by Shaila Patel
Series: Joining of Souls #1
Published on January 24, 2017 by Month9Books
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.
Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother's ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.
When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.
Liam's father isn't convinced Laxshmi is "The One" and Laxshmi's mother won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one's own fate too great a price for the soulmated?
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Damn, Shaila Patel just jumped the list to have the #1 gut-wrenching, emotional roller coaster of a book for the month. Just… wow. Soulmated was the burning, torturous romance I hoped it would be but became so much more.
Liam is an empath and a royal one at that. He’s back in the States in search of The One. His soulmate. Meanwhile, Laxshmi is just trying to get through high school while her mother presses her toward a future she isn’t too thrilled about. But these two have chemistry, like Bunsen burner insta-fire chemistry.
I’ll be honest, Soulmated wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I had some vague idea of an urban fantasy with a good bit of romance thrown in, but the actual fantastical elements didn’t make much of a difference to the story overall. The world building definitely left much to be desired when it came to presenting the idea of empaths and going into that paranormal phenomena, especially when being or not being an empath was a driver in the story. It’s never really explained and I found myself questioning why this book needed the fantasy element.
If you go into this book expecting a contemporary romance, you’re probably hitting closer to the mark.
But while I missed that extra detail, I still loved Soulmated! Patel weaves an intricate dance between two highly diverse characters that took insta-love to a whole new level. And before you get worked up that the book had insta-love, look at the title. We’re talking soulmates here, people! Of COURSE they’re going to have that quick romance. So while I’m not usually a fan, I went in with that expectation and was happy to look past it for the story.
Plus, where the world building wasn’t as in-depth as I’d hoped, the descriptions and details that were provided were gorgeous. I was there, watching the events unfold as if I stood right next to Lucky and Liam as they grew closer.
I think, of the two characters (the story alternates between Laxshmi’s — “Lucky’s” — and Liam’s perspectives), I related the most to Lucky. She came right off the page. I felt like I knew her, I sympathized with her struggles and wanted her to be happy doing what she wanted to do, not what her mother wanted. I would have been perfectly content reading the entire book from her point-of-view, which stems from my thoughts on Liam…
He was a good character. Very distinct. But while Lucky’s PoV chapters were relatable and simply felt real, Liam’s always struck an odd chord with me as the Irish vocabulary was so strong that it read as forced more than natural. This mainly applied to the characters speaking less so than the non-verbal prose.
But damn. Look no further, y’all, because Liam is the book boyfriend you need in your life.
There’s a lot of mentions of the characters’ skin “tingling” when they made contact with each other and, let me tell you, I was “tingling” all through this book. It’s hard not to with these two defining the “slow burn” in the dictionary. Talk. About. Swoon.
Then there’s the ending.
I devoured Soulmated in a few hours and then I reached those final pages. Every hope, every dream I had…crushed. In the best possible way, of course. The “I need the sequel now or I might quite literally die from withdrawal” way. That’s all I’ll say on that but BE PREPARED!
Breaking this book down to the bare bones, I think it’s the perfect book for romance lovers who enjoy an added magical element. I can’t say I’d recommend it to hardcore fantasy readers as you may find the world building lacking, but it’s an excellent and entertaining read regardless. I couldn’t put it down (nor can I resist a “soulmates” themed book), and cannot wait to see what Shaila Patel has in store for us next!
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(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only.
(10) winners will receive a SOULMATED Swag Pack, US Only.