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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Playing Catch Up! Dark Hope by Monica McGurk

Playing Catch Up has really been helping me through my ever growing TBR list. I'd like to welcome all other blogs to participate too! If you do, be sure to post your links in the comments section. I'd love to see your Playing Catch Up Reviews, and I'm sure others would too!! *wink*

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Dark Hope (The Archangel Prophecies #1) by Monica McGurk
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group

A new young adult saga in the Twilight tradition about the love between a human and an archangel.

For years, Hope Carmichael, survivor of a shocking child abduction, has lived a sheltered existence under the protection of her fanatically religious father. Now, liberated by her mother, Hope prepares to start life over as a normal kid in an Atlanta, Georgia, high school.

Normal, that is, until Hope meets Michael, a gorgeous emancipated teen with a mysterious past and a strong interest in Hope. And soon, Hope’s life is filled with questions. What’s behind the angry looks Hope gets from Lucas, leader of a gang of students? Who’s responsible for sending Hope a strange valentine inscribed with Bible quotations? How does this relate to the sinister business of human trafficking that operates on the periphery of Hope’s suburban world? And is Michael really a protector, or something more sinister—and just why does he seem so familiar?

In an epic narrative that takes readers from the back streets of Atlanta to the height of Vegas penthouses and beyond, Dark Hope introduces readers to The Archangel Prophecies, a new young adult saga that blends the feeling of Twilight with a vast mythological scope and moral urgency, as well as to Hope Carmichael—a young woman instantly memorable for her endurance, heart, and determination—and Michael, Hope’s dangerous companion who’s fated either to save Hope—or to kill her. 

Dark Hope is the first book in The Archangel Prophesies by Monica McGurk. Hope has had a rough childhood, fortunately she has no memory of the most traumatic part of it. Michael is an archangel. Yes, the archangel Michael we all know from the Bible. This book took ideas and characters from the Bible and created it's own prophesies and lore. This story pretty much created its own world, using Biblical characters as a guide and re-creating them into something entirely fictional. It also brought up an important issue, human trafficking. This is something serious that people should be aware of. It happens in our own country and around the world. It affects all ages, races, and genders.

I enjoyed the thought and creativity that went into this story. I've seen it compared to Twilight on some reviews. I guess it has a Twilighty feel to it in some ways, but I would never have compared the two if I didn't see that in the blurb first(then after reading the book, I saw others compared it in their reviews as well). I think Dark Hope stands fine on its own. It's its own unique story. It doesn't need the comparison. I'm curious as to what happens next. The ending was abrupt, not really a cliffhanger ending per say, but maybe still sitting on the edge a little.

Dark Hope by Monica McGurk was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

When the SWAT team stormed the motel room, the frst thing
they saw was the little girl. She was sitting on the edge of the bed,
holding her blankie and sucking her thumb, her bare legs hanging
over the edge, absentmindedly kicking at the faded bedspread.
Te television set blared—Wile E. Coyote getting crushed by a
falling anvil, courtesy once again of the Road Runner.
Te girl turned her big brown eyes and stared at the men. She
didn’t scream; she didn’t cry; she just looked at them as if she had
been expecting them all along, as if they were as natural a part
of the run-down room as the peeling, speckled wallpaper and the
rust-colored shag carpet.
Tey turned and fanned their guns around the room, looking
for the man who had taken the girl, the bad man who had hurt
other little girls, the man who was lurking in the corner or hiding
under the bed. But he wasn’t there. Te door to the bathroom was
closed, however, so they surrounded it.
Two of the men, who looked like bugs in their funny helmets
and gas masks, began talking to her, touching her hair, her arms, as
if to reassure themselves that she was there, really, really there. Was
she all right? Was she hurt?
While they wrapped a blanket around her, another bug-man
kicked in the bathroom door and rushed inside, brandishing
his gun.
“Oh dear God,” he choked out, his voice sounding tinny and far
away as he backed out through the door. An acrid smell foated out
with him.
Te other men rushed into the bathroom to see what he had
seen. Suddenly, they had to strain to move their feet, as if springs
were pulling them back. Te faded linoleum had melted and was
sticking to their boots, stretching apart like long strings of tafy.
Tere, in the middle of a scorched, black circle of gooey plastic,
lay a pile of ash fecked with little chips of white. Teeth. Bones. Te
body was still smoking, its whispery tendrils rising up to leave a
flm of soot on the ceiling. One of the men kicked the pile, revealing
a few misshapen lumps. A putrid smell washed over them as
he kicked around the remains, musky sweet and tangy, like copper.
One by one the men came out, holding their hands over their
faces. One rushed to the little Formica table in the corner, thrust
up the front of his helmet, and vomited into the wastebasket.
Walkie-talkies started buzzing and bulbs started fashing and
everything seemed to get hot and loud all at once.
Te frst man, the man who had kicked in the bathroom door,
knelt before the little girl on the bed.
“What happened? Who did this?” he asked the little girl. “Was
there someone else here with you?”
Te little girl just stared at him with her big brown eyes and
sucked her thumb. She had no idea what he was talking about.
“Let’s get you out of here,” the man said, his voice rough. He
swept her up in his arms, pulling the industrial blanket tightly
around her. She was so tiny, almost weightless. He wound through
the crowded room and headed toward the open door, trying to
block the memory of what he’d seen in the bathroom.
He emerged, blinking, into the gray light. On the concrete
sidewalk he paused, taking great gulps of fresh air. Emergency
personnel swirled all around them while police barked at the gathering
crowd, pressing them back from the caution tape where they
surged, hoping for a glimpse.
Te girl whimpered against his shoulder, clutching her threadbare
blanket even tighter.
“It’s okay,” he murmured, patting her awkwardly on the back.
“We’ll fnd your mommy and your daddy. You’d like that, wouldn’t
He didn’t wait for her answer before striding purposefully across
the parking lot, moving closer and closer to the fashing lights, the
cameras, and the crowd.
A wild-eyed woman broke through the tape, past the restraining
arms of the police ofcer, and then was swallowed up in the crowd.
Te girl squirmed in his arms, straining toward the voice.
“Hold on now,” the man cautioned, but the little girl was kicking
at him now, determined to get to her mother. Carefully, he set
her down on the cracked pavement. “Be careful, you’re barefoot,”
he warned her, holding her back ever so slightly. It wouldn’t do to
lose her now.
A pair of EMTs fell upon her, peppering her with questions as
one shone a penlight in her eyes and the other took notes. Reporters
crowded around them, microphones eagerly thrusting forward like branches of trees, showering questions down upon the little
girl’s head.
Te little girl shrank back against the SWAT leader, who instinctively
wrapped her in a protective arm.
“Hope!” A desperate voice rose above the chatter of the reporters.
“Tat’s my daughter! Let me through!”
Slowly, the crowd parted for the woman who was clawing her
way through.
“Hope!” she sobbed, falling on her knees before her daughter.
In an instant, a man, eyes heavy with shadows, fell in behind her—
the father.
The woman laughed through her sobs, running her hands over
the little girl, checking that she was whole, as if she were a newborn.
“Oh my God, what did he do to you?” she choked out through
her tears, clutching the little girl in her arms. Her husband wrapped
them both in his embrace, weeping silently.
Te SWAT leader cleared his throat, leaning in to speak to the
parents. Tis part always made him uncomfortable, but it had to
be said.
“She seems unhurt,” he said steadily, low so that the reporters
would not hear, “but we haven’t had a physical examination yet.
We don’t know what he may have done to her. We need to take her
in now. To be sure.”
He locked eyes with the father, who blanched. He’d heard the
father had been the one with her at the time she was snatched. He
felt for the guy. It would be hard to live with yourself, if the worst
had, indeed, happened.
Te mother just kissed the top of her daughter’s head. “Of
course,” she said. “But we go with her. I’m not leaving her side.” She
rose to her feet, shifing her baby girl in her arms. Te girl made a little sound of protest where she rested her head against her mother’s
“Oh, poor baby, your hair is caught,” the woman said. She
hitched the girl up on her hip and swept the girl’s cascade of silky
hair around her neck.
Te SWAT leader started. “What’s that?” he demanded, pointing
at the little girl.
“What’s what?” the mother responded, confused.
“Tere, on her neck.”
Te woman turned to face her husband. “What is it, Don?”
Her husband shuddered and reached out with a tentative hand
to lif up her hair and touch his little girl’s neck. She finched from
the touch.
Her husband’s face hardened into a mask of fury as he let her
hair fall back into place. (Excerpt from TeenReads)

Monica McGurk loves nothing better than to craft thought-provoking, multilayered stories, showcasing strong girls and women overcoming big challenges.

Already a fan favorite, she received the 2013 TwiFic Fandom Undiscovered Gem award for Morning Star, her alternate ending to the Twilight series, written before the release of Breaking Dawn.

Her first novel in The Archangel Prophecies trilogy, Dark Hope, was published in 2014. Dark Rising, the second novel in the series came out in 2015. And, the final installment, Dark Before Dawn, is now available.

To learn more about Monica McGurk and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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