Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review: Guardian by Heather Burch

Guardian: They chose to protect her. But forgot to guard their hearts.
"You have to know the nature of the one you serve. We have no promise of tomorrow. But we know the character of the One. Our ability to do what we do is rooted in our faith in him."
Nikki looked down... "I've never had faith in anything except what is tangible. I doubt I ever will."
Nikki Youngblood's life has been turned upside down. Her parents are dead and she's abandoned her guardian, Damon Vessler, to stay under the protection of the guardian angel, Will, and the Halflings-- Mace, Raven, and Vine. Unfortunately, Nikki is in love with both Raven and Mace, which is only made more awkward by the fact that all of them are going to be on a small boat bound for Europe with half a dozen other Halflings. Excuse the pun, but Nikki definitely feels like a fish out of water.
Besides the tug-of-war feelings between Nikki and the guys, she's also struggling with her newly-discovered role as a Seer and trying to embrace faith, which is crucial for her journey. Pulled in many different directions, Nikki makes a decision that changes the course of her life entirely, and not for the better.
Several reveals in Guardian by Heather Burch I saw coming, but the way they were revealed I didn't expect. The start of the book was a bit hard to wade through at first, mainly, because I'm not a huge love triangle fan and the beginning was very heavy on the painful feelings between Mace, Nikki, and Raven. However, the way Burch adds a couple twists later balances the book enough for me to be satisfied.
The twists involving Nikki were especially heart wrenching, but I believe they helped in deepening her character. I'm anxious to see how her story pans out in book three, Avenger (which is aptly named, by the way). Also, I actually liked Mace and Raven better in Guardian than in Halflings. Mace's character felt a bit more fleshed out and three-dimensional, and Raven's conscience and vulnerable side were more evident in this installment. Some of my favorite characters though were the minor ones, especially sarcastic and awesome Zero. I mean, can we have a novel just about him?
The only thing I found a bit confusing and frustrating was trying to understand the fate of the Halflings. I'm curious to see how Burch will approach this in the conclusion of the series. Guardian is a bit darker than its predecessor, but I liked it even better. The character arcs are a bit deeper and the story is gaining an almost breathless momentum. I'm looking forward to discovering more answers in Avenger to the many questions that arose in Guardian, including two majors ones: What is the character of Nikki, and who will she serve?
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Fantasy/Romance
Ages: 15 and up
Pages: 320
Publication Date: October 2012
Part of a Series: Book 2 (Halflings series)

*I received this book courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Read my review of Book 1, Halflings here.
Check out the FREE ebook, A Halflings Rescue, that takes place between Halflings and Guardian. It's a fun story!
In this free illustrated short story from the popular Halflings series by Heather Burch, Nikki and the Halflings team intercept important information regarding the kidnapping of Hollywood's hottest teen celebrity, Mandy Mosen. Will they be able come to the young starlet's aide in time, or is Mandy's fifteen minutes of fame about to end? Includes a bonus first chapter from Guardian, the next full novel in the Halflings series!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: "There You'll Find Me" by Jenny B. Jones

There You'll Find Me

"It's beautiful," I said, my voice clouded with embarrassment.
"It's more than that." He watched the ocean below. "It's like God painted it himself, then spun it into motion." Beckett angled his head toward me, took his aviators off, and let his eyes burn into mine. "This is Ireland, Finley. It's rough. It's wild. And it is holy."
Finley Sinclair is trying to make a new start as a foreign exchange student in Ireland. But the past is deeply entwined with her present as she uses her deceased brother's journal to follow his time in Ireland years before in the hopes that she can rediscover the same closeness to God Will had when he was alive.
Beckett Rush is a distraction Finley doesn't need. A famous and ridicuously good-looking movie star, Beckett offers to help Finley retrace her brother's steps--if she helps him rehearse lines for the movie he's starring in. Along with Beckett, Finley soon finds her life entwined with a dying old woman who needs peace, a wise nun, a classic mean girl, and the love and warmth of her host family. Stress and a myriad of tiny pressures begin to weigh Finley down, from drama with Beckett to unsuccessfully trying to compose a piece of music based on Will's life for her audition with Julliard. She tries to cope the best way she knows how but it leads her down a dangerous road. Can she find her way back?
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones is in my top ten favorite books, and I don't see it moving any time soon. Finley is a phenomenal main character who's emotions are felt deeply as if you are inside her head. There are so many great lines in this book I wish I could list them all, from the poignant moments, like in the prologue, to the hilarious moments between some of the characters that had me laughing out loud. All the characters are three-dimensional, complex, and played critical roles in Finley's character growth. The setting is described in rich detail that made me feel like I was actually in the small village of Abbeyglen or in Galway or wherever Finley and Co. went. I wanted to buy a ticket to Ireland after I finished reading!
I actually passed by this book several times in the bookstore before buying it. I saw the cover and thought it looked interesting. The second time, I picked it up and read the synopsis and the prologue, thought it sounded good, but I didn't want to spend the money. Finally, after a few times of being drawn to the book like a magnet, I bought it, read it, and was changed. There You'll Find Me dove deeper than I thought it would and beautifully displayed the dark truth of earthly struggles but also the light that's the truth of God's never failing love.
Genre: Contemporary Christian/Coming of Age/Romance
Ages: 14 and up
Pages: 303
Publication Date: October 2011
Part of a Series: Spin-off of Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones