Cover Image: The Coldest Touch

The Coldest Touch

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Member Reviews

I could not wait to read this story as I adore Isabel Sterling and will read pretty much whatever she writes. If she wrote and published her grocery list, I would read and review it. This story was exactly what I needed without knowing I needed it. The story was incredibly original and wholly engaging. I devoured this book in one sitting and am still thinking about it. I have highly recommended to all of my reader friends.
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This book had a cool premise about a vampire helping train a Death Oracle to use her powers and come to terms with what she is. I loved the relationships between the characters. I was disappointed there wasn't a lot of world-building. There was so much promise with what they did offer regarding the paranormal world/hierarchy.
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Isabell Sterling’s These Witches Don’t Burn was one of my favorite duologies of 2021. I was eagerly anticipating seeing what she would do next, and I was not let down by The Coldest Touch. 
This book centers around a girl who just came into possession of powers that she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want. A vampire is sent to help her understand the powers and to use them for the large vampire coven of sorts.
There was a lovely sapphic romance, that really added to the book. Both protagonists had distinct voices and were engaging to read about. The plot was gripping, and I couldn’t decide what was going to happen next. I highly recommend to YA fantasy fans, and fans of the Twilight books. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The second I heard wlw vampires, I was stoked for this book. i was given everything I wanted, a well developed romance along with an interesting fantastical plot. I truly feel that the only thing lacking was the execution. The pacing felt off at times, and it felt as if nothing was going on.
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This was fun!! It’s not my favourite book of this author, but I enjoyed reading it :) I think overall I’d rate this 3.5 stars!
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I can not rave about Isabel Sterling’s writing enough! These Witches Don’t Burn & This Coven Won’t Break gave me my obsession with Queer Witch books. So it’s no surprise to me that she would write Vampires just as perfectly!!

Elise is cursed! On her 16th Birthday, she watched her older brother drown and now any time she touches someone, she sees how they’ll die. She can’t stomach being around her friends or family, so she starts to disassociate to be able to handle it all. Then comes the search for a cure…

Claire was turned into a Vampire in the 1930’s, but her maker didn’t help train or raise her. Now she’s on a search to destroy her. Now she works for a secret society called The Veil and has been assigned to the brand new Death Oracle, Elise. There is only ever 1 at time. And they can do so much more than JUST see someone’s death… 

Elise & Claire were in a will they or won’t they push & pull for the entire thing (so a nice slow burn!!!) and I loved every ducking second of it!! There was action, mystery, romance, and it was hopefully the start to a new series.🤞🏼I have my fingers crossed, because I need more. My guess is that all of her books are in the same world, so maybe even a cross over at some point. 🙏🏼 Here’s to me hoping!
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I haven’t read a vampire book in a while and I am so glad I chose this one! A new fresh vampire book. The Coldest Touch is a sapphic vampire romance between Elise, a mortal with a new supernatural ability to see death and Claire, a kickass vampire. loved this story, the characters, the paranormal and the murder mystery vibes.
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What a ride! I'll admit I had my drawbacks and doubts, as I'm not a huge vampire person and have heard less than fabulous things about Sterling's previous books, however this one was really quite fun. The characters were well written, with all their own motivations and relationships, and the innerworld politics were really fascinating. I also like how the magic was set up. The romance was all right, relationships between an immortal and a teenager are always weird for me but I guess vampires' brains stay the same maturity as when they were turned? overall, this book was a ton of fun.
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Well, I just don't know if I was blown away, but I did like the characters, and that's always a starting point with me. I guess I wasn't "seeing" it in my head very well, so descriptions could have been tighter. I did like all of the paranormal concepts, and the backtracking through history. Come to think of it, Marian Zimmer Bradley used that once, one of my favorite authors :) I thought the lgbtq characters read well and had prominent places in the story. I liked the inclusion of Jordan's fear over being caught with Claire, timely. Likes like there may be a sequel....
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CW: Death, Murder, Manipulation, Grief, Sibling loss, abandonment

Thoughts and Themes: I heard great things about the other books by this author so I was pleased to get a chance to read this book. I tried reading it on e-book but since it was slow to start, I couldn’t get into it. I winded up getting it on audio book and followed along by e-book and that was so much better.

I loved getting to learn about the vampires in this story and the layers of different paranormal creatures that are in the story. I liked learning about Elise being the death oracle and what that means for her and also what it means for Claire. I liked learning about the veil and what that is and how it functions alongside our world and what vampires and other paranormal creatures roles are in the veil.

A little over half way in this book there is a moment that just frustrates me, it just doesn’t really fit the rest of the story. I don’t understand why this is included but I can’t really say much about this without ruining the story for you all.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to the main characters, Elise and Claire, as well as several other characters through their interactions with our main characters. You get to meet Elise’s friends, Jordan and Maggie as well as other vampires that Claire works with such as Wyn. You also get to see some interactions between Elise and her parents, and there are mentions of her brother, Nick.

I really enjoyed watching Elise build relationships with people as she learns more about what she is and comes to terms with that. I liked how she allows her friends into her world and how she allows them to support her. I think that the character development with Elise is greatly done as we see her grow while still grieving her brother.

I also really liked watching as Claire grows as a person while she is training Elise and then also interacting with the other vampires. I also like learning about why Claire is trying to distance herself from Elise as well as how she became a vampire.

The villain in this story is also pretty well done even thought you don’t really realize who the villain is until a little over half way through. I really like how the villain has a relationship with both of our main characters and how this villain has power over both of them. I also love how the villain pits the two of our main characters against each other and what that adds to the story.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through dual point of views, Elise and Claire. I thought that it was great to see the story unfold through both of their perspectives. I really liked getting to know the history of the species that are involved in this story and the world building that is done through Claire’s point of view.

I like that we get the story from both of their perspectives because we get to see what each of them is keeping from the other. I liked that we get to see all of this unfolding behind the scenes before each of our main characters get to see everything unfold in front of them. I didn’t really put everything together as it was happening until our main characters figure things out which made things so much better for me.
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GIVE ME MORE OR GIVE ME DEATH. I refuse to speak too much about this book because I freaking loved this sapphic, paranormal urban fantasy book. I read it on the way home from the Ozarks and literally could not put it down. I loved the atmosphere, the character development, the magic system. I am here for it.  Elise is a death oracle and Claire.. well.. she's already dead; she's a vampire. Together, they must learn to hone in Elise's powers in order to protect The Veil as well as finding the answers to her brothers mysterious death. With a diverse cast of characters, intriguing writing and plot, this is a must read for paranormal lovers out there!

Content warnings: child death, violence, blood, grief, murder
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I’m calling this a DNF at 84% because I’m bored and kind of struggling. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and no one could be sadder than me that this did not live up to my mental hype. The Coldest Touch does some really interesting things with vampire stories and has serious (in a positive sense) early 2000s vampire YA vibes. I also really enjoyed the characters and the complexity of motivations. This could 100% be a mood issue but I’ve been reading this book for a month, and I finally hit the too-bored-to-continue point. I think this will be a great fit for lovers of vampire YA, especially with the addition of Death Oracle mythos and tension, but for as much as I loved Sterling’s debut duology, The Coldest Touch fell flat on several notes for me.
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Thank you so much to RazorBill and Penguin Teen for letting me read an eARC of The Coldest Touch! 

There were some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed, the LGBTQIA+ rep was good. I enjoyed that the bisexual rep was valid and not treated as "experimental" on the part of the characters involved. I thought the side characters were all very interesting. Elise had backbone which made her chosen one status believable, and Claire was credible as the grumpy one and a seventeen year old stuck in an immortal body. Also, orphans with found family are always my favorite kinds of characters in these paranormal/misfit kids stories

That said, the magic system/world building is really sparse and the ending is pretty darn confusing. If this is a stand alone book, I am left feeling very bewildered.

Overall, an interesting book but for me the ending and the world building needs a little beefing up if its not part of a series. 2.75 stars
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Isabel Sterling’s The Coldest Touch starts as the story of Elise Beaumont, a teen who has a secret. Whenever she touches anyone, she has a vision of how they die. Yikes! On top of that, she’s also dealing with grief and guilt. Her brother just died in a car accident and she feels like she could have prevented it.

But all of this is just the beginning. Elise has isolated herself from her friends and family so she doesn’t accidentally touch someone and see their death if she doesn’t have to. But this also means she is extremely lonely.

Luckily, she has an idea. She found a spell online that is supposed to lift the curse. But before she has a chance to perform it, a new girl arrives at school, and when she runs into Elise, nothing happens. Elise has no visions of her death! Why?? Because she’s a vampire!

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TW for self harm.
Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an e-ARC!
Loved how much was going on in this book. The world building & characters are very well done, and the sapphic romance wasn't super insta-lovey. The ending fell a tad flat for me, but I thought it wrapped up pretty well at the same time. This book is for fans of The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl & Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley.
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Quick Stats
Age Rating:  13/14+
Over All: 4 stars
Plot:  4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Setting: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5

Special thanks to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for an eARC of this book! All thoughts and opinions reflected in this review are my own.

I’m loving the up-tick in vampire YA books. And they’re all so good. I thoroughly enjoyed The Coldest Touch, but I honestly thought it was a standalone—it’s not. I’m kind of disappointed by that (I’m a sucker for fantasy standalones) but I’m also excited because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Elise and Claire. If only I didn’t have to wait a year!

The Coldest Touch follows two girls in a delightfully paranormal world.
Elise’s life hasn’t been the same since her brother died in a tragic accident nine months ago and she saw his death before it happened. Now, she can’t touch anyone without seeing their death. Anyone, that is, until she meets Claire.
Claire is 17. 
How old are you? 
How long have you been 17? 
A while.
Annnnyyyyywayyy (I promise this book is so much better than Twilight). Claire is a vampire who has been frozen at 17 since she was turned against her will in the 1930s. 
Claire has been sent by a magical organization of supernatural beings to watch over Elise and help her learn how to use her powers, but Elise has no interest in learning. She isn’t even sure she believes in magic.
But Elise’s mind changes when she sees a future murder, and she needs Claire’s help to stop it from happening.

I loved both Claire and Elise. I was expecting more of a traditional mystery aspect, but the book definitely focuses heavily on the magic of it all, and the mystery becomes a subplot, which I actually think ends up being the right choice for the book. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. Claire and Elise have great chemistry from the start—it’s especially well shown from Claire’s POV. The exploration of discovering your sexuality when you thought that wasn’t even an option was well written and nice to see, but I’m also glad that we had Claire who was already comfortable with herself. Seeing POVs from both sides, and having each be accepting of the other’s pace, was great. Often these sorts of scenarios end up with the “out” character pushing the other character who’s still trying to figure things out into defining themselves and coming out before they’re ready, and it’s great to see a storyline where that doesn’t happen.

The vampire and paranormal lore was pretty typical, but it was unique in enough aspects that it didn’t feel overly cliche or trope-y. Isabel Sterling really got to the heart of her characters, giving them fully developed personalities, wants, hopes, and dreams. Many of the vampire novels from the early 2000s (*cough* Twilight and it’s many copy cats *cough*) rely so heavily on the tropes and paranormal aspects, that the characters are just card board cut outs going through the motions. Claire, Elise, and even the minor characters were fully fleshed out and I really like that.

I can’t wait for book 2—seriouslyyyy why is it a whole year awayyyyy—and I think I need to check out These Witches Won’t Burn ASAP.
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I love a good vampire novel, bonus points if it's sapphic. So, this already had a good start in my books. I loved that it gave me a few Buffy vibes for the overall feel of the book and the supernatural world itself. I definitely wish we had gotten more of the supernatural world (the Veil) but it was a good, strong, urban fantasy. (And frankly, I don't read enough of those)

I loved Clair our vampire shepherd and I ADORED Wyn, honestly, I wish they had their own book (fingers crossed for that to be a thing??). 

I did have a harder time connecting with Elise. I didn't really ever find enough interest in her to care about her as much as I wanted to (as much as I cared about Wyn, or Elise's best friend Jordan, or Claire).

The writing style is smooth and the descriptions are great between Elise and Claire, I always felt like Sterling did a great job contrasting them while not making it so obvious she was pointing out the differences. (Which we know super early on lol).

The storyline was great but I'm hoping this isn't a standalone given some stuff that happens near the end. IF it is a standalone that's why I've marked it at 3.5 instead of a full 4, if I find out it's got a sequel, I'll bump it up; because without knowing that, it's either something with not enough of an ending for me or it's the perfect start to a series/duology/multiple books.

Again, super enjoyable read. I loved Claire and Elise though at times it felt a little too rushed between them and I appreciate the care Sterling put into writing Elise as questioning and showing her insecurities on that.

3.5/5 Cups of coffee, would read again lol.  Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The Coldest Touch follows Elise who is cursed to see the deaths of whoever she touches. After seeing her brother's death and failing to save him, she's willing to do anything to get rid of her ability. Then Claire shows up in town to teach her how to use her abilities, though Elise doesn't know if she can trust her since she's a vampire. 

I was very interested in the supernatural world for this book. The hierarchical society of the vampires intrigued me. I also really loved Claire's boss and friend, Wyn. Of course, I had to read it because it's sapphic, though I wish we could have seen more of the fallout. In general, I didn't really like Elise that much. She judged a lot about Claire's life, even after feeling sympathy for her, and sometimes had strange reactions to things. I felt bad for Claire because the feelings were way more stacked on her side. I did appreciate that Claire's maturity level was explained because she was turned so young, that's usually a problem I have with vampire books. For me, this was a 3.5/5. 

If you like sapphic vampires, changing people's fates, or think it would be awful to see death everywhere, this is the one for you. 

I received a digital copy of this book free from Penguin Young Readers Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh my gosh! I loved this book! I really enjoyed the plot, and the different way that certain creatures were brought up and I really enjoyed the character development!
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I didn’t know what to expect going into this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

Elise Beaumont is cursed with knowing when and how people are going to die when she touches them thanks to her abilities as a death oracle. Elise as completely shut everyone out (including her best friend and ex boyfriend) after her brother’s death…that is, until she meets Claire Montgomery, who she can touch without visions because she’s a vampire. 

From start to finish, I loved the chemistry between Elise and Claire. There’s so much witty banter between them and flirting…even if one of them is in denial about their feelings and sexuality. 

I loved the queer normative setting and the queer questioning and identity. 

Vampires are my kryptonite, and I think Sterling does a fantastic job of adding to the lore with this story. 

I’m not sure if this story continues, but I would love to revisit these characters.
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