Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Review: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
288 Pages

“Forgiving you will allow me to forgive myself.”

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Why can’t I be happy to be alive instead of afraid of living.
Sadly, this is the world that we live in. Morgan lives in fear each day. Trapped in the prison of both her mind and her apartment, she can't even muscle up the courage to step outside. All because of that one faithful day. That one day at school where everything changed. A student came in with a gun.

We've all seen the stories on the news and one of the first things that rums through my mind is 'those poor people'. Well here, Reichardt gives us a glimpse of what happens after. How do people rebuild after their world is shattered? Can they rebuild? Can they survive?

This book was hard to read in some ways because there were a lot of times where I just wanted to shake Morgan. To wake her up from this stupor that she's been living in for months. But then I would pause and remember what she went through or the author would throw in another memory of that day that had me reassessing my opinion of her. Everyone deals in their own way. Morgan constantly saw how other people who were also there that day were able to move on and continue living, but she just couldn't. All because of one secret that she was holding onto. You know that old saying secrets kill? Well, this one was slowly killing her.
It turned out I wasn't dying on the outside. I was only dying on the inside, where nobody could see.

Luckily she had people in her corner who wanted to help. Her mother, brother, therapist, and the new boy next door. Her brother was the cutest thing in the world and all he wanted was for his sister to come see him in his school play. A little request that most would think nothing of, but to Morgan it gave her purpose but also crippling fear. I had little issues with the love interest, Evan. He was extremely pushy knowing her situation and would ignore her when things didn't go his way with her which I thought was extremely childish but he was a teenage boy so maybe that's normal?

The reason for the three stars was that this book moves extremely slow. At times it was a little boring and the only thing that kept me reading was to find out her secret. But aside from that, I think the mental state was well represented here. I went to an author signing with Reichardt and she talked a little about the research she did and how she spoke with therapists about the aftermath of this kind of trauma and that shows. So while it was a slow read, it wasn't a bad read.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review: Glimmer (The Black Swan Files Book 1) by Tricia Cerrone

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Stone Media, Inc.
436 Pages

The Black Swan Files begin…

At certain moments in history, when several impossible-to-predict events collide, they create what’s known as a Black Swan—an event that can change how we look at science, technology, even our history. Jocelyn Albrecht is one such Black Swan. Infected by the biotechnology her parents sought to develop, she has become human enhanced—an H+.

The accident that gave Jocelyn new powers also killed her family. In their place she is raised at Camp Holliwell by “her uncle”—a government funded scientist—and his league of doctors who study and test Jocelyn daily in the hopes of learning how to replicate her. The military has another goal in mind—to make her an asset.

After losing one family and the home where she belonged, Jocelyn strives to keep her Holliwell family happy, as odd as they might be. That is until she finds out the truth…Uncle Laurence is using her as a guinea pig, her brother and sister are still alive, and she doesn’t have long to live.

Now Jocelyn only cares about finding her real family. The problem—breaking out of a highly classified, military facility before the next experiment kills her.

Seth Johnson had nothing left to lose when he volunteered to go to Camp Holliwell. Now he would do anything to get out. He wants to help Jocelyn escape, but with a target on both of them, survival means he needs to look out for number one.

Georgie Washington is a straight A student and only child of middle class Virginians. Raised on civil rights and the horrors of American slavery, Georgie has a keen sense of what’s right and what’s not. She secretly befriends Jocelyn, and when no one else will help, commits to breaking her out of Camp Holliwell.

Graeme Rochester knows something is wrong, he just hasn’t figured out the connection to his family. One thing he does know—he would do anything to keep them safe. When the world at Camp Holliwell threatens that safety, Graeme wants to know why, even if it means a collision course with the government’s best-kept secret.

These four people, from vastly different worlds, learn the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice when unpredictable events once again collide, and create the possibility of another Black Swan. 

It's rare that a book surprises me with how good it is, but Glimmer did exactly that. Here's a book that I saw while perusing Netgalley and it was a read now type, so I thought why not? I am so glad I hit that button.

Sunnie has never know life outside of Holliwell - a government facility that has all the makings of a small town, including Starbucks. Here she is taken care of by her "Uncle". She has virtually no memory of her life before coming to Holliwell, just that her parents and siblings died leaving only her. And that she has cancer - or so she's told.

Turns out everything Sunnie has ever been told is a lie - including her name. She's actually Jocelyn Albrecht and her parents were world renowned bio-technologists whose greatest accomplishment no resides inside their daughter. Holliwell isn't the treatment center Jocelyn thinks it is, it's actually her prison. Keeping her there while her so-called uncle runs test after test on her. It's when they turn to torture that Jocelyn starts to realize something is wrong. With the help of people she meets along the way, Jocelyn decides that it's time for freedom and starts to plot her escape.

Along with Jocelyn, this story is rich with other characters. There's Seth, the other "experiment" kept locked away at Holliwell. He's the one who really kick starts all of her questioning. There's Georgie, whom Jocelyn befriends on one of her allowed outings to the local movie theater. Then there's Graeme who she randomly meets while he's trying to uncover the secrets locked away at Holliwell - not knowing he's met one.

All of these people, along with others *ahem*Sergei*ahem*, just add to this plot. At times the amount of story lines and histories did get a little convoluted, but once you're able to separate them and see that they are all meaningful in a way, they just add that much more. 

Told at an incredibly fast pace that keeps you on your toes, Glimmer shows the fine line that's walked between humanity and science. I can't wait to see what happens next.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ARC Review: Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by PC Cast

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
608 Pages

#1 New York Times bestselling author, P.C. Cast, brings us a new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed. A world filled with beauty and danger and cruelty…

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. This book made my brain hurt. At over 600 pages, it was just a mess. Moon Chosen is the first in a new series by PC Cast. It takes place in a weird dystopian/apocalyptic future where people are divided into (so far) three groups: the Earth Walkers, the Skin Stealers and the Tribe of the Trees. Each are extremely different from one another and pretty much either fear or loathe the other groups. Our story focuses on one person from each tribe: Mari of the Earth Walkers, Nik of the Companions and Dead Eye of the Skin Walkers (yup, Dead Eye). But wait, Mari is different. She is a mixture of Earth Walkers and the Companions. She's not supposed to exist and therefore lives in hiding with her mother.

I don't even know where to start.

The majority of this book was boring. I found myself skimming it towards the middle because I just couldn't focus. It was wordy, repetitive, and extremely slow. Not too mention, confusing. There was no world building at all. It was here's the characters and their people. GO! I wanted to know more. How did this happen? What caused the people to end up this way? The way it was presented just made no sense. Each race called themselves one thing, but the other races called them something else. So each tribe had at least two names and they never were really explained so you kind of had to link them together yourself and just hope you knew who they were talking about.

Then there were the characters. I honestly thought Mari was an 8 year old child based on the way she talked. Imagine my shock when I found out she was 18. Nik was a little better, although still not sure he's actually 23. All the characters just came across much more younger than they were supposed to be. And I didn't buy the love connection between Mari and Nik at all.

I recently went to a book signing with both PC Cast and her daughter Kristin. PC talked about how she just likes to go on and on and on in her books and she was lucky in House of Night because she had Kristin to reign her in. Well, I wish she had Kristin here because there was so much information that just wasn't needed. I don't need a two page description of a plant. Pacing! Move it along!

I will be honest, the last 100 pages or so finally had action and kept me intrigued. But that's the last 100 pages. It shouldn't take that long in a 600 page book for things to happen. The ending is a cliffhanger of sorts. Will I read the next one? Maybe. It looks like there will be Cat People. Yes, Cat People. Did I forget to mention the animals? Oh, so the Companions are called such because they have canine companions. And guess what? The dogs were the BEST PART. I cared more about what happened to them then I did anyone else.

Can we just get a book only about the dogs? I would read the shit out of that. 

 I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
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