Sunday 22 February 2015

Review ~ Clear: A Death Trippers Novel by Jessica Park

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 Stars

“I love you so mush.”

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Jessica Park, she is insanely talented and I love her writing style. But what Jessica has given us in the past is humour and contemporary always with that underlying romance. Clear is way out of her normal, so I was apprehensive yet excited because deep down I knew that no matter what Jessica wrote, it would be fantastic and I was not wrong.

This is one of those WTF have I just read books. It has actually taken me a few days to digest and actually think about what I am going to say in this review. It is unlike anything I have read before and certainly leaves you thinking at the end, it is one of those books that you just cannot stop thinking about. You need to go into this book without any preconceived ideas, just read the book, take it in and make up your own mind.

I will say that “death tripping,” as the name infers is about dying and as such this book did get a little “bloody” in places so please be prepared, but it was not gratuitous or overkill (pardon the pun) but was used to complete the paranormal aspect of this book.

Stella Ford’s life is awful, feeling unloved and unwanted by her family, which was entirely warranted, she just survives day to day. On her sixteenth birthday her father and sister are involved in a car accident and are taken to hospital. Her mother ignores her, only having concern for her husband and daughter and blames Stella in every way possible for the day’s events. Just another disappointment then. Stella slopes off to get away from the feeling of loathing that rolls off her mother and while sitting at the top of a stair well she meets Sam Bishop.

“Everything will be okay. Good things last, and the bad things will fade away. So, go find your good.”

Sam Bishop comes to Stella’s aid and they have a good heart to heart but there is something about their meeting that screams fate, they were both in the right place at the right time. However, life goes on and after a discussion about life etcetera they go their separate ways.

Five years later and Stella’s life has not improved at all, in fact it is inherently worse. Not long after the accident her father left the family home and Stella’s mother and sister began to abuse her even more, both mentally and verbally. She lived alone, survived on meagre rations and the families mind games leave her constantly questioning her own sanity. Finally having had enough, she decides to up and leave and she heads to Maine, the place that five years ago Sam Bishop described so beautifully.

Maine was just as Sam described and it is not long before she has tracked down the B & B that Sam’s parents owned. Glad that Sam was still in Maine she could not wait to meet him again and see if he remembers their meeting many years ago. The Sam that Stella meets is not the same, he is broken and destroyed, there is a story to be told, he saved her once and now it was time she reciprocated.

“…As far as hallucinations go, you’re a pretty good one. So, come on in, and let’s see what my fucked-up head does with you next.”

This is where the story starts and from here on in my mouth stays zipped. This is where everything changes and life becomes and evolves around “death tripping.” Sam’s best friend Costa is also involved and the three of them begin a mission. Delving into the deep unknown of “death tripping” with one main goal.

“As suicidal as it sounds, it isn’t really dying, and it isn’t about trying to die. There’s no death wish. Ironically, it’s the opposite. We’re after an enhanced sense of life. We trip over death, but don’t take it…The intoxication is nearly impossible to fight.”

I will say that this book is dark, it is raw and is a complete mind fuck, but it is amazingly fantastic. Sam and Stella have an intense connection and chemistry and this leads to some insanely hot scenes especially when coming down from a “surge.” It seems that Stella, Sam and Costa’s friendship was more than fate and it is now up to this trio to work together.

“There are kisses that arouse, there are kisses that deliver love, and then there are kisses that transcend both of those things. That’s how Sam kisses me – with his entire soul.”

Jessica Park weaves an intense plot that will have you questioning your own sanity at times. I had plenty of WTF moments, jaw dropping moments, jump off your couch moments but that was perfectly balanced with some intense sizzling chemistry that had me glued to the pages. You will run the gamut of emotions, empathy, confusion, anger, sadness, pain, love but most of all you will be intrigued and captivated and you will not want to put this book down. I loved the characters and even Costa, who makes one hell of an entrance, grew on me. He is one character that I would love to know more about and if this is just the beginning of a series I am hoping that the same characters are developed going further.

“We came first.”

It is hard to believe that the same author who gave us perfect, beautiful Celeste can somehow turn her mind to something like this but she has executed it brilliantly. I am not a huge reader of paranormal but I have to say I LOVED this book.  Death has never been so addicting. When is my next trip…?

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