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Whisper: These Angels Slay with Sass

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Whisper (Whisper Trilogy, #1)

Whisper Trilogy, Book 1
Goodreads Rating: 3.78 Stars
220 Pages
Publication Date: March 31st, 2012
Get a copy here!

When Callie Evans starts suffering monster headaches and hearing mysterious voices, she wonders if her fragile teenage psyche has finally cracked. After all, being the only girl without a cell phone in a world where you only show up on the social GPS if you’re in the network is a total stressor. Throw in a fretful yet loving mother who is always up her arsenal – well, there’s only so much junk a typical teenager can handle, right?

Newsflash. Callie Evans is anything but typical. When she discovers just how unique she is, Callie’s life morphs into an endless series of surprises at every turn.

Silas and Jules feed Callie a tale she can only laugh at. Until- gasp – she discovers it’s all true. She not only has to hide her secret identity from everyone in her universe (including Joshua Pride, the super-hot new guy at school who harbors a secret of his own,) but she must learn to navigate her new reality and fulfill her revealed purpose.

In a world where whispers are the deadliest of weapons, Callie’s biggest challenge of all will be to simply survive the evil that seeks to destroy her.

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Quick Reasons: I just…had some issues overall; unique voice, charismatic and entertaining characters; sometimes the MC seemed a bit younger than her actual age; special snowflakes; insta-love; quite predictable; some stereotypes

Huge thanks to Dana Faletti for sending me a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

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Now, don’t get me wrong–this year has been ALL ABOUT stepping out of my comfort zone in terms of reading. So when I saw this was about angels and demons, I thought… “well, why not give it a try!” And for the most part, that was okay–I took the focus on religion (or, at least, Christian ideals) in stride and convinced myself to approach it as it was–literature. Overall, though, I’m not sure this book (or this series, honestly) will be the right fit for me personally.

 

For one–our MC, and the boy she decides immediately she’s into (hello, insta-love! great to see you! I mean… yeah, that was a lie)–are both “special snowflakes” in their own rights. Him, because he can defeat pretty much any demon thrown his way without even trying! Heck, he doesn’t even NEED guidance anymore, and has actually become sort of a rebel, but who cares?! He’s a legacy! And her because… Well, she pretty much flies into this fighting demon things like a pro. I mean, that’s realistic, right? One five minute session of arguing and disbelief is more than enough to tide her over and make it A-okay!

 

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t some interesting ideas happening in this book. I was pretty entertained throughout–the narrator’s voices are so distinctive and unique! I adored the way Callie uses her own personal dictionary when “cursing”–while at times it was a bit strange or overdone, I was reminded of myself at that age. (Let’s be honest, I’m STILL the girl who uses “oh my penguins” over cursing, because that’s just who I am) So this was realistic for me, and came off rather endearing!

 

The plot was also interesting. Action-packed and fast-paced, it was pretty easy to fall into the story and get swept away. However…there were some stereotypes I wasn’t fond of. And Calliope, while a snarky and entertaining character, was VERY prone to making harsh snap judgments, which I also didn’t like. Yes, she’s only “human.” Yes, we ALL make judgmental statements sometimes. But these were a bit too over-the-top for me–and very much followed the stereotypes, on top of that. It just didn’t work, is what I’m saying. I DID, however, love a lot of the “moral” implications happening throughout. There were some very wise moments spawned from the battles Calliope finds herself in the midst of–and lessons I think ALL of us need to be reminded of, no matter our age.

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Overall, this was a decent read, though I’m not sure the right fit for me. I will still be picking up the other books in this series, as I’d like to know what happens next and see where the story goes from here. I would recommend this to those who enjoy unique takes on the war between good and evil, lovers of angel/demon stories, and those looking for fast-paced plots. It just wasn’t quite what I expected, going in–fingers crossed I like the next one more!

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A Review of World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2), by Susan Ee

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In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

– – – – –

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: makes-your-skin-crawl, horrifying monsters; kick ass main characters; flawed, yet somehow forgivable (?) villain; awesome plot twists; lots of action; edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting plot; snarky humor and witty banter; great read all around

I read Angelfall in April; going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting what I found. Having just finished this second book in the series, I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for the final installment. It’s waiting patiently for me on my Kindle—waiting patiently to smash what little’s left of my heart into bits and spit on the mess, I have a feeling.

It’s amazing how many times we have to go against our survival instincts to survive.

Susan Ee has a MORBID imagination, guys. In a fit of procrastination (the climax was quickly approaching and I wasn’t sure my heart could handle it!) I described some of the monsters to my husband. His response? “Okay. So…someone took an acid hit and then went straight to bed.” The creativity here is astounding; I’ve never read anything quite like what Susan Ee has created for us here, and that’s both an awesome and a disturbing thing. Awesome because it makes for one hell of a gut-wrenching read. Disturbing because I have more than enough nightmares already, thank you very much! Honestly, though—I applaud and bow down to the author for her creative genius with these books. I’m never going to sleep the same again.

The writing is also edgy in its own right—humorous, snarky, and almost unbearably descriptive, it’s far too easy to lose yourself in this world and let your own life fade into background noise. These books force you to focus on them. They snatch you out of reality and forge the battle around you. Your heart will pace, prance, and leap with the characters through their varying trials and tribulations. There is no escaping the intensity; you’ll be edge-of-your-seat, biting your nails, muscles clenched to fight or flee deep before you realize you’ve even begun.

I offered the enemy pain relief but never considered it for my own sister. Why?

Because she looked like a monster, that’s why. And it never occurred to me that monsters might feel pain.

It’s interesting, going into this second book, to see how the characters have progressed. Penryn and Raffe both go through some poignant and heavy changes. The fact that we only catch glimpses of Raffe here and there throughout until the very end, when they’re reunited, makes Penryn’s journey more awe-inspiring. We don’t see, until the end, that glimmer of snark and hostility that made me fall in love with her character. It’s apparent that despite their vast differences, Penryn was impacted and touched in multiple ways by the angel.

Susan Ee is also a genius at creative and out-of-left-field plot twists. Not ONCE did I see where any of the foreshadowings, hints, or outcomes were headed. Usually, I can at the very least guess at a couple. For these books? No. I go in and remain blind until the reveals are finished and the resolution is in sight. I’m not sure where the ending for this is leading me…but I can’t wait to dive into the final book of this series! At the same time, though… I’m terrified. Because it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt a lot, I’m betting.

“You’re probably right. The unruliness of the women in your family must go back for generations. You’re like a plague upon the land.”

“So long as we’re also a plague upon angels, I’m sure everyone else will forgive us.”

Once again, Susan Ee surprised me—she might just become a favorite author for me before this series is through! I’d definitely recommend to lovers of “angel” stories, dystopian worlds, or the paranormal and horrifying. This is one trilogy that doesn’t follow the rules—and THAT is what makes it epic!

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A Review of Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2), by Laini Taylor

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Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

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Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: fast-paced, intense, heart-pounding action; the exploration of what “traitor” means in a war between different societies—and what makes a traitor; angels, spirits, Frankenstein-esque monsters; the examination of love, destiny, strength, and right vs. wrong

Please excuse me just a minute. I seem to have left my heart shredded between the pages of this book; I need to put it back together before I can form coherent thoughts on what I just read. Have a quote while you wait:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

There is something enchanting, alluring, and utterly breathtaking about both Laini Taylor’s prose and worlds. She weaves intrigue so effortlessly, readers are sucked in and held hostage the entire journey—hearts breaking at every turn, hope dwindling and then spearheading again… It’s a wild rollercoaster, reading Laini Taylor’s novels, and she always finds a way to leave the wound gaping wide even at the closing of the last page. This sequel is no exception.

A LOT of things happen in this book, but every situation has a point, every moment has a purpose; nothing seems irrelevant, nothing is forced. Every word carries weight; Laini Taylor knows how to think of every loophole and make them COUNT toward the end result. Nothing should be taken for granted in her writing: she has an answer for every potentiality, and enacts them to their fullest, most lethal advantage. So while a lot of things happen in this book…you won’t feel unsatisfied, disappointed, or in any way lost on any of the separate story lines. It’s all explained. It all comes full-circle. It all pans out.

“As long as you’re alive, there’s always a chance things will get better.”

“Or worse,” said Liraz.

“Yes,” he conceded. “Usually worse.”

Hazael cut in. “My sister, Sunshine, and my brother, Light. You two should rally the ranks. You’ll have us killing ourselves by morning.”

I’ve only ever read these first two books by Laini Taylor…but I’ve fallen hopelessly, desperately in love with her words. She is the type of writer I strive to be in the future: the kind who can steal readers from their thoughts, close them off to the rest of the world, and sweep them along a journey they never foresaw or knew they needed. Her world building is pure gold, the details so exact and brilliantly imagined readers can’t help but feel as if they’re watching the action from the sidelines. The connection with the characters is instantaneous and powerful; it doesn’t take long to sidle into the story and pick a side, pick someone to root for, pick a dream to carry.

The prose is absolutely stunning. The scenes are clear, a mirage of words veiled over a reader’s mind. The characters are at odds both realistic and completely fantastical, human and utterly magic at the same time. Their dialogue is expertly crafted, a fine balance of honesty and total snark (in all the right places, and sometimes exactly the wrong ones). Every detail is so finely balanced, every thread sewn with such precision, it’s as if Laini Taylor has done MORE than just put words to a page. She brings an inventive, creative world of danger, war, and hostility to brilliant life—the morals she explores through the process, the different realizations we as readers are meant to reach and consider, only add to the overall result. It is a journey—not just of the world she’s imagined—but of oneself.

It was one of those dreams that invade the space between seconds, proving sleep has its own physics- where time shrinks and swells, lifetimes unspool in a blink, and cities burn to ash in a mere flutter of lashes.

I absolutely LOVED this read—it’s just as beautiful, just as ensnaring, as the first. I highly recommend to lovers of magical realism, fantasy, and books featuring angels (even not-so-great ones…) I can’t WAIT to dive into the third installment, and see what this captivating world holds secret yet.