Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Author Stop and YA book review: Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

**2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Young Adult Fiction Quarter Finalist**

Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 10, 2010)

Summary: Escaping from them had been difficult enough, now Laney needs to keep hidden. All she wanted was to be on her own. Laney is not like other girls... she has very special abilities that set her apart from others. How or why she came about these abilities is a mystery she has yet to unfold. Haunted by memories and flashbacks of the suffering she endured at the hands of her captors, she changes her appearance and hides out in a small town. Ignoring her own warnings, she begins a relationship with a local boy. The relationship turns dangerous when the boy begins developing similar abilities. This development does not fall under the radar of the men who are trying to recapture her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's new life falls apart when she meets a young intern that seems to have all the answers to her questions. The information sends her into a tail spin. Thoughts of going on the run once again are thwarted as those whom she was running from find her.

Our review: Laney is a sweet natured and kind teen girl on the run from some horrible guys. Unlike other girls her age, she doesn't worry about prom dates or what type of clothes to buy. Her main concern is to blend in and not be found. The small town of Marion, Virginia, may be the answer to her problems. Laney has some secret abilities, one of which made her susceptible to the machinations of a powerful bad guy who forced her to live with him. After she escapes, Laney plans to start over and she does as soon as she tells the first cute guy she meets, Austin, her name is Julie Miller. With a new name and place to live, Laney may have finally found the opportunity she has always wanted--to be a normal girl. Using her ability to heal, she seeks a volunteer position at the local hospital and is soon the talk of the patients. Her praises reach the ears of the top doctor, Dr. Elsworth. Laney/Julie at first doesn't want to divulge her secret but as she touches Elsworth's hand, she knows there's something different about him. Now she has to make sure her ability doesn't get further noticed or the nice, simple life she has begun to really enjoy living in this small town--and the time spent with her new love, Austin--may soon come crashing down around her.

Pescatore has crafted an intriguing and different paranormal novel with Human Blend. Laney is instantly likable and sympathetic. As her yearning for a normal life grows and her chance of actually attaining her wish are within her grasp, watching her grow and change was nice to watch. Her relationship with Austin was special and sweet. Some may argue the two fell for each other too quickly, but I believe love can be like that for some people, especially Laney. I also liked Dr. Elsworth and enjoyed reading the scenes he shared with Laney. The plot held some wonderful twists and turns, which is always a major plus in a paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi story. Anything which makes the story unique will resonate with readers and Laney's ability (and other secrets) helped make this story memorable. The dialogue was natural sounding and the descriptions vivid. The scenes where Laney helped others were emotional. I felt for this incredible young woman. I hope Pescatore has more stories with Laney, Austin and Elsworth to come for fans. This quick paced, entertaining YA novel will have readers asking for more. I certainly am.

Rating: I really liked it

Favorite excerpt: "Miss Miller, this is not an inquisition. The patients are singing your praises after one day on the job. I think Billy has gone through a whole box of crayons making pictures for you," the doctor said. "I don't think I've come across someone who is so suited to the work they are doing. You seem to have a, for lack of a better word, sense, of knowing how to make people feel better," he added. "I'm trying to figure out what makes you so special," he finished. Julie hated that word.

"I'm not special, Dr. Elsworth. I just like making people feel better," she said. "Isn't that why you do what you do?" she asked him.

The doctor smiled. "Yes, Miss Miller, it is," and said and stood, extending his hand. "Welcome aboard."

Julie smiled, and stood to shake his hand. The smile faded from her face the minute she made contact with his hand. How could this be? It's impossible. Julie pulled her hand back and stared incredulously at the doctor.

"What's wrong?" he asked her.

"I... I have to go," Julie said and turned for the door. She made it to the door, but was unable to open it. The doctor was holding it shut.""

Cover comment: The colors are cool and symbolic to the story. I'm not crazy about the font.

Book source: Purchased and then a review copy was sent to us from the author for our honest review.

Welcome Ms. Pescatore! We asked her how the idea for Human Blend came about. Here's her answer:

I came up with the idea for Human Blend with just the beginning. I had an image of a girl on the run from something. I wasn't sure what until I began to write it. As other characters came along, the story began to build. The main character told her back story in flashbacks. I really did let the characters dictate how the story would go. They had secrets that slowly revealed themselves so I found out as I wrote it. There was only one part that I did end up changing and that was when Julie revealed too much too soon. I had gotton a writers block after the scene was written and it took me stepping away for a few days before realizing that the scene needed to be changed. Once rewritten I was able to move on.

I really liked how the paranormal beings in the book were not your usual beings. As far as I know they have never been written about before. I am really enjoying writing the second one in the series that really gives you some insight into their world. The second book will be called Earth Blend and will be out late spring/early summer.

Thank you for reviewing my novel and I hope you all enjoyed it. On to the next.

About the author: A preschool teacher by day and a wife & mom by night. Although I love all of these titles, I can now add published author to the list of things I can consider myself. I was proud the day I got married, I was proud the day I gave birth to each of my boys, (now grown men) and I was proud when I got my certification to teach. My newest accomplishment in being a published author is my latest proud moment. Writing all my life for fun, family and friends, creating my own story and original characters has been a wonderful journey, one I hope is long lived. It is what I want the rest of my life to be about. 

Human Blend is the first of a trilogy of books in the romance/fantasy/science fiction genre. It is what I love to read and what I love to write. I hope you enjoy my labor of love. (from Goodreads).

Thanks to Ms. Pescatore. Human Blend is available at Amazon,

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