Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publishing Date: February 7th 2012
Pages: 330
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Series: Cahill Chronicles #1
Source: Audio

A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!
Everybody thinks 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. Then Cate finds her mother's diary, and uncovers 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. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe--not even from each other.

I knew I wanted to read this book from the moment I saw it, but it took me a while to get to it. I am glad I did, I was able to find the audio. I Loved the audio, I loved the story, I loved the characters. It was an excellent read. Very exciting, thrilling, romantic, loved every moment of this book. 

Cate is a witch, her sisters are witches, her mother was a witch. Witchcraft is forbidden and witches are not treated very nicely. Cate and  her sisters are learning to control and use their power in secret. Their mother is dead and their father isn't aware they are witches. So they have a slight learning curve. 

Society is controlled by The Brotherhood, they are extreme, they ate witches. They say witches are evil. they arrest witches, torture witches, and use witches. Cate is doing all that she can to keep her sisters safe and their secret hidden. Cate has to blend in, get married, be a good girl. It is hard when her sisters are not helping with the blending in and being a good girl. Cate has to find a way to keep everything under control. Everything starts to unravel when Cate discovers a family secret. Cate must choose between the boy she loves and her sisters, between freedom and safety, between being herself or conforming to something entirely different. 

This book was better than I anticipated. I thought it would be my kind of read but I wasn't really expecting to get what I got. The book had everything, romance, suspense, family drama, magic, it was all there and it came together to create something wonderful. Once I started I couldn't stop. It wasn't necessarily fast paced but was definitely a page turner to the very end. Slow building but extremely intense. 

I really can't narrow down what I liked best about this read. I know I loved the time and setting of this book. England in the late 1800's. It was set in the Victoria Era but everything was different so it felt even a bit more in the past, bringing back much of the Salem Witch Trials. The author painted the picture so perfectly with too, the way the dressed, lived, and spoke stood out well making everything feel natural and authentic. 

Another awesome thing, the story. It was a dystopian set in the past. A bunch of men decide they know what's best to create a wonderful community that keeps everyone safe... of course this only counts for those that are not different, not powerful, and not a self thinker. So yup idiots because of course it backfires, of course there will always be something that doesn't go right and people who are unhappy and willing to do something about it. So there is that part of the story.... Then we have another part, the romance, the two that can't be together that want to be so badly. Sweet and perfect, yet can't happen. 

There is almost a love triangle in the book but not really. There is the boy Cate loves and the boy she tries to love for her sister's sake. She needs to marry into good standing. She cares for both but only truly loves one. Both guys are actually great. Of course I want her to be with the one that she truly loves, but both are still wonderful guys. 

Cate was a pretty cool character. I liked her bunches. She was loyal to her family. Even when she had to give up what she wanted and live a life she wouldn't be happy in, she always chose her family. Although they didn't always deserve it. She was brave and kind. She was also pretty smart.

Cate's sisters were a great addition tho the cast. Maura, the middle sister, was kind of a brat. Selfish and whiny. I didn't like her much but she does bring conflict to the mix. The youngest sister, Tess, was a real sweetie, smart and kind like Cate. Little more level headed though. She seems to be the glue that holds them all together. 

Lots of great characters, from friends, enemies, and loved ones. There is a great mix, each character with a a unique voice of their own, together they work out a a pretty brilliant story. I was so completely pleased with this book, it went beyond my expectations, and the ending was just so extreme. I can't wait to read more. 

A great addition to my collection, historical fiction, fantasy, romance, and suspense.... all of my favorites in one book. 

Jessica Spotswood

I grew up in a tiny one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where I could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or—most often—with my nose in a book. I've been writing since I was little but studied theatre in college and grad school. Now I live in Washington, DC with my brilliant playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey.
I heart books, yoga, tea, cardamom cookies, the color pink, board games, theatre, twirly dresses, and bells chiming the hour. I’m frighteningly enthusiastic.
I use GR to keep track of what I read and to recommend books that I really love.

Blog Tour: Dreamer by Monique Morgan- Review, excerpt, and giveaway!

Tour hosted by Monique Morgan

Pursuer Title:  Pursuer 
Author: Monique MorganPublishing Date: March 30th 2012
Genre:   YA Fantasy
Series: Alwahi Series #1
Source: Kindle provided by Monique Morgan


When her plane crashes into the ocean, Zanas is dropped into a brutal world of survival. She soon learns that this is no ordinary place, as the land mutates all that live within its borders. Her sister is kidnapped and taken beneath, thrusting Zanas into the middle of a primitive society, where she will find her death, or her destiny.

I was really excited to read this book from the day I heard about it. I love the cover! The story sounded quite intriguing.  I jumped at the chance to be on this tour. I am very happy I was able to read and review this book. 

Zanas and her twin sister, Asenya are special. They have alaways know they were special. They do not know where they came from but they know they were adopted. Headed on a trip with their parents, the plane crashes with only a handful of survivors, the twins being in that handful. They end up in a mysterious place with strange people. They learn to live within the village and live by their rules, their way, even their religion. Zanas is finding her way, fitting in, and enjoying herself... that is until the day her sister is kidnapped by people from the under. Zanas knows she has to rescue her sister and goes on a crazy quest to the under where anything can happen. 

The book was good. I loved the story and the setting. Monique did an amazing job and weaving together a fantastical world. I loved the under. So many things beautiful and exciting in the under. I love the animals, the people, and the way they lived. The book started out normal, regular school, clothes, everyday life, but once the plane crashes all bets are off and I felt I was placed in the middle of a fantasy novel. Not expected but wonderfully surprised. The world, story, and writing and characteristics of a well written fantasy novel. 

I liked most of the characters. I really enjoyed Zanas, but I did have a bit of a time connecting with her at first. Watching her go through her life in the village didn't give me time to really get to know her. Once she went under, I felt the connection grow. She was a very strong, determined character and I felt her personality was perfectly created for her part of the story. 

I think it was a wonderful start to an amazing series and I will read the next one as soon as I get a chance.

Read the first six chapters now!

Dreamer by Monique Morgan 
Alwahi Series #2
October 31st 2012


She was nothing like her sister. Zanas had always been the courageous and dedicated one. Asenya was arrogant, selfish, and demanding. All of the qualities that Dreamers have…

Kidnapped and taken beneath, Asenya fights to find out who she really is, discovering that her potential is far greater than she ever could have imagined. But that destiny may finally be the end of her, and what she once was.

May she make the right choices.

There was one thing that bothered her after Zanas had left, something that nagged at the back of her mind, until finally she could not dismiss it any longer.
Everywhere she looked, she saw the strong belief that all were allowed to choose. She had been taken below by force, and there was that part of her that wondered if she had been placed in the right clan. She knew that she had received the marks of the Dreamer, and that should be sign enough, but still there was that feeling.

Asenya snuck out in the middle of the night, following the path that she traveled down her first night below. She had been learning enough in antiquities to understand the concept of the pledge temple ,and Falon had already confided in her that he had removed the barrier spells around the hold. She could come and go as she pleased.
Usually anyone wishing to pledge a clan, did so when they believed that they were old enough to leave their families, and venture into the lives of their destinies. This was always done in the pledge temple, by those that were city born, or born within the clan.

There was a rumor that there was a spell on the temple that only allowed the pledger to speak the truth, sometimes to the speaker’s surprise. But the people of the beneath believed in nothing stronger than the tenant that Alwahi knew everyone’s path.
It was chilly in the dark shadows of the tunnel, making it seem as though she really were in the underworld. When she came to the diverging tunnels, she paused, looking up at the circling staircase that led to the temple.
For some reason, she was starting to feel afraid, the quiet of the shadows making her uneasy. Perhaps it had not been the best idea to run here in the middle of the night, when no one knew she was gone.
Shaking herself, Asenya closed her hands into fists, narrowing her eyes as she took one deep breath. She had come here for a reason, and she wasn’t going to give up when she was this close. Asenya began walking up the stairs, higher and higher, until she was pushing open the door that led into the temple.
Three throne chairs greeted her as she ventured inside, the steps of her feet echoing across the long hall. She felt immediately an overwhelming sence of reverence, the building speaking to her very soul.
It spoke of history and awe. I told whispers of the countless feet that had walked the very stone floor that she stepped across. And finally, it hinted at destiny yet to be fulfilled.
Asenya walked into the center of the magnificent building, closing her eyes and inhaling deep once again. She flung her arms outward, letting her head fall back as her eyes opened wide.

“I pledge,” her voice came out on its own. “Dreamer…”

It was like a wind that escaped her lips, traveling past her face and to the room, swirling like a mighty wind around her body, lifting her hair and the hem of her dress from the ground. The air that swirled around her brightened, turning to a shimmering trail, like the loving embrace of some spirit.


A word spoken, but not, simply a melody on the wind. And then she knew, she knew that she had been placed in exactly the clan that she had belonged to, and deep down inside, she realized that she had always known.

  Monique Morgan lives in Utah with her husband and her three children. She writes Action Adventure YA with a sprinkle of "whatever". Her books cross the genres between Scifi, Horror, and Fantasy, with one main element, a main character who kicks butt in any situation.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blog Tour: Owlet by Emma Michaels- Read along Excerpt, review, and giveaway

Tour hosted by Tribute Books
Owlet Twitter hashtag: #Owlet

Owlet (Society of Feathers, #1)Title:  Owlet
Author: Emma Michaels
Publishing Date: October 13th 2012
Pages:  138
Genre:  YA Romance/Fantasy
Series: Society of Feathers #1
Source: Kindle edition provided by Tribute Books

Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

I picked this book up for the tour before really knowing much about it. It sounded intriguing and I fell in love with the cover right away. So I grabbed it and read it. 

The story is about a teenage girl, Iris, who has basically been kept separate from the world for her entire life. She lives with her father and a friend of the family, Diana. Her mother died, she doesn't remember her, she doesn't know when or how she died, just that she did. She starts to dream of an island she calls her Never-Never. After telling her dad of the dream and the white feathers in her dream, he sends Diana and Iris to an island that Iris soon believes to be her Never-Never. Iris meets a mysterious boy that she feels connected too and feels she can trust him. The boy, Falcon, tells her he knows her, she should remember him. This is when the story unravels and secrets of the past come out. 

It was a good book, I enjoyed reading it and I loved the plot and storyline. The book was a very fast read, almost too fast, and very easy to get through. The entire story kept me interested allowing me only snippits of what was happening here and there. I felt a little confused at times but only because I felt the author wanted me to. 

The writing style was good and easy. I do feel the book read as more of a younger YA novella than a YA novel, but I was fine with that. It was a nice change of pace to some super long books I have been trying to get through. The story had a real fairytale feel for me, more than a fantasy feel. Which I love fairytales, so this worked for well for me. 

The plot was very intriguing, the world, the family line, it was all very refreshing from what my normal fantasy reads have been lately. I enjoyed being a part of Iris' world very much. 

The characters were sweet. I did like Iris, she was clueless and at times felt very naive but she was secluded her entire life, so it was a bit expected. She flew off the handle a couple times about being kept in the dark, so her immaturity showed at times but all in all I felt she was in true character form for the part she played in this story.  She wasn't just naive and immature, she was a very loyal, sweet, caring, genuine girl who I couldn't help but fall in love with. She felt like one of those friends I always felt was too good to be true but they never gave me reason to believe it. Her character never falters from who she really is and I enjoyed that. The other characters were all wonderful too, but Iris is the only one I really felt connected too. I

If I had to ask for anything more from this story it would be a bit more character building and a little more length. I think the two really go hand in hand though. If the story would have been a tad longer, more time could have been spent on the characters. I find most shorter books, I have the character connection issue. Don't let this stop you from reading the book though, it was a very good book. 

I enjoyed my read of Owlet and I will continue the series to see what happens. I am curious and I really did like Iris' world. 

Iris closed her eyes. She was slowly starting to feel pulled away from the room so she got up and opened the door to leave. As she stepped through the doorway she saw her parents. It was her first time seeing them both together. They were speaking in hushed tones, but when Iris backed away she realized that her younger self had been peeking through a crack in the door.

“You were right to take him in. I am sorry I doubted you. He was never even taught concepts like love or true emotion, never allowed to read anything that wasn’t approved. How could Caleb do this to a boy? He can’t even remember his parents.” She heard the passion in her mother’s tone, the way she cared so much that she could hardly control her voice and keep it at a whisper.

“I know. That is why I asked. I can remember watching Jarem and what had happened to him, the way that Ramero had saved him by teaching him both sides of the truth and letting him decide. Falcon deserves the same chance. I am so happy that you agree with me,” her father whispered. Smiling, he pulled her mother into an embrace making Iris suddenly want to cry. Her father looked so happy and free, his eyes were alight and his forehead was completely free of the familiar lines of tension that Iris grew up seeing each and every day, even though they were talking about something that Iris knew was worrying him.

“What will we do if they find us? We can’t leave him here. I won’t. Iris and I have come to love him too much to let them have him back.” Her mother’s voice sounded so frightened and worried. Iris’ stomach flipped but she wasn’t sure why. She realized this was years after what she had seen play out in the upstairs bedroom only moments before. “He found us by tracking me after my visit with my father but they still don’t know about this island. I will have to be more careful this time.”

“We will take him with us. We can’t separate them now. I have never seen anything like it but...I couldn’t do that to either of them. They are inseparable. Honestly. They tried to raise someone to kill her, but instead I think they gave her the strongest guardian she could ever possibly have. There is just something about them. I think he would die for her. I think they might even be mates.”

Name: Diana - Hair:  Black - Eyes:  Deep brown (nearly black) 
Blood Type:  O - Aves:  Red-tailed Hawk  -  Favorite food: Chocolate

Diana was adopted but did not want to meet or find her parents. She was left for dead and a woman who ran an orphanage for Stryx found her and told Nathaniel that she would need protection and a friend. Many years later she found out about Iris and decided to stay by her side for reasons that will be revealed. Since then she has been Iris’ caretaker to help her father and make sure her health is properly taken care of.

Growing up I had a lot of identity issues even though I was not adopted. My best friend’s mother from preschool to 5th grade was a woman who truly changed my life. It wasn’t until during the process of writing Owlet she died and I realized who the character had been. It had been how I imagine she would have been as a child. Someone kind, caring and understanding but still full of odd flaws and odd thoughts but whose heart was always concentrated on those she loved and not herself. The Diana who included me as a part of her family changed my life and as a result, Diana in Owlet is my way of remembering her and keeping that memory and what she taught me alive.

Worst quality:
She can be a little too focused on external appearances and can have a hard time opening up to those she loves most because she fears being judged.

Best quality:
She is extremely loyal and protective. It takes her a while to love someone but once she does, it is for life. She has a great deal of faith and is always led by her heart and aforementioned loyalty. She is never a fair-weather friend and sticks by those she loved through thick and thin, no matter what the consequences.

Unique fact:
Diana was given many pet birds by Nathaniel over the years, but she didn’t believe in keeping them caged so would let them be free in her room and leave as they pleased. Many of them left and never returned, but one day, a hawk flew through her window and from that point on would visit her every few months. The hawk’s offspring came and did the same, and ever since she has seen any hawk flying close to her as a sign of something that will be extremely emotional, either because it will be dangerous or because it is a good omen.


Emma Michaels is the author of the ‘A Sense of Truth’ and ‘Society of Feathers’ series. Her goal with her latest YA novel 'Owlet' is to give others what she did not have growing up; a strong female protagonist with asthma. While her previous aspiration was to be a lady knight she realized that not being able to run more than a few feet might become a hindrance so turned to writing instead. Her day jobs include being a cover artist, marketing consultant and silk screen designer.

As the founder of The Writers Voice blog ( she loves to connect authors and readers. As a book blogger turned author, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State. Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same. Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them. With the support of her fiancé, Chihuahua, and her amazing blog followers and fellow bloggers, she wants to prove to the world that anything is possible and help inspire fellow literary lovers to reach for their dreams.

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