Title: Virtue of Death
Author: Randi Perrin
Series: Earthbound Angels #1
Publication Date: August 20, 2016
Genre: YA, romance, paranormal
SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):
At eighteen, Sera Moore chose to go to culinary school while a higher power selected her to become an angel, specifically, an angel of death.
Now, twelve years later, Sera’s a successful baker during the day and performs her angelic duties at night. The only thing missing in her life is a man, but the last thing she wants is to fall head over wings in love. It seems her relationships are unable to survive once she reveals her nighttime activities, so it’s easier to not even bother. But when a tenacious food critic won't take a hint, can Sera lower her wings long enough to risk her heart one more time?
I received a free copy for an honest review
I was really torn trying to decide whether to give this book four stars or three and a half stars. I really liked this book! Sera and Destin were so cute, but I still ended up giving it three/half. Although this book was really well written and was a very enjoyable read in general, It lacks a real conflict/arc for the story and is more of an contemporary romance than actual paranormal because of its pace and plot. Not mainly because it's bad (because that's not the case at all), but because it kind of lacks 'paranormal book characteristics', and I wish I can see that in further series.
One thing though, roamed through my head constantly while reading while reading this book:
The. Book. Is. So. Chill.
Seriously, it's so relaxing. There are so many times when I'm reading the book that I completely forgot our protagonist Sera is an angel because everything is so...normal. Only because the author periodically got Sera to 'work' (retrieve souls as a death angel), I wasn't able to forget that for long. Despite its relaxing plot-line, it is distinctly not a slow book. It's not boring at all, and I continued the book without the desire of clawing my eyes out in boredom. But it really is so relaxing.
Because I'm personally enjoying the chill atmosphere, I really relished the book. But I can see how other readers might not like this book though. The distinct characteristics that make paranormal books paranormal is the enjoyment of discovering new powers, vampires, angels, slightly gothy stuff, exciting story lines, and occasionally hate/love relationships (with a few bad-ass fight scenes. Also, the run on sentence here is real. *deep inhale of breath after saying this all in one breath*). But this book is really relaxing (I need to stop saying relaxing) and has little to no action scenes (except maybe with the demon and angel stuff). There is no 'real' conflict, and if there is an arc conflict setting up for the series, it's not exactly that obvious. The little problems we see in the book is really minor, resulting it to be easily solved (and not that problematic in general). However, that does not mean the author cannot step up a notch in the next book and make the problems and conflict more problematic and serious. Basically, all this made this book really different from the genre it's supposedly writing in.
Now, if I'm in the craving for one of those classic paranormal books, yes I won't like or enjoy this book half as much as I do now. But when you just want a simple relaxing romance that is set in a paranormal world (although it's not so paranormal) for you to read and unwind, then this book can be a good break for your brain.
Because when every single book has nerve cracking stress levels, and when we read books with the purpose to reduce our stress...you're going to watch the news one day and see someone dying of cardiac arrest while reading a book.
I liked Sera. The author didn't overdo her with her characteristics so she's a girl with a spine, but at the same time she's not annoying and agonizing with all her 'feistiness' and whatnot. Not to add on her cooking scenes are amazing. Either our author here is a baker herself or she has one hell of an imagination. Every time I read this book I get a craving for sweets, and I learned the hard way not to read this book with an empty stomach (especially if you're on a diet -_-). However, the one thing that really got on my nerve is that Sera is a huge crybaby. Tearful moments in books are common, and if done well and correctly it can not only make the readers cry as well, but show us the true depths of the characters. Sera though...that girl's eyes tear up every. Fricking. Time. Like, if anything that is 'bad' happens (bad is so lame but I really can't think of a better word), her eyes becomes watery. Just like clockwork. It's actually kind of annoying. Because there are a few scenes where the tears came in a reasonable situation, 80% of those scenes can be cut out and it can make the book so much better and perfect Sera's character more. On the bright side though, this can be used as a perfect opportunity for character development. Maybe in the second book through this we can see how she turned stronger and tougher, and grow as a character.
The romance is also really, really, smooth and relaxing. It's the main reason the story is so chill. There are little problems here and there, but ultimately there's no the 'big conflict' that needs to be solved. Usually in other paranormal romance books, the big conflicts are either some sort of forbidden love situation, or a real hate/love relationship. Often both. So our little Destin here started off as the classic, perfect edition of a dick-faced f**k boy with a charming smile that works like a charm. For a period of 5 pages. Okay, I'm exaggerating, at least 2 chapters. Because of this, the book officially fell in my category of "Hate/love relationships that was over before it begun". And then there's the brief triangle love between our dominion Archangel Michael and Destin, which was really cute and entertaining.
Overall, this book did not lack so much story that it becomes boring, and one of those books that only has tearful and gaggy lovely-do moments. There are still problems, obstacles in the way between the ultimate goal (which is Destin and Sera's relationship), such as the Chicago long-distance-relationship thingie and the demon issue. Triangle love is intact (for anyone who likes that), and our characters (thankfully) are not annoying but at the same time are characters with their own distinct layers and characteristics, and are not sacks of potatoes and dried tomatoes. Although I only gave this book three and a half stars, this was still a really fun, enjoyable book to read with moments that made me want to gag, but cry as well (not all the tearful moments were useless). I honestly really liked this book.
P.S When I'm reviewing this book, all I can think of is Destin reviewing Sera's pastry. For some reason it always makes me laugh XD.