Tag Archives: soul

Book Reviews
July 20, 2011 posted by Christina

Exile – Rebecca Lim (Mercy, Book 2)

“All Mercy knows is that she is an angel, exiled from heaven for a crime she can’t remember committing.

So when she wakes inside the body and life of Lela Neill Mercy has little recall of her past life, except her memories of Ryan, the mortal boy who’d begun to fall for her – and she for him.

Lela works as a waitress at the Green Lantern, a busy city café frequented by suits, cab drivers, strippers, backpackers and the homeless and Mercy quickly falls into the rhythm of this new life. But when Mercy’s beloved Luc reappears in her dreams, she begins to awaken to glimpses of her true nature. What she does not know is that her attempts to contact Ryan will have explosive consequences.

Meanwhile, ‘the Eight’ – responsible for her banishment – hover near, determined to keep Mercy and Luc apart, forever…”

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Last year we were introduced to Mercy series and it got off to an interesting start. A unique concept plus a killer cover made for a great combination. I, like many, were really looking forward to the second book in the series, Exile.

When we last saw Mercy she was in the small town of Paradise as Carmen Zappacosta. After facing a kidnapping and dolling out punishment to her captor with powers she thought were lost to her, she also started to develop feelings for Ryan, a mortal. Before she could even begin to address those feelings, her time as Carmen was up.

In Exile Mercy finds herself in the body of Lela Neill, which comes complete with a dull waitressing job in a not-so-nice part of town, and a mother who is at the end of a battle with her terminal illness. What does Lela’s life have in store for Mercy and how will she ever make her way back to Luc? Looks like Ryan may be the key.

I was really hoping that the series would start to pick up in book two but it just fell a bit flat for me. Just as Mercy starts over in a new life it feels like the story goes back to square one too. By the end we’re no closer to finding out why Mercy is being punished or what she should do about it.

The main focus of the story was more about Lela’s life and problems rather than Mercy’s. Even though I still found that interesting, and the ending will take you by surprise, it didn’t quite have that wow factor. There was something about Mercy this time that made me like her a little less, some of her actions came across as selfish and careless, and since we see her and Luc together in the middle of their relationship it’s hard to understand their attraction or why they’re together.

I liked many of the secondary characters – Justine, Cecilia even Mr Dymovsky, but the villain was a surprise left till the very end. A surprise but also a bit…random?

If you loved Mercy you’ll probably still like Exile, but if you were only on the fence for the first installment, Exile might be a bit disappointing. Will I continue on with the series? Perhaps.

Pages: 293
Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote:  “I think I’m going to scream. Or throw up. ‘Qualis es tu?’ I think, gritting my teeth. ‘What are you?’

‘Te gnovi’, something growls into the space inside my head. ‘I know you.’”

Book Reviews
March 11, 2011 posted by Christina

Falling Under – Gwen Hayes

“Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, but when a devastatingly handsome boy appears at her school, she feels every urge she’s ever denied burning through her at his slightest glance.

Theia does not understand why she dreamed of Haden Black before they met, but as the Haden of both the day and the night beckons her forward, Theia knows she cannot resist him – even when she discovers what he truly is; and even if the cost of that knowledge is her soul.”

It’s not every day you see a burning man fall out of the sky.

When Theia Alderson witnesses that exact sight she almost convinces herself it was all a dream….or more like a nightmare, because there’s a huge scorch mark on her lawn the next morning from where he landed.

From that moment there’s a shift in the air, announcing something strange and wrong is starting to take place at Serendipity Falls. When Theia dreams that night of a beautiful boy at a party accompanied by skeletons, serenaded by faceless musicians, she couldn’t have been more shocked to find that same boy, Haden, at her school the next day.

But what does he want with Theia? What is it about him that makes Theia want to be with him so badly. She knows it’s dangerous, but she can’t help herself…

Falling Under is a novel that in the end I had a love/hate relationship with.

There was a lot in it that I found very interesting. The world of Under – where Theia would meet Haden in her dreams, was completely fascinating in a dark twisted kind of way and excellently creepy. It made me think of Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton style but even darker.

I also really loved the concept of the demons and the travelling between worlds (which was done so well), and was very relieved that there wasn’t a love triangle in sight (phew).

The writing was easy to read and drew me in to the story, meaning that even when I put it down I was still thinking about it, itching to get back, wanting to know what would happen next.

What disappointed me were the two main characters.

I just wasn’t sold on their “love” for each other – their attraction was based on…I don’t know? Haden was spying/stalking Theia for a while before travelling to her world to find her, and Theia likes Haden based on the rush of emotions she feels when she sees him. This is despite his hot/cold emotions or that he’s kind of ass to her for a lot of the book in an attempt to push her away.

It also felt a bit too Twilight for me. From Haden calling Theia ‘lamb’, to the need to hold back on affection, the (I’m paraphrasing here) ‘you should stay away from me if you were smart’ and ‘I’m a bad guy but I can’t stay away from you’, among other things. Heck, at one point even Theia acknowledges the conversation is heading in a Twilight direction, with even a bit of New Moon seen later on in the book.

Although, let me tell you their kissing scenes were excellent. You’ll probably need to stop and fan yourself for a minute because their sexual tension practically sizzles on the page.

Theia, we’re often told, is level headed and rational thanks to her strict upbringing from her cold father, but all we see is Theia making totally irrational choices when it comes to Haden. Other than dating a guy who came to this world to do her harm (which she doesn’t seem to factor in), she basically knows nothing about him since he’s perpetually being cryptic and mysterious, at least when he’s not busy being jealous or an ass. Yet in a short space of time she’s in love and willing to lay down her soul for him. Why?? Other than give you attention and a fuzzy feeling in your gut, what’s this guy actually done for you lately Theia? She should’ve shown Haden the door and gone for someone like Gabe.

Anyway, enough with the negativity, as the storyline throws in an interesting twist at the end it really gets things going and we’re left with quite a cliffhanger. Even though Mara is the bad guy in the story, she’s a total badass and I was quite interested by how her mind worked and what her next move will be.

Falling Under is a dark and twisted love story and if you’re a hopeless romantic, you’ll probably love it. If you’re a bit pickier with your love affairs, this might not be to your liking. Only one way to find out…

Pages: 324
Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote: “And then, slowly, like a feather caught on a light breeze, he willowed past my window, turning his grotesque head towards me, his mouth open in a silent scream. He was more than on fire. He was fire.”

Book Reviews
January 2, 2011 posted by Christina

Mercy – Rebecca Lim (Mercy, Book 1)

“As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercys blood and they wont rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesnt remember committing …”

In amongst the growing number of young adult novels based around angels – particularly the exiled kind, comes Mercy by Rebecca Lim. When there are quite a few books based on a similar topic, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, or in this case, the bookshelf.

Mercy combines the concept of exiled angels with a forbidden and intriguing romance and adds a twist – a mysterious kidnapping.

When Mercy (in the form of an angelic soul) wakes up on a school bus, now bound in a body belonging to a girl named Carmen, she must immediately adjust and carry on as Carmen would’ve, while also trying to figure out why this time she has been placed in this particular body.

This is one of many times this has happened, since her exile (for a crime she’s unable to remember) she has been moved from body to body, life to life, many times, only remembering a few details from the previous host and doomed to do so indefinitely.

This punishment not only keeps her away from her true form but also from her love, Luc, whom she only sees very briefly in her dreams, only long enough to give her cryptic advice. If all this wasn’t enough she’s also being hunted by an angelic band of eight brothers, who only have one intent: to kill.

When she arrives in the town of Paradise, as part of the school’s choir as their star soprano, she discovers the family she’s boarding with is still harboring the pain of their shattered past when their teenage daughter, Lauren, was abducted from her bedroom two years ago. All believe her to be dead, except her twin brother Ryan. Together, Mercy and Ryan conduct their own search and rescue, determined to get Lauren back.

The story is artfully written and the plotline in Mercy is amazingly layered. Not only are we learning about the events unfolding for Mercy/Carmen in the human world, but we also get glimpses into her past as an angel and her relationship with Luc. Though the main focus is on the human life, it only makes our curiosity about her angelic one grow.

The combination of murder mystery with the paranormal was great and made the story feel very original. I was glad the identity of the kidnapper wasn’t apparent till the very end, allowing the feeling of suspense to carry through the whole book.

As the first in a trilogy (each book has an AMAZINGLY beautiful cover) Mercy is a fantastic start. The story will captivate you and definitely makes us curious enough to put Exile (book two) high on our list of books we’re looking forward to for 2011.

Pages: 280
Publication Date: November 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “If I get too comfortable, I will wake one morning and everything around me will have shifted overnight. All I knew? I know no longer. And all I had? Vanished in an instant. There’s nothing I can keep with me that will stay.
I must always re-establish ties.
I must tread carefulle or give myself away.
I must survive.
I must keep moving, but I don’t know why.”