Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee.
Brielle 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 an 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 begin.
A realm that only angels and demonsand Briellecan perceive.
About the Author
Shannon Dittemore has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. The daughter of one preacher and the wife of another, she spends her days imagining things unseen and chasing her two children around their home in Northern California. Angel Eyes is her first novel.
Read an Excerpt
By SHANNON DITTEMORE
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Shannon Dittemore
All right reserved.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
I'm on the 3d book now and don't want in tho end:-(
This book was such an awesome read that it was almost impossible to put down. It kept you interested from the very beginning which is what I really look for in a novel. I find that I was able to relate to the main character Brielle instantly. Her situation was not far fetched and could happen very easily to anyone in America. I loved that it was not fully of big intellectual wording that young readers would have a hard time understanding. Already recommended this book / series to numerous people~!
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!!
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.
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.
I have some really mixed feelings about ¿Angel Eyes¿ by Shannon Dittemore, so it was REALLY hard to rate and review it. So, I think I¿ll just share what I liked and disliked about the book and try to explain why I felt so conflicted about reading it.What I Liked:¿Angel Eyes¿ is a really well written book. Shannon Dittemore¿s writing was beautiful and often poetic. This in no way seems like a debut novel, but more like a book crafted by an author who has honed their writing skills for years. It honestly is surprising that this is her first novel. I enjoyed her writing style a lot and would like to read more from the author in the future.The plot is very interesting and imaginative. I really enjoyed the basic story line. The story of the conflict between Angels and Demons that takes place in the earthly realm and spiritual realm is an interesting idea. It puts me a bit in mind of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, another book in the same vein that I actually really enjoyed.I like that the book has a Christian slant and is not just a secular book about Angels with an overly generalized idea of God and Angels.What I Didn¿t LikeOkay, I¿ve never actually read any of the ¿Twilight¿ books, but even I can see the resemblance in the underlying ¿romance¿ thread in the book. I can certainly see that this book is geared toward the ¿Twilight¿ crowd, just with a Christian slant.The book is geared towards young adult readers. Specifically, young ladies. But, I honestly do not think I would recommend it for that age level, for the same reason I wouldn¿t recommend ¿Twilight¿ to them. So much of the story hinges on the main characters ¿connection¿ to each other.Why I¿m ConflictedI really did enjoy the writing and the story tremendously, but as I read, I never felt ¿right¿ about reading it. I can¿t quite put my finger on just why though. But, I was definitely in conflict about reading it. Maybe it was just the romantic, supernatural bent of the story and the immediate comparison in my mind to ¿Twilight¿. Whatever it was, I never quite felt comfortable reading it.
Angel Eyes was a fascinating story. The premise that angels live among us - and also demons - wasn't anything new but the way Dittemore "twisted" it made it not just another "good vs. evil" novel. It was captivating right from the beginning. As we're brought into the story we know that something tragic has happened, but it takes a but for Brielle to let us in on what's going on. As her story unveils itself we're also introduced to Jake who keeps showing up when Brielle least expects it. As the story gets more involved things really start to heat up and it becomes a fast-paced, intriguing, action packed story. What starts as a saddened girl going home to bury her anger and her guilt turns into a powerful heroine who helps fight in a battle against the evil forces at work. This was such a fresh perspective on angels and their roles in our lives. I loved the whole premise. Although it did take a bit for me to figure out what everyone's roles were going to be it was worth the wait. I can't say enough how much I liked this idea of Angel's and how they can be a part of our world and still be a part of the celestial world.The writing was amazing. When Brielle looks into the celestial realm what she sees was described so well that I could picture every bit of it. And it was amazing. I could feel the power that surges through Brielle when she is looking at our world in a whole different light. And when Jake's touch warms Brielle I got goose bumps because I swore I could feel it too. Even with all the seriousness and intensity of the story there was a lighter side. There were so many great humorous references to pop culture that really made me giggle. They were interspersed throughout the whole story and really added to the book. It was lightening an otherwise very intense book. This is the first book of a trilogy and I can not wait for the other two books. I think this is one that I will be able to read over and over again.
Brielle moved to the city to chase after her dreams and returned to the small town of Stratus, Oregon cold and numb and drowning in her own guilt and sorrow. is cold and numb, living inside her own grief and guilt after tragedy strikes Brielle does not know how to continue back at her old high school in her old town she is searching for a way to get warm again.There is a new kid in school and he radiates the heat that Brielle has been searching for, there is something about Jake that draws Brielle to him; however, there is something lurking in the shadows and it has its eyes on Jake and Brielle.Shannon Dittemore's new book Angel Eyes will be the next big Young Adult story! Once you start this book you will not want to put it down and wait in anticipation for the release of book 2. Dittemore has created strong characters that you can connect with and that invest you into the storyline. Brielle's story of self discovery is relatable to those of all ages. We've all seen the books about Angels and Demons but this story is nothing like them! I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, I love seeing a book that Young Adults can enjoy that is well thought out and not just another love story. Angel Eyes is a story of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, a reminder of the choices we make on a daily basis and that following Christ is a choice each of us will have to make.I received this book complimentary from Thomas Nelson Publishing through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
Brielle Matthews has returned home after the Murder of her best friend Ali. She and Ali studied ballet in Portland. After Ali's death, Brielle is consumed with guilt, fear, and loss. She has returned to her hometown to finish school. She ends up meeting the new guy at school Jake, and she feels drawn to him, even though she tries to deny it. They become friends, and then more. Brielle warms at Jake's touch, literally, especially after she injures herself in a fall. Jake touch not only heals her ankle, he helps to heal her heart. Little does she know that there is a lot more to Jake, and his guardian than she ever imagined. With all that has happened, Brielle questions her faith and her belief in God. Jake gives her a gift, and suddenly her eyes are opened to a realm that she wasn't aware of, where both angels and demons exist, and she is able to see things she never dreamed of. Brielle and Jake take part in this age-old battle between good and evil, light and darkness, which not only affects her life, but the lives of others hang in the balance also. She must not only face the truth surrounding Ali's death, but she also has to make a choice about her beliefs. I thought this was a very good book and I enjoyed it. I have read books about angels before, but there is something about this book that sets it apart from the others. That something different is the reality in which Shannon Dittemore has portrayed the world of angels and demons, which is both imaginative, intricate, and at the same time seems realistic. The angels that she describes sound like the real deal, and so do the demons. The angelic world that Dittemore has created is unbelievable (and I mean that in a good way), yet believable at at the same time. As far as romance, the relationship between Jake and Brielle develops gradually and is very sweet. There is a lot of action, mystery and suspense, especially towards the ending. The book is Christian fiction, so naturally there are going to be religious overtones. This was not overbearing in a preachy sort of way, but well done in a way that causes you think about your own beliefs......I think most everyone believes in something, we all just have to decide what that something is. If you enjoy books about angels, then this book is one you probably will want to check out.
This is such an excellent book! Full of action, biblical facts, its no wonder I was intrigued right away. What I loved most about this book is how greatly is is intertwined with real biblical facts. Most of the time when I read books, some times biblical aspects are not what I excepted but this book, YES! There is enough in the story to capture the reader but not too much to push them away. The action of the book is very well written.I loved watching Brielle come into her destiny. Chosen for something greater, Brielle pushes aside all what she ever know and took a leap of faith. Brielle is my type of gal. She's smart and fun with a loud mind. I loved reading her though cause I was thinking the same thing! LOLThe characters of the book were wonderfully written. I enjoyed watching each new door open and collapse with great new possibilities. The world building and how they got there powers really caught my eye. I'm excited to see what happens in the next installment.Angel Eyes is a powerful debut with amazing heroic characters. Nonstop action with loads of secrets, destiny has more in store for you than what you think. Excellent and witty, Angel Eyes is impressive!
This story really didn't go where I thought it would go. It is a very religious story about faith. The angels are the pretty traditional sort. Brielle is back home after a tragedy. Her best friend was murdered. She feels that she should have been able to do something to stop it. What she doesn't realize is that her friend's death came because a demon got involved with her. The story switches viewpoints with the chapters. Most of the chapters are from Brielle or Damien's point of view. Damien is the villain of the piece being a fallen angel who is trying to gain favor with Lucifer by corrupting humans. He feeds on fear. Brielle meets Jake when she comes home. He is about the only thing that can bring warmth back into her life. He offers her comfort. But Jake isn't your ordinary teenage boy. He is able to heal with his hands and has an angel for a guardian. He knows about the battle between the angels and demons and has a strong religious faith.Brielle lost her mother at age three and doesn't remember her at all. Her father lost his faith in God after his wife's death and has raised Brielle without religion. Now Brielle is confronted with the fact that God exists and that angels and demons are battling here on earth. She has a hard time understanding a God who can let bad things happen to good people.The book had some thrilling adventures as Brielle, Jake and his guardian angel Canaan battle evil demons including Damien to save the lives of children who are being sold. It also had some romance as Jake and Brielle get to know each other. But the strongest part of the book for me was the religious themes of faith and belief. This one would go well in a Christian school and will appeal to my religious students.
Just how far would you go for the ones that you love? Would you be willing to lay down your life for theirs? How about if you just met? How long would it take and just what is the value of a life?Brielle Matthews is about to find out when she returns home after the death of her best friend, Ali and the ongoing investigation into her death in which Brielle feels personally responsible for. She feels this is a death she could have prevented. She had seen the signs, the fear, the long-moments in between visits and phone calls and of course the bruises all over her body. Not to mention the fact that her new boyfriend, Marco seemed to like to keep her all for himself lately. Now it's too late but how can Brielle expect to find a way to move forward in her life when fear and despair are keeping her captive.Jake is the new kid in school this year and Brielle finds every single girl in school wants to meet him. Fortunately she has him in two of her classes and he seems to have a special interest in Brielle. Maybe it's that smoldering look in his eyes or perhaps it the incredible heat that comes off him whenever they are near one another especially in the middle of winter and somehow she is drawn to him in a way she can't explain. She soon finds herself confiding in him with her issues and spends her free time getting to know him. It turns out he is an only child and is being raised by his guardian, Canaan after a tragic childhood himself. It seems that Jake and Brielle are destined to be together and soon he will tell her just why he has come into her life.In the darkness, evil waits in the town of Stratus, Oregon. An evil that wants nothing more than to control and rule, but since humans are hard to find with special gifts, Damien searches for a way to satisfy his hunger. When he learns that Jake has the gift of healing, he soon plots for a way to kidnap him and lure him away from God and into what he has been planning. Only his guardian angel stands guard to protect him at all costs and soon the battle lines will be drawn and both human and angels will be called to war.In the debut novel, Angel Eyes, by Shannon Dittmore, the reader is immersed in the story of two different worlds, one seen and one not seen. The world of humans and how angels and demons can work between them. In this story we are given a rare glimpse into the roles angels play in the lives of Brielle and Jake and how the demons will stop at nothing to kill either of them. What purpose Jake and Brielle have in coming together is explained in this wonderful new series that enables them to use a special gift from God to help battle against the enemy. For those of you that love This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, then I know you will love this new series of books.I received Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittmore compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review and can't wait to read the sequel Broken Wings coming out soon. I love stories that combine spiritual warfare in the unseen world parallel with our own human world and this one does an outstanding job at drawing the reader in. This is both a love story and an action adventure from a Christian perspective. The writing is astounding, poetic and lyrical in how she describes the unseen world from God's eyes. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and now have another new favorite Christian author whose writing speaks to my parched soul.
Angel Eyes really surprised me, and in a completely good way. When I think about angel stories I tend to think of the watered down versions, such as Hush, Hush or Halo which are really focused on the romance of an angel with a human and little to do with what the purpose of an angel truly is. So I was prepared for something similar here. Angel Eyes, thankfully, does not skirt around its religious center.Brielle is dealing with the belief that her own inaction caused the death of her best friend. Moving back home with her dad, to finish out high school is supposed to be a time to recover and get back to a semblance of normal. When she meets Jake everything starts to change. Angel Eyes is told from multiple points of view, with Brielle being the main character. I loved how Brielle didn't just accept what Jake tells her. She doubts, even after proof, even after witnessing a battle between an angel and a demon, she has doubts, and she voices them. Brielle is not a weak character, waiting for a hero to rescue her. She is strong and independent, and she doesn't want to accept that her destiny may already be decided. There were points that I felt her unwillingness to believe completely in everything happening around her was a bit forced, but Dittemore manged to bring it back to why Brielle couldn't simply believe. I do wish we'd heard more from Jake's perspective. About halfway through the story we really start to learn about his life, and I wanted to experience what he'd been thinking and feeling when he first meet Brielle. The supernatural part of the story was really well done. We get to see the beauty that comes with angels, but also the darker side of their role when the battle for Jake and Brielle begins. I wish I could go more into details, but it would give away too much of the story. I will say that the golden ring Brielle is holding on the cover is very important :)Angel Eyes is ultimately a battle of good versus evil, of angels verses demons, and Dittemore wrote it without coming across as preachy. This is clearly Christian fiction, but it's written in a way that doesn't exclude non-Christians from reading or enjoying. The action and romance are both strong, the story is fast paced, and the ending is action packed. I would definitely recommend anyone looking for a love story.
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 before
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Disclosure 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.
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.