Review: Pure (Covenant #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Pure
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
There is need. And then there is Fate. Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn’t exactly awesome–especially when Alexandria’s other half is everywhere she goes. Seth’s in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom–so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do–and sacrifice–for her. When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies–lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon–and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn’t blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude–or killing her. When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

My Review:
Another superb read. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until the wee hours finishing it. Read it fully in one sitting – God how I love when a book does that to me (though my kids don’t, I was cranky as hell the next day through lack of sleep, he he!)
Jennifer writes such incredible dialogue and I especially loved the dialogue between Alex and Seth, and Alex and Aiden. There were parts where I laughed out loud and others where I inwardly cringed, but I felt so invested in the characters and really feel as if I know them. I liked Seth in this book though I don’t trust him at all and I sense he is going to betray Alex. Lucian is a weasel and I know he’s up to no good, Alex beware. I love Aiden, love, love, love him. He is now top of my list of fictional boyfriends, just don’t tell my husband, or Edward Cullen.
This is an incredible series and I have already recommended it to a few of my friends. If you haven’t checked it out yet then you need to. I’d give it five trillion stars if I could.

Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands Trilogy #3) by Moira Young

Raging starTitle: Raging Star
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo…until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeding Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

My Review:
I feel slightly bereft after finishing the final book in the series; I wasn’t ready yet to say goodbye to Saba. While the ending was fitting, I still felt somewhat saddened. The pacing, tone and plot of books 2 and 3 were definitely different to the first book but I still enjoyed them. Moira Young’s world building is breath-taking and it was very easy to visualize the world that Saba inhabited. I missed Saba’s fiesty lust for life in this one but it fit that her character had become jaded and weary of all the killing/death. I still despised Lugh in this book and the way that Saba pandered to him most of the time annoyed me a little (though it has to be said it’s totally believable.)I loved how Saba and Emmi grew closer though and Emmi was very endearing as a character. The plot around the betrayer – was it Lugh? was it Tommo? was very good and suspenseful. I found myself changing my mind several times as to the betrayers identity but nailed it in the end. I also guessed the twist with DeMalo but that was a good plot twist and unexpected. One thing I wish had been resolved was how the heart-stone burned for both Jack and DeMalo – what exactly was that and did DeMalo drug Saba’s wine in Book 2? But I guess we just have to figure that our for ourselves. Overall I felt this series was excellent and a must-read.

Review: The Other Side of Summer by Elyse Douglas

The Other Side of SummerTitle: The Other Side of Summer
Author: Elyse Douglas
Series: stamdalone
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Joanna Halloran, a best selling writer and astrologer, lives in a beach house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a violent storm, she roams the beach, glances seaward and spots a man clinging to a piece of wreckage, being tossed helplessly. She dives in and pulls him safely. Robert Zachary Harrison is from a wealthy, political family. As he slowly recovers from a private plane crash, he and Joanna fall in love and spend passionate and secluded weeks together. But because of family duty, Robert departs, not knowing Joanna is pregnant.

Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States. In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on her father she has never met.

She meets and falls in love with her father’s adopted son. As secrets emerge, Joanna and Robert meet again and confront the past and present. Robert confesses a secret that Joanna had never known. Now, on the world stage, they struggle to keep their families and careers from destruction.

My Review:
he Other Side of Summer is a decent read and it will appeal to those who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction.

I really enjoyed the writing style and it’s clear from the high-quality prose and very professional editing and formatting that the authors know what they are doing. The words flowed easily on the page and the descriptive text was beautiful. Pacing was good and it kept me engaged from start to finish.

I completely fell in love with Joanna’s beach house – please can I live there? I could vividly picture it in my minds eye and it truly was a little piece of heaven on Earth.

This story is told in three different parts. One the one hand I liked how it was structured, but it did hamper my ability to really connect with the characters on an emotional level. Apart from Joanna and Robert, we don’t see enough of the other characters to form a bond. I felt the book could have been a bit longer and allowed the reader more opportunity to get to know the characters and observe more character development.

My favorite part of the book was the first part. While Joanna and Robert fall for each other straight away, I felt it, believed in it, and was totally caught up in the whole tragic nature of their love. It’s clear from the book description that it’s not going to be a happy-ever-after type scenario so I knew heartache was just around the corner.

Robert was afraid of turning into his father but unfortunately that’s exactly what happened. I hated how he treated Maya and by the end of the book I was really quite disgusted with him.

Joanna lost some points too as the story progressed. Maya clearly needed her to stand up for her, to fight the wealthy, powerful Harrison family to acknowledge her, but Joanna did the complete opposite. As a woman and a mother Joanna’s treatment of her daughter appalled me.

Matt is a sweetheart and while I was rooting for him and Maya, it all happened way too fast. It would have been more believable if their romance had stretched out for a month or two before becoming serious and before it came out in the open.

Overall though, this was a decent read; largely due to the excellent writing and interesting storyline. With a little bit of fleshing out I think this could be a very accomplished piece of work.

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars.

I received an advance copy of this book via Lola’s Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review their work.

Elyse DouglasAbout the Author:
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a degree in English Literature. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist. Douglas has been a musician, a graphic designer and an equity trader.

Elyse Douglas, have completed seven novels: The Summer Diary, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town, The Christmas Diary and The Other Side of Summer.

You can find and contact Elyse here:
Website
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Review: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands Trilogy #2) by Moira Young

Rebel HeartTitle: Rebel Heart
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

My Review:
Another great read from Moira Young. I felt it was a little slow-paced at the start but then the action kicked in and it kept me fully engaged till the end. I’ve gotten so used to the authors prose style that it barely even registered as different while reading it. I think I missed Jack more than Saba did! Would have loved more scenes involving the two of them as a couple but I understand why it wouldn’t fit within the plot. I’m still intrigued to find out what’s going on with Lugh, and to learn exactly what happened to him when he was under Pince’s control. And I’m wondering what the ultimate impact of that is going to be – his obsessiveness over Saba is a tad bit disturbing and I think it will drive whatever he’s going to do in Book 3. And while I knew from Book 1 that there was some connection with DeMalo, I’m perplexed as to how they seem to share a bond, and why. I’ve already downloaded Book 3 and can’t wait to get stuck in. If you haven’t checked out this series then you need to!

Review: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Trilogy #1) by Moira Young

Blood Red RoadTitle: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

My Review:
This book is a very unique read – in terms of the prose/writing style, and the setting. It may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ though. I was gripped from the very beginning and read the whole book in less than 24 hours. I loved Saba, she’s prickly and fiesty and can come across as not-altogher-that-nice but I actually really, really liked her character. I was a little put out with her at the start for her lack of regard for Emmi but she redeemed herself later on. And I loved the whole cage-fighting theme, very kick-ass. A must read for anyone that loves a fast-paced, action packed adventure with a strong female protagonist and a good dollop of romance. A few hints/teasers dropped subtly into the plot which I assume will be addressed in the rest of the series. Off to download Books 2 and 3 now. Exceptional Book in my opinion.

Review: Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

Queen of bloodTitle: Queen of Blood
Author: Jill Myles
Series: standalone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.

Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .

A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

My Review:
This was a really great book and I read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours.

Seri is a Vidari girl struggling to look after her blind sister and ill father. Rilen is a local boy she has grown up with, and her future husband to be. Rilen is chomping at the bit for rebellion against the ruling Athonites and he gets actively involved when the Athonite Prince Graeme arrives on Vidari lands to occupy the newly renovated Castle. Rilen was poisoned by hatred and it blinds him to everything else, including love.

Graeme is one of the Blood and he has lived a long life. Essentially he’s a vampire, though it’s never mentioned as such. However, he doesn’t eat, drinks blood, can’t go out in the sun etc. I don’t read vampire books much anymore as they have been done to death in my opinion, but this book is clever. I never actually felt like it was a vampire book because of the way it was written.

Seri and the Prince’s paths cross and intertwine when she is revealed to be his Eterna. Both resist the Goddesses’ will at first but as the story progresses they being to fall in love with each other.

Rilen manipulates Seri into helping the rebel cause and in the end he would betray her rather than give up the fight. I was so glad with the choices Seri made towards the end, and it shows good character development and maturity. I know it can’t have been easy.

I totally love Prince Graeme. While he appeared sullen at the start, as he opened up to Seri and the reader, we discover what a great guy he is. Refusing to be bound by legacy and history, he forges his own path and goes out of his way to be fair, to do the right thing.

It’s obvious that Jill Myles is an experienced author as the writing is accomplished. While I felt the pace was a little slow in the early chapters, it flowed smoothly after that. There aren’t any huge plot surprises in the story, nothing I was like ‘ah, I wasn’t expecting that’ but nevertheless it was a fantastic read all the same.

I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars.

I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and MonstersTitle: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal/ Fantasy/ Demons
Links:

Blurb:
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

My Review:
desperate for him and Karou to have their happy-ever-after that I speed-read through the entire book in less than 24 hours. I literally could not put it down. I had to stop for two hours to make the dinner and seriously, I kept running back upstairs to sneak a few pages in between cooking, because I could not stop thinking about what was going to happen next. I’ve already recommended this to a few people I know will love it, and now I am going to read the entire series again as I still haven’t had my fix. Wow, only word for it.

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and BoneTitle: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal/ Fantasy/ Demons
Links:

Blurb:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Review:
This is an incredible fantasy book and I bow to Laini Taylor’s impressive imagination. I loved the writing, descriptive without bogging the reader down in too many unnecessary details. The dialogue between Karou and Zuzana was very witty and thoroughly engaging and I got really invested in all the characters (except Kaz and Svetla, uughh, those two so belong together). I did struggle to get into it at the start and I felt it was a little bit slow-paced, to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was really going to like it. But boy did it more than make up for it and I got totally hooked, so much so that I didn’t put it down until I finished it. I loved loved the romance storyline, but then I’m a total sucker for compelling, gushing, swoony romance and I particularly loved how this part of the book was written. I have just downloaded the second book and can’t wait to get stuck in. Highly recommended.

Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

ScarletTitle:  Scarlet
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

My Review:

Talk about blowing it out of the water! Wow! What an amazing follow up to Cinder.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first one – the writing was vastly superior and it was action-packed and fast-paced from start to finish. I struggled to put it down.

When we rejoin Cinder she is incarcerated and awaiting her extradition to Luna. With the aid of handsome fellow prisoner, Captain (ahem!) Carswell Thorne, she manages to escape and sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. I really felt for Cinder as she grappled to come to terms with her new elevated status as Princess and Most Wanted Fugitive.

Kai has been left shell-shocked and confused by the revelations about Cinder, and he is also struggling to deal with Queen Levana’s demands and juggle the new world of global politics. His feelings for Cinder are pitted against his loyalty to this people and he really is in a difficult predicament.

Levana is a despicable character – nasty to the core. Ugh. Skin crawling.

I loved the addition of Scarlet and Wolf in this installment. Scarlet is in a tailspin over her grandmother’s sudden disappearance and she ends up joining forces with Wolf to try and locate her before it’s too late. I was initially conflicted over Wolf’s true motivations and I kept changing my mind. This part of the plot was expertly crafted and full of suspense and intrigue. I loved it! The burgeoning romance between Scarlet and Wolf was really sweet.

The only teeny tiny thing I didn’t like was the lack of romance. I kept hoping that Kai and Cinder would be reunited, but it never happened. Usually, I don’t like stories without a strong romance thread, but I’m happy to eat my words in relation to this book.

All in all, an amazing read and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Sidenote: I bought a paperback of Cinder in my local bookstore for €8.40, however, I went to Kindle for Scarlet and was SHOCKED at the price. £9.14 which translates to over €12 for an ebook. That makes no sense at all. Ebooks cost very little to produce when compared with a paperback or hardback. I almost didn’t download it, but I was desperate to know where the story was going so I swallowed the bitter lump in my throat and purchased it. This type of corporate greed makes my blood boil, especially when it’s already a massive bestselling series and the publishers are making a fortune. Half the target market are teenagers so it really sickens me that they are being exploited in this way. Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest. I’m seeing it more and more and it disgusts me. BTW, this is in no way a criticism of Marissa because she has no control over pricing. I just hate blatant corporate greed. (Stepping off my soapbox now)

Review Fall With Me (Wait for You #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Fall with MeTitle: Fall with Me
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout/ J Lynn
Series: Wait for You #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.

My Review:
So, Wow. This book is just…WOW. Did I mention how WOW this book is!!

As predicted, I stayed up all night reading this and now I feel like I need match-sticks to keep my eyes open. But it was so worth it.

This book is perfection on a page. I loved it in it’s entirety. I loved the writing, characters, plot and pacing. There is really nothing I can fault about it.

The writing: Breath-stealing and inspiring as usual. I absolutely adore Jennifer’s writing style and I devour everything she writes.

The characters: I already liked Roxy and Reece from ‘Stay With Me’ and it was great getting under the hood and understanding more about their lives. I really love how Jennifer writes her male characters. They are usually quite snarky and moody, hot as hell, strong and protective of their women. But they also see the strength in their girls and give them the freedom to express that, and there is always a little bit of emotional vulnerability due to something in their background. What I love is that they are able to express that and discuss it with their partners (sometimes it takes a while) but it’s a level of emotional maturity that I see in the current generation of men. I really feel Jennifer has captured the essence of the modern man (sorry for the cheesy line which I know sounds like I’ve ripped it straight from a men’s cologne advert, and maybe subconsciously I did!)

Reece portrays all those traits and he’s a really decent guy. So easy to fall in love with. Roxy has been in love with him since she was 15 and she has never let anyone else get close to her. She is dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event which essentially robbed her of her best friend and the guilt is threatening to destroy the future she should have. Reece is trying to encourage her to follow her heart and pursue her passion but Roxy is so caught up in guilt and fear that she is struggling to find her true path. This part of the plot really connected with me as I’m on a similar journey myself, and it’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time! I could relate and I felt it was very well written. In summary, Roxy is an easy character to like and I was rooting for her the whole way.

Pacing: Spot-on. This book is a real page-turner and I didn’t put it down until it was finished (I tried several times but I just couldn’t do it.)

Plot: Anyone that follows my reviews knows that I love a strong romance theme mixed in with the fantasy/adventure/suspense and this book delivered by the bucket load. I adored how the romance played out in this one. Jennifer usually teases us with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but not so much here and I enjoyed how we got to see Reece and Roxy get together and gel as a couple. The suspense plot-line was awesome and it kept me guessing the whole way through. I had the culprit sussed fairly early on but then Jennifer threw out a few curve-balls and I kept changing my mind. It all culminates in a fairly explosive scene at the end and I was totally gripped.

I also loved that we got to see the couples from all the other books – this is the one thing that helps me stay engaged with this series, as I’m always curious to see what’s going on with the others, in particular, Cam & Avery, Calla & Jax.

All in all this was a fantastic read. Epic. JLA at her very best. Highly Recommended.