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review 2018-03-18 20:11
An epic-story, which will make you reconsider what you thought you knew about angels, demons, and everything in between.
The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series) 1 - Vashti Quiroz-Vega

I have seen this book described as “epic” and I agree, not only for its length (it is two books in one) but also for its topic. It does talk about all things in Heaven and Earth, near enough, from the creation of the angels and the battle of good and evil to the fall of the angels and their revenge plans once on Earth (that don’t bode well for humanity).

The author’s writing style in this book is reminiscent of the Bible, although the story is told from quite a different point of view, and it deviates from the narrative most Christians are familiar with (I am intrigued to know how the story will resonate with readers not familiar with the Christian tradition, although the world building is detailed enough for anybody to be able to follow the events). I am not a bit Fantasy reader, mostly because I am not that fond of lengthy descriptions (I admire authors who do it well), although this story has the added interest of providing a major variation on a story many of us are familiar with. As typical of the genre, there is plenty of telling (in fact, all the characters are storytellers, and we get to hear the angels’ voices often, narrating their own adventures, or even fictional ones, like a fascinating story Lilith narrates in book 1), and beautiful descriptions of Floraison, the part of Heaven inhabited by the angels, of the angels, and also of the creation of Earth, and of Earth itself in book 2. We follow the story in a chronological order, from the time when the angels are quite young, growing up and learning about their powers (this part reminded me of YA books set up in special schools for young people with special abilities, and also of parts of The Hunger Games, when the characters had to train for the battle ahead), through to the battle between good and evil and their fall to Earth. Although the story is narrated in the third person, we follow the points of views of a variety of angels, mainly Lilith, the main character, but also most of the others at some point.

These angels reminded me of the Greek gods. They are not the celestial beings many of us imagine, but more human than human. They have their personalities, their peculiar characters, their flaws, their desires, and they are far from goodie-goodie-two-shoes. Even the good angels have faults… (Oh Gabriel…). We get to know Lilith’s cunning and devious nature better than that of others (she is rebellious, proud, has a superiority complex, and does not seem to feel true affection for anybody, even her supposed friends), but we see that Lucifer is proud and is not a good looser from early on (when he is following the rules), and some of the other angels are weak, easily manipulated, and only worried about their own well-being and interests. The God of this story does not tolerate rebellion or deceit, and he severely punishes his children for their misdeeds. The author excels at writing the punishments and tortures the angels are subject to, and these parts of the book are not for the faint-hearted. I know she writes horror too, and this is quite evident in her penchant for devising monstrous characters and pretty cruel and sadistic tortures.

As is often the case, the bad characters are more interesting than the good ones (that we mostly lose sight of in book 2, apart from some brief appearances). I would not say any of the characters are very sympathetic. Lilith is put to the test and punished for being what she is (and considering angels are given free-will, that seems quite cruel), but she displays psychopathic traits from the beginning and it is difficult to blame her nasty personality on her experiences. She is strong and determined, but she abandons her friends, is manipulative, and goes to extremes that make her exceedingly unlikeable. I have no problem with having a truly horrible character as the main voice of a book, although I missed something that helped me connect with her (there are moments when she hints at a weakness or hurt, but I did not feel they were particularly convincing. Perhaps a sense of humour, no matter how dark, would have helped, but other than some instances of silly behaviour very early on, there are moments of wonder but not many laughs). Gadreel is perhaps the easiest character to empathise with, and she grows and develops during book 2 (to begin with she is constantly complaining and moaning, but she gets more confident, although she is not traditionally good either). Satan does horrible things, especially to Lilith (who is not blameless by a long stretch, not that such abuse could be ever justified in real life), but he is an interesting character and quite loyal to his friends. And he also does much of what he does out of love, however misguided. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really like Dracul, Satan and Lilith’s child. He is described as quite an ugly thing, but I find him cute. There you have it.

For me, book 2 is more dynamic and moves faster than book 1. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the adventures of the fallen angels on Earth allow us to read about their first impressions of the world as it would appear to somebody who had never been here, a totally brand new place. Such estrangement and sense of wonder are fascinating and the writing captures it well. The fact that the fallen angels find themselves in a hostile environment and have to learn to work together to survive adds to the interest. Of course, Lilith has her own plans, and she makes sure she convinces others to follow.

The character of Lilith reminded me of the typical figure of the femme fatale in film noir (or the spider woman, or… well, I’m sure you can think of many epithets such females have received over the years), who is powerful but her power consists in manipulating and deceiving males, convincing them that they are in charge, while she pulls the invisible strings. I do admire such characters, especially when the circumstances are dire and that seems to be the only option to get ahead. There is always a difficult balance to maintain between creating a strong negative female character that can hold her own and ensuring it does not reinforce the usual story tropes that blame women for all of world’s ills from the beginning of times.

This book made me wonder once more about the well-known narrative (and let me tell you, there are some twists that will keep readers on their toes) of events, which amounts to a civil war in Heaven, where there is no reconciliation and no possible redress or forgiveness for those who rebelled against the established order and lost. I also had to wonder about the rules imposed in Floraison and what seems to be a bias against LGBT (sex is bad, but same-sex sex is worse and is more severely punished), which has always been an issue that has caused much religious debate.

This book is a tour-de-force that I’d recommend to readers who love to be challenged by narratives that push the limits of well-known stories and make us rethink and reconsider the stories we have been told. And one for those who love strong and wicked female characters. And baby demons…

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review 2017-08-06 20:34
STARR FALL BY: KIM BRIGGS
Starr Fall (Starr Fall Series) (Volume 1) - Kim Briggs

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Starr Fall was an exciting read! I liked the idea of this type of shadowy government unit recruiting the best and the brightest in this really suspect way, even against their will. I really want to know more about them and the kids that they are warping to their surely nefarious ends.  We got to see the lengths they are willing to go to for what they want, but it is still kind of a mystery as to what is really driving them to these lengths and why they are so desperate to get their hands on Starr Bishop.

 

 

I quite liked Starr, she was very bright and resourceful, and she has a kind heart. I loved the systematic, logical way she broke things down each time she was faced with these seemingly impossible situations. A lot of this book was Starr just trying to survive and stay off the radar, but I have a feeling that we will see a lot more of her striking back at this corrupt organization in future books, because there's no doubt that Starr is a fighter, she just needed a just cause.

 

 

survival check list

 

 

I'm a little unsure of my feelings on Christian. On one hand he is definitely a noble kind of guy so far, it seems to be like he had a penchant for sticking up for the underdogs, or rather people in need. The relationship between him and Starr seemed a little rushed to me, and to be honest I would have preferred to have a little more of the mystery/suspense and a little less of the romance. But this was a faster paced story in general so I suppose that makes sense to have things advance more quickly. I just have this weird vibe from Christian though like he's somehow mixed up in this situation more so than just trying to help Starr. I have this feeling that he has a secret or two and they may impact things between Starr and him later.

 

 

Im-Watching-You-gif

 

 

I'm curious to see what else happens in the next book! I have a few burning questions that I would love to have answered. 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

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text 2017-07-03 13:01
The Longest Fall by Anna Argent.
The Longest Fall (The Whisper Lake Series Book 1) - Anna Argent


Title: The Longest Fall
Series: Whisper Lake #1
Author: Anna Argent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 15, 2017


Blurb
 
Daisy Grace fell in love with her best friend’s brother before she was old enough to wear a bra. But Mark barely noticed she was alive. She held out hope for years until he set his sights on the older, more glamorous Janey, Daisy knew Mark would never see her as anything more than a friend. He was taken. Forever.
 
Years later, after Janey’s tragic death, Daisy is once again forced to face the only man who has ever made her heart pound.
 
All Mark wants is to be left alone to grieve in peace. For nearly two years, he’s lived in isolation, punishing himself for what happened to his fiancée. When Daisy comes to convince him to attend his baby sister’s wedding, his life of quiet grieving is shattered. Daisy makes him feel things he has no business feeling, but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t convince the force of nature that is Daisy Grace to leave him alone.
 
Daisy refuses to give up on him. If she can’t lift Mark out of the dark place he’s made for himself, the man she’s been falling in love with forever will be too far gone to save.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Purchase Links
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
Free in Kindle Unlimited
 
 
 
Author Bio
 
After spending years working in corporate America as an engineer, Anna traded it all in for a quiet life in the country. She lives with her husband on a small cattle ranch in the Ozark Mountains, penning stories filled with love, lust and a healthy dose of magic. She loves to hear from her readers at anna@annaargent.com.
 
 
Author Links
 

 

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review 2016-12-31 07:42
Colonisation from the Colonised
Things Fall Apart (African Writers Series: Expanded Edition with Notes) - Chinua Achebe,Simon Gikandi,Don C. Ohadike

Look, I am going to give this book a good rating, not because I actually enjoyed it or was drawn into it, but more because it gives us an insight into the colonial world from the eyes of the people being colonised. This book is set in Nigeria, and is written by a native Nigerian in English (which by the way is his second tongue, though he is also a professor at Brown University). However, one sort of wonders if this example of post-colonial literature is designed to criticise the colonists or the world that is being colonised.

 

 

There is a concept, I believe first coined by Rudyard Kipling, called 'White Man's burden'. This is the idea that the European civilisation has been given the job of taking their civilisation out to the world and raising the non-European races out of barbarity. However, one sort of questions whether this burden, as it is coined, was really the intention of the colonisers, or simply propaganda that was spoken by the imperial overlords. I am inclined to lean towards the second interpretation.

 

 

The reason that I say this is because if we take one case study, that of the Australian aboriginals, we see that white man's burden never actually lifted them out of poverty, and it was not for lack of trying. In fact, the attempts to civilise the aboriginals had almost the opposite effect than was intended. Granted, there is a very small group of aboriginals in our society that have successfully integrated into our culture, but there are still many that haven't. While it is possible to wonder around an Australian city and not actually see aboriginal tribes camping in the city parks, I assure that they are there (and I caution anybody against approaching them 'just to have a look').

 

 

What we see in this book though is a view from inside the culture that is being colonised, and like the aboriginals, it does not work. However, the book is divided into two parts, the first part involves the social collapse of the indigenous culture from within due to its own contradictions, and the second part involves the destruction of the lifestyle and the culture as the imperialists (in the form of missionaries) force their gospel of European Economic prosperity upon them.

 

 

In many ways we like to criticise the imperialists for destroying the natural cultures of the indigenous people, however sometimes it is necessary. There are many aspects of our culture that we take fore-granted, and there are many aspects which are truly barbaric that we simply want to step back and say, 'but that is their culture'. Take the aboriginal act of spearing somebody through the leg for punishment. What is it supposed to do other than cripple the person. Is it supposed to be a deterrent? Well, like most deterrents, it does not work. The death penalty is a deterrent against drug smuggling in Singapore and Bali, but it does not seem to stop people smuggling drugs, or killing people in the United States. What about cutting off the right hand of a thief in some cultures (the right hand being the hand you eat with and the left hand being the hand you wipe your butt with), is that a deterrent, or simply a punishment that literally prevents the person from ever being able to integrate back into society again. We all make mistakes, and one of the good things about our society is that punishment does actually allow people to return and become productive members of society (as has happened with myself).

 

 

Then there are the missionaries, not that I actually have anything against missionaries. Many have suggested though that missionaries are the first wave of colonisation. This means that when the missionaries arrive you can be sure that the merchants, then the army, and finally the colonisers, are close behind. However, I am doubtful that many missionaries, both then and now, ever considered themselves to be the first of a wave of colonists. There are many historical missionaries that actually went out to do what they believe (and I believe) is a good thing. I do not believe it is wrong to offer somebody an alternative to their religion, especially if their religion keeps them living in fear and oppression. However, it is clear, historically, that more scrupulous people have used missionaries as the vanguard for colonial efforts, and when the missionaries were expelled from China, I guess that was one of the reasons for doing so.

 

The title of the novel is about the destruction of the traditional life of the village. To us it is about change, where as to them it is their world that they have lived in for thousands of years being destroyed. Colonialism was always going to happen, and I do not believe that we should not give tribal people the opportunity to experience a new way of life, however I do not believe that we have the right to roll out a monoculture across the world. One thing us Europeans, especially us Christian Europeans, forget is that Christianity was never meant to create a monoculture, but rather it is our stubbornness, and refusal to look outside the narrow box that we surround our lives with our own misguided sense of what is right and what is wrong.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/318431016
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review 2016-01-03 07:51
Bully By Penelope Douglas
Bully: The Fall Away Series - Penelope Douglas

Bully (Fall Away #1) by Penelope Douglas

 

 

My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all. No, he'll barely even speak to me.

But he still won't leave me alone.

We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to stay out of his way. I even went to France for a year, just to avoid him.

But I'm done hiding from him now, and there's no way in hell I'll allow him to ruin my senior year. He might not have changed, but I have. It's time to fight back.

I'm not going to let him bully me anymore.

 

 

 

My Review:

I'm going to use the same review for each book because I had the same issue with each book because it repeated in each installment. I'd like to note that I did have moments that I liked the story but for the most part but I struggled with the same thing in each book. The Fall Away series was an exploration into the mind of a child/children caught in adolescence taking their feelings and emotions out on one another without much reason for it despite the explanation as to why they are the way they are. You would expect to find a story like this written on a sex story website or something of its equivalent for all I felt toward the series as a whole.

My biggest problem that I had with the books is that these kids understand their relationships and reason their emotions and actions by living with the backwards thought that abuse equals passion and sex equals love.

You have absent parents who are completely oblivious to anything but themselves and in some cases are worse than the kids and the second issue is that they're kids.

They don't know what they're doing except looking for some kind of validation in the wrong place because they're certainly not finding it in mom and dad.

Its an interesting journey into the different perspectives to explain the sexual and abusive relationship between them and their need to find love and hate in eachother because of the giant hole that is in their lives.

 

 

My Rating:

3 Stars

 

 

 

 

Reviewed By: Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews
http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/


Note: I received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley

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