Friday, July 9, 2010

Double Review: Heavenly and Penitence, by Jennifer Laurens

(A bit of a warning, this is bound to be an extremely long post. Sorry. :/ )

Heavenly, by Jennifer Laurens
Published: August 15, 2009
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Pages: 296
Overall Rating:

I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoë's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoë lost in her broken life. Zoë escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoë's autistic sister. After Zoë is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.
I was hesitant on reading Heavenly. I'm not going to go into my religious beliefs, other than to say--I don't have any. There are books involving God and religion that I can't stomach, like listening to a preacher. Then there are those books that I absolutely love, because they're written in a way that I accept as fiction, and not someone's actual beliefs.

I loved Heavenly.

It explores living with an autistic child, and shines a light on autism. Too often society looks at it as a horrible thing, people stare, blame the parents. This book shows the beauty in it. Abria is living in her own world, completely content and innocent. She doesn't have to deal with the hardships like the rest of us. It seems like a dream from her position.

Zoe has fallen in love with an angel. Now that's about as forbidden as forbidden loves gets. The two of them can never really be together in life, but it's too late because their hearts belong to each other. Talk about a painful existence, for the both of them. Still yet, their journey to love is beautiful. We see Zoe changing throughout the story.

I loved the ending. While it took me by surprise, I really liked it. I would've been fine with her wrapping it up right then, but of course I'm always open for a sequel!

Penitence by Jennifer Laurens
Published: April 29, 2010
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Pages: 322
Overall Rating:

Seeing good and evil spirits is a gift Zoe guards with her life. 
Despite her guardian angel’s disappearance, Zoe forces herself to accept that she still has a purpose—but how does she carry the weight of her brother’s drug abuse, the hardship of living with an autistic sister, and a best friend who’s obsessed with a guy who only wants Zoe? 

She’s never felt more alone. 

When a mysterious spirit appears, Zoe thinks she has a new guardian angel. Instead, her brother’s addiction worsens, her parents are on the brink of separation, and her best friend tries to kill her. The spirit she thinks is her new guardian isn’t there to protect her: he’s out to destroy her family and seize Zoe’s soul. . . for Hell. 

Will Matthias’ return mean that he is Zoe’s guardian angel again? Or is their love the reason the jaws of Hell now gape open?
I'll start by saying, I think the summary is slightly misleading. Not enough to take away from the story, but there is one specific thing in there that keeps eating at me. I'm not saying what it is though, because that my friend, would be a spoiler.

From the beginning of this book, I found myself thinking "This girl is delusional." Matthias is unreachable, but she's relentless in loving him. She has a life to live, like it or not, and she can't be with him in mortality. While part of me feels sorry for her, the other part of me finds her naive.

When Weston comes into the picture, I cringed. I knew where it would lead, and due to his actions in Heavenly, I did not want it to go there.

And then I changed my mind. Why? I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's the change in Weston. Maybe it's his sweetness. Maybe it's his intense feelings for Zoe. Maybe it's because he's human and can love Zoe in ways that Matthias can't.

So she has two out-of-this-world-amazing guys in love with her. One of them is human, the other is an angel. Someone out of her grasp, as long as she lives. The choice would seem obvious, but Zoe does the things I couldn't stand Bella in Twilight for. She bounces between the two of them, taking every piece of them she can. It isn't fair to them, and I found myself detesting Zoe from time to time. But that didn't take away from my love for the book. I fell in love with Weston, and as always, I adored Jennifer Lauren's way of writing.

Darn that cliffhanger ending! October is only a few short months away. I'm so ready for Absolution!


  1. (In English accent, because I just finished Harry Potter:)
    I've got a whole lot of books...well four...that I need to read then it's possibly Heavenly & Penitence.
    I'm choosing not to read your Penitence review because I don't want to know a single thing about the bloody book.
    But Heavenly is soon for me.

  2. Great review! I just read the Heavenly part-- can't wait to get my hands on Penitance.
    I thought it could have stood alone too- but I agree- I love series!

  3. I agree-- Zoe needs to make up her mind but I can empathize! Great reviews!!

    I was thinking Chase would be the love interest from the first one but I saw it too when he kept wanting to see her and even the thought of what happened made him sick.
    Now we are hoping Chase sees the light and Brit is able to escape darkness!!


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