Review: Fire Country (Country Saga #1) by David Estes

fire countryTitle: Fire Country
Author: by David Estes
Series: Country Saga #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer’s even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life’s hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

My Review:
This is an accomplished book; beautifully written. I’m a fan of this vernacular-style of writing and David is clearly a talented author. It reminded me (a little) of the Dustlands series by Moira Young, though it’s still a unique story in it’s own right.

I struggled to engage in the story at the start. However, that’s happening me a lot at the moment, so it probably says more about me than about any of the books I’ve been reading recently. I became invested about a third of the way in, and I felt the pace and plot picked up then.

It took me a little while to warm to Sienna. While I could empathize with her predicament, some of her actions infuriated me. By her own admission she is weak (physically at least) yet that doesn’t stop her from throwing herself into situations that she can’t handle. Her actions continually put those she loves at risk, and she never seems to learn that lesson. That grated on me a little. Circ was instantly like-able and I thought my heart would break when that twist occurred mid way through. I spent the rest of the book praying it wasn’t as it appeared to be.

I loved the world-building, and I could easily visualize the derelict, primitive environment they lived in. David is very skilled at invoking emotions in his characters, and I particularly felt Sienna’s heartache in the second half of the book. This was extremely well written in my opinion.

Overall, I think this is a good addition to the YA Dystopian genre, and I would recommend it. I’d like to thank David for running a free promotion which enabled me to pick up a complimentary copy of this book. I’ll definitely be checking out some of his other work.

Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

the book of ivyTitle: The Book of Ivy
Author: Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: post-apocalyptic/ dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. While the story is quite simple, the beauty is in the exceptional execution. This is a slow-burning character-driven plot which centers around Ivy Westfall and her new husband Bishop Lattimar.

Bishop is instantly endearing, even more so as the plot develops. Ivy was immature at times, but like-able all the same. Her sister and father are despicable human-beings who manipulate Ivy and try to turn her into a pawn in their political game. I hated both of them with a passion.

I was conflicted by events at the end – how Ivy could believe her actions were the only way to save Bishop was beyond me. However, she is only 16 and I understand that she felt trapped.

I enjoyed Amy’s writing style and the book flowed smoothly.

I can’t wait to see how this progresses in the next book. Well worth a read.

Review: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

golden sonTitle: Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

My Review:
It is difficult to identify the appropriate words to describe this book. Simply stating it is amazing just doesn’t do it justice. I was totally blown away by Golden Son, and I am in awe of Pierce’s ability to weave such a compelling, complex story.

This book hooked me instantly, and though it’s quite long, it held my attention all the way through. I did feel some parts were overly described, and there were some pages that I skimmed without missing anything, however it’s a really minor complaint.

This book is much more than YA sci-fi, in fact I’m not sure I’d even describe it as YA anymore, because I feel the themes are much more mature in this book. There is so much suspense and so many twists and turns in this dark tale: political subterfuge, betrayal, and secrets and lies were all par for the course.

I never knew what was coming next, and the plot developments were totally unexpected. Ordinarily I only like these type of action-adventures if there is a good dollop of romance thrown into the mix. The romance theme is very much a minor plot in Golden Son but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment.

I think Pierce is an exceptional writer, and he truly has a way with words.

That ending left me in pieces. Aahh!! I need to know what happens next, and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment.

A fantastic read.

Review: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

Red risingTitle: Red Rising
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

My Review:
A scintillating debut from a very talented author.

Red Rising tells the story of Darrow and his wife Eo, as they struggle with life as lower class citizens on Mars. The action ramps up pretty early on in the book, and there were plenty of twists and turns; some predictable, some unexpected.

Darrow’s world is turned upside down in a heartbeat, and everything he thought he knew about their society is shattered almost overnight. The depth of the government’s deception was horrific.

Darrow readily signs up to fight back and this involves significant personal change for him – both physical and mental. Then we enter a part of the story that has plot-lines reminiscent of The Hunger Games. I particularly enjoyed this section of the book.

Initially I struggled to get into the story. I felt there was a lot of information dumping pretty early on, and it was heavy on the descriptions. However, after a while that became a non-existent issue and I got really sucked into the world that the author has created. The world-building in this book is outstanding, and I could easily visualize Mars and all the various places.

I liked the writing style and it flowed really well.

I’ve already started Golden Son, and I can’t wait to see how the story develops from this point.

An excellent read and a very promising series.

Review: Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

ChampionTitle: Champion
Author: by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Rating: 4.5
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My Review:
Actual Rating 4.5 Stars

Wow. This book was a fast-paced roller-coaster-ride of a read from start to finish. I found it extremely difficult to put this book down, and it was a real page turner.

My heart bled for June and Day as circumstances conspire, yet again, to keep them apart. I could really feel the emotional turmoil that both characters felt. Day is also dealing with the impact of his health problems and grows increasingly frustrated with the limitations it imposes on him.

Day is caught in the crossfire between the Republic and the Colonies and no matter what decision he makes someone he cares about will suffer. Definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place, if you can forgive my blatant cliché.

I loved the power struggle, and the story-line was epic; full of twists and turns, moves and counter-moves, as June, Day, and Anden, battle to stay ahead of their enemies.

The battle scenes at the end were incredibly well written; nail-biting and genuinely explosive. My heart was in my mouth the whole way through.

Then we come to the last couple of chapters, and the book lost some of it’s appeal for me. (view spoiler)

Overall though I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend this series. I note in the acknowledgements that she talks about film rights, so I’m wondering if the movie has come out yet, or is it still in the planning phase? I’ll have to check it out as I’d definitely be interesting in seeing this series on the big screen.

Destiny Rising Release Day!

DESTINY RISING RELEASE DAY!! Yay! I’m super excited to release the last True Calling novel today and I hope you all enjoy reading it. It is available to purchase in e-book format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Inktera, Scribd, Oyster and Tolino. The paperback version is also live and available to purchase from Amazon and Createspace. Check out the post below for full details and to read an exclusive excerpt.

And 1 september is the start of the Destiny Rising blog tour! If you want to see the whole tour schedule or sign-up for the tour, you can click on the banner below:
Destiny Rising banner

Destiny RisingDestiny Rising (True Calling #3)
By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: August 30, 2015

Blurb:
Every choice has a consequence.

Once again, the world is on the brink of momentous change. As revolutionary organization Saoirse prepares to battle the government for control of Earth and Novo, Ariana and those she loves must join humanity’s fight for justice and freedom.

As haunted memories resurface, old discoveries and new realities conspire to shatter her world forever.

Torn in one direction by her unique connection to childhood sweetheart Zane, and pulled in the other by a relentless passion for her fiery fiancé Cal, she must make the hardest decision of all. While embarking on a road to self-discovery, her psychic gift evolves and the full extent of her powerful ability is revealed.

Then fate lands another savage blow and she faces the most horrific choice of all. Forced into striking a deal with the enemy, she must make the ultimate personal sacrifice or risk everything she holds dear.

When destiny finally rears its head, what will the future hold?

You can find Destiny Rising on Goodreads

You can buy Destiny Rising here:
Amazon
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca
Amazon.au
Barnes&Noble
Apple/iBooks
Kobo
Inktera
Tolino

Excerpt:
Every color imaginable floats in front of my eyes. Temporary whiplash sets in as my head jerks back and forth, surveying the myriad of different fish swimming freely outside the glass window of the observation deck. It’s a pretty cool hiding place. Soothing in its own way. Well, as soothing as anything could be considering my current predicament.
Mercifully, I’ve been left undisturbed for the last hour—undisturbed by other humans that is.
My thoughts, however, are entirely another matter.
Severely disturbed is more akin to how I feel at the swarm of memories that are presently invading my mind.
Forced to flee when the government unexpectedly attacked Saoirse’s facility in Florida, I can barely recall our arrival here in the underwater military Command Center. It hadn’t actually taken that long to travel here even though we are thousands of miles out at sea and scraping the bottom of the ocean floor. That’s the beauty of the Velo network, I suppose. Designed specifically as a high-velocity transportation system, it can travel at the speed of light. Okay, so I made that last bit up, but it’s probably not far from the truth.
Vaguely remembering Cal going to sort out our accommodation, I had taken flight at the first opportunity. I’d wandered aimlessly for a while until I stumbled into the main lobby area. Levels stretched upward as far as I could see. Curious to discover what was at the top, I’d hopped in the elevator and ended up here.
The observation deck reminds me a little of the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center but without all the buildings and the crowds. The view is still spectacular though.
Scooting forward on my knees, I press my nose to the glass and stare at the multi-colored fish as they dance on by. The water outside is eerily calm and there’s barely a ripple.
The one observation I’ve made so far about our new home is how weird it smells. If I were standing at the top of the Empire State Building now, I’d inhale the fresh minty air and feel the sting on my skin as wind whistled by, whipping my hair around my face. There’s nothing here but a sterile, clinical-type odor that reminds me of a hospital ward, or the whiff you get when you sit in a brand new car for the first time. I wiggle my nose as my nostrils itch aggravatingly. I hope I’m not allergic.
Approaching footsteps break my reverie, and my heart rate rockets when I sense who it is.
There’s no hiding from him.
Not now. Not ever.
“I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
Glancing up, I automatically sweep him from head to toe. Sculptured jawline, check. Sparkling blue eyes, double check. Defined chest and abs, oh, yeah. Before I can continue my ogling, he drops to his knees beside me. My body still presses into the glass, but he gently tugs on my shoulders, easing me back. Twisting around, he snags me onto his lap.
My gaze remains latched onto his, and I know I need to stop staring. But I can’t force myself to look away, almost like it’s an inhuman feat I’m incapable of achieving. “I feel like man-candy.” Cal smirks.
I snort in a most unattractive manner. “I can easily get behind that,” I say, visualizing getting all up in his personal space. Yeah, my mind is still in the gutter, though I’m totally blaming my pregnancy hormones for that.
Threading his fingers in mine, Cal stares at me pensively. “Talk to me. What’s going on?” Panic builds in my chest and I avert my eyes.
Mission accomplished on the whole staring thing.
“Nothing much,” I mutter, focusing on my feet. I won’t lie to his face.
“Is it him? Do you remember?”
Even though he’s somewhat hit the nail on the head, there’s no way I’m admitting to that right now and not until I’ve spoken to Zane about the horrific memory that’s hijacked my mind and threatened my sanity. Though I’m unsure if I’ll ever get to do that, for we’ve been separated again, and this time I fear there’s no returning from it.

Praise for Destiny Rising:
“It was beyond brilliant, totally unputdownable, wildly entertaining, edge of the seat action, full of suspense; it totally rocked. Loved the ending, loved the book.” Karla. Goodreads Reviewer.

“This is without a doubt the best book this author has written so far. I loved it from the start until the end. This series shows how a love triangle can be done right. Destiny Rising evoked so many emotions in me … and the ending, wow, so powerful. I highly recommend this series.” Lola’s Reviews.

“I cannot believe all of the whammy that this author packed into her book. It’s insane how quickly she’s put out these three books, and the quality is so incredibly good.” Danielle. Paraeducator and Goodreads Reviewer.

“The events in this book, especially the ones I thought I could handle, left my heart and mind racing. Siobhan Davis is an exceptional writer and she knows how to wrap a reader around her fingers.” Khayzelle. Written Arts Blog.

“Suspense, and the urge to turn the page were almost overwhelming, resulting in quite a few long nights. The story is complex, but solidly built. Good to the last page.” Patricia Hamill. Author Blogger. Puretextuality. @PatriciaHamill2

“I cannot put my love for Siobhan Davis’ True Calling series into words – it’s easily one of my favorite series. Destiny Rising tugs at your heart strings and messes with your feelings, but it is so wonderful. The writing is brilliant and flows wonderfully. Davis’ brings the series to a close with an epilogue that ties everything perfectly together. What a fantastic ride…”
Danielle. RamblingB00ks Blog.

“True Calling was great, and Beyond Reach was awesome, but Destiny Rising took the series to a whole new level. This series deserves to become as well-known as popular series such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc… It’s that good.”
Rose. Paranormal Books Blog.

First two books in the series:
True CallingTrue Calling (True Calling #1)
By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: August 1, 2014

Blurb:
Two Different Worlds. One Shared Dream.

Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

You can find True Calling on Goodreads

Start the series for free! Grab your copy of True Calling for free here:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
iTunes/iBooks
Kobo

Beyond ReachBeyond Reach (True Calling #2)
By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: April 30, 2015

Blurb:
Some Secrets are worth fighting for

Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking.

Presented with evidence of her fiancé Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as she grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane.

When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.

Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget.

But some things just can’t be undone.
***
Beyond Reach is the gripping second novel in the True Calling trilogy, continuing the story of Ariana Skyee in the weeks after she arrives back on Earth.

You can find Beyond Reach on Goodreads

You can buy Beyond Reach here:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

SiobhanAbout the Author:
Siobhan Davis is the author of YA science fiction romance series True Calling.
A self-diagnosed ‘teenager forever’—at least when it comes to books, music and movies; Siobhan is totally addicted to teen fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. Siobhan loves baking, crime novels, shoes, bags, make-up, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).
Siobhan has forged a successful corporate career, in Human Resources, over the last twenty years.
Siobhan resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.
Contact Siobhan at: www.siobhandavis.com

You can find and contact Siobhan here:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Google +
Goodreads
Amazon
Newsletter

Sample chapters, quotes, reviews and book excerpts are all available to download from the authors website

Join Siobhan’s mailing list to receive a free copy of Lovestruck.

And there’s a giveaway I want to share. It will run during the blog tour as well.. These are the prizes you can win:
– e-copies of the whole True calling series by Siobhan Davis. Which is the following books: True Calling, Lovestruck, Beyond Reach, Light of a Thousand Stars and Destiny Rising.
– one 10$ amazon gift card

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Review: Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

prodigyTitle: Prodigy
Author: by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

My Review:
I absolutely loved this book! Prodigy was far superior in ways in which Legend fell down, in my opinion. This book hooked me from the get-go and I ended up reading it in 2 sittings, in less than 24 hours. I thought both the pacing and the writing was vastly improved from the first book in this series.

In Prodigy, we follow June and Day as they struggle to identify whom they can trust. As they get sucked into a ruthless battle for control of the Republic, their relationship is tested as the cultural differences between them become more apparent. Though they still share a strong connection, and are undeniably attracted to one another, their vastly different upbringings threaten to tear them apart. I always love a strong romance element to these type of fast-paced action-packed adventures, and Marie Lu doesn’t fail to deliver in this regard. June and Day are loyally protective of each other and it’s really sweet. Sometimes I struggle to relate this with the fact that they are only 15, however, they are presented as mature 15-year-olds with strong intelligence and keen observational skills, so I can overlook it.

The plot is a lot less predictable in this book, and the suspense and drama is deliciously built the whole way through the novel. There were a couple of twists at the end that I didn’t see coming, and I always love when the author retains the ability to surprise me.

The ending was so shocking, and bittersweet, and my heart was literally in my mouth. Now I can’t wait to read Champion to see how things end up for June and Day.

Review: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

LegendTitle: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Dystopia/ sci-fi/ post-apocalyptic
Links:

Blurb:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My Review:
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I’m invested enough to continue with this series. However, initially I really struggled to get into the story. I felt it was very slow-paced at the start, and there was hardly any dialogue so it was difficult to feel a connection with the characters. At around the 30% mark I contemplated throwing in the towel, but I didn’t, and I’m glad that I persevered.

What I like most about this book is the two main characters – June and Day. Initially I was a bit luke-warm on June. She appeared to be spoiled, a little selfish and naive; which was surprising for someone so intelligent and keenly observant. She redeemed herself as the story progressed, particularly towards the end where she made a difficult decision in order to do the right thing. That took huge guts and she embraced that decision with gusto.

Day was a shoo-in for me from the first minute. I never doubted that his intentions were genuine and he struck me as a modern day Robin Hood type, a rebel with a heart. I love the developing relationship between him and June, and I can relate to the strong attraction they feel toward one another: It’s believable.

The plot was fairly predictable, and I guessed everything that happened pretty early on; though there were enough twists and turns to keep my attention.

The book is well written and the prose is decent, but after a 2 month long Jennifer L. Armentrout read-a-thon, there wasn’t anything uniquely stand-out about it for me.

I read the paperback and I struggled at the start with the style choice for Day’s POV. I understand and like the idea of two different style pallets for the different POV’s, but using a bold font for Day was the wrong decision in my opinion. It was jarring to read; however, I got over it as I got hooked into the story.

I’m invested enough now to continue the story, and I look forward to seeing where the author brings it next.

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

CursedTitle: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Dying sucks
…and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

My Review:
Gifted or Cursed? That’s the dilemma facing our heroine Ember.

Ember awoke from death a changed person. Quickly realizing she now has a death-touch, she has lived the last two years shielding herself from coming into contact with others. Good to the core, she sacrifices a normal teenage life to care for her uniquely-talented kid sister Olivia. Her only friend is Adam, her mom treats her as if she’s invisible, and the kids at school are horrible to her. I felt for her from the get-go.

Then this hot, mysterious guy starts showing up and soon her whole world is turned on its head.

Hayden is an intriguing male lead. Clearly fond of Ember, and willing to literally put his life on the line to protect her, he’s also hiding his own dark secrets.

Cursed reminded me a little of X-Men with the school for gifted kids, but set in a more contemporary environment. There are plenty of twists and turns in this book – some predictable, some not – but plenty to propel the plot forward nicely.

I liked these characters, a little less run of the mill than JLA’s normal characters and I really enjoyed that. There were parts where I literally cringed inwardly for Ember, and could scarcely read on. I love when a book makes you feel that emotionally connected, and that’s what Cursed did for me.

Superbly written as usual, I’m surprised that this book isn’t one of her more popular ones. I’m suffering separation anxiety now though as this one looks like it won’t ever be anything more than a stand alone, and I’d love to read more of these characters.

I really loved this book. In my opinion it’s a great addition to JLA’s paranormal YA romance collection.

Review: Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements 0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Bitter Sweet LoveTitle: Bitter Sweet Love
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements 0.5
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Dez wasn’t just Jasmine’s crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn’t help that Jas’s father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he’s back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn’t taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again…

My Review:
I adore Jennifer’s Dark Elements series so I was looking forward to reading Bitter Sweet Love, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to expectations.
There is nothing wrong with the writing or the pacing, I just didn’t connect with either Jasmine or Dez and found that I really didn’t care what happened to them.
It was incredibly short, an easy, quick read, but it may have benefited from a little more detail and depth.
I really enjoyed the glimpse we got of a younger Layla and Zayne, and the scene with Roth was brilliant. It got extra brownie points for that, and I’d recommend it to fans of this series purely on that basis alone.