Friday, 14 December 2012

Welcome To My Stop On The Blog Tour For When Angels Fall by Jo Cattell

Author: Jo Cattell
Publication Date: November 21st 2012
Source: copy provided by the author for review

From Goodreads:
When Angels Fall
“The Corpse Girl—A Town Legend.” 
It happened almost six years ago. A quiet ten-year-old girl was left to care for her sick, dying mother. Day after day, night after night, the girl watched as her mother’s body slowly grew weaker. Her father had left, and in his parting words to his young daughter, he said, "if you kill your mother and end this suffering, I will claim you as my child and give you all you ever wanted. But only after you have truly ended her life..."
Everyone heard the rumors at the Sacred Heart Catholic School. Was it true that one of their own had killed their mother in a mercy killing?
Only sixteen year old Chloe Gardner knew the truth. Her life had been dark and cold until she met Nick Allen. Could he ever love her? No one loved her before, could she trust this new boy who just moved to their town?
Seventeen year old Nick had vowed after many moves to not have a girlfriend in this new town. Then, he met Chloe, with her shy smile and sweet ways. He just couldn't resist and he became part of her world. What was behind her sad eyes and quiet ways? He found he couldn't seem to care as he fell in love for the first time in his young life.
**A Sweet Romance by Debut Author, Jo Cattell.*

I've been wondering for months what I would write in my review for this fabulous book. See, I was the first person to read this after Jo's BETA's and close family & friends. She wanted a readers honest opinion, I'm so glad she chose me and now I am so happy that I am finally able to share my thoughts with you. 
Don't worry, I am able to give an unbiased opinion. I became friends with Jo only after I'd read the book. At first, we were purely author and reader but now I am proud to say that we are friends. It was the emotions of the book that brought us together. I found this book sends a very profound message about love, friendship, family and all that comes along with it but also the darker side of what happens when your family abandon you.

When I first read Jo's WIP, then titled "Summer Rain", I fell in love with Nick, Chloe and The Allen family. But a lot of my love was reserved for Kevin, one of Nick's brothers. As a secondary character, he still managed to play an important role. So when Jo told me she had to cut down the original manuscript, I thought that we may lose some of what made it one of my favourite books of 2012.  Thankfully, I can tell you, it lost nothing at all. It is still just as fabulous but now I know that in the next installment 'After Angels Fall' - due for release in time for Christmas - that I will be put through the mill emotion wise. 

Jo offered me the finished copy of When Angels Fall for review as soon as it was published and so this review comes from the finished copy, not the original WIP. 

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings*

Nick Allen is a teenage boy who lives with his parents Gina and Mark and his brothers Mark, Kevin and the youngest, Max. The Allen family have travelled all over the place for the last few years of their lives but now it is time to finally settle down. Mr Allen has signed a 5 year contract, so they're here to stay. The boys are unsure of just how much they can settle in. They are used to being told one thing, only to discover that another thing will eventually happen. 

Chloe Gardner is a teenage girl who lives with her father and step-mother - I can't bear to say their names, and once you read the story, you will realise why.
She's a good Catholic girl who goes to a Catholic school where they believe in 'purity rings'. You are to wear this ring as a sign that you intend to wait until you are married before engaging in a sexual relationship. 

When Nick first meets Chloe, she is nothing more than a rude girl who queue jumps for a ride in front of Nick and younger brother Max at a carnival. So it takes both Nick and Chloe aback when Sister MM assigns Chloe to show Nick around the first day he starts at her school. 

Chloe is a girl with more barriers erected around her than you would find at a maximum security prison. She is emotionally guarded as she has problems at home, as well as problems within her so-called group of friends.
Her friends are pressuring her to date Josh. He's a popular boy and they all think that the two would make the perfect couple. But Chloe can't stop thinking about the boy she met at the carnival and was informed by his little brother just how rude Nick thought she was when she pushed in the queue to be with her friends.
She's not really looking for a relationship. She's emotionally scarred and believes she's damaged goods. She also believes her friends when they tell her that she should be with Josh. She keeps putting him off but she thinks it's inevitable. 

Whilst Chloe's friends are pushing her in one direction, Nick can't help but think that they are wrong and Chloe should not be forced to do something she isn't inclined to do. He also can't seem to get her out of his head. But Nick too wears a purity ring and has scars of his own to bear. 
When they moved, Nick left behind his ex girlfriend Kelly. As the story progresses we realise why exactly Nick bears those emotional scars.

As the two become friends, Chloe learns to let her barriers down one by one. She tells Nick that she is damaged and that she isn't good girlfriend material. She also tells him that she has to learn to trust him. 
Nick is determined to earn her trust and help her realise she's not as damaged as she thought. 

After a disastrous date with Josh, Chloe is glad to have Nick to talk to. Her friends just wouldn't understand. They keep pushing her to go out with him but upon going on their first date, she realised what a mistake she had made.

Slowly, Chloe opens up more about her past. She tells Nick that the story he heard when he first started school about the girl who killed her mother is actually about her and that it is entirely wrong. Where the nasty kids at school tell about the girl who poisoned her mother, that couldn't be further from the truth. Chloe was there when her mother passed away, but did not in any way cause her death. (You'll find out the full story when you read the book).

Nick comes to understand that Chloe spends a lot of her time at home alone because her father and step-mother are away on business a lot. They leave her money to order take-out for her dinner, but that's about it. 
Neither her father nor her step-mother care about Chloe and though I won't divulge any spoilers here, you will see for yourself just how selfish, self-absorbed, despicable and loathsome the Gardners really are.  I could say so much here about how much I came to hate the pair, but I won't. You won't need further ranting from me when you discover things for yourself because you will fully agree with me. 

As he learns this, Nick coaxes Chloe into spending more time at his house. He brings her round for meals and for the social interaction she should experience within her own family, if indeed she had one that bothered with her. 

Chloe soon learns what it would be like to grow up with parents who love you and more than that, actually love each other. She also learns what it would be like to grow up with 3 brothers. There's always something going on at the Allen home. Gina cooks wonderful meals, the boys watch movies and have 'bro days'. There's just always something to feel a part of and when Chloe's father informs her she will be home alone for Christmas again, Gina and Mark ask her to spend the holidays with them instead. 
Overcome with the thoughts of having a 'family Christmas', Chloe agrees but doesn't know what she's let herself in for (in a good way). 

As Nick and Chloe become closer, she starts to trust him and open up to him in a way she hasn't with anyone else, even her so-called friends. I call them that because though she may think of them as the kind of friends a girl should have, the group really aren't all that good for her. The only one I have any time for is Gabbie. (You'll see why).

This book touches upon so many emotions. It tugged at my heart strings so many times. There was the odd tear here and there but then at the end, there was an onslaught of tears. It was like Niagara Falls. I was so glad I had a roll of tissue handy. 
There are deeper issues in this book than you realise and many of them, I have firsthand experience of. That's probably why I was such an emotional wreck when it ended.

If you asked me to pick a favourite character, I just couldn't do it. Nick is possibly up there at the top as he's the kind of boyfriend every girl dreams of having. Chloe is there too because she's like me in a lot of ways. There's so much of her story I can relate to. But then I also love Gina, Mark, Robb, Mark, Kevin, Max, Claire... I adore them all. 

I would recommend this book to just about anybody, Though it does come with a warning (from me personally) that no-one under about 15 should read it. There are scenes of a slightly disturbing nature, as well as scenes of a sexual nature. 

In my honest opinion, this book deserves more than the 5 wings I awarded it. I hold Jo Cattell as a debut author in a very high regard. She is seriously someone to watch out for over the coming months and years.
Jo writes from the heart, you can tell that by the way she develops the story. You can tell that there is indeed a piece of her soul embedded in each book she writes. She shares an emotional bond with you the reader and it's up to you the individual whether you feel it or not. But honestly, I defy even the hardest hearted of people not to. 

I fell hook, line and sinker into this book. Seriously head over heels tumbled into it and had to pick myself up piece by piece at the end.

I happen to know, through having read the original WIP of book 2 - originally titled 'Autumn Wind' - that there is so much more of an emotional journey for Nick and Chloe to embark on. 
There are things to come that instead of tugging on my heart strings will actually rip it out - but then I also know that slowly, progressively, my heart will learn to beat again. I am really looking forward to book 2, 'After Angels Fall' coming out. It will be my book to snuggle down with over Christmas. 

Thank you Jo for taking a chance on me as a reader in the very beginning. Thank you for becoming my friend and I hope you'll never forget that I am here for you. 

Thank you to all who have come by today to read my review. I hope you realise that though Jo and I are now friends, I can still write a completely unbiased review. 

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