Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, #1)

Title: Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
Author: Susan Ee
Genre: Angels. Dystopia, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: May 2013 (first published May 2011)
Pages: 325
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
It’s been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back…

My Review:

Angels have descended down to earth but they’re not the heavenly creatures people may have expected. Ruthless and lacking any trace of humanity, the Angels are ruling the world and treating humans no better than animals. When an angel takes her little sister Paige, Penryn plans to do the unthinkable. She wants to go into the Angels’ aerie – their home base – to save her. With an injured angel, Raffe, as her guide, Penryn tempts fate to save Paige and bring what’s left of her family back together.

I can understand why this book was an Internet phenomenon. Penryn is such a strong character. The angels have ruined the world. Millions are dead, modern civilisation all but demolished but there are still a few humans left struggling to exist in this new angel ruled world. In a post-apocalypse California, Penryn has been learning how to survive and taking over the parent role in her family. Her mother can not be relied upon for anything and has some strange ideas. But Paige keeps Penryn from getting too serious. Paige, although in a wheelchair after an incident when she was younger, would give up everything she had to help someone else. Penryn needs her little sister and when she’s taken, Penryn risks life and a fate worse than death to bring Paige back.

This is a book with a quest, deadly angels, magical weapons and characters I adored. Penryn is intelligent and focused – if not a little too single mindedly obsessed – with getting her sister back. The angels are ruthless and I loved how different they were from how I usually imagine angels. These angels are beautiful and breathtakingly formidable. They murder humans and think nothing of it. But they’re not invincible. They have politics of their own and a hierarchy that may not be as stable as the humans may believe. I liked Raffe the angel. He’s every bit as intimidating as his fellow angels but due to circumstances beyond his control he finds himself having to rely on a human. The dynamic of Penryn and Raffe was great to read and I enjoyed the lack of an overt romantic relationship between the two.

I really enjoyed this book and for me it lived up to the hype. The gorgeous cover, brilliant take on angels and a heroine who I wanted to read more about. The second book in the series, World After, was released a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to immerse myself once more in Penryn’s world.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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Stacking the Shelves – Sunday 21st July 2013

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created and hosted by Tynga @ Tynga’s Reviews. It gives bloggers the chance to show their readers books they’ve bought, borrowed or received during the week.

I’ve had a great week book wise. Have a look at my acquisitions for this week:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – I got this book to review from The Reading Room and I’ve only just started it but I’m surprised by just how funny it is. It’s beautiful and fantastically eccentric. I’m really enjoying it.

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster (Harlequin) – This book is a new adult novel set in Byron Bay and Sydney. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the blurb is so enticing… “A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.”

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

I was lucky enough to win this dystopian pack from Date A Book. Siege by Sarah Mussi (great photo skillz there. I managed to cover up the authors name. It’s SARAH MUSSI!) and the Kirsten Dunst movie, Upside Down.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

And finally, If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This is one that I borrowed from my local library this week. They have a fantastic selection of books. I also picked up a couple of cookbooks! I’ve heard amazing things about If I Stay and am very eager to experience Gayle Forman’s writing for myself.

 

That’s the additions to my personal library for this week. 🙂 Feel free to leave me a comment telling me which books you got this week. Thanks 🙂

Book Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Publisher: Headline Fiction
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis (goodreads):
When 17-year-old Graham Larkin sends an email to a friend about his pet pig, Wilbur, the last thing he expects is a response from the other side of the country, from one Ellie O’Neill. As their online friendship blossoms, they begin to reveal more about themselves but crucially leave out the truth about Ellie’s past and Graham’s career as a Hollywood heartthrob. And when a new location needs to be found for Graham’s next film, he jumps at the chance to visit Ellie’s hometown, Henley, Maine. But, now that they’re together, it’s impossible to keep their secrets for long and there’s a lot to overcome if love is to blossom…

My Review:

When an email from Graham Larkin to a pig walker gets mistakenly sent to sixteen year old Ellie O’Neill, an unlikely friendship blossoms between a teen heart-throb and a small town girl. But when their relationship goes from online to off-screen, things get complicated. The guy that every girl wants falls for a girl who wants nothing to do with the limelight or the paparazzi following that comes with it. Can the easy camaraderie Ellie and Graham once had stand up to the pressures that real life brings?

I have to admit I love the famous guy falling for the small town girl storyline. Mix it with elements of mistaken online identity in a “You’ve Got Mail” twist and you have one of my all time plot lines. I’ve watched movies based on this. I’ve read stories basted on this – I’ve even written my own novella like this. I’m delighted to say that This is What Happy Looks Like is such a worthy addition to the other works in this genre.

Ellie and Graham are flawlessly flawed. They are characters who both had to grow up fast due to their circumstances and as a result they both act much older than their years. Seeing them in this summer romance was delightful to see them behave like the teenagers they are. Both have their baggage but neither of them dwell on their situation. Graham wants something to like him for him and not the fame or privileges that go along with the “Graham Larkin Experience”. Ellie enjoys the quiet life and doesn’t appreciate the media circus that the film crew has brought to her peaceful Maine cottage.

I was a little disappointed with the supporting cast of characters – the friends were of the fair-weather variety and the authority figures were somewhat fleeting – but they didn’t detract from the romance between Graham and Ellie.

This is a very sweet story. Plot wise – there’s not too many surprises this is definitely one of those books you read for the journey and not the destination. It loses steam about two-thirds of the way in but manages to pick up the pace for a delightful ending.

Overall I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes a light contemporary story about a summer romance where no matter who you are, sometimes the simplest things in life are the ones that make you the happiest.

Favourite Quotes:

“Theirs was a partnership of details rather than facts. And the details were the best part.”

“He’d cast his e-mail out into the world in search of a trout and what he’d found instead was a salmon.”


Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

This review will contain slight spoils of the first book in the series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) 
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: fantasy, angels, young adult, demons, supernatural
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (an imprint of Hachette), Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: November 8th 2012
Pages: 513 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

My Review:

Karou is still reeling after Akiva and the wishbone revealed their secrets. Her family gone, her heart-broken and she’s now stuck in a war between Angels and Chimera. Feeling betrayed and lonely, Karou tries to find some piece and purpose in the world.

Much like it’s predecessor, this book is beautifully written. It makes reading every page a pleasure. I love the emotions of the characters that come across in thoughts and interactions. The plot is epic. It’s interesting and creative with twists that make perfect sense and yet I never saw coming. This book involves more than just Karou and Akiva – there are scenes with Chimera and Angels along the way that add to the brutality of the war that’s taking place. And there’s also Zuzana. I love the pocket-sized dynamo. She adds comic relief and a few laughs when the tension Karou thrives on gets to be almost too much. Her interactions with Mik are both humorous and delightfully romantic.

Karou is a little darker in this book. The things she does are taking a toll on her soul and she’s devastated about her feelings regarding Akiva. I loved getting some more insight to Akiva and his background. By the end I was feeling equally heartbroken on his behalf as I am for Karou. The world of the Chimera is an interesting one to be a part vicariously though her. There are some truly evil characters in this novel and their actions are at times truly scary.  The Angels are equally fascinating to read.

I have loved every moment I have spent reading this book and am a little devastated that I have to wait till 2014 for the next instalment of this fantastic series.

Many thanks to The Reading Room for providing me with a copy to review

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository

Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) 
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: fantasy, angels, young adult, demons, supernatural
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (an imprint of Hachette), Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 432 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

My Review:

Karou, the girl with blue hair and mysterious tattoos, has grown up always knowing she was different. Her guardians are part human, part animal creatures anyone else would find scary but she just knows them as family. She’s a girl of two worlds but doesn’t quite fit in either one.

When her worlds collide, Karou finds there more to either of her lives that she ever expected.

The first thing I want to say about this book is how beautifully written I found it. The language is lovely. Reading it was an absolute pleasure. I love Laini Taylor’s style and whilst I could have devoured this book in a matter of hours I wanted to savour the words and make it last.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an original story. With a monster collecting teeth for possibly nefarious purposes, a stalker ex-boyfriend who larks around Prague pretending to be a vampire and a best friend who may be lacking in stature but a giant in soul. The fantasy world in which this book is set is remarkably detailed and beautifully described. I loved following Karou and finding out the secrets along with her.

The characters were fantastically interesting – from the humans Kaz and Zuzana to Brimstone and Issa. Even the mysterious and impossibly beautiful Akiva. These are characters I loved reading about and couldn’t wait to find out what came next for them. Karou is a someone with whom I have next to nothing in common and yet as I read on I found myself seeing myself in her – she’s strong with moments of weakness, scared and yet fearlessly brave. She has her secrets and finding out about her history and present was a fantastic journey.

In this novel, Laini Taylor has written a beautiful tale of fantasy and adventure. There’s romance, heartbreak and a plot that kept me enthralled long after reading the final page. The second book in the series, Days of Blood and Starlightwas released in November 2012 with the third book expected to be published sometime in 2014.

Many thanks to The Reading Room for providing me with a copy to review

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1) 
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Dystopia, sci-fi, romance, young adult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (an imprint of Hachette), HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 393
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What if love were a disease?

There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.

Then, at last, they found the cure.

Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable.

My Review:

The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well. – Proverb 42, The book of Shhh.

I’ve been nervous to read this book. There’s so much hype around it and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. It has a rating of 4.07 after over fifty thousand ratings on goodreads. So after I bought a copy, I put it on the shelf along and left it alone.

Until last week. And I’m so glad that I finally read it. And I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good love story as well as anyone who likes a good dystopian novel.

After seeing her mother and her older sister be victims to amor deliria nervosa, Lena has been counting down the days till her eighteenth birthday. The day when she  can receive the cure and never have to worry about being infected with the disease of love. With one summer left between her and the cure, Lena and her best friend Hana sit their examinations to determine who they will be matched with to marry and procreate with after being cured. There’s a disturbance during the testing and Lena is introduced to a world where maybe love isn’t the disease she’s always thought it to be. Maybe love is what’s worth living for.

I think I’m a bit of a champion for love. The idea of a world without love horrifies me. And whilst I can’t dispute the facts laid out in The Book of Shhh,  I never realized how many facets of our lives are influenced by the strong emotion. There’s love of our families, our children, our partners, our friends and every part of our worlds. Music, art and even nature. It’s all comes back to love.

Like for most books that introduce a new series and in that a new world, there’s a bit of world building going on at the start. But I found all of it fascinating. I loved the main characters – Lena, Hana and Alex. They’re all so different and yet they contrast each other brilliantly. There were some times when I didn’t understand Lena’s actions. I understood where her thoughts were going but then she’d just do something slightly out of left field and I’d just be sitting there with a quizzical look on my face wondering why Lena? Why?!

I don’t want to go into too many details plot wise – I didn’t know anything that was going to happen and the surprise is some of what made it so exciting and compelling.

The relationship between Alex and Lena was beautifully played out. I loved how it developed as the story went on. There are some scenes between them that will go down as some of the most romantic that I’ve ever read.

I already have a copy of the second book in the series, Pandemonium. I don’t think it’ll take me any time at all to get around to reading it.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Publisher: Headline Fiction
Publication Date: January 2012
Pages: 240
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn’t forgotten the book. Or if there hadn’t been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn’t fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she’d run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else – the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn’t sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it’s the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver…

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

My Review:

This novel is a sweet and realistic little window in Hadley’s life. After missing her flight to London to attend a wedding she doesn’t want to go to, Hadley is faced with a four-hour wait in the airport. She strikes up a conversation with 18-year-old Oliver, a student formerly from England who is now studying at Yale. They bond instantly and together they help each other during a difficult period in their lives.

I loved the realism of Hadley’s situation – a young woman who feels betrayed by her father when he moves overseas, divorces her mother and is now marrying “the other woman” who Hadley has never even met. Hadley doesn’t sugar-coat her feelings towards her dad. She’s hurt and she doesn’t care who knows it.

Oliver is a great travelling companion. He’s interesting, caring and the sort of boy any seventeen year old would fall for at first sight. He’s quirky enough to entertain the reader and I loved how the author made him have some flaws. He’s perfect for Hadley in his imperfection.

This is a lovely novel that I recommend for anyone who likes their teen romances short and sweet but with a lot of feeling.


Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository