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  
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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  
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Fallen in Love

If you’re as enamored of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series as I am, you’ve got to check out Fallen in Love, an anthology of stories featuring beloved characters from Fallen, Torment, and Passion.  If you haven’t read these books yet, please do so before diving into Fallen in Love.

Fallen in Love contains four very different stories, but they all share the same basic theme–love, and how it can ultimately save or destroy a person (or angel, demon, whatever).  Each story intersects and takes place in medieval England, and the action centers around a Valentine’s Day Faire. 

The first story, Love Where You Least Expect It, explores the budding relationship between Shelby and Miles.  Roland’s story, Love Lessons, delves into what a being is willing to sacrifice if it means preserving the happiness of his love.  The third story (and quite possibly my favorite), Burning Love, tells of the forbidden love between Arriane and someone whose very blood could destroy her.  When her lover asks the impossible, Arriane must decide if love is worth giving up everything she believes in.  Finally, in Endless Love, Daniel and Luce are (sort of) reunited for a Valentine’s Day to remember. 

The stories in Fallen in Love provide some insight into some of the complicated relationships in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series. I especially enjoyed the stories of Roland and Arriane. Those two tales emphasized the dark side of love, and how heartache often accompanies it.

This book also gives readers a first look at the final book in the Fallen series, Rapture. I finished reading the prologue and first chapter last night, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of what is sure to be a gripping end to a fantastic series!  (Thankfully, the wait is not too terribly long.  Rapture is expected to be released on June 12th.)

Beautiful cover. I love the transition from the black dress of the previous covers to the white of the finale. I wonder what it could mean...

If you’d like more information on Lauren Kate and her amazing Fallen series, visit her website at http://laurenkatebooks.net/.

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Passion

Danger, danger!!!  Proceed with extreme caution if you have not read Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate.  You must read the first two novels in this series to understand this one.  (Even if you have read these books, you may want to skim over them to refresh your memory.)  Passion is definitely not meant to stand alone.  You’ve been warned!

If you’re still reading this, I will assume that you’ve read the first two books in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  Passion is, obviously, the third book and is primarily a transition between the second book, Torment, and the final book in the series, Rapture.  A lot of what happens in Passion is repetitive and involves Luce traveling through time trying to find answers about her relationship with Daniel.  The time travel in this book bothered me a little.  (Of course, time travel fiction usually messes with my head.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a linear thinker and possible changes to the space-time continuum make me anxious.)  I kept waiting for Luce or Daniel to make one little misstep and change the entire world as they knew it.  As it happens, they weren’t the ones I needed to worry about…

Luce is on a mission.  She’s determined to figure out just what is so special about her relationship with Daniel Grigori.  She knows that her soul has loved him all throughout time, but she wonders if there is any way to break the curse that causes her to die, lifetime after lifetime, just when her love is the strongest.  Luce decides to observe her past selves in action to get some answers, so she uses an Announcer (weird, shadowy portals through space and time) to revisit her former lives.  (Confused yet?)  Unfortunately, Luce doesn’t really know what she’s doing.  When a guide in the form of a little, flying stone gargoyle named Bill shows up, Luce decides to follow his lead through time.  Luce and Bill go back centuries in the hopes of discovering just what it is about Luce and Daniel that makes their love so timeless and if there is any way of breaking the curse that binds them.  But Luce may be in for more than she expected…

Meanwhile, Daniel is racing after Luce.  He always seems to be a few steps behind her.  He knows that he has to find her quickly before the fabric of time is altered forever.  But even Daniel soon realizes that he can use his trips through time to change the future, particularly his relationship with Luce.  Has he found a way to break the curse that tears Luce away from him?  And what could it mean if he has? 

As Daniel and Luce attempt to find each other and a way to be together, other forces are also at work.  Darker forces that seek to destroy not only the love between Daniel and Luce, but the entirety of human existence.  It’s not just about Daniel and Luce anymore.  It seems a war is brewing, and Daniel, Luce, and all of their friends will have to work together before the world they know is simply erased.  Can they fight the evil that is coming?  We’ll just have to wait and see…

Although it took me a while to get into this book, I will say that I liked it.  Again, the time travel thing bugs me a bit, but it definitely provided insights into the relationship between Daniel and Luce, and we got a couple of history lessons as a bonus.  I also enjoyed seeing just what made Cam go dark.  It was enlightening.  All of the time travel stuff, while anxiety-inducing, led to an unexpected ending that will play a major role in the final book in this series, Rapture.  (The title really says it all.)  When you’re dealing with stories about fallen angels, you just know that it’s going to come down to a war between Heaven and Hell, and that’s just what we’ll get as this series draws to a close.

Rapture is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012.  Until then, visit Lauren Kate’s website, http://laurenkatebooks.net/, for more information on the Fallen series.

Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Angelfire

My latest read, Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, took me longer to read than I had anticipated.  It was a good book, but the images were a bit scary, and, now that school is out for the summer, and I’m sleeping during the day and reading at night, I have to be careful about what I read when it’s dark.  (I believe I’ve mentioned before that I am a wuss.  Here is further proof.)  Anyway, I finally finished Angelfire tonight, and, as soon as I’m finished with my post here, I’ll start reading something a little on the lighter side so that I don’t jump at every little noise.  Here goes…

Ellie is not normal, but she’s about to find out just how abnormal she really is.  She’s had vivid nightmares for as long as she can remember, and, after running into a mysterious yet familiar guy named Will, she realizes that the nightmares are really memories of past lives.  On the night that Ellie turns seventeen, Will, her Guardian, awakens her power and reveals to Ellie that she is the Preliator.  What is a Preliator, you ask?  It, or I should say she, is a warrior.  In this case, the Preliator is a divine warrior sent by angels to prevent the forces of Hell from generating an army and waging a war on Heaven that will lead to the Apocalypse.  (Heavy stuff, right?  I’m sure a seventeen-year-old will have no problem dealing with this.)

As you can imagine, Ellie is less than enthused about her “job.”  She’s having trouble remembering all of her lives and her real relationship with Will.   She spends all of her spare time hunting for and fighting demonic reapers (bad guys who drag innocent souls to Hell) or training to fight reapers.  Her grades are slipping, her friends are growing distant, she’s lying to everyone, and her relationship with her father…well, let’s just call that a little strained.  Ellie’s life is seemingly spiraling out of control, and she’s got to get it together if she, or anyone she loves, hopes to survive the evil that is growing ever stronger.

When an ancient evil enters the picture, Ellie and Will must do everything in their considerable power to stop the demonic reapers from gaining access to this fearsome weapon…a weapon that has the power to destroy the very essence of who Ellie is and who she’s been for centuries.  Is she strong enough to fight something she still doesn’t fully remember?  What is Ellie’s true role in this holy war?  And can her tenuous relationship with Will survive the battles that could rip them apart forever?  Read Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton to find out.

If you like Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series, Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, or Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series, you might want to check out Angelfire.  A lot of the terminology is similar in this book, but there are some pretty big differences.  The battle between good and evil is the same, though.  Also, there are angels, and who doesn’t love angels?  Out of all of these series, the Angelfire trilogy (yes, trilogy) included, I have to say that my favorite remains The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  The others are good, but Clare has a way of creating a world that truly captures readers.  The others often simply tell about the world we’re visiting.  Take from that what you will.

I did enjoy Angelfire, despite the scariness of several characters, and I fully intend to read the rest of the series.  The second book, Wings of the Wicked, is scheduled for release sometime in 2012, and the third book, Hymn to the Fallen, should be out in 2013.  Fore more information on this series and author Courtney Allison Moulton, visit http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/index.html.  The site is visually stunning, so be sure to check it out!

Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 12:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Eternal Ones

This may be my final post of 2010 (unless I read all day tomorrow…which is entirely possible).  It’s been quite a year, and I’m honestly glad it’s almost over.  I really hope 2011 is kinder to me than 2010 was…but that’s another story for another day.  On with the show.

Today, I finished reading The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.  This book has been on my “to read” list for quite a while, and I finally got to it.  I am so glad I did!  This book was wonderful, and I am eagerly anticipating the next installment.  For all of you teachers and librarians out there, I would recommend this book for ages fifteen and up.  There is a bit of mature content that may not be appropriate for middle-grade readers, but I will say that the content in this book is quite understated and not nearly as blatant as many other YA novels.

In The Eternal Ones, we meet Haven Moore.  Haven has lived in a small Tennessee town her entire life.  Why then, does she have such specific knowledge of New York City?  Why is she drawn to that particular city?  And why, for as long as she can remember, has she been having visions of a girl named Constance and a boy named Ethan?  The truth is as unbelievable as it is unsettling for Haven and everyone else in Snope City, Tennessee.  Haven is remembering her past life as Constance and her relationship with Ethan.  Her grandmother is convinced that Haven is possessed by a demon, and she does everything in her power to keep Haven on the straight-and-narrow and away from New York.

But Haven is drawn to New York, and, when things go from bad to worse in her small town, she escapes to the big city to find the one thing she’s always been looking for–Ethan.  She even knows who he is now–the famed playboy Iain Morrow.  She knows he’s the love of her life (lives?), and she must find him.  What will she do when they finally meet?  Will he even remember her?

Well, Iain/Ethan knows Haven instantly, and the two seem to be embarking on a wonderful new life together, but things never really go that smoothly, do they?  Iain is lying to Haven, and she wants to know why.  She seeks help from the mysterious Ouroboros Society, a group that claims to help those who have been reincarnated.  But they may not be the help that Haven envisioned.  Who can she trust?  Who is really pulling the strings in the drama unfolding in Haven’s life?  Is there a chance that she can trust Iain, and their love story can finally have a happy ending?  Or will the forces working against them, even their own deceits, finally win and separate Iain/Ethan and Haven/Constance forever?  Read The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller to find out.

Even though I really enjoyed The Eternal Ones, I will say that Haven annoyed me a bit.  She reminded me of those girls in horror movies who insist on trusting the bad guys and doubting the good guys (who often still do stupid stuff).  I felt like screaming at her at several points, but the story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I especially liked the religious undertones in the book.  Those really made me think.

If you would like more information on this new series, including the second book, All You Desire, due out in August of 2011, I encourage you to visit http://www.theeternalones.com/, the official website of The Eternal Ones.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!  Happy reading!

Published in: on December 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fallen

I don’t even know where to begin when talking about the book I just finished reading.  The book is Fallen by Lauren Kate, and am I ever glad that I just preordered the sequel, Torment.  It’s going to be a special brand of torment waiting on the next book to arrive.  Fallen had so much teen angst that I felt like I was drowning in it.  It was awesome.  (You’ll have to excuse me.  I work in an elementary school now, so I don’t get to experience all the drama that comes with working in a high school.  I really miss the angst.)  Anyway, Lauren Kate has done an awesome job of capturing the drama that comes with being a teenager and creating a supernatural tale that draws the reader in and remains unpredictable the entire way through.  I think that’s pretty high praise.

In Fallen, we meet Lucinda Price, new student at the Sword and Cross reform school in Savannah, Georgia.  What has she done to deserve to be in a reformatory?  Well, I’ll let you figure that out for yourself, but I will tell you it was bad, and it may have been way beyond her control.  Suffice it to say, she’s at Sword and Cross, and she will remain there with little to no contact with the outside world.  (Cell phones are prohibited.  Shudder.)

On her first day at this depressing new school, Luce sets her eyes on the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen.  His name is Daniel Grigori, and he seems to recognize her.  When Daniel meets her eyes, he smiles, and then…he flips her off.  She was not exactly expecting that.  Despite his obvious dislike for her, Luce cannot get this beautiful boy out of her head.  It’s like she can’t control her obsession with him.  She has the feeling they’ve met somewhere before, but she just can’t remember where…

As events unfold, and the secrets that put Luce at Sword and Cross appear to have followed her, Luce is quickly beginning to lose her mind.  She doesn’t know what’s going on, and she can’t explain her mysterious connection to the enigmatic Daniel, who treats her like his worst enemy one minute and his greatest love the next.  What is really going on?  Why does Luce feel so drawn to Daniel?  Does he feel the same way?  If so, why does he keep pushing her away?  The answers Luce seeks may be closer than she thinks.  They may also be the death of her.  Read Fallen by Lauren Kate to learn how dangerous love can be.

It should go without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The characters were well-crafted, the story was spooky, the kissing scenes were steamy, and I was continuously kept guessing.  The only thing that I didn’t like was how the school’s librarian ended up.  That was just wrong.  (Read the book if you want to know what I’m talking about.)

I think Fallen is an ideal read for those who love Cassandra Clare’s books (which I do) or any other supernatural fiction with religious undertones.  The sequel, Torment, comes out next Tuesday.  To find out more about Fallen, Torment, and Lauren Kate, visit http://laurenkatebooks.net/.  (I’m a big fan of the picture on the the home page.)

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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