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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  6,461 ratings  ·  681 reviews
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Hav
Kindle Edition, 534 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,461 ratings  ·  681 reviews

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Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
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
Heather Booth
Feb 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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)
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
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
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
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-favorites
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
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2012 marked it as dnf
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
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! At first I was iffy about where it was going but the author added so much mystery and intrigue that I couldn't stop reading! Because I hadn't bothered to check out more than the little blurb/plot summary for this, I was shocked to find out this was an angels and demons genre of YA! It was a pleasant surprise though; I don't like knowing everything when I get into a new book. XD

Haven was a great character but it wasn't very realistic how she turned into such a soci
Feb 12, 2012 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.
Rhiannon Ryder
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Tabitha Olson
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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

I've been reading Illuminate by Aimee Agresti for a week...and I've only made it 315 pages. That is never a good sign. This 2012 debut novel is set to wow a lot of readers. I, however, did not love it. I wavered the whole way through, I hemmed and hawed, and then I just hit my wall. I can't do it. It's too religious in tone for me.

The premise is interesting. Haven Terra is one of select few to win a privileged internship at the up and coming Lexington Hotel in Chicago. The salary is good and the
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mai is a Happy Bibliophile

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
Jun 11, 2012 rated it did not like it

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

*** 1.5 stars, abandoned after reading 36% that felt like 1.000 pages ***
One of the most boring attempts at paranormal mystery I have come across so far - without taking unsexy jerks, unbelievable prerequisits and lackluster characters into account.
*****FINAL RATING: 4.70 STARS*****

Every once in a while I take a chance in bookstores, grab a random book with a gorgeous cover, and read the blurb. If it sounds good, I'll buy it. That's exactly what I did with Illuminate, and I could not have been happier with the results! It far surpassed even my expectations and left me wanting more. It kept me out of the dark but still managed to surprise. Both heartbreaking and terrifying, it irrevocably drew me in and still hasn't let me go. I
Mary Bronson
I thought this book was really good. I really enjoyed reading it. Once I got started it was hard to put down. I know this is a bit of chunker, but it is a pretty fast read. I loved Haven as a character. Thought she grew as a character as the story went on. I loved the mystery aspect of her figuring out what is going on at the hotel and how she did everything to save herself and her friends. I loved the friendship of Lance and Haven and how it grew throughout the book since they were working toge ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
It was good but reaallyy slowww.
-for EY Magazine

Haven Terra, along with her equally smart best friend Dante and another classmate Lance, landed an internship with the prestigious Lexington Hotel in Chicago. This is evidently an opportunity fit for the privileged and though all three teens excel in their studies, neither had applied for such nor could they fathom the reason as to why they were specifically chosen.

Haunted by her own issues of not knowing who she really was, where she came from or what caused the unsightly scars
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To begin talking about such an amazing story, I must tell you 1 thing that helped tip it's awesomeness over the edge. The Gorgeous Cover!

Now you may be thinking " Covers with girls in dresses are overdone, let's be rid of them!" Or maybe that's just what I think off and on. But here is what really made this one work for me. SHE ACTUALLY WEARS A RED DRESS IN THE STORY! Of course I won't tell you when or why, but lets just say the description matches up well, and makes me want the dress and love
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Aimee Agresti is a novelist and entertainment journalist. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine's coffee-table book Inside Hollywood. Her work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer. Aimee has made countless TV and radio appearan ...more

Other books in the series

Gilded Wings (3 books)
  • Infatuate (Gilded Wings, #2)
  • Im Zeichen der Finsternis (Die Erleuchtete, #3)

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