Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cloak of Light - by Chuck Black

Drew Carter's life has already been marked with tragedy and upheaval, when he befriends the school geek at his new school, an unlikely pairing for the standout football player.  However, as his life continues to be spun around, Ben becomes one of the few things he can count on, until the day something happens to Ben's physics experiment, and Drew is left blind.  Ben disappears shortly after, and Drew is left to figure out what happened to him, what happened to Ben, and what are all of these "invaders" he can suddenly see in the midst of humans' daily lives.

I don't read a lot of young adult fiction, so I found this writing to be on the simplistic side for my usual tastes.  However, I did find myself engrossed in the story at points, finding it to be very much like a scaled down This Present Darkness.  I liked the idea of the jock making friends with the geek, not just because he could get homework help (although he did), but because his dad and his dad-figure had taught him integrity and honesty, and doing the right thing.  There were several plot lines that bothered me, though; Drew goes through and awful lot for one person, even before he gets mixed up in the invader business.  Second, I find it hard to believe that it would take him so long to figure out what the invaders were, or that he wouldn't have confided in someone that would help him understand the dimension he was seeing into.  I also didn't realize that this was going to be the first book in a series, until I came to the very end of the book and nothing had resolved.  I dislike not knowing when books are part of a series.

For the action and content, and themes of integrity and honor, I give this book 3 stars.  I hope that the story continues to develop well and that the rest of the series might include some more depth and growth and understanding on the parts of the characters.

You can find Cloak of Light HERE.
You can connect with Chuck Black on Facebook HERE.

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I received a copy of this book from Multnomah Books, in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Greetings from the Flipside - Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay

Hope Landon has always loved creating greeting cards and making people laugh.  As far back as elementary school, when she rewrote a fellow student's "do you like me?" card, she has been affecting the people around her with her cards.  Now, she's about to get married and leave this small town of Poughkeepsie and find a way to live her dreams.  Instead, she's left at the altar and attacked in the parking lot, resulting in a coma, where she suddenly finds herself in the Big Apple anyway, but things don't seem quite right.

It took me a little while to get into the flow of this book.  The dual perspective of real life and Hope's fantasy life in the coma was just a little too weird for me at first.  Over time, I warmed up to it, and to the characters in the story.  It was fun to start to see the things from real life that were creeping into her dream life.  It was an interesting idea for a story, but it didn't leave any real impact on me.

I give the book 3 stars for originality and characters that kept me interested.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

You can find Greetings from the Flipside HERE.
You can find Rene Gutteridge's website HERE.
You can find Cheryl McKay's website HERE.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Stillness of Chimes - by Meg Moseley

Laura Gantt lost her father, broke up with her boyfriend, and decided to move thousands of miles away, all the week that she turned 18.  Now, she's back in her hometown, after her mother's death, sorting through her things and hearing rumors that she's not sure what to do with.  Additionally, her high-school sweetheart is the one helping her sort through the rumors, her best friend is back in town dealing with her own familial issues, and Laura doesn't know what to make of her life at the moment.

This may be one of the least cohesive reviews I've ever written.  Something about this book drew me in immediately - besides that fantastic cover, but I can't pinpoint what made me immersed in the story.  The plot itself was a little strange, and there were definitely clunky points along the way.  Yet, my overall impression of this book was that I was *in* the story, all the way.  I felt the characters' confusion and emotions, I felt the need to know the secrets that were hidden, and I wanted good things for all of them.  I think my first pull to the story was that it started with three 12-year-olds, swearing to be there for each other their whole lives, and then brought those three kids back together as adults, who were still willing to be there for each other.  Their relationships had grown and changed over time, but they felt honest and realistic; their grown-up friendships held true to their relationships as kids.

I give this book 4-stars, with no tangible reasons other than, I liked it.

You can find A Stillness of Chimes HERE.
You can find the author's website HERE, along with ways to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
You can read an excerpt from the book HERE.

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I received a copy of this book from the Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.