An Aurora YA Review: After I Wake by Emma Griffiths



Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

After I Wake coverAward-winning teen poet Carter Rogers has made a lot of bad choices in her life, one of which led to losing her hand to frostbite. After a failed suicide attempt, Carter wakes up and takes a hard look at the person she’s become. As her disappointment over her botched effort fades, she begins to accept herself and look forward. Righting past wrongs won’t be easy, but armed with the support of her mother and her friends, and with a new perspective on life, Carter sets out to fix her relationships with the people she cares about and the world of poetry.

This book definitely deals with some sensitive topics, and it’s always hard to toe the line between writing about a sensitive topic and making it realistic to the characters without simply using what happens for shock value. I think this book does that very well. I always felt like all the characters, and Carter in particular, were very real, and none of them seemed to simply be going through something for the sake of the book or so that their problems could be nothing more than a plot device. They all had a lot of depth, and that’s what make the book interesting and enjoyable for me to read.

The author of this book has a very interesting style, and even within the first few pages and certainly the first few chapters you can really tell that the book is written in a different and fresh style that you wouldn’t see in many other books. There were times when, if you weren’t paying close enough attention, because there were a few jumps as far as the time went, it could be a little bit confusing. There were definitely sections where after I got a paragraph or so in, I had to go back because I was a little confused, but over all it was nice to see a different writing style.

After I Wake by Emma Griffiths was definitely a book that I really enjoyed reading and one that I feel can definitely relate to the lives of a lot of teenagers, and LGBT teenagers especially, right now.

Bree Archer is the cover artist. I really like this cover, despite the fact that photo-based covers are not always my favorites. Because the cover of this book is so simplistic, it looks a lot nicer and less generic than some covers I’ve seen that include real photos. It’s also just a really beautiful cover, and I like it a lot. It’s also very fitting as far as the tone of the book goes, in my opinion.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink/DSP   –   All Romance (ARe)  –  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages, also in paperback
Published May 14th 2015 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 14th 2005)
original titleAfter I Wake
edition languageEnglish

An Aurora YA Review: Slaying Isidore’s Dragons by C. Kennedy

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

5 Best friends, 4 Vicious brothers, 3 STD tests, 2 Guys in love, 1 Car bombing & nowhere to runSlaying Isidore's Dragons cover

Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is ‘out’ to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.

5 Weeks of hell, 4 Attempts on their lives, 3 Law enforcement agencies, 2 Dead high school seniors, 1 Jealous friend & a love that won’t be denied

Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan’s love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster’s popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan’s mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.

5 New family members, 4 BFF’s, 3 Countries, 2 Extraordinary Psychologists, 1 Courageous Mother & a new beginning for two young men in love

I took me a chapter or so to really get into this book, but as soon as I did, I was absolutely hooked. I saw the title, and I saw the cover and I was pretty sure going in that I was going to love it. And I totally did. It was so wonderfully written, I loved the imagery, the characterization, everything. This is, for me, a must-read and a must-recommend. The only criticism that I could possibly come up with is that there were a few parts that were a little bit slow. But this is definitely not enough to bring the quality of the book down or make me enjoy it any less. As soon as I realized for even a second that it had slowed down, it was right back to a fast pace.
I think the author did a good job of using language for the teenage characters that teenagers actually use. There are times when I’m reading books that are aimed toward young adults and they’re really enjoyable, but I just laugh out loud at some of the things the authors have their teenage characters saying. I didn’t find myself questioning the slang terms or language used by teenagers in this book. It really seemed like a couple of friends talking, and I really loved that about it. Even not considering the language aspects, the characters all seemed very real and relateable to me as a teenager, which I love so much in young adult books.
Another thing about the book that I loved is just that Declan is so cool. Not to say that he’s without flaws or anything, but it’s so nice to read a book where I just feel like I would have so much fun hanging out with the main character. He’s really well written, he has a lot of depth, he’s very interesting as a character. And all of the characters are. But Declan, especially, seems like such a good and interesting person, beyond just being a great character. I feel like a lot of teenagers who are reading this book will empathize with him because in a lot of ways he and his friends are just normal teenagers with is really refreshing to read. Sometimes young adult books just write teenagers as small adults which they aren’t, exactly, and it’s nice to see a teenage character with depth and a personality without it being ignored that he is a teenager.
This book was really well written, really enjoyable from start to finish, and I loved reading it. I think teens will really relate to the characters and feel at home reading it. Personally, I loved it, it’s been one of my favorite books to review. If you have a chance, at least read the first two chapters and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to put this book down.
This cover by Reese Dante is so nice. It draws the eyes straight away with the orange in the foreground and then the blue background is really smooth and lovely. It’s very easy on the eyes and then as you look at it a little more there’s more details that you understand as you read through the book. If I saw this cover I would definitely pick it up in a book store.
Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press   –   All Romance (ARe)   –  Amazon   – /Buy It Here
Book Details:
ebook, 443 pages, also in paperback
Published April 9th 2015 by Harmony Ink Press (a DSP press)
original titleSlaying Isidore’s Dragons
edition languageEnglish
author’s website: C. Kennedy (read the 1st chapter here)