Vanishing Act – Erica Kiefer

24822717Title: Vanishing Act
Author: Erica Kiefer
Series: Lingering Echos

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Published Date: May 26, 2015

Blurb: A fresh start at college is exactly what Kate needs to ease the burden of her family secrets. When she meets the confident and charming Aaron Jackson, she weaves a new history for herself to fit into his seemingly perfect life. But the past refuses to stay where it belongs, causing a rift between their contrasting worlds.

When Ben reappears in Kate’s life, she is only pulled deeper into the childhood that she’s tried to forget. Driven by the abuse and pain that still lingers within him, Ben seeks Kate’s help in making a change. But in this journey for retribution, lines blur between courage, justice, and revenge.

Bound by their shared and damaged youth, Kate is forced to choose sides, and fast. The final act is almost here, and time is running out.

Vanishing Act is a Lingering Echoes novel that can be read as part of the series or as a stand alone story. Fueled by the scars from an experience in foster care that no child should have to endure, Vanishing Act touches on serious issues that can continue to impact abuse victims well into their adult lives. Vanishing Act is an emotional drama with a sweet romance mixed in.

My Review:  I dabbled in what I was wanting to be a weekly post called Judging a Book by It’s Cover, but as those things go, I find myself forgetting to grab covers – thus missing the post.  Once a couple weeks went by, I didn’t keep trying.  Though I still like the idea.  Anyhow.  I did this cover back then, and later purchased the book.  I just got around to reading it, and let me tell you…I was wayyyy off!  🙂

What I Loved:  I so loved the message behind this story, and the good and bad sides of Foster Care, and the kids who are often in and out of it.  More and more focus needs to be placed on the innocent, and the system, because I know that there are just as many good Foster Parents as there are bad ones.  And I’m guessing that is the heart from which this story was birthed. This entire story arc was stellar and what kept me reading.

This book was filled with angst and reality of life.  I did like how the truth wasn’t really avoided – but told in a real, heartfelt way.

Ben is the character I actually latched on to the most, because you could just tell he was completely lost and alone, and I so badly didn’t want that for him at all, even though I spend almost the entire book wavering between how unhinged he was and understanding and even commiserating his misguided thoughts on how to fix things.

As an offshot of the major issues of this story, I loved the dynamic between Aaron, Nick and Josh.  Their friendship is what I always imagine guys in college should be – and what I long for for my kids when they reach that age.  Maybe not the hardships some of them faced, but the family away from family kind of feel.

Not So Much:  I wasn’t really into Kate and Aaron’s relationship in this book. I loved him as a friend and a support, and the first chapters even I loved the chemistry of them, but I felt their story was kind of was there because it could be rather than it was a part of the overall.  I enjoyed the learning between the two characters, but I guess I just wasn’t feeling the relationship as much.

The Verdict:  A great read for sure!  I do recommend picking it up.  The book is clean and very age appropriate at NA, even YA would be fine.

V is for Virgin – Kelly Oram

Title: V is for Virgin

Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: YA – Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/B00AJUVJN8

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

My Review:
Kelly Oram is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I am loving her YA stories so much. I recently re-read Cinder & Ella for the 3rd time since November, and once I was done I decided to pick up V is for Virgin.

What I Loved: Well, for starters I loved Val from the start! She was such a strong person with convictions that I could relate to. I had a somewhat similar experience to her, not in the standing on lunchroom tables sort of way, but I did have my best friend at the time basically indicate that I either hung out with her new group of friends, (and partook of the drugs and alcohol) or I didn’t. I didn’t and I wouldn’t all through Jr High and High School. I grew up with that stuff around me – I knew what the results could bring, I wanted nothing to do with it. So ….I just didn’t. I didn’t get ridiculed for it, but I did lose someone who was very important to me. Anyhow, I digress, I loved Val not only because she was strong, but because she was funny. She was quick witted, and passionate. All admirable qualities.

I loooooved the heat between Val and Kyle. I’m a little bit of a sucker for the ‘all up in your personal space’ kind of passion. I enjoy it in books almost as much as I enjoy it when my husband surprises me like that. And that is pretty much Kyle’s signature move.

I think the issue of being/feeling pressured to have sex as a teenager is tackled pretty well in this book. It is a BIG deal. And honestly, I hated how many of the characters were portrayed as whining that they weren’t ‘getting any’ because – why has this become such an everyday occurrence? What is wrong with this being special. And I mean really special? Not something that is expected of you with every passing boyfriend or girlfriend. I felt like both ends of the spectrum were laid out pretty well. I felt like my personal convictions were adequately portrayed as well as how others feel on the matter. A very fair assessment.

Not So Much: I didn’t realize when I picked this book up that it was a part of a series. (If two books can be considered a series.) The first book stands alone well enough, but no one is NOT going to want to pick up A is for Abstinence. But I really wanted it to be a stand alone. ::insert my own pouty face here::

The Verdict:        

Go buy Kelly Oram’s books! Clearly this particular book has sex talk in it…but it is a clean book. Good for teens.
(cross posted from http://www.iloves2read.blogspot.com)