Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blind Sight (Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes) Excerpt

Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes by Ermisenda Alvarez

Blind Sight is an urban fantasy about a blind girl who suddenly develops the ability to draw. Told in two different novels, Ermisenda tells the story through the eyes of the blind girl's brother, Leocardo. He thinks Odette is having premonitions. The other volume written by Eliabeth, tells the story through the eyes of Odette's best friend Aniela, who thinks Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

This is the prologue to Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes.

Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes

by Ermisenda Alvarez

Something was wrong. Leocardo’s blind, sixteen-year-old sister Odette was drawing. She stood next to the fridge and scribbled feverishly on a piece of paper.

“Odette?” he walked over, certain his eyes deceived him. He quickened his pace when she didn’t respond. “Odette what are you doing?”

Something was wrong with her eyes; her pupils were huge, and they engulfed her usual chestnut color.

“Odette, stop.”

He tried to pull her arm, but like a cat that didn’t want to be picked up, she seemed to become instantly heavier. The pen continued to run across the page as her silence persisted. He frowned, growing angry.

“Odette!” She did not flinch.

He glanced down at the paper and realized her scribble was actually an image. Trees and mountains framed a large lake on the paper and Leocardo was frozen in confusion. How was she drawing? The pen fell onto the paper as Odette collapsed into Leocardo’s arms.
Twisting her around to face him, he demanded, “What were you doing? Answer me!”
Her limp body shook in his arms; her eyes closed and she was barely audible as if on the brink of passing out. “I don’t feel good,” she murmured weakly. Even though she was naturally petite and fragile, now she looked like she was about to shatter. “I want to sleep.”
The warm brown crept back into her unfocused eyes and her pupils normalized.
“Odette,” he started again, but her trembling became more violent so he stopped. “Okay.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to her room. As soon as she hit the sheets, the trembling stopped and almost as quickly, snoring followed.
Leocardo wanted to wake her up so he could question her, but he wasn't sure if she would have any answers. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had happened to her before. He stormed back to the kitchen, picked up the paper, and examined the drawing. The sun’s rays tore through the clouds, and Odette had even added glimmer to the lake’s rippled surface. Odette had been blind since birth; so how could she have drawn this so perfectly? If he hadn’t seen her doing it, he never would have believed it.
Leocardo slouched into the leather couch, still holding the paper. He felt a throbbing pain behind his eyes. Staring at the drawing, he tried to glean some divine understanding of what it meant or how she had done it. His black labrador, Cielo, had abandoned him to sit outside Odette’s bedroom. He was stunned; he knew he shouldn't have been angry with her, but he had been scared and confused.
An hour passed; he was no more enlightened. He looked up to find Odette standing in the open doorway to her room. He kept silent, but his gaze followed her. She seemed better, no longer moving with the mechanical gestures she had used when she was drawing. Cielo’s nails clicked on the hardwood floor as she followed Odette’s every move.
With disbelief, he watched as Odette began to prepare some sandwiches. “Odette,” he called softly, not wanting to startle her.
Leocardo hesitated; why was she acting like nothing happened? “What happened to you before?”
She shrugged, “I guess I had low blood sugar. It was just a headache.”
“What do you remember?” he pried. How could she not remember?
“I had a headache. I went to the fridge. I got dizzy for a second. You caught me.” She paused. “How’d you get from the couch to the fridge that fast?” she asked, as though he was the one who did something strange.
“What?” Irate, he marched over. “Don’t you remember drawing this?” He flapped the page so she could hear it rustle. “What are you trying to pull? This isn’t a game.” He was losing his already short patience. Something could be seriously wrong and she was being evasive.
Her brow pressed together and her lips thinned as she let out a frustrated huff. She spoke slowly, as if concerned he was losing his mind. “Leo…you know I can’t draw, much less see whatever it is you might be holding.”
“I know you can’t,” he said a little defensively. Why was she questioning him when she should be providing answers? “You got up and went to the fridge before you started to draw this. I’m not making this up. I have the drawing right here in my hand!” He restrained himself, shaking the paper again, as if hearing the sound made his story more believable.
Odette’s calm expression indicated that she was not amused.
“How can you not remember?” he asked angrily.
He sighed and dropped the drawing onto the floor. His fingers ran through his hair as he tried to make sense of everything without flying off the handle.
“I’m sorry,” Odette murmured, “but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s okay…sorry,” The moment was awkward and disjointed; he was unsure what to do. Odette went back to making the sandwich, and Leocardo returned to the sofa. He snatched the remote and flipped between channels until he settled on the news.
Tragedies flashed on the screen as Leocardo watched, desperate for a distraction. Something wasn’t adding up, cognitive dissonance, ironic that something he was learning in school was relevant to his life for a change. Maybe he imagined it all. Maybe the lack of sleep was getting to him and he had drawn it. Television bored him, but he didn’t know what else to do. The news changed topics, now featuring Alaska and its trading partners.
“Edaion,” Leocardo repeated one of the countries listed. A sudden and overwhelming desire to visit this island nation overtook him.
Odette came over and sat next to him, her unfocused eyes in the direction of the screen. Leocardo leaned forward as if being pulled into the screen. He was mesmerized. Slowly he felt his eyelids droop.
“Edaion,” Odette whispered. A silence fell over them and a supernatural film began to wrap around them. Invisible to all, it pressed down on them. Cocooned in this new state, he continued to stare in a trance at the screen. Unable to understand why, he had never wanted anything in his life as much as he wanted to travel to Edaion.
When he tried to stand, he felt an immense pressure upon his shoulders, face, and chest. He reached out to Odette, feeling as though he was falling through the sofa itself. Cielo whined and nuzzled his knee. His grip around Odette’s hand tightened. Suddenly the pressure snapped and he felt the painful sensation of being rammed from all sides, as if hit by a train.
In a dreamlike state, he stumbled forward with Odette sandwiched between him and Cielo. They were somewhere else, no longer in the cozy Barcelona apartment. The air was clean and chilly. A stranger’s arm brushed up against him as a group huddled together, all looking lost and confused. Half a dozen dogs circled and sniffed them. While trying to restore his equilibrium, he noticed the dogs wouldn’t leave Odette alone. They sniffed and licked her palms causing her to wipe them on his shirt. Someone asked him if he was okay, but he didn't answer. The speaker herded the group onto a bus, and as soon as he was seated, Leocardo’s head fell against the windowsill. Blackness engulfed his vision.
The bus lurched and Leocardo was propelled into the seat in front of him. His eyes flew open; his throat felt dry and his nose was pink from the cold. Someone held a colored version of Odette’s drawing before his eyes. It was blurry, and as he reached out, his fingers hit glass. With his sleeve, he wiped the window to see the drawing become clear. Something was wrong.
Why was it behind glass? Where was he? Why was he on a bus? His gaze darted back to Odette who had Cielo nuzzling her affectionately. Her eyes were closed. He woke her up with a shake of the shoulders.
“What is this?” Leocardo demanded as if she would know.
“What’s what? You’re the one who can see, remember?” Her voice was soft and timid. He realized she was just as confused. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close and then placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
His gaze returned to the window. It was still there. As the bus meandered through perilous mountains, he never lost sight of the lake. It was glistening, majestic and overwhelming in size, but it was not a drawing. This time he knew it was real. Something was terribly wrong.

This post is part of the Blind Sight Blog Tour. Blind Sight is an urban fantasy novel written in two volumes, each telling the story through a different character's perspective.
preview on Barnes and Noble preview on Amazon

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blind Sight (Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes) by Ermisenda Alvarez

Rating: 4 Stars

Title:  Blind Sight (Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes)

Author:   Ermisenda Alvarez

Publisher:  Ermilia LLC

Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy

Length:  173 Pages (For Leocardo's side only)


 A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island's "gift," her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette's drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Snatched out of their life in Spain, Leocardo and his blind sister Odette find themselves on an island with no recollection of the trip. After foiled attempts to escape, Odette’s strange behavior gets worse. Even after learning the island has bestowed magic upon them both, Leocardo faces the possibility his sister is having a mental break down. Just as he thinks he is settled in, job and romantic life stable, Odette disappears.

Read Aniela's side of the story in "Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson" by Eliabeth Hawthorne.

(Summary hijacked from Amazon)


 I've been reading this book off and on for the past couple of weeks, and sadly, I'm not finished with it yet. It's been off and on only because I was on vacation (at the beach!) and then catching up from work, otherwise I would be done with it by now. I'm going to write a review up to the point I've reached. It's not something I normally do, but since I agreed to be part of this blog tour, I wanted to get a review up ...even though the authors were fantastic about me going on vacation and said I could just post an excerpt. So, on to the review....

The format for this book is different and not something I've seen for a long time. Two books. Both titled the same. Each told from the perspective of a different character. Each written by a different author. I remember reading books as a kid where you would read one side, then flip it over and read the other side. While I haven't had a physical copy in my hands, this concept sort of reminds me of that. I was intrigued and excited about the whole idea! As a writer, I cannot imagine how incredibly difficult writing like this would be. You would have to know your writing partner very well to pull this off.

I let the authors choose which side to give me, and I received Leocardo's side. The other side is from Aniela's (aka Ana) perspective. You get lots of exposure to Ana throughout Leo's side and I can only imagine that the same is true for Ana's side. At this point, I can't speak as to whether or not they are stand alone reads, but why cheat yourself, anyway? It's also interesting that one perspective is from an outsider and the other is from a native.

I found the beginning slightly confusing. The story seemed to jump ahead a bit, without much explanation as to what happened. Some of it comes back later in flashbacks that Leo has. Some of it (so far) has not been explained at all. I understand that it's supposed to be because they don't remember it but it makes it confusing for the reader. If I'm this confused as a reader, how confused would the characters be? And, taking that into consideration, I can't believe how relatively calmly they take everything. Leo does freak out a bit, but not nearly as much as I think I would.

Leo seems to be a well fleshed out character. He is a devoted big brother to Odette and feels an overwhelming responsibility to her. I thought it was rather strange that they lived together at the beginning of the story, rather than Odette living with her parents. Especially considering that she is still in high school and blind. Leo was going to college at the time and I don't know many college guys that would want their blind little sister living with them unless their parents were gone.

I also really like Ana. Even though she is young, she knows who she is and seems to be fairly independent. She will do what she has to do to help Leo and get things done, regardless of the consequences. She is strong, but also vulnerable when it comes to Leo.

Odette, on the other hand, comes across more like a spoiled brat. We don't see a lot of the relationship between Odette and Leo, other than the fact that they live together, but she treats him horribly enough to make me question his devotion to her. Sometimes she seemed sweet and in the blink of an eye I would be wondering if she was bi-polar. I just didn't connect with her at all.

 So far, I'm really enjoying this book! I'm about 2/3 of the way through and anxious to see how it ends.  Right now I'm giving it four stars. If that changes when I'm completely finished with it, I will update the review. It's definitely something I would recommend anyone to check out, if only for the fun and unique quality to it. Once they start reading, I'm sure they'll be hooked.

This post is part of the Blind Sight Blog Tour. Blind Sight is an urban fantasy novel written in two volumes, each telling the story through a different character's perspective.
preview on Barnes 

and Noble preview on 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Goodbye 2012

I know I'm a few weeks late in finally getting around to posting this but I'm finally here. The year 2012 had it's highs and lows for me. With my immediate family, we had a good year. Or, more accurately, we didn't have a bad year. We're still working. We still own our house. We still have our cars. We are all still healthy. My son got his first job and his first car. My other son moved in with his girlfriend. We got a new puppy. So we had a better year than I'm sure a lot of people had. For me, personally, it was more of a low.

My low started more in the fall of 2011. My best friend, who had been diagnosed with stage 4 (terminal) colon cancer back in 2006, found out that the cancer had traveled again and gotten worse. She'd gotten the news before. It had already traveled from colon to liver to lungs. Now it had traveled to her stomach. She no longer qualified for most of the trials because of some pretty bad reactions she'd had to some of the drugs used in the past. But she was an amazing woman and was still determined to fight. So, after having some meltdown time, she carried on with the fight.

She received good news in the spring and everyone was hopeful. The cancer seemed to be shrinking! Yay! The doctors and nurses were amazed and said she was going to be their miracle patient. She was got to take some much needed time off from nearly non-stop treatments (aka chemo) and she was feeling great. Her daughter was graduating in May and her son was playing football in college...everything seemed to be falling in place for her. Everything she had wanted for her children was working out according to plan.

In May, at a graduation party, people noticed her unknowingly dumping her plate on the ground and brought it to her attention. She went to the doctor for another checkup and found out that the cancer had traveled, yet again, to her brain. She'd already had a trip to Mexico planned for several months, so she did a type of new surgery to try to remove the tumor and then went on her trip, as planned. She had a great time! She couldn't go scuba diving because she wasn't breathing well, but she got to swim with dolphins, celebrate with friends and family and just enjoy the tropics.

Less than a month after she returned, she was told that there was nothing else the doctors could do for her. All treatments were stopped and she was sent home on hospice. It was such a complete 180 from what everyone had expected that we were all in shock. Including her. Over the next three months, we all watched her decline. She kept her spirits up and was still determined to do as much as she could for herself, which could sometimes become a source of friction between her and her husband, who worried she would hurt herself. She cheered from her bedside for her son's college team, with her team flag and wearing her jersey. She lost motor function. Then she lost the ability to talk. She started having seizures. And she finally passed at the end of September, a week before her birthday.

It was so hard to believe that just three months prior, she'd been living it up in Mexico. She was one of the most vibrant, energetic, strong and funniest people I have ever known. And one of the kindest. She was loud. She enjoyed life more than most. She didn't care what people thought. I still cry, or laugh, (or both) every time I think of her. I cry typing this. I still get the urge to call her and share something that happened. Or tell her we need to go see a movie I just saw an ad for. Or we need to have dinner or lunch. I still miss her every day.

Then, in November, I got the news that my father was in the hospital again. Long story, but back in 2002 he'd been in a motorcycle accident that had caused him to have nearly 40 surgeries over the years. Him being in the hospital again wasn't shocking or cause for immediate alarm. Even being told that we should say our goodbyes wasn't anything new. We'd been told that probably a dozen times over the years and he always pulled through. We all thought he'd probably live forever just to spite everyone. But he got sent home on hospice as well. And passed away on December 7th.

Because of a complicated history with my father's wife (the stepmonster), my sister and I were disowned four years ago and no longer allowed to come see him. We didn't get to see say goodbye. We didn't get to visit him on his deathbed (although he didn't ask for us either, that we know of). We didn't get to attend his funeral. And he was buried on the property, so we won't be able to visit his grave either.

I have neglected this blog. I have neglected several books that I'd had sent to me for review. I have books that I've had for a year that I haven't reviewed. I'd like to extend my heartfelt apologies to any authors or editors that have requested reviews from me. I didn't stop reading. It was one of my few escapes over the past year, but to put my thoughts into any sort of coherent form proved nearly impossible.

Here's to hoping 2013 is a better year.