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Review by Tina at www.bookcouture.blogspot.com
Violet Eden’s mother died at birth. Her father is barely ever present. All she has is her best friend, Steph, and her friend Lincoln, who has been teaching her fighting skills. But while Violet has feelings for Lincoln, romance seems to be the furthest thing in his mind. But when Violet turns seventeen, and is given a mysterious letter that her mother wrote before her death, she feels that something is amiss. Her mother’s letter is filled with warning and encouragement.
Violet soon learns that there is something lying beneath the surface of reality, an ancient truth so dangerous to man, that it must be kept a sacred secret. Violet must make a crucial decision about it, a decision that could consume her being, and change her life forever.
Embrace is a dark and heart-racing tale, filled with action and secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and reading deep into the night. The storyline is one of discovery and revelation about another world outside your own. The discovery that you might just be a guardian angel, with a power so dangerous, that others will do anything to hunt you down.
While the paranormal plot line is eternally abundant, Jessica Shirvington’s debut novel has something special. It’s a combination of the badass-action of Vampire Academy, the complex love triangles of Twilight, and the angel mythology of Fallen, taken one step further.
The mythology in Embrace is rich and detailed. Jessica Shirvington’s research and knowledge of angel lore really comes through, as she builds a world in which angels can be seamlessly immersed. Historical events have been explained in the angelverse, and I particularly enjoyed the supplementary hierarchy of angels.
Shirvington’s writing is incredibly easy to sink into. Violet’s personality is not perfect, but it’s realistic, and relatable. She grows and changes throughout the story, and makes several decisions that I don’t particularly agree with. However, this was a crucial part of the plot, and for the story to be what it was, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Consequently, the subject matter is quite dark at times, and so I feel that this book should be geared towards more mature audiences within the young adult genre.
One truly wonderful aspect was the way Shirvington showed us the subtle resistance in Violet’s mind under the influence of Phoenix. While outwards, she seemed calm and in love, the reader could truly sense what was happening below the surface. I found that the way specific words were used to contrast Violet’s relationship with Lincoln and her relationship with Phoenix was truly awe-inspiring. Shirvington has achieved, in her debut novel, something truly amazing. To enable readers to be aware of the innermost happenings in the narrator’s mind, is magical.
Writing, character expansion and subtle storytelling are very strong points in this story. However, I would have enjoyed seeing more development in Violet’s powers as an angel. While she developed as a character, I would have enjoyed seeing physical changes that augment her transition Perhaps a little glossary or explanation of the classes of angels would have provided more enjoyable background information. But I am anticipating that this will be in the sequels. Which is why I am biting my nails in anticipation of Enticed, out 2011.
Final words: Embrace is a story of change, fate and love, presented with the writing and subtlety of a great storyteller. An excellent debut that is a must-read for all paranormal lovers.
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Author Interview by Tina at www.bookcouture.blogspot.com
Jessica Shirvington is the debut author of Embrace, the first in an heart-racing new series centered around the dangerous life of Violet Eden as she discovers that she is a guardian angel, locked in an ancient battle between light and dark forces.
Today, Jessica has kindly agreed to do an author interview with me for Book Couture. So please give her a warm welcome, grab a mug of hot drinky goodness and get to know Jessica. She’s an absolutely gorgeous and amazing person!
Take a peek at my review to read my thoughts on Embrace.
For more information, visit Hachette’s website
Tina: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What were you doing before you became an author?
Jessica: I am Sydney based. My husband and I married almost 10 years ago and we lived in London for about 6 years where I had a fine foods import and distribution company. While we were there we had our eldest daughter, Sienna. Once she was born we realised that we wanted to raise our family in Sydney so I sold the business and we moved back. Since then, we have added to the family with another beautiful girl, Winter (Winnie), who is now 2yrs. I have enjoyed a couple of years as a full time Mum and it was exactly what I needed. It gave me a chance to have precious time with my girls and make decisions based on what I actually wanted to do. It was after having Winnie and that I started seriously writing.
Tina: What inspired you to become an author, and how long have you been writing?
Jessica: Reading inspired me to become an author. Like you, I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book. I love the escape, imagining characters in my own way, there is something secretly delicious in reading. One day, instead of starting to read a new book – I started to write one.
I have been writing my whole life. Through school and since I have always loved the art of writing and expression, but in terms of tackling a novel – Embrace is my first attempt.
Tina: And what a wonderful book your first novel has come to be! In your opinion, what is the greatest joy of being an author?
Jessica: Not having to hold back. I think in life, we are always thinking about everything we are doing. Being careful not to say the wrong things or expose ourselves too much. Writing is an absolute liberation!
Tina: How did you come up with the concept of Embrace? And the unique twist on angel mythology?
Jessica: The first element of Embrace started with the name Violet. I have always loved the name and it just came naturally. From there, I researched. As explained in the book, Violet is the inner most colour of the rainbow. I thought that was beautiful – so then I researched the rainbow and came across different beliefs that describe the rainbow as the link between heaven and earth. I thought that was pretty beautiful too. Then my father-in-law gave me an article of angelology and … I was gone. The research was huge and so incredibly interesting that the twists just seemed to present themselves.
Tina: I loved the beautiful writing in Embrace – the way every word had a purpose, and your careful selection of them to subtly hint to the reader what was really happening between Violet and Pheonix. Does your wonderful writing come naturally, or does perfection come through many revisions?
Jessica: Thank you. I think the answer to that question is, both. Some chapters are very similar to how they were in my original draft – others have been re-written several times to get them right.
Tina: What was the writing and publishing process like for you?
Jessica: Exciting. The entire process was amazing, mostly because I had no expectations. I started writing this story one page at a time. I didn’t put massive expectations on myself – I had no need to. In fact, when I started I wasn’t even sure I’d be able the complete a chapter, but 6 weeks later, I’d written a story that I had a feeling might actually be good. After redrafts and lots of deliberation I sent the manuscript to my agent, Selwa Anthony and from there it went to Hachette. It all happened quickly and I had a great team of people around me that made it all happen.
Tina: Embrace has just recently been released. How are you feeling about this?
Jessica: Relieved, nervous, excited. When something means so much to you, of course you want other people to see it in a similar light.
Tina: Has your husband’s career impacted upon your own new career as an author?
Jessica: Not really, other than that people look at the name and think – where do I know that name from?
Matt is a huge support. The day I told him I thought this thing I was writing might actually become a book, he didn’t look at me like I was crazy, he just said, ‘That’s great honey – you’d write a wicked book.’ I’m very lucky.
Tina: Is there anything you hope readers can gain from reading Embrace?
Jessica: A great escape.
Tina: If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
1. That my children are always safe and well.
2. That my life and love with my family and husband continues just as it is. And really – those two will do it for me, but if you insist …
3. That there was a magical book that when you opened it – the story you most want to read at that moment magically appears on the pages. (It would save a lot of poor selections!)
Tina: And finally, can you tell us anything about the highly-awaited sequels to Embrace?
Jessica: There will be 4 books in the series. The second book, Enticed, will be out in the first half of 2011.
The hunt is on for the Scripture. More tough choices, more folklore, new characters, unlikely allies, lots of surprises – and of course, Lincoln and Phoenix are right in the middle of it.
Tina: Thank you, Jessica, for your wonderful answers! It was great to hear about your family, inspirations, writing and hopes. I wish you every bit of success in the future, and look forward to reading more of The Violet Eden Chapters.
And to all audiences, I hope you enjoyed reading Jessica Shirvington’s interview, and above all, enjoy reading Embrace.
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Review by Larissa’s blog: I Read Therefore I am @ www.larissabookgirl.livejournal.com
Violet was just an ordinary girl with a normal life. Raised by a single father who was a workaholic she spent a lot of time alone and if not for best friend Steph, who was always trying to get her to the mall, her social life would be almost non-existent.
So there were some parts of her life that were a little less ordinary like her relationship with Lincoln, whom she spent all her time training with. Over all it was normal and it was hers.
On her sixteenth birthday however Violet makes a few discoveries about her life that are anything but normal, and the one person she had trusted to be there for her is the one person responsible for keeping secrets from her. Her normal world was shattered, with Lincoln gone and Phoenix always turning up just when he is needed, Violet must make a choice to either reject her destiny in favour of the life she had worked so hard to achieve, or embrace a life she does not want.
Embrace is more then just a story of angels, theology and good verses evil, it is a story of a girl caught between two world and two boys, struggling to discover who she is and her place in the world. It is through her strengths that she is able to find the power to save not only herself and the ones she loves but also those who have hurt her most. A lovely book that shows that you don’t have to believe in the impossible, you just have to have faith that it is possible.
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Review by Beauty and Lace
The new release section everywhere you buy books these days is filled with paranormal romance fiction, especially for the Young Adult demographic and Angels are beginning to factor quite prevalently. Jessica Shirvington has added to the wealth of talent overflowing in the genre with the first book in her Violet Eden series.
Embrace is the story of Violet Eden, who lost her mother on the day she was born and grew up with a workaholic father. Not one to be surrounded by superficial friendships she only has a couple of very close friends. Due to events of her past Violet doesn’t trust easily so when that trust is broken it takes an awful lot to come back from.
Centred around the age old battle raging between good and evil Embrace begins as Violet turns 17 and faces a life changing decision. To stay human and become a target for all the exiled angels in our realm or turn to her destiny and become Grigori – which roughly translates to Guardian Angel.
Control is the one thing Violet always tries to retain, having been in a situation where she had none. So, imagine if you will, how hard it is for Violet to have her whole life change in the space of one day – a day she wants to avoid to begin with. Her life changes in ways she seems to have no control of, she changes in ways she seems to have no control of.
To guide her on this journey is Lincoln, her Grigori partner whom she loves with every fibre of her being and finally discovers he feels the same way; but as in all good love stories problems arise. Gregori partners can’t be involved in that way, it causes too many distractions. Then Violet meets a new man and our ‘good friends’ find they are part of an unwilling threesome which has emotion and tensions running wild. It certainly doesn’t help that the new addition is an exiled angel – sworn enemy of the Gregori, and no-one thinks to find out whether he was an angel of light or dark.
Shirvington’s characters are well rounded and easy to empathise with. All of them with a sense of humour though some of them not quite as funny as they think. You will find yourself cheering them on, hoping for the best outcome for everyone.
Embrace is fast paced and exciting, answering some questions about the hierarchy of angels and opening up quite a few more questions with those answers. Filled with emotional turmoil and the eternal choices between good and evil, it’s a book that hooked me from page one and never let go. Now I am waiting very impatiently for installment number two.
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Review by Britany @ Nice Girls Read Books
Final Thoughts: WOW. I was absolutely blown away at how much I enjoyed this debut novel! I was getting tired of reading Angel stories, but this one was so blissfully different. I highly recommend it!
First of all I have to say – I can’t believe this is Jessica Shirvington’s first story! It was simply amazing and so well-written. The story was perfectly mapped out and planned, it unfolded at a great pace and almost everything was explained in a timely fashion. Instead of a huge slew of questions with no answers, everything works and dances together in perfect rhythm, and for the most part, we figure out the answers alongside our heroine, Violet.
I LOVED Violet! I tend to have a dislike towards the lead characters these days, feeling I’m unable to relate at all, but I really adored her. Most of the choices she made were my own, she was strong and brave and wasn’t afraid to stand her ground. I really believed her emotions and what she felt for both Lincoln and Phoenix.
Ah, boys. I was head over heels for Lincoln in the beginning – can you say amazing kiss? But then he was totally blown out of the water by Phoenix. I didn’t like Phoenix on his first meetings with Violet, but then he pretty much turned into Mr. Perfection for me. Oh, gosh, was he sexy or what? The pages will basically burn in your hands when you read of his, er, talents?
Embrace was so amazingly tingly without being downright graphic, so it fits in well with the YA genre. For those craving steam and heat, you will get it. For those not wanting to know too much detail, you will get it. How does Jessica Shirvington balance the two so well? Maybe I should have asked her that question in my upcoming Q&A with her! (Look out for that, by the way!)
Violet has friends and her father, but they don’t appear too much in the story that it distracts you from all the action going on. There are no ‘boring bits’ or boring dialogue where you want to slap the best friend up the side of the face (something I’ve found rather common in YA these days) Jessica doesn’t hesitate in weaving a great tale, doesn’t get sidetracked in trying too hard to make Violet look like she has a ‘normal’ life. We believe it from the word ‘go’ and it needs no explanation through dull school scenes. You jump right into everything!
I also must do a jump for joy that there is no ‘brooding, mysterious new guy at school’ present! Seriously, I wanted to scream this from the rooftops when he didn’t appear. Of course, you get Phoenix who is kind of strange and mysterious, but, Violet stumbles upon him in a nightclub. He hasn’t been brooding over her for an eternity or anything like that.
The next installment, Entice, comes out in 2011. I absolutely cannot wait! This was such a joy to read, seriously. I cannot sing it’s praises enough. The lore is consistent, the characters are believable, the story is balanced, there are no ‘annoying’ characters that are supposed to be lovable. It’s perfect, hence my five star rating. I began this book last night and read into the early hours, only pausing for sleep. As soon as I woke up, I had it in my hands again and I was turning the pages hungrily!
Go out and get this, right now. I cannot thank the lovely staff at Hachette AU for sending me a copy of this brilliant book. My first publisher-sent book – what a fluke that it was an unbelivable read!
Recommended to: People who are tiring of the usual angel/demon, light/dark stories…
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Interview by Britany @ Nice Girls Read Books
Hello readers! I’m delighted to bring you my very first author interview, with none other than Australian author Jessica Shirvington! Jessica is the debut author of Embrace, which if you recall, I gave a whopping 5/5 stars to!
If you’re so inclined, you can check out my review here! I’d like to thank Jessica and Hachette AU for giving me the wonderful opportunity for sending me both the book and allowing me to ask Jessica a few questions!
Q: ‘Embrace‘ is your debut novel. In your opinion, what makes it so different to everything else available at the moment?
That’s hard to answer because I think there are a lot of things that make Embrace different. To start with, the story delves deeply into the angel folklore. It was important to me that the story be closely tied to the tales of angels and not just from one religion but from many. So for me, that is a definite point of difference.
Secondly, the characters really make this story happen – in particular, Violet. She is a complex character with a past that makes her tackle the big questions in her own unique way.
Finally, and for me, this is the most important – the emotion in this story, as told through Violet, is well … the uncut version I suppose.
Q: Describe ‘Embrace’ in five words or less!
Consequence chases every choice.
Q: What are some of your favourite young adult books currently on the market?
There are so many. I loved The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins – very cool. I also really enjoyed Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, she’s a fabulous wordsmith. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver all rate high on my list.
Q: Is there a literary character you have a particular fondness for?
Good question – Other than Alice from Alice in Wonderland, there is a series by Maria V. Snyder – The Study Collection. I adored the characters in this series, in particular protagonist – Yelena Zaltana (I was also very taken with Valek!). They stayed with me long after I had finished the series.
Q: What was the toughest part about writing ‘Embrace‘? What was the easiest?
The toughest part; trusting myself. It can feel like a daunting task when you are managing characters and a story that you know has the potential to be really special. It was important to do them justice.
The easiest; the plot. It came to me very quickly and just seemed to fall in to place at all the right times.
Q: Are there any cliches you desperately try to avoid when coming out with a new Young Adult title?
Sure. I didn’t really want to end up with a bad boy character that – purely for the love of a girl – turns all good. If you’re really bad -part of that ‘bad’ has to stay with you, no matter how much you love someone. On the whole, I try to avoid cliches wherever possible!
Q: Why do you think it’s important to get young people interested in reading again?
Actually I wasn’t a huge reader when I was a teenager (yes, I hang my head in shame) so I now know how much I was missing out on. Intellectually and creatively, reading ticks all the boxes, but on its base level, reading is so important because it is a personal escape. I believe young people need this more than any others.
Q: Is there anything you can tell us about the sequel, ‘Enticed‘?
The hunt is on for the Scripture. More tough choices, more folklore, new characters, unlikely allies, lots of surprises – and of course, Lincoln and Phoenix are right in the middle of it.
I like the sound of that! More Phoenix? Yes, please!
Now, if you’re interested in reading Embrace and don’t happen to live in Australia, you can order it through The Book Depository. I urge you to do so, it really was a fantastic read!
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Review by Cass @ Words On Paper
Embrace is a compelling and extravagantly imaginative and fresh new take on the angel mythology in YA fiction. The characters were portrayed well in a way that made me actually care for their survival, with a compelling storyline to drive through the novel; Jessica Shirvington’s writing had me racing to the end. For fans of the paranormal genre, of action, of hot guys: Embrace is definitely a must-read!
I am ashamed to say that Embrace was my first ‘angel’ book. However, I really enjoyed it; Embrace is probably the first paranormal YA title that I REALLY enjoyed, and one that I am definitely going to pursue on to the next titles in the series. That is not to say, that there aren’t other paranormals that I’ve read in the past that I wouldn’t have wanted to read the next titles; it’s more like, with this one, I’m dying to read more.
In Embrace, we are introduced to a location, somewhere on Earth. It is never actually specified, nor is there ever much scenery or ambiance described from scene to scene. However, many paranormal titles seem to skimp the details, and just get to the dialogue and action, which Jessica Shirvington executed with finesse in Embrace.
They exchanged blow after blow, all at lightning speed. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. The blond was so fast, sending his fist into Phoenix’s face with punishing force, throwing him across the width of the alley and into the brick wall. Amazingly, it barely slowed Phoenix, who was back up faster than I could track with my human sight. Phoenix didn’t hesitate in his retaliation. He was a beautiful, lethal machine – lithe and fluid as he weaved and dodged the exile’s blows. (p. 132)
In this world, we have Violet, the main character–who has worked hard at maintaining a normal life, after what her teacher did to her at her old school years ago. She has the best friend in the world, Steph–who we are introduced to in the first page–who loves to shop and talk about boys. And then there’s Lincoln, the boy that ‘Vi’ has been crushing on for way too long, the boy who is ‘just friends’. Her world is spun upside down when she discovers she’s not as normal as everyone else at school; she’s special, and it all started when her mother died with her birth…
First, the ‘features’ of the actual book. The quality of the paperback is superb; the pages are white as though they’ve been bleached, not to mention VERY flickable and smooth. You may find it strange that I have to mention these things. Well, I absolutely love it when a book has been made so well, and it compels me to pick it up even more. Of course, the cover is the first aspect.
The model used for the book cover is gorgeous, and really suits it once you’ve read it. The pose is so very Violet, and the colours used–purple, violet? The cover designer (Xou Creative) did a fantastic job, despite the fact that there wasn’t enough of a paranormal element in it. I think it’s strikingly beautiful in all its simplicity. The purple wings are simply divine…
Every chapter is marked with a quote, sometimes biblical (‘There are things even angels desire to look to.’ Peter 1:12), others from philosophers (‘Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.’ Henri Frederic Amiel). These reflected on the kind of thing that was going to be addressed in that given chapter, and gave it a little bit more colour, more sacrilegious.
The writing is brilliant; Shirvington let the words flow, which made it that much easier to read through. Embrace is written in first person, past, in Violet’s perspective. As with most other paranormal titles, her voice is, for the most part, sarcastic and unwilling to succumb to others’ desires, and in that, she is established as a strong-willed and very capable female protagonist. I actually quite liked Violet, despite her almost-nonsensical switching between the two angels who vie for her attention: love triangle. (Twilight, anyone?) Her barely-there father is about all the family we ever see in Embrace, and while there is some interaction between the two, I hope for more; I really like it when authors write familial interactions, because it’s not as common as I believe it should be.
Finally, she spun to glare at me accusingly
‘This is all your fault! He’s been so worried about you he hasn’t been able to function. He doesn’t eat.’ She wrinkled her nose at the dirty plates. ‘Well . . . not to his normal standard. He hasn’t slept in days. He blames himself for everything. That’s why it was so easy for Onyx to overpower him. Even now . . .’ She pushed aside a plate in the sink so she could fit a glass under the tap and it set off a domino effect – the whole pile of plates shifting and clunking. I heard a crack. She persisted anyway, blasting water into the glass and slamming it on the counter after barely a sip. ‘He’s asking for his rainbow,’ she scoffed.
‘What is it with all this rainbow crap?’ I asked, turning to Griffin and blanking Magda. It was either that or giving her a one-fingered salute
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Review by Rachel @ Fictional Fantasy
My Thoughts: For me, Embrace has it all. Unrequited and forbidden love, a good guy / bad guy love triangle, action, betrayal, secrets, life changing decisions and bad ass super powers! What more could you want from a book right?
On Violet Eden’s seventeenth birthday her Father gives her a present from her mother, who passed away during Violet’s birth. This gift starts a string of events that change Violet’s life forever.
She discovers that Lincoln, her friend who she has a major crush on, is not who she thinks he is and while dealing with his betrayal she meets Phoenix, the irresistible bad guy.
Violet is forced to make a decision, one that she is not comfortable with, and one that will alter every aspect of her life and once that decision is made she needs to come to turns with her new life.
Jessica combines angel mythology with a modern day story to create an action packed, enticing love story that will have you turning the pages well into the early morning.
If you loved Twilight, Vampire Academy and Fallen then this book is for you!
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Review by Yareads
Jessica Shirvington is better known in Australia as the wife of former Olympic athlete, Matt Shirvington, but with her debut release of Embrace she’s set to make a name for herself in the young adult writers scene.
Violet Eden has always been crazy for Lincoln. They’ve grown close over the years but Lincoln has always been reluctant to let anything other than friendship be shared between them. When Violet becomes determined to get some answers she get more than she bargained for she discovers that not only is Lincoln a Grigori – part human part angel, but so is she.
Battle lines are drawn and Violet is put under pressure to accept her Grigori nature – but is she ready to accept a life she never wanted?
Discovering you’re half angel comes as quite a shock (as it would) to our main character Violet. This news leaves her with an identity crisis as she comes to grip with a life she seemingly has no say in. This gives her initially an anti-hero role in the story but soon enough finds a reason to ‘embrace’ her fate.
Violet is generally likeable though I found it a bit difficult to relate to her, particularly in her choice in men, but in this book, she can’t be completely blamed for her emotions. Violet swung from being strong and independent to damsel in distress at various times in Embrace. She is only 17 though, so for now, she’s forgiven but I’m hoping that once she understands her talents she’ll become the strong lead she’s capable of being.
The love triangle in Embrace fits into the mould of, good guy who’s been a friend forever vs the mysterious stranger with a dark past (sigh). Although I did like Lincoln (Mr Good Guy), there wasn’t enough seen of him to make a proper judgment. Phoenix on the other hand I completely haaaaaated. This guy is a grade A stalker. The blurb describes him as intense, but he’s also manipulative, forceful, jealous and possessive (something at times both boys were guilty of).
The writing itself draws you in, as you begin to learn about the fascinating take on the Grigori and exiled Angels as well as the religious mythology that’s woven into the storyline (without coming across as preachy). I loved the use of quotes at the start of each chapter. I’ve seen some authors do it but usually they seem obscure or unrelated but these quotes complimented the story and the chapter ahead.
Though I found the take on the concept of Angels original and clever, there were some parts of the plot that I did find a bit predictable and there was a lot of convenience in the way some scenes were resolved (including Violet’s best friend Steph who is totes cool with the whole Angel thing after an explanation in the food court).
Violet’s dad is conveniently absent and neglectful to his daughter and her whereabouts. Which, although is handy for the story, just seems a bit unrealistic. It’s ironic that while he turns a blind eye, everything a parent dreads to happen to their child, basically happens to Violet (think sex, stabbing and jumping off cliffs).
It might sounds like I didn’t like Embrace, but I really did, it was enjoyable, Shirvington has a remarkable style of writing that immerses you in the story, but it’ll be the kind of book you’ll either love or hate. Like a lot of the books I’ve read this year, the story has potential, but it’ll really depend on where the next book takes us.
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Review by Alpha Reader
‘Embrace’ is the first book in a new paranormal romance series called ‘The Violet Eden Chapters’ by debut author Jessica Shirvington.
Violet Eden is celebrating her 17th birthday, much to her chagrin. For most people birthdays are all about celebration with friends, family and loved ones. But for Violet, it’s just an ugly reminder of her mother’s death. But this birthday is different because her father has a present for her – from her mother. A hand-crafted wooden box with a note inside, warning about trials to come and sides to be chosen…
Violent thinks little of the cryptic words, until a chance encounter with a handsome stranger sets things in motion. Phoenix is tall, dark and dangerous, and Violet’s best friend (and unattainable crush) Lincoln is wary of the new-comer. In fact, Lincoln has been acting strange ever since Violet’s birthday. . . because Lincoln has a secret. . . A secret that will change the course of Violet’s life, forever.
I will say I’m not a *HUGE* fan of the angel storyline. Books like Becca Fitzpatrick’s ‘Hush, Hush’ and JR Ward’s ‘Covet’ left a bad taste in my mouth. But because of Sarwat Chadda’s ‘Devil’s Kiss’ I am willing to give this new paranormal craze a chance.
Jessica Shirvington’s book is stand-out for the detail to mythology and religion. Shirvington has really delved deep into the angel legend and built a cryptic and charming world around these messengers of God. Everything is covered from Cherubim to Seraphim and thoughtfully explained via old biblical stories of Adam, Eve and Lilith. Fascinating. I especially loved the angel storyline in this book because Violet is in the thick of it. She is an angel-in-the-making and at the centre of a Holy war. Most YA paranormal romance’s cast female leads as regular humans and damsels in distress, proffering their male romantic counterparts as the more interesting supernatural characters. That’s not the case in ‘embrace’.
“Get away from me,” I said.
He laughed a high-pitched cackle. It caught me by surprise; it was not the deep laugh I’d expect him to have. “You have clout, girl, I’ll give you that. But you’re unfinished. Look at me.” His last words resonated through my mind. My eyes flicked up towards him without my permission. “You are still moulding,” he said ruminatively. “Your clay is still wet.”
Secondly, I loved the romance in ‘embrace’. An author will always have me hooked if they offer up a good old-fashioned love triangle. . . even more so if one member of said triangle is a bad-boy. That is the case with ‘embrace’ as Violet is caught between two very different angels. Lincoln is a Grigori, a ‘watcher’ like her. Violet has known Lincoln for two years and had a crush on him from the moment of meeting – but ‘Linc’ was always determined to keep things platonic. Violet soon discovers why Linc never reciprocated her feelings when he reveals his true, angelic-self. Lincoln is a Grigori, a ‘watcher’ of humanity, and he’s been sent to Violet to help guide her on the path to Angeldom;
“That doesn’t explain how you know about me!”
He looked back at Griffin as if seeking support. Griffin did not move from the shelter of the doorframe. Lincoln turned back to me, arms wide. “I know because an angel told me. I know because we all have a destined partner, someone who is already a Grigori. . . or will become one. I know because. . . you’re my partner, Violet.”
Thus the love of Violet’s life has been lying to her for two years – pretending to be human and keeping Violet’s legacy a secret from her.
Then there’s tall, dark and handsome Phoenix – an exiled angel and enemy to the Grigori. Phoenix is drawn to Violet and her untapped angelic potential. The two form an unlikely friendship, but Violet soon discovers that Phoenix is hoping for so much more that she’s not entirely ready to give.
Between Lincoln and Phoenix, Violet definitely had her hands full. . .
I will say that I was never really rooting for Lincoln. Shirvington makes a lot of the fact that he and Violet have been friends for two years – but that was more of a hindrance than a help for their chemistry. It felt like a lot of their romantic ‘spark’ was based around that two-year friendship, but when ‘embrace’ starts Violet is learning about the angel secret and angry with Lincoln for keeping it from her. We never really get many scenes between them, and have to rely on Violet *telling* us that she’s loved Lincoln for two years rather than reading their tenderness for ourselves. Then there’s the fact that Lincoln was the squeaky-clean cookie-cutter choice. Now Phoenix – he was the yummy bad-boy option and infinitely more interesting.
I loooooved Phoenix (possibly because I kept picturing him as Ian Somerhalder). He was the more fascinating love-interest because Shirvington keeps reader’s guessing about him throughout the book.
Phoenix constantly walks a fine-line with Violet; between obsessive and sweet, creepy and affectionate. Maybe that sounds odd, but it worked for him. Phoenix is very up-front about not being human; he revels in his angelic powers and exiled nature. It’s almost like Phoenix is caught off-guard by his feelings for Violet, so he’s constantly swinging between extremes and trying to stay on guard with his violent emotions.
Then there’s the fact that he was just plain cheeky-fun, and had real spark with our girl Violet;
“You’ll come back, and you’ll be Grigori.” He spoke with such certainty it made me smile. “I doubt very greatly, however, that you’ll kick my ass. But me and my ass will enjoy your efforts.”
I did have a few problems with the book; some big, but mostly small.
For starters – the setting. The book seemed to take place in Nowheresville – I couldn’t even confidently tell you if it was set in Australia, UK or USA. I leant more towards an Australian setting, but only because Jessica Shirvington is based in Sydney. . . but there’s no real attention to landscape and the book felt a little bit loose and anonymous because of the lacking scenery.
Secondly the inciting incident takes a while to happen. For the first-half of the book the story is all about Violet discovering her Angelic roots and having to decide whether to accept or refuse her destiny. Interesting in itself, but not a particularly substantial plot. . . more of a character arc. It’s not until half-way through the book that a real plot-trigger is pulled and it’s revealed that a holy war is being waged between the Grigori and exiled angels. But it is not until page 203 of this 382-page book that the kick-off starts. It’s just lucky that I was caught up in the Angel hierarchy and mythology enough to keep reading up to that trigger-point.
On a very minor note the front-cover kind of threw me. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and the model on the cover is exactly how I’d picture Violet to look. But the cover screams ‘Jodi Picoult’ rather than ‘paranormal romance’ to me. If you hold the book away from you, you will notice that the purple shading behind Violet looks a little like sprouting wings – but if I was to see this on the shelf I wouldn’t instantly assume it was a paranormal-anything. Like I said, a small observation and nothing at all to do with the author. . .
‘embrace’ is the first book in what promises to be a compelling new YA paranormal series. A novel of light and dark, good and evil and one girl caught between two male personifications of that age-old battle. I look forward to second book ‘Enticed’, to be released in the second-half of 2011.
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Review by Girl.com.au
Review: OMG this book was amazing! From the first chapter Jessica draws you into Violet’s world of light & dark angels, good & evil, where there is no black or white, just shades of grey. If you are a fan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, you will love this book. Jessica successfully builds intensity in to her characters and emotions, and opens up your natural beliefs …. I can’t wait for the next installment, I hope it’s not too long.
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Review by Yolanda Sfetsos
I was looking forward to reading this book, especially when I found out it was about angels.
Violet doesn’t enjoy her birthday because every year she can’t help but remember that when she was born, her mother died. So this year’s no different. She’s once again not looking forward to celebrating, and turning seventeen brings a whole new set of things that no average teenager would expect.
She doesn’t have too many people in her life. There’s her mostly absent, workaholic father. Her best friend, Steph, who helps keep her socially-active, and Lincoln. He helps her stay physically active and strong by training her in a variety of sports. Something that stems from an incident that made her feel weak and useless, but training keeps her in shape. Besides, she loves spending time with Lincoln, and is hoping that one day their close friendship will turn into something more. Even if he always seems a little distant in that respect, it’s obvious that he cares about her.
But everything changes on the rainy day she decides to surprise Lincoln with a visit to let him know exactly how she feels. Now that he knows the dark, deep secret she’s been keeping from everyone else, she figures she’s got nothing to lose. Except, when she gets there she stumbles on him having a heated conversation with a man named Griffin. And they happen to be talking about her. Even if what they’re saying sounds fictional.
When Violet finds out the truth about what she is, what Lincoln is, and what she’s expected to do because of it, she’s angry and refuses to believe that any sort of angels walk the earth. Yet, it’s a fate she can’t fight, and after meeting the very alluring, Phoenix, her life only gets more complicated. Now she finds herself torn between two guys and a destiny she doesn’t want but her mother hinted towards in a letter she instructed Violet’s father to give her on her seventeenth birthday.
She might not want to become a Grigori by embracing her duty but if she doesn’t, other angels called exiles are willing to force her hand. That’s when she finds herself in the middle of an ancient battle, making one wrong decision after another, and putting her trust in the hands of the wrong person. It’s not until the life of someone she cares about deeply is on the line, that she chooses to accept the only option left.
I really enjoyed this book, even if Violet annoyed me several times with her stubborn and sometimes immature reactions. She kept reacting so harshly towards those trying to help her that I couldn’t help but feel frustrated about some of the trouble she gets herself into. Then again, who can blame her for being so confused and angry? It can’t be easy to hear someone tell you such an incredible story, or realising that the one person you’ve trusted and loved for a while now has always known and kept it from you.
Embrace was an interesting paranormal YA book that puts angels into our everyday, contemporary life. I also liked how the author managed to create and expand on a lot of the myths and lore that I’ve researched myself. I really like it when an author does that–takes the research and then bends it to make it their own, it’s a very cool world.
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Review by Books and The Bees
Think Mortal Instruments, but less Harry Potter esqu. When reading the Mortal Instruments series, because of the authors history writing Harry Potter Fanfiction the way it is written reminds me constantly of Harry Potter, but to be honest I loved Harry Potter, so I always enjoyed that from Cassandra Clare. And Back to the topic, Embrace is great.
Lots of action and mythology, and the eternal struggle of Good and Evil, with the popular theme of a young girl trying to decide whose side she is really on. What I really enjoyed was Violet, I find that when I read a book it is really the character that makes or breaks it for me, (even just last week I gave up on a book because I hated the main character) and Violet who is a non-bella, (major plus) but also questions everyone around her and everything. Sure there were moments where I thought the character was being daft, BUT I made my normal mistake of reading the ending before I finished the book, so I kind of knew the ending whilst reading it. For Shirvington the best decision she could have made was to keep Violet indignant, angry and upset, which leads her to make some not so great decisions, but the trade off is that she is a very real character which girls will connect with.
So I liked Embrace and connected with the characters and REALLY like the twist at the end, (there may have been a vocal expression at the reveal). Embrace is Definitely worth a read.
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Review by Cel’s Reviews @ Burn Bright
Violet Eden is quite content with her life. Her Dad may be a workaholic but their relationship works most of the time and she has her best friend, Steph, and Linc: her friend, trainer, and major crush (even if he doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings). The one thing she isn’t looking forward to is her 17th birthday–it’s hard to feel happy about the anniversary of your Mother’s death.
The day before her birthday everything starts to change. There’s a present from her Mum left all those years ago that leaves her with more questions than answers, and a revelation from Linc that they are both Grigori – part angel and part human, and destined to be partners in the fight against exiled angels (just not the type of partners Violet was hoping for). Will Violet embrace her destiny or will feelings of betrayal win? At least she can lean on Phoenix, even if he is an exiled angel and should be the enemy; at least he hasn’t lied to her.
Embrace will challenge any preconceived ideas you may have about angels. It also offers a refreshing change, while retaining the dark edge most of us love in our paranormal romances. I found myself engrossed in this book, yet desperately wanting to reach the end to see which path Violet would take. The scenes are easy to imagine and well thought out. The only real downside was that some of the characters–particularly the exiled angels–lacked depth and weren’t as believable as others. Some scenes seemed a little drawn out but were still enjoyable.
If you’re like me and would normally skip over the bible verses and assorted quotes at the start of each chapter, I really recommend reading them: they were well matched to the storyline. I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment in Violet’s journey and getting answers to lingering questions.
Embrace is Shirvington’s debut novel. The next in the series, Enticed, will be released in 2011.
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Review by Elle Minkie
With all these fallen angel bad boys showing up everywhere how is a girl of today’s world supposed to know if she’s getting into something worthwhile? Ladies never fear, Elle Minkie will make sure you are not swept away into an empty vessel of a relationship that will inevitably lead to disappointment. STEP RIGHT UP AND FEAST YOUR EYES ON…Embrace. I have a feeling it is exactly what you’re looking for. Hotties? Yes. As in multiple? YEs. Passion? YeS. Action? YES!
In a few short days Violet Eden discovers “Excellent news. Not only was I apparently some weird angel-human combo, but I already had myself a badass immortal enemy.” And the fun just keeps getting better!
Ok, so, sure you might find some things a bit, you know, predictable; but then something else smashes its way through the floorboards of your expectation until you’re heart is literally beating out of your chest…at least in the case of some exile angels, but in those circumstances their heart would not be beating it would just be…out.
And doesn’t it seem that every fallen bad boy only falls for the “damsel-in-distress” type? Well, thank the heavens for out Violet is not one of them; she knows what she wants and she’s determined to make sure she gets it; regardless of what gets in her way.
So my girlie girls, if your life is missing a bit of steam, if it needs a bit more punch, and you think you’re ready to lose yourself in the red, hot, smoking glory that is Phoenix and Lincoln…DON’T THINK TWICE! Take the leap into ‘Embrace’. You will be surely satisfied.
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Review by Cover Kisser
Embrace is a riveting tale full of danger, supernatural forces and romance, a story that is bound to get your heart racing.
For Violet Eden, her mother’s early death, her father’s absense in her life, and a dark event in her childhood means that the only bright spot in her life is her best friend Steph, and Lincoln…a great friend who doesn’t seem to return her feelings. But external forces are at work, and Violet begins to question who she truly is. Will Pheonix, a mysterious and darkly passionate guy, help Violet find the way? Or will he cause her to lose herself?
While the love triangle is a common theme in many books, Shrivington gives it a clever twist – neither guy is perfect, and Violet doesn’t always choose the most desirable one.
Embrace is a fantastic debut novel, an intriguing and refreshing change for the paranormal genre. Violet’s voice is written with soul, and the subtle descriptions truly “show, not tell”. I was absolutely immersed in Violet’s story, and couldn’t get enough of it, to the very last word.
Lovers of Vampire Academy and Twilight will love Embrace, and the book will leave you begging for the sequels.
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Review by Blatant Bookworm
Angels are the new vampires and Jessica has created some of the finest- read sexy-male leads in a very long time.
Lincoln and Phoenix are both attractive and flawed; you won’t know what side to pick even on the last page.
Though the best part is Violet because she has a mind and motivation behind actions plus she kind of kicks butt.
There is a lot of romance and a great new mythology about angels and those that hunt them.
It is a coming of age, self discovery and just plain sexy read that YA paranormal fans will definitely embrace.
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