Monday 17 September 2012

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction/Alternate History, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: February 7th 2012
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5

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 only six months left 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 starts 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.


This book really wasn't what I expected at all. It took awhile for me to get into it. Part of that is probably due to the fact that I was in the mood for something different. But once I got introduced to the story I enjoyed it regardless. With all the historical-fiction tags, and the blurb, I thought this would be a story similar to the Salem witch trials. But its really not. It is set in an alternate 1897, Maine. Witches used to rule, until 30 years earlier when there was an uprising and all the witches were killed. Now the Brotherhood rules, and women are oppressed. The entire society is based on the oppression of women. Women are forced to marry at 17, so that they have a man to control them before they get too old. If you don't choose a husband by the time you are 17, the Brotherhood will choose one for you. But of course more witches have been born since, and they live in fear of discovery. It is really a dystopian. There is also a prophecy that foresees the coming of 3 very powerful witch sisters. I love prophecies.

I enjoyed Cate's character. She was put in a very difficult situation, with not nearly enough guidance from her mother, no cooperation from her sisters, and she is doing the very best she can. She made some mistakes but she always put her sisters first. I really could not stand her sister, Maura. She was such a brat and a busybody. So much could have been avoided if it weren't for Maura. But the youngest sister, Tess, was adorable, and I loved Finn.

Finn was described as sinewy, with red hair, brown eyes, glasses, a gap in his teeth, and covered in freckles. But Cate absolutely loved him and it was adorable. I have no idea if he was good-looking or not because Cate never described his facial features, but she thought he was gorgeous and was always fantasizing about seeing the rest of his freckles. They were just so cute. Sometimes in YA there are heroines that are plain, like Tris, but Four was still hot. The guy is always hot. The authors are appealing to the female readers, and they know that some of their readers will be plain, but want them to still be able to believe they can get these hot guys. But the truth is that being loved by a moderately cute and quirky boy can be just as wonderful, if he really loves you. I don't have a thing for freckles myself, but the way Cate was always thinking about them was just too adorable.

The title of the series, The Cahill Witch Chronicles, makes me think that they might shift focus to another sisters in Star Cursed, but I really hope not. I don't want a book from Maura's POV. And I really, really want to see more of Finn. But the way things were left at the end of the book, I can't imagine them leaving Cate's POV. She is at the center of everything. I cant wait to find out what happens next, and you just know Finn is going to go after her. *dreamy sigh*

“I have never been this close to a man before. Something stirs deep, pulsing through my body, and its quite like the tug of magic, buts its not the magic; this is something entirely different, just between Finn and me and this moment.”

Saturday 15 September 2012

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (Princes #1)

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: November 1st 2006
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 8 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


There comes a time in a lady's life...

Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits.

When she must do the unthinkable...

The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior.

And find employment.

When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, it would seem that both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his "manly" needs. Well! Anna sees red—and decides to assuage her "womanly" desires...with the earl as her unknowing lover.


This was pretty amazing. Anna and Edward are like a Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre duo. Anna is plain and Edward is a moody older man. I don't think he is too old though, about 35, but he has a few gray streaks in his hair. I love them both. They are the usual duo for historical romances. A rogue and a spinster. But it is such a great formula, why fix what isn't broken?

I don't usually read erotica, but I think this likely fits the bill. And I have to admit I enjoyed it. Not because of the sex scenes (although those were great), but because of its honesty. I was at first shocked by the way Edward and Anna admit to themselves instantly, how attracted they were to each other. Most books don't feel the need for explicit content outside of one or two sex scenes. Although Anna and Edward really liked each other, and their romance felt real, their physical attraction was so very obvious and added to the experience. But it was perfectly balanced with their emotional connection. I often feel a lack of emotion in adult romances and find their focus is put too much on sex. So its wonderful to find that this book has more of both. Anna and Edward had incredible chemistry.

I am not sure what I loved most about this book, but a strong contender is the story. I love the idea behind it. Edward cant contain his need for his new secretary anymore, but he would never defile a proper lady, so he makes an appointment with the most high class brothel in London. Anna figures out what he is planning, and is herself so full of need and jealousy that she makes a deal with the lady of the brothel to allow her to be the one to meet with Edward, while wearing a mask. They spend two incredible nights together. But, since Edward thought it was just a whore, all it does is make him want Anna even more. And although Anna gets what she wants from Edward physically, it only makes her want his love even more. It took place over a few chapters in the middle of the book, but it was the turning point in the story. They could no long deny what they wanted and they both returned home unsatisfied. Their physical and emotional intensity only increased from there.

My only complaint is the abrupt ending. Although it was a great ending, and everything before it was incredible, I didn't get to see as much of their happiness as I would have liked. I like more of a drawn out conclusion in my books, but that might just be my personal preference. I was glad for what we saw in the epilogue, but it was not explained how it was possible. I suspected from the beginning that it would happen, but that was before we learned of Felicity's red-headed daughter. I guess it could have simply been a matter of chance, but it seems unlikely.

Regardless, this was one of the best historical romances I have ever read, even though I could count how many I have read on one hand. I am no longer turned off by the idea of erotica as a whole. When done right, they can be even more emotionally involving than regular romance. I look forward to exploring the idea and this author's books more in the future.

“Have you ever noticed that once you have had a taste of certain sweets—raspberry trifle is my own despair—it is quite impossible not to think, not to want, not to crave until you have taken another bite?” 
“Lord Swartingham is not a raspberry trifle.”
“No, more of a dark chocolate mousse, I should think.”

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Inhale by Kendall Grey (Just Breathe #1)

Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: April 20th 2012
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 8 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.


I really enjoyed this book. At first I was really confused. There is a lot of mythology behind the world in this book, and a lot of new supernatural creatures to sort through. Elementals that feed off of human emotions have found their way into the dream world, where feeding is easier and more satiating. But if they take too much, the human can die. And if they die in the Dreaming, they die in reality. Gavin is a Sentinel, sent to protect Zoe in the dreaming, who has been targeted by Fyre Elementals.

A vast majority of the story takes place in Zoe's dreams, while she has no idea that it is any more than a dream. While Gavin slowly falls in love with Zoe, and struggles ever day to resist the urge to go and find her in reality, Zoe thinks she merely has an amazing imagination that dreamed up the perfect guy to fill the void left by her non-existent love life.

Gavin is absolutely delicious. He is sweet but broken. He reminds me of Dank from Existence for several reasons, but mainly because he is a rock star, and he wrote some awesome songs for Zoe. He has tattoos and piercings, and really has the bad boy image down, but inside he is falling apart and only Zoe can save him, so together they can save the Dreaming.

Zoe and Gavin are an unlikely duo, which is even more apparent when you compare their lives outside of the Dreaming, but they are still a perfect duo. There is also a large age gap between them. They were really burning up the pages and I cannot wait to see what they are like together outside of the Dreaming. I really enjoyed their passion and the emotions shown through the colours and elements. Zoe was completely uninhibited since she didn't know any of it was real, so things moved quickly between them, but there were still some really amazing steamy scenes. I could have used more emotion in the first one, but by the end of the book there is enough emotion between them to make up for it, and I can't even imagine the kind of fire (or should I say water) they could make together in Exhale. I am really looking forward to continuing this series.

“And now I know that you're the one 
I've waited my whole life for 
You're budding leaves turning green in spring 
You're the fresh breath of air that summer brings 
You're the autumn sky painted in rainbow hues 
You're the wintry ocean dancing in shimmering blues 
You're the air I breathe 
You're the water I drink 
You're the fire inside me 
The earth under my feet 
You're the one”

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