What I'm Reading & Listening To

Just finished listening to ... Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Synopsis: Nothing much happens in Tallow Beach. But when three mysterious teens enroll in the local high school, everything changes. Nobody knows the truth: that they are angels on a mission to save a world on the brink of destruction. When Beth, the youngest, falls for her classmate Xavier, she faces a frightening decision: will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize that they are not the only supernatural power in Tallow Beach. The unscrupulous Jack Thorn sees Beth as the easiest target to further his own dark ambitions. The angels and Xavier must use their powers to overcome darkness ... but will Beth survive the battle?

About the Author: Alexandra Adornetto lives in Victoria, Australia. Her first novel was published by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia when she was fifteen years old and she has worked as a writer ever since.

Alexandra is the author of the best-selling children’s series The Strangest Adventures, which Alexandra began writing when she was thirteen and was inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The series includes The Shadow Thief, The Lampo Circus and Von Gobstopper’s Arcade. Halo is Alexandra’s first YA book and marks her international debut. She is currently splitting her time between Australia and the USA as she works on the Halo series. Her passions include old-school country music, theology, singing and performing. In the future Alexandra hopes to combine novel writing and acting.

Jacqui's Review: Halo is a well targeted novel suitable for the 13+ YA market. More magical and less dark than Twilight, it is a mystical story about the world of angels and battle between good and evil.  If you liked Fallen by Lauren Kate, you will like Halo. I'm not sure many of you would remember a TV series called Touched by an Angel (there I go showing my age again) but it very much reminded me of this series.   The relationship between the two main characters, Bethany and Xavier is beautiful, romantic and totally unrealistic, which is not a bad thing I guess seeing this book is a "Fantasy" afterall.  Personally, I cannot imagine a teenage boy who is as loving and devoted as Xavier (perhaps I was unlucky back in the day!).  Bethany also comes across as a little too perfect for me.  I know she's an angel Alexandra, but maybe you can throw in a little something to spice her up a bit in the next book.  Finally, as I am not a religious person, the constant references to Heaven and God were a little grinding.

Alexandra reads her own novel on this audio.  In my opinion, it is always an extra treat when authors read their own books.  I always feel that it is somehow a more genuine interpretation of the book because they know exactly who the characters are 'deep down'.  It was however, terribly disappointing to me, knowing that Alexandra is Australian, to hear her read the story in an American accent (although I must say, she did an amazingly convincing job of it).  The novel was also modified to include Americanisms like "The School Prom".  I spoke to Alexandra (via Twitter) about this.  Unfortunately, authors don't get much of a say in these matters.  Predominantly it is a decision based on market size. This is the reason why we see so many Australian actors in Hollywood sporting an American accent also. An unfortunate reality!! 2.5 out of 5.

Just started listening to ... Fragile by Lisa Unger
Synopsis: In this stunning new stand-alone psychological thriller, Lisa Unger examines the small town secrets exposed when a teenager goes missing in circumstances similar to another young girl's disappearance twenty years before."But how do you know he didn't hurt her?" Jones asks his wife, Maggie anguished when their son's girlfriend, Charlene, vanishes. Eerie parallels soon emerge between this disappearance and the abduction that shook their community years ago. Maggie can hardly believe that her husband, a police officer, suspects Ricky of causing Charlene's disappearance. Ricky is his father's son in all the most important ways and she suddenly realizes that might be exactly what Jones fears. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene's disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret-one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community's intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?

Just started reading ... I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
Synopsis: It was four o'clock in the morning.A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child - and in a way, she was.She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn't wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news. The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off. That is where the footage ends.It isn't where the story ends, however. It's not even where the story starts.

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