Tag Archive | angels

Review : Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Pages : 403
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Unearthly, Book 2
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Just as she is trying to put behind the fires and everything that went down that night, Clara starts having a new vision. This time, it comes in the shape of a terrifying dream where she is losing someone she loves. But who? Is it possible for her to stop it?

As if the constant worrying for her close ones wasn’t enough, Clara also has to deal with her brother’s strange attitude, the growing tensions in the triangle formed by Christian, Tucker and herself, and learning every day a little more about who she is. But before this chapter of her life is over, everything in her life will be forever changed.

My Thoughts :

Oh. My. God.

I thought Unearthly was good, yes, far above the average young adult paranormal romance. Still I was unprepared for Hallowed, and how much I liked it. What am I saying? I loved it. I’m talking about a 4.5 starts coming really close to a 5 here!

It was not only a captivating story, but also a very, very emotional one – something I hadn’t expected at all from a novel of the genre. After all, YA paranormal is what I turn to to be entertained. Here though, Cynthia Hand gets close and personal with death, grief and the sense of powerlessness that accompanies both. She delivers a story with depth where Clara goes through all kinds of emotions, and us with her.

Also, I can’t say enough of the author’s great writing of a fantastic romance. I have mentioned more than once before being tired of the love triangle, but this might be the exception. I felt that Hand didn’t hesitate to go where many authors won’t, tearing apart what was already established to start anew. Tucker is still a lovely boy, but as we get to know Christian better through time, it is impossible to resist his charm and good nature. Plus, his understanding of Clara was exactly what she needed, when she needed it. Without taking anything away from Tucker, Christian developed in his own character and we finally get to really know him.

There’s still an element of danger with the Black Wings more or less hanging around, making Hallowed a constant roller coaster of emotions and adventures. We learn just so, so much about angels in this book that it kept me constantly on my toes, trying to guess what was next. I was very happy to see many of my predictions come true! Because of Hand’s fantastic writing, I didn’t feel as if it had been predictable; there was always an element of surprise in the details, or with the moment chosen for new revelations and twists.

I’m so glad this turned out to be even better than I expected! Book three will only be coming out in 2013, and this seems a bit too far from now for my taste!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Unearthly
  2. Hallowed (coming January 2012)
  3. – coming in 2013 –

Review : Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Pages : 435
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Unearthly, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Like her mother and brother, Clara is part angel, making her extremely talented at almost everything she tries. It also means she has her own personal purpose, a specific task she has to accomplish while in this world.

When Clara starts having dreams of her purpose, her life is forever changed. Moving away from the California where she grew up, she is unsettled both by her new surroundings and her more and more frequent dreams. Does she really have enough time to get ready for her purpose, or will her terrestrial side get the best of her?

My Thoughts :

Even though I had read countless great reviews of Unearthly, I wasn’t prepared to like it. Not only has paranormal YA been a little disappointing for me lately, but angel books, in particular, have been painful to read. I never made it through Halo (and gave away my copy). I finished Lauren Kate’s Fallen with countless yawns. Hush, Hush was only fun in a bad horror movie kind-of way.

Unearthly broke the mold by offering an entertaining, lovely, intriguing story with a main character who wasn’t, surprisingly, too stupid to live! Clara was so easy to warm-up to : her narration had a human simplicity with just a touch of angelical magic. She was both a teenager going through the mundane life of a teenager wanting to fit it, and an angel forever different who has a unique perspective. I think it’s admirable how successfully Cynthia Hand handled both parts in one single character, never neglecting one side of her personality for the other.

There’s romance, of course. But it’s not a love-at-first-sight-can’t-live-without-you kind of thing. And there’s a triangle, but though I definitely have a preference, it’s really not clear for me where the author is going with this. I thought I knew, but close to the end, the story took an unexpected turn and I wasn’t sure anymore. Which is another lovely aspect of the book, how it keeps surprising you with little twists and turns all along.

Clara, her brother, her mother, her two love interests and a few others form an intriguing cast of characters I am already looking forward to know better. There are a few hints of mysteries in the story that I can’t wait to know more about, and I really felt like the book was the start of a great saga, all while having a strong enough conclusion by itself.

Those who are tired of the paranormal-romance formula might not find Unearthly to be the most original novel on the shelves, but it is certainly one of the best. I personally loved it, and I am looking forward to reading the second novel a few weeks from now!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Unearthly
  2. Hallowed (coming January 2012)

3 Reviews : Deadly Little Secret, Fallen and Horns of Ruin

Today’s mini-reviews have all in common that despite reading reviews that clearly indicated that these books weren’t for me, I went ahead and gave them a try anyway, because Ooooh! The Pretty Covers!

I know, I know. I’m such a shallow reader!

* * *

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Pages : 252
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Touch, Book 1
My Rating : 

What it’s about : Even though she doesn’t believe the horrible rumors circulating about new boy Ben, Camelia can’t help but wonder if the recent strange events of her life are linked to his presence. Ben is obviously hiding something… but what?

My Thoughts : So this was neither good nor bad, and it fell in a kind of very grey area that made it absolutely forgettable to me. I read it a month ago and could barely tell you what it was about. The paranormal aspect is kind of interesting – psychometry, an ability to read one’s future through touch – but the characters themselves were a little bland. Also the ending was to me  completely obvious. I’m giving this 2,5 stars because I can’t remember enough to give it less or more. Meh.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Deadly Little Secret
  2. Deadly Little Lies
  3. Deadly Little Games
  4. Deadly Little Voices (coming December 2011)

* * *

Fallen by Lauren Kate
Pages : 452
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Fallen, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about : After she gets involved in a tragic accident costing the life of another teen, Luce gets sent to the mysterious Swords & Cross boarding school. There she meets Daniel, a mysterious guy she can’t seem to stay away from. What secrets does he hide? What about the mysterious bond they both feel between them?

My Thoughts : Oh my! I’ll forever love the cover but it took me everything I had to finish this one. The beginning was kind of interesting, I was intrigued by Luce’s story until Daniel became her sole focus. I wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t already gotten so far in.

Like Deadly Little Secret, this book definitely comes running on the steps of Twilight‘s success. The formula is a bit of the same, with a role reversal of Luce being the new kid and the stalker. It just didn’t work for me, but I have no doubts fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Fallen
  2. Torment
  3. Passion
  4. Rapture (coming June 2012)

* * *

The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
Pages : 340
Genre : Steampunk, Fantasy
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From Goodreads : Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead God. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family. Now she watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles all around her.

My Thoughts : I don’t know what to say here. I had such high hopes for this one, but it turned out to be a total disappointment. First, there was so much action I felt I never had a break to just enjoy and get familiar with this intricate new world. Plus, I just couldn’t stand Eva. It got better towards the ending, but not enough.

On the plus side, the world has many interesting aspects and gadgets. It just wasn’t enough to make me like it.

Review : Personal Demons

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Pages : 365
Genre : YA, Paranormal Romance
Series : Personal Demons, book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Frannie has been raised to be a good catholic girl, yet events of her past make her want not to believe in the existence of God.

When two new guys join her school, Frannie is surprised to have them immediately drawn to her – and to be drawn to them both, too. On one side there is sexy, dark, dangerous Luke; on the other, sexy, beautiful, charming Gabe.

And both have plans for her, plans that will force Frannie to face her path and question her beliefs once more.

My Thoughts :

Okay, so this book was clearly not for me. And I always feel bad giving a somewhat bad review when my disappointment so obviously comes from the fact that the book and I, we are clearly mismatched. I don’t think we could even be friends. Neighbors, maybe. Casual acquaintances. But nothing more.

I have no doubts there are plenty of readers out there who will love this book : it’s hot, sexy, steamy, with a lot of “ooohs” and “aaaahs”, and a love triangle that could rival the best out there. It’s romance in its hottest incarnation.

The plot, in itself, is interesting. Having Heaven and Hell battling for the soul of one girl, for a reason that is still unknown in the beginning, was an idea that had a lot of potential. I imagined an epic story between the forces of good and evil, with Frannie at its center, probably fighting for her own free will. I would have loved that.

But, because I am not a romance reader, this is basically what happened :

As I often mentioned in the past, I am not a romance reader. I love when romantic interactions are a part of the novel : romance, love, relationships, they are all part of life. But when the romance is at the core of the book, it doesn’t work for me. So even though I had a lot of fun at the start of the book, I was quickly annoyed by Frannie’s yo-yo dance between the two guys, and the obviously steamy scenes that followed.

If I think of my personal rating of the book, it would probably be lower; but I had to recognize, the book also had some strong points, hence the “in-the-middle” rating :

  • The premise is interesting and keeps developing through the story, sometimes in predictable ways, sometimes in surprising ways.
  • The author’s writing is engaging and quickly pulls you in.
  • There are a lot of fun scenes, especially in the first half before the real drama begins, that gave me a smile and a giggle.
  • The author did a great use of the mythological aspects of the religion, sticking to its core while adapting it for her story in an original way. Not all books are successful in this aspect (yes, I’m looking at you The Goddess Test) but Personal Demons is a success on that front.
So while I managed to finish this one, I have no idea whether I’ll read book 2 or not. It’s really not at the top of my list. But if you love paranormal romances, hot mysterious guys with a dark side, twists on angels and demons and sexy steamy scenes, you’ll probably find Personal Demons to be a great fit for you 🙂

Series Reading Order :

  1. Personal Demons
  2. Original Sin (coming July 5th 2011)

Review : Angelology

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Pages : 464
Genre : Fiction, Fantasy
Series : Angelology, Book 1
My Rating :

From Goodreads :

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now twenty-three‚ her discovery of a 1943 letter from philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late Mother Superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans‚ the Nephilim.

My Thoughts :

Angelology was everything I could have hoped for and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it! This detailed story about angels was unlike any suparnatural-paranormal-fantasy novel I have read recently (stepping out of my YA-comfort zone is definitely something I need to do a little more!)

Angelology was a story like I love them : detailed, with a great mythology, a lot of history, character development, adventure, mystery… every time I put the book down, I kept wondering : what happens next? Without being a slow pace, it wasn’t an action-packed novel either, and yet I felt like there was so much going on I had to keep reading.

For me, the strenght of the novel definitely was in Trussoni’s amazing detailing of the scenes. From the nuns’ covent to the historical setting of WWII, everything was described with precision. I could imagine the rooms, the characters, the landscapes as if I was there. So, while I thought that the narration sometimes lacked a touch of hearth, the descriptions were so vivid that I greatly enjoyed reading the book.

It was interesting, too, how the narration alternated between characters, but also between time periods – something I hadn’t been aware of prior to reading the novel. Sometimes, going from one character to the other, or one time period to the other, will make a book feel like a melting pot of too many ideas. This wasn’t the case. In the end, everything went together very well, giving depth to the story and the mythology.

My favorite voice was certainly Celestine, who I thought was also the most developped. I did enjoyed the other caracters, but I felt that, between Sister Evangeline and the Nephilim, for instance, there wasn’t enough differences in the narration. Again, this isn’t something I minded that much as I was so caught up in the mystery, the adventure and the mythology!

I really enjoyed Angelology and I am thrilled to know there is another book coming next year. I also want to thank Trish from TLC Book Tour for giving me this opportunity to review the book!

Please stay tuned for a giveaway of two copies of Angelology, for US and Canadian readers, later today! 🙂

Series Reading Order

  1. Angelology
  2. Angelopolis (coming 2012)

Review : Crescendo

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Pages : 427
Genre : YA, Fantasy
Series : Hush, Hush, book 2
My Rating :

What it’s about, in my Words :

Nora thought she could finally enjoy her romantic life with Patch like any other teenage couple, but she was wrong. It’s the start of the summer and Patch suddenly starts acting distant, bringing to their relationship all the drama they didn’t need. On top of that, she is seeing her dead father in the streets and her mom is trying to match her with a friend’s son, who brings trouble of his own.

For Nora, one thing is clear : this summer won’t be a all sun, fun and beach!

As I said on Twitter, Crescendo is like Hush, Hush with an energy boost! The action and twists never stop, making the sequel even more of an horror-movie-on-paper than the first book. It’s fast pace, fast reading and definitely doesn’t let you breath until the very end.

And while I’m talking about the ending, can I just say : WHAT!?!?

Talk about a cliffhanger! You’re on page 426, thinking this is all over (for now) and trying to catch your breath after the marathon that was Crescendo when BAM! The author sets the floor on fire and you have to start running again! I love when the author leaves some questions opened for the next sequel, but this is serious cliffhangering we’re talking about here.

Back to the first 425 pages of the book now : I was surprised by some decisions the author took very soon in the beginning, mainly the growing distance between Nora and Patch. If Patch was creepy and controlling in the first book, now he is just creepy and weird. It’s difficult to get a grasp on his motives with all that time away from Nora, who by the way has the worst sense in the world when it comes to making decisions! I guess it would drive some readers crazy, but I do find her entertaining.

She’s also one of the unluckiest characters ever, poor Nora! Everything bad that can happen, will happen. I guess there’s no surprise there when you live in a foggy farmhouse far from everything! Lucky for her, there’s always some baddy around to save her, and her friend Vee is always there when needed, too. (But seriously, is there even one good guy left in this crazy town?!? Doesn’t look like it!)

As for the story, there are so many twists and turns and details it would be hard to summarize. I was glad that some of the questions I had in Hush, Hush had been answered. Mainly, I wondered why Patch wasn’t loosing his wings again since it was that kind of lust that made him lose them the first time around, and the author addressed the issue really soon in the beginning. Fitzpatrick focussed mainly on characters we already knew, and the few that are introduced are developed enough that they don’t feel like strangers. I was again impressed by how the author’s writing makes scenes very cinematographic, her descriptions giving you just enough to see the scene in your head as if you were there.

In the end, I had a great time reading Crescendo. It’s entertaining, fast, and keeps you wondering until its last pages.

Also, don’t forget my awesome giveaway of 2 copies of the first book Hush, Hush! Enter here! It’s the last day to enter, so don’t hesitate now! 🙂

Series Reading Order :

  1. Hush, Hush
  2. Crescendo