reading / writing

Still Alive, Still Reading

I feel like it took me all week to recover from the four performances of Evita we had at school. That and a slight bit of cold coming on, I promise that I’m still here. ::waves:: Hi.

I have been reading. Three? Wow, three books on my Kindle, all Etopia YA authors. I feel very much like I’ve been some sort of reading marathon and owe it to them to read and support them. Which, as I like to read (surprise, surprise) has been pretty fun for me.

Also, there will be some spoilers in these book reviews, so consider yourself warned.

First One:

Straightjacket_ByMeredithTowbin_800x1200

Blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Anna has lived her whole life in shame, losing herself in books to cope with crippling panic attacks triggered by her abusive parents. Forced into a psychiatric hospital, she can’t imagine a future that’s anything but bleak—until she meets Caleb, a gifted, 19-year-old artist who insists he’s an angel.

He swears his mission is to help Anna break free from her parents’ control and fulfill a destiny that she can only dream of. The doctors, however, are convinced that Caleb is delusional.

Anna doesn’t want to be that girl who’s in love with the crazy guy, but when she sees his stunning portraits of her and the way he risks everything to keep her safe, she can’t help but imagine a new future for both of them, filled with hope. But just when it seems they’ve created heaven on earth, Caleb’s past emerges full force, threatening to destroy their tiny, blissful world. And Anna has to decide if she should follow her heart, or if Caleb’s really as troubled as his doctors say…

My Review:

I don’t really read angel books. It comes from the church-going background I have. The theology for most of them doesn’t match what I learned growing up and for some reason, it’s hard for me to suspend my belief enough to get invested. I know, silly, but there it is. I more drifted to this book due that it was Etopia, the cover was gorgeous, and the psych ward angle. I’m not sure why, but I’m fascinated by mental institutions. And something about this one appealed to me.

First of all, something that I wasn’t expecting was the fact that the end is rather ambiguous. You do not find out if Caleb was indeed an angel or not. Which is both a strength and weakness for me as the reader. I think not knowing is engaging and certainly cause me to continue thinking about this story long after I read it. However, it also bothered me. Because Caleb ‘returns’ to heaven to await Anna. He returns by entering the lake and basically dying. If Caleb is not an angel, he committed suicide. And that…as it is not necessarily looked on in a bad light in the book, it is really hard for me to be okay with that.

If Ms. Towbin did that on purpose, to make the reader question and wonder, she definitely achieved her goal. The book is well-written and seems to have a good understanding of mental illness (I am no expert) and there is something very desperate and sweet about Caleb and Anna’s relationship even though it does smack of insta-love just a bit. Anna’s parents are so easy to hate (nice to have some definite villains), and the side characters are well drawn if not vitally important. It’s really just Caleb and Anna.

So, in conclusion of my rather scattered thoughts, I think this is a well-written novel. Original story to my reading experience and I have the utmost respect for its author.  It just didn’t connect with me, personally.

Straightjacket at Amazon & Barnes.

Numero Dos: (and I cannot figure out why the text either attaches to the photo or not. Just bear with my pathetic blogging abilities)

TheStoneGuardian

Blurb:

When myth becomes reality, reality becomes a nightmare.

Like any other teenager in America, Ashley just wants a normal life. But growing up in an orphanage for the insane is anything but normal. After endless therapy and increasing medication, her nightmares have only gotten worse.

Probably because they’re not nightmares.

When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.

When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…

My Review:

3.5 stars. Some bits I adored and others I was not as pleased with. The mythology and plot were pretty fantastic. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance subplot. I just didn’t much like Arwan, or his abs (mentioned many times). He was too instantly in love with Ashley and too sentimental for my tastes. I think others would find him pretty dreamy though.

But Ashley and her abilities were so cool. Her stubbornness which often frustrated me was admirable, and her loyalty. And truly a really cool world that Ms. McClinton created. I wasn’t much intrigued by the Maya concept before reading, but it totally won me over. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series.

The Stone Guardian at Amazon & Barnes.

Finally:

I want hair like this chick.

Blurb:

Weapons training and winter formals…a deadly combination.

All Mia ever wanted was to fit in at Whispering Woods High. But being a portal-finder who dates a guy from another dimension sort of makes it hard. Mia’s brother disappeared over a year ago, and agents from the IIA began policing people’s movements through dimensions. She’d trusted Dr. Bleeker from the local university when he’d told her the IIA were the bad guys. But even a girl with an extraordinary ability to sense things can make mistakes.

Now two people are dead, and as a portal gatekeeper for the IIA, Mia needs to find Dr. Bleeker before he hurts anyone else. And her boyfriend Regulus, an Agent for the IIA, carries secrets of his own. Between learning about weaponry, finding the perfect dress for the winter formal, and catching bad guys, who has time to fit in?

My Review:

For some reason, I really got into this one more than the first of the series. Maybe because I knew the characters already and was ready to go on an adventure with them. Maybe because I’m a little dreamy-eyed over Arizona. Still. Lol.

The plot thickens and poor Mia is just trying to keep up. She is so strong and loyal. I love her best friend, Em. And I feel for both Austin and Em in feeling a bit abandoned for Mia’s new relationship with Regulus. I’ve so been that friend who gets ditched. And because of that, I probably wanted to shake Mia once and awhile due to her extreme enthrallment (is that a word?) with Regulus. There is a moment where she breaks her father’s rules (which is inevitable, but not super like her) to see Regulus. She ‘needs’ to see him. This is personal annoyance of mine. Needing to see a guy. It just…bleh, bugs me. But then again, I’ve not been in as deep as Mia is.

Also, I’m a fan of Tiny.

The twists and turns of this one were great. I was unsure of where things would go and I like not knowing. Finally got to meet a few characters we’ve been hearing about (not spoiling anything). Especially visual in the fact that the entire climax occurs with Mia still in her Winter Formal dress. I am so ready to read the third book (which is not out yet).

Whisper of Memory at Amazon & Barnes.

There you go! Book reviews extravaganza.

© ecnewman, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

2 thoughts on “Still Alive, Still Reading

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