Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book review: The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.

A free copy was provided to me through Netgalley for review.

I had mixed feelings about The Art of Not Breathing.  On the one hand, you have a story that the author seems to have put a lot of thought into, with the twists and turns that don’t just reveal themselves unintentionally right from the start like so many other family mystery books I’ve read.

On the other hand, I found myself not really liking Elsie a lot of the time.  She’s sort of a brat, and nosey as hell (she even spies on her brother and his girlfriend having sex? while still taking about how gross it is? you could look away, you know) and she falls for Tay way too quickly.  It felt less like a ‘teens fall in love quick’ thing and more of a ‘Elsie really wants to get laid’ thing, honestly.  Though I will give it mucho credit that Elsie doesn’t actually end up with anyone in the end.  Though that’s balanced out by the fact that Elsie is such a snob to literally everyone in school, so it’s no wonder none of them really want her.  She’s supposed to be a bullying victim but she turns around and does the same sort of thing to the one guy there besides her brother who’s willing to be nice to her.

All in all, I’d say it’s a good story, but the main character can sort of break you out of it because you find yourself not caring about a girl who can be so shallow and mean.  I’d say it balances out to be about average.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cover reveal: Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology (Envy)

Coming out April 1st, Envy will be my second publishing credit!  It features short stories from several different YA authors, with the only prompt being that the deadly sin, envy, had to be featured.  You'll be able to get an ebook or physical copy when it's out!  And without further ado, here's the cover.

Isn't it awesome?  Make sure to pick up your own copy when it's out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Review: Death Wish (Ceruleans #1) by Megan Tayte


The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? 

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense. 

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. 

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power. 

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. 

To believe the impossible. 

A free e-book copy was given to me by the author in exchange for a review.

I loved this book.  It wasn’t perfect, by any means, but there was so much to like about it.  I found myself telling my friends lines, such as the one where Scarlett had gotten raging drunk at a party the night before and was trying to remember what had happened after those first couple tequila shots, only to say, “Conga… had I done the conga?” Scarlett is a good narrator, and unlike so many YA novels I didn’t really find myself annoyed with her for any significant part of the book.

The concept itself is an interesting one, although if I had to say, I would’ve liked there to be a little more lead-up to the concept of Ceruleans.  It’s in the summary, after all, but other than a couple scenes where we see there’s something up that isn’t normal, it reads just like a realistic contemporary book about a girl who’s just trying to find out why her sister would walk out into the ocean and drown herself.  Realistic contemp is probably my favorite genre so I’m not complaining, but it would’ve been nice to have a bit more mysteriousness to the whole thing.

The only other complaint I would have is that I did feel like it was a little slow to start.  As she’s getting her bearings around town there’s unnecessary details that slow things down and could’ve easily been cut to make things keep going.  Still, it definitely didn’t ruin the book, and I’d definitely recommend this one.  Happy reading!