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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review+Tour+Giveaway: Incantation Paradox

Title: Incantation Paradox

Author: Annamaria Bazzi

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Book Blurb:
Magic is an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. Or does it?
A horrible car accident destroys Dolores Reynard’s life. But instead of waking up in a hospital bed, she awakens in a teenager’s body. Soon, she discovers she is at the heart of the murderous mystery surrounding the death of Mona, the young girl whose body she occupies. Caught between an evil greater than she ever imagined and a wizard who heals her tattered heart, she is forced to play a dangerous game of intrigue in the hopes of finding a way to return to her previous life.
Will magic be her ally, or will it lead to her demise once and for all.

This story was definitely an interesting read, as your main character is caught in a rather sticky/unusual situation: a middle aged woman stuck in a teen's body. When Eric/Brian (more about this character later) kills Mona and tries to bring her back to life by taking another's life spirit and putting it in Mona's (dead) body, something goes terribly wrong. The brought-back-to-life Mona isn't supposed to remember anything but her own memories, but Dolores, the woman whose life spirit Eric/Brian stole, retains her own memories while trapped in Mona's body. For now, Mona's spirit is in a coma and Dolores has complete control over her mind and body, but as time passes, Mona begins to awaken and let's just say, two spirits in one body is one too many.

Okay, onto the Eric/Brian character. Long story short: Eric is Jason's son who died in a car accident. Jason, wanting to save a wizard's life (people with magic in their blood are a rarity) decides to take the life spirit of a person about to die and put it into Eric's body. This person happens to be Brian, an old and twisted and evil wizard now stuck in Eric's body.

I found the plot to be quite interesting because nobody except Mona, Dolores, Jason and Brian are aware that the real Mona has died, and so it's a game of cat and mouse as each person tries to predict the other's next move. Only Dolores (and Mona who is in a coma) knows how Mona died: Brian pushed her down the stairs. However, when Brian realizes Dolores knows and is therefore a loose cannon, he knows he must find a way to make sure this dirty little secret never gets out...and so the plot unfolds.

I think the main thing preventing me from enjoying Incantation Paradox to its full extent is that I couldn't really connect to Dolores. I think it's partly because Dolores is so much older than me, so that puts a new spin on perspective. I'm not saying her character isn't interesting or anything--I just couldn't connect to her. 

I would suggest readers to give this book a try--maybe you'll connect with the mc and love the book!


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Cursed Hearts

Title: Cursed Hearts

Author: Light and Lowell

Genre: YA Paranormal

Reviewer: Aly

Book Blurb: .
Rarely when we’re down does the world offer us a hand up instead of a sharp kick to the ribs. But when Rome Navarro, a penniless kid with home issues, receives a scholarship to a prestigious school in his hometown, life is starting to look suspiciously hopeful. Little does he know, Vardel Academy houses an old, deeply guarded secret, and Redwood Bay is harboring mysteries of its own that are just as unsettling. Things become stranger still when he learns of a curse that his family is supposedly plagued by. A curse that involves the shy redhead he has his sights set on. Throw in a guy with an unhealthy fascination for him, and a love rival with cruel intentions, and you’re left with a recipe for both a devilish good time, and inevitably, disaster.

In the beginning, and throughout Cursed Hearts there seems to be almost a future telling aspect to some of the book. If you watch as many books as you read than you'll definitely be able to hear a voice tone, almost like Jack telling his story in Rise of the Guardians or Narrator Smurf. I loved these little comments that pointed to the future and not only that but a future that doesn't look all that bright.

Rome was a real gentleman and yet not too perfect. The same can be said for Aria. Both characters were almost perfect and yet had flaws at the same time. This made them seem human, and lifelike. I fell in love with Rome, (honestly who wouldn't?) and Aria seemed to be one of my best friends by the end of this book.

I also found myself asking a lot of questions during Cursed Hearts but just as I would answer one, five more would pop into my head. It made reading Cursed Hearts almost an adventure, something that helped to satisfy the curiosity of the readers.

Throughout this book, there was also an exploration of relationships that were different than many romances. There were characters whose sexuality wasn't Heterosexual and I applaud the author for including them. Not only that but the fact that she was creating a relationship between characters that might not have been fully romantic in nature but sexual and between two characters that were the same sex. It was an eye opening experience and unique. 

Due to the different sexualities, the hatred or fear and bigotry against those people who have different sexualities. These experiences were handled carefully and overall very well.

Cursed Hearts was a solid, unique read that I think everyone should give a chance. It was eye opening and a marvelous read.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Wanderers

Title: The Wanderers

Author: Jessica Miller

Genre: YA Paranormal

Book Blurb:
What do you do when you learn your family is the one who's holding all the secrets? Secrets that could get you killed...
Ella is looking forward to starting college in the fall with her best friend Josie. She’s looking for a place where she can get away from her overbearing parents and two older annoying brothers. Unfortunately Ella realizes that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.
Ella soon learns that the man who terrorizes her dreams is in fact real and coming after her.
When one of her classmates is murdered, Ella slowly recognizes this is not some strange coincidence. Ella fears that the boy she’s falling in love with is the one who stalks her dreams and no longer knows who she can trust.
When she finally learns the truth of her family's deepest secret, Ella has to face her demons by taking out one of the people she thought she could trust…before they kill her

This book ended up surprising me in a good way; I actually enjoyed this book more than I expected. I'm not a particularly avid YA paranormal reader, so I found this book to be a pleasant surprise.

I think the reason why I liked this book a lot was because Ella, the main character, really grew on me throughout the pages. She comes from a wealthy family (a nice break from the usual comes-from-a-poor-family-slash-abandoned-at-birth character background found in a lot of the books I've been reading recently) with loving parents and gets perfect grades. Yet...she's not what she seems. Ella wants to develop her own sense of independence, she wants to be in control of her life, and starting college seems like the perfect time to do so. Watching Ella change as a character--and yes, she does make a few stupid mistakes during her early weeks at college--was interesting and had me turning the pages.

Enter Tristen and Jack, two other major characters. Tristen basically seems like a jerk and honestly I felt like hating him. Jack, on the other hand, seems like a nice kid; the type of boy who gets overlooked all the time but is a nice person once you get to know. So boy was I unprepared for the plot twist Miller had in store for these two characters. (I'm not going to spoil it but let's just say it involves a game of cat and mouse in which the cat might sometimes where the mask of a mouse....oh wow, that was a really bad metaphor, wasn't it?)

It was interesting how the author doesn't introduces the paranormal aspect of the novel until much, much later into the book (like on page 250 in a 340 page-ish novel.) But I kind of liked it like that since nothing felt rushed or force and it allows for character development and plot thickening.

My only quip with The Wanderers is the Tristen-Ella relationship. I felt like they were on and off and on and off again, so some parts were predictable. Nevertheless, the book is fast paced and well written.