Genre: YA

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Review: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

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I received this book for free from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Undercurrent by Paul BlackwellUndercurrent by Paul Blackwell
Published by Doubleday Canada on July 23rd 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller, YA
Source: Random House of Canada
Buy on Amazon

In Undercurrent, Paul Blackwell’s fast-paced YA thriller, sixteen-year-old Callum Harris survives a plummet over a waterfall, but wakes to find himself in a life that’s totally different from the one he knew.

His parents were separated. Now they’re together. His brother Cole was a sports star. Now he’s paralyzed. And Callum, who used to be quiet and sort of unpopular, is suddenly a jock with two hot girls after him.

But there’s one difference that matters more than all the others combined: His former best friend wants Callum dead. And he isn’t the only one.

When I heard someone say this was reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect, which is one of my favorite movies ever, I jumped on the chance to read this book. It does have that neat butterfly effect factor, but I did find the book itself had no real… point. It’s for entertainment only! When I finished the book I was stunned at where it left off, especially when no sign of a sequel can be found. It wasn’t a cliffhanger per se, but it was a very odd ending that didn’t feel like much of a conclusion.

Alas, I’m getting ahead of myself. And probably giving the impression that I disliked the book which is not the case. Undercurrent is honestly a fun, entertaining book that never let my attention falter. The whole alternate life deal had me fascinated from the start. You’re always left wondering, questioning, pondering. Imagine waking up from an accident and your whole life has changed! Your friends are your enemies, your enemies are your friends, the friendly person you were is now known as a bully. I was captivated by this premise. I loved seeing Callum’s reaction to all the changes; he was fighting hard to mend the wrongs while refusing to believe his memory of everything was false. It was both sad and exciting to see him try to figure it all out. Some things were changed for what people would consider “the better” seeing as he was now a popular jock with everyone hanging at his every word (or threat), but a lot of other things, the things that matter, were definitely not better. The girl he loves doesn’t know him, his brother is paralyzed, and people hate him for the trouble maker he is. There is a reason why I love psychological thrillers and while this is more of a sci-fi thriller, you do find yourself wondering what if. What if you had made a different decision that one time? How much would be different if you hadn’t…? These are just things I personally get so curious and intrigued about, so I had a fun time with this book.

With such a neat premise, though, I wish it would have been more intricate in a lot of ways. The main character, even though he was well developed enough, was a little slow to figure things out at times. I had guessed almost right away who the guy in the Crocodile’s jacket was. I was also hoping for much more progress as far as the plot itself. The whole book consists of Callum figuring out why everything is so different. We don’t learn much about the actual “science” or world building behind it – what’s so special about the Crystal Falls to make it tear realities? How do others (like the teacher) know about the alternate existence? I mean, we all kind of wonder but we don’t see people jump off cliffs to test the theory off of hope. And what did he throw off of that waterfall with a light? A machine to send a message to another reality, yeah, but what is it? O_o Why was Cal brought to this particular reality (and there was only mention of that 1 other reality)? If you’re going to introduce alternate realities based on the butterfly effect then there has to be countless realities for every single decision made in a life, no? Then when all is said and done we never do learn any details on what happened in Cal’s old reality, nor what’s going to happen to him and his other self, now? And why was the whole bit about Neil even included? SO MANY QUESTIONS!! Basically, this plot was done for those who like the idea but don’t want to really think about it much. I’m not one of those readers.

Undercurrent offers an intriguing but simple view into the world of alternate realities. It’s always fun to see how different things would be with only one changed decision. I wish the book would have been more fleshed out, but it was an entertaining read, nonetheless.

Edit: The author did tell me there was a sequel in the works that’s waiting on the green light. So that does help lessen some of my dissatisfaction regarding the unanswered questions. Yay!


3 Hot Espressos

Review + Giveaway: Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Review + Giveaway: Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Posted by on 06/29/2013 • 13 Comments

*Spoiler free for the series*

After enjoying Confessions of an Angry Girl more than I expected to, I’m happy to report that this is a strong sequel with impressive character growth. I may even have enjoyed it more than the first.

What surprised me in the first book was the amount of depth there was to the story. You think it will be this whiny drama-filled book, but while there is definite drama, everything feels so realistic and raw. The protagonist, Rose, does come off as someone very confused at first, especially in the first book. She’s mean to herself and lacks self confidence, in this sequel, however, her character comes out of her shell and she finds where she truly belongs; where she wants to belong. I loved this…

Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Posted by on 06/27/2013 • 34 Comments

A fun and creepy thriller, Truly, Madly, Deadly is a perfectly entertaining read. It does take some suspension of disbelief in certain aspects of the story, but I can see it being a hit by fans of the genre nonetheless.

Sawyer’s boyfriend’s death was only the beginning, it seems. Since the accident, Sawyer seems to have taken on a stalker who’s set on framing her for all the accidents-ruled-murders that have been happening in her town. Aside from the aforementioned, we also have the topics of bullying and abusive relationship that Sawyer has to learn to fight through. What I liked the most about Sawyer’s character was her voice; how she dealt with what was happening felt very real and emotionally gripping. The flashbacks to her past had my heart…

Review: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Posted by on 06/21/2013 • 31 Comments

Whoa! This book has to be one of the strangest reads I’ve come across. I can see how its eccentric nature will not be for everyone, but for me the beautiful, often disturbing, writing style captivated me and never let go. It’s not the type of story that just anyone could pull off, the author definitely did some thinking outside the box for this one, and Quinn has my two thumbs up.

Calling this book Another Little Piece is quite fitting, as it felt like with every turn of a page, another piece of this mind-boggling puzzle was put in place – or at least moved a tiny bit closer. And this review is especially hard, because in almost every piece lies a spoiler. The first of these spoilers comes…

Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Posted by on 06/17/2013 • 39 Comments

A stronger first half than the second, but overall this is a highly entertaining post apocalyptic book! I mean: zombie aliens! The world in In the After has just been attacked by an alien species who are terrifyingly similar to zombies. These creatures eat humans, they’re dumb, and they’re relentless (they keep trying to get at you no matter how painful it may be to them). It is a tad reminiscent of The 5th Wave, although that book philosophizes more on what it means to be human and the consequences of such an event on humanity as a whole, whereas In the After concentrates on the main characters’ direct survival story. It’s fascinating to see the adaptive capacity of human beings. This book is Amy and Baby’s story, and a…

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Posted by on 06/14/2013 • 34 Comments

Magicians, mediums, old school theatre entertainment, and a historical New York setting; I absolutely loved the atmosphere in every aspect of this novel!

Anna Van Housen-the opening act of her mother’s magic show-is the real deal: she’s a medium, she has visions of the future, and she can feel others’ emotions. Plus, she’s rumored to be Houdini’s illegitimate daughter. With a premise like that, how can I not be intrigued? Plus, just look at this amazing cover! I was excited to finally sink my teeth into this one and it was definitely worth it. Not only is our protagonist a wonderfully compelling character with a great personality, the book is set in 1920’s New York City which is utterly fantastic in and of itself. I’ve always loved a New York…

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by on 06/11/2013 • 31 Comments

Siege and Storm continues the enchanting story of Alina, Mal, and the Darkling, in their world full of danger and secrets. Starting with a bang, we’re reacquainted with Alina and Mal trapped in a less than stellar situation on the Darkling’s ship. This is sure to immediately captivate any fan of the series, pulling us again in this magic-filled story of the Sun Summoner. It didn’t take long until the characters carved their way into my heart again. I wasn’t as impressed with this sequel as I was with Shadow and Bone, but the characters are still as charming as ever, and the world building is simply fantastic.

In an action packed beginning, we meet a new mysterious character that becomes quite a big part of this sequel. However, I…

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Posted by on 06/10/2013 • 31 Comments

“He’s cursed. He’s human flesh worn by a demon.”

A fantastically atmospheric Gothic novel, Ashes on the Waves is based on an eerie Edgar Allan Poe poem – which is really all you need to know, right?

In a way, this novel reminded me a little of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. It’s set on a secluded island where people live in the old ways without much as far as laws and structure goes. There is also paranormal presence that makes the island unique, and a little chilling. Like in Teeth, you will need to go into this with an open mind as the novel is not considered a paranormal, but a Gothic story. Meaning the paranormal aspects are not examined in detail as far as their history or…