Mariah Carpenter has had it. She just doesn't fit in anywhere. Even as a child she was told she asked too many questions and played too many tricks. Heck, she even got thrown out of the synagogue! Finally, she has had enough and after pigging out on her favorite food, M&Ms, she plans on taking 22 tablets of Restoril, enough so she won't ever wake up.

The plan was good except about twenty minutes into it, Mariah is visited by a vision, or at least she's calling it a vision. A man steps out of a bright light and tells Mariah he's always going to be there for her and hugs her even though she fights him. The next morning, Mariah wakes up. That wasn't suppose to happen!

Eventually she tells a co-worker about her vision. He sends her to talk to his pastor at church. Mariah isn't sure about that move but eventually does. Michael, the pastor, is accepting and soon Mariah is attending church and even singing in the choir.

Mariah's life changes again when a child is kidnapped. For reasons unknown to her, she feels forced to seek out Michael and the church. After days of debate, she calls Michael and they meet. As Mariah touches him they are both slammed with pain, and then Mariah discovers that she can communicate with the kidnapped child. Calling in the details to the police gets the FBIs notice. How could she know so much if she wasn't working with the kidnappers?

As Mariah tries to prove she has no idea how she does what she does, she begins to learn that finding kidnapped children isn't all she can now do. What is happening to her and why?

I'm going to admit, the cover of this book doesn't inspire me and the back blurb was so-so. I put off reading this book until I didn't have any real choice. Starting off with a suicidal character didn't help either.

The characters are so real. You feel Mariah's pain and you feel her joy. Her confusion comes across in waves. Michael is the perfect pastor but even he comes across as human. Everyone is normal and you're sure that they are alive in California.

The situations came alive. Mariah wants normal and soon finds out that her new normal isn't anything like her old one and not one she especially likes. However, despite her insecurities she does find a boyfriend. Even his reaction to Mariah's growing power is a mixture of awe, disbelief and acceptance. The FBI wanting to take charge was perfect as was the good old boy system and the agent trying to buck it. Everything came across as believable and possible.

But there is more than just Mariah finding kidnapped children. There are some aliens involved with this story. How much they had to do with her change is a mystery. Their abilities still aren't known. Where this is going is still up in the air. And Mariah has branched out to doing more than finding kidnapped children.

Alright, so the bottom line..DO NOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK. It is awesome. It's super intense. I got hooked and had no desire to put this book down. I couldn't wait to read what next. Things kept changing and I wanted to learn where they were leading. When I finished it, I went online to find out when is the next book coming out. How is this going to evolve? I want to know!

So, from not wanting to read this somewhat boring looking book to looking forward to the next book in this series means I should have followed the saying, never judge a book by its cover. This may look like a sleeper but its anything but.

Book Blurb for Chosen

Shy and introverted Mariah Carpenter has concealed a hidden talent from childhood that, according to her mother, would brand her a freak. Now a fateful encounter has caused her secret skill—an extraordinary psychic ability—to become greatly enhanced. Suddenly, she has a purpose for her gift, as her vision gives her the ability to find kidnapped children telepathically. But is this a blessing or a curse? When Mariah’s fourth finding is filmed by the FBI and the recording is stolen and sold to a broadcast journalist, Mariah’s worst nightmare becomes a reality. She is acclaimed worldwide as a saint and messenger from God—and vilified as the Antichrist whose powers must be quelled. Meanwhile, another government agency has its own covert agenda for Mariah…. In the midst of all of this, Mariah has a series of horrifying nightmares, culminating in the discovery of an ingenious serial killer, one who somehow prevents Mariah from finding out who and where he is. Locating this murderer before he kills again becomes Mariah’s obsession, one that threatens to consume her––and could even destroy her. Chosen introduces readers to a remarkably complex, achingly human, and absolutely unforgettable heroine. Bursting with tension, danger, and the thrill of the unexplained, Chosen is a singular reading experience.

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2011 5.00