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    Review: Insurgent

    Insurgent by Veronica Roth will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, the print edition is 544 pages.

    Insurgent is the second book in author Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. The third book, as yet untitled, is slated for release in 2013.

    Goodreads description:

    One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

    New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

    ***

    Faction before blood. But what if your faction was divided? What if you didn’t know who in your faction to trust? What if you couldn’t be the person your faction needed you to be? What if you chose wrong?

    Everything is falling apart. One faction is divided, one faction nearly destroyed, two factions undecided and one faction seeking control over them all.

    Without an alliance there will be no way to fight back. Without the Divergent there will be no chance to win. Without uniting with someone thought to be your enemy there will be no chance to be Insurgent.

    And without trust everything will be lost.

    But how can you fight an enemy when they can render you powerless in an instant? How can you admit to being Divergent when everything in you screams to keep it secret? How do you fight alongside strangers when you don’t know what they’re fighting for?

    And how do you trust someone else, even someone you care about, when you can’t even trust yourself?

    ***

    A highly anticipated sequel, Insurgent will not disappoint. This electrifying and absolutely riveting second book in author Veronica Roth’s incredibly imaginative dystopian series is suspenseful and action-packed with a lightning fast pace that will make this five hundred plus pages story fly.

    Right from the start, readers will be catapulted back into this world of factions and the factionless. Where the struggle for power pits faction against faction, turning allies into enemies and forcing everyone to choose a side. To a world where the wrong choice could be deadly. Where no one is safe. And where being Divergent may just be the only hope for survival.

    After the attack that left so many dead – many who she knew, several who she cared about – Tris is still in shock and struggling to come to grips with everything that happened and everything she was forced to do to survive. But the war isn’t over. The factions are still in disarray. And the fight for control is still being waged.

    No longer sure who she can trust, not even sure if she can trust herself, Tris is forced into hiding until Four can come up with a plan. But unless they are able to gather enough forces to stand with them against their enemies, any rebellion they may incite will have no chance at victory.

    With one faction in ruins and one faction divided, they will need all the help they can get. Even if it means relying on an unlikely ally whose motives are suspect. And even if it means that Tris will have to take matters into her own hands to find the answers she needs.

    Author Veronica Roth has elevated her story to an entirely new stratosphere with Insurgent. The world is broader, the characters more intriguing, the action more nerve-wracking, the surprises more jaw-dropping and the love story more heartrending.

    Even with as quick a pace as this story had, and with the amount of action jam-packed onto its pages, the writing retained its beauty and flow, inviting readers to connect with the characters, discover the fascinating world and uncover all of its secrets.

    Full of twists and turns, heartbreak and betrayal, Insurgent is an emotional roller coaster of a read that will keep readers ensnared until the very end. And with all it promises and all it delivers, this is a sequel not to be missed.

    Reviewer gives this book….

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    What an unbelievably amazing, out of this world, everything you could have asked for multiplied by a million kind of sequel this was. I did not want the story to end. I wish it hadn’t ended. I could have just kept on reading for days and days.

    And oh how I miss those characters. Already. I haven’t been able to pick up another book since I put Insurgent down because I don’t want to connect with any other characters than Tris and Four. I don’t want to be transported to any other world than the one in Veronica Roth’s series.

    I am going to have to re-read Divergent and then Insurgent again when it releases next week because I won’t be able to get this story out of my head unless I re-read it. And possibly read it once more after that.

    I loved Divergent. And I mean loved, loved it. How could I not? It was awesome. But my love for Insurgent went so far beyond that. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was so wary about Divergent because of the hype when I picked it up or if I just felt pressured because I was rushed to finish it on time, but I didn’t make a connection to that first book in the series anything like the one I made to this second book.

    This sequel had everything. And I mean everything I could want in a book. There was a ton of action. I don’t think the characters had a moment to breathe. I know I didn’t. The pace was insanely fast. The pages were practically turning themselves they were flying by so quickly. The emotional roller coaster I was on nearly killed me. From heartbroken to hopeful, from elated to devastated, from anxious to relieved, I was all over the place. Up. Down. Sideways.

    And then there was the suspense. It kept me on edge for the entire book. I could barely fight off the urge to turn to the last chapter to hopefully find just a tiny bit of relief. Just. Barely. Resisted.

    I had no idea what to expect for most of the read. I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I didn’t know who would survive and who wouldn’t. I didn’t know if each and every moment Tris spent with another character would be the last moment she spent with them. I didn’t know who to trust. I didn’t know who or what to believe. Practically everything was a surprise. And it was absolutely, deliciously tormenting.

    I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book. Putting it down for even a second was pure agony. Everything that happened made me want to know what would happen next. There was no obvious place to pause. And I didn’t want to.

    I loved everything about this book. I loved what happened in the beginning. Then there was all that stuff that happened in the middle. And I can’t forget about that ending. Oh my gosh that ending. I loved all of it. Of course, I can’t talk about any of it because that would spoil everything. And I wouldn’t want to do that.

    But I can talk about my two favorite characters in this series.

    I didn’t think I could love Four more than I did in Divergent, but I did. Even though he was maddeningly frustrating at times. He was the hero. He was the protector. He was the voice of reason. He was quiet, calm and strong. He was willing to do what needed to be done. For his faction, for the people who relied on him, but mostly for Tris.

    And while I definitely considered him the good guy, when he wanted to be, he could be absolutely lethal. Which made him an unpredictable but incredibly entertaining character and the perfect match for Tris.

    Tris, who is becoming one of my very favorite heroines. I absolutely adored her in Insurgent. Even though she was just as frustrating as Four was. Maybe more so. She was reckless and stubborn and secretive. She could hardly be trusted. But she was also strong and smart and brave and fragile and wounded.

    With everything that happened and continued to happen to her and around her, she was never truly defeated. Because whether she knew it or not, she was a fighter. And because of that I rooted for her every single step of the way.

    Insurgent was so off-the-charts good I don’t even have a rating that will do it justice. As someone who does not always connect to books with a dystopian setting, I fell head-over-heels-and-back-again in love with this book. And I have no clue how I will be able to suffer the year-long wait for the third book in this series.

    ***

    I have so many favorite passages in this book. They number in the double-digits. There are the sexy ones, the heartbreaking ones, the nerve-wracking ones and the shocking ones, most of which I think should be discovered within the story.

    But I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. And so I chose two. This one, which I found to be incredibly meaningful:

    People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.

    And this one, which is absolutely, achingly tormenting:

    “What else do you want me to say?”

    He just shakes his head. “Nothing, Tris. Nothing.”

    I watch him walk away. I feel like a space has opened up within me, expanding so rapidly it will break me apart.

    ***

    Book trailer for Insurgent:

    ***

    This review is based on an ARC I borrowed from another blogger.

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    Review: Perception

    Perception by Kim Harrington will be released in the U.S. on March 1, 2012 in hardcover format. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Point, an imprint of Scholastic, the print edition is 288 pages.

    Perception is the sequel to Clarity by author Kim Harrington.

    ***

    Goodreads description:

    When you can see things others can’t, what do you do when someone’s watching you?

    Everybody knows about Clarity “Clare” Fern. She’s the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

    Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

    But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare’s pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare’s hopeful ex-boyfriend who’d do anything to win her back?

    One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

    ***

    Things have finally started to quiet down for Clarity Fern after the events that took place over the summer landed her in the spotlight. While she was happy not to be called the town “freak” anymore, by almost everyone, she preferred not to be the center of attention.

    But not everything has returned to normal. Brooke and Kendra, two of the Barbie Brigade that used to torment her, now treat her like she’s their new best friend. Her brother Perry is no longer the outgoing, social, flirty and fun older brother he used to be. And it seems she has a secret admirer.

    When notes and flowers begin to show up at school and at home, Clare is flattered. Since she hasn’t been able to choose between Justin, her ex, and Gabriel, a very tempting possibility, she assumes it’s one of them.

    But she starts to grow concerned when it feels as if she’s being watched and followed. Even though she thinks she’s probably imagining things, she isn’t so quick to disregard what she’s feeling, because as a psychic her intuition is almost never wrong.

    Someone is behind all of it. She just has to find out who. And if that wasn’t enough of a mystery for her to solve, it appears that a girl has gone missing. Someone she may be able to help find using her abilities.

    Things don’t seem to stay quiet in Eastport for long. And Clare just can’t stay out of danger. At least she can count on Tiffany to be her same cruel, tormenting, back-stabbing and completely normal self.

    ***

    Perception is an immensely entertaining story, a captivating mystery and a thoroughly enjoyable one-sit-read. This incredibly fast-paced sequel, with characters that are exciting and either lovable, detestable or somewhere in between, is utterly engaging and has such an easy flow.

    The story returns readers to Eastport and picks up shortly after the events in Clarity ended. Clarity “Clare” Fern has started her Junior year in high school and is attempting to once again fade into the background. But not everyone is willing to let that happen.

    With a secret admirer who may be more stalker than admirer and a missing girl who may have simply just run away or could already be dead, Clare has two pretty big mysteries to solve. All the while still trying to decide whether to forgive Justin or to take a chance on Gabriel.

    As the mystery deepens and the danger to Clare becomes more real, she’ll have to rely on more than just her psychic abilities to find answers and she’ll have to put her trust in someone. She just hopes it’s the right someone.

    Author Kim Harrington has followed up her debut novel with a sequel that is just as charming, just as exciting and just as suspenseful. Her main character, Clare Fern is every bit as strong as she was, perhaps even stronger because of all she’s been through, and if possible, even more likable.

    She is smart, kind and compassionate. And it is her interest in solving the mystery and her willingness to help, even when helping could put her at risk, that make her such an endearing character.

    While some of the other characters from the first book aren’t as prominent in this second book in the series, new characters are added to the mix that are just as engaging, intriguing or suspicion-inducing, giving readers more characters to question, doubt and mistrust, and giving this series room to grow.

    As the story progresses, the pace escalates and the tension continues to build, all leading up to a dramatic finish in which all is revealed.

    Perception is an absolutely delightful story and a must read for those looking for a quick and fun mystery with a paranormal twist, an abundance of enticing characters and an ending that won’t leave off at the edge of a cliff.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    On a personal note:

    I absolutely love this sequel. I loved Clarity and I love Perception just as much. It was such an adorable, fun and super quick read. Just as I knew it would be. I really hope there is a third book planned in this series because I already miss Clare, Gabriel, Perry, Starla and even Justin.

    For the record, I do not miss Tiffany.

    Clare Fern is an easy to love heroine – one of my favorites. She’s sweet, clever, caring and understanding. But she’s not a total pushover. And she has this awesome ability – retrocognitive psychometry – which she wants to use to help others rather than as some party trick or way to make money.

    I loved getting back into the world, seeing my favorite characters again, meeting new ones and being challenged to solve the mysteries. While I had that “aha” moment and was able to figure out whodunit right away, I was still captivated by the story and it was totally fun to see Clare try to puzzle things out.

    Once again the author did an amazing job making almost all the characters seem suspicious. And while one stood out to me, I could just as easily have been wrong, like I was when I read Clarity. And before I end up letting something slip, I’ll stop talking about the mystery.

    But for the same reason, it’s also impossible to talk about the characters without giving something away. Any of them. Old or new. There were a few new and interesting characters in this series, but I can’t say whether I liked them or not without spoiling the mystery. And I can’t say whether or not I was happy to see certain old characters again, because that would be spoiler-y, too.

    Though, I suppose I can say that there were characters I loved, characters I wanted to love, characters who gave me the heebie-jeebies, characters I really hoped weren’t guilty and characters I really hoped were.

    And I can’t not talk about the love triangle. I absolutely love the love triangle in this book. While it wasn’t the main focus of the story, it was always there in the background. Neither boy was an obvious choice. And Clare’s decision wasn’t a guaranteed one. Which made me very, very nervous.

    While I had my favorite, I had no idea if he would be Clare’s pick or even if she’d choose either boy. This was one mystery that kept me in the dark for the entire book. And I mean the entire book. No early answers to that question.

    As with the first book, the mysteries were solved and everything was wrapped up pretty nicely in the end. I am just keeping fingers and toes crossed that there will be many more books to come in this series. I would be totally happy to devour them all.

    ***

    I had a couple of passages I loved, but only one favorite:

    Gabriel studied me for a moment. “You don’t realize it, do you?”

    I blinked, twice. “Realize what?”

    “What makes you different makes you beautiful.”

    My breath caught in my throat.

    Book trailer for the Clarity novels:

    This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, Scholastic, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    Review: Wings of the Wicked

    Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton was released in the U.S. today, January 31, 2012, in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, the print edition is 528 pages.

    Wings of the Wicked is the sequel to Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton. The third book in the series, Hymn to the Fallen, will be available in 2013.

    Goodreads description:

    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 she 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.

    ***

    After learning the shocking truth about who she really is and what her purpose is, Ellie Monroe still wants to try to live a normal life – go to school, go to prom, graduate and go to college. But with Bastian sending even more bloodthirsty reapers after her, trying to be normal is becoming nearly impossible.

    When she learns that his plan to destroy all of humankind has been set in motion, and that she is an integral part of that plan, she will do everything within her power to stop him. Even if it means putting her trust in someone she isn’t sure she can trust. Even if it means forging an alliance with someone whose motives may not be entirely pure.

    And even if it means tapping into her powers and becoming someone she’s not sure she wants to become.

    Because if Bastian were to succeed, not only would it be her life that is forfeit but everyone’s. And the result would be hell on earth. Literally.

    ***

    Wings of the Wicked is an utterly mind-blowing sequel that is packed full of heart-stopping action, tension, suspense and heartbreak. With an opening that shoves readers right back into this deadly world where angelic and demonic reapers battle for supremacy and where the Preliator is tasked with ensuring human safety, this book will be unputdownable.

    The battles are fiercer, the dangers greater, the enemies deadlier and the heartbreak more devastating than ever before in this second book in the Angelfire series.

    As Ellie desperately searches for answers on how to stop Bastian before his plan becomes a reality, she is forced to defend herself against an onslaught of even more lethal opponents that Bastian has sent to retrieve her. And with their attacks becoming much more public, she’s finding it extremely difficult to keep that part of her life a secret.

    To complicate matters, things between her and Will have been strained since he found out who she was, Cadan keeps surprising her with unexpected visits warning her of Bastian’s actions, she still hasn’t been able to recall all of her memories, and life at home hasn’t been getting any easier.

    Courtney Allison Moulton has yet again written a story that is positively addictive. Readers will be riveted by this incredibly fast-paced, emotional rollercoaster of a story as Ellie faces her enemies in battle, is tormented over her relationship with Will, experiences a heartbreaking loss, is at risk of losing herself, and tries to recover her memories before it’s too late – to save herself, to save her friends, to save all of humanity.

    Wings of the Wicked is unquestionably a must read for fans of the first book in the series as well as for readers who are looking for an exciting story, with a unique world, lovable characters and a cliffhanger ending that will make waiting for the next installment in the series absolute torture.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    I didn’t think I could love the sequel more than the original. I really didn’t. Meeting Ellie, Will and Cadan for the first time and learning about who they were, what they could do and taking that journey with them was flipping amazing. There was no way a sequel could top it. Yeah, I was so wrong. I don’t think I could possibly have been more wrong.

    I was worried when I started reading Wings of the Wicked because it had been so long since I read Angelfire and I was fuzzy on some of the details from that first book. And while I wanted to re-read Angelfire I didn’t get the chance to and had to just dive right in.

    I think I was lost for about thirty seconds, if that. While not everything was spelled out, and most of it not immediately, the little reveals throughout the book made everything come rushing back in… much like Ellie’s memory.

    I loved Ellie, Will and Cadan equally in Angelfire, even though Cadan was the bad boy and they’re usually my favorite characters to read about and fall head-over-heels in love with. But in Wings of the Wicked I loved Cadan so much more, even with all the surprising new things there are to know about him. And even with the very different side of him that is revealed.

    I am definitely worried about just where things are headed with Ellie in the next book in the series, because she was very emotional throughout this book. She had a lot to be upset about and a ton of things to be heartbroken over, but she seemed more fragile somehow. And that makes me nervous. Even though I know just how strong she can be.

    And Will. Oh Will. Half the time I wanted to hug him, the other half I wanted to smack him. He was all sorts of maddening and yummy and he twisted me up inside, made my heart drop right into the pit of my stomach and he put me through the wringer over and over and over again.

    But it was those demonic reapers and the even scarier bad dudes and the oh so dark direction the story was headed that made me practically speed-read through this book. There were pages I was dying to devour so quickly that I had to actually go back and re-read them just in case I might have missed something in my haste to see how a scene ended.

    Yes this book kept me on edge. I was a total wreck. From everything that was happening between Ellie and Will, to the unwelcome appearance of Ava, to the situation with Ellie’s Dad, to Ellie’s still missing memories, to the constant threat of the demonic reapers, to the even greater danger posed by the Enshi, I was tortured right up to that last page.

    Speaking of being tortured, as if that build-up to the end wasn’t enough, the way this book ends was so unbelievably cruel. I just knew it. I just knew the end would be tormenting and torturous and heartbreaking. In fact, there was heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak in this five hundred some-odd page novel. I’m not sure I actually survived. I may just be a ghost of myself right about now.

    I would love to re-read Angelfire and get to experience both books back-to-back without that long wait between reads. I’m super curious to see just who I’d love more – Will or Cadan – after a second read. And I wonder if reading both books again would change who I think is more perfect for Ellie, who I believe is hotter and whether I’d still believe that Ellie made the right choice.

    So what does Wings of the Wicked have? Everything. It’s got a kick-a** heroine. It’s got two swoonworthy boys. It’s got action, action and more action – those battles are seriously insane. It’s got heartbreak and despair and anguish. And then it adds in some more heartbreak and quite a bit more anguish. It has a mystery or two or three. And that ending…. Calling it killer would be way too nice.

    So, yes. I loved this book. Yes, I definitely plan on re-reading it. And yes, I’m sad that I can’t re-read it right now.

    ***

    I have quite a few long passages that were some of my very favorites, most involving Ellie and Will, but this one just makes my heart skip a few beats…

    Cadan to Ellie:

    “No,” he said softly, reaching forward to slide his fingers along my jaw toward my chin. The gesture was soothing, and in the frigid cold, his hand was surprisingly warm. The cold never affected reapers. “There’s nothing wrong with you. Throughout your lifetimes, your humanity has grown stronger. Your human passion is taking over your angelic heritage, and I don’t think it knows how to handle all that divine power. Once you understand and can balance the two sides of yourself, you will be unstoppable.”

    Book trailer for Wings of the Wicked:

    This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, HarperTeen in exchange for my honest review

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    Review: Hallowed

    Hallowed by Cynthia Hand was released in the U.S. on January 17, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Hallowed is the sequel to Unearthly, author Cynthia Hand’s 2011 debut.

    ***

    Goodreads Description:

    For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

    Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

    Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

    ***

    Clara Gardner is not sure whether the nightmares she’s been having are just dreams or whether they’re visions. All she knows for sure is that they fill her with incredible sorrow and the only thing that helps is Christian’s presence.

    Unsure of just what her purpose is, or if she even has one, Clara is desperate for answers. Answers no one seems to have or is willing to share with her. But without answers and without a clear purpose, Clara feels lost.

    Especially since she keeps feeling drawn to Christian even though her heart belongs to Tucker. And while Christian may be the one she should be with, Tucker is the one she wants to be with.

    But if her dreams are a sign of what is to come, then she has much bigger things to worry about than who to choose. Because if they are real, then she will lose someone she cares about.

    And it may just mean she won’t have a choice to make after all.

    ***

    Cynthia Hand’s sophomore novel, Hallowed, is a gorgeously written, incredibly moving and absolutely captivating sequel that will keep readers on edge as they try to interpret the meaning of Clara’s dreams and will break their hearts when they learn the truth.

    This enchanting and heartrending story will invite readers back to Jackson, Wyoming, where Clara Gardner struggles with discovering her purpose, understanding just what her actions during the fire mean for her future, being in love with one boy and yet feeling drawn to another, and uncovering the reason why one particular Black Wing is so interested in her and her mother.

    Hallowed picks up shortly after the events in Unearthly. Everyone, and especially Clara, is still trying to recover and figure out what will happen next. And while Clara wants everything to return to the way things were, everything is about to change. And not necessarily for the better.

    As Clara tries to find answers, sort out her feelings for Christian and Tucker, practice using her powers and keep her distance from Samjeeza, time is running out. And if she can’t quickly figure out who she needs to keep safe, then her nightmares may come true.

    Author Cynthia Hand has written a beautifully touching and suspenseful story, filled with surprises – both good and bad – heartbreak, loss and love. Her writing makes it easy to get absorbed into the world she created. And her characters are the perfect mix of wonderfully flawed, flawless, lovable, detestable, strong, not so strong, brave, loyal, selfless, frustrating and incredibly determined.

    Hallowed is a simply amazing follow-up to Unearthly that existing fans and readers new to the series will immediately connect to and fall in love with.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    On a personal note:

    I always find it the most difficult to write reviews for books that were heartbreaking. When I read books that just reach in and squeeze my heart so much so that I can barely breathe and where my heart just aches for the characters, it takes me ages to try to express just what I thought about the book.

    Well, that’s what happened with Hallowed. I finished it over a week ago and I’ve been trying to sit down and write my review, but every single time I do, I tear up. Just thinking about the events that unfolded and just how much they affected me, makes it nearly impossible to think, let alone write a coherent review.

    I knew this book was going to be sad. I read the description and was worried about just what would happen. I thought I’d prepared myself. But I got caught up in the story. I was enchanted by the writing. And even though I knew something bad was coming, I wasn’t ready. Not for what happened. Not for how beautifully the author wrote about it.

    And I did not expect to be as affected as I was. As I still am.

    Hallowed is sad and beautiful and breathtaking. It completely changed my feelings about the two male protagonists – Christian and Tucker. It introduced me to a new character that I absolutely adore – I won’t say his name, but it is a he, and he is gorgeous and he is quite the surprise. And it made me even more suspicious of another.

    I forgot just how much I loved Clara between the time when I read Unearthly and now. I forgot how independent she was. I forgot just how much she wanted to do what was right, but also wanted to do what was right for her. Hallowed reminded me about exactly who she was and why I loved her and it made me love her even more.

    And it was also nice to see just how selfless she could be. How her need to protect those she loved was greater than her need to be happy. And how strong she could be when she had to be. By fighting her purpose, by standing up to the darkness and by being willing to take comfort and strength from those willing to give it even if it was from someone she didn’t want to lean on.

    I was worried when I started reading Hallowed that I would be totally lost because it had been quite a while since I read Unearthly. Over a year. But the author did an amazing job in filling in those gaps, adding in the details from the first book subtly and only when they were needed. So, I did not feel lost. At all. And I was not confused at any point during the read. Though now, more than ever, I want to go back and read Unearthly.

    I love the world the author created with the White Wings and the Black Wings. I love the idea of having a purpose. I love the different types of angel-bloods that she included in her book.

    And I love that she puts her characters in difficult situations, forces them to make the tough choices, allows them to make the wrong ones, gives only some of them enough strength to pull through, and is willing to break their hearts and her readers’ hearts when she has to.

    This series is one that I can and will read again and again. And most definitely again.

    ***

    I actually have three favorite passages. One is way too spoiler-y and the other one is kind of hot. But this one just made me grin:

    “You must think I’m an idiot,” he says then.

    I look up, startled. There are a lot of words I’d use to describe Christian Prescott: mystery, enigma, conundrum, destiny, terrifying, and, well, just plain hot, if I’m being honest, but the word idiot has never crossed my mind. Except maybe that one time at prom.

    Book trailer for Hallowed:

    This review is based on a printed ARC I received from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for my honest review.

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    2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge

    Jaime of Two Chicks On Books told me that there was another reading challenge this year that I might be interested in called the Sophomore Reading Challenge hosted by Chick Loves Lit. Of course I was all over it. I mean, with all the 2011 Debut books I fell in love with, how could I not want to read each author’s sophomore effort?

    I checked out the list on Goodreads and aside from a few that I just hadn’t added to my TBR yet, there was only one book I hadn’t heard of. In fact, there are actually quite a few not on the list that I plan on reading, so I’m sure by year-end, I’ll be way ahead of the ten books I’m picking here.

    My Ten Sophomore Picks

    1. A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford

    2. Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

    3. Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey

    4. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

    5. Embers and Echoes by Karsten Knight

    6. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

    7. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

    8. The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

    9. Until I Die by Amy Plum

    10. Truth by Julia Karr

    It was fairly easy to pick ten knowing that I’ll be reading way more than ten this year. These were just the first ten books that came to mind. (And I don’t believe the date has been yet set for the sequel to Shatter Me, so that’s not on the list YET.)

    If I do read any of these before 2012, I have plenty to supplement the list with, such as:

    My Supplemental Sophomore Picks

    1. Arise by Tara Hudson

    2. Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

    3. A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

    4. Perception by Kim Harrington

    5. The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney

    6. Mirage by Kristi Cook

    7. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

    8. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

    9. Thumped by Megan McCafferty

    10. In Honor by Jessi Kirby

    11. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

    [Note: Yes, there are 11 there. I couldn’t just stop at 10!]

    So, these are just my initial picks and a few books that will supplement my list if I read any early. I plan on reading Divergent, so I’m sure Insurgent will be on this list, as will Timepiece by Myra McEntire once I read Hourglass.

    So, I’m sure by year-end I’ll have read at least thirty sophomore efforts. After all, I can’t possibly not read the follow-up books from some of my favorite new authors, now can I?

    ***

    If you’d like to participate in the challenge, head over to Chick Loves Lit by clicking the button above, which will take you directly to the sign-up post.

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