Friday, May 4, 2012

K.C. Neal - Pyxis

Pyxis #1

by K.C. Neal

Kindle Edition Available

Product Description (from Amazon)
December 2, 2011
Two worlds.... One 16-year-old girl must learn to protect them both. The nightmares haunting Corinne and her friend Mason hint at a universe that exists beyond the one they know. Her destiny is to protect a weakness between the two worlds, but the person who was supposed to teach her how is dead. As Corinne and Mason search for answers, she tries to ignore the sparks igniting between them, but can't deny she feels safe only when he's nearby. Will they find help before their nightmares break free?
About the Author (from Amazon)
Most of K.C. Neal's days are filled with some combination of writing, reading, gardening, working, and watching stuff on Netflix with her husband and their maltipoo, Oscar. She has an irrational fixation with L.A., and during occasional trips there she pretends her life is more glamorous than it really is ("Entourage" is her guilty pleasure). She likes to surf and hang out on sandy beaches, where drinks are served adorned with tiny umbrellas.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.
O.Scarlett! Review by Rachel

Pyxis was an easy book to pick up and keep reading.  The story did a good job of sucking you in and pulling you along. Although I didn’t feel drawn to keep picking up my Kindle to read more, I didn’t switch to another book either.  But since reading it, I’ve hardly given it a second thought.  I would consider this a great rainy day read – fun and just a bit disturbing. 

I picked this book up because the story sounded fun and the reviews were pretty good.  The book has been fairly well edited meaning that most of the time I enjoyed the book, but there were also some dull and confusing spots.  The mystery and the details of the colored liquids and the teen drama it created, and later the search for a prom dress did not appeal to me.  Younger girls may find these parts exciting.  There is enough foreshadowing in the book to make it almost too predictable.  But overall, I did enjoy the story.

The story has a great beginning; I laughed and had to read the beginning to my daughters.  Everyone has heard of the bake sale ruined by an unreasonable person claiming that the food isn’t meeting “standard guidelines”.  This is a very well-played twist on the theme.  (The book opens with a bake sale.)

---------------------  Basic Plot  ----------------------------

Corinne has baked petite fours for her school’s bake sale.  They are a huge hit, but the kids who took a treat from her table, begin to act very strangely.  The boys suddenly want to date her; the girls want to be her best friend.  This doesn’t go over well with her nemesis Sophia, a few tables down.

Angeline helps her to connect their strange actions with the kids who bought her treats,  especially as the weird behavior continues into the afternoon when the girls go to work at Corinne’s father’s cafe.  What had Angeline done differently in making the petite fours?  She had used some old food coloring that her grandmother had left to her when she died.

After a few experiments with the food coloring, similar results are achieved, although not everyone seemed to be affected.  They decide to stop experimenting and try to find out more about this box marked Pyxis, especially when they find a paper tucked inside with the names of Corinne’s grandmother and aunt, plus her own, and then Angeline’s name, and Mason’s name... with a blank for the fourth name.

Mason’s family has been away in Africa for several months, and he had been almost dating Corinne just before he left.  But something happened, and she has a picture to prove it.  Corinne wants nothing to do with him.  Then suddenly Mason is back in town, and he’s having the same disturbing dreams as Corinne.  In fact, the only time that they don’t dream this disturbing dream, is when they are together.  Mason begins sleeping over in the evenings so they both can get much needed sleep.

It is a race against time, as the three teens try to solve the mystery of the box and what it has to do with the dreams.  One of Grandma Doris’s neighbors has the answers, but he can’t tell them as long as Aunt Dorthy is alive, who was struck down with a stroke on the day Grandma died.  In her dreams, Corinne is told to give Aunt Dorthy the white liquid.  After several failed attempts, she is able to sneak some to her, but there is no change – at least not immediately.  A few days latter, Aunt Dorthy calls and wants to come home.  She can speak and take care of herself again.  She begins to teach the children about the magic box.  But is it too late?  And who is the mysterious fourth person needed to make the magic work?


A sequel is planned for the end of July – you can follow this author and her books at

Note:   Most young teens will enjoy this book, but it does touch on some issues that may be inappropriate for some younger readers.  There are issues of teen drama and bullying, talk about sleeping around, liquids with magic powers, an evil force (demonic?) cloud that appears in their dreams, and mind reading.  If it was a movie, I’d rate it PG.

Genre/Theme:   Fantasy, Modern USA, Paranormal – Psychic, evil forces
Reading Level:   TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity:  LOW - few mildly offensive words 
MODERATE - mild words & a few stronger expletives 
There is very little profanity, but quite a few gray-area words.
Sexuality: MILD - descriptions of affection/desire   -   Older brother is sleeping with his girlfriend.  He assumes that his sister and Mason are also sleeping together.   Some kissing
Other: Teen Drama / Bullying.  Dreams are sinister and disturbing.  

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