Review: End of Days

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Goodreads Summary:

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

I devoured this book! If I hadn’t had to get up for work the next day I’m pretty sure I would have stayed up late into the night to finish it.

I loved the building of the relationship between Raffe and Penryn, yet how they both are stilled stayed true to their main goals. My favorite thing about them though is how they are slowly starting to see the similarities between each others species, and allowing their caring for one another to force them to look at things from various angles. Especially once the Fallen Watchers got involved I could see how it was all going to play out. I loved the Fallen! Especially since they didn’t have the same prejudices against humans as Uri and kind of spread that sentiment a bit. It was also great seeing another side of Raffe when he was with them.

Penryn and her family have always been tenuous, it was so great to seem them pretty functional in this one, especially her mom, who is still crazy but at least with specific goals now. Also the fact that all three of them have their own niches within this apocalyptic society, and when they bring those three together that’s when they are able to tip the balance of power back towards the humans.

And the talent show! It was such a great statement on humanity and I loved it.

The Pit, it’s so interesting! The visual elements are great, and Ee definitely gets kudos for those. And the similarities Penryn pulls from the Pit and her own dissolving world are amazing and terrifying at the same time. I also really enjoyed seeing another side of Beliel in this one.

Basically this one was awesome. From what I understand it was supposed to be a 5 book series, but I thought the end of this was pretty well wrapped up and ended on a nice hopeful note. Though I wouldn’t be opposed to a short story/novella a bit farther down the road in their world.

Review: World After

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Goodreads Summary:

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

I really enjoyed this book, I think more than the first. I’m one of those weird people though who usually enjoys the second book in a series more than the first. I mean the first book is the foundation of a series, so of course it’s important and I love getting to know new characters, but second books pull out all the crazy twisted stuff that we weren’t ready for in the first books, and I love that.

Well this one certainly gives us that. Watching Penryn and her sister Paige is so interesting. And I have to say, I think I would have reacted the same way as Penryn did to the changes that have been inflicted upon Paige. That dynamic also shows us a different side of Penryn that I really appreciated. She’s still doing whatever she can to keep her family together, but she’s having trouble defining what that is now. Paige is changed, and she has a bond with Raffe that she can’t forget. She is also battling her inherent sense of right and wrong, and becomes a reluctant hero. I really love how she’s constantly talking about how she can’t take on more, she’s already overwhelmed! I hate when characters take on changing the world and they act like it’s no big deal.

I was disappointed that we didn’t see more of Raffe until the last third of the book, but I understand why. I hope we see more of him in the last book, even after what Pooky Bear taught us about him there is still so much we don’t know!

I can’t wait to see how this all plays out though.

Review: Angelfall

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B&N Summary:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister, and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

When I finished this book I was all “Ok, that was good. I enjoyed it, but I don’t feel like my life has changed or anything,” and that still stands, but I do have to say, this was so original and well done that it is definitely worth all the praise.

First, this angel story is really interestingly done. I haven’t really read anything else except Fallen that is overtly angelish – and I hated that – but this was done in a great way. They are more just people with special “powers” than anything, people higher up on the evolutionary chain. Then we have the twist that comes in the end, and I can’t even wait to see what that means about the angels, their cause to be in general society, and whatnot.

Then we have Penryn. The whole point of this book is for her to get her sister back. She’s had to take care of her family for a while now. Her sister is confined to a wheelchair, her mother is schizophrenic  and with the apocalypse now off her meds, so she has been the family cornerstone for a while, and is now responsible for their survival. Her kick-ass skills also make sense when she explains them, which I appreciate, especially since it’s always kind of annoying when the heroine always has the perfect skill set, even when it seems unusual for that person. And she’s snarky as hell, which I love.

Her team up with Raffe is also really interesting. You see both of them battle with the stereotypes of the others species until they end up with a mutual respect for each other. There is also an evolving sense of empathy and caring between the two that I think was really well done. There are hints of Penryn starting to fall for Rafffe, and the same from Raffe’s point of view; but neither one forget about the bigger picture of their individual goals, and that’s something I really enjoyed!

Ee impressed me. Her book is very readable and entertaining, but very well done as well.

 

Vacation Schedule

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That’s right, I’m going on vacation to New Zealand! I am so excited, you don’t even know. I’ve got skiing, horse trekking, glacier hiking, and winery touring on the agenda and it’s going to be so great!

Anyway, while I am away I will not be blogging. However, for the next two weeks I have book discussions scheduled. So on Tuesdays and Thursday’s there will be the usual book reviews, as well as on Friday’s.

Here are the books to keep an eye out for:

And don’t worry, as soon as I get home and recover from jet lag I will give you guys a recap of my awesome adventure and include lots of pictures.

Review: Crimson Bound

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Goodreads Summary:

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

I really liked this book. I did not however love it as much as I did Cruel BeautyBut I think that’s mainly because I felt the romantic entanglements fell a bit flat in this one compared to the Beauty and the Beast retelling.

However! The world that Hodge created in this book was so fantastic, the “bad guys” are walking a very grey line as to how bad they really are, especially given that our MC is one of the said “bad guys.” And the “Saints” and clerics aren’t really all that pure either. It’s such a juxtaposed look at the traditional good and evil, and that is what I love about Hodge’s stories. Everyone is so complex and have so many warring motives that you cannot label any of them as solely good or bad.

The two stories she used to inspire this book are also very interesting. It’s “Red Riding Hood,” influence is pretty loose, but you can certainly see the overarching themes of that story woven into this. I loved how rich the world was, how peoples intentions were never what you expected, and how out MC constantly fights for a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves.

I can’t wait to see what Hodge comes out with next!

Making Time to Write

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That’s something I really need to do, because it seems lately that the only time I get any writing done is on the weekends. And this past week was an exception to that as well since I was trying to get prepared for my trip this week.

I don’t know what it is, but I just feel like my life is extra busy lately, and I’m always tired! Now I am constantly thinking about my writing, and where I want to go from where I have left off, but I haven’t actually sat down and put any of those thoughts to paper.

The one that’s pestering me the most centers around the fact that so far my MC is finding her biggest challenge in nature – I mean she’s already succumb to heat exhaustion, altitude sickness, just experienced her first tornado, and I want her to fall prey to a rickety bridge and fast river next – part of me thinks this is a bit excessive. But the other part of me, and the one that is winning most of these internal debates is saying that these all have a point!

It shows that she’s not as bad ass as she thinks she is, it illustrates just how sheltered she was in her city that she has never had to face any of these things before, and ultimately acts as an overarching theme that points out that she’s really not that powerful. In the scheme of things she’s just one person. One person who is experiencing the outside world for the first time, and though she’s having all these issues she continues to persevere because she’s in awe of it all, and because she knows that achieving her goal isn’t going to be easy.

But what do you guys think, am I overdoing it? I feel like cutting the heat exhaustion could be pretty easy and not affect much, but the other three events act as pretty big launching points for plot advancement and character growth.

As I’ve said before, I can’t wait till I don’t have a day job anymore to really focus on my writing and see if I can take this beyond a hobby (not too much longer!). If only I could make money on the side through my excessive reading I would be set!

Coming This Week: June 15

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I don’t know about you guys, but this is going to be a busy week for me! My husband and I are going on a big vacation (more on that Friday) and I haven’t even begun to pack or get organized!

So for book reviews this week look for:

Two fairy tale retellings that I quite enjoyed!

Wednesday, I’ll do a little writing update. And Friday will be the adjusted schedule you can expect while I am off gallivanting.