I really loved the intrigue and set-up at the beginning. The atmosphere and prose is really great, too. However I progressively started to lose intereI really loved the intrigue and set-up at the beginning. The atmosphere and prose is really great, too. However I progressively started to lose interest due to large chunks of back story pitched against tiny chunks of not-a-lot-happening.
TBH, this was a long shot for me, anyway. Just trying something a little out of my comfort zone... I can see how some people are loving on this. It does have a dark, fantastical edge with a love interest that rivals most swoony-paranormal type guys (antagonistic/sworn enemies attraction love thing going on).
Still really keen to get my hands on Heather Demetrios's YA contemporaries coming out this year...more
Mate, it truly is a bittersweet feeling to come to the end of one of my fave book series. I have mentioned numerous times how much I love Paula WestonMate, it truly is a bittersweet feeling to come to the end of one of my fave book series. I have mentioned numerous times how much I love Paula Weston’s Rephaim series. Not only has each book delivered above and beyond my expectations, they have given me something special to look forward to each year (okay, they also drove me crazy -- I was desperate for each new installment). I have agonised over reviewing the 4th and final book in the series as it's hard encapsulate how much this series has meant to me.
I moved interstate in 2012 and Shadows (book one) was the first book I read in my new house. I was apprehensive about trying an angel-themed book (paranormal and I do not usually gel). I began with just checking out the 20 pages and was so hooked that I read it almost in one sitting, surrounded by boxes I should've been unpacking. Confession: I have since reread those first 20 pages numerous times, it remains one of my fave first chapters of any book. Such compelling writing, characters, a great hook and an amazing kiss-chemistry-intrigue scene with one of the coolest meet-cutes ever.
I have insanely looked forward to each annual release in the series and they have always always delivered, meaning June has been a reading month to get excited about for the past 3 years (what will I do without my fix in 2016?)
I don’t know what I can add to my already gushy reviews for this series (Shadows, Haze and Shimmer), so this review is a little ode to the series overall. The Rephaim series is my fave paranormal series and also one of my fave series of all time (any genre).
I finished Burn and had such a bad book hangover I actually went back and reread the first 3 books, and then Burn again. (and this was after rereading the first 3 books just prior to Burn’s release in preparation). I am already looking forward to my next reread (I'm spacing it out a little so hopefully some leftover first-read magic will still linger in the pages).
This series stood the test for me -- it wasn't just an awesome first-time gulp, but rereading was just as brilliant as the initial reads -- even better in some ways, now that I had formed better connections with the characters, it was like visiting old friends, rather than meeting new ones.
The slow burn build and antagonistic yet genuine-real-depth relationship between Gaby and Rafa is second to none. The pay-off in Burn is more than worth it and fans will be fanning themselves (haha, cheesy, but lol, it's true! ;))
Rafa. My gosh. Total babe. I am not overly swoony in books but I defy anyone not to be... at the very least, smitten, haha. Events in the 4th novel just made me crush harder, exposing new vulnerable and admirable qualities in him. He is in my top ten literary crushes ~ and he's a stand-out Aussie guy (for those who like their literary swoons Australian!)
The Aussie flavour and vibe is really unique and refreshing. Also, tangled in is lots of international settings, which I loved. Nothing beats being whisked away to foreign and rich settings when reading.
Weston’s plotting is impeccable. She weaves dual timelines and unveils threads that has readers guessing - dying -- to know what is really going on.
If you haven’t started these series yet, I don’t know where you have been (!!?!) but you need to rectify the situation asap. And, unlike early fans who waited an agonising year between each release, you can binge-read and get swallowed whole by the outstanding world Weston has created. The good news for me is I plan on revisiting Gaby and Rafa and Jude and the Rephaim in coming years - they have become fixtures in my literary life and, like all fave literary characters, I like to imagine them out there, living out their lives. I have the added bonus of living near some of Weston's location inspirations (such as Noosa on the Sunshine Coast) so when I visit Noosa, I always feel like I am in Gaby's world and I love love love that literary world blending into my real life.
I realise I haven't actually said much about Burn specifically. It was amazing. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I loved it.
Also, isn't the cover stunning? Such a gorgeous looking series x ...more
I have been dying to get my hands on the 3rd book of the Rephaim series ever since Haze officially turned the Rephaim series into my favourite angel sI have been dying to get my hands on the 3rd book of the Rephaim series ever since Haze officially turned the Rephaim series into my favourite angel series ever. My expectation for Shimmer was crazy high, I missed those characters and so needed to hang out again. I was coming off the back off a major book slump when Shimmer finally arrived -- making my hopes even higher for the perfect reading escape (also placing pressure on Shimmer to deliver). You guys, it 100% does not disappoint.
Shimmer starts minutes after where Haze left off -- and things are straight-up intense and complicated when the outcasts and the Sanctuary Rephaim are reunited. Decade old tensions are coupled with immediate danger, torn loyalties, serious shock and high emotions. Shimmer takes us back to the Garrison where Gaby was once held as prisoner, but this time she's more sure of herself. I love how much Gaby has grown as a character over the series and she really comes into her own in this instalment. She's fierce despite her exhaustion, brave despite her fears and relentless in standing up to face so much opposition on all sides. She's loyal and cares deeply and you can feel her fragile edges under it all and I just want everything to work out okay for her. I also loved finding out more about past-Gaby (Gabe) from her Sanctuary friends -- and it's nice to see so much of it is better than she was hoping for. I am also loving revisiting old Sanctuary memories -- like Gaby and Rafa's adrenalin junky motorbike days <3
Shadows opened with Gaby discovering the mystery of her past, and Haze hinted that those secrets were tangled in something far, far greater than just Gaby's immediate world. Now Shimmer really starts to crack open the whole Rephaim history and it's not just Gaby's world that has been rocked but all the Rephaim's, outcast and Sanctuary alike. Revelations gain momentum and seeds of doubt snowball into serious life-changing doubts and realisations.
Weston manages to take crazy, complicated tensions between the myriad of characters and keep them all in balance -- all while unveiling secrets and ramping up mysteries. I love how with insight revealed it takes me back to earlier days (books) and shines a little light from a different perspective regarding characters motivations and relationships. It's a complex and intriguing group of characters and even the ones I didn't really feel that sympathetic towards are somehow worming their way into my affections. I love Gaby and Rafa is (clearly) amongst my fave YA love interests ever and Jude is incredible (and he also has some intriguing sexual tension happening with another Rephaim ;)). But it's the whole cast of characters that have me bewitched. Micah and Daisy (definitely looking forward to more of these two in #4), Zach and Ez, Jason and Maggie, even Taya and Mya and the Pan Beach Butler boys and co -- all make me feel like I'd love to hang out with the gang (although I'd need to brush up on my fighting skills -- non-stop sparring and fighting with that bunch of proud and kick-arse angels).
The tension is palpable and the pacing is sharp making Shimmer the most fierce and kick-arse book in the series so far. Zarael and his crew are formidable and unrelenting, seemingly even more nightmarish and ever-present than before. While the pacing had my heart thumping and those pages flying I missed some of those quieter moments where you can just breathe a little. Weston knows how to unleash all hell and then somehow take it up a notch, twist it around and flip it inside out. This time I felt more grounded as Jude is alongside Gaby -- he has her back, straight up. The dynamic between them is tight and I loved all their scenes together, so much.
Rafa is hot and enigmatic in Shadows, damn sexy in Haze and in Shimmer he takes it up another level. So, fair warning -- prepare yourselves :).These two, Gaby and Rafa <3. All that slow burn sexual tension of the first two books really pays off and I have a feeling the best is yet to come.
Bonus features: Weston has this really fun (and entirely useful) who's who of her world -- little mini character bios -- making it easy for readers to become reacquainted with the characters (and to refer back to if need be). Shimmer also opens with this genius little prologue where Gaby brings the reader up to speed covering the events of Shadows and Haze.
Bonus feature I would have loved: Sneak peek of the first chapter of Burn (haha, joking.. kinda, not really...;)). THE ENDING... it's not a cliffhanger, per se, but it is the perfect set-up for book 4 (the series conclusion) and if I was dying to have Shimmer, I am even more so for Burn. The last scene just gave me such a rush -- and I am desperate to pick up where it leaves off -- Burn is going to begin with a real game changer and I am so along for the ride.
I haven't been this pumped for a series since those early Hunger Games days when I needed to get my hands on Mockingjay (and now The Rephaim series supersedes that). I love this series immensely -- for the characters, the up-all-night addictive experience, the slow burn sexual tension, the secrets and mysteries and twists, the kick-arse, real-stakes action and for that unique Aussie vibe.
I am completely enamoured with this series and these characters and absolutely recommend Shimmer - one of my fave reads of the year so far (and Shadow and Haze, for those who have not yet started -- bump them up your TBR!). ...more
I loved paula's debut, Shadows, so, so much (despite it not sounding like a me kind of book). It was addictive and intelligent and sexy as anything. II loved paula's debut, Shadows, so, so much (despite it not sounding like a me kind of book). It was addictive and intelligent and sexy as anything. I was stalking my mail box for the sequel to arrive and, you guys, the wait was more than worth it. I loved Haze even more than Shadows.
Straight up: I read this within a 24 hour period, finishing it at 4am. Those are the kind of reading memories I love, being so into a book I cannot turn my light out until I turn that last bittersweet page.
Haze leaves off straight after the events of Shadows and I was instantly pulled back into Gaby's world. The plot takes you to places you will not expect. Not just in terms of plot twists and revelations but Weston manages to incorporate so many vivid and unique settings -- from fictional Pan Beach (Queensland coastal town) to Dubai, to the island of Patmos, to Melbourne, to the cornfields of Iowa and beyond... I felt like I was travelling the world, the sights and sounds are dazzling. (Also! Bungee jumping in Switzerland. I KNOW.)
This Aussie book has everything I love about Aussie YA: there is something in the water and Weston has so tapped into it. Her characters are three dimensional. The prose is eloquent without being flowery. Weston writes with so much vitality, life springs from the pages. The dialogue is snappy and authentic. Emotions run high and ring true. The action is swift and tense and believable. There's a lot of arse-kicking, on both sides. The danger is real, the stakes are high and the Rephaim deliver. I'm still reeling...
[Let's take a moment here to pause...]
He brought the swoon in Shadows, smouldering and sexy and dangerous and completely enigmatic. In Haze, Weston turns the heat up *fans self* while also peeling a few layers back. There are these little peeks into his soul, when his guard is down, that show so much more than meets the eye. I mean, could he get any hotter? Those glimpses of vulnerability and compassion slew me.
Gaby and Rafa are everything I love about romance. They are still sizzling on this crazy slow burn which just kills me. Sparks fly and the sexual tension is palpable. At the same time, Weston shows seasoned restraint, she adds depth, creates tension, gives these delicious moments to get your pulse racing and then amps up the mystery between them again. She knows when to tease and when to reveal and it's a delicate, maddening perfect dance between those two and the readers.
There are so many shades of grey in Gaby's world. Who can she trust? Who was she before? Her relationships with the other Rephaim are constantly shifting. I love that. I love how Weston keeps us on our toes with the history and loyalties between Gaby and everyone else.
My favourite plot-lines are concerning Gaby and her past: her brother and her search for him. Rafa and their history. In these moments I ache for Gaby, tough but vulnerable, lost and thrown into this crazy world of non-stop action. She barely has a chance to come to grips with everything amongst the chaos that is erupting around her. I want so much for her to find her answers, to find her happiness, to feel like she has a place in her world.
The rights to this four book series have been sold to both the UK and the US. I am so pumped there are still two more books to come. I have no idea where Weston will take us next but I know I am so on board with whatever she has planned. I cannot recommend this series enough.
p.s. Be on the look out for more Foo Fighters. p.p.s. That cliff-hanger! Way to end on this crazy, adrenalin moment... ...more
Angelfall is not my usual genre, but it was ever so inciting, all the pleasantly surprised and rave reviews.
Here's some (very quick) thoughts upon finAngelfall is not my usual genre, but it was ever so inciting, all the pleasantly surprised and rave reviews.
Here's some (very quick) thoughts upon finishing:
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, but ultimately found myself unsatisfied and a tiny part of me wishes I had not read it all :/
Angelfall is compulsively readable: constant action, intriguing foreshadowing and smooth writing makes those pages fly by.
I found Raffe intriguing, but annoyingly ambiguous. The attraction between Raffe and Penryn started off promising with good conflict and tension, yet as the story progressed, I felt the author didn't build on that, there were a few random lines (implying a deeper, life-saving love/connection between the two) and I honestly could not see how/why Raffe would feel that way?
The book played out in my head like a movie. And like many movies, the plot was very convenient. Characters turning up in unexpected places just when needed, the right clues at the right time, sudden distractions perfectly timed for a getaway, etc. One moment Raffe can sneak around in public (to the benefit of the plot), the next, he is recognisable to everyone. Although the convenient plot didn't bother me, I'm just saying :)
Lastly, I don't mind a bit of gore, a bit of sci-fi shock factor, whatever, but I was a little sickened by some of the closing scenes (in the climax). It felt cheap and nasty to me, rather than emotionally compelling (view spoiler)[ Penryn's little sister and her razor sharp teeth and the feeding fiesta. Ugh. I would rather kill my sister than keep her alive like that. Sorry to my little sister! (hide spoiler)]
Oh! and Penryn's mother! Seemed over the top, laughable, really, haha.
Overall, I started out impressed, had some fun times, but in the end felt lacklustre about the whole thing. I'm recommending this to fans of (darker) angel/post-apocalyptic stuff.
Oh, so did I mention my favourite read in June was a paranormal YA book?
For this contemporary girl, I am surprised by how much I fell in love with thiOh, so did I mention my favourite read in June was a paranormal YA book?
For this contemporary girl, I am surprised by how much I fell in love with this book. (Although it shouldn't have surprised me, as author Paula Weston has the loveliest online presence. That, coupled with the publisher being Text Publishing*, had me diving into this book the day it turned up in my mailbox).
[*Note: Text Publishing are an Australian publisher which consistently publish brilliant and unique YA books, such as Leanne Hall's This is Shyness, Vicki Wakefield's All I Ever Wanted and Tim Pegler's Five Parts Dead (to name a few)]
Things I loved about this book:
1. The New Adult vibe. Gaby is out of school. Flatting, working. Her mates and other characters are older too, in their twenties. I truly love this vibe: it's is not teenagery, but more fresh and mature. It has broad appeal to teenagers, young adult and adults alike.
2. Best. Meet-cute. Scene. Ever. You guys, I am a fan of the meet-cute and this one involved some sexy, steamy ZING right off the bat. Me = glued to the pages. Just thinking about the meet-cute scene now has me grinning. See point 10 for more on Rafa (absolute hotness that he is)
3. For a contemp loving girl, I need character connection, and this book delivered. Gaby's voice captured me in the first chapter. She's startlingly real. Her personality is shadowed by her grief, but in perfect balance - the grief does not overwhelm her, or make her woefully grief-y as a narrator (you know what I mean). Also, she is a librarian, nicely done. <3
4. Grief-type YA novels can seem overbearing sometimes, not so here. I think because the setting was so fresh (Australian! Beach-y! Sleepy coastal town!) and Gaby was too genuine in her ache, she was not wallowing, lamenting or draining to read about. She has a freshness and vibrancy about her in spite of her circumstances.
5. The paranormal aspect. Oh, this is SO not the average YA paranormal scene. It's set older and while the summary may have common elements, the story is not common at all. I love how the story unlayered with little mysteries, shrouded in memories and dreams, making it less about a paranormal being and more about what on earth is going on. Definitely intriguing.
6. Foo Fighters. It will make you crave them.
7. Cool elements that I cannot say for spoilers. One thing that a paranormal novel has going for it above contemporary reads, is the way authors can get creative with world-building. In particular, I loved one element that spiced things up. There are some fantastic action scenes, kick-arse mixed up with flailing and defeat. There's action and gore, genuine danger and real fear. As for the actual paranormal world, it has enough depth for you to see the research (intricate and layered world-building) but does not swamp the reader. Thanks for that :)
8. Intriguing characters. I LOVED THIS. No one is straight up, face value or playing a part. There are shades of grey all over the place and I think this is what made the characters seem real.
9. The novel was fun (always important ;)). Addictive and intelligent. Not dumbed down for readers. It's paced beautifully. It masterfully walked a fine line of mixing up internal conflict with external, past and present, while always moving the story forward.
10. Rafa. Mid-twenties. My gosh, he is complex, sexy, dangerous, genuine and non-clichéd. He is hard to read, enigmatic, gorgeous, and I cannot wait to get to know him more in the sequels. He's antagonistic and gruff and the dynamic between him and Gaby is brilliantly done - more understated than overbearing, which makes for a more suspenseful and genuine read.
11. The plot. I won't say much. It's not like I expected and it won't be what you are expecting, no matter what that expectation is. I think a lot of elements gave Shadows a unique vibe: the setting (Australian), the characters (older), the amnesia and mystery elements, all the shades of grey, the angel lore feels ancient and fresh.
12. So, Shadows does not fall into the genre of funny LOL's. But there were some one-liners and dashes of humour that will break out the grin, perfect tension relief.
13. It's a series, but in a non-cliffhanger-y way. It wraps up its own story, leaving readers satisfied, but ready for more of the world. Bring on Book Two!
I don't know why I am chatting about this book in a list, it just came out that way.
Most of all, I hope you can see I loved this book. I read it in one day, sneaking back to my bedroom any chance I could. Gaby's voice hooked me from the first chapter and stayed with me after the last page. I so endorse Claudia Gray's blurb: Scary, sexy and suspenseful. ...more
My gosh. What an outstanding sequel. This broke my heart :'(& kept me captivated, also, swoon. Full review to come.
When HarperCollins releMy gosh. What an outstanding sequel. This broke my heart :'(& kept me captivated, also, swoon. Full review to come.
When HarperCollins released Hallowed on netgalley, it seemed all my reading buddies stopped whatever they were reading and charged straight into book two. After Unearthly was so universally loved (by hard core critics, fans of YA paranormal and non-fans of YA paranormal, aka: me) Hallowed was an insanely anticipated released.
Guys, it delivers.
It is a compelling and unputdownable read that evokes a whole gamut of emotions.
For me, it was the complete package as far as reading experiences go: I read it in a single day, absorbed and hopeful. I swooned (plenty more gorgeous kissing scenes). I felt for the characters (as a whole, Hallowed is a sad, sombre kind of book that induces an achey feeling...). I LOVED the love triangle, which feels true and complicated, achey and not sensationalised at all. I particularly love Christian in this installment. Tucker is still awesome as well. I still love Clara’s voice. She sounds so teenagery without ever falling into overly-done YA snark. She’s moody and funny and sad and ever-so-likeable (if clueless at times ;)).
There may be some things I am still unsure about (the angel mythology and the whole rules around purpose). I missed seeing more of Wendy. I am wondering why Jeffrey feels like such a loose canon ball and no seems to notice (?). It drove me CRAZY how Clara’s mum was never straight up with her about some of the mysteries of all the angel stuff. Some of the twists seemed inevitable to me, but that was cool. But all of these ponderings didn't detract from my enjoyment AT ALL. I seriously LOVED reading it.
For a second book, there is no slump. It rolls straight on from Unearthly and sets up book number two for Clara’s next adventures: heading off to college (yay for heading into new adult territory!). I really cannot wait to follow the characters on and see what is in store for them, hey.
If you haven’t read Unearthly yet (!) now is the time to get on board. Hallowed will be out in Australia on January 1 (although last year, HarperCollins released Unearthly early, making it available for Christmas ~ so keep an eye out!) and in the US January 17.
Hallowed has my golden, shining seal of approval. The Unearthly series is fast becoming a fave of mine and I SO recommend them to all fans of YA ~ and any teens you know (it’s a breezy, engaging read).
Thanks to HarperCollins and Netgalley!
Aussie cover for HALLOWED revealed:
Isn't it gorgeous? very eerie and atmospheric. alongside our cover for UNEARTHLY:
Hunting Lila was a little bit like watching a teen movie: a fun blend of romance and soft-thriller-action. I'm labeling it as a popcorn munchie type mHunting Lila was a little bit like watching a teen movie: a fun blend of romance and soft-thriller-action. I'm labeling it as a popcorn munchie type movie[book]: a little bit swoony, smiley, action-y and definitely addictive. It even features some twist-y turn-y plot revelations in the end, adding some unpredictability and a bit of oomph to the climax.
I actually pretty much read this all in one go. It completely suited my mood at the time. I read a fair few adult thrillers and while Hunting Lila had that thriller aspect, it felt more like a mash-up of YA contemporary romance with soft-sci-fi aspects. It felt kind of like a guilty pleasure as it was rather light and flirty to read.
In terms of plot my crude analysis is: the first 50% focuses a lot on Lila crushing on (22 year old, brother's best friend) Alex. It was smiley and full of all kinds of YA swoon. The second 50% was where the action kicked in and things veered to the "X-men" side of things.
I really liked the older YA vibe, the military base setting, and the British narration. And, I really liked Alex ;)
Expect something light, flirty and fun ~ don't take yourself too seriously with this one. Good fun, good times. I am definitely reading #2 :)...more
my rating: I liked some parts and it was okay in others... 2.5
I don't do fae books. It's only after watching all my goodreads buddies dissolve in a pmy rating: I liked some parts and it was okay in others... 2.5
I don't do fae books. It's only after watching all my goodreads buddies dissolve in a pile of lust gleefully rave about how addictive this series is that I caved in and gave it a go...
And now I'm torn. All muddled up.
As a kid, I HATED Alice in Wonderland. It was creepy and not-at-all a place I would want to be stuck in. It felt like being trapped in a nightmare. I usually avoid urban fantasy as it can have this creepy, slimy underworld vibe that makes me feel like I'm back in Wonderland but with a horror cast instead.
I read to escape and get sucked into a good story ~ however, I really don't like the whole fae thing. I find those unseelie things creepy and I visualise them so well that my stomach kind of crawls. It's not really my form of escapism, hey.
So... on to Darkfever...
I liked Mac ~ she's feisty and pretty cool and her narration is fun.
There's no doubt Barrons is some sort of ultimate Alpha Male (thanks to Nic's help, I was able to visualise him just fiiiiiiiine ;) and I like that their relationship will be a slow-burning love/hate thing.
It's kind of a fun, snarky, kick-arse read that I imagine any fan of urban fantasy would dig.
I was hoping it would cure me and turn me into more of a fan of this genre, but it didn't really :)
I still didn't like the scenes with faeries, I tend to get bored in the action and want to move on to the next stage of the plot. The parts I most like are the dialogue and character interactions. Really, all this is just my personal tastes as I am a contemp girl.
And, mate, that V'lane guy (!) those scenes, ahh, were kind of gross... :D
Overall, it was pretty addictive but I can't say I loved it (or that I quite love Barrons yet either) and I'm undecided about reading the next one (I have it here from the library...)
Thanks to all my mates for recommending this and I so didn't want to let you down, haha.
Oh! And what is it with these hot guys/faeries all having long hair, hey? One even had hair to his waist, eww. Please, give your male characters a hair cut!...more