Cover Image: The Path Keeper

The Path Keeper

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Member Reviews

I was a bit excited to read this book because if fantasy theme. Unfortunatly, the book did not grab my interest, although I have tried to continue. It was not bad, it was just not my cup of tea. I might give it try another time and who knows maybe I will love it.
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Can love ever be stronger than fate? What if every coincidence was a tiny miracle? What if our life was already mapped out before birth? What if someone had the power to change the path we were destined to follow? Ella hates her new life in London. She misses Spain and she's struggling to get over her past until she meets Zac. He has always loved her but he isn't meant to be part of Ella's story. Not this time. Not ever.
Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and will force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense, a world more dangerous than she could ever imagine.  

I received this book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. I was drawn to this book by the intriguing title, cover and plot description. The summary and cover implied a paranomal romance involving angels, which I’m a huge fan of paranormal romances involving angels, like Hush Hush and Angelfall, so I was really excited to dig in and see what this series was about.

The book throws the reader into the middle of the story, as Zac watches Ella from a far, and somehow already knows her. They start up a relationship and things get hot and heavy quickly. I appreciated the fast paced nature of the book and felt swept along with the events as they happened. While there were hints of some fantasy in the first half of the book, it seemed to be purely romance up to the 50% mark. I would have liked to see more fantasy elements earlier on, as I often questioned if I had actually picked up a fantasy novel or just a romance novel. Additionally, there are long passages of backstory that slowed the pacing down for me. 

The characters of Ella and Zac share the point of view in the book, although Ella’s perspective dominates the narrative. While the two characters definitely have some chemistry, their personalities are completely made up of their love for each other. I struggled to find anything to pinpoint to their characters without involving their relationship. I would have loved to see some more well-rounded characters, that didn’t cease to have meaning in their lives without their significant other. Also, the side character introduced at the beginning of the novel held some promise for fun side kicks, but ultimately didn’t go anywhere. I had hoped to see more of Ella’s girlfriends as the story went on. 

I didn’t get a strong sense of the setting in this book. We’re told many times that the event take place in London, where Ella’s stepfather has many luxury hotels, but we don’t get a chance to experience the city much beyond the first chapter or two. Again, this is due to the book being dominated by the love story between the main characters. The book truly could have taken place anywhere else and it wouldn’t have affected the plot line. 

The Path Keeper is an excellent novel for fans of paranormal romance, who prefer their book to focus on the romance aspect of the plot. I found the paranormal and fantasy aspects to be wanting and underdeveloped. I would have also liked to see the characters and setting of the book be move developed.
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The story started with a chatterbox girl, Ella, who met a stranger, Zac, on her way to home. He was stalking/waiting for her there. Zac is an angel whose duty is to keep Ella on track so that she meets her fate every time. At first, this story reminds me of The Adjustment Bureau which I really liked. Sadly, this book wasn't anything like it.

Ells is rich and pretty but she has no one she can call a true friend. Her mom married a business man and Ella moved in with them. She met Zac and couldn't stop herself falling for the complete stranger/stalker. She also invited him at her place to sleep without knowing much about him. Creepy, I know. She cared for him and made it obvious that she is into him.

Zac has been taking care of Ella in past lives too. He too fell in love with her and revealed his secret that he is an angel and that there is no God. There are only angels who are responsible for taking care of people to keep them on track so their lives go as planned by the angels. And this is where I decided I cannot read further. Characters who are puppets of angels! Not an interesting concept for me. The characters are too shallow as well. Ella's mom reminded me of the Regina George's mom from Mean Girls; rich, foolish and self-centered. Ella is not that bright either. She just loves to talk to total strangers on road, telling them everything about her and invite them at home because they don't have a nice place to sleep. Zac is handsome but I don't see any other good quality except that he comforted Ella when she was about to die in one of her past life. Yes, that's it. No depth, no strong characters or plot that can keep you reading further.

I am not a fan of stories with fallen angels who control human lives. I didn't like the characters, the story or the plot. If you are a fan of fallen angel stories, you may like this.
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I’m so conflicted about The Path Keeper – it’s a good book, and yet I struggled to get through the first half of it. Might be personal reasons, really – so I’ll try to lay out all of my complicated feels about it!

Who The Book Is For And Who It Isn’t For

- The Path Keeper is based on a reincarnational idea of life. If you’re not comfortable with that, it’s not for you
- If you’re Christian and religious, also maybe don’t read it because the story talks about Jesus in this fictional world and it might not go down very well or make you uncomfortable if you’re a strict believer in the Bible. I won’t say it exactly challenges the Bible, but you might not be comfortable reading it
- This book has quite a lot of sex scenes. I didn’t expect it, and although I normally skip it, I felt like they were written okay. So if you’re not comfortable with it, it’s one of those books where skipping works, but if you don’t like skipping – the book isn’t for you
- It could be triggering (triggers listed as spoilers in my goodreads review, but I can't spoiler tag them here so I won't list them)

The Good Stuff

- It centers on love that breaks the barrier of lives, and that’s beautiful! We’re not just talking romantic love, although that is largely the focus, but also just family relationships and friendships that continue on and on throughout lives. The book has this vibe long before it reveals anything, so I don’t feel like it’s much of a spoiler, especially as the blurb hints about it too
- It’s not a short book, so if you fall in love with the characters, you will be able to have a long nice relationship with them, so to say
- It’s very nicely written and readable

The Not So Good Stuff

- And yet, I had difficulty getting through the first half. I did like how it reads and flows, but something kept stopping me from reading for days at a time
- It doesn’t really get anywhere until like 50%, and I mean literally. And it’s LONG. Or at least, it felt long? I mentioned that if you loved the characters, that would be fine, but… I didn’t love the characters.
- More about that… The characters kept being hot and cold and changing their mind, and a lot of them did that. It took away from the story cause it felt like the author was rewriting the characters on the spot. They tended to make huge life decisions on a whim in this book, and I mean all of them. It was a little bit odd.
- I especially didn’t like Ella, the main character. She’s so wishy washy and needy, although she admits it… but she just felt really unlikable. Maybe just for me! That might be why I didn’t enjoy the first half much, but Ella is still a very valid character and personality type, so it’s just my preference – it won’t hinder others from loving the book.
- The ending baffled me, until I remembered this is part of a series. Then it sort of made sense, but was still quite unsatisfying.

The Bad Rep Stuff

- I know I'm anal about this, and I'm happy the main character is curly, but AT NO POINT do naturally curly girls COMB their hair, if they want to STAY curly (which the character is portrayed doing multiple times.) Read literally ANY curly girl forum to find out. I am always very touchy about how curly girls are portrayed because they're never portrayed right, especially because many curly girls are faced with a lot of shit stereotypes (at least where I live), so I'm just overly sensitive about it. I guess I should be thankful the main character is curly at all and not be anal about this little detail, but it's just how I feel and I felt like I had to mention it. (Update: I talked to the author and she says she can't even imagine how this slipped through, especially as she was curly during periods of her life as well.)
- And now that I mention it, there were a few details that bothered me as well. Like the use of the phrase ‘exotic gypsy girl’ or a Chinese girl being described as looking as a ‘China doll’. I maintain that’s the editor’s fault – any good editor should weed this out. These phrases belong in the 80’s at the latest, if at all anywhere. They have no place in books of today for reasons I’m sure you all understand so I won’t explain.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook through NetGalley in exchange to my honest opinion. Receiving the book for free does not affect my opinion.
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Hello, Fellow Book Worms and Book Dragons!

  A thank you to Netgalley,  N.J. Simmonds, BHC Press, and Random Things' Anne Cater for allowing the opportunity to receive this book early. Discovering new authors is always a favorite thing for me to do. And with the Path Keeper not only did I discover a new author, but a spin on several genres that left me feeling extremely satisfied at the book's close.

  The Path Keeper is written by N.J. Simmonds and is published by BHC Press. In this first book of the Indigo Chronicles we are introduced to Arabella Fantz, an often lonely college student that keeps to herself in her apartment behind her parents' mansion in London. Ella is doing her best to deflect the crazy public relations fiascoes that her mother Felicity sets up. But she cannot escape her step-father Richard's notoriety as a hotel magnate while her mother constantly flutters about trying to keep the family in the spotlight. Her life at her university keeps her sane, as does her charitable heart. One evening while riding the bus home, Ella is forced to walk the rest of the way when a bus driver refuses to let her off at her preferred stop. Since she is carrying books that she plans to donate to a thrift store, her walk will now be harder. As she exits the bus she meets a man named Zac who happens to be headed past the thrift on his way home. He offers to help her carry the books and she accepts. As Ella begins to open up to the stranger, she realizes a feeling of deja' vu that she cannot quite explain.

  As the days go on she runs into Zac several times, including at an exclusive club, named Indigo. Ella tries to fight her attraction to this stranger, which begins to become futile. Soon she begins to see vivid visions of events that terrify her. She is surrounded by the dead and she feels the impending approach of death. Zac does his best to help her with dealing with these visions, reassuring her that he will be there for. Unknown to Ella,  Zac holds a secret he guards close to him that may endanger her future. What do her visions have to do with the past? What secret does Zac hold from Ella?  Two unlikely lovers meet in a struggle to stay together that may shake the very boundaries of heaven and Earth.
    
  The Path Keeper was an enchanting book that pulled me into its world with just a few pages. Simmonds writing style flowed beautifully as I was introduced to a sweeping mythology that covered centuries. Simmonds' way of combining adventure,  fantasy, and historical fiction was a refreshing new spin on the genres. As a reader of history, I was particularly intrigued with her retelling of the devastating subway collapse of Bank Station in London on January 11, 1941. It was used in a unique way that did not deter the narrative away from the devastation that had beset London during World War II. Simmonds' handling of several subjects in this book showed the reader how well she also deals with issues that may be a trigger for some, including death, mental health, and sexual assault.   

  The characters were fleshed out well, and did an excellent job to connect all time periods used. In addition to the present-day story, we travel back in time and meet best friends Dolly and Evie. Their story was very interesting and gave the book a solid historical background that led surprisingly to modern times. With Ella I was given a determined character that managed to stand against many odds. I was invested in her and enjoyed her growth as the story progressed. Zac's mysterious origins were surprising and offered a clever twist on Ella's understanding of religion and humanity. When all time lines converged and carried forward to the book's finale, I was ready for book two immediately.  

  The Path Keeper was an enthusiastic five stars for me. N.J. Simmonds has taken several genres and has created an entire new mythology that pulled me in almost immediately. The characters were excellently developed. The mythology was solidly written. And the overall mix of genres worked very well to give me a fantastic finale.     
   
"Because there is always time to read."- Xepherus3
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Sorry, I did attempt to read it but I just wasn't connecting to the characters or the story. It had a lot of promise, the blurb really did draw me in but if I can't connect, I don't get emotionally invested in the story and I ended up skimming more than anything else and barely made it the 50%.

This just wasn't my jam. Best of luck to the author. The writing was great, the characters fleshed out and I can definitely see myself coming back for a different story.
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I love this compelling story, a journey of destiny, fate, interwoven with love and fantasy. It captured me completely and I could not put it down. Highly recommended.
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An enjoyable read that I was not expecting to be so engrossing! Oh sure I was intrigued but N.J. Simmonds knows how to build up to the end and she weaves multiple lives and pasts in such a great manner, the show of a talented storyteller in my opinion. Honestly, I found this a refreshing take on some old ideas. It's not often that something makes me pause and think 'ah, you know what, I really like the way they did that, it's not something done a lot or at all!' I'm not trying to gush but after a bit of a slow start I thought this really picked up the pace. Not to mention I couldn't get enough of the flashbacks and with an ending like that, I really can't wait for the next book!

It's a rather steamy YA read and be forewarned there is some content warning necessary: Rape, sexual assault, suicidal thoughts and attempt.
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In a way, this book made me sentimental, and it made me feel old. It reminded me of my teen years, reading YA books about mysterious guys with hidden powers, and heroines with great destinies. But even if these elements were all accounted for in this novel, there was still something missing.

The idea behind the book is interesting, even if the elements in themselves were not super original. Reincarnation, angels, and unraveling secrets have been portrayed in abundance, but at least the setting was a little refreshing – it’s set in London and Spain, both in modern times and with flashbacks to earlier eras. Other than that it reminded me of The Immortals-series by Alyson Noël, and other parts reminded me of The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Now, I loved Twilight and I don’t think it deserves all the hate it later got, but the similarities between The Path Keeper and Twilight were sadly the more cliché and somewhat illogical parts of the series.

The two main characters, Ella – ordinary, but somehow also a millionaire’s (adoptive) daughter and hunted by paparazzi (but rides the bus to uni), and Zac – mysterious, with special eyes, and somehow turns up whenever he’s most needed (and time and time again says he’s going away and never coming back) are both difficult to get a grip on, and their actions sometimes don’t make any sense. Their relationship is supposed to be complicated, spanning centuries and past lives, but when the book ended I still hadn’t understood why they liked each other, which felt a bit weird.

The target audience was also a bit muddled. I know some classify this book as a YA, but the narrator is a bit older (19, not ~16), and there is quite a lot of colourful language and detailed sex scenes, which makes me feel as if it is aimed at a slightly older crowd.

All these inconsistencies and confusion considered, I still liked the book and was entertained by it. All the way till the last few chapters, I was leaning towards a four-star review, but then came the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but at the end everything happened very fast, and the actual ending was very abrupt, with no feeling of closure. Given that this is the first book in a series, I understand that the story will continue in the next installment, but I think the ending was rushed and could have been handled better, which is why I’m giving it three stars.
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Ok, this is the book I never knew I needed!!

I’ve been researching a lot recently about spirituality, life paths, past lives & reincarnations and soul contracts and this is Fiction & covers a story that focuses on all of them.

You can read it as fantasy or as a ‘what if it’s true’ and it will still be enjoyable!

I absolutely loved this & already eagerly await book 2 in the series!
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This book was a bit like a puzzle, it took me a while to figure out but once I got the hang of it, I was hooked! Think fate, destiny, reincarnation and soulmates. But this isn’t just a simple story about two soulmates meant to be together through the centuries, this is a story about angels who make Lucifer look like a nice kitten and 3 souls who through the ages have fought to finally get their stories right in each lifetime. 

Interweaved into this story is the story of Ella and Zac an archangel (who doesn’t know he’s an archangel btw). Zac has watched over Ella through each lifetime, thoroughly in love with her but not being able to do anything about it until she notices him in this latest lifetime. Unable to stay away from her any longer, Ella and Zac begin a love affair that Zac fights at every step for fear of the repercussions that will come if the archangels were to find out. 

This book ends in the mother of all cliffhangers, my jaw literally dropped at that ending and I didn’t know what to think. Definitely get ready for a whirlwind of emotions but you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up. Trust me when I say, you definitely don’t want to pass this book up! 


** e-galley provided in exchange for honest review **
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I'm honestly not sure where to start with this one except that at 63% I DNF. I just couldn't bring myself to finish this one unfortunately. I've read a lot of other reviews about it and they're all spot on when they say its the weird child of twilight x fallen but even though those were somewhat trash I could finish it cause I loved the love story. But in the path keeper I honestly don't care about Ella and Zac one bit. I'm sad cause I don't like negative reviews and I tried really hard to finish it but once we got to the religion part of it that's what killed it for me. It's one thing to make up your own mythology but to say that God does not exist all together Im sorry but you're bound to drive readers away. It sucks to say but I just wouldn't recommend this. I'm not sure who I would recommend it to because theres sex scenes so I can't recommend it to a young reader and the characters aren't mature enough for an adult reader. Bleh you win some you lose some I guess.
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When I read the synopsis I thought The Path Finder sounded interesting. And I have to say it was. It reminded me of other young adult books but with more a new adult feel. Well I don't feel like the idea reincarnation is new due to books like fallen being large hits, I actually enjoyed the different stories that were brought in to make this a book about reincarnation. I had low expectations after reading some reviews but this is just one of those books that is either going to be your taste or it isn't. I find most books that involve anything religious or mythological are that way, especially if it changes anything from the original writings. 
The book is long enough to develop a decent history and story which I find fantasy novels need. I also found it to be quicker read because it kept my attention. Some of the characters weren't that likable and I would have liked to see them be more than they were.
As I said earlier in this review this appears to be one of those books you will either like or hate like many more that have come before it. If your a fan of reincarnation novels I would recommend giving The Path Finder a shot.
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A Compelling Fantasy that Proves There are No Boundaries to True Love

Stunning debut novel, The Path Keeper by N.J. Simmonds delivers an emotional and complex storyline full of fantasy, unrequited love (at least to start with), re-incarnation and twisted love stories of souls re-connecting as they meet time and time again fighting to find eternal love. 

Ella is the feisty heroine and we are introduced to her as she struggles to come to terms with her new London life where she lives with her Mother and new Father in law. Ella is smart-mouthed and sassy, and I love her constant use of Spanish profanities. This quote from the book brilliantly describes Ella;
“How could I forget the girl with a face on an angel and the mouth of a sailor?”.

One day, Ella meets a mysterious young man by the name of Zac at a bus stop not far from her home. This chance or as we find out later not so much by chance meeting sets up a rather turbulent and complicated love story. Zac becomes a kind of guardian angel for Ella as he constantly seems to appear in places at the right time to rescue her.

From their first meeting, Ella finds things vaguely familiar about Zac but she cannot seem to pin point ‘Why’? Zac, of course, knows a huge secret. He and Ella have history, even if she can not remember it, but he cannot share his secret with Ella. He also knows he should be keeping his distance from Ella but this time, for some reason, he can’t seem to walk away.

Slowly, bit by bit through flashbacks and snippets of information of their past lives, we start to piece together the puzzle of why Ella and Zac’s love is forbidden. We finally understand why it is so dangerous for Ella and Zac to be together. Will this tear them apart again, or will they choose to fight for their eternal love?

Simmonds is a skilful writer who knows exactly how to paint vivid picture’s in her often funny and entertaining prose. Many of the hilarious phrases she used to describe the characters had me laughing out loud as I could see the characters so clearly – it was like they were in the room with me. Her talented writing style doesn’t end there. She adeptly merges history with current day and fantasy with realism as she ultimately recounts a love story of two intertwined souls unknowingly searching for eternal love.

I must admit I was a little dubious about the book as the trilogy was not a genre I would usually read or enjoy. I thought it would be another Twilight style series. Boy was I wrong! I was engrossed in the book from the very first page. I related to the characters and the settings and with every turn of the page, I became even more captivated. I really think anyone who likes to read a bit of fantasy and romance would thoroughly enjoy the book.

There is, quite rightly, a warning at the front of the book. Strong language and adult scenes mean that this is not your average YA novel. With more mature content, it is certainly suited to a slightly older than 'teen' age group. But don't let that put you off, the language and situations are perfectly placed in this well-written world.

There are so many reasons why you need to start reading The Path Keeper today. BUT be warned - once you do, book one will leave you wanting to read more! Then together, we can anxiously await the release of book two.

Reviewed for The Glass House Book Club
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The Path Keeper had whispery echos of Twilight to me, in that the male character, Zac, is in love with smart-mouthed millionaire star-child Ella. He watches over her and...well, that's literally all he does. It is literally his job as an angel to watch over her and make sure she sticks to her "path," or her fate. For as creepy as I sometimes found this, I liked him more than I enjoyed Ella as a character. Ella was a bit of a bit of a brat and I found her to be unrelatable.  So overall, between the bland characters, the ok writing, and the (in my opinion) mediocre ending, this was not the book for me. There was some content in this book that was a little mature for the YA audience--trigger warnings and such--even though the main characters are 'teens'.
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I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I was nervous at first. There was a huge time jump, which was easy enough to read, and I started getting super duper invested. I started to see how the stories all tied together, and then I was rolling around on the floor squealing when I finally figured it out. I’m bursting at the seams, guys, and I need some serious help. I was hooked immediately into the easy writing style and world that NJ Simmons has created!

I am glad, though, that there was a huge warning about explicit sex, sexual abuse and violence, but these scenes were all very vital to the plot of the entire novel, and I never felt like one was over used. The characters were well developed, however I wish that we had learnt more about Felicity, especially near the beginning of the novel, because although it did tie in with the whole plot, I was left vaguely annoyed by her presence in the book. I also felt that there was a tad too much “I have to leave, it’s for your own good” and “no, please, I need you!” and “Okay, but only because you need me”, and it turned into a bit of a vicious cycle, up until we reach pt. 2, and then it’s a home run! (Did I get the sports metaphor right?)  

This is a book that you definitely need to read, especially if you love books that leave you in constant suspense! Another winning point for me was, as a lot of people know, I am a sucker for a poem at the beginning of a book, and The Path Keeper started out with the 1997 poem ‘Tell Me Who I Am’ by Robert George Dew. Also, the dedication said ‘May we meet again…” which I immediately related to The 100, one of the best CW shows EVER!

POEM AVAILABLE ON POST
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I picked this up because I find the cover art beautiful and the premise sounded interesting and promising.
For me the plot and characters were a little on the immature and shallow side, but I’m not the typical YA target group so I’m positive that plenty of genre lovers will lap this up for the romance elements alone, and there are some interesting original ideas contributing to the scene setting. I also thought the different time lines worked very well. 
Whilst this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, there’s much to build on - best of luck to the series and the author.
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This book was alright. It did not captivate me like I thought it would. It reminded me a lot of Fallen which I did not like either. Overall: MEH
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I knew very little about the actual plot of The Path Keeper before I started reading it. Initially, I was a little confused as there's a lot of jumping between times. We are placed in the present day, to begin with before being flirted throughout time to different characters story ARCS....but there's a reason and my oh my is it clever.

I love anything that plays a little with reincarnation. One of my favourite series was Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz which this really reminded me of. It felt so nostalgic.

I found Ella and Zac's interactions and subsequent relationship very rewarding considering how reincarnation was utilised. Their instant connection was easily understood and it made you root for them. Even in the darkest of times. Even alone Ella’s characterisation is fantastic. You get a real sense of who she is and what her morals are. She's far more intelligent than she lets on but she isn't infallible. All throughout Zac intrigued me. I kept trying to guess what his purpose was. I managed, though not long before it was revealed mind! I love how it was explicitly stated at the start of the book, it really kept me hooked.

By far my favourite moment came in the Indigo bar. What a brilliant setting, the way it was described made it feel so vivid. In fact, all the settings were described wonderfully. I could visualise all the different places in the book.

My only gripe? I need the next book now. I need to know what that ending meant!
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It was good, I enjoyed the story. 
For unknown reasons, I've always been fascinated by angels and such, this urban fantasy novel was everything in that sense. There is everything you could think of regarding angels and reincarnation. I've always been very interested in the idea of two lovers finding each other in different lives and the idea of reincarnation, the paths we choose, the fact that our lives are already chosen before our births and everything. Those ideas all belong to popular beliefs and stories and religion beliefs but they are fascinating and reading a story based on them is always interesting.
Today I don't have lots of words in my head to describe such amazing book (I'm a little tired with uni exams and all so forgive me), but I seriously recommend it if you are a fan of urban fantasy firstly and if you like reading a book with angels and lovers that find each other in different lives. And friendship too, we can say.
There are so many things that I liked in this book. Especially the last chapters. There are full of new things and twists and turns. Also, it's always a pleasure to read a book taking place in London, the most beautiful city in the world.
There is a cliffhanger at the end, so I hope we'll get to have the book as soon as possible, I'm curious as to how the author intends to go on with the story.

*Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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