My first job was at the public library in the next town over. I loved that job for many reasons, one of which was getting first dibs on returned books. This was years before online requests and self-checkout. This was before Amazon and Goodreads and Oprah’s Book Club.
The only way to find a good book to read was simply to walk the aisles of a bookstore or library.
Then, I loved doing that. I loved walking up and down the aisles, picking up the books with the pretty covers or by familiar authors, making sure I’d read every book in a series. But other than spotting an appealing cover or coming across a book while shelving returns, I didn’t know where to look for good, new (or at least new-to-me books).
Fast forward a thousand years, and on one hand, the last thing I need is a recommendation for a good book. Between the to-read stack next to my bed and my to-read list on Goodreads, I’m ALL FULL UP with good book to read.
Except . . . is there really such a thing? NO.
I’m always on the hunt for a good, new book to read – even if it means setting aside the books I swore I’d read next and return before accruing a late fine. again. And while I now enjoy following the click-y rabbit trails of reviews on Goodreads just like I used to enjoy wandering through the actual library, sometimes it’s hard to find a new novel to read. (And sometimes my Kindle leads me astray with recommendations that … how to say … don’t make sense.)
All that to say – when I’m asked to review a YA pararnormal novel – the first in a new series by an author I hadn’t heard of, I jump at the chance. A new book and new-to-me author? Yes, please!
Dark Hope is the first book in the Archangel Prophecies Trilogy. As I’ve really enjoyed a couple other series about angels, I thought this sounded great. It’s written by Monica McGurk, an author known (though not, previously, to me) for her fan fiction based on the Twilight series. As I’m not a fan of that series, I was a little unsure about this.
But my angel story interest won out over my fanfic author bias, and I cracked it open the day it showed up in my mailbox. Here’s the summary:
For years, Hope Carmichael, survivor of a shocking child abduction, has lived a sheltered existence under the protection of her fanatically religious father. Now, liberated by her mother, Hope prepares to start life over as a normal kid in an Atlanta, Georgia, high school. Normal, that is, until Hope meets Michael, a gorgeous emancipated teen with a mysterious past and a strong interest in her.
Soon, Hope’s life is filled with questions. What’s behind the angry looks she gets from Lucas, leader of a gang of students? Who’s responsible for sending Hope strange valentines inscribed with Bible quotations? How does this relate to the sinister business of human tracking that operates on the periphery of Hope’s suburban world? And is Michael really a protector, or something more sinister-and just why does he seem so familiar?
In an epic narrative that takes readers from the back streets of Atlanta to the height of Vegas penthouses and beyond, DARK HOPE introduces The Archangel Prophecies, a saga of extraordinary love, vast mythological scope, and great moral urgency.
I liked Dark Hope a lot. I read it in just a couple days, and I’ll definitely read the next book in the series when it’s released. (Another pro in the Monica McGurk column is the news that she’s already completed the second book!)
The story was intriguing – combining a mysterious childhood abduction with a supernatural conspiracy that only comes out a decade later. The idea of an angel falling in love with a human seems a little far-fetched – but no more than any other paranormal romance plot, I suppose.
There were a couple things I didn’t love about this book. For one, a high school girl being left alone so often while her mom traveled on business (especially after spending most of her childhood with her extremely overprotective dad) didn’t ring true at all. Secondly, while I understood the hot and cold personality and affections of the main angel, it was still annoying to me (on behalf of Hope, because yes, she needs my help).
The list of things I liked is much longer! Even without the paranormal business, the decaying relationship between Hope’s parents following her kidnapping rang true to me. I imagine that happens quite a bit in families that experience that kind of tragedy. I also liked the main character, Hope – her voice, her personality, her perspective. Also? This novel uses vocabulary that is higher than the typical sixth-grade reading level I find in a lot of books, both YA and otherwise. I like that.
This book did a great job of highlighting our nation’s problem with sex trafficking. I felt like it was obviously a big deal to the author and an important part of the book – but it never felt preachy. Hard as it is to learn about something like this, I’m always thankful when reading a “fun” novel educates me, too. Win-win.
Oh, also? This book felt longer than a lot of books in the genre, which I appreciated. Because even though the next book in the series is reportedly written, I don’t know when it will be actually on the market. I may have a long time to wait for answers to the mysteries Hope faced in the first book (and I’m crossing my fingers the next two books also flesh out some of the supporting characters a bit, too).
If you like YA paranormal novels, I’d recommend this one for sure. You can find Dark Hope by Monica McGurk as a paperback or an ebook at Amazon.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.