I thought for sure that Born Wicked was going to turn out to be another one of those books5 out of 5 stars Originally reviewed at Bookishly Spellbound
I thought for sure that Born Wicked was going to turn out to be another one of those books with a gorgeous cover and lackluster story. I was happy to find that not only is Born Wicked not just another “pretty face”, it is an enchanting, unique debut that quickly became one of my favorites.
After the death of their mother, Cate Cahill and her sisters are left to teach themselves to control their magic whilst keeping it a secret from not only their father and everyone they know, but also from the Brotherhood. In this society, girls are meant to act as proper ladies. They are not allowed outside without their cloaks drawn over their head and they are forced to decide whether to marry an upstanding suitor or join the Sisterhood (the Brotherhood’s counterpart), otherwise the Brotherhood will choose a husband for them when they come of age. Witchery is considered a crime that girls, often wrongly accused, get thrown in the insane asylum for or disappear completely, never to be seen again.
Cate is a brilliant protagonist with her fiery attitude that brought life to the story. She has a good head on her shoulders and she’s just so selfless and responsible which isn’t easy for a girl in her situation. Her bond with her younger sisters Maura and Tess is an integral part of the story that I greatly enjoyed. Their bond felt genuine, all the more adding to the story. Being an older sister myself, it was easy to connect with Cate on how fiercely protective she is of her siblings.
Naturally, Cate has two men vying for her affection. Paul - her childhood friend that she hasn’t seen since he went away to school years before - is the one she is expected to marry. She’s fond of him and thinks he’s attractive but it is the dreamy Finn Belastra, the town bookshop owner’s son (and also her gardener), that she starts to fall for. He’s kind, intelligent and adores Cate for who she really is. Did I mention that he had me swooning throughout the entire novel? Their scenes together had me eating up the pages, dying to read even just a little more about the two. I applaud Jessica Spotswood on her talent to write a believable romance that has the power to captivate readers. It’s not one of those “Oh my God, I love you and can’t live without you!” insta-loves. It was gradual, subtle and sweet and unlike other books, wasn’t the focal point of the story.
I haven’t read many books with historical aspects, but Born Wicked has definitely made me a fan and I will be looking into other books set in historical times. There is only so much that I can say about this book without spoiling it, but I feel that I do have to say that it ends rather horribly, but definitely in a good, leave you wanting more kind of way. Waiting for the sequel is going to be painful but oh so worth it.
Born Wicked is a wonderful and engaging debut that had me up into the early hours of the morning, eagerly absorbing Jessica Spotswood’s breathtaking prose. She has most definitely caught my attention as a magnificent debut author and I am anxiously looking forward to the coming books in The Cahill Witch Chronicles and anything else she pens in the future....more
I was anxious to dive into this book after hearing of all the hype from my Australian blogger friends. Unfortunately, I am extremely tired of angel books, so it’s understandable that going into Embrace I had to keep reminding myself of all the rave reviews I had heard so that I would not decide against reading it. While a little slow to start, Embrace quickly picked up the pace around page 50. Having now read it, WOW. Those other dull angel stories cannot compare! Jessica Shirvington offers a fresh new take on the celestial beings in this riveting debut.
Violet Eden’s mother died shortly after giving birth to her. Because of that, she dreads her birthday each year. But this birthday holds more than just the memory of her mother. Violet’s life is turned up side down quickly after she turns seventeen. Prior to her birthday, Violet led a normal life. She has a loving father, a great best friend, plans for the future and Lincoln, the guy that she’s in love with. After sharing an amazing kiss on her birthday, Lincoln then starts acting weird. Not sure what he feels towards her, Violet confronts him about it but what she discovers is not what she was expecting. Lincoln has been keeping a big secret from her: she is Grigori – half angel, half human – and so is he! Violet must decide whether to embrace her destiny or try to ignore it and lead a somewhat normal life.
Violet is a great protagonist! She’s erratic and sarcastic but also strong and brave and most importantly isn’t afraid to stand her ground. She’s has flaws but that’s what makes her real and why she’s so easy to relate to.
The romance in this book… DAMN. The sexual tension between these characters is absolutely shiver inducing. Violet has such fabulous chemistry with both Lincoln and Phoenix. I love Lincoln. He’s sweet, has a lot of respect for Violet and is definitely in love with her. It’s easy to see how she has fallen for him. But of course, it’s the bad boy of the two I found myself infatuated with. Phoenix… mysterious, cocky, dangerous, sexy as hell. Oh, and that little thing he can do? Oh my Lord, major SWOON. He’s portrayed as being all bad boyish and in the beginning his intentions might have been a little iffy but the more time he spends with Violet, it’s clear that his motives have changed and that he’s developed real feelings for her. After some shocking revelations, I think there is a lot that he is holding back so I’m really interested for the real Phoenix to be revealed as the series continues. Bottom line, though I do prefer Phoenix to Lincoln, Embrace truly has one of the best love triangles I have ever read!
I felt the sensual scenes were very tastefully executed. I often feel that authors can get carried away where these types of scenes are concerned, some end up writing too much where as some just don’t go into nearly enough detail. Jessica Shirvington manages just the right amount of detail without being overly graphic. I feel that she’s created a happy medium for everyone, whether you enjoy the steamy scenes or would rather not get too into the gritty details, you’ll be pleased.
Not only is Embrace beautifully well-written, Jessica Shirvington has created a compelling world filled with multidimensional characters, original lore and an elaborate plot. I found myself eagerly absorbing and able to easily retain the imaginative angel lore. It was exceptionally well thought out and not once came across as preachy. Ms. Shirvington has also managed to make angels sexy, which in my opinion has yet to be done!
Embrace stands out from the wide variety of young adult books. Jessica Shirvington is a one-of-a-kind storyteller who’s voice grips you and will not let go until you are left on your hands and knees begging for more. She is truly gifted and you can bet that I will read anything this woman writes in the future. Entice, the second installment in The Violet Eden Chapters, is set to come out this September but I’m about ready to fly to Australia to pick myself up a copy now!...more
The Goddess Test is a modern, unique re-telling of the Hades and Persephone Greek myth. If I could only say one word about this book, “wow” would definitely be it! I devoured each page and didn’t put it down until I was completely finished. Carter’s depiction of the myth is thrilling and definitely a must read.
The protagonist, Kate Winters, is admirable right from the beginning. She is strong-willed and selfless and it truly shows throughout the book. Often in young adult books, there is no parental influence. Or if there is, it’s usually very short lived. Something that really proved to be a plus for me while reading The Goddess Test, was the relationship between Kate and her mother. The bond shared between these two is just so special. Not just mother and daughter, but also best friends. They’re all each other has, taking care of each other. It was truly a refreshing change and reminded me of my own mother and I’s relationship.
Then there is Henry, a.k.a. Hades. He’s everything there is to love about the tortured, brooding type. I like that he wasn’t portrayed as the evil ruler of the Underworld you usually see in other books and movies, but as someone just misunderstood. I thought he and Kate were absolutely perfect for each other and I found myself desperately hoping that she would seek comfort in him and finally find the happiness she deserved in her desolate life. Instead of rushing into the romance, Carter took her time developing the friendship between Kate and Henry. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely an enjoyable spark in their relationship. It just isn’t rushed along which is something I appreciated. You get so emotionally attached to these characters, they are all just so personable. Even secondary characters like Ava, who I was sure I was going to hate, were very well developed. I thought for sure she was going to be another annoying mean girl, but I ended up adoring her and the fact that she and Kate became such close friends.
Carter has created a well-crafted, gripping novel. Everything about this story is captivating. The seven mysterious tests that Kate has to pass (what they happened to be was beyond clever), who is killing off the girls and why, who the gods are, etc. No questions are ever left unanswered! The conclusion was perfect, not too much of a cliffhanger, but just enough to leave you wanting more. I’ll certainly be eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel, Goddess Interrupted, early next year....more
I think I was one of the people who weren’t a little apprehensive to read Wither. Not only am I drawn to dystopian storylines, but a dystopian series involving polygamy? I was like “Ooh yay, it’s like Big Love but in book form and with a twist!” Boy, was I surprised to find that it was even better than I thought!
In this hauntingly beautiful debut novel, DeStefano has created a deeply disturbing, futuristic world where modern science has found a way to cure all diseases, but not without a price. Females now only live to the young age of twenty, while males live to twenty-five. Therefore, young women are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages in order to procreate.
The protagonist is sixteen year old Rhine. She’s smart, strong and courageous, and very easily relatable. Right from the beginning, she’s thrust into a horrifying situation, but determined as she is, she’s always planning a way to escape her captors. Along with her, are two girls who soon become her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her unlikely friendship with both girls and grew to love them, though Cecily’s bratty behavior had a tendency to annoy me.
On to the men! Some may find the girls’ husband, Linden, creepy, but that was not the case for me. Though his relationship with the youngest sister wife, Cecily, disgusted me, I felt bad for Linden. He may seem like the bad guy, but really, he knows nothing of how his brides were acquired and wouldn’t dare to question his father’s motives. He’s vulnerable, naïve and affectionate and I desperately wanted Rhine to come to love him. Now, I didn’t fall for Gabriel, Rhine’s love interest. I enjoyed their friendship, but I couldn’t see any spark in their romantic relationship. In case it wasn’t already implied, I am firmly Team Linden so I am hoping Rhine’s romance with Gabriel is short-lived.
At first, you are fooled by the luxurious life the girls now live. But soon, the dreadful occurrences ensue and you are utterly freaked out and scared for what will happen to these characters you are now deeply attached to.
My only qualm is how neither of the girls told Linden that they were kidnapped. I feel he would’ve had sympathy for them, since he himself is practically prisoner to his father. But besides that one little detail, this story was perfection to a T.
This novel will simply make your mind and heart race with all of its strong emotions. Wither far surpassed my expectations and kept me engaged until the very end. With a satisfying conclusion, I’m curious to see where DeStefano will take the story in the next installment, Fever. If polygamous relationships aren’t your cup of tea, I’d still suggest you give this beautiful novel a try anyway. You might surprise yourself with a new favorite....more
After hearing so many rave reviews about Anna and the French Kiss, I knew I had to read it. Though, with all the hype about this book I thought it was too good to be true. I mean how good could it possibly be? You want to know how good? Absolutely beyond amazing. I was very happy to find out that every single one of those reviews were 100 percent true!
Anna and the French Kiss is a story about friendship, love, heartbreak and making mistakes that'll leave you wanting more. I found myself completely enthralled with every word. The humorous dialogue was something I just couldn't get enough of. It had me giggling and wanting to cry right along with its characters. Perkins authentic ability to tell the story from a teenager's perspective was phenomenal. I really felt that I connected with Anna. She's funny, witty, eccentric and has her own quirks and awkward moments, but honestly, who doesn't? I think that made her all the more believable than some façade of perfection. She's a great, strong character that anyone can easily relate to.
Étienne St. Clair... *swooooooon* I need to point out the fact that he is American, British AND Parisian (Don't get it? Go read the book ASAP to find out! ;)) and has beautiful hair. Who could resist that?! It's totally a swoon-worthy combination. He's endearing, sometimes vulnerable, sweet and compassionate and everything you could want in a cute boy. I loved all his Briticisms throughout the book!
One of my most favorite things about this novel is how effortlessly Anna and him became best friends above everything else. They have such a solid relationship and great chemistry. The romance between the two was gradually built up instead of a kind of "love at first sight" thing, which gave it a sense of realism. They took the time to really know each other first. I could literally feel the tension every time they brushed legs whilst sitting next to each other or glanced at each other out of the corner of their eyes. You always know you've found an author with a true talent for writing when you get butterflies while reading as if all these interactions are happening to you.
The setting is just to die for. I've never been to Paris or really had much of an interest in it - trust me, I do now - but Perkins is so stunningly detailed in her descriptions of the city that you feel like you are experiencing it right there alongside Anna. I truly enjoyed imagining the museums, theatres and restaurants - I think I need to go there just to taste the yummy sounding food! I most certainly wouldn't mind being shipped off to boarding school in Paris, especially if I met someone like Étienne!
I'm glad Anna and the French Kiss lived up to my expectations and that it was so huge in the blog world or I probably would have gone forever without this fantastic book in my life. It's charming, romantic, funny and just left me with a good feeling after reading it. Ms. Perkins' writing style is unique and invigorating. I'm eager to see what epicness she has written about in the companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, which comes out later this year....more
Julie Kagawa’s take on faeries and their world is simply extraordinary. With flawless writing, a magical world and an extremely well developed cast of characters, some of which stem from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Iron King proves to be a phenomenal debut and a must-read.
In The Iron King we are introduced to our heroine, Meghan Chase, a somewhat insecure girl with a simple, boring life. When her little brother Ethan is kidnapped and replaced with a malicious changeling and her best friend since childhood, Robbie Goodfell, reveals he is actually Robin Goodfellow aka Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Meghan’s once blasé life turns upside down as she journeys into the Nevernever to save Ethan, incidentally discovering who she really is in the process. Right away, the once insecure girl finds her bravery, determined to save her little brother.
Ms. Kagawa’s vivid descriptions made it easy for me to get lost in the world of Nevernever. I felt like I was part of the story, right alongside the characters I had come to love so much. Kagawa’s talent to seamlessly weave action, adventure and romance into one book without either one being overwhelming is impeccable. Lots of times in other books, the big battle scenes can be dragged out and become a bit arduous to read. But the action sequences were extremely well written in The Iron King and I didn’t once find my attention drifting elsewhere.
Of course, the story would not be complete without a love triangle. I don’t think I can say I’ve ever read a book with a love triangle where I’ve actually loved both guys vying for the girl’s affection. But both Puck and Ash have completely stolen my heart. Puck’s playful banter and whimsical sense of humor never failed to make me laugh and Prince Ash’s broody, tough exterior yet secretly caring personality had me swooning. Now, I hate to pick just one, but if I had to, it would probably be Ash since I like him just a teensy bit more. The intense chemistry Meghan has with him is just too much! Any time he showed Megan the tiniest hint of affection, my heart would flutter and my stomach would clench as if it were happening to me.
And how could I forget Grimalkin? He. Is. So. Adorable. I felt that Kagawa captured the finicky essence of a cat perfectly with him. He was hilarious with his snooty attitude and sarcastic comments. I absolutely adored how he didn’t bother to pay anyone any attention until he was through grooming himself, which is exactly like my own cat!
Overall, The Iron King was a magical, transcendent start to a series and is sure to be one of my favorites for a long time to come. My only regret is not reading it sooner! But, if I read it when it came out, I wouldn’t have been able to read multiple books in the series at once…so I guess I can’t regret it too much when I got to stay in a story world I loved for days as opposed to just hours. ;) My reviews for The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen, the next installments in the series, will be up soon!...more