A haunting nightmare
by Emma Right
The thing with dreams and nightmares is that it can haunt you long after you’re awake. I’ve had several of those in the past– and it came complete with that disoriented feeling when you first wake up and can’t even tell reality from your dream world. It’s so disconcerting, right? We’ve all had our fair share I am sure.
One of the scariest, or maybe I should say, disturbing dreams I’ve ever had left me waking up shivering. It wasn’t even as if I was chased by monsters, or had to go to a dirty public restroom without any shoes on–yes, I’ve had that yucky dream! No, those could be dismissed with less pain.
In this particular incident, as I awoke, after what felt like someone had pulled my legs and I’d jerked out of my sleep with a start, I sat up and stared at my dark surroundings. I couldn’t even figure out where I was. The one thing that filled my mind was the horror of the news I’d heard. My mother had just confessed that I was not really her biological child.
Even in the nightmare, which had seemed so normal and boring even, until she dropped the bomb on me, I couldn’t grasp what she’d said. Then it all hit me–I had another biological mother? Who was she? And then the realization that I was not who I thought I was all these past decades struck me, like a slap in the face and my world came crashing down around me. Have you ever felt this way? The power of a dream to obliterate all you’d believed in?
It’s interesting that even as an adult child, my connection to my mother, who lives too far away for me to visit each year even, was so powerful. What is even more troubling was the fact that the awful feeling I had when I awoke from my dream, persisted throughout the entire day after that–like a bitter taste that’s stays in your mouth even after you’ve drank tons of water or sucked on peppermint in an attempt to rid that horrible aftertaste.
Which brings me to my point–that the most haunting nightmares do not even have to be about ghosts or ghouls–and I’ve actual encountered a couple of these, I kid you not. (I might write about these true stories some day.) The things that touch us at the core are usually related to family and loved ones: People who have the power to invade our dream state and live in our subconscious, sometimes long after they have left this earth. Now that, to me, is real haunting.
Dead Dreams by Emma Right
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Young Adult
Published: August 26th 2013
Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.
Dead Dreams, Book 1, is a young adult psychological thriller and mystery.
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Right was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her B.C. years. B.C.meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the B.C.era, as she always says. Please feel free to contact Emma. She’s always happy to hear from her readers.Read More
Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: August 6th, 2013
Only he can bring what they need to survive…
In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they’ll do anything to maintain their power – deceiving, dividing families, banning love… even killing those who oppose them.
But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication – ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known. But one person verges on discovering it all.
Sixteen-year-old Luca becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called ‘Water Rats,’ who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the ‘Toppers’ who desperately need it above.
But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets – secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself – the net around him tightens. Luca and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny – even as they fight for their lives.
It’s about likeability and I’m not sure this book had it. AQUIFER’s characters, setting, and plot were both gritty and ugly. The way the story is told, however, causes the reader to believe the story is much more shallow and unfinished than it actually is.
I worry that for some readers, the filled plot holes at the end of the book might be too late to salvage the story. Without giving away too much of the twist, I can say that the world building is intentionally designed to feel fake. There’s a layer of world building beneath the one the reader is introduced to in the beginning chapters, yet I don’t know if all the aspects of that world are explained thoroughly enough.
My perception of the book was that it has a handle of scenes with striking similarities to THE GIVER (such as the boy learning a dangerous secret when he inherits his new position in society), yet as a whole it delivers quite a different message. I can’t say that I enjoyed how the story evolved, though it was thoroughly unpredictable from start to finish. Some of the minor characters felt like plot devices rather than people and it’s a shame than their lack of depth restricted how much the main characters could develop.
I’m sure that this will be a book enjoyed by some and not liked by others. Without giving away the ending, I can’t pinpoint exactly what type of people will love this book. What I can say is that AQUIFER most certainly ventures outside of what is expected of the YA dystopian genre.
(I received a copy of this book from ARCycling in exchange for my honest review.)Read More
As a huge fan of Provex City from Micheal Pierce, I was ecstatic to sign up for this tour of the sequel, Susy Asylum. Check out my review of 5 star review of the prequel to Susy Asylum, Provex City! Feel free to read my review even if you have not read Provex City. It contains only minor spoilers (no more than the blurb) of the first book. Thank you to Candace’s Book Blog for organizing this tour. You can check out the full schedule HERE.
Susy Asylum (Lorne Family Vault#2) by Michael Pierce
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ParousiaSix Publishing
Published: April 25th, 2013
In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope.
Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of a mysterious blogger, Commodore Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in a mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?
Oliver looks to Provex City as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still unaware of his importance in the rebellion.
Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.
Welcome to SUSY Asylum.
Like a bullet to the head, the story of Oliver Grain will bleed into your consciousness long after the last page is read. SUSY ASYLUM is an story honest to characters and plot, no matter how gritty the tale. Micheal Pierce has a talent for creating characters that the reader can’t help but invest into and then taunts you with a Russian roulette premonition. Early in the book, the reader learns that one character close to Oliver won’t make it. Even with that seed planted in the mind, there is still a feeling of disbelief when the deed happens.
As if turning back the pages would revive this character, I couldn’t help but reread the section and yearn for an alternate end for this character. My need to discover what happens with Oliver and his quest is what eventually recovered me and allowed me to finish. Although the first part of the book is focused on expanding the characters and world-building, the second half is a rampage. After developing attachments to all the characters, the reader has to witness each one makes stupid decisions that put Oliver and his friends in a suicidal situation. Oliver is not the only one to blame as the other characters often act independently of his decisions and it is clear that each one of them has their own agenda throughout the story.
It’s difficult to decide which character is my favorite, but I believe I will have to say Oliver. I can’t help but chuckle when he tries unsuccessfully to understand teenage girls. His ignorance of them compared to the author’s expert writing of the female sex makes for some much needed comic relief in an otherwise very gritty story.
Due to several culturally taboo situations, Suzy Asylum is recommended only to teens and up.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.)
(Oliver learns about TJ and Desiree’s relationship through journal entries and several interrogations. The reader is given glimpses into their past with mini-chapters sprinkled throughout the book. This is a piece of one such mini-chapter showing TJ’s downward spiral, eventually leading to his suicide. What TJ writes on the bathroom stall walls—and himself—gives meaning to what was written on Oliver’s wall in the first book.)
Check out book one, Provex City!
Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?
Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.
I believe in a future where I will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter & Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful baby girl.Read More
I originally planned on spotlighting RESILIENT back in September, but due to personal obligations it had to be postponed until now. Please check out these character profiles of Patricia Vanesse’s main characters in RESILIENT!
GUEST POST- Tell us about your main characters! Looks, personality, some background story, and/or maybe a few quotes from the story?
Height: 5 ft 6 in
Hair: Long wavy black
Eyes: Turquoise blue
As far as Livia knows, her biological parents abandoned her on the footsteps of a Catholic Church convent in New York City. She was adopted by the Berwick couple and raised with all the love she needed. Now she’s in search of her biological parents because she believes they have the answer to why she develops strange new powers every couple of years.
The first ability she developed was Empathy, which is the ability to feel emotions, thoughts, hopes, desires, and dreams of others. As cool as it sounds to be able to do something no one else can, Livia wishes she couldn’t. It affects her life making it difficult for her to live a normal teenage life. She has a strong personality and is very determined. Nothing will make her give up, until she wishes she had.
“Why would Mom think my abilities are gift from God? Why does Dad seem to think the opposite? Being able to heal fast is my fifth ability to develop. What will be next? Or will this be it? I need to find my biological parents—someone, somewhere has to know who they are and what I am. I wonder if I was born different and they knew they had to get rid of me. It would explain why they left me at a church; they thought only God could have mercy on me.” (Livia Berwick.)
Height: 6 ft 0 in
Hair: Dense and smooth Brown
Adam is the older son of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, among his three younger siblings. He is the only one who doesn’t have red hair and green eyes. Adam believes he has gotten his father’s looks, but that’s all they have in common. Adam’s relationship with his father is hanging from a thin thread. The closer he gets closer to the truth about himself, the more he understands his father’s indifference toward him. To everyone’s eyes, Adam has a picture perfect life; his friends think he has it all. Adam is smart and athletic. He’s the captain of his school wrestling team and the quarterback for the football team. However, he’s constantly fighting a battle within himself. He can do things no human should be able to do. He keeps his love interests at arms length so they won’t see him how he sees himself—a freak with unexplainable abilities that would make him the perfect lab rat if discovered. That is until he meets Livia and starts to believe he’s not alone in his supernatural world. Adam is patient and he’s willing to wait for the truth to reveal everything.
“Something is off, but I can’t bring myself to look deeper. It would only make me hope that she might be different like me, and I know it’s impossible. It’s just an empty wish from my childhood—that I would find someone who has the same secrets so there would be no secrets” (Adam Cooper)
Resilient by Patricia Vanesse
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Pants on Fire Press
Published: September 2nd, 2013
Livia has never felt like she fits in. As normal as it sounds, Livia is anything but ordinary. She can feel every emotion of every single person around her, and it’s maddening. In pursuit of some psychic quiet, she moves with her family from New York City to Whidbey Island in the lush and sleepy Pacific Northwest. But when a horseback riding accident in her new home gives her a broken leg that heals in a day, she finds that another unexplainable ability has manifested, and her life isn’t about to get any easier.
Adam has no problem fitting in and making friends. In fact, he’s the top of the school, the boy everyone knows and loves. However, people only see what he allows them to. No one knows what Adam is truly capable of. After witnessing Livia’s accident, Adam sees something intriguing in her quick recovery, something that gives him hope that he’s not alone.
Adam is the only one whose emotions Livia can’t read. Afraid of not knowing what goes on behind his dark eyes, Livia decides to keep him at a distance. Yet the more she tries to ignore him, the more alluring he becomes, and while their personal quests for identity will inevitably bring them closer together, it is the confirmation of what they really are that threatens to tear them apart.
Resilient, told in alternating point of views, is a gripping story of survival and romance, in which two teenagers face the consequences of being anything but normal.
Patricia Vanasse was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Now she lives on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two adorable children, and two crazy dogs. She has been trough Culinary Arts, Psychology, LawSchool, and now has finally found her passion in creative writing. She also loves traveling, cooking, and is an avid reader. Her strength- believes that everything is possible.
Have you read RESILIENT? What do you think of Livia and Adam?Read More
Deadly Offer by Caroline B. Cooney
(Originally titled The Cheerleader)
Genre: YA Horror
Publisher: Open Road (Kindle), Scholastic (Paperback)
Published: Kindle format published January 22, 2013, Paperback published in 2003
When you make a deal with a vampire, there’s no chance to change your mind. Or is there?
Althea is a nobody who wants to be somebody. She wants to be noticed, to have friends, to be part of the popular crowd. Then she meets the vampire who lives in the circular tower in her new house.
The vampire says that he can make her popular–more popular than she ever imagined she could be. All Althea has to do is agree to a simple deal. So simple a promise, but so evil.
Caroline B. Cooney bares her fangs in DEADLY OFFER, but it will be a hit or miss whether the reader will be hypnotised into this YA horror. Like her Fog, Snow, and Fire series; DEADLY OFFER sets up a gloomy and helpless atmosphere and chokes the reader with it from the first to last page. It’s a docile version of a psychological horror, though YA and MG readers shouldn’t have any problem relating to Althea’s situation. For readers more removed from high school woes, Althea’s willingness to be puppeted by a vampire, who bluffs more than an amature poker player, is more difficult to swallow.
Althea is initially a very sympathetic character. Desperate to become popular, she transforms into more of a monster than the vampire. She’s delusional, yet so dazzled by what popularity brings her that she feigns ignorance of how she pollutes the lives of everyone around her. The vampire might technically be the villain in DEADLY OFFER, but Althea propels the story into a guaranteed non- ‘happily ever after’.
Since Althea is an unreliable narrator, it is difficult to gauge whether the other characters are likeable or not. It depends on how much control the reader perceives the vampire has over Althea’s life.
For fans of Caroline B. Cooney’s other works, DEADLY OFFER won’t disappoint. Horror fans looking for gore or a villain clearly more evil than the protagonist may want to pass.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)Read More