Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Illuminate


Title: Illuminate
Author: Aimee Agresti
Series: Gilded Wings #1
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Published: March 6th 2012
Source: Net Galley

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit. As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Agresti's beautiful and enchanting writing will have you begging for the sequel before you've even turned the last page. Filled with stunning imagery, an otherworldly setting and heart-racing suspense, this mystery is one of my favourite 2012 reads. An empowering tale about self-discovery with exciting paranormal elements thrown into the mix, Illuminate is not a book you'll want to miss.

As soon as I began reading, I fell in love with the story and knew I was in for something special. Haven's approachable and kind personality drew me in quickly before she won me over completely with her humour and quirks. Joined by Dante and Lance, Haven enters a world universes from her own at the Lexington Hotel, run by the Outfits who are too perfect to be human. Pulled into a dangerous game where she must follow a mysterious writer's orders to keep herself alive, Haven discovers shocking secrets that will change her life forever...

The characters are all amazingly developed and will find homes in your heart immediately. From Dante's upbeat cheer to Lucian's darker mystique, you'll be intrigued from the word go and enjoy the deep exploration of their relationships immensely! Haven herself goes on a journey to uncover her inner-beast and comes out of the ordeal with more bravery, strength and power than ever. Her transformation is brilliant, although I thought she was a pretty badass character to begin with!

You want me to discuss the romance? I don't even know what to say. Can't I just pelt you with positively glowing adjectives to describe the blow-your-mind love you'll find? Where Lucian's dark, mysterious and dangerously sexy, Lance's sweet geekiness is endearing and will warm your heart. Both boys will mesmerise you with their unique personalities...how will you decide? Look, I won't spoil and tell you how these two relationships unfold. They do so very differently and at separate paces so…just enjoy. You'll love it. I promise there is a big giggle/squeal/"no way!" moment at the end ;)

Illuminate is comprised of dozens of twisting storylines, all created to induce hair-pulling, fanning and gasping. I can't even begin to explain the level of intricacy and detail in this book. Everything is so well thought out that you'll experience a moment of startling realisation at the end about all of the clues you missed before. I need to put a huge emphasis on the mystery in this book if I haven't already. It will dominate your senses and compel you to keep on reading until the very end! Illuminate has something for everyone so I can't stress it enough - READ IT. Come find me afterwards to cry or jump in excitement. You'll want to!


Sounds fabulous, right? Happy Valentine's Day! Check back here in a few hours for an awesome character interview with Haven and a smoochy teaser! <3

Find Aimee on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Illuminate from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

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