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.

Trailer Reveal: Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout

Every Last Breath Banner
I am so excited to share the trailer for Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout with you today!

Every Last BreathEvery Last Breath (Dark Element #3)
by Jennifer Armentrout

Blurb:
Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
–New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
–#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss

View the trailer here:

Pre-order Every Last Breath here:

The Dark Elements series
Haven’t start this amazing series yet? Get your copies of the earlier books here:

Bitter Sweet Love

White Hot Kiss

STone Cold Touch

JLA_Author-photoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:
# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:

win every last prize
Enter the giveaway to win an INCREDIBLE Dark Elements prize pack including a VISA GIFT CARD! Register your pre-order of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s EVERY LAST BREATH now to enter PLUS help unlock MORE prizes! Read all the details and how to enter the giveaway here

InkSlinger Blogger Final

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: Goddess (Starcrossed #3) by Josephine Angelini

GoddessTitle: Goddess
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: (Starcrossed #3)
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

My Review:
nother compelling read from Josephine Angelini and a fitting end to the series.

A destructive war is looming large as the Gods start to take vengeance on the world. Helen’s powers are off the charts as she appears to have assimilated some of her blood brothers gifts. Her friends start to fear her and betrayal is never far away.

The biggest threat for the Scions is the identity of the Tyrant and Helen, Hector, Lucas and Cassandra have to fight to protect Orion who is the easiest one to point the finger at.

Helen continues to love Lucas with every part of her being but is confused over her growing feelings for Orion. I found this really hard to swallow and was glad when she finally acknowledged her feelings at about the half-way point.

I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and grab Claire by the scruff of her neck to shake some sense into her. I don’t understand how she could become so distrustful of her best friend. Be afraid at the demonstration of her considerable power? Yes, believable. Betray her so completely? Less believable. And poor Matt. My heart bled for him. So tragic.

I swooned at the part where Lucas and Helen visited EveryLand together but wish the author could have at least allowed them to kiss. Come on, epic love between them and in a make-believe world of her choosing, where she also gets to pick the rules? She could have made it work. My skin was literally itching for more romance.

The battle scenes at the end were fantastic. Love the bit with the Kracken! And finally Lucas and Helen get their happy ever after and nasty Daphne got what she deserved. I just wish it hadn’t been left until the very end to be resolved.

There were parts of this book that dragged in a way the first two books didn’t but I still really enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this series.

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: Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini

DreamlessTitle: Dreamless
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Starcrossed #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out. A ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini’s compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling Starcrossed delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations.

My Review:
Helen is forced to grow up really quickly in Dreamless as the consequences of her role become clearer. As one of the rare Descenders, she is tasked with travelling to the Underworld every night to try to locate the Furies and stop the terrible hold they have on the demi-gods.

Her wayward mother is back in her life though she keeps a low profile and I was naturally suspicious of what she was up to. Daphne tells Helen about her true parentage and it almost tears her apart. Forced to keep her distance from her true love Lucas she wanders aimlessly through her days and nights. His loss threatens to claim her sanity and it was heart-breaking to watch this tragedy unfold.

Her errant mother arranges for Orion to find Helen in the Underworld just as she despairs of ever making progress. Together they start to figure out things but then Helen’s health takes a turn for the worst and Lucas is forced into action.

The explosive scenes at the end, when they are confronted by Ares, were brilliant and nail-biting. Helen’s powers are really starting to come into their own now and her lack of physical ability / combat skills are becoming less of an issue.

In the main I really enjoyed this book but there were a couple of issues with the plot that stopped me rating it 5 Stars. Firstly, the whole Ajax situation was totally shady and how Lucas could buy it, as a gifted Falsefinder, was hard to believe. If my true love was taken away from me I would be trying to prove the veracity of the facts to make sure I’d been told the truth. That neither of them even thought to investigate grated on me a little.

Also, Daphne appears out of nowhere after years on the run and despite the fact that everyone distrusts her there is no concern over where she is or what she is up to. She was trusted far too readily by everyone, including Helen.

Then the author throws it out there that Helen’s lack of dreaming = dying, but then it’s resolved and forgotten about. It never felt like there was any real threat to her life, she barely passed any comment on it herself, and my view is that this should have been removed from the story or fleshed out more.

But the biggest issue I had was the introduction of Orion and how quickly Helen fell for him. I’m sorry – she has this EPIC love for Lucas and then Orion shows up and two minutes later she thinks she’s in love with him? No, not buying it. If he had used his gift to make her fall in love with him that would have been believable but he’s too honorable to take advantage of her, or any girl, in that way. And it’s not that Orion isn’t likable or lovable, it’s how both Helen and Lucas reacted to him that wasn’t realistic.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed the book. It’s well written and a decent sized book which I love. I’m looking forward to the conclusion and I hope that Helen ends up with Lucas because I think I’ll cry if she doesn’t. ( V. mature 42-year-old speaking!)