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review 2014-11-02 23:59
Review for A Shimmer Of Angels (Angel Sights #1) by Lisa M Basso
A Shimmer of Angels - Lisa M. Basso

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

Rayna has been seeing angels since her mothers death.  Believing the visions are hallucinations, she is quickly shipped off the the mental hospital to get better.  Now, she has been released with a clean bill of health (provided she take her meds) and is now starting high school.  The problem?  She has quit her meds and is now seeing angel wings attached to the new kid at school.  Then a kid at school commits suicide and Ray's life changes.  The angels are not only real, but dark ones are responsible for the suicides.  The angels need Rayna's help to save her classmates, but is she up to the task?

Ray was a character I was on the fence about.  I loved the fact that she thought she was crazy.  It's the natural response when you start seeing things that aren't supposed to be real, but it's one we don't see in YA much.  Most YA heroine's just accept that the things are real with little to no convincing.  My problem initially started when I learned she was off her meds.  You are finally at a point that you have stopped "hallucinating" and you just decide it's not worth it anymore?  We don't get much of a reason she stops the meds beyond the normal "bad side-effects" excuse.  This always bugs me and it's a decision I can't understand.  The meds are meant to help you and you are just giving up on that help.  I get that for the plot of this novel to move forward, she has to be able to see the wings and discover that angels are real, but it was a flimsy reason for me.  I know all medicine has side effects.  My husband is bipolar, so trust me, I get it.  But either you want to get better or you don't and I have a hard time relating to a character that throws away her chance for better.

The males, Cam and Kade, are nothing new or excited.  The same basic points in a normal YA love triangle.  Cam is the good guy, the angel, and Kade is the supposed bad guy, the fallen angel, but who isn't all that bad.  These two were the start of another problem.  I hate love triangles.  I was pleasantly surprised when Ray's male BFF, Lee, doesn't make a play for Ray.  I breathed a sigh of relief to avoid that particular cliche because I hate to see the nice friend character lose, but it's not here.  That avoided, I was sure the love triangle element would be avoided, but no such luck.  Not long after Cam enters the picture, Kade shows up.  Kade, by the way, is clearly the better choice.  Cam is righteous and silent and just blah.  I wasn't a fan.  Whereas Kade actually helps Ray when she needs him and pushes her to stay safe instead of pushing her to help with a cause that will obviously put her in danger.  

The writing was decent enough, but the plot was wholly predictable.  It starts off pretty interesting.  The premise of the novel, with a "crazy" heroine was pretty attractive when I requested it and it starts off on that angle, with Ray fighting for sanity and completely believing she is crazy.  Angels aren't real.  People don't have wings.  It's just a hallucination brought on by the stress of her mom's death and she needs to stay away from stressful situations (and stay on her meds!).  I felt like that was a believable storyline, the type that would really happen if I started seeing blindingly bright wings attached to people that no one else could see.  We get a crazy heroine, a spunky best friend, and the normal family drama that would go with the crazy.  Great start, really, it was difficult to put down for the first 50 or so pages.  And then it was like Basso forgot was she was doing.  From that point on, it's all the typical YA stereotypes shoved into one.  We get the love triangle, the bad boy vs good boy, the "unexplanable" connection, the heroine's need to sacrifice herself to save her friends/family, and several more wrapped into one.  It felt like Twilight and Fallen had mashed together to create a new and boring tale.  I don't even understand how Ray manages to fall for Cam.  He's there a good bit in the beginning, but I didn't feel them connect at all, whereas I could definitely feel the tension between her and Kade.  

With this book I feel like the author set out to write a new and different YA angel novel and then either forgot that was her goal or became self-conscious about the ability of the idea to succeed.  I feel like it was trying too hard to give people what they wanted as opposed to following where the characters lead.  It has great potential, but there was just no follow through.  It could have been epic and different and new, but instead feel prey to the same tired YA troupes we see constantly.  I think people who loved Fallen or other basic angel stories will love it, but if you are looking for something different, this definitely isn't it.  

****Thank you to Month9Books LLC for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

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review 2014-06-07 16:46
Review: A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso
A Shimmer of Angels - Lisa M. Basso

A SHIMMER OF ANGELS has been, somewhat surprisingly, a good read. I loved the world it presented, and I think Basso managed to give a fresh breath to the well-done theme of angels and to create a world that was both familiar and unique. I'm not the biggest fan of Angel books, as I haven't found one that has blown my mind yet, but this one came damn close! 
The book also managed to get some very unexpected reactions out of me (all good), which I'll expand on in this review.

The book starts with Rayna, three months after her release from the hospital (where she spent three years, in and out), and with the "end" of her "remission" - after three full months of being 'sane', she's seeing them again - the wings. It was a really good start, as it introduced her, some of her personality traits and her behavior, in a way I found interesting, informative--but not dull. 

The characters of the book were all very good.  

Rayna is the main female character, and the story is told from her point of view. 
She was a character I had much sympathy towardfrightened out of her mind of getting back to the bin, frightened out of her mind of the angels she sees, frightened out of her mind to find out they aren't hallucinations. And through all the fright, she somehow manages to come out as strong, moving forward and acting even with the fear. I had much respect toward that, and I believe we'll be able to see her grow a lot throughout the next books; seeing her slowly get rid of her many fears and becoming the strong person you can tell she is. 
Rayna is also lovingcompassionate and kind, which I loved.

I think somewhere among everyone telling her she's crazy, Ray really became so. Not in the crazy way they talk about, but...


**To read the rest of this review, click the title!!**

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review 2013-12-10 16:03
Review: A Shimmer of Angels
A Shimmer of Angels - Lisa M. Basso

Oh my goodness! I loved the book! I loved the cover, the characters AND the storyline. I’d like to mention that that I was not sure whether I should give it a 5 star or not. If you are up to reviewing, then this might have happened to you sometimes as well. Giving 4.5 stars seem unfair, and giving whole 5 means maybe giving away a little too much. I have a feeling that the book is in between a 4.5 and a 5. But obviously I can’t give it a weird and peculiar rating like 4.75 because that would make it look more like a mathematical issue and I don’t want that (math not being one of my favorites back in school or college) So yeah, I finally decided to stick to the sweet looking 5!


Rayna. This name. One of my most favorite names. I pronounced her name whenever I came across it in the story. A girl with such a pretty name, who appears (or at least tries to) to be normal to her class, to her friends. But her family knows what she is, or, more appropriately, they think they know.(they are SO wrong!)


Rayna is assumed to be mentally a little ill, only because she can see ‘things’, that her family, or the world in general believe don’t exist.


Angels-real ones-don’t exist. Maybe. Or not.


Her special sight not only causes her familial or any minor trouble, she is forced to go through treatment in order to continue herself that they really ‘don’t exist’. After coming to the city, and hoping for a new start, she realizes she may not have been cured at all…or is there something else, something bigger, something graver, that she herself is unaware of?


Angels don’t exist. They never had.Dr. G had made me see that during our therapy sessions. And yet, three months, twelve days, and fifteen hours after my release, there they were. Again.


Her continuous denial and the way her family treats her makes her doubt herself, causes her to lack the confidence she needs in herself. She doesn’t take her sight as a power, or a blessing, rather a sign of lunacy at times.


I belonged, well, I wasn’t sure where I belonged- maybe the loony bin- but my place sure as hell wasn’t with the angels.


Surprisingly, after one point, things seem to take a 360 degree turn. When she realizes that the sight she has is not a sign of lunacy but really something unique, almost like a power, it becomes a matter of life and death to her. Everything she’s related to seems to revolve around this.


I was beginning to learn it didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t escape the crazy. It was part of me. It was who I was. My life now depended on being able to see the angels.


Entry of Cam, and shortly after that, of Kade (I think I’m in love with the name ‘Kade’) They are not, let’s say, not ‘human’ at all (so much for not giving away any spoilers:p) To be honest, Kade appeared more appealing to me at the first look compared to Cam. I’m not always a fan of ‘white’ things you see (black seems to be pretty cool, or hot, whatever) But the more you get to know him, you must admit he’s, at least to a bit, drool-worthy :D Though Rayna develops a weakness for Cam, jealous and all:


Why should I care what way Cassie looked at him? I didn’t even like him. Really, I didn’t…Right. It wasn’t Cassie’s Cassie’s fault. It was Cam’s. Because of that crooked thing he does with his lip when he’s concentrating too hard,


Great, now I was staring.


My vote goes for Kade a-l-l the way. Plus I like the cute fighting chemistry between Kade and Ray:


Footsteps clacked down the hall…Those cool, black feathers contoured to my skin. I stiffened…I splayed my hand…”So soft”, I pressed my cheek against them, rubbing it up and down.

He watched me and shook his head. “You’re so gone.”


“Don’t complain. Statistically, it’s the safest way to travel.”


Throughout the whole story, I was really feeling bad for Rayna. Poor girl…she doesn’t deserve the kind of treatment she gets from her family. I believe that one’s home or family is the only thing that can be a place of solace when things get messy. Instead, here her family itself seems to doubt about the state of her mind, her mental condition. She’s so terrified of the fact that she does not feel like sharing her unusual experience at the school and diner with her family. First she tries not to acknowledge the whole thing, just so that she can avoid being called crazy all over again, and then she just pretends to be normal in a way her family wants her to be. I think it’s really, really painful when you have to put up with ALL that all by yourself : ( I mean, she’s just a little girl! *imaginary hug*


Then there’s Az, but somehow I didn’t feel pissed at him that much, something I usually do for all the baddies. With Cam and Kade around, he seemed a little less ‘harmful’ :p I mean you have to be bad, really bad to be a successful villain right? (So that it’s easier for me to feel like strangling you) I guess he’ll grow a total kick-ass baddie in the next book (if it’s a continuation), but for the time being, let me enjoy him being in hell (literally!)


Okay, so the situation Rayna is given to face immediately after the last fight (or flight?) sequence, is very, very surprising. I myself haven’t expected it at all. I’m really looking forward to knowing what happens next and how she deals with this new ‘baggage’. Also, I’m really hoping Kade isn’t pretending to be something he’s not because that’ll break my heart into millions of pieces (I don’t care what happens to Rayna, she is confused and selfish :p) Oh and I love Rayna’s bond with Lee. He seems like a wonderful fellow. I’m strongly hoping he remains a wonderful fellow and doesn’t turn out to be a cupid-struck poor guy.


Overall it’s a wonderful, wonderful book. After finishing a book, I usually give it some time so that my excitement doesn’t affect my reviews. I did the same for this book. But trust me; the moment I took to reviewing, my excitement was as same as before. Starting from its cover (my never-ending cover greed) to the whole story till the end, it’s a complete treat! If you want to read something other than vampire-werewolf fantasy (no offense, I really love them), this is really, really, really going to be very refreshing.

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review 2013-09-17 00:00
A Shimmer of Angels (The Angel Sight Series)
A Shimmer of Angels - Lisa M. Basso DNF - I only read 10% or so, but the story still wasn't interesting me and I could tell that the protagonist would probably get on my nerves. Why? This is why:- she refers to two small, probably never to be referenced again characters as "Cleavage Waitress" and "Miniskirt." The girls do have identities outside of the various things your best friend is ogling them for, you know. Sure, it's a small thing, but it just bugged me.- I had a feeling that the popular, probably blond (can't remember for sure) volleyball player would only be demonized throughout the book. Sure, I could have been proven wrong and I would have been very happy, but it also seemed likely that protagonist Rayna would continue to observe her negatively and make judgements that would tick me off. Also, I couldn't tell if the fact that she's a volleyball player is a good sign that popular girls don't just have to be cheerleaders, or if the author thinks volleyball is only a bit better than cheerleading and just wants something a little different, in which case I am very offended that my favorite sport is being used that way and I am automatically on the volleyball player's side.- the "hottest guy in school," who is also apparently dating the volleyball player, randomly comes up to Rayna at lunch and asks her to a dance or something and asks when she's going to finally kiss him. At this point, I was pretty much done anyone and just skimming for more stuff that would annoy me, but it seemed very random to me. So if Rayna pretty or does she have some kind of history with him or is it just in there to show that she's desirable and give the vball player a reason to hate her and make you feel bad for poor little Rayna? Too random and weird and such for me.So, yeah, not the book for me, obviously. Didn't seem horrible in the first 10%, but not interesting to me.
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review 2013-06-18 00:00
A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1) - Lisa M. Basso A Shimmer Of Angels was fluffy and cute. Although dealing with issues such as perceived mental illness and teen suicide, it was still a light read. It had all the aspects that young adult readers have come to rely upon, the dreaded love triangle, the angst, the token nerd, stereotypical teens and bullying, but it was brilliantly entertaining, I couldn't put it down.

I have a strained relationship with Angel themed young adult novels, but A Shimmer Of Angels has certainly changed that, and I'll definitely be continuing on to the second book of the Angel Sight series. Becca Fitzpatrick, take note, this is how you produce a well written young adult angel series.
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