RUINED Jus Accardo – For sure!

ruinedI’m just gonna come out and say it: If you have even the smallest soft spot for Daemon and Katy, you are gonna LOVE Jax and Sam. I’ve read some of Jus Accardo’s other novels and RUINED is by far my favorite. A twisted plot, realistic characters, and some major ‘kiss or punch’ chemistry that keeps you flipping pages.

Jax, a descendant of Cain, is one serious dude to be reckoned with. With a violence craving demon living inside him, Jax has to go to some serious ends in order to keep the demon fed and satisfied. If not, the demon brings the pain on Jax.

Samantha is just your average nineteen year-old. Her parents were killed in a home invasion, her aunt is a wannabe match-maker, and her job at the local dive isn’t exactly stellar. College didn’t work out either. After a random almost mugging after a party, Sam headed home with a bucket of insecurities.

What I liked most about RUINED was the ease of familiarity between the characters. These characters really knew each other, and nothing was forced between them. Sam, Jax, and Chase (Jax’s polar opposite but equally hot twin) all grew up together. Sam and Jax were inseparable after her parents were killed. Jax may or may not have been the cause of Sam getting into trouble as a kid, the mischievous and bored-in-a-small-town kind of trouble. Because of that, Jax was shunned most of his life. Chase, on the other hand, was the clean-cut golden boy everyone loved. Except Sam. Her heart would always belong to Jax.

When Jax turns up back home, the heat cranks into sweltering between Sam and Jax. She wants him in all the right ways, but she also wants to junk-punch him for being a total insensitive prick to her. But that’s the only way to keep Sammy safe, unharmed, and away from the monster that resides in Jax.

RUINED started with a little more backstory than I would normally like, but when it planted its feet in, it grabbed me by the hand and wouldn’t let go. The fast pace kept me flipping the digital pages and provided for a twist that I (sheepishly enough) didn’t really see coming. And that’s fantabulous in my book. Pardon the pun.

I’m not familiar with the story of Cain and Abel, but RUINED lays down enough ground rules that the average non-church going Jane Doe can follow along. The hot chemistry between Jax and Sam scorched to singeing, but kept things nice and clean so I didn’t feel the need to hide in a ’50 Shades of Good Lord’ way. Very tasteful, Jus! I bow before thee.

Of course, Jus leaves us with a bit of a cliffhanger and I for one cannot wait for the next. So keep her comin’ Jus! RUINED was a deeply satisfying read full of an interesting plot, super cool characters, and hot chemistry. In other words, the trifecta of awesome!

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JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

 

DARKER DAYS by Jus Accardo – Sinful!

I would like to say THANK YOU to Anjana At Entangled Publishing for the awesome copy of this read. I’m a big Jus Accardo fan. In fact, I’m a HUGE Entangled fan! Below is the review I posted on Goodreads. If you get a chance, pick up this puppy! It’s fun. It’s hot. And it’s certainly kick ass!

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Darker Days (The Darker Agency, #1)Darker Days by Jus Accardo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy biscuits and gravy do I love the Entangled group! Jus Accardo’s DARKER DAYS is another Entangled book that I absolutely loved.

Jessie Darker is NOT your typical teen. She’s not even a ‘normal’ one, but I won’t get into that for fear of dropping too many spoilers. Nana nana boo boo! Jessie works for her mom at the Darker Agency, which is a PI office of sorts. But they also specialize in some of the ‘darker’ aspects, such as zombies, demonic possessions, and any other thing that goes bump in the night. The Darker gals are at the top of their game, but when someone finds, and opens, a box containing the Seven Deadly Sins, all best are off!

If you are a fan of Miss Jus’ DENAZEN series, you will love DARKER DAYS. Jus has a fantastically twisted brain that I just love. She’s created a world that isn’t like anything I’ve read (so far) and was a pleasure to immerse myself in it.

The town of Penance (total tongue in cheek moment) has all your everyday stuff: high school, the wrong side of town, the better side of town, deep rooted history, and all that jazz. Unseen by most, and what the Darker Agency keeps a tight lip on, is the ‘other.’ Penance also has witches, weres, necromancers, and a healthy dose of demonic activity. When the box of sins is opened, it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

Our leading lady, Jessie, is a hoot and a half. She’s a self proclaimed “spunky” type of girl who definitely walks the walk. Jessie actually reminds me of Alex from HALFBLOOD or Rose from VAMPIRE ACADEMY. She’s tough, she’s got a serious mouth on her, and she’s simply wicked with quartz powder. Her mom trained her to take care of the ‘alternative’ cases the Darker Agency acquires, which happen to be Jessie’s favorite. But Jessie isn’t without faults. She tends to DO before she THINKS and it often gets her in above her head. Jessie also holds many people, especially boys, at arms length because the “L” word is something of which she wants nothing.

And then she meets Lukas.

Tall, dark, mysterious, and dare I say hot? Oh and he needs their help! Without giving too much info (no spoilers), I will say that Lukas has some serious intel on the box of sins and needs the Darker girls’ help to track it down.

Right off the bat, I liked Lukas. Despite Jessie’s ogling eyes, he was very adamant about hiring Jessie’s mom, not her. Ouch! Lukas is your down-home old-fashioned guy. He doesn’t always ‘get’ Jessie, but the two find some common ground and eventually hit it off. Speaking of old-fashioned, probably one of my favorite lines from DARKER DAYS was “‘I don’t spit anything, and I’m not sure what pissy beams are, but I’m fairly sure I don’t do them.’” Lots of laughing. Out loud.

To add to Lukas’ hotness factor, let’s just say he has some anger issues, and Jessie’s mojo is the only thing that seems to help him. SWOON!

DARKER DAYS was full of action and just enough swoon-worthy moments so it didn’t feel like a Bourne movie. Jus keeps us guessing throughout the whole story. She never gives us the whole deal and continues to drop important details to the plot/story as the time is right so as to not be overloaded. And believe me, there was tons of detail. The visuals were awesome and though Penance is a totally fictional place (I think), I had this revolving image of East Village New York. But that might just be me.

When the time came to cross over to the Shadow Realm, I was not disappointed. Jus weaves this sort of Tim Burton-esque world full of simply wicked visuals of dripping walls and rotten teeth.

The pace of DARKER DAYS left me gasping for air. Just when I thought I’d reached a point where I could do something, like eat, Jus dropped a bomb that begged to have the next page read. And the next. And the next…

Overall, the only part of DARKER DAYS I wasn’t too keen on was the similarities with the DENAZEN characters. Granted, (small confession time) I’ve only reach TOUCH so far, but the main characters of both books had parallels. But I didn’t mind too much as I really enjoyed TOUCH. There were just enough differences to make them not repetitive in nature.

In any event, DARKER DAYS is a nice twist on the norm, and not so norm, we live in. The action is breathtaking and the humor is second to none. Jessie is the kind of character I want to root for, and Lukas the kind I want to crush on. Even Jessie’s mom plays an integral part to the story and she’s 100% in Jessie’s corner, despite her daughter’s tendencies to break ALL the rules.

Get DARKER DAYS. Read it. Love it. Douse the pissy beams, just do it!

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There is room at the top for ALL of us!

Many, many apologies to everyone for sort of falling off the face of the earth. With managing some health issues, my 10 1/2 year old Lab’s health issues, and seemingly endless life crap, things just sort of…well, went to the crapper. That’s me being honest, and PG-13.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. As you may have seen from my multiple tweets on the subject, I was very excited about a wee event called UtopYA Con that took place right here in Nashville. A start-up convention for YA paranormal writers, authors, and all the freakin’ readers who obsessstalkLOVE to read! I knew it would be the cat’s meow, and I was right. Over the next several days, or weeks as time wills, I will try to recap some of the awesome I experienced over the last couple days.
For now, I just have to give my thanks. Many, many thanks.
Janet Wallace, Nashville’s Kid-Lit Meet-Up group organizer and owner of Social Deviants, birthed this idea for UtopYA and she did a phenomenal job. This was the second time I’ve gone to this sort of event, the first being the SCBWI Conference in NYC. SCBWI was big and awesome and crazy informative, but UtopYA had something in it I didn’t really find at SCBWI NYC. I thought I had, and I’m sure it IS there, but it was not as blazingly obvious as it was at UtopYA.
That thing, is HEART.
I’m not a hard core writer. I will be the first to admit this. There are so many freakin’ awesome writers and authors out there. Me? I’m the sort of misfit kid in the back of the room that never really…’fit.’ But I LOVE to write. It has freed me in so many ways over the last two years. Quite literally, I have finally found…me. It took thirty mumble-grumble years to do it, but hell if I found her finally.
UtopYA oozed with wonderful people that were just like you and me. Some were traditionally published, most were either indie published or self published, some just budding out on the page. Did they throw it around like a fluorescent pink boa with diamond crusting? Nope. Did they spout stats like a stock broker on crack and zero sleep? Nuh-uh. Were they welcoming? Were they excited to meet someone who has read, or is dying to read, one or all of their books? You bet your buttered biscuit baby!
When I say UtopYA has the heart I didn’t find at other, larger, meets, I mean it. We were all there for the same reason: we love YA paranormal. There was a common unity no matter where you are in your career. The writing community really IS a community. It is a family that I am so very proud to be a part of. I still feel sort of like a distant cousin tip-toeing around the edges at times, but I still felt it. I felt the heart of this Con. I felt the heart of UtopYA.
Will it be the same in 2013? I sure as hell hope so! But really, I think it will. Everyone there, I think, picked up on the same vibe. We are readers. We are writers. We are authors. We are a group of people who LOVE to help the next coming. “There is room for all of us!” “A success for one, is a success for all.” We all strive to the same goal: readers. And readers LOVE to read…a LOT.
The lovely Willow Cross said in a panel I attended, and I will paraphrase here: it might take her readers a week to read her novel, what are they going to do with the other 51 weeks of the year? ‘If you like my books, here, check out my friend’s book too!’
That is what we do as writers, as authors. Support. Community. Family. Friends. You CAN do it. We ALL can do it.
Willow Cross, Raine Thomas, Amanda Havard, Myra McEntire, Chelsea Fine, Tiffany King, L.M. Preston, Angeline Kace, Teal Haviland, Tammy Blackwell, M.R. Polish, Amy Bartol, Abbi Glines… oh my word there are just too many. All of these women were phenomenal to meet and share experiences with. We laughed, we cried, we joked, we teased. We were just like those crazy cousins that get together at family reunions and gossip over who is doing what.
And why?
Because we are a community. We are a community of writers. And there is room for ALL of us.
Will YOU be a part next time? UtopYA Con 2013 is on the books. Come be part of the HEART of this awesomesauce community. You will NOT be disappointed. Come play. Come laugh. Come learn. Come fan-girl. Come be a part of the family.

Footnote. Yes, I totally cried writing this whole thing. But I’m a crier. That’s how I roll y’all. =^)