Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LAUREN KATE: FALLEN IN LOVE

Good news if you're a fan of the Fallen Series! I have previously covered Fallen, Torment and Passion, and with the final installment, Rapture, scheduled for release in June 2012, Lauren Kate has announced a January 2012 release of a new novel, Fallen in love. All we know about the new book at this time is:


Fallen in Love is a riveting tale told through four intertwined love stories featuring the Fallen characters that fans have grown to know and love: Miles, Shelby, Roland, Arriane, and Luce and Daniel,


and that the book will


delve into angel mythology and give readers the much-talked about but never-revealed back stories of the Fallen characters as they intertwine with the epic love story of Luce and Daniel.


Personally, when authors do this kind of thing I smell a money making scheme, and that annoys me, because it's no longer about telling the best story you can possibly tell. I have also been very annoyed with Ms Kate earlier this year when I stumbled upon new releases of Torment, containing "New bonus material scenes". Thousands of loyal fans buy your book the day it comes out, and you thank them by adding bonus scenes months later for the Johnny-Come-Lately's?! Hard core, die hard fans will probably buy the book again just to get their hands on the bonus material, but here is no way I will fall for something like that.


As excited as am I sure many readers are, I can't help but think if Lauren paid more attention to Passion instead of working in a bonus project, maybe the book would have been better. Just a thought.


Happy reading xxx

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MONTH: SURRENDER THE HEART - MARYLU TYNDALL

There are few things I enjoy more than wandering through a bookstore, searching for the next jewel to add to my beloved collection. It’s hard to explain the feeling when you’ve started reading a book and realize you’ve discovered something really special. I’ve had some really good finds this year, and this past weekend I discovered another.


When my best friend came to visit me earlier this year (sheesh, was it really way back in January?!), I was making up time waiting to pick her up by strolling through CUM (my absolute favourite store in the whole wide world – Christian merch plus books = nothing better!) when this beautiful cover caught my eye. I read the back of the book and my heart soared when I realized that it’s a historical novel. You know by now I’m a total nut for those! I bought it, and being the diligent student that I am (a pain, I know), I put it away to read another day as I was getting a head start on my university assignments for the year. Needless to say the year picked up speed, and I never got around to actually reading it. So last weekend I submitted my final assignments, and thought I’d treat myself by reading a book before I delve into exam prep. Going through my unread pile, my eye again caught this one, and I thought “Perfect”. And perfect it is!

“Swashbuckling romances anchored in faith” is what Marylu Tyndall promises on her website, and that is exactly what she delivers!

Surrender the Heart is the first book in the Surrender to Destiny series. The story is set in Baltimore in 1812 and follows Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, acquaintances who have very negative opinions of each other based on terrible memories of each other as children, now betrothed by the will of their fathers and against their own, but both unable to object. Upon the death of Marianne’s father she desperately needs to marry in order to unlock her inheritance, her only chance of caring for her ill mother and younger sister. Noah, a merchantman carrying the guilt of his brother’s accidental death, is desperate to please his unreasonable father and must marry Marianne to obtain her inheritance to support the family business. While Marianne realizes Noah only wants to marry her for her money, Noah has no idea that the Denton fortune is not a fortune at all, but only stands at seven thousand pounds, everything else having been gambled away by Marianne’s father prior to his death. Noah, however, decides to set sail to England and sell enough merchandise to make a year’s worth of profit in one trip, ensuring he would not have to marry Marianne at all. Noah deserts Marianne at their engagement party, and rushes to get his cargo to England before war between America and England breaks out. Desperate to unlock her inheritance to buy much needed medicine for her mother, Marianne realizes Noah’s intent and undertakes to do whatever it takes to ensure he has to marry her. Unbeknownst to Noah, Marianne follows him aboard his ship, but an accident leaves her unconscious and Noah sets sail to England only to discover Marianne aboard his ship the following day. He is, however, unwilling to waste any time by first returning her to Baltimore, leaving Marianne stuck aboard his ship for months to come. Noah is desperate to succeed, Marianne is desperate to see him fail, for if he has no need of her money, he won’t marry her… right?

A clash of wills and motivations sees many stubborn games that soon get Marianne and Noah captured by a British warship. Let down by every man she’s ever known, a mistrustful Marianne believes that God also has deserted her. Guilt ridden by his brother’s death, Noah thinks God simply doesn’t care about him. These two question their place in God’s universe even more as they are forced to serve the enemy, danger and malice surrounding them daily. Working aboard an enemy ship Noah realizes that Marianne is not the spoilt little rich girl he always thought her to be, and Marianne begins to see that Noah is not the mean spirited bully she always thought he was. Forced to put aside their differences, depend on each other, trust each other and work together to escape the British Navy that holds them captive, the question arises whether Marianne and Noah can surrender their hearts to each other, and to the God they both desperately want to believe in.

Surrender the heart is a beautiful story about destiny. It emphasizes how God uses the most seemingly ordinary of people to accomplish great acts (I especially loved the book’s dedication; I believe it is To everyone who has ever felt ordinary”), and how God uses everything, even the most terrifying situations, to set in motion miracles that change the lives of thousands.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose ~ Romans 8.28

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LAUREN KATE: PASSION

*Teeny tiny spoiler alert*


In great anticipation I counted the months for the third installment of Lauren Kate's Fallen series to hit the shelves. As you might remember from my post on Torment, the previous book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger where Luce practically dives into her past lives (thousands of years of reincarnations of herself). Passion follows Luce as she gets a front row seat to her and Daniel's love through the ages. Sounds exciting, right? Yeah, well the problem is... it wasn't, really. With thousands of years to play with I think Lauren could have given us glimpses of amazing past events! The possibilities are endless! Instead, we see Luce as a Mayan girl becoming a blood sacrifice, an islander sipping coconut juice and giving Daniel tattoos, a spoilt, rich, aristocratic snob... I just think these past lives could have been more interesting. Well, at least we got to see a Shakespeare play! In my favourite reincarnation of Luce she is an actress performing Henry the 8th in the Globe theatre! I loved the cameo by William Shakespeare, and how it turns out Luce is the one responsible for the Globe theatre burning to the ground. More of these kinds of real events worked into Luce's past lives would have been much more interesting.

Having said that, I think all of those glimpses of Luce and Daniel's love in different stages are necessary to understand how deep and how complicated their love is. The problem is just this book is not nearly as gripping as the previous two. Here's hoping the next one will make up for it.

Sadly I have several problems with this book. Firstly, I found the prologue to be unnecessary and confusing. I still don't know what the point of it is, and to me those were wasted pages. None of those characters came up later in the book (unless the booming voice was supposed to be Satan, in which case I didn't get it), so if that was an integral part of the story, I think Lauren should have saved it for the next book, where it would actually make sense.

Then, I get that Luce is reincarnated lifetime after lifetime, so I understand how she once ended up Mayan, once Chinese etc, etc, but how does Daniel change? It is never explained how he changes... mostly he always looks the same, but then suddenly he's Egyptian. I get that he's an Angel and he can probably do what he wants, but I hate when things like that are written in and the reader is just expected to believe it without an explanation. If you want to make drastic changes like that, you need to have a method.

My biggest problem with the book, though, is the final chapter which features a scene in Heaven. I won't say too much here so I don't spoil the ending for anyone who decides they want to read the book, but there are some things I believe people should be careful to write about. Anytime I read something featuring God and it makes me uncomfortable, kind of that I-don't-think-this-is-right-feeling, I have a problem with it. Lauren wasn't blasphemous in her writing, it's just that I don't like the way she described the scene in Heaven, if that makes sense. Again, I hope that she makes up for it in the next book.

Also, when Daniel visits his past lives, he always remember seeing his future self during that past life... except for the scene where he cleaves with his old self, and the final scene at The Fall. Throughout the books he is wondering what can be done to break the cycle, yet he can't remember that he took care of that at the very beginning. Maybe I'm making too much of this, but writers need to be consistent. If current Daniel remembers seeing himself as future Daniel when he was past Daniel, surely it must be true every single time?! He can't conveniently only remember seeing future Daniel when the story warrants it. Consistency is key!

In my previous post I also expressed my doubts about Luce's mortality. I have always thought that Luce is also an Angel, she just doesn't know it, and even though it wasn't explicitly stated in this book, I think my suspicions have been confirmed. A discovery to look forward to. Then something I found very interesting, is how Satan seems to feel about Luce. That combined with with the fact that Daniel came across jealous that Luce had spent time with Satan (even though he tricked her and she didn't realise who he was), makes me wonder if Lucifer might have loved Luce in Heaven? That's another thing, their names; Lucinda and Lucifer. Significant? Maybe. Then again, maybe I'm just grabbing at straws; we'll have to wait and see.

Now, what I loved about the book. Other than Fallen and Torment, Passion focuses solely on Luce and Daniel. We see a little bit of the others, but mainly we see Luce and Daniel. Finally. For what is down at the core a love story, Luce and Daniel don't spend much time together in the course of the three books. Annoying to me, but maybe this works for other people. At least in this book the other characters don't constantly get in the way of Luce and Daniel's relationship. Also, Luce finally realises that what she and Daniel have is real, and stops questioning it. And then there's Cam. Now, you know I'm not the world's biggest Cam fan, but I find there is hope for him yet. I'm looking forward to see what the next chapter will bring.

Rapture, the next and final installment in the series is expected to be released approximately March 2012. Oh, and FYI, my 10 January prediction was spot on! The Fallen series is being turned into movies.

This post would not be complete without a big thank you to Erika, who sent me a copy of the book all the way from England when it wasn't available in South Africa yet! I love you my friend, you're the best! xxx

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