City of Heavenly Fire

If you’ve come here looking for spoilers, you have definitely come to the wrong place. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to tell you much of anything about City of Heavenly Fire, the long-awaited conclusion to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. Do yourself a favor and read it. And the rest of the series. And the prequel trilogy. And anything else that Cassie Clare writes. Even if it’s her grocery list. I’m pretty sure even that would be epic.

For those not caught up with all things Shadowhunter, you absolutely MUST read the first five books of the Mortal Instruments saga before picking up City of Heavenly Fire. Those books are City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls. (And no, seeing the movie adaptation of City of Bones is not a substitute for reading the book. In my opinion, the movie was absolute crap and didn’t begin to do the book justice.) I’d also highly recommend reading the prequel series, The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess). There’s a fair amount of crossover, and you may not get the importance of certain things if you don’t have the background provided in the prequels. (Hint: Brother Zachariah for the win!)

I honestly don’t know what I can say about City of Heavenly Fire without giving too much away. From the very first page, I was enthralled, and I’m still processing a lot of what happened. Throughout this 725-page tome, I laughed, I cried, and I got angry. It was an emotional journey, and one that I won’t soon forget…especially since I was extremely worried about my favorite character for much of the latter part of the book. (If you’ve read my other posts on these books, you likely know who I’m talking about.)

Those of you who’ve read the series thus far will get everything you’ve come to expect in a Mortal Instruments book. Snarkiness, sadness, redemption, action, emotional upheaval, intense battles, loss, fear, laughter, and love overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. The characters we met in the first book–Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus–have grown so much, endured so much, to get where they are, and this final war with Sebastian, Clary’s own brother, is their greatest battle yet. They are being tempered in a great fire, and, if they emerge, they will be stronger than ever.

I will say that the ending, while heart-breaking at times, was rather satisfying, and didn’t leave me with–you know–the urge to throw the book across the room or egg the author’s house. (I cannot say the same for my feelings when I finished reading Allegiant.) I felt it was a very fitting end to a beloved series, and it served well as a new beginning for many of the characters who’ve come to mean so much to me.

The official City of Heavenly Fire book trailer was released a few weeks before the book, and it captures the basic mood of the book. (I will admit I’m not crazy about the trailer. Something about it felt a bit off. The same is definitely NOT true of the book!) Check it about below, compare it to the book, and judge for yourself.

I first met these characters six years ago, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the time we’ve spent together. Luckily, I don’t really have to say goodbye. I’m fairly certain I’ll see them again in Cassie Clare’s next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. We definitely get glimpses of what we’ll encounter in the new series, starting with Lady Midnight in 2015. Our newest adventure will center around Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs in the Los Angeles Institute, and, if what I saw in City of Heavenly Fire is accurate, we can expect another thrill ride from these young Shadowhunters!

***************

I know this post didn’t give you a ton of information about City of Heavenly Fire, and I do apologize for that. It’s just that this series means a great deal to me, and I find it rather difficult to put my thoughts on it into words. Those I’ve used here don’t feel adequate in any way. If you take anything away from this, though, I hope it’s this: Read anything you can find by Cassandra Clare. She will wrap you up in an intense story, give you characters you grow to love, and teach you a little something about caring for your fellow man (or vampire, werewolf, warlock, whatever) along the way. Her books–this one and any others–are not to be missed.

The series is complete...for now.

The series is complete…for now.

Boundless

Warning! If you’re new to Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series, you may want to change that before continuing with this post. You’ll need to read, at the very least, Unearthly, Hallowed, and Radiant (an ebook novella), before reading Boundless, the third and final book in the series.

So, nearly three years ago exactly, I started the Unearthly series, and yesterday, thanks to a rather unexpected “winter event” in the South, I had time to finish reading Boundless, the series finale. (Today’s post is also the result of an unexpected day off. It seems we can’t handle snow and ice here in South Carolina.)

Boundless picks up right where Radiant–and, to a lesser extent, Hallowed–left off. Clara is about to embark on yet another adventure. She’s starting her freshman year at Stanford, but, if you’ve followed this series at all, you know that Clara is no typical college freshman. She is a Triplare, the rarest of the angel-bloods. (Her mom was half-angel, and her dad, Michael, is 100% angel.) Clara and her fellow angel-bloods Angela and Christian are dealing with visions of an uncertain future where it seems they will have to fight the dreaded Black Wings (fallen angels) that would seek to destroy them.

In addition to learning to fight the bad guys, Clara and friends are also dealing with some other heavy stuff.  Clara is still torn between Christian, a fellow Triplare who is always there for her and makes her stronger than she would be alone, and Tucker, the human she left behind. She has feelings for both boys, and she doesn’t really know how to reconcile those feelings with the visions of a not-exactly-happy future.

Clara is also worried about her brother Jeffrey. After their mother’s death, Jeffrey seemed to lose a bit of himself, and Clara wants to help him find his way back to the light, but it’s not easy. Jeffrey resists all attempts to help and rarely even speaks about what happened in Wyoming. Clara doesn’t know what to do, but she knows she has to at least try to be there for her brother…even if he pushes her away.

Clara’s friend Angela, meanwhile, has gotten herself into a bit of trouble, and that trouble is going have some pretty huge ramifications, both in Angela’s own life and in the coming war between angel-bloods and Black Wings.

What does all this mean for Clara and her destiny? Is she meant to be with Christian or Tucker? Does she even have a choice in the matter? What will happen with Jeffrey? With Angela? Can they hope to defeat the Black Wings when their lives are in so much turmoil? War is brewing, and Clara and company will have to face their deepest fears and journey through hell to emerge victorious. Will they succeed? I’ll leave that for you to discover…

_______________

After finishing this entire series, I have to say that I want more. The ending was sort of satisfying, but–spoilers!–not every character gets what I would call a happy ending. Some of the ending was a little too neat for me, but other parts were left at loose ends. I won’t tell you which parts I’m talking about. I’ll leave that for you to figure out. I will say that a spin-off series for one character in particular wouldn’t be totally unwelcome.

All in all, the Unearthly series was entertaining, and I would recommend it to teen readers who show an interest in angels. Now, I think I’ll continue this “angelic” theme of the week and binge on some episodes of Supernatural. (I do enjoy Castiel!)

For all of you visual people, here is a short book trailer for Boundless from HarperTeen. Enjoy!

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Clockwork Princess

20130324-203505.jpg

By the Angel, I don’t even know where to begin. Unless you really haven’t been paying attention, you already know that I am absolutely nuts about anything written by Cassandra Clare. Seriously, the woman could rewrite the dictionary, and I would not only buy it, but I’d also want a first edition autographed copy. It should surprise no one, then, that I rushed to the nearest bookstore after school on Tuesday, purchased Clockwork Princess, the final(?) book in Cassie Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, and commenced with the reading. It may, however, surprise some that I didn’t finish the book until last night. Honestly, I’m surprised myself, but my need for sleep and, you know, having to go to work prevented me from reading until I dropped. (I’m not as young as I used to be.) Also, I kind of wanted to prolong the exquisite agony…because that’s exactly what this book was.

Based on everything (and I do mean everything) I read on Twitter, Tumblr, and any other source I could find, I had an idea that Cassie would break my heart in Clockwork Princess, and I was absolutely correct. I’m not going to tell you what happened in the book, but suffice it to say that I just about went through an entire box of Kleenex. (I’m beginning to think that Cassie Clare is in league with Stephen Moffat. Clearly, these two individuals are trying to do me in with all the feels.) I did some serious crying during this book. We’re talking wracking, Reichenbach-Fall, weeping-angels-take-the-Ponds-away-from-the-Doctor, intense sobbing. My eyes are still kind of red. It was awesome.

If you’ve been following the Infernal Devices series at all, you know that things are coming to a head with Tessa, Jem, and Will. On top of all their love triangle stuff, the evil Mortmain is waging war against all Shadowhunters. In Clockwork Princess, questions are answered about Mortmain’s motives, Tessa’s origins, the bond between Jem and Will, and so many other things. I can’t begin to go into everything that happened in this book, partially because I’m afraid I’ll start weeping again but also because I don’t want to take any of this reading experience away from anyone. (Someone accidentally posted a spoiler on my Twitter page, and let’s just say that I am less than happy with that person. I can’t do that to someone else.)

It’s enough to say that this perfect book is perfect. Even though my heart felt like it was being split in two, I felt that everything happened as it should have, and I’m looking forward to City of Heavenly Fire, the final book in the Mortal Instruments series, even more now. (Sadly, we have to wait another year for what I’m sure will be yet another amazing book. Curses! Luckily, we have the City of Bones movie and some novellas all about Magnus Bane to get us through!) I can only hope that we’ll see more of some beloved Infernal Devices characters (and I won’t say who!) in Cassie’s upcoming books.

For those who haven’t yet experienced any of the Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices books, I don’t know what else I can do to convince you. Get thee to a bookstore or library, or download these fantastic books on whatever ereader you prefer. I don’t care how you read these books. Just read them! You can thank me later.

Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Halflings

In less than two weeks, I’ll be attending the annual conference of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.  At this gathering of librarians, I’ll be leading a couple of sessions.  One is on blogging in the elementary school library, and the other is a question and answer session with a few YA authors:  Sophie Jordan (Firelight, Vanish, and Hidden), Julie Halpern (Into the Wild Nerd Yonder), and Heather Burch, author of the Halflings series.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you.  Heather Burch wasn’t even on my radar until I heard that she would be attending this year’s SCASL Conference.  When I was asked to facilitate this author panel, I knew, however, that I would need to read at least one of her books to be really effective.  I finally did that this week.  In fact, I finished the first book in her Halflings series about an hour ago.  It was good, but, in a lot of ways, it left more questions unanswered than not.  I guess this is a sure way to get readers to check out the next book.

Nikki Youngblood is in danger, but even she is unsure of just what is after her.  When she’s nearly killed by what can only be described as hellhounds–and she’s rescued by beings she believes to be angels–she comes to realize that the dangers she’s facing are more horrible–and unearthly–than she could have ever imagined.

Nikki wasn’t exactly rescued by angels, however.  The three “boys” she came into contact with are known as Halflings.  They are half-human, half-angel and are considered outcasts in Heaven and on Earth.  These Lost Boys do have a purpose, though.  Mace, Raven, and Vine are on a heavenly journey to protect Nikki–or someone close to her.  But why?  What is so special about this teenage girl?  Why is she now a target of the enemy?  And how can these supernatural beings protect someone who clouds their feelings and has the power to impact their futures?  Mace and Raven, especially, are drawn to Nikki (and Nikki to them), but divine mandate prevents any of them from being together…without truly hellacious results.

As Nikki, Mace, and Raven battle their desires, an unknown evil is penetrating everything around them.  No one is really sure who is behind the terror that is brewing, but Nikki, her Lost Boys, and several other heavenly beings will do everything they can to uncover the truth and fight in the war that’s coming.  What will be lost in the battles ahead?  What will be sacrificed?  And will Nikki and company be able to handle the choices that must be made…and their inevitable consequences?  Begin to unravel the mystery when you read Halflings, the first book in an exciting series by Heather Burch.

If I had to classify this book, it would be young adult Christian fantasy with a bit of mystery and romance thrown in for good measure.  It’s a decent read for those in middle school and beyond who like “angelic” fiction.  As for me, the book was a little frustrating because it left me with so many questions.  I didn’t really have a sense of closure at the end of the book, so I’m hoping that the question and answer session at the SCASL Conference will tie things up a little better for me.

The second book in the Halflings series, Guardian, is already out, and I hope to get around to it soon.  (This probably won’t happen before my conference, though.  I’m being realistic here.)  The third book, Avenger, is due out this April.  For more information about the author and this series, click here.

That’s all for now.  I may edit this post a bit after my conference in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.  Until then, do you have any burning questions you’d like to ask the YA authors attending this conference?  Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to get a few answers for you!

Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Finale

Spoilers! If you haven’t read the first three books in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series (Hush, Hush, Crescendo, and Silence), stop whatever you’re doing, and get on with it! These books are super-duper, and the fourth and final book, Finale, is equally wonderful. If you have read the first three books, proceed with caution. This post might be a little spoilery. If you haven’t experienced this fabulous saga, stop reading this RIGHT NOW! This post will be extremely spoilery.

Before I get into talking about the awesomeness that is Becca Fitzpatrick’s Finale, let me vent a little bit. I had every intention of finishing this book days ago (instead of yesterday evening). Sadly, though, I had to return to school on January 2nd (which kind of stunk), so that ate into my reading time. (I really need a job that allows me to read all day…and stay in my pajamas. If you know of a job like this, please let me know.) Anyway, I was too exhausted when I came home from work to do anything more strenuous than vegging in front of the TV. Thursday night, I got violently ill, so I had to deal with that. I read a little Friday evening and Saturday morning, but I spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning with family, so not much reading was done. I finally caught a break on Sunday afternoon. I was able to become absorbed in a book with no interruptions. I tell you all of this to explain why I’m not doing so well with my resolution to read 400 books this year. The year has barely begun, and I’m already way behind. *dramatic sigh*

But I’m guessing most of you don’t give a flying fart in space why I’m not reading as much as I should, so let’s move on to the reason we’re all here. Yesterday, I finished reading Finale, the fourth and final book in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush saga. This book was released on October 23rd, 2012, and I’m pretty sure I bought it the day it came out, so it had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months before I decided to dive in. (I don’t have to remind you that I’m a busy girl, so it’s no secret why I didn’t get to it right away.) I had to reread my posts on the first three books in the series to remind me what happened previously, but, after that, I entered into the world of Nora and Patch rather seamlessly.

For those that don’t remember what happened at the end of Silence, here’s a short reminder:  Hank (Nora’s biological father and leader of the Nephilim) is dead, and Nora swore on the lives of her and her mother that she would lead his army. Nora became a member of the Nephilim (so she’s no longer totally human). It’s up to her to lead her new army against the fallen angels, but she doesn’t want to do that because the love of her life, Patch, just happens to be one of them. It’s quite the sticky wicket.

In Finale, Nora Grey is the new leader of the Nephilim. She doesn’t want to be the leader of this army, and the Nephilim don’t really want her as their leader, but a blood oath ensures that nobody gets what they want. Nora is now the Black Hand, and she is faced with a decision that will force her to choose between continued slavery for the Nephilim or the complete annihilation of the fallen angels…including Patch, her beloved.

At first, Nora thinks her job is fairly simple.  She’ll just lead the Nephilim into a peaceful alliance with the fallen angels. Alas, this is not to be. Neither the Nephilim or the fallen angels will go for it, and, once the archangels of Heaven get involved, it becomes even more of a no-go. Even Nora, after seeing what it really means to be Nephil, has doubts about peace even being a consideration.

And that’s not all that’s giving Nora reason to doubt her situation. Her best friend, Vee, is keeping secrets. Her boyfriend, Patch, can’t be seen with her. (When there’s a war brewing between Nephilim and fallen angels, it’s not the best idea to be seen cavorting with the “enemy.”) Also, his heinous ex-girlfriend has been sniffing around. Nora’s nemesis (and half-sister) has decided that living with Nora would be a good idea. To top it all off, it seems that someone–someone who Nora thinks can be trusted–is working to undo everything Nora is trying to achieve…and he or she is using devilcraft (think witchcraft…but way, way, way worse) to do it.

Will Nora be able to lead the Nephilim? Will she lead them to war or peace? And what will either situation mean for Nephilim, fallen angels, and, most importantly to this story, Nora and Patch? Is the future of their relationship doomed to fall before it really has a chance to fly? If Nora can find a way to bring a peaceful end to the war that is brewing, what–or who–will she have to sacrifice? What is the cost of freedom, and is Nora willing to pay it? Find these answers and more when you read Finale, the thrilling conclusion to Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush saga.

I don’t know if you can tell from this post, but I kind of adore this entire series. Until yesterday, I would have told you that Silence was my favorite book in the series, but I think Finale may have, at the very least, forced a tie. There was just so much drama! Yes, there were times when I had to close the book because I wanted to punch Nora in the face, but that’s how I know this story really gripped me. Also, even though there were tons of clues pointing to the true bad guy(s), I honestly didn’t see it coming. Maybe that makes me as gullible as Nora was, but that’s okay. If being gullible comes with having a fallen angel like Patch think you’re awesome-sauce, I’ll take it.

One complaint: I did feel like the epilogue was a little too neat. I would have liked to know more about what happened between the last chapter and the events in the epilogue. Some things, in my opinion, were just glossed over too much.

All in all, I think Finale was a great conclusion to what was an amazing series. I look forward to reading even more from Becca Fitzpatrick!

To learn more about Becca Fitzpatrick, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter. You may also want to visit the official Hush, Hush fansite, Fallen Archangel, for the latest on this series, including movie news!

Still not enough? Well then…check out this super-cool book trailer for Finale from Simon & Schuster Videos. Knight Reader out!

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Rapture

Today is a big day for Knight Reader.  It’s my four year blogoversary!  Yay for me!  (My mom is making a very special celebratory dinner.  She’s awesome.)  Also, I’ve just finished my 40th book of the summer and my 183rd book of the year.  I’m halfway to my yearly goal of reading 366 books!  Another yay for me!  Well, I guess that’s enough of tooting my own horn.  Let’s get to the real reason you’re here…

If you haven’t already read the first four books in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series (Fallen, Torment, Passion, and Fallen in Love), you really should…particularly if you plan to keep reading this post.  I just finished the final book in the series, Rapture, and I will spoil things for you big-time if you haven’t read the previous books.  You’ve been warned!

For those that haven’t been living under a rock (especially when it comes to YA literature), you know that angels are huge right now, and I think a lot of that started with Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  I know I have been completely captivated by this love story that exceeded the bounds of Heaven itself.  Throughout four books, I desperately wanted to see Lucinda and Daniel find some way to break the curse that was destined to keep them apart.  Well, the final book in the series, Rapture, offered some degree of hope.  At the very least, I knew that this story would bring me (and lots of other readers) closure, but I wasn’t sure if I would be satisfied with it.  I shouldn’t have worried.  Even though there were some pretty large surprises–and a couple of heartbreaking losses–I thought Rapture met every expectation I had regarding the conclusion to this series.  I hope you’ll agree.

Luce and Daniel are once again faced with an end to the love that holds them together.  Only this time, the very fabric of time and space could also be ripped apart.  They, along with their friends and allies, have nine days to stop Lucifer from erasing all of human history and taking everything back to when the angels fell from Heaven.  To do this, they have to find the place where the angels fell, but they have no idea where that is.  A few ancient relics may help to unravel the mystery…but they don’t know where those are either.  To top it all off, forces from both sides in the battle between Lucifer and the Throne are trying to stop Luce and Daniel from succeeding in their mission.  It’s difficult to know who to trust, but Daniel and Luce will have to take some risks if they have any hope of saving their love and the world as they know it.

As Daniel, Luce, and friends go on the hunt for the relics that will lead them to their ultimate destination, Luce is remembering more and more about her past lives.  She gets glimpses of a life so far back that she’s convinced she’s only dreaming.  But this is no dream.  As events unfold, and the end of days draws ever nearer, Luce realizes her own importance in what is happening.  She remembers so much more than she ever has before, and she knows it is up to her to save everything…herself, Daniel, the world.  To do this, though, she’ll have to face a truth more unsettling and horrifying than any she’s ever dealt with before…a truth that will change her view of Heaven, herself, and her relationship with Daniel.  For it seems that Daniel was not Luce’s first love… 

Everything that’s happened, every tragedy that has befallen Luce and Daniel, stems from a curse placed on Luce’s shoulders.  Luce must face the one who first held her heart in order to finally have a life with the one who will hold it forever.  Only this can stop the complete erasure of time.  But will it be enough?  Will she finally make everyone realize that love should triumph above all else?  And what price will she and Daniel have to pay to finally be together?  In a battle between Heaven and hell, Luce must decide if she’s willing to risk everything for a love that transcends everything…even Heaven itself.  Read Rapture, the outstanding conclusion to Lauren Kate’s Fallen saga, to discover how one girl’s knowledge of herself–and her own heart–could be the entire world’s ultimate salvation.

I hope I haven’t given too much away here.  This book held so many surprises that I’m still reeling a little bit, and I don’t want to take that feeling away from anyone else.  When I first started reading this book, I was a little worried about where the story would take Luce and Daniel.  I’ve been anxious through four books already, and I knew this one would be no different.  My anxiety only increased as I read Rapture, but I can say with total honesty that I am totally satisfied with how the book ended.  Yes, there are some threads that are not neatly tied up, and that’s okay.  (It gives me hope for more stories with these characters I’ve come to love.)  The basic story received the closure it needed.  I won’t tell you how things wrapped up.  You’ll need to experience this journey on your own.  I hope you’ll appreciate both journey and destination as much as I have.

For more information on Lauren Kate and her captivating Fallen saga, visit her website at http://laurenkatebooks.net/, the Fallen fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FallenNovels, or follow Lauren on Twitter @laurenkatebooks.

Finally, check out this amazing book trailer for Rapture from Random House Australia.  If I haven’t convinced you to read this awesome book (and the rest of the Fallen series), this should do the trick!  Enjoy!

Published in: on June 24, 2012 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Hallowed

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t already read Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, this post will be all kinds of confusing.  Seriously.  Read Unearthly before proceeding!

Nearly a year and a half ago, I read a truly outstanding novel that revolved around angels.  That book was–if you haven’t already figured it out–Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.  Now that summer is upon us and I have ample time to indulge my deep and abiding love for YA novels, I finally read the sequel, Hallowed.  This book continues Clara Gardner’s search for her true purpose, but she’s in for some surprises that rock the very foundation of her world.  While Hallowed, in my opinion, isn’t quite as action-packed as Unearthly was, it is definitely emotionally loaded.  I got angry and sad right along with Clara, and, to be perfectly honest, I’m a little wrung out at the moment.  (I finished the book about twenty minutes ago.)  If you’re looking for an emotional roller coaster of a book, Hallowed might be just what you’re looking for.

After the fire that changed Clara’s life–and what she believed was her purpose–forever, she finds herself wondering what’s next. Will she be punished for choosing to save Tucker, the boy she’s chosen to love, instead of Christian, another angel-blood who may or may not be meant for her? How has her choice changed the course her life is destined to take? And who will be impacted by whatever happens?

In addition to wondering about her changing purpose as an angel-blood, Clara is being presented with disturbing visions of the future. These visions convince her that someone she loves will soon die. But who could it be? She searches her visions for clues, and, just when she’s convinced that she knows what to expect, Clara is presented with some knowledge that not only clarifies her vision but shakes her world to the core.

As Clara prepares herself for the loss that is to come, she must also deal with a growing threat from Samjeeza, a dreaded Black Wing (or fallen angel), who has a strange interest in her and her family. What does he want? And is there anything Clara can do to stop him?

Clara’s world is quickly spinning out of control. Her brother, Jeffrey, is growing colder and more distant. Her relationship with Tucker is strained, and her feelings for Christian are more complicated than ever. She must also decide the direction her life will take after graduation. All of these things are swirling in Clara’s mind, but they must soon take a back seat to something that will alter everything Clara ever knew about herself, her family, and her angelic nature.

Life is about to change yet again for Clara Gardner. She’ll go through loss, grief, sadness, heartbreak, resignation, and even joy, but will she be strong enough to handle everything being thrown at her? And will she be able to figure out her true purpose while remaining true to herself?

The Unearthly series–Unearthly and Hallowed, so far–is perfect for readers who are fascinated with angels.  Like other “angelic” series, such as Lauren Kate’s Fallen saga, Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire series, and Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series, Unearthly and Hallowed reel the reader in with scenarios of how angels could exist on the earthly and heavenly planes.  If you’re like me and were brought up in church with stories of angels watching over you, these stories are especially compelling.

Hallowed is a great read for anyone in middle school on up.  The love scenes are rather mild, so I wouldn’t have any problems putting this book in the hands of a middle school student.  And there’s enough emotional angst to satisfy even the moodiest of readers.  (I’m talking to you, teenagers.  Yeah, I used to be one of you, so I know you can be a little more emo than you’d like to admit.)

If you’d like more information about the Unearthly series or author Cynthia Hand, visit http://cynthiahandbooks.com/ or follow the author on Twitter @CynthiaHand.  The third book in this series, Boundless, is due to be released on January 22, 2013.

If I still haven’t convinced you to give Hallowed a try, check out this book trailer.  That might do the trick!

Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wings of the Wicked

Spoiler alert!  This post will be all about Wings of the Wicked, the second book in Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire series.  If you haven’t read Angelfire yet, get thee to a library or bookstore and start reading!  (If, like me, it’s been a while since you read Angelfire, it’s probably a good idea to reread a bit—particularly the last couple of chapters—to refresh your memory.)

Wings of the Wicked has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  This weekend, I finally made the time to settle in and immerse myself in this story.  I call it a weekend well spent.  The story, like the one in Angelfire, was totally captivating and had me jumping at every little noise, particularly when I was reading at night.  (You can’t be raised as a Southern Baptist and not have a little fear when it comes to reading about demons gaining power and trying to bring about the end of the world.)  This book is chock-full of action, adventure, tension, romance, and grief.  It’s not for the faint of heart, and it packs quite the emotional wallop.

In Wings of the Wicked, Ellie continues to struggle with the knowledge of who she really is—the Preliator, or the human reincarnation of the archangel Gabriel.  She spends her days trying to live as a normal seventeen-year-old:  high school, college applications, parties, friends, parents, etc.  Her nights, however, are devoted to hunting demonic reapers, beings sent from the depths of hell to destroy her.  She fights alongside Will, an angelic reaper who has been her Guardian for quite some time.  He may also be the love of her life, however long that might be.  Their love for each other is strictly forbidden, but they may not be able to help themselves.  Distancing themselves from each other puts them both at risk, and, with war coming between demons and angels, Ellie and Will need each other more than ever.

When Ellie become the target of reapers who wish to capture her, it becomes apparent that the forces of evil have some larger purpose for her.  What could they want with her?  Why do they want her alive?  As Ellie, Will, and a few allies seek the answers to these questions, the attacks on Ellie and company continue.  Ellie is exhausted and sick of lying to her family and friends—even if it’s for their own protection.  She is growing tired of constantly living in two worlds.  Her mind wars with the desire to be a normal teenager and the knowledge that she is Gabriel, and the world’s ultimate salvation may depend on her.  When her oh-so-complicated feelings for Will are piled on top of everything, Ellie is a girl on the edge, and it won’t take much to push her over.

Unfortunately, that push over the edge arrives all too soon, and Ellie is left with feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief.  She doesn’t know where to turn, and she doesn’t know if she’s ready for what’s expected of her.  Feeling all alone, Ellie retreats into herself, shuts out nearly everyone, and places the blame for everything that’s happened on her all-too-human shoulders. 

But the war wages on, and Ellie must fight.  It’s up to her to stop the unspeakable evil that is about to be unleashed on the world.  She needs all the help she can get—and she finds assistance in some unexpected places—if she plans to save the world and everyone in it, including Will, the one who holds her heart.  Will it be enough?  Or will Ellie lose more than she ever thought possible?  Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop a holy war?  Find out when you read Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

If you liked Angelfire, I think you’ll enjoy Wings of the Wicked even more.  (I did.)  Even as I was eager to turn each page, I was also scared of what each page would bring.  I knew the characters were in for quite a battle, but I was unprepared for everything they had to face.  I know the next book will be just as anxiety-inducing, and, quite frankly, I can’t wait.  I’m hoping against hope that everything works out for Ellie and Will.  (Given the way Wings of the Wicked ended, that hope is very fragile.)  I also have high hopes for a couple of the secondary characters (like Cadan), and I really pray that I’m not disappointed.  Sadly, I’ll have to wait until sometime next year to find out what happens.  The third book in this trilogy is set to be released sometime in 2013.

For more on the Angelfire trilogy and author Courtney Allison Moulton, visit http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/.  You can also follow the author on Twitter @CAMoulton.

You may also want to check out this creepily awesome book trailer for Wings of the Wicked.  It made me want to go back and read the book again!

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Silence

Before proceeding, please read the first two books in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series (Hush, Hush and Crescendo).  If you have read these, you may still want to skim over them to refresh your memory (especially if you waited way too long between reading Crescendo and Silence…like someone I won’t mention).

As you have no doubt gathered by now, I just finished reading Silence, the third book in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. I’m still trying to figure out why I took so long to read this one, but I will say it was well worth the wait. In my most humble opinion, Silence is the best book in the series (so far). I loved Hush, Hush. I liked Crescendo. I was totally blown away by Silence. The emotion, angst, fear, and danger leapt off each page, and I was completely invested in everything the characters, particularly Nora, were going through. I cannot say enough good things about this book…but I’ll try.

*Side note: If’ it’s been a while since you read Crescendo, reread the last chapter before picking up Silence. It will make things so much easier for you. Trust me!*

The past five months are gone…at least that’s the way it seems when Nora Grey wakes up in a cemetery with no memory of how she got there.  She can’t remember anything beyond April…and it’s September.  She’s been missing since June, so why does her memory loss stretch back two more months?  What happened that was bad enough to erase her memory of it? 

Things have changed since Nora’s been gone–her mom is dating her mortal enemy’s dad, her best friend apparently thinks it’s now okay to lie to protect her, super strong bad guys are on the prowl, and Nora is having strange flashes of black that make her feel safe and loved.  What could these flashes mean, and who are they connected to?  Nora must piece together her fractured past in order to really figure out what’s going on in the present…before her future is destroyed.

When Nora crosses paths with a guy named Jev, she feels an instant connection…almost like she’s known and loved him before.  And she has.  Could Jev (also known as Patch) be the key to unlocking her memories?  When the fog finally clears, will Nora be prepared for what is in front of her–angels at war, an evil mastermind (who has a very strong connection with Nora), jealousy, and a love that is as boundless as the heavens?  What is her role in all this, and what is at stake? 

It’s a lot to take in, but Nora will do what she must.  Her memories were taken from her once before.  She won’t let anyone–or anything–rob her of her mother, her future, or the love of her life.  What will Nora have to sacrifice to save all she holds dear?  What will be sacrificed for her?  Embrace the Silence to find out!

I feel like this is one of the worst posts I’ve ever written.  That’s a shame because this book deserves more.  (I’m still three days from Spring Break, so give me a little leeway here.)  I almost felt Nora’s emotions the entire way through the book.  I even dreamed about this book last night.  (Sadly, there were no appearances by gorgeous guardian angels, but there’s always tonight!)  Silence is an awesome read that will keep fans of this saga captivated from the first page to the last.

We’ll get to see more of Nora and Patch in the fourth and final book in this series, Finale, due out on October 23rd this year.  No book cover yet, but I’ll post it here as soon as it’s released.

Still can’t get enough of this series?  Visit http://beccafitzpatrick.com/ and http://www.fallenarchangel.com/.  And check out the Silence book trailer below!

Published in: on March 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to my latest read, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  This book was on my to-read pile for quite a while, and I finally began reading it exactly two weeks ago.  Well, as it so often does, life got in the way (work, sickness, family stuff, bought a new phone, librarian conference, etc.), and I wasn’t able to finish the book until this morning.  Anyway, I’m so glad I finally picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone (at the suggestion of several fellow bloggers and librarians).  It was well worth every spare minute I spent devouring the world of Karou and Akiva.  Yes, it took me longer to finish this book than is normal, but, in a way, that’s good.  I was able to fully digest the story, appreciate the depth of the characters, analyze the intricacies of the plot, and think about what might be happening in the future.  (I was nearly always wrong, so kudos to Laini Taylor for keeping me guessing.)

Karou is not exactly a normal girl. Her hair is naturally blue, she is an artist in Prague, she speaks many languages–both human and not-so-human–she runs mysterious errands for her “family,” and she was raised by someone–or something–named Brimstone. No one takes her seriously when she talks about Brimstone and the other “monsters” in her world, and that’s okay with Karou. In certain circumstances, the less people know or believe, the better. But even Karou doesn’t know everything about herself. Brimstone won’t tell her about her parents, why she collects teeth from nefarious types all over the world, how the portals to his shop work, or what the other door in the shop leads to. Karou’s life is full of secrets, but when black handprints begin appearing on the portal doors to Brimstone’s lair, those secrets begin to reveal themselves…

Karou isn’t sure what’s going on, but she knows that danger is all around her…and when she’s attacked by someone who can only be described as an angel, she’s convinced that her family is threatened.  Oh, how right she is.  But why?  What does this angel have against the beings that have loved and cared for her forever?  And why is she so drawn to someone seemingly determined to destroy her entire world?

Akiva was bred to be a warrior, to battle the vile chimaera that have plagued his kind for centuries.  But his war against the hideous creatures goes even deeper.  He’s determined to bring an end to this war by any means necessary…until he encounters Karou.  Who is this blue-haired girl with the power of the chimaera and the face of an angel?  At first, Akiva is unsure about Karou’s connection to the chimaera, but he soon discovers that her connection to them–and him–goes far deeper than either of them thought possible.

Karou and Akiva seem to be inextricably linked, and, as they grow ever closer, the past, the present, and the future conspire to drive them further apart.  How can their fragile relationship hope to survive in a brutal war that has been tearing worlds apart for centuries?  And when long-held secrets are finally revealed, will their connection be severed forever…or will it unite them against the forces that seek to kill any hope for peace?  Explore the possibilities when you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but I will anyway (because it’s my blog, and I can do what I want to).  I adored this book.  It is unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory.  All at once, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantasy, a tale of forbidden love, and a story of an epic, otherworldly war that rivals the myths of ancient civilizations the world over.  Every setting in the book was richly described, so much so that I now feel that I’ve actually been to Prague or Marrakesh.  The characters were flawed yet perfect in their own way.  It was difficult differentiate between “angel” and “devil” because each character had good and evil within them…just like all of us out here in the real world.

If you haven’t picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet, do yourself a favor, and check it out soon.  It’s an amazing story that will definitely keep you on your toes.  It took me on a journey that was both unexpected and amazing, and I hope you’ll feel the same.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a trilogy.  Book two, Days of Blood and Starlight, is set to be released on November 6th of this year.  In the meantime, you can get more information on author Laini Taylor and Daughter of Smoke and Bone at http://www.lainitaylor.com/ and http://daughterofsmokeandbone.com/.  Enjoy!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 251 other followers