Hello, hello! I'm Kayla, a twenty-year-old girl with a penchant for Young Adult novels. Bookishly Spellbound is my little corner of the web where you'll find my thoughts on the books I am reading and the occasional fangirling over other stuff I enjoy.
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
by Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 330
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★ 
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

Review: 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.

The Boyf by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless
by Colleen Hoover
Release Date: December 19, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 486
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★ 
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Review: This is without a doubt one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write, even after taking some much needed time to sort out my feelings. It is extremely difficult to put into words how deeply moving and beautiful this book is without spoiling things that are meant to be slowly revealed to the reader. It was an intense ride but there are just not enough good things I can say about Hopeless. Ms. Hoover’s prose has a strong, graceful quality. She’s created these authentically flawed characters with tragic pasts and makes you fall in love with them. Hopeless is a poignant, heart-wrenching tale of love, loss and learning to feel that stands out from a slew of novels in the New Adult genre. It is a novel that I will cherish for a long time to come.

After being adopted when she was five and years of living a sheltered life filled with homeschooling and no technology, seventeen-year-old Sky is starting her senior year at a real high school. Her best friend and next-door neighbor, Six, is the only connection Sky has ever had to the real world. For years, her and Sky have been sneaking boys in and out of their bedrooms, having random hook-ups and creating a bad reputation for them both. But Sky has never felt anything while with these boys, instead she becomes detached and just goes through the motions. Thinking she has a normal, somewhat happy life, Sky’s world soon turns upside down the moment she meets Holder who shows her what it’s like to finally feel.

My heart went out to these characters. They’re both too young to have gone through what they have, too young to be so cynical and it truly breaks your heart. You form an emotional bond with these two and that in turn causes you to feel what they feel throughout the novel. You ache when they do, you’re elated when they are. As you read, you grow up with them. There’s so much character development from the beginning to the end of the novel. Sky is so utterly realistic, making for a strong literary heroine. She’s confident, sarcastic and quite humorous. Her voice is so genuine. I must mention that I LOVE her determination to show that petty things such as high school mean girls sticking crude post-its on her locker don’t faze her. She actually rewrites the notes to something more creative and puts them back up. If that’s not thick-skinned, I don’t know what is!

Of course, every heroine needs their hero. Ms. Hoover has managed to write quite possibly the most perfect boy in both the Young Adult and New Adult genres combined! Holder is the most selfless, sweet boy I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. He’s charming, mysterious, affectionate. He can be a little moody and has a bit of a temper at times, which is understandable considering his past. Other than that, I swear he has like zero flaws. I can only hope that there is a real life Holder in the world and that he will one day come to sweep me off my feet! I’m assuming some readers will have issues with his seemingly obsessive nature towards Sky, but I am hoping you will give him a chance. You will see that there is a logical explanation to his extreme interest in her. His unconditional love for Sky will make you melt. The chemistry they have is EXPLOSIVE. Every time they are together, it lights up the pages. And of course, I must mention the best (non) first kiss in the history of first kisses! HOLY BATMAN. Never has a first kiss been so deliciously sexy. Their love scenes are so achingly beautiful; Hoover writes them with such a careful hand and manages to deliver sweet and loving as opposed to salacious. Another enjoyable aspect of their relationship was the banter, there was never a dull moment when the two were together. I had a grin from ear to ear while reading most of their interactions. There is just something so special about Sky and Holder’s relationship that I will always remember.

I feel it necessary to warn that Hopeless touches on such a gruesome topic that might not sit well with some readers. Unfortunately, things like this do happen in real life so I give credit to Hoover for shedding light on such an abhorrent subject. The synopsis and my summarized version of the novel don’t give much insight into what Hopeless is actually about. There are so many complex twists and turns in the plot that will have you crying crazypants, but don’t worry, everything is well-thought out and resolved by the end of the novel.

Thinking back, there were some small unresolved issues relating to Holder but they’re so insignificant that it’s not that big of a deal. But I’ve thankfully just found out that Hopeless will be rewritten in his point of view. You can bet I’ll be reading that the moment it is released! You can never have enough Holder. Boy is perfection.

Truthfully, Hopeless is not a book I can do justice with my words, you simply need to experience it for yourself. I wasn’t expecting a novel to evoke such intense emotions from me. It tugged at my heartstrings, made me cry, smile, laugh. I rated it 5 stars but honestly, if my rating system wasn’t limited to that I would without a doubt give it more – this book deserves all the stars! I hope to see more of the same from Colleen Hoover.

Posted by on February 19, 2013 In: 2013, Book Reviews Comments: 1
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