ARC Review, Excerpts, Playlist & Giveaway: Emeralds and Pearls-C. Spencer-Upton


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Emeralds and Pearls
by C. Spencer-Upton
Semi-Precious #1
Publication Date: October 11, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

cooltext1807812709 copyI’ve spent seventeen years being a wallflower. Seventeen years, watching people live their lives, while mine stood still. I was happy for those years, nothing new happened because I never let it, every day was the same and predictable.

When my parents told me we were moving…to another state, I freaked.

I spent the first week, after the move, wishing I could move back. But then something changed. I became a someone, and to begin with I enjoyed it, but I soon learned, some things aren’t always as they seem.

I have two lives now. Both of them are testing me, pushing me to my limits.

cooltext1807831675 copy3/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review and in correlation with this blog tour

PROS:

  • Chelsea is a feisty protagonist. Completely real. She’s been the shadow following around her gorgeous best friend for most of her life and has finally started to come out of her shell. What I loved about Chelsea is how believable she is. She’s your average girl, dealing with boys, insecurities, and awkward situations. While she grows immensely, her confidence is lacking and she does fall prey to her own self doubts. She’s stubborn, sarcastic, and unafraid to stick up for herself for the most part. Her playfulness is charming and makes her someone easy to get behind.
  • Cory is a smug, sexy, and dashing love interest. He’s constantly reinforcing a love-hate banter that is beyond steamy. He’ll pull you into the story, make your heart melt, and leave you rooting for him. Cory is attentive, compassionate, and it’s impossible not to smile while reading his parts. 
  • Chelsea and Cory have intense chemistry. Their witty comments are entertaining, will keep you on your feet, and if you’re looking for semi-infuriating drama that culminates in explosive reconciliation this is for you. 
  • The magic of the ocean is dazzling. C. Spencer-Upon does an amazing job describing the wonder and awe Chelsea feels, the exhilaration as she flies through the water, and the secretive almost whimsical connection with the sea life. 

CONS:

  • The battle scenes fell flat. It was like watching from the outside with little detail. For something so monumentally important to the plot it felt glossed over and rushed. 
  • Dean is a major abusive tool. The way he lays his hands on Chelsea made me want to scream. The fact that she thought so little of herself to think that his violent, angry actions were her fault were hard to read and while it did grant insight into the mind of the abused, capturing Chelsea’s chaotic emotional trauma, there wasn’t enough internal dialogue to justify why she stayed. She’s incredibly naïve and unsure of herself. It almost felt like two different people. 
  • The story of Atlantis and the cursed treasure was short and nowhere near as elaborate as it should have been. That whole world was neglected and it was like that aspect of the story was absent, an afterthought.

cooltext1807814503 copyC. Spencer-Upton

Born and raised in a small mining town in Derbyshire. Caroline (The C in ‘C Spencer-Upton’) has spent her adult years building a home and a future based on what’s in front of her, and for a while, that was all she needed. Family, friends and the dog.

In 2012, that all changed. Her new love of reading became a drug. Living in a fantasy became her happy place to escape from reality. Her imagination came to life and ideas that had laid dormant for years, came rushing back to the surface and Emeralds And Pearls was conceived, her debut novel.

In October 2013, that new chapter in her life started and Emeralds And Pearls were introduced to the world.

Caroline works a normal 8-5 job which has nothing to do with literature. When people discover that she has written a novel, the look of shock on their faces is enough to bring a smug smile to her face, knowing that people underestimate her.

Writing is her escape and she loves reading about her fans enjoying something she loves.

This is the start of a new story of her own and can’t wait for new readers to be a part of it.

I was quickly whipped round, and was shooting towards the surface, that tiny glimmer of hope latched onto my heart. Maybe I would make it, and all of this would be like a bad dream.

My head broke the surface water and I gasped the biggest breath I could. I was panting uncontrollably as I tried to regain my composure, oxygen never tasted so good. Or did it?

It was eerily quiet, there was no wind, no atmosphere and the sea air smelt damp and musty. I slowly tried to ease my eyes open, rubbing them with the heel of my hands. Peeking through my lashes I found darkness. I rubbed my eyes again and opened my eyes wider and still, it was just darkness.

My mind wandered back to the bar that barreled into my stomach, not long after the pain had subsided. It was still there, pushing me against the wall. I calmly moved my hands and placed them on the bar, preparing myself to break free. As I adjusted my hands on the surface I felt… skin.

My breath hitched in my throat, goose bumps bubbled up under my skin, out of fear. Who or what was it? I was unable to remove my hands, too scared to move.

“Are you okay?” The male voice asked from nowhere. It wasn’t threatening or scary, in fact it made me feel calm. Calmer than I was a few seconds ago.

I took a deep breath, trying to keep my voice calm and steady. “Yes. I think so,” was all I could muster.

“Good. I need you to do me a favor.” His voice was closer to my ear than before, it made me jump slightly, surprised by its proximity.

I wriggled slightly, to see if I could break free. I couldn’t. Instead, the grip tightened. “Sure, anything.” I wasn’t in the greatest position to reject a favor.

“I want you to hold onto this.” The ‘bar’ removed itself from my stomach, and two hands carefully grabbed my hips, spinning me around and lightly pushing me against a hard, slimy surface. “Hold on here, I’ll be back in a sec’.”

My hands gripped tightly around something, like a protruding rock high above my head. The water splashed in the darkness a couple of times before silence fell again.

His voice in the darkness startled me. “Close your eyes. It’ll sting if you keep them open.”

I gulped loudly and nodded, which was pointless because whoever was there, couldn’t see me. I squeezed my eyes shut, clamping them together, before burying my head under my arm. My baggy shirt was clinging to my body and my hair was dripping a slow river down my back, I was getting colder by the second and wanted nothing more than to shower, bury myself in my pajamas and dive into bed.

The sound of something scraping against rock, brought me back to my current dilemma. There was a click and suddenly I could see light creeping in through my closed eyelids. I raised my head slowly at the sound of more scraping.

The water splashed a few more times, then two warm hands gripped my shivering body, around my waist. I instantly stilled. I felt my body being dragged away from the wall, reluctantly I released my grip and allowed whoever or whatever was holding me, to move me. The light became brighter the more we moved, but I was too scared to open them. I didn’t want to confront this nightmare.

I felt a stone-cold wall come in contact with my abdomen, shocking me yet again. The hands slowly turned me, so my back was pressed up against it. My breathing was slowly becoming more erratic, my heart was close to beating out my chest and I wanted nothing more than for all this to be over with.

“Slowly open your eyes. You don’t want to make them sting.” The mystifying voice was so close, and yet beginning to sound so familiar, minus the echo.

Slowly but surely, I peeked through my lashes, sure enough the bright light stung as my eyes readjusted after seeing the darkness for so long. I tried again, opening gradually and allowing them to adjust before opening any wider. My vision was still slightly blurry, but eventually, everything came into focus. I skimmed over the cold, damp cave, fear gripping at my body. I noticed the ledge that I’d been gripping onto, it being the only thing that protruded out the walls, everywhere else was smooth and slimy. Then I noticed the light. It was perched on a shelf in the cave, like a little dugout. It was a cheap, plastic looking battery lantern that you’d probably buy a child, camping for the first time. Lastly, I looked at the person holding me.

My heart pummeled against my chest, as I took in the bare chest, the strong muscular arms and strong hands that were gripping tightly at my waist.

His bright smile had my breath catching in my throat. It had been so long since I’d seen it “How you feeling?”

“Cory?” the question a mere whisper as it left my lips

He chuckled. “In the flesh. Now seriously, how you feeling?”

cooltext1807828269 copyEvery Tear Is A Waterfall – Coldplay

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Greenday

La La La – Naughty Boy

Shy Girl – O-Town

Anklebiters – Paramore

Tunnel Vision – Justin Timberlake

Wild – Jessie J

I Love It – Icona Pop

Slow Down – Selena Gomez

Ever Enough – A Rocket To The Moon

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