Initial Review (2009): Yz introduced me to the series. I have to say that I loved the book. I will most definitely be reading the other books in the series.
The Psy/Changeling world we are introduced to is new and interesting. I love finding a series that's similar, but different enough to be new. The world has split into three "species" - Psy (who feel no emotion and are ruled by logic), Changelings (who are shifters of different types - wolf, cat, etc) and Humans (who aren't shown in this book). One scared Psy feels she's on the brink of death because, despite all, she feels.
The romance and connection between Sascha (Psy) and Lucus (100% Changeling Alpha) is hot from the word GO. Again, one of my favorite aspects of shifter books is the close-knit family bonds and the DarkRiver family has that in spades.
The story also had some suspense and even a hunt to find a serial killer, making it all the more interesting.
This book, and several others I've recently read, remind me that in addition to jumping on reading the new releases I should also pick a book from my massive TBR stack that's slightly older because it just might be as good or better than what's out now.(less)
I really enjoyed Obsidian. It was a quick, but entertaining read. It was hard to put down. Had the story been a bit more original, I probably would ha...moreI really enjoyed Obsidian. It was a quick, but entertaining read. It was hard to put down. Had the story been a bit more original, I probably would have rated it 4.5-5★ vs. 3.5★. That said, there is much to like about the book and I will be continuing on with the series to see what's in store for Katy and the band of Luxen.
After Katy's father died, her mom decided to pack up and leave FL for WVA. In an effort to get Katy to socialize before school starts, her mom pushes her to go next door and meet the neighbors. The boy that answers the door is to die for, if she can refrain from killing him. He's got an ego and attitude that says he knows just how gorgeous he is. His sister, however, is a bundle of joy and excitement. Her fun and inviting personality is hard to resist. She and Katy quickly become close friends.
Katy and Daemon have a strong chemistry, which Jennifer writes well. They have the type of ponytail-pulling love-hate relationship you'd picture school kids having when they realize the opposite sex doesn't have cooties.
A bit too Dé twili'ja vu-ish: - Standoffish, oddly unique, gorgeous boy in class - Pretty, but doesn't know it "normal" girl - The gorgeous kids at school that everyone admires from afar - Boy with the ability to stop a truck to save the girl
There are more, but I won't bore you with them. And, despite those, there are differences or tweaks on the SSDB (view spoiler)[shame shit, different book (hide spoiler)] aspects of the story and characters. Enough that I sometimes got lost in the story enough to forget about the 'series-that-will-not-be-named'. I hate to call these criticisms because I can only imagine how hard (or tempting) it might be to meld some similarities from other popular series/books into your own, but with a YA market busting at the seams these days, it's super refreshing when you actually find one that does stand apart from the crowd. And, while it had aliens, which is on the verge of unique, this one didn't do that entirely, at least not for me; hence the 3.5★. But, like I said, I enjoyed it and will see what future installments have to offer. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Scent of Shadows introduces us to multi-billionaire heiress Joanna Archer. We meet her sister Olivia, who is the epitome of the Paris...moreOverall: 3.5★
The Scent of Shadows introduces us to multi-billionaire heiress Joanna Archer. We meet her sister Olivia, who is the epitome of the Paris Hilton-type wealthy heiress to the outside world, but she has a big heart and is Joanna's best, and only, friend. While Olivia is loved and pampered by their father, Joanna and he are like oil and water. They tolerate each other, but only just.
When Joanna was sixteen, she was assaulted (OF NOTE: the assault and rape are not described in detail), raped and left for dead. She's spent every day since then making herself stronger, so that she can never be taken advantage of ever again. She spends much of her time alone, wandering the streets of the city, taking pictures of the homeless and seedy parts of town.
Since her childhood trauma, trying to do the opposite of what she feels happens to most survivors, she never says no when asked out on a date. That's why she ends up on a date with a not-so attractive dude. The date starts out as most do, but then things get weird.
(view spoiler)[She seems to come back to life when her former, childhood sweetheart, now a cop, shows up on the scene of her fight with creepy dude. Their reunion was like CPR for her character. I was shocked when the author makes it so that they cannot should not end up together. Although I guess I shouldn't have been b/c this is not a PNR, it's a dark UF, no HEA here. (hide spoiler)]
The night of her birthday, Joanna's world turns upside down and inside out. She's drawn into the world of the light and shadow Zodiac. (view spoiler)[When I learned that the Zodiac called themselves Super Heroes, I snickered. REALLY? Like in comic books? Yep! They have their own comics! OK?! (hide spoiler)] She has "friends" who help her through the massive learning curve and she does a great job (almost too good considering) adjusting to her "new life".
The first 1/3 of the book, I really enjoyed. The second 1/3 was eh. The final 1/3 had me deciding to continue the series, at least through book #2, The Taste of Night. I can definitely understand why some readers' reviews RAVE and some RANT about this one. For now, I'm firmly planted in the middle, neither ranting or raving.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I have to say I was hoping for more. It started out good, loved the whole assassin thing + elemental abilities, but ... it just flopped a bit for me....moreI have to say I was hoping for more. It started out good, loved the whole assassin thing + elemental abilities, but ... it just flopped a bit for me. Gin is hardcore and I dig that, but the "romance" was bleh.
Spider's Bite introduces us to Gin Blanco. On the streets, she's known as "The Spider". She's a kick-ass assassin who always finishes the job and just hearing her name scares the crap out of people.
While out on a job, she realizes she's been set up. Someone close to her gets brutally murdered and now she's out for revenge. She enlists the help of the only honest cop out there, Donovan Caine. The only problem is he is still dealing with the loss of his partner and believes Gin is responsible for his death.
The "relationship" between them is lacking and could have been left out of the book entirely, IMO.
I liked Gin and her skills as an assassin. Reminded me of "Point of No Return" sort of, which I loved. I also loved the supes. Her elemental power, and others in the book, was very interesting.
I'll probably give book #2 a go. I am interested to see how things play out now that Gin has gotten a little bit more information about her past.(less)
In this world that Neal has created, the conflict over Pro-Life and Pro-Choice lead to the Second Civil War, known as the Heartland War. To end the wa...moreIn this world that Neal has created, the conflict over Pro-Life and Pro-Choice lead to the Second Civil War, known as the Heartland War. To end the war, constitutional amendments, known as The Bill of Life, were passed.
The Bill states "... that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively "abort" a child ... on the condition that the child's life doesn't "technically" end. The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called "unwinding"."
Additionally, there's a Storking Initiative, which is like an acceptable ding-dong-ditch version of leaving your unwanted infant on someone's doorstep. Should the DDD'ed family spot you, you must take the baby back. Get away without being seen and the family must take on the responsibility of raising the child.
Unwinding follows three teens, Connor, Risa and Lev. While each of the children share few commonalities prior to their chance meeting, they are all scheduled for unwinding. This unites them as they strive to stay alive until they are eighteen.
Every Unwind has a story you don't want to know.
Along the way, the trio meet many different Unwinds. Each of them has a sad and pitiful story to tell. Some feel they were chosen, others hope that "... some part of [themselves] will go on to greatness somewhere in the world. [They'd] rather be partly great than entirely useless." But, no one really knows what to expect.
The harvesting of Unwinds is a secret medical ritual that stays within the walls of each harvesting clinic in the nation.
The freakiest part of the story, for me, was the Unwinding process. The author does an amazing job of bringing the reader along on the terrifying process in which 99.44% of an Unwind must be kept alive for transplantation. I look forward to continuing the series.(less)
Unholy Ghosts is our first look into the world of Downside. And, yes, at first glance, you might only see dirt, drugs and hoodlums. But, thankfully K...moreUnholy Ghosts is our first look into the world of Downside. And, yes, at first glance, you might only see dirt, drugs and hoodlums. But, thankfully Kane gives us a deeper insight into a world post-haunting.
Almost 23 years ago, in 1997, during Haunting Week "people huddled together in churches and homes and schools, praying and crying, while silent ghosts, risen from their graves, moved through the walls in search of them. Stealing their lives."
Since then, the Church is law, it is the only government left. The Church preaches "I have no need for faith. .. I do not need faith because I know the Truth. I do not need to believe. Belief is unnecessary when fact is Truth. I do not pray to a god. Prayer implies faith and gods do not exist. Only energy exists, and this is Truth. The Church shows me the Truth and protects me. If I hold to these Truths I will enter the City of Eternity, and there I will stay."
The Church protects the people and the people pay their taxes to the Church. It keeps them controlled with the threat that within the City of Eternity there are hundreds of malicious ghosts waiting to rise again and murder people. And, of course, the Church controls the City of Eternity.
In this "new world" we meet Chess or Cesaria Putnam, or as known on the street "Bump's Churchwitch". Chess is a Debunker for the Church.
"The Debunker protects, first and foremost. He or she protects the Church from fraud and falsehood, yes; but above all the Debunker protects humanity. From spirits, from their own natures, and from others who seek to do them harm." -Careers in the Church: A Guide for Teens, by Praxis Turpin
Chess is solitary, addicted to drugs, strong willed, determined, and good at her job. There aren't many people she calls friend, more known to spend her off time with dealers or alone high in her apartment. Sounds like someone you aren't quite sure you could like, but you do. Her strengths draw you in and her past helps you understand her weaknesses. Even if those weaknesses are at times self-imposed.
Chess sets out on two missions. One for the Church and one for her dealer, Bump. Bump wants to use an old rundown airport to traffic his drugs, but it's haunted. He traps her into helping him, sending his right hand, Terrible, to accompany her. At the same time, she works the Church's case of a family of three claiming to have a ghost haunting their home. Her job as a Debunker is to determine if the haunting is real and if so, remove the ghost from their home.
"It's tempting to view faking a haunting as an easy way to earn money. After all, the Church has promised to protect us, and to make amends when it fails. But be warned! You will be caught. Debunkers are among the most highly trained, intelligent, and skilled employees in the Church, and they are not easily fooled." -Families and Truth, a Church pamphlet by Elder Barrett
While working with Terrible on solving the possible haunting of the airport, Chess is approached by a rival drug dealer. He makes it clear that she's to do whatever she can to not get the job done for Bump.
Chess, caught in the middle of the two dealers, does her best to do her job while appeasing both. Her job as a Debunker is the only thing in her life that she's proud of. There are other groups that wish to take control away from the Church, Quantras, PRA, Marenzites, Lamaru. She will not be swayed. "All of humanity - all that remained, a third of what the population had been before that fateful week - owed their lives to the only group, the only religion, that had been able to control and defeat the ghosts. Before Haunted Week - before the Church showed the world what Truth was - they'd been a tiny group, devoted to the theory and study of magic. Now they ran the world."
Another Debunker mentions to Chess that others are experiencing trouble sleeping, seeing a cloaked man in their nightmares. She denies having the same problems, but is she? And ... "What was stirring up the ghosts of Downside?"
A long review, but this one is FULL of interesting bits and bobs. The world Kane has created becomes clear as you read. You feel like you're there with Chess as she stumbles her way through these few days in her life. Terrible is also a fascinating character. Described as someone you might avoid looking at in real life, Kane shows you parts of him that twist that original thought on itself, making you find him attractive.
I'm looking forward to continuing with the series! Thanks to Kindlelicious for the recommendation and Chelsea for the add'l push. :)