Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wistful YA/NA: OPEN WINDOW-Truth from the Shadows

Wistful YA/NA is my reoccurring spotlight, giving young adult literature center stage. Here's a duo of NA books I thought some of you might want to take a peek at.

I was thrilled when my next read-n-review author got in touch with me. She was amazingly sweet and appreciative. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I read the initial email, followed the links she'd given me to make sure she was legit, and then read her blurb and cover message. Initially, I wasn't impressed with the cover. For me, it was too blah ... It didn't speak to me. But that was before I read the story ... which totally blew me away. 

I'd like to thank the author for supplying me with an eCopy of each book in exchange for an unbiased review.
OPEN WINDOW: Truth from the Shadows Book I by Courtney Harvey
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Release Date: May 2011
Pages: 465
Format: eBook

Favorite Lines/Passage: My tangled feelings for Erik were not something I wanted to share. Erik was a wish on a birthday candle. If I told anyone, it may never have the chance of coming true. And then I would just look stupid for wishing it in the first place. 
     "You don't give yourself enough credit, Alex. But I am happy to hear you're making progress...for Alik, of course." She poked fun at me, but I didn't care. I couldn't stop thinking about the way Erik looked at me - like I mattered, where we shared a secret connection no one understood. It didn't matter that the connection was a dead boy, that this tiny spark was kindled by tragedy and loss. I just craved the time together. It was a selfish way of thinking, but I couldn't help myself. (page 302)

Description: From Courtney Harvey comes a debut novel about Alex Wells, who from afar appears as a typical high school senior, yet whose dreams invade her mind in a way that is anything but typical. Nighttime visits from long passed relatives are commonplace. Questioning her sanity, she struggles inside self-inflicted walls, hiding her secret from the world. As she reluctantly comes to terms with her ever-increasing psychic abilities, the latest dream of a young stranger’s violent suicide has Alex spinning out of control. While attempting to take charge of her life, she is compelled to uncover his story, forcing her to face her own fears and follow him on his journey to seek redemption. As her family and friends watch her spiral into a well of despair, she refuses to give up seeking out his truth, no matter the cost. It may only be the new boy in school who can lift her from the depths of self-destruction, but he too has a secret to hide.

OPEN WINDOWS: Shadows of Doubt 
Book II by Courtney Harvey

Release Date: July 2013
Format: eBook
Favorite Lines/Passage: 

Description: “Speaking to the dead had disabled my life for as long as I could remember, yet suddenly it was the very thing bringing me recognition amongst my new friends. Here, amidst the people who were learning what I could do, my place in the shadows was turning out to be a more of a spotlight.” 

Alex Wells thought she had accepted her role as a psychic medium until she faced one of her biggest challenges yet: college. She is thrust into campus life, meeting not only a new roommate, but hundreds of other people in the dorm around her, all of whom carry spirit energy fighting to attract her attention. While she has the comfort of her boyfriend Erik by her side, she still struggles to keep her ability under control and maintain life as a normal college student. 

When a dark energy invades, threatening to derail everything she’s worked for, Alex needs to decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth, and how much she is willing to give up. Because the real question is: how far will this energy go to tear apart everything she holds dear, and will she have the strength to stop it before it’s too late? 

"Open Window: Shadows of Doubt" is the highly anticipated sequel to "Open Window: Truth from the Shadows".

(For both books)

My Splats: Truth From The Shadows, Book I ~ Dark and sinister. A glimpse into the invisible pathway between life and the afterlife, and those gifted to be the voice for both. 

From the onset, it's obvious Alex is struggling. She's edgy and self-conscious, yet does her best to hide both. The nightmares that have plagued her are only getting worse, to the point of truly scaring her. And she's come to realize they are not just dreams. Someone has been visiting her - someone who no longer lives on the earthly plane but has passed on. The author does a nice job of complicating this fact by allowing Alex to recognize that she is a medium. Since she was a little girl voices have rattled in her head. But really, they were spirits trying to get through to her. Even deceased relatives have paid her visits. 

There are two big clinchers for this story's purposes: Alex's psychiatrist mother does not believe in physic abilities, which adds loads of teenage/parent tension. Although her younger sister knows of her gift and supports her, Alex struggles endlessly to hide it from her mother, showing some real character for a teen. (FYI - Her dad is involved, but mostly as referee.) The second is discovering that the spirit currently visiting her is linked to Erik, the new boy at school, and somehow Alex must figure out how to tell him without sounding totally insane. But darker forces infiltrate Alex's psychic space with each visit from this spirit. This adds a whole new realm of eerie and danger. 

Harvey takes the reader on a journey of growth for both parents and teenager, how to accept and believe in each other. Then there's the other family, the one Alex must help by sharing what her invisible visitor wants to tell them. And don't think just because this invisible visitor, Alik, is off the growth and development hook just because he's now dead. Nope. He still has tons of growing to do - mostly self-forgiveness for the sins he committed while alive.

This is really a story about personal identity, self-growth, and acceptance of our imperfections. Whether alive or dead, we all have them and must turn them into positive springs of growth and contribution. 

Book II ~ Harvey continues Alex's medium journey, following her to college where Alex is determined to live in a dorm and be normal. She wants to have a roommate, walk to classes, pig-out on pizza, and grow in her relationship with Erik who's attending the same college. But soon, it becomes apparent that living in a building stuffed with kids will be extremely tough to quite the voices trying to use her to speak. All people have past loved ones who've left this world, which - for Alex - leads to a lot of spirits vying for her attention. 

As she did in Book I, she slowly calms and learns to quite the spirits, taking on only a few and sharing their stories. But something is suddenly wrong with Erik. He's distant and uncharacteristically mean. Eventually, a connection is made between the dark energy/spirits that plagued her in Book I and college Erik. Alex knows she must move quickly or be in danger of losing Erik like he lost his brother Alik - the original spirit who got this entire story going in the first place. 

I definitely would recommend both books, especially for older teens, New Adult lovers, paranormal enthusiasts, and anyone intrigued by the life of a medium. It was truly interesting learning about all a medium goes through to live a normal life, yet give attention and justice to the other side. 

Read any medium stories before? 

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  1. These sound super creepy and awesome! And I love that they aren't contemporary NA, too. (Not a thing wrong with contemporary, I read 'em, but I love to see authors taking to different genres.)

  2. Good luck to Courtney and her books! I've read a few books with mediums. Givin Up The Ghost by Gwen Gardner was a really good one.

  3. I always enjoy ghost stories, and these sound like good ones! Dark energy is certainly something I wouldn't want messing w/me. =(

    1. It was really good, but not just because of the creepy. The author was very good at humanizing her MC and secondary characters. I think that's what really drew me in.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Right down my alley. Should I stack these on my Mount Everest of TBR? Eventually it's going to be raining books in my house, you know...or since they're mostly ebooks, maybe it will be shooting code, or defragmenting data or...or it's really late and my brain is frazzled. Hey, best time of the day to read, right? ;)

  5. Okay, I'm totally scared. I can't wait to read it! =D


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