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.(less)
Firelight is a book I originally started reading because of my immediate attraction to the cover. I mean it’s just gorgeous, isn’t it? But what I found once I started reading it was a truly unique and enrapturing story that left me breathless.
My favorite part about this book has to be the distinctive world Sophie Jordan has created. I’ve never read a book about dragons, or rather, draki – a descendant of dragons that have the ability to shift into humans. To say it was fascinating is an understatement. It was quite refreshing, not your typical vampire/werewolf/witch paranormal romance. Trying to imagine what a draki looked like was a fun experience, I loved picturing Jacinda’s shimmering, orangey-gold scales.
The characters of Firelight are very well written, especially Jacinda, who is a strong protagonist that never loses sight of who she is throughout the book. She always stays true to herself through whatever her mother or twin sister, Tamra, do to try and make her draki disappear. I found Tamra and their mother very annoying. They just didn’t understand what being a draki meant to Jacinda and came off as very insensitive. I get that Tamra has this major inferiority complex, but it drives me crazy. Get over yourself, girl. And I understand the mother is just trying to protect her daughters, but does she really have to kill a part of one of her daughters to do it?
The intense attraction between Jacinda and Will was just… wow. They are both natural born enemies yet they can’t help but be together. Jordan certainly has a knack for writing a couple with incredibly hot chemistry that’ll have you turning the pages nonstop. While this story doesn’t have a love triangle (yet), I can definitely see one forming in future books. Cassian was portrayed as this not-really-evil-but-not-really-good-either kind of guy who just wants Jacinda because of her power. But I think there is a lot more to Cassian than how she sees him and even though there isn’t a love triangle now, I have a feeling there will be.
Needless to say, I loved Firelight. A captivating read, the ending alone will leave you hungry for more. I can’t wait for Jordan to get more in depth with the draki world and I definitely cannot wait to read what’s to come in the next installment, Vanish!(less)
I was completely, and wholly immersed in this book right from the start. It left me speechless. Tabitha Suzuma has taken a taboo topic such as incest and crafted a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story.
Suzuma blurs the line between right and wrong in this unconventional love story, Forbidden. Lochan and Maya – brother and sister – are forced to grow up, taking on the responsibility of caring for their younger siblings on behalf of their drunken, absentee mother. Playing the roles they do, as a mother and father to their younger brothers and sister, you can almost understand why Lochan and Maya have fallen in love. The hardships they go through, taking care of a household, trying to keep everything afloat, it’s as if they are a couple already. When they’ve been thinking that way for so long, it seems almost natural of them to give in to those feelings.
I felt an extremely strong bond with these two main characters. I ached for them when they were sad, I felt happy when they were. They were completely real and personable to me and their love for each other was tragic but sweet. Suzuma could have very well exploited their incestuous romance and made it into this disgusting, risqué relationship. But not once did I feel disgusted or uncomfortable reading this because the way she writes them falling in love is so innocent that you truly feel for them and find yourself actually hoping they will find a way to be together.
As I said before, Tabitha Suzuma’s writing is absolute perfection. The way she so seamlessly weaves together the alternating point of views lets you have a look at what’s going on in each of her characters heads. The writing is raw, beautiful and truly one of a kind. She has the power to make you completely sympathize with her characters and rethink what you thought was right. I wouldn’t say Forbidden is for everyone, there is descriptive sexual content in it.
Going into this book, I knew it wouldn’t have a happy ending. But how it concluded was completely unexpected and so heartbreaking, although somehow it fit. All that said, Forbidden is a touching, exceptional novel that will stay with me for a long time to come.(less)
I thought for sure that Born Wicked was going to turn out to be another one of those books...more5 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.(less)
I wasn't entirely sure If You Find Me would be the book for me. I had a little trouble adju...more4 out of 5 stars Originally reviewed at Bookishly Spellbound
I wasn't entirely sure If You Find Me would be the book for me. I had a little trouble adjusting to the backwoods dialect in the beginning, thinking it was just so distracting that I'd never get into the book. But after the first chapter, I grew accustomed to it and realized it appropriately added a bit of character to the novel. Emily Murdoch takes us on a journey into the lives of two sisters who were kidnapped and abused but come to find that a second chance at life isn't always impossible. If You Find Me is a compelling and emotional debut that I am so happy to have read!
Carey and her younger sister Jenessa were recently abandoned by their drug addicted mother in an old camper in the woods. They're left thinking she has just gone out for supplies but they soon discover that she has left them when one day, a social worker and a father they can't remember appear in the woods. Carey and Jenessa are then taken from the life they've always known to live with their father and must learn to adjust to living in the real world.
The bond between the sisters was one of the highlights of the novel for me. Though Jenessa didn't talk much, Carey always had some sort of sixth sense when it came to her sister. They had such a powerful connection that really affected me emotionally. Carey is a mature, level-headed lead character that you can't help but sympathize with knowing how she had to grow up far too soon so she could raise her sister. But it was Jenessa that I fell in love with. She's just so precious and I found myself continually wishing I could just scoop this poor child up and give her all the love and care she deserved.
It was so heart wrenching to read about all that these two had survived in their short lives, far more than any child should have to go through. Poor Jenessa eating herself to the point of sickness because all she's ever known is canned beans had me tearing up, and even Carey being so grateful for something as simple as toothpaste. But it was so fulfilling to see the girls get a real home and family to take care of them. While Jenessa seemed to take to this new life immediately, Carey is left conflicted, constantly warring on whether she should hate her mother for what she put them through and missing the home she's always known but determined to get comfortable with this new way of living being presented to her, at least for her sister's sake. The feeling of still having to be the adult seems to be permanently ingrained in her and I was constantly yearning for her to realize she could just lay back and finally be a kid.
The ending was a little too abrupt for my tastes; I would have enjoyed a short epilogue to see what things could've been like for Carey and Jenessa in the future. But all in all, Murdoch beautifully tells a touching story that held my rapt interest until the very last page was turned.(less)
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.(less)
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!(less)
From the moment I discovered Savor I was on my hands and knees, begging Megan Duncan for a chance to read it in advance. The cover was what had originally caught my eye—it’s just so very pretty—but it was the synopsis that really piqued my interest. At the time Megan had told me she wasn’t quite done writing Savor but she would be happy for me to review it once it was ready. So when I woke up one day to find it waiting in my inbox a few months later, I was very excited.
In a world where vampires reign, everyone who comes of age is required to get their blood tested, receive a “donor ID” and donate blood, monthly, as sustenance for their vampire rulers. Soon after Claire Miller is tested, she finds out her blood is essentially “perfect” and she is invited by the vampire king and queen themselves, to become their heir.
Claire struggles to come to a decision, especially when she finds she can no longer keep in contact with her friends or family but eventually she realizes her becoming a vampire is for a greater cause. As a reader, I thought that Claire not being able to ever see her mother again didn’t faze her enough. I feel like there should have at least been a grief period because realistically, I don’t think that anyone could move on from that so quickly, unless they had a really horrible parent.
Dmitry and Arrick, hmm… I want to point out the fact that I adore both of Claire’s love interests. When I realized the story was leading to a love triangle, in my head I was screaming “No, No! I don’t want her to like anyone else!” because I was really enjoying her relationship with Dmitry and I was eagerly turning the pages to see more of what happened between them. But once Ms. Duncan introduced Arrick my thought process immediately changed, he’s just so mysterious and seductive. So if you asked me to choose which one of them I want Claire to end up with, I simply couldn’t tell you because I cannot choose. While Dmitry and Claire’s relationship is easy going and sweet, Arrick and Claire’s relationship seems like it is going to be sexy and Arrick’s protectiveness for her just makes me swoon.
Though I was thoroughly engaged in Savor, it was a little too slowly paced at times but the ending certainly made up for that, especially the very last chapter. Savor is truly a unique vampire story and after that insanely crazy, astonishing, but good ending, I will be impatiently looking forward to what will happen next in Indulge, the next installment in the Warm Delicacy series.(less)
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.(less)
Ok, so I actually saw the movie before I read the book. Something I usually never do because I like to be able to imagine the story first and then see it come to life in a movie.
Beastly was a cute and quick read. It’s a modern day retelling of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The writing style was easy to get in to and I enjoyed the story being told from Kyle’s point of view. I liked seeing his character evolve throughout the book. His thoughts on how Lindy would perceive him were interesting, but sad.
Lindy was kind of pathetic to me. As I was reading, I expected for her to be a cute, slightly nerdy but nice girl (as she was in the movie). But she proved to be quite annoying. She seemed so ‘poor me’ every time she would talk about all the things she never had. Movie Lindy had a troubled family life too, but she didn’t come across as Book Lindy did.
Overall it was a decent read. It was fun to see the similarities between it and Beauty and the Beast. But for the first time ever, I’m going to have to say I enjoyed the movie more than the book, this time.(less)