Showing posts with label Monica McGurk

By Tera Kinsman

Hi, everyone! It’s YA book review time again. I’m reviewing Dark Before Dawn, the third and final book in Monica McGurk’s Archangel Prophecies series. (To read my reviews of the first two books in the series, Dark Hope and Dark Rising, click here and here.) As a thank-you, I received compensation and a free copy of the book, but all opinions are my own. And, cue book-lover squeal, there’s a giveaway for a copy of the book, thanks to the lovely author, Monica McGurk.

Dark Before Dawn book by Monica McGurk

Summary from Publisher:

It’s darkest before the dawn…and that can be very dark indeed.

Twelve years have passed since Hope Carmichael helped fulfill the ancient prophecy that permitted the Fallen Angels to return, forgiven, to Heaven. Now a lawyer at twenty-eight, Hope ‒ along with a resurrected Michael, the archangel who loves her ‒ has been presented with a choice: one that could either result in Hope never seeing her family again, or the world losing its greatest angelic protector. At the same time, Hope’s young sister Aurora struggles to help a school friend resolve her dark personal issues while being observed by a sinister adversary from Hope’s past, working on a plan for revenge that may soon plunge the entire Carmichael family into tragedy.

The culmination of the saga, which began in Dark Hope and continued in Dark Rising, Dark Before Dawn returns to the world of the Archangel Prophecies, telling one final story of adventure, moral urgency, and the ultimate choice Hope and Michael must make between the human and the divine.

My thoughts:

Reading outside

Dark Before Dawn takes the reader twelve years ahead of the loss and sacrifice of Dark Rising, from Hope’s teenage years to her adulthood.  Years of healing and progress have left the Carmichael family safe and happy. Mona, Hope’s mother, her younger sister Aurora, and their family friend and protector, Arthur, live a content life in a quiet Atlanta community. Hope is a successful lawyer and has a long, loving relationship with Michael. But there is a tension lingering in their every interaction ‒ Heaven has offered Hope a life-altering choice ‒ one she’s running out of time to make. And something is waiting in the shadows for the Carmichaels and those they care about, waiting to strike.  Hope and Michael may have won important battles, but they soon learn that the war is far from over.

As I was reading Dark Before Dawn, I was struck by the complexity woven into the story. Every character, even angels, and each relationship, is shown as complex and flawed, while still being appreciated. For me, it was fascinating to see just how human the divine can be. The series also asks important questions about redemption ‒ can there be true forgiveness for those who don’t want it, don’t deserve it? And, very importantly, this final installment of The Archangel Prophecies goes deeper than ever into the world of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), showing the disturbing reality of what victims of this “industry” go through every day.

While this book dealt with some very serious issues and had moments of tragedy that were difficult to read, its slightly bittersweet ending was a satisfying close to the series, and hopefully opened eyes to the reality of modern-day slavery in the United States and around the world.

To learn more about human trafficking and what we can do, go to

Ready for a new addition to your bookshelf? Enter to win a copy of Dark Before Dawn below!

Dark Before Dawn book giveaway

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Comments! In nearly every book or series I read, there’s at least one character that stands out from the rest. For me, my TAP favorite is Tabby, Hope’s loyal, loving, and hilarious best friend. What is a recently-read character that you love…or love to hate? Fangirl with me in the comments below! And, follow me on Instagram for more books and an abundance of pictures of the sky. 

By Tera Kinsman 

Hi, everybody! It’s YA book review time again. This week, I’m reviewing Dark Rising, the second book in Monica McGurk’s Archangel Prophecies series. (To read my review of the first book, Dark Hope, on the blog, click here.) As a thank-you, I received compensation, and two free copies of the book (one to keep and one to give away), but all opinions are my own. Shoutout to Monica McGurk for giving me the opportunity to read and share her work!

The Archangel Prophecies series by Monica McGurk

Book summary from publisher:

Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time?

Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven’s Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life, instead, so the artifact won’t fall into enemy hands?

The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.

My Summary and Thoughts:

Sometimes, the second book in a trilogy is sort of…boring? Certain Second Books That Will Remain Nameless have fallen desperately short of the first and sometimes even the third books in their series, leaving me flipping through pages, skimming the words and waiting for an exciting part. 

But Dark Rising didn’t do that. Instead, it built on the plot in Dark Hope, and added more tension and interesting plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming. The stakes were dramatically raised for Michael and Hope, as they stumble through Europe, searching for the Key, often with only the slightest clues to help them.  Their circumstances grow darker, but they grow closer. As they learn new, unexpected, and tragic truths about the Prophecy and themselves, Hope decides perhaps she was wrong to distance herself from Michael. But she realizes too late that she may have taken her faith from the one person she could trust, and put it in those she never could.

Mona and Don, her parents, also grow more desperate. New leads about Hope’s disappearance are not appearing often. Though Mona and Don are driven together by their shared love and grief, they are just as often pushed apart by their differing opinions on Hope’s disappearance. Mona still holds on to the logical explanation that Hope was taken by the human traffickers that lurk in high numbers in Atlanta, while Don insists that Hope is part of a higher plan, set apart to fulfill an amazing destiny given to her by God. 

By the end of the book, Hope feels even more alone than she did at the end of Dark Hope. Both her and Mona have experienced terrible loss and sadness. Their world, and the outside world around them, has dissolved into sadness and chaos. But neither have lost hope that the happiness – and perhaps the people – they have lost will return to them.

The book ends on kind of a sad note and cliffhanger, but the sneak peek of the third book, Dark Before Dawn (coming out in 2016), gave me hope (I feel like that’s a pun every time I write it…) for Michael, Hope, and her family.

As with Dark Hope, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these books will be donated to organizations that help fight human trafficking, especially sexual trafficking of minors. 

Giveaway time! Because free stuff is the best stuff.  Below, you can enter to win a copy of Dark Rising.

Dark Rising by Monica McGurk

Terms: No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to U.S. residents sixteen (16) years old or older. My WAHM Plan is responsible for prize fulfillment. The prize will be one (1) paperback copy of Dark Rising by Monica McGurk. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

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Comments! In the Archangel Prophecies books, Hope Carmichael is in love with an Archangel. So, what non-human would you be willing to date? Alien, angel, vampire, werewolf? Maybe those trolls, amirite, ladies? Or are you a humans-only sort of person? Let me know in the comments below!