Reality by Dani Hart
The Life of Arie Series #1
Release Date: September 23, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: I received an ecopy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 Worms
I am Arie Belle and up until my mother’s unexpected and mysterious death my life had been pretty simple, but then things became dark and, at times, hopeless. Even my uncanny ability to communicate with nature had turned its back on me. My only saving grace is my lifetime friendship with the boy next door, River, whom I had always thought of as my soul mate up until my eighteenth birthday when everything seemed to change. My body tingles with heightened sensations and my emotions veer out of control. They are further tested when Ashe, a beautiful stranger with a powerful draw, enters my life and challenges my heart and soul. Amidst the rush of feelings after years of numbness, my true destiny slowly unravels and my journey to find out what I am, to find my mother’s killer, and stop my own death becomes a frantic rush before the next full moon.
This powerful story encaptures the true meaning of love and the dark corners of life that can either suck you in or save you.
Reality is the first in a series and the premise for this series is unique. I enjoyed the story and will continue the series. However, I was left feeling a little dissatisfied. I really liked the idea of Reality but by the end of the story, I had just as many questions as I had at the beginning.
Arie, our heroine, is still mourning the loss of her mom when we meet her. She had a gloriously simple life - loving mother, loyal best friend/boyfriend, and a special affinity with nature - up until her 16th birthday. That's the day she lost her mom. And she still hasn't recovered. She's now approaching her 18th birthday, and weird things are starting to occur. As the story continues, it becomes clear that Arie is not your average girl.
That's really the only thing that becomes clear. Arie is made aware of her TWO very different realities. The one in the human world, where River has always been by her side, she has her mom's bookstore to run, and he house filled with all the memories of her life with her mom. And the one she once inhabited, where her dad lives, and where is is expected to ascend and save so many people. Dealing with this new knowledge of her life is difficult for Arie. Particularly as her emotions, which were already heightened, become increasingly so as the full moon approaches. She also must figure out how to deal with her feelings for River and Ashe.
The supporting cast of characters include River, who loves Aris and would do anything for her, Starling, who befriended Aries after Arie's mom died, Tevon, Arie's dad, Amary, a little girl uniquely intertwined in Arie's life, and the mysterious Ashe, who makes Arie feel more alive than she ever has. All these characters add to Arie's story, but I do hope to become better acquainted with them as the series continues. I also was intrigued with the butterflies that area a constant in Arie's life. The meaning behind their presence was interesting.
Overall, I liked Reality. As I said, the story is a unique concept. I found it and the characters fascinating. But I am frustrated by the fact that after finishing the novel, it's still unclear exactly what's going on. I'm still not sure I understand exactly what Arie is or how her ascension will save others. Her affinity with nature wasn't fully explained. Of course, that means I'll be reading the next installment hoping to find the answers.
“I saw River staring at me as I watched the butterflies. I turned to him and got caught within the depths of his eyes. His stare bore deep into my soul. We sat like that for what seemed an eternity. My body burned from the inside out. My heart raced. My mind was anticipating what my body wanted. I couldn't think. All I could do was stare into his eyes, begging for him to feel the same way. The butterflies continued to circle around us, but they seemed to be fluttering faster as if they were anticipating the moment too. Right at the moment I thought my body was going to explode if something didn't happen, he took his hand and grazed the side of my face. His touch sent electric shocks through my cheek and down my body. His hand followed my jaw line and his thumb outlined my lips on its way to my neck. He gripped the back of my neck gently and leaned into me as he pulled my face toward his. He paused and looked into my eyes as if waiting for me to say no. I didn't think I could wait any longer for this moment to happen. My heart was pounding so hard I felt like I could barely breathe. The eternal pause ended and his lips brushed mine. I thought I was going to pass out as I inhaled him. How could one moment be so intense! He brushed his lips against mine for a few moments as if, again, waiting for me to protest. I couldn't handle it anymore. I pressed my lips against his and he responded back. I felt like that kissed lasted for hours. It was so soft and slow and perfect.”
My passion for writing started at a very young age. It started with a multitude of diaries as soon as I could write well, then poetry, then short stories. I received my BA at USC in Theatre with an unofficial minor in writing. While at USC I wrote my first screenplay and post-graduation I was hired to write another screenplay, which I did successfully. I have since started several books, but have never had the courage or time to finish them. I missed it, but I was discouraged from my years in the industry and I was scared to go back, so I had convinced myself I was too busy and it would be a waste of time. Then I started reading again which reignited my passion for writing. I started writing a story that had been brewing inside of me over the years. The characters were slowly developing and itching to break out onto paper, so in the summer of 2011 I wrote the first two chapters. Life got busy again and my passion was pushed aside, but then I met an amazing person who loved my story and encouraged me to start writing again. With that said, I am in a happier place now. I am fulfilling my inner desire and passion to write while raising a family and living life. Thank you so much for your support! And I hope to keep the stories coming!!!