Review: “Rapture” by Lauren Kate

Rapture (Fallen #4) by Lauren Kate

Goodreads | Amazon

The sky is dark with wings . . . .
Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.
Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.
For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.
In the fight for Luce, who will win?
The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

4 stars

I guess the most important thing is what I’ll start with: Rapture is the perfect ending to this series.

It is just like the other three books, lyrically written and chuck full of Luce and Daniel. Everything is finally revealed and, yes, they get their happily ever after in the most perfect way.

When I began Fallen, it was the first angel book I ever read. I stuck with the series because I found it interesting, despite how you must know I feel about the romance in this book. After all, I HATE insta-love and overdone romance, which is really what these books have always thrived on. I mean, if you can’t take romance, I’ve always told people to RUN AWAY SO FAST. You need a stomach of iron to get through Luce and Daniel on every page.

Fallen and then Torment were always my exception to my “I HATE OVERDONE ROMANCE” rule. Passion actually really intrigued me, because it was so much different then the first two. After that one, I’ll admit that I worried Rapture would let me down.

It didn’t.

Fans of the series could NOT be disappointed with Rapture … well, unless you’re a Cam/Luce shipper. It had everything that made us fall in love with Fallen, Torment and Passion, from the fun mythology, the dream-like writing and–of course–Luce and Daniel. They aren’t apart for a SECOND of this book, don’t you worry. Kate also introduced some final characters that were fantastic, and tied everything back around nicely to the first book.

There were a few new plot devices introduced that I was confused about, like Patinas. Luce has spent so much time running from her enemies, why weren’t these super-secret hideaways introduced sooner? Also, how was this the first mention of the relics? Still, Kate managed to come up with semi-explanations for why we’re just learning about these now, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride.

I never did read Fallen in Love, so the little hints we got about the other angels’ pasts really made me happy. Even the Outcasts became totally cool in this book. Whereas Passion explored Luce and Daniel’s past, Rapture explored that PLUS the past of the others. It was really neat to see who everyone was before the Fall.

Honestly, there isn’t much I can say. As always, it’s ridiculously hard to write about books you liked as opposed to books you found issue with. An ending of a series is always so bittersweet. I also don’t want to splurge on any spoilers. I  can say, however, that I’m very happy. The epilogue of Rapture was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read. All loose ends were tied up perfectly neat.

Advertisements

ARC Review: “Wilde’s Army” by Krystal Wade

Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2) by Krystal Wade

Goodreads | Amazon

Hello, Katriona.”
Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.
However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.
Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested.
How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?

3 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can get a copy for yourself on July 4, 2012.

I don’t know how many of you saw my review of Darkness Falls #1, Wilde’s Fire, but it was … a little less than complimentary. Giving the book the benefit of the doubt, however, I realized that a lot of the reason I headdesked into next Tuesday while reading it was my own jaded opinion–and Wade certainly had potential to write some great action scenes. Crossing my fingers, I went ahead and requested the next one from NetGalley.

And instantly screeched to a halt.

Wilde’s Army begins a little bit after the events of Wilde’s Fire, which is nothing new. However, it starts after EVERYONE BUT KATE AND PERTH have been ABDUCTED BY THE BAD GUYS.

Picture me squawking ‘What? What? WHAT?’ and flapping my arms around like a demented chicken, and you have my reaction to this.

Besides it being an utterly unsubtle plot convention to get Perth and Kate to like each other, it’s also done without any forewarning or real explanation. I was not happy, at all. I almost stopped reading right there.

But I didn’t, because I am a glutton for punishment.

And that ended up being a good thing.

See, remember how I wanted more action in Wilde’s Fire? Well, I GOT THAT in Wilde’s Army. I got it by the BUCKET FULLS. Kate and Perth’s rescue attempt begins the first of MANY battle and magic-weilding scenes. I thought Wade could rock those, and I was right. The book barely stopped moving right up until the end, which made me very happy.

Kate and Arland are still over the top as ever, especially come the time when her mom starts pushing her 18 year old daughter to marry the guy. Having just finished reading Rapture by Lauren Kate, I’d rather had my fill of overdone romance, but at least it wasn’t as much of a focus this time. I was also probably too gleeful about how Kate and Perth had to pretend to be in love for a while and Arland was nowhere to be found, which was a nice switch.

The ending was also nicely done, though I was confused by how easily everything worked out. It made vague sense, so I let it slide for the most part. Most confusing was how, for the whole book, Kate was demanding an Army and then gets everyone to fight for her, but is then like “Whoops, sorry, only need a few of you!” The book is titled Wilde’s Army, for goodness sake. But maybe that’s just me being nitpicky…

All in all, I found Wilde’s Army to be a marked improvement on Wilde’s Fire. The romance wasn’t as focused on, there was a ton more action and the characterization was mildly better. I’m glad I stuck with Wilde’s Fire and then requested this one. Wade didn’t disappoint!

It’s my birthday! Have a present on me!

Yeah, you heard right! Today – June 18th – is my 18th birthday. WOOHA! Look out world, I’m an adult and stuff. Whatever that means. 😛

Alright, well actually, it means a bunch of things. It means that I graduate from high school this weekend. It means I’m off to college in the fall. It means that a lot of things are going to be changing in my life! I guess this is sort of early warning: the blog might stutter around come August/September while I try to get my feet on the ground.

But you don’t care about that – that’s a long way away! I know why you’re REALLY here. You want to hear about my giveaway, not listen to me sing myself happy birthday! So here we go!

Yeah, yeah, that is a horribly mangled piece of clip art right there. I know where my  talents aren’t thank you very much. But the idea remains the same. One of my favorite series, the Fallen books by Lauren Kate, also had a birthday close to mine when Rapture – the fourth and final book – came out last week. I thought what’s a better way to celebrate then to giveaway a WHOLE SET OF THE SERIES? Yeah, you heard me.

I’m giving away hardcover copies of Fallen, Torment, Passion and Rapture to ONE lucky winner!

Are you excited now? You should be! Please click HERE to enter. (And note that this giveaway is US only.) This giveaway will run until June 30th. Don’t forget to check out the sidebar for the other giveaways I’m currently running – there’s a few!

Review: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

4 1/2 stars

“Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

“Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who is really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

“She’s been warned.

“Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes, the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything–including herself.

“She’ll be betrayed.

“Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be Hell to pay.”

Where do I start? WHERE do I start? Guys: THIS BOOK. This book kept me up until ONE THIRTY in the morning after a long night of work.  It NEVER STOPPED moving. I finally finished it, put it down, and tossed around for a while because I needed to breathe. Not kidding.

When the first book in this series came out, I was instantly hooked. I loved the world, I loved the characters and I loved Ellie. Finally, HERE is a girl who can take care of herself and make quips while being pummeled to death. Angelfire was fast paced, funny and included a guy that I actually crushed on because he wasn’t another one of those Edward types. (Ew)

Wings of the Wicked is a lot like the first book, except it’s darker, somehow even MORE fast paced and–hold your hearts, Will fans–a heck of a lot sexier. Don’t worry: Will and Ellie can’t even stay apart correctly, and once they get together SOMEONE GET A FIRE EXTINGUISHER. (Nono, nothing like a romance book or anything. The book is firmly PG-13.) Yet they also continue to be adorable around that. Go figure. Nice one, Moulton. 😀

You also learn a LOT more of about the world of angels, who Ellie really is–and when I say a lot, I mean it. Sometimes it felt like Nathaniel was facilitating an info dump, but I ate it all up. And then there still managed to be MORE questions that were opened up. I was so totally sucked into this world that I was literally wailing “No EXPLAIN IT!”

The main thing that I keep coming back to with this book is the pace. You read it, and you feel like the Roadrunner. You just CAN’T stop. If you could, I’d be a little more rested than I am right now. 😛 Ellie literally never catches a break; when she gets a chance to breath, you can’t even breathe with her because you know the next big thing is right around the corner of the next page and you are always right–and somehow it’s ALWAYS worse than you imagined. The book reads like a rapid fire shotgun. Just the way I like it.

Ahem. Now, I guess I ought to get technical instead of gushy to try to retain some semblance of credence. Alright. There WERE a few things that caught me as off. The first had to do with the pacing: with so many things happening, of course you’re in danger of not letting Ellie properly deal with what’s happening to her. The biggest events were dealt with beautifully, but sometimes it felt like she didn’t have reactions to some of the smaller things because she just didn’t have the time. The second thing: the relationship with Cadan. The whole thing just felt off to me, and got worse by the page. For one, he seemed to only show up when Ellie needed something explained to her, which just made him feel like a foil. Plus, the whole why-he-loves-her thing? That seemed…off. Perhaps it’s going to get expanded in the next book; I hope so. The third thing: what Bastian is to both Cadan and Will. I’m sorry, but if you ask me that just seemed like a whole plot event meant to facilitate a love triangle and WHY MOULTON WHY. I enjoyed that she tried to have Ellie shut Cadan down right away, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.

Still, overall, this book is AMAZING. I picked up Angelfire on a whim when it first came out and I am SO GLAD. I did. I’ve heard this book recommended for fans of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and the Unearthly books by Cynthia Hand (both of which I’ve reviewed on my blog, go check out My Reviews!) but I disagree. The only thing that they have in common is angels. Ellie is more like Buffy Summers: kick butt, sarcastic and can totally take care of herself. So what are you waiting for? GO READ THEM.

The third and final book in the Angelfire series, Hymn to the Fallen, is slated for a 2013 release.

 

March 8, 2012 EDIT

Because Courtney Allison Moulton is awesome, she not only read this review but ALSO took time to chat with me on Twitter (@CAMoulton)about how there is NOT going to be a love triangle in Hymn to the Fallen. So you may ax that entire freakout from my initial review, color me curious about how this Will/Cadan thing is going to go and then please allow me to go off and happy dance. It was silly of me to think these books could be less than the awesomest thing on the planet.

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait To Read (Part 2)

Yes, this countdown required not one but TWO postings. Why? Because there are so many amazing books out there! If you missed part 1, you can find it here. But enough babbling, let’s get to the BOOKS.

RAPTURE by Lauren Kate (Fallen #4)

Release date: June 12

Why: Because I enjoyed all three previous books for the most part, and I’ve seen this through so far I can’t help but see it through. If you’ve read my blog before you know I hate hate hate the instantly in love YA cliché, but Kate makes it work as much as it ever can. The last book, Passion, was a genuinely interesting trek through time that really departed from the first two, so I hope Rapture will be just as interesting!

 

THE GOLDEN LILY by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)

Release date: June 19

Why: Because Mead’s Vampire Academy world is freaking amazing. I may never adore another set of her characters like I did Rose and Dmitri, but honestly the characters of Bloodlines are putting up a pretty goodfight–even though I hadn’t liked many of them when they showed up in the VA books. Then there is Adrian, whom I would read ANYTHING about. Plus, the end of Bloodlines? The VA character that showed up? I NEED TO READ THIS SO BADLY. It comes out the day after my birthday, so those future gift cards of mine have already been waaay committed.

ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy #3)

Release date: July 24

Why: Okay, I’m not going to lie: these books are quirky. They are way quirky. It takes a certain type of reader to be able to take the quirkiness that is Evie. But you know what? I love it. The books are easy reads that are cute and funny, and pretty exciting when you get into it. Also, interesting. The plot line is pretty original for a “let’s through every paranormal in the world into one book” scenario. I love me some evil faeries. Endlessly won’t be on my MUST HAVE NOW list the second it comes out, but it will most certainly be on my bookshelf pretty soon after.

COURTSHIP AND CURSES by Marissa Doyle

Release date: August 7

Why: Because I’m genuinely curious. I read Doyle’s Leland sisters duet and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this is clearly in the same vein. Goodreads billed this as the third book in that series, but the blurb makes no mention of them at all. Are they in it? Is this going to be a redux of that series with a new character with a much less flashy name? I suppose we’ll see August 7!

 

HIDDEN by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night #10)

Release date: October 6

Why: Because I’m hoping it’s the last one, honestly. I’ve held on with this series this far because I didn’t think they could drag this out THIS LONG and because Stark is hot. That is baaaasically it. I haven’t even bought the last one yet (pictured here because I wanted a pretty picture)because I wouldn’t cry if I had to give up the series right there because HOW MUCH MORE? How much more stringing out can there BE? WHERE do they keep coming up with more? It is this twisted reasoning that allows this book on this list.

UNTITLED by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #2)

Release date: November 2012

Why: No, this book doesn’t have a title or a cover yet, but it can’t help but be on my list. The first book (pictured here) made my book review turn into a rant of epic proportions and made me LOSE MY MIND. I can’t NOT read this book because Tahereh Mafi is writing it and I have this yearning faith that she’ll get her act together and write like the FANTASTIC writer she is just waiting to be.

UNTITLED by Ally Condie (Matched #3)

Release date: November 13

Why: Because I genuinely want to know how this ends. I’m still trying to get my hands on Crossed and my review of Matched wasn’t glowing, but…hey. This series is only three books and I’m interested. Why not? Pretty sure these books are worth it just for Ky, anyways. Maybe my views will change when I read the second book, but I’m staying open-minded. (The image here is only the teaser cover, not the actual one–in case you were wondering.)

 

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #3)

Release date: November

Why: Must we go over this again? IT’S CLARE. Yes, in case you were confused, this is a different series. Clare is currently going back and forth between them to keep them both moving along so nobody kills her. With the hangers she always ends the books at, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone threatened her with that. Especially, you know, Clockwork Prince. This book needs to come out SO MUCH FASTER. With the addition of the 3 “not planned” books to The Mortal Instruments, I must say that The Infernal Devices has become my favorite because it feels fresh and exciting, not like she’s forcing more plot out. I was really worried the books were going to turn out too parallel to each other but…nope! They are both equally amazing and equally different. GIVE ME MORE!

 

And that’s it for now! Until, you know, tomorrow when I’m browsing Goodreads and OHMYGOODNESS LOOK AT THAT BOOK THAT’S COMING OUT. Because it will happen. It always does. 😀

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

3 ½ stars

When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. . . . When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

As a fan of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, I was pretty psyched to get a hold of this book. The Fallen books are great, but I was really looking for a fresh take on angels and I got it. The main character, Clara, is a quarter angel who is trying to be a normal teenage girl while also trying to fulfill her purpose from God, which comes to her only as a short vision. Yes, the “normal teenage girl who actual [insert superpower/secret here]” premise has been well tried, but Hand pulls it off quite well.

The problem, however, comes with the middle of the book. The beginning starts off fast and interesting, but the middle kind of sinks. It focuses more on the teenage stuff as we wait with Clara for her purpose to reveal itself and be fulfilled, but the waiting—while realistic—takes far too long. I blew through this book only partially because it was compulsively readable. The other reason was that I kept flipping through pages looking for the next big angelic event, not prom. Clara falling in love for real was cute, but it felt like filler. Once you get towards the end—if you can hold on that long—you are rewarded, as things start happening one after the other in a very exciting way.

Once again, I’m going to harp on the fact that young adult books have this horrible tendency to have their main characters—typically females—fall instantly in love with their guys. Love at first sight is great, but I’ve seen this so many times it makes me groan. I understand that Christian was the guy from her vision and all, but come on. All these female MCs falling head over heels for guys the second they meet is making me lose faith in my own gender. Hand’s insta-love was certainly not the worst I’ve ever seen, and she even tried to balance it out, so I’m being unduly harsh in this particular review, but the constant issue of this is pushing me onto my soapbox. I’m off now.

Despite how unflattering this review sounds, I am genuinely excited to read the next book. I think that now that Hand has things moving, events are really going to start happening. Unearthly was compulsively readable and hard to find a stopping point even at its dullest middle event. The ending was very vague in a way that leaves me conflicted as to whether it is good or bad, but either way it does its job. There were so many loose ends that the next book has the possibility of being jam-packed with excitement. The end of Unearthly gives me faith that Hand can pull that off is she doesn’t feel locked into waiting for Clara’s purpose to show itself in a realistic timeframe. You can be sure you’ll hear how that goes!

(The second book in the Unearthly series, Hallowed, is expected to be released January 17, 2012)