Review: Angel Burn

June 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm (4 stars, review) (, , , , , , , , )

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9780763656522

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Release Date: May 24th, 2011 (first released September 30th, 2010)

Genre: YA/ paranormal / romance  / action / angels

Source: galley from the publisher

Premise:

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip – and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

They’re out for your soul . . . and they don’t have heaven in mind.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: Book Depository / Amazon

*Sorry I haven’t been updating in a while, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this past week. But I’m feeling better now, and will be updating a bit more often to make up for it.*

I’ll admit, I was rather skeptical about this book at first. I thought it’d be another stupid angel romance story with next to no plot and an abusive, angelic love interest, and a main character who was TSTL (too stupid to live).

Boy, was I wrong. Not only are angels not romanticized here, they’re actually the enemies, who steal something special from their victim, leaving them sick and helpless–a shell. There isn’t some long, drawn out and overused religious lore behind them, they just are. They aren’t God’s messengers. They aren’t heaven-sent. They aren’t the angels you’d expect. They became the perfect enemy, taking over the human world, leaving their imprint and making people of faith put all their trust to them, only to exploit them by feeding off them. What I loved most was that they founded a religion devoted to their worship, making people love them and trust them; it was a nice, ironic touch, and I loved it immensely.

Willow is different from other main characters that I’ve encountered. Right off the bat, we see how strong she is as a character, and she keeps getting stronger. She’s smart, cautious, real. And the way she cares for her mum, it makes me appreciate her more, because, for once, here is a YA main character who doesn’t ignore others for her love interest, especially her family. I love how she gets frustrated with her mother sometimes, because despite doing her best to help her, her mother is too far gone to do anything. Her frustration at her mother’s vegetative state is selfish, honest, real.

At first, I thought the psychic thing would be used to make Willow ‘speshul’, but she actually uses it properly, which is something I applaud. For example, when she see’s Beth’s choices, and what happened to her, she handles it maturely forthe situation and her character, and tries to help Beth as best as she can, even though she knows that it would be futile.

I loved the interaction between Willow and Alex. They had this chemistry together, and it was done really well. They were awkward towards each other, ad avoided interacting with each other because of who they were–Willow, the human/angel hybrid freak, and Alex, the protector of humans and killer of angels–and it brought a whole new meaning to the whole “I love you but I want to kill you” thing that’s so popular in YA romances these days. Alex actually has justification to try to kill Willow at the beginning of the book. He thought she was on the angel’s side, being half angel and what not. All his life, he had been taught that angels are evil creatures, and yet, he found himself stuck with a girl who was seemingly half evil. The way he reacted to her then was fantastic and real.

After a few days of knowing him, Willow tells us that she’s fallen in love with Alex. While this sort of insta-love usually bothers me, I’m willing to accept this, since they’d literally been stuck together for the last few days, getting to know each other and bond. And, oh how they bonded! Their chemistry was beyond delicious! It was addictive, and I wanted more of their shy flirting, of their awkwardness, everything.

Once they manage to finally declare their love, though, they turn into love-sick tweens, acting all cutesy and saying stuff like “I’d die without you”, and it’s enough to make anyone gag. It was a bit of a downer, after such a fantastic build-up. I think I’d rather stick with the teasing sexual tension than deal with twu wuv~! that feels forced and annoying.

One of my main concerns with the book was the writing. It is narrated sometimes in third person, from the POVs of various characters, including the baddies, and sometimes it’s narrated in first person from the POC of Willow. I think that this is the only fault in the otherwise spectacular and gripping writing, but it wasn’t enough for me to drop the book–which I totally would have if it weren’t so OMG-worthy. The writing made it so impossible to put down, it was so action-packed. It will constantly keep you guessing.

This is a book that I would recommend for everyone. It isn’t your typical paranormal novel. It has a well thought out background, a gripping plot and plenty of action. Read it immediately.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Swoon

March 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm (1 star, review) (, , , , , , , )

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Pages: 425, hardcover

ISBN: 9781416974345

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Released: May 19th, 2009

Genre: Young Adult / paranormal romance

Source: Library

Premise:

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut…until Dice’s perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She’s intensely drawn to him — but not at all crazy about the havoc he’s wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent — and irresistible — adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin’s will. Only trouble is, she’s in love with him.What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true? (Taken from dustjacket)

First off, can I just say that the cover is absolutely gorgeous? I don’t know what it is that is just lovely, but I love it. It’s like the perfect cover for a YA paranormal romance. The cover was the only reason I got this book from the library. I only allow myself to borrow 5 books at a time, so it was a toss up between this and Lillith St.Crow’s Strange Angels. This only won because of the cover.

But apart from the cover, I wasn’t really impressed with the novel. I thought it’d actually be worth a read, I thought I’d actually really enjoy it. The premise of  the ghost of a boy possessing the body of a young girl’s cousin is incredibly intriguing. Moreso, when you know that the young girl falls for the ghost, it’s bound to be interesting. But all I was left with was disappointment.
The basic story started out great, when we were figuring things out, just learning about the plot. But as the novel progressed, I can’t say I was too convinced. All the oddities that had begun to happen, and their reasons for occuring were incredibly far fretched.

The characters, I hated. I hated all but one, Marsh, because she was the only ‘real’ character, as in, she had real problems to deal with. Dice was a terribly confusing character, and it was hard to keep up with her “I love Sin, but I have to do something to stop him” thoughts. One minute, she was proclaiming her love to him, the next, she was telling the audience how evil he is, and how she hated him for what he was doing to the town. It was also hard to keep up with the narration, as her thoughts flowed too quickly, and the pacing changed so often that it was hard to get a grasp of. Half the time, the narration made no sense, and I had to go back some pages to try to figure out what I had missed.
Pen, I liked her at the beginning, before she turned into a SLUT. She was a fairly loveable character, she had her quirks, and she was spunky enough. But then the author decided that this character would be better off attempting to have threesomes, giving peep shows to old men in a dirty bar, and even trying to seduce a married man to ruin his marriage. Wow, just wow.
And Sin, what can I say about him? Other than the fact that he is beyond frightening, and I cant see why Dice has fallen for him, nothing. He uses Dice to serve out revenge to the townsfolk of Swoon. He takes her cousin’s virginity, knowing that it’s devastating poor Dice. He is a sick, twisted, horrible guy. I don’t see what Dice sees in him. Also, for a guy born in 1751, his dialogue is frightfully modern. Way off.

Another thing that annoyed me was the overexcessive use of sex, drugs and booze. There were dozens of scenes where the characters are smoking joints, getting drunk, talking about sexual encounters, etc. Whilst I have no issue with those things in general, I’d prefer if they were actually relevant and actually progressed the story. They did nothing to the story. If anything, it showed that the author thinks that every teenager loves to have gratuitous sex, get drunk off their face and smoke copious amounts of dope, snort lines of coke and take ecstacy.
I found it offensive that such a view was so generalised within the teenage population within the novel. Not all teens get high. Not all of them have sex. Not all of them are only interested in getting ‘smashed’.

To conclude, I had high hopes for this novel, but found myself being extremely disappointed and revolted. It had potential, but Malkin ruined it with unnecessary sex and drugs and generalizing.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 1
Characters: 1
Writing: 1
Level of Interest: 1

Total Rating: 1/5

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Review: Beautiful Creatures

January 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm (3 stars, review) (, , )

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Pages: 563, paperback
ISBN: 9780141326085
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date Released: December 1st, 2009
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Where I got it from: bought
Premise:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything (Taken from Goodreads)

I started reading this book with high expectations, thinking it to be a worthwhile read, because it was advertised with such vigour in all the bookshops I visited, and I was recommended this book by almost every writer and reader on the internet. So I took the plunge and read it. And you know what? I should not have listened.

I enjoyed how it wasn’t your typical paranormal creature, like a vampire or werewolf, and the use of Casters (a fancy term for witches) made it interesting. The world of the Casters, and their mythology was interesting and a refreshing change from other paranormal creatures. The history of the Caster’s was written well in depth, and it provided a lot of interest on my part.

The book itself, though long and sometimes tiring, was interesting, fun and a delight to read. I spent my long and boring bus trips to uni reading this, and it provided much needed entertainerment. It was just one of those books that was hard to put down because of how deep it pulls you in.

Onto some of the negative aspects of the novel now.
Though male POVs in romance novels are refreshing and the most interesting, it is incredibly hard to pull off properly. It seems almost as if Garcia and Stohl had never even spoken to a teenaged boy in years, and that Ethan Wate’s character is their own fantasies of what a guy should be like. Majority of my friends are teenaged males, and I think that I therfore have some knowledge of the way that they act, and what they think. Ethan doesn’t act in any way like a teenaged boy; he is more of a representation of middle-aged woman, at least, that’s the impression I got from his personality. It was due to this that I had a lot of trouble settling in with the book, and quite frankly, it left me bored and dissatisfied.

I was also annoyed at the Twilight-esque pace that their love formed. Ethan had been in love with Lena even before he met her, and from the very beginning, the reader has to endure pages upon pages of him droning on about how much she means to him. Also, I don’t really think that it matters what she wears everyday. That sort of stuff is acceptable during the moments of the formal or her party, but for everyday wear, it really isn’t neccessary. There were some moments that I thought that Ethan as secretly gay, because of his closet fascination with clothes.

One last thing that bothered me was the lack of climax, much like in Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn. I was actually very interested in the last hundred or so pages, because I really couldn’t wait to see what the Book of Moons would choose for Lena. Would she become Dark? Or would she become Light? I just had to know what was in store for her. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Lena had done something that had made the moon disappear (or something like that. Garcia and Stohl had their moments where things weren’t explained very clearly, I found. Another drawback in the novel.) and she wouldn’t be chosen.
Near the end, it was revealed that Lena would be able to choose for herself, which piqued some interest in me, due to the consequences, but as I mentioned, the moon had disappeared, and nothing happened. A very boring and abrupt end to the climax that kept me on my toes.
Though, I was glad to find that there would be a sequel by the poem/song that Ethan found on the very last page, which explains that Lena would have to choose on her 17th birthday. I definitely will be getting the sequel when it comes out, as I really want to know what Lena will choose, her family of Lights, or Ethan. Hopefully, she’ll make the right choice and choose her family, instead of acting like a typical love-struck stupid teen.

I doubt it’ll happen, though.

Cover: 3
Plot: 2
Characters: 2
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 3/5

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