Tag Archive: angels


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis and Cover photo from Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis: 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?

Rating (out of 5):

Review: I really want to try to review this without sounding like one of those Twihard fans who think they might have spotted Robert Pattinson in a crowd.  Alas, I don’t think I can do that, because I just loved this book so much.  I was entranced by it.  I found myself sitting at the table for a half hour after I finished eating because I just couldn’t stop reading.  When I didn’t have the book in my hands I was thinking about the book, wishing I had brought it with me wherever I was.  I had to force myself to put the book down when I needed to go to sleep.

 
The thing that first attracted me to this book was the cover.  It is spectacular and gorgeous.  I saw this cover from the aisle in the bookstore and it drew me to the book immediately.  Then when I read the blurb I thought to myself, well this sounds interesting and unique.  But I had no idea how unique and entrancing it would be.

 
When I first started the book I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I was having a hard time connecting to the characters and to the writing.  I was interested in the story but the writing was throwing me off and I grew concerned that I may not like the book after all.  But after about 50 pages I was drawn into it and started breezing through the pages at a rapid pace.  Parts of the story were familiar to me, like the hamsa tattoos.  But the way they were used in the story was new and different and very creative.  I really connected with Karou for a lot of reasons.  She was a strong, smart, self sufficient, kick ass heroine (which we don’t see often in YA).  But she also felt like she didn’t fit.  She didn’t completely fit in the world of Brimstone but didn’t completely fit in the normal world as well.  She was stuck in between and didn’t know which way to go.

The romance in this book was refreshing and real.  You could call it insta-love but it doesn’t feel that way.  I mean, let’s face it, they start the book by trying to kill each other.  That’s not really the mark of an insta-love relationship.  Now, once they started exploring their attraction to one another everything moved quickly after that.  But it felt natural to me.  They had real reasons to fall in love!  That was so nice to read.

I am frothing at the mouth for the sequel, it cannot get to my house fast enough so I can devour that one too.  This was by far one of the most creative and unique books I have ever read.  It was one of my favorite books of the year, and I think Ms. Taylor has a hugely successful career ahead of her.

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Published February 28th, 2012 by Berkley Sensation

Synopsis and cover from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…

Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT

In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…

And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED

In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:  I loved this book almost more than Archangel’s Storm.  Almost but not quite, Jason is still my book boyfriend and I love him the most out of all the characters presented so far.  But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the characters presented in these stories are excellent, and these were stories that needed to be told even if I didn’t know it prior to reading it.  The best way for me to review this is to address each story individually.

First was Angels’ Pawn, this is a story set prior to the first Guild Hunter book and follows Ashwini and her connection and relationship with Janvier.  She is asked to help in the kidnapping of a vampire, she asks Janvier come along because he used to belong to the court of the angel she is visiting, Nazarach.  I had a huge fangirl moment over this story.  I have been hoping to hear more about Ashwini and this vampire she has a love/hate relationship with.  But we have also heard a lot of rumor and interesting tidbits about Nazarach, so I wanted to see him first hand too.  Not only was this story exciting because it introduced me to characters I have longed to meet more intimately but because the story surprised me as well.  The case of the kidnapping isn’t at all what it seems and it gets Ashwini into some hot water.  I was really happy with this story and it wet my appetite for more about Ashwini in the future, fingers crossed!

Next up was Angels’ Judgement, the story of Sara becoming the Guild Director so this was also set prior to the beginning of the Guild Hunter series.  This story was an unexpected enjoyment for me.  I never really thought that I wanted to know more about Sara and Deacon and how they met or how she became the Director.  But I enjoyed it tremendously and it made me ask a lot of fascinating questions.  It revealed how involved and concerned the Cadre of Ten is with the selection of the Guild Hunter.  It also reveals that the Guild has a Slayer, one who’s job it is to hunt down hunters who go rogue.  This is what brings Deacon and Sara together and it was fantastic to watch.  But it also made me wonder…who did Sara choose as the new Slayer now that Deacon is retired to being a weapons maker and daddy and husband?
Third on the list was Angel’s Wolf where we get an introduction to two new characters Noel (one of Raphael’s vampires) and Nimra (the angel who rules over Louisiana).  She is concerned that someone is trying to kill her and asks Raphael for assistance in trying to sort out who the traitor in her court is.  Noel has been viciously attacked and seeks to escape so Raphael asks him to go help Nimra with her problem.  Nimra is greatly feared about the other angels and vampires alike, so Noel is surprised and intrigued to discover that she has a softer side too.  I wasn’t expecting this story but I did like it.  If I was forced to choose a least favorite it would probably be this one, but that’s just in comparison to how passionately I loved the other three.

Last was Angels’ Dance, the story of Jessamy meeting the mysterious Galen and becoming intrigued with him despite her refusal to become romantically involved with anyone for centuries.  I have liked Jessamy and Galen both from the limited time we have seen them.  And I vaguely recalled mention (ok, someone reminded me of the mention) that Jessamy and Galen were romantically linked in one of the other Guild Hunter books.  Another great point was their early relationship.  They started out not really even liking each other that much, but then circumstances force them together and they discover that there is much more to the other’s character than they first thought.  It was a touching, sweet, and romantic story that I thought was a perfect addition to this collection of short stories.  Jessamy got her story and I loved it.

Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

Published: September 4th, 2012 by Berkley

Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I absolutely loved this book!  I have been having mixed feelings about the last few Guild Hunter books, but this ended with this book.  Jason is a character that I never expected to love and his story is one that I wasn’t too terribly interested in knowing.  Mainly, I looked forward to reading this one to learn more about Neha and how she is coping after the death of her daughter, and now her consort.  She was teetering on the edge of madness after losing her daughter, to lose her consort too I suspected might push her over the edge.

This is where Jason enters.  He is Raphael’s renowned spymaster, who has the ability to literally blend into the shadows and go completely unnoticed.  He offers to help Neha find the killer, hoping to stave off a rage that could end in war with millions of casualties.  She demands from him a blood vow to her niece, Mahiya, basically meaning that anything he learns he cannot reveal to anyone else about her family or how she runs her court.  This story intrigued me and I wanted to see what we would learn about Jason and Mahiya, and what would ultimately be the result of his investigation.

I was apprehensive when we got the first few chapters that continues the stories of Raphael and Dmitri, but excited to see what is going on with their characters at the same time.  I was concerned that these chapters were added because Jason’s story was going to be very thin and needed some buffer material.  Thankfully that turned out to not be the case, and Jason’s is my favorite story so far. Like all of the angels (vampires too) that we’ve met, Jason has a very troubled background.  It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on with his flashbacks and what his story would end up being.  Although, even though I guessed it, it was still heartbreaking.  Mahiya has also had a hard life and has her own reasons for wanting to appear invisible.  But she’s not invisible to Jason and he is not invisible to her.  They find themselves drawn to each other and drawn to the darkness they recognize in the other.

In a way the story of the murder of Neha’s consort was secondary to the story of the budding relationship and trust between Jason and Mahiya.  Though I was much more interested in Jason and Mahiya, my jaw still dropped in shock when the murderer was revealed.  I don’t think I would have ever seen it coming, and I appreciate a story that can surprise me.

I appreciate Jason for being a flawed character and for having very dark demons that haunt him.  But he’s not looking for someone to save him and Mahiya knows she can’t save him.  Neither is trying to change the other and that makes their relationship all the more special.  They each hold to the other out of love and trust that the other will stay despite their flaws and that perhaps together they can begin to make a new future and leave behind their dark pasts.  When we arrive at the final paragraphs and Jason flies away on assignment, my eyes filled with tears.  Jason found a way even through his darkness and pain to show his princess the things he couldn’t say.  I have found this book entering my mind constantly for the past few days and I need another Guild Hunter book.  I can’t stop thinking, who is next?  Who’s story will we discover after Jason?  Aodhan perhaps?  Venom maybe?  We haven’t seen much of Galen of Illium lately.  I want to know what happens next and I look forward to reading it when it gets here.

 

 

Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Published September 6th, 2011 by Berkeley Sensation

Author’s website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/blade.php

Photo and synopsis from Goodreads book page

 

Synopsis:

The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

 

Rating (out of 5):

 

Review:

As you may have noticed, I am a huge fan of the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh.  I have breezed through the first four books in just a few months and already have the book of novellas and 5th installment on order.  Even with how much I had loved the series so far, I admit to being a bit apprehensive at the idea of a book about Dmitri.  I was intrigued with Dmitri and wanted to know more about him but an entire book?  I wasn’t quite so sure about that.  Yet, even though apprehensive it turned out spectacularly and I think I might like Dmitri more than Raphael!

Dmitri is a character unlike any that I have read recently.  He is a hard man, a dangerous man.  But there is a depth to him that I admit I wasn’t expecting.  I loved getting a glimpse into Dmitri’s life before he was a vampire and at the same time it was heartbreaking to watch it unfold.  I understand his character in a way I never thought I would, and I absolutely love him.

Honor is another character that I found both heartbreaking, real, and inspiring at the same time.  She is another flawed character but with an inner strength that makes her a great character as well.  I enjoyed her story no matter how hard it was to stomach at times.

The plot was one that was more predictable to me than the previous ones.  I enjoyed watching it play out and was surprised a few times, but ultimately there weren’t any earth shattering reveals.  But not everything needs to be about the surprise.  It was still a great story!  Someone is targeting Dmitri and essentially sending him a challenge.  He partners with the traumatized hunter Honor to figure out who wants to come after him.  It is quickly revealed that this is connected to an angel that Dmitri killed, Isis.  Since that was a thousand years ago,  grudges are something that near-immortals can hold for a long time it seems.  I liked the idea between the parallel plots.  First we were trying to help Dmitri figure out who wants revenge on him.  And we are also trying to help Honor get her own revenge for the horrific attack on her just months earlier.  The stories were similar enough that it was easy to follow them both and see the connection.  But they were different enough that they were engaging in their own right.

My only real disappointment with this book was the villain.  I have found all the villains from previous books to be terrifying.  I would get goosebumps and shivers when they were mentioned in the book and they had an air of menace that couldn’t be ignored.  This villain didn’t give me that impression.  Mostly I found him, and his story of revenge, to be rather pathetic actually.  He was a weak and petty little thing that didn’t really make me feel that Dmitri or Honor were in that much peril.  Not having your characters in mortal danger is not the hallmark of a good villain.

Regardless of the lack of a decent villain, I loved the story a lot.  The intricacy and engaging stories about Honor and Dmitri more than compensated for where this book was lacking.  It easily gets a four star rating from me and a nod to my new favorite character, Dmitri.

 

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Published March 3rd, 2009 by Berkley Sensation

Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/

Synopsis from the author’s website:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she’s the best—but she doesn’t know if she’s good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option…even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…

Review:

I loved this book!  I could not put it down!  I found myself reading through meals, reading while brushing my teeth, reading in parking lots, and reading late into the night long after I should have been asleep.  I have been looking for a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series to take the place of the Anita Blake series in my life…but that disaster is a story for a different day.  I think I may have found that series with the Guild Hunter Series.

First we have our two main characters, archangel Raphael and guild hunter Elena.  I liked them both.  Raphael has this air about him that is dark, scary, and dangerous.  But at the same time it is so enticing.  I wanted to know about him and I wanted to know what he was capable of.  Elena is similarly dark, scary, and dangerous.  But that was interesting and enticing too.  What really amused me was that through the entire book Elena keeps insisting about how different they are, when they are actually strikingly similar.  The sexual tension between the two of them was a constant tease through this entire book.  After awhile I wanted to just scream at them, “seriously just do it already!”  When they did it was passionate and sensual and such a relief.  It was about time and it was a great scene.

The idea behind this plot was simply fascinating.  It was something that I never would have thought of, and I found that refreshing.  Angels are the ones creating vampires, very unique.  Angels have the ability to turn into blood sucking monsters and kill hundreds, also unique and fascinating.  So many elements of this story were unique for this genre and it was so excellent to read.  I have been craving something I’ve never read before in the paranormal realm and I finally found it.

The only complaint I could possibly make is that there was so much going on that, at times, I had trouble keeping track of everything.  So many things were left unexplained until the very end that they melded together in mind and occasionally I found myself confused.  But this was a minor setback and ultimately didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story at all.  I cannot wait to move on to the next in the series, and I look forward to finding out what’s going on with Elena next.  The hole in my paranormal fantasy shelf is filled and I couldn’t be more excited to watch it evolve.

Rating: A solid 4.5 out of 5.