Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

Title: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Boarding School
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

My Review:

It’s no secret that the Bloodlines series is one of my favourites. And despite my reservations about the cover (I’m not a fan of Sydney’s hair….), The Fiery Heart is my favourite so far! There’s a lot going on – romantically, magically – and the extra pressure of family dynamics are wearing on Sydney. Things seem to have finally worked themselves out with her and Adrian having admitted their feelings for each other and attempting some kind of relationship. But when Sydney’s little sister now inked as an Alchemist and being tasked with helping Sydney with the vampires, the new couple are going to have to keep their romance under wraps. Adrian has his own problems – it seems impossible for him to find a happy medium between being spirit and sanity.

I was impressed with how well the dual point of view between Sydney and Adrian worked. I wasn’t sure I’d like changing things up from how the series had been going so far but it was a refreshing change to get to see what was going on from someone different. Not only that but it’s the first time in the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series where we have had a narration from a Moroi and I liked getting to see the impacts of spirit first hand. Getting to see Sydney from Adrian’s point of view was lovely. For all the cockiness and sarcasm he may try to project to world, it was clear to see just how much he loved her and how hard he was trying to be the best person he could be – not just for her but for himself as well. We may have had to wait three books for these two to get together but it was worth it to get the interactions and beautiful dynamic that we get to see in The Fiery Heart.

There’s a lot going on but all the different story lines manage to fit together perfectly. In this book, Sydney is feeling the pressure of her family. Her sister wants her to spend more time together but between discovering her witchy magic, spending time with Adrian and sorting out the antics of her vampire charges, there never seems to be time for Sydney to breathe never mind have some girl time with Zoe. It’s never apparent to me just where Ms. Mead is going to take things next – from romantic relationships to just what the different sects of society (the Alchemists, the Warriors, the Coven)  are up to. I loved the ties in with characters we have not seen much since Vampire Academy – with Lissa asking Adrian for help and getting to see the rest of the group now a little older and wiser interacting with a more evolved Adrian.

This book has everything that I love about this series. Chemistry between the leads, interesting plots, a secondary cast of characters who add to the overall story and are entertaining to read, and dialogue that makes me feel so many different emotions. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Silver Shadows (July 2014) and am desperately eager to find out what happens to Sydney next. This book does end on a cliffhanger that’s left me anxious to see what’s ahead for these characters.

Favourite Quotes:

“Escape plan number seventeen,” I told her. “Run away and open a juice stand in Fresno.”
“Why Fresno?”
“Sounds like the kind of place people drink a lot of juice.”

“It’s Adrian Ivashkov logic. Don’t try to understand it. Just roll with it.”

“An image of Sydney’s face appeared in my mind’s eye, calm and lovely.
I believe in you.
My anxiety faded.
I took a deep breath and met the gazes of all those watching me in the room.
Who was I to do this?
I was Adrian Ivashkov.
And I was about to kick some ass.”

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait For!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait For!

I’m generally a fairly patient person. But there are some series that I love/hate/drive me so crazy that I can’t wait to read the next book! Here are ten of the books that I’m anxious to be released!

The Fiery Heart Dreams of Gods and Monsters The One Taste of Darkness

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead – I really enjoy this series. It’s fun and exciting and has just the right amount of romance. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I finished The Indigo Spell (despite the fact that I can’t stand the cover of TFH). I’ve got this one on pre-order which I do for all Richelle Mead books. She’s one of my auto-buy authors. Can’t wait to see why Sydney and Adrian get up to next! Only two weeks till this one is released!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor – I adored the first two books in this series. I have no idea what’s going to happen next and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so eager to read this book.

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass – This is a series I love to hate. The Bachelor is one of my guilty pleasures and this book is just like that for me. I don’t love any of the characters – most of them get on my nerves – but I just have to make it to the end to find out which one gets the final rose!

Throne of Glass #3 which as of yet is untitled by Sarah J Maas – This series is incredible. Possibly one of my all time favourite YA series. So I’m excited to see what happens next. IT should be pretty exciting.

Taste of Darkness (Healer #3) by Maria V Snyder – Not long to wait for this one! This is the only Maria V Snyder series I’ve read so far but I’m loving her writing. This book is the final in the trilogy and I have such high expectations of what’s to come. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed!

Cress Isla and the Happily Ever After World After

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer – Cinder and Scarlet were great. Not sure about Cress (I have to admit I don’t quite understand the title yet) but it should be a good read – especially if there’s more Captain Thorne!

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna #3) by Stephanie Perkins – I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this book. I’m curious to see just how this one goes since we already know Isla slightly from the first book.

Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L Armentrout – I wasn’t a huge Katy/Daemon fan after the first few books but now I’m hooked. I don’t love where things went in Origin but I’m willing to stay somewhat open-minded because I’m sure the ending will be worthwhile in the end.

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)  by Susan Ee – I’m so cheating with this one. I haven’t finished Angelfall yet. I’m half way though it and I have to admit I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would.

The Arcana Chronicles #3 as of yet untitled by Kresley Cole – I loved Poison Princess and after reading Endless Knight a few weeks ago I’m so looking forward to the third novel. I have a feeling this is a series that’s going to make me fall in love and then hate and then love characters over and over again by the time she’s finished writing their stories. But I think that’s a great thing. Can’t wait to see the next ‘cards’ Evie meets and just how her romantic relationships develop. Eek! I know there’s going to be a VERY long time before this book comes out but I’m looking forward to it already.

 

That’s my top ten.  There are so many other books that I can’t wait to be released in series I love but these were the first ten that came to mind. Let me know which sequels you’re eagerly awaiting to read – be it ones that haven’t been released yet or ones you haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Happy Tuesday!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in a Boarding School

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books With “X” Setting

And considering how much I love books set in Boarding Schools then it seems like a great idea that I compile a list of ten of my favourite books/series set in boarding schools.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – As they grew up, so did I. And I admit it – I was jealous of their lack of adult supervision. But it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t at Hogwarts!

Vampire Academy  AND Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It’s probably cheating counting both these series, but I love them both.They are both set at private Vampire boarding schools and feature some brilliant characters.

Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep – Super awesome descendants of mythological warriors fighting evil and having one amazing gourmet cafeteria!

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter – If I couldn’t be magical or undead,,, I’d want to be a spy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)

My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling – Trying to keep in school whilst battling evil gods…. sounds like a blast 😛

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – This book is fairly dear to my heart. It was one of the first “adult” (and by that I mean, not a children’s book but rather one meant for older readers) books I ever read. And it sort of destroyed me. I love this book and it’s one that I think everyone should read.

The St Clare series by Enid Blyton – Pat and Isabel were two of my constant companions growing up. This is one of the first books that I remember staying up late – with a torch – and reading and rereading.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Fun school for American teens in Paris. Who could want anything more?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Cause it’s a lovely story.

 

My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1) The Power Of One The Twins at St. Clare's (St. Clare's, #1) Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) A Little Princess

Most of these are paranormal in natures but I threw in a few oldies but goodies too. I would love to hear what books you’ve read set in boarding schools that you loved. And please – link me to your top ten, I can’t wait to see what settings other people picked for this week’s TTT!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

As much as I try not too – expectations get the better of me. When I hear/see people RAVING about a book/series/author, I admit that the hype sometimes gets the best of me. And I realize it’s not the book’s fault – but I often can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a decent book didn’t blow me away like I was anticipating.

(Links will take you to my reviews. Clicking on the book cover will take you to the book’s page on goodreads)

Books I Though I’d Like More (and wound up a little disappointed):

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This isn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it but I wanted more. Daemon is great but it’d take someone even better than him for me not to resent him for blowing up my computer.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie Maguire – I love love. But I don’t love over the top jealousy and people who keep trying the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi – There’s a lot I liked about this book. And a lot that left me feeling wanting. This was one of the most talked about books of 2012. It seemed that people everywhere were praising this one. And whilst I thought it was clever I think I spent most of the time I was reading it waiting. Waiting for it to live up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.

Marked (House of Night, #1)

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast – A friend told me this book was absolutely fantastic – the best Vampire Teen series around. I think I got my hopes up and just missed things I would have liked had it not been off the back of such high praise.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. – This one I think was my own fault that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. The trailer for the movie ruined the book and that in itself frustrated me. Also I listened to this one on audiobook and the fact that the narrator’s voice had an accent but his thoughts didn’t – it really took me out of the story.

On the other hand are books that I went in not expecting too much and being blown away. These are the best kinds of books! To quote one of my all time favourite movies… A Diamond in the Rough.

(and since I couldn’t find any appropriate gifs – here’s one from Aladdin just cause I love that movie!)

Books I Thought I’d Like Less (and ended up loving!):

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – There is the saying “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover” but perhaps I should not judge a book on its title. These books have names similar to those I’d bring home for homework in primary school. But these books are far from simple. They’re beautiful stories about love, friendship, family problems and the complexities of growing up. These are two of my favourite teen contemporary romance novels and I’m so glad I picked them up because I very nearly didn’t..

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

Vampire Academy/Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It probably wouldn’t be a TTT without a Richelle Mead series featuring somewhere on my list. These are both series that feature some kind if paranormal creature in a boarding school but they are both so much more than that. There’s depth and consequences and the gorgeous leading men don’t hurt things either. I had read Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series before starting VA but I didn’t expect for the series to have such a profound effect on my views regarding YA paranormal novels.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A sci-fi futuristic cyborg version of Cinderella? This isn’t something I ever thought I’d read let alone like. But somehow Meyer wrote a novel that’s well thought out and the fairytale links are crafted in a way that feels so right for the story.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I thought I’d try to see if I could somehow beat the system. I’d heard so much about this book. The Best Book EVER! is a line that many of my friends and reviews had thrown around. Not having read any John Green and having nothing to compare his work to I though I’d go in expecting the worse. I’m a big enough person to admit I’m wrong because I ADORED this book. It’s beautiful and the characters are almost ridiculously perfect in their own way. I cried. So if you haven’t read this book and you’re intending to – try to ignore the hype. Make up your own mind. But this is a book that I recommend for everyone to read. Even if it’s just to be on the bandwagon and know what people are talking about when they’re talking about TFiOS and John Green.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – These books are beautifully written. And the covers are gorgeous. And I have no idea why I didn’t think I’d like them but I very nearly passed on the opportunity to read them.

That’s my list for another week. I love reading other people’s TTT’s and blogs in general so please leave me a comment with a link so I can visit back. All comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Book Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Title: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 12 February 2013
Pages: 432 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

My Review:

This book has the Palm Springs crew back in action. Jill is still in danger and had Eddie and Angeline being ever vigilant to any possible attack. Adrian is snarky and spirited as ever and then there’s Sydney. She’s conflicted. With her relationships with the vampires strengthening as she spends more time with them, she’s not sure her Alchemist training and beliefs are the same as her own any more. Ms Terwilliger and her magic is now firmly a part of Sydney’s life – and a deadly threat is now hanging over Sydney’s head because of it. Marcus Finch with his mysterious Indigo tattoo is complicating things further not to mention that Sydney has Adrian constantly on her mind…

I love how there’s so much going on in these books. There’s action and romance with relationships being constantly tested and adventure around every corner. Sydney is steadily growing on me. She’s becoming a strong independent woman who is a far cry from the Alchemist from we met in Russia. I was impressed with her bag of tricks and spy skills! Her quirky banter with Adrian remains one of my favourite parts of the book. The two of them together – even when they’re apart – amuse me and make me smile. They’re gorgeous.

The only downside to this story is I’m not too sure how Sydney managed to be everywhere at once – Mead has kept her so very busy in this novel. There’s the Alchemist plot, her friends at school to keep in line, Adrian, the rebel Alliance, Adrian (I felt like he needed to be mentioned twice), her witchly magic… and there’s probably some I’m missing. I felt it was a little unlikely that even someone as awesome as Sydney wouldn’t be able to be on top of everything.

The supernatural aspect of this novel was interesting. Ms. Terwilliger and the witch storyline let us see Sydney in a new light – as a powerful person in her own right. Marcus Finch was a fascinating new addition. The charismatic rebel is the kind of character that I can see winning many fans. Interesting, mysterious and a rebel with a cause – I can’t wait to see what the future brings in terms of his storyline.

Seeing the zany Malachi Wolfe again was a highlight even if he didn’t exactly add all that much to the story.

I can not wait (but unfortunately will have to) until the fourth book in the Bloodlines series comes out. I love where this series is going and have high expectations for the future!

Many thanks to Penguin Teen Australia and NetGalley for the digital review copy!

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Title: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 12 June 2012
Pages: 418 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she’s supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she’s been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

My Review:

This book picks up where Bloodlines ended – with Sydney still overseeing the crew of vampires hiding in Palm Springs to protect the Moroi Queen’s sister, Jill.

Sydney is growing on me the more I get to read about her and her adventures. She’s becoming more human as her interactions with vampires increases. She’s still dedicated to being “the responsible one” but she’s also realizing there’s more of a life out there than what her father has trained her for. There are friends, there are school dances and there are intelligent boys who smell like coffee. I liked seeing Sydney’s attempts at dating Brayden – a barista who works with Trey. Her flirting and dates with the male equal to herself. Although Sydney did start to wear on my nerves slightly at times, she’s becoming slightly kick-ass and I’m loving how her character is growing.

The other characters are what make this series addictive for me. Eddie, Angeline and Jill are fun and interesting – if not a little trouble. And then there’s Adrian. He’s snarky and spirited – his banter with Sydney being some of the most amusing parts of the novel. They’ve got great chemistry and their antics keep me enthralled. Seeing Adrian’s softer side just makes him a fantastic character to read about.

Plot wise – I love how Mead ties everything together. She’s constantly thinking about her characters no matter if they’re in the spotlight or not and when things come to a climax – it’s surprising but at the same time is completely logical. It’s a pleasure to read her books. There’s more new characters with their own secrets and problems but they’re equally as fascinating and endearing as the characters I’ve grown to love from the previous book.

This book is exciting with drama and action around every corner. With romance and suspense and adventure building, this is a series that I can’t help but think is going to be one of my all time favourites.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge

Book Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

With the third Bloodlines books, The Indigo Spell, being released next week (February 12th!) I’ve decided to prepared by sharing my reviews for the first books in the series. Enjoy!

Title: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 23 August 2011
Pages: 421 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Blood doesn’t lie…

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

My Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now – but decided to wait until I’d finished reading the Vampire Academy series before I started. And I’m glad that I did. Whilst it’s not necessary to read Vampire Academy before Bloodlines, this book does contain many spoilers of the previous series and there are many shared characters.

Sydney Sage is an alchemist in trouble. After assisting Rose Hathaway on orders from the slightly sinister and shady Abe Mazar, Sydney is very close being sent away and reprogrammed as an alchemist after being found sympathizing with the enemy – Vampires. But there’s an opportunity for her to redeem herself. Jill Dragomir needs protection from those who disapprove of her sister becoming Moroi Queen. Sydney is called in to help Jill, her guardian Eddie Castile and slightly bizarre friend, Adrian Ivashkov, fit in whilst they’re hiding in a ritzy Palm Springs boarding school.

With vampires, a rival alchemist and Mean Girls to deal with, Sydney never knew just how hard high school was.

Having read and loved the Vampire Academy series, I was already familiar with most of the characters in Bloodlines. Sydney Sage, the slightly uptight, by-the-book alchemist is a much stronger character than I gave her credit for previously. She’s smart, brave and more open-minded than I think her alchemist father would like. She takes on so much responsibility and acts way beyond her eighteen years. I loved seeing her grow as a person and how her relationships with the vampires developed over the novel.

Adrian, Jill and Eddie were just as interesting. They are all fighting their own battles but still manage to see the big picture. I love the interactions between all of them – the sister relationship between Sydney and Jill, the friendship with Eddie and the bizarre connection that Adrian and Sydney are experiencing. There is a different side of all these characters not previously seen. Adrian is rather dark – battling his inner demons as well as a broken heart. But despite his snide and sarcastic manner, he still manages to come across as some what endearing.

Plot wise – there’s a lot going on. And it managed to all happen simultaneously without confusion. And surprisingly – practically no romance to speak of.

I loved this book. Richelle Mead’s style is one that’s humorous and easy to read. The characters are engaging (especially those of Adrian and Jill) and the plot will keep you guessing and hooked right up until the last page.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge