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on April 29, 2013

I had high hopes for Wide Awake. The cover art was professional and the book blurb was intriguing. A main character that was adopted and would have some dealings with other worldly beings promised to be fast paced and engrossing. Regrettably, it did not take long for my hopes to be dashed.

Several things kept me from enjoying this novel. First, the author's vocabulary was simplistic (in the opening paragraphs the adjectives used to describe the main character's boyfriend and closest friends were: awesome, okay, great) and not very descriptive. Unfortunately the lack of detail kept me from getting to know, connect, or care about any of the characters, with the possible exception of the main character, Kayla.

Secondly, connections between characters, facts about events that occurred, and descriptions of the Otherworld were often vague, leaving me confused. For example, why isn't Chase welcome at the Academy? What characteristics do the Fallen have? What in the world is a Nephilim? The author "assumed" I'd know or understand what these character types were; they were never described or explained.

Lastly, an abrupt POV change in Chapter 28 (from Kayla's to Hunter's) and then back again in Chapter 34, left me feeling disconnected. Multiple point of views are fine, but should follow some kind of pattern.

Although the story premise had promise, in my opinion the author failed to deliver and I was left with more questions than answers.

Review Disclaimer: Book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
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on June 9, 2011
Well first I would like to say that this novel is just hauntingly hypnotic, I was spellbound from the first page of this absolutely fantastic novel. I loved the characters, I felt such a enjoyment while getting to know these characters as they are exactly want i have been looking for. I loved all of the starting of mythology that we get a glimpse at in this book. Wide Awake is defiantly a welcome for me in a mist of never ending books that I receive. Wide Awake has a very fast paced plot, an original storyline, and a great set of characters. I was absolutely entranced with this book, I was not able to put it down. It was like, I was able to see the book take life before my very eyes. I was able to see the characters transform into the maturity that comes with the issues they face. I had not one problem with this novel. Great job Daniele you have created another series that I will be happily awaiting the next book. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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on August 10, 2011
"When I finally did stop crying, he slowly pulled me away, and I'm not even sure what led us to this but he got even closer, his lips had barely touched mine. "I shouldn't," he said under his breath. I didn't care. He made no effort to move... our lips still barely touching; I leaned closer and kissed him."

Before I start this review, I just want to say WOW, isn't that cover lovely? This is what initially attracted me to the book. I love the cover! And as you all know, a great cover doesn't make a great book but this is the case, Wide a GREAT book!

Kayla is a normal 16 year old girl who was adopted at a young age. She goes to school, has a crappy boyfriend and has a group of close friends. When Kayla starts seeing a teenage girl called Carolyn, she doesn't understand what's going on at first, well, not until she realises she can see ghosts and can command them at will. When Hunter, a handsome outcast at school reveals he can also see the ghosts, he and Kayla team up to try and help Carolyn but trouble suddenly arises when a dangerous threat gets in there way......revealing that the supernatural world is very much real and leaving Kayla in more danger than ever.

Wow! This book surprised the hell out of me. I'd actually spent three quarters of the book thinking that this was a ghost story. Of course, I've seen the title of the book but there was just no real indication of `The Fallen' but then WHAM! And suddenly I was thrown into The Fallen world and now I need to know more. From the first page, I was sucked into the deadly supernatural world that Daniele has created and then next minute, I'd finished the book. Honestly, it was that good. It's quiet a short book being around 280 pages but within them 280 pages, you're thrown in a number of situations leaving you feeling every single emotion. I think this is the first book to actually give me the chills while reading it. The dangerous threats that come Kayla's way are definitely very creepy and will leave you wanting to know more.

The characters were also absolutely brilliant. I loved both Kayla and Hunter. Their relationship felt a lot more real than the last few books I've read recently because it wasn't an instant thing and because of that it was full of suspense, just what I like. You can clearly see and feel the chemistry between the two characters but the story only touches the surface off their romance and it definitely leaves you wanting to know more. And that ending wow, come on, that's just a horrible way to end it the story but it was so good at the same time. It's left me dying to read the next book and I'm eager to find out what happens next.

Overall, Daniele has created an exciting, thrilling and captivating book that is fast past and left readers wanting to know more. An excellent job in my opinion and I can't wait to read `Nephilim' the next book in her series.

Thank you to Daniele for giving me the opportunity to review her work.
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on September 21, 2011
Kayla has to learn who she is, because she was adopted as a child to be kept away from the academy. She then meets the mysterious guy, Hunter, who says that he can help Kayla discover why she see's certain things! The book is intense from beginning to end.

I loved this book. It is def a different take on something I have not read before which I like. It did not make me think of any other books, which is a problem that I have had reading some books lately. I definitely can't wait til the next book
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on October 19, 2012
This is one of those stories that I had a lot of hopes for, and it just didn't deliver to my expectations. The story started off good, and the characters were well-developed. I hated her boyfriend from the second he pulled her aside at the museum, and I loved Kayla what she jumped to cut him off at the pass. The girl has guts. Only, when she starts being followed by "ghosts," not so much.

The whole story started off with this creepy vibe, and the fact that Kayla is haunted really made me want to stick with it. Add to that the outcast hero, Hunter, who holds a considerable amount of mystery himself, and the story moved along in the same direction any teenage romance would, which is good. However, for all we do learn about what is really going on, we are left in the dark on so much more. What is the secret surrounding Hunter, exactly? That is the biggest question for me, and I feel like I was running around in circles, close but never able to figure it out. And there were other things I took issue with.

One problem for me was the considerable amount of typos and grammatical errors. No book is perfect, and I have made this clear in any review I have ever written where I run into this problem. Only if they are plentiful does it ever really bother me. Fact is, I was surprised that the author had an editor or was even traditionally published. The language the characters used was not how people really talk. There was a huge lack of contractions, which would have made it so much easier to read instead of jerky as it was. Punctuation was also a major problem, which affected readability. Finally, the so called cliffhanger was weak. Instead of, say, revealing Hunter's secret, we were left with *SPOILER ALERT* a confession that he "might" be in love with Kayla. Somehow, that is just not enough make me desperate to find out what happens next, which is disappointing, because I really wanted to love this story. I don't know if I will be reading the next in the series yet, but if I do, it will be somewhere down the line. I'm in no hurry. This is a good YA book for a rainy day.
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on March 10, 2012
Wide Awake starts off running. This makes it easy to engross yourself in the story effortlessly. Kayla is a very special character that seem wise beyond her years. As an adopted child readers will easily accept this as a realistic trait for her character. Hunter seems dark and mysterious from the start, so his character still remains a bit of a secret at the conclusion of this story. I look forward to book two in hopes that his personality will develop and broaden. These two will csrrg us through a web of secrets, ghosts, and demons. I love how this story carries the horror novel feeling for the first half, and then transforms into a paranormal read with a few horror novel aspects to keep you jumpy. Benjamin's character portrays that sinister villain that will keep readers on their toes. Until the final pages Wide Awake harbors secrets, but the cliff hanger is enough to be you back for more.
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on February 4, 2014
I will say that I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened, but even after finishing, I'm still not sure. The main idea of the book is interesting and unique but it was very poorly executed. The author did not go into detail with many different scenarios and I kept finding myself going back a few pages to figure out what I missed, but it was never there. It jumped around and left me confused. When know there are "the fallen" in the book, and intellectually I know what they are, but it was never explained and "the haunted" was never explained either. The author kept mentioning their abilities but never told me what they are. Then in chapter 28 there was a very weird POV change where Hunter was supposed to be the one narrating in first person, but it was 3rd person some of the way through and just didn't make any sense. It almost seemed as if the author had stopped writing and took a break for a long while and then when she started up again she forgot where she left off and never went back to read what she had written before to figure it out. I think at the ending she was going for a cliffhanger but it came across as very abrupt, as if she just couldn't think of anything else to write, instead of leading into the next book.

Overall, the plot was good and the book could have been great if the writer would have explained things and used a more colorful variety of words. This book should have been more of a rough draft, not the final product. However, I do think that this writer has potential and can be a great author one day, this just wasn't the book for it.
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on June 14, 2015
I just finished finished reading book one Wide Awake and all I can say is this it totally not what I was expecting.
Kayla was adopted at age four and has two loving parents who care for her very much. She attended a private high school and has two friends Emily and Jess. She is also dating a guy named Justin who her mom doesn't really like that much at all.
While on a school field trip Justin besides he need to talk to Kayla to end their relationship because he had also been dating Ashley as well. Kayla can tell something is up so she dumps him before he gets a chance to break up with her.
While waiting for the realization to pass that she has just broken up with Justin she hears a noise. Not wanting to talk to anyone just yet she decided to see who it is. This is when she meets Carloyn and Kayla's world is about to get turned upside down.
If you have not read any Wide Awake-Academy of The Fallen by Daniele Lanzarotta what are you waiting for. I am hooked and can't wait for book two.
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on November 8, 2014
Ok so this book was quite a "roller coaster"?
Hell i'm not even sure how to explain all that I'm feeling towards this book, but I'll try. Firstly it started out kinda slow for me and the writing style took some time for me to adjust too. Characters couldve used a bit more seemed to be lacking just felt connected enough to read but not enough to be emotionally attached. What I loved was the concept, it was totally newish and just this whole world with the fallen and the ghosts and demons etc it was really something. Now for me I wasnt soley invested and really interested until maybe about 60-70% in but after that sunk me in i was hooked pretty decently then it ended and I had a tiny fit that I didnt have the second book on my kindle. I believe I'll continue on with the series soley just to see if it gets better and I'm curious as to how Hunter and Kayla are going to be at the Academy.
3 1/2 Star Rating
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on October 18, 2015
I was surprised how easily I read this book. It's long but it's not scary long.
The dialogue was short and normal sounding. The story was gripping right away. The first 50% of the book had spirits and weird surroundings and we don’t know why Kayla sees these beings. It never came across as horror, but it stayed suspenseful and evolving. Who is Carolyn? Why is she here?
Then we get into Hunter and Kayla’s birth family and the story changes into a goth spirit story. Kayla has to save unborn children before they are used by an evil spirit.
Things change again at 80% of the book because we get a new point of view. The author is clear about the switch so it’s not confusing.
This is part one of a series so there is a cliff hanger ending. As a stand alone, I enjoyed this story.
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