March 18, 2012

Review: The Waiting Booth and Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods 1 & 2)

The Waiting Booth
Author: Brinda Berry
Genre: YA/paranormal
Series: Whispering Woods: Book 1
Release Date:July 15, 2011
Review Source: Author
Format: ebook

Summary: A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal...

Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High—find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

Review:  The Waiting Booth is a great start to a new YA paranormal series. It has an interesting plot that hasn't been overdone in the genre before, which gives it a fresh voice. The characters are all intriguing, especially the main heroine Mia and her mysterious visitors Regulus and Arizona. A really cool aspect of this story deals with synesthesia, a medical condition where senses overlap. This gives the book a real edge with realistic but uncommon situations. The narrative is good and the book flows well and is easy to read. Berry blends common teen problems with paranormal twists - which keeps the readers on their toes. The ending is pretty open, which leaves the reader wanting answers in the next installment. I did think that the characters could be developed a little more, but I'm hoping that the writing style and characters will mature in the next book.


Whisper of Memory
Author: Brinda Berry
Genre: YA/paranormal
Series: Whispering Woods: Book 2
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Review Source: Author
Format: ebook

Summary:  Weapons training and winter formals...a deadly combination.

All Mia ever wanted was to fit in at Whispering Woods High. But being a portal-finder who dates a guy from another dimension sort of makes it hard. A month ago her brother disappeared, and agents from the IIA began policing people's movements through dimensions. She'd trusted Dr. Bleeker from the local university when he'd told her the IIA were the bad guys. But even a girl with an extraordinary ability to sense things can make mistakes.

Now two people are dead, and as a portal gatekeeper for the IIA, Mia needs to find Dr. Bleeker before he hurts anyone else. And her boyfriend Regulus, an Agent for the IIA, carries secrets of his own. Between learning about weaponry, finding the perfect dress for the winter formal, and catching bad guys, who has time to fit in?

Review: I read this book only a day or two after finishing The Waiting Booth, the first book in the Whispering Woods series. It was an easy and fun read - I finished it in one day. Although I liked the overall premise of the book and the series itself, I thought this one had only a mediocre storyline and predictable outcomes. The narrative and writing are well done, but there doesn't seem to be any evolution from the first book. The characters also seemed a bit flat - I didn't really get invested in any of their problems, except for Mia's relationship with Regulus - and you saw that coming. I'll most likely check out the next book in the series because they are fun reads, and the plot & characters have potential. I'm hoping the series will grow into itself by the next installment.

*I received free copies of the books in exchange for an honest review.

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