Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

7740152Title: Torment
Author: Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen #2
ISBN: 978-0385739153
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub. Date:  June 2011
Source: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Young Adult/ Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:   Hell on earth.
That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts – immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something – something dangerous. What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series…where love never dies.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Torment is one of those “in-between” books. You know, the kind of book where you LOVED the first and third one but the second is just eh. Well, I haven’t yet read book 3. But I’m really hoping I’m right.
I read Torment when it first came out. I didn’t like it very much. So it stayed on my to-be-reviewed shelf for a few years because I really didn’t want to sit and talk about a book that wasn’t that great. However, recently I picked it back up, wanting to get back into the Daniel and Luce story. And I found myself flipping through the pages rather quickly–stopping when I couldn’t stand what certain characters were doing–then picking it right back up again after popping some chocolate chips into my mouth.
Fallen (book #1) centered on the insta-love of Daniel and Luce. Book # 2 goes a bit deeper and has Luce questioning whether or not she trusts the mysterious Daniel, who has sent her away to keep her safe. In the process of trying to figure out who she is and was, she meets and befriends a whole bunch of really awesome people (Miles, Shelby, and a bunch of other angels, nephilim, and demons).
So I’m not going to lie, Daniel and Luce have a LOT of problems, starting with their ever-present and growing trust issues. Daniel spends most of the book trying to stay away from Luce only to fail and visit her while refusing to tell her anything useful other than “I love you.” and “You can’t do that.” Meanwhile, Luce is falling apart. She’s having a major identity crisis, which fuels her fights with Daniel. All the while, she is searching for anything that could help jog her memory of the past.
While I definitely related to Luce, I had a hard time accepting some of Luce’s decisions. It was so obvious what was going on, why she needed to be protected. But she just kept breaking the rules. Daniel, too. He was all “I love you!” but then when asked even a tiny question about what was happening, he was all brooding and distant. Come on!
Even though I wanted to strangle certain characters in this book, I still liked it and was able to finish it (with interruptions) in a day. I will FOR SURE be reading the 3rd book in the series.

 

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Torment (Fallen, #2)

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Book Review: Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison

7938254Title: Shadow Fall
Author: Erin Kellison
Series: Shadow #2
ISBN: 9780505528308
Publisher: Leisure Books
Pub. Date: July 2010
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy
Pages: 322
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: Sacrifice
Custo Santovari accepted pain, blood, even death, to save his best friend. But a man with all his sins just isn’t cut out to be an angel.
Mystery
One moment he’s fleeing Heaven; the next, he’s waking up stark naked in Manhattan. In the middle of a war. Called there by a woman who’s desperately afraid of the dark.
Shadow
It gathers around Annabella as she performs, filled with fantastic images of another world, bringing both a golden hero and a nightmare lover.
Wolf
He pursues her relentlessly, twisting her desires even as she gives herself to the man she loves. Because each of us has a wild side, and Annabella is about to unleash the beast.

 

My Reveries and Ramblings:  If you haven’t read the first book, stop reading now and go read it (Shadowbound).  Now, for those of you who have read Shadow Bound, get ready for a whole dose of action, romance, and suspense. The story begins with Custo in heaven. He’s somehow ended up as an angel, much to his displeasure. Wanting to help and warn Adam of a betrayl, Custo tricks Shadowman into switching places with him. Lost and trying to find his way back to Segue, Custo sees a woman dancing and is drawn to her power, just as the wolf is. Wolf has been hunting Annabelle trying to find a way out of Shadow and into her world. When Custo accidentally lets him into the real world, both his and Annabelle’s worlds are upturned.  My favorite thing about this series is Ms. Kellison’s characters. She doesn’t write her characters in terms of good or bad. Each character has good and bad qualities. Custo is my favorite example of this. He’s not good. And he knows it. At the same time, he’s not evil. Every choice he makes is based off what he can gain. This is true of every character in literature, except that Custo is very selfish. The only times he is not selfish is with Adam and Annabelle. There are so many layers to Custo’s character-I love it!
Annabelle was also different from most heroines. She’s a principle ballerina in her company. Having sacrificed so much and worked so hard, she starts to reap the rewards. However, after Wolf notices her hidden power when she dances, he becomes obsessed. Cue Custo. After he saves Annabelle, she is forced to accept protection from both Custo and the Segue Institute. Throughout the book, Annabelle is torn between her love of dance and her love for Custo. Her journey to find the balance between the two was interesting to read.
I really liked this book, even more than Shadow Bound. I adored Custo and all of his complexities. Wolf is a creepy, perverse, and terrifying villain-which made this book all the more absorbing. This book is very well written, engaging, and so worth reading!

 

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Shadow Fall (Shadow, #2)

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Book Review: Abithica by Susan Goldsmith

11050827Title: Abithica
Author: Susan Goldsmith
Series: Abithica #1
ISBN: B004WOYNGC
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: received an ebook arc copy from the author

Genre: Supernatural/Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/YA
Pages: 287
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  What if you knew you were about to be torn from your body and replaced by an imposter in a seamless switch forever separating you and the one you love? Would you do whatever it took to stay? Even if YOU happened to be the imposter? Abithica must borrow all that she is from others: names, lives, even bodies. When she switches into the troubled life of Sydney Turner, she breaks the rule that has sustained her, the one thing in her control—never get attached. Lane Riley has no idea he’s fallen for Abithica, wearing Sydney Turner’s body and that a future with her is impossible. Desperate to stay with him, Abithica uncovers the mystery of what she is, only to learn she’s a pawn in a battle over souls, and that she’s probably one of the “bad guys.” What will happen if she refuses to leave Sydney’s body?

My Reveries and Ramblings: Abithica is the story of a spirit/being/whatever you want to call her for right now(not giving anything away) who is thrust into people’s bodies taking over their lives.  She stays with her host until she has completed whatever needed to be done.  She sees her predicament as a punishment from God.  She sees herself as a parasite or demon.
The book opens in Arizona with Sydney collapsing into her food at a restaurant because the spirit being mentioned (in the previous paragraph) has just entered her body.  As Sydney, the spirit starts trying to improve her life starting with Sydney’s damaged relationship with her mother, Faith.  At first “new” Sydney is having a hard time because the real Sydney is being resistant.  During a trip to Faith’s work (at the mall), Sydney meets Lane and his much younger sister, Shae.  It’s love at first sight for “new” Sydney and Lane.  However, “new” Sydney is very resistant because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she leaves Sydney’s body.  Also, she is scared of falling too hard because she knows it will all be ripped from her.  Besides the romance, there is also an element of danger from the gang that Sydney belongs to, the Legnas.  They are a dangerous gang that brands their members and like to kill, a lot.
Abithica takes the reader on a journey with the protagonist as she discovers who and what she is.  She discovers her real name at the end.  Poor girl.  Every time she forced into a new body she forgets most of what happened before.  However, the one thing she does know is that she wants to fall in love and stay that way.  That is her greatest wish/dream.  This is impossible, though.  To prevent herself from getting hurt she decided that she would never get attached.  Of course Lane changed that.
Lane is just * gush * amazing!  He knows there’s something different about Sydney as soon as he meets her (I’m talking about “new” Sydney).  No matter how many times she pushes him away he comes back even stronger and more cling-y (in a good way).    He loves her so much.  The most beautiful aspect of their love is the fact that he loves who the “new” Sydney is-meaning he loves the spirit inhabiting Sydney.  (Yes, I know, it sounds confusing on paper, but it really isn’t).
The novel contains many other great characters.  Among them are Shae, Lane’s adorable little sister; Faith, Sydney’s shoe obsessed mother; the ever helpful Father Gabe; and Marge, a saint-like doctor.
When I started Abithica, I was enjoying it.  But about half-way through, OMG! I was hooked.  There were moments where I was screaming at my computer screen (ebook), yelling at the characters.  Then there were moments where I was on the verge of tears.  The protagonist’s voice easy to read.  I felt a connection with her-there were moments where I could completely relate to her.  Mrs. Goldsmith did an awesome job with the writing.  Even when she wrote through Shae’s POV, it was readable at the same time as sounding like a little girl.
Now, even though I really really liked this book, there were a few things that just didn’t click with me.  I didn’t like reading the Legnas parts of the book-but I think this is just a matter of personal taste.  I never like reading the antagonist’s POV in any book.  Also, Lane annoyed me in the beginning.  He was talking about marriage very VERY early on in their relationship- they had only gone out a few times together.  But, of course, I was able to come to terms with it, and even accept it later on in the book.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to all who love a good romance.  Yes, it is Christian Lit., but it’s not overwhelming (which is good).  Also, I seriously read the last 50 pages four times-it was just too fantastic to not reread! I can’t wait until the sequel.

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Abithica

Book Review: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Title: Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Series: Angel Star #1
ISBN: 978-0982500538
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing LLC
Pub. Date: May 2010
Genre: YA/Supernatural/ Romance/Angels/Fantasy/Christian
Pages: 256
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads:  Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel’s malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel’s sacrifice collides with another angel’s vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Angel Star, written by Jennifer Murgia, is the story about good vs evil, or light vs. dark.  Teagan’s life isn’t that great:  she has only one friend, Claire, is the object of torture by a group of girls at school, is plagued by nighmares, and her father disappeared when she was a baby.  One day while sitting on a bench, a new transfer student, Garreth, approaches and talks to her.  He seems to shine/glow.  She realizes that not only does she feel strongly for him, he makes her feel safe from the nightmares and the dark shadows that seem to follow her.  Garreth is her guardian angel.  He has watched over her and kept her safe for years.  He is finally allowed to appear to her as a human, but only for eight days.  During those eight days her destiny will be revealed.
I had mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the chemistry between Garreth and Teagan.  Their bond was beautiful.  Whenever Teagan was worried he would breathe for her, calming her.  It was so sweet.  Their dynamic was the best part of the book.  Hadrian, Lucifer’s brother, is the dark angel.  He tries to corrupt people’s guardian angels so that he can control humans.  Garreth and Teagan are constantly running from him.  When Hadrian starts targeting people close to Teagan, they stand and fight.  While Garreth symbolizes light, Hadrian represents the darkness.  Teagan finds herself drawn to Hadrian and the darkness only to be reminded of her light, Garreth.  This situation is parallel to the good-angel-bad-angel-on-your-shoulders.  Both are trying to pull Teagan in different directions and get her to do something.  It is both an internal and outward struggle for Teagan.
There were many things I didn’t like about this book.  There were times when I was confused as to the location of the characters; one minute they are talking in the car, the dialogue going, with no mention of leaving the car then all of a sudden they are in the park on a swing set swinging.  There were times when I couldn’t tell the difference between her nightmares and reality because she kept “waking up” suddenly in her bed like it was all a bad dream.  I could never tell if the action sense took place in her nightmare or in reality.  I really liked the basic story of Angel Star.  I think Jennifer Murgia could have slowed it down a bit by adding more detail to the action scenes and adding more depth to the characters.
Overall, this book wasn’t for me.  I didn’t really like it.  In all honesty, I only continued reading, and will probably read the sequel, Lemniscate, because of Garreth and Teagan’s relationship.  Their connection was deep, like down to the soul deep.  It was fascinating.  Jennifer Murgia’s idea was fresh and different from many of the angel books I’ve read.

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Angel Star (Angel Star, #1)

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Book Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Crescendo
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush Hush #2
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8943-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Pub. Date: October 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Romance/Supernatural
Pages: 432
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads: Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever and even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.
Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Crescendo begins shortly after the events of Hush Hush.  Patch is now Nora’s guardian angel and their relationship is starting to move forward.  Well, that is until Nora confesses her love to Patch.  Instead of saying “I love you” back, he quickly drives away leaving Nora feeling hurt and rejected.  Determined not to dwell to much on what happened she buries herself in her studies for summer school, which she happens to be taking alongside Marcie, who loves to remind Nora that her father is dead.  Patch seems to be spending a lot of time with Marcie, knowing how much Nora hates her.  When Nora confronts him about it, he becomes evasive, not giving her an answer.  When Scott, Nora’s childhood “friend” has moves into town.  He takes an interest in spending time with Nora.  To piss Patch off, Nora starts spending time with Scott as well as pulling reckless stunts, including scaling a roof and stealing a car.
Everything in Nora’s life is starting to fall apart.  I actually felt really bad for her.  I’m surprised she didn’t have some sort of mental breakdown.  Between seeing her father walking around town to managing to be in the middle of a feud among the fallen angels, archangels, and nephilim, Nora has a lot on her mind.  Her romance with Patch also has become forbidden, leaving them in a Romeo and Juliet situation-which is kind of romantic, I think.
Even though I think Becca Fitzpatrick wrote a great book and I’m definitely reading the 3rd one, I still don’t like Patch all too much.  Although I did like him more in Crescendo than I did in Hush Hush.  He’s too sketchy and seriously needs to start being completely open with Nora.  I loved the use of motivation in this series.  Characters are so flat without it.  Each character, even the obscure ones, have motivation backing up their choices.  This makes the pop up surprises and plot twists all the more fun because then you’re like “OMG! I can’t believe that happened!….Oh.  Now I see, of course.”  Scott creeped me out from the beginning, even though his character surprised me at the end.  I loved how Vee kept calling him “Scotty the potty” and “Scotty the hottie.”  I would love to have a best friend like Vee.  She is hilarious.
Crescendo’s climactic ending had me on the edge of my seat.  Just when I thought it was all over and the last page would read “The End,” Becca Fitzpatrick pulled the strings that brought the curtain down a few minutes later, leaving us with a cliffhanger.  That last page had me reeling with questions.  Now I will have to wait until Silence comes out to find out what happens next.

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Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)
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Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush Hush #1
ISBN: 978-1416989424
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pub. Date: October 2009
Source: Kindle
Genre: Supernatural/Romance/YA/Fantasy
Pages:  417
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her…until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I read Hush Hush after reading Fallen by Lauren Kate.  Once I realized that there are paranormal/supernatural books about things other than vampires I eagerly grabbed my kindle and bought this book.  I liked it.  It wasn’t for me though.  It was interesting, which is why I read CrescendoHush Hush revolves around Nora, a teenaged girl who lives with her widowed mother.  Her father was murdered before the book begins.  When Patch, a fallen angel posing as a high school student, gets paired up with Nora for class, she tries to make the best of the dim situation.  He makes her uncomfortable and refuses to answer any of her questions.  With Nora’s grade hanging in the air, she follows him and finds out that he is, indeed, one not to be messed with.  Trying to have a normal high school experience, Nora wants nothing to do with Patch.  But with Nora’s life in jeopardy, Patch becomes a necessary part of her survival.  Even if it means giving up what he wants the most.
I started this book hoping it would blow my mind away.  I was a bit disappointed.  Hush Hush was creative and suspenseful.  The only problem I really had with it was Patch.  I just didn’t like him.  He was the typical bad-boy-does-good character.  Patch’s sketchiness was just too much for me.  Sketchy creeps me out. I liked him a bit better at the end.  Although all his secrets still made me question whether his intentions were all good.  Patch’s decisions aren’t so much based on right and wrong but on what he wants and how to achieve that end no matter the cost.
Nora is your typical teenaged girl.  Although I don’t know many teenagers that would go out at night to a part of town they’ve never been in just to get answers for a school assignment.  Some of things she did, I would never do.  It was fun to read, though.  I really admired Nora’s determination and refusal to just sit and let things happen to her.  The scenes that involved both Nora and Vee were fun to read.
Hush Hush was engaging.  The end was very suspenseful and had me page flipping (or kindle swiping) until the very end.  The end took me completely by surprise.  The twist redeemed the book for me.  Patch and Nora’s actions towards the end were touching and dramatic.  Hush, Hush isn’t my favorite book in the world, but still an entertaining read.  It had a bit of everything-love, suspense, mystery, action, and the supernatural.  Becca Fitzpatrick wrote a story about love, sacrifice, and what it means to be human.

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Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

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