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on February 12, 2012
Unearthly is a delightful read, focusing on Nephilim, or as they prefer in this book angel-blood. The writing is paced wonderfully and the story gripped me right away. Cynthia has created likable and easy to relate with characters, that I was emotionally invested in.

Clara, the main character, is a great narrator- I could easily understand where she was coming from with her actions and emotions. I liked that she wasn't fully informed on the whole angel world, and that I got to learn with her, and that I was questioning everything just like her. I was able to relate with her- her insecurities, fears and doubts. She isn't a perfect character and I love her for that- I can see growth in her, and I feel more connected to her through her weaknesses. Not that she is a doormat- she has some fiest in her, which is commendable. She has to face some hard situations- choosing between love and destiny.

Her friends, Angela and Wendy are fantastic- I would take them as my besties in an instant. They are funny, supportive, and they both have their own personalities. They both help Clara to grow in different but important ways. Wendy also pushes her brother, and Clara's love interest to her, and helps it to develop.

There is a love triangle, which is very well written. One is her love, and one she has a crush on to begin with but it seems that he is her destiny. I am firmly on team Tucker, but I can see the appeal of Christian as well. I like that Tucker and Clara's relationship grows through friendship first, unlike with Christian, even though she sees him in visions, it seems to be an automatic thing, built more from physical attraction. It is hard to judge there though, because Clara does have a bigger purpose- and she doesn't know all the details, even at the end.

The end is a cliff-hanger but it is not the worst I have encountered. We get some closure and the main theme of the book has happened, even though not fully resolved.

Overall- I really liked this book and would recommend to pick it up when it releases or as you have a chance.
Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Unearthly follows Clara, a teenage angel, as she moves to Wyoming to find her Angelic purpose, rescuing a popular boy named Christian. Clara's friends consist of another teenage angel named Angela whose research has given her more knowledge on their kind than Clara's mother has and Wendy whose brother Tucker becomes very important in Clara's life.

I greatly enjoyed this newcomer in the YA paranormal romance Genre. The mystery and mythology was well thought out and interesting. Clara's mother is half blood angel making her only a quarter blood. The romance was surprising and healthy (as opposed to the obsessive relationships that are commonplace in YA) and the mountain setting made for a beautiful backdrop. The ending was final enough to be satisfying but the mythology and mystery leaves the reader excited for the next book in the trilogy.

Appropriateness: The heroine is the type of girl that you would like your daughters to be strong, smart and confident. There is one short scene involving teenage drinking at a party (Clara accepts a mixed drink at a party but does not get drunk) and there is no sexual content outside kissing or any mentions of drug use and the relationships are normal and healthy. The book is appropriate for the entire YA audience.

This book will be enjoyed by readers who enjoyed Halo,Hush, Hush and Fallen
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on May 10, 2011
Hush, Hush, who? Halo, what? Fallen, huh?

After reading the catastrophe Hush, Hush, I had pretty much given up on reading any more books involving angels. As far as I was concerned it would be my first and last angel book. I resisted the urge (mostly thanks to my dear Goodreads friend's reviews) to pick up Halo and Fallen, even though they still remain on my TBR shelf. At first glance I thought, "435 pages?! This means 435 pages of misery or 435 pages of awesomeness." Needless to say, I was not very optimistic about this book, demoting it all the way to the bottom of the library book pile. But, I decided to give it a chance. And I can honestly say I'm glad I did. Unearthly will make you forget all about those sad, pathetic excuses for a book about angels. Unearthly is the real deal.

Unearthly tells the story of a 16 year-old girl, Clara, who is 1/4 part angel-blood. The book opens with her discovering her purpose in life. It appears she is destined to save a young boy from a forest fire. So, together with her mother and brother, Jeffery, they pack up their house and home and move from California to Wyoming.

At first glance, you think you have this book figured out. You're thinking, "Ok, I know what's going to happen. She is going to save this dude and they are going to fall in love, yada, yada, yada." And just when you're feeling really clever for single-handedly predicting the outcome of the book, Cynthia Hand shatters your preconceptions. I love a good plot twist and this book exceeded my expectations.

A few things I LOVED about Unearthly:

1. No disappearing parent syndrome. Clara's mother was very much apart of her life. Albeit mysteriously, she is always there to help Clara with succeeding in fulfilling her purpose.

2. Likeable heroine. Not once did I feel irritated at Clara for doing something dumb. She isn't overly whinny or a pathetic damsel.

3. Healthy relationships. You will not find insta-love in this book! No, sir! In fact, I would say Hand may have written one of the best developing relationships I've read in a long time. She let it build up perfectly. By the time our heroine actually falls in love it is believable. As a result, it is much easier to feel Clara's emotions. I could feel myself swooning! Clara isn't overly dependent on her love interest, either. She learns to draw on her own inner strength. Kudoos to Hand for handeling this very well.

If there is one complaint I have, it't that I didn't really like how it ended. It felt akward to me, like it was imcomplete. There are so many unanswered question left in the ending that it almost drove me insane! And to top it off, the next book doesn't come out till next freakin' year!

Anywho....

In conclusion, it pains me to think this book will be compared to Halo, Fallen and Hush, Hush. It's in a higher and better league then them, hands down.
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on December 13, 2013
I don't understand other people missing these points I'm about to make but they were repeated and blindingly obvious for me and I've never read a more superficial, selfish and incompetent character than Clara. Clara is an angel-blood, faced with a "purpose" that all angel-bloods must accomplish to .... NEVER EXPLAINED really. Except, if you imagine angels are holy/divine/supernatural well you'll soon realize Clara only thinks about: her own looks, people's status at her school and BOYS. Her purpose in life revolves around BOYS. You'd think that angel-bloods have better things to do than get embroiled in the petty world of worrying about boys but you'd be wrong. This book is more of a teenage first romance disguised as a supernatural book. If Clara was more likeable, that would be fine but she's intolerable.

1. Clara whines about her dyed hair because it's "orange." Charming when Anne of Green Gables does it, not charming when an angel-blood who KNOWS EVERY LANGUAGE, is stronger, faster and "smarter" than mere mortals does it. What, you're leagues better than other humans but all you can focus on is your own hair color and what boys think when they see you? She also envies her friend Angela for having normal hair. Her observations are entrenched in petty superficial observations, whining about her LIFE IS THE WORST and how she HATES HER SAD LIFE all because her hair isn't a nice color. Seriously?

2. When she talks to her brother, "And I'm ticked off, ticked off at everything, at my whole crappy life..." all because of her hair color and some other insignificant events I can't help but think she's the most ungrateful character in any book.
-HER FATHER buys her a Prius at the drop of a phone call, he buys her brother cars. How many dads buy their children cars on a whim like that?
-Her mother is stinking rich and they live in a wealthy log cabin house and she goes to a rich school with rich kids and nice facilities.
-NO ONE is in danger or under threat throughout most of the book.
-The worst insult someone gives her is "hot bozo."
-BOTH OF HER PARENTS ARE ALIVE AND WELL.
-She has loving friends (that she does not show any caring for or compassion).
There is literally nothing for her to whine about. She has EVERYTHING: good looks, supernatural powers and a family and friends and yet THE SINGLE FOCUS IS ON HER HAIR. I don't know if the author's personal views rely on looks but I wanted to stab her.

3. Her personality...there is literally nothing that elevates her above normal girls. She is not more compassionate, intelligent, brave or anything. She's good at things because of her angel-blood. But she's selfish and her brother and friend calls her out on it, "not everything's about you." She constantly relies on and wants others to help her with her purpose and becomes sulky and whiny when they can't. Her friend thinks of her birthday but she doesn't even bother sending a gift or wishing her friend a happy birthday. She is careless, NOT compassionate and even insults her friend for being "an invisible." Not only that, when she first moves to Wyoming she bitches about how she's now an invisible and no longer popular. Not only that, she constantly points out who's a have and have-not. Way to go superficial, snob bitch!
Her friend Angela, studies a lot and finds information for herself. Clara just sits around on her ass, asking her mother, not getting anywhere and then gets mad and sulky. A real nice role model there - sitting around doing nothing, not even trying to help yourself and then whining about insignificant matters is someone I can respect. NOT.

4. Her incessant focus on how boys will see her and judge her actions obsessively. Falling down at skiing for the first time? OMG NOW CHRISTIAN WILL LAUGH AND THINK I'M NOT COOL. I HAVE TO LOOK PRETTY FOR THEM. OMG they are so hot. OMG my hair is orange.
When Christian gives Kay a ride home, because Kay is an emotional mess she flips the f out at him like a psychotic crazy person. They weren't even dating or in a relationship or even friends!!! She just asked HIM to prom. He was being the gentleman, and he OFFERED to give her a ride later on. SHE refuses and still gets mad at him. She is CRAY CRAY.

In short, if you want to read about a bland, personality lacking, whiny, petty, superficial and snobby girl in a love triangle by all means but I'm through with this series. No thanks!
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on April 24, 2011
At fourteen, Clara is told by her mother that she is not completely human. That she is actually, part angel. Has wings, a connection to God, and a purpose here on Earth. Shortly, before her seventeenth birthday, the purpose begins to develop, and begins to show Clara just what her purpose will be. These visions all come together, and she and her family must move from California to Wyoming and wait for the big Purpose to be had. But what happens when Clara falls in love, and what happens when her priorities grow skewed?

This book was slow. It felt as though it should have spanned more of a short story range or a novella than a full on novel. It was close to three hundred pages, and yet... I feel... incomplete. The story developed over most of the book, though all that you really did was read about Clara finding friends, falling in love, and settling into life as an angel/new student.

It isn't until the last two chapters that this Purpose we've been waiting for finally comes. And when it does, she's torn between what's right and what isn't. She's torn because things have changed, and there is love afoot. Danger comes in the form of the 'Black Wings' or fallen angels who's wings are... black. Yet, they have no real presence, for such a large threat you only meet one guy twice.

At the end I was disappointed. Hand, set it up for an inevitable sequel, and it could get more interesting, I'm not sure. But I expected more. After hyping up the 'purpose' for the whole book it just fell completely flat. It made no sense and the 'surprise' at the end was no real surprise at all. It was predictable for the most part and I felt that it just didn't reach the potential that was out there waiting for it.
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on March 9, 2012
I want to start right off by saying that this was, as far as paranormal romances go, exceptionally good. There was no love-at-first-sight we're destined-to-be-together stuff here, which was refreshing. In fact, the main character chooses to make her own decision over her "destiny", a concept that, in this genre, was a nice change. Her romance with Tucker was believable and healthy. The family dynamics were fun, and I adored her friends, especially Angela.

What I didn't get was that, for a book about angels, this book had remarkably little emphasis on the fact that they were angels. I mean, she has actual wings and her hair glows. Personally, I'd be psyched if that was me, but the things she thinks about most are the normal teenage-girl things. I didn't find that very believable. Finding out you're an angel should turn your world upside-down.

Also, the romance portions read like a non-supernatural romance. They were well-written. They were enjoyable. But I feel like a fantasy novel should focus a little bit more on the fantasy. At times I got the feeling that the angel part of the book was added kind of as an afterthought and didn't really belong with the rest of the story.
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on September 14, 2014
I love this book. I loved the relationship between Clara and her mom. So refreshing in YA! I also really liked the angel lore. It was just a small thing but I really loved what the author did with Clara's hair. It was a nice touch.

Clara herself was great. She wasn't overly perfect and yet she wasn't overly awkward. She came across as just an average girl. Or as average as a part angel can be.

I am bummed because usually I don't start a book in a series unless I have the next one on hand. I don't but I will be ordering it ASAP.
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Clara is the teenage protagonist of this YA novel, and she's looking for answers, but no one gives her any. She has two best friends, one of whom is also looking - perhaps more assiduously - for the same answers. Well, you may wonder, what's the question? THAT'S the question. Clara, you see, is an angel-blood. Her mother is half-angel, her father human. Clara, whose blood is only 1/4 angelic, yet has wings and is developing strange powers. Her mom, otherwise the perfect mother, refuses to answer any of the perfectly understandable questions that Clara has, other than to tell her she has a divine purpose, must figure it out and fulfill it, Or Else. Or else what, you may wonder? Well, that's just another of the many questions that never get answered. A lot of this book is typical of the YA genre, including a love triangle. In some ways, it reminds me of a reverse version of Twilight. Instead of vampires, we have angel-bloods. Instead of a rainy town in the Pacific Northwest, we have Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And instead of a looming conflict between good vampires and bad, there's a looming conflict between good angels and bad (otherwise known as Black Wings). One point that annoyed me, but will probably not irritate anyone else: a lot of the angel-blood language is either Latin or based on Latin. Presumably, angels pre-date the Romans by a long, long time. I suppose the author thought Latin was ancient enough to suffice for her purpose. Otherwise, it's a fairly decent story, with the usual teenage angst over boys, the prom, applying to college, and things like that...oh, and the mysterious purpose, whatever it is. Stay tuned.
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on March 26, 2015
After devouring Unearthly in just under two days, it is officially one of my favorite books of the year. While angel mythology is certainly key to the story, it comes across as a contemporary novel with just a hint of the supernatural. The mixture of genres is well-done, and leaves me feeling completely satisfied with the way everything is written. I enjoyed the story, and found it easy to devour, and am certain that others will as well.

The first thing you need to know about the book is this - I fell completely, head over heels in love with Wyoming as I read it. I wanted to visit immediately, just to see the spectacular settings described in this book. Hand manages to bring to life this place, and provide just enough detail so we get a good grasp of where our characters are based.

The second thing is that the angel lore is fleshed out in this novel, and sensibly so. The information is imparted to us in bits and pieces - "good" angels, "bad" angels and angelic history and abilities. This makes things easy to digest, but at the same time, can lead to a bit of confusion as we struggle to figure everything out right alongside Clara. Even though we get enough revelation to understand what's going on at some point, there's still more to be learned, and I'm eager to find out what that is.

The third thing about this book is the wonderfully fleshed-out set of characters. Hand did a superb job giving everyone memorable personalities, and I think that's something she should be proud of.

Clara was fun to read about because she reminded me of myself. Despite the fact that she's part angel, she still acts like a normal teenage girl would in most situations (especially emotional ones). What really struck me as something we shared was her choice between her purpose and her free will. That's a decision most of us typically face in our lives, and Hand has written it into this novel in a way that's easy to relate to and recognize.

Clara's family - her mother and brother Jeremy - are very much present in this book. I absolutely love that her family was considered as an important part of her story! Clara's mother was involved in her kids' lives, and tried her best to protect and shield them from harm. She was a supportive parental figure, and did her best to teach Clara about being an angel. Jeremy, on the other hand, acted like a typical younger brother. But there's no doubt in my mind that there's got to be something more to his role in this particular story.

It is impossible to ignore the presence of the two wonderful boys in this book, honestly. They're both such amazing people - Christian and Tucker - that any reader can see why it's hard to choose between them, whether in Clara's case or for ourselves.

Christian struck me as a preppy boy. He's intelligent, sociable, athletic and he's popular. He's that rich kid who doesn't allow his family's money to define who he is or how he acts. He seems pretty down to earth, and kind, and I just could appreciate how genuinely nice he was. In real life, Christian would definitely be my type.

But honestly, I absolutely adored Tucker. What is it about cowboys? I don't know, but Tucker just came right around and lassoed my heart (and yes, I went there). He was a bit brusque initially, but his gruffness was just disguising the way he really felt about Clara. The strength and constancy of his feelings overwhelmed me to the point of falling completely for him. The moments they shared were just wonderful in their simplicity and ease, and I wanted to experience many of them for myself. In case it isn't obvious, I fell hard for Tucker.

Fourth, there's plenty for me to love about the story. I love that there's a love story between Clara, Christian and Tucker. I love that Clara's family also has a story. I love that learning about angels is a different story. And of course, there's the biggest story of all - Clara's decision to accomplish her purpose or to follow her heart. It's a fascinating set of stories all intertwined with Hand's deft hand, and I admire the way that the story just flows from page to page. As it winds to a conclusion, the way Clara's story plays out is very intriguing indeed, and leaves the door wide open to find out what happens next for all these characters.

When a book makes me constantly smile as I read it, I know it's a winner! Unearthly was a charming, intelligently written angel book, and it's given me hope that angel stories can be well-done indeed. I loved the way Hand wrote Clara's story (and the ever-present love triangle) (and the family situation) (and the angel stuff), and I'm eager to see how it continues in Hallowed.
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on October 24, 2012
I had lots of fun with this book because Clara, the narrator, is simply the best voice in YA i've ever read (along with Evey from the Paranormalcy series) and she's so real and hilarious that I'd sometimes forget she was an angel instead of an everyday girl with a penchant for unfunny jokes people keep not laughing at. Talking about people, the rest of the characters all helped me get into the story even more and I was about to explode with my love for this book when something really weird started to happen and that's when the cracks in Unearthly started showing.

The first issue is that in the last 150 pages, every character except for Clara turns into a deeply aggravating shadow of the entertaining cast they used to be. Clara's mom turns into a b*tch, Angela becomes a self-righteous hypocritical jerk and Wendy has terrible bouts of uncontrolled jealousy.

And don't even get me started on Tucker. "You're going to love tucker" is what everyone told me. "He's so hot you can get a tan just from standing next to him" is what people made me believe about him. He was such a badboy but then he turned into the biggest wuss ever is what he turned out to be. Tucker must be a power ranger because all of a sudden he morphs into this clingy, all-over-the-place mess that has no connection whatsoever to the easy-going and snarky guy he was in the beginning of the book.

If not for Clara, in whom I was so absorbed I barely noticed everything going to crap until she did too, and for Jeffrey and Christian who mostly just stand there looking pretty, this book's rating would've been 2, possibly 3. There's only so much your 3 favorite characters can do when everyone else has jumped into the raging b*tch bandwagon and believe me, I tried hard.

The other problem is that as much as I enjoyed Cynthia Hand's writing (save for some weird punctuation choices but that's just me being annoying), the book suffers from a serious problem of telling instead of showing. By the end of the book Clara quickly recounts everything she's been through and I realized that as much as she'd actually done all those things, they were all so boring and brief I was barely aware they were supposed to have been exciting at all. I had such strong mixed feelings about this book that instead of buying its sequel, Hallowed, when I was able to, I chose to buy other books because I needed a break from all this confusion that Unearthly put me through.

It's so weird because I went in thinking I'd hate Unearthly, then quickly realized I was loving it and that it was escalating to the top of my favorite YA's list but then BAM, life throws this curve ball at me and I honestly don't know to whom am I giving these four stars to, if it's the book or just Clara.
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