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Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1)
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Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1)

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  4,839 ratings  ·  565 reviews
"Smart, well-crafted and sophisticated; without a doubt, this belongs on the top of the stack of the current crop of angel books. More, please!" —Kirkus Reviews, starred review.

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But her life changes when she is awarded an internship at a posh Chicago hotel. As Haven begins falling for Lucian, the dashing sidekick to the gla...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Giselle
Illuminate, with its enchanting cover and alluring premise, gives us a tale full of beauty, mystery and deception. Although it failed to wow me, I was left enthralled by the mystery, and fascinated by the glamor.

Haven and two class-mates, one of them being her best friend, are chosen for an internship at an over the top luxurious hotel. Soon after they arrive, however, Haven starts to notice things are a bit… off. We begin with exploring this majestic hotel: The elegant decor, the perfect emplo...more
Heather Booth
If this book had been edited down to a shade less than half its size it might have held my interest. It took so long to set up the plot that by the time the big dramatic revelations occurred, I had lost my patience and was ready to move on. Beautiful cover, first in a promised series, author with lots of entertainment connections, I'm sure you'll see it all over the place, but with so much supernatural romance/action out there now, there are many titles that will offer a more compelling reading...more
Mimi Valentine
Rating: 4.5 stars

Three words to describe this book: Beautiful, original, and absolutely MAGICAL!

It wasn't just the story that was magical, but the romance and setting too! I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book, but Illuminate surprised me with how enchanting it all was. Kind of like a fairytale spell.

I'm pretty picky with my angel books (although I didn't even know this was an angel book until I read it!), but I adored Aimee Agresti's interpretation! Just like t...more
Alyson
Weirdly addicting page-turner, but I spent probably 60% of the time like this:

Jennifer Lawrence Sarcastic OK Thumbs Up

because many of the plot points involved, though with something of actual purpose overall, read like something from an insane fanfiction written by a 15 year old. (view spoiler)...more
Chelsea
Let's be honest, here: I will never finish this book. As much as I enjoyed saying mean things about it for, like, 100 pages, I really don't see us forming a lasting relationship.

Summary: this book is terrible, please don't allow impressionable teenage girls to buy it. We will not have this one in store.

Caveat: this book had the misfortune of showing up at the same time as Grave Mercy, which kept me up unil 2:30 one morning trying to finish it. Because, when you have to choose between medieval nu...more
Tynga
Haven Terra is a very serious student aiming really high for her future career. She wants to be a doctor and with that plan in mind she is volunteering at the local hospital, where her adoptive mother works, and applies to tons of programs to earn those extra credit that might help her get into an esteemed school. There’s one program she didn’t apply to though, the Department of Education’s Vocational Illinois Leaders internship program. With two of her fellow student, she has been chosen to lea...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
For the record I really don't like not liking a book. It's awkward for both of us, kinda like a bad first date (this is implying that I have much more dating experience than I do). It keeps talking and talking. I keep searching for something, anything redeemable, that'll make me want to give this book a second chance.

Me and this book just aren't meant to be.

The biggest issue for me is that it just moves so slowly. Half this book is spent running errands or on training montages. Maybe other peopl...more
Lili
I had really high hopes for this one, so it kills me to say that it didn't live up to my expectations, though it was still a decent story. Instead of being amazing like I was hoping, it was just okay.

Overall, I thought that the concept of this book was amazing. A group of people that were all incredibly gorgeous are in league with the Underworld and they're pretty much trafficking souls. It was very creative. And by the cover of the novel and the name of the series, you can easily tell that Have...more
Tatiana
Mar 03, 2012 Tatiana marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
So long, so boring and so girly.
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Angel books tend to be hit or miss for me. More often than not I find them to be on the hellish than heavenly side and especially prone to unoriginality. As much as I was hoping ILLUMINATE by Aimee Agresti would be a bright exception, it wasn’t.

The writing is decent, especially in the vivid description passages of the Lexington Hotel and the exquisite architecture and art that defined Chicago in the 1920’s. I also liked the overt nods to THE PICTURE OF...more
Mitch
Angsty angel books usually go into my burn before reading pile, but the blurb on this one promised at least some action so I decided to give it a go, needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.

First off - a warning, this book is about 20% too long and I feel a lot in the first third could and should of been edited out for spacing/pacing, starting at the hotel and a quick recap for instance would've saved about 2 chapters of slog, which is why I have to say it's only a really like and not an amaz...more
Audrey
I really did love this book. Boring at first, but you know, to those people who are upset it took long for it to get interesting, next time you pick up a book, be patient. While you're being patient, I suggest you devour chocolate. It really does help.
Okay, so, is the girl on the cover her daughter? The author and the model on the cover look related, and really alike.
Anyways, the thing where she found out she was an angel at the end was wonderful. If only this could happen to me. Be walking a...more
Tabitha Olson
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It started out kind of slow and bumpy, not really feeling different from other YA stories out there. But, as the story progressed, my interest level cranked up notch after notch after notch. Especially with all the references to Capone and Chicago’s history.

I’m a Chicagoan, so I’m a sucker for any book set in this city. Some disappoint, but others, like this one, get it (more or less) right. The story takes place in The Lexington Hotel which, in reality, wa...more
Henrietta
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is …

Haven couldn’t believe her luck when her school principal told her that she received a prestigious internship in Chicago. Who would turn down an opportunity to work as an apprentice under the leadership of the owner of a hotel, right? Upon arrival, Haven felt elated by all the glamorous beauty surrounding her. The building was stylish. Everybody there looked gorgeous and so many things seemed so surreal that Haven wondered if she – a plain...more
Mikky

I'll start by saying DAMN! what a long boring read, and that's because I stopped at around 40% of the book. I kept going back to it again and again but every time I kept getting more and more tired and annoyed with the characters and the plot in it's self that totally felt like it wasn't moving!

After I took time to reflect about the book, I decided that I wasn't going to torture myself with the story ever again. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember the main characters, which is saying a

...more
Jessica
I have seen mixed reviews of this novel. They range from “I abandoned this book” to “OMG! I LOVED IT!” There’s no accounting for taste, and what are book reviews but our own glorified opinions? (P.S. Thank you for reading my opinions!) Anyway, back to Illuminate by Aimee Agresti… I liked this book, a lot.

Let me start with the strengths: I think that the male characters in Illuminate are so well developed that I wish we could have some bonus scenes (hint, hint) from their point of view. In fact,...more
Melissa
This book is a new spin on Angels and Demons, good and bad! This book started out a little slow for me, I don't know why but once I got going I could not put it down. This book has an amazing world where the people are being manipulated, love, lust, the hot bad boy, the cute good boy and TONS of drama and betrayal. The whole book makes you feel as if you were there watching on the sidelines and wanting to be like WATCH OUT! But you know they would not hear you if it came to that!

Haven, she is a...more
Mai- *♥is back to Team Darkling ♥ *

Hmm.. Illuminate is a story that involves a bunch of people ( note here: Marilyn Manson fans, the Illuminati and a bunch of vain personas.) who stars in a reality TV show alike True Beauty, the Apprentice and Supernatural.

The glamorous life within the walls of the Lexington hotel is what made the story line fascinating. The description of the grandeur is enough to make your imagination go wild. Another plus, is the idea of Metamorfosi or the middle ground between going to back to Hell or...more
Rhiannon Ryder
I'm a bit torn by this book. There were parts I enjoyed, and parts Agresti just couldn't sell to me. I really wanted to like it, but I felt like she kept throwing in scenes I couldn't believe her characters would go along with. Since it's her debut effort, a healthy length and part one of a series I'm leaning towards forgiving her this once and seeing what happens in part two. But another part of me screams "WHAT ABOUT THAT KISS SCENE!!" every time I think I'll give her another chance and it giv...more
Lexie
It wouldn't be fair to say that I disliked this book, because I didn't. The characters are what got to me more often then not. Agresti's writing shone when describing, in vivid detail, the historical past of the Lexington hotel and the gorgeous outfits the 'Glamazons' wore or the pretty trifles Dante would dress Haven up in. Her attention to detail and ability to invoke a response is undisputed by me.

Her ability to conjure complex or even likeable characters fell flat.

For instance Haven's friend...more
Raveena
Aimee Agresti’s Illuminate is about a nerdy, ambitious girl (Haven Terra) and her friends working at a hotel as interns. I have to say I can’t say how the book ends because I couldn’t finish it. The believability of the book was ridiculous. A school lets 3 kids miss 6 months of school to intern at a hotel that hasn’t opened and no one has any real information about it. What kind of a school would do that? I got past that, but then the romance part of the novel, which is always my favorite part,...more
Laura
I'm vacillating between "it was ok" and "I liked it", but decided to be generous.

Haven Terra (yes, the name has import) was abandoned as a child - found bruised, bleeding and alone at the side of the road when she was five, with no memory of her past. Taken in and raised by Joan, she's one of the top students in her class and firmly focused on the future. One day she and her BFF, Dante (and why is it that the male BFF is always gay? seriously, it's bugging me that we can't show boys and girls j...more
Sabrina
Jan 04, 2013 Sabrina marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I'm getting a headache due to too many eyerolls.
Dear book, I loved your cover but to the DNF shelf you go.
Ashley W
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti was really good, but it was just too long. It could've been cut down about 100 pages and nothing of the story would've been lost. The book is about sixteen year old Haven Terra who accepts an internship at a new, fashionable hotel with her best friend, Dante, and fellow classmate, Lance. Once there, she comes under the tutelage of her boss and mentor Aurelia and the seductive Lance, and enjoys the limelight for awhile until she realizes her new job is turning out to b...more
Kate (Nomalicious Reads)
More reviews can be found at my blog: Nomalicious Reads

When I first discovered Illuminate I thought that it sounded like a new interesting and fun book with a stunning cover! So naturally, I was delighted and shocked when I got an e-mail from Rachel over at Harcourt with a copy of Illuminate! So a big thank you to Rachel and Aimee for giving me a chance to read this amazing book!

I admit, at the start of the book Haven certainly had her moments that made me cringe in embarrassment for the poor gi...more
YA Reads Book Reviews
Originally featured on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nichole

Haven Terra grew up as a nobody. She was unpopular in school, to the point that her classmates did not really know who she was, and she only had one true friend, Dante. She spent her days applying to colleges, completing scholarships and helping her subtitute mother, Joan, at the local hospital. Even though unpopular, Haven seemed content with her life, pleased that she was not left to die on the side of the road when she was only five-y...more
Sandra
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Illuminate drew me in right away from page one and carried me through to the ending. I didn't want to put it down to go to bed, but at over five hundred pages I just couldn't keep going. Agresti is a great writer, she really knows how to paint a scene and her descriptions are very vivid. I had a clear picture in my mind of the hotel Haven is working at and it was gorgeous! Aside from the beautiful writing, I was drawn in by the character of Haven. She's a bit of a mystery duri...more
Justin
Illuminate is a really unique book. Aimee has taken a new approach to a sub genre within paranormal that is starting to become really popular in YA. It's a fairly large book at 531 pages, but I found it to be a pretty quick read. I did feel as though there were slow moments, but it wasn't something that I felt took away from the experience since it felt like there was always something else that was going to happen next.

I'm not going to go into a whole lot of character detail, because Illuminate...more
Midnight Bloom
When I first held a copy of Illuminate in my hands, the thought of reading the book suddenly became rather daunting. Over 500 pages long and a font that's rather on the small side, I knew I was going to be in for quite an adventure alongside Haven. Nevertheless, after a bit of slow start, the pacing picked up and I found myself captivated by Aimee Agresti's Illuminate.

I loved the not-so-typical approach to the paranormal that has Aimee Agresti has taken in her debut novel. The romance could have...more
Anna
This review was originally posted on my blog: Literary Exploration

I first featured Illuminate in my WoW a while ago. I was first drawn to this book because of the gorgeous cover and the mysterious synopsis. It isn’t even until you’re halfway through the book that you really figure out what’s going on with Haven. I absolutely fell in love with this story and the characters, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! The only issue I really have is that the book is so long that it made it difficul...more
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David Estes Fans ...: April 2014 Book of the Month - Illuminate 7 26 Apr 27, 2014 09:08AM  
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Digital Book Buck...: Free copies of Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti! 6 101 May 27, 2013 04:11PM  
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Young Adult Conte...: Free copies of Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti! 13 64 Jan 20, 2013 02:29PM  
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Aimee Agresti is an entertainment journalist with ten years of experience writing, editing, and chatting up celebrities. A former staff writer for Us Weekly magazine, she has interviewed everyone from Angelina Jolie and George Clooney to the stars of The Hills, and even penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood.

In addition to Us, her work has appeared in People, Premiere, DC Magazi...more
More about Aimee Agresti...
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“Everything sinful is glamorous these days, isn’t it?” 38 likes
“Remind me to show you the latest e-mail from Courtney," he said now, kicking at a rock on the sidewalk. "You won't believe how many different incorrect ways she spelled hors d'oeuvres within the span of a single paragraph.” 11 likes
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