like Vega's other works, Music Box delves a little into the dark side of the story. The description and perspective in the story keeps a thrilling edge that seems to evoke a million different emotions in the reader as you read. Quite honestly, I think that my only complaint about this story is that I want more - even though "more" is not necessary. This story is most certainly complete, touching on many points. The main character, Esther, is trying desperately to hold onto the life that she has that seems to be coming to an end entirely too quickly. She reflects on herself, nit-picking at things that her husband tries to assure her is not necessary. I found her character to be extremely real and her husband to be a noble character.

Obviously, there is more to the story than one woman's self-obsessions... but I don't want to delve too much into any more for fear of spoiling something for someone. There's a level of suspense as the end approaches that keeps you on the edge of your seat - which is a feat that Vega seems to excel at. The characterization and descriptions in this book are amazingly strong that really pull you into the story and keep you there until the end. This is a must-read for fans not only of the author, but also for those who love suspense and thrillers. As always, I continue to be a huge fan of Estevan Vega's work and look forward to many more stories from him in the future.

Rating: Avg 4.43
Source: Author

LinkLink

Title: Music Box
Author
: Estevan Vega
Series:
N/A
Publisher:
StoneHouse Ink
Format:
Digital Short, 33 pages
Release Date:
March 28, 2012

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Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks








Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

I think that I can safely say that, on my blog, books involving any type of mythology are set to a higher standard than just light and fluffy reads. Is it unfair? I don't think so. I think any time you're going to put your own spin on some type of lore that has been around for many, many years that you need to make your book stand out to be recognized among the masses. With that said, did I think that Of Poseidon stood out from all other mermaid books that came out before it? Yes and no. My opinion of this book kept wavering throughout and, even now while I'm writing this review, I cannot honestly say exactly how I feel about this book.

The most prominent problem that I had with this book has got to be the actual characters. There was a strong scene at the beginning of the story that showed a lot of promise, but the first glance of the characters really didn't live up to that hype throughout the rest of the novel. For instance, I think Emma has to be one of the most bi-polar female leads that I have read in a while. With her, there is the person that she thinks she is... then, there is the person she actually is. While she seems to see herself as a very sweet girl, some of her actions are actually quite sour and pretty much the polar opposite of what you would see from a "sweet" girl. Her internal dialogue and rationalization never quite match up to her actions and statements outside of her head, which was more annoying than anything.

Then, there's Galen. Oh, Galen... he seemed to have the potential to be a completely swoon-worthy male lead, but ended up being the douchey jerk that you always want to steer clear of. While sometimes playing coy and being a little possessive over someone you like is somewhat appropriate and cute, being that way 24/7 is not. I found his attitude to be entirely too self-serving and vain. He had a few nice moments, but definitely not enough to overshadow all of the rest.

Now, despite my lack of fondness for the characters I did find the mythology of this book to be up to par. The world-building and description in this book was nothing short of beautiful, minus a few inconsistencies that are so minor the point of bringing them to light is almost moot. Even though this book is over 300 pages, I found it to flow so exceptionally well that the pages seemed to fly by. Overall, I found Of Poseidon to be a decent read that is worth the time to give it a try. The cover is absolutely stunning and, of course, the writing is right there with it. As far as debut books are concerned, this one definitely made the cut for me in many aspects - just not the characters. ;)

Rating: Avg 4.21
Source: BorrowedLink



Title: Of Poseidon
Author
: Anna Banks
Series:
Of Poseidon, Book 1
Publisher:
Feiwel & Friends
Format:
Hardcover, 324 pages
Release Date:
May 22, 2012

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adorkable, by Sarra Manning


Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop talking to him?

After reading Adorkable, my first thought was that this book should come with one warning: "All is not what it seems to be in the beginning." To me, it's almost vital because I was thisclose to putting the book down because the main characters irked me that much.

This book is told from alternating view points of the two main characters: Jeane and Michael. To be frank, they both rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Judgmental and pompous would probably be the best two words for me to describe them. They both seemed a bit bitter and, most importantly, just acted as though they were so much better than every single person around them. It wasn't cute, nor was it necessary... and I just didn't like it. Period. I wanted to put this book down. I was going to put this book down. But something stopped me. I can't tell you what it was, I just knew that I needed to keep going.

Then, it happened.

As you continue through the story, there's more to each character that is revealed. The pompous side of them suddenly doesn't stand as the forefront of their personality, and you find yourself actually liking the characters. Well, I did at least. More importantly, I started to understand why the characters (especially Jeane) were the way they were. Everything clicked and it all made perfect sense. As an added bonus, the chemistry between these two characters really heat up the pages in many ways. Actually, I think the best parts of this book for me would have to be the scenes between Jeane and Michael. They make a great book couple.

Overall, this is a quick and easy read. The plot is light and quirky - there's no deep, poetic plot that puts this book into some sort of great philosophical debate. It's more a simple read to enjoy in one or two sittings, with an ending that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I definitely think this is a great read for teens and older, though I would venture to say that some of the content would lean more toward the more mature teen audience rather than younger.

Rating: Avg 4.23
Source: Borrowed



Title: Adorkable
Author
: Sarra Manning
Series:
N/A
Publisher:
Atom
Format:
Paperback, 385 pages
Release Date:
May 24, 2012

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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