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Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through... Angel Eyes. Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake. Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption. Something more than fate has brought them ...
Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through... Angel Eyes. Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake. Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption. Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start. A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.
The knot in my throat is constant. An aching thing. Shallow breaths whisper around it, sting my chapped lips, and leave white smoke monsters in the air.
It takes them nine seconds to disappear. Nine seconds for the phantoms I've created to dissolve into nothingness.
How long till the one haunting my dreams does the same?
The absence of an answer makes my hands shake, so I slide the lambskin gloves out of my book bag and put them on.
If only it were that easy.
Like glacial masses shoving along, ice travels my veins, chilling my skin and numbing my insides. Three weeks of this biting cold outstrips the severity of my nightmares, but I haven't suffered enough and I know it.
"Miss, isn't this your stop?" The man's voice skates atop the frozen air.
I want to answer him, but the words don't come. A single tear thaws, escapes the confines of my lashes, and races triumphantly down my cheek. It soaks into my knit scarf—an invisible trail marking its life.
"Miss?" he tries again. "We're here. We've reached Stratus."
My legs are stiff, refusing to stand. I just need a minute. I should say something at least—answer him—but the knot in my throat refuses to budge. I raise a gloved hand to wrestle it away.
"I'm sorry, dear, but the conductor is impatient today. If you don't exit the train, you'll have to ride back to Portland with us."
I turn toward the aisle and look at the poor man. He's sixty at least, with a tuft of gray hair and an oversized bow tie. The kind you only see in the movies. He, too, is wearing gloves, and it's a small comfort to know I'm not the only one chilled. His face wrinkles into a million lines, and the corners of his mouth lift.
"Of course, if you'd like to return with the train, you're more than welcome. I could use the company." He gestures to row after row of empty seats.
"No," I murmur, standing quickly. I cannot return with this train. Not now. Not to the place where it happened. "You're right. This is my stop." I gather my bags and sink deep into my parka before stepping onto the platform.
Why is everything so cold?
I wrap my scarf around my neck once more and think of Hank, a coworker of my dad's, who climbs Mount Hood every year. He's lost all the toes on his right foot to frostbite, and one year a companion fell on the south side of the peak and slid into a crevasse, sacrificed to the god of adrenaline. After losing so much, how can such a journey be worth it?
The train pulls away from the station. It's empty now, but I stare after the steel snake as the heaviness of good-bye squirms inside my chest, locked away in a cage of frozen bones and tissue. Will I ever thaw enough to say the word?
The parking lot is small, but as I cross it I cast a flickering gaze at the man standing by a pickup. Six foot five and burly, my father waits with a stubborn smile as I trudge toward him. Don't come, I'd said. I can take a taxi. I knew he'd be here anyway.
The heavy load falls from my hands. It crunches into the frozen blacktop, and I lean against his truck, counting silently to fifty-eight before he says a word.
"I know you didn't want me to come, Brielle, but you're not in the city anymore. There's just the one cabbie. Didn't want you standing here all night waiting for the guy." He stretches his long lumberjack arms around my shoulders awkwardly. "Plus, I couldn't wait to see you. It's been too long."
He adds the last sentence very quietly, and I pretend not to hear it. The knot in my throat is a traitor, though, and explodes in a gush of air. The sobs that have bruised me from the inside out finally break free as my daddy wraps me in his arms and tucks me into his flannel coat.
He lets me cry, his grip so tight I have to struggle out of it when I'm done. Still snuffling, I wipe my face on my sleeve and crawl into the truck. The scent of wood chips and spearmint gum tickles my nostrils, and I settle back, breathing it deep. Dad drops into his seat, and I have to brace my hand against the door to keep from sliding into him on the sloping bench-seat.
"Sorry," he says.
The engine revs, and we leave the parking lot behind us. From the train station it's just three miles to the house I grew up in. The distance flies by, leaving me feeling like an outsider. I can't point out a single change, but it all feels foreign. The mixture of evergreen trees and cow pastures are a bizarre juxtaposition after the city's skyscrapers and manicured parks.
I don't want to be back here, but the oak tree in our lawn comes into sight and the pain ebbs a bit. The house isn't anything to get worked up over, though I've always been happy to call it home. Ranch-style, white with yellow trim, it sits nestled in a jumble of evergreens. Within, everything about the furnishings is supersized to fit my mountain of a father.
We pull into the long gravel driveway, and I cringe at the ridiculous mailbox that's been added in my absence.
"Where did you get that?"
"I made it," he says, proud of his handiwork. The mailbox is ghastly: a ten-gallon bucket, our last name scrawled across it, perched atop the old post. "Whatcha think?"
"What happened to the old normal mailbox?"
"I backed into it with the trailer." He chuckles, and the elastic bands around my heart ease up just a millimeter.
"Well, at least I know what to get you for Christmas."
Dad parks the truck, and a small sigh escapes my lips. I hadn't planned on living here again, ever, and the sting of disappointment jabs at my gut: I did not finish what I set out to do. But I can't go back. I can't. I need this house, and I need my dad.
"Who's living in the old Miller place?" I ask, nodding at the only other house in sight—a farmhouse situated about a hundred yards to the east.
He cranes his neck to look past me. "Don't know. Somebody just moved in."
Several of the windows are alive with light. The truck rattles with the sound of a stereo, and my heart slows to the rhythm of the bass line. Like a metronome, it's soothing, and I lean back against the headrest.
"Ah, heck. I'll go over there after dinner and tell 'em to turn it down."
"No. Don't. Please."
His shoulders sag, and I realize he'll do anything to make me comfortable tonight. We sit in the cab, the rattling truck and bass guitar filling the silence.
"You know, kiddo, you don't have to talk about it. You don't. You don't really need to do anything for a while." He's rehearsed this little speech, I can tell. "Just be, okay? Be here, and maybe one day you'll see it really wasn't your fault."
I choke a bit and look into his big teddy bear face. He can't know. He's my dad. He sees only what he wants to see. He'll never understand that I could have stopped it. I look out the passenger-side window, over the dead grass and the brown leaves scattered on the ground. I look out at the coming winter and the setting sun and say all I plan on saying about it.
"Ali was eighteen, Dad. My age. A little bit younger, really." My body—my skin, even—feels so heavy with the icy weight of it all. "I could have stopped the whole thing. There's no way around that, but you said it yourself. I don't have to talk about it."
I turn to face my father. He needs to know how serious I am. This subject is off-limits. Until the trial—until I'm sitting on that witness stand—there isn't another soul who needs to hear my story. I look Dad straight in the eye. Tears gather there, they run down his face and sparkle in his beard.
"Okay. We just won't talk about it," he concedes. He kisses my nose. "Some guy named Pizza Hut made us dinner, so let's get to it."
He climbs out and throws a hostile look at the old Miller place. Then he grabs my bags from the bed of the truck and stomps inside.
"Pizza Hut, huh?"
I follow him into the house. His boots leave muddy prints up the porch stairs and across the linoleum floor. I used to reprimand him for stuff like that, but not today. Today, I simply ghost by.
Weaving around the mud splotches, I make my way through the kitchen and into my old room. It's been vacant for two years, and still it looks the same. I pick at a loose thread on my jeans, uneasy at the lack of change. This ancient town is tightfisted with her diversions, and it's quite possible I've had my share. The idea hurts. Like that dingy penny in the bottom of your pocket—the one that must be eighty years old. You scratch away the gummy muck and are horrified to find how new the coin is. Much newer than you ever would have guessed.
How did I get so filthy, so damaged in just a few short years?
I'd been given the chance of a lifetime, and now, two years later, my own inaction had ruined not only my dreams but the life of someone I'd loved. Broken dreams I can handle, but I'd give anything to go back and make things right for her.
That isn't possible, of course. Some things you have to do right the first time. If the past three weeks have taught me anything, it's that.
You don't always get a second chance.
The doorbell rings, mercifully pulling me from thoughts that can only lead to tears.
An unnoticed, quiet transition back home was too grand a thing to hope for. I realize this only now as I reenter the kitchen, followed by several of my old friends. It's a diverse group I've collected through the years: there's the softball player, the cheerleader, my first lab partner, a girl I've known since Girl Scouts, and two dancers from Miss Macy's studio on Main.
I'm the outgoing one. The ballerina, the model.
My place has always been the clubhouse. The home without a nagging mother. Without chores to do. Without pestering siblings. We've grown up together, all of us. Their mothers made me cookies and hemmed my dance costumes. Their fathers kept Dad company while I was away at summer camp. These girls and their families will always be the players on the stage of my childhood, and I can tell by their optimistic, chipper faces that they assume we can pick up where we left off.
They're wrong. Nothing will ever be the same.
I try to smile and nod at the right times, but I'm cold and slow. Eventually their smiles fade. They ask a few questions about the train ride home, about my school in the city. No one approaches the tie-dyed elephant in the room, but their eyes avoid mine, and I know they're scrutinizing the poor beast in any case. Mostly they fidget uncomfortably. After half an hour the entire huddle smiles politely, mutters garbled apologies, and leaves one after the other. Only Kaylee, my childhood sidekick, stays long enough to grab a slice of pizza and attempt to wring me from my melancholy.
"Brielle, you've got to let this go," she says, picking the pepperoni off her pizza. I wonder if this attempt at vegetarianism will last longer than her emo phase.
"If it's all right with you, Kay, I'd rather not talk about it," I say from across the kitchen.
"I know, but one day you will, and I'll be here, okay? I'll be right here." She stares at her pizza as she speaks, and for that I'm grateful. "This pizza's great. I mean, I know I'm a vegetarian, but if I pick it off like this"—she waves a pepperoni at me—"the cheese still tastes like meat." She flashes her teeth at me, marinara coating her braces.
A giggle hiding somewhere inside my gut wriggles its way north and surprises both of us.
"Well, you're not spewing soda out your nose yet, but it's better than the face you had when I got here. You'll be at school tomorrow?"
"Yes, of course. What else is there to do around here?"
"I heard that." Dad's recliner moans, and a second later he lumbers into the kitchen. He's been pretending to watch some Japanese reality show and now leans heavily on the island, studying my face. "You don't have to jump back into things so fast, kiddo. Thanksgiving break's just ending. Take a week for yourself. Adjust."
"The bucket outside doubling as a mailbox—that's the only thing that's changed, Dad." I tweak his nose, trying to cram my lively past-self into the gesture.
He takes my hand and folds it into his. "But you've changed, baby. You've had to."
I tug my fingers free and turn away. "School is fine."
Actually, I dread it. All those faces staring at me. Knowing. All the questions stirring behind sympathetic expressions. Yes, I dread it. Absolutely. Suddenly the pizza seems like an awful idea, and I'm sick to my stomach.
"Brielle? You're white as a sheet. Maybe you should listen to your dad."
"I just need to lie down. I'll see you tomorrow, Kay." I run from the room, bleating the last few words as I go.
I make it to the bathroom before I start throwing up, but only just. Dad brings me a glass of water and a rag. I send him to bed and tell him not to worry—it's probably just the greasy pizza. He isn't convinced, I'm sure, but he understands I'd rather be alone in my misery, and he's kind enough to give me that.
The rest of the night passes—uneasily, but it passes. I don't sleep much, and when I wake, my hands are shaking violently. My dreams scare me now. Not because they're always about Ali, but because I'm always afraid they will be. Fear is the real spook haunting my dreams. When I'm awake, though, it isn't fear that makes me shake. It's guilt. Frigid and ever present.
The sound of tire chewing gravel tells me Dad's truck is backing down the driveway. I yank the cord on my blinds. They fly up and away, and I rub my hands together as the sky brightens moderately behind a canopy of gray clouds. My sheets and blankets have balled up and settled in a wad on my stomach. I kick them off and step into the shower, cranking the knob hard to the left—so hard the pipes squeal in protest. Hot water, sputtering and steamy, washes over my skin. Still, I wash quickly.
How it can scald my flesh and still leave me chilled, I have no idea, but the past twenty-three days have brought one disappointing shower after the next.
It's too early to head to school, so I start a load of laundry for Dad. I unload the dishwasher and unpack quickly, cramming away shirts and pants before I'm forced to remember why I bought them or who I bought them with.
Wrapped in a blanket, I wander through the empty house. It's pretty clean, but I suspect Dad has paid someone to do that. There are no cobwebs on the white walls, the flat-screen TV is void of dust, the thick brown carpet has been vacuumed, the blue recliner and sectional smell like Febreze. An afghan is folded neatly and draped over my favorite reading chair. A collection of books adorns the leather ottoman, and the bathroom has a new addition: a plug-in air freshener.
Yeah, he's paying someone.
Pictures of my dead mother doing things I have no recollection of litter the walls and tables: holding my pudgy toddler hand as we walk through a park, wearing a flowery bathing suit and splashing in the surf, kissing my father under the mistletoe. I stop at a picture by the front door. It's a family portrait taken outside Miss Macy's dance studio on the afternoon of my first recital. Dad looks nearly unchanged: ruddy complexion, mussed beard and hair, flannel shirt. I think he was happier then.
In the photograph Mom's holding me tight. My legs, in white tights, wrap around her waist. The tiny bun on top of my head is pulling loose, but there's no mistaking the resemblance to my mother. Even at three years old I favor her. Blue eyes, red lips, fair skin. Her golden-blond hair sits in waves upon her shoulders in a way I've never been able to replicate. Instead, mine hangs long and straight. Still, I have her soft round cheeks and small chin. I run a finger over her face. I don't remember her at all.
Dressing as warmly as possible, I pull on my parka and gloves over everything else. I step onto the porch and fumble in my bag for the car keys I haven't needed in two years.
We live on a fairly empty stretch of road. The view from our porch shows a spattering of trees, the highway, and then acres and acres of abandoned farmland. The old Miller place sits to the east, and a mile or so beyond is the Stratus cemetery. There's also a road leading back to the interstate. The rest of the town sits to the west.
With an anxious sigh I climb into my hand-me-down Volkswagen Beetle. She's a 1967, black with a rack on top, and we call her Slugger. Slugger was Mom's, so Dad's always taken good care of her, but she's not allowed out of town. Too old, Dad says. Too slow, I say. Either way, Slugger's a piece of Mom, and I love her.
Excerpted from ANGEL EYES by SHANNON DITTEMORE Copyright © 2012 by Shannon Dittemore. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 22, 2012
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program.
After making it to the big city, Brielle never thought she would have to return to her hometown. However, an unforeseen tragedy sends her back home, back to her father, and back to her old school. It’s in her hometown of Stratus that she meets Jake, whose entire body radiates heat and comfort. With Jake’s help, she opens her eyes to the truth of the world. As Brielle learns the truth about her past, present, and future, she has to make some tough choices and face hard truths. Fortunately, she has a lot more help on her side than she knows.
I really enjoyed this book. I have to put this out there before anything else – it DOES have a religious theme. I normally can’t read anything like that. I like to keep my beliefs and my pleasure reading separate. This is the first book of its kind that I’ve ever finished and been satisfied with. I think that even if you’re not overly religious, you’ll enjoy this if you have a thing for fantasy.
Now, on to the characters. I liked watching Brielle … thaw, so to speak. She had to get beyond her grief, and Jake helped her do that. Their relationship was predictable, but for once that didn’t bother me. I thought it was cute and endearing. My favorite character was Jake, hands down. He was protective, caring, and all around perfect boyfriend material. I can’t wait to see where the next book takes them.
I enjoyed the plot for this book as well. As I said, there was a religious theme here, but it wasn’t overdone. Dittemore had her angels and demons, but she put her own twist on them. She also put her own twist on what heaven and God are like.
The downsides to this book? I didn’t like that it continued to change perspectives. I found myself speed reading through everyone’s perspective but Brielle’s. The others just seemed a bit boring. Also, I had a problem that happened in the last book I reviewed. In my personal opinion, if you suddenly discover that the world is full of monsters, higher beings, or things that just we just don’t define as NORMAL … then you should flip out. Brielle didn’t. Not much, anyway. I need characters to react appropriately, otherwise it just seems fake.
Overall, Angel Eyes was a great read. It was well-written, had a unique, interesting plot, and the characters were well-developed. It was something new for me, and I hope you’re all willing to give it a chance as well. I’d definitely recommend this to YA and paranormal readers.
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Posted May 30, 2012
This book is far from what I expected… I’d a thousand times better!
I’ve read numerous angel themed books over the years, and I find they have one thing in common: The angels are basically humans with superpowers and wings. Now let’s be honest, people. Traditionally, angels are spiritual beings created to serve the Judeo-Christian God. I realize angels appear in just about any religion, but no matter what spiritual background you claim, angels report to a higher power. The current angel books on the market today seem to ignore this fact. But not ANGEL EYES.
Dittemore takes a unique stance of actually creating her angel characters with a higher power, in this case, the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. She does a fantastic job staying true to the claims of scripture. In the Bible, angels are messengers and protectors. Not only that, but fallen angels, aka. Demons, are present as well. Above our own world lies a world of spiritual warfare in which angels, who still serve the God of the universe, fight the fallen, who serve the Prince of Darkness: Satan.
Dittemore does not shy away from what some may claim to be a sensitive subject. After all, whenever anyone mentions faith, people get all up in arms. But the truth is, we can’t create angels or God to be what we want them to be. Believing or not believing does not influence the truth. Though ANGEL EYES is fiction, Dittemore hits upon profound truths and uses her God-given talent to show a new generation of young readers the faith that obviously drives her. She expertly shows young people they don’t have to be paralyzed with fear, they have a God who loves them and who sends his angels to protect and guide them, and that even though we may not understand why bad things happen, God always has a plan.
Kudos to Shannon Dittemore for not being afraid to speak the truth no matter who may bawk at her faith. I, for one, stand by her.
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Posted May 10, 2012
Angel Eyes is a fabulous read with a unique view on the spiritual warfare surrounding us. Debut author, Shannon Dittemore does an amazing job pulling you into the story of Brielle Matthews’ whirlwind experience that is beyond this realm and into the Celestial world where angels battle demons, colors swirl, and fear seeps likes tar.
The plot twists and turns in unexpected ways and you can’t help but fall in love with Jake, the mysterious young man who shows up at just the right time to help Brielle cope with the darkness that surrounds her.
This captivating book is filled with a message of faith and hope in the midst of turmoil and despair, and will leave you viewing your world through different eyes.
I cannot wait for the next book in the series!
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Posted March 30, 2013
I actually bought this one because I wanted the beginning of the story. This is the first book of a trilogy. A broken teenager is given
the gift of sight. She sees angels and demons. This is both a blessing and a curse.
This is a very thought provoking book that I would recommend to any young adult. It has questions in the back of the book to spark
discussion, but the book itself will bring up theological questions way before you get to the end of the book.
Posted March 26, 2013
*a human comes in. They have a double sided blade strapped to their back. They take the blade out and spin it in front of them as they walk foreward. The chained person is slowly cut to peices.*Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2013
She is chained to everything around her. She is straight out in the air. Her legs are wide apart doing an air split. Her pssy is bare. Her arms are wide too. Her breasts are big and bare. And shes a body to explore....wink wink.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2013
Anything to do with angels, I am there. I just love reading about how different authors have their own take on angels. I really loved Shannon's take on angels and demons here in Angel Eyes.
When we meet Brielle she is broken, and you can tell right away, she is barely holding on. The guilt of a pass event is hanging on her and keeping her from ever feeling normal, warm, alive. I like how in this story you don't find out right away what is bothering Brielle. It's not drug out, it just comes out at the right moment in the book, right when Brielle feels she can trust again. I will tell you that once it did come out, I was in tears, I just could not imagine that ever happening and the way it was written, it was just a beautify sad moment.
Jake is a welcome surprise in this book. For me, I wasn't sure that he was trust worthy or not in the beginning. Maybe he was too nice right away? Maybe that is just my own personal problem reflecting in the story lol. But he quickly won me over and what he does for Brielle is amazing, and so sweet to read. He is the breath of fresh air she so desperately needs. He seems to be so deeply in love with her already, and that is another thing that keeps you reading, to see why he feels so strongly right away.
The last few chapters in this book were intense, I couldn't put the book down, I just had to finish to know what happened. I am scared with how the book ended and with reading the blurb for book 2 and 3, I'm very scared how this will all turn out, not scared in a bad way, but scared in the way that there is no way I am not reading the next 2 books. I loved this book!!
Posted September 11, 2012
Brielle is a fully developed, beautiful and broken heroine. Jake is adorable. All of the Angel theology is really fascinating and unique, there is a Christian feel to the book, but is never preachy. Christian YA? Yes, please! I love the way Shannon writes, instead of telling us detail after detail, "The sky was blue, the grass was green..." She writes like a poet, describing how everything pertains to Brielle (Similar to Sophie Jordan) and it's such a breath of fresh air. I especially love her Photo teacher... I feel like I've met him beforeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2012
This book feels like a cross between This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, Twilight, and a few other teen girl friendly things like ballet and photography. It took me a little bit to get into it (likely because it's been a while since I've read fiction!), but once I got past the first couple chapters I enjoyed it.
Here's what I liked:
- Spiritual elements that didn't feel "preachy". I've always been intrigued by thoughts of the spiritual realm, like how much angels are able to interact with people and that sort of thing. Obviously this book is fiction, but I enjoyed reading about the interactions between the angel and demon figures and the main character, a high school girl named Brielle.
- Super cute love interest. If you're interested in a fun, totally-makes-you-swoon romance, this book has it. Jake, Brielle's main man, is adorable. There's one part that made me do the "awwwww" thing, which doesn't happen often.
- A main character I could relate to. I enjoyed getting to know Brielle throughout the book. She grew and developed in a way I could identify with. She wasn't the same person by the end of the book. What she'd been through changed her.
Great quotes I could pull out. A couple of times I wanted to highlight a few lines. That doesn't often happen for me in fiction.
I received this book for free to review from the BookSneeze program.
Posted July 30, 2012
With a complex protagonist and a battle against evil, Angel Eyes was beautiful written and a delightful addition to this popular genre. While steeped in faith, this novel didn’t overwhelm and I enjoyed the tale, romance and battle of good verse evil. The tale begins as Brielle Matthews returns home during her senior year of high school. A victim of tragedy and over-whelmed with guilt this ballerina has had her light snuffed out. Suffering from bouts of depression, guilt and gloom she just wants to sink into her own darkness. When Jake shows up at her quiet little Stratus, Oregon school she is immediately intrigued by him but quickly tries to shut those thoughts down. Dittemore slowly reveals the tragedy that has forever changed Brielle as she weaves Jake and Brielle together through fate. The tale that develops was sweet, action-packed and thought provoking. Brielle is complicated and brilliant on so many levels. She is guilt-ridden and broken. I wondered if she could ever be whole. She questions herself, her faith and perhaps even her existence. Watching her transform, take control of her life and accept love again was enjoyable. Jake was sweet, protective and very firm in his beliefs. He gives Brielle a gift that will forever change her. The romance that develops between them is sweet. It isn’t swoon-worthy but has an innocents and acceptance about it that was believable. There are both evil and good characters that added to the tale and helped advance the story. While the tale isn’t completely original, a task that would be hard for anyone in the angel genre, Dittemore did offer some unique twists. Her introduction of the halo was interesting and drew me into the tale. The different classifications of angels and their purpose was fascinating. I enjoyed her descriptions of them and their roles. Her depiction of the demons held my attention. Of course there is a battle between good and evil and souls to be saved. The author placed her own mark on them and kept me entertained. The messages and questions raised about faith delivered throughout the tale were thought provoking. While not bogged down with religious scripture and messages Dittemore does tackle difficult questions like why God spares one life and not another. Presented from multiple POV’s (including the villains) this tale started slow and awkward but became more action packed as it progressed. The ending chapters were climatic and suspenseful. Angel Eyes was an enjoyable, entertaining read that fans of angels are sure to enjoy. Filled with thought provoking questions it lets the reader experience the ramifications of their decisions. I am looking forward to Broken Wings the next book in this trilogy. I want to thank Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2012
I really wish books like Angel Eyes came with a disclaimer. Warning: This is not your typical YA paranormal novel. Cause it’s not. It’s too “happy” and “safe” for my liking. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, particularly Brielle. She felt over-emotional and moody. Like she’d be one to watch Titanic 12 times in a row and still cried when Jack died. I think her over-emotional behavior was intended…meaning it related to the supernatural elements in the story, but it really hurt her likability for me.
Jake is super creepy. I don’t know why Brielle liked him so much right off the bat, but if some guy happened to be everywhere I was, I’d call the cops. It was even so ridiculous that she was out in the middle of her woods in pitch black, he finds her before anyone knew she was missing, takes her to her shed, and magically heals her. And she didn’t think any of this was odd. Hmm. Oh, and Brielle is constantly saying how “hot” Jack is. As in, physical body temperature.
And then, Brielle finally comes home way way late with Jack. She runs into her father who says that he had filled a missing person report. Brielle tells him where she was and her Dad was completely level-headed. Yeah…teenage girl stays out late, comes home with strange boy, and Dad is all honkey-dorey?
What I did like was the detail put into Brielle’s hobby of photographing. I like how it played a role in the plot and wasn’t an afterthought. The plot for me was fairly slow. The story doesn’t start having a purpose until half-way through where we find out that someone is after Brielle. The pace slows down again. More explaining and other stuff. There were a few gems hidden in the novel, parts that I definitely enjoyed, but overall it was either lackluster or non-realistic.
Besides the 1st person narration of Brielle, there is also Damian, who is a fallen angel trying to corrupt both Brielle and Jack. I found that his narration was more intriguing to me than hers. I’m always in the mood for a good villain and though I know early on that he probably won’t succeed, I can’t help routing for the guy.
This book is completely not my style. It’s suppose to be uplifting and whatnot, but I really don’t enjoy books like that. If I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered picking it up to begin with. The writing style is bland, coherent but bland. I wish there was less emphasis on dialogue and more on action. It seemed like most of the interesting things in the book happened before the book takes place.
Also, there are Christian themes that by themselves wouldn’t bother me. There’s a lot of talk about fate and predetermined choices and non-believers. I don’t mind it in a story, but I wish it took up less space in this book. I’d rather be entertained than preached at. Angel Eyes isn’t a bad book and I can see how people will love it, but I think its targeted audience will be disappointed.
Posted July 9, 2012
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Thomas Nelson publishers and Netgalley.)
18-year-old Brielle has just come back to live in the small town where she grew up. Brielle is a dancer, and she’s been doing her schooling at a performing arts school in Portland, with her best friend Ali.
But Ali died three weeks ago, and Brielle is racked with guilt that she could have somehow prevented Ali’s death.
Now starting over back in her home town, Brielle meets Jake, a new boy at her school, and every time he touches her she feels warm and safe. Jake isn’t what he seems though, which she realises when he heals her broken ankle with just a touch.
Now Brielle must try and get her life back on track, but nothing’s as black and white as she once believed, and how can she possibly believe in a God that would allow Ali to die at only 18?
I’ve read my fair share of angel books, and ‘Angel Eyes’ didn’t disappoint. Brielle is trying to come to terms with her guilt over her friend’s death, and Jake is just what she needs to distract her. Jake and Brielle’s relationship is sweet and normal and lovely, even with the otherworldly interruptions, and they were just so good together.
The storyline other than the romance angle had angels, demons, and a back story, and didn’t focus purely on the romance which was nice. The appearance of the halo is something that I haven’t really come across in many books, and the way that this halo behaved, and what it was able to do was also pretty unique.
There was some talk about God and religion towards the end of the book, but that’s to be expected really in a book about angels and demons, and didn’t spoil the story, or make it too preachy.
Overall; I enjoyed this book, and I am pleased and eager to hear that this will be part of a series! Bring on the next instalment please!
8 out of 10.
Posted July 7, 2012
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I really enjoyed Shannon's Angel tale and look forward to reading more with the evil Damien.
I am all the way Team Jake. He is a gorgeous character. Human and a healer. I enjoyed the chemistry between Jake and our fragile female lead, Brielle.
Brielle is carrying a lot of pain on her shoulders, her friend Ali murdered three weeks prior. She has come home to Stratus , her hometown which holds another kind of pain. Her father is a lumberjack, her mother died of cancer when she was young. She sometimes counts things, it helps her.
There was a scene that I really loved, quite early into the book. Brielle was doing a dance in the ballet studio and a boy was watching her. I loved he huffed on the window and wrote 'sorry'.
This book is told from several POV's. Which I enjoyed. I really like Canaan, Jake's legal guardian.
Damien is a very spontaneous evil guy. He just lashes out and does what he feels will get him the instant attention he needs to resume his evil path. He does not like losing or coming second place. When he has his mind set on somebody, he gets his minions on the job.
I did love the way Shannon described the Celestial through the eyes of those that could see it. I am a sucker for a nice set of wings and certain characters have beautifully described wings. ( I know I am being coy or else it gives too much away )
Jake and Brielle become hot commodities and need to stay one step ahead of Damien and his minions.
There is a continual thread of mystery that is woven through the plot. Some things I could see on the horizon and some not.
The character's are all interwoven with Damien's master plan at the helm. But will he succeed?
I do love the cover of this book it has a lot of meaning to the story . I have not read a lot of angel books. None like this one. I am more Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. I look forward to the sequel.
Posted June 30, 2012
I have never read a book by Beth Moore before but I have heard great things about them and her bible studies. With that being said, A Heart Like His was a very good read. You can tell David is one of Beth's favorite people of the bible by how meticulous she is in her writing . The book does a very good job of detailing his life and experiences and how we can learn from them. I liked how the study started with the prophet Samuel, took us through the mistakes of King Saul and then the life of King David. There's a saying, you can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. And at first it may seem unnecessary to study Samuel and the Saul but they both played a important part in the life of King David.
The book also has review questions for every chapter. My suggestion is to make it like a bible study, read the chapter and answer the questions. I really appreciate with publishers include review questions or bible studies in their books, it gives you a chance to really meditate on what you're reading. And as a bonus there is a sample of the actually bible study for this book. My only gripe about the book is the tone/pace of the book. Its very stream-like and at times can put you in a restful state which can make it heard to complete.
Posted June 29, 2012
The story line was a little slow for me in the beginning, but once it got started things I found it hard to put down. Shannon Dittemore pens her characters thoughts and feelings with accuracy which I like. I found the book to be fascinating with scriptual truth, which is very rare to find.
I am a member of Book Sneeze and a copy of this book was provided to me.
Posted June 22, 2012
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Angels, Demons and Brielle.
Brielle returns home with broken dreams and a heavy heart. Her fear and sorrow is so strong it chills her to the bone. It seems like she will never be warm again. She tries to avoid her friends to no avail and her father is at a loss as how to help his little girl get over her night terrors.
When she returns to school she feels as if she is being shadowed. There is a new boy, Jake in her school and every time she turned around he was there. When he was near it was as if he radiated heat. She not only felt warm when he was near she also felt calm and safe. She soon discovered he was also her new next door neighbor.
The more time Brielle spent with Jake it became clear he was gifted. It is not just a coincidence that he sought her out he there along with others to protect her from unseen evils.
Really! Who and what is Jake? Why does he need to protect Brielle? What evil is it that surrounds her?
Author states."A realm that only angels and demons - and - Brielle can perceive."
This book is not the type of book I would normally read. I know my teen grandkids are going to enjoy reading this book. I have passed many good books on to them in the past so I know there will be a debate as to who gets this book first.
I enjoyed going over the Reading Group Guide after reading the book. I would love to share more but I will let you find out for yourselves.
I highly recommend this book, especially for young adults.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for this Litfuse PublicityTour review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
Posted June 21, 2012
First let me admit to more than a little cover love. Isn't this a distinctive and gorgeous cover? I think they did a fabulous job.
I also have to admit I was a little hesitant about this book. The YA market has more than a few angel books and, as a whole, they haven't impressed me. Most of them are angst and hormone driven rather than having anything to do with faith. Some don't have very impressive characters or plots either. So, with a deep breath and a critical mind, I started Angel Eyes. I couldn't have been more happy to be wrong.
This book starts with Brielle - who is hurting so much you can practically see her heart bleeding. You want to know her, to sit down with her and find out what happened. You want to watch her do the monkey dance (inside joke - read the book to find out). She is a fascinating character who is both typical for a teenager and reflective of the things she has gone through.
Jake is hot - on more than one level. I know that sounds cheesy, but reading the book it comes off just right. He is full of mystery and yet strangely comforting too. Maybe she should pull away from him - but he's one of the few things that makes her feel safe and more comfortable in the midst of everything. He also has his own issues - his own past and worries about the future.
One of the things I liked best about this was that the author so deftly wove in spiritual elements with the story. This feels like a real romance - in the midst of a very . . . "Frank Peretti-esque" adventure with spiritual warfare that all rings true Biblically. I loved the messages about who God is not changing and our response to Him should not change - even when we don't understand what's happening(ed)- and how no matter how the outcome may look to us, He never stops caring about us. There were some tough questions that were tackled very responsibly and I think that's great for any generation to hear.
I really enjoyed this imaginative and entertaining story. I look forward to the rest of the series. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing my copy through the Book Sneeze program. It in no way influenced my review.
Posted June 18, 2012
Brielle has lived a charmed life until recently. Receiving the chance to move to a bigger city to live out her dreams seemed like an amazing prospect. Then tragedy struck, and Brielle will never be the same. When she moves back to her small hometown, she meets a new boy. Jake will open Brielle's eyes to a world she never knew existed. As Brielle learns the truth about her present and her past, she will be forced to make some hard decisions and live with some difficult truths. Luckily, she has way more help then she ever imagined.
Angels and demons may not be a unique concept, but they are handled in a very fun and different way in this book. I loved Brielle. She was really a good person, she just doesn't always know it. Dealing with her guilt about the cards she had been thrown was so sad, so I was very happy when Jake could step in and help her begin the healing process. Of course Jake was the kind of guy readers will swoon over. The rest of the "good guys" really helped show how many ways people could be put into Brielle's life to help them. Who doesn't want to have a celestial support system looking after them?
I really enjoyed this book. I've read a few angel books, but this one was a bit different in good ways. There were even some surprises that truly shocked me. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. There are a lot of interesting issues touched on as well. This was a really good read that many people will enjoy!
Galley provided for review.
Posted June 14, 2012
This is a book that my daughter inhaled. While she devours most books, I wasn't sure she'd like this one because of it's strong supernatural tones. Instead, she loved it precisely for those reasons. This book strikes me as a teenage version of This Present Darkness, a book I loved as a teen because it stretched my imagination and thoughts regarding the struggles that are largely unseen.
The story pulled my daughter in. From the opening pages filled with a tragedy that propels Brielle home to her new gift that allows her to see things others can't. There's also a romance, but one with a twist. It's hard to say too much more without giving the plot away. Let's just say that this book illustrates the concept that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. And my daughter can't wait to read the next installment!
Posted June 13, 2012
I've been really excited for this one ever since I discovered it on Goodreads a few months back. And I'm so glad that it lived up to my expectations!
Reasons to Read:
1.Shannon's effective way of writing:
I quickly noticed how precise the language Shannon uses is when I started reading Angel Eyes; not only does it flow so well, but it's as if each and every word has been carefully thought over and selected so as to best convey the meaning and imagery she's picturing. It brings the entire story to life, and completely immerses you in Brielle's frame of mind. And this is something so rare and skillful, that Shannon easily deserves praise for being able to achieve this (and do it so well, I might add).
2.THERE ARE ADULTS:
Hurray for parental involvement! This shouldn't be such a novelty in a YA book, but it is. Brielle has a handful of caring, attentive adults in her life who do pay attention to her and try to help her in any way they can- yet still recognize that she's an independent young woman. And I think you can sort of count Canaan and company as adults as well, and it's nice to see a couple teenagers that aren't completely on their own.
3.Fresh take on angel mythology:
But how different can it be, right? Angels have been done over and over in YA. And Shannon Dittemore uses part Biblical interpretation and part imagination to conjure up a new type of angel we haven't really seen in YA before. Angels are involved in the story, but they don't really take up center stage- they have their own role to play, which is actually based on other characters.
4.So much more than a paranormal book:
Similarily, since the angels in Angel Eyes aren't the focus of the story, it follows that there are other more important elements involved. Angel Eyes isn't just about weird paranormal activity, a battle between angels and fallen angels, or falling in love; it deals with grief, faith, doubt, and free will. And something kind of cool about that idea of free will is that it comes up in a couple different ways; it's a struggle for many of the characters, those who try to reconcile what choices they are able to make and those who have lost their freedom because of others who have taken that right away.
Angel Eyes is an interesting book because of the perspective Shannon took with writing it; she very clearly poured so much of her own experience into the book, and her own convinctions heavily influences the story. That might be difficult for some people to swallow, but I think it's intriguing to read a book from an author with this very different perspective. Angel Eyes is definitely influenced by religious thoughts but I don't find it preachy whatsoever. It's the story of a girl with struggles surrounding faith and doubt, which is something just about every person will experience in their life. The difference is that not everyone will come to the same conclusion as Brielle- but I don't think that's a bad thing, to have a book written with this in mind.
Love that blooms a tad too quickly for my taste, but I did appreciate that Jake was so sweet. He may tease, but he's thoughtful and genuine. He treats Brielle as an equal, but recognizes that she has needs and tries to help her with those as well.
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley for blog tour. (Original review abridged for posting limitations)