Today I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Trial By Dreams by Jolene Buchheit. If you’re a fan of YA urban fantasy, I highly recommend you check it out. Keep reading the post below for an excerpt of the book and my review of book 1 Trial By Charm.
Julia and Vander thought their trial was over. But Demeter has only just begun wreaking havoc on their lives.
Julia finally accepted that her boyfriend is the son of a Siren and her family isn’t as normal as she once thought. But when she accidentally unlocks a power she didn’t know she had, her world dissolves into chaos once more. Now she is forced to uncover the truth about who she truly is, in order to triumph over their most important quest yet.
For Vander, the stakes have been raised as he seeks what was taken from him, torn between his need to protect Julia from Demeter and his focus on their second trial. What starts as a twisted journey across Iowa dissolves into recurring dreams that foreshadow a dark fate should they fail to work together.
As the fear of failure builds and time ticks away, Julia and Vander must learn to trust their instincts – and one another – before their reality spins into a nightmare that rips them apart.
“I’m selfish, Julia. If anyone understands the power of the mind to convince you things are real when they aren’t, it’s me.”
Ominous clouds fill his eyes before he looks down at his hands. For the first time, it dawns on me how little he has used his charm on this mission. It makes me feel ashamed for giving him such a hard time for all of the charming he has done in the past.
“I never thought about how my ability could affect others, until you asked me about it. I was just doing whatever was easiest for me, and hoping my skills would help me survive. But now I realize it isn’t my charms that I need, it’s you. You are what keeps me focused, and honestly, you are the only one who has challenged me to become a better person.”
I’ve been challenging him? It seems like being a part of his life has brought me through such amazing journeys that I’ve had no choice but to grow.
He takes a shaky breath and continues, “You’re the light in the darkness of my life, giving me something to cling to. When you get anxious, it is like my beacon of light becomes a mere candle flickering in the breeze, threatening to go out. Because of my own need for brightness, I reach out to stoke it back into a roaring flame.” He nudges my shoulder and winks. “And, boy, how it makes me happy when you roar.”
Memories of all the smartass things I’ve said to him in the past week make the corner of my mouth turn up. He uses his next words to steal my breath.
“I’m desperate to protect and save you from your anxieties, because I need you to protect and save me.”
Maintaining eye contact becomes difficult when my vision gets blurry. The tears in my eyes are different than the usual ones that fall. They aren’t carrying any sadness, just comfort and joy, like a Christmas carol has come to life on my face. I try to swipe them away with the back of my hand, but Vander stops me.
“Tears are powerful things. Sometimes they heal, not exactly like my mom’s do, but they have the power to make you feel better. Other times they help you celebrate when your happiness can’t be contained. And for me, they offer even more support, because water multiplies my powers, but tears impact them exponentially more, especially if they aren’t sadness tears.”
After my hands fall back into my lap, he reaches in his back pocket and takes out the flat vial that once held his mother’s tear he used to heal my ankle. Uncapping it, he holds it under my eye and collects the moisture from one side and then the other. Even though I’m not thrilled about crying, I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything.
I clear my throat. “What power do you think my tears hold? I don’t even know how to use the power I know about.”
He replaces the cap and puts the vial back in his wallet. “If they are anything like the mighty hold you have on my heart, I believe they could heal the world of all its problems.”
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Trial By Charm by Jolene Buchheit
Series: The Charmed Trials Series #1
Published by Elephantine Publishing on 2016-04-20
Length: 236 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
Seventeen-year-old Julia Wright doesn’t understand her friends’ obsession with boys. She’s never even had a crush, and proudly maintains her composure no matter who is in her presence. In fact, the hotter a guy is to her friends, the more annoying he seems to Julia. When she is blackmailed into being the manager of the men’s swim team, she finds herself face to face with the worst of them all.
Team Captain Vander Thelxinoe is the typical self-assured jock, with a not-so-typical ability to change people’s minds at will. It’s a talent he uses often to get what he wants--only his charms don’t work on Julia. Now he’s anxious to figure out why, and the closer he tries to get, the more desperate she is to stay away–especially when he somehow awakens a side of her she never knew existed.
Their unexpected friendship puts Julia in the middle of a quest she doesn’t quite understand. As her familiar world begins to unravel around her, Julia must partner with the one person who knows how to push her buttons–and, in doing so, discovers the unbelievable truth about who she really is.
Can Julia and Vander survive the trial set before them, or will they succumb to a more terrifying fate?
Trial By Charm by Jolene Buchheit is an interesting read, to say the least, about Julia Wright, a high school senior who has zero interest in boys and doesn’t understand her friends obsession with them. She wants to have a fun senior year, one that resembles the movie Grease but when she’s caught breaking into the school’s pool, her coach blackmails her into becoming the male’s swim team’s manager much to her own chagrin. Vander Thelxinoe is the captain of the team, a jerk and the bane of Julia’s high school life. When Julia inadvertently learns that Vander has the ability to charm people’s minds AND that it doesn’t work on her, Vander introduces her to a world that she once thought was myth.
Combining contemporary teen angst with Greek mythology the author has created a fun book, full of snark and wit. I couldn’t help but snort a few times at the banter between Vander and Julia. The two are complete opposites which sometimes works really well for a romantic pairing. It’s a slow burn too instead of insta-love, even though it’s obvious from the reader standpoint they’ll wind up together.
The plot itself though was a little too predictable and all over the place. It was like the author wrote a contemporary novel, but decided it needed something else and wrote in the mythology scenes after. I mean seriously if you were on a quest, would your main concern be prior plans with friends?! I don’t know, I just didn’t buy that part of the book. Plus the blurb brings up the quest like it’s the main part of the book when in reality it isn’t. In fact it’s only the last 4 chapters of the book which left me a little confused. I did however enjoy the build up and suspense surrounded around Vander, what he was and how he could do what he could do. I liked learning the myths from him as he teaches Julia.
Overall the book was an ok read. I’m not a big fan of teen angst so I found the characters a little too immature, but I think it would appeal to the young adult crowd it’s written for. The reason it lost stars for me though was the language. I didn’t like the strong language or the constant talk about boys. I felt that it was a little much for a young adult book. But that’s just my opinion. Otherwise the story was good, the cliffhanger ending (while confusing) piqued my interest for book 2. If you enjoy Greek-inspired urban fantasy, I recommend you check it out.