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Unearthly

    Quickie Review: Radiant

    Radiant

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    RADIANT by Cynthia Hand was released in the U.S. on December 4, 2012 in eBook format only. It is currently available to order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperTeen, the story is 69 pages.

    RADIANT is a novella in the author’s Unearthly series set between HALLOWED and BOUNDLESS.

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    Description…

    From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

    Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn’t ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

    For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

    Alternating between Angela and Clara’s perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.

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    RADIANT is a short novella that alternates between Clara and Angela’s points of view. Set in the summer between the events that took place in HALLOWED, the second book in the series, and those in BOUNDLESS, the final book, this story takes readers to Italy where they’ll learn just a little bit more about the mysterious boy from Angela’s past.

    And because of the dual perspectives, readers will get to know Angela a little bit better, from her insecurities to her wariness about falling in love.

    Even though RADIANT includes Clara’s point of view, it is Angela’s story and it is a bit of a love story. It reveals some weaknesses in Angela’s character as well as some of her vulnerabilities, developing her into someone who is more than a little bit selfish but also rather sympathetic.

    A new character is introduced in this novella. Someone who this story makes clear will have a rather significant role to play in the final book in the series. Their presence and the questions they raise about events to come add mystery and suspense, making for an incredibly engaging read.

    RADIANT leaves readers on the edge of a cliff with its parting line. And for those that haven’t yet read the final book in the series, they’ll want to dive right in to find out just what that one decision means for the story. For those that have, it will reveal the possibility of a very different outcome had a different decision been made.

    While this series can be enjoyed without having read this novella, getting more insight into another character from the series and getting the chance to see just how different things might have been, makes RADIANT an exciting, must read addition to this series.

    And for those that don’t yet have BOUNDLESS, this novella offers an incredibly entertaining sneak peek at the prologue and first chapter.

    Reviewer gives this novella…

    Rate04

    On a personal note…

    It was so easy to fall right back in love with this series when reading RADIANT. While Clara wasn’t exactly at her best – pining over Tucker, suffering from her visions – and Angela seemed to be at her worst – selfish, jealous, weak – I still found myself glued to this short story.

    I wanted to know more about this mystery man. I wanted to know what it was about him that made Angela’s behavior totally change. I wanted to know if he was someone trustworthy or if Clara was right to be wary.

    RADIANT was such a tease. It made me incredibly curious about Angela’s vision – what it meant, when it would come to pass and just who was the guy in the vision. It made me worried about what visions Clara was having. And it made me super nervous about the new character.

    But it was the last line that killed me. I had to fight the urge to pick up BOUNDLESS the instant I finished reading this story. It filled me with dread about the events to come. And it made me worried about how just one small choice could alter things so drastically and for the worse.

    Fortunately I have BOUNDLESS so I don’t have to wait too long to read it. I cannot imagine how torturous the wait must have been for those who read this novella before it was available to dive right into.

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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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    Book Watch: Hallowed

    Hallowed by Cynthia Hand will be released in the U.S. on January 17, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats.

    It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Hallowed is the second book in the Unearthly series by author Cynthia Hand.

    ***

    One of the very first early review books I read was Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I was fortunate to get approved for the eGalley on NetGalley shortly after I started blogging and I immediately fell in love with the book.

    It was so completely different from any of the other books about angels I’d read and I loved getting to know Clara, Christian and Tucker. So, of course Hallowed is the book I just had to spotlight this week.

    It has been just over a year since I’ve read Unearthly, but I have been pining for this second book in the series ever since. It took forever for Unearthly to be available for the Kindle so I’m glad that the eBook version will be available at the same time as the print version with this sequel.

    I had so many questions left at the end of Unearthly and so many theories about what direction the story would take in book two. And I can’t wait to find out if any of them are right. I’m nervous about just what Clara will discover about what she was supposed to do on the day of the fire and I’m even more nervous about how things will be resolved – or if they’ll be resolved – between Clara, Tucker and Christian.

    I thought the first book in the series was exciting, but this sequel sounds even more thrilling with “growing conflict” and an uncertain future for Clara. If that isn’t enough, according to the description someone is slated to die very soon, but it doesn’t even hint at who that might be. And I’m dying to find out – no pun intended.

    I have been fighting the urge to pick this book up and start reading ever since I received an ARC for review. I’ve just had way too much on the pile and I want to be able to re-read Unearthly so that I can continue the story from one book to the next without a gap.

    The waiting has been brutal, but it’s almost over. Hallowed will definitely be one of my very first reads in 2012, because the not knowing is killing me. And with less than a month until its release, I’ll have the finished copy for my permanent collection in no time.

    Even if there were a ton of books releasing on the 17th, there is no question that Hallowed would be the book I’d spotlight to watch this week.

    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.

    ***

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    Review: Unearthly

    Unearthly by Cynthia Hand will be released on January 4, 2011. It is currently available for pre-order in print format as a hardcover.

    Imagine living life as a normal teenage girl only to be told one day that everything you thought you once knew is a lie and that everything will change. That you are part angel and that you will have powers, wings, and a calling that is your sole purpose for being. One that must be fulfilled.

    Imagine having to leave behind your friends and the home you’ve grown up in when that purpose makes itself clear. Clara and her family must drop everything to chase a vision of a boy, a boy she that she must save, a boy whose face she has not yet seen, but one who is her purpose.

    Leaving California for the wintry mountainous terrain of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is both exciting and terrifying. Having finally discovered her purpose sets Clara on a path that will force her to choose whether to answer the call of a higher power or follow her heart and live with those consequences, whatever they might be. But will she make the right choice? And if she turns her back on her purpose just how will her decision alter the future?

    ***

    Unearthly is a story about choices and consequences. A story about love and duty. Not of love at first sight, but one that grows in contradiction to everything Clara has been lead to believe is her reason for being. The story is written with an eloquence to the narrative that makes this story move beautifully.

    What starts out slowly for the first few pages begins to pick up momentum as you get to know Clara and begin to feel, along with her, her frustration about what she is and what she must do and share with her in her anger about secrets that her mother has been keeping from her. You will become so enchanted by the characters and the meaning behind the story that you feel just as lost and confused as Clara when the story ends.

    Debut author Cynthia Hand has created a novel for young adults that is exceedingly thought provoking. Questions are raised about how much a single act will affect an outcome and whether deviating from what seems to be a definite direction is actually what is mean to be?

    At the end of the book there are so many questions remaining, so many answers that are yet to be revealed and secrets still to be discovered, that readers will be left helplessly awaiting the next book in the series.

    On a personal note:

    Once this story got going I could not put it down. (I took my kindle everywhere with me in the hopes of getting a few pages in when I could.) It was nice to read a book where the female character was the angel and savior rather than being the one needing saving. For a part angel Clara was absolutely adorable. And the mishap with the hair dye (or was it all part of the plan) was hysterical.

    Even though it wasn’t completely one of those “torn between two loves” stories, filled with the requisite anguish and heartache, I definitely felt for Clara when she was faced with her choice. I loved the fact that even though she was part angel she did not immediately come into a new school and have every boy falling at her feet and that her love grew over time and not instantly.

    What makes this story even better are the hints of things amiss, like Clara’s moms odd behavior and secrets her friend Angela is keeping. Things that will (hopefully) be revealed in the upcoming novels. I already cannot wait for the next book to come out even though the first one isn’t yet on shelves.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    Thank you HarperTeen and NetGalley for the review copy.

    Book trailer for Unearthly:

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