I'm On Fire for "Angel Burn"

 Title:  Angel Burn (Angel Trilogy #1)
Author:  L.A. Weatherly
Format:  Audiobook
Length:  14 hrs 28 min
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio
Age Range:  Teen-Adult
Rating:  5 Stars
In a world where angels are beyond redemption, Alex thinks he's found one that might deserve mercy. Alex is a ruthless assassin - of angels. Forget everything you've heard about them before. Angels are not benign celestial creatures, but fierce stalkers whose irresistible force allows them to feed off humans, draining them of their vitality until there is barely anything left. As far as Alex is concerned, the only good angel is a dead angel...until he meets Willow. She may look like a normal teenager but Willow is no ordinary girl. Half-angel, half-human, Willow may hold the key to defeating the evil angels. But as the hunter and the hunted embark on an epic and dangerous journey and Willow learns the dark and terrifying secrets of her past, Alex finds himself drawn to Willow...with devastating consequences. Eoin Colfer reinvented the fairy, Stephenie Meyer reinvented the vampire, L.A. Weatherly reinvents the angel! This is a heart-pounding, knuckle-whitening, paranormal romance action-adventure for fans of the "Twilight" series. This is the first in a devastating new trilogy.  -Goodreads

    I checked this title out from my on-line library after reading the synopsis; and I am so glad that I did.  I have had "not so good" experiences with authors who have chosen to delve into the sometimes very murky waters of  'angelic YA story lines.'  
It seems as though most authors go the -Good Angel vs. Bad Angel with hot girl in the middle route.-
          May I say,  "Been there, Done that, TIRED, TIRED, TIRED!"   

Angel Burn is the answer to a prayer for intelligent, well-written, captivating, angelic-themed YA.


"There are angels among us...and they're HUNGRY!"

     Though the characters of Willow and Alex are meant to be the focus of this work; it is the angels that make this story soar.  
The answer is simple.
They are allowed to have ulterior motives, scheme, and plot against those that they are supposedly
here to save.  Yum!  (That is the thing that makes the GREEK myths so irresistible.)
Formula:  Supernatural being + Hidden agenda + Unwitting victims =   Great Fiction
Add to that a strong, smart, and beautiful heroine with unrecognized supernatural gifts, her hot would-be assassin turned love interest, CIA operatives, a manhunt (involving Willow, Alex, and all the people-angels trying to kill them), stellar writing, and a killer plot, and you have Angel Burn.
What else is there to say?  I adore this book!
This story is caviar in a world of sardines!  

Audiobook Review 
     Cassandra Campbell is a star in the world of narration and once again  she delivers.  I really enjoyed the clarity of her read.  She was best however, during the emotional scenes. Where there are tears; there must also be Cassandra.


I Don't Need..."A Need So Beautiful"

Title:  A Need So Beautiful
Author:  Suzanne Young
Format:  E-book
Length:  183 pages
Publisher:  Belzer and Bray
Age Range: Teen
Rating:  2 Stars
We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.   - Goodreads

     At its core...this is a very sweet love story.  This is the only thing that I am SURE about as a result of having read it.  The main character was a never ending series of ?????  Who is she?  Where did she come from?  What is she?  What is her purpose?  I can go on and on.
     I find it difficult to write this review due to the lack of complexity in the story and plot.  There is no way that I can convey my feelings about this work without telling the story in the process.
This story is better suited to the big screen.  It really needs the creative license that the big screen would provide.
This would be the book that I would take to the beach or on a plane.  
In short, once you have read the synopsis; you have read the book.

Flying With Pagasus and the Flame

 Title:  Pegasus and the Flame (Pegasus Series, Book1)
Author:  Kate O'Hearn
Format:  Audiobook
Length:  8hrs 29mins
Publisher:  AudioGO Ltd.
Age Range:  Tween
Rating:  3 of 5 Stars
When Pegasus, the majestic winged-stallion, crashes on to her roof in the middle of a storm that blacks-out New York City, 13-year-old Emily's life becomes that of legend: epic battles with gruesome monsters, desperate chases from a corrupt governmental agency, captivating flights astride the beautiful winged-stallion, and one heroic quest to save Olympus before the Olympic flame burns out ...A must for fans of Percy Jackson!
     All in all, I would have to say that I would really like to love this this book.  The main characters of Paelin, Diana, Pegasus, and most of all Emily are very well rounded and function superbly
within the context of this read.  The interaction between Pegasus and Emily steals the show as well as readers' hearts at several key moments during this story.  The reader becomes so invested in the ups and downs of these two, that he or she is more than willing to forgive some pretty major holes in supporting character development.
     Paelin...I  consider him to be the character that the reader "loves to hate to love."  He starts as the bad guy; only to metamorphose into the unlikeliest of heroes.
     The Goddess Diana...I really feel that she was a bit scattered.  One minute she's "kick ass tough" and the next she's crying over the maltreatment of horses in Central Park.  The author also goes to great pains to make her inept in our technological society.  (She's a GODDESS!...Hello!)  She should not be walking around referring planes as "flying machines."  As a matter of fact, she should not be walking period.  Ever hear of materialization.   
Oh Lucy...You've Got Some 'Splaining To Do!
     Now we get to the part of the review that contains those elements that serve as 'nails on chalkboard' moments for me.
     The Nirads serve as the invading evil of the story; but readers are never told why they invade or where they come from.  It is also never clear why they are able to just barge into Olympus like it is Walmart and kill GODS.  
     CRU aka Men In Black...They have agent alphabet names and torture children for information. 
(SERIOUSLY)  They vacillate between big bad wolf at the door and too stupid for words. Once again, the devil is in the details.
     This is a very good mid-grade read.  I would recommend this book for ages 8-12. 
The world of fantasy and the use of Roman mythology will capture the heart and mind of any tween.
 Audiobook Review
    Katherine Fenton is an excellent narrator.  She is able to convey deep emotion whether voicing male or female roles.  Her transition between narrator and characters is seamless.  I highly recommend her.  


"Forgotten" is Hard to Forget

Title:  Forgotten
Author:  Cat Patrick
Format:  Audiobook
Length:  6 hrs 18 min
Publisher:  Listening Library
Age Range:  Mid Teen/Adult
Rating:  4 of 5 Stars
Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.  -Goodreads

 The Pluses 
     This book had me at 4:33.  
London's story is essentially one about living with a disability.  Hers being that her long-term memory works in reverse and her short-term memory has a shelf life of 24 hours per reset.  I am so happy that the author does not choose to martyr London, or make her a poster child for the "you can do it brigade".   Instead, the reader meets a strong, resourceful, intelligent, and very real young lady "living her life" the best way that she can.  (via post-it, notebook, cell-phone notes, future memory , and her mother)  
     Love makes the world go 'round and  is the driving force behind this story.  London's love drives her to use her resources to right wrongs, find the truth among long standing lies, and protect those that she loves from themselves.  At the same time, the love of London's family and friends serves as her safe haven and source of strength.
     It is the love of a very special young man by the name of Luke, that serves as the catalyst for some of London's most life changing realizations and experiences.  It is during the portion of the book that is devoted to the blossoming love between London and Luke that Cat Patrick's amazing talent for drawing the reader in through the emotional depth of her writing is at its best.
     While on the subject of the relationships in this book, I feel that I must mention the wonderful  job Ms. Patrick does when writing the character of London's mother.  When you look at the strength, love and patience that she exemplifies;it becomes very easy understand where they come from with London, and serve as a welcome change to the proliferation of the "absentee parent" dynamic that plagues YA at present.  On the contrary, in this story we see a parent being a parent. (and the story doesn't go up in flames)  Who knew!!   
     This novel flows from love story to mystery to drama seamlessly.  I believe that this is achieved in part because of London's condition.  The fact that she is missing so much as a part of her "fatal flaw" lends itself to mystery and drama.
The Minuses 
     One of the largest issues that I have with this story is the end.  It is rushed!  I understand the need to "wrap up the story and tie it with a bow," but the last quarter of the book seems to go from story telling to explaining.  The explanation should be done via the story; not left to serve as a means to an end after a flurry of character action.  In my view, this is the flaw that costs this book a great deal of its likeability.
     The only other issue that I have with "Forgotten" is the fact that London has a medical condition that is never explained; though it serves as a main component of the the book's premise.  This is a problem that I attribute to a simple lack of research on the part of the author.  (the devil is in the details)
Narrator Review 
     Due to the fact that I experienced this book in audio, I have to include an audio review.  
I am very impressed with the narration of Julia Whelan.  Her narration was crisp, clean, and highly expressive.  Though she is charged with the task of reading YA, I am very happy to report that there was no whining.  The best part of the narration for me is her characterization of Luke.  She is able to keep her voice true to the masculine timbre; without failing to convey any of the emotionality that the reader comes to love.

I Found Heaven In "Hereafter"

Title:  Hereafter
Author:  Tara Hudson
Format:  E-book
Length:  233 pages
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishing
Age Range:  Mid-Teen-Adult
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their new found happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.  -Goodreads
There is so much to say about this wonderful book!
     Let me start with a very heartfelt thank you to Ms. Tara Hudson for giving her readers something other than vampires, wares, and angels!
And now...the good stuff!  
     Though Amelia is the main character of  "Hereafter," I was taken and delighted with the fact that the opening chapters centered around Josh.  This gave me as the reader an early understanding of his importance to the structure of the story.  I was also able to 'get to know' him along with Amelia; experiencing more and more of him over time  through her eyes.  His role in this story is so well written that it could serve as the foundation for a stand alone book or novella.  He and his family are definitely worth a closer look.

     I was overjoyed that she knew and accepted the fact that she was DEAD.  Whooohoo!  She did not bore me to tears with long winded diatribes about her loss of life.  Nor did she try to drag Josh into the afterlife in a misguided attempt at her version of together forever.  Instead, she took the afterlife as it was, only seeking to find her place in it and understand love, the circumstances behind her death, and the actualization of her power of self.

     I though of him as a pawn in the very sinister game of his masters.  I didn't come to that conclusion until the end of the book.  Until then, I just thought of him as a very manipulative and slightly creepy pain in the ass.

This book is by far one of the best that I have read this year!  If you are a fan of love, the afterlife, teens with brains that work in spite of their hormones, and wonderful plot lines with a hint of Dante.  This is the read for you.

I Love "Heartless"!

Title:  Heartless (Parasol Protectorate Book the 4th)
Author:  Gail Carriger
Narration:  Emily Grey
Format:  Audible Audiobook
Length: 11hrs.  19mins.
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Age Range:  Late Teens/Adult
Rating:  5 of 5 Stars
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
     I was so excited about this book that I actually stayed up in order to be one of the first to download the audiobook from Audible.  I am soooo very glad that I did!
     In this, the 4th book of the Parasol Protectorate, we find Alexia:
1.  Eight months pregnant
2.  Back home with Connall (after much groveling on his part)
3.  At the top of the vampiric hit list...AGAIN!

     I was happy to see that even though Alexia was in a rather delicate state, she was by no means out of action.  She was in fact, so in the thick of things that I spent the majority of the book white knuckled with fingers crossed, praying that she wouldn't go into early labor.

     It seems that the author went to great pains to shine the spotlight on supporting characters that until now had been interesting, but BACKGROUND nonetheless.
Cases in point:
1.  Floote-Alexia's butler turned secretary turned butler.
2.  Felicity-Alexia's dim-witted and conniving half sister.
3. "poor Biffy"- the loveable all around mess of the story.

     This book was a well-written, witty, intelligent, romp through Victorian England with complete with dirigibles, vampires, warewovles, and one special lady with a KILLER parasol.

 I can not end this review without extending special thanks to Emily Grey for her stellar narration of this audiobook.  Emily you are quite "the thing."

Quote:                                                                                                                                                         "I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day."     -Gail Carriger