Review: Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson

Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy, #2)

Publisher:  AEC Stellar

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: Timely Death Trilogy, Book 2

Pages: 277 (Paperback)

Release Date: March 27, 2014

Rating: 071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png

Summary from Goodreads:

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

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coffee to goCoffee To Go: Let’s put it this way–I had an early class the next morning and I still couldn’t put it down. Thompson packs some crazy intense moments into the plot along with some really adorable ones. Minus some plot confusion, SBS was a genuinely enjoyable read.

Characters—

Jessica: If you know anything about Jessica in the last book, she’s completely different in this one. I feel like Jessica’s memory loss really adds depth to her character. It also makes her relationship with Eric stronger, in my opinion. To fall in love twice seems to me a very deep love. An improvement from Minutes Before Sunset is plot reliability where Jessica is concerned. There are a few scenes that had me on my toes in the most perfect way possible–Thompson uses a great mixture of foreshadowing and surprise to bring a lot of Jessica’s thoughts and scenes together.

Eric: He sounds so much more like a teenage boy in this book! In Minutes Before Sunset, I thought he sounded a little feminine, but I think we learn more about who Eric really is in SBS. Probably one of my favorite aspects of this entire novel is seeing Eric’s growth. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, but it’ll really bring a smile to your face. On top of that, his gallantry will make you swoon. Ugh. Yes. Gents take notes, please.

Robb & Zac: I think that the words “mysterious” and “ominous” apply to both of these guys. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be unsure of at least one of these guys’ character until the very end. Although these two aren’t always in the spotlight, their supporting roles are vital to the story. Thompson was brilliant with these two.

Crystal: She’s a great best friend. She probably wouldn’t be my best friend, but I really appreciate how steady of a character she is. Every novel needs a character that’s transparent and reliable in the midst of the story’s conflict, and she’s it.

Camille/Teresa: I felt that Camille (let’s stick with that name) was a pretty static character in Minutes Before Sunset, but Thompson reveals a lot about her in this book and I grew to really respect her. The reader will definitely get a glimpse into her complexities.

The World—

Thompson spends SBS focusing on setting the stage for the Timely Death finale as well as building each of her characters, both in depth and in intrigue. As far as “second books” go, she does a great job. SBS definitely does not fall into the dreaded “second book slump.” The reversed images/ideas of Light and Dark still play a large and interesting role in this book. For more info on the world in which SBS is set, check out my review of Minutes Before Sunset here.

The Themes—

I didn’t really nail down any specific themes, but I did see an emphasis on maturity and obedience to elders. Fate also stays very prevalent in this second novel.

Final Thoughts—

I liked it. I didn’t love it, but it was an enjoyable read. Firstly, I admire how accurate the titles are to each book. You’ll see why once you read it, but she does a great job choosing them. Thompson makes you care for her characters. That is pivotal on whether one will enjoy a story, and she’s successful here. My only real complaint is the plot fogginess towards the end. I felt like I knew what was happening, but it wasn’t actually happening. It was almost like I was in a dream-state during the structural climax. I’m hoping that the battle scenes and all that jazz with the prophecy become sharper in the finale book. Although honestly, I’m most excited to see more of Eric and Jessica!! They are climbing their way up on my list of fave book couples! 🙂

Memorable Quotes—

“I was in love with her, and she was in love with me, but our relationship–our identities–would kill us both if the Light figured out whom she was and used her against me.”

“The fantasized kiss was stolen time from the dreams…”

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

****I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. So I can honestly tell you that it’ll be worth it to go check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

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Cover Reveal: Here Lies Love

Guys, here goes my first post this month. The fact that it’s the end of January and I’m just now blogging is uuber depressing. That said, I am very excited about the cover reveal we have today! Check it out:

When she is sold by her father, Abbey discovers that nightmares can occur when you’re awake. Trapped inside a wooden cage, Abbey is forced to listen to the horrors and atrocities above; time ticking down until it is her turn. But Abbey isn’t prepared to become a victim; she will escape.

Although, what Abbey isn’t prepared for, is how harsh and unfair the world can be. With the sun turning its back on humanity long ago, life gives no opportunity. The only thing Abbey can do is learn to survive. To exist. And that means stealing any opportunity that comes her way. Haunted by the unpleasant memories bestowed upon her only nurtures Abbey’s paranoia, until she realises that to truly live in the world, she must confront the person who was responsible for her misfortune – her father.

Here Lies Love is a tale of actuality, of facing up to the fact that love comes in many guises. Can Abbey find the one glimmer of hope or will she be overcome with the darkness of revenge? Here Lies Love is coming April 2014.

Don’t tell me this synopsis doesn’t intrigue you. I can’t wait to actually read the book when it comes out in April! Too bad that’s a couple months away. For now, we will have to settle for judging a book by its cover. And its cover says “Read me!!”

Here Lies Love Promo Cover

Let’s analyze this for a sec. You’ve got a protagonist with really great hair, a stormy horizon, and lightning aiming straight for the lighthouse–sidenote: lighthouses are super cool. Lastly, take a minute to think about that thought-provoking question on the left of the cover. If you find that you’re interested in reading the book, tell me! I love hearing feedback about this stuff! The author is also hosting a contest for readers to name one of the male characters AND win a signed copy. Win-win-winning all day. Click here or on the cover itself if you’d like to enter the contest.

Dan lives in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (England) with his young daughter and his shabby dog, Skye.
 
He is the Author of the charity poetry book Life is all but a vast array of Colours and phobia Novella The Caseworker’s Memoirs. His first full length novel, A YA Fantasy entitled The Black Petal will be available soon. Also in 2014, a dark new adult novel entitled Here Lies Love will be released.
 
 
Dan Thompson Author PicA lover of YA and fantasy fiction, you can often find him writing on his blog, writing book reviews and connecting online with other writer-type people and interviewing authors. Dan grew up reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, secretly coming up with his own inventive adventures, and R.L Stine’s The Goosebump series, before turning to the works of Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer and Marcus Sedgwick and slipping away into alternate realities. He also loves a good Historical Thriller too.

Book Review: Requiem – Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Series: Delirium #3

Pages: 432

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Rating: 4/5

Summary from GoodReads:

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

__________

I AM A BASKET CASE OF EMOTION

As there are too many prominent characters within the Delirium series, I’ve decided to skip over my usual character analyses. Where do I start? I am sitting here at 1:30 am, completely unsure of how I feel about this book. I will say that this trilogy did not go out with a bang. Ninety percent of the book (from Lena’s perspective) consists of the resistance planning and attempting to stay alive while regulators and soldiers, who have teamed up with Scavengers, hunt them down mercilessly. I think that Oliver tried to cram a bunch of new characters into Requiem and couldn’t quite make me care about them. That said, the character development in Julian, Alex, and Lena is beautiful. I would say that Lena, who grows immensely in Pandemonium, solidifies her new self in this third book. The decisions and observations she makes while fighting jealousy and the toll of time within herself make me admire her so much. She’s real. She feels so deeply. Julian, oh Julian. He’s nearly perfect. The way he struggles—and succeeds—in proving himself to the group while having to work much harder than anyone, as he’s not used to the roughness of life in the Wilds…all without complaining…really touches my heart. Don’t throw up on me yet. What I mean is that he’s the light, the purity among all of the cynicism within the Wilds communities. Alex. Let’s just say that every time. Yes, every single time I read his name in the book, my heart skipped a few beats. I was completely in tune with Lena’s emotions. His character has done a 180 since Delirium, but who can blame him? While Julian is the “light,” I feel that Alex is the rock, for Lena at least. Lastly, let’s look at Hana. Oliver does an amazing job of getting the reader into the mind of a cured person and allows the reader to see all that’s happening in Portland, which increases the dramatic irony. I was completely surprised by Hana’s life and some of her secrets! In Requiem, she is far from the carefree teenage girl who helps Lena escape in Delirium. She has her own issues and ways of dealing with them.

If you’re looking for gushy romance and happiness and kissing scenes, don’t look here. All of that stuff takes a backseat to make room for Oliver’s deeper messages. Yes, Oliver does focus on relationships, but she focuses on their core, on what lies behind them. The Resistance takes center stage for much of the novel. I loved that, but I also hated it. I love the points that Oliver communicates to the reader, although the constant cycle of “run-plan-hide-get attacked” got old. I understand that this stuff is a daily part of the Wilds lifestyle but Oliver’s concentration upon it definitely overshadows other smaller aspects of Lena’s life. Moreover, there are certain places in the novel in which Lena blatantly speaks to the reader directly, which I thought was way less effective than building those points more into Lena’s thought process or plot line.

The World—

Love it! Oliver’s world in this series is so believable. She explains the purpose and reason behind the world’s constants so precisely and leaves no plot holes. Not once did I find myself asking, “Okay and how exactly did this happen?” The Wilds are cruel and unrelenting, exactly like the cities, yet completely opposite in every other way. The cities are filled with fear and need for order and conformity. Oliver describes everything from fallen trees, beautiful clearings, run down neighborhoods and slick labs.

The Themes—

Faith vs Sight

Fear of the unknown

Safety and Ignorance vs Freedom and Risk

Final Thoughts—

It’s worth the read. While it’s not action-packed, the emotions are RAW every step of the way. I’ve read reviews in which the reader thought Lena was whiny, but the fact that she overcomes her moments of selfishness and immaturity impresses me more than her simply not having to face them. These moments are what make her authentic as a character. I will tell you that Oliver does not spell out the ending of the novel. She leaves it open and solidifies just enough to get her point across. She leaves the reader with a ray of hope, the knowledge of what is to come. The ONE thing I absolutely hated was when, at one time, Oliver has Lena switch from her 1st person POV to speaking directly to the reader. I feel, honestly, like that route is taking the easy way out. Deep thematic elements impact the reader so much more when they come across as character realizations! If you already identify with the character, you also identify with their hopes, dreams, failures…and epiphanies. [End rant here]    

Memorable Quotes—

“He who jumps may fall, but he may also fly.”

“But maybe happiness isn’t in the choosing. Maybe it’s in the fiction, in the pretending: that wherever we have ended up is where we intended to be all along.”

“Who knows? Maybe they’re right. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it. But we have chosen a different road. And in the end that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose. We are even free to choose the wrong thing.”

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