Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe—the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along. As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.
ebook, 242 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Tribute Books
Three Stars: An action packed book filled with witches and deceit!
Jewel and her family are yet again relocating. For her entire life, almost seventeen years now, she, her parents and little brother have been part of the witness protection program. They are constantly on the run, hiding from the bad guys. Jewel's life consists of new schools, no friends, constant moving and new aliases. She is sick and tired of living a nomadic life, never able to settle in one place long enough to make friends and not knowing from who they are running. On top of the hiding, Jewel must always remember to cover her distinctive birthmark, a red crescent moon on her shoulder. If anyone were to see this telling mark it could give them away. She settles into her hideous pink bedroom, wondering how long she will live here in Florida. Her seventeenth birthday is on the horizon and she would like to be settled. The next day her aunt, uncle and Grandma arrive and announce they will be staying for awhile. At school, Jewel meets a strange new boy, to whom she is instantly drawn. Suddenly the pieces begin to unravel and Jewel learns a devastating secret....her family isn't really in the witness program, and the reason for their constant moves might have something to do with her birthmark and her unique birthday. The problem is that Jewel no longer knows who she can trust...her parents? Roman? her grandma? No one?
What I Liked:
- I liked the idea of Jewel and her family being part of the witness protection program, learning what a life of continuous upheaval and secret identities would be like was interesting and depressing. The chaotic life style was an interesting element to explore.
- I enjoyed uncovering the mysterious reasons behind Jewel's family's nomadic lifestyle. Once I discovered the reason for the clandestine lifestyle, the story completely changed directions and surprised me.
- I liked that for the entire book, I was completely in the dark along with Jewel. As the pieces snapped into place I had no idea who the good guys and bad guys were. Everyone appeared to have sinister motives and it wasn't until the final pages where all was revealed. It was a big guessing game and I was certainly surprised a few times.
- I appreciated that the end of this book was exciting and fast and that it resolved neatly with no cliffhanger. This appears to be a stand alone book, but the author could certainly continue the story.
- I love the book cover and how Ms. Duffy incorpates the butterfly from the cover as a theme in the book.
And The Not So Much:
- Jewel early on meets Chase, a handsome golden boy. The reader is led to believe that he is going to be the love interest. Shortly thereafter, Jewel meets Roman and the icky love triangle is introduced. However, I had a flicker of hope after Jewel clearly makes her choice. A few chapter later, Jewel is kidnapped with Chase. I was completely befuddled by this event. First, why would they take Chase? He was an innocent victim who just happened to be with Jewel. It made no sense for them to take him and it was never explained why they took him. It felt like the only reason Chase was even a part of the story was so that the author could establish a love triangle. Ultimately, it didn't work. The love triangle and Chase's character (even though I liked him) was never believable.
- I wish I had a better understanding of Jewel's parents and their actions. It seemed they were puppets in the evil plan, but I wanted to know what their intentions were and how they ultimately felt about Jewel after all the years of caring for her and hiding her. There are some brief hints, but I wanted a more thorough explanation.
- This book almost felt like two different halves meshed together to form a story. The beginning of the novel relates Jewel's life on the run and the mystery surrounding her true identity. I really enjoyed the first part of the book. The second half involves Jewel's kidnapping and her fleeing from the bad guys. At this point, the story becomes rather chaotic. Jewel is chased relentlessly up until the big dramatic finish. The pace really picks up and there is a lot going on. Somehow even though the second half was full of action and danger, I didn't enjoy it as much as the beginning. I guess I was more enamored with the mystery and once everything is exposed I lost some interest.
- This is a personal issue, but I really wanted to know what happened to Jewel's cat, Willow.
- This is a book better suited for older young adults. There is some teen drinking, brief mentions of drugs and some violence. Nothing extreme or over the top by any means.
Overall, Spectral was a good and interesting read. A bit different and unexpected. The book takes some big twists and turns and leads you on a dangerous, wild chase as Jewel races to safety. It fast becomes a situation where she can't trust anyone! If you like books with mystery and the unexpected, you should check out Spectral.
"As my family drove along the highway, the wind blew in from my open window and the oncoming cars became a blur of mesmerizing color."
"Hatred's funny. It eats at anything good left inside you like a cancer growing until all you have left is a black abyss of nothingness."
"The whole sky seemed to crackle with a spray of lightning. A few yard's away, the ocean's dark colors frosted with angry white tips on the roaring waves, seemed to mimic how I felt."
"There are many moments in life where I wish I could make time stand still; let the minutes twirl a little longer in my mind like cotton candy on my tongue."
"Thousands of luminescent stars now looked like crystalline beacons of hope."
"That guy is twenty miles of bad road, you do know that, right?"
As part of the Spectral Tour the good folks at Tribute Books are allowing me to giveaway one ebook copy of Spectral. See Contest Policies for details and fill out Rafflecopter. Be sure to visit Tribute Books for some of their other great titles. You can find out more about Shannon on FB, Twitter, Goodreads and her blog. Her book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ibookstore, Google, and Smashwords. Click on the banner for additional tour stops. Good Luck!