At A Glance Dark Whispers was a great sequel to Spirits Rising. I love Rachel's story and the paranormal aspect, but the short length of the novella did not help it.
The Good I was glad to see that Dark Whispers was better than Spirits Rising. This series does a great job of representing a unique outlook on spirits and the ones who can talk to them. I loved how this installment delved deeper into the world and character building as we learned about the "evil" organization out to bring down all the spirit callers and the important parts of Rachel's past.
Rachel gets quite a few surprises in a small amount of time. She meets her real mom and learns that her past is riddled with secrets. Her friends and family are threatened, and she learns the lengths she will go to protect them. I see Rachel becoming stronger and more resilient in just this book and all I can say is it's about damn time. I like this more confident Rachel.
All the side characters really contributed to the story. Each one had a unique personality that brought that special spark that makes you want to keep reading. The writing was well done and the ending doesn't wrap everything up, but leaves room for the story to grow.
The Bad Some parts lulled because of Rachel's kind of "obsession" with Jeremy. I didn't like that the story had such a focus on Rachel's feelings for Jeremy.
With the short length of the story, I felt like some of the action and buildup was cut short. This book would have been better at novel length.
The Snuggly Jeremy has a girlfriend, so it was hard to watch Rachel pine after him. She is obviously in love with him but he is too dense to see it. But by the end, we do see hope for their future.
No sex, so appropriate for a YA, NA, and adult audience.
Final Thoughts You can read Dark Whispers and enjoy it without reading the first book, but I would suggest reading the whole series. It's a slower but exciting urban fantasy that will leave you wanting more. Recommended.
Quotes "I'm not crazy," she said with a hint of a smile in her voice. "Not most of the time, in any case."
The man laughed. "Spirits do not affect me."
"They affect me," I shrieked, in a voice that I did not recognize. Power surged through my being and I stood, possessed with spirits who were completely out of my league. Memories of hunter and pretty, of anger, of disease, of revenge, overtook my senses and the protective spirit of the mother entered me. No one would hurt those I loved. ...more
At A Glance Started out so interesting, then I just got bored and felt annoyed by the end.
The Good If you were going to read Rory for one reason, it would be for the unique, insanely interesting concept. This is like no other story you have ever read. This is not your typical ghost story. Rory is all kinds of dark, beautiful, and creepy. I straight up got the chills for half this book. A person can go crazy trying to imagine all the secrets that have yet to be revealed in this book. Expect good action/drama, mystery galore, and mesmerizing magic.
The first half was the best part of the book. I haven't bitten my nails in years, but I did while reading this book. I never knew what was going to happen. Some of these characters were so evil, so horrible, and some trick you into thinking they are nice but they would stab their own mother in the back. Then there was those few who showed compassion and it made my heart melt. Oh, I wish, I wish the second half never happened.
The Bad The first half was great, no complaints, but the second half ruined it all for me. The plot gets confusing. I had no idea where any of this was going and not in a good way. For the second half Rory became the errand girl for Martin, a Ghost Lord. Yeah, not so fun to read about. When the plot took this 180, it felt completely separate from the first half. From here I was bored out of my mind.
Rory was feisty and determined to fight in the beginning and she lost all that gusto in the second part. She made stupid decisions and I just stopped caring about her overall by the end. And Martin was no better. I actually never cared for him because I still don't know him. Bad character development all around.
Almost nothing was resolved by the end and so many questions were left unanswered that I just had to give up caring for this book. I just felt too frustrated with everything that happened that I didn't want to deal with any of it anymore.
The Snuggly There really is no romance. I guess Rory and Martin might have feelings for each other but I am still not sure. Appropriate for a YA audience.
Final Thoughts I will not be continuing this series. I don't really care about the characters or what is going to happen next. I still give props for the first half, but the second half was the death of my interest. Not recommended.
Quotes It all happens so fast. The creature grabs me with his dark hands. His fingers wrap around my waist like thick metal wires. I freeze. A gust of wind rushes around me as the giant wings rise higher. But before I can pull away, the wings arc downward to propel the demon into the air. I open my mouth, but no sound escapes from my throat. I can't move as the demon lifts me up. This isn't happening, I think to myself. This isn't real.
"Begging your pardon, Lady Cavendish, but I didn't come here, I was taken."
She pauses, and her face takes on a cold light.
At last she says, "Yes, so you were. However, I suggest that you work hard to fit in inside my castle." She smiles, then adds softly, "...That is, if you wish to remain here in one piece."
At A Glance Loved the creepiness, but was too short to really get into.
The Good I will never think of the song "Close to You" by the Carpenters the same way again. I love that song but now it just creeps me out. Just imagine, walking through an abandoned junkyard at night with the song "Close to you" playing over and over again. CREEPY! I straight up got the chills. And the old crazy woman made me even more nervous. You know right away she is not right, but in the end you kind of understand her motives.
Chess and Terrible were awesome together. Terrible is so cool and calm in a crises. Chess is determined to keep Terrible safe no matter what. She thinks of him over herself and I love that about her in this one because sometimes she can be selfish. They totally handled the scary situation perfectly together.
This book definitely had a dark feel to it. And I think a lot of foreshadowing was going on as well. I now have a good idea on what the next full book is going to be about. I can't wait for the next book. Close to You only wetted my appetite.
The Bad I wish Close to You was longer. It was just too short to really get into. It wasn't even a novella, it was straight up a short story. It won't work for everyone.
The Snuggly I loved the hot scene in the beginning with Chess and Terrible. It doesn't get very far but their sexual chemistry is so hot, just them kissing melts the pages. Even in 35 pages, we see the love they have for each other.
Final Thoughts Close to You is very short, so beware. But if you love short stories, then this is perfect for you. Downside Ghost lovers will want to read this, but as a stand alone for a person who hasn't read any of Kane's work, I would skip it. Recommended overall.
Quotes He fell. Chess watched him fall. Her own body had evaporated. She didn't have a body, and she was so tired ... Some part of her screamed and tried to move, knew that she couldn't sleep there outside on the ground, but there was nothing else she could do. The sky grew hazy and narrowed to a slit, and in that slit Eliza Hudson's face appeared, surrounded by a whitish corona.
"I am not letting you ruin my Christmas," she snarled, and everything went black.
*Free book from publisher for honest review*...more
At A Glance A heart-wrenching and interesting concept that kept me reading but a somewhat boring execution.
The Good Reading the book summary still gives me the chills. Such a great concept, right? This guy who has lived on the streets most of his life dies while saving a girl's life. But he doesn't go to hell like he expected. No, he gets offered a job, one where he gets to live the high life: cars, money, a home. But what's his job? He has to kill people, and if he fails he will live an afterlife worse than hell. And his first target is the girl he saved.
Wow, just wow. Recalled really makes you think. What are you capable of when it comes to your happiness and survival? Is love enough? Dex was in such a predicament. I don't even know what I would have done in his position. You always hope you are only capable of the doing the right thing, but you never really know until your are put into a position to choose. Dex has had a horrible life of being unwanted, abused, and of savaging to survive. Then he dies for one good deed. How can he refuse being brought back to life for a chance to live a real life? We can see the goodness in Dex right away. He's not a killer, but he tries. He really does try to kill Piper over and over again, and then saves her life every time. lol. It was actually hilarious. You could see their connection grow after numerous near-death incidences. Watching Dex try to keep his distance while falling in love was both heartbreaking and beautiful.
Piper knows Dex is more than he says. He may be wearing a different body, but he reminds her of the boy who saved her life. And her visions she has had all her life only enforce her suspicions. But no matter how hard she tries to crack him, to get close to him, Dex remains aloof. I loved how much heart Piper had. She felt for the boy who saved her life and wanted to do anything to continue the memory of this stranger from fading. She was very depressed in the beginning of the book, but after meeting Dex, she becomes a beacon of life. You could feel her happiness and hope leaping off the page.
G.R., Dex's boss, was straight up creepy. I loved him as a bad guy. Sure, I easily guessed who he really was, but I still had fun learning how horrible he could be. And Charming, another Death Escort like Dex, was a perfect nemesis to Dex. I know it's wrong but I loved reading about them kicking each other's butts.
I almost put this in the bad section, but after giving it a couple days I have realized that the ending was actually well done. It was bittersweet. Not everything works out, but it isn't horrible either. I wanted to throw the book and cry like a baby at first, but really, I don't think this book could have ended any other way. But now I am dying to see what could happen next because this end was a finality if I ever seen one.
The Bad Something that really bothered me was the inconsistency of time passing. What felt like a couple days would be explained as a couple weeks going by. When Piper is kidnapped, Dex goes to save her, but he has been gone for a couple days (since the kidnapping) and all of a sudden he gets to her in an hour of her getting kidnapped. WTF?
Really, I just kept thinking to myself, "Where is this all going?" I got annoyed sometimes because I wanted something to finally happen. This book is like waiting in line for a Disneyland ride. You are excited about the end result but the wait is tedious boring.
The Snuggly This is a very YA-ish book when it comes to sexual tension and sex in general. Dex and Piper spend a whole weekend together and don't kiss once. :( I wanted a little more romance and a little more smooching.
Final Thoughts After giving it a couple days, I realize I really did like this book. It was hard to take at first because it can get a little depressing but it was still a great concept with great characters. I would love to continue the series, faults and all. Recommended for YA readers.
Quotes "That's the thing about death. It doesn't care about love. It doesn't care if you're not done living. It doesn't stop....It keeps coming until it claims everything a person has, until there's nothing left."
"These bodies were organized. They were hanging—on hangers—and in rows like suits. I had a sudden, vivid image of this man opening his closet every morning and pondering which body to wear."
"I kissed her harder. I kissed her for the first time, the last time, and all the times in between." ...more
At A Glance I loved the concept right away and was pleasently surprised by how much I liked After Ever.
The Good After her mother's death and father's slow withdraw from the world, Winnie's focus becomes rebelling against her old self. Tattoos, face piercings, and dreadlocks is her new look, and sullen, trouble-making teenager is her new persona. That is until she dies. And the afterlife or "After" is not all its cracked up to be. The After is not much different from the living world except for the Unkowns trying to steal your soul and the elusive answers you get from your geeky but cute guide. Everything gets worse when Sam, the guide, is taken by an Unkown and only Winnie can save him. But will she get there in time?
I was so excited when I first read the description of this book. I like unique concepts. They seem hard to come by in the paranormal world recently. I have to admit, it was hard reading the beginning of the book knowing Winnie was going to die. It made me so sad. All she has left is her little brother, Brian, who is like the cutest kid ever. I would want a little brother like that. Winnie and Brian keep each other strong while their father tries to bury the past with young, money-grubbing girlfriends or by avoiding his daughter who reminds him of his wife. Winnie only wants her dad to really look at her. To deal with his wife's death and become the dad he was before. The whole family is pretty messed up and with Winnie dying, I don't know how Brian and her dad are going to survive.
Winnie was hardcore entertaining. She is rude and snarky, but also brave. I liked her attitude because it rang true for a teen who recently lost her mother. She also took things in stride. She didn't freak out (much) when she found out she was dead. She went with the flow as much as she could. And Sam made the experience of reading After Ever that much more fun. He may not be the best guide, but he is a hero in my eyes. He protected Winnie through everything. And he doesn't take Winnie's crap. He actually gives her a run for her money. Their snarky banter was the best part of this book.
The After was exciting to explore with Winnie. I like seeing other people's idea of the afterlife. Eaton's was both scary and beautiful. The Unkowns freaked me out. I am not going to spoil it by telling you what they are but you can bet your butt you would not want them chasing after you.
The writing was good and the pace kept me interested the whole time. It was a quick read. I read it in one night. I am definitely interested in continuing this series.
The Bad I find myself wishing there was more world building. So much is kept secret from Winnie, which means a lot was kept from us too. I wanted to know more about the After and experience more of it too.
Also, the plot could have been more structured. It was a little aimless sometimes. There's no real main goal, just small side ones that pop up through the novel.
One last thing. I don't know who is responsible for it, but the last 30% of the book wouldn't come up right on my Kindle nor my Kindle for PC. A lot of the sentences were cut off and missing. It really took away from me enjoying the last part of this book since I missed a lot. Maybe I just got a dysfunctional copy. (Update: This problem has been fixed)
The Snuggly Don't read this book for the romance. We get some awkward crush stuff between Winnie and Sam but that's it. But I liked it that way. Not every YA book needs to have a huge romance. This was about Winnie's journey and it worked.
Final Thoughts I really had fun with After Ever. It made me want to cry and laugh at the same time. The ending was well done. I wasn't sure how Eaton was going to wrap it up and not leave readers heartbroken. But she worked it out. Recommended for those looking for a book with an orginal concept.
Quotes “For God's sake put on your glasses, Sam. You're staring right at my boobs.”
“I am like a ship, cast out in the ocean to bob aimlessly amidst the waves. No, I correct myself silently. Not a ship. More like the buoy that the ship runs over.” ...more
At A Glance I was so excited to read this book, especially with it having such an interesting concept. But in the end the awesome premise did not negate the fact that the book just wasn't well written.
The Good Molly's life was just looking up. She was turning 16, Rick, the hottie, was finally showing interest in her, and she had some really cool friends despite her creepy ability to raise zombies. Then Rick dies. Bad. But Molly brings him back. Worse. Now Molly finds out she might be the chosen one of the God Anubis and she must go to a special school for training. But all is not lost when Rick follows her to her new school. If only she can shake the unease she feels around him. At least Rath, a fellow Reaper, is a nice/frustrating/hot/annoying distraction. But once kids start dying at school, Molly must learn to use her new powers to fight the evil descending on the academy.
Though I wasn't drawn into the story from the beginning, the story really picks up when Molly finds out who she really is and then goes to the Nekyia Academy. She is just a girl, hoping to have her first romance, but she is made to grow up fast. She might be God Anubis's chosen, the person who will fight his battle on earth, so she must train. But that gets increasingly difficult as teachers and mean girls alike want her to fail. Everyone seems to be against her. But why? I liked the mystery behind the whole story. It was like the answers were within our reach but we could only skim our fingers over them.
Molly is very young. She talks and acts very much like a teenager. But as the story went on, she did grow and she accepted her responsibility. I admired her because her future seems very dark but she finds a way to make light of the situation. She was actually kind of hilarious sometimes. She has that kind of sense of humor that just makes you smirk.
I think Rath brought out the best and worst in Molly. Rath is frustrating as all get out, which makes Molly extra feisty. He's kind of mean but caring at the same time. He treats Molly like a spoiled child who needs to learn to toughen up (which is true). But he has his moments of sincerity and vulnerability that make me want to swoon. I don't know how it's going to happen but Molly and Rath need to get together. I would love to see where they can go.
I love the world Vail took us to. It's both dark and light. I see a potential of happiness, but right now all seems lost. Molly has a hard road ahead of her and not many people are on her side. This book brings us a fresh concept that has great potential to grow.
The Bad Where to start? How about the fact that the first 10% of this book is recap of the Undeadly world and information about the dead and their relation to the living. I was about ready to give up on this book when it tried to drown me with pages of info I really didn't need to know right up front. Needless to say, the info-dumps were abundant and chocking.
Then, to make things worse, after living through that much info shoved down my throat, it was then repeated throughout the book. *Sighs* Just shoot me now. And the repetitiveness didn't stop there, it went on through similar words and phrases being said over and over again.
The last thing that bothered me is hard to explain. The whole book felt...disjointed to me. How it was written didn't flow from scene to scene, it skipped and jerked. I was acutely aware that I was reading a book. I was never pulled into the story like I hoped. Also, the reasoning behind a lot of things that happened were vague or never explained and it annoyed me to no end.
The Snuggly Not so much snuggly in this book. Rick and Molly's relationship wasn't really a relationship at all and I can't say why, that's too much of a spoiler. Her and Rath seem like they could be a hot couple, but again, that doesn't look hopeful since he is a reaper which usually means your dead. So, don't read this book for the romance.
Final Thoughts I am still saddened that such a great idea was lost amongst bad writing. I don't know if Vail can bring this series together and pop out some great books or if it's DOA. I do think the potential is there. Undeadly is a 50-50 deal for me. I liked it half the time and wanted to give up the other half. I don't know if I will be continuing the series. Recommended to those who can turn a blind eye to bad writing for a great concept.
Quotes I flipped out the cell's keyboard. My fingers hovered over the keys. Should I text Rick? I wasn't sure. What would I say? Sorry you died at my party, but hey, I saved your soul. You're welcome."
I slid the keyboard back in. Then two seconds later, I slid it back out, chose Rick's name in my contacts and texted: You okay? I clicked Send before I chickened out.
Crap. That text was awful with a side of lame. Why hadn't I said something less sucky? Argh! ...more
At a Glance Haunted was a good read but it added nothing to the series as a whole.
The Good I am always interested to see how authors envision the afterlife and Armstrong apparently has a vivid imagination because she created one hell of a complex world for the dead. I did find many of her descriptions very interesting because she created a detailed picture that I could imagine myself being sucked into.
I never cared to know more about Eve, the dead, dark witch and mother to Savannah, but she did start to grow on me as the story went along. I wanted her to succeed in her task because I believed she deserved a second chance at some kind of pleasant afterlife. And I wanted to see her come to terms with her situation because her pining over her living dauther was getting depressing. So her finding peace was something I hoped for the whole time.
Once the book got into Eve and her friends going after the demon Nix, things started to really pick up. The whole ghost and afterlife concept really came together and things started to make sense. The action and fighting was very well done. Nix was such a horrible being that I loved watching the "good guys" chasing after her. I liked the fact that the Fates past three assassins failed to kill Nix so they sent Eve as their last resort in reining in this demon. Because Eve is similar enough to Nix to know what she might be thinking but is good enough to want to save innocents' lives.
Haunted was a compelling read. The afterlife world was beyond interesting in its intricacies and rules. It was fun to discover every new detail. This book also had a great finish that will satisfy most.
The Bad The beginning was slow. Armstrong really threw in massive amounts of information about the afterlife right away, and I just wanted to get to the meat of the story. The afterlife was very similar to the world in Beetlejuice, which I don't know is a good or bad thing. I enjoyed Armstrong's take of the ghost world, but I just wish it wasn't dropped on my lap all at once.
My biggest problem is that this story in no way contributed to the series as a whole. It was like Armstrong got sidetracked and threw in this story to give bad witch Eve a redeemable story. I wasn't really interested in the characters going in. I want to read more about my favorite characters.
The Snuggly We get a little romance between Eve and Kristof. No real sex scenes, just the lead up to one. I never really liked Kristof, and Eve is just okay, so seeing them together did nothing for me.
Overall I had fun reading this book most of the time. Little things bothered me here and there but it was an overall good read. But in regard to following the series, this book can definitely be skipped. Recommended for those who love everything Armstrong.
Quote “You'll wrest a burning sword from an angel, but you're afraid of bats?"
"I'm not afraid of them. I just don't like them. They're...furry. Flying things shouldn't be furry. It's not right. And if I ever meet the Creator, I'm taking that one up with him."
"That I'd like to see. Your one and possible only chance to get the answer to every question in the universe, and you ask, 'Why are bats furry?"'