Cover Image: The Path Keeper

The Path Keeper

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Member Reviews

This book was an enjoyable read for me. Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. I would be interested in reading more from this author in the future!
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This book is all over the place. The pacing, the plot, the overabundance of english colloquialisms that cheapens the writing, the inability of describing the characters well, could all be improved if the book had been heavily edited.
The plot reeks of standard YA clichés (you know the drill, bored teenager girl moves to another city and meets hot one-dimensional guy) and of cheap, white suburban spirituality.
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The writing is great, the storyline is something different, and I really liked the characters. The main character is Ella, she’s 19, and the story revolves around her falling for Zac, an angel. But this book is so much more than. I loved the chapters with Dolly and Evie. This was Ella’s previous life. The dialogue and character descriptions here were spot on and I felt as if I were in London during the war. There were other reincarnations too, and everything linked and formed the story. Sebastian was the creep of the story and boy was he written well. He makes my skin crawl just even typing his name in my review. He’s Ella’s stepbrother. I wasn’t sure about Ella’s mother Felicity, but her storyline made so much sense as the plot unfolded. 

There was so much to love about this book. I loved the historical elements, I loved the chapters on different lives, and I loved how everything came full circle. It was well written and I’m looking forward to reading into book 2 to see what happens next for Ella and Zac.
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When I first jumped into The Path keeper I had no idea what i was going in for. But as soon as I meet Ella I was sold, she has a mouth like a sailor and face like an angel. I Freaking love it. She’s just herself and that’s amazing. I’ve come to love that Zac calls her Rivers, but kept wondering why he seemed to know her so well and she did not. So I dove back into the book to learn more about those two wich seemed destinied to each other. My heart was aching for all the woman we learned and their life, but i think most of all my heart ached for this reincarination aka Ella... She was headstrong, stubborn and funny... but her heart bled for Zac. Poor poor Zac who had to try to pull away, but in the end could'nt.. It was driving me insane how Zac pulled in and out..hell I was getting mad at Zac like come on! You’re supposed to be together! All of those reincarnations, sadness, pain, death… it made me sad…. I wanted the happy ever after… i wanted theirs happily ever after.. . I wanted them to succeed in that area so bad…I sat there and bit my lip, waiting, hoping crossing my fingers as I flickered the pages… i wanted to scream and yell, i felt so much for Ella and For Zac. I came to Love Zac, his stubborn, his love, his everything it was amazing how he choose love over everything, and i bet he'd done it sooner if they'd let him. .. And that ending! I want more.

I need their happily ever after.
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I enjoyed the book and really liked it. Waiting to hear more from the author. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the arc.
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SYNOPSIS

This book centrally is not what you’d expect. This story is not just a Twilight romance where boy meets girl and they instantly fall in love. Zac and Ella’s story is more than what meets the eye.

The premise of the story is Zac, an angel, was never, I mean NEVER supposed to interact with Ella, a human. The main point of Angels is that they are just sort of there to ensure that Humans don’t stray away from their destiny which is pretty cliche. So basically, like Twilight and Fallen, Zac and Ella were never supposed to meet so their love is forbidden.

This is not an original concept but the author takes the concept in a good direction by using urban fantasy. The plot does use an urban setting that truly gave the novel some intrigue.

WHAT DID I LIKE

The romance may have been very cliche at times but don’t we all love that, the feeling of knowing the couple will be together but worrying about the risk anyway
Angels. Just straight up Angels.
Forbidden Romance – This could have honestly been turned into my kind of chick flick.
The cover is beautiful no matter what edition you choose.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE

The usage of sensitive topics was not covered in a great way, anyone can have trouble writing about suicide and sexual assault. Just it feels like these topics could have been at least researched, it felt like the author didn’t know what they were writing about.
Stereotypical romance – This is just something I love but also hate. It’s not entirely black and white but some elements just make the story bland and this is sadly one of them.
Zac’s “stalking” of Ella.

OVERALL OPINIONS

I can’t personally say I hated this book. There were things I loved and things that I genuinely thought made the book boring. Does this mean it’s a bad book, no. I just personally had my qualms with it is all.

Even with the problems I found, I’m still giving this 3 out of 5 stars. It’s a book I think people just need to go into not knowing very much.

ARC provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I really don't know how to put my feelings into words. I love Zac! There...I said it! I've fallen for him and I don't want to come back to reality. I think The Path Keeper is a fantastic beginning for a series that pushes the boundaries on YA+ novels. It gives young adults, not teens, something to read where they can relate to the characters. You know...those in college, trying to learn who they really are...yea those kinds of people, we need more representation for them and this is the book to start with. 

Talk about a cliffhanger...I apologize for this terrible review but I need time to really get my thought straight. This book ripped my heart out but I need the second one already!
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The synopsis of this book was really good. I was expecting an angel story but it was much more than that. I liked the fate concept. Choosing our paths were really good idea. Writing was good. I liked the ending more than beginning. But i am really glad i read it through because in the end i wanted to read more. I can't wait to read more of this story. Especially learning more of Zac's mother.
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**Advance Readers Copy was generously provided by NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review**

I have to say that the novel “The Path Keeper” is actually apart of a series, “The Indigo Chronicles”. When it comes to novels that are a part of a series I am always worry when it comes to reviewing them because I am only getting one part of the story at a time, some books lay down the foundation for another book to be built upon. That being said I am not sure this book is being built on a foundation that would make me curious to continue seeing the fully finished. I feel that the fan base for this books is going to be based on simply question:

Are you a fan of the Twilight Series?
If the answer is yes, then this is the book series for you, unfortunately for me I don’t like the Twilight series. I am so strong in my feelings for the Twilight series that I have ended communication with people who are a fan of the Twilight series. I actually counted the lights in a movie theatre when a date decided that we should see a movie, and then took me to see the newest Twilight movie. I am not a fan and there is nothing that anyone can say in an argument that can change my mind on sparkly emo vampires. That being said there are some other elements to this novel that really annoy me within the Young Adult genre.

The idea that  an average run of the mill girl meets a guy who is oddly more beautiful than the girl and of course their attraction for each other changes everything. This idea of a female only being seen, heard, or admired because she gains the attention of another person, a man, all of a sudden helps her place values on herself. I’m not trying to be a feminist or attack the author in any way but this type of storyline is damaging for the young adults who are reading it and follows a dark path of the expectation and unrealistic examples of what love, especially first glimpse of love truly mean.  

The story line is to close to Twilight as well, where we use to have Bella we now have Ella and no her name is not short for Cinderella either.
The characteristics fo Ella are annoying to me since she is the typical hysterical YA fictional character. She seems to be built with no common sense or self worth to understand what is happening around her and not to be questioning her situational environment.

ALso the idea of insta-love is okay for children’s movie’s such as Hotel Transylvania’s where two opposing characters “Zing” for the first time, but if your characters fall in love as soon as they look at each other than we need to start calling it by its first name. Lust. Your not in love with each other your in Lust. You are physically attracted to one another and you want to physically attach to one another!

Like I said before I am never sure if a book series is laying down the foundation for another book to be built. I know that when writing a book its good to leave some clues, hints, and some mysterious that can not be solved until the next installation of the book, but “The Path Keeper” has lost me even on the principle story line and I am not sure exactly what is being said and I didn’t feel like it worse worth trying to figure it on since it was not presenting any bread crumbs for me to follow.

I give this book a 1 star not because I hate Twilight and this book reminded me of Twilight. I’m giving this book a 1 star because there are many literary elements that are missing from this book that would make it a beneficially or pleasant read.
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Firstly, thank you to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

TW: incest, rape, religion, attempted suicide

Bechdel: No

The Path Keeper is a book that I was holding out relatively mediocre hopes for, but unfortunately they haven’t been met. The book starts out with a nice trigger warning:

“The Path Keeper is a work of fiction but features potentially upsetting themes including sexual abuse, death and mental health issues. It also includes scenes of a sexual nature.”

Which is appreciated, however I don’t think I was prepared for the messaging behind the sexual abuse, and that is one thing that I can’t look beyond. 

To be honest, I don’t even really want to discuss the plot or the characters, the only thing I need to know about the book can be summed up in this paragraph (I’m not going to put a spoiler warning on it either because people need to know what they’re walking into):

‘What the fuck! I thought he was going to rape me, Zac. Why did you wait?’ ‘Ella, if it wasn’t for the fact I’m madly in love with you, I would have stood aside and let him continue. It isn’t part of what I’m here to do.’ Clearly her face said it all because he hesitated before continuing. ‘Let me start from the beginning. Before anyone is born they’ve already picked their life path; their parents, the challenges they will face, and the lessons they’ll learn. That’s the whole point; life’s not meant to be easy.’ ‘You’re telling me people choose to be sexually abused, or to die horrible deaths? You’re telling me people that are injured in wars ask for it? What is wrong with you?’ She stood up and poked his chest with her finger. ‘I thought you were meant to be pure love and light? That sounds like a cop out!’ 

People do not choose to be sexually abused.
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I'm convinced that I've read this book before and when I did a bit of googling it turns out I was right to have some feelings of dejavu. This is not particularly original and I object to the victimhood of the main character. I do love the cover though. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for an eARC.
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I will be completely honest and say I enjoyed the first half of the book, so I'll start with the positive before I get to the portion of the novel that ruined it for me. 

The concept of this novel was pretty interesting. I went into this novel without any background knowledge so I admit at first I thought this book was about to turn into a sci-fi novel about time travel, but I'm glad that wasn't the case here. I enjoyed getting to know Zac and Ella and all the history and flashbacks. 

I was fully getting into this novel when this concept (*SLIGHT SPOILER*) of a girl throwing her life away for a guy was introduced. This actually made me do a double take and I felt like this novel could have worked out so well if it wasn't for this misogynistic concept. Why should girls have nothing else to value except for some guy who's meant to save them? This was clearly very infuriating for me and I really couldn't enjoy the book at this point, but of course, the plot moves on and the rest of the book wasn't all too bad.

Ultimately I decided to give this novel 2.5 stars because I thought this book had potential, but it ruined itself. While sometimes the first book in a series is a flop and the rest of the series can help pick things up, I don't think I'll be able to finish the rest of this series.
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DNF'd this book. I did not feel compelled to finish this book at all. Trigger warning for mentions of rape as well as it felt like a rip off of other famous YA novels, re-written to make a novel.
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Honestly, I was hooked from the get go! Outside the realm of my usual book choices, this was packed with all sorts of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The history aspect and relation to today’s London is relatable to any local reader (especially anyone who’s been stuck on a packed bus or tube). Although there were a number of interwoven story-lines, it was written in away that still allowed the reader to stay on track. I also quite enjoyed the alternative religious notions presented in this book. And, although they are written as ‘just a bit of fun’ by thw writer, they are also quite thought-provoking. 
I loved it and can’t wait to read the next installment.
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***This ARC was provided by BHC Press in exchange for an honest review***

This review and others can be found on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks. 

Execution: ⭐
Enjoyment: ⭐

Key Descriptors: YA, YA romance, fantasy, self-insert romance

Premise: Ella, daughter of multimillionaire hotel-owning parents, meets a mysterious boy and immediately falls in love. Mysterious Boy keeps making excuses not to be with her, thus making her love him even more. You see, Ella is supposed to be on a ~life path~ that doesn’t include Mysterious Boy.

Review: WARNING: This book was a real trip. Long rant-review incoming.

This is actually the worst book I’ve ever read. Literally, the worst book. I’ve read and enjoyed some trash in my time, but the only reason I kept going with The Path Keeper was to see just how far this train wreck could take me. This book is essentially what you’d get if you took Twilight, removed everything about it that was even remotely interesting, and THEN you added in a dose of super fun sexual assault and a variety of other utterly tasteless spices to the whole hot mess. Almost every decision Bella, whoops, I mean ELLA, made me want to (╯°□°)╯︵  📘 The Path Keeper out the window.

The first portion of this review will contain only the most minor of spoilers, none of which will reveal the over-arching plot or any of the big “reveals,” for you poor souls who are still thinking about reading this book. Spoilers will, however, abound in the second half for anyone who’d like to experience The Path Keeper in full without actually having to subject yourselves to reading it.

This book is aggressively mediocre and bland right up until it turns into a hot mess trying to deal with extremely sensitive topics (suicide, sexual abuse, etc) in utterly tone-deaf ways. Then it becomes mediocre and bland again for the ending. The premise isn’t even touched on in the first half of the book – there’s supposed to be some sort of time mythology going on in the background, hinted at by some WWII scenes that feel shoe-horned int, but the first 44% of the book doesn’t explain any portion of the premise at all.

At least in Twilight, Bella is smart enough to very quickly realize something is up with Edward. She recognizes that he’s strange and odd right away. Ella is pretty much just utterly oblivious to anything supernatural happening. She’s supposed to be in college – you’d think she’d have just a tab bit more awareness. Ella continuously makes utterly stupid decisions throughout the whole of The Path Keeper.

In the latter half of the book, once the plot actually starts happening, things do actually start to pick up! Unfortunately, every plot point is completely based on Ella doing yet MORE stupid things! If you don’t like topics such as girls committing suicide over boys, sexual assault, et cetera, you really shouldn’t read this book. Ella gets either full-on or almost sexually assaulted around three different times, but it somehow “okay” because Mysterious Time Boy comes to the rescue! It’s romantic, mmmmkay.

There was just nothing good or interesting about any of Ella’s actions, and Mysterious Time Boy is a bit of a White Savior pedantic asshole throughout the whole book. He’s incredibly creepy. A la Twilight, we even get a “he watches her when she sleeps but it’s cute and sweet” scene!

Finally, for an ostensibly YA novel…. the sex scenes are awfully explicit. I sure wouldn’t be handing this to someone in the 12-15 age bracket. Close to 18, sure, but not before then.


All right, major spoiler time. I’m basically going to go through the entire book here, so only join me if you’re in it for the popcorn.

Stupid scene #1: LET’S BUY SOME FRIENDS!

Ella is famous as hell, apparently. Because in this alternate reality, people care about the daughters of hotel millionaires and she has the paparazzi breathing down her neck. NO ONE CARES ABOUT HOTELS IN REAL LIFE. Sure, if they were actors/actresses, but they aren’t! Anyway, Ella goes to some random cafe, and two girls recognize her because she’s sooooooo famous. Ella proceeds to use all of her money and influence to buy them as friends, because why not? They’re going to go to some fancy exclusive club called the Indigo where some other rich guy named Josh is throwing a party!

Stupid scene #2: THE PARTY.

Yay! We made it to The Party. The party primarily is a set up for Ella to make more stupid decisions later. Rich guy Josh comes over to the table where Ella and her two new paid-off lackeys are sitting. Josh is swooning all over Ella, since apparently even though Ella doesn’t think she’s pretty, rich guy Josh does. Unfortunately, he’s a presumptuous asshole about the whole thing. Ella exchanges, oh, three or four sentences with the guy. Take note: three or four sentences. That’s it. Ella skedaddles off to the bar to get a drink. What do you know! Mysterious Time Boy is here! She falls all over him and basically begs him to have sex with her. Oh, the romance.

Stupid scene #3: THE OTHER PARTY

Ella’s parents are going to some other party a few days later. Ella has still only known Mysterious Time Boy for around a week at this point. At the party, her parents introduce her to some stereotypical Nice Guy who’s speaking in that faux Victorian English that is the Nice Guy stereotype. The logical reaction here would be to excuse yourself and quietly inform the bartender that the Nice Guy was bothering you – or simply avoid him or tell him to lay off directly. Easy! Unfortunately, that’s far too easy for Ella. Ella notices Rich Guy Josh is here at the party too! Obviously, the BEST way to get Nice Guy to leave her alone is to lie, saying she has a boyfriend, and to go over and make out with Josh, let him blatantly feel her up in front of all the party-goers, and generally put on a show for the whole room. Because gotta add some veracity to that boyfriend lie, amirite? Remember: ELLA HAS ONLY SPOKEN WITH JOSH FOR A TOTAL OF FIVE MINUTES PRIOR TO THIS SCENE. What the actual fuck is wrong with you, Ella?

“No, he’s still looking,” she said. “I think we need to crank it up a notch.”

NO YOU DON’T, ELLA, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HIM.

“I can see why everyone says you’re a great actor. That was a convincing performance.”

“I wasn’t acting,” he said. “I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time.”

WTF JOSH, YOU’VE ONLY EXCHANGED THREE SENTENCES WITH HER.

Stupid scene #4: THE BUS

Ella is riding on the bus, as you do. Josh also gets on the bus, and he’s pissed off because she doesn’t want to go on a date with him. So he tries to sexually assault her. Yay! Mysterious Time Boy saves Ella. Everything is okay again!


Stupid scene #5: ZOMG he’s actually a VAMPIRE ANGEL

Halfway through the book, Mysterious Time Boy reveals that he’s actually been an angel all along! An actual angel with wings and shit! Ella has been reincarnated hundreds of times throughout history, and he’s been looking after her this whole time. So he’s basically thousands of years old and Ella is around 19, which obviously isn’t something that should get in the way of their romance at all. He’s loved her SO MUCH forever.

But oh no! Angel Boy reveals that the other angels will be angry at him for interfering! Ella’s true destiny is to be with Josh, the boy who tried to fucking sexually assault her on the bus! What the actual fuck is wrong with this book.

Stupid scene #6: YAY MORE SEXUAL ASSAULT

So it turns out Ella’s stepbrother, Sebastian, has been raping her and sexually abusing her all along. Sebastian comes home unexpectedly while Angel Boy is around, tries to rape her again, but then Angel Boy uses the Force to choke him and beats him up. And everything is okay again, and Ella has exactly zero sexual hang ups from this abuse, so they have sex like ten times that night. Then the angels forcibly call him back and he tells her good bye and leaves her, ostensibly forever.

Stupid scene #6: THE LAST PARTY

One more party! This is another one with her parents. Sebastian threatens to rape her again and tries to blackmail her by saying he filmed her having sex with Angel Boy the other night. Ella actually makes a good decision for once, and goes to tell her parents about what’s going on! They believe her, which is great. Unfortunately, Ella follow this up with a characteristic stupid decision: since Angel Boy got called back by the angels, she decides the only way to be reunited with him is to jump off the 97th floor of the building they’re in and kill herself. PS she’s only known Angel Boy for about three weeks now.

THE ENDING

Okay, we’re going to wrap this up here. Angel boy obviously saves her. They go to visit Ella’s real dad. Angel Boy turns out to be a special Angel Boy who is ~secretly~ an archangel, unknown even to him. Also Angel Boy is a pedantic fuck who explains her could have stepped in way earlier when Ella was getting raped and shit, but oh, it’s CHARACTER BUILDING and it’s the LIFE SHE CHOSE and her LIFE PATH. Anyway, then the angels come and Angel Boy reveals the big major archangel Michael is actually his father. Then in a twist Angel Boy kills himself instead of his father which is implied will turn him human or something. It was all bland and stupid.

Thank you all for joining me in this utter train wreck of a YA romance and have a lovely day.
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I loved this book, I couldn't put it down and was sad when it ended.
It's well written and with a great plot that mixes different genres creating something unique and original.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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The Path Keepers
N.J. Simmonds

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?
  Natali Drake, who writes under the pen name of N. J. Simmonds debut novel. 
The Path Keepers is compelling Novel that intrigues and engages you. 
Simmonds’s well developed characters and creative storyline is sure to keep you In suspense. Star crossed romance and thrilling twists. 
This one book, that you will not be able to put down. Enjoyable historical elements mixed with mythology. I am looking forward to more of N.J. Simmonds writing.
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So at the moment I am stopping this at 60% through because it's about the same things over and over. 
Girl meets hot guy
Instant love....regardless of the past
Guy turns out to be a supernatural being 
At this point into the book he has already left her like 4 times because even though he is in love with her he just cant be with her.
Oh and he is kind of a jerk.
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I wanted to like this as it's fantasy YA by a British author, but it felt very dated already (YA/NA move on fast, and this read like it came out in 2008). I knew there were going to be religious undertones to the book but I just found some of them to be very strange choices that didn't seem necessary (the Jesus stuff could have been cut without affecting the plot much, if at all). The writing style was clear and I thought was well-suited to YA, but the sexual content pushed it up to NA for me. Not for me, I'm afraid.
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I 100% admit that the cover (and title) drew my attention to this book first - then the synopsis had me intrigued...

"What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?"

***********Possible Spoilers**************

I have a tendency to forget the descriptions of books when I am reading on kindle and so as I began I was thinking - Who is Zac? Who is Ella? What is his Job? And as I continued to read I wondered if he was her guardian, did he only watch over her or others too, was he a fate, some kind of destiny, cupid even? 

Ella as a character was fun, well written and was refreshingly normal despite what was occurring, I loved her slips into Spanish whenever something went wrong! Zac was instantly likeable despite his outbursts, but you have a good idea that something is not as it seems and make allowances! Her mother had her moments, but mostly she annoyed me, later on I realised why she could be the way she was and it didn't make it okay but it did allow for some understanding,

The switch to the 1940s initially threw me but by this point I had figured out enough to realise Evie was one of Ellas previous incarnations, and as the war time story progressed with Dolly and Ted and we gained insight into the workings of everything. I love the concept. 

From this point we learned more and more (though Ella did not straight away) and I adored how everyone in the different time periods came to be who and where they were. I was glad that we heard her mums story and I loved the way everything tied together with all our characters. It made me happy, but also sad because she didn't know who Julianna was and I also really liked the little link to the de Silva's. I don't know if this will become more relevant down the line? 

I really liked this version of history, I liked that they (Ella and Zac) had been together in their first lives, that they were the ones who were really meant to be and that we discover important things towards the end that are going to be vital moving forward but we don't fully understand the consequences yet. 
We have to wait, and we have to have faith. And I love it!

Thank you to the author and publishers for this ARC edition.
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