Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hopeless, by Colleen Houver

- Hopeless #1
Release date: December 19th 2012
Self Published
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

I don't know if this is public knowledge, but here it goes: I love a good dare. And that's exactly what Hopeless was. After reading The Edge of Never, and feeling traumatized for over a week (that damn quote about "owning you" never left my mind, mind you) I felt compulsed to prove that the New Adult genre wasn't limited to obsessive relationships and scary badboys. So I gave Hopeless a try.

I'm so glad I did it. 

Don't be mistaken, though: Reading this book was like driving through a bumpy road - it wasn't easy, but it was manageable. Our protagonist, Sky, felt flat for me in the beginning, especially because of the way she never feels anything around guys (for example, if she's making out with someone, she just keeps staring at the ceiling, without feeling a thing). That was bizarre, and completely Bella Swan-like. I was afraid Hopeless would be just another book with a teenager romance and zero depth. However, as I got to know Sky better, it was clear she didn't fall under that category. Quotes like this one made me respect the girl:

[...] Despite what this may look like, I am not a slut. Unless, of course, the definition of slut is based on the fact that I make out with lots of people regardless of my lack of attraction for them. In that case, one might have grounds for debate.

Sky just basically didn't care about what people thought of her. And I loved her for it. You hardly see this kind of behavior in books, when it comes to young adults. But with Sky... she was just independent of everyone's opinions.

And then, Dean Holder enters the picture, and things got a lot more... interesting. Despite the fact that he was a breathing, living stereotype, I actually grew quite fond of him. He was charming, cute, and just sexy as hell. 

That is, until allarms started to go off in my head with everything he said:

"Well, I've got another mile and a half return, so I better get started.""Close to two and a half.""Huh?""I said it's more like two and a half. You live over on Conroe, that's over two miles away. That's almost a five mile run around trip.""You know what street I live on?""Yeah."He can see I'm not satisfied with his "yeah", so he sighs. "Linden Sky Davis, born September 29th. 1455 Conroe Street. Five feet three inches. Donor."

When I read this, all I could think about was:

That's right, Sky. RUN. If a boy you only met once comes up at you and says that he knows all about you, you better get the hell out of there. And although this stalker behavior is explained (kind of) I imediately grew suspicious of Holder. This scene almost made me stop reading:

"Where'd you get that?" he says, looking down at my wrist. 
I look down to see what he's referring to and realize I'm still wearing the bracelet I put on this morning. 
"Where'd you get it?" he says again, this time a little more demanding. His grip tightens around my wrist and he's staring at me coldly, expecting an explanation. 
"You think I got it from a guy?"
Holder's expression doesn't change. If anything, it grows even colder. He leans forward a few inches and lowers his voice when he speaks. "Who gave you the damn bracelet, Sky?"


I was freaking scared of him after that scene. How's this guy supposed to be the love interest of a novel? Yeah, his behavior is completely explained to us, and Sky won brownie points over the fact that she stayed the hell away from him after that, but stil. I got the impression that he was very volatile. I loved him by the end of Hopeless, but still didn't completely trust him.

Now that I started talking about the plot of Hopeless, let me tell you this: it is completely unpredictable. I was expecting a sappy romance, not a deep, heartbreaking book envolving rape, abuse, and love. The author surprised me in a good way when she twisted the plot so much. Some elements were left unexplained and without a lot of sense (and that's why this book didn't get five stars - well, that and Holder's behavior) but I was satisfied when I finished reading it. It had character development, romantic development, and as the story went on, I actually started to see Sky as a reliable protagonist (and Holder as an acceptable love interest). 

I'm still not a big fan of the New Adult genre, but Hopeless changed my view of it, in a way. If you're looking for a good romance, with a lot of tension and a great background story, this could very well be you're choice!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shadows in the Silence, by Courtney Allison Moulton

- Angelfire #3
Release date: January 3rd 2013
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult
Find it on: Goodreads

Your strength in heart and hand will fall. . . .
Ellie knows that the darkest moments are still to come, and she has everything to fight for:

She must fight for Will.
The demonic have resorted to their cruelest weapons to put Will in mortal danger, and Ellie makes an unlikely alliance to save him and to stop Lilith and Sammael, who seek to drown the world in blood and tear a hole into Heaven.

She must fight for humanity.
As the armies of Hell rise and gather for the looming End of Days, Ellie and her band of allies travel to the world’s darkest and most ancient regions in her quest to come into her full glory as the archangel Gabriel.

And Ellie must save herself.
Her humanity withers beneath the weight of her cold archangel power, but Ellie must hold tight to who she is and who she loves as she prepares for the ultimate battle for Heaven and Earth.

I don't know whether to cry or jump in joy. Angelfire is one of my favorite series (trilogies, actually) and to know that Shadows in the Silence was the last book is pretty heartbreaking. However, I'm happy with the way things ended. Courtney Allison Moulton just proved herself yet again as a magnificent writer. I might not make justice to her work, but I'll sure as hell try. 

In this installment, things are a lot darker than before. Nathaniel is dead, Ellie's parents are dead, and she has nobody except Will to rely on. You can feel how much this fight against Hell has worn Ellie out. She's exhausted. And now, to make things even worse, Will has been poisoned by a reaper poison, and it's up to her to look for a cure with Cadan's assistance. 

I should probably start this review by saying that I loved Cadan in this novel. He was everything Ellie needed him to be, and the fact that he was helping her, that he was in love with her, but a love triangle was never even mentioned made things a lot more comforting. Yes, I felt sorry for Cadan a lot of times, but I was relieved that Mrs. Moulton didn't go down that route. Instead, she tried to explore Cadan's character a lot more deeply, and with that, she raised a very disturbing question: Are all demonic reapers really bad? 

And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. In Angelfire and Wings of the Wicked, we saw the demonic as horrendous creatures, who only tried to harm humans and aid Bastian. And now... with Cadan, everything has changed. It's like my point of view changed right along with Ellie's, and that is extraordinary. I was loving Cadan and rooting for him before I even knew what was going on.

It was crazy!

And you know what else was crazy? Will. Yes, you've heard me right. Will was just a crazy character in Shadows in the Silence. As Ellie got closer to the end of the war, and began to realize that the only way to stop Bastin was to call upon her archangel power (and loose herself in the process) Will began to scare me. He said some things that screamed "co-dependent Twilight-y relationship", and I admit I panicked. However - and thankfully - Mrs. Moulton also didn't go down that route. As morbid as this may sound, I actually understood Will's position in the matter. If Ellie died and never came back, he would be destroyed. His soul would be destroyed, and he'd never be the same again - but not because of some ridiculous insta-love (yes, Edward, I'm looking right at ya), but because he'd known Ellie for five hundred  years. For five hundred years, he had devoted his entire life to the simple task of protecting and serving her - and loving her. If Ellie were to just die, part of him would die with her. And I found that incredibly endearing. And a little disturbing, but like I said, it made sense

As the action scenes and the dialogues got more and more intense, it became obvious the fact that the end of the war was near. And boy, let me tell you, the final battle was just incredible. I'm not saying this because I was deeply invested in the characters, I'm telling you this because it's the absolute truth. The ending of this novel is intense. It's full of pain, agony, love, heartbreak, loss, and most of all, sacrifice. It's perfect. Characters die, blood is spilled, but by the time you finish reading this incredible series, you just get the sense that it's over, and that it's okay. Because after such a huge climax, you're ready to let these characters go. 

Courtney Allison Moulton is a sensational writer, and I'm so glad I decided to pick Angelfire up two years ago. I'm glad I took the time to devour this trilogy - otherwise, I wouldn't have fallen in love with Will, I wouldn't have grown to love Ellie and root for her so much, and I wouldn't have become so invested in the secondary characters - Cadan, Nathaniel, Eva, even Bastian. If you're wondering if Shadows in the Silence is a good ending to this trilogy, rest assured: It is. Just pick it up and read it. What the hell are you waiting for?