Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: Shattered Souls

Mary Lindsey
Paranormal Young Adult
336 Pages
Available Now
Received for review
through Teen Book Scene

Lenzi has a problem. She hears voices talking to her–pleading with her to help them–and she thinks she's going crazy just like her dad did. At her request, her boyfriend Zak takes her to her father's grave late at night so she can feel closer to him. When Zak passes out drunk on a bench in the graveyard, Lenzi thinks she's alone until a young man named Alden approaches her and calls her Rose.

Thrown off-kilter by the presence of a stranger who seems intent on calling her by another woman's name, Lenzi tries to get him to leave her alone. It's only when he mentions the voices that she decides to listen. It seems Lenzi has lived several lifetimes as a woman named Rose–a woman who helps restless spirits complete tasks that will help them find peace and move on, and Alden has been by her side as her Protector in each lifetime.

Wanting to deny everything Alden tells her but unable to do so the more she hears the spirits whispering to her, Lenzi decides to throw herself into the world of Speakers and Protectors and attempt to fulfill a destiny lifetimes in the making, regardless of the fact she can't remember anything from her past as Rose. Rose's history quickly catches up with Lenzi however, and she finds herself haunted by a ghost with a vendetta while fighting the memory of a woman she can't remember for Alden's love.

Shattered Souls gives us an interesting take on assisting the dead with the resolution of any business anchoring them to the mortal plane, adding an extra layer of complexity to the world by incorporating the cyclical nature of Lenzi and Alden's connection. Not only do we get to watch as Lenzi deals with her assimilation from normal human to paranormal spiritual guide but we also get the added drama of her past-lifetime amnesia and its effect on her relationship with Alden. The link between them is a complicated knot from the very beginning–their history together having already pulled the strands taut–and one of the more fascinating aspects of the story is witnessing Lenzi unravel her ties to Rose and Alden while finding a way to twist new knots that bind the young woman she is today to the man she's lived with for lifetimes.

Once Lenzi moves past her "I'm not cut out for this" mindset and begins to embrace her job as a Speaker, she quickly becomes a character we connect with and long to help as she flounders in a world that's new to her mind and body in this cycle but old to her soul. She's determined to make Alden see her for who she is without painting her with Rose's brush, and we can't help but feel a pang of sympathy for her every time a comparison is made to a woman she doesn't know. While Lenzi is likeable for the most part, her feelings for Alden do develop rather swiftly given she has no recollection of their past time together, and she casts boyfriend Zak aside easily after mere moments before labeling him as the one normal thing in her life to keep her grounded. She ignores him and hides Alden from him before the official break up, dropping her a few rungs down our maturity ladder as we frown on her behavior even while our support of her in other areas continues to grow.

Alden, for as big a role as he plays in this story, remains a bit of a mystery to us throughout. We get a few of his memories of his time with Rose, but even with them and the interactions he has with Lenzi, he's still like looking upon a reflection in water–at times we can see him clearly and his edges are defined and recognizable, then the wind will blow and he'll shift out of focus again before we can grab on and hold tight. Part of his appeal is in this very elusiveness though, forcing us to keep questioning whether he's in love with the woman he remembers or the one standing in front of him now, and we read as fast as possible to attempt to get past the ripples to the place where the water is calm enough to give us an unwavering look at who he truly is.

The story itself is intriguing but feels just a touch choppy, three separate conflicts transpiring and then getting resolved within this one book. First we have the past-life amnesia mystery and the reintroduction of the Speaker/Protector world to Lenzi and by extension us, then we move on to a malevolent spirit bent on revenge for Rose's actions in a previous life, and then finally we have a dramatic clash between Zak and Alden. Though the growing relationship between Lenzi and Alden does link each mini-episode to the others, there's still a lingering sense of incongruity between the malevolent spirit and the Zak showdown, with each piece of the story feeling as though it could have been expanded upon to make the overall arc flow better. That being said however, the chapters do fly by at blurring speed and this tale is easily devoured in one sitting, making it a solid read even with its few flaws.

Rating: 3.5/5

Ms. Lindsey asked the blog participants on this tour to take pictures of the Shattered Souls ARC mailed from person to person with their pets, so I'm including the pictures I sent her below. This is Gatsby who is typically not as in love with the camera as Griffin, but Griffin kept trying to lick the book when it was put next to him so he had to sit in a little time out while Gatsby got all the glory :-)


  1. Oh my goodness. Your dog's name is Gatsby!? That is AMAZING. *makes note of name for future pet* :P

    Anyway, back to Shattered Souls. I wasn't the biggest fan of this book because it just seemed...familiar. I read it quickly but never really found myself completely loving it. =/ Thanks for the review, Jenny! :)

  2. Love the picture of your dog! I agree that the book isn't perfect. The story reminded me a lot of Angelfire. It's one of those - I've already read this - type of stories. But I loved Lenzi and Alden and that made up for a lot of the book's flaws.

  3. Hmmm... I will say that what makes NEED to own this book is its cover... But I think it sounds good too! Lol I don't like feeling rushed through the plot line though...

  4. Oh my gosh!!!! Your dog is absolutely ADORABLE!! <3 And Gatsby has to be about the best dog name in history -- I love it! :)

    Awesome review, Jenny! I've been wanting to read this one for sooo long (LOL I got sucked in by that gorgeous cover!) and I'm really glad you enjoyed it, despite its flaws! I'm pretty picky with choppiness in books too LOL but I still totally want to give this one a shot!

    (Alden sounds so mysterious -- and I loved your water analogy!)

  5. I've been DYING to read this book but a LOT of people haven't liked it that much but they really liked the guy !! Seems like you did too!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  6. Ive been wanting to red this one for so long!! I think this has one of coolest covers Ive seen this year as well....but my fav part of your review is that doggy pic!! He is so cute!!!

    I heart doggies...:)

  7. Lauren - So glad you like the name Gatsby! He was our first dog, Grif came later, and it took me forever to decide on one:) This book definitely had a familiar feel to it, but it was a quick and entertaining read I thought:)

    Angelfire - It did have an Angelfire feel with past life amnesia, and by the end I was rooting for Lenzi and Alden for sure:)

    Ashley - It just felt a little to me like the book was divided up into thirds, and I just wanted everything to meld together a bit more I guess.

    Mimi - Thank you! We kind of love him:) Alden is mysterious and I liked that, I wanted to figure him out but couldn't quite do it. A little like Linden in Wither I think:)

    Krazzyme - I did like Alden! I liked Lenzi too, but she did some small things that bothered me. Overall though, I enjoyed the characters:)

    Tina - It is a gorgeous cover:) And Gatsby will be so thrilled to know he has admirers, it's usually Griffin that gets all the attention!

  8. That cover is gorgeous, and how adorable is your four-legged babe? I find myself being picky about my paranormal lately. Too many fantastical tales with a lack of character development and/or plot cohesiveness. I'm intrigued, though. . . . it sounds like there is a bit of Rebecca in with this one with the Rose comparisons. And I do love the premise. Lovely and honest review, Jenny - thanks!

  9. I've heard elsewhere about the choppiness of this book. I was really excited to read it but now not so much haha. I will regardless though since I got an ARC but I'll know what to expect. Awesome review!

    Xpresso Reads

  10. How awesome is that you have a dog named Gatsby?! That's so cool!

    Sorry you didn't like Shattered Souls as much as I did. I was swept away with Lenzi and Alden's relationship. Well, Alden mostly. I fell for him really hard the more we got to know him. Some people prefer Angelfire to this one but I didn't.

  11. I think Gatsy deserves a little bit of all that glory. :)

  12. Is Gatsby brindle (I'll be embarrassed if he's not a boxer)? I love him so much! Love that you have G & G, that's so cute! I was wavering when you said it was choppy, but Gatsby sold me on it. If it's good enough for him, I'm sold!

  13. Linds - Thank you! He's kind of ridiculous but he's a keeper:) I liked the story overall, I just wanted things to fit together a little bit more:)

    Giselle - There were just a lot of different pieces to seemingly different puzzles all in one book, but it's a fun and fast read:)

    Rummanah - Thanks! I had the name picked out way before we got him, but it definitely seems to fit him:) And I did enjoy this one, especially Alden, I just felt like we moved on to something new before I could get situated.

    Carrie - Thanks!

    Amanda - Right? He's brother is an attention whore of epic proportions.

  14. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't like this one as much. I've read some pretty good reviews for it, so I'm definitely planning on reading this sometime. Thanks for the review, Jenny! And the cute pics ;)

  15. Why is she not named Rose now then? Since that has always been her name...

  16. LOL! Poor Griffin! He just wanted to devour the book a little like you do. Can you blame him? *giggles* I really do love the name Gatsby. Plus, he's adorable. And that's coming from me who isn't the hugest doggie fan.

    I was pretty skeptical on this book. I mean, the whole premise sounds good, but I have a hard time with books that have the whole past and present thing. Mostly because a lot of the time there is all this stuff that has to be remembered and then it happens too fast and I don't get a chance to believe the love story. I've had to file too many of them under insta love. Plus, I think I'd feel for Zak. I may pick this one up eventually, but It's moving to the middle of my TBR for now. (It was kind of already there, though, LOL!)

  17. Ashley - He is a boxer! And he is a brindle, though I guess technically a reverse brindle since he's dark with light stripes instead of light with dark like his brother (he's pictured on the About Me page). Glad Gatsby could help promote the book!

    Hafsah - It wasn't bad by any stretch, I just had a few issues with it:) I've read plenty of glowing reviews though, so everyone should read it and see what they think!

    Blodeuedd - I believe her middle name is Rose. Lenzi Rose:)

    Jen - He did. He as all about leaving his mark on it and since I had to mail it on to other people, I figured they wouldn't appreciate that and he got yanked from the photo shoot:) This book had it's strong points for sure, I just wasn't keen on her treatment of Zak even though I liked Alden better:)

  18. OH can I just hug Gatsby??? SO CUTE!!

    Plus can you really blame Griffin? I mean he liked the book more than you and was just expressing that it was a tasty treat! He didn't mind the choppyness of the book. I mean hamburger is choppy and I bet he loves that! LOL

    Yes, my brainage is damaged and full of dog slobber....

  19. That's kind of an odd request unless an animal figures prominently in the book?! I was hoping this would be better than just okay. Think I'll wait a bit on this one. As always, you reviewed it beautifully telling the few flaws, but also why we should read it. Excellent!


  20. Loved the dog! I Loved the review as always Jenny! You have such a way with words :)

  21. Awe! But he just wanted to lick it. LOL

    Gatsby is so handsome. Glad he got over his camera shiness so we could see his pretty mug.

    Though I've seen the cover for this book everywhere, I never really stopped to read what it was about. I guess the cover should have given it away.

  22. Cute pictures! It seems like this is getting some mediocre reviews. I've seen some 5 star, but most are 3 or 3.5. Which is fine cause I'm still dying to read it!

  23. I'm looking forward to reading this one so thanks for the heads up about Lenzi's feelings for Alden developing quickly. It's something I'm sure I'd have a problem with so it's nice to get a warning about it.

    Aw, Gatsby is adorable!

  24. Can I just say that I want to steal Gatsby and have him live at my house! He has such great coloring :)

    What a fun idea for a blog tour!

  25. I'm so glad I came here for this review, because I can always count on you to be honest, Jenny. I love the premise of this book and the way of the romance (though I'm not liking the immature and totally trite Must Hide Other Boy-Crush While I'm Dating routine). As far as the choppiness... well, I guess I'm going to have to read it to surmise my own feelings.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  26. I've been on the fence about it, but since you were able to connect with her once she comes into her own, I'll prb give it a try

  27. It sounds like this one is still worth a read. I don't like those "I'm not cut out for this" time sucks. Sure, they're probably more realistic than immediately jumping onto the paranormal bandwagon, but I'd rather not waste time.

    Your puppy is adorable, but the story about the other one licking the book and sitting in time out is possibly even cuter :)

  28. Hmm, the choppiness of the story sounds frustrating. It doesn't necessarily sound like one that would appeal to me. Thanks for the review! =)

  29. Great review, Jenny! I'm so curious about this one, but I have no idea how I'll like it. Seems like there's a lot of different opinions circulating! The choppy part doesn't sound too promising, since I definitely dislike that, but I'm glad you enjoyed it even with the flaws. I'll probably pick this up sometime in the near future! :)

    Also, Gatsby is so cute! Lol on Griffin trying to lick it. I'm sure that's what my dog would have tried. That, or bite it, haha.

  30. Wonderful honest review, Jenny!

    Hmm, I'm not sure this book would be for me. It sounds like there's a bit of insta-love, which drives me crazy ;)

    Gatsby is a cutie! (And very awesome name)

  31. Not going to lie, despite the hype surrounding this book, I know very little about it (aside the fact that it has a gorgeous cover). I have a copy heading my way, but I think when I get it I will set it aside before delving into it (reading Divergent and other books like that first). Thanks for the honest review Jenny! Sorry the insta-love and choppiness was a bit of a let-down!