Official Review: Enlightened by Billie Kowalewski

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BriennaiJ
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Official Review: Enlightened by Billie Kowalewski

Post by BriennaiJ » 12 Apr 2018, 19:15

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Enlightened" by Billie Kowalewski.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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What if Earth was just a school for souls? 

In the book Enlightened by Billie Kowalewski, readers are transported into a fantasy world based on souls and reincarnation. Veronica has spent the last five years of her life mourning her soulmate's death. After she starts having incapacitating headaches, she wonders what she is going to do with the rest of her life. She visits her boyfriend's grave, but she never makes it home. To her surprise, she sees her soulmate Seth sitting in front of her when she wakes up! At first she is ecstatic, but then she regains her memories. 

Veronica is just a reincarnation of Harmony, a soul who has gone to Earth several times with her class. Her soulmate in her past life's real name is Kaleb. He's the boy who keeps causing her to die early every time she returns to Earth, and she hates him for it. She wants to just be able to have at least one successful life on Earth without Kaleb messing it up. 

This book has been one of the best YA fantasy novels that I have read in a long time. From the start, this book draws you in. I couldn't stop reading it once I started it! The pacing was fast enough to be engaging, but not fast enough for me to forget what was going on in the storyline. 

This story also has some of the best worldbuilding that I have read in a YA novel. Even though the book cycles through Harmony's lives on Earth and her life at the school, both are described in details. I really got a feel for how the Earth school worked, with the teachers and mentors. I am very bad at visualizing scenes in a novel, but I could visualize almost every single scene in this one. It really surprised me!

My absolute favorite part of this book was seeing Harmony's growth. Earth is truly supposed to be a school for souls, and she did learn lessons while there. It was nice to see the souls come back from Earth and apologize for things that happened there, growing from the experiences that they had there. Even if they had been horrible to each other while on Earth for some reason, they were able to make up while back at the school. None of the characters in this story were boring or "unimportant."

Harmony's lives on Earth were my second favorite parts of the book. What was interesting was that Harmony didn't always go back into the same time period. Sometimes she was in the 1900s, and sometimes she was in the 1800s. As a person who also enjoys historical fiction, I was simply more engaged with the story being written this way. The time periods were even historically accurate!

My least favorite part of the book was the fact that it ended on a cliffhanger. I typically don't like books that end on a cliffhanger, as I want to feel completely accomplished after reading. Nevertheless, I loved this book so much that I want to pick up the next installment of the series right away! The cliffhanger just encourages me to pick it up faster. 

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. There were no editing errors that I could see, the storyline was engaging and addictive, the worldbuilding was perfect, the pace was perfect, and Harmony was a unique main character. I look for all of these things in novels, and usually, I would be disappointed in at least one category. This book had it all! 

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new addictive YA fantasy unique a very unique storyline, 3-dimensional characters, and excellent world-building. 

******
Enlightened
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Post by kandscreeley » 13 Apr 2018, 07:46

A cliffhanger? Yikes! It sounds like it was just getting good. I like the idea behind this book; it sounds intriguing. However, it is definitely a fiction idea for me as I don't believe in reincarnation. As long as I could view it in a fictional lens, I would probably enjoy this one. I'll have to think about picking it up. Thanks.
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Post by maggi3 » 13 Apr 2018, 10:31

This book definitely sounds interesting. I like that you emphasized how unique the main character is. A lot of YA main characters can be bland or cliche, so I'm glad this went a different direction. I definitely want to read this one. Thanks for the review!

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Post by cpru68 » 13 Apr 2018, 14:24

I like how the book uses time travel by reincarnation, but also gives the young reader a history lesson. If I could only have had that type of lesson in school, I think I would have paid attention more. History was not my favorite subject, so if a person is introduced to a subject in an engaging way like what this author is doing, all the better. Sounds like you will be waiting anxiously for the next book. Those cliffhangers! Also, when I was reading your review and you were describing Veronica having to deal with the same guy over and over because he causes her death every time, I thought..hmm..who is in my life that I am irritated with? Makes you think...imagination is at its finest in this one. Thank you for the review.
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Post by BriennaiJ » 13 Apr 2018, 20:31

kandscreeley wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 07:46
A cliffhanger? Yikes! It sounds like it was just getting good. I like the idea behind this book; it sounds intriguing. However, it is definitely a fiction idea for me as I don't believe in reincarnation. As long as I could view it in a fictional lens, I would probably enjoy this one. I'll have to think about picking it up. Thanks.
Yes, this book was definitely easy to simply leave as being fictional. I think this makes it an easy read for people of all faith backgrounds, as it rarely involves religion at all. You would definitely enjoy it!

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Post by BriennaiJ » 13 Apr 2018, 20:35

cpru68 wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 14:24
I like how the book uses time travel by reincarnation, but also gives the young reader a history lesson. If I could only have had that type of lesson in school, I think I would have paid attention more. History was not my favorite subject, so if a person is introduced to a subject in an engaging way like what this author is doing, all the better. Sounds like you will be waiting anxiously for the next book. Those cliffhangers! Also, when I was reading your review and you were describing Veronica having to deal with the same guy over and over because he causes her death every time, I thought..hmm..who is in my life that I am irritated with? Makes you think...imagination is at its finest in this one. Thank you for the review.
Thanks for commenting! Yes, this book definitely makes you relate people in the story to people in your life. I will be waiting anxiously, but technically the next book in the series is already out! I just have to wait to purchase it. I hope that there will be even more time-travel in the next book if the series moves in that direction.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 15 Apr 2018, 12:02

I do love YA fantasy novels, and from your review, this definitely looks like one to read. I also think it's a unique premise (reincarnation), and the fact that you want to delve right into the next book means that it was a successful one too.
Thanks so much for your review!
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Post by BriennaiJ » 16 Apr 2018, 16:12

Bianka Walter wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 12:02
I do love YA fantasy novels, and from your review, this definitely looks like one to read. I also think it's a unique premise (reincarnation), and the fact that you want to delve right into the next book means that it was a successful one too.
Thanks so much for your review!
Thank you! I would definitely recommend it to you. Hopefully, you will have the chance to read it sometime!

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Post by crediblereading2 » 17 Apr 2018, 14:49

Wow, this sounds like a fantastic read. The concept of reincarnating to earth at different timespan to receive schooling is a concept shared by many persons the world over. This is what makes this so interesting Great review.

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Post by Libs_Books » 17 Apr 2018, 15:48

I'm with you on the cliffhanger thing. It does sound like an intriguing book. I'm not a huge fan of reincarnation myself, but I don't think that would in itself stop me from enjoying a book - somehow, though, this doesn't appeal. But thanks for a very thorough review.

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Post by BriennaiJ » 17 Apr 2018, 16:59

crediblereading2 wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 14:49
Wow, this sounds like a fantastic read. The concept of reincarnating to earth at different timespan to receive schooling is a concept shared by many persons the world over. This is what makes this so interesting Great review.
Thank you! It definitely was an interesting concept. I really liked the fact that the souls really learned about themselves and about each other during their time on earth. Not all lives were happy ones.

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Post by BriennaiJ » 17 Apr 2018, 17:00

Libs_Books wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 15:48
I'm with you on the cliffhanger thing. It does sound like an intriguing book. I'm not a huge fan of reincarnation myself, but I don't think that would in itself stop me from enjoying a book - somehow, though, this doesn't appeal. But thanks for a very thorough review.
Thanks for commenting. Sorry that this doesn't appeal to you, but maybe you will take the time to read it someday. I hope that it becomes book of the day sometime so that more people will have the chance to look at it.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 18 Apr 2018, 08:15

I'm on board with Bianka! YA fantasy series are something I can't get enough of. I'll have to add to my bookshelf for later so I can check up on future installments. I don't mind a cliffhanger as long as I can pick up book 2 right away. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much and that you were able to visualize the scenes so well. The concept of Harmony being taught in different time periods sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Eileen R » 19 Apr 2018, 12:13

The idea of reincarnation is quite intriguing and unique. I rarely read fantasy novels but this one really appeals to me. I'll definitely have to check it out.

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Post by WritingOwlBrea » 21 Apr 2018, 23:51

This book sounds absolutely amazing. The concept of reincarnation and soulmates is one that sounds like it has been masterfully handled. I can’t wait to pick this book up and read it.

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