Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway: Element Part 2 by CM Doporto @cm_doporto
I’m so bad… I promised I’d get this post up for the author on the twelfth. I just finished the book… at nearly five a.m. Aren’t I bad?
To, start, I’m not big on what I call “lah” moments. You know, the moments in movies where a couple are so sickeningly sweet, ooey gooey in love, and they’re all, “I love you,” and, “No, I love you more,” and everyone else in the room wants to gag. Okay, maybe that’s my perception, but that’s pretty much how this book starts, picking up where the first book left off. Just… not my thing.
This is also the glue of the first half of the book too, so it was a little slow for me until it really got into the meat of things… because I’m a meat and potatoes kind of gal, after all. Doporto is very much a romance author first.
I love the interplay between Lise and Natalie. I can’t help but smile. It’s so clear that they’re good friends, and it’s so hard on Natalie trying to hide what’s going on with her. Their interactions simultaneously put me at ease because of the easy familiarity between the two, and put me on edge because of the secret Natalie is hiding from her roommate and friend.
I frequently see Natalie as foolish and naive. At times, I question her skills as a scientist because she overlooks events she shouldn’t, and doesn’t question things and people she should. Frankly, if I’d been the main character, things wouldn’t have gone down the way they did. Granted, I’m from New Jersey. We believe anything that isn’t nailed down deserves to get stolen. We believe the worst in people and, when I first moved to North Carolina, thought there was something wrong with everybody because they were waving at us… like maybe they were serial killers or something. Me? I would have probably locked myself in my room, not let anyone see what I could do, never would have trusted anyone. So, yeah, I couldn’t help feeling like she was a bit naive for trusting people when my brain was swimming with government-issued SUVs swarming in or corporate conspiracies. Yeah, I totally thought this was going to be a corporate conspiracy type of thing. In my head, there was some big bad mad scientist that had experimented on her. I had so convinced myself that’s what had happened that I was a little let down when I learned the truth.
The second half of the book definitely picked up. It was a little slow reading for me at first, but once I hit the halfway point, even a headache and upset stomach didn’t slow me down (and good God, did I feel like crap…). You couldn’t help becoming absorbed in the characters’ plight, wondering how they’d escape, everyone alive and mostly unharmed.
I was a little miffed, let down, when the big bad guy’s evil plans had to do with cannabis/marajuana plants. More specifically, allowing them to adapt better to weather conditions. I felt like cannabis didn’t hold quite the umph as a illegal enterprise, partly because of it’s controversiality with regard to whether it should be illegal in the first place (after all, the only reason it is illegal is because of a pharmaceutical conspiracy long ago to increase sales of cough medicine, and it is the only drug — including alcohol and cigarettes — which hasn’t had a single death attributed to it in the thousands of years of recorded history of its use), and images of stoners kept popping into my head — things like Cheech & Chong “driving” their van with smoke billowing out the windows. Add to that, cannabis is about the most resilient plant known to man. Probably the only plants more drought tolerant live in deserts, and yet that was one of the big bad guy’s complaints. Cannabis can practically grow anywhere. Now, if it had been heavy rains damaging young plants, that would make sense, or an early frost. But drought?
One of my favorite things about these books was the mystery of it, trying to figure out what’s really going on. I spent most of the two books trying to figure out what was happening to her, how she came to be the way she was, what was triggering the change, and a plethora of other things. And best of all? It was generally a surprise. I mean, sometimes my imagination got away with me and I imagined something far more complex and outrageous than she did, but it was always a surprise, good or bad. I liked that, because I’m rarely truly surprised by books, movies or TV shows anymore. This one kept me guessing, and as someone who finds Sherlock Holmes “elementary,” I guess that’s saying something.
Format: ARC PDF copy
College student, Natalie Vega, struggles in her quest to learn how she can have a normal life, which includes her boyfriend Ryan, and also help the world that has been experiencing the effects of global warming. While her supernatural powers are unknown and are a secret to most in the world, an evil business tycoon learns of her abilities and has other plans for Natalie and his empire.
Natalie paced back and forth. “What am I going to do? What’s wrong with me? It’s been over twenty-four hours and I’m still not back to normal.” Natalie looked at Ryan, seeking reassurance that everything would be okay. Deep down she had a feeling that she may never be the same again.
“Natalie, please don’t get so upset. We’ll figure this out.” Ryan told her what she wanted to hear but she refused to allow herself to accept it completely. Maybe she lacked faith or recognized reality when she saw it. Regardless, this was her new world.
She floated over to the patio doors and moved back the blinds, peeking outside. Students walked up and down along The Drag, the main strip in front of the University of Texas campus. She longed to be outside with them. “Am I ever going to be normal again?” She let out a long and drawn out sigh, and buried her face in her hands. Her glowing green fingers reminded her of what she had become.
“Look at me, I’m a freak!” She turned around and shook her hands in the air.
“No you’re not.” He reached for her hand. She yanked it away before he could touch her.
“Don’t. I’m not safe. Look what I did to your couch and carpet.” She glanced down at the scorched leather that outlined where she sat and the burned-in footprints on the rug.
Ryan shrugged his shoulders, like it was no big deal. Why was he taking this so calmly? Her body turned to fire for goodness sake!
“I know you won’t hurt me.” Ryan took another step forward. He put on a fearless smile.
“Of course I won’t hurt you. At least not intentionally, but I could accidentally.” She turned away, on the verge of tears. She longed for him to hold her, caress her, and comfort her. He couldn’t and that’s what upset her the most. At least she had one thing to be grateful for: he stood by her side and she wasn’t in this alone. She admired him for being so brave and understanding.
At first, she didn’t think he would be, especially the way he freaked out at the lake. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for him to come to his senses and realize that despite what she looked like on the outside, on the inside, she was still Natalie.
“I know, but I can’t help wanting to hold you in my arms.”
She glanced up at him. “You have no idea how bad I want that. I’m so scared.” Her voice trembled and she swallowed hard.
“Don’t worry, beautiful, I’m not ever leaving your side. I promise.” Ryan took another step forward. She sensed the sincerity and truth coming from his heart. Hopefully, he would not prove her wrong and stay true to his word.
“You promise?” She had to hear it one more time.
“Yes, Natalie, I promise. Besides beautiful, I’m tough. You can’t hurt me.” He pounded his chest with his fist, like Tarzan.
She giggled. Leave it to Ryan to make her laugh and smile. However, it didn’t change the fact that she had the capability to hurt him physically and that scared her to death.
“Natalie, I mean what I say. I really do want to be here for you… help you find out why this happened and get you back to normal. I need you more than you know. I’m in love with you.” Ryan inched his way closer to her.
Natalie warned him to stop by holding up her hand. “I’m in love with you too and I can’t stand us not being able to touch. I want to be in your arms, feel your lips against mine, and hear your heart beat when I lay my head against your chest. I can’t and it’s killing me. But I can’t risk hurting you. If I did something to you accidentally, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” Tears poured from her eyes but dissolved immediately into her body of flowing energy.
“Please don’t cry. It breaks my heart to see ya this way.” His eyes filled with tears and his voice escalated. He shoved his hands through his hair and tugged. He turned around, hiding his face from her. It tore her apart to see him tear up in front of her. She swallowed back the grief and allowed her eyes to dry.
His hands dropped from his head and he turned around. He took a moment before saying anything. “I want you to know that it’s just as hard for me as it is for you. I want to hold you so bad and tell you this is all a dream. But I can’t and it’s killing me too. You already know how hard it is for me to control myself around you. For whatever reason, I feel more attracted to you now than ever before. It’s like your scent draws me to you. That’s why I’m willing to risk hurting myself to be able to kiss and touch you.” Ryan walked back to her and reached for her arm once more.
She jumped back. “No! Don’t Ryan. It’s too risky.” She continued to back away from him until she pressed against the patio doors.
“I’m sorry. I won’t try to touch you unless you want me to. I have faith that we will get through this. We will find out why this happened and we will be able to hold and kiss each other again. Regardless, I’m never leaving your side. I love you too much.” He smiled gently at her and took a step back. He rested his open palms against his thighs, inviting her to take his hands into hers.
About the Author
CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot and several fish.
She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Arlington. She briefly worked in the area of Public Relations and Advertising and then pursued a career in the field of Human Resources. CM considers herself a life-long learner and returned to school and earned her Master of Art’s Degree in Organizational Development from Dallas Baptist University.
She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way. CM is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Romance Writers of America and is associated with the Young Adult Special Interest Chapter.
Amazon Author Profile: http://www.amazon.com/CM-Doporto/e/B00AVZJ8DO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1