5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly
I am in love with this book. There is no other way to say it. Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens has been on my radar for quite a while now and whilst I'd owned the book for some time, I do have a very large TBR pile and had not read it yet. I seem to be saying this a lot lately! Anyway, I picked it up and started reading one night and absolutely loved the story...
Published on 19 May 2010 by Lynsey Newton @Narratively Spe...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly
Zoe is 18 years old and her family life has fallen apart since her 5 year old sister Abria was diagnosed with autism. Abria is unable to talk and has no idea of danger - she loves to run and takes off with no notice, she loves to climb and she is facinated with windows. Keeping her out of harms way is a full time job for the whole family. Zoe's parents spend so much...
Published on 6 Feb 2010 by Sarah Gibson
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly,
Heavenly is told through the eyes of 17-year-old Zoe who lives at home with her parents, younger brother and little sister Abria who is autistic and as such she demands a lot of care and attention from her parents. This leaves Zoe and her brother Luke feeling rather neglected. Their parents are so tired and weighed down with responsibility that they are completely oblivious to Zoe's escapism into alcohol and partying and Luke's drug dependency. One day, Zoe meets her autistic little sister's guardian angel Matthias and their relationship changes everything. But how long can heaven on earth last?
I like to read late at night and Heavenly kept me up for a few nights until 3am (it's a good job I was on holiday from work is all I can say). I purposefully didn't rush my way through Heavenly though as I wanted to savour every delicious moment of reading it and prolong my enjoyment of the book for as long as possible. I was hooked into the story immediately and I really enjoyed the way Zoe's character developed as the story unfolded. I also liked how her parents were portrayed in the book. They weren't cast as the bad parents or parents that didn't care about their children. They were genuinely struggling to hold the family together. The family was somewhat dysfunctional yes but they were painted in a sympathetic light because of their struggles with Abria. There was never ANY doubt that they loved their children and I liked that.
One character I was not particularly fond of was Britt who is Zoe's best friend. She is shallow and selfish which soon becomes obvious to the reader. I didn't really believe in their friendship and thought that they were using each other for company, which I think is what Jennifer was aiming to portray. On the opposite side of the coin was Chase who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Zoe over a common bond. I liked the fact that Zoe had someone who actually was a loyal friend to confide in.
One of my favourite characters was Luke, surprisingly enough. I thought that Jennifer portrayed his drug dependency in such a humane and sympathetic light that rather than judge him, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him and want to help him.
And Matthias, what can I say about dear, sweet Matthias. Three words methinks...I. WANT. ONE. Not only is he a fantastic guardian angel but he also has the ability to influence people through emotions (but in a good way). Think Jasper from Twilight. This might sound odd but I felt a sense of calmness reading Heavenly as though Matthias were real and influencing me through Zoe.
I think what I love most about Heavenly, besides the story, is the voice. Zoe has a mature voice, it isn't childish or superficial. I thought Heavenly was an excellent example of a YA crossover novel that appeals to both teenagers and adults alike. I can't wait to give it to my older sister to read and I've lined it up as a surprise birthday present for another friend who I just know is going to love it.
I can't tell you how much I loved this book and I was extremely lucky recently to have been sent the sequel Penitence. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you to know that I started reading Penitence pretty much immediately after finishing Heavenly and again, read it within a matter of days. And yes, I was up until 3am each time!
In conclusion, I would HIGHLY recommend this book and it has become one of my personal favourites. The ending will leave you desperate for more!! I'd never read anything by Jennifer Laurens before and I now find myself a huge fan of her writing and can't wait to read and review her other books.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly,
Zoe has confilicting emotions about Abria, she hates the way all their lives have changed because of her but she also loves her & wants to protect her. Jennifer Laurens' gives us a fascinating insight into life with a family member who has autism. You can tell she has first hand experience of this (she is a mother of 6, with 1 child who has autism) from the way she writes.
Zoe also worries about Luke and his addiction to drugs. She doesn't know how to deal with these issues and feels she has no one to talk to about them so she uses alcohol to anesthetise her pain. When she meets Matthias she is suspicious at first but finds he has a soothing influence on both Abria and herself.
I've been really struggling with my review for this book. On one hand I really liked the the idea of the story and found it interesting to learn more about autism. Heavenly is well written and it is easy to relate to Zoe's feelings about both Abria and Luke. I quite liked Matthias although at times he drove me crazy by answering most of Zoe's questions with "what does your heart tell you" - I felt like if I read that sentence one more time I could scream.
When Zoe was in danger I found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen and was disappointed to find how she escaped was completely glossed over. There were a few interesting twists though, particularly at the end of the book - I really didn't see that coming.
At the back of the book there is a preview of a sequel to Heavenly but I can't find any more information on that so I'm not sure when it will be being published. I thought the ending to Heavenly wrapped up well so it will be interesting to see what happens next
Overall I found the book was easy to read but it didn't have me gripped as much as I expected it would. I don't think it will be one I will be reading again but I'm glad I did read it. I think perhaps it would have been better to get this one from the library though.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read.,
Having said all that, this review will therefore depend much on said issue - and must be therefore approached as such. I feel I have been deprived of enjoying this book a whole lot by knowing beforehand how it ends. Despite the little fiasco however, I feel I have gathered a lot from reading Heavenly.
The book focuses more on themes other than that of romance. Zoe's turns to alcohol to counter the stress brought about by the stress of being in a fragile household where taking care of her autistic sister, Abria, takes its toll on the family. Apart from Zoe's alcohol problem, her brother Luke also turns to drugs. The focus on these family issues - especially the bonds of siblings - really touched me. It gave me an insight into the difficulties of such household without letting me lose hope in any of the characters. I think a special trait this book possesses is the fact that although the actions of Zoe and Luke were both questionable, they were not entirely blameless. It was very difficult for me to blame both of them as the book showcases the severity of their problems.
I related well to Zoe - really, really well. Simple elements such as her use of personal expressions define her as an easily identifiable character. I was drawn to the way she handled her difficulties - sort of like walking in a tight rope - neither right nor wrong, only human. I felt her concern for her brother and the love she reserves for Abria in her every motivation and it was wonderful reading about a family that though struggles, struggles together. I immensely enjoyed Abria - Jennifer zoomed in on the difficulties of relating to her without neglecting every part of her that makes her so special. The fact that Heavenly focuses more on love more than hate is very admirable.
The romance I could have enjoyed a little more. Thoughout I felt distance to Matthias and I could have enjoyed a little more interaction between the Zoe and him. However, I felt the emotions they shared was palpable in both actions and words. The ending was especially beautiful - I even regretted knowing it, for I enjoyed it hugely and could have done so more if I had not known it beforehand. Matthias was a very angelic character, to say the least. Sometimes unpredictable but always so genuinely handsome.
Generally I think what makes Heavenly a good book is not the forbidden romance - it's its backdrop of a family struggle revolving around autism and vices and a heroine that arises from these difficulties.
I'm waiting for Penitence!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring & Heart Warming,
I have to say the synopsis leaves a lot to be desired and should not put you off reading this book. I am not going to gush as this goes far beyond gushing. I feel as if this book was written for me personally, that is how much it has enthralled me.
Written in first person narrative from Zoe's point of view. She is the oldest of 3 children, 17 years old, dealing with the traumatic diagnosis that her adorable little sister, Abria, age 5, has severe autism.
The book shows the effect on the entire family having to cope with this disability. It is written with insight as the author, Jennifer Laurens, has an autistic child. I was able to relate completely as my oldest child has dyspraxia, although her physical skills are significantly improved to when she was diagnosed, the emotional aspect is a constant challenge and on occasion still hard to deal with. As in the book, Abria is the person the family revolves around, so it is in my house with the oldest having the main focus of attention. It is not something that is intentional that is just how it happens. I sincerely hope that it is not disturbing the other girls emotionally or mentally.
The story deals with how the family cope with the added stress of having an impaired child in their lives. Zoe turns to alcohol while her brother, Luke, turns to drugs. The feeling of turning to any thing that will block out the reality of their stressful lives is something I can relate to. However, the story goes on to show how these methods are just means of avoiding the problem and they generally add more problems than they solve. The best way to deal with problems is head on and with open honesty to the other people involved. it also brought to mind the therapies and developmental skills mentioned in Beautiful Dead: Arizona whose brother was also autistic.
Amazing use of the white space within the narrative adding impact and intensity to the storyline.
Although the theme of the books refers to God, Heaven and Angels, it is of a non-denominational nature, therefore open to your own interpretation/beliefs. Being of a non-overtly religious nature myself, I have my own beliefs which are just that my own, I found the ideals within the story easy to relate to. The idea of a life after death brings great comfort to anyone that has lost someone close to them.
The thought that each of us has a Guardian Angel trying to guide us and keep us safe is reassuring, although the idea that they are responsible for keeping us safe when we purposefully expose ourselves to danger/evil is quickly and powerfully dispelled within the narrative. The adage 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' comes to mind. The emphasis that Angels cannot enter a place that contains evil is powerful and we as people are responsible for the decision to enter the nefarious circles is thought provoking. The imagery used to describe evil spirits was chilling, giving me goose-bumps. The addition of alcohol/drugs lower your inhibitions and therefore making it easier for evil spirits to take over gave me shivers.
Instead of making the Guardian Angel into a virtuous, moral, pure, spotless person, Matthias has his own past to contemplate and in some aspects repent for. Making him human and easy to relate to. The use of 'cool' or 'slang' words from the modern era side by side with those of the 1920's was rather amusing but added depth to the storyline.
This book invoked such powerful emotions within me that I just did not want to let it go. The ending was bitter-sweet but gripping.
This is one book that I would recommend the entire world to read. Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime. I am keeping it on my bookshelf and will be passing it down to my children when they are old enough to read it. It is the whole kit & caboodle....touching, inspiring, heart warming, thought provoking....do I need to go on ;)
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading A Little Bit Of Everything,
When I first started reading Heavenly. I was shocked at how bad I felt for Zoe, She really craved attention from her Mother and Father. As she felt that there attention was always focused on her little sister Abria. As Abria had Autism she needed around the clock attention and that left none really for Zoe and her brother Luke. So they wanted to escape and that's what they did.
Zoe partied . . . and Luke got high. Zoe's partying caused a lot of dangerous situations and it would have been worse if Matthias hadn't have been there. Luke's drug addiction was bad, really bad. Though near the end of the book he was quiting and I was so glad when he did. I've seen first hand what it is like for people to be addicted and Jennifer Laurens portrayed the part of Luke's addiction amazingly well.
Matthias is Abria's guardian angel . . and after a close encounter with Zoe and him touching you can guess what happened. He was then Zoe's guardian angel as well. I was ready to burst when this happened. I was so happy but also nervous and scared about what would happen to Matthias . . would he be banished from earth? Apparently not. Which was Brill! I loved each thought Zoe had about Matthias when he was with her. As he could read her thoughts, so she kept blushing and getting embarrassed it was what the book needed a bit of laughter.
Of course I have to talk about Matthias. He was calm, loving, caring, helpful, kind, responsible, mature, and HOT! He was perfect! He's the typical guy every teenage girl dreams about meeting and being with. From now on I'm keeping my eyes peeled!
The relationship between Abria and Zoe was getting stronger and stronger each day. At the end of the book I was balling my eyes out when we Abria reached for Zoe's hand and she said 'O' it was so sad. Zoe no longer felt the way she used to about her sister. All she felt now was love for Abria.
Zoe's Mother and Father seemed like ordinary parents who loved their children. Worried about them when they didn't know where they were, and even when they did.
Britt . . . . she reminds me of a girl I used to know . . . only ever really caring and thinking about herself. So I won't talk about her much.
I really liked the unlikely friendship between Chace and Zoe, even thought they shared different feelings towards each other. It was a nice calm friendship. One everybody needs.
All in all I loved this book, and it's just an example of how amazingly talented Jennifer Laurens is. I know for a fact Penitence and Absolution will be just as good if not better.
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful,
This review is from: Heavenly (Kindle Edition)Wow I have read all 3 books in last two days they are wonderful and I still want more. Beautifully written and a really wonderful love story i dont very often buy ebooks as they are so many that are free however these books are so worth the money I will def be reading more from this author.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Heaven for me,
Siblings Zoe and Luke are very easy to relate to. Both have their problems and try to sort them out in different ways. I was quite the rebellious teenager myself so I could certainly relate to them both. I went out all of the time and did crazy things to take my mind off my home life so these parts of the story brought back some of my own memories. Laurens writes teenagers extremely well and I felt like these were two of the most real teenagers (for the most part) that I had read about for a while.
The dialogue was what bugged me about this book. It was very unbelievable at times, especially from Zoe and Mathias. Mathias' background dated back to the `20s and he didn't really understand too much about pop culture. I would have understood this a lot more if this had been more consistent. Sometimes, Mathias would appear to be quite current but then he would go back to speaking like someone in the `20s would have. Also, there was a part of the book where Mathias explains about other angels bringing each other up to date with what is happening in the world but if this were the case, surely his language and knowledge would have been better? He also said `I'm blown away by that' WAY too much and in the end, I wanted to take these words out of his vocabulary just so he couldn't say it anymore.
Heavenly did have some great plot twists though and I didn't see them coming at all. Everything was built up nicely from the very start and had a lovely mixture of tender moments between Zoe and Mathias as well as some excitement. Overall, Heavenly just didn't live up to my expectations. It has quite a lot of good things going for it but there were also some things that I hated which makes me unsure about whether or not I want to read the next instalment in the series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Heavenly was...heavenly,
With a trend comes the risk of being compared to other authors, other stories. The rise in popularity of the angel novels has seen many new takes on the creatures, but I can honestly say, hand over heart, that none have been done that can even be compared to Heavenly.
Though obviously a paranormal novel, this book felt so real to me. It's heart may be in the clouds, in paradise and in Heaven, but it's roots are undoubtedly in here on earth. The romance in the book was delicious, excruciatingly well written and beautifully described. With a leading man who possessed perfect looks and a wry sense of humour, there was nothing lacking when it came to him. But strangely...it wasn't the love story that had me hooked.
Actually...yes it was. Though I adored Zoe and falling for Matthias, I was hooked on the love she had for her family, flawed as they were. I think a lot of teens, male and female, can relate to this book. They will be able to find something relate-able with either Zoe, her home life, her brother, her problems.
The first in a series, Heavenly will wrap around you like a thick blanket, making you feel cozy and safe as you pour over this delicious book. If you don't run out your front door or get straight on the computer to Amazon for the next book, there is something seriously wrong with you!
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Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens