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Review: Awakening by Karice Bolton

Title: Awakening
Author: Karice Bolton
Series: The Watchers Trilogy
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: E-book
Source:  Amazon
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
This book was a free download from Amazon.

Blurb from Amazon:
Alone in snowy, remote Whistler village, Ana tries to build a new life since losing her parents. With a cozy condo, a sweet-faced bulldog and an evening job to leave the days free for the slopes, life slips into a great routine. If only she could shake the guilt for not remembering anything about her parents and banish the night terrors that haunt her every dream.

On a whim, Ana goes out with Athen, a guy she’s just met in the Grizzly Pub… The only problem is that she feels like she already knows him.

Within 48 hours of meeting Athen and his family, Ana’s world implodes. She falls for Athen quickly and before she knows it, a past life begins to resurface. As thrilling as the revelations appear at first, she fights against the chilling information that Athen is from the underworld. Soon she begins to struggle as her own supernatural gifts are slowly unveiled, and she realizes that the nightmares she’s been having might be premonitions and not dreams at all.

It is up to Ana to decipher between fact and fiction before it is too late, and her new love, Athen, follows in her same fate – one that is lost between two worlds.

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Random: Do not be deceived by the pretty cover. It is a trap.

The cover is lovely and that is about the only good thing I have to say about this book. It is a huge disappointment and I’m not sure if I should be proud that I finished the book or not.

Let’s talk about the main character, Ana. She is a Mary-Sue and that’s a nice term to call her because she has no depth to her at all. We start the story with Ana saying “ Oh, I would never do that” yet that is exactly what she does.  It makes Ana an unreliable narrator because she is not portraying herself accurately and as readers, we don’t know her enough to say this is out of character for her or not. Take for example, Athen following Ana to her apartment and asking her out for a date. Ana does not know his name, she did not tell him where she live and she thinks she should not go out with him yet she happily says “Yes.” Really? Stalker is screaming in my head yet she does not question him. HE knows where you live and you did not tell him that. Ana is not a character who is going to make the wisest decisions.

Her relationship with Athen is superficial and cannot be healthy. Her entire life revolves around him. He is the one making the decisions about when to have sex or where to go for vacation. Their relationship feels forced because he knows her but Ana does not remember him. He is pushing the relationship on her and Ana is just going along. Cyril and Arie are both making decisions for Ana and Ana is incapable of saying no; she just go wherever they want her to. It may have to do with Ana wanting a family since she has never had one but her new “family” keeps her in the dark about what their plans are. They do tell her is a nephilim and that’s it.

I will also take issue with the hiker incident. The hikers are lost in the woods and the fallen angels believe it has to do with the dark fallen angels (demons) yet they never really researched it. Throughout the novel, there is a constant fear of not knowing what happened to the missing hikers and when the family finds out, it is a let down. What happened is told, not shown and the family believes the hikers deserve what happened to them. That’s another issue, the novel is mostly told instead of being shown. I supposed that is bound to happen with a first person narrator but it was an issue.

In the end, I will not purchase the second book. If I find for free on Amazon, then I will downloaded because the cover is captivating. But if you like fallen angels, feel free to read it. The book has gotten great reviews but I am one of the few who did not like it. I didn’t even find the mythology of fallen angels interesting or the villains. I love villains but he did not make an appearance in this novel. It is just disappointing.

1 BB-Fly Away

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45th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, First in a Series, Why Buy the Cow?

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Review and Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Title: Halo of the Damned
Author: Dina Rae
Series: Halo # 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: FMB Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/Eternal Press
I received this novel from FMB Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship…

Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

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I’m slowly falling in love with books about fallen angels and nephilims. They are very interesting characters because they rejected God but don’t appear to appreciate Satan as well. Nephilims, the children of fallen angels, are just stuck in the middle. Kind of sad that they are fighting a war that they did not start but the sins of the parents tend to carry on.

It was fascinating to learn more about the advertising industry and the Yezidi (which is a legit religion, that is surprising). The worshiping of Satan is a still a mystery to me but I’m more concerned as to what is the purpose of human-made angels on Earth. What is there to gain? It is very important to the worshipers to have an angel yet Satan’s contract doesn’t allow it so where does the idea come from? It is an interesting question that is not answered but perhaps in the second book, it may be.

The dark characters, the bad guys, they are not as interesting as the characters who are considered bad but are walking the fine line between good and evil. The Yezidi followers are not interesting because there isn’t an explanation for what they are doing. What is the end goal? The ones who have reasons for  joining the Yezidi or for following fallen angels, they are interesting. Father Dominick Sardenelli is one character who is walking that line and for good reasons. Rae does an excellent job of providing moral ambiguity to the Father. He felt used and abused by the Catholic Church so he left but he is aware that there is something off with the Yezidi. He is stuck. I like him. Tony is another character walking the fine line as well.

I love Joanna and Tony, they are a great couple. I’m a sucker for opposite-attracting couple and that’s what they are. From the moment Tony meets Joanna, he is a very suave and likeable. It’s very hard to spoil Tony’s character but I like him. I’m glad  he proved he  is worthy of being trusted. Sean and Kim were a hard couple to like but they did grow on me. It was a little hard to like Sean when he had his infatuation with Lydia, Kim’s mother. It seemed kind of wrong to date the daughter after dating the mother but Sean does seem to care for Kim. Plus, she didn’t seem to mind that Sean dated her mother.

My one issue with this novel is how certain moments are lacking in bringing emotions to the reader. I couldn’t feel the horror of reading a detective’s eye be plucked out by birds. It is really visible in the sex scene between Joanna and Tony. Rae tells the reader what is going on but it seems clinical, detached from what is going on. It’s not a style I’m fond of but it only happens in certain scenes. Visually, we can always see what is going on so that is fantastic. It just certain scenes that don’t bring up the expected emotions.

I’m looking forward to the second book. Hopefully, there is an in-depth to the followers of Yezidi because I don’t understand (and  I can usually understand the villains of most books). Plus, Tony is going to be there and I can’t wait to see how he handles his gift.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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3oth in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a Series, E-book, Where are you reading?- Illinois

This tour was put together by FMB Blog Tours. I did not receive monetary compensation for reviewing.

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GIVEAWAY TIME, INTERNATIONAL

Want to win an e-copy of Halo of the Damned? All you have to do is a leave a comment with your e-mail.

Ends on April 30.
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Review: Finding Alice by Andrea DiGiglio

Title: Finding Alice
Author: Andrea DiGiglio
Series: Alice Clark # 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: VBT Cafe
Pub. Year 2012
Purchase: Not yet available
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Goodreads:
Cursed with an intense version of empathy Alice runs from a wasted life to start a new one somewhere no one will know her; Hell, Michigan. Alice works at a hole-in-the-wall bar in the middle of nowhere mostly keeping to herself to avoid the overwhelming emotions of those around her. Alice allows her best friend to convince her into taking a few college classes without realizing it would drastically change her life forever. From her first day of class she was hooked on him; his scent, his eyes, the way he talked to her inside her head.

Throughout her struggles she learns about true love, true pain and the truth of her own heritage. Alice must quickly find out who she is because after all everyone else is out to find her. With Angels and Bounty Hunter’s in constant pursuit she finds protection within a group of Fallen Angels. These Fallen Angels vow to do anything to protect her; for it is their belief she will save their kind and all of mankind.
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Like in previous reviews, I have mentioned that I love the mythology surrounding fallen angels. I wasn’t about to pass this book up. Overall, I’m glad that I did read because it was an interesting book.

One of the most appealing factors of the novel is the fallen angel complex. They fell from God’s grace because they pursue the daughter of men (For some reason, all the angels that fell were men or so it seems). God is really angry about the fall and decided to cull the fallen angels and there loved ones. I find interesting that this is the aspect that DiGiglio chooses to focus on because it’s not the usual story of the fallen angels trying to re-gain acceptance into heaven. The Fallen know their children will be cursed and continue to have children because they are afraid of Judgement Day. As long as nephilim (children of the Fallen) exist, so will the Fallen.  The Fallen want a fighting chance against the angels of God and are willing to use their children to continue the battle. It sounds selfish but at the same time, it’s very human because we all want to live in the end. This alone is reason enough to read it.

I generally did like most of the characters; Alice was truly fleshed out. She was a very strong character who fought for what she wanted. She wasn’t easily overwhelmed by what she was, a nephilim, or what the future awaits for her. That’s really great that she could take a few blows and still stand strong. Cole wasn’t my favorite character but he was compelling. He had this key scene where he exposes himself to Alice and it feels very vulnerable, almost like ashamed of what he is so he was interesting character. Opps, that’s a little spoiler. We have Camille (Alice’s best friend) and her boyfriend, Jake (who ended up surprising me).  I was surprised to see Alice mad at him for something he didn’t do.  We also have a few more interesting characters that show up and make it seem like a family reunion.

I found it quirky that the fallen angels could communicate through dreams and mentally. There is a lot of mental communication and dream revelations. There wasn’t an explanation for this but I’m going to guess it has to do with DNA. Alice in an empath, she can feel other people’s emotions and somehow can slow down time. The empath powers manifested and seem important in the beginning but later took a backseat in the story. They were mentioned from time to time but she wasn’t really using them. I’m curious as to where it places Alice and what role will her empath abilities have later on.

One of the reasons this novel is getting 4 butterflies is the lack of details in the first person narrative. There were times I really couldn’t see what was happening in the story so that was bit frustrating. At the same time, I know DiGiglio can write great descriptive scenes such as when she is describing the artwork that Alice produces.  I can see the art in the gallery (the battered shower image) but I can’t see the bar where she works at. Currently, the bar looks like the bar from Lost Girl (super cool show). I’m looking forward to reading the second book when it comes out.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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14th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Self-published, E-book, 1st in a Series, Cupcake War, Where are you reading? Hell, Michigan

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe’ and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe’, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book’s publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*