Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Auracle by Gina Rosati

Gina Rosati
Release date: August 7th 2012
by Roaring Brook Press

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
*A copy was provided by Macmillan for review purposes*

Utterly original and refreshing, Auracle is a breath of fresh air with its addicting premise full of riveting turns. This was even more so in my case where I hadn't read the synopsis in ages and, therefore, had no idea what I was getting into, causing me to be shocked by the actual premise itself. It absolutely thrilled me.

Since I'm hoping you all get the same exciting experience of going in blind I won't bring up the primary plot line, but work my way around it. What I can safely tell you, is it involves astral projection - which is fascinating in of itself. I was highly satisfied by the way the world building was brought up in this novel. We not only get great detail in how Anna goes about projecting and leaving her body, but the space - or dimension - she roams when she's ethereal is solidly created with the inclusion of thought-provoking theoretical physics as part of the explanations. As a very skeptical and science minded person, I appreciate that Rosati didn't leave it exclusively magical. As the plot progresses, we get even deeper into the stretches of Anna's abilities, leaving me completely immersed in this story.

Anna's witty and sharp narration is undemanding and strikingly easy to enjoy. The addition of a strong dysfunctional family dynamic is great for character building and to give an extra layer of depth to the story. With an alcoholic father, Anna is walking on eggshells in her home - using her astral projection as a way of escape. The side characters have a lot to offer to the story as well, with maybe the exception of Seth which, for having such a substantial part, is scarcely developed. The villain - Taylor - regardless of falling victim to the short skirts and rich attitude mean girl stereotype, plays her part particularly well in this story, especially towards the ending where she gets veritably crafty. Then there is Rei...

Surrounding a unique, fast-paced, page turning plot is a largely romantic substory. Rei is your very sweet, - albeit very perfect - love interest that didn't quite make my heart flutter, but he enchanted me with his charisma and sincere nature. We get a budding romance that is both meaningful and sweet. Those who get enamoured by "boy next door" love stories will adore it!

Auracle brings something new and exciting to the overly crowded YA paranormal genre. Its suspense, humor, and dramatics dispenses an irresistible entertainment value that will undoubtedly keep you up until the early hours!

4 Hot Espressos

Monday, July 30, 2012

Circle of Silence Tour Stop

Today I have the fabulous Carol Tanzman over the blog for Circle of Seilence's Blog Tour. I previously enjoyed her other novel, dancergirl - find my review here - and stay tuned for my review of Circle of Silence later this week! For today's post, I have an interview with Carol, along with a pretty awesome giveaway ;)

Circle of Silence 
Carol M. Tanzman
Publication date: July 24th 2012
by Harlequin Teen

THE BIGGEST STORY OF MY LIFE COULD BE HOW IT ENDS It's my turn to run a "Campus News" crew, and I've put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets-until a student lands in the hospital under "strange" circumstances.

I "will" blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt...or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don't trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is "not" important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast...be sure to watch "Campus News" at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.

Interview with Carol M. Tanzman
Hi Carol! Thanks so much for dropping by!
Q. Circle of Silence is stated as book 2 in the WiHi series, but it doesn't seem to be a sequel, can you tell us how it relates to dancergirl?

The books are, in essence, companion books. They’re stand-alones, they come to their own conclusions, and don’t have to be read in order. They are however, linked by setting; each book takes place in Brooklyn at the same high school, fictional Washington Irving High or WiHi, as the students call it. The main character in Circle of Silence makes a minor appearance in dancergirl and some of the characters from dancergirl make appearances in Circle of Silence. Since they are both contemporary YA thrillers, it was a way to write separate books while at the same time there’s something to unify them for the reader. 

Q. Circle of Silence deals with secret societies in a high school, did your high school have secret clubs or weird quirks, or was it pretty boring (like mine)?

If my high school had a secret society, it was so secret no one knew about it! Like almost all high schools, however, we had pretty distinct cliques. I was in the theatre clique. Part of what I’m writing about in Circle of Silence is identity and labels. I do think my high experience of being so identified with one group played a major part in the writing of the book.

Q. What was one of the best parts of writing this book?

I loved experimenting with two voices. I wasn’t sure that it would work at first, but the second “voice” ended up adding more tension and depth than I ever could have had with just a single first person point of view throughout. 

Q. What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished writing a quirky tween mystery with comedic touches. A bit of a departure for me but it was a lot of fun to write. I’m also starting another YA —but it’s too new to be able to talk about yet.

This or That:

- Bookmark or Dog eared? Dog eared. I wish I could say bookmark because I always feel bad dog-earring, but it’s the truth.  

- Paperback or Hardback? Paperback. It’s the economics of it as both reader and writer. Both Circle of Silence and dancergirl are published in paperback, which makes it very affordable. 

- Coffee or tea? Coffee, coffee, coffee. Cannot live without my caffeine fix! 

- Funny or scary? Scary. I love thrillers!

- Bad boy or good boy? Ah, well, I’ve always been attracted to the bad boy who, it turns out, has a good boy streak hidden inside!

- Simpsons or Family Guy? Simpsons. Been on so long, they’re like family.

- Hunger Games or Harry Potter? Hunger Games. Katniss is an amazing female character!

Thanks so much for having me a part of the tour, Carol! I'm happy that I got to know you! And not only because you love coffee so much :D

Carol M. Tanzman is an award-winning theatre director and nationally recognized arts educator. Her first YA novel, The Shadow Place, was on YALSA's Quick Pick List of Recommended Books, the National Council of Teachers of English ALAN List of Best Books, and the CA Collection for Middle & Senior High Schools. In addition to the current Harlequin Teen books dancergirl and Circle of Silence she is a contributing poet to the upcoming Dare to Dream…Change the World anthology.

This post is a part of:

Full tour schedule:
Monday, July 23rd - Alice Marvel's
Tuesday, July 24th Book Birthday - Evie Bookish
Wednesday, July 25th - The Book Cellar 
Friday, July 27th - Kindle Fever

Monday, July 30th - Xpresso Reads
Wednesday, August 1st - Reading Angel
Friday, August 3rd - Harlequin Blog

Monday, August 6th- Letters Inside Out
Wednesday, August 8th - Chapter by Chapter
Friday, August 10th - I Just wanna Sit here and Read 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Xpresso Weekly: Stacking the Shelves (14)

Xpresso Weekly is my edition of Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews featuring the books I got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week.

This week at Xpresso Reads
Hi fellow book lovers! We're almost in August can you believe!? Eek! And you know what we celebrated on the blog this week? Jenny Pox turned 2 and you can win the first three books in the series - signed! Today (Sunday) is the last day to enter so don't forget before you head off! Find the post here! I also had the Frost Blog Tour come by for my review and you have a bunch of chances to win both ecopies and paperbacks! Don't forget to check out my Facebook page for the latest cover reveals I found! And lastly, make sure to check out the sidebar for some pretty awesome giveaways that are ending soon!

Reviews on the blog this week:

Stacking the Shelves
As some of you can't or don't like to watch vlogs, the pictures are below! 

Click on covers or title links below for Goodreads

I got for review:

-SEND by Patty Blount
-Cinder by Marissa Meyer
-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
-Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

*A very big thank you to Raincoast Books, Scholastic Canada, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA, and Entangled Publishing for the review copies*

Hope you all had an epic week!
Leave me a link to your book haul and I'll go check it out! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fresh Batch (July 29th - August 4th)

Exclusively titled for Xpresso Reads, Fresh Batch features the hottest releases of this upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:
Pushing the Limits
Katie McGarry
Release date: July 31st, 2012
by Harlequin Teen

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
Read my review here!

US vs UK cover:

Pushing the Limits book trailer:

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

The Waiting Sky
Lara Zielin
Release date: August 2nd 2012
by Putnam Juvenile

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.
*A copy was provided by Penguin Group USA for review purposes*

Twister was one of my absolute favourite movies. I used to watch it over and over, fascinated by the tornadoes. Even now, years later, I find myself mesmerized by all natural disasters. They're terrifying and set on destruction, making us seem incredibly small and powerless. When I learned that The Waiting Sky consisted of storm chasers, I simply couldn't wait to get all over this! However, storms are only one of the parts that constitutes this invigorating, intense story.

Our fantastic main character, Jane, is blind to her mother's recklessness. Sure her mom's an alcoholic, but she's not "that" bad, right? Jane's denial of her situation with her mother is remarkably compelling. Even though we know it's out of control, and that Jane should stop making it so easy for her, we're thrown into Jane's shoes so completely that we get a first hand look, and feel, at how difficult it is to accept this reality. Regardless of never having been in this situation myself, it felt highly realistic with just the right blend of naivety and cynicism. Her home life is harsh with no light in sight, which is why Jane decides to join her brother's storm chaser team for the summer.

From one destroyer to another, Jane leaves her intoxicated mother behind to study literal vortexes of destruction: Tornadoes. The perfect distraction from a very emotional plot, this storm chasing side story works incredibly well to turn this dark, dreary book into a richly layered story filled with amazing charm that punctures the bleakness. The team of storm chasers comprises of a gang of excellent supporting characters that have issues and lives of their own. Victor, especially, had me intrigued with his PTSD sufferings. At first I despised his moodiness and inconsiderate behavior, but as time passed I became really fond of how he dealt with the cards that he was given. It's clearly not just the main character that has true substance in this novel. Aside from Victor, Jane's best friend Cat radiates with a power and confidence that Jane needs at the moment. She needs someone to tell her that it is NOT ok, how her mom is behaving. Even though Jane may not acknowledge it, Cat is her rock, her fierce bitch slapper. Everybody needs to get their senses slapped into place sometimes.

With fabulous characters comes a wickedly gratifying plot that involves some very serious, relatable issues, plenty of excitement, exceptional family dynamics, and a spritz of romance - It's instantly engrossing and highly character-driven. The Waiting Sky was far more than I expected; Its two story lines are perfectly tailored together to create a tale of self-discovery that left me equally thrilled and emotionally drained. Twister with a twist, is what it is!

5 Hot Espressos

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston

One Good Hustle
Billie Livingston
Release date: July 24th 2012
by Random House of Canada

The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices.

With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility.

One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.
*A copy was provided by Random House of Canada for review purposes*

As the child of 2 hustlers, Sammie did not have it easy. Now that her dad has left, and her mother spends her days (and nights) drinking, she has no choice but to go live at her friend's house where she longs for… something. Her father? Normalcy? Love? One Good Hustle is the story of a young girl's struggle over her identity, over how her life is likely to turn out.

As this is a chronicle, it's a bit different from my typical contemporary reads. Instead of a front to back story, it's essentially a simple, and thoroughly engrossing, depiction of Sammie's life as a hustler's daughter. From as far as she can remember, her parents have involved her in scams. Making her a part of their hustles and showing her the ropes. Due to her upbringing, one might expect Sammie to be this broken criminal with no sense of right and wrong. Instead, Sammie is a well-rounded, disciplined teenager who, even though she has done her share of cons, is in her right mind. She's simply afraid that she's doomed to end up like her parents. I found her personality very realistic for her situation. Even through all her mother's faults, she stays a loyal and loving daughter. Never failing to have her back, even when she knows what people are saying is true. I loved her cleverness and spunky attitude throughout which makes the narration especially engaging.

Billie Livingston does not shy away from harsh situations and tough love in this novel. She shows us the nitty gritty of such a lifestyle and its consequences. Frequent flashbacks send us into Sammie's childhood where we get instances of what it was like for her during a hustle, and, eventually, to the events that left her on her friend's doorstep with a missing father and a drunk mother. When she's taken in by her friend Jill's family, she finally gets a glimpse of normalcy; getting to experience the other side of the coin. Consequently making her yearn, even more so, for a normal life. If I had one word to describe this story, it would be dirty. It's rough, it's jagged, and it's a life that is not sugarcoated. I think it's even listed as an adult novel despite being a teenager's story. So don't go in this expecting fluffiness and rainbows. There's swearing, and cheats, and let downs, but there's a little romance, humor, and wit to light up the grit, some.

Dark and riveting, Billie Livingston combines a dangerous atypical lifestyle with an insightful narrative of a teenager born on the wrong path. Don't expect an action-packed, edge of your seat novel, though. It's a chronicle of Sammie tackling what life has given her, rather than an action adventure. All in all, One Good Hustle is a brilliantly told and brutally honest story of one person's struggles.

4 Hot Espressos

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Red Heart Tattoo

Red Heart Tattoo
Lurlene McDaniel
Series: Standalone
Publication date: July 24th 2012
by Random House Children's Books

At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive, struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.
*A copy was provided by Random House Children's Books for review purposes*

With an eye widening prologue that winds up your emotions, Red Heart Tattoo's powerful beginning sets the ideal mood for the whole book. Told in five perspectives, we experience the before and after of a school bombing that leaves grief at every corner, and loss at every rubble.

With five perspectives, we get a lot of individual consequences to the school bombing. Showing us how different people cope, how they grieve and support each other. Since the book begins a few months before the incident, we get to know each one of these kids from before, when they were relatively happy and life was simple. This builds the characters greatly, getting us to care about them. With so many POVs, it's natural to have a few that will get into your hearts more than others. Overall the cast is well balanced with characters that will make you feel their pain, their heartache, but also their love, and their strength. Morgan, our main perspective, shows us that even though dire consequences may seem like the end of the world, we should never let it break us. I adored her and admired her attitude.

Although a truly emotional book, Red Heart Tattoo potentially could have been a million times more poignant if we hadn't skirted around some of the most powerful scenes. Instead of witnessing the consequences and emotions during a few of the big happenings, we're simply told via memories after the fact. It's disappointing to finish a chapter in a breakthrough, only to start the next once the climax of its reactions has come and gone, leaving us yearning for what their immediate responses and feeling were.

Regardless, the story has great, realistic developments, some predictable though never unaffecting, some that will leave you with pain, some with warmth. An overall very satisfying school bombing story that, surprisingly, has a lot of heart amongst the trauma. As far as the ending, I can't help but feel like the epilogue leaves us hanging. We fast-forward a year, and what we learn feels jumbled and incomplete. I did not see the necessity to include it at all as it adds no real substance to the story, only wonderment. One could argue that that was the point, life is never certain. Yet, I can't help feeling that it would have been better left alone pre-epilogue. I also have to mention the cover; I understand its significance after the fact, but it could be misleading as the romance is not on the forefront of this novel.

School crimes and violence regrettably happen way too often, Lurlene takes a disastrous event and creates an eye-opening, affecting story that, even though it encounters a bit of lost potential, it's certainly worth the read.

3 Hot Espressos

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

My pick this week:
Spirit and Dust
Rosemary Clement-Moore
Release date: May 14th, 2013
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Speaking to the dead is no new thing for Daisy Goodnight. The living, on the other hand, can occasionally be a problem. Especially when they knock you out, kidnap you, and force you to be their magical police dog.

Donald Maguire—mob boss, extraordinaire—has a missing daughter and Daisy is his first choice to track her down. But he didn't actually ask her for help. When she woke up in his guest bedroom, she was told. But why her? And who—or what—in the world is the Black Jackal?

Spirits? Mob boss? Kidnapping? Missing girl? What's not to love! Seriously!

PS: There's a different synopsis on Amazon that gives a bit more away.

What did you pick this week?
Link me up! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein

Cold Fury
T.M. Goeglein
Series: Cold Fury, #1
Release date: July 24th 2012
by Putnam Juvenile

Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.
*A copy was provided by Penguin Group USA for review purposes*

"Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos"! Yeah!

Starting off slowly, Cold Fury begins by throwing us into Sara's past - her family dynamics in particular - which has always been filled with whispers and secrets. This is all done via flashbacks and, while interesting, can become a bit tedious, or even confusing. Although I can't say that I was ever bored as the mysteriousness kept my attention from faltering. Page 104 is where it really begins, with a bang. House in shambles, her family gone, on the run from what seems to be everyone who looks at her on the street; from this point on it's action packed until the very end. A race for answers - literally! With her pursuers ranging from family members to crooked cops, no one and nowhere is safe.

Like action movies, it's best to read this without thinking very much about the probabilities of what Sara conveniently stumbles upon that, at the very last second, saves her life. We've got the typical conveniently located trap doors, tunnels, insider connections, and, my personal favourite: ninja rats. Ninja. Rats. :D Trained and bread to become body guards of sorts, rats, among other things, are the deus ex machina of this plot. On the same wavelength, there are flashes of paranormal powers that certain members of the mob inhibits. I was hoping that this would get a deeper explanation, or at least a bigger meaning. A few vague passages that are barely more than a brush off are not enough to give credibility to these plot elements. Thus, it makes it seem like a lot of twists are simply added for some extra oomph that, ultimately, means nothing. However, it works to give an exciting action mob story. You just have to roll with the punches.

Badass, smart, determined, courageous, are some of the qualities we see in our protagonist, Sara. Her tomboy ways - including learning how to box at 4 years old - will appeal to those who like a little kick in their female leads. Though I will never understand why after days of her being attacked and almost killed several times as soon as she steps outdoors, she decides it would be a good idea to go to school. Education above all else? This detail aside, I found her personality refreshing, and her fierceness, engaging. With a Mafia implicated plot comes a large history where we see how Sara's family comes into play in this complex, very well depicted, mob story which puts her right in the middle of it.

Yes, it has a very Bourne Identity feel to it, though I wouldn't go as far as saying it compares to it (as one of my favourite movie sagas this would be a near impossible feat). Intense and exciting with an intriguing ending that has me looking forward to book 2; if you're looking for an action-packed high speed chase, Cold Fury will definitely give you a run for your money!

3 Hot Espressos

Monday, July 23, 2012

Frost Tour Stop: Review & Giveaway

Kate Avery Ellison
Series: Frost, #1
Release date: April 18th 2012

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
*A copy was provided by Kate Avery Ellison for review purposes*

Original and… cold! This book is cold! Snow, ice, frost - it's a very chilly, dreary setting that, coming from Canada, I can easily relate to. I know how it feels to be snowed in after a storm. To be constantly cold during a storm (even though my house is sweltering). So although the characters could have been fleshed out, and the plot intensified, the setting is very vividly depicted, and it's clearly an incredibly unique premise that has a lot of potential. I think the book may have simply been too short.

This first book in The Frost Chronicles feels like one big long introduction. We're placed in a notably eerie, well built world in which we're portrayed an isolated village surrounded by deep forests where deadly creatures come out at night. It's not safe to go out once the sun has set - ever. This gloomy setting is made worse by the fact that they unable to leave their town, because beyond the forest are the Farthers - vicious humans living in a cruel advanced society. The brilliant detailing skillfully describes the colourless, depressing state of their world, as well as how their community is managed with quotas and rations. It's fascinating and well thought-out, getting me to feel the cold, the hopelessness, the uneasiness. Though well built, the book is missing electricity. I easily felt the hardships, but I can't say I was very perturbed by the events that occurred in the story. I kept waiting for the big moment when I would feel emotionally invested, the moment when things go from story building, to suspenseful and thrilling - neither came in full force. I wouldn't call the suspense nonexistent, it just wasn't to the depth I was hoping for. This isn't helped by the slow pacing; three quarters of the book in, I was still wondering of the plot's intention.

The characters, while not unlikeable, are not all-together remarkable. In exception to our main character Lia who is a strong, solid female lead, determinedly taking charge of her family's well being after her parent's death, I felt the characters lacked a bit of charm; their personalities hazy, failing to come to life completely. I felt the same in respect to the romance. It lacks the necessary chemistry to believe in the deep attraction they apparently feel for each other. Fortunately for me, the romance makes sparse appearances.

With intriguing developments towards the end, I'm certainly curious about the story's procession from this point on. The plot may not be mind-blowing, but the telling is very effective to give the setting an expressive feel. With a few more pages it could have been less of a "beginning only" novel. However, with a large potential, Frost is perfect for those who love their books dark and ominous.

3 Hot Espressos

When I was six years old, I dreamed up my first story--the tale of a hidden, prehistoric island complete with violent winter monsoons and vicious, man-eating dinosaurs. It was my first taste of storytelling, and it was like a drug. Making up stories became my passion, and I've never stopped since.  This is me! I'm now the author of several novels and short stories, and you can find more about my work in the tabs at the top of this blog.  I live with my husband and two cats near Atlanta, GA.

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