Review: Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra

Publication Date: October 14th, 2008
MTV Books
Format: Paperback, 279 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars



SUMMARY
Kara Martinez has been trying to be “normal” ever since the accident that took her father’s life when she was eleven years old. She’s buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be — compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.
Because Kara has a gift — one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person’s fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she’s been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she’s been warned about — until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it’s her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it’s too late…or lead her even further into danger?
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I’m always excited to find books that are literally difficult to put down. I came across Invisible Touch through Alexa’s  review. For once, my bookshelves-stalking skills paid off! We generally have the same tastes in books so I trust her judgement completely. I ordered this book sometime in the summer and obviously, had just got around to reading it.  I picked it off my shelf last night and devoured it almost in one sitting. I’m sleepless and it feels like an entire construction crew is jackhammering the skull off my head. But I can’t say I have any regrets. I loved every wakeful minute spent reading this. 
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Kara Martinez and her family had been struggling to be whole since her father was killed in a boat accident. Aside from having to deal with the grief, she’d had to play a game of pretend with practically everyone she knows. She’d also been keeping a secret – a secret that could have her institutionalized for being insane. On the day that her father was killed, she was pronounced dead…for eleven whole minutes. She woke up with a disturbing ability to see ghosts and signs on people foretelling of an imminent danger. Her latest premonition involved people she knew and a boy who knew more than he’d let on. 
  • Rubik’s Cube. Almost the entirety of the novel was a puzzle to be solved. There wasn’t any obvious answers nor there were any easy ones. I’ve never been a fan of mystery solving books but this one had me completely engrossed. The mark of a good mystery novel, if I may say so myself. 
  • Compelling Characters. The primary reason why this book gave me a sleepless night was because of its characters. Once you start reading about Kara, you’d have this inane desire to keep going. Her subdued beauty and traits clashed with her intense need to just break out, to be free from grief, to be free from all the pretences and to finally break free from the wall she barricaded around her. Often times, I wanted to shake this girl; I wanted her to cry and scream out her frustration. I wanted her to stop making everyone feel like everything was okay by pretending. It was completely exhausting. But no matter how frustrated I got, Kara was that type of character that I can’t just abandon. Her character has this ability to draw you in until you’re completely vested in the story. The family dynamics around Kara was to be expected of a family in grief. Her mother’s need to coddle her to the point of suffocation was her way of protecting what was left of her family. Jason, Kara’s brother folded into himself. There was something about his quiet anger that made me feel like he was also ashamed; ashamed for all his shortcomings as the man of the family. I also loved her best friend, Danielle. They were two sides of the same coin; each one hid a secret and had the same fear. I’ll get to Anthony Garcia in a bit. He deserves his own billing 🙂 I just think that Ms Parra created a cast of characters that were deeper than their token roles in Kara’s life. 
  • Toe-curling Romance.  I’m a big fan of forbidden romances and there was just a touch of that here. Anthony was from the wrong side of the tracks and Kara was absolutely not allowed to date him. I guess if there were any other stories that this novel would be akin to, I’d say Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles would be its close relative. He had some questionable reactions that were better explained toward the end. I loved his intensity; it jelled well with Kara’s constant insecurities. He was tenderness and sweetness and ferocity rolled into one package of hot Latin blood. *sigh* 
“If one day I was taken away…would you wait for me to come back?”
Concerned moved across his face. “Where are you going?”
“Just tell me, please. I need to know, without telling you anything else.”
“No.”
I swallowed and blinked back tears.
“I’d go after you,” he said.” 

LOWLIGHTS:
Sorry, this book is one of my favourites. I just can’t find any!


FINAL THOUGHTS:
If the page-turning mystery does not entice you to chomp this up, then the romance is sure to engage you in. 


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Review: Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Publication Date: May 24th, 2011
Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover, 449 pages
Add Angel Burn to your Goodreads!

SUMMARY
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.

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MY TAKE:  5/5 STARS
Highlights:
Be prepared to see these heavenly creatures in a different light. These breed of angels are unlike any other angels you’ve ever read before. They’re almost cannibalistic in their hunger for human life. The book is not gory, per se. But their appetites are probably comparable. They have the characteristics of a horde of aliens, parasitic and gluttonous in their hunger. They invade, they destroy, they move on. We’ve been serve with a cacophony of stories about these beings but as far as I’m concerned, Angel Burn is highly original.  

Willow is an amiable character. She is without the angst of a teenager who’d known her disparity with the rest of the kids her age.  Willow grew up knowing that she’s different. She’s a psychic with a talent in psychometry. She can tell anything about a person with one touch; she can tell what your future is if you give her your hand. Her beauty is ethereal, concealed in second hand clothes and grease from fixing cars. Her relationship with her vegetative mother is heartrending but it exists, nonetheless.

Alex was hard to figure out. I love the air of mystery that constantly surrounds him and the futile fight he had with himself as he tries to figure out who or what to follow: his heart or his belief that angels – of any kind should be terminated.

Lowlights:

Virtually none, in my honest opinion.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed every single page of this book. The heart pounding sequences were relentless and the romance was sweet and real. I’ve finally got my copy of Angel Fire (Angel Burn #2) and I’m chomping at the bits to get started.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE: AMAZON

Five Star review? You know what this means, right? GIVEAWAY! Want a copy of Angel Burn? I just happened to have an extra kicking around because Candlewick Press sent me a copy. Who wants it? Answer this question and if you’re the right number of commenter on queue, you win this book!

How many touchdowns did Vincent Jackson score this weekend?
  • INTERNATIONAL
  • You don’t have to be a follower but it will be nice if you’ll leave a comment.
  • I will not be held responsible for lost or damage during transit.

 …Aaaaannnnndd GO!

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Review: Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

Publication Date: March 14th, 2011
Kindle Edition

Add Cross My Heart to your Goodreads shelf!

SUMMARY
True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there’s no reason why, when they’re assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.

As they bond over Edith Wharton’s tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the “bad boy” vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own “good girl” image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Parker than he’s letting on. He’s hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she’s grown to love with the person he really is. Because it’s possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie.
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MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS
Once in a while, an unassuming book comes across my shelf that I usually put off reading until the mood strikes me. For Kindle copies, I hold off even longer. I am not a big fan of e-books; I’ve said this over and over again. I love the feel of rifling through the pages when I have this urge to re-read scenes.

Cross My Heart has been sitting in my iPad waiting for the day when I was desperate enough to read something. No offense meant. Well, desperate times called for desperate measures. We were at a house party on Saturday night and I was bored out of my wits. I carry a book in my purse anywhere I go but I sure as heck do not carry the iPad in my purse. I thought that bringing a book out would be ruder in front of company than reading on my iPhone. So I pretended to check my phone the entire night, all the while reading the itty bitty text on the Kindle app. Subtle.

I’m happy to say that all the squinting was well worth it.

Let me break down what Cross My Heart is all about.

Girl. Pretty. OCD. Safe.

Boy. Aloof. Bad rep. The complete opposite of safe.

You put them together and what do you get?

A funny, sweet, romantic, heartfelt and unforgettable read, that’s what!

I’ve never been more inclined to re-read a book shortly after reading this. In fact, that’s what I did as soon as I finished wiping my wet, snotty face.

I mean, come on. There’s really nothing special about the plot. We’ve read them all before. Good girl falling in love with a bad boy. But you know what? There’s just something about the way Ms. Klein’s take on this tiresome plot that made me feel so besotted with this book.

First of all, the main characters are both intelligent. You will not be annoyed with the insipidness of the dialogues normally found on books in this setting. But at the same time, the author did a phenomenal job by making them sound their age. The snark between these two were funny – kind of like watching a comedic but clever verbal-tennis match.

Ten bonus points also goes to the writer for having an active family supporting the MC. Good for you! I also love that there were no token insidious mean girls in attendance; instead, you’ll find a couple of besties who stuck with Jaden through and through.

All in all, this book was a bundle of surprise. It made me laugh and it made me cry a whole lot. But I cry at a drop of a hat, so…*shrugs*

It doesn’t matter. I’m so happy to have found this romance gem! It will pull at your heartstrings and will clog your throat with lumps the size of a golf ball. It always makes me happy when a book is written so wonderfully well that I probably miss all the things that I nitpick about on my usual reviews. Perhaps there isn’t even any.

Regardless, this book will be one of those I go back to over and over again.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE: AMAZON

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Review: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
Add Beautiful Chaos to your Goodreads TO-READ shelf!

SUMMARY

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What – or who – will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself – forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.

________________________________

MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS
Things have never been the same in this mystical Carolina town ever since Lena’s Claiming. The Day of Reckoning seems to be upon them.

The plague of insects infesting every inch of town. The nightmares and the panic. Casters who couldn’t control their powers, or use them at all. A river of blood…

Ethan is convinced that The One Who is Two will be the one to restore the Order. They just have to figure out who it was before time runs out for Gatlin and for the entire world.

Let me just get my bearings here…

I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next book of this series. This is complete torture. I don’t know if I’ll survive that long. The ending made a basket case out of me. It made me mad and sad and just…gah!

Okay. I’m done.

Here’s what I thought.

When I started this series, I’ve considered Ethan as a younger brother I was very protective of. By the end of Beautiful Darkness, I started having some really disturbing feelings toward this boy. I’m ashamed to admit, that after reading Beautiful Chaos, I now have a full blown literary boy crush in the person of Ethan Lawson Wate. He finally grew up and has developed a more masculine personality and voice!

I have no clue how to describe the anxiety I felt while reading this. The amazing writing duo of Garcia & Stohl did an incredible job of never letting the reader get too comfortable. Even through the tender moments between Ethan and Lena, there was always this shrieking alarm in my head telling me that these kids were about to be put through an emotional torment. And by the end of this book, I may have cried as much as Lena did. Melodramatic, much? Read this book. You’ll see.

I’ve always had a hard time with serial books. The lag of time between publishing remains a stumbling block for me. It’s hard to jump back into its world without having to go through a quick refresher course. It takes me quite a bit of time before I pick up an installment to the series – more often, to a point where I wait for it to be completed before I dive back in. Well, that is not the case here. Page one threw me into the series like I just finished its predecessors yesterday. Just like that, I’m back in Gatlin – hotter than Amma’s kitchen and more magical than Ravenwood.

The authors didn’t spend a lot of time rehashing what had happened in the last two books. Maybe it’s because I loved this series so much that the books seemed like they’re still fresh reads. And in any case, Garcia and Stohl will not guide you back in slowly, they’ll THROW you back in. So if you’re not as big of a fan as I am, be prepared for some forehead-crinkling moments.

I don’t know how the dynamics of this writing duo work but I’m continually awed that they’re able to keep Ethan’s voice true and consistent through the entire series. I’d imagined it’s tough having two sets of writing personalities writing one character. How they’re able to combine their impressive skills and not overpower the other just completely amazes me.

Ethan was not the only character that has improved in one way or the other in this series. Most notably, John Breed. Until about a quarter to the end of the book, it was difficult to ascertain whose side this caster was on. But I am looking forward to reading more about him in the next book. The Caster Chronicles truly has one of the most well-developed, multi-dimensional set of characters I’ve read as of yet – with the exception of one, in my opinion. Ethan’s dad. His role was almost non-existent in Ethan’s life. Now that he joined the land of the living again, he’s back to teaching and therefore gone for the most part of the book. He pops in once in a while, but regrettably, he had a diminished role as a father. It was pretty sad that Ethan, knowing what he knew and what he was about to do, couldn’t even give his father a proper adieu.

The secrets everyone kept from each other was extremely frustrating. Sometimes, the intensity of frustration got to a hurl-the-book-across-the-room level. But in this case, I managed to calm myself down because the secrets added to the mystery and suspense of which this series is known for. So even though I wanted to shake Amma so bad and hit Ethan with the one-eyed menace over the head with repeatedly, I was able to appreciate the eventual reveal more.

Ethan and Lena’s relationship remain intense and beautiful. Maybe it’s because of their ability to talk telepathically, but this gave them a more poignant connection – which makes for an even more intense heartbreak. I’ve never been more prone to contacting the writers with some very harsh words along the lines of, “For the love of God, give me an HEA!”

Anyway.

With the combination of magic, mysticism, Religion and the real milieu of the good ol’ South, the third book of The Caster Chronicles left me breathless. Unrelenting suspense, beautiful writing and unforgettable characters kept me in constant wondrous state until the very last page. I will do just about anything to get an early copy of the fifth book. Absolutely amazing. 

BUY YOUR COPY HERE: Amazon

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Review: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2011
Viking Australia
Format: Paperback, 608 pages

Goodreads Summary

Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more
.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home Or so he believes.

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

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MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS (I wish I could give it more!)
I have the most profound love for Melina Marchetta and her books. Anyone who follows me on Twitter and who reads my blog knows this. I love her work so much that I spent close to $70 on this book alone. International shipping and custom dues are very expensive. I am not ashamed to admit that I blew my book budget for the month (?). Considering this is not out yet in North America, it was well worth it and then some.

I cannot even begin to summarize what Froi of the Exiles is all about. The story line focuses on Froi’s assignment as the assassin sent into Charyn to kill its King. If you’ve read Finnikin of the Rock, you would know that Charyn was the primo enemy of Lumatere. Because of that, I was infinitely set on hating this kingdom and its people. But as the story progressed, and in true Marchetta brilliance, everything was not as they seem in Charyn. Some were as oppressed as the Lumatere exiles in Finnikin of the Rock, and some were as resigned as the Lumaterians who were cursed, trapped inside unless the curse was broken. Charynites, however, were blighted with a different curse: the inability of anyone of age to reproduce. I’m going to stop with my interpretation of the Froi’s blurb right here, because honestly, I don’t want this review to be a drawn-out synopsis of the book. Besides, there were a million things going on in the book that I just can’t give it a justified summarization.

So here’s what I thought:

Was I surprised that this book turned out to be ho-hum, brilliant? Uhm, NO.

Was I surprised that this book was considerably much more complicated than its antecedent, Finnikin of the Rock? NO.

Was I surprised by the intricate way with which Marchetta revealed certain plots and sub-plots painstakingly as if she were peeling layers upon layers of delicate phyllo dough? No. In fact, I’ve come to expect it. Often times, I fought with myself; wavering to skip pages but couldn’t bring myself to do so. It’s a dishonor to the book and to Ms. Marchetta herself. And in any case, she made it so that every word, every sentence, every punctuation of this book was significant to the great cohesive magnificence of the entire novel.

I find myself unable to find the right superlative for Froi. It seemed underwhelming to simply say it was brilliant – an understatement of epic proportions.

The characters that were introduced gave this book a whole different dimension of literary genius. Quintana, for one, is a fascinating character. She’s not what you would call a beauty in a seemingly mass-produced heroine assembly line. She was strong and at the same time acquiescent to the role she must play in her kingdom as the King’s daughter. I can’t tell you what she had to do but her situation was extraordinarily sad and the exact opposite of venerable. This is also another reason why Froi left me in a haze of wonder. There were topics that were, let’s just say, of mature audience variety; raping, whoring, violence, sex, with a hint of incest. And although we’ve had a taste of most of the above in Finnikin, it was still a shock to me. But let me be clear, Marchetta does not write anything for shock value. In the end, a book, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. You can take it like it is and give it your own interpretation. I myself could say that everything in this book was tasteful and genuine to the story line.

Shall I talk about Froi? Well, in Finnikin, Froi was an undesirable character up to the latter part of the book – in the end, I eventually took a shining to him. I am not going to say that I’ve fallen in love with him here, but let me say that uncovering who he truly was overwhelmed me – completely. He was a multitude of characters and traits – snippets inherited from all the kingdoms where he once roamed and lived. But the best part of knowing the real Froi, was finding out who his parents were and how deeply connected he was to Lumatere’s enemy.

For me, Finnikin and Isaboe will always be the royalty of literary characters ever penned. I loved reading about them as young rulers of Lumatere and as parents. As a husband and wife, I found it funny that that Isaboe had to plan a tryst in a closet for a moment with her husband.

Sigh.

And finally, finally, Lady Beatriss and Trevanion. Wow. I have a brand new appreciation for the word, CLOSURE. That’s all I’m going to say about them. I wish there was a separate book about these two: how their love story started and what they had to endure during their ten years of separation.

I wish I can say that this book ended how Finnikin did – with resolution and satiated feeling that everyone got their happily ever after. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. One thing I can say for sure is that the third book will have to be epically exceptional to top this one.

Geebus. I have to wait another year for the third book. Gah!


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Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Publication Date: September 29th, 2011
Dutton Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 338 pages

Goodreads Summary

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


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MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS 

Sigh.


 Lola, much like its predecessor, Anna, was romantic, funny and heartfelt. There is a certain depth to the character building in these two books that is unheard of to most of the novels that fall under this genre – based on my experience, that is. It’s also another one of those, once-you-start-you-can’t-stop reads.


I’ve been hearing a lot about the words character-driven plot being thrown in reviews lately and I guess up to this point, I didn’t exactly know what it means. Well, Lola and the Boy Next Door is definitely that. I’ve never been more absorbed about a character in a book than I have with Lola. Don’t get me wrong, the story held the same quixotic fervor and well-formed plot as Anna and the French Kiss, but I found myself in awe of how refreshingly unique this book is.

I’ve never understood how some reviewers opted not to rate the books they just read than I did now; because it really isn’t fair. I want to go back and reduce my rating of Anna and the French Kiss to four stars and give this book an extra star. That’s how much I loved this book.

First of all, Lola’s family is definitely the most unique that I’ve read so far in…ever. Her parents are both fathers – with one of them her biological uncle. Her mother is around – but only when she’s too drunk to go anywhere else or when she gets evicted from her apartment for the millionth time. But in spite of it all, or perhaps because of it all, she still grew up well-loved and adjusted. The key word here is, her family is present – supporting all of Lola’s idiosyncrasies and plight to find her identity.

I loved how Perkins makes something as inconsequential as rubber bands on a boy’s wrist, romantic. Don’t ask me why, but it was just one of the many Cricket quirks that made him even more loveable. I love how he uses his skin as a post-it note. He writes on himself to remind him of the things he was supposed to do. I love how he was constantly comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Lola’s and Cricket’s story was just as charming as Anna’s and Etienne’s. It was awkward in the most adorable way, sweet in a none saccharine way and utterly realistic. 

If you ask me which literary character I’d most like to meet in person, then I’ll tell you point blank that this girl is it. She’s quite possibly the quirkiest, spunkiest, most original character I’ve ever read.

This book is one of the most highly anticipated books of 2011 and I’m one of the throngs of readers who eagerly waited for its release. I’m irrevocably in love with the writing, the well-rounded characters, and engrossing plot that Stephanie Perkins continually delivers. I’m positively impatient to read her next project.

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 420 pages
Little, Brown & Company

Goodreads Summary

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. 

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. 

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


__________________________________________________

MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS

As I sit here and ponder on the magnificence of what I’d just read, I can truly, honestly say that I will probably fail to write a review that will give this novel its due justice.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone lived up to the hype – and more. It delivered in spades and didn’t – not once – disappoint. Even the ending, which would have normally driven me to rant for days, couldn’t damper my irrevocable love for this exquisite masterpiece. Laini Taylor created a complex world with equally complex characters. The history, the legends of angels were molded and twisted into something unbelievably multifaceted and unique.

I often found myself stopping just to savor the words. The prose was as beautiful as the heartbreaking story of reincarnated love itself. 


I fell in love with Karou’s blue hair, her grotesque but beautiful art and her wry humour. The anonymity of her past added to the sublime beauty of her character. Her’s and Akiva’s love story were one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful story I’ve read in a while. I have the deepest hope that the second book to this series will bring some happiness to these two. But since there will be three books, I am not holding my breath.

We’ve been bombarded with a lot of angel books lately or an impossible romance between two mortal enemies. But trust me when I say, Laini Taylor wrote this book with the absence of clichéd plot lines in mind. This book is highly imaginative, dark, deceptively funny and deliciously sensual.

The only problem I have with this book is that I’d have to wait for a long time for the second book and with how this book ended, the wait will be extra, extra painful. 

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Review: Nocturne by Syrie James

Publication Date:  January 4th, 2011
Vanguard Press
Format:  Hardcover, 224 pages

When Nicole Whitcomb’s car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.
Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him and soon comes to realize that the feeling is mutual. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t want her there.
Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?
Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her.
But as the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns the terrifying truth—that her host is an ages-old vampire who is torn between his love for her and his desire for her blood—there’s nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life.
Filled with unexpected twists and surprises, Nocturne is a page-turning, haunting, and deeply romantic story of forbidden love that will grab your heart and not let go.
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MY TAKE: 5/5 STARS

This book was sitting on the Teen Fiction shelves at my local bookstore. I picked it up because I was drawn to two words that were on blurb of the book: FORBIDDEN LOVE. What can I say? I’m a total sucker for this type of romances, no matter how much of a cheese-fest the book turned out to be.

Thankfully, Nocturne, didn’t turn out to be a big ball of cheese. In fact, this is probably one of my favorite romance reads of the year. I found out much later that this book didn’t belong in Teen Fiction section; I think it was placed there by mistake. First of all, the characters were adults; and second of all there were explicit sex…well, explicit by my standards.

After attending a friend’s wedding, Nicole drove through a snow storm en route to the airport. Unfortunately for her, the rental she was driving skidded off a mountain road that ended up buried in a ditch. She was saved by an enigmatic recluse, Michael Tyler, whose distaste for company was as obvious as his masculine beauty. Forced to suffer each other’s companionship, Nicole and Michael fought their attractions with one another, (futile though as it may be) and discovered each other’s past. They found love along the way but had to face the brutal fact that the two of them together was pretty much an impossible reality.

I rarely pick up adult fiction on my bookstore jaunts. I think it was by divine intervention that I found this book.

I absolutely loved it!

The snowstorm created a more eerie, mysterious backdrop to this sensual vampire tale. The characters were well drawn that captivated me from page one to the last. Their conversations were very intelligent and every scene screamed sexual tension. Michael’s inner struggles to fight off his true nature were as palpable as Nicole’s constant need to discover more about her very private host.

It’s got an amazing plot that didn’t drag nor was it told at a break-neck speed. Each layer of Michael’s identity was revealed in such a way that made me feel like rushing on to the next page.

Although this book didn’t end the way I would have liked it to end, I still don’t feel a single regret for gushing about this absolutely heartrending novel.

Syrie James’ writing is exquisite as is her talent for taking her readers to historic voyages. The lady knows a thing or two about history, that’s for sure. I’ve only read one of her works in the past, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which, I’ve enjoyed very much. And after reading Nocturne, I think I’m going to check out her other works as well.

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