Author: Cara Bertrand

+Book Review+ Lost in Thought {Book No. 1: Sententia series} by Cara Bertrand #YA #bookseries

Posted Monday, 29 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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Lost in Thought by Cara Bertrand
Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog
Official Author Websites:  Site | @carabertrand | GoodReads | SenteniaSeries Site
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SententiaSeries

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Second Thoughts” virtual book tour through JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. As this was the second novel in a book series, I was able to put in a request to receive the first novel Lost in Thought of which I received a complimentary copy of direct from the publisher Luminis Books without obligation to review. I received my complimentary copy of Second Thoughts direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am a bit of a quirky bookish soul on the level of being attracted to a particular style of paranormal stories which may or may not fit into the norm as far as industry standard selections on a per annum basis might include. I am particularly particular in my choices of both vocal styling of characters within the paranormal genre and the nature of how the undertone of these types of stories will befall. I am a reader who has a penchant for light being a fuelled undertone to novels, and thus, I am forever and a half seeking out the few paranormal stories out there that match my idealistic impression of the genre and the reality of what is being written. I nearly tucked tail out of the paranormal genre completely due to my previous interactions with other Adult Paranormal stories which tipped the scale in an unfavourable way.

I decided to forego seeking Adult Paranormal titles for blog tours and/or off-tour reviews and focus instead on the YA portion of the selections being published quite readily. Even then, I find myself not attracted to the heavier end of the spectrum but rather the intuitive side of YA Paranormal Fiction. I have always amassed a certain propensity for parapsychological story-lines (in both books & tv series/motion pictures), but my inclination of what I elect to read or to watch are a far cry outside the ones you’d expect I would have been drawn to read OR watch. Part of my participation in Horror October (by Oh! The Books) will carve out the dance I walk on the fringes of a supremely popular genre. 

What drew my eye immediately into this book series was the premise – as I have to admit I was the girl in the darkened front row of The Sixth Sense who had worked herself up into a bit of a panic frenzy of not being able to handle half of the film; until a kind-hearted young bloke next to me (of whom I never knew previously or had the chance to properly thank afterwards; he disappeared that quickly!) told me *exactly!* when to ‘watch’ and when to ‘duck your eyes’; he clearly had been a groupie of the film director’s having seen this particular release 10x within the first few days of it’s release! I, on the other hand was a causality of a last-minute duck & dive into the theater with my best friend and as ill planned as we were, the front seats were the very last available to be had. Aside from the wicked horror of seeing it too close to the screen, what I appreciated was the premise of the film (perhaps not the straight-up horror bits mind you!) as a thesis of a theory of what happens when people see the dead amongst us. It is a thematic I was attracted too most intrinsically as forementioned on my blog having a connection to a field close-to that of a medical examiner. (see review of Daughter of the Gods).

Death by nature is always presented either in the light of faith-based stories or the gruesome after effects of being newly deceased on medical examiner series and/or police procedurals or detective mysteries. It is quite rare to find offerings of where the dead are alongside the living in a way that is representative of who they are after they pass and in such a way as to honour the spirit of the person who had died. Hence why I positively love watching Ghost Whisperer via seasonal dvds I loan through ILL’ing at my local library. The curiosity was always perked to find stories and characters who walk amongst the dead and/or are in communication with the dead on a parallel plane of acknowledgement as I think it has a bevy of choice as to how to portray not only the characters speaking to the dead but how to illuminate the dead themselves. 

Now imagine my excitement on having discovered the Sententia series!

And, the blessing to read the series from Book 1 straight into Book 2!

+Book Review+ Lost in Thought {Book No. 1: Sententia series} by Cara Bertrand #YA #bookseriesLost in Thought : First Book of the Sententia

Lainey Young has a secret . . .

She's going crazy. Everyone thinks she has severe migraines from stress and exhaustion. What she really has are visions of how people died - or are going to die. When doctors insist she needs a new and stable environment to recover, Lainey's game to spend two years at a private New England boarding school. She doesn't really think it will cure her problem, and she's half right. There is no cure, but she's not actually crazy.

Almost everyone at Northbrook Academy has a secret too. Half the students and nearly all of the staff are members of the Sententia, a hidden society of the psychically gifted. A vision of another student's impending death confirms Lainey is one of them. When she's finally getting comfortable with her gift of divining deaths, and with Carter Penrose, a recent Academy graduate and resident school crush, they uncover her true Sententia heritage. Now Lainey has a real secret. 

Once it's spilled, she'll be forced to forget protecting secrets and start protecting herself.

Places to find the book:

Series: Sententia

Also in this series: Lost in Thought : First Book of the Sententia

on 25th April, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Author Biography: 

Cara Bertrand
Photo Credit: Vallarta Adventures

Cara Bertrand is a former middle school literacy teacher who now lives in the woods outside Boston with: one awesome husband, two large dogs, one small daughter, and lots of words. LOST IN THOUGHT is her first novel and was a finalist for the Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award.

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Teenagers are not naturally attracted to antiques?:

I was a bit surprised to read this sentiment being expressed in the opening bits of learning more of Lainey’s past, a smirk of a recognition seeing a bit of myself in Lainey, if truth be told. I fell in love with antiques as a young girl as I grew up in a home and family of whom appreciated unique pieces and aged eclectic finds. By thirteen I was attending auctions regularly and getting the feel for discerning what was worth bidding on and what was worth letting slide by. I always appreciated the subtle differences in glass, china, and dishware – not only for distinction of style but for the artistry of where the pieces originally came from. We even had a factory of sculpture straight out of Italy nearby from where I was attending high school, so you could say, I grew up not only surrounded by art, music, and cultural events but a proper sense of ageless curiosity about curios!

Wandering around emporiums of antiques in tucked away small townes is simply a day ‘out’ I can always drink in with a smile, a nod to the out-of-doors walking paths, and a happy spirit. I love the spontaneous conversations evolving around something I find my eye is drawn to learn a bit more about and how each antique shoppe has it’s very own unique way of putting everything on display. I love the photographs which are framed and hung on the wall as much as the shoeboxes stuffed to the gills with individual photos you can purchase in large batches or separately if you want to go for the ‘unfamiliar relations’ mosaic. The furniture of the 1800s is intermixed with pre-1950s and early 20th Century, and the moment of anticipation to check out the estate jewelry in the cases is always a bit of happenstance glowing excitement! Yet, it is the furniture and the kick knacks I personally adore the most (except for how my mind wanders about sorting through the ‘china’ room to percolate a personal style of ‘necessary  items’ in the dining room), as you can find such an array of hand-crafted artisan quality separates! One of my favourite finds are the pull down drawer desks and of course, an armoire that can fit and bemuse a woman’s wardrobe!

Hmm, yes, I do suppose being into antiques is not fashionably akin to being a teenager, but then who says you have to lead a conventional life!? I love Lainey’s spunk and her individualism!

My Review of Lost in Thought:

Realising you have a gift (especially a parapsychological gift) is innocuous enough, but to fully fathom how to encompass the truth of how far your gift can take you is quite another matter entirely! The paradoxical internal conflict at the jump-start of Lost in Thought set me inside the head of Lainey and etched out a time vortex to be wholly absent from my own living hours for the duration of her story to be told. There is something alluring about murder mysteries and to have orientated her revelation to know the dead through an act of murder was quite an ingenious hook for a potential reader to find on page 1! Of course, to be truthful, the reader would have to be a life-long appreciator ‘of murder mysteries’ such as myself to become rooted in their chair!

We quickly shift directly into Lainey’s life as she starts to end her gypsy life with her Aunt and takes up residence at a boarding school to finish out her tenure of high school. We start to watch her blossom by being able to have a bit of a routine rather than an unorthodox existence of following her Aunt Tessa around as she tours the country as a professional artist. It is whilst she is starting to settle into the Academy as a student we start to see her develop more as a person who is not only curious about what caused her headaches originally but if there was any truth to the origins therein. Her doctors always felt she was living too much out of sync with the normalcy other teens experienced during adolescence but she was never quite certain if her doctors understood her as they never had the fuller truth of what caused her the most duress. Lainey is a girl on the verge of understand who she is and why she was endowed with the gifts she has inside her, but there is always a pinch of foreshadow inside the story — alluring to a bit of a darker truth outside of the light.

I appreciated seeing the central core of the Sententia having roots in spirituality and watching how ethically they were attempting to do what was right whilst walking the fine line between interference with free will and observation. The internal core of the novel reminded me a bit of the Prime Directive from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek and seeing theology discussed inside the novel was an unexpected surprise as I personally appreciated of whom the credit was given for having given the gifts to the Sententia. Each world is built differently inside the Fantasy genre, but what drew me to appreciate the Sententia is how humanistic they were whilst they understood a higher plane of existence. They are a bit advanced at discovering natural bourne gifts and how to wield them; yet they are a bit of a mystery to the outside world at large. This brought together an interesting proposition to the story’s central threads as they (the Sententia) are a unique sub-culture of humanity living on the fringes of ordinary society.

Lainey’s best friend Amy (who is also her roommate at the Academy) reminds me so much of Kit from Pretty Woman because she has her energetic enthused way of celebrating her roomie’s life that made me flash to mind her persona each time Amy walks into view or is wrapped up in a conversation with Lainey; which points closer to how this novel read more adult to me than high school teen; a bit more college than secondary school at least. Lainey never had a grounding of a friendship with a peer before due to all her expeditions but what she was truly gaining was further insight into who she was as an individual and how she wanted to proceed forward into her future. She is at the age where being given a gift came with certain responsibilities and certain consequences and I appreciated seeing how she was trying to align the balance she wanted in her life. Balance between trusting those who knew more than she did about the Sententia and trusting her gut instincts about everything else.

The only thing I was truly disappointed about aside from the strong language is that the story took an unexpected turn from what I had originally felt it was being projected as going towards — as far as the dead and the living are concerned. This is a story that is about the dead but it isn’t about helping the dead as I first had perceived but rather a unique bent on another vein of thought that walks alongside the dead and a bit on the level of the theory of the Grim Reaper if truth be told. Yet that isn’t entirely what it is about either. It is a very interesting story-line threaded through parapsychological phenomena that doesn’t allow you to fully guess where this novel is taking you; even when you think you understand everything you need to know about Lainey and her friends. Bertrand weaves in a twist or two that you are not expecting nor do you fully understand as this first installment ends on the tip of a cliffhanger; but not one that is hard to swallow but rather one that is most foreboding in where we shall enter Lainey’s life in “Second Thoughts”; because the title of the series itself is a leading clue to what lies within. 

On the writing style of Cara Bertrand:

Bertrand excells at painting a story that feels real and is lush on descriptive narrative as much as sense of place for Lainey and the other students at the Academy; straight down to the local haunt of the bookshoppe. She has a knack for carving out a setting that feels as real as breathing and gives the YA genre a solid footing as far as how to paint the whole of the world whilst developing the characters inside it. The only flaw I found was the inclusion of a brass word early-on when Lainey met her roommate which not only felt out of step with the rest of the story but was a deep disappointment for me, as I was thinking I had finally found a writer who had curbed using strong language and left the genre to stand on the merit of the story and their characters without falling into the pattern of where modern YA is taking younger audiences.

I personally do not consider any novel YA or for an audience of Children if it is going to include strong language. I am going to start to talk more about this on my blog as I index my reviews, but what is disappointing to me is why there appears to be such a need to include the words at all? Despite my grievances for the language choices within this novel, I did appreciate the story as the words were flittered about like those flies I mentioned on previous reviews and not the total distractment they could have become. Evenso, I would not be recommending this to a teenager as the language for me puts this firmly in the Adult Lit category; similar to how I have felt each time I pick up a (supposed) YA title and find the same inside their pages.

I’m disappointed writers feel they have to add these words in order to find an audience because to me literature should stand as an example that improves our lives rather than detract from the causal way in which language has become outside literature and school. It is sad to me because when I find a wordsmith who breathes such a breath of positive narrative prose into her books, I am regrettably saddened to see words flicker onto the page that make me inwardly cringe. Their absence would not deflect from the message of the story but their absence would be applauded for carrying a story without abrasive words to narrow the audience the story could have had. I truly love the way in which Bertrand writes her stories, and the few intermittently brassier words do not reflect her writing as a whole.

Especially considering how much effort she put into having ‘cursing’ occurring ‘off-camera’ in some instances and/or finding unique phrases to ‘cover-up’ a stronger explicit phrase. I was a bit confused why more than half the book is writ with a young mind in consideration and the other half letting certain words erupt onto the page? It was quite confusing to me as like I said, she has a singularly strong strength in writing the voice of a teenager and in evoking what a teen’s mind, heart, and process of thought will entreat whilst dealing with a personal crisis and a revelation of identity. To say reading this story left me betwixt reactions is putting it mildly; especially considering when the coarse words started escalating in both frequency of appearance and the choice of which ones would be included.

Fly in the Ointment : is it me, or are there two versions of YA?

Is it me or has the book world gone upturnt crazy, lately!? Now, I have already established I purposely stopped reviewing Adult Paranormal novels for my blog with the express reason to avoid vulgarity in stories yet what curious little word did you think I found on page 18? It wasn’t the worst of the worst (of which I have absolutely positively no tolerance for at all) but it was still a word I wasn’t expecting to find in a novel branding itself as YA! I mean, isn’t the point of being a Young Adult novel to adhere to a certain ground rule of exclusion for explicit vulgarity and violence? Am I missing the boat OR is literature becoming so muddled these days it is growing harder to know which way is up? Sighs. And, here I was thinking this would be the one book series I would not be composing a Fly in the Ointment on!

I run searches on this topic every blue moon as I had tonight to check to see if my definition had miraculously changed since I first picked up Young Adult fiction as a young adult myself over a decade and a half ago! The results of which run the full gambit of if your not exclusively akin to reading vulgar words in literature you are either: too sensitive, too prudish, too religious, or too blind to see where society has taken our youth. I do not concur with any of the statements, because of the mere fact when I was in high school (and quite frankly elementary & middle too!) we had our own set of perimeters on language. If you heard foul words flying out of the mouth of a classmate you knew to give them a wide birth and they were never one to emulate. I admit to overhearing teens in my own towne sporting words out of their mouths which make me wonder what has changed since I graduated, but that aside, my main concern is the habit of finding there is no longer a ‘filter’ for Children’s Literature and the young minds of whom pick up the books.

I read a comment tonight from a concerned reader (who sounded a lot like me; open-minded but with a conscience) who lamented about how the ‘age’ of who regularly reads Young Adult novels are not teens but rather graduating elementary schoolers and run of the mill middle schoolers. The teens already graduating into adult fiction and/or pursuing interests outside of literature completely. As a future parent I am finding more angst in finding vulgarity in Young Adult fiction than as a reader who has appreciated YA fiction for most of her life. I never ran into any of this in the 1980s through mid-1990s which begs the question: what exactly has changed and why are certain words so rabid inside modern literature? As a book blogger — I never fathomed I’d have to find over 30 ways to Sunday to opine my discontempt for vulgarity in literature!

I’d never advocate for banning books but I do advocate for books to be marked with explicit content for language as a method of understanding what we will find inside and therefore start to curb our disillusioned disappointment. If they can mark books for science fiction & fantasy as much as lyrics in music, I am thinking it is time to start marking books with ‘strong language included’ and ‘explicit violence’ if the case might be as well.

What was more puzzling for me is the mission of the publisher (Luminis Books) is to curate books which are meaningful as they are thought-provoking, yet how can a novel be meaningful if the language is brought down by the commonality of cursing and using abrasive words where they could have been tempered and softly spoken by more creative means? I am not sure I am appreciating YA novels being overrun with language that parents and teachers alike are trying so very hard to discern them from using on a regular basis. Even on my own behalf in the not so far off future, I am not going to allow my children to talk with such reckless abandon; it was not how I was raised nor is it how I will be raising my children. Teens can feel anger and they can feel vehemently overwhelmed, as who didn’t feel that way as a teenager? The anguish and angst of growing up is always deeply wrought and felt, but we were always told to use our words and to express our emotions by choosing words which helped to douse the flames of the fires we felt surging inside us. To find better ways to express what we wanted to say and to own who we were without muddling our speaking voices with the words of sailors as the saying used to go.

I am not certain what has changed or why certain books are being found with such inclusions, but I personally will rally behind each writer of YA who doesn’t use language in a negative way but rather uses language to teach a more appropriate way to understand our world. The stories with stronger language I will advocate for adult readers only.

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Stay tuned!

Next I will be hosting an Author Q&A with Cara Bertrand:

Cara Bertrand
Photo Credit: Vallarta Adventures

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This blog tour stop is courtesy of:
JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

Luminis Books Blog Tour with JKS Communications

Discover what I am hosting next by visiting:

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and as CommentLuv only requires Email to leave a note for me I cannot wait to see what starts to populate below! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: The tour badge was provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Book Cover Art for “Lost in Thought” & “Second Thoughts”, Author Biography & Book Synopsis provided by the author Cara Bertrand and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 29 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Antiques, Art, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Children's Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Mental Health, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Realistic Fiction, Sculpture, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Transitioning into Private School, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction