Stuck in a reading rut? Try Soul Trapper. It's definitely an escape type of book and pulled me out of my bizarre reading funk. It reads like an episod...moreStuck in a reading rut? Try Soul Trapper. It's definitely an escape type of book and pulled me out of my bizarre reading funk. It reads like an episode of Ghostfacers. (I'm referring to the group of paranormal investigators featured on a few episodes of Supernatural.) Too obscure of a description? How about Paranormal State or Ghost Hunters? Anyhow, picture if you will, an episode of one of the aforementioned TV series morphing into a stand-alone novel. And there you have it - Soul Trapper.
Was a tad iffy about this novel. That was until the last 70 odd pages. The winning me over had to do with one Reyes Alexander Farrow and his storyline...moreWas a tad iffy about this novel. That was until the last 70 odd pages. The winning me over had to do with one Reyes Alexander Farrow and his storyline. (less)
Right from the get-go, I'm talking chapter one, us readers are told that MC Lenzi Rose sees dead people à la The Sixth Sense. We’re talking drops in t...moreRight from the get-go, I'm talking chapter one, us readers are told that MC Lenzi Rose sees dead people à la The Sixth Sense. We’re talking drops in temperature, breath puffing out in white clouds, spirits needing her help to right their wrongs à la Ghost Town, the whole nine yards. As a result, Lenzi swears she’s going crazy, just like her daddy and is so not dealing with this special gift. Her boyfriend, Zak, rescues Lenzi from these psychotic happenings by cradling her in his strong arms, whispering “you’re gonna be just fines” in her ear. He is her everything. Her knight in shining armor. Fast forward to chapter two where around o'dark-thirty, Lenzi and her anchor (her words, not mine), Zak, are at the cemetery paying respects to her recently deceased father. Her father who also saw dead people and was believed to schizophrenic. Now, here’s where the story began to go all kablooey for me.
Channeling a homeless bum, Mr. Anchor-Knight-in-Shining-Armor, Zak, proceeds to fall down drunk atop a grave and pass out after having quaffed a crap load of Jim Beam. Sexy and hot and so anchor-ish, I know, right? Anyhow, in the midst of expelling chocking sobs over her daddy’s grave, sobs I would imagine sounded something like a stream of Heh-heh-hehs, a mysterious stranger named Alden appears before Lenzi. (I must mention that try as I might, I failed to picture what this guy looked like throughout the whole book. Strange it was.) Lenzi gives him the cutesy moniker Ghost Boy. Yeah, he’s not a ghost. Just happened to know she needed him at the graveyard because he’s a Protector, assigned to Protect her, and Lenzi Rose is a reincarnated Speaker. They're a dynamic duo. Translation, she talks to ghosts and can only do it safely with Alden's help. Zak snaps to from his drunken stupor. They all verbally fight. Zak then DUI’s it away and Lenzi calls her mom because she can’t drive home even though she’s seventeen.
From page 1 to around page 100: From here on out, Mr. Anchor, Zak, soon morphs into the captain of douche bags worldwide. I mean, his whole character changes. He gets all stalker-y and well, basically channels that 108-year-old virgin vampire who shall remain nameless. (He doesn't become a vampire, just exhibits his controlling ways.) Lenzi’s not sure if she wants to be with Zak or Alden. Even though she’s technically still with Zak. Oh, and she begs, literally begs, Alden to kiss her on several occasions. Classy! To which he refuses. Smart guy. Now this around the time I really began to question what the overall plot of the book was.
This book is 326 pages. Now, around page 200, otherwise known as where my skimming began, I was still unsure of what the main plot, the point of the story, was. I mean, sure, Lenzi sees dead people. So what? Alden’s her protector, okay, good to know. Some dead people want her to return a necklace or something. Wow, the excitement is too much to bear. Where’s the urgency? The build up? The tension? Dare I say the plot?
Chapter to chapter readers are assaulted with info dump after info dump. Info dumps in the form of how to be a Speaker. How to be a Protector. How they’ve (Alden and Lenzi Rose) been together as lovers in past lives. How they’ve been only friends during some of said past lives. How they’ve . . . Oh sorry, I dozed off there for second. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, info dumps. The world of Protectors is basically militarized as in ranks and rules and regulations and basically their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is spelled out in excruciating detail. But again, what’s the point of this story?
Lenzi Rose. I couldn’t connect with her. She was told that she’s special. The most special-est of Speakers. I get that she’d be alarmed at this mention. I can't imagine what it must be like to have ghosts appearing to you, invading your body, demanding you do their bidding. I mean, Lenzi wasn't even aware of past lives where she was a Speaker up until Alden appeared. So shock value off the chart. Also, this poor girl's past life memory had been wiped clean upon being born into her current life, unlike Alden's. So yeah, I gave this poor girl some slack. But after the fifth info dump, the in-depth explanation of what she is, what she's been, how it's okay, and Alden even demonstrated his ability of Protection by actually having his soul leave his body only to jump into hers, and she still refused to get her crap together? To listen? C’mon now. I was beginning to question how Alden found her attractive with the constant whining. Even the drunken Zak for that matter. But seriously, what's the overall plot?
Well, I finally got my answer on page 227 when (view spoiler)[Smith, a small-b big bad appears and threatens Lenzi in bold, pretty cursive font (that’s how it appeared in the book). Something about I’m gonna kill you, blah blah blah. He then disappears and info dumps return. I skimmed the rest from here on out. You know, I'm still not sure what the point of the book was. I mean, yeah, Smith, the small-b big bad has followed her through many lives (admittedly, I skimmed, so I'm guessing this is the case), threatening to kill her each time (?). Okay, but there was no build up with this guy. He just poofed into existence in the form of pretty bold font. There was a minor battle and that was that. (hide spoiler)] All happening in the last third of the book. But again, what was the point?
Okay, so I really only have one major gripe with this book. It is plot-less. Which is precisely why this book left me all colors, shapes, and forms of disappointment. I had such high, high hopes. And yet again, I’m in the minority. This 2-star review will most surely be lost in a sea of glowing reviews. So who would I recommend Shattered Souls to? Well, if you don't mind a plethora of info dumps, some feeling like you're reading an SOP; if you think plots are overrated and so passé - then look no further, for this is the book for you.
Upon finishing Glimmer, I was bereft of any sort of satisfaction. In fact, I feel cheated. Let me explain why.
Glimmer, you hooked me, had me invested...moreUpon finishing Glimmer, I was bereft of any sort of satisfaction. In fact, I feel cheated. Let me explain why.
Glimmer, you hooked me, had me invested, the mystery you wove spurred me on to hungrily flip each of your pages, all the while anticipating the big reveal. Why are people falling down into catatonic states called heatnaps? Memories being erased? A Pleasantville atmosphere populated by Stepford Wives? And lo and behold, when the big reveal finally came to pass it was very remisncent of the demon Gachnar in BTVS. On one Halloween, Gachnar created mayhem and devilish deeds in its itty-bitty, wittle, pint-size wake. Then when the "Dark Lord of Nightmares", "the Bringer of Terror" was released from the appropriately named Mark of Gachnar, after much laughter by the Scooby Gang, Buffy squashed his few-inches-in-height frame with the heels of her Little Red Riding Hood shoes. For he was much ado about nothing. Point being, the ending is what did me in. The ending? What the what was that? A Velveeta-y cheesefest and then some is what it was. Lots of build up for a Gachnar-sized denouement.
Also, The Gachnar, the big bad in Glimmer, I guessed this person fairly quickly. Some things just didn't add up. But hey, the kids were still amnesiacs. So, natch, I cut them some much needed slack. But towards the end of the story and the brain trust comprised of Elyse and Marshall still hadn't ferreted out the identity of said person, wow. Just wow.
So all in all, aside from the letdown ending, the book definitely intrigued me. And for the most part, the entertainment value was there. It's always fun to puzzle out what's going on along with the MCs.
Also, to be fair and honest, I'm a sucker for explosive endings, like right out of a summer blockbuster movie. Which explains my lack of gratification with this novel's ending. Also, another reason for the 3 stars, I failed to connect with Elyse. She annoyed me for the majority of the time, but then I felt a pang of guilt when her back story came to light. Still, even with that truth revealed, I failed to feel her. Can't say the same for Marshall. I wish every chapter was told from his POV, not alternating with Elyse.
So would I recommend this novel? Yeah, it's different, mysterious. And a standalone, for those sick of series. (less)
Earlier this year that I stumbled upon a novel entitled Acceleration. Instantly I fell in love with it, the writing style, how the author doesn't pull...moreEarlier this year that I stumbled upon a novel entitled Acceleration. Instantly I fell in love with it, the writing style, how the author doesn't pull any punches or waste readers' time with excruciatingly boring, supposed build-up to what turns out to be a scant plot. When I began reading Beyond: A Ghost Story, the writing style was reminiscent, very reminiscent, of Acceleration. Well, there's a good reason for that. They're both written by McNamee.
I'm a huge roller coaster fanatic. Two of my favorites, The Hulk and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, literally blast off mere seconds after boarding them, sending thrill-seekers from 0-60, in a snap. So fast the acceleration, breath is stolen and your very heart is jolted, skips a beat or two, flutters before finally regulating. It's an amazing rush. Can’t get enough of it. Back on point, the whiplash-y acceleration is a perfect way to describe McNamee's writing style. And unlike a roller coaster that takes its sweet time dramatically crawling up a rickety steep incline, taking forever to reach its summit - any day now roller coaster, can we just get to the plummet already? - McNamee is more like The Hulk. Slow build-up isn’t in his nature, methinks. Nope, this writer puts readers right into the crux of the tale. The action. And I have to admit that's rather refreshing, especially with many books that take, gee, well over 100 pages to get to the actual plot. Can you tell books like that annoy me as all get out?
Now onto the story itself. Was it scary? Well, not to me. But again, I’m rather warped and a veritable sicko when it comes to horror and frights and chills. Desensitized to them I am. Growing up on horror movies would do that to a kid. To me this novel is ghost story-lite. Casper-esque. Okay, maybe not so frivolous as Casper. So if you’re not a sicko like me, get scared easily, looking for a ghost story, on the lookout for a new author, sick of books that take an eternity to reach the so-called plot, craving a quick read, then Beyond: A Ghost Story is just for you. And you never know, the tale within just might cause chills to snake up your spine, make the hairs on your arms stand at attention. (less)
2.5 stars A ghost in the midst of haunting the occupants of a house narrates the opening pages of this novel, setting quite the eerie tone. Needless to...more2.5 stars A ghost in the midst of haunting the occupants of a house narrates the opening pages of this novel, setting quite the eerie tone. Needless to say, this reader was hooked. Ghosts, I'm all about them, all day every day. Unfortunately said ghost's perspective was scarce. And by chapter three or somewhere around there, readers are told who the Big Bad is and who the object of his obsession is as well, aka next victim. That aspect completely murdered the suspense I relish from murder mysteries.
Also, there's something called The Event that occurred some time ago. This event caused a bevy of the Caspers of the world to materialize. Some interacted with those who still have a pulse. Some didn't. Some reenacted the same actions at certain times of the day. Ghosts became a part of everyday life all due to this elusive Event. This Event was discussed ad nauseam but its genesis was not.
While that aspect frustrated me so, along with the detached feeling that came about from knowing the killer's identity and his victim and a story that ultimately fell flat for me, I have to give the author mad credit for richly painting the world of ghosts and their eerie behaviors. In a way I wish the ghost's perspective had narrated the entire tale, and this review would've wound up being a tad more positive. (less)
Do allow me to be the sole voice of dissent. Regrettably, I was catapulted light-years away from the Land of Enchantment where readers found themselve...more Do allow me to be the sole voice of dissent. Regrettably, I was catapulted light-years away from the Land of Enchantment where readers found themselves gleefully immersed in during their time spent with In the Shadow of Blackbirds. My far-far-away status obviously attributed to the fact that I, for the life of me, couldn't for one moment, not even a sliver of a moment, a sliver of a sliver of a moment, get into this book. I tried, oh how I tried. But my will to pick this tome back up after perusing a few pages here and there was nil at best. So this is where I can honestly say that it comes down to "it's me, not you, book." Which is such a shame, for I love a good ghost story. Also, perhaps it's because the ghost story plot didn't kick into gear until roughly 100 pages in. Or perhaps the love story angle, or lack thereof, of a girl channeling Moaning Myrtle and whining about her love for Steeeeeeephen did absolutely nothing for me. Or maybe the glacial pace that was the story could be the culprit, have something to do with my sense of detachment. My mood at the time? Who knows?
Admittedly, I skimmed most of this book, which actually worked out in the end. The MC every 100 pages would kindly write a checklist of her investigation into mysterious ghost and how s/he ended up pushing up daisies, what had or hadn't been Sherlocked at that point and whatnot. Checklist much appreciated, thanks MC. I'll end on a positive note. Adored the photographs in all their historical yet creepy ways. They definitely added to the overall tale. And were a very creative touch to boot. Loved the time period and the idea of spiritual photography, something I wholly believe in. And lastly, it's more than obvious the author did painstaking research before she put pen to paper, so the attention to detail was definitely not overlooked by yours truly. (less)
3.5 stars If you have been jonesing for a fast-paced, darkish whodunit urban fantasy with an MC stricken with a checkered-past, then give this book a t...more3.5 stars If you have been jonesing for a fast-paced, darkish whodunit urban fantasy with an MC stricken with a checkered-past, then give this book a try, or I should say series. A series I'll definitely continue on reading. Especially with the twisty-esque ending!(less)