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/.

A Need So Beautiful

In previous posts on this blog, I have mentioned my many fears–clowns, zombies, evil children, thunderstorms, rodents, reptiles, arachnids, bugs, and the dark, just to name a few.  I haven’t however, mentioned my greatest fear, the one that really keeps me up at night and leaves me depressed during my waking hours.  It’s deeply personal, and I’m pretty sure only my mom knows that I have this fear.  It’s the fear of being forgotten.  The thought of no one remembering my existence is shattering.  (I’m pretty sure this all started in the eighth grade.  My science teacher was handing out papers or something, and he came to one with my name on it.  He had no idea who I was…and school was about to get out for the summer.)  Anyway, this fear took center stage when I read my latest book, A Need So Beautiful, by Suzanne Young.  The protagonist, Charlotte, is forced to face her own destiny, one where she loses everyone she loves and is completely erased from their memories.  She will be forgotten…

Ever since she can remember, Charlotte has felt the Need, an uncontrollable urge to help people in need.  She cannot control when or where the Need will hit, but she feels intense pain until she helps those who call to her.  At first, the Need would hit her every month or so.  Then, it became every week.  Now, though, the Need plagues her one or more times per day. 

Charlotte doesn’t know what’s happening to her, or even what she really is, but the Need is quickly destroying her.  It’s wrecking her relationships–with her boyfriend, her best friend, and her adoptive family.  She wishes she could ignore the Need, but the pain is just too much to handle.  She must help those who need her, even if it means losing parts of herself.  But when things begin to get even worse–like her body emitting a golden glow and people around her forgetting who she is–Charlotte seeks answers.  First of all, who and what is she?  Why does the Need compel her to help people she doesn’t even know?  And can she change her destiny before everyone in the world forgets she ever existed?

Charlotte’s search for the truth leads her to something she never expected.  She is one of the Forgotten, sort of an angel sent to earth to help those in need.  When she helps people, she is instantly forgotten.  And every time she helps someone, she draws closer and closer to the end of her own life.  She will wear out until she is nothing but light, and her entire being will be erased from the memories of those she encountered.  But there might be a way out.  There may be a way to keep her life, her plans, her boyfriend, and her family.  Is Charlotte willing to do anything to be remembered?  And what is the price she will have to pay to make it happen?  Will she be able to pay it?  Read A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young to find out.

A Need So Beautiful is a breathtaking book, and, if you’re anything like me, it will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.  It made me think about what it would really be like if no one remembered me.  (It would suck, by the way.)  But it also made me consider that there might be worse things than being forgotten.  Would I be willing to sacrifice my own desire to be remembered for the greater good?  Would you?

FYI, this book has a couple of adult situations, mostly involving sex, so I would recommend it for ages 16 and up.

If you’d like more information about this book or others by Suzanne Young, visit http://suzanne-young.blogspot.com/.

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.

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!

Unearthly

What do you think of when the word “angel” comes to mind?  Personally, I think of celestial beings wearing white robes, sporting huge white wings, playing the harp, watching over the mere mortals below, and worshiping God.  I don’t typically think about fallen angels or the how and why of their fall.  I don’t think about angels serving a purpose here on Earth.  Thankfully, that’s where Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly, comes in.  She has thought about these things, and she’s crafted an amazing story of a girl struggling to reconcile her divine heritage with the thoughts, dreams, and desires of a teenage girl.  I was utterly captivated from the first page, and I hope you will be, too.

Clara Gardner is an angel-blood.  She’s not 100% angel, but she’s got enough angel in her (25% to be exact) that her life is less than normal.  She can speak any language, birds follow her around, she’s smart, athletic, and beautiful, and she has wings.  Clara is also trying to figure out her purpose.  (Clara’s mom, who is half-angel, tells her that all angel-bloods have specific purposes in their lives…the reasons they were created.  No pressure.)  She begins having visions of a fire and a boy, and her purpose, seemingly, has been revealed.

Clara’s vision lead her and her family from sunny California to the mountains of Wyoming.  So, not only does Clara have to figure out her angelic purpose, but she also has to start a new high school where everyone has known each other since kindergarten.  And she has to do all of this without telling anyone that she’s part angel.  (Again, no pressure.)  On Clara’s first day at this new school, though, things immediately begin to unravel when the subject of her vision, a popular guy named Christian, is standing right in front of her…and he’s gorgeous.  Could her purpose be to simply fall in love with the hottest guy in school?  Nah…fate is never so kind.

As Clara tries to figure out her purpose and where Christian fits in, she’s also confronted with some unexpected, and not-so-angelic, feelings for another guy in school, Tucker.  How can Clara be expected to focus all of her attention on one guy, who may hold her entire destiny in his hands, when there is another who could hold the key to her heart.  Decisions will have to be made.  Is Clara strong enough to serve her purpose if it means sacrificing those she loves?  Read Unearthly by Cynthia Hand to find out.

I absolutely adored this book.  Clara’s voice was perfect, and she wasn’t too whiney like so many female protagonists in YA novels.  I also loved how the author highlighted the differences in the characters of Christian and Tucker.  We may have another Edward vs. Jacob type war on our hands soon.  (If that reference made no sense to you, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few years.)  Unearthly ended on quite a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping we’ll be hearing more from these wonderfully divine characters soon.

For more information on Unearthly, the debut novel by author Cynthia Hand, visit http://cynthiahandbooks.com/.

Crescendo

Warning!  Read Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick before proceeding.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 

In April of this year, I read an amazing book.  (Actually, I read several amazing books in April, but that’s beside the point.)  The book I’m talking about is Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  It had everything–bad boys, forbidden love, fallen angels, mystery and intrigue.  It was awesome, so I was stoked to find out that it was the first book in a trilogy (as so many of them are these days).  Well, I finally finished reading the second book in this series, Crescendo, a few minutes ago.  While I like Hush, Hush better, I think Crescendo is still a great book.  I think it’s a typical second book in a series in that it serves as a bridge between the first and third books.  It set up a lot of what will happen at the end of the series, but it still had enough going on to keep readers interested in what the characters are currently up to.  A couple of new characters were introduced, but they only added to the mystery surrounding our main characters.  I’m definitely interested to see how the author will conclude this series, especially since Crescendo ended with such a cliff-hanger.  Now, on with the show…

In Crescendo, readers return to the world of Nora Grey.  After a harrowing experience, she’s trying to get on with her life, and a big part of that is her boyfriend and guardian angel, Patch.  Things aren’t exactly perfect, though.  Patch seems to be putting distance between himself and Nora.  He’s even spending time with Nora’s worst enemy, Marcie Millar.  What is going on?  Nora doesn’t really know, but she’s sure something’s going on, so she and Patch go their separate ways for a while…sort of.

As if Nora’s tumultuous relationship with Patch wasn’t enough to throw her for a loop, she’s also got to take chemistry in summer school (with the hated Marcie as her lab partner); an old family friend is back in town, and he’s got secrets of his own; Nora’s best friend is now dating Patch’s best friend, Rixon (a fallen angel); she’s confronted with more and more secrets that Patch may be keeping from her; and Nora is continuously haunted by the mysterious death of her father.  How can she deal with all of this, especially without Patch by her side?  How is everything connected?  Most importantly, who really killed her father, and can Nora stop this mysterious figure before she’s next?  Fall into the mystery when you read Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick.

There’s a lot going on in this book, and sometimes it’s hard to keep things straight, especially if it’s been over six months since you read the first book in the series.  I would definitely recommend reading (or rereading) Hush, Hush immediately before starting Crescendo.  I had to go back to Hush, Hush a couple of times to refresh my memory of what happened, and I know I’ll have to do the same thing when the third book, Tempest, comes out.  It won’t be released until the fall of 2011, so we’ve got quite a wait ahead of us.  In the meantime, I encourage you to visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website at http://beccafitzpatrick.com/index.html to learn more about this author and her wonderful books.  Enjoy!

Torment

Warning:  Read Fallen by Lauren Kate before you read this post!

Well, I can honestly say this is one case where the title described the book perfectly.  This book was pure torment.  I don’t mean that it wasn’t a good book.  It was.  But I was irritated with the main characters to such a degree that I would have gleefully throttled them if it were possible.

Torment is the second book in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  It again follows Luce through her tumultuous relationship with the love of her life, Daniel, who just so happens to be a fallen angel.  For her own safety, Luce will spend the next few weeks at the Shoreline school in San Francisco.  What’s so special about this school?  Well, many of the students are Nephilim, or the offspring of fallen angels and humans.  (If you’ve read the amazing works of Cassandra Clare, this may seem a bit familiar.)  Daniel thinks Luce will be protected in this new environment, but he may be underestimating Luce.  She’s growing tired of being told what to do without any explanation.  As you may imagine, this only leads to trouble.

As Luce makes a couple of new friends, she begins to wonder if she really belongs with Daniel at all.  Doesn’t she have a choice in things, or is she destined to be with Daniel?  Luce is becoming more powerful in her own right and is questioning her place in the world.  Why is she so important?  Why do so many people care about her fate and her love for Daniel?  Why can’t she seem to get any answers?  Join the confusion when you read Torment by Lauren Kate.

Like I said previously, I got really irritated with Luce and Daniel in this book.  I realize that this is a tragic love story, and the characters have to go through their low points to arrive at a (hopefully) happy ending, but come on!  Luce makes Bella Swan (from Twilight for those of you living under rocks) look like the happiest person in the world.  As a matter of fact, this book reminded me a lot of New Moon.  Luce and Daniel are apart from each other for most of the book, and when they finally reunite, it’s still not all that pleasant.  Luce is annoyingly tormented, and it seems like she goes out of her way to make Daniel as miserable as she is.  I really hope there’s some satisfying resolution in the next book, or I am going to lose it.  (I’m already a woman on the edge, so watch out!)

Speaking of the next book in the Fallen series, it is titled Passion and is due out in the summer of 2011.  Maybe I can get over some of my irritation by then.  Then again, maybe not.  I’m sure something else will come along to irritate me before then.

Anyhoo, to learn more about Fallen, Torment, and author Lauren Kate, take the time to visit http://laurenkatebooks.net/.

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.)

Hush, Hush

I started reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick yesterday at around noon.  I finished it today at about 6pm.  When I’m reading that fast, it’s pretty clear that I’m into a book.  This was very true in the case of Hush, Hush.  I was hooked from the minute I started reading.  This book had everything guaranteed to draw me in:  supernatural beings, mystery, and forbidden love.  It was awesome!  I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margarent Stohl.  Hush, Hush is not to be missed!

Nora Grey is not interested in romance.  She just wants to make good grades so that she can get into a good school.  There aren’t even any guys at her school who are remotely interesting…except one.  Her new biology partner, Patch, is at once terrifying and irresistable.  Nora is drawn to him despite her better judgement.  Even the new school counselor warns her to stay away from Patch, but Nora just can’t seem to help herself.  There’s just something about a bad boy…

Well, Patch may be a little bit beyond bad.  When strange things begin happening to Nora and those around her, Nora almost immediately suspects Patch of being involved.  There’s too much unknown about him, but he seems to know everything about her, even her deepest, darkest secrets.  But Nora can’t believe that the Patch she’s come to care about is the person responsible for the acts of violence and mayhem that are seemingly targeted at Nora.

As events continue to unfold, Nora is confronted with the horrifying yet unbelievable truth about Patch.  (If the book cover doesn’t clue you in, you might want to take another look.)  It is entirely possible that he’s the person attempting to kill her, but she knows it’s not him.  Who could it be?  What is it about Nora that is making her a target?  Her connection to Patch, or her own family secrets?  Read Hush, Hush to learn about one girl’s connection to the one guy who could be her ultimate protector or her fall from grace.

The story doesn’t end there, folks!  The sequel to Hush, Hush comes out November 16th.  (I don’t know if I can wait that long, but I’ll do my best.)  The title is Crescendo, and you can learn more on Becca Fitzpatrick’s webpage, http://beccafitzpatrick.com/index.html.  See the awesome cover of Crescendo below.  Happy reading!

City of Glass

What can I say about City of Glass, the third and final(?) installment in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy other than IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!  I’m ready to start reading it again right now.

I don’t want to give too much away because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone wanting to read it (and trust me, you really should read this book).  Let me just say that most of my predictions came true, I cried a little, I was horrified a lot, and, in the end, I was satisfied with the outcome.

If you haven’t read City of Bones or City of Ashes, read those two books before you read City of Glass or nothing will make sense.  If you like the Twilight saga or Holly Black’s novels, I think this series is definitely worth reading.  I, personally, like the Mortal Instruments trilogy better than the Twilight series, and those of you who know me realize that is saying something.  The characters are rich and vivid, the action grips you from the very beginning, and there is never a dull moment.

City of Glass and its preceding books are perfect for those who like fantasy, especially fantasy involving vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, fairies, and all sorts of other things.  I LOVE THESE BOOKS and cannot wait for Cassandra Clare’s next work, the Infernal Devices trilogy.  Yay!

For more information on these books, go to http://www.mortalinstruments.com.