Category Archives: 2013 Read

Review {28} Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked
AUTHOR: Jessica Spotswood
SERIES: The Cahill Witch Chronicles | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Star Crossed #2
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library
EDITION: Hardcover, 330 pages
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: February 7th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Witches, Romance, Magic, 3.5 Stars, Putnam Juvenile Publishing, Jessica Spotswood, 2013 Read, Book 1 in Series, Born Wicked, The Cahill Witch Chronicles
RATING: 3.50/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.95/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: 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.

MY THOUGHTS: Born Wicked was an interesting read for me. It’s not one of those action-packed, fast-paced stories where you’re constantly getting whiplash from how quickly the plot goes and how crazy the scenes get. Instead, the first installment in the Cahill Witch Chronicles moves slowly, dishing out dangerous liaisons, magical misuse, and secrets that rock a town to its core.
Cate Cahill is our protagonist. She is almost seventeen, the oldest of three girls, and very maternal since her mother died several years ago. Cate feels that it is her duty to not only care for her two younger sisters, but also to make sure they are not using any of their magical powers, lest the Brotherhood finds out they are witches and tries them. Once tried, a witch would either be sent to the Harwood Asylum or be killed; neither of which are viable options for Cate and her sisters.
Born Wicked is set in an ‘Alternate 1900 New England’ where the Brotherhood rule and at the age of seventeen a girl must announce her intentions to marry (and to whom) or join the Sisterhood. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading a story taking place in an ‘alternate’ place and time, but once I was into the story, Spotswood does a wonderful job creating the world where her characters live.
The characters are well developed, each with their own personalities and attitudes. I can’t say I necessarily loved Cate as the protagonist, but I am going to assume that she will be a wholly different person in the next book(s) to come. Where she tried to stay as out of sight as possible, I think we are going to see a giant change in her, now that she knows how things really are in New England.
One character I really enjoyed, however; was Finn Belastra. He was a wonderful love interest, and one of two guys to make up the love triangle. He’s smart, witty, and willing to fight anyone or anything for the people that he loves. In that way, he and Cate have a lot in common. They only want to protect their families, and put themselves last. He is wonderfully selfless, and a great match for Cate.
Cate’s two sisters, Tess and Maura, each have a unique voice to the story. Cate is overprotective and suffocates them, and Maura acts out at any chance she gets. Tess is the quieter, gentler one who just wants the three of them to stay unified while making decisions together, rather than suppressing their magic and being told how to behave.
One character that I completely disliked was Sister Elena, from the Sisterhood. She annoyed me from the first page she appeared on. I’m not sure completely what it was that irritated me, but she just rubbed me the wrong way! And how she played the sisters against each other and played with Maura’s heart and emotions was just unforgivable.
The slower pacing of the story, I believe actually helped the story to achieve an eerie, kind of maybe almost Gothic-Victorian type of air to it. I would say it felt rather dark and gloomy than a light, airy read. The Brotherhood is oppressive in their rules – and just like any other “government” type body, they have their corruption and flaws. I will be curious to see how things change within the Sisterhood that will ultimately affect the Brotherhood in the end.
There is a great prophecy that is entangled in the web of this tale as well; one that could have several different outcomes and consequences. There is a bit of a twist at the end – one that I cannot say was completely unpredictable, but I am anxious to see how Cate handles her choices and how it will affect those around her.
Overall, I enjoyed this read for the straight-forward story that it is. I would willingly recommend to anyone who enjoys paranormal, steampunk, historical fiction, or just a good fight-for-love story.

SIMILAR READS: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne | When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen | Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock | The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges | Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Happy Reading!

Review {28} Boundless by Cynthia Hand

BOUNDLESS
SERIES: Unearthly #3 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Unearthly #1; Hallowed #2
AUTHOR: Cynthia Hand
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library
EDITION: Hardcover, 438 pages
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: January 22nd 2013 by HarperTeen
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Romance, 3 Stars, Cynthia Hand, HarperTeen, 2013 Release, 2013 Read, Review
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.18/5.00
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California – and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.


As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.


In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the first two books in this series – didn’t love them, definitely didn’t hate them; so I guess I just plain liked them. I picked up the third book in the trilogy when I saw it at the library the last time I was there, since I hadn’t purchased either of the other two books (and didn’t need to purchase #3 to complete my set) I decided to grab it. 
I was immediately transported back to Wyoming, and into the life of Clara Gardner, her brother Jeffrey, her “aunt” Billy, her friend Angela, and her two love interests, Tucker Avery and Christian Prescott. I had remembered pretty much everything from Unearthly and Hallowed (Which is a miracle!) and what I had forgotten about was triggered when mentioned or referred to in Boundless.
I felt that this final installment in the series was slow paced, and a little boring at times. I remember in writing my review for Hallowed, saying how I felt that time went by too quickly. It did again in Boundless, each chapter sometimes being weeks or months in the future, yet still dealing with the actions of the previous chapter. I found that it felt a little disjointed to me. Also, the characters seemed to accomplish little in these large gaps of time. I think that the characters themselves remained true to who they were in the previous books, but each has grown and changed in their own ways – which I enjoyed reading about.
One thing that I absolutely hate when a series ends, is when it feels too “Happily Ever After” at the end. Sure, the characters suffered over the course of the three books, but I feel like when I closed Boundless, I was like, “Oh, okay. So that’s how it ends.” I wasn’t happy, or sad, I really didn’t feel anything. It just is what it is. Which kind of disappoints me just a bit. I love endings where you feel these crazy rush of emotions, but this one just didn’t do it for me. 
I believe that Hand has interesting concepts of angels, Hell, the hierarchy of the angels, and basically her  ideals of what the contrast between Heaven/Hell, God and Fallen Angels are. Religion is one of those topics for me that is so touchy and so easily boundaries can be overstepped and turn either preachy or overly-religious to just unbelievable. I think that Hand did a good job keeping a decent balance to where I think the book is enjoyable by those looking for the angel/religion theme and those that enjoy reading about Good/Evil and angels without the religious aspect, like me.
Overall, I think the series told a good story with likable characters and creative themes and ideas that added up to three decent books that I would definitely recommend for it’s enjoyment factor. It may not have wowed me, but I still enjoyed the ride.
SIMILAR READS: Everbound by Brodi Ashton | Asunder by Jodi Meadows | If I Should Die by Amy Plum | Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton | Goddess by Josephine Angelini
HAPPY READING!