Review: Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Stone Cold TouchTitle: Stone Cold Touch
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

My Review:
I started reading Stone Cold Touch as soon as I turned the last page on White Hot Kiss. I was sold on Roth. Completely. Unflinchingly. He’s the man. But goddammit JLA had to go and mess all that up for me!I’m now referring to White Hot Kiss as Book Roth and Stone Cold Touch as Book Zayne.

You can’t help but fall in love with Zayne in this book, even though there are moments where you want to shake some sense into him. He loves Layla with such intensity that he overlooks the fact that she’s running off on little adventures with Roth left, right and center.

Layla’s mind and body are in a bit of a mess, as she feels torn between the two guys. I don’t blame her, it’s a real dilemma as both guys are incredibly hot, very protective of her and offer distinct possibilities. However, Zayne always errs on the side of caution while Roth is more your typical bad-boy (rocking some Seth/Daemon qualities in my opinion, not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

I felt there was a lot more focus on the romance in this book than usual, but there’s still plenty of action to propel the story along.

I hated Abbott in this book and really couldn’t understand how he could throw Layla under the bus so easily. She was supposed to be like a daughter to him, but he never treated her this way and was always quick to think the worst of her. Zayne in comparison was resolute in his defence of Layla, and his belief in her inherent goodness.

I hate snakes, they give me a serious case of the heebie-jeebies, but I love Bambi! Go Figure.

I worked out the identity of the Lilin pretty early on, the subtle clues were there, but that ending was still incredible.

I only read this after the whole voting on Roth vs. Zayne had ended so I couldn’t contribute to who Layla ends up with. I’m guessing it’s going to be Roth. It’s a tough call as both guys are great. However, ultimately I think she’s better suited to Roth as it’s easier to be with him. If she ends up with Zayne she’ll constantly have the whole no-kissing-or-I’ll-take-his-soul type dilemma. No one could live like that. It seems more natural for her to belong with Roth.

Another epic read from JLA, and I can’t wait for Every Last Breath.

Review: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot KissTitle: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

My Review:
Layla is half demon, half warden and very confused over her identity and her place in the world. Having grown up with the Wardens, her entire belief system comes into question the minute she meets Upper Level Demon Roth. Inexplicably drawn to him, her feelings towards him are initially conflicted, but as she gets to know him she can’t help but fall in love.

However, she also has ill-conceived feelings for her ‘adopted’ Warden brother Zayne, and is fending serious bouts of jealousy and envy at his apparent closeness to his proposed mate Danika.

Throw in a seriously bad-ass Mom who is chained in the fiery pits of hell, and an errant Dad who seems hell-bent on eliminating her, and you get a sense of the turmoil that is Layla’s life.

White Hot Kiss contains all the elements that make a JLA novel completely riveting. Superb prose, engaging characters, fiery romance, action packed scenes,compelling dialogue and roller-coaster twists and turns.

By the end of the book Roth had won me over completely,never more so than when he made a massive sacrifice in the name of love – all to protect Layla and those she loves.

A must-read for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Review: Unmasked by EM Kaplan

UnmaskedTitle: Unmasked
Author: EM Kaplan
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Links:

Blurb:
Mel can sense the blood beating through her companions’ veins. She can count the moments between heartbeats to tell who is sincere and who is lying. She can make herself stronger for short periods of time, heal small wounds on her body, and manipulate light to change her appearance subtly. These abilities are useful skills for a Mask—a preternaturally sensitive, cloaked and imposing, impartial arbitrator, both revered and feared by everyone.

Mattieus Ottick, or just Ott to his friends, comes from the frozen north to hunt the strange ogre-like creatures, or trogs, that threaten the northern mines. Magical beasties? Nightmares come to life? The world as Ott knows it is about to change. Blessed by easy charm and good looks, Ott is used to the attention of females, but, gods above, he is knocked flat by the kiss of the ethereal woman he rescues. How could she possibly be a Mask?

——————————————-

Rated approximately PG-13 for fantasy violence and some smooching.

My Review:
Unmasked is the story of Mel, a young girl with special paranormal abilities, who is in training to be a Mask. The community of Masks are skilled mediators, called upon to negotiate disputes, and they are as revered as they are feared.Trained to be neutral, objective and emotionless, they lead a rather solitary life. Mel is sent to Cillary Keep to study human nature, and to see where she fits in society. A chance encounter with a hunter named Ott changes her destiny forever.
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I got to Chapter 5 I was drawn into the world and quickly became engrossed.
This book is beautifully written and EM Kaplan has a magical way with words.
I’d highly recommend this book to fans of fantasy/paranormal romance.

Review: Sentinel (Covenant #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SentinelTitle: Sentinel
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #5
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
It’s a beautiful day for a war.

As the mortal world slowly slips into chaos of the godly kind, Alexandria Andros must overcome a stunning defeat that has left her shaken and in doubt of their ability to end this war once and for all.

And with all the obstacles between Alex and her happily-ever-after with the swoonworthy Aiden St. Delphi, they must now trust a deadly foe as they travel deep into the Underworld to release one of the most dangerous gods of all time.

In the stunning, action-packed climax to the bestselling Covenant series, Alex must face a terrible choice: the destruction of everything and everyone she holds dear… or the end of herself.

My Review:
I was so hoping that the last book in the Covenent Series would deliver, and I wasn’t disappointed. Another roller-coaster of a read. Alex has really come into her own in Sentinel and she maturely handles the cards she has been dealt. Her selfish tendencies have diminished and her concern for Aiden, Seth, Marcus and her friends tends to override personal concerns for her own welfare.
I’m so glad that Seth redeemed himself in this book, as I’ve always felt he was decent underneath it all. I understand that he needed to do what he did, to try and atone for his sins, but I’m sad at the prospect of the life he has chosen. I’d love another Novella to prove that he made the right choice (pretty please Jennifer.
Aiden – oh my gods, what can I say? He’s awesome, the most amazing boyfriend ever and I love him to bits. Swoon. Not without his flaws mind you, but his unwavering loyalty and love of Alex is mind-blowing. Their romance/sex scenes are incredible, though I felt there were a few too many, and it could have been toned down a little.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I blubbed like a baby towards the end, and I actually skipped a few pages to make sure I got the ending that I NEEDED. Thank the gods, Jennifer delivered, the ending is perfect.
I feel quite grief-stricken at this point, because there is no more. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Alex, Aiden and Seth and I really hope Jennifer. L. Armentrout gives us another Novella.
This is a truly amazing series, and I’ve read some incredible ones recently, but this is up there at the very top of my list. A must-read.

Review: Apollyon (Covenant #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

ApollyonTitle: Apollyon
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

My Review:
Another fast-paced, addictive, page turner from Jennifer L. Armentrout. Seriously, these books are so hard to put down and I’m feeling a little annoyed that I’ve read them so fast, because now I only have Sentinel left and I’m already missing this series.
Apollyon is epic and the plot twists and turns just keep on coming. I really loved how Alex and Aiden’s relationship blossomed in this book and they are a real partnership now. I just couldn’t get enough of those romance scenes, swoon-worthy in the extreme. I suspect I know what’s around the corner for them, and I’m excited to see how the next chapter enfolds.
I missed Seth dreadfully in this book, yes – he’s there, at the end of the cord, but it’s not the same. Poor Seth, he’s just so lost and all he wants is to be truly loved. I really hope Alex can get through to him because I’d hate it if she actually did have to kill him.
I suspected Romvi from the start, and in Deity, I pretty much figured it out. All the same, he turned into an even nastier piece of work than I’d expected.
Alex has matured in this book and it was a natural progression for her, though I loved her when she was being consistently snarky and irrational.
I think my favorite scene of the novel was when Alex and Aiden were in the Underworld. To combine romance, action, and suspense so expertly is the sign of a really talented author.
This is an incredible series; awesome writing, engaging characters, action packed plot and compelling dialogue. A must read for all fans of YA fiction.

Review: Elixir (Covenant #3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

ElixirTitle: Elixir
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #3.5
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods.

My Review:
Loved reading from Aiden’s point of view and his devotion to Alex is beyond doubt. It’s certainly getting creepy with Seth and I’m so afraid for Alex, I hope she is strong enough to overcome and break the connection. Difficult to read of her change under the elixir. Strong writing, another great read from Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

the coldest girl in coldtownTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Series: standalone
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Paranormal
Links:

Blurb:
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

My Review:
3.5 Stars. The writing is excellent and Holly Black is obviously very talented but I had issues with the plot, it felt a bit non-existent the first half of the book and only just made up for it in the second half. The pacing was very slow at the start and with every page I turned I was hoping it would pick up – it did eventually. I liked the characters, they were very easy to love/hate. I actually liked Aidan; yes, he’s a total ass but a harmless one really, and I thought he had a certain charm. The biggest disappointment for me was the Tana and Gavriel romance, I really would have liked more. However,that scene towards the end – wow, very dark and decadent indeed. More of that would have heightened my enjoyment of this book. I would still recommend it, it’s a good read, it just didn’t live up to my expectation – I expected more from an author of this caliber.

Review: Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Fire flowerTitle: Deity
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ mythology
Links:

Blurb:
“History is on repeat, and things didn’t go so well the last time. ”

Alexandria isn’t sure she’s going to make it to her eighteenth birthday–to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she’s a goner… and so is Aiden.

If that’s not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time “training”–which really is just Seth’s code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time–she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she’s caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed… and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate…

My Review:
Absolutely brilliant read, just like the first two books in this series, a perfect blend of adventure, action and romance. Boy does Jennifer L. Armentrout know how to write really compelling dialogue. Totally engrossing and hard to put down. I was so disappointed with Seth in this book, though I suspected something like this from him. I didn’t believe I could love Aiden any more, but he really comes through for Alex in Deity. If they don’t end up together I think I may cry. And that ending – oh my gods, incredible. Can’t wait to read Apollyon.

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half BloodTitle: Half-Blood
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals–well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

My Review:
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to discover Jennifer L. Armentrout but I’m just so glad that I’ve found her now. What a writing power house – she has written so many books and I cannot wait to get stuck in.
So onto Half-Blood and Daimon which were both included in the paperback version I read. I really enjoyed Jennifer’s style of writing and this book just flows so easily and was a very smooth read. Incredible, totally sucked me in from the get-go. I found it very very difficult to put this book down. Loved the world, loved the characters, amazing plot lines, compelling dialogue. I really don’t think I can fault it in any way and I’m totally hooked on the Covenent series now.

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.