It is no secret that I loved 'Avenger's Angel' and because of that I purchased "Always Angel"...moreOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
It is no secret that I loved 'Avenger's Angel' and because of that I purchased "Always Angel" the day it was released. It has many of the aspects I loved about 'Avenger's Angel' from the great writing to intriguing, sexy characters.
"Always Angel" is very short, too short in my opinion, and because of this there's not much plot. It's not a self-contained story as there's no real beginning, middle and end. It's more of a prologue to the main series. In the summary above it states that it 'introduces' the reader to The Lost Angels, well I'm not sure it does. None of the four Archangel's who are in the main series feature and the protagonist is one we never meet at all in the first book in the series.
We do get to see a little more of the naughty Samuel though, which I really enjoyed as I love Samuel. And we see the Archesses but from afar and only from the view point of Angel.
Angel is the main character and I liked her a lot. She's interesting and has cool abilities such as being able to change her appearance and transport to different parts of the world. I didn't really get to know who she is or what her role is with regards to The Lost Angels, but what we do know is that she's keeping an eye on the Archesses and she has a relationship or connection with Samuel that is never fully explained...
"Always Angel" gives me the feeling that there's a much bigger story to be told, which is very exciting and I hope Angel's story is developed further and all the questions about the Culmination and Samuel will be answered. *Oh I do hope Samuel gets his own book!*
We are also introduced to a few more supernatural characters such as Hesperos or 'The Nightmare' as he's known, an incubus king who wishes to know what Angel is hiding *so would I* and tries to seduce it out of her with overwhelming feelings of lust and sex, but so far she's resisting...
Although there are many questions left unanswered and mysterious characters you meet but never really get to know, "Always Angel" definitely creates a feeling of "I want the next book NOW!"
I'm not sure if readers who haven't read 'Avenger's Angel' will benefit from reading this first as it may leave them confused and frustrated more than anything, but I would definitely recommend reading it, especially to those who have already delved into the world of The Lost Angels with 'Avenger's Angel'.(less)
There has been quite a lot of buzz about “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” so I’ve really been...moreJOINT REVIEW - Originally posted on Book Chick City.
There has been quite a lot of buzz about “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” so I’ve really been looking forward to reading this one.
The Otherworld Taylor has created, named Elsewhere, is mysterious and intriguing and the characters are imaginative and fun. The angels are frightening but beautiful and the Chimaera strange and complex, and Karou is a fabulous heroine.
As I read through each chapter, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” just got better and better. The world building more vivid, the characters more captivating. I had difficulty putting this book down. Taylor’s writing is smooth, descriptive and easy to read. I glided through each chapter effortlessly and was so mesmerised by it that I hadn’t noticed when two hours had passed.
What starts out as a good, but not unfamiliar story, about a young girl at school, with a loyal best friend, immersed in the supernatural, soon turns into a completely different young adult novel, one which I haven’t come across before, making it unique.
Like Carolyn, I've seen this on the book blogosphere, with people commenting that it is probably one of their favourite books of the year. So I was rather excited about picking it up. Although is it just me or do you sometimes find when a book has been so revered by others, it's easy to get swept up in the buzz and then be a little disappointed by the story itself?
And I did find this was the case very slightly with "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but it's perhaps not the best I've read this year.
I totally agree that the book got better and better with each chapter, I thoroughly enjoyed the clever and unique world building Taylor has created, it is rich and fascinating. Set in Prague, it tells the story of Karou, a human girl who has been raised by otherworldly creatures, the chimaera. The chimaera can only be reached through secret doorways scattered about the globe, which enables Karou to transition between the two. The concept of the secret doorways totally captured my imagination! In some respects it had the same appeal as a modern day Secret Garden.
I agree with Laura that sometimes a book can be hyped up and then not meet expectations, I hate it when that happens, but I didn't feel it did with this book. Although it's probably not the best book I've ever read, it is one of my favourites of 2011 and definitely one of the best young adult novels I've read.
Karou is a talented artist studying at art school in Prague. Brought up by the charismatic but aloof Brimstone who deals in teeth and wishes. Karou transports from her life in Elsewhere to her life in Prague via portals from one world to the other.
Karou, being young and impulsive, is a little frivolous with her wishes. Most of the time she uses her necklace of wishes given to her by Brimstone for harmless things to help her along in life, such as wishing to speak Czech so she could study in Prague, as well as twenty other languages, unlocking her door when she’s forgotten her keys or wishing the eyebrows of the girl who slept with her boyfriend to become overly bushy…
Her best friend, Zuzana is fab – she really lightened the tone. But when she finds out about Karou and her life the story jumps forward three months so we never get to see Zuzana's surprise or disbelief and then her realisation that what Karou told her is true. Because of this I really had to keep reminding myself that three months had passed and that was why Zuzanna was so easy breezy about the angels and chimaera and all the other supernatural oddities that were happening around her.
The one aspect I noticed and really enjoyed was the limited amount of angst. There really isn’t much of it and Karou and Zuzanna are pretty mature for their seventeen years, especially in the latter part of the novel.
The story moves along at a good pace and I was completely engrossed. I enjoyed Karou’s world, friends and magic. The fight scenes are pretty good too and Karou can kick some serious butt. I liked that one of Karou’s weapons were devil eye tattoos on the palms of her hands and she gets satisfaction from her weapons, especially when she buys a new set in China!
I liked how the narrative set up Karou's life and how she balanced it between that as a human, studying art in Prague and life as Brimstone's ward. I find it interesting that you described him as charismatic Carolyn, as I found him really intriguing, probably one of my favourite characters in fact, but more monstrous than charismatic. He balanced on a strange edge between fatherly on occasion and at other times quite chilling.
My favourite part has to be Brimstone's occupation as a wish bearer. Trading wishes for teeth. Karou's frivolous wishes did make me smile. Who wouldn't want to make the eyebrows of the girl who slept with your eyebrows bushy? And there's a great scene scene when Karou is doing life drawing, but I mustn't say anymore!
I felt that the story was pacey, but did not really begin to pick up speed when Karou's world comes crashing down. When the doors to elsewhere close leaving Karou cut off from her other-worldy family, she suddenly finds herself amidst a war she didn't know existed. On one side the chimaerean and the other the seraphim or angels.
Interestingly, there is no clear division between good and evil in this novel. There are people that commit evil deeds, but one side is not necessarily better than the other. You could easily think the chimaera are the baddies due to their magical powers and unorthodox appearances, but as the book progresses you see that things are not that clear cut. And this was a concept I found cleverly portrayed. If there is no good and evil, how do you define right and wrong?
I definitely agree with Laura that Brimstone balances between being a loving fatherly figure and something a little more deadly, however, I definitely found him fascinating, which is probably why he is also one of my favourite characters in the book.
I enjoyed Brimstone's occupation too and I liked the idea of trading teeth for wishes. I did have my suspicions as to what the teeth were for and my thoughts were proven right when all was revealed near the end.
If I had one negative it would be how quick Karou and Akiva's love for one another grew. Akiva has been a hostile, cold angel devoid of emotions for centuries, and to just get his feelings back in a day after meeting Karou was a little unrealistic.
However, once I got over this blip, I really enjoyed their interactions with each other and the romance is an intense, sweeping love story that fills the heart. My favourite part of the novel was the last third of the book. The flashbacks to another time were just fabulous, which I won’t go into as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let's just say I can't wait for book two!
This book has definite crossover appeal and I would highly recommend it for adults as well as teenagers. Taylor’s imagination is just superb, and the world of Elsewhere is amazing. I loved reading about the Chimaera, a strange bizarre combination of animal parts, and the Angels, born of fire who are anguished, tortured beings. I am also intrigued to find out who, and what, Karou is.
Karou is a fascinating lead character, with her blue hair and tattoos. She does come across as quite young at first, but very quickly progresses in maturity. Determined and tough, but equally sensitive and vulnerable.
I'm impressed Carolyn guessed the significance of the teeth, as it kept me guessing for a long time. As did the reason why these creatures had raised a human child, what was her significance and what happened to her family?
The book is also comprised of some truly creative characters. From Karou's chimaerean family, I wanted to delve into Brimstone's mind and find out what exactly made him tick, to, as Carolyn has already referred to, the warm and very lifelike friendship portrayed between Karou and her human best friend Zuzana.
Of course I must not forget to mention the angel Akiva. As this book would not be complete without a love story, and going with recent trends, Karou's love interest is Akiva, a lost Angel. No longer sure of his path and tortured by his past, but it does make for a compelling story that is easy to get absorbed in. As Akiva and Karou become ever closer, the horror of the war dividing them becomes only more paramount. I didn't struggle so much with Akiva's transition from an angel devoid of emotions to one devastatingly in love, as I felt there was enough back story to cover this change. And found I got more sucked into the star-crossed lovers aspect of their story.
CAROLYN: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a wonderful combination of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with an amazing heroine and unique secondary characters. A new and refreshingly original world and a fantastic beginning to a new trilogy. I will definitely be continuing this series and wait with bated breath for the next instalment.
LAURA: "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is a uniquely drawn novel, rich and creative. For me it's pulled into two parts: before the doors to elsewhere close, and after. With second part of the novel by far having the grittier storyline. Marketed as a YA novel, I think this book would appeal to readers who normally only pick up adult novels too. (less)
I have been so excited about “Avenger’s Angel” ever since I saw it at the Headline Publishing event back in May. The cover is just gorgeous, and as I...moreI have been so excited about “Avenger’s Angel” ever since I saw it at the Headline Publishing event back in May. The cover is just gorgeous, and as I have a huge thing for angels right now, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Luckily I received an early review copy, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!
The writing is fabulous and there are three plots that weave together to create a thrilling action-packed story as well as a beautiful romance, and there are moments that are just gorgeous and made my heart melt.
The characterisation is great too. The protagonists in this book (there will be four books in the series altogether) are Ellie and Uriel. They are such great personalities and I love that their relationship wasn't insta-love, although it was definitely insta-lust. There’s lots of sexual tension between them, but it took Ellie quite a while to begin to trust and love Uriel and it was nice to see their relationship grow at a realistic pace.
I also fell in love with Uriel’s brothers: Gabriel, Michael and Azreal, especially Azreal, who’s an Archangel with a difference - he's also a vampire. He lives mostly in the basement on his own. I find him sad and can't wait until he finds his own Archess who will love him.
Also, unsurprisingly *I always seem to go for the bad boys* my favourite character was, Samael. He wants the archess for himself and pretends to be someone he’s not too gain her trust. Although he’s the villain, there's something about him that makes me believe there is so much more that meets the eye and I hope soooo much he gets his own book. I would love to meet the woman who's able to thaw his icy, black heart.
I really like the fact that Ellie is a strong character and can stand up for herself, but she's soft and vulnerable too, a great combination. Her realisation that these four brothers are Archangels and that she is an Archess is very well done. She doesn’t instantly believe, but the situation is helped by the fact that she’s had a niggling feeling for most of her life that something wasn't quite right, especially as she has abilities other humans don’t such as the ability to heal and the ability to control the weather.
The only real negative point I have with this novel was the sex scene between Uriel and Eleanore. As Uriel was a vampire at the time (due to an unknown spell cast by the naughty Samael to prevent Uriel from revealing Samael’s true identity to Ellie) it seemed as though he used his hypnotic abilities to keep her subdued and then had his wicked way with her. He even put his hand over her mouth as he took her virginity violently to keep her from crying out from the pain. This took the edge off from what should have been a satisfying union. It's what I had wanted since they first laid eyes on each other as the sexual chemistry between them is just so toe-curlingly good. But the tender hotness of this scene was diluted by not knowing if Ellie was willing or if she was under a vampires influence.
However, a few pages after the scene, Ellie did state that she liked being the submissive party and that she had thoroughly enjoyed what Uriel had done to her. I wish this was shared before the sex scene as I would have felt more comfortable reading it, although, I’m not a big fan of the submissive female as it goes against my nature.
I also wish there was a little bit more ‘wing’ action too. The cover is absolutely stunning and I love angels with wings, but most of the novel the archangels are just like humans but with supernatural powers. However, I do get my wish at the end of the novel, but not as much as I would have liked and there wasn’t enough emphasis on the beauty of the wings. However, the ending is great and leaves me very impatient for the next book in the series.
"Avenger's Angel" is a fantastic addition to the paranormal romance genre, with sexy Archangels and a strong, beautiful heroine. The world is intriguing and the action is fast-paced. I for one can't wait to read future instalments. Fans of paranormal romance will lap this up - a great start to a new paranormal series.(less)
Willow has always had the ability to see the future, and is psychic. When she sees an Angel one day, she is confused when she see it actually hurting her friend instead of what we all think Angels do. When Willow tries to stop her friend from joining a new Church, where Angels feed off humans, the Angels see Willow as a threat and send someone to kill her.
This person is Alex, who rather than killing her on sight decides to watch Willow for a while. After seeing the Angels attack Willow, Alex decides to find out why the Angels want her dead before killing her. So Willow and Alex go on a road trip.
The road trip aspect of this story at first made me pull a face. The type of face you pull after you see your Dad trying to dance 'the Robot'. It's weird and it's not normal. But, the road trip is really one of the best things about this book. The fact you don't see it often in paranormal YA is really great, because it's original and gives the characters opportunities to meet new people and visit new places. Also, it gives Willow and Alex a chance to get to know each other more and slowly realise their attraction to each other. I loved that they didn't see each other and immediately become 'soul mates'. It was believable and it made their relationship much more enjoyable to experience. There is a lot at stake though, their lives are in constant threat and so the fact that their relationship wasn't front and centre and the focus of the story was a great aspect for me.
The writing goes along at a steady pace, I was never bored and the two main characters may be young, but their attitudes and personalities were different to other books, which was a good thing. They acted mature, and in the situations they find themselves in, I believed they could handle it.
One of the best YA books I have read all year, a very welcome addition to the genre. The sequel, 'Angel Fire' is not released until October of this year - too far away! Fantastic, enjoyable read. I know I will be re-reading this before the new release. (less)
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell ins...more7/10 on the blog.
'Archangel's Consort' is the third instalment in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh. I adored the first two books and fell instantly in love with Elena and Raphael. Although I did enjoy this book, it just didn't measure up to the first two. In fact it felt a bit formulaic; the intense romance, vampire murders, which Elena has to solve by using her tracking ability and lots of hot passionate sex - just felt a bit of a repeat of book two and therefore this book was a little disappointing.
But, don't get me wrong, all these aspects are the reasons I fell in love with this series to begin with, but as with all series, the story and characters all have to move forward in some way. I wanted to see the characters grow further as they just seemed stuck, doing the same thing over and over.
I was hoping that Raphael and Elena's characters would have grown and I wish something had happened that would have changed the dynamics a little. It would have been interesting if some of the other characters, that are included in each of the books, were brought to the fore a little more.
However, you will notice that I still give this a rating of 7/10 despite my disappointment, well that's because the writing is still as lush and descriptive as always, there's still plenty of action, and I just love Elena and Raphael and enjoy everything about them, as individuals and as a couple.
'Archangel's Consort' is a very good third instalment, although a little disappointing as I was hoping for something more. However, this is still an awesome series and one which I will follow blindly and recommend without hesitation - I for one cannot wait for book 4, 'Archangel's Blade'!(less)
Aaron is one of those characters you immediately endear to when you begin reading. Orphaned and having spent his...moreReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City.
Aaron is one of those characters you immediately endear to when you begin reading. Orphaned and having spent his life in care, he has finally found a family who loves him and is making a place for himself in the world, doing well at school and hoping for a college scholarship.
But things start to get strange. It's starts with the the dreams, but then inexplicably on his eighteenth birthday Aaron is suddenly able to speak and understand multiple languages, and that's just the beginning. Aaron discovers he is a Nephilim and has an incredibly important part to play in the battle between angels. His destiny is far from what he believed or even what he wants it to be.
This is actually two books, 'The Fallen' and 'Leviathan' which are books one and two in the series. In both books Aaron is the lead and I thought he was a great character. He's different in that he's essentially a good boy, but I liked that. But perhaps because of this or maybe because he finally has a place he feels he belongs, he struggles to embrace his fate. In the second story 'Leviathan' this did get a little frustrating, I just wanted him to grab his sword and kick some evil butt!
There are also places where this book is a touch slow, particularly during 'The Fallen' a lot of time in the narrative was spent setting up the story and building the what is a Nephilim theme. This could have done with cutting and speeding up in sections.
This book did surprise me by being darker and more violent than I expected, especially for a YA. For the most part, I enjoyed the fact that this book didn't pull any punches, but I was a little disconcerted by some events. It's hard to express my problem without giving away the ending of the first book, but I hope I'm not revealing too much by saying I was quite displeased by Aaron's brother's fate.
Anyone that knows me, will know that I adore dogs. So it was a real bonus for me that Aaron's dog Gabriel played such a big part in the story. I loved the fact that they could talk to one another and Gabriel's part was written by someone who also lives with a food obsessed pooch like myself! :-) I would go as far as to say that Gabriel was my favourite character.
If you're a person who likes lots of romance in your books, then this book may disappoint a little. While there is the beginnings of a love story, it was a very minor part of the novel. Although I do have my own suspicions of how the story may develop in subsequent books in the series.
In summary this was a good book, I loved the angels and the mythology interwoven into the narrative. I thought Aaron was a great character, with a lot of potential and I fell I love with Gabriel, the talking dog. Where can I buy one?! There were a few sections that perhaps weren't quite to my satisfaction, but don't let that put you off reading this book because the rest of the story by far made up for it.(less)
'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels'...more'Archangel's Kiss' is the second book in the 'Guild Hunter' series by Nalini Singh, and after absolutely loving the first book in the series, 'Angels' Blood', this one had a lot to live up to. I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint. I loved it. The prose is just as lush as the first book, Elena and Raphael are still fantastic characters and the world-building just as vivid.
However, I did feel as though the balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance was slightly out of kilter. The first half of the book definitely sits in with the latter genre as there is a lot of sex, verbal adoration, basically lots of lovin's! Don't get me wrong, I love the romance between Elena and Raphael but I felt for the first half of the book I was a bit saturated with it and it did get a bit repetitive. But the second half of the booked kicked into high gear with lots of action, suspense and Elena back in the role she fits so well, that of the kick-arse chick. I was worried she was turning into a love sick puppy but her fighting personality won out - yay! I do adore the relationship between Elena and Raphael, it is swoon-worthy and very intense, but I'm pleased it didn't dominate the entire book.
The story picks up a short time after 'Angels' Blood' ended and Elena's friends are wondering if she's dead or alive, or more accurately one of the undead, as in vampire. But nobody is telling them anything and they are becoming increasingly frustrated. They decide to break into where they think Elena is being held, but once they set eyes on what she's become they can't believe their eyes...
There's a big learning curve for Elena and she needs her friends and Raphael to help her through, especially when she is invited to a ball by the eldest of Archangels. Raphael is worried as this could be the perfect opportunity for others to kill Elena for real and so he instructs his most loyal and dangerous vampire to train Elena in the fighting skills she will need if an attempt is made on her life. Unfortunately for Elena she's still weak from the transformation, but Dmitri does not go easy on her.
Apart from what's going on in Elena's personal life, she is asked to help when there's a new bout of fresh vampire kills, and one of the angel children is kidnapped and found brutally beaten to the point of death. Elena has to use her abilities to track the scent of the killer and it leads to an unexpected source.
We get more of a glimpse in to Elena's painful and horrific past. She begins to lean on Raphael more and more to give her strength and support. Her memories of her past are throwing up all sorts of visions about her mother and father. The more that is revealed the more I want to know. Elena is a complex character and she is fast becoming one of my favourite heroines.
There is a lot going on in 'Archangel's Kiss' and I lapped up every word. This is a wonderful series with gorgeous prose, fantastic characters and the world-building so vivid I could be living along side Elena. Elena and Raphael are becoming two of my favourite characters as well as one of my favourite couples. A great addition to the series!(less)
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits int...moreI gave this 9/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
Wow! This book is amazing. 'Angels' Blood' had me enthralled from the first page - I loved it! It fits into the paranormal romance genre as well as the urban fantasy genre very well, as there are strong elements of both. It's dark and edgy, and so atmospheric.
The main character is Elena, a Vampire Hunter for the Guild. Her ability is to track vampires by their scent. Angel's Make vampires and the contract states they cannot go their own way until a year is up, but some don't want to stick around, Elena is hired to track them down and send them back to their owners.
Elena is very much an urban fantasy heroine, she a fighter, strong and brave. She's also intelligent and stands up for herself even when she's terrified. She has a dark and painful past which gives her the depth I love in my characters. However, we don't get to know everything and are just given snippets of information and glimpses of her past through her memories which she pushes away as they are too painful to remember. I'm looking forward to finding out out what they are, very intriguing.
Elena is also stubborn, even when her life could be at risk. I loved this about her, it gave her a strength I love to see in my heroines.
"You shouldn't look at me in that fashion, Elena." "Why?" she asked, prodded by some heretofore unknown suicidal streak. "Scared?" He leaned a fraction closer. "My lovers have always been warrior women. Strength intrigues me." She refused to let him play with her like this, even if her body disagreed. Vehemently. "Do knives intrigue you too? Because touch me and I will cut you up. I don't care if you throw me off the nearest balcony." He seemed to pause, as if thinking. "That is not how I would choose to punish you. It'd end far too quickly." And she remembered that this was no human male she was parrying with. This was Raphael, the archangel who'd broken every single bone in a vampire's body to prove a point...And while she knew her worth, she also knew that to an archangel, she was, in the end, expendable.
There's a rogue Archangel on the lose and he's causing bloody destruction wherever he goes. The powerful Archangel of New York, Raphael, wishes to hire Elena to track him. She doesn't know if she can as she's only ever tracked vampires and isn't sure if her ability goes as far as detecting the scent of an Archangel, but she takes the job as Raphael doesn't understand the word no.
Raphael is dark and dangerous, mysterious and so sexy you can't help but fall in love with him, even with his terrifyingly brutal traits. When Elena first meets him she feels his strength and overwhelming dominance, but his beauty isn't lost on her either..
She took a deep breath and a step back before turning to face him. The impact hit her like a physical blow. He was... "Beautiful." Eyes of such pure undiluted blue it was as if some heavenly artist had crushed sapphires into his paints and then coloured in the irises with the finest of brushes.
Yes, he was beautiful, but it was the beauty of a warrior or a conqueror. This man had power stamped on every inch of his skin, every piece of his flesh. And that was before she took in the exquisite perfection of his wings. The feathers were a soft white and appeared dusted with gold. But when she concentrated, she saw the truth - each individual filament of each individual feather bore a golden tip.
The plot is action-packed and fast-paced. The mix of action and romance is very well balanced. The romance which blossoms between Elena and Raphael is just wonderful and will satisfy any romance fan. It's intense and beautiful, and I can't wait to see what book two holds for these two.
As well as Elena and Raphael, the other cast of characters are just as brilliantly written. The devastatingly handsome but deadly vampire, Dmitri; the sweet and sexy angel Illium, who Elena has affectionally named "bluebell" due to the colour of his wings; Michaela, a strikingly beautiful Archangel who has a cold and murderous nature and has taken an instant dislike to Elena, which causes a few problems - all are vividly written and are fabulous to read.
This is an amazing book - I loved the characters, the story, the writing - basically everything. I'm so glad it's part of a series, and I already have books two and three in my possession - Yay! If you haven't started this series yet, don't wait as long as I did, go read it now!(less)