Realms of an Open Mind

Forbidden romances. Dystopian worlds. Unimaginable creatures. Dark nightmares. Beautiful dreams. All within the Realms of an Open Mind.


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I'm a Memoir... What are you?

You Are a Memoir
You're funny, but many people don't see your funny side. Your subtle dry humor leaves your close friends in stitches.
You have your own quirky ideas about the world. You see so much light and promise.

You have no patience for small talk or niceties. You want to have conversations of substance.
You are an amazing storyteller. You always have a new story to relate, and your friends love to listen to you.

Review: Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert

Ummm... So, in the face of all the rave reviews I've read about Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert... I'm going to be the honest bad guy and ask... What in the hell did I just read?


There is talent here, let me just say that first. The quotes and emotional thoughts you can take away from this book are countless, and the writing itself has the ability to touch your heart, but this is a novel. Not poetry.


I've never read a book that was so completely rushed and underdeveloped. And what really gets me fired up is that it has the potential to be MIND BLOWING! So much potential.. I can't even... *sigh*... 


I couldn't relate to the characters or the chemistry that they supposedly have. Their situation didn't affect me at all, even though it's supposed to be horrid and heart-breaking. There just wasn't enough development in order for me as a reader to connect to anything about this story. 


It was almost like I was skimming, except I wasn't. I read the book word for word, and I felt like I was only able to barely break through the surface. Like someone was telling me bits and pieces of a story and it was up to me to put it all together... 


Maybe I'm missing something because, like I said, rave five star reviews are running rampant about this book... 


But I just couldn't feel it....





Review: Black Box by Cassia Leo

Black Box - Cassia Leo

I bought Black Box on a whim. I saw a Facebook post that was raving about the emotional intensity of this book, and I just used my handy-dandy "One-Click" buy button via Amazon, and it was in my virtual library. Helps that it was only $0.99...

I really had no idea what Black Box was about. I was going for spontaneity by just diving into a book without any expectations... But I really didn't know what I was in for with this one...

I'll start with what I liked. The writing style. The author can write - you can hear the voices she portrays and it flows... It's just.... everything else I had a problem with.

Mikki goes through a horrific experience. I just... can't... It's awful, and I can empathize with the pain she feels. But she was suicidal way before this tragedy. She's bipolar, which is a major contributing factor to her desire to end her life, but there's one problem. I didn't sense any bipolar-ish qualities in her personality. She was depressed, definitely - but she had zero highs or lows that I could tell. This claim of being mentally ill was not reflected anywhere in her character development. It was just that: a claim. 

We get a glimpse of her first suicide note, before she was brutalized, and I really couldn't understand her reasoning. She wanted to kill herself because she didn't like Kim Kardashian or makeup? (I'm sorry, but who really likes Kim Kardashian?) Or because some immature highschoolers made up a rumor about her? It just didn't add up to me... Maybe I'm insensitive, but it just felt whiny and weak.. Honey, not everyone is interested in the same things, and bad shit happens to people, even when they don't deserve it. It's a part of life. Maybe if I was made to believe she really was bipolar, then I could empathize... Otherwise, it just sounded like a couple of really shallow reasons toend your life and leave your family. 

Other things that bother me about Mikki: 

1.) She keeps saying she wants to die (over and over and over), but she's worried about her sensitive skin.

2.) She still wants to die, but she's smiling and excited about a guy and what he's beginning to mean to her.

3.) She insists on watching Pretty in Pink, but still... you guessed it. She wants to die.

4.) She asks Crush to brush the tangles out of her hair because she can't get to them, but she doesn't care about her life.

The way I see it, if you don't care about your life, why would you care about your hair, sensitive skin, or watching any movie with Molly Ringwald?

This book is basically about suicide, through and through. Just about every single character has this overwhelming desire to end their own life. Far fetched? You betcha. 

I wouldn't joke about suicide - it's on the list as one of the most serious subject matters an author could write about. But giving every one of your characters suicidal tendencies? It just isn't believable. And, in all honesty, it makes it seem like suicide is a normal thought for people. Like it happens all the time to almost everyone, that it's easy to feel this way, and that takes away the weight it carries.

The one thing that saves Mikki is love. And just like everything else in this book, it's not believable. Enter the dreaded insta-love. Crush (wtf kind of name is that?) loves Mikki. He saves her, which saves him, and now he's head over heels in love with her. After twenty minutes. With zero conversation. I get being grateful, but love? Annnd the author takes away the importance of that emotion as well.... by making it seem easy. 

I did like Crush though, despite my inability to believe how he felt about Mikki. He was sensitive, patient, and had a good sense of humor. He doesn't push Mikki in any way, even when it comes to talking her off the ledge. 

But what is the point? Really? Because I don't get it. When I finished the last sentence, I couldn't believe that was it

I guess it's supposed to be about two people saving each other? But even in the end, Mikki doesn't believe they will grow old together. She still believes they will die young. WTF? - an expression which basically sums up the entirety of my feelings about this book....

I don't even know....



Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood is nothing like Victoria Scott's Dante Walker novels. It's more like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Amazing Race with a little bit of Pokemon thrown in. It's good - there's excitement, adrenaline, and a little bit of unexpected shock value, but even with all that, I'm having a hard time rating this novel, and here's why:

1.) The main character Tella. She really, really, really got on my nerves. Her good intentions were admirable, but any moment that I felt like "Hey, this girl is finally growing up...," she ruins it with her ridiculous obsession with fashion, makeup, and massages. You're in the jungle/desert fighting for your life. People around you are dying. Your brother - who is also dying - is counting on you. Who gives a flying crap about Nordstrom and Chanel makeup? Tella takes away from the seriousness of the situation by basically being a complete vain idiot.

2.) World-building - or lack thereof. There's nothing. Nothing. We are thrown into this story and BAM, there's a race, a love interest, a bad guy, and a screwed up authority. What time are we in? Why is the Brimstone Bleed still going on? 

3.) Character-development - or lack thereof. I could not relate to Tella. She was too all over the place, so you could never really figure out who she was. Was she a survivor? A dependent? A girly girl who only cares about makeup and what clothes she's wearing? I couldn't tell - and as soon as I thought she might be evolving, she'd regress back to being a spoiled little city girl. The other characters were pretty bland and cliche. Guy was the strong, silent type - except, instead of opening up sometimes, he pretty much says nothing at all until the end. Titus was the typical bad guy - except he was all bad. A good bad guy (if that makes sense) should have some kind of quality or past that you can empathize with. This guy was just totally evil, and it didn't make sense given the situation. Everyone is there to save someone they love, but this guy didn't seem like he could love anyone, much less want to save them.

4.) Writing style. I love Victoria Scott - I really do. But I felt like the writing style in Fire & Flood was immature compared to the gravity of the content. It clashed, and as a result, I couldn't take any of it seriously. 

On the other hand, there were some pretty awesome, adrenaline-inducing scenes. Twists and unexpected moments. My numbered list above would be enough to add a book to my DNF list, but I couldn't stop turning the pages, and that counts for something. The story is there. It's exciting and has the potential to be an emotional roller coaster. 

Key word: potential

Which is why I'll read the second novel. I'm really, really hoping that things shape up, and Tella grows the "F" up. 

I'll give Fire & Flood a hesitant three stars. It has it's issues, but like I said, I still didn't want to put it down. 


Odd combination of feelings about this book, but there you have it....


Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:
Reblogged from Carpe Librum:

Review: The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

The Edge of Always  - J.A. Redmerski
Five months ago, Camryn and Andrew, both dealing with personal hardships, met on a Greyhound bus. They fell in love and proved that when two people are meant to be together, fate will find a way to make it happen.

Now, in the highly anticipated sequel to The Edge of Never, Camryn and Andrew are pursuing their love for music and living life to the fullest as they always swore to do. But when tragedy befalls them, their relationship is put to the ultimate test. As Camryn tries to numb her pain, Andrew makes a bold decision: To get their life back on track, they'll set out on another cross-country road trip. Together they find excitement, passion, adventure-and challenges they never could have anticipated.

I think I've started writing this review ten times, only to delete, delete, and delete again. I really don't know how to start.... I fell in love with Camryn and Andrew, their relationship, their passion and spontaneity, and their fearlessness. The Edge of Never blew my mind, but I'm not sure I can say the same about its sequel. 
**There are minor spoilers in this review.
Camryn has a moment in The Edge of Always in which she decides she doesn't want to try to relive great times because it might ruin the initial memory. That's kind of how I feel right now. Like I wish I hadn't revisited Camryn and Andrew and had just held on to the memory of reading a truly amazing book.
“It’s like, you know, it doesn’t matter what you do, even if you try to replicate an experience down to every last detail, it’ll never be the way it was when it happened naturally the first time.”
That's not to say The Edge of Always wasn't worth my time; it just wasn't what I hoped for. I felt like it dragged on, and while the message the book gives is one I can admire and hope to aspire to, it seemed redundant. 
The tragedy to which the blurb is referring was indeed that, but it didn't feel like it could have been the main event that put their relationship at risk. It was obvious what was going to happen, and the way it played out made this twist fall flat. I was pretty annoyed with Camryn for how she acted, and while everyone handles grief differently, I felt like Andrew's feelings were totally ignored. 
In true Andrew fashion - where all his worries lie with Camryn - he decided to "fix" things on the road where everything began. 
“Because this is our life. We met on the road; we grew to know and to love each other on the road. It's where we were meant to be for however long, and it's what we're going to do until it becomes clear that we're meant to do something else.”

This is where I got excited, because it is what I loved so much about the first book. It reminds me of my husband and I and how we took a road trip from Texas to Maine where we settled down. Totally spontaneous, totally the most amazing thing we've ever done. Enter nostalgia again... 

We experience some more epic scenes with Camryn and Andrew, but like I said, a lot of it felt redundant. Some of it even irrelevant. There are some major time gaps in which we skip over months, even years, and it made everything feel rushed. Like the author just wanted to get it over with. 

One aspect that irked me was how Camryn and Andrew are always saying how they don't want to end up like "those people," meaning people who settle in one spot, work to pay bills, and raise a family in a single location. Yes we all have a choice, but when you have a child, it's not just about what you want to do anymore. Your life isn't over, but money is important if you want to keep the heat on and your baby fed. I'd love to just up and go on a whim when my little man got a little older, but not all of us have a six figure trust fund to fall back on... I guess it just seemed unrealistic and accusatory. (I have a separate post about this topic - Bookish Rants.)

All that being said, I still felt the electricity between Camryn and Andrew and J.A. Redmerski's writing style always gets me hooked, no matter what. I'll always remain a huge fan, but I'm kind of wishing that The Edge of Never was a standalone novel. The Edge of Always is still a great read - the emotion is very real and if you were hooked by the first novel, you won't be able to help yourself - just didn't live up to its predecessor. 

3/5 Stars.


Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:

Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom  - Tera Lynn Childs

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.




The cover. The synopsis. The raving reviews. All three came together and made Sweet Venom a book I had to read... and after reading...



I'm sorry, I just don't understand all the hype surrounding this book. I could barely get myself to finish it. A little after the halfway mark, I found myself skimming rather than immersing myself in the story. Not a good sign. But rather than go on an angry rant, let me bullet point it for you.



  • The writing felt stilted. What should have been witty came across as weird, and what should have been serious or potentially romantic came across as cheesy. Everything about it felt forced.


  • I get talking to yourself, but the consistency with which these characters speak, out loud, to themselves makes me wonder if there isn't something seriously wrong with them.


  • The so-called romance was... anything but. The whole insta-love/insta-crush thing is in overkill mode. A few things bugged me, but nothing as much as the fact that Grace was willing to lie about herself in order to win the affections of Milo. That, and the guys acted completely unlike any guy in the history of men. Who immediately holds their friend's little sister's hand? What guy keeps going after a girl who has made it absolutely clear that she's not interested?



Not any guy I've ever heard of. Just another aspect of this book that felt forced.


  • I love Greek mythology, but no one in their right mind believes it truly exists. So when Grace walks up to Greer (a sister she has never met) and tells her, straight up, that she's a descendent of Medusa, what do you think the response is going to be? That's right. A door slammed in the face. And Grace has the nerve to act surprised. Common sense is seriously lacking.




  • I couldn't stand Grace's character. It's one thing to have insecurities, but she takes it to a whole new level. The word "freak" got pretty redundant, and the fact that she constantly used it to describe herself (or how she thought others might describe her) was beyond annoying. 


I can appreciate how the author was trying to take a well-known Greek myth and make it her own. The concept was interesting, I just can't get on board with the way it was executed. 


I saw a lot of great reviews for this book, but, for me, it left a lot to be desired. 


1.5/5 Stars.