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4.2 out of 5 stars
Marked (Soul Guardians Book 1)
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2011
The first chapter got me hooked. I wanted to know more about Kara. Kim creates a world I would love to be in, a world full of angels. Kara is a rookie who learns the ropes through David, her mentor. David is so much fun to be around; it's hard for Kara not to have these feelings toward him. Their task is to save a person's life, but they find themselves fighting demons instead, and unable to fulfill their assignment successfully. Later, they found out that Kara has been marked from both sides. The twist and turns of the story captivated me that I couldn't put the book down. The ending was unique and different. I was pleasantly surprised. I hope there will be a book two because I enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters. This well-written, entertaining, original story was so much fun to read, I would recommend it to all readers.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
Whoever said you get what you pay for--never read this book. It was free. And it was certainly worth the time to read it--which was in one day-- in a couple of sittings. Richardson created a new twist in the afterlife in "Marked Soul Guardians". I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the book in the first few pages. I was leery of *spoiler alert* having such a young protagonist die in the opening pages, but then again, how can you write a book about the afterlife and guardian angels--if your character doesn't move on to the afterlife? Richardson handled it with a light touch, not allowing it to become the focus as the story unfolded. What happens after her untimely death was the focus of the story.

It was a lighthearted story with a little humor worked in, along with an excellent crisis created for Kara Nightingale.

The ending had a sweet and wonderful twist.

This is a really fun read for young adults, and adults too. I have already purchased the next book in the series.
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118 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2011
I pride myself on reserving judgment on novels until I've finished them. Leaving books unfinished leaves a bad taste in my mouth until I get around to read them in full, and I don't think it's fair to review a book you haven't completely read, just in case the end compensates for some of the flaws.
But for once in my life, I find myself unable to make myself finish a book. It was that bad. I'm 83% through it and i just can't make myself finish it.

First off, there's no content in this book. It almost completely consists of dialogue, and that's it. We don't need the monotonous commentary, mostly consisting of "Oh my god! Oh my god, I can't believe I'm doing this!" or "Crap! crap! crap!" - usually in capital letters. And I'm not kidding when I say it was pretty much all just dialogue. Come on, Kim Richardson, you're giving us the mere skeleton of a story- where's the flesh and bones? Were you never taught how to write more than a few lines without someone talking?
Speaking of speaking, the dialogue itself is simply terrible. I've honestly never read such melodramatic, poorly-done dialogue. Let me pull out a few gems, pulled exactly from the text and completely unchanged:
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my GOD!" (pg 232)
"And I thought monkeys were the ones on crack!" (pg 189)
"Ha! Take that! Stupid Mark! You've been zapped!" (pg 176)
"AHHHHHH!" (multiple occurrences- clearly, writing "he/she/it screamed/shrieked/screeched/howled" was too hard)
"Wow! I'm like a super hero. A super-hero chick!" (pg 81)
"YOU'RE MARKED! Only demon spies are Marked.... Don't try to fool me again, traitor!" (pg 154, apparently when the author realized she could use italics)
These are just a tiny, tiny fraction pulled from a few random pages.

Not to mention the terribly undeveloped characters, who manage to go the entire 232 pages I read without ever developing any semblance of a personality except for as follows:
All archangels except for Raphael are big, scary, bureaucratic jerks.
David McGowan is a cocky, incompetent, shallow moron.
Kara Nightingale is a weak, incompetent, shallow moron.

So, let's go on to our main character, a black-ballet-flat-wearing sixteen-year-old artist whose mom is a guardian angel, because why the hell not. She also has the mental maturity of a twelve year old.
Oh, and Kim Richardson doesn't want us to forget the fact that Kara has no boobs, because that little fact is apparently important. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the novel: Kara thinks she's unattractive and plain- mostly because of her "tomboyish figure" and the fact that she was never visited by the "boob-fairy." Also, David is good looking. Readers are reminded of these facts constantly throughout the novel. Nothing else seems to matter, despite that they're in Heaven Horizon, where most people would assume that it doesn't matter whether you have tits or not.
At one point, Kara says the following: "She hated herself for being so sensitive, so typically female. Good one Kara. I've become one of those girls I hate." No, darling, you've been one of *those girls* - one of those empty headed, banal, vapid idiots - the entire time. 37 pages before that, Kara thinks that "perhaps he was embarrassed and hated himself for kissing a girl whose feminine curves had been flattened by a giant spatula."
Aren't you excited by the prospect of reading about a sixteen year old's insecurities and how she never gets over them?
Not to mention, that Kara is a class-A moron. Despite living in Heaven Horizon, surrounded by people with tattoos on their foreheads and various primates, she seems to be completely unable to grasp the fact that she's dead as a doorknob. She somehow manages to completely forget the fact that she's a "guardian angel" now, despite being inundated with reminders.

A few more things:
-The first 'bad guy' we are introduced to, Benson, hates David solely because David was responsible for Benson's friend's death. Somehow, that's not supposed to be a valid reason for hating someone.
-The elevator monkey gimmick was stupid. Flat out retarded. Please stop. It wasn't funny, at all. I can't even express how stupid it was. The only things that can be remotely humorous when it comes to elevators are as follows: old people, music, and farts. Note that "primates" are conspicuously missing from that list.
-You don't learn to sword-fight after one practice session, or even two or three or ten. This is a recurring problem in fantasy novels. Knock it off.
-If David was Kara's GA, why did he ask her how he died? Either the author decided to randomly stick that in there, or she forgot about it.
-A note to the author: "You're" =/= "Your." Please learn the difference
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2011
From the very beginning of this fast paced and imaginative book I was hooked. I couldn't put this one down until the very end. This is one I will be reading again for sure and I will be on the lookout for more books by Kim Richardson. I highly recommend this book .
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
Characters

Kara dies and goes to heaven to become a guardian angel. She is suppose to be 16 but she feels much younger to me with her incessant questioning. She is an artist but it doesn't seem to affect her world view (as in Maureen Johnson's Girl at Sea and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series) - so it makes me think this was thrown in in an attempt to make her more interesting. I didn't dislike her, but I couldn't find any reason to like her either. I would have liked her to be more proactive and a little smarter.

David is Kara's trainer in heaven. He is good looking, but doesn't have much of a personality - except for going hot and cold for no apparent reason.

My favorite side characters were the oracles (who know the future, but are forgetful) and the elevator monkeys chimps gorillas primates. All the other angels kind of blend together.

Plot

The plot (as in what happens) is pretty interesting. With so many YA angel books out lately, I was expecting a rehash, but I was pleasantly surprised. The end was satisfying, while also leaving the reader wanting to read the next book, though I would have liked to see Kara struggle a little more.

However, the pacing leaves much to be desired. It feels rushed and slow-moving in different parts.

Design

I like the cover. I think it's mysterious, but gives a hint to what the book's about. I received a .pdf copy of this novel and, when transferred to my nook, it made each line a hard return - which was obnoxious. I haven't had this problem with any other .pdf but it could very well be my own fault.

World Building

I can tell the author really enjoyed creating her version of heaven. I was tickled by the idea of heaven as a bureaucracy. The oracles, elevator primates, angels with attitude, and cool settings weave together to form a colorful tapestry of a heaven quite different from what you're used to seeing.

I do have one criticism: The training system in heaven is a big mess; it seems like something the oracles are in charge of, not the angels.

Writing

This is the level of writing I like to to call "almost there." There weren't many major grammatical/spelling errors, but information was often repeated and much of the writing is lacking impact. Descriptive passages (of new locations and people) followed the same formula every time. Casual readers probably wouldn't notice these specific issues, but might have a general "blah" feeling while reading.

Overall

I was really into the story until about page 90, when I became a little bored. Much of the middle of the book is Kara asking a gazillion questions and making observations that made her seem less than intelligent. It seems to wander a bit before finding its stride again. The pace picked up again at the end, but the conclusion seemed just a little too easy.

If not for the pacing issues (including when things happen AND when information was revealed) this could be a great book. Like I said above, I think this writer is almost there and would love to see her talent develop in another book.

Three and a half out of five stars

Review by: Sarah of Sift Book Reviews
Sift Book Reviews received a free copy for review from the author. This has, in no way, affected the reviewer's opinion.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This is possibly the hardest review I've had to write. Not because the book was bad, in fact I was rather impressed by it. No, the reason that it's been hard to review is that it's closest book I've come to on this blog that could be classed as "chick-lit". It's unfamiliar territory for me.

But don't let this stop you from reading it! The majority of my blog's readers are male, but I would still say that they should consider this book. Especially if they are looking for a light, easy read.

But it doesn't matter how hard I found it to write the review, what matter is the book itself. I really did enjoy it, and the thing that stood out most was the afterlife. Apart from the fact that it was staffed by various primates, it was such an imaginative place that was really uplifting to read about. (And kind of made me jealous that I wasn't there...). It's interesting to think of heaven as a kind of office (albeit an odd office) where angels administer the world's affairs. I really enjoyed the scenes set in this Angel-Office, called Horizon, although it was interesting to note that while it was referred to by the names of various paradises - Heaven was not one of them.

With all books there a few things that I think could have been done differently, and I would say that I thought the beginning is a little too fast. The main character dies straight away, which is fine - the book is about her death, not her life - but then gets to work as a GA almost immediately. I felt that she should have had training before going out on a mission.

But Overall I found the book to be an enjoyable read, an easy read - it wasn't hard to follow, and a unique read. The plot, which I haven't spoken about much here, for fear of revealing too much, was interesting, and well-written. In an recent interview to promote my blog I stated that the best books are the ones that I'm disappointed to finish reading, and this one of those. The price of the eBook on amazon is currently £0.70/$1.14 (UK/US), and to be frank, I think that it's worth more than that. Actually, despite finding eBooks difficult to read, and despite having a paperback version, I payed the 70 pence for the kindle thing because I think the book is more than worth that. I find that I'm quite likely to read it again, and that I look forwards to the sequel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
Kara is a very interersting charater whose lifes is literally turned unside down and has to start a new life with, David, a very handsome angel who shows her the ropes. Loved it from beginning to end, the imagination in this book is by far one of the best ive seen and her ability to put you inside the book is remarkable.

One book i could read over and over, and get something new everytime!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2012
I have problems getting into books sometimes and oh my gosh this was extremely easy to read! I sat down and read this in one day! :) I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2012
My daughter origionally purchased this book for her kindle, and raved about it so much that I had to give it a try. Well, we are now reading the third installment and are hooked! Its a fun fast paced story that is pretty well written. I love that there is a book that we can enjoy together.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I love finding new authors that have good writing styles and don't try to make the story so complicated that you can't follow the characters with ease. Can't wait for the sequel!!
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