ARC Reviews: True Colors & Two Faced-Melissa Pearl

The Masks series

 True Colors & Two Faced by Melissa Pearl

REVIEW BLITZ

October 20th to October 24th, 2014

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cooltext1712921505 copyCaitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama. That is, until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends suddenly appears terrified, but masks her fear with a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…

cooltext1719331023 copy4/5 Stars

PROS:

  • The concept of the story, of being able to see behind people’s masks and gleaning the truth that people are hiding is compelling and really draws you into the story. As Caity learns to peel back the layers, you’re forced to ask yourself what you might be missing and if everything you had an inkling of unease about is real.
  • The chemistry between Eric and Caity is perfect. It’s a slow burn that eases into a beautiful warmth that leaves no doubt about the undeniable respect and love between them.
  • Eric is a sweetheart. He’s compassionate, understanding, and willing to go to the ends of the Earth for Caity. His past is filled with heartbreak and hurt and yet, he’s hopeful and searching for the kind of love that will transcend all hardships and brighten his life.
  • The topic of abusive relationships is not often discussed in YA and I think it’s because often people are hesitant to write about it or simply are more comfortable with placing it in an adult category. Kudos to you, Melissa for writing about something so heart wrenching and conveying the fear, the unease, and the authentic, raw emotions that threaten to overwhelm and break.
  • Indie is a bittersweet character. She’s so strong, her fear is heartbreaking and you will feel compelled to want to protect her and so angry at her suffering.
  • The antagonists are so creepy, rough, and violent that some of the more graphic scenes will really turn the blood in your veins to ice. You will be cheering these characters on, hoping beyond hope that they will be enough to outsmart these villains and come out of their obstacles if not unscathed then triumphant.
  • Caity goes through such growth that it’s almost a rebirth. The magical powers she’s given by the homeless man awaken what she pushed aside for her reign with the populars. She remembers that kind, honest girl who is eager to help those in need who was raised by great parents who supplied her with strong morals. The struggle within herself to conform or fight is something that most high schoolers have to go through before they find who they want to be and what will make them happy and okay with themselves. Although some of her behavior is a little reckless, her unswerving desire to aid those who are being hurt is really as remarkable as it is admirable.

CONS:

  • I’m torn between loving Caity and wanting to strangle her out of confusion. As the protagonist, in some respects she is really strong. (I talked about this in the Pros section) Her personality is split. When she is acting like your average insecure yet determined heroine she is wonderful and easy to relate to but in some sections she has some weird phrases and word choice that make her seem like a 90-year-old cat lady. I understand that her parents are much older, that these might be the clichéd colloquialisms she’s used to but as a popular teenage girl it’s a little unbelievable. Her weakness is her aversion to drama. She passively sits by and takes abuse from people who she calls her friends and naïvely believes the best in people. It’s crazy that she can’t see the monsters within her best friends when they’re openly slapping her in the face.

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cooltext1712921505 copyCaitlyn Davis has an unusual gift. She knows exactly how people feel. Everyone wears a mask, but she sees the hidden truth. This ability has changed her life, both for the better and worse. She can choose to ignore what she sees…but what happens when it involves the guy she loves?

Eric Shore knew getting involved with a girl who could read people was risky, but he couldn’t help himself. Caitlyn is gorgeous and he loves being with her. Their relationship is going great…until she tells him that his step-brother and star basketball player, Connor, is doing drugs. Having looked up to the guy for years, Eric just can’t buy it. Things only get worse when Caitlyn questions the true nature of Eric’s favorite teacher.

The first year at college is supposed to be amazing, but theirs is off to a rocky start. As masks are peeled away, secrets will be exposed, dangers will be revealed, and both must decide out of the people closest to them, who is telling the truth…and who is being two-faced.

cooltext1719331023 copy4/5 Stars

PROS:

  • Caity and Eric are quickly becoming one of my favorite couples. They know each other so well and because of that they’re constantly jeopardizing their relationship trying to protect each other. They’re hyper aware of each other’s feelings and do everything in their power to ease worry and amp up the happiness. Caity and Eric have the light and floaty love that feels like cloud 9. You can feel the adoration pouring off the pages. Eric’s sections, how he views Caity as perfect not simply because she’s gorgeous but because of her big heart is swoon worthy. 
  • Eric’s past is emphasized in a whole new light. All of his fears about Caity’s reckless behaviours, his underlying paranoia about people leaving, and his reluctance to date Caity at first are all explained by small snippets that have scarred and weared on his soul. Eric’s disillusionment and reluctance to believe Caity’s dislike of those he admires is sad. The hurt little boy, the one who has suffered a life of disappointment when it comes to people staying and caring for him is a dull ache that resonates throughout the story.
  • Drug abuse, corruption, gambling, and the dangers of mixing even legal substances like Adderall is a potentially life-threatening and disastrous lifestyle that permeates many college campuses and is not talked about enough. The hyperness, the anxiety, the dehydration, and heart-racing effects of Adderall mixed with organic elements or energy drinks could kill and sometimes does. More awareness of the scary reality of what can happen when taking drugs not prescribed to individual NEEDS to happen, especially in YA. Melissa did a fantastic job capturing the fear and visual signs of these drugs.
  • Another important element of this story was being drugged, and not always associated with date rape. Memory loss, inability to identify where the drugging took place, and having no idea what happened, blacking out is a terrifyingly real and traumatizing subject. Conner’s puzzlement and later, anxiety over his missing memories is enough to put anyone on edge and makes you rethink the possibility of being drugged for reasons other than date rape.
  • SPOILER SKIP IF HAVEN’T READ: Nicole’s story. This is something of nightmares and it’s particularly horrifying because it happens all the time. What’s worse is that Nicole was in a supposedly safe area, monitored by what should have been trustworthy individuals and she was assaulted against her will with no memory, only pictures. I can’t even imagine how traumatic that would be. Nicole is shaking, mortified, and manipulated all because of something out of her control. I screamed for her and for any girl this story really hits home because it could happen to anyone.

CONS:

  • The puzzle pieces were a little obvious. It was frustrating waiting for the protagonists to put everything together.
  • Caity’s insecurity drove me crazy. She’s full of doubts. For someone who can see beneath the masks and gets so infuriated when Eric questions her abilities, she’s the hardest on herself. Everything is up in the air and she’s terrified that Eric will leave her because of her powers despite knowing that’s he’s enamored with her. Between Caity’s lack of confidence in herself and her insistence that she “can’t”, it contradicts her bravery and thirst for justice.

cooltext1718229341 copyMelissa

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has continued to produce a steady stream of books. Recently she signed with Evatopia Press and her first Evatopia book was released in February 2014 – True Colors, The Masks Series #1. She is very excited to be trying out new things this year while continuing to publish under her own name as well. She has six books releasing in 2014 and is excited about writing each and every one of them.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

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15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 6

Here we go. Day 6 of the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge over at Good Books and Good Wine is about one of my favorite activities-BOOK SHOPPING. 

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For many bloggers (I imagine, and hopefully am right or else I’ll sound like a creep) shopping for books is a very personal, intimate experience. It’s a time where we escape, and immerse ourselves in a safe place full of the thing we love most, books: old, new, republished, hard cover, soft, books about everything and anything under the sun. This is where we go to relax, to leisurely stroll through aisles admiring beautiful cover art, clever titles, and astounding creativity. Every time I go to the bookstore I am happy, and get more happy as I wander the aisles lost in ideas for my own writing, and admiration for the authors already published in the genre I write in. Whenever one of my favorite authors gets a new book published, I rush to the bookstore, I mark the release dates on my calendar, and I am overwhelmed with excitement.

This post is supposed to be about how I shop for books, but really it depends. Firstly, there are two types of books I shop for weekly, print and e-books. How I shop for each of these is entirely different.

When I walk into a bookstore the first thing I do is skip (often literally) over to the café for my 2nd or 3rd coffee of the day. Do people actually go into a bookstore, and peruse without a tasty caffeine-filled beverage? In the city where I live, there aren’t many used bookstores (I’m pretty sure there are only two or three), and there are only two chain bookstores. More often than not I find myself at Barnes and Noble so Starbucks it is. 

This is what I think I look like at the bookstore:

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This is what I actually look like:

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After I get my coffee, I mosey on over to my favorite section, YA/MG and stare at the book spines. I’ve talked about this before but I’ll say it again, I do judge books by their covers AND their spines. Everything from color, to font, to text type, influence whether or not I will even pick a book off the shelf and look at the cover. I NEVER EVER read the backs of books. It’s one of my shopping quirks. I understand that some of you will view this as superficial but honestly, this usually works out for me. Something about specific book spines call to me. If I like the cover, well that further persuades me to buy. There’s something about the combination of color, cover image, and text that just pops, and makes it really hard to put the book back on the shelf once you pick it up. My most recent incident of this was with Pivot Point. The cover is fantastic. It drags the reader in and makes you question what’s going on. It’s mysterious, has color patterns that accentuate the text. I LOVE IT. I had to buy it. A good book cover is something that you gaze at in wonder and can’t let go of, that you keep coming back to, and will never forget. After sifting through the spines, I pick up two or three and move on over to the other sections, and repeat the process.

E-books are tricky. Unless you know what you want, it’s so easy to get lost in cyberspace. Normally, I go on Amazon, click on teen and go from there. It’s not complicated and I’ve discovered writers on there that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Colee Firman, M. Leighton, Addison Moore, and Ali Cross. I’ve written reviews on almost all of these authors. If you like mermaids, check out the M. Leighton’s Madly series, if you like angels and demons, check out the Ali Cross’s Desolation series or Addison Moore’s Celestra series, if you like love stories check them all out!

If you would like to participate in this challenge there is no time limit. Head on over to April’s blog at Good Books and Good Wine and don’t forget to ping back. You can also link your post so that others can see it and you can feel free to check out other challenge posts.

Have fun blogging all, how do you shop for books?

-BB

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 4

Hello everyone and welcome back to the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge. I, once again, am slacking on getting posts out and I’m so disappointed in myself, which believe it or not is a good thing. I’ve found that the more upset I get with myself the harder I try to fix whatever is bothering me, hopefully from this point on posts will be more regular. Honestly, there’s been so much going on over here that in order to catch up on my TBReviewed posts I would have had to forfeit sleep for days. But back to the point… for day four of April’s 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge over at her blog Good Books and Good Wine, the prompt has to do with book flinging.


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There are often times when I’m reading that, for whatever reason, I get so emotionally involved that any little thing can set me off, and I have a book bashing temper tantrum much like a toddler. Books will be thrown into walls, stomped on, and flung across the room with abandon. Yes, this is book abuse, and yeah, I do feel the teensiest bit guilty.

My hand is feeling a little twitchy at this moment just thinking about those unlucky paperbacks.  AND NO NOT IN THE 50 SHADES WAY. I’m currently reading The Eternity Cure, this is my second attempt. Don’t get me wrong, I love Julie Kagawa-when she does faeries. But this vampire, zombie, angsty whine fest gets to me. Right now it’s borderline book flinging time only 50 pages in. However, this post is about the last book I flung across the room, I can’t remember the order but I have 2 very distinct memories of severe book tossing times.

First: Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall. 

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Never, in my 23 years of life have I ever wanted to torch a book and gleefully toast marshmallows over it like I wanted to with this book. Ever since Fahrenheit 451 book burning has quite literally been the subject of too many nightmares. Given the chance, I would stab, slash, tear out every single page of this book, then rip it into tiny little pieces, cover it in lighter fluid and torch this sucker, after flinging it around like confetti of course. When I think of the number one book on my YA hate list this is it. Usually, I shy away from book hatred, strong dislike, sure, disappointment, hell yes, hate, probably one in 1000. It’s been a while since I read Before I Fall but the ghost of my hatred still haunts me, even thinking about it brings on the rage. Why? Yes, I am aware that many a YA reader loves this book, yes, it may be the favorite book of many YA readers but the incessant whiny, my life sucks why did I have to make such stupid choices, poor me thing was just too much for me. I loathed every character and if I would have met them in real life…I have no words. I know this seems harsh, and yes, uncalled for maybe but something about the story, the writing style, everything just irks me to the point of violence.

Second: Addison Moore’s Celestra series*

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TOXIC Part One

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If you’re a fan of being teased, taunted, and tormented by sizzling romance, fiery sexual chemistry, and/or just steamy writing in general definitely check this out. I cannot count how many times I’ve complained about the endings in this series. EVERY SINGLE BOOK I’d get so mad at the constant cliff hangers. THANK THE WRITING GODS that Addison is a speedy writer because I probably would have had a total melt down. For those of you who haven’t made if far in the series or finished it SPOILER!!! The scene where Logan and Skyla got impaled by the spirit sword or whatever, with Gage watching on, and Skyla feeling so betrayed…I nearly died. I thought no, this can’t be how it ends, and even though Gage is my favorite character I wanted to murder him…slowly. I’ve been on hours long rants about these books and why Addison always leaves her readers hanging in the most infuriating ways. There was even a point when I thought I hated her for the sheer torture of waiting. Alas, that makes great writing. I endeavour to be just as crazy awesome one day. After the aforementioned scene I did throw my book. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series these are only e-books (although they will be printed sometime soon or so I’ve heard). Yes, indeed, I did throw my Kindle and thankfully it landed on the bed because hell would freeze over before I hurt my Kindle.

Both good and bad books sometimes warrant a toss in the air once in a while. These were my most recently flung books, what are yours?

Happy reading,

-BB

*Actually anything Addison Moore writes.