Cover Image: The Path Keeper

The Path Keeper

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Received this book as an ARC through netgalley. I actually really enjoyed this book. I am not into religion in the least and thought the whole premise of this book was about to be lost on me when Zac revealed himself as an angel, however I pushed on and boy am I glad that I did. Beyond that this pushes into semi religious territory, I was taken by this book pretty quickly and have even already recommended it. The writing was very good and kept me intrigued. I get BORED with the typical love stories in books and this one definitely was not typical. Highly recommend! 4.5 stars ⭐️
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The Path Keeper has some problems. It's too formulaic. The main characters are stereotypical and annoying. Their relationship is so far fetched I can't even. Being a story written for a young adult audience, the sex scenes should have gotten the axe. Inappropriate for real. The religious aspect is kind of silly and an angel would not do what this one did in the end. And, the end.....seriously? Is this the message young adults need to read? No. Just no. I probably don't have to say this, but I don't recommend for anyone, especially young adults. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely loved this book to the very end! Such an amazing book! The characters were amazing and there was such a twist to it.
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*A special thanks to NetGalley for granting me early access to this title*

The premise of this book seemed so promising to me.  The first 30% kept me rather intrigued, but when the big reveal happened, I felt like the story started to unravel a little.  For me, the execution fell short.  

There were also a few elements in the story that I struggled to get past.  I know a lot of times that the author's views and character's views/stories do not necessarily align, but there were a couple of areas that I just could not get on board with.  There was a particular dialogue surrounding an sexual assault scene that baffled me.  

Personally, I am not a fan of insta-love, and I felt like this story fell into that category.  Unfortunately, it got a little too campy for me.
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So this book really surprised me. I went into it blind not wanting to spoil or know anything until I began to read, and Wow just wow. The writing drew me in and then suddenly I couldn’t put it down. I was transported into these intertwining lives full of love and loss and then BAM ANGELS. The plot was really interesting and new and completely hooked me and I liked the fact that none of the relationships were happily completed. They were real and raw, full of mistakes and second chances and I found I could relate to each character. This wasn’t your normal run of the mill boy meets girl and they fall in love and she finds he is an angel. This was better.... this was different and I adored it. Thank you N.J. For the chance to read this beautiful book and now I really want the second one!!
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In the Path Keeper we follow Ella and Zac, who has a secret to hide. I won't spoil it here, but I think it was sort of obvious through the book cover.

The premise was interesting, but a few things didn't add up. 
First Ella is this bad-ass girl and then she needs saving all the time. For my taste she's a bit too needy and the story has quite a few tropes. 
Then it's said that the other "race" we're dealing with cannot like, but in the end we found out that he was able to lie, which annoyed me.
It wasn't really for me, but if you enjoy a YA urban fantasy romance including some common tropes, I can definitely recommend this book to you. If you liked the Shadowhunter Series you might like this a lot.
Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.
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N.J. Simmonds - The Path Keeper

This book kept me engaged the entire time.  I had to know what would happen next to Ella and Zac.  Some chapters where written in an old British style that was slightly difficult to read. 
Toodles, Tiffany
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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I am very sorry to say that this was the worst book I have read in a while. Maybe this can be explained by the following passage from the Author's Note: "[B]ut please remember that although the series taps into religion, history and esoteric/theological debates...it's not to be taken too seriously. Ultimately, it's an urban fantasy love story and a bit of fun." Yet I did not think it was a particularly good romance, fantasy novel or very 'urban'.....I'll come back to that. 

But what is "The Path Keeper" about? Ella lives and studies in London, her super good looking mother has married a super good looking rich dude, which is why she has left her native Spain to lead a miserable life of a rich spoiled girl in London, until one day she meets super sexy Zac and everything changes. Insert "fate" and "destiny" (vs. free will, which does not exist?): as everything has been mapped out before birth, Zac is not officially allowed to date Ella because he isn't part of her narrative. But he has been watching over her for the last thousand years or so. Which is super super super creepy and he is a stalker and it's not romantic, but okay. They date anyway. No surprises here. Here's a quote: "A single tear slid down his cheek. 'You have no idea how long I've waited to love you,' he said." Now, SPOILER ALERT, Zac is an angel and this is the reason he is forbidden to meddle with human affairs and date females.

Things that annoyed me: 
- everybody is so god damn sexy and good looking, where are the normal people?
- Zac stalking Ella in her present and past lives (wtf!?)
- the entire unbelievable rape story which left no psychological scarrings?! 
- the entire business with the angels (and don't get me wrong, I like my fair share of religious stuff in books but this was just bad) which is just...random
- Ella is so annoying, flat, without any psychological backing
- Zac has no character apart from stalking (= loving) Ella
- it tries to be funny but it ain't: "Archangel Gabriel, father of Jesus, made me a fucking cocktail? Are you kidding? You mean that black guy with the bright green eyes? I didn't realise angels all looked so different."
- urban fantasy is more than just the setting (London, a club, NYC...)
- esoteric nonsense
- the 'love story'

Things I liked: 
- References to different religious beliefs; actually quite diverse and interesting 
- The historic 'flashbacks' though they should have been more connected to the story

I started skipping entire pages, especially when characters talked. "Blablablabla, I love you so much", "I love you so much, I stalked you for centuries and now I can finally see you naked, blablabla"

1,5 Stars.
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This book though... 💖💔😭💥🔮💫👼💌🤬☠ 

I don't even think I can properly review it without screaming akjkssjk! It's such a beautiful blend of history, fiction, star-crossed romance, mystery, and mythology. How N.J. Simmonds pulled it off deserves all the awards. 

I originally requested The Path Keeper on Netgalley late last year and got approved pretty quick. Unfortunately, it sat on my kindle for awhile due to IRL stuff. I finally started reading it about a week ago and if it weren't for my job and sleep I would have read it in one sitting. I couldn't read it fast enough. I didn't want it to end. I need the sequel asap.

     "A single feather floated past Ella, a white speck against a deathly black sky. She caught it and held it to her lips. She knew mistakes didn’t happen in Zac’s world, but miracles did."

Ella is our sarcastic relatable main character who loves saying f*ck and is just trying to get through each day. That's until she meets the mysterious new stranger, Zac. 'What's his deal anyway?' From that moment on you're on a rollercoaster and the story never stops. 

I literally canNOT wait to read the next book. Thank god (or not? 😂) that this is a series! 💕📚 

If you love Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, The Adjustment Bureau (2011), Legion (2010), Fallen, or dare I say Romeo and Juliet then you need to read this book!

There are some triggers but I won't post them here because I can't tag spoilers on Netgalley. 

***Thank you so much to Netgalley and BHC Press for giving me the opportunity to read The Path Keeper.***
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I liked this book, I really did, until around chapter 16. I read this book in two days but for some reason I'm struggling to remember what happened in it. At first I thought it was like Fallen, where they were just cursed and the male love interest had to live forever while watching the love of his life daying everytime they kissed. Well that was far from the truth, except that Zac was in fact angel (who, I have to mention, revealed his true identity himself instead of ella finding out about it. Now that was a disappointment. It would be cooler if she found out about it but of course not) who watched the love of his life from afar, in all of her past lives, until the day she paid attention to him and everything went to hell. 

As I said, things started to get kind of hectic and secrets were revealed early on making me unsure if it was really worth reading. 

There were two storylines, the main one and the background one, the past, which took place during the second world war. I was interested in both and they had a lot of potential but I felt like it wasn't used well. Everything was happening really fast and it was like the author was just trying to rush it. Don't even get me started on the fact that the main characters' (Ella) stepbrother RAPED her, and no one cared enough to talk about it. It was like the author felt the need to throw it in there somewhere just to make it more dramatic. It was unnecessary since it didn't do anything to help the plot develop. 

Characterwise, I found every single one of the characters annoying. Well maybe not all, since I actually liked Evie but she was more of a background character and had like a page or two to herself.

I liked Zac until the point where he defied everyone by saving Ella. Oh and let's not forget the fact that he decided to kill himself in the end making me feel like it was all for nothing. What's the point of going through all the shit he went through just to kill himself? I know some people will say that I don't understand and that he did it so he can be with her in the next life but the problem is that, I do understand. It's just that it was a stupid thing to do. But whatever good for him I guess.

Now, Ella. God, I hated more than I hate any other character. She was clingy and annoying and selfish and acted impulsively, without giving a thought on her actions and she made me wanting to throw my phone at the wall. How can a person (character) be so stupid and annoying? I have a lot more to say about her but at this point I don't even think it matters anymore. Let me just say that I would have enjoyed it a lot more if Zac didn't save her or if she didn't existed at all. 

I'm also not sure on how to feel about the religion in this book. I'm an atheist so I can't say I'm offended, I actually liked the idea of it and it's something I have thought of a thousand times in the past but it made me feel uncomfortable that there was no higher being than the angels and no one could keep them in line. (could you consider Mikhael as a higher being since he's their master? I'm not sure.)

In conclusion, I did like this book, I just think it was poorly executed. I'm hard on this book, but that's just because I actually liked it and had high expectations for it. I could do without Ella and her stupid decisions and I would much prefer if Zac didn't kill himself in the end but whatever.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm afraid this just didn't work for me. I thought the whole concept was badly done - if Terry Pratchett had written it, I'd think it was parody, but I think it's meant to be serious. The characters are cardboard (although the ones in the 1940s timeline were marginally more interesting) and I couldn't get invested in the "immortal" love story. I wouldn't recommend it and have no interest in reading more in the series.
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I found this book very dull. I was bored and couldn't get invested in anything that was going on. I didn't find the characters, or the plot, interesting or engaging. The romance felt very contrived and it happened too fast and in a way that didn't seem genuine.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I felt really torn with this novel. I thought the beginning was really promising. We are introduced to Ella who is spunky, outspoken and  determined to make her own way despite her parents interference. Then we meet Zac at a bus stop and we later find out he is in love with Ella and is her guardian angel. I was fine with the story up to the point where we see Ella become so infatuated with Zac that she becomes clingy, controlling and irrational. 
Zac is hot and cold with her opting to leave whenever he feels he's getting too close but continues to lead her on.
The love scenes between them are too explicit for a young adult novel. The novel left me feeling confused and frustrated and of course it ends in a cliffhanger. 
The author could have done a better job portraying the connection between Ella and Zac and not so focused on the angst. It did not feel like an act of love between them but a relationship based on obsession and sex.
Will not be reading anymore in this series.
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First the good news: This book is a fast read. If you make it through. Which I didn’t.

So, the book consists of two stories. (At least as far as I read.)
The first story takes place in the past and I found it quite engaging. The writing style was quite good: some imagery, foreshadowing, and I could identify with the protagonists and was rooting for them despite knowing in advance that their tale was a tragic one.

Now the bad news:
The second story, which is the main story, takes place in present day London and what I liked about it was the premise. And that was it. I thought I was getting a book like the movie The Adjustment Bureau (because someone said so in their review) and if that is what you are looking for, this story does not deliver. I was disappointed on so many levels.

The writing style. Language-wise, the book sounds like it was written for teenagers, not young adults. But then – boom! Sex scenes! Yikes. I wanted to read a great story, not some porn in book form! Anyways, the sentence structure is very basic, there are hardly any rhetorical devices but all the more clichés. Just the process of reading the words was not very enjoyable. However, the sentences are short and they flow. It’s a very quick read.

The protagonists. Ella is not what I would call a likeable character. She comes across like the immature, spoiled brat she so strongly pretends not to be. She constantly behaves irrationally and I could not identify with her at all. I even found her annoying.
The other protagonist is Zac, who is an angel. You might think this is a spoiler. But no, not really. The revelation does not come at the end and he just says it: “I am an angel.” Aha, ok. It would have been much more suspenseful if Ella had found out somehow but no, he tells her. Which brings me to my last point.

The content. I was hoping for a love-and-fantasy-mystery story with twists and unexpected reveals, something that would blow me away. But what I got felt like a deflated balloon. Angel loves human. Well, that’s new. (Not.) Plus, and that is just me personally, I do not like angel stories. They are not my thing and I would not have picked up this book if I had known beforehand. If you like angel stories, maybe you’ll like this one. But I wish it had been on the back of the book.

The worst for me though was the distortion of Christianity which I found really annoying. Simmonds uses biblical terms and names of angels in the Bible but creates her own fantasy universe with them. I felt offended when she called Jesus a son of Gabriel and that was the moment when I decided not to waste any more time on this book. I agree with artistic liberty but I also agree with the liberty to criticize which I am now finished doing.

1.5 stars because I liked the side story.

I want to thank NetGalley and BHC Press for providing me free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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"The Path Keeper' by N.J. Simmonds is a thrilling story of love and loss, driven by a greater force that brings people together as the world simultaneously tears them apart. Simmonds writing flows like poetry, each sentence meticulously crafted. Although the piece is artful as a whole, there’s an underlying tension to it that cannot be ignored and builds throughout the book until the very end. There are some minor flaws throughout the book, but these are far outshone by other impressive aspects.

The story follows Ella, a young girl with a troubled past that stumbles into a relationship she didn’t know she was looking for. She finds herself falling head-over-heels for Zac, a mysterious boy with a back-story just as complicated as her own. Contrary to the fact that Zac claims they cannot be together, it’s near impossible for them to stay apart. This causes a ripple effect with consequences more far-reaching than anything Ella can ever imagine.

The dynamic between Zac and Ella is delicate, yet threaded with heartache. There’s a desperation to their actions and their desires which speaks of both their love for each other and the pain they’ve both suffered. As more is revealed of Zac’s origin, it becomes clear how deep their bond truly runs. Simmonds presents love as a driving force of nature, something that binds us together rather than an emotion that is discovered over time. It’s an interesting concept that adds another layer of intrigue to Zac and Ella’s relationship. There’s also an interesting sub-plot that, at first, seems to be unrelated to the contemporary couple, but its connection to the rest of the plot is slowly made clear to the audience.

There were some moments where the pacing of the story seemed off. Flash-backs and long, drawn-out letters had a tendency to slow the plot down and diminish the building excitement. Once those scenes had ended, though, the story picked up again and continued along smoothly. Aside from those few points where the pacing stalled, the rest of the book flowed well and without much discord.

Additionally, there were several characters that weren’t as well-developed as some of the leads were. Some of Ella’s friends specifically were one-dimensional and weren’t given much of a distinct voice. This may very well have been an artistic choice, but they really stood out amid other characters that were given complex and authentic back-stories.

Overall, N.J. Simmonds "The Path Keeper" is an intriguing beginning to the "Path Keeper" series, which holds the potential to become a solid edition to the YA fantasy genre.
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This is a fantasy romance with strong characters and a story that has all the nostalgic elements of the buzz around vampire fiction with a refreshing twist. That being said, I'm not the biggest reader of fantasy so I couldn't completely sink into this story. I did love that it had a wide appeal and would interest anyone who likes historical, fantasy, or romance fiction (or all three!). It has great potential to capture a lot of hearts.
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First, keep in mind this book is very British. This made it a bit difficult to follow due to vocabulary, spelling and basic flow. But once you get past that you'll find it to be an enjoyable read.

The writing, I found, was somewhat inexperienced. It improved towards the end which gave me hope for the next book, so I do plan to read the next book.

The POV switches could be confusing st times. And the flipping back and forth between timelines broke the flow, but since it was necessary to the storyline, I took the moment or two needed to orient myself and continue on.

Now for the storyline. While the actual concept was not entirely original, there was a twist to it that helped to fuel my interest. It improved as the book went on so if you feel like the beginning is a tad too childish in its writing, give it a little longer and you'll find improvements which go a long way towards showing the extra effort. 

This book is left with a cliffhanger, which is fine. I don't mind those. They just make me want to read the next book. I just hope this isn't going to prove to be one of those series where each character goes through basically the same thing in each subsequent book making it a same story, different hero type series. Because I find myself wanting to like this series. So far I am waiting for the next one and will buy it right away. I really need to know what happens with Ella and Zac.

This book was given as an ARC copy but this review is given of my own volition and in my own words.
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm struggling a little to understand the reviews of this book that seem to feel it's more "adult" in tone and content than the usual YA supernatural romances. I mean, clearly it's a little more sexually explicit (probably because it's not North American in origin) than the usual fare, but it's also a highly immature book. By the time the writer used "illusive" instead of "elusive" I was ready to give up, but I persevered until the end, just so I could give it a fair shot. Although I wish I hadn't. Where are the editors of these sort of books? I realize they're not paid much, but surely they can do better than this. There's a real cloud of self-published amateurism over the whole book. No thanks.
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I received a copy of THE PATH KEEPER from the publisher. My review is unbiased and honest based on my thoughts on the book.

THE PATH KEEPER is a wonderful YA romance, turned up to include numerous layers over multiple timelines. Ella is by far my favorite character in the book, and she felt like the strongest to me. Her development is fuller and she stands out bright in the story. That’s not to say other characters are flat. Simmonds weaves together lives and timelines to create a masterful romance.
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I loved this even though it had some tough topics and was a emotional rollercoaster I was hooked from the very beginning and I really want more now. I really loved the characters especially Ella and Zac I really liked the bits of other characters though time it was all written so well. I really loved the story all of it I really liked the urban fantasy and the angel stuff I really enjoy fiction about angels. This story was so very emotionally charged and I really want to read more so hopefully there will be a another book at some point. So overall I loved this book will buy me a hardcover with this book actually comes out.
-Got this book off of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review-
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