Audiobook Review – Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Audiobook Review – Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Audiobook Review – Unearthly by Cynthia HandUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by Harper Teen
Publication date: January 4, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Narrator: Samantha Quan
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
435 pages
Format: Audiobook
Source: Borrowed, Purchased

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees...

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be upfront and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

Cynthia Hand’s world of angel-bloods and cute teen boys has the perfect mix of realistic teenage struggles and family relationships but with a paranormal twist. I haven’t read a young adult paranormal series centering around angels since 2012. UNEARTHLY was a really great way to jump back into the subgenre.

Unearthly separates itself from other angel novels in the young adult genre. While many others focus on a normal teenage girl falling in (forbidden) love with an angel, Hand gives the reader something different. This book was a quick read but full of fun. I really loved how Cynthia Hand gradually built the angel lore into this contemporary setting. She wove the world building into the story without it feeling like we were getting a history lesson in the Unearthly world.

Clara is a quarter angel who finds out that her “purpose” is to save a boy from an approaching fire. Her purpose is revealed through a series of visions, each time the vision showing her a little bit more of what’s to come. The boy she’s supposed to save, and therefore completing her life’s purpose, is Christian Prescott from Jackson Hole, Wyoming and one of the most popular and desired boys in school. Her mother and her brother move from California to small-town farm country Wyoming.

At 16, Clara has a lot to balance all at once. She’s starting a new school while trying to make friends, come to terms with all the “coming of age” angel stuff, and balance her relationships with her mom and brother. I really liked that the focus in the book wasn’t the romantic element, but all of these delicate balances.

Speaking of the romance, I liked that the book didn’t delve into a love triangle. I haven’t read Hallowed yet but I’m fairly certain it’s going to go there. To me, the relationship between Clara, Christian, and the adorable Tucker isn’t a love triangle (yet) because Clara is not emotionally torn between her feelings for Christian and Tucker. There is a clear winner there. She’s in love with one of them and tells him so. However, her destiny is linked to one of them and I think that’s going to make things complicated later on. But right now at the end of Unearthly.

I wasn’t blown away by the book like many readers before me, and I don’t think it’s because I’ve read too much of the genre either. To me, this book felt more like it was setting the stage for something bigger. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Hallowed, especially with Clara’s mom. Hand reveals something big at the end of Unearthly and I want to know if my theories are right!

* I own the paperback but borrowed the audiobook from my local library.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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Book Review – This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

Book Review – This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
Book Review – This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnisThis Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Genres: Young Adult
384 pages
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

From Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis comes a dark and riveting psychological thriller about a dangerous split-personality love triangle that begins to fracture the life Sasha Stone has so meticulously built. A gripping look at what it means to give away the heart . . . that isn’t yours to give.
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved, each step ticking like a metronome.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble, all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be upfront and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

You know when you read a book and just kind of sit there and wonder, “What did I just read?” Well, I had that moment reading this book and unfortunately, those words were not uttered in a moment of awe. THIS DARKNESS MINE is certainly a dark tale but also a very bleak one that lacks any sense of direction. Let me try to explain.

The basic premise is this: Sasha Stone discovers that she was supposed to have a twin sister (Shanna), but due to birth defects the fetus didn’t survive and Sasha ultimately absorbed her in the womb. Now at 17, Sasha essentially starts losing chunks of time, discovers strange messages written down that she didn’t write, and has fallen in love with the token bad boy but doesn’t remember ever being around him. She deduces that her sister is making her presence known and it’s Shanna’s heart that’s in Sasha chest, with Shanna being the darker, badder twin.

When I read the synopsis to this book prior to reading, given the subject matter, I thought the author was going to give us this great dichotomous female protagonist. One that has to fight to retain the good inside of her and keep the darkness from overtaking her. But that wasn’t what we were given.

This book started as a love triangle with paranormal nonsense and quickly turned into this medical melodramatic saga after Sasha is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and suddenly needs a heart transplant. The plot was unfocused and all over the place.

Sasha is perhaps one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read. If the author was trying to give her a regressed journey—one where the character falls into the darkness from being good—then she succeeded. She went from being a completely successful and “normal” teen to being a horrible person. But I guess one of the “revelations” in the latter half was that she’s always been this person, she’s just been really good a suppressing it. In any event, there was nothing redeeming about her.

Those of you with little exposure to band in high school, specifically surrounding the clarinet, may not pick up on the multiple musical inaccuracies in this book. However, as someone with a degree in music performance (clarinet performance), I couldn’t help but laugh at what was in this book. I won’t go over them all in detail but it’s clear that very little research was done on this part of the book. Several of the music elements that Sasha talked about, just wouldn’t be to true of a serious high school clarinetist hoping to attend a music conservatory. I’ll leave it at that.

But it was the ending of the book that was the final nail in the coffin. It was bizarre, gruesome, and downright strange—and not in a good way. Sasha is in a special cardio housing unit for teenagers awaiting a new heart to become available for transplant. She has an LVAD attached to her heart. In an effort to exorcise her sister from her body, View Spoiler »

There was not one part of this story that I liked. The book started with Sasha picking splinters (yes, splinters) out of her gums (yes, her gums) which were embedded there because of her clarinet reeds (yes, really). But later we learn that supposedly those fragments were not reeds but her absorbed twin’s teeth coming through her gums. If this sounds like the book for you, then go for it.

* Thanks to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with an early copy for an honest review.

Teaser - This Darkness Mind by Mindy McGinnis

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