Saturday, 29 March 2014

White Hot Kiss

White Hot Kiss
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy or regret it to be honest.
Source: ARC Courtesy of NetGalley
File Under: Gargoyles just got HOT.

"Shaken and a whole lot disturbed"

All seventeen year old Layla wants is to be normal...but considering her kiss will suck the soul out of anything that actually has one..that's not looking likely. Throw in the fact that half demon, half gargoyle Layla lives with a bunch of gargoyles and has other abilities no-one else possesses, and she's not going to become Miss Popularity any time soon.

Layla has been raised by the Warden's, a race of gargoyles charged with hunting demons and keeping the (occasionally ungrateful) public safe. Layla's always tried to fit in, hiding her own dark side from everyone she loves, but it's becoming increasingly obvious to her that she never will, especially with all the talk of her best friend Zayne mating with another gargoyle.

Zayne, the swoon worthy, incredibly gorgeous, totally awesome sauce, and completely off limits Warden, who happens to be her best friend, and who she happens to have a slightly minor...okay major, crush on. You see the problem.

But then Roth mysteriously shows up to save her ass, being suspiciously polite for a demon, and way hotter than he has any right to be....and did I mention he has a snake tattoo that comes to life? He seems to know all about her, and all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but ya know...Roth is missing one crucial thing....a soul. Which means kissing him totally won't be an issue. Not to mention he's been tasked with protecting her from the demon trying to kill her.

Speaking of a demon trying to kill her, here's the thing. Turns out she's responsible for the violent demon uprising, and something about an apocalypse. Trusting Roth, much less getting all touchy feely with him, could not only brand her a traitor to her family, but ruin her chances with Zayne....or you know..ruin their friendship. But more importantly, if she's wrong about Roth, trusting him could be a one way ticket to the end of the world.

"See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I'm socially awkward."

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Jennifer Armentrout before? I stumbled into the Covenant series back when the second book was just being released and I loved it, so when I saw a new book from her pop up on NetGalley, I couldn't click "Request" fast enough. I had expectations for this book...and all of them where met.

Armentrout is incredible at creating worlds that you can disappear into, and picture every detail of clearly, without giving you pages of description, and this was one world I loved being sucked in to. Armentrout created a world where it's common knowledge Warden's are Gargoyles, and demon's walk around eating McDonalds. I could picture everything clearly, the compound, the school, the city, all from a few words woven in to the narrative.

Speaking of the narrative, as usual, Armentrout's writing was excellent. The trademark fast pace and slick flow where present, as was the trademark narrative. Armentrout has a knack for writing a narrative that has you laughing at the phrases used, but also storing them away to whip out at a later date. The language used was current and up to date, making it relateable to readers, but you weren't bombarded with slang words and phrases every single sentence, the balance was just right.

"There was a demon in McDonald's. And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs"
Tell me that opening sentence doesn't draw you in? Tell me it doesn't make you curious? You'll be lying if you say it doesn't!

I loved Layla. She's everything I love in a leading lady. She's funny, she's snarky and witty, she's badass even though she doesn't know it most of the time, and she's brave and courageous. She's written with so much depth you can get lost in the character. She's dealing with feelings for her best friend, and feeling like an outsider in her family, as well as dealing with secrets and lies and demons trying to kill her. But she bounces up and hits back.

Roth I found developing into a deeper character when you learn who he really is and how he was created and how he must feel everyday. My perspective on both Zayne and Roth changed as Layla's did, with Roth minute being a bad guy, and then suddenly coming to realise maybe he's not, and Zayne being wonderful one minute and wanting to punch him in the face next. Roth was also incredibly funny/witty, between Roth and Layla, I found myself chuckling away!

"Okay. Which one of you was fed after midnight? Because you're worse than a mogwai" 

Both Roth and Zayne, as well as Sam and Stacey, where all written with depth. Stacey and Sam had their thing going on, Roth has the whole "help I was spawned as a replacement" thing going on, and then Zayne has the whole "my dad wants me to mate with some chick, but I have feelings for my best friend but she might suck my soul out, and oh look now she's getting it on with a demon" thing. They could all stand alone, and it's going to be interesting to see if Zayne will stand up to his father about mating or if he'll fight for Layla. But then...I'm kinda Team Roth.

While demon's aren't new, in fact a version of them is present in Armentrout's other series, the concept of gargoyles is. Set aside the fact that I love Armentrout's books, I was intrigued when I read the word gargoyles. I have never read a YA book that involves gargoyles, and I've never heard of it being done.

Armentrout gave us a creature we're all familiar with, and she created a totally unique mythology for them, and for the different types of demon's and for the world she has created. I guarantee you will not have read anything like this book, and that's why I love it, and why I love all of Armentrout's book, each has a rich and intricate mythology that is totally unique. Screw Fey, and vampires and werewolves and what not, gargoyle's are badass, and they're also waaayyy better than all three previously mentioned put together. New favourite right here.

The plot starts out pretty basic with the whole best friend love thing, but then develops pretty quickly into a web of intricacy with different threads suddenly appearing and weaving in to the plot, with Layla's heritage, Roth, the demon uprising and so on. You end up with a complex plot, that answers most of your questions, but leaves the perfect opening for the next book.

The plot twists and turns are impossible to predict, I found myself gasping away, with my hand over my mouth quite a lot, I love it when books surprise me as it's so rare these days, but I honestly never saw any of the plot twists coming. It was so unpredictable, it kept you glued to the pages until the very end, where you where suddenly hoping more pages would miraculously appear out of nowhere so it wouldn't end.

White Hot Kiss is a fantastic start to a new series that's rich with unique mythology and a complex plot, there's intrigue, there's romance, there's an example of a perfectly written love triangle and there's plenty of action. You never know what's going to happen. You never want it to end. You can't put the book down to do ANYTHING. And the on point, up to date narrative while have you chuckling away, even while other parts will have you shouting "noooooooooooo" and wanting to chuck the book out the window in frustration.
Think Supernatural, mixed in with Gargoyle's (the kids cartoon), and with a splash of National Treasure/Indiana Jones/ Lara Croft. Take your pick of relic finders.

That my friends, is every ingredient of the perfect book. Get on it!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the author

Still reeling from the betrayal and subsequent execution of her best friend, Talia jumps at the chance to be distracted....and see her boyfriend Erik. Talia packs up her bags and heads to Washington DC to help administer the annual Talent Aptitude Tests, which will analyze and identify any children with Talent. Talia finally has a purpose again, but she has to work with Cadence, and there's no love lost between the two. Talia has always known that the Mandatory Testing Law's are controversial, she isn't sure she agree's with them herself, especially now she's seeing up close and personal what happens during the testing, but she's still shocked by the protesters she see's lining the streets. She's even more shocked when she finds out there's a city wide curfew during the testing, it seems that while Penny was a traitor, most people aren't happy a teenager was executed. Talia's misgivings and distrust of the agency and Mac begin to grow, with what Penny showed her, and what she see's happening around her.

 When Erik enlists the help of a friend working in the medical unit, the reason for Talia's seizures is revealed, as well as what the drug is that they're giving her...not to mention a shocking secret of the Agency's. As if that wasn't enough to put a crack in Talia's trust of Mac and the Agency, Mac assigns her a task that will destroy everything she thought she knew. Mac sets Talia, Erik and Cadence up with an extraction team to retrieve a child. A child that is 4 years old. A child that doesn't even have to be tested yet. A child that belongs to a face from her past. When it goes wrong, Talia will have to make a tough decision, one that will take her away from everything she knows and set her on a path of uncertainty, and discovery.

Life altering decisions will be made. Earth shattering secrets will  be revealed. Loyalties will be tested. Enemies will become allies. And a War is about to begin.

The plot thickens. The stakes are raised. And I have never been more shocked the entire way through a book. I'm still processing what I've just finished reading. I

The world building in Hunted is on par with the previous two books. The world of the Dystopian Washington DC is embellished on what we've seen so far, we see the dark underbelly of it, and we get another mini world built on in the form of the Underground. When you start reading the book, or when you go back to it after you've had to force yourself to sleep, you're immediately sucked in to the world, and that's a quality about these books that I love, and is consistent. You get lost in the world, and everything can be pictured so clearly with so few words.

The prose continues to be atmospheric and cinematic. It continues to be concise and is not bogged down with useless information. We learn things as Talia learns them, any background given is kept to the point and doesn't interrupt the flow of the book or the narrative.

The previous book was fast paced, but this book seemed even more so, with so much happening the book. We went from DC to the Underground, to the location of the extractions. There was so much information to process, but it was presented perfectly with great flow from location to location and event to event.

My love Talia grows with each book, when you're reading you feel like you're connected to Talia, we learn things as she learns things, we feel what she feels, and we love her to bits. In Hunted, we watch as Talia loses control of herself and her emotions and how that makes her feel, which I thought was beautifully written, I felt for Talia, and it was realistic in that if I was in her shoes, I feel I'd react the same way. Talia is still the strong character we love, she's just a little bit more flawed which makes her more human and even easier to relate to. We're on this journey with Talia and we're watching her grow and develop and question things. Talia is even more of an amazing character than I first thought, I mean agreeing to look after Alex, after she finds out Donovans his dad? I can honestly say I would not be able to do that.

Erik is still amazing. He's patient with Talia, he's there for her he's perfect. But at the same time, he has very realistic reactions to things, like in one scene when he says he's tired of the mood swings, but then he's still there. He keeps her safe, and his over protectiveness is written perfectly so it comes across as sweet, and funny rather than kind of creepy and scary like so many books that missed the mark with that aspect. I'm excited that Erik's past is revealed a little more, and I'm excited to see more of his past with the introduction of his family.

Donovan. Oh Donovan. Just when I was feeling a little bit sorry for you and thought " know what..maybe I could like you" you had to go and out douche yourself. I'd suspected for a while that he may be behind her seizures, I just wasn't sure HOW. So ya know..he knows he's the reason and he's not said a word....kind of douchey. But the main reason he's kind of an a-hole, is bigger than that. I get why he hid the kid away, I do. It was very noble and I felt bad towards the end for him. But I just can't get past the fact that he cheated on Talia with Candice, got her pregnant, had a son with her, tried to get back with Talia and was NEVER going to tell her?! Then there's the whole "I love you, I still love you" thing, yet Mac appears to have forced him to date her? I'm curious to see if Donovan will be hard core redeemed, he was working his way there, but this kind of made me hate him again.

The plot definitely thickens. There are so many threads coming together, including threads from the first book, to create an intense and rich plot for this book, and for the final book coming up. Hunted was so brilliantly written, that it's like we're Talia. I'm trying to think how to describe this so bear with the rambling! We don't see how shady some characters are, until Talia does, so we start off loving Donovan, then feeling what Talia feels. We have until this point, felt what Talia felt for Mac. We liked him, thought he was a great guy, but as of last book slightly didn't trust him. Now in this book, as Talia has started to have no trust for Mac, we've started to not trust him either. Along with Talia, we've started to realise that Mac and the Agency may not be what they seem. I can't describe how that makes the experience of reading the book so awesome.

Along with Talia our suspicions have built up, doubts about what we thought we knew are appearing, and for the entire book there's a sense of growing distrust, and you can feel while you're reading that all is not as it seems. This is pretty good indicator of not only how good the writing is, but how invested you become in the books. You're fully immersed in the world. The entire book you're feeling the tension and unease while you're reading, it set me a little on edge, I kept waiting for the bomb to drop, while  being glued to the book.

The bomb did indeed drop. Several of them actually. I love these books  because they're not predictable, and Hunted is no exception. There where so many plot twists that I never saw coming. Yes I said earlier I figured Donovan was the reason for Talia's seizures, I don't view that as a predictable plot twists because I didn't know how he was responsible. That was all part of another huge plot twist that dents Talia's trust hugely. Then we have the kid thing. Then the Penny's alive reveal which is the only one that didn't have me gasping in shock. I'm fairly certain I squealed at a level only dogs could hear. Mac's true colours where revealed and Talia finally realizes who killed her parents among other things.

All these plot twists made for truly explosive reading. You're not expecting them, it just adds to the impact as you turn a page and read another huge plot twist that you didn't see coming. Some questions from the previous books are answered, some threads come together and tie up, but there's many more questions, and there's more threads being added in. You spend the whole book gasping in shock, unable to put it down as the tension mounts and the stakes get higher.

We see more clearly how controlled everything is by the Agency. You can feel revolution in the air. *Do You Hear the People Sing plays*, yes I may have hummed that to myself once or twice at certain appropriate parts. Sue me.

Sophie is one of few authors I know of who can build up the anticipation, and set the scene perfectly for the next installment, without taking away from the storyline of the current book, it's always a well written secondary thing. Believe me when I say Sophie has set up when hell of a finale. The epilogue itself built up so much anticipation I can't even handle it.

The books have, for me, journeyed from a kind of cute romance with some action thrown in, to a mystery with a smidge of romance and building intrigue, into the third book which for me was a book where the action and the intrigue, and the plot are front and centre, and the romance is secondary, but still strong and enjoyable. The books have gotten more serious as it goes on, and the war is pretty much upon them. And ya  know...I'm still reeling from what we discovered in Hunted about the Agency. I mean this is the first Dystopian book that is actually rivaling Hunger Games in the genre in my opinion.

It's just so perfect, and each book just get's better and better as we follow the over arching storyline, we learn more about the characters, we find out more about what's going on, as we follow the path to the end. I can guarantee that no-one who's read all the books has the same opinion of certain characters *coughMaccoughDonovancough* as they did in the beginning. I can't stress enough how much I love that our opinion of the characters changes as Talia's does.

I swear to God Sophie has implanted some sort of mind melding technology in her books so that you are one with Talia. I feel like I've not read Hunted. I feel like I've lived it. I'm simultaneously excited for the final book, but not because you's the end. We're going on a real journey here and Hunted was the climax of that journey.

Hunted is page turning, gripping, on the edge of your seat drama. Shocking revelations abound, and characters appear in totally different light. Questions are answered, but more appear, and the threads of the plot are coming together into an intense spiders web of intrigue, mystery, action, romance, and war. You can't tell me you didn't read this book and get way too emotionally invested in the characters!

Friday, 21 March 2014


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Bought from the author!

An unexplained flash destroyed life as Eyelet once knew it. No-one has seen the sun in years, they live in perpetual twilight, clouds obscuring the sun, deadly Vapours lurking outside the safety of Brethren, all thanks to the flash. But that wasn't the most devastating thing to happen to Eyelet that night, her father was found dead, and Eyelet has always felt abandoned by him. Now 17, and with the entire city of Brethren after her for false accusations, Eyelet sets out to find the invention her father made for her, and then sold all those years ago. It's called the Illuminator, and it was her father's prized invention.

With it, Eyelet hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures, like her father promised to. You see, in Brethren, having seizures is grounds to be classed Mad and locked in an asylum, something her father's arch nemesis Professor Smrt is determined to do. He's determined to find out her seizures and have her locked away. Pursued by Smrt and his men, Eyelet locates the Illuminator in Gears, only to have it whisked away by a strange boy. Eyelet follows the thief into a strange, unknown world. Her quest is not the only thing compelling her, the allure of the boy with the secrets is also playing a hand. Eyelet wants to know what the screams she hears in the night are. She wants to know what exactly is going on in the compound. And she wants her father's machine.

Together, they must endure the deadly vapours, and the creatures it creates, as well as woods infested with criminals who don't always stay hanging from the tree's, solve a riddle, and outsmart Smrt. But when they finally find their prize, truth's about their father's come out, and the machine may be the biggest problem they face.

Jacqueline was very kind to me, and sent me a copy of this all the way from the US when I asked if I could buy the special edition, and I must say, I enjoyed sipping my tea and eating my sweets while reading, not to mention the invention that has helped aid my laziness! I would urge anyone interested in the book to grab a special edition copy if there's some left, as the artwork included was beautiful!

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it's been a long time since I've been affected by a character death, and then the only times it's truly upset me was with Headwig in Harry Potter, not to  mention Dobby, and Max in Mortal Instruments. I found myself out of sorts for hours after Bertie died. Truly gutted, and Bertie isn't even a real person, he's a bike. Although somewhat living shall we say?

That is how truly amazing the writing is, and how much emotion is inspired by the world and characters created. From the first page I was hooked right in to the twilight world created with a few words. The writing was atmospheric, and most definitely cinematic. Everything was described perfectly, but concisely, I could picture the buildings, the city, the layout, the inventions, and the characters.

With my special edition, I got some artwork, one of Bertie, and then some of other characters. I didn't look at these until after I'd finished the book, and I could immediately tell which character was which, just from the descriptions in the book, and the image in my head.

The premise of the book was unique, with the history of the flash and what happened to the city, not to mention the storyline about the invention. I've read steampunk books before, but never any with a story quite like this. Everything was so unique from the inventions mentioned, through to the creatures lurking in the woods, and the vapours. So many books in this genre all tend to have the same type of machines described, but I didn't come across a single machine that I've read about before, it was unique through and through.
I freely admit that whenever I read the word Flash I heard "aahhh aahhh" in my head!

I loved the characters, I had a connection to Eyelet, I thought she was a very strong girl to have dealt with everything she did, and to keep going, to venture in to the unknown and to carry on with her mission no matter what else happened. I loved Urlick, he's a hero, but he's not your usual hero. He's not perfect. He has birthmarks over his face, and that's marked him as different, and his back story was heartbreaking, but he's still so strong. I loved how Urlick and Eyelet both thought no-one could ever love them because they're different, and they found each other. I love how they're not perfect, that they have obstacles in their lives and they're not cookie cutter main characters.

Each of the characters was written with depth, and these amazing personalities. They jump off the page, and when you're finished reading, you realize that for the time spent reading they where so real to you. The supporting characters where written so well they could stand on their own, and you felt a connection and an emotional attachment to all of them, even Bertie!

The story is told from Eyelet's point of view mostly, but we get Urlick's point of view quite frequently, and rather than reading the same scenes, word for word, but from two different points of view, we saw a scene with Eyelet, then an entirely different scene with Urlick, and then a scene with Eyelet that occurs after Urlick's scene. This was brilliant, it kept the narrative fresh, and you saw a different side to Urlick in the beginning when we where getting to know him, as well as how the characters where coming across to each other, and at one point we saw more of Iris and how she really is.

The plot was fairly complex. We have a mystery to unravel. What caused the flash? What happened to the machine? And so on. We start out just looking for the machine, but then it swiftly gets more complicated. You have to work out what Urlick's hiding, find the journal's, find out what Smrt's really been up to and what his plans are, and find out what happened all those years ago between the scientists. There where plenty of plot twists, and none of them where predictable, I found myself being constantly surprised, which delighted me as that is so rare these days!

Lumiere is fast paced, with a fantastic flow. Any background information is delivered concisely, and doesn't upset the narrative or flow of the book, and we don't have reams of background that's hard to slog through. Some of the background is delivered in flash backs that are blended seamlessly in to the narrative, and you can picture it on screen flashing back! We also have a fantastic set up for the second book, which was woven in right at the end and will have readers gasping for more. I'm really interested to see where this will go!

Lumiere is a fantastic addition to the genre, it's unique through and through, and a proper page turner, having you laughing, crying, and sitting on the edge of your seat in suspense. This book went everywhere with me. In the car, on the train (I'd been out for my birthday and was reading it on the train home at 12am), I was reading it while eating (quite a feat), it had to be pried out of my hands before I went to sleep, I'd dream about it, and then wake up and start reading while I was getting dressed and brushing my teeth.

Lumiere has romance, it has suspense, it has action, it has inventions, it has such fantastic world building that you are lost in the world created for you and it's a shock to jolt back to reality. There's characters you'll love and characters you'll love to hate. There's plot twists aplenty, and a tonne of intrigue and mystery that'll drive you mad trying to figure it out. Did I mention there's a kick ass heroine? A near dystopian steampunk world? A man with incredible flexibility and no arms? A talking Raven? A machine that could potentially destroy the world? really don't want to miss it!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Miami Mummies

Miami Mummies
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: ARC Courtesy of the author!

Wendy Darlin is back, and she's found herself right in the middle of a turf war. Sort of. Tippy Henman, an old classmate, bought a patch of land through Wendy, promising her now deceased father she would build a high rise on it. Except, she forgot a few things that needed to be done...and now...two mummies have been found on the site. A state senator wants the land for himself, Tippy wants it to fulfill her promise to her father, and a tribe of Native Americans want it closed off to honour the ancestors they believe to be the mummies. Wendy calls in her lover, and Johnny Depp look alike, Roger Jolley to solve the mystery of the Miami Mummies....all is not as it seems, and it would appear the evil genius that is Kyzer Saucy, criminal mastermind, and mummy thief extraordinaire, has a hand in this.

But that's not all, Wendy has to assist her old mentor in his death and subsequent move to a new body, part of which involves stealing back a priceless possession Mission Impossible style. Drag Queens, mummies and's got Wendy Darlin written all over it!

Barbara very kindly asked me to review this, and I couldn't say yes fast enough. I loved Cairo Caper and I couldn't wait to get started on Miami Mummies.

When reading Miami Mummies, I had to perfect the art of laughing silently, often sounding like I was choking on something, because I decided to read this when sitting in a room full of other people, where laughing out loud is not an option unless you want to look like a total nutter. Or try and explain what's so funny to people who just don't get it.

In Miami Mummies, the action again kicks off right from the start with our favourite heroine following the screams to a murder site. From there it's all go, with fast paced writing and smooth flow, we know what we need to know, and we don't mess around with pointless pages about what Wendy ate for breakfast.

As well as the mummy mystery going on, we also have a little side plot with Wendy's old mentor, stealing back a statue, and waiting for him to return from the afterlife to his new body, which added a unique and unusual twist, with some old characters showing their faces again.

Wendy is still my spirit animal. She is me. She's up to her snarky, hilarious and charmingly bumbling but very heroic antics. The prospect of a mini Wendy running around was just too fantastic to imagine, this needs to happen in another book....seriously...I can see it now!

Miami Mummies manages to be realistic with how Wendy and Roger interact with each other, what happens in their lives aka pregnancy, how they react to situations (mostly, I don't think I'd be ordering someone to reverse up to a plane), and the historical aspect and how things are done regarding digs and discoveries and so on, while having totally fantastical developments like the transmigrate aspect and the hilariously ridiculous stunts.

Miami Mummies is the perfect blend of current language, witty and snarky remarks/play on words, perfect flow and writing, hilarious, ridiculous and page turning content. You never want to put it down, you want to stay with Wendy, laughing at what she does next. The plot twists and turns are hard to predict, I spent the whole time making up elaborate reasons why so and so must be Saucy, and being wrong.

Miami Mummies is a mystery, sprinkled with some history, with a couple of murders tossed in and blended with the perfect spin of humour, not to mention a leading lady you love to bits!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY!
Source: Copy courtesy of the author, Sophie Davis.

It's been 9 months since Talia was injected with an unknown substance and shot at Ian Crane's compound in Nevada. Since, she's had to learn to walk all over again, and has been dealing with regular seizures. Talia feels like a prisoner, she's been confined to her childhood home while recovering, with no contact with anyone, and her dream of being a Hunter on hold...possibly forever. So when the Agency director, Mac, asks her to go undercover at the McDonough School for the Talented to find the spy who set the trap for her in Nevada, Talia jumps at the opportunity.

Until she see's she'll be working with Donovan, the ex-boyfriend she's known through childhood that cheated on her. That she's not so jazzed about, to say there was some tension would  be an understatement. But after a fight ends in a seizure, a tentative friendship begins to form. Enter Erik, Talia's former team mate, and make out buddy in the week leading up to her mission, and the guy she's got some very strong feelings for. But hey, atleast she's got her best friend Penny there, to assist her in uncovering the spy, and help her deal with the boy drama.

As Talia becomes more entrenched in her assignment, she quickly discovers the lengths Mac and the Agency will go to in the name of war, and what she's capable of, when the interrogation of a suspect goes horrifically wrong. Talia begins to realize that Crane's influence is spreading, and there are few operatives without a tie to the coalition. Forced to face hard truths, and dangerous conclusions, Talia realizes that it's those closest to her hiding the biggest secrets. As finding the traitor dumps Talia in to a constant state of frustration and desperation, with lies everywhere, she realizes she needs help. But who can she trust when everyone has something to hide. Who isn't who they say they are? Is Donovan responsible for her seizures? What is Mac hiding? And will Talia and Eric get to be together? You know...without the whole arguing and life threatening mission getting in the way?

So, Sophie very kindly sent me this to review, and man am I so glad for her kindness, because it looks to me like this is going to get better and better. We skip all of the recovery period and join Talia 9 months after the end of Talented, and as she's back on her feet.

The amazing world building from Talented is expanded on as we get to see one part of the world that was previously mentioned, in more detail...the school. An entire mini world is created in the world we're already familiar with, that encompasses you and sucks you in. The new scenery keeps the series fresh, and the readers engaged and interested. We also get to see more of how the world works, with the justice system and so on, which is really cool! Going back in to this world, I had to do a little happy dance, because it's so unique, and it's impossible for you to get tired of it!

The prose is just as concise with the background and details, and just as smooth flowing. The prose is so slick, you could slide right off if you where walking on it. There's just as much action, just as much intrigue and just as much humour, but on another level to Talented. I kept flashing back to Talented and how much I loved and enjoyed reading it and how I was consumed with the characters and story, much like I was with Caged all over again!

I loved all the characters in Talented, they where all so well written and full of life, and that's carried on in Caged, but we get to see even more depth to them, and find out more about them. We see Talia in a different way, she's not a Hunter, but she's still badass, but you admire her strength in dealing with the seizures and everything on her plate. I feel like I morph in to Talia, or atleast merge with her when I read, because I find myself not only following her thought process, but thinking some of the same things she does, like with Erik. Like Talia,  I really thought he'd run a mile when he saw her have a seizure, because I was kind of envisioning he-slut Erik, but shame on me. I loved Erik in Talented, he was perfect, and I should have known we'd see an incredibly tender, sweet and caring side to him in Caged regarding what Talia's going through. I love his protectiveness, although the scene after the Dinner scene...I really wanted to smack him one.

Donovan is complicated for me. I was kind of meh about his character in Talented, he was a sweetheart, as I said in my review of Talented, but at the same time, he was a bit of an ass sometimes, and my opinion of him morphed in to hatred after the Incident. I am fully Team Erik. All the way. BUT. Caged, I felt, gave us more of a look at Donovan, we saw deeper in to his character. I saw he had a sweet and caring side, even more so than I originally thought, he was there for Talia even though she was (rightfully) horrible to him, he was remorseful BUT he was kinda stupid thinking she'd take him back and I enjoyed seeing a side of him that wasn't shown very much in Talented, although I was reading and thinking "HELL NO" when Talia was confused about her feelings for him.

With Donovan and what was going on with him and Talia in Caged, I've seen a couple of people saying "Oh I thought the love triangle was out the way in Talented" and blah blah blah. Well, let's be real. Throughout the whole confusion with the guys (which was very realistic by the way and well done) Talia states she has stronger feelings for Erik, and he's who she wants, and I doubt she'll go for Donovan as second best. Donovan's kind of like a safety blanket for Talia, he makes her feel safe at a time when she doesn't. You need to remember that Talia's known him for years, so for me, it wasn't really a love triangle, because I was confident that Erik would prevail, and he did. It was more she wanted to be friends with him, and didn't want to lose her new friendship with him.

Back to Donovan,  I'm interested to see what happens with his character. Can they be friends? Can he get out from under his father's thumb? Speaking of Mac, I personally saw him as a pretty great guy in Talented, Talia's rescuer and protector who took her in, and cared for her. In Caged...well....he's shady. He's up to something, and he's done something, and it is killing me not knowing what and trying to guess.

Everything you thought you knew about the characters when you finished Caged it gets turned upside down, no more so than with Penny. You see different sides to everyone, and get to know the characters a bit more, they're all built on from Talented, and some of them aren't what you thought they where.

Now. Penny. I really didn't see that coming, I came to the realization after Talia did, when she went storming into the room. I'm simultaneously gutted, because you know....betrayal of my favourite character, but at the same time, I'm intrigued, particularly about the revelation in the last 5% of the book I think it was, during the court scene. I'm frothing at the mouth with anticipation for the next book!

While i'm talking about Penny and shocking revelations, let's move on to the plot. As I said, it's action packed all the way through, we have romance, we have regular drama, bitchy girl drama (seriously, someone smack Cadence) and boy drama. For every question that's answered there are a million more. There's a tonne of twists and turns, and shocking plot twists that I guarantee you even Nancy Drew couldn't predict. You're incapable of putting the book down, but you don't want it to end. Seriously. I was on a night out for a friends birthday and I was thinking about the book.

Davis has a knack for giving you exactly what you want in the book, answering all your questions, but also giving you a load more of intrigue ready to be answered in the next  book, but still leaving you satisfied and ready for more. I honestly cannot get enough, and I feel like the books are just going to get better and better.

Caged ends on a hell of an explosive note, and the anticipation is ramped up as you get closer to the ending. The plot is rich, and complex, and blends the over arching storyline for the series, seamlessly with the storyline for this portion of the series. A lot of sequels aren't as good, but Caged isn't one of them, it's better. A lot of authors put more emphasis on the overarching storyline, and setting up things for the next book. Not Davis. Setting up the next book is provided, but it's not the sole focus. I can't stress enough how perfectly written these books are, and how much you will regret never reading this series!

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