Twilight Aliens Revamp: The Darkest Star by Jennifer Armentrout

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When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.

Source: GoodReads

The Lux series is pretty much a Twilight ripoff, but replace vampires with aliens.  I liked it.  It wasn’t great, but it was typical Armentrout fare, and to be fair some of her better work.  It was enjoyable, light, fluffy, and fun.    I was actually excited when I heard that the Lux series was getting its own spinoff, as ripoff-y (is that a word?) as it was it was a fun read and I was interested in reading Luc’s story.  However, its pretty much a duplicate of Lux.

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To be fair, there is potentially a good backstory here.  The story, without getting too spoilery, relies on one of my favorite soap opera tropes.  It should’ve worked.  I mean, I have been wanting a book that exploits this trope but it just didn’t work.

Also, I really didn’t like how Evie rationalized the situation.  It didn’t seem realistic.  Yes, there was some anger, but not near the amount I would’ve felt.  Also, you would’ve thought…

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Again spoilers.

Okay you really want to know what I thought….

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MAJOR SPOILERS

Pretty much the big twist is that Evie is really Nadia (Luc’s not so dead girlfriend) who has amnesia because of some weird ass alien drug that Luc got her to save her life.  The fact that she doesn’t really remember the first 12 years of her life is oddly scoffed over.

I thought Nadia (I’m calling her fucking Nadia because that’s who she is, not the dead girl whose name her creepy ass pseudo mom gave her) took in everything relatively nonchalantly.  I probably would’ve been beyond pissed with that sad sack of a mother.  Because seriously, she pretty much used Nadia as a replacement as her dead stepdaughter.

That’s so wrong.

As for Luc….yeah, that was not cool letting Nadia have no say in her life whatsoever.  I don’t care if it’s because he loves her or not it’s just wrong to take someone’s choice away from them.

Period.

End of Spoilers

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Let’s just say that whole reveal could’ve been developed better.  And it didn’t make sense.

I should note that even though it made no fucking sense, I totally guessed what the twist was and rolled my eyes at the reveal.

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That’s not exactly a good thing, people.

However, as far as books being offensive goes this one is fairly inoffensive.  It’s just not that original.  Will I finish the series…probably.  Likely.  Because I’ve read seven books total in this universe and I am interested if maybe the series picks up as it gains steam.  That doesn’t mean I have high hopes for it though.

I really think at the end of the day when it comes to Jennifer Armentrout books you are going to get something that’s quick and enjoyable enough but it’s always going to lack something.  They’re not bad books but at the end of the day…well, it could be better.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it a B-

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A Flight Like Icarus’s: Flying by Carrie Jones

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones introduces sassy alien-hunting cheerleader Mana in Flying, the launch of a sparkling new YA SF series.

People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She’s used to being coddled, being an only child, but it’s hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother’s babying gets more stifling than ever, she’s looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana’s life goes haywire.

First, the hot guy she’s been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she’s always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.

It turns out, Mana’s frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she’s missing–taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother–and maybe the world–and hope she’s up to the challenge.

Source: GoodReads

Damn it, a cheerleader beating up aliens should be my sort of book especially if there are plenty reviews comparing it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Flying, however, failed to take off and I DNF’d it.

I will just say right now, I read this book in part to get me out of a YA funk, it didn’t. I sort of have a weird obsession with comical alien books if done right it’s one of my favorite tropes. I like embarrassingly cheesy paranormal books, still do. And a MC fighting aliens should’ve been my sort of book. The problem with Flying was that it had so many stupid moments and it’s written in a style where I just wanted someone to tell Jones to slow down and flesh things out a bit.

Like this Mana chick and this Lyle guy, barely know anything about them. As for Mana’s crush, Dakota, I think I should’ve cared more that he turned out to be Slimer’s long lost twin but I didn’t there was barely any build up to the character or the relationship. Just another embarrassingly bad crush that YA is so famous for. Oh, and the fucking slimmer wannabe is racist so add that little shitty feather to your cap of shittiness book. Seriously, I’m  not joking. I’ll quote the little scene for you:

“I’ve been saved by the Asian cheerleader; how perfect,” Dakota says. “Breaking the stereotypes. How droll.”

Droll?

“Are you pulling the race card on me, Dakota? Seriously? What the hell? You just asked me to help you. Why are you being a dick?” I sputter. “You’re never a dick. You’re sexy and you point your drumstick at me, which could totally be misconstrued, obviously…but um..” I backtrack, because despite this situation, I’m pretty horrified that I just said that out load. “What’s with the race card?

“Of course…” Dakota smirks. “Race card.” (33-34)

Fuck me. Was that really necessary?   I’m mean he already spits up acid, do we really have to make him a racist Slimmer wannabe too? Interesting enough, I think that Jones used this scene to show that are MC was Asian since there was no mention of this earlier in the book. That’s just a…fucking-tastic way to mention that your MC is a POC. Though to be fair, I guess that I have to give Jones credit for having a POC narrator. Though get this, the MIB agent that is fighting with Slimer’s name just happens to be China and I was just like…oO after this scene.

Also, the caffeine allergy was just beyond stupid.   So she gets amped up on caffeine. so do I. My cardiologist snaps at me whenever I drink it, it raises my pulse rate to levels that aren’t considered safe but I don’t like a fucking hyper idiot when I drink a surplus amount of coffee rather I just get jittery and my hands start to shake. Which is why I now have to make do with decaf or half caf which sucks.

So yeah, not impressed by that allergy.

It’s just not lackluster character development and stupid caffeine allergies that ruined my experienced, the pacing in this book like the character development was way off. It’s a short YA book—honestly, it shouldn’t be in hardback it doesn’t even top 300 pages—and the short length doesn’t do it any favors. In some people’s hands (cough, Meg Cabot, cough) I think the length would’ve been fine. Hell, that might’ve been part of my problem with this one I expected it to read like a light and fluffy Meg Cabot book but rather than focusing on character development we just get event tacked on after event with little to no exposition and.

My head just exploded.

Imagine to my surprise when I looked at the author’s bio and realized this wasn’t her first time at the YA rodeo. Because honestly, if it would’ve been a debut novel I could’ve been a little bit more forgiving.

As it stood though, I am just dumbstruck at how ill paced and developed this one was.

Skip it.

Overall Rating: DNF. And I don’t think it’s a subjective DNF. At first I thought it might’ve been, but there’s just too many problems with form and bland characters who make so insensitive comments about race. Because really, was that entire conversation necessary?

 

Take Your Mog to the Prom: The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy

It’s Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip!

Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.

Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band’s outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance? Fans of King Dork and Winger won’t want to miss this!

Source: GoodReads

There are a lot of things about this one that I loved.  I think the best attribute of it is that it is different. Okay, there is a definite formula and I could very easily see this in film, but for YA it’s not the sort of story you’d typically see published.  Though, there is one unfortunate borderline trope in it (that I’ll discuss in a bit).

This is such a fun book.  There is a touch of romance, but more or less it’s not about it.  And I’m glad because the romance was one of the biggest flaws of the novel.  The best part was the bits and pieces of dialogue.  There are several lines that made me laugh out loud.   If you watch any show about aliens-to make fun of said show-this book and you are going to gel.

There were even bits and pieces that sort of reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-one of my favorite books of all time.  This one doesn’t hit such of a brilliant note, but it is close.

What I did not like about this book is that sometimes it tried just a bit too hard with the one liners and it showed.  And it got to be too much like ludicrous speed.  Maybe it would’ve been better in another form of media-I noted from the author’s bio that McCoy has had screen writing experience.  It shows.  This reads very much like the typical movie you’d see Michael Cera star in back in the day.

That’s who I kept imagining Bennet as anyway, while reading it.

The other problem I had with this book was the girlfriend, Sophie.  There were shades of the MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl)  trope that I hate here.  I do like how the relationship eventually resolved itself, but I do not like the MPDG trope.  I wonder if guys feel the same way about women’s presentation of guys in YA.  I mean, the stereotypical YA boy is severally unrealistic just like the MPDG, I think the only difference is that the MPDG is more of a distinct trope in some ways-I mean, I imagine all of these girls looking like Zooey Deschanel from New Girl.

Anyway, if you like aliens and want a not so serious romp read this.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, and a little out there.  Overall, it’s very enjoyable, but not special.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Yawn:The Hunt by Stacey Kade

 

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.

But accepting Zane’s help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

Source: GoodReads

How can a book about aliens be…well, so boring?

Really, if there was one word to describe The Hunt it would be boring.

Of course, it’s really not that boring.  There’s suspense.  There’s action.  Romance.  But at the end of the day, it’s a typical middle book in a trilogy suffering from middle book predictability complete with a ridiculous cliffhanger.

Sigh…

It isn’t completely horrible though.  To be honest, it’s not that bad of a book.  It does have a lot going for it.  Like, the characters.  I really do like both Zane and Arianne.  They do have chemistry and both of them are fully formed.  However, I don’t know at the end of the day this book didn’t wow me.

As I said before, I sort of knew what to expect on this one.  The jacket summary is pretty straight forward.  There’s really nothing that takes you by surprise.  Even the alien hybrid mythology was nothing weirder than one of the more calmer theories on Ancient Aliens.

Though to be honest, all the alien stuff in the Project Paper Doll series hasn’t impressed me.  Oh, it’s a little bit better than what you’d see in some YA series (cough, Lux series, cough) but it’s more or less a plot point.  Actual world building, with this aspect does not occur.

A couple of Google searches or episodes of some H2 conspiracy show you’ll find that there’s actually a pretty big mythos involving grey aliens.  However, hardly any of that mythos is used other than the bare minimum.

Of course, you could view the book as being more about humanity and coming to terms about what humanity is and all that, but I think there did need to be a little bit more of those urban legends coming out.

The whole hybrid program scheme really was a bit of a bore.  Complete with alien hybrid in jars full of amber colored liquid.

Oh yeah, that cliche.  Where’s Bill Birnes and his cockamamie theories when you need them?

The action scenes were written to be obviously suspenseful and maybe if I hadn’t been hardened to a thousand YA trilogies already, I would’ve been excited by this one.  But as it was, I just felt that I was going through the motions.  Even the revelations with Ford weren’t that exciting. There were no curve balls it was all predictable.

And that’s where this one failed.  The lack of curveballs.  Even the cliffhanger ending wasn’t that surprising.  It was in essence predictable.  Like everything else about this book.

Overall Rating: B-.  It wasn’t a terrible book, but I did struggle through it.  There wasn’t anything about it that really held my attention and at the end of the day that what makes or breaks a series.  Will I finish the trilogy.  Probably.  But I will be library-ing it.

What a Perfect Title Considering What this Book Does to Itself: Alienated by Melissa Landers

 

 

 

Conclusion: Aliens and YA just don’t mix.

Which outright sucks because I love aliens.

I mean, there are so many ways to go with little green men but YA seems to be used in one way:

1) Aliens are essentially the extraterrestrial version of Edward Cullen.  Complete with evil aliens, heroines who are TSTL but in the Bella Swan way not the funny Geena Davis Earth Girls Are Easy type of way, and a catastrophe that’s basically caused by our two characters falling in love.

Only in YA books and films from the 80s.

Of course there are some variants to this formula, but their basically all the same. Though some fail a lot more than others.

As far as these types of books go, Alienated falls in the middle.  If I compare it to the rest of the fare out there in the YA world, well, it’s a little less than average.

The good: there are some moments in humor here.  For example, I love the dig that’s made against Fifty Shades of Grey.  And there were a few other chuckle moments there too.  And it had a nice message. Even though it was hammered into my head.  The premises was good too.  But the rest of the book…

Oh, dearie me.

That’s all I can say.

I think I’ll start with the more technical errors.  The third person just didn’t work here.  If this book was in first, I could sort of go for it more, I think.  I think it would’ve had a more Meg Cabot-y/fluffy vibe which would’ve helped her case.  As it was it just seemed clunky.  Especially the transitions between the Cara and Aelyx’s points of view.  The switches would come in mid chapter with little warning.  Which made the books at time feel a bit disjointed.

It probably didnt’ help that the characters, themselves, felt a little cartoonish.  Cara had the alpha female going for her throughout the first half of the book where I just wanted to shake her and at one point give her a chocolate because she was so goal oriented you started wondering if she had an ounce of humanity.

And as for Aelyx, well, total dick.  Tough not in the typical YA love interest way, I’ll give him that.  But God what an unlikeable character.  And I suppose I should like him based on the fact that Landers attempted to develop his character.  But the development felt more like a personality transplant than actual character development.

A character who is devoid of any emotions, is probably going to have a hard time falling in love.  I mean start with the small stuff when you try to start giving him feeling.  Going from having about as much feelings my Macbook to being in loooove probably isn’t the best way to go.

As for the alien world building that Landers does….

Yeah, not so good.

The Lux sereis by Jennifer L Armentrout is more fully formed and after reading the fourth book that series that’s not saying much.  The good news for Alienated though, it’s not the worst alien book in the YA world that I’ve ever read.  Though that’s not saying much for it either considering that anything is basically better than Starseed.

The world that we’re given in Alienated  is pretty well boring.  With aliens you have lots of ways you could go.  I mean if you need inspiration just watch a few episodes of Ancient Aliens. Some of the  theories they write on that show or so outlandish you should be able to get a plot bunny or two.  But instead with alienated the aliens main purpose is to create a) forbidden love, b) a lame conflict that I’m suppose is suppose to compare to discrimination t but really falters on lots of levels, and c) because everyone YA book either has to have a supernatural or dystopian boyfriend.

The alien aspect could’ve been interesting and that’s what I have the most issues with.  That there was potential and seemed squandered for what boiled down to be mindless high school hijinks for the most part.  And I have nothing against more high school based YA.  Some of my favorite paranormals involved heavy high school plots.  Meg Cabot, for example, was able to totally intwine both worlds without the books feeling gimmicky.  Here though.

 

I might be reading the sequel though.  I know that sounds odd, but I do think with improvement this series could be a borderline guilty pleasure.  However, if this was a standalone I’d pass or at least library it.

Overall Rating: C.

Strangely I’m Over It: A Stranger Thing by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Probably one of the biggest reading surprises for me last year was Mothership.  The plot itself sounded ridiculous.  A boarding school in space filled with pregnant teenagers, but somehow it ended up working.

The sequel not so much.

The qualities that I found so charming the first time around, now seemed over the top and borderline hammy.  Let me be frank, I love camp.  It’s probably one of the biggest reasons that I continue to watch daytime television.  But this book is like camp on steroids.  And nothing, not even a man eating whale or the fact that the book is set in Antarctica can make me an amused reader.

Oh, sure, there were moments I remembered why I loved the previous installments, but at the same time, I’m sort of over this series which is sad.  Because it has a lot going for it.

The Ever Expanding Universe, is probably one of the most unique series in the world of YA right now.  Okay, there’s a lot of alien books out there but most of them don’t take the same tone that Leicht and and Neal’s book does.  And even though her OOT got annoying this time around, I still have a soft spot for Elvie.  Although, I don’t get what she sees in Cole that guy is dumb as a box of rocks.  But at least she’s taking charge.  And in a world full of characters waiting for prince charming, that’s pretty impressive.

Also, occasionally some of the jokes still worked.  Not as much as last time, but enough to get me to smile on maybe an occasion or two.

So, while I wasn’t enthralled with this installment, it wasn’t exactly worthless.  It had its moments.  But at the same time, ugh-just ugh.

As I said before the book just felt like it was one lame joke after another.  It was almost like the book found itself to be cute and funny.

To the unamused reader this is very, very, lame.  Also, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the various pop culture references that were used throughout the novel.  Normally,  I don’t mind pop culture references.  In fact, that was one of the reasons why I loved Meg Cabot books back in my teens.  However, when a book is set some time in the future I don’t think it’s the greatest idea to reference Spiderman, PETA, and 1980’s movies.  And sure, there was some weak explanation of how Elvie or her friend Duckie would watch old fashion things occasionally.  But let’s face it teens for the most part reference modern things.  My sister has a student that thinks Seinfeld  was in black and white and that show went off the air less than twenty years ago.  So, I really don’t think a teen is going to remember a movie that in Elvie’s time was over a hundred years old.

I also had a hard time restraining my eyes with some of the plot twists.  To put it simply there were enough back from the deads to put General Hospital to shame and that’s saying something because Ron Carlivati loves penning return from the grave story lines.  I will give it to Leicht and Neal though, at least they don’t drag their back from the dead’s out for almost two year-cough, Robin Scorpio, cough-just saying.  Still though, resurrecting both of those characters seemed a bit of a stretch to me.

A stretch.  I think that’s the perfect word to describe how I felt about this book.  A lot of things just seemed like they were thrown in there for shock value.  From Elvie being sent to Antarctica, to using a team of sled dogs instead of a Zamboni (hey, I watched National Treasure) everything just seemed contrived.  Including the big secret about her heritage.

Speaking of her heritage, I really wish they wouldn’t have gone down this route.  I expect as much, but when you expect it it’s just sort of groan worthy when what you expect happens.  Plus, it made the book a bit cliche.

I had a difficult time rating this one but in the end I’m giving it a five.  However, if I didn’t have sentimentality for the first one I might give it a four (C).  The  book was a bit of a disappointment.  Maybe my tastes have changed since last year but what I thought was funny and original just seemed cringe worthy and predictable.

 

The Rules: Stacey Kade

Aliens.

It’s the one PNR YA tropes I never get tired of.  I think because there are so many ways you can go with it. Honestly, I’m usually not a hard core sci-fi fan for the most part.  It’s true I like watching the occasional movie about aliens taking over the world and that I like to read about aliens and watch Ancient Aliens on TV, but…okay, I’m obsessed.

But aliens in YA?

Sort of mixed.

Sure there’s the Lux series which I liked (used to love up to the last installment), but really there haven’t been that many decent alien YA books released.  However, I have always heard great things about Stacey Kade and decided to give her book, The Rules a try.

What’s it About: Take the plot of She’s All That, add in some Roswell conspiracies to it, and one mad scientist and you have this book..

 
I really do like this one, but I can see how people wouldn’t like this book.  It’s something odd to think when you’re writing a book review since book reviews are generally opinions that one has.  But as I kept reading this book I thought well, I like that but I can see why other people might not like this.  So for the purposes of this review.  I’m going to discuss what I really liked and what I think could annoy people.
What I Liked:
 
1. Dual narration:
 
Usually I hate dual POV, but it works here.  Both characters seem like separate entities and I was able to grow to like both of them.  It made me actually really interested to read The Ghost and the Goth  where I hear that this feature is used as well.
2. Characters:
 
The characters are very well formed.  As I previously stated, both have a distinct voice. Kade was also very effective in creating backstories for both Zane and Ariane.  I felt for both of them and I liked how their lives sort of were paralleled each others in a strange way.
3. Aliens:
 
Did I mention this book involves E.T. and he does not phone home.
4. Deeper than it looks:
 
While it might appear as all frothy and full of bunny rabbits and roses, this book actually does touch upon some deeper issues.  I sort of liked how while the issues weren’t the main plot of the story, they contributed to the overall plot and not in a heavy handed sort of way.
 
5. A fun easy read:
 
Honestly, this book was sort of like endorphins in a written form.  And we all know what Elle Woods has to say about endorphins.
 
What Could be Viewed as Annoying:
 
1. The fact that part of this book borderlines on hardcore sci-fi and the other half could’ve been an episode of Beverly Hills 90210:
 
It’s hard imagining an episode of 90210 with aliens.  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe that explains a lot of the actions of Tori Spelling’s character on the show, but still.  Most of this book reads as teen drama and I was expecting that.  But some people aren’t.  And to be honest the fact that the alien thing remained background till the very last third where it seemed more like Carrie than Alien.  Did I hate it, no?  But it did make what else seemed like a frothy book seem disjointed.
2. Way too Much Melodrama.
 
As previously stated, a lot of this read like an episode of 90210.  And while I like froth, this could borderline on too much fluff.  The plot is similar to many movies you’d see in the 90’s melodrama included.  A lot of the trivial things that the characters are arguing about just make you want to roll your eyes given the overall plot is a lot more sinister than what’s actually going on.
3. Plot-holes Galore:
 
If Ariane can read minds I had to wonder why a lot of things happened…I mean, all she had to do was read the thoughts off of certain characters heads and boom she should’ve known.   The same thing goes with what happened in the lab, why not….yeah you sort of have to stop analyzing after awhile.
4. Too Cruel to be Real:
 
While I personally like an evil as sin character there were a few characters here that might be unrealistically evil.  Which is fine, you know, if you’re name is Dr. Evil.  However, since 99.9% of the world isn’t named Dr. Evil it probably doesn’t work here.
5. The fact it’s over four hundred pages long:
 
I like long books and for the most part this one didn’t drag.  Except it did a little in the middle.  A little cutting here and there might’ve made the book a little more enjoyable.  Might’ve being the operative word.  This con really is up to your own preference.  For me I think about fifty less pages and it would’ve been the perfect length.
 
Overall Rating: I’m giving this one a seven out of ten.  I enjoyed it, but I’ll admit it has its faults. It really was a fun read and I think I might grow to like it more than the Lux series.

Origin: Jennifer L Armentrout

Well, this book was certainly eye opening and not just because of the cover.

Honestly, this is probably my least favorite Lux book yet.  And it’s not because it’s that bad of a book.  It’s fairly decent considering the rest of the muck in the YA world.  And I did enjoy the scenes at Area 51.  Oh, yeah, a good chunk of this book takes place at that non-existant base that the government actually admitted does exist but instead of hosting ET it does boring things.

One of the reasons I’ve always liked the Lux series better than Armentrout’s other books is because of the intricacies  that are involved in the Luxan world and the fact that there’s actually witty banter instead of insta lust between Katy and Daemon.

Well, there was action and some rather interesting world building in this installment.  But the world building info that we were given reminded me of Breaking Dawn.


You see Luxen and humans can reproduce and have special babies with special powers.

Sound familiar.

Thank God, Katy isn’t pregnant yet.  However, I’m betting there’s a good chance she might be by the end of the next novel.  After all Dawson knocked up Bethany in this installment, and Daemon and Katy inevitably repeat the same thing that those two do.

Save for their Vegas wedding, a la Beautiful Disaster.

Yeah, at times I thought I was reading bad fan fiction.

These plot points reminded me why I got so annoyed with Armentrout in the Covenant series.   Because she has a tendency to rip off popular series.  I always knew that Lux was similar to the Twilight Saga.  But the fact we had to add the freaky baby plot….well, imprint me now.

And honestly, why did we have to throw in a cheap new adult Vegas wedding?  It gave me bad flashbacks.

I get that most of these grievances are personal and that there are going to be some (okay, a lot) of fans that like this.  But for me I just started rolling my eyes.

Besides some of the plot choices, I also got annoyed with how the way Katie and Daemons’ relationship devolved.  Forget witty banter, in this installment its just fluff that’s about on par with that of Armentrout’s new adult books.  It’s not bad and there are a few cute moments, but what I loved about this series seems to have been diminished somehow.

Overall though, the story was still strong.  I could almost see this being the final installment save for that ending.  Everyone was disgustingly happy for awhile there.  And honestly, who wants to read about disgustingly happy people.  Maybe that’s why I thought these characters were replaced by pod people.

Despite its faults though,  Origin  had its moments.  There were scenes that just freaked you out.  While some of the new characters that were introduced were purely to give old characters a new love interest, said new characters were well formed.  And it appears that Armentrout did give me the gift of getting rid of a character I hated.

Overall seven out of ten E.T.s.  While not horrible, it’s not my favorite out the series and has me thinking about that ripoff Covenant series again.

How to Date an Alien: Magan Vernon

You’d think I’d make fun of this cover.  But that would jus be cruel.  But seriously….
 
I’m sort of alien junkie.
And I don’t know why because E.T. is hardly sexy.  And after watching all those episodes of Ancient Aliens, I sometimes find myself not sleeping thinking some grey is going to pull a Barney and Betty Hill on me but whatever.
How to Date an Alien was free on Amazon which was probably the number one factor in why I decided to read it that and it involved aliens.  It’s probably one of the better free books from Amazon I read, that’s not saying much.
To be fair, I thought there were parts of the book that were really cute.  I liked the main character, Alex.  She wasn’t awful as a lot of these YA characters are. Though she did seem a bit immature at times.
Okay, a lot of the time.
And she did slut slam a bit too.
Okay, so I did get annoyed with her.  But for the most part we were okay.
I didn’t like the boy toy though, Ace.  Yes, he was an alien.  But alien really was a replacement for vampire.  To say this guy is an Edward wannabe is an understatement.  A bland Edward wannabe.
One of my biggest complaints about YA today is that a lot of characters are just bland archetype characters.  Typically people try to rip off Bella and Edward.  Sometimes they might attempt at copying Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen.  But for the most part, people tend to stick to the good old Bella and Edward ripoffs in YA.
Here is no exception except the Bella character is a little smarter and more interesting and the Edward character is even more boring than Edward.  And that’s saying something since Edward Cullen is just about the most boring character known to humankind-with the exception of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
And now apparently Ace.
I didn’t even really hate Ace.  I found him weird as hell and annoying.  But hate him, not so much.  Because he was too boring and weird ass to hate.
I honestly would’ve kept reading this one, don’t ask me why sometimes I’m a sucker for cute fluffy books especially if they involve aliens, if there was a semblance to a plot here other than the lame ass  Rome and Juliet retelling I think it was trying to do.
I freaking hate that play.
Not the actual play because there are relevant cultural elements and some great lines in it.  But I hate the way the YA world views that play. It’s not a romance.  It’s about two idiots that fall in instant lust and get killed for their stupidity.  YA tries to make you think otherwise.
Whatever though.  But Romeo and Juliet plots usually insta ignore from me.  Unless of course there’s something else to the plot which there wasn’t here.
You have aliens, freaking aliens.  And there’s nothing else to the plot.  Nothing.  Just nothing.
I mean, aliens.  You can do whatever the hell you want with aliens.  But this book, we never do any sort of world building at all.  Okay, so the planets in the Solar system like Neptune have aliens.  But Vernon never goes into any detail how life is supported in a non-goldilocks zone planet.
And the quasi Area 51 area, Circe, its purpose is really never fully explained.  How did all these other interns know that there were aliens there?
Yeah, sort of a hot mess.  And there’s no excuse for this hot mess because just watch a couple of episodes of Ancient Aliens and hello inspiration.
But I really wanted to give this one a try for the longest time because I liked the voice of the novel.  But voice will only get you so far and eventually….well, you just have to let go.  Because potential will only get you so far in a book.
Overall four out of ten aliens.  It could’ve been pretty good if it sort of had a plot and Ace was a bit more memorable.

Shadows: Jennifer L Armentrout

This guy I think is the guy when it comes to book covers.  Seriously.

Yeah, another Lux book.  I couldn’t help myself because I sort of got hooked back in the world after reading Obsession  and didn’t want to wait to the release of Origin.



General Summary: This is a prequel to the Lux series.  And it’s basically Dawson’s story.  And you find out that he’s pretty hot, but not as hot as Daemon.  And that’s about it.

 

Review:

I liked this novella, but I think had my reading time not been reduced to two hours at night, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much.  That being said, it was sort of the perfect read for me the past few days.  Flaws included.

It’s very short (a novella) and luckily the price was fairly reasonable-$2.99 on Amazon.  If you read the main series, you’re not really getting anything new like with Obsession this is merely a prequel.  But a fairly decent one that gives you some insight into what happened before Katy moved to WestVirginia.

That being said, this little book had some flaws.

Mainly the characters who I felt like were not that well fleshed out, save for Daemon.

I’ll go into this more on my worst feature, but I really do feel like Armentrout has two types of characters.  Some of the characterization problems I’ve seen before with Wait for You and Cursed.  And honestly, it might’ve been difficult to avoid here.  This is a novella, so character development  probably wasn’t the focus here.

The plot really wasn’t that eventful either.  One of the things that I found annoying, was the way Bethany took the whole alien thing.  It was basically the same reaction Katy had.  She was okay with it.  Seriously, why can’t one of these characters ever panic.  Have a mini meltdown.  I know I would if my boyfriend turned out to be an alien….

However, Bethany seemed to accept it  pretty easily.

The book also seemed rush.  Yes, its a novella.  Yes, I know it’s going to be paced differently from a regular novel, but God I felt like I was dealing with whiplash a lot of the time.  And the ending just seemed so sudden.  Not to mention, Bethany and Dawson suffered from a major case of insta love.

Best Feature: How e-book only format should be done.  Even though I have an e-reader now, I still get annoyed with e-reader only reads if they’re not either  independently  or small house published.   I mean, seriously, I get digital books are big and all but not everyone has a iPad or a Kindle.  What I like about this book is that you don’t have to read it to get the rest of the Lux series.  Sure it’s nice, but it’s not a necessary read.  And that’s why I was okay with it being in ebook formula.

Worst Feature: Bland Character.  Armentrout is smart for using third person.  I’ll give that to her because I have a feeling that if this book was in first I would be a very grumpy reader.  It’s not that Bethany and Dawson are bad characters, it’s just well…compared to Daemon and Katy they’re bland.  And I think is something I’ve noticed in a lot of her other books.  She has two types of characters.  Snarky and blandly perfect.  Bethany and Dawson fall in the latter.  It wasn’t that I found them to be insufferable, they were decent enough characters it was just that I wanted to read Daemon POV more than Dawson.  Even though Daemon was sort of being a douche in this particular installment.

Appropriatness: There’s a few f bombs here and there, but the sex and violence is much more restrained than other Lux books.

Blockbuster Worthy: Not this one.  It’s too short, besides we all know who really owns this series and it ain’t Bethany and Dawson.

Overall Rating: I’m giving this one a six out of ten.  I liked it (enough).  Probably because I’m a fan of this series.  If I wasn’t it would probably be getting a four or a five.  It’s not a bad novella, it’s just….well, sort of bland.  And I think I’ve had my Lux thirst filled to August, so that’s something.