The Violet Hour: November 6, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review – Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

ARC Paperback, 352 pages pages
Published November 1, 2011:
July 12th 2011
by HarperCollins Children’s Books
ISBN 0062009702

Source: Provided by publisher for an honest review


Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . .

What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?

Patrick Carman’s Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

When I first heard about DARK EDEN, I wanted it ASAP, in book form and on film. The premise of this story is just so fantastically creepy. There is also an iPhone app that made my wait for this book almost unbearable. Very well done and really generated a lot of anticipation for me as I waited for my copy to arrive.

On to the book itself: I loved it! I’ve always been intrigued by tales of people with extreme fears, disorders, phobias and what have you. Will Besting and the other patients of  Dr. Stevens had gone through countless therapy sessions to gain control over their phobias, but nothing was working. I can only imagine how horrible that must have felt, to have a psychiatrist tell you that they can’t do anything to help you. So when Will was given the proposition of going to Fort Eden, his reaction much like mine probably would have been: Heck no! There would be absolutely no chance of me agreeing to go anywhere with people I didn’t know to stay in some isolated ‘miracle facility’ to be cured. While Will finally agrees to go, he doesn’t do so without a fight.

As the story progresses, we learn about each characters’ personal phobia and the trigger of their fears. I connected on some level with just about all of them. I may not have the same fears they did, but each were realistic and terrible in their own way. The method of ‘curing’ them was CRAZY. I would be scared out of my mind!  

Patrick Carman certainly knows how to ratchet up the thriller factor. This story was extremely well written. There were times when I simply could not put the book down because the suspense was gripping me so tightly. I couldn’t read fast enough. I loved how Carman portrayed the events of what took place inside Fort Eden. I’m hoping that this story has more to it, and I will be checking out more of Patrick Carman’s work. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good suspense story. DARK EDEN delivers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review – EVANESCENCE by Alexandra Pelaez

Kindle edition
Published October 7, 2011
by Alexandra Pelaez

Source: Copy provided by author for an honest review

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Strand has never been afraid to help others. The fact that she uses her hacking skills to help abused women make new lives for themselves is proof enough of that. Even after being kidnapped and dumped into a filthy dark slum, she still can’t resist someone in need. But this time her world is turned upside down when the victim is revealed to be a gravely injured vampire by the name of Shadow. An outcast in vampire society, Shadow has endured unspeakable torment at the hands of the elites making him ruthless and suicidal.

In saving his life, Mercedes has made herself a target by thwarting the assassination attempt of an incredibly powerful, sadistic elite vampire. And Shadow has to protect her. His strict code of honor will demand nothing else. But from the very start, Mercedes is captivated by his dark, haunting beauty. And soon Shadow is unable to deny her purity and compassion are awakening emotions he once thought dead…

EVANESCENCE is the first from Alexandra Pelaez, a novella that I am really hoping to get more of! After she contacted me for a review, I was so stoked to start reading. The summary sounded great. We’ve all read books where our vampire lore is scoffed at by vampires, but in EVANESCENCE some of them are actually real. A shot of concentrated garlic can knock out a vamp for a period of time, or be fatal, depending on the dosage. I think this might be the first book I’ve read that took this approach and I really enjoyed it.
Mercedes was a great lead for this book. Mature, strong, selfless, and extremely intelligent. She used her computer skills to help women in need of a fresh start. I liked Mercedes, but at times her ‘goodness’ was a bit overwhelming. Generally it was other peoples’ praise of her that was a bit over the top, but I think it was just to help emphasize her pureness of heart and make her character stronger in the story. So no big deal there. She thought of others’ before her own well being, and that is really a great trait to have. It was on her way home from Womens’ Aid one night that her life started changing.
Enter Shadow. Dark, mad, degraded… He was the perfect example of a tortured soul. The way he had been treated his entire existence by the vampire elite was terrible. He wrestled with inner demons of wanting to escape such a life, but his honor would not release him to end it. The physical violence Shadow endured literally made me gasp. It was awful. Watching him come from a place of desolation to feeling and accepting love was a wonderful thing. He put up a good fight in admitting his feelings because he had long ago denied himself the ability to feel anything except despair. 
It was very interesting that Pelaez used the class system from India to describe the different levels in her vampire society. I love reading fresh ideas and learning something new, so this was another aspect in EVANESCENCE that I really enjoyed. You can tell that a lot of research went into the book. I must say that I would have liked for the chapters to be a bit longer simply because I wanted more. Pelaez had her characters solidly developed, so while the point of view changed with each chapter, it was evident who was speaking. A few times though, I would have rather witnessed the goings-on from Mercedes’ or Shadows’ perspective, and that may have helped make the connection to the characters a bit more immediate. 
I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read EVANESCENCE. With a cliffhanger like this one, you can BET I’m looking forward to reading more of Shadow and Mercedes’ story. After writing this review, I discovered that the sequel, THE MIRROR, is already available. I’m excited to see what adventures Pelaez has in store for all of us!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (22)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a great opportunity for bloggers t. o show what books they bought, received in the mail, or borrowed from the library/friend.

Last Sunday was my 27th birthday! I love my birthday. It’s a little ridiculous how much. Luckily, I have some AMAZING friends that helped me have such a wonderful day!

My friend Angeline sent me an Amazon giftcard, and it helped me acquire these goodies…

 The Death Cure – James Dashner
The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

Since I was spending some money (giftcard and my own), I also got a book I have wanted on my shelves since I reviewed it. SO excited!

Descended by Blood – Angeline Kace

AND (finally!) my hot pink Kindle lighted cover!
I have been dying for this since last year, and the price went down a little, so why not?

Reading Angel sent me an eBook I have been wanting forever!

Fateful – Claudia Gray

THANK YOU to every who sent me birthday wishes! The response on Twitter alone was overwhelming, and I smiled with every message =)

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