By reading Eternity Embraced I was hoping to finally finish the series with Ecstasy Unveiled. Unfortunately, dipping my toes back into the Demonica universe again with Eternity Embraced wasn't the motivator I was hoping it to be.
I expected too much, for starters. This is a mid-series short story - those can be notoriously unfulfilling. Adding 'paranormal romance' into the mix can result in tired cliches, which I've apparently outgrown. On the positive side, the couple were together before the events in this story take place, meaning there's no 'love at first sight'. On the other hand, these characters are completely new and hail from an Aegis Guardian cell in Portland, bringing little to the Demonica universe which is primarily based in New York City, though the main couple featured in the debut novel do appear at the end.(less)
"You just have to be a virgin, too. You're twenty-three years old. It's just wrong," he shouted. "I raised you to be more evil than this." "I told you before, not until I fall in love," I said ... "Hey, if it's any consolation," I said in an effort to cheer [Satan] up, "I probably won't wait to get married first. That's a little sin, right?" "I guess."
'The irony of it all, though, was I loved it when guy got medieval and protective. I just wished my feminist side would allow me to enjoy it.'
'His lack of comment intrigued me. In the past, whenever I announced my untouched state, I then became inundated with impassioned speeches of how they were the one. A few even made false declarations of love. Unfortunately for them, my father didn't raise a fool.'
'For the world's biggest slut, Bambi was an awesome big sister. And no, that wasn't an insult; Bambi took pride in winning the title every year.'
"I'm so proud of you, Muri, living in sin." I think he might have choked up a bit. For my part, I was glad I'd finally done something Dad approved of."
I'm torn. There are some brilliant aspects to this book but it was dreadfully slow. I dragged myself through because after figuring out the Meet Joe B...moreI'm torn. There are some brilliant aspects to this book but it was dreadfully slow. I dragged myself through because after figuring out the Meet Joe Black angle I was curious to know if it would end the same way. It didn't. Actually, it took an unexpected yet not unwelcome turn that may not be liked by the masses.
Abbey is excellently portrayed. Her predicament: the ever-present crushing guilt over her mother's death, the growing distance between her and her father, and her misplaced obsession with Nate (the jock who has an obsession of his own with mountain climbing) resulting from her inability to deal with her guilt, wallowing in it instead of moving on with her life. So she imagines this fictitious romantic relationship with him to help her deal with reality. It comforts her. Yes, it's sort of creepy. She was one step away from becoming a full-on stalker but I understood her crush and empathised.
Her only company was her best friend Tanner but she hadn't revealed much about her mother's death and how she felt about it to him. He had his own hang-ups. He'd also been in a tragic accident but he hadn't been so lucky; he was paralysed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. I enjoyed reading Tanner's POV, witnessing how he was treated by others, how his relationships had suffered and the difference in how Abbey treats him. Without pity. She understands how it is for him without even asking.
'Being loners might have drawn us together out of necessity, but it was our friendship that had made us strong enough to come out the other side.'
The story is all about Abbey's transition. Realising that she's tired of being unhappy, of pretending, lying and hiding. She wants to live. It's a great message and I liked the method in which it was conveyed, reminiscent of Riders of the Apocalypse. Love, and the selfish versus the altruistic needs, wants and decisions we make based on that love were also expertly demonstrated. FYI, love's a bitch.
"Dealing with guilt and grief doesn't leave much room for anything else. I know about that dark stuff, but one day if you're really lucky, you get tired of feeling bad all the time. It's like a curtain opens and light comes in. First, it's only a sliver. Then more."
However, it's not all smooth sailing. Besides being slow I really struggled to remain interested whenever we joined Nate's dangerous climb up the mountain. Since seeing Cliffhanger as a child I never even contemplated doing something so unnecessarily hazardous. Rescue teams must love those guys. Anyway, when the Angel of Death does his Joe Black thing to Nate I cringed at his interactions with Abbey. Perhaps it was realistic given her crush but the way she sort of accepted not-Nate's behaviour was uncomfortable to read. I wanted her to push harder when she called him on it, which would've sped up proceedings.
Death had been dealt a bum hand, poor guy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. As powerful as he was he couldn't control everything and he wasn't perfect. He made mistakes. The mythology surrounding Death was intriguing. He's sort of a swallower of souls, holding them inside him for safe-keeping until the day he's the last one to die. But each soul changes him, for better or worse and this is what prompts him to make contact with Abbey. The ravens were a nice touch -suitably eerie.
As for the romance, well this is tricky. How much to say? There are three potential boyfriends, I guess. One from Abbey's past, her present and future. And the most obvious is not the guy Abbey chooses, and I'm glad of this. Some might not be pleased but just this one aspect makes On a Dark Wing unique, for multiple reasons. The resolution at end was well done. I can definitely see people reacting in that manner to such an extraordinary situation although the lead-up to the climax was a little ludicrous.
Would I recommend this to anyone? Well, I didn't hate this book and I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it. In fact, I might warn them it's slow but I'd encourage them to read to the end because I think the effort just might be worth it.
***Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with this ebook.***(less)
Not at all what I was expecting after the numerous 5 star reviews from the most discerning critics.
My UK cover:
Pretty unremarkable, right?
The US cove...moreNot at all what I was expecting after the numerous 5 star reviews from the most discerning critics.
My UK cover:
Pretty unremarkable, right?
The US cover:
Striking, wouldn't you say?
The US cover plus the 5 star ratings and general popularity spurred me on to grab this from the library. I'm very pleased I didn't pay for it. The UK cover advertised it perfectly i.e. not worth your time and cold hard cash, especially at hardcover prices.
Those loving reviews whispered in my ear to keep going, to not put it down because there's precious awesomeness to be had, until they were over-ridden by the knowledge that if my hands lowered at any moment I'd never raise them with this book open again.
The slow dry start, the excessively wordy prose, the change from kickass, bohemian, independent heroine raised by "monsters" to typical teenage starcrossed insta-love, and characters I couldn't connect with -made this difficult to read, let alone love.
I was confused by the change in Karou. I liked her better when she was artsy but jaded by her failed naive romance, running errands collecting the mysterious teeth for her Chimera family who raised her from a baby. How could she fall in love with someone who tried to kill her and not be wary of his beauty when the last beautiful man to enter her life broke her heart?
And then the twist. The memories were a flood of information filling in all of the gaps and answering questions one after another but by this point I was skimming to freedom, occasionally slowing to look for the golden nuggets others had obviously found in spades. This part was interesting, I'll admit, but it was like the book contained different stories that didn't quite come together as one tale.
We have: -- Karou's double life as the art student and the teeth trader who knows how to wield a knife. -- The inexplicable insta-love for the angel who tried to kill Karou. -- The recovery of memory. -- The repercussions of today's events in light of that memory.
It's a mixed jumble that left me frustrated and confused. There are some good ideas but they didn't really get to shine. Much of the story is in the last hundred pages and then the book ends abruptly.
I don't understand the hype surrounding this one. Unremarkable.(less)
The best YA angel book I've read. Fully-fledged characters with no self-respect issues and solid, healthy relationships. No insta-love here, and no pl...moreThe best YA angel book I've read. Fully-fledged characters with no self-respect issues and solid, healthy relationships. No insta-love here, and no plot holes plus, there's a truly mysterious mystery...but I won't be reading the sequel.
Clara is one quarter angel who has just received her Purpose, the one thing she was born to do as an angel. Her vision of her Purpose implies she will be rescuing a boy from a forest fire. Small details show her he is somewhere in Wyoming so the whole family moves from California so she can fulfil her destiny. She finds the boy, Christian, is the most popular guy in school with a possessive girlfriend. Clara studies him to the point of obsession in order to understand the where, when and why she is to save him. She comes to believe she has quasi-romantic feelings for him until he manages to completely embarrass her at the school dance and sees Tucker, Clara's best friend's twin brother, step in to save the day.
Previously Tucker had acted like a child, calling Clara "Carrots" due to the shade of her dyed hair and picking on her. It isn't until a school break when all her friends, including Christian and her mother, leave town and she's alone on her 17th birthday when Wendy sends Tucker to be her present. He takes her on a nature tour over a number of days, always setting up another appointment to spend the day together. It's during this time they grow closer. Unfortunately, when they first kiss, her angel powers activate and his love turns to fear...I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. It's so well written I was right there experiencing the wilderness with them, wishing I could be doing the same activities. I was pleased to see Tucker and Clara gradually fall for each other. Tucker was a true gentleman cowboy with an easy smile and a loveable character. I was disappointed in Clara's mother's reaction though. Any mother would be happy for her daughter to be dating someone like him. And it's not like it was against the rules to date a human. All work and no play...
Clara's mother is a half-angel with secrets. She holds so much back to the point of putting her children in danger but as a mother she's loving and caring and fully involved in their lives, always knowing how and what they're doing. I do wonder what her Purpose is/was and whether it has something to do with her children. On the other hand, Clara has a long-distance, almost non-existent relationship with her human father who sends guilt presents.
Jeffrey, Clara's younger brother, is practically an open book at first, struggling to balance his need to compete in sports, wanting to be the best but also needing to hold back to ensure he's not accused of cheating. He feels like a fraud. At some point I believe he receives his Purpose but tells no one, he becomes pensive and broody. I'm assuming his Purpose isn't a particularly "good" deed.
I liked these angels and the concept of White Wings (the good) and Black Wings (the bad, who don't fulfil their Purpose and are unable to love). However, I found it strange there were so many angels in one small town, albeit a tourist one. Angela came across as not just intense but I kept expecting her to turn on Clara because she's so enthusiastically helpful when it came to anything angel-related.
My only problem I have with this book is the serious implication that the reason Clara must save Christian is because they are meant to be together, romantically-speaking. I abhor love triangles. I hate them, I do. In this case, it really makes me mad because the love Clara has for Tucker, and vice-versa, is genuine. I fell for Tucker right along with Clara. Why must Hand go the route of so many other authors and implement a love triangle? It feels like a huge insult to have these characters form a strong relationship we rarely see in YA paranormals and then basically say "Nope, he's not for you. This one is." For a moment there I really thought "Yay! We have an honest to god healthy teen relationship." And now, I'm pretty sure that will be ruined in a sequel, for a character I never cared about. I don't want to see this happen so I doubt I'll be continuing with this series.
ETA: I will, however, be interested in watching the TV show of the same name based on this book, announced in October.(less)
"The Craft" meets Evernight. Despite the fast pace and entertaining story that Evernight comparison is worrying me. I don't want future books to revol...more"The Craft" meets Evernight. Despite the fast pace and entertaining story that Evernight comparison is worrying me. I don't want future books to revolve around star-crossed lovers I don't give a hoot about.
Sophie is sent to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for faeries, shapeshifters and witches, after Sophie uses her magic to perform a love spell gone awry for a friend, risking exposure which could attract various dangerous hunters of the supernatural. Raised by a human mother, her only supernatural contact is her warlock father whom she's never met bar a few phone calls. She's completely in the dark about who she is, her abilities, her father and his family history. Bombshells are dropped on her at the worst possible moments, leaving her vulnerable to manipulation and bullying. She copes admirably with the help of her headteacher, roommate Jenna (the only student vampire) and Archer, the resident mean girl's boyfriend.
Said mean girl, Elodie, is the leader of her coven of three and they need a fourth, a position Sophie can't turn down fast enough after their dark display of power and general racist, elitist and bitchy behaviour. It screams The Craft with Elodie as Nancy.
From the very beginning I knew Archer would play a big role in this book but as a love interest he wasn't someone I saw Sophie with but I was glad her crush on him wasn't merely based on looks and insta-love and instead deepened, as they became friends after being forced to spend a lot of time together chatting and trading snarky jibes as part of their playful flirting.
However, when Archer mentions that every witch's parents arranges a betrothal to a good match for their child at age 12 and we meet Cal, his Freudian slip about becoming a groundskeeper at the school to protect "you" and then quickly rushes to clarify that "you" meant all students, had me assuming him as her prospective fiance. After that I was looking for Cal-time. The small amount we get wasn't nearly enough for my liking though I did perceive him to be more mature, stable and kind of adorable. His hunky lumberjack look doesn't hurt either. I'm hoping he gets the page time he deserves in future. Archer is good friend material whereas Cal, I see him as someone more important. I hope Sophie sees that one day soon.
(view spoiler)[We left Archer with tears in his eyes as he escaped without attacking Sophie. I'm assuming he's being manipulated somehow. His family is either being held hostage or he's being forced to play on the wrong side -something like that. (hide spoiler)] And this is why I'm worried about the comparison to Evernight. I don't want Sophie endeavoring, risking her life, to save him. Neither do I want her pining and waiting for them to be together again. Sophie has thus far impressed me with her intelligence and snark, she's a practical girl trying to do the sensible thing, I don't want her to lose that because of some rebellious boy in a tricky situation.
I enjoyed the humour and fast pace. The plot was a good one. It was an easy read. My only other concern was the rushed ending. At least, it felt rushed to me. I needed more, to see it, the aftermath of the climax and the reactions of everyone around Sophie. I didn't like the showstopping last line either -a decision made in the heat of the moment without any detail about what that would entail. It's a hook to get you to read the next book, one that probably would've worked on me if not for my Evernight worries.
Favourite Quotes Sophie to her mother:
"Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.
'It's one thing to be different around people who you're really, well, different from. It's a whole other problem to be an outcast in a group of outcasts.'
Archer to Sophie:
"I'll get Elodie and her friends to lay off you, okay? And seriously, try to give her another chance. I swear she has hidden depths." Without thinking, I shot back, "I said spare me the gory details." For a second I'm not sure I even realized what I'd just said. And then it sank in and I damned my sarcastic mouth strain to hell. Face on fire, I glanced over at Archer. He was staring at me in shock. And then he burst out laughing.
'There was a sensible part of m somewhere that clutched its pearls and hissed that I better not give up my V-card in a cellar, but when Archer's hands slid under my shirt and onto the skin of my back, I started thinking a cellar was as good a place as any.'
Not quite what I expected. I loved Phineas the pervy unicorn -he was a hoot. I was intrigued by the idea of TouchStones -humans used as anchors in thi...moreNot quite what I expected. I loved Phineas the pervy unicorn -he was a hoot. I was intrigued by the idea of TouchStones -humans used as anchors in this world for those of the Light and Dark Paths, and humans trapped in paintings but I found the book's mythology confusing what with all the doorways and crossroads, etc. There wasn't much in the way of explanation. And there were moments when I was tempted to put it down but I knew if I did I'd never pick it back up again. It lacked a certain something, depth perhaps. I don't know. But it wasn't an engaging, all-consuming read.
It was also difficult to get a handle on the relationship between Abby and the incubus which was originally based on pure lust and sexual tension which grew to something more, to the point where they trusted each other with their deepest, darkest secrets and their very lives. All in just a few short days. Very PNR. And yet Abby jokes about the language used in such books, "my lady softness" and "turgid magnificence".
(view spoiler)[However, I hated the reference to the Buffy & Angel situation at the end because I didn't believe it was comparable. B & A had no way to overcome their problems but it seemed very apparent that this couple did.
Other than her wish at the end of her contract, Abby's world had just opened up to other magical possibilities with her highly sought after KeyStone abilities and the contracts/trades she can now make. Them giving up on their relationship so soon disappointed me and I subsequently lost respect for both characters. Nothing in life is easy and they just gave up without trying. Pussies.
I know that what they had could be classed as "just" a short fling but it was intense enough that they'd become very important to each other. It seemed everything was pointing to a HEA then did a u-turn which didn't feel right and made little sense to me. I must point out here that I don't mind HFNs or even sad endings when done properly, I just feel this was dealt with badly. Or perhaps I've misinterpreted the situation. (hide spoiler)]
Reading the excerpt from the sequel still hasn't made up my mind as to whether I want to read it. At this point, Phineus and the baby are the only characters I'm interested in but I'm not sure that's enough for me to continue with Abby's story. 2.5 stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A simple yet well-written story with enough background and quirky elements to entice me to head over to Amazon and immediately download Forsaken. Unti...moreA simple yet well-written story with enough background and quirky elements to entice me to head over to Amazon and immediately download Forsaken. Until I saw the words "love square" in the reviews. No. I'm not going there. I'll wait for the sequel's reviews to let me know whether it's safe to continue. It's a shame because it has potential. It reminded me of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan adventures.(less)
Toys. This word has meant different things throughout my life. Children’s toys, technological gadgets, sex toys (hehe!) and now...let’s just say these...moreToys. This word has meant different things throughout my life. Children’s toys, technological gadgets, sex toys (hehe!) and now...let’s just say these toys were not inanimate. And they screamed.
Rules. What are rules? There to be broken? Not if this is your mantra:
They became one person, John and Mr Monster. Controlling himself becomes almost impossible especially when Lauren brings her obnoxious and insulting boyfriend, Curt around and later turns up with a bruised face. In the words of the great Homer Simpson:
Oh no. Don’t do it. I can’t look, I can’t look. Oh shit! That was my mantra whilst reading this. Sometimes it lead to relief and others...(s)ick, (s)ick, (s)ick! Pyromania is much preferable (when no one gets hurt) over the torturing and killing of animals.
Curt deserved to die. What he did and what resulted from it –OMG. I was disgusted, appalled, sickened. Rot. In. Jail.
John’s stabbing fantasies featuring Brooke seemed Freudian. You know, instead of stabbing her with a knife he’d be...er, piercing her with... erm, his body but he wouldn’t allow himself to look at her breasts so I’m wondering if downstairs worked or received any attention. Come on, he is a healthy teenager! He did make a connection with Brooke though, one that didn’t involve pain and fear even though it wasn’t as strong as those. He enjoyed their dates so I was hoping for a little more between them before what happened, happened and denial got in the way. I would've been interested in seeing how their relationship progressed.
John’s obsession over the new murder victims and his need to be involved in the investigation felt repetitive and I wondered how he didn’t see that what he was doing was another classic serial killer mistake –getting too close to the cops. It was a touch predictable but seeing what John could be like in the future was an eye-opener.
Demon Serial Killer #2 had no emotions but was an empath, meaning he could feel others’. Clearly this demon was insane. Who collects and tortures toys women to feel their pain and fear? Why would you want to feel negative emotions? I understood his desire for a range of emotions though -everyone likes a little variety. I felt for his prey.
I was glad John got to experience what it was to be a victim. When he was faced with a situation where he could maim and kill without repercussions I was worried. He’s a killer of killers, and that's how it should remain. His decision means he’ll be getting his hunt on in a Supernatural-Dexter-X-Files kind of way.
EXHIBIT A: First published in hardback with this cover:
It's a mirror image of a statue symbolising the ident...more**spoiler alert** A review in book covers.
EXHIBIT A: First published in hardback with this cover:
It's a mirror image of a statue symbolising the identical twins on opposing sides in the book. It screams dark, gothic and mysterious.
EXHIBIT B: Now available in paperback with this cover:
Now this is an image of two very different girls with an airy fairy silver leaf design which is also present on every page.
I wanted to read EXHIBIT A but when it came to reading the story I got EXHIBIT B. I'll explain further. When I read the description and saw the cover for A I was intrigued, believing it would be an edgy Victorian story. Instead I got a deeply dull fluff piece where all the protagonist, 16-year-old Lia, does is walk, talk and worry. Step, blah, frown lines. Step, blah, frown lines.
I didn't finish. 160/352 pages read. Frustration won. I was defeated when I flipped through the rest and found more of the same. Oh wait, one character dies but I felt nothing even though the author attempts to elicit sympathy for their plight. It didn't work on me.
I don't have any guilt at not finishing this. There was nothing to keep me entertained. No wit, no romance -not really anyway except for an all ready established relationship with 19-year-old James from whom Lia distances herself. Alice, her twin becomes more and more...well, evil. It would've been interesting to have seen things from her perspective. Overall, a stupendous waste of time. (less)