First Five Friday (1)

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Lately on all the blogs I follow I’ve seen meme after meme of blogish/bookish goodness but I haven’t found any that are quite me and that I feel like I can stick to weekly. So I’ve decided to tweak some of the premises I’ve seen in Friday posts to fit my own personal preferences and style.

What is First Five Friday?

First Five Friday is where I give you the first 5 lines of books I plan on reading and reviewing from the time of this posting until the following Friday. This is not only to share with you what’s coming up on the blog but also to piqué your interest in new books by the power of a few lines. When I start reading a book, the first lines are crucial to whether or not I stick with reading. As you read in my DNF piece, I generally read about 20% of a book before putting it aside and going back later. If I’m not sold at 20% it could be that I’m not in the right frame of mind or mood for the book and so I’ll give it another go later or if, after the second attempt, it will take residence on my DNF indefinitely. I strongly feel that some books are meant for certain points in your life and you may not be there yet but at the same time, the beauty of such a vast variety of books is that there’s something for everyone not that each book is for every individual. It’s hard to find universal appeal and that is why it’s important to read a few reviews to really get a rounded opinion of a book.

TBH: I read reviews after I’ve already read and reviewed. I find that afterwards, I can read less than stellar reviews and mull over whether or not I agree but I don’t want anything to destroy my initial reactions and also I don’t want to risk spoilers.

That being said, welcome to First Five Friday. I hope you enjoy and learn about new books. But really, what I want is to explore the majestic nature of the first few lines, how they make you feel and how they influence your scope or overall opinion of what the book will be. Next Friday, I will reflect on my first line feels and see if they were accurate. This is an experiment and adventure and I hope that you will join me, have fun, and rethink how you see first lines.

Had anyone told me that my entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, I would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat.

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Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Already you can see the personality of the main character in this strong voice. The introduction of a life-altering event is always a key part to keeping the attention of the reader. Plus, the hint at something terrible brewing as horrible as it is, captures attention and makes you want to know more.

***

Risking my life to steal an orange was a stupid thing to do, but today of all days, I didn’t care about the consequences. If I were lucky, the Shields would throw me to the ground and put a bullet in my brain. Dead at seventeen. It would be a relief. As I hurried through the crowded market, I touched the back of my neck and tried not to wince.

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Pawn by Aimée Carter

Dystopian? Why is she/he so depressed? What happened that day? What’s on his/her neck? 

***

The human cell is something to be admired. It adapts to survive in the most unusual circumstances. Splicing occurs when you mix animal cells with human cells, which results in what some scientists call a parahuman, a type of cryptid. A cryptid can be described as a paranormal being with some animal-like traits. This is the story of one of those creatures.

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Reveal by Brina Courtney

Whaaa??? What is this magical creature/cell technology? What animal is the character mixed with? This is a short sample of the premise and really showcases what the theme is. 

***

Captivating-that’s what he was. For nine years I’d been über fascinated with Adam Westcott; and this shit wasn’t going away anytime soon. Not because he had some bizarre talent I envied, or anything even remotely close. I was merely intrigued with him because he held a secret-my secret, to be exact. Adam wielded the power to bring me down, by divulging hidden parts of me only he’d seen, and yet he hadn’t.

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Wicked Fate by Tabatha Vargo

Nine years is a long time to hold on to a crush. The internal dialogue is real, it has great personality and I want to get to know this character.

***

Marie Toussaint moved as fast as her plump body would go down the street running between Iberville Projects and an expensive cemetery located outside the French Quarter of New Orleans. The early autumn night was chilly enough to make her shiver despite the gown she wore. Street lamps rendered the sidewalk well-lit while the graveyard and the side streets were shrouded in darkness. As a member of a culture that revered death and celebrated the transition of a person from flesh into a spirit, Marie normally felt comfortable-honored even-to be anywhere near the tombs of the deceased. Except when she came to the city.

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Cursed by Lizzy Ford*

New Orleans. That’s almost enough for me. Combine that with the darkness, the dead, and notion of a lifestyle that glorifies death. Count me in. Now is she a witch, a necromancer, a priestess? 

***

I had never kissed someone before. Yes, I had been kissed, but to make that last move-the final step before lips pressed against lips and warmth and wet blended together in an orchestra of emotions, need and magic-I had never done that before. I had never wanted it so much that I would fight against my own insecurities to do it. I had never been brave enough. **

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Soul of Flame by Rebecca Ethington

Ah. The magic of a joint first kiss and wonderful self discovery. This scene is magnetic. Who is worth the risk and why does she finally give in?

***

There was a demon in McDonald’s. And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs. Most days, I loved my after-school job. Tagging the soulless and the damned usually gave me a mad case of the warm fuzzies. I’d even given myself a quota out of boredom, but tonight was different. 

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White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Lynn Armentrout

This is fun. It’s quirky. It pulls you in with its weirdness and a demon liking Big Macs. Tell me more.

***

I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn’t budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he’s waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he’s waiting for me to gather my pride.

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Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

I don’t know what to make of this one. Seems like it could be a future love interest. What I do want to know is why he’s till holding on to her. The unknown is always a good way to draw a reader in. We need to KNOW.

This is a tentative schedule. But my goal is that by participating in this weekly meme that I’ll stick to my plans.

*Cursed is an ARC so it’s possible that the first 5 lines have been altered. Since the book releases next week, I thought I’d share to get you in mood for the release.

**I refrained from including line 5 in the Soul of Flame book because it’s spoiler-ish if you have not yet read the first 3 books in the series.

Please let me know what you like or dislike about this post and ways it could be improved. I love ideas. Be creative! Share your thoughts on the lines, speculate and mostly, get excited!

Happy reading,

-BB

Review: Dark Summer-Lizzy Ford

3.5/5 Stars

Dark Summer (The Witchling, #1)-Lizzy Ford

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“We feed on them, Decker. It sustains us. When one sins, we become thirsty and hungry, until we claim them. I gave this one a second chance and bore through the pain, because I wanted to believe in him. Until I take a soul, they can still help create Light. I’ve grown the Darkness too much on my own not to invest good will in those who might help balance what I’ve done.”

Plot: Summer has always known something was wrong with her. After years of being pawned off from one foster home to the next, Summer has a track record of accidents, incidents, and issues with other kids. Summer feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere and is destined to be alone. When Summer arrives at her new boarding school to meet a god-like, gorgeous boy with Native American heritage and beautiful turquoise eyes, she’s held transfixed. What’s more surprising is that he seems to know about her powers and hasn’t run off screaming or called her a freak, in fact, he’s been nothing but nice, if not flirty. His name is Beck and he has a twin brother named Decker. Summer is more disappointed, even though Beck thinks he knows about her catastrophic powers, it’s only a matter of time before she’s kicked out and placed in a new school. From the moment Summer steps on the grounds she’s in love. She feels the nature calling her home, the peaceful setting, and cozy house welcome her. She loves it at the boarding school and is shocked that the students are so nice. The boys all talk to her, the girls invite her into their circle. Summer finally starts to feel genuinely happy. Summer can’t seem to forget about Beck and Beck’s girlfriend Dawn is not at all pleased. As Summer struggles to fit in and figure out her magic, she’s been told she’s a Light witch, she only becomes more confused. She can’t figure out Beck and his dark horse of a twin brother Decker, though a bad boy has been nothing but compassionate and kind towards her. Plus, there’s a warm, heady connection that sparks like static electricity whenever he’s near. Summer learns about Light and Dark magic, how they balance the world, and how Masters or Mistresses of Light and Darkness monitor those who break the rules to keep the balance in check. As things slowly start to spiral out of control, Summer is forced to reevaluate her friends, to pick sides, to search her heart, and to choose between Light and Dark-an action that could cost her her soul.

***There are sexual situations within this book but nothing too graphic.

PROS: 

  • The balance of Light and Dark witches is nothing new but the idea of taking souls, of having magical rulers who monitor and fix the balance is unique. The transfer of powers, the immersion of years of knowledge of past witches is really fascinating and the substories of the previous Masters/Mistresses of Light or Dark were some of the most interesting in the book.
  • A really compelling aspect of Light and Dark is how closely related, how easy it is to slip from one side to the other, and how the grey areas are overlooked by the Masters/Mistresses. Decker’s story is heartbreaking, his pain, his sacrifice, his wonderful soul make him easy to fall in love with despite his darkness.
  • Decker and Summer have instantaneous chemistry. Their heated glances, the simple, perfect ways they interact with one another is as endearing as it is romantic.
  • Beck is a flirtatious golden boy, he’s charming, he’s sexy, he’s got everything going on and he flaunts it in a careless, fun manner. His lines are some of the most comical and really open your heart to the characters.
  • The Sams. Yetis guys. That’s right, Sasquatch. This is the most random, odd inclusion in the story but the Sams are beings that represent nature who help the Masters and Mistresses to balance by granting wisdom and instructions. The Sams are a weird bunch who value their duty to saving the world above everything else. Sam is the character you will have mixed feelings over but can’t help to be intrigued.

CONS:

  • Summer is a bit boring. She’s so innocent, so pure and kindhearted that she’s naïve and some moments are really worthy of a face palm. Summer wants to believe the best of people and so she gets manipulated and taken advantage of and can’t understand why. She’s really helpless because of her heart and it would have been nice to have more of a balance to showcase her strengths. For me, this was the most frustrating aspect of the story. Summer is too passive.
  • Dawn is the stereotypical, bitchy mean girl to the extreme. She’s not even the most popular girl in the school and yet she has so much power to harass and degrade Summer and Summer just takes it. Dawn has the perfect body, she’s blonde, she’s tall, she’s everything Summer is not and as an antagonist she’s really just a bully who uses her vindictive personality to exploit Summer’s weakness. Really, the other antagonist, Decker’s ex is a much better, stronger character. Dawn is pretty pathetic.
  • The story is slow at times and that is largely because Summer is aloof and off in her own world.

If you liked any of the following, you’d probably enjoy this:

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Of Witches and Warlocks-The Trouble with Spells

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Happy reading,

-BB