Shine

Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves…even if that means betraying her own heart. (Goodreads)

The Recap:

Shine is the third and final book in the Shade trilogy. If you have not read the first two books you can check out my reviews here and here, otherwise, consider yourself warned: Thar be spoilers ahead.

In the last year Aura’s boyfriend, Logan, has died from an overdose, he’s gone from ghost to shade and back again, and at the end of Shift (book 2), he finally passed on.  Aura was heartbroken, something she expressed by making out with Logan’s younger, admittedly adorable brother, and crushing on Zachary, Scottish hottypants deluxe.  Those events, the ones pertaining to Logan moving from ghost to shade, as well as his appearance in flesh and blood at one point, open up a heap of questions and put the DMP hot on both Aura and Zach’s tail. It also really complicated her situation with Zach, who, by the end of the last book, moved from sexy something to boyfriend now that Aura’s dead boyfriend was no longer following her around complicating things.

Whew! That’s a lot to swallow, right?

In the last book, I was sad to see Aura say goodbye to Logan, but it opened up this whole new facet in the series, a chance to understand what makes the DMP so bad, a glimpse into the history of Aura’s parents, and exactly what part she and Zach play in the Shift (for those not in the know, the Shift is an event that took place making it possible for everyone born after a certain time period to see ghosts).

In Shine, Zach is detained by those nasty DMP people and Aura can’t contact him.  She feels he’s in danger (um, yeah) and she’ knows they’re spying on her as well.  Her aunt, ever-patient and supportive, is trying to help to no avail.  Aura attempts in her wonderfully stubborn, often misguided way, to rescue him herself and in the process she unearths some major dirt on the DMP, their motives, and the different people interested in the survival or destruction of both she and Zach.

My Take:

I normally am not a fan of paranormal books, but I love this series, love the characters, love the love story. You guys, I want to draw little hearts around it and keep it forever. Seriously.  One of the best things is that the love triangle presented a truly difficult choice. And yes, I say that knowing that Logan was dead and had absolutely no future with Aura. What they shared was that touching.  In this book, the relationship with Zach reaches all new swoony awesome heights, but to be honest, I actually missed Logan. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted Aura and Zachary to be together, and I wanted her to move on, but I missed that pull in his direction. I was sad to know that he was gone for good.

The drama with the DMP and a few other evil doers was interesting to a point, but ultimately I just wanted to know if the Shift would continue or end.  I needed to know what would happen to Aura and Zach and the Keeleys (Logan’s family), as well as to Aura’s best friend. Smith-Ready answers those questions in a truly satisfying way. Honestly, it was a fitting end and I liked it.  I wasn’t as enraptured as I was with the first two books, but I was really happily content.  You can’t ask for more than that.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5

Top Ten Tuesday- Halloween Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the gals over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we are discussing creepy, spooky stuff to get you into the Halloween Spirit. I love scary stuff! I mean, except for The Exorcist and blood and guts stuff and The Amityville Horror and those creepy twins in The Shining.  Otherwise, scary stuff is totally my thing (as long as covering your eyes is OK because that’s totally how I watch American Horror Story).  Books are entirely different because they can be so much scarier–it all depends on your imagination.

Here’s what I’ve got (and fair warning, they aren’t all scary, but they are very Halloweenish).

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– Creepy children are, well, creepy. And take a gander at the weird pics in this book.  Crazy!  In all honesty, the children in the book aren’t at all scary, in fact, their wonderfully quirky. But the monsters chasing them? Well, that’s a different story.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling– Wizards and spells and very, very VERY bad guys who want to kill The Boy Who Lived?  I love this series.  Everything about it screams Halloween.

3. The Enemy by Charles Higson– I’ve mentioned this book so many times before because it is a fantastic zombie book.  And then there’s this whole power struggle between the surviving kids, all of them trying to decide where to go, what to do, etc before their next-door neighbor/gym teacher/uncle tries to eat their brains.  Good stuff. Very suspenseful.

4. Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman– There are some serious bad guys in this book, and because it’s so realistically done (meaning it’s not set it some mythical world but in a believably modern-day setting) it seems less far-fetched and more plausible, making it that much creepier.

5. This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers– Another zombie book. This one had me with its quiet descriptions of life for the kids boarded up inside a school trying to survive the raging Zombiepocalypse going on around them.  It’s so, so very quiet. The only thing you can hear, other than the discussions and arguments of the group inside, is the constant scratching a clawing at the doors by the zombie who are outside, chomping at the bit to get in and devour the school’s new residents.

6. Insatiable by Meg Cabot– This is not a scary book, but it is a fun, vampire book about a girl who falls for the wrong guy. He’s like the King of the Vampires, or the Dark Lord or something vampy–but he’s way sexy. I mean, like super-crazy hot.  In real life this is not a good reason to date the wrong guy, but in books it’s quite advisable to date them or at least have a serious make out session with them. You know, just ’cause you can.  And the MC, Meena, isn’t your typical Bella-type. She fights her desire, along with her mega-hotty sidekick (seriously, the girl is surrounded by attractive men), and decides she may not necessarily be the girl who’ll forsake everything to become a vampire for the undead guy she loves.  It’s a really cute book.

7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting– My friends over at Gone Pecan encouraged me to read this series a while back, citing that they were awfully creepy books and whoa mama, they weren’t lying.  The main character can hear “echoes” from dead people, leading her to their killer.  The author always lets you into the mind of the serial killers as well. It’s been my experience that serial killers are always, always creepy and the ones in this series are not an exception.  Sometimes, the images from the book, flash in my mind when I’m talking my dog for a walk after dark.  You wouldn’t believe how fast I run home when that happens.

8. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson– Ghosts and Jack the Ripper. Is there anything scarier?  I think not.

9. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready– These aren’t your typical ghost books, because they aren’t really scary. That being said, in this series, anyone under a certain age can see dead people.  There is no way that is normal and can be anything but totally creepy, yet somehow, because the main theme is a love story (the MC’s boyfriend dies and now his ghost follows her around and it’s so, so good and not in any way cheesy), it’s less scary and more swoony. And that is coming from someone who is NOT a huge fan of paranormal garbage.

10. Abandon by Meg Cabot- This was a real departure for Cabot. The series revolves around Pierce, a girl who has had a near-death experience. She actually died briefly and in that time, she traveled to the Underworld where she was held captive by John, also known as Hades. He continues to follow her around as she tries to piece together what has happened and decide whether she is drawn to him or wants to escape him. I really love these books because I love Cabot’s writing and because John is way hot.  I can’t lie.

Top Ten Tuesday-Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we talking about our Spring TBRs. This may seem slightly repetitive considering my post in December about the books I’m most looking forward to this year (because more than half of them were coming out between January and May), so humor me a bit here. I really want to read these!

 

1. A Million Suns by Beth Revis– It’s only been sitting on my bookshelf forever and I’ve been dying to read it since I finished Across the Universe. It’s a blessing and a curse (but not really) to have so many good books to read.  Why do I need sleep?

 

2. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand– This came out and I still haven’t bought it. Why???  I have no idea because I want to read it SO bad.

 

3. Lost In Time by Melissa De la Cruz- I still haven’t read this sixth installment of the Blue Bloods series.  And I should be cause I love me some Jack Force!

 

4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano– Oooooh what happened to Rhine and Gabriel? And what has become of Linden?  I should probably read it to find out.

 

5. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting– I’ll be really honest here. I like all the creepy stuff in these books, but what I really want is more Violet and Jay.

 

6. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready– Holy cow, I’m both dying for and sad about the conclusion to the Shift books.  What is going to happen?????

 

7. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle– I can’t explain it. I just have to read this.

 

8. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare– The only thing I hate about this series is waiting for the next installment.  Can’t wait for this one.

 

9. Underworld by Meg Cabot– Pierce and John and that whole “trying to kidnap her and keep her in the underworld” thing–I loved that.  And I love everything Meg Cabot writes so I know this will be good.

 

10. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith– I hear this is super cute. I like super cute.  I love books that make me smile. Also there’s a British guy so I’m sold.

Name of the Star

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities. (Barnes and Noble)

The Story:

Rory moves from Louisiana to London in the midst of some crazy business.  As she hopes to start her new life at Wexford Academy, a boarding school, everyone is in hysteria over a murder that appears to be a copycat of the first 1888 Jack the Ripper crime.

Creepy!!!

One by one, more murders occur with details alarmingly close to the originals.  After being dragged to a crime scene by her recent snogging partner, Jerome (um, yeah. You might want to rethink that one, Rory. Just sayin), Rory gets noticed by a strange man.  And when she runs into him later on campus, things get a little creepy.  With the whole school going Spazz City over the recent murders (and those to come. Boooohaaaaaaaa), it appears that Rory is about to get more involved than she’d like.  She finds that she has a strange ability that interests London’s special Undercover Ghost Police (not really their name, I swear) and they want to use her to lure the killer out.

My Take:

This was completely different from any of Maureen Johnson’s other books.  There was still an underlying sense of humor in the main character, which I appreciate because I think Johnson does that well, but there was a great creepy vibe that hearkened back to old school horror films— the old black and whites that let the horror happen in the set up and in the anticipation.  Of course, anything dealing with Jack the Ripper is equal parts intriguing and disturbing (I’m sorry Johnny Depp, but even you can’t make me watch From Hell again because watching the Ripper crimes scenes recreated was that scary).

Hmm...maybe I will watch it again

At the same time, the details given by Johnson made me want to look up more facts about the infamous murders and the theories behind who the killer may have actually been.

Picture of the real From Hell Letter. That gives me shivers. The bad kind.

Along with the gruesome bits of history is a storyline about ghosts. I won’t delve into too much detail here because it could potentially be quite spoilery, but I thought it was a fun, creative twist in the overall plot.  Also, Rory is still a just a teenage girl trying to adjust to life in a new school, faced with the typical are-we-boyfriend-and-girlfriend-or-do-we-just-makeout-alot dilemmas, in addition to wondering when and if this murderer will strike again.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5 I liked it. It was a solid read.

Soundtrack: I’m showing my age here, but whatevs. This song, Like a Stone by Audioslave, has always creeped me out because of its stalkerish nature.

Top Ten Tuesday- Oops

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The topic this week is supposed to be Top Ten Books for People Who Don’t Read.  Since apparently I am unable to follow instructions, a few weeks ago I posted a list under the same heading  (I should have been more specific like, “People Who Don’t Read YA”. My bad!) Anyhoo, if you’d like to see my original list you can do that here. Otherwise, this week I’ll be doing what I should have done then.

So here’s my Top Ten Books for People Who Don’t Read Paranormal. I feel that this is a subject I can totally relate to because I really am not a fan of books about wolves and vampires and the like.  I mean, have you seen the covers of these books? Oh the emo faces! Oh the Twilight ripoffs!  It’s embarrassing to even pick one up, nevermind reading them.  But there are a choice few that I like. In fact, I pretty much love most of these:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, vampires, faeries, warlocks, wolves

Bonus Factor: Jace

These are considered Urban Fantasy and they fit that description perfectly, but if anyone had told me what they were about and the long list of crazy creatures, I may have skipped them. Thank goodness I went by the legions of ladies who swoon over Jace,  because I seriously LOVE these books. Clare makes this genre totally cool and fun.

 

The Blue Bloods series by Melissa De la Cruz

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, Vampires, Witches

Bonus Factor: Jack Force

This series has an interesting mix of angels and vampires with some really fun history thrown in.  The love triangles are killer and the relationship of Schuyler and Jack is packed with chemistry. Get ready to fall in love with Jack. Also, dear lord, the tension is fantastic. I could barely take it.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels

I’ve read a ton of stories about fallen angels and storyline gets old quickly unless something truly creative is done with it (see Blue Bloods).  Unearthly has nothing to do with fallen angels. This is about a girl who finds out that she is part angel. And this girl’s entire purpose is wrapped up in a mysterious mission she must complete. Of course there are barriers to that mission. And of course there is a great love story. And the characters are wonderful.  I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed this and at how swoonworthy the romance was.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Wolves

I can’t say this enough: I hate wolves.  It’s just not a storyline that generally speaks to me. This may be due in part to the fact that I absolutely cannot stand Jacob Black.  Hate him! This book, however is entirely about wolves. And it isn’t about some lame girl in love with a wolf . It’s about a tough girl who is a wolf. And she is set to lead her own pack along with the guy she’s betrothed to.  Only problem: she hates him (I don’t know why ladies. He’s pretty sexy). Oh and she falls in love with a human.  I loved the main character, Calla. She made this book for me.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, Mythological Creatures, All-around bad asses

I’ve blabbed about this book an awful lot, I know. And luckily, the review is coming this week because I feel I need to discuss it more.  This story is less about angels than it is about clashing mythological worlds and the “normal” girl caught in crossfire.  It is so good. So good!

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Ghosts

Oh, I love, love, love these books. There is major swoon here. And the premise— because of some odd, cosmic occurrence, people under a certain age can all see ghosts—is so fun. And our heroine, Aura, can see the ghost of her boyfriend who just died. It’s weird and tragic all at once. Read this series.

The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting

CAST OF CHARACTERS: People who hear dead people (is there a name for that?)

These books are so creepy without having a really big “paranormal” feel to them.  Violet can hear dead people calling her—those who have died violently at the hands of another. And she attempts to use this ability to help find a serial killer who has been stalking young girls in her area. And while she’s trying to figure out that mess, she has developed a major crush on her seriously charming best friend, Jay. This series is equal parts creepy suspense and sweet romance.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

CAST OF CHARACTERS: A guy who runs the Underworld (so, Mythology)

This is a retelling of the myth of Persephone. And it’s Meg Cabot so, while it’s a little darker than her normal stuff, it still has her awesome wit, her great characters, and a romance that leaves you wanting more.

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Vampires, Vampire Hunters

This one is funny you guys. Totally funny. And yes, the naughty vampire, Lucien, is pretty darn sexy, as is the vampire hunter, Alaric (who I happen to picture looking like Alaric from The Vampire Diaries. This is not a bad thing). And Meena is caught between her attraction to Lucien and her belief in what is right and safe.  Word to the wise: this girl is no mindless Bella.

THE ENEMY BY CHARLES HIGSON

Cast of Characters: Zombies

You guys, this book is creepytown.  A virus infects the world so that anyone over the age of eighteen turns into disgusting, brain-eating zombies.  There’s  a few groups of kids outside of London, all of whom are trying to stay safe without starving to death.  It doesn’t sound enticing but trust me, I was sucked in from the get go.

Hereafter

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Amelia has no idea who she is. She doesn’t know where she’s from, where she’s been or how she died.  She’s a ghost who constantly dreams she’s drowning in a local river, only to wake to find herself in that river or in the graveyard where she is undoubtedly buried.  And worse, she’s alone in every conceivable way because no one can see or hear her.

That is until she helps to save Joshua from drowning. As he’s sinking, she yells and screams under the water and urges him to wake and swim upward.  Miraculously he does. And when he’s physically pulled from the water, he turns to Amelia and says his name.  He can see her, although no one else standing on the shore can.  And later he comes looking for Amelia (this doesn’t hurt matters because, of course, Joshua is hot.  Even a dead girl can see that). But there’s danger lurking around the corner in the form of another sinister ghost named Eli who wants to control Amelia.  He seeks her out and her frightens her.

Josh wants to help Amelia find her true identity. And, you know, he wants to kiss her, of course—OF COURSE he does! What kind of story would this be if neither of them were attractive or attracted to each other?  And yet despite their obvious hotness, their relationship seems doomed. I know. Who knew?

My Take:

This story started so good.  The first chapter vividly describes Amelia’s drowning nightmare and has a wonderful mysterious vibe.  And Amelia’s attempt to save Joshua, as well as his simple acknowledgment of her presence, grabbed me.

But somewhere along the line (fairly early into the story) it lost me.  There was a lot of wandering on Amelia’s part (because she’s “lost”, doesn’t know her identity, has no memories and time holds no meaning to her).  And when the details of her death were revealed I felt let down because I was hoping for a little more mystery. Instead the story fell flat.

The relationship between Amelia and Joshua had some sweet moments and had some interesting conflict, but even that seemed like a missed opportunity. Despite the fact that I liked both Amelia and Joshua, I never felt invested in either of them or in their relationship beyond the first couple of chapters.

Crush Intensity: 2/5 I was very disappointed, but since the first chapter was interesting and the basic idea was good, I’ll give it a 2.

 

Thank you to Net Galley and Harper Teen for allowing me to read an e galley of this book!

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’m Psyched About for 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week’s topic is books I’m excited to read in 2012. Now, since there are still a ton of books from 2011 I need to read (as well as older books), I’m only going to focus on new releases.

1. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand- I loved the first book in this series, Unearthly.  It was exceptional. The sequel comes out Januray 17, 2012.  The wait is almost over!

2. Fever by Lauren DeStefano- This is book numero dos in The Chemical Garden trilogy. The first book, Wither,  was so, so good and highly disturbing.  What’s going to happen next?  Fever comes out on February 21,2012. I’m psyched!

3. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- Delirium was so fantastic. I’m dying to see what happens next.  Luckily, I don’t have to wait until the publish date of February 28, 2012 because the ever awesome Dixie and Maggie at Gone Pecan just sent me their ARC.  Holla!

4. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter- Oh, I can’t wait to see what happens next for Henry and Kate. And let’s be real, more Henry. I need more. Book two comes out on March 27,2012.

5. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- This is book number three in The Body Finder series.  I only recently got into these but sister, I’m hooked.  I need more now. This one comes out on April 17,2012.

 

6. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth- Well…have YOU read Divergent? ‘Nuff said. The sequel comes out on May 1, 2012.

7. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready- You guys, this is the third and final book in the Shade series. I don’t want it to end, but I need closure (and more kissing).  I’ll get that on May 1,2012.

8. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle- Serle is a debut author who has written some fantastic, funny columns on other blogs.  This book sounds so good to me. It comes out on May 1, 2012.

9. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare- Can you believe that this is book number five in the Mortal Instruments series?  I still love these and don’t know if I can hold out until the release date of May 8,2012.

10. Underworld by Meg Cabot- This sequel to Abandon (which I loved.  I mean hello, John is hot) comes out May 8, 2012. Also, it’s Meg Cabot. She can do no wrong.

11. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone- Let me just say that anytime you tell me that a book is like a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife (my favorite book on the entire planet), I’m there. That’s what the buzz is on this one, which is being released on October 9, 2012.

12. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins- I don’t think it’s possible for Perkins to write a book that isn’t completely charming.  I’m totally excited to read this second and final companion to Anna and the French Kiss.  We don’t have a solid publication date yet, but we know it’s coming in 2012.