Book Love: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

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This is truly going to be a post full of rambling. Spoilers everywhere because I am just going to basically be talking about the characters in this series because Nalini Singh knows how to write some amazing characters.

So I recently wrote a post about Angels’ Blood, the first book in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh and after reading this book, I am officially obsessed. Okay so in the last book we ended with Elena becoming an Angel and starting her new life with Raphael. Oh and Lijuan, the oldest archangel on the Cadre, became even more powerful and she started raising the dead essentially creating an army of undead to maybe take over the world? Yeah, so many things are happening as we start book two – Archangel’s Kiss.

Elena gets invited to a ball thrown in her honor and has no choice but to go and of course, drama ensues.

This book is great but I want to talk about the characters because Singh has not only created an amazing and in-depth world but she’s created a cast of characters that I absolutely LOVE.

Galen – Okay can I just say I am sooo happy there’s a short story about him because I adore Galen. And the fact that he’s with Jessamy? Ugh, my romantic heart can’t take it.

Jessamy – so she has a broken wing and can’t fly so she’s been picked on her whole life and not being able to fly is devastating. However, has that stopped her from being the nicest person ever? Noo, Jessamy is seriously so nice and amazing and I really want her and Elena to be best friends.

Jason – ooooh I like Jason. He’s the mysterious one of them all as, you know, he’s able to actually blend in with the night. He’s basically the james bond of the angel world? I’m going to say yes.

Dimitri – Oh man. Okay, listen, I know he’s creepy because we’re living the story as Elena right now and Dimitri isn’t Elena’s biggest fan. But, I can’t wait to dive into his mind because…he has issues and I want to know what happened there.

Viper – LOVE. That’s all I have to say. I love him. Next.

Nassir – we’ve only glimpsed him but I’m already curious about this guy. Is he a vampire and tiger rolled into one? Because if so…mindblown.

Illium: AHHHH okay I loooooove Illium. This show-off just gives me life. We need more pagetime with him.

Aodhan – I really am concerned about this guy. He seems very nice and gentle, but who hurt him??? Ugh, it breaks my heart.

Lijuan – okay this may be a controversial take but…I like her? Hear me out: this girl is old. So…she’s going to get bored. I mean, I’m not saying would do it, but sis is out here bored out of her mind so why not test out your new powers by causing a zombie apocalypse?

Michaela – I adore Michaela. I truly do. She’s been through the worst tragedy a mother could go through and here she is, still struggling but still going. Is she arrogant? Sure, but what’s wrong with a little self-confidence? Own it is what I say. And own it she does.

Elijah – I want a story about him and Hannah because I am intrigued. Very much so. How did this archangel live this long, with these mean angels, and still have a heart? I’m curious.

Raphael and Elena – these two are probably the most romantic couple I’ve ever read about. Tenderness and vulnerability wrapped in steel. Love them.

I’m so happy I started this series because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be one of my favorites. I love the characters and this world and I am really looking forward to where Singh takes this. I want a story for every single character which is a testament to how amazing Singh is with character development. Every single character brings something to the table and I want them all to live their best life.

I’m really excited for the next book – Archangels’ Consort – because apparently Caliane is waking up? OOOOh, this next book is going to be GOOD. Bring on the drama and action – I’m ready.

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

 

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Book Love: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

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Some things were worth the dance with danger.

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh is an urban fantasy novel that follows Elena Deveraux as she navigates a world full of intense cruelty, betrayals, and a whole lot of death.

So, in this world, there is a definite hierarchy. Archangels are at the very top. The ruling archangels of this world are called The Cadre of Ten and they are some scary and extremely powerful angels. Next up are the regular angels who are not part of the ruling coalition. They are extremely powerful in their own right – they’re just not an archangel. Next – the vampires. People who want to be turned into vampires have to go through a selection process. If chosen, an angel will then turn someone into a vampire. However, the newly turned vampire must sign a contract stating they will spend the first 100 years of their eternal life indebted to the angel who made them. What happens when a vampire renegades on their contract? Vampire hunters.

Elena is the best vampire hunter. She works for The Guild – which is an organization made up of vampire hunters. They track down vampires who are trying to escape their contract and return them (dead or alive) to the angel who made them.

Seeing as Elena is the best in her field, it’s no surprise that the archangel decides to hire Elena for a job.

This was the kind of job that made legends out of hunters. Of course, to be a legend, you generally had to be dead.

Raphael is a member of the Cadre of Ten and he rules over the territory of North America, though he currently lives in New York. Raphael is terrifying. Honestly and truly. He is highly intelligent, rules with an iron fist, and he is mean. There is no softness in him. Not an ounce of nice. No warmth. So obviously, Elena is horrified to learn that he wants her to track down someone for him. Working with the angels, especially the most powerful archangel on earth, is not something anyone wants to do.

This is why I loved Elena. She absolutely did not hide the fact that she was scared but she pushed through. She stood her ground and she was confident. Raphael wanted the best, so he got it. She did her job and didn’t let anyone – archangel or vampire – get in her way.

However, even though she’s tough, there are parts of her that are still in pain from trauma she experienced as a kid. She’s just a real human being. She rises to the occasion when she needs to, she’s an example of strength, but she’s not afraid of her vulnerabilities. In fact, she embraces them. How can something so tender also be so strong? Elena is a warrior but she’s also a survivor and has a soul fragmented from trauma.

Raphael finds Elena fascinating and what I love most about their dynamic is that he respects her. The most powerful man on earth respects this mortal human full of strength and weaknesses. He begins to see her as his equal and towards the end of the novel, we start to see glimpses of tenderness in Raphael that is only shown to Elena. If you like romance, I think you’ll love these two.

Then she will kill you. She will make you mortal.

Don’t get me wrong, Raphael is still a mean and sometimes cruel person when he has to be but with those he loves and those he considers his family – he protects them in every way.

Now, I will say this:  Angels Blood has the most gruesome villain I’ve ever read about. I thought I’d have nightmares from some of the scenes depicted in here. True evil lurks within the pages of this book and you’ll be rooting for Elena and Raphael to defeat it.

5 stars

Link: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Book Love: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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When someone you loved was depending on your lie, it was perfectly easy.

*Spoilers*

I’m late to this but better late than never – especially when it comes to this book. Everyone should read this. It’s an in-depth look at women, in all of our wonderful flawed glory.

Big Little Lies takes a look at three different women and their lives: Jane, Madeline, and Celeste.

Jane: She’s the mysterious newcomer in town. Her son Ziggy has been accused of bullying and as the town gathers to outcast Jane and her son, Jane finds solace in her two close friends Madeline and Celeste.

Madeline: is on the brink of losing it. Her ex-husband has moved into her town where his new son with his new pretty wife attends the same kindergarten school as her youngest daughter. On top of that, Madeline’s other daughter Abigail is moving out to live with him. She’s slowly losing the two things that’s given her an identity – her daughters.

Celeste: The beautiful Celeste who has the perfect house, the perfect amount of money in the bank, and the perfect husband who absolutely adores her. And who hits her.

While Big Little Lies is about women and the various obstacles we run into in life – it also takes a look at how violence has seeped into the every day of a woman. We’re told to watch out for the monsters. Don’t wear something too exposing. Always watch your drink. Look out for the creeps. It’s our normal. We are taught to always be on the defensive. But what happens when the monster is dressed up in a charming suit with a dashing smile? What happens when the monster isn’t a stranger but is your husband who loves you? Or your father? What then?

It’s so easy to tell someone to leave. To cut ties. To run as fast as they can to safety but Big Little Lies takes apart those statements and shows you why it isn’t that simple.

Did she love him as much as she hated him? Did she hate him as much as she loved him?

Sometimes, all we can manage is to turn to our friends and lean on them. Friendships between women are some of the strongest relationships out there. We understand each other because we’ve all been there. We’ve all struggled with the weight society places on our shoulders. We’ve all struggled with comparing ourselves to others. We all have insecurities that come from not being what we’ve been told to be – the perfect mother. The perfect wife. The perfect daughter. The perfect woman.

Big Little Lies is a refreshing and honest look at the daily struggles of women and how our friendships keep us going. It’s a brutal look at how, often times, men use women to grow and learn. Women aren’t collateral damage to a man’s growth and this book validates that. Women aren’t your life coaches.

I loved this.

5 stars.

Link: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

 

 

Comic Book Love: Skin & Earth by LIGHTS

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Okay so I wanted to read all six issues before I posted about this but I couldn’t wait! I’m only talking a little bit about issues 1 & 2 of Skin & Earth by Lights because that’s all I’ve read so far.

If you don’t know, Lights is a Canadian musician and she’s my absolute favorite artist of all time. So, when she announced that she was coming out with a comic book AND album that intertwined I was so excited.

I love graphic novels (Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, etc.)  but I’ve never read a straight up comic book before. Thus, my excitement about diving into this new comic series created by my favorite musician.

Skin & Earth is about En. En lives in this postapocalyptic world and she’s living in poverty, slowly dying from these chemicals leaking into the earth while the rich party and pretend the world isn’t ending.

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Issue 1 introduces us to the world while issue 2 introduces us to some new characters including the guy En’s currently seeing. Which, no spoilers, but…well you’ll see. En is treated terribly by the upper class and all she wants is to find a way out of this dirty and cruel world she’s been living in. That’s all that really happens in these first two issues.

I really loved the art. One of the reasons I love Lights is because she’s truly a well-rounded artist. She’s so creative and it’s inspiring to see someone put in the work and truly love what they do.

Really, this post is just to promote this album and comic because I think it’s such an awesome idea. Her album lyrics are interspersed throughout the comic and currently Lights is cosplaying as En on tour. She literally brought what’s in her mind to life and I’m so excited about the possibilities this opens up between music and books (my two favorite things).

Below are music videos filled with scenes from the comic book. Honestly, Lights is such a genius. Check out her album & comic if ya get the chance.

Comic Book Link: Skin & Earth by Lights

Album Link: Skin & Earth Album

 

Book Love: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

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*Spoilers in this post*

 What am I supposed to do? Say I’m sorry? I’m sorry I can’t be normal? I’m sorry I’m such a bad daughter? I’m sorry I hate the life that I have to live?

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez starts out as a story about a girl named Julia. Julia’s sister Olga has died and the opening chapter takes place during her funeral. Julia decides to learn more about her sister and starts to discover hints that say Olga may not have been the perfect daughter everyone thought she was. As Julia starts to try to unravel the secrets of her dead sister, Julia starts to learn more about her family and even more about herself.

I really want to talk about the two things in this novel that were extremely powerful: mental health and immigration.

In the first half of the book, it was really hard for me to like Julia. She is extremely negative and thinks the worst of the world and the people in it. She’s constantly saying negative things about people and her words are sharp and intended to hurt. I honestly did not like her at all. But then, slowly, I started to realize what Julia started to realize. She has severe depression. Depression turns you into a person you don’t even like. It takes bits of your personality and turns them dark. After a failed suicide attempt, Julia starts to attend therapy.

Sanchez wrote about mental health in a raw and real way. Julia doesn’t automatically feel better after she begins to seek help. In fact, some days she ponders death again and some days she’s able to beat back her depression. At one point she even says she doesn’t know if she’ll ever want to die again but she does know that she is better equipped to fight that battle if it ever comes again.

“You’re entitled to your emotions. There shouldn’t be any shame in that.”

The mind is an extremely powerful thing. So, imagine one day it malfunctions and decides to attack you. Mental illness is an excruciating fight, especially with the stigma that enables it, but it’s an important fight that can’t be lost.

I won’t spoil this part but Julia’s parent’s journey across the border when they first came to the US was tragic. It was dangerous and terrible things happened. When Julia discovers this, she becomes even more grateful for what her parents went through in order to give her a life full of freedom and liberty.

I’m going to be honest, this book is a tough read. There are many dark topics in this and some triggering issues for some readers. Read this with caution.

The first half of the book was very slow-paced and it was a 3 star read for me. However, the second half was beautiful as much as it was heartbreaking. I’m still thinking about Julia and her family. Honestly, I feel like a dark cloud is following me. I know, then why did I like this book so much if it made me so sad? Well, because sometimes really beautiful things hurt. And this book hurt but it also held a beautiful message.

4.5 stars

Link: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez

 

 

Book Love: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

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“The world is a huge place. How will you know where you fit in unless you explore beyond your comfort zone?”

This is my first Katie McGarry novel and I now understand the hype. This was a really pretty story and at one point my eyes even teared up a bit from emotions. I really enjoyed this.

Nowhere But Here is about Emily and her journey towards discovering more about her family’s past. She discovers secrets about her family that people would die to keep buried. When she slowly starts to unravel the love story of her parents she discovers that some consequences last for generations.

“This is your family … If you learn to love us then you will forever have our love in return.”

Emily’s father Eli is part of a motorcycle club and she absolutely detests him and the club. While visiting her father, she meets Oz. Oz grew up in the club and is currently a prospect hoping to become a full brother in the near future. Emily throws a wrench in that plan when she shows up and throws everything off course. Tasked with protecting Emily and becoming her shadow, the two absolutely cannot stand each other but slowly start to become friends as they unravel the secrets that could threaten to tear them apart.

I really liked this story and even though I could easily put it down, I could also easily pick it back up. I loved how Katie McGarry wrote about family – both family by blood and the family we choose to create. I will say, Eli (Emily’s father) was my favorite character and I’m craving a story about him. He was just so incredible.

Emily and Oz were great as well. While I didn’t fully connect with their love story, I did enjoy reading their path towards friendship and healing.

Sometimes what we need the most is what we fight the hardest: change.

This was a cute story with heart and I will definitely check out the rest of this series.

4 stars

Link: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Book Love: Cry Baby by Ginger Scott

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I wish his problems were fewer. I wish he wasn’t marked by someone so bad. I wish I’d known him in another life. It doesn’t stop me wanting him in this one, though.

Oh man, here we go again. I don’t have words. I don’t know how to describe the love I have for this beautiful story. I am going to try to tell you how amazing this is but honestly, anything I say won’t do this justice. This post might be all over the place and I hope it makes sense but I’m in my emotions right now and I just need to get it all out.

Cry Baby by Ginger Scott is about a beautiful yet heartwrenching love story between Tristan Lopez and Riley Rojas. I have to warn you, this love story hurts. It’s so wonderful and sweet yet so devastating that sometimes I had to take mini breaks from reading to catch my breath. (Mini breaks as in, a few seconds because trust me, once you start reading this you won’t want to put it down)

It’s no secret that Ginger Scott is my favorite author. I’ve mentioned it on here so many times and on the various other blogs I sometimes write for. This is cheesy, but her writing has saved my life once before and every time I pick up a Ginger Scott novel, she reminds me about the beauty of life and the beauty of never giving up on it. Her stories are real, authentic, and she doesn’t hold back from the ugly parts or the beautiful parts.

One of my favorite aspects of her writing are her characters. Her character development is just on another level. First, I want to start with her heroes. Her heroes are my absolute favorites. They are the most swoon-worthy and wonderful heroes I have ever read about and Tristan is no different.

Tristan was born into the gang life. He’s seen terrible and disturbing things and has, at times, been forced to act out these terrible and disturbing things. I can’t imagine what that’s like – being born with chains wrapped around you. Yet, Tristan still finds ways to keep his morality. He rebels against the gang he’s been forced into with tiny acts of defiance and heroism. He’s charming, he’s hilarious, and I’m going to steal a semi-quote from this novel – he is everything, he is everything, he is everything.

Criminals aren’t born; they are made. This world made Tristan, and he fights to break free of it. That hold, though – it’s vicious.

From the moment you meet him you will be rooting for him. He is just a good guy and it’s unfair that the cards he has been dealt in life are covered in violence and blood. I’m so happy that he was able to find happiness and peace with Riley, even if it was for a short time.

Riley…Riley was also everything. She is hands-down my most favorite heroine of all time. I absolutely adored her. She was driven, loyal, and she didn’t take crap from anyone. She was a freaking warrior and I’m so glad that Riley and Tristan found each other, even if it was under heartbreaking circumstances. The fact that I LOVED Tristan and LOVED Riley made this couple such a treasure to read about.

Riley has opened this window to what could be. She’s built a bridge between my reality and my fantasyland, and I can’t stop crossing it.

This is a mature YA novel which means we get all the butterflies and swoons that comes with falling in love for the first time. The nervousness, the excitement, the doubt, the butterflies – it’s all here. Another thing I LOVE about Ginger Scott’s writing is her ability to capture the details of quirks her characters have when they get nervous or happy around their loved one. The glances, the smiles, the nervous ticks – she gets it all. It makes everything so vivid and I start swooning along with the characters at every small signal of falling in love. (Also, I love the fact that her heroes love their heriones for exactly who they are. Tristan has seen Riley at her worse and loves her through it – and because of it. She is imperfect but she’s perfect for him. Gah, I’m being cheesy again)

If you’re a romance fan, you need to read a Ginger Scott novel. Her novels are the most romantic books I have ever read. Her heroes, when they fall they fall hard. They love with a tenderness and fierceness that it will absolutely have you swooning. And the depth! The love between her main characters are always so full of depth and emotion that to this day, I still think about every love story I’ve read from her so far. Owen and his Kens from Wild Reckless have a place in my heart, Nico and Reagan from The Hard Count are right next door to Owen and Kens, and now Tristen and his Riley have their home in my heart as well. I know, this all sounds so cheesy, but her novels are just so impactful and so full of love that they’ve left their impact on me permanently and I’ll forever be grateful.

Cry Baby is going to be one of those books that, every time I look at it on my shelf, I’m going to feel a sting in my heart because, yes, it was heartbreaking, but it was also so beautiful.

Infinity stars. I loved this.

Link: Cry Baby by Ginger Scott

**I want to add this, if you’re interested in reading about Ginger Scott’s journey towards writing about Tristan please read this post.

What made this so heartbreaking for me was knowing that this isn’t outside the realm of reality. It may not be my normal, it may not be yours, but somewhere out there a scared child – or teen- is being forced into a life they never wanted. They are scared. They are terrified. If this story inspires you to find ways to help out kids like Tristan, please feel free to check out Homeboy Industries