Book Review: Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren

9935444Title: Torrent
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Series: River of Time #3
ISBN: 978-1434764294
Publisher: David C. Cook
Pub. Date: September 2011
Source: Publisher/Author
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance/Christian Fiction
Pages: 388
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series. 

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Right now, there are 2 types of people in the world: 1) those who have read The River of Time series and 2) those who have never read it. If you are in that second group, then please do, these books are epic.

(SPOILER ALERT=some spoilers)
Okay, now for those of you in that first group, get ready to feel like you will burst from all of the emotional energy you will have while reading this book. It is pure epicness.
Even though the central goal in the beginning is to get Fortino back. That is just a small battle in the whole war. Actually this book made me realize how big this really was. In Waterfall, we aren’t really aware of just how high the stakes are raised, everything is tense, but life does go on. In Cascade, we are made aware of the waging war, but it still doesn’t hit us. It’s not until book three, Torrent, that we fully acknowledge the scale.
In Waterfall, Gabi is brought into the past, unprepared, and even a bit naive (not much though). Throughout Waterfall and Cascade she learns that in order to survive and protect the ones she loves, she has to make choices and sacrifices. Almost every one of them are not easy. Most are dangerous and life threatening. But through all these experiences she learns that life is short, and is meant to be lived. Gabi is tested, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In Torrent, Gabi starts to feel the stress from everything she has done. All the exertion, all the fighting, everything pushes her to her limits.
What I love most about this series is Ms. Bergren’s ability to really pull the reader into the book. Every chapter had me screaming, crying, smiling, and jumping out of my seat. I started this book while on a plane and I think the kid sitting next to me thought I was crazy. I was so into this book that I completely forgot where I was and started tearing up, making exclamations out loud, and moving around in my seat when the energy from all the suspense was too much to take sitting still. There were so many of these moments throughout the book, that it never lags. The pace is perfect!
Another reason why I love this series, is the characters. All the characters grow and change throughout the books. As a reader, we are only keyed into Gabi’s thoughts and feelings. Like every normal teenager, she is constantly questioning everything: her faith, her relationships, her morals, etc. Ms. Bergren takes the reader on the adventure with Gabi, which is so cool!
The Plot: Ms. Bergren doesn’t disappoint at all. After reading Waterfall, I had no clue how Cascade would hold up. Well, it exceeded all my expectations and more. Then, I began to feel the same about Torrent. How would this epic series end? With a bang? Or with disappointment? I was seriously hoping to love the ending. And….I DID! I was constantly left guessing what would happen next; Torrent was completely unpredictable. In fact, when books get too suspenseful, I usually end up sneaking a peak at the end (please don’t yell at me!). It took everything, and I mean everything, I had not to do this. I love this series too much, to ruin it for myself.
The action, was a huge bonus in this book. Seriously, it is action-packed up until the very end. I’m not exaggerating. Just when you think its all over, its not. Which is GREAT!
Now onto our swoon-worthy heroes.
Dear Marcello, ahhh, my love. I love him! I do, but about half-way through, I decided to accept the fact that Marcello and Gabi were made for each other. So my sights moved onto Greco. Oh My Gosh! Lord Greco is now my favorite swoon-worthy Italian man in this series. He completely shocked me with his loyalty. I didn’t really like him in Cascade, but I loved him in Torrent. And now I’m gushing just thinking about him. Ahhh.
Ms. Bergren, you are my hero! I love this series. In fact, the second I finished Torrent, I said “This series is better than Twilight!” (Please Twi-hards, don’t kill me!) I love Twilight, but the writing, plot, characters, and setting of The River of Time series were all so much better. This series is definitely one of my favorite series EVER. I can’t recommend this these books enough! It deserves 5 BILLION Kisses!

BIG Thank-you to Ms. Bergren and David C. Cook for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Torrent (River of Time, #3)

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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: Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Title: Waterfall
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: Rivers of Time #1
ISBN: 1434764338
Publisher: David C. Cook
Pub. Date: February 2011
Source: Kindle/Paperback
Genre: Christian Fiction/ YA/Historical Fiction/Time Travel/Romance
Pages:  384
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads: Lisa Tawn Bergren’s new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn’t have to fear a vampire’s bite but must still fight for her life. 

In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in sixteenth-century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds… until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the sixteenth-century—and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Oh.  Emmmm.  GEEEE!!! I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this book.  I’m not a huge fan of Christian literature-mostly because I usually get the author-stuffing-it-down-my-throat feeling which can be overwhelming.  Well, not this one.  I didn’t even know it was Christian literature until I went online to the author’s website.
Waterfall is about twin teenaged girls, Lia and Gabi getting pulled back in time to medieval Italy.  They become separated during their time traveling.  The book follows Gabi and her quest to find her sister.  After getting caught and rescued in the middle of a battle by super hot Marcello and his men, Gabi is taken under the protection of the Forelli’s.  Gabi, being from the future, doesn’t realize that by wearing her hair down, preferring to wear pants, using her sword, and being outspoken, everyone labels her unusual.  After telling a few lies, almost everyone accepts her as a “Norman.”  Well, everyone except Marcello’s fiancé, daughter of one of Sienna’s Nine.  All Gabi wants is to go home with her sister, but a war between the Forelli’s and the Paratore’s has placed them right in the middle. Now she and Lia’s survival, as well as the Forelli’s depends on Gabi.
Gabi’s is such a great role model.  She is so confident and is not afraid to be herself.  Even in medieval Italy, where women were seen and not heard, Gabi refuses to be the weak damsel in distress.  Instead of sitting in the castle while the men fight and try to find her sister.  She takes her sword and goes out with them- though they do try to talk her out of it.  Her bravery and confidence attract Marcello.  He embodies the Italian male.  Nothing like a hot Italian man to make one double take.  Too bad he is already engaged.  His fiancé is a piece of work.  Her character is like the popular you-know-what (begins with a B) you can find in every high school.  She gives Gabi hell throughout the book.  She is truly nasty.  What she does (I won’t give any spoilers) at one point in  the book is just unbelievably terrible.  Lia, Gabi’s twin, annoyed me.  She was a loving sister, but still, she could have been more supportive of Gabi and her relationship with Marcello.  I thought it was too cute how Luca liked Lia.  His reaction to Lia when they first met was adorable.
Bergren explores sibling relationships in Waterfall.  Gabi’s relationship with Lia reminded me of my own relationship with my sister.  My sister and I look and act like twins but we are two years apart.  Gabi does everything she can, risking her own life several times to find her sister.  Marcello’s relationship with his brother is also carefully written.  Marcello is the younger brother and he has no interest in inheriting his father’s title even though his older brother is very sick and not expected to live much longer.
I love love LOVE LOVE LOVE L.O.V.E.D. this book.  I was giddy the entire night I read it.  You’d have to pry my dead fingers off this book to get me to put it down- and even then, I’d come back and haunt you for taking it away.  That is how obsessed I am with this book.  The adventure was amazing.  The romance was beautiful.  The setting, Italy, was gorgeous.  The characters were real.  The action was riveting.  Everything in this book was perfect. There was even a twist at the end, which left me screaming for more.  I read Waterfall three times within a 24 hour period.  I couldn’t get enough of Marcello.  All I wanted to do was go into the book and be Gabi.  If only time travel was possible.  This book not only exceeded my expectations, but it has become one of my favorite books.  READ IT!  The next book in the series, Cascade, doesn’t come out until June.  That is too far away.  The last time I got the I-must-read-the-next-book-NOW feeling was after reading Dreamfever.  Waterfall is an action-packed adventure story that takes you back in time with a kick-butt heroine, her sister, and a whole lotta handsome Italian men.  My recommendation:  find a good quiet space without anyone to bother you for a good chunk of time because once you start the book, you won’t be able to put it down until you finish…ANNNDDD then you’ll be throwing a tantrum because you have to wait until JUNE for the sequel, Cascade.

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Waterfall (River of Time, #1)

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