Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)
Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) - Jessica Spotswood
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

If I rated books higher than 5/5 this book would get a higher rating. Mystery, magic, stolen kisses, dangerous prophecies; it has it all and more.

Cate Cahill is a witch. Her mother was a witch; her two younger sisters - Maura and Tess - are witches. But being a witch is a crime, which makes it difficult to live in a small town in New England, especially when it's necessary to try and hide any powers from the Brotherhood, the religious body that rules the world 'Born Wicked' is set in.

The Brotherhood concerns me, they're very quick to jump to conclusions and also have eyes everywhere. Nothing goes unnoticed by them. But they're not the only concern. There's also the Sisterhood (the female sect of the Brotherhood). I definitely think there's more to them than we're given. Where the Brotherhood's intentions are all out in the open, the Sisterhood is mysterious and twisted at times. Makes you question their every move.

I love the family strength and commitment that gets shown by Cate and her sisters. Yes, there is tension (as all good families have) but there is never any doubt that Cate, Maura and Tess love each other and would do anything to make sure they all remain safe.

I haven't read many alternate history novels; I haven't branched into that genre much. But Cate's world, Jessica Spotswood's alternate world, intrigued me so much. Religion and the persecution of witches is not a new concept, but Spotswood drags you in instantly and it's impossible not to have a passionate response to the idea of innocent women being locked up or forced into hard labour because there is a chance they may be witches. Magic is not just frowned upon, but feared, especially by Cate and her family. Cate's desperate need to keep her family's magic a secret keeps you on the edge of your seat. You're never sure who you can trust or if someone's going to get caught doing magic in the back yard.

Magic, and dealing with the consequences, is obviously a big part of the story. Although there wasn't as much magic using as I thought there was going to be, it fits with the way the story flows. You don't expect spells to be spoken on every page when Cate is trying to hide that part of her. I hope the next book will give as a chance to explore the magic side of this world.

You can't talk about 'Born Wicked' without mentioning romance. Cate's in a tricky situation; not only does she face the dangers of using magic, but if she doesn't find a husband or choose to become a member of the Sisterhood by the time she is 17, she will have her future decided for her by the Brotherhood. Lucky for Cate, she's got a couple of suitors after her heart, one of which you can't help loving instantly. Is it bad form these days to want a gardener to fall in love with? Well, even if it is, I want a gardener and I want it to be Finn Belastra! He is a caring, gentle, concerned young man, who is extremely dedicated to the ones he loves and he makes me melt. The connection between Finn and Cate is hard to miss and leaves you wanting more.

Dying for book 2, even though I know there's a long wait ahead of us. Amazing start to the series.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

~ * ~ * ~

It’s not often that you come across a YA book set over the course of 24 hours. You would think that not a lot can happen in 1 day, especially when half that day is spent waiting at the airport and taking a 7 hour flight to London. Boy is is wrong to assume such a thing.

Hadley is a 17 year old girl about to take a flight to London for her dad’s wedding. To say she’s not looking forward to it is an understatement. Over the course the novel, Hadley’s issues are placed out in the open, troubles aired for all to see. I loved being present for Hadley’s transformation. Seeing her voice pent up issues of neglect and anger at her father’s new life and learning to accept the changes in her own life – you can’t help being moved by her fears and her eventual effort to overcome barriers that have been in place since her parent’s divorce.

Love is obviously an important theme in this book. You would expect love to be mentioned at some point and ‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’ does not disappoint. Not only is it explored through Hadley finding Oliver – Oh, funny and claustrophobia-distracting Oliver – but also through Hadley coming to terms with how uncertain love can be. This book highlights that there are no set rules for how, or who, you love.

I adored Hadley’s flashback scenes, exploring her reactions to love and her relationship with her father. Comparing them to her present life was heartbreaking. But it was also such a power journey.

The way the text was written interests me the most. I think the technical term is third-person subjective, where you’re pretty much inside one person’s head, hearing only their thoughts, but still use “he”, “she”, “it”, “they” and never “I”. This is my favourite form of third person; you sometimes forget that you’re not actually reading in first person. The text flows so well, you’re captured in the moment and it doesn’t have that distance you sometimes find in third person narratives.

My only issue with this book is that I wish it had been slightly longer. I didn’t want it to end; although, realistically if it had been any longer it wouldn’t have fit over 24 hours.

An incredibly sweet, touching contemporary novel that everyone should read.

4.5/5 stars.

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Blogspiration #2

Blogspiration is a new weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA and Saz101. Where inspirational quotes/pictures/videos are posted to bring a little creativity or conversation into the blogging world.

This week's Blogspiration is a little different. Sarah and Kristin have given as a task; an epic question. While we're not obligated to follow their lead, I wanted to answer the question for my post. 

What book inspires you?

Turns out answering this question was slightly harder than I thought it was going to be. There are so many books that I've connected with over the years and the idea of sharing something so important as what *inspires* you in terms of books, needed a lot of thought. I finally managed to narrow it down to one book series that has touched me for years. Check it out.

My choice for Blogspiration this week is one that I discovered as a young teen: Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce (Book #1 in the Song of the Lioness Quartet). The reason I picked this book, and why it inspires me, is because it sparked my obsession with books. 

Before Alanna (and Tamora Pierce) I was a casual reader. A couple of books a month, no big deal. Alanna made me hungry for more of the written world. I couldn't stand the thought of being without a book, to be lost within the pages of something so magical and gripping, something created from the mind of one person. It was really moving.

Alanna: The First Adventure is not a particularly difficult read, but it's the excitement and mystery that drove me wild. And it may have also made me obsessed with Knights (who doesn't love a good man in armour, sword fights and a little magic every now and then?)

I wanted to be the secret Knight. I wanted to have her adventures in far away countries and to be super powerful. I wanted so much more than we get from her story. It was this need for more adventures - not just Alanna's - that got me reading more as a teen. 

I can't thank Tamora Pierce enough for inspiring me to become a reader.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Balthazar - Claudia Gray

BalthazarBalthazar - Claudia Gray
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart. (Description from Groodreads)

~ *~ *~

I hadn't realised how much I missed the Evernight world until I was thrown back in with 'Balthazar'. A dangerous book, that revisits the life of vampires after the destruction of Evernight Academy.

As one of my favourite characters in the series, I was really looking forward to reading about Balthazar. I was unsure what we'd be getting from his story: Something old? Something new? Turns out it was a bit of both, and can I just say: Wow! Learning about Balthazar's past gave me chills; especially with the way it was presents: a jumbled timeline showing his human, early vampire years and most recent past, all mixed in with present drama with Skye and the vampires. It's an intense, fast-paced read that I had so much trouble putting down.

If you're a long time Evernight fan, you'll notice that our leading lady, Skye, is a repeat Evernight character. Although, I'll admit, for the first few pages I couldn't remember who she was (my bad). But she does have an Evernight background and an extremely important skill that winds up putting her in serious danger: Vampire Style. Her powers weren't explored as much as I thought they'd be. Their unknown quality left you wanting more, especially close to the end of the book.

I love the action in this book. It seemed never-ending, probably because we saw plenty in the 'present' timeline, but was also witness a fair few fights in Balthazar's past. I'm definitely a fan of a good action scene, and if you're like that too, you won't be disappointed with this one.

My only issue with 'Balthazar' is the uncertainty at the end. So much is left up in the air and, at the time of writing this, I'm unaware if there is going to be more in the series. What is going to happen to Skye and Balthazar? Are there still vampires after them? Will Skye learn more about her skills? But, most importantly, what's going on with Charity? Yep, that's right, our fave crazy vampire sister is back and she's pretty kick-ass in this book. But her role leaves me with so many questions. I thought we'd have some big Brother-Sister confrontation, but we're sort of left hanging. Maybe that's being saved for a future book (Please, Claudia?)

Mysteries and questions aside; I adored this book, definitely worth reading.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

GIVEAWAY: Our First Giveaway to Celebrate Reaching 25 Followers

Firstly we want to thank everyone who has followed our blog so far. We made it to that 25 mark. So thanks again for making us get excited with each new page visit and follower.

And now for what you're all waiting for: The giveaway.

Last year, many fabulous YA authors visited Australia. Unfortunately we weren't able to meet them all. But one author we did get a chance to see - partly because Kerrie insisted we meet her, but mostly because she's awesome - was Becca Fitzpatrick.

(Please excuse all facial expressions)

But those crazy faces aren't the best part of this picture. No, there's something even better sitting on that table. Shall I give you a hint? 

That is a SIGNED paperback copy of Silence and it is the special something we're giving away to ONE lucky Australian resident.

Maybe you missed out on seeing Becca when she was in Australia last year. Maybe you haven't had the chance to read the Hush, Hush series and figure winning a copy of the latest book will help give you the push you needed to start reading. Or perhaps you're a die-hard Patch fan and want to collect as many copies as you can; and if it's signed, even better. Whatever the reason; fill out the form below to be entered in the giveaway.

* One entry per person.
* You must be at least 13 years old or have permission from your parents before entering.
* Must be in Australian resident (sorry international followers)
* Must be a GFC follower and leave following name in the form below.
* The giveaway is open now and will run until 11:59pm (AEDT) 7th March 2012
* Winner will be picked by and announced on the blog.
* Winner will also be emailed and have 1 week to reply before a new winner is picked.
* We are not responsible for for lost or damaged property (I'm going to try really hard to protect your book but then I have to trust Australia Post with the rest)

Giveaway is now closed!
Thank you for entering. Winner announced soon.

Good Luck!

Kim & Kerrie

Monday, 20 February 2012

Avon Romance Australia

Hi all,

I have some exciting news to share: Avon Romance Australia has asked me to be a Guest Reviewer on their revamped site. (Avon Romance)

I was lucky enough to be given an ARC of Lynsay Sands' 'Under a Vampire Moon' (book #16 in the Argeneau Series)

My Review is up now; so drop by,   on 'Under a Vampire Moon' and see some of the reasons why I love Paranormal Romance novels. Don't forget to leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Lover Mine - J.R. Ward

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8)Lover Mine (Black Dagger Botherhood #8)
                                                - J.R. Ward
Grade: Adult - PNR
Rating: 5/5 stars

The hot new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by the #1New York Times bestselling author

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity.

Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.

~ * ~ *~

If you're a long time BDB reader, you would know that John Matthew has had a tough life and that doesn't really end with his own book. I was really looking forward to seeing John get his happy ending. 'Lover Mine' is definitely one of my favourites for this series. I loved seeing not only John's mind, but Xhex's too; and the action (both fighting and private time *wink**wink*) was amazing.

After finishing 'Lover Avenged' last week, I was desperate to jump into 'Lover Mine'. The previous book leaves us with a serious unresolved issue concerning Xhex and her future. I've become super attached to Xhex (it's really hard not to get that way); I never want to see her hurt again. I adored seeing her as more than just Rehv's security guard. I love her strength and her fears; she's not a gentle soul, but she's got good things going for her. The struggle to be accepted and to overcome her past is heart-warming.

We see relationships form and break in 'Lover Mine'; you can't help getting caught up in the drama, especially after so many books. The characters we follow are all so well known to us; they feel like friends. You don't want their actions to end up hurting someone you love *cough*QhuinnandBlay*cough* The unresolved issues only make me want to read the next book already.

I loved reading the flashback scenes about Darius and Tohr. If you haven't read the book yet, I'll tell you only one thing: There's more to these scenes than just seeing Darius again. I started to guess what they were about early on, and it wasn't hard to work out. They leave you feeling pretty satisfied in the end.

Despite loving this book, and despite how important it was to see everything that was happening, I cannot make myself enjoy the lessers POVS. Maybe I'm too desperate to find out about the Brothers and their females, but I don't find these scenes captivating enough, even with Lash being the main focus for 'Lover Mine' and with his story being so connected to John and Xhex's happen ending. It just doesn't interest me.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Lover Avenged - J.R. Ward

Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7)Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood #7)
                                                        - J.R. Ward

Grade: Adult - PNR
Rating: 5/5 stars

J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels have introduced readers to a "different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing" (All About Romance)world. Now, as the vampire warriors defend their race against their slayers, one male's loyalty to the Brotherhood will be tested-and his dangerous mixed blood revealed...

Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It's also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he's approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.

Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood-even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him-and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

'Lover Avenged' is my favourite Black Dagger Brotherhood book so far. I didn't think it was possible to love a book more than 'Lover Awakened' (because Z's transformation was insane), but I stand corrected. Rehvenge's book displayed so much emotion, heartache and hope. I just adored it.

Like all BDB books, we see the focus fall mainly on one male (Rehvenge) and one female (Ehelena). You know there's going to be a pattern. They meet early in the book, develop a relationship, face an unimaginable obstacle and come out on top in the end. You're probably wondering what makes this book better than the rest? Well, like I mentioned before, the emotion in 'Lover Avenged' is off the chart. I've never cried in a BDB book before, but Rehv's struggle to be the perfect male, even with his symphath side make you ache for him. I really enjoyed finding out more about his symphath history and seeing inside the colony was definitely a different experience. But I'm glad he got his happy ending; he definitely deserved it.

I've discovered that one of my favourite characters in this series is Xhex. I loved getting hints at her past, and she's had such a tough life. Her devotion to Rehv is insanely touching. There's never a doubt in my mind that they're anything more than friends, but knowing she'd do anything for him makes me sigh. We get a chance to see her vulnerability; there's more to her than the fighter-chick image she projects to the world.

I love that we see more than one story in each BDB book. I know we connect each book with one male and one female, but I really enjoy seeing the other stories just as much (unless it involves the lessers because they really don't interest me). What made 'Lover Avenged' a better book was seeing Wrath again, and not just small flashes as he's dealing with the Brothers, but an actual sub-plot that brought his role in the series to a new level. We get another look at Wrath and Beth's relationship - the connection that I've missed from them and wasn't seen much since 'Dark Lover' - and you fall in love with them all over again.

I still have a problem getting interested in the lessers. I find when they turn up in the book that I have to flip through the book to find out when the next vampire will turn up. I thought I was going to be more interested in them, because of Lash's involvement with the Lessening Society, but I was wrong. I just wanted to strangle him most of the time, or skip his parts. However, the lessers' role changed a lot in 'Lover Avenged'. There wasn't a lot of fighting and with Lash in charge there was a lot more planning for the future. I'm hoping I'll be a bit more interested in his role in the next book. I know he's going to be an important player.

'Lover Avenged' ended with a big "OMG!" moment, and I can't wait to dive straight into 'Lover Mine' and hope everything gets resolved soon.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Blogspiration #1

Blogspiration is a new weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA and Saz101. Where inspirational quotes/pictures/videos are posted to bring a little creativity or conversation into the blogging world.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to show as my first Blogspiration post and I thought I'd kick it off with one of my favourite quotes ever, because what better way to kick things off than with a quote that's inspired me to move out of my comfort zone on many occasions.

You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
                           A.A. Milne

My mum told me years ago that this quote was probably written for me, because I do like staying in my little corner. I think it's because of her that I'm so obsessed with it; I even bought the quote on one of those magnetic bookmarks. But it does get me thinking (and moving) and it is my Blogspiration for this week.

Do you have a favourite quote that helps you get out of your comfort zone?


Sunday, 12 February 2012

In My Mailbox #9

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Darkness Falls - Cate Tiernan
Sequel to Immortal Beloved. I adore Cate Tiernan and Immortal Beloved was an amazing book. I've been looking forward to getting Darkness Falls for quite some time. I was lucky enough to win a competition run by Booktopia here in Australia and Darkness Falls was my prize. I can't wait to find out what happens next in the series. 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
I blame Sarah for this one. She said because I liked Anna and the French Kiss, I'd probably enjoy this. Ever since then it's been on my brain, I had to get it when I was in Big W during the week. 

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood
Born Wicked is another victim from my visit to Big W. I've heard a lot of great things about this book so far. I've been in a bit of a witch-y mood lately, so this book should hit the spot quite well.

And that's my mailbox for this week.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #3

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you can gush about books that you're desperate to get your hands on...if only they were published already.

I am an equal opportunity Waiting On Wednesday blogger. My previous WoW posts have been YA-focused. But not this week. This week's post is definitely adult. (And before you start wondering if I'm going to post a sex book...I'm not, it's not adult-adult, but the amount of swearing that readers have been warned about already and the maturity of the previous book definitely makes it adult) Ok, enough rambling. 

My WoW post for today is:

Shadow Bound (Unbound #2) by Rachel Vincent!
Release Date: May 22nd, 2012 (US/Canada release)

About the book: 
If you live in the dark long enough, you begin to forget the light… 
KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else… 
The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him. 
Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister. 
Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty…. (Description from Goodreads)

I am super excited for this book. I love everything Rachel Vincent has published. Last year she definitely became one of my favourite authors. Despite loving her other books, it doesn't compare to how much I LOVED 'Blood Bound'. It was an amazing and I can't wait to dive back into the Unbound world, with all the different powers being explored once again. I'll admit I'm desperate to find out what happened to Liv and Cam, even though it's Kori's book. But I also can't wait to be inside Kori's head and to learn more about her, she wasn't in 'Blood Bound' enough for my liking. 

If you've read 'Blood Bound' and you can't wait for book 2; you should definitely check out the first chapter of 'Shadow Bound' which Rachel Vincent kindly posted on her blog the other day. It's well worth the read, although makes you desperate for the rest of the book. What a tease! So far you can only access the first chapter via this link: Here! So enjoy!

And that's my WoW for this week.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

25 Follower Giveaway

As relatively new bloggers, I'm still super amazed to find people actually read our reviews, let alone follow the blog. But, we're coming up to a milestone: 25 Followers. Yes, that's right, we're just around the corner from reaching 25 and you have no idea how excited I am that we've almost made it that far.

In order to celebrate, Kerrie and I are going to host our first giveaway. But only when we reach the 25 mark. And we've got something special to give to one lucky Australian follower (sorry international viewers, we'll try to get an international giveaway up soon. We want to reach out to everyone).

What is this special something, you ask? Well, you'll just have to wait and see.


Monday, 6 February 2012

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I tried really hard to put myself on a book buying ban for a while. I know, it makes for a boring blog, with no chance of IMM posting from me. But with all the unread books on my shelf at the moment, it just wasn't realistic buying anything new. Well, I lasted 2 weeks. I guess that's better than nothing. 

I have a hard time resisting bargains, especially when there is an awesome bargain bookstore in the City that is conveniently placed on my way to visiting Kerrie at her work. I can't help myself, I have to go inside and look around. Sometimes I'm able to walk out without buying anything, but this weekend wasn't one of those days.

My bargain find is 'Hex Hall' by Rachel Hawkins. I've been in a bit of a witch-y mood lately, so I'm really looking forward to getting into this one soon. Hopefully it won't take too long to get to it.

And that's my mailbox for this week. 


Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Touch Mortal - Leah Clifford

A Touch Mortal (A Touch Trilogy, #1)
A Touch Mortal  (A Touch Trilogy #1) 
- Leah Clifford
Grade: YA
Rating: 4/5 stars

Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end. (Description from Goodreads)
~ * ~ * ~

I started 'A Touch Mortal' knowing almost nothing about it except that bloggers I follower adored the book. I seem to be developing a habit of this. I feel that sometimes it's good to have no prior knowledge of a book, it means you're super surprised when events are thrown your way, like I was in 'A Touch Mortal'.

Eden is a mysterious main character. A pathless human, made immortal by death. You're probably thinking 'vampire' or 'zombie' if she's 'made' immortal; but no, nothing so known. Eden is a Sider (suicide victim), made that way because of her pathless life; having no future in the human world. But being a Sider isn't all about immortality. Siders are full of Touch, a strange power that's described as being like a virus that must be passed onto humans and can affect their emotions. Add to this the fact that angels, some of which travel to Earth frequently, seem clueless about the Siders' existence and you have yourself an amazing plot.

The mystery of the Siders still has me stumped, and I'm dying to work out what their purpose is, especially with the way Eden's special gifts seem even more unknown than normal; it puts an extra spanner in the words. I'm also still not completely sure what Touch is made of, or at least why the Siders accumulate so much of it. Is it because of their lack of path as humans, that they're compelled to leave a part of themselves on someone else? Maybe I missed something while reading, but I hope to get more answers in the future because I'm really interested to know more about Touch.

'A Touch Mortal' really focuses on the Siders and introducing us to the possibility that there's more to them than in known. But what I was really curious about were the Angels. Three types: the Bound, angels who cannot lie, the type you'd expect to find wearing glowing halos; the Fallen, those who have sinned and given into darkness; and then you have the winged angels, ones that have been kicked out of Heaven and are stuck between world, forced to make a choice, to use their wings to fly home and admit their sins or to fall. There wasn't nearly enough angel action for my liking. I wanted to know more about each world and the people who are a part of them. I hope we see more in the next book.

The book has a confusing beginning. So many terms are being introduced at once and little is being explained. You have to learn about the Angels, Siders and Touch as you read and even then you're still left with questions. There is a lot of learning to be done. I think Leah took a risk with the confusing plot, because there's a chance for readers to be frustrated by only getting bits and pieces of the puzzle. I found that the lack of explanation made it impossible not to want to know more. I know being left in the dark can sometimes be unsettling, like you're lost without a guide; but trust me, the confusing aspects start to become the norm and it's easy to be caught up in the moment when you get past this lost feeling. I was so curious to see how everything fell into place that I had to keep reading.

I was a little sad about all the time we seem to miss. We're thrown into the relationship of the story almost on the first page. Az and Eden meet and then we skip two weeks into the future, not really getting the chance to see their feelings and connection develop. One minute they're meeting and the next they're in love. I wanted to see more of their time together. It's not the only time jump we come across. We miss a lot of Eden learning to be a Sider and discovering what makes her so special. It's a bit rushed. The book covers a really large time period in terms of what would normally happen in books. Instead of being a few major events over the course of a week, 'A Touch Mortal' occurs over a few months, so I understand that not every day can be included in the mix, because that'd make the story a bit boring, but I would have liked to see a bit more of what happened in between, including more scenes with Az, Gabe and Kristen. But despite this I still found the story super exciting.

Dying to find out what happens next, especially with the way it ended.

4/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Drink Deep - Chloe Neill

Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires, #5)
Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires #5) - Chloe Neill
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can't tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city itself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven't been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.

That's when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago's mayor insists it's nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She'll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who's behind this, and stop them before it's too late for vampires and humans alike. (Description from Goodreads)

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I was reluctant to start 'Drink Deep'. After the way 'Hard Bitten' ended, I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the book. But, with a LOT of reassurance from Twitter and Goodreads friends, I managed to get through the first half slowly, dreaded any future twists, only to have yet another shocking and exciting ending thrown into the mix. My friends were right when they told me everything would be ok, and I'm sorry I didn't trust them completely. It's hard not to get emotionally attached to Merit and her journey.

Chicago is being attacked by unknown magical forces. Merit and Cadogan House take it upon themselves to solve the issue before vampires are blamed for every supernatural event in the world. Poor Merit, she can't seem to catch a break. I really enjoyed the plot for 'Drink Deep' (when I wasn't panicking about what might happen next). I loved exploring the the realms of other supernatural beings and discovering the hidden magic side of Chicago. There's so much Merit doesn't know, and I love when she stumbles upon something new that we get to understand through her. There's so much going on in this book, every word, every scene is important and where they You don't expect to find what we do at the other end and the questions you're left with are endless.

I cannot explain how much I hate the GP. If you're a long time Chicagoland Vampire reader, you'll know that the GP have certain rules they want the vampire Houses to follow and for the most part they're ridiculous. My dislike for them moved right into hate in 'Drink Deep' and I'm certain they're not going to earn my respect any time soon.

'Drink Deep' was still missing the fun dialogue from the first three books, but it wasn't that sort of book. I thought 'Hard Bitten' had a dark edge too it, but 'Drink Deep' was darker.I loved the dark aspects; the haunting mysteries and sense of danger. You can't help getting caught up in the moment and it makes everything more powerful. I'm hoping we'll get a bit more of the witty-banter back in the next book, I'd love to see it back again, although I fear that it won't return for a bit.

Waiting impatiently for the next in the series. Chloe Neill has created an addictive world and I can't wait to see what happens next.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)