Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book review: First Visions (Second Sight #1) by Heather Topham Wood

First Visions (Second Sight #1) by Heather Topham Wood
New Adult contemporary*Paperback & e-book, 230 pages
Published April 27th 2012 by Createspace

Two years ago, 21-year-old Kate Edwards became deathly ill and slipped into a coma. While unconscious, she crept into the mind of a missing boy and awoke with the knowledge of his location. Friends and family were skeptical and wary of her new ability to see into the minds of others. Their fears prompted Kate to keep her psychic powers a secret. Feeling alienated, she dropped out of college and spent most of her days holed up at her mother’s home. 

Now another child has been abducted. Police detective Jared Corbett seeks out Kate for her help in solving the case. Reluctantly, Kate agrees and they must work together to bring 8-year-old Cori Preston home to her family. Although attracted to one another, Jared has a girlfriend with ties to the abduction case and Kate is sarcastic and guarded since her coma. With visions she can’t control and an uncontrollable attraction to the detective, she wonders if she can leave the past behind and finally stop hiding from the world. Otherwise, Cori may be lost forever.

My interest meter always perks up when I hear about a book featuring psychics, especially ones who receive the gift after a near death experience or accident. Perhaps I can blame Stephen King since it was his book, The Dead Zone, and the subsequent movie, which started me on this path. First Visions has an intriguing premise. Kate falls into a coma when she's 19 and awakens with the gift of second sight. This 'gift' is something she keeps to herself, afraid of people judging her on her new-found ability. She was already labeled a 'freak' when she helped locate a missing boy. Fast forward two years later and the doorbell rings. Detective Jared Corbett asks for her assistance in locating a kidnapped girl. Fighting her growing feelings for the detective, Kate finally agrees, not knowing just how much danger her own life will be placed in.

At first I was taken back by Kate's snark and immaturity. Her near death experience seemed to have stunted her and she sounded like a younger teen than 19. Despite using sarcasm as her crutch--her coping mechanism since awakening with psychic abilities--Kate came across as too snarky and very immature for 19. Her behavior was more appropriate for a 15-16 year old. The media circus she endured after trying to help find a missing boy turned her into a recluse, hiding out at home with her mom, but she still held down a job and occasionally went out with her friend. It wasn't until two-thirds through when I came around to liking Kate. The whole Cori mystery was well executed and showcased a maturing Kate.

Kudos to the author for featuring a normal mother. Darlene is a strong, caring woman who shares a healthy relationship with her daughter. It is refreshing to see this dynamic--mother and daughter as friends. 

I wasn't a fan of Kate and Jared as a twosome in the beginning (I'm in the minority here with this comment). She was mad with her dad for being unfaithful to her own mother and yet she was messing around with Jared who had a girlfriend of three years (and who is closer in age to him). By the end, I did come around to accepting them as a couple since they shared some nice scenes together. I do wonder if Jared's attraction to Kate is purely physical but I will give him the benefit of the doubt since he is such a nice guy.

As a contemporary New Adult title, it also has elements of the paranormal, romance and mystery. Told in third person, First Visions is fast-paced, the dialogue for the most part sounds realistic, and I enjoyed the 'who-dun-it' mystery surrounding Cori. Kate's visions which she has while asleep made for some tense reading. Interesting and gripping, First Visions is a fun, well-rounded and entertaining read. I wonder what to expect from Kate and Jared in the next book. 

Rating: 3.5 Liked it

Favorite excerpt: "He didn’t say anything, but continued to stare at her. Even in her heels, he still stood several inches above her and she tried to look past him instead of gazing up into his face. As much as she could fool herself into thinking she could get over him in a short amount of time, glimpsing him in the flesh again confirmed that her emotions had not changed. It also convinced her of his previous sentiment that they could not be friends.

She grew uncomfortable as the silence stretched on and blurted, “You didn’t have to come
out here to tell me that. You could’ve just left a message or sent me a text.”

“I probably should go,” he said in response and looked away from her. The amount of stubble since the last time she saw him seemed to double on his chin. It looked sexy on him and she was envious at the thought of Nikki getting to feel it against her face as they kissed.

“Is something else wrong?” she prompted as her patience began to wear thin. Didn’t he know how painful it was for her to stand there with him and not fall apart?

“No, nothing,” he said and abruptly turned back to her. Looking her up and down he pronounced, “You look amazing.”

The compliment threw her off balance and she knew her face must have revealed her surprise. “Thanks,” she said primly.

When he didn’t say anything, she started, “I mean I’d invite you inside, but I’m pretty much
persona non-grata as it is with the whole news story thing. My family keeps looking at me as if any minute I’ll set up a table in the back of the room and start charging the guests tenners for a psychic reading.”

Kate grew more uneasy under his piercing stare and the heady silence. “I’ll probably be
missed if I stay out here for too long. So, I’ll just head back in…”

“Nikki and I are broken up,” he stated flatly without forewarning. His gray eyes probed her
and she wasn’t certain what he was searching for. It felt like he was testing her to gauge her
reaction to the confession.

“I’m sorry?” She said it as a question and shrugged her shoulders.

It seemed to take a strong effort for him to move his eyes away from her face and focus on
the ground between them. “It was mutual. We both realized it wasn’t working anymore and we haven’t been in sync for a long time.”

“Oh?” she said lightly although her heart began hammering in her chest. Folding her arms
against her chest, she was able to slow down the trembling that now racked her body.

Jared looked at her hopefully. “And I guess she knew…that something was happening….between you and me.”

“Something was happening? That’s news to me,” she said tersely."

Cover comment: This cover works for me. I like the way she holds the flower and leaves interpretation up to the reader.

Book source: Purchased and received a promotional e-book.

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