After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.
A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in their earthly mission, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
About the Author
Heather Burch, the author of the popular Halflings series, spent the last seven years in Southern Florida but recently returned to her hometown in the Ozark Mountains. Her books have garnered praise from USA Today, Romantic Times, and Booklist magazine. When not working on her latest novel, she can be found hiking in the hills or planning a trip to the beach with her husband, John, who is her hero in every way.
Read an Excerpt
By Heather Burch
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2012 Heather Burch
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFangs sank into Nikki Youngblood's leg, setting her skin on fire. A scream gurgled in her throat, but she willed herself past trees smeared by her jarred vision. Her jacket snagged on a branch. No, no, no ... She jerked free, casting a glimpse backward at the gnarled faces behind her. The lead beast stumbled over paws caked with mud. She seized the moment to widen the distance.
Run. Her lungs burned. Just keep running.
Her feet, now numb, thumped against the dense carpet of the forest floor. Once a place of security, a quiet sanctuary of solitude and escape, her woods had morphed into a house of terror complete with four grotesque dog-wolves tracking her every step.
Despite her years of martial arts, of seeing herself as tough and in control, Nikki was completely helpless. But that didn't mean she had to die. Karate had taught her to stay calm in all manner of attack. Though I don't think this is what you had in mind, Sensei.
One minute she's perched against a rock, drawing. The next, she's running from ... from ...
She started to glance back, but stopped herself. Concentrate on escape. Don't concentrate on your enemy.
Besides, she didn't even know what those dog-things were. But one thing was certain: they were out for blood and Nikki was an easy mark for the vicious beasts.
Exhaustion squeezed each muscle, depriving them of strength. Likewise, it pushed at her consciousness, promising failure. When she thought her lungs might literally burst, a momentary, blinding flash of light sparked above her, as if the universe were snapping a picture of her dilemma. Within seconds of the spark of light, a sound descended. Church bells? The reverberation of a thousand muted bells soothed her nerves and curled around her like a warm blanket after a nightmare. The unearthly noise filled her ears, a beautiful hum closing her in. But the tempo rose higher and higher it until it caused the backs of her eyes to throb.
The dog-wolves began to moan. She glanced back—the four monsters had crumbled to the ground, their taut, muscled legs folding beneath them. One raked his head in the dirt and grass, his massive paw clawing brutally at his ear. The sound. Convulsing and groaning, their desperate plea to escape the melodic cry of the bells filled the air around her. Nikki took in short puffs, knees nearly buckling beneath her where she'd slid to a stop. The first flicker of relief tried to manifest, but Nikki knew she wasn't out of trouble yet. Her mind reeled, searching for a feasible escape. But her eyes watered, causing her to press a flat palm to her temple where it throbbed from the wind song.
Wind song; that's all she could think to call it. And right now—whether causing a killer migraine or not—anything able to stop the ugly wolves ranked at the top of Nikki's new favorite things list. The pain intensified, but she still kept her attention riveted on the wolves. Were they wolves? She still wasn't sure. Each one was dark as a black hole, with hollow eyes she couldn't seem to look into directly. When she forced herself to lock eyes with one of the beasts, a cold river of pure fear streaked down her spine as if the wolf seized her very soul, choking out life and leaving a tormenting void.
The creatures' legs had folded and twisted into awkward positions, claws scraping at the ground, then at their ears. Wait, that's not mud on the dogs. It's ... dried blood. Her eyes blurred, causing her sense of survival to kick in. Head still throbbing like a bass guitar at a concert and with one hand at the side of her face, she ran. Through the tree line she caught a glimpse of silver. Yes! The gate to the football field. She'd make it to the other side and this nightmare would be over.
Was it just a nightmare? Some indigestion-induced dream? She could have fallen asleep in the woods while she drew the picture of ...
What had she been drawing? She couldn't remember.
But this was no dream. She was awake. Awake and aware of the spongy grass collapsing beneath her feet, aware of the scent of moist pine hanging on the forest walls. Aware of the searing sensation in her calf where the thing had sunk its teeth.
Eyes fixed on the fence, she tried to take a breath but managed only tiny gasps. Get to the gate. Just get to the gate. As if the deserted football field on the other side could somehow offer safety. Four dog-wolf-things had chased her through a quarter of a mile of woods; why would five feet of chain link stop them? She pushed on, leaping over rotting tree roots protruding from the earth like the twisted fingers of a witch. She imagined her legs getting tangled in the mass of vines, imagined the weathered roots reaching for her as she bounded past. Determination swept into her soul. With sickening certainty, Nikki knew she was racing for her life.
And more. Things, big things, world changing things factored into her circumstance. She didn't know how she knew it. But she did. And for the first time in her seventeen years of life, Nikki felt a destiny awaiting her. Fear and dread careening in her soul, and deadly hounds at her back, Nikki felt alive.
* * *
"Raven, the song is hurting her too," Mace said, anxiety creeping into his words as he peered over the rock ledge.
Raven scowled through his too-long bangs. "The Angel Song doesn't hurt humans. It only affects the evil within."
"Then you should be writhing on the ground with the hounds," Mace mumbled.
Raven chuckled and sank his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
Mace shifted his weight and slid his hands down his thighs. "It's time to intervene." If Raven thought he was going to torture this girl for fun, he was dead wrong. What made him think he was in charge, anyway? Just because he'd been on more journeys, and was the oldest of the three Lost Boys? So what. Experience didn't make a capable leader. The best leaders were those who put the welfare of their soldiers before their own. Anyone who knew Raven knew he only looked out for himself.
Beside him, Mace felt Vine's apprehension rise. For a quick moment, he closed off the noisy world and quieted his own soul, tuning into Vine's heart rate. Mace's gaze narrowed slightly as he listened to the kid's breathing pattern. Inhale. Exhale. All in check. Just first-time jitters.
Assured Vine was okay and ready for the fight, Mace's gaze returned to the pretty teenage girl trying to escape a nightmare sent directly from the pit. Her name echoed in his head: Nikki Youngblood. He'd known her name instantly. They all had. One of the perks of being a Halfling. Her shoulders were narrow, arms thin, but looked tone beneath her snug windbreaker. A small, straight nose rested above full lips that remained parted as she panted with each pounding step. Large eyes stayed focused on the field before her. Maybe pretty was an understatement. There was something ... captivating about her. It wasn't her face. It wasn't the long train of golden-brown hair that trailed behind her as she ran. It was her absolute tenacity to outrun her pursuers, her determination to survive. He'd watched grown men crumble at the sight of a single hell hound; she was chased by four. And crumbling didn't seem to be in her list of options. She'd kicked free from the hound when it bit into her calf muscle, then with a limp bolted for the gate of the football field, and he could sense as well as smell her resolve. But a mere human girl against four hell hounds? Zero chance for survival there.
"Haven't you seen enough?" Mace spat.
Raven gave a noncommittal shrug and finger-combed his hair away from his eyes. "What's your rush?"
Mace glanced fifty feet below—first at the girl, then the hounds. "She's terrified."
"Yeah," Vine agreed. "She looks really scared."
Raven smiled, white teeth shining in the disappearing light. "So?"
"You're a jerk." Mace spread his arms and prepared to descend. One of the benefits of being a Halfling: a fifty-foot drop was nothing. He snapped his wings open to swoop down, but before he could drop off the ledge something hit him square across the chest. Air whooshed from his lungs as he landed with a thud.
"She'll see you," Raven snapped. As he stared down at the girl, a surprising—almost tender—look crossed his face, only to be whisked away by his normal demeanor of cold detachment. But Mace had seen it, and the flash of compassion shocked him.
"You're not in charge, Raven." Mace said, rising from the rocky terrain. Once on his feet he dusted his rear end, partly to remove the dirt, partly to keep his hands busy so they wouldn't ball into fists and pound Raven into the ground.
"Be patient." Raven's voice lowered to a purr.
Mace's jaw clenched. He hated this part of an assignment. Yes, okay, sometimes it was important to let things play out a little, to not sail in and rescue too quickly. But the human side of Mace despised it. The angelic side of him ... well, the more journeys he completed, the less human he felt. Just as well. It was a world out of reach, and he needed to remember that.
He knew Raven would only allow intervention at the last possible moment. Mace felt the short hairs on the back of his neck rise along with the anger crawling up his spine. "Why would we have been sent if we weren't going to be utilized?"
Raven's eyes flashed fascination. "Maybe just for entertainment?"
Vine's mouth dropped open, his white-blond hair falling forward. "Entertainment?" He shot a quick, questioning look to Mace. "Does that happen? I mean, are we sent to just watch stuff like this?" Trepidation clouded those naive blue-gray eyes.
Mace sometimes marveled at the fact Vine was only two earth years younger than him; his innocence glowed like morning dew, quickly visible and quickly trampled into the mud.
Raven's mouth twisted. "Our kind does it all the time." No dew softened Raven's stark features and face cut into strong angles. His eyes, once bright blue, had darkened to midnight in recent years, which didn't bode well. "You know, earth girls are hot when they're running for their lives."
That was it. Mace dove for Raven, sick of his antics and, well, sick of him in general. Raven sidestepped and in an instant the two were nose-to-nose, fists drawn.
Mace cast a glance to Vine. For the first time, the kid looked like a warrior. Ready to step in if the two older boys came to blows. Go, Vine.
Mace exhaled a long breath and lowered his hands. Adrenaline surged into his muscles and pulled every ligament into a tight cord.
Cool confidence oozed from Raven as he tilted his chin into the sun, as if daring Mace to strike.
"I won't fight you, Raven," Mace said. Vine needs some sort of role model. Which he'll never have if I keep getting sucked in by Raven's games. He forced his attention away from the Halfling and focused on the pitiful scene unfolding beneath them. A fist fight wouldn't help the girl either.
Long hair floated behind her. Strands matted across her delicate face where her skin glistened with a silky sheen of sweat. She smelled like fear. The scent curled into the wind and rose on pleading wings, calling to him.
When she reached the fence, her golden eyes flashed relief. Mace watched a moment longer. "Raven, there's nothing to learn. Look at her." He gestured toward Nikki Youngblood and the hell hounds no longer chasing her. The four beasts whimpered, trying to escape the Angel Song drifting around them. Nikki trembled at the gate to the football field, hands shaking when she spotted the padlock secured with a thick chain.
"She's here for a reason, Mace. We have to find out what it is." With a twinkle in his eye, Raven clapped his hands and the Angel Song died. "Time to party."
Sometimes the worst part of being a Halfling was standing aside and letting events happen as they're supposed to. Maybe that was the worst part of being any created being. Mace's eyes drifted shut. Without the Angel Song to torture them, the hounds would once again be on the hunt. And Nikki Youngblood would be as good as dead.
* * *
"Come on," Nikki pleaded, willing her hands to stop quaking. Her fingers bled where she'd slammed them into the fence. She jerked back and forth on the entrance, a vain attempt to break the lock, and hopelessness born of despair slipped down her body like deadwood slipping into the sea after a storm. She was trapped. Blood began to work its way through her veins but brought with it a new form of torture. Splinters rather than blood seemed to course through her while her head pounded rhythmically.
Then the wind song disappeared.
The dogs stopped groaning. The forest dropped to a dead, graveyard quiet. No little bunnies or squirrels rambling through the fallen leaves. Just stillness. Just the promise of death.
A rustle behind her evoked a fresh wave of nausea. Desperate hands tightened on the crisscrosses of chain link. If she had the energy, she'd climb. But fear and torment had stolen the last shreds of her strength, leaving nothing but a bundle of exhausted nerves.
She dropped her head to her hands and closed her eyes. A twig snapped, forcing her head up. She tried to swallow, but her mouth and throat were cotton.
As a breeze skirted through the trees, cooling the sweat on her face, Nikki cast a reluctant glance over her shoulder.
The lead dog-wolf moved toward her methodically, a long bead of saliva dripping from his mouth. She watched as each paw landed on the ground. Nikki frowned. He seemed almost ... fearful as well. Was he scared of her? She turned, chin jutting forward. "What?" she spat, addressing the hound. "You afraid I might pop the cork on a bottle of screaming bell song again?"
Head dropping between his wide shoulder blades, he stared at her with those empty eyes. She hated that posture, that stalking, ready-to-lunge stance. Wolves at the zoo did the same thing and it freaked her out even though they were on one side of the enclosure and she on the other. She didn't even like to see her dog Bo stand like that. It was too predatory, too anxious to kill.
"Oh man," she mumbled. What did I just do? Her valor dissolved at her feet as the breeze moved again, this time pushing a rotten scent toward her. Nikki nearly gagged on the putrid odor. Rancid meat has nothing on these wolves. Years ago, some boys at her school had put a dead pig inside a car and locked it in a garage of an empty house. Weeks of scorching heat not only ruined the car, the house had to be demolished as well. When the vehicle was opened, the stench fetid animal threaded through several blocks of her neighborhood. At the time, she thought she'd never again smell anything so foul. She was wrong.
The beast growled deep in his throat and the sound invaded every cell of her being. Black lips curled back to expose yellowed fangs. Round eyes grabbed and swallowed light into the empty, soulless pits that were its sockets.
She pressed her back into the chain links. Tears rushed to her eyes as the other hounds appeared from the woods, leaving no way to escape.
The hunt was over. This is where she'd die.
Wiggling on his back haunches, the wolf leapt.
She cupped her hands over her head for protection, watching through the crook of her arm as the animal attacked. Scarred paws stretched toward her, razor-sharp claws seeming to grow larger and larger as they filled her vision. Why wouldn't the song return? Frantic, Nikki cried, "God, help me!"
A whoosh of cool air blasted her body and an explosion of light soared past. An instant later something solid slammed against her, shoving her to the ground. Her head thundered on impact. As she fought to take in air, white sparked above. She could hear voices, and the wolf's growl, but remained unable to focus her eyes or attention.
White again. With it, the dog creature screeched. A sickening voice entered her ears, whispering, hissing like a hundred snakes. It referred to something as sons of God.
Was the wolf talking? She couldn't see. White —white everywhere. Her mind whirred as an electrical current ran the length of her being: head to foot, foot to head, zipping through her, electrifying and depriving her muscles of movement.
Consciousness slipped away. As her eyes closed for the final time, a velvet voice soothed, "You're safe now, daughter of man."
Excerpted from Halflings by Heather Burch Copyright © 2012 by Heather Burch. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. 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.
What People are Saying About This
Every now and then an author comes along that makes me leap up and shout, 'Yes! We have a winner!' Heather Burch's debut novel, Halflings, is well-written, creative, and most of all flat out captivating story telling. Highly recommended.'
James L. Rubart
Best selling author James L. Rubart, Author
'Heather Burch's writing feels effortless. Her conflicted characters are both human and divine, caught in an ageless battle set against a modern backdrop. And she leaves us sooo thirsty for more!'
NY Times bestselling author of Fireproof and Two Seconds Late Eric Wilson, Author
'From a fiery heroine to her otherworldly bodyguards, from conflicting desires to the terror of hell houndsHalflings is a nonstop thrill ride through teeth-clenching dangers and the complexities of the human (and half-human) heart. Heather Burch is a top-notch storyteller, pure and simple.'
Author of The 13th Tribe, Comes a Horseman, and the Dreamhouse Kings series Robert Liparulo, Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Why is it so short????????????????????????? (:)
Was a cute short story. I hope there is a series to go with it. :)
From the title i thought sure why not thinking it'd be an okay book. WRONG. I fell in love with the book Nikki may seem fearless at first but she isnt. Shes vulenerable and curious which leads her to a relevation like no other. Throughout her journey she finds what seems like forbidden love. Only one thing will escape your mouth when finishing this book. MORE. Enough said for an epic.
Can't write a review when you only get 20 pages counting the pages before the story starts.
Always looking for good sci fi/fantasy. Although this is more of a teen read, it was still enjoyable for someone "middle aged". Looking forward to book 2.
Ok. So I've only read the sample and its going great so far in the book:) The tittle and cover got my attention since I saw it. I am going to buy the rest of the book as soon as I can. :D
Halflings gets off to fast start. Our main character, Nikki Youngblood, is painting in the woods when she is attacked by enormous, otherworldly creatures called hellhounds. Even though her death seems imminent, Nikki bravely faces the monsters until three gorgeous boys come to her rescue. The boys Mace, Raven and Vine are Halflings: the product of fallen angels and humans and are outcasts in both Heaven and on Earth. Nikki is an interesting character. She portrayed as a tough, no-nonsense girl, one who has a black belt in karate, drives a motorbike and prefers boyfriend jeans and vintage tees to dresses and make-up. I had a hard time identifying with Nikki mainly because I think the character rejects anything feminine. For the record, I think it’s possible to rock at karate and be into bikes while still being girly. In contrast, Nikki’s best friend, the one who is very girly encourages her to be more feminine, is portrayed as being shallow and boy crazy. I understand and appreciate the message that the author is sending to teen girls but this tomboy character is becoming a bit of a stereotype in YA these days. While the author tells us that Nikki is a fighter, she does little fighting but gets rescued a lot by the Halflings. There isn’t a huge love triangle here, Nikki is more involved with one boy than with the other and insta-love is involved. I liked the boys. Mace, considered the good one, is more idealistic and while Raven is supposed to be bad, he just seemed jaded and snarky to me. I didn’t find the angel mythology in Halflings offensive, especially after recently reading two angel books that I did not like at all (Embrace and Fallen). While the mythology had some holes in it, I just went with it and hope those holes will be filled in with the next book in the series. The romance is Halflings is sweet and the action is exciting. Halflings will undoubtedly appeal to younger teens (its intended audience) who will especially like the three swoon-worthy boys, forbidden love, the quasi love-triangle and paranormal romance. I seriously doubt they will have the issues I did. Parents can also breathe easy as this is an angel book with no questionable content and even has a solid message about putting the greater good above serving yourself. Despite my issues with Halflings, I do recommend it to teens who love paranormal romance. The ending leaves a lot of questions and a huge opening for the second book in the series, Guardian, which comes out in October.
Ok for 15 pages
What I Loved I adored the suction power of the opening lines and pages of this book. From the first moment I met Nikki, I was drawn into her world, into the mystery she's caught up in, and the danger she's running from. The magnetism is my favorite part of this story...and I can already tell that I can look forward to the whole series being the same way. Heather Burch's writing style is stunning. I realized that when I read the prequel for the first time. Amazing. And the perfect sneak peek at what the book would bring. The storytelling is just as good as the writing. From the first, the mood was set for this one-of-a-kind adventure story where Nikki and her strange protectors are fighting not only for their lives ~ but for something much, much bigger. I don't usually appreciate being left out of the loop until so late into the book (and I still feel as I've only just begun to scratch the surface of just what makes these Halflings tick) but this story unfolded at the perfect pace to keep me thinking, guessing, and looking forward to reading more. What I Didn't Like As Much I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up to participate in this blog tour. I had no idea what a Halfling was, but they sounded so intriguing and the book promised to be so good. I was happy to see that Heather Burch never distorts Scripture in any way ~ but she does weave an edge-of-your-seat story that plunges your imagination into a unique adventure! So though the premise of this story and half-angels unnerved me at first, I have no complaints. It's an entertaining debut novel that promises great things from this author.
Halflings. Half human... half angel.That's all I needed to know!It starts off quick with lots of action and you instantly get sucked right in, running through the forest and trying to catch your breath while trying to figure out what is going on, right along with Nikki Youngblood.Nikki was definitely not who I expected her to be! From the synopsis, I got the impression of 'damsel in distress', but she is quite the opposite - this girl is super smart, gutsy, stubborn and forthright.Meet the "Lost Boys"... Mace. Oh, sweet Mace!The leader. The rule follower. The one with the biggest heart.And then Raven. Raven.The confused 'bad boy' - but instantly you can tell that it is all just a front and you will grow a soft spot for this tough guy...And lastly, but certainly not the least in one bit, Vine.Vine is the youngest of the three 'brothers' - innocent, sweet, and probably the strongest.Halflings reminded me of Peter Pan's story - the angels refer to themselves as 'lost boys' and Mace definitely played the Peter Pan lead-role, while Nikki was a lot like Wendy; and "Captain Hook" and his minions are everywhere!This book is fast paced, the story is laid out well, the writing is good and easy to follow...but I can't help but feel that the book was a bit short! It ended too quick for me - it left me hanging and wanting to know more about ALL the characters, which is good! It ends a good spot where you know that the story will pick up where it exactly left off and storm ahead with more action, love... and lots of angel wings!
So, as I began this book I knew what I was looking for, though the book is predictable, there were a few incidents that caught me off guard.First off, the plot is good. I like how easy it flowed. Nothing is confusing but pretty paid out how it is. You know what to expect and how to handle it. Now, I don't usually compare books to other books, but this book definitely felt like Twilight. It had the misfits, a strong family, and a girl discovering who she is. This book pretty much is a feel good book. I loved reading about each character. All the characters had a unique pull to them. My heart really went out to Raven. He took my breathe away so many times. (I always fall for the bad boy! LOL)Now, Ms. Burch pulled one over me with the love interest! I was so surprised to see it change directions so quickly. I mean I really thought how I knew for sure who she fall for and BAM! New boy. It was good change. Nothing I expected but so good at the same time.Halflings has charming characters that make a beautiful story. With lots of action, fighting and scenes to make you melt, Halflings charming tale.
I wasn¿t sure what to think before I started reading Halflings. It turned out to be a very captivating read. I opened it up and couldn¿t leave the computer before I finished it. In 288 pages I was able to get to know the main characters¿ motivations and weaknesses. Nikki is apparently special to the supernatural world. Beyond her role as a Seer, which she performed sparingly, the reason she¿s being targeted is unknown. I have a few speculations as to what might be so special about Miss Nikki Youngblood, and Halflings is the kind of story that reveals information little by little so that, as the series goes on, speculations will be confirmed or disaffirmed. The conclusion of the story doesn¿t end with a complete resolution, where everything is solved and there¿s no hope for a sequel, but shows the direction the story is taking.The Lost Boys were extremely interesting and I loved reading from their points of view. I was rooting for Raven throughout the story, because he really put the `lost¿ in Lost Boys. I enjoyed how all the characters were flawed and dealt with their unique internal conflicts.The introduction of some characters like Glimmer and Winter weren¿t fully expounded upon. The way the story seems to go, they may not really be needed. They didn¿t make much contribution in Halflings. Hopefully in the next book they¿ll really make an impact.Halflings is an enjoyable debut for this YA series of mystery and the supernatural.
Halflingsby Heather Burchpublished by Zondervanavailable 2/1/12The idea behind this book is very promising. Three half god/half man Halflings who are sent to this 'realm' to protect humans from 'the enemy'. The book has a fascinating beginning with main character Nikki, a 17 year old girl, running for her life from 4 hell hounds. Yes, 4 hellhounds. The halflings jump in at just the right time to save her. I think there is far more to this teenage girl than meets the eye. Why would four hellhounds chase after a teenage girl?The character of Nikki was ok. I wouldn't consider her to be one of the more memorable female characters from today's YA books.The halfling boys, now they are another story. The interaction between Mace, Raven and Vine is just too entertaining for words. They act like real brothers. They annoy each other constantly, but you know they will watch each others backs, no matter what. Throughout this book, I kept expecting Sam and Dean Winchester of TV's Supernatural to jump into the room and save the day. It didn't happen.Like a tv show, there really wasn't much resolved in this book. Hopefully book two will be able to answer many of my questions. I give this book 3/5 stars and recommend it to all lovers of angel stories.
This book has alot of potential. I do like how Nikki is being pursued romantically by two guys. The author made those two guys great as a potential match. The changing viewpoints shows how the character actually thinks and what others think of them is also nice. The pace is average. I do seem to be frustrated that the anticipation of who the villain is never seems to get answered. Still hasn't. Guess I have to read the second book to find out...
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves Halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret-and the wings that come with it.A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys' powers, as well as her role in a scientist's dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world (summary courtesy publisher via NetGalley).This book left me scratching my head, for a variety of reasons. Not one single question put forth in this book was answered at the end. Usually when a book gives you some type of mystery or question to be explored and answered, even if sequels are planned, the author will give you some answers. I knew about as much when I finished the book as I did when I started it. Too many things were left unexplored and unanswered. Another thing I had a difficult time with was the occasional slip from third person to first person. The first couple of times it happened, I assumed it was because I was reading an ARC and it was simply a mistake. But it kept happening. I finally realized about half way through the book that those occasional slips were actually the characters thinking to themselves. To me, it just looked like an editing mistake. Quotations marks or a simple ¿she thought¿ would have fixed that problem. Sometimes, the story line was a bit difficult to follow because time didn¿t flow consistently throughout the story. It would jump forward and back in time, leaving me stumped as to what exactly was happening. A lot of this could have been solved with editing. I also found it difficult to connect with any of the characters. The boys and their personalities were built solely on their looks. Every time any of them appeared in the story, the reader heard about ¿muscles under shirts, muscles flexing, and muscles rippling¿ or their hair and how it flowed around them. The one character I felt had the most potential to be interesting was never given any other characterization other than a description of what his long, blond hair was doing while he fought, or walked, or ran. Oh, and he liked candy. After about ten chapters, I was beyond tired of hearing the boys being described. I know what they look like, move on! The main character Nikki, was really hard to figure out. Sometimes she seemed confident and put-together, other times she seemed wishy-washy. Other times, she came across as a petulant brat. Burch seemed to put action before characterization, which was disappointing. A little bit of character-building could have gone a long way toward making this a better book. Unfortunately, I had a bigger issue with this book than some unanswered questions, editing issues and lack of character development. Let¿s just say that I have read this book before. Only that time, its title was Twilight. Maybe this book should have been called Twilight 2.0¿The Angel Version. I thought maybe I was just imagining things, but then I decided to jot down the similarities I found between the two. It was definitely not my imagination. Similarities to Twilight (*may contain spoilers*):¿Paranormal boy(s)¿Girl that needs protecting¿Boy breaks the rules to see the girl.¿They are ¿inexplicably drawn to each other.¿¿The boys are gorgeous, often referred to as ¿Greek Gods.¿¿The boys move with unnatural speed,¿One of the boys can ¿pick up a thought or two.¿¿Almost a direct quote from Twilight (and one of the most famous): ¿¿there was a tiny part and she wasn¿t sure how powerful that part was¿¿¿The boys can drive really fast because their
Seventeen-year-old Nikki Halfblood is running for her life from a pack of strange wolves when she is rescued by a mysterious stranger with beautiful blue eyes. She soon learns that she has been targeted by the forces of evil, and her mysterious rescuer is a boy named Mace, one of three "halflings" - supernatural beings on a mission that includes keeping Nikki safe. Heather Burch's Halflings, like many of the supernatural YA romances released lately, revolves around a main character who is strong, self-assured, and a little out of place in her own world. Nikki Halfblood is refreshingly happy and well adjusted. When the story begins, Nikki is not recovering form some terrible tragedy, she lives with her incredibly cool parents (they sell antique weapons and bought her a motorcycle), she has close friends and no real enemies. The love triangle that forms between Nikki, good-guy Mace, and bad boy Raven (another halfling) is surprisingly unpredictable. Where Halflings falters is in the creation of a solid mythology for the series. The first book in a series is charged with laying the mythological foundation, this book keeps its cards a little to close to the vest. While there is clearly something special about Nikki, the book ends on a shocking and abrupt cliffhanger, before anything about Nikki is revealed. The effect is such that the book felt unfinished. Regardless, it will interesting to see where Nikki's story goes next.
3.5 - 4 STARSIt's not often I come across an angel book that I really enjoy, but HALFLINGS by Heather Burch has made the cut to being one of my favorites! I enjoyed the story-line greatly because there was always something going on. Plenty of action and SO much drama! There is also a love triangle and although those can be tiresome and played-out, Heather did well in putting in her own twist that got me pining for both guys. It will have you pulling your hair out, spazzing on whom to team up with. Raven and Mace are definitely swoon worthy and can give any girl a hard time in making a choice. As for their brother Vine, he is just the cutest thing to mellow the two out and balance all the madness. I was glued to the pages! The characters are extremely well thought of and can easily get you attached; Oh my gosh! I tear jerked so much on more than one occasion.The only set back that bothered me is that at some points it would bounce from one story to the next, which gave pause and I had to recall what was going on to get back on track. I also wanted the story to go further into detail who Vessler is and get a grasp as to know if he's really a dangerous person, or a pond to someone who is more maniacal. Also, the significance of Dr. Richmond was a little flat. The role of Seer for Nikki was a bit lacking and unclear. She barely used her powers in the story and it doesn't explain how she acquired it, or how it makes her a huge importance for the enemy to want her so badly. I just wished there was a little more back play added. The ending killed me. I really didn't like it. It left you empty and upset because it was in a way cheezy and anti-climatic. Although I hate cliffhangers at times, I was really hoping for one here. One that would have me standing on the edge craving for more. With all my negatives the positives still outweigh the dislikes. I am looking forward to meeting back up with Nikki, Mace, Raven, and Vine in Guardian (Halflings #2). Halflings by Heather Burch is a great addition to the Angel genre! I enjoyed this 2012 Debut and I think you will too!
This is a trend that is both amusing and interesting to me: angels come to earth and go to high school as part of their ¿mission¿ and invariably fall for a hot human. What¿s going on the zeitgeist?Traditionally, young adult literature is said to offer a window through which teens can examine their lives and the rarified world they inhabit. Modern-day issues are discussed in contemporary language, and whether invoking fantasy or a ¿problem,¿ usually young love or ¿coming of age¿ is woven into the story. If there is a moral, or message, the goal is for it to be subtle, and not browbeaten into the reader. Angels struggling to keep focused on their heavenly mission while being tempted by humanity is the perfect way, it seems to me, to accomplish both browbeating and subtlety all at the same time. Halflings does a particularly nice job of that, because this is a story about angels who are not totally divine or irreparably fallen; rather, they are in between.¿Halflings¿ or ¿lost boys¿ (although there are a few females) are half fallen angel and half human. They cannot be admitted to heaven, but they can stay out of hell by fighting on the side of good. When not on a mission from God, they hang out in ¿the midplane,¿ which is an intermediary supernatural realm. Small groups of Halflings are assigned to a caretaker, who receives communications from Heaven about their missions. Will is the caretaker of the three ¿lost boys¿ who are the novel¿s main protagonists: Raven, Mace, and Vine. Their mission is to protect Nicole (¿Nikki¿) Youngblood, a beautiful and exceptional 17-year-old girl, and so the guys enroll in her high school. For some reason that none of them can yet figure out, Nikki is the focus of an attack from the Underworld. As the boys struggle to save Nikki from external demons, they also struggle with their own internal ones: Mace and Raven both fall for Nikki, and falling for a human is considered to be a sin. Moreover, they must also battle their own heritage, coming from falling angels and having seeds of rebellion and darkness planted in their souls. They can choose to give in to the dark side, or they can choose to conduct themselves with nobility and honor. And what about Nikki? She too, is caught in the middle: she is attracted to both the ¿angelic¿ Mace and the ¿bad boy¿ Raven. But she knows that if she is not strong and if she gives in to either boy by having a relationship with him, she will damn him for all eternity. Furthermore, she has to figure out if she wants to participate actively in the difficult mission of the angels or take an easier road: (As Will says of humans, harking back to Doubting Thomas: ¿They¿re at a huge disadvantage, not being born with eyes to see the spiritual battle. Yet they still must choose a side. And it¿s their faith alone that equips them to make that choice.¿) And finally, there¿s the little matter of being chased by demons and hellhounds and having her life in danger, when she doesn¿t even know why¿.Evaluation: This is a nicely done series that combines spiritual concerns with ¿hotness¿ and with danger, ensuring a broad appeal. Given the premise, I thought it would be silly, but it¿s really not at all, and has a poignancy pervading it over the sad fate of the ¿lost boys.¿ It also has a more religious message than most books of this ilk. (I have to say, though, that I really don't like the girl on the cover, who reminds me too much of Bella from "The Twilight Series.")
First and foremost, I really loved the cover..:)Another angel book, which I may say is very different from others I¿ve read¿ but I enjoyed nonetheless..I loved the boys, they¿re brothers, halflings, but each of them is totally different¿. I don¿t even know which one Nikki should really be, I loved Mace, his kindness and sweetness, but I also loved Raven, his mysterious and dangerous feel¿(sigh- really engage in their love triangle..)As for me the good is book, it¿s a good prequel for the next book which I¿m sure would really be great¿ Halflings talks about the theme of the book, it¿s a good preparation for a big story..this isn¿t boring at all but quite enlightening, I loved how Ms. Burch made her own version of Nephilims, not much action on the book, just enough to keep you reading..What I loved most about the book, is it¿s Christian sub-theme, there are a lot of phrases which I memorized and locked in my heart..there are times I cried with the characters¿¿.¿If you choose anger as your path, you will not hear the quiet voice. When heaven whispers, I hear. But I see through a dark glass. To utter the images and echoes that before my eyes would only muddy your path. Clarity is in faith. And despite your guise, faith is an attainable for you as the next breath¿¿-Will..¿you know, sometimes I get sick of living for the day ahead. Sometimes I just want to live for right now¿¿-Raven¿As do all¿,¿. ¿There is no crime in that. To feel that way is human. To act upon it is sin¿¿-WillI totally loved the book, and I admit the end would keep readers hanging, but I guess, I¿m not that satisfied with the book, Nikki had finally chosen whom to trust, but it lacks action there, maybe I was just expecting some action at that part, wherein the halflings and that man( not yet revealed what he is) would fight over for Nikki¿ well, maybe this was due to the fact that it was written in Nikki¿s viewpoint, which was pure inner turmoil¿there we read about the halflings that had come for her and Damon urging her to take his hand¿ other than this, I really enjoyed and loved the book, maybe the prologue of the next book would show this in a more-action packed prose¿All in all, a must-have book, pack with wings(:D), romance, an interesting story, and to-love-for characters¿ Recommended to everyone..:)!
Poor Nikki! Someone has it in for her¿BAD! She¿s chased by hellhounds, some dude in an SUV tries to run her off the road! Thank God, literally, that there are some Halfling Angels around to protect her. Mace, Raven, and Vine are halflings. They and their guardian, a full angel, have been sent to keep Nikki alive. They don¿t know why she is special, they just know she is a target for some evil beings.This was a fun read. A bit confusing in the beginning because it wasn¿t clear who was who in terms of the halflings, but things were clarified rather quickly. Great mythology to the Halflings! Talk about ¿the sins of the father¿ being visited on the sons! Poor Halflings have to pay the price for the fact that their fathers fooled around with mortal women...talk about a sucky situation! Doing their duty is how they attempt to attone for their father¿s misdeeds.Mace is the guy who is trying to be positive and do good. Raven, on the other hand, sees life as the glass being half-empty and is pissed. Poor Vine is the newbie who is trying to learn the ropes and navigate the constant tension between Mace and Raven. That tension only escalates when they enroll in Nikki¿s school and start competing for her attention¿but falling in love with a human is forbidden and will land you in Hell for an eternity.I loved that there was so much more to both Mace and Raven then what first appeared. I fell for both of them at the art gallery when they revealed their different perspectives on a particular piece of art¿I saw a depth to them that is usually reserved for the main character. Meanwhile Vine provided the occasional nugget of insight and a whole lot of comedic relief.Nikki, meanwhile, is no shrinking violet¿she is my kind of chick. She can handle herself in most situations. Rides a motorcycle, competitive Karate, artist, and is a good kid! So why is something evil after her?Really well written with lots of small conflicts leading up to a really big cliffhanger. Lots of twists and turns and characters getting introduced throughout the story¿and you aren¿t quite sure if they are good or bad. A great deal to look forward to in the next installment.
Thank you Netgalley and Zondervan publishers for allowing me to review this book. I haven't read any angel books before this one, and I can't say I'm disappointed, this was a great book. It was fast paced, I could not put it down. I read it within one day. Nikki Youngblood is having a seriously bad day, she is chased by strange dog like creatures, and then nearly run over by a SUV, until three incredibly gorgeous guys, Halflings, half fallen angels, half humans, are sent to protect her from the forces of evil. Nikki is a tough character, she comes off somewhat of a tomboy to me, she likes motorcycles, and has a black belt in karate, she don't care much for fashion, or boys, unlike her boy crazed best friend, Krissy.The ending was one of those cliffhangers, I'm looking forward to the second book.
This is a fun book.We get to know Nikki, Nicole Youngblood, but we also get to know Mace & Raven, two of the halfling angels, or "lost boys". They are so different from each other, and we get peaks inside their thoughts and hopes and motivations, right along with Nikki's, so the questions raised are richly complicated. Delightful.There's plenty of interesting supporting characters, too. The angel in charge, Will, is close to what I'd imagine an angel in the real world, huge and intimidating and slightly mysterious with a big heart. There are some smokin' hot halfling girls, which add a lot of fun tension. I think Zero is my favorite supporting character, he's tall & wiry & likes to eat TV dinners stuffed in his freezer. He's such a tech-type that if someone didn't restock his supply, he wouldn't eat, being so absorbed in his computer. He's so testy, I love him. Krissy, Nikki's best friend, has potential, but fades out of the story early on. I wouldn't be surprised if she returns with more. Damon... now here's a slick snake I loved to hate right from first appearance!!!The background is interesting. I don't want to give too much away, but this story takes the idea that fallen angels hooking up with females is not good, but rather dangerously bad... and the children of those relationships, the Halflings, are working hard to revert the "bad" on their heavenly assignments, called Journeys, where they help someone in groups of three. Some of the conflict in this story arises from natural rules they can't change. :-) Who doesn't wanna break a rule?!What frustrated me most about this story is the emotional highs & lows. I felt tossed around with the drama. Since the highs and lows don't change the story or the characters, I felt yanked back and forth. There's a lot of inflicting emotional pain going around for reasons not resolved within this book. Which.... Grrrrrrrr... (Made me growl in irritation.)Hmm... so what exactly IS resolved in this book?! I'm so glad you asked!!! *ahem* Not so much!! There are lots of questions raised, which Heather Burch has committed to resolving: Why Nikki?! (Or is she just in the crossfire?!) Can a halfling hook up with a human?! I mean, I know what the rules say, but are there hidden loopholes?! (And if so... which one would Nikki fall for?!?!) Can a Halfling redeem him-or-herself over time... for real?! How much time?! And what is going on with smooth, rich, soooo helpful Damon?! He's hiding a mystery, I'm sure of it. Plus... what about that HUGE question asked near the end?! I will remain in complete denial until I get my hands on Guardian in October. Period.My Rating: 3.5 - Worth the Time to Read. This book might be worth a higher rating, but within these covers, it isn't for me. I need more resolution, for starters, plus purpose behind the drama.Cover Commentary: This is one of those covers that improves in hard copy. I like the mysterious forest with the girl - she looks like she could take on danger. I've always thought the wings behind her head a little odd. I think they're meant as a sign of protection, always hovering? The cool part about the cover in my hand is that the trees are glossy, making the mysterious leap out more AND there's some glossy red blood or gashes up from the bottom adding to the premonition of danger.
Evil targets 17 year old Nikki beginning with an attach from the Hounds of Hell, but some strange great looking guys save her life out of the blue. Nikki discovers that the young men who saved her are her guardians, but not guardian angels. Suddenly, a new, old friend appears in her parent¿s life, then insinuates himself in hers. The story races from the beginning, as Nikki discovers secrets in her life and taking the reader on a wild ride that doesn¿t stop at the end of the book¿it only pauses. I cannot wait for the next book in Burch¿s series to continue the wild ride. A Christian answer for the Twilight phenomena, though Halflings is Young Adult, it will appeal to anyone who enjoys paranormal novels with a romantic element. Received Galley from NetGalley.com
Yet another angel-themed book to face my scrutiny, and I am happy to report that Halflings makes the cut and earns my stamp of approval. There are a few hiccups and unanswered questions, but overall I found the story captivating enough to want to keep reading and finally have enough curiosity to pounce on the sequel. It also helps that these Halfling boys oozed with such hotness and tough-but-vulnerable personalities that I would do anything to spend more time with them. What can I say? I cannot resist a well-crafted male specimen who has hope to be redeemed from the Dark Side. Halflings has the same action-packing suspense as Angelfire and an interesting angel re-invention like Angel Burn, and I am totally looking forward to seeing how Nikki and company fare in GUARDIAN.