Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

Title: Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Angels
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 2011
Pages: 432
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago, but only now is her Purpose – the crucial rite of passage for every part-angel – becoming clear to her. Clara′s Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, where, amidst terrifying scenes of a bush inferno, she finds the boy of her visions, Christian. He is everything she could wish for – so why does she also have feelings for her enigmatic classmate Tucker?

Clara discovers that her Purpose is only a small part of a titanic struggle between angels and their destructive counterparts, the Black Wings. And when the fire of her visions erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?

My Review:

So often we only do what we think is expected of us, when we are capable of so much more.

As a part angel, Clara has a predestined mission. She doesn’t quite know what her Purpose is but knows that she must do everything in her power to save the boy in her visions – even if it means her family have to move across the country to a small town in the middle of nowhere. It’s there she finally finds the boy who haunts her – Christian. But despite finding him, her angelic mission is still unclear. As Clara adapts to life in the country, she finds new friends and some more about Angels and her kinds history. Black Wings – angels with a dark intentions, threaten Clara’s loved ones and her attraction for Tucker – a country boy with a lot of charm, endanger her from being able to save Christian and carry our her angelic Purpose.

Unearthly is a promising start to the series. Clara is likeable and independent with enough secrets  to keep things interesting. She has a good relationship with her mother and brother but it isn’t unrealistically perfect. She has disagreements and the occasional moment where she knowingly acts immature but that makes her just that much more authentic as teenager. Her angel ancestry is interesting – the visions, wings and all that go along with being a Quartarius (quarter angel) make for an entertaining read. I liked the way everything progressed as the story unfolded with some mysteries being revealed and more questions brought up.

For me one of the highlights in Unearthly is the romance. Not your average love triangle but Clara does find herself with feelings for two  very different boys. One is associated with her Purpose and the whole reason why she moved to the country and the other – a complete surprise. This is one of the few novels with a triangle where it’s not entirely apparent who the lead is going to pick until it happens.

I will definitely be reading the next book in the series (in fact I already have Hallowed (Unearthly #2) and Boundless (Unearthly #3) in my possession) because there are still many secrets and mysteries left for the reader to discover. I hope that the questions I have will be answered and I am excited to read more about Clara and her relationships with her friends and family.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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

Tour + Review: Loving Your Lies by Piper Shelly

Loving Your Lies

Title: Loving Your Lies
Author: Piper Shelly
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Publisher: self-published
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 404
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Julian is drop-dead gorgeous, annoyingly provocative, and he’s fast becoming her best friend. But he also has a secret that makes the little hairs on her arms stand on end…

My name is Jona Montiniere, and that’s pretty much the only good thing to say about me.

I’m seventeen, I’m snarky, and I’m a crap-load of trouble. Or so they say. But what did they expect from me really, when they dumped me in an orphanage at age five? That I’d grow up to become the new first lady? Nah, I think it’s much more fun to raid Camden Market in London with my friend, Debby. She’s cool. She lives on the street. I learned so much from her.

The only thing she missed to teach me was how to tend to a vineyard. And yeah, that’s what I’m going to do for the next 6 weeks, courtesy to this darn judge, who sent me off to France after I was caught stealing again. Fair enough, the vineyards are okay, and so are my aunt and uncle, who I haven’t met up ‘til now. What isn’t okay, and I mean it, is that I have to live in the same house with my mother, that god-awful dragon, who spurned when I was only a child. And now she wants me back? Demands my forgiveness? Why, because she’s about to die of cancer? Uh-uh. Sorry, but that’s not gonna happen. I want no contact with that woman, thanks.

But what’s Julian got to do with all of this? About my age, he’s too young to be my mother’s lover. So why doesn’t he leave her side? Ever. He’s different, as in the paranormal kind of different, but he’s sa-woon-worthy gorgeous. He obviously has secrets, but he’s also get-under-my-skin charming. In short, he’s a riddle to me. But he likes me, and that’s scaring the shit out of me. I sure won’t let anyone come too close.

So now I’m wondering only two things: How did he manage to hold me in his arms after only three days? And how the hell do you keep an angel earth bound?

My Review:

This book had my attention from the first few pages. Jona is sarcastic, feisty, a little angry and hurt. And her attitude is ruining her life. Running from the law is almost a daily occurrence and Jona’s on a first name basis with the judge. But when the judge and police has finally had enough of Jona’s petty thefting ways, she gets shipped off to France to live with an aunt she’s never met, a mother she despises and Julian. Gorgeous, mysterious Julian.

Jona is a great character to lead this book. She’s rough around the edges but I liked that. Her life hasn’t been easy but Jona isn’t the type to lie down and let tough circumstances get the better of her. I liked her camaraderie with Quinn but her relationship with Julian was a true highlight for me. Her feelings are as complicated as the situation and with each interaction between them – I just wanted to read more!

I have found myself a little worn out with angel stories lately but Shelly managed to deliver a story that is new and exciting. Her take on the paranormal/mythical beings was a pleasure to read.

I definitely recommend this book to people who like new adult fiction but are looking for something just a little bit different. Jona is not like your typical heroine. She’s tough and I loved reading her thoughts. Julian is a great match for her but this is one book where the heroine outshines the swoon-worthy hero.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | B&N

AUTHOR BIO


The quick-and-dirty:

I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing.
The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course.
The nitty-gritty:
I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.
I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.
People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL.
And the personal stuff:
At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. ;-)We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…

If you still want to know more about me, my FAQ page is the right address for you. 😉

Author Links:
If you want to check out the other blogs that are involved in this tour, you can visit the schedule here.

Book Review: Earth Angel by E. Van Lowe

earth angel banner

Welcome to my stop on the Earth Angel blog tour hosted by YA Bound.  Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!

Title: Earth Angel (Falling Angels Saga #2)
Author: E. Van Lowe
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: White Whisker Books
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 190
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Just because Megan Barnett recently defeated Satan, has a fantastic new best friend, and has won the love of deliciously
handsome, Guy Matson, doesn’t mean her troubles are over. Far from it. For Megan doesn’t realize it, but in her possession is a powerful weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels and demons and everything in between. They will do ANYTHING to get it.

In E. Van Lowe’s humorous, romantic and thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan winds up in a gripping life or death battle to save herself, the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil.

My Review:

Megan Barnett doesn’t waste any time  – she’s just saved her mother, lost her best friend and is about to enter the serious stage of the school year – and already she’s back facing another supernatural enemy. Her formerly angelic boyfriend Guy Matson is heavenly and is everything she could want in a boyfriend but his former life as an angel is starting to take its toll on Megan. He has secrets that he can’t divulge and when mysterious people from his past pop up Megan isn’t quite sure how to handle things. When demons start appearing in her backyard Megan knows that something is up… and knows that she’ll need help in order to beat the beings of Hell again…

I love to see characters grow and Megan has matured quite a bit since Boyfriend From Hell. She’s still a little self-absorbed but deep down her heart is in the right place. When it comes down to it she will sacrifice all she has in order to help those she cares for. Her friendship with Erin is practically non-existent but I really liked that Megan didn’t just forget about her friend and move on. She’s trying. And the evolution of her romantic relationship with Guy is fun to read.

There’s new characters in Earth Angel that I loved reading about – Rocky and Harrison. And despite cringing every time Harrison spoke (I swear – us Aussies don’t sound like that!) they brought something new and exciting to the story. Maudrina is a fantastic BFF for Megan to have and confide in regarding the supernatural activity and Maudrina’s aunt is the kind of mentor that every Satan defeating heroine needs in her corner.

I would have loved to have seen more Guy in this story – but completely understand why he was on the down low. The romance was sweet and I liked where the author is taking this couple.

This is a quick and fun read where the angels are sinfully delightful and the heroine is trying to save the world whilst still muddling though high school. The third book in the trilogy, Heaven Sent,  is available now.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

E Van Lowe was born in the Bronx a long time ago, back in the days when children were supposed to be seen and not heard. Fortunately for E, his parents allowed him to speak freely. Unfortunately for his parents and older brother, E had a lot to say. He was speaking quite freely until one day, while his mother was trying to watch her “stories” (which is code for soap operas), she suggested that instead of speaking freely, he write all his important thoughts down. E wrote down many important thoughts, such as: crayons melt when you leave them on the radiator, or toy soldiers melt when you drop them in the muffin batter before mom puts it in the oven. His brother thought he was weird, but E was only ten years old at the time. What did he expect, Shakespeare? E liked writing things down so much, he decided that when he grew up, he was going to become a professional writer.

 

E has gone on to write for many award winning TV shows including: The Cosby Show, and Even Stevens. He also co-wrote the Academy Award nominated short film, Cadillac Dreams. Never Slow Dance With A Zombie was his first teen novel.  Boyfriend From Hell is the first in the Falling Angels Saga.  The second novel in the saga, Earth Angel, will be coming out soon.  It seems E still has lots of important, and weird, thoughts to share with readers.

 

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***GIVEAWAY***

1 winner will receive E-book copies of Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel (Open Internationally)
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Book Review: Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer

Title: Natural Born Angel (Immortal City #2) 
Author: Scott Speer
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Angels, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 23 April 2013
Pages: 360
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She’s trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed’s girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She’s been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war. . . .

My Review:

After slaving away at her uncle’s diner and studying hard to get the marks required to get into college, Maddy Montgomery is faced with a choice. Her dream school or the chance to train at the top-secret Guardian school. Going from the anonymous high school student to being the world’s number one It-Girl in less than a year, Maddy also has to navigate her new-found popularity and balance her new professional life with her relationship with the oh-so dreamy, Jackson Godspeed. Life will never be the same and Maddy needs to work out what she wants and where her allegiance lie before the war between Angels and Humans decides for her…

Natural Born Angel has so much going on – it’s fantastic! We get to see some Guardian training, the rise of a new dangerous enemy and the fantastic Former Angel, Detective Sylvester, is around again trying to save the world (this time with some help from Mark and Jacks). I loved the way that this novel managed to be describing a fantastical concept (like Angels on Earth) and have it mirror modern-day life – prejudices, terrorism and elitism. This book reminded me of a film in terms of  how it is set up and in some ways I think this would make a better film than novel. There isn’t a lot of emotion evident and I think had I been watching actors they would have been able to bring the intensity that these characters in the novel couldn’t.

I had high hopes for this novel. I loved the concept of Immortal City and the dark underbelly of the Angelic world. This book is a breath of fresh air with regards to the action. There is no chance of getting stuck in a characters thoughts because this book is about what’s happening now – happening to Maddy, to Jacks and to the world in general. And whilst I liked the different style of storytelling I felt like it was a missed opportunity. We skip a year from where the first novel ended to a time when Maddy is well established in a relationship with Jacks. She’s almost come to terms with her new-found Angelic state and she’s handling the fame like a professional.

What disappointed me most about Natural Born Angel was the romance. I don’t need romance to enjoy a good book and this is one of those stories that I think was trying a bit too hard with the relationships. Maddy and Jacks have lost any sort of chemistry they shared in the first book and there’s a new element that made this book go from a suspenseful action fantasy novel to just another clichéd teen romance… but even then the romance was unbelievable and flat.

Overall – there are some great things about this book and some not-so great things too. IF you loved the first book I think you’ll enjoy where Speer takes Maddy and the others in this instalment. Will I be reading the next Immortal City novel? Absolutely! But I think I’ll go in with slightly lower expectations than I had for Natural Born Angel.

 

Thanks to Penguin Teen and netgalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott

Title: The Collector (Dante Walker #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Genre: Urban Fantasy, paranormal, demons
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: April 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
He makes good girls…bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

My Review:

Dante Walker is so bad he’s good. Good at his job working for the Boss Man ‘downstairs’, good at training fellow collectors and good with the ladies. He gets in, gets the job done and gets out. Until Charlie Cooper. With her gawky smile and limping leg – it shouldn’t be a problem to get her to be bad with him. Ten days to claim her soul? Piece of cake!

Except Charlie is nothing like anyone Dante has ever met before. She’s just so… good! The challenge gets even tougher when Dante starts falling for the plain jane and Dante is faced with a dilemma more difficult than anything he’s faced in life – or death.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Victoria Scott’s Dante Walker for a while now. The man’s man, ladies man, man about town whose swagger is to die for. He’s one of those characters that grew on me. At first I thought he was entertaining but about as deep as dishwater. But the more I read and the more involved I got with Dante and Charlie’s story – he surprised me on a number of levels. This character has a lot going for him – and not just the sex appeal and charm that he is oh-so-well aware of. He’s got heart.

Charlie Cooper. I’m a fan of alliterative names and Charlie is one character that I was shocked to like so much. She’s one of those people who are perfect. Perhaps not physically (and lets face it flawless appearances are a bit of a turn off for me so many be that’s another point in her favour) but she’s a all-round do-gooder. There’s no one she wouldn’t help even if it was at a disadvantage to herself. She’s just that nice! When tragedy and adversity had the chance to make her bitter and twisted, Charlie took the high road and tried to be the best person she could be. Sounds like she could be sickeningly sweet but when meeting and getting to know her through Dante’s eyes – she’s just adorable.

Plot wise – there’s a lot going on. Some twists I expected, some I never saw coming but they worked well with the rest of the drama unfolding. There were a few surprises and I have to admit the ending has left me so very curious as to where Scott is going to take Dante, Charlie and the rest of the crew in the next instalment of the Dante Walker series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: February 26th 2013 
Pages: 440 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
MY KISS CAN KILL. 

I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that’s changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone’s soul…or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don’t…I hurt myself.

Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I’ll kill him. Then there’s another boy, one I can’t hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They’re both part of a team of angels and demons that’s joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I’ll be able to help Bishop-or if I’m just another part of the darkness he’s sworn to destroy….

NIGHTWATCHERS 

When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising…

My Review:

After the Hollow unleashed hell on Earth in an all ages club only two weeks ago – Sam has been busy. The Grey Girl is on the lookout of Stephen, the grey who sucked her soul out turning her into hungry soul sucking nexus. Add to that a mysterious memory blocked gorgeous angel who can only think straight when she’s around. Too bad Sam can’t keep her thoughts straight around him!

Dark Kiss laid a lot of groundwork but it was well worth the read for I devoured Wicked Kiss like a hungry grey would a soul. Sam and her misfit warriors from Heaven and Hell still have a mission to carry out. Sam needs her soul and to save her bff Carly from the Hollow. Bishop, Kraven and the others need to rid Trinity from the evil mess that Natalie unleashed. I liked these characters so much more the second time around. They’re still slightly stereotypical and a little predictable in many ways but this time – but it worked for me. I loved the drama added from the new characters (like Cassandra) and getting to know some briefly mentioned ones from Dark Kiss a little better.

There’s a lot going on in this book. Romance and evil supernatural villains are underfoot everywhere. I liked how the relationships evolved. Not just the romantic ones but the friendships and the way Kraven and Bishop’s brotherly interactions evolved.  Sam is developing as a character too. She’s finally got some street sense kicked into her. She’s embracing her nexus and grey-ness to the hilt and is becoming a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

The mythology of Angels and Demons are interestingly explained in this book. There’s not too many religious overtones that sometimes overload books about Angels. But instead the angels and devils seem to just be concerned with good vs. evil. I wanted some facets to be explored in more detail but there was enough explained to understand Sam’s situation.

I can recommend this book to anyone that liked the first instalment – but also those who were slightly ambivalent.  This book is a satisfying ending to an interesting take on zombies, angels and demons.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository