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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If That’s the Case then I REALLY Regret Today’s Reading Choice: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

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Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Source: GoodReads

If you’ve looked at the contents of this blog lately, you’ll know except for rereads I have been on a bit of a dry spell.  When trying to chose a book to read this weekend, I wanted something that I could sort of guarantee to myself that I’d enjoy, so I picked up Jennifer L Armentrout’s latest release.  With Armentrout, I might not get a great read but I usually will get something that I enjoy.  However, I really did not like If There’s No Tomorrow, in fact I would say I outright hated it.

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To be fair though, I went back and forth at first of whether or not to give it one or two stars on GoodReads.  Ultimately, I decided one star because I didn’t like it AT ALL..

The book focuses on the making one bad choice, but honestly I feel like the MC really didn’t make a bad choice so much as was just stupid.  It wasn’t like she could stop the events that happened from happening, and there really wasn’t much she could do.

But God knows, the sanctimonious characters in this book constantly blame the character for not stopping the drunk douche who drove the car in the tree from driving.  Literally, like after she woke up.  And for that matter they equated her not being able to grab the keys, not having enough common ass sense to get into the car with drunk people, to grown ass grownups providing their teen and his friends with alcohol…I have no fucking words.

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So yeah, pretty much this book is about the MC having a guilt trip for the duration of the book.  It’s not very good.

It reminded me a lot of a preachy PSA-a bad preachy PSA.  Look, I don’t think you have to be too smart to realize that drinking and driving is wrong AND that the idiotic MC should’ve been smart enough not to go in that car.  But to be fair, the MC had drank a beer  which could’ve affected her judgment(which, leads me to another diatribe how one or two drinks is completely brushed off even though the MC is freaking underage).   But for real, this book reminded me of that one episode of Full House (yes, I admit that at one point in my life I did watch that show) where Stephanie and Gia were going to ride with the guys who were on something-but it being Full House they just said they were just drunk-and DJ threw this hissy fit that kept Stephanie from getting in the car, but Gia of course got in and there was a wreck-but she didn’t die because it was Full House and only the un-named dead mother died and….

You get where I’m going here with this.

It’s cheesy.  It’s is preachy.  And to add crap on to this book, there is some ass kissing to some of Armentrout’s friends by referencing their YA books in her story.

It was sort of cute and original in the Lux series where the character had a blog and pandering wasn’t done by every YA authors in the world.  But on this one the pandering is so laughable its not even funny.  If you look at anyone who blurbed this book, their book is pretty much referenced in said book.

Not lying about that.

And when I see the ACOTR referenced  multiple times especially now after the third book  I cringe.

It’s not that I don’t think characters who love to read should be featured, but when it clearly plays no part of the story-like in this case-it just makes me roll my eyes.  All I have to say is at least she’s not a Booktuber.

Anyways, the romance that is heavily featured in the blurb was kind of pointless.  Yes, Sebastian and Lena do have some decent moments BUT I didn’t really even care about them since the book was mostly focused on guilt.

And yes, Sebastian played a huge role in why Lena got in that car, BUT all of their melodrama was really pointless.

I’ll be blunt about it, I read Armentrout for the cheese in the relationships that she creates.  The cheese was here, but the darkness and preachiness of the story made it too much for me to enjoy the book.

Funny, I didn’t have problems with Armentrout’s other books that had darker themes- The Problem With Forever and Don’t Look Back-but this book.

Blargh.

Overall Rating: For me it was a total fail.  I think objectively I’d give it a D, I finished it and there are (unfortunately) worse things out there in YA land.

Are You Sure This Isn’t a Katy McGarry Book: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Source: GoodReads

 

Man, if I didn’t know this book was by Jennifer L Armentrout I would’ve thought it was by Katy McGarry.

Like McGarry books this one is overly romantic and dramatic, but lacks the duel narrative that hers usually has.

All things considered it is a really solid contemporary.  The storyline was engaging and focused more on character development than plot.  Sure, there were a few over dramatic things that happened during the course of the story that made me want to gouge my eyes out a bit, but overall it was enjoyable.

I really enjoyed the character Mallory.  I feel like she is very relatable.  She’s at that age where a lot of people don’t know what they want in life but at the same time sort of do but haven’t came to those conclusions yet.  I thought Armentrout did that well.  I also enjoyed the romance for the most part.  Though, I could’ve lived without the Paige subplot.

That was a little too much for my taste and a bad throwback to YA of the mid 2000’s where the Mean Girl trope was alive and well.  And really, Paige wasn’t a necessity as was a lot of the external plot that went on that lead to the melodramatic event in the middle of the book that I found a tad bit unbelievable-though, I get events like this happen.  I think the thing that bothered me so much about this subplot was if you took it out of the story it would’ve been just as strong maybe stronger if you got annoyed with the melodrama.

The actual character development that went on with this particular book was pretty strong.  Mallory had a lot of shit to deal with and dealt with it.  I also liked how the romance wasn’t the focal point of the book.  Other relationships such as those with family and friends played an important role in this book, including self development.

In all this was a very different Jennifer L Armentrout book for me to read.  While there is still that ridiculous readable quality about it, but rather than being what I deem fast food reading (a book that’s not the best for you good) there’s something about this book that is more mature than those other books.

I also liked that this book incorporated diversity and not in a tokenism sort of way.  There are several characters who come from a non-WASP background were not generalized.

While not perfect, this is a good book.

Overall Rating: B+

There Goes My Theory: Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

Source: GoodReads

I had a theory that Armentrout’s New Adult books didn’t do it for me because they really didn’t have a plot.  For the most part, I adore her Young Adult paranormal books.  The Dark Elements series is currently one of my top guilty pleasure series.  And I really enjoyed the early Lux books.  So, when she announce she was doing a New Adult paranormal novel, I was more than a little curious.

But when I finished…

Yeah, not that impressed.

I want to say that this book wasn’t completely useless.  It did have a few things going for it.  Like Tink, I enjoyed him even if he was a bit of a trope.  I also enjoyed how the New Orleans setting was woven into the book.  It felt realistic enough, and having been to some of the restaurants that were mentioned in the book I’m going to give it a thumbs up on that.

There were also some decent lines thrown here and there.  Then again, Jennifer always has a talent with banter.  I think it’s probably her strongest suite.  However, sometimes the banter can get a little too much as it did here.

It’s the same with the pop culture references.  I loved them, especially the Harry Potter and Supernatural stuff but it borderline-ed on too much.

Then again, I’m giving that a lot of leeway since this was self pub.

And I have to say for a self pub book, this one was very professional.  And shows how self pub should be written.  Even with all the flaws this book had, it still was something you could very easily see on the shelf at your local bookstore.

So, I give a huge plus for that.

That being said, I did not like Wicked.  Maybe it was because it involved fae.  I am just not a fan of them.  I can read a book about them, but it has to be done in such a way where the world is slowly built and the mythology makes sense.  Here it was more or less a secondary plot.

The main focus was on the romance.

Which I expected, but I really thought the faes causing a potential apocalypse plot would’ve been first and foremost.  But nope.  Most of the novel was focused on Ivy and Ren and getting over Ivy’s big secret-the death of her boyfriend which she sort of caused.

Honestly, I could care less about either Ivy or Ren.  It wasn’t that they were horrible people.  Just dull.  It probably didn’t help that I kept associating Ivy with Poison Ivy-because she looked just like her.  As for the relationship….it really was a bunch of insta love on one part.  And sort of Ivy’s part too.

I get that they’re probably going to deal with issues later on based on that cliffie.

But yeah, I don’t care.

And I think that was the worst thing about Wicked.  I just didn’t care…and to be honest I don’t care enough to finish this series no matter what cliffhanger Armentrout throws at me.

Overall Rating: A solid C.  It’s decently written, the storyline and characters are good enough, but there’s no pop to it.

You’ve Worn Out Your Welcome: Stay With Me by J Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout)

At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Source: GoodReads

After Be With Me I vowed I’d never buy another J Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout’s New Adult books) again.  They just weren’t really doing it for me.  But hey if the library has a copy and the summary is halfway interesting, I’ll give it a chance.

Result: Better than Be With Me, but the title could’ve been shortened by about two hundred pages and it still probably would’ve been too long.

It took me about a week to read this one.

That’s never a good thing since even when I’m at my most busy I can usually knock back four hundred pages at most in three days.

Ugh, this book.

What I did Like:

  • The Focus on Plot For Once: For once we have a plot and I do think it helped with the story by making me finish it.  And while the plot wasn’t a favorite of mine it had its moments.  Yes, they were overly dramatic and there were points I wanted to be like-come on-but it was at least refreshing to see something happen.
  • Calla: I like the ideal of Calla.  I like that she isn’t traditionally pretty (though save for her scar she is described as being gorgeous).  The idea of someone dealing with physical scars, actually was really a good one because most people aren’t book model perfect.  So, Armentrout I’ll give you that.  Though the execution…we’ll save that for the What I Utterly Despised Section.
  • The Non-College Setting: Glad to see some New Adult happening outside of campus.  I like the bar/small town setting.  Though I felt that Calla seemed a little too much like a fish out of water, despite the fact that she grew up in said town.
  • Cameo Easter Eggs:  I like how there was a cameo of a couple of characters that were non Wait For You universe.  They weren’t Dameon Black, but hey…if you’ve read some of Armentrout’s other books it’s still nice to see nods to the past characters.

What I Sort of Liked

  • Jax: Up until the last hundred pages I liked this guy.  Okay, his devotion to Calla was sort of fast.  But I thought he was sweet.  And I like that he wasn’t a traditional BMOC.  What I didn’t like was how non-challant he was about a clingy ex-girlfriend.  Calla deserved better than that.  Also, man up and tell her the truth about the bar.  It was pretty obvious to me and I don’t even live in your stupid town, dude.
  • The Melodrama: While I always find melodrama entertaining, there’s points I want to say come on.  And this book has it.  To be fair, this J Lynn book uses different types of melodrama than the previous books-there’s no violence towards women in this book.  Just living with a crack head.  And honestly, I thought some of this was ridiculously handled.  Especially the ending.

What I Utterly Despised

  • The Pacing: This book was waaay too long.  I really think it could’ve lost two hundred or so pages and still might’ve been too long.  I felt like there needed to be more to the arc.  But it’s hard to pinpoint just what.  I think it might’ve been that the love story seemed a little unrealistic to me.  While it isn’t exactly insta love, I thought Jax’s attraction to Calla was a little too obvious.  It just really didn’t work for me.  Also, I felt like whenever the book felt like it was too boring Armentrout would randomly throw in some unrealistic event to make me want to read more.  It really didn’t work for me.
  • Calla: While I like the idea of her, I don’t like the execution.  I just wanted this character to be a little more active than passive.  Way too passive for my liking.  And really, why can’t she actually do something more than mope, get someone to rescue her, and lust over Jax.
  • Catch Phrases/Repeated Phrases: Please, stop with the repetitive catch phrases.  It’s like fetch, it’s not catching on with me.  Maybe it works for some people.  But not moi.

Overall Thoughts:

Believe it or not, I did like this one better than Be With Me.  I thought I could buy Jax and Calla a little more than Jase and Teresa.   Not that it’s great.

Laughs.

It was extremely boring for me, but it will have it’s fans.

I don’t regret my decision to only read J Lynn books via the library.  However, the quality of this book has me sort of disappointed. The past few Armentrout books I’ve read (two books in the Dark Elements series and Don’t Look Back) have been fairly decent if not good.  It’s a shame that this one sort of interrupted that trend.

Overall Rating: C.  Good ideas, sloppy execution.

 

Get the Vote On: Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L Armentrout

And I’m back from Blogger Blackout.  Well, I was here.  Just prolonging posting these reviews.  To be honest, I sort of needed a calm week emotionally.  And I think it was good to take a quasi break from the blogging world.  As for this review, I think the actual voting process is over (it was originally going to be posted last Sunday), but I still kept the title only because I couldn’t think of a better title and maybe some uninformed voter will actually think that they’re voting for a hot gargoyle and demon on election day.

And while I can understand how they think some politicians are the devil…I don’t see how they could think they’re hot.  But whatever.

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…

Source: GoodReads

Dear lord I needed this.

When I read this book it was a  horrible week for the blogging world and for me on a personal level as well.  Luckily, I had this book.  Okay, I’ll admit it had some of the typical YA cliches that if I’m going to be more critical I would totally call them out, but there’s some days I need cliche. And when Armentrout is on (and boy is she on in this series) she can write them to be quite enjoyable.

But yeah, I’ll be the first to admit this series is kind of like fast food good at the time and sometimes needed, but it’s not exactly something you’d want to read everyday.

And it doesn’t help that Layla can be really annoying at times.

Though, I tend to ignore this since the side characters and plot more than make up for it.  Honestly, this series reminds me of the days when the CW was the WB and shows like Charmed and Buffy were on the air.  Though Layla, is nowhere near as awesome as Buffy-just saying.

Though points to her and her friends for making a Buffy reference.

I think what I liked about this book was the twist and turns that the triangle made it.

Yes, you’re hearing that.  I ,MJ, cranky pants of cranky pants, actually like a cliche trope such as a love triangle.

Well, it wasn’t the triangle part so much than the character development for one of the guys in this book.

I have to say I was impressed with the big turn around that Armentrout did on my head in this book.  After the first book, I was Team Roth mainly because there was so much more development with the character in White Hot Kiss, but in Stone Cold Touch Armentrout does a 180 and develops Zayne.  And she didn’t even (excuse the pun) demonize Roth that much to do it.

You just got to see another side of the character.  The less appealing side.  Same could be said about the Zayne character in the previous book-though I think the trope of the unreliable narrator is used quite efficiently here.

So, in the end it wasn’t so much the romance I cared about but the character development.  Odd as it sounds.

However, it wasn’t the pining for either guy that kept me intrigued in the book.  It was that it actually had a relatively interesting plot.

That’s the thing about Armentrout books, I never read them just for the romance.  If they focus just on the romance the book and I probably arent’ going to get along (see her New Adult titles).  But her YA paranormals and contemporaries I usually like them a lot if they’re more plot heavy.  And Stone Cold Touch is.  Plot heavy that is. Well, plot heavy for Amentrout.

While the gargoyle mythology still hasn’t gone into the depth I’d like, I did like how Armentrout dived more into the demonic activity that occurred in the book.  So, that’s a plus.

But again, the plot isn’t that heavy.  Just like an episode of Charmed it’s mostly inconsequential but makes way for some fast pace and fun action sequences.

So, who did I end up voting for?

Well, I’m not telling.  But I did end up making a decision after reading it and it made more of an impact on me than any of the midterm election stuff (which is sad, because I should be concern in voting in an election that actually means something but since I live in a blood red state…)

Okay, I’m digressing.

Overall Rating: Borderline B+ it’s a fun book.  But I have to be in the right mood for it.  Overall, I think The Dark Elements series is one of Armentrout’s strongest.

If Independence Day Had a Baby With Roswell:Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout

 

 

 

 

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Source: GoodReads

Let’s talk about finales.  How would you like your series resolved:

A) A big epic battle where the hero or heroine has to make the ultimate choice to win the day.

B) An epic battle resolved by the main character create a unique and cunning plan.

C) A lame epic battle where nothing happens where all you have to do is walk out and say I’m Bella Swan a vampire and you win.

D) Have other people do the dirty work while you make out and win the day.  With a few causalities to insignificant ESPN watching characters.

If you answered D well you guessed the ending of the Lux series.

Yeah.

To be honest, I didn’t really have a lot of hopes for this one.  But considering that this one was the last book in the series and I made it through four books, I sort of felt trapped to finish this one.  The good news: it had it’s moments.  But God….it was still bloody annoying.

Let’s talk about the good.  The romance is not as noxious as it was in Origin.  Yeah, there were still a lot of moments where I was like stop making out, stop having sex, the world is ending and you need to act like Will Smith and try to do something.  But there weren’t as much sweet baby Jesus-es exchanged this time and for that I can be thankful.

There were occasionally some nice moments between the two that reminded me why I sort of liked them in the earlier book.  Oh, don’t get me wrong I was still annoyed, but less so than the last book.

I also liked the fact that this particular book was action packed.  Again, while I didn’t like some of the plot choices, I am appreciative that the story kept me entertained and had a moment or two where I laughed.

Now for the bad.

Oh, man, guys.  Where do I start?

This book was suppose to be about an alien invasion.  But while we were told this complete with the same opening music from Independence Day  (“It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I feel fine)), are brave characters are still able to make a road trip clear across country with minimum damage and not have to face off with advance alien technology.

Armentrout, dear lord, watch an episode of Ancient Aliens, will you?  Giorgio Tsoukalos will tell you over and over again how much more high tech the stupid aliens are than us.

But I guess we need plot holes.

Just like we need a plot hole why the freaking US government never thought about using nucs on the aliens.  Again, watch Independence Day- it might of failed there but it would’ve probably been a better option than your lame weapons.

I digress.

I think the point I’m trying to make from all this digressing is the invasion plot could’ve been handled better.  Some build up in the previous books instead of having a new big bad thrown at us in the end.

Did I really care about these villains?

No.

Even if they did kill a relatively minor character.  I still couldn’t give a shit.

The whole Luxen hive mentality also didn’t make sense.  The was no foreshadowing in previous books, so the whole thing made little to no sense.

And it was the power of love that broke the mental connection?

Really?

Oh, please.

You know, if I reread this series again I might make it a drinking game.

You know that could be fun.  I can already think about things to drink from:

  • Every time Damon calls Katy kitten.
  • Every time he makes an ass of himself.
  • Every time Katy mentions her book blog, so she can appear “normal”.
  • Every time they make out at an inappropriate time.
  • Every time sweet baby Jesus or aliens or some variant is used.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Oh, and did I mention I found typos in my finished copy.

Freaking typos.

To be fair, if I would’ve been younger and not reading YA books every other day I might’ve liked this one better.  It’s a fun read.  If you can look past the faults, be extremely shallow, and like cheesy romance this is the book for you.  For me, I’m just glad this series is over.  I really enjoyed the first few books, but the series has just seemed to go down hill.  Or maybe my reading tastes have changed.  The funny thing is, I have enjoyed the past few books by Armentrout.  But this one.  No thanks.

Overall Rating: C+

Overal Series Rating: C+ started strong and then just sort of failed.

In Which I Realize I Could be a Lady Detective: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

 

When I was a kid I always wanted to be Nancy Drew.  I mean, most sixteen to eighteen year-olds (depending on which version of the books you read) don’t get to travel around the world solving mysteries.  Or for that matter have a number of hot guys sniffing around you when you have a lame guy waiting at home for you (seriously, Nancy dump Ned already).  So maybe after reading all those mysteries where Nancy Drew was able to bring down some international gang/murderer/jewel thief I sort of got good at predicting mysteries.  Or maybe it was from watching too much Sherlock.

It really was probably the Sherlock.

The point is, I was able to predict the outcome of Don’t Look Back almost as soon as the culprit was introduced.

That’s not a good a thing.  However, besides that, this is probably the best Armentrout contemporary I read.  Which really isn’t saying that much since the contemporaries I’ve read from her thus far have been pretty god awful and puke inducing.

To be fair though, most of them were New Adult and there’s just something innately puke worthy about that genre.

I think it has to do with the fact that those books often have no plot.

Don’t Look Back though has a plot. A pretty trope worthy plot-a girl wakes up with amnesia and finds out that she’s the only one who knows what happened to her missing friend.  But still, a plot.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of amnesia plots.  I think it’s from watching too much daytime TV.  We all know how these shorelines are going to end (at least to a degree) which made Don’t Look Back  sort of snooze worthy.

But as snooze worthy as it might’ve been, it wasn’ terrible. I’ve read worst and that includes books written by other than Armentrout.

To be fair, there are a lot of Armentrout books I like, but for the most part these books have all been paranormal.Her contemporaries fall really flat  for me.

The fact this one had a plot and a main character who didn’t constantly say Sweet Baby Jesus and had a life outside of her love bunny was a plus for me.

And I really did like Sam for the most part.  She wasn’t exactly the best character, but she was tolerable.  I didn’t feel like strangling her every other minute, and I thought her reactions were pretty realistic.  I also liked the juxtaposing  of Past Sam with Blank Slate Sam.  It sort of gives you a need perspective on how someone’s choices and influences can effect their personality.

Additionally, I liked how Sam’s family had an actual role in this story other than being just there.  Though I do think a few of their depictions, especially the mother character were a bit unrealistic.  However, since most of them don’t have that large of a role, I was okay with it.  And yay, for protective brothers in YA.  I almost, sort of, wish there was a spinoff to this one just so Scott could have his own novel.

Then I remember Armentrout’s other spinoffs and shudder.

In all, I enjoyed this book.  It is predictable though and I bet it’s one that I’ll forget about in coming weeks.  Overall rating: B-.

You Might Want Fries With That: Hot White Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout

 

The good news: this is one of the better books that Jennifer L Armentrout has published as late.  It has sort of regained my faith in her (a bit) as a writer.

The bad news: It’s still a  homogenous as the rest of her books.

If you haven’t read a Jennifer L Armentrout then you’re in for a bit of a bummer since I’m about to tell to tell you the essential elements of a successful Armentrout book.  Meaning, its not New Adult.  Don’t get me wrong, Armentrout has legions of fans that love her NA stuff and that’s perfectly fine, but me…not a fan.

I actually do like her YA stuff a bit more.  But one of the things that really drives me crazy about it is that it sort of reminds me of fast food.  You know what you’re getting is bad for you.  That it’s the same old processed crap over and over again, maybe slightly repackaged so that the McRib still looks good, but it’s really the same high fat meal that while might be enjoyable for twenty seconds isn’t really anything revolutionary.

Yeah, that’s that book.  So now, dear readers, sit back and play how to write a Jennifer L Armentrout book:

1) Your Heroine Is:

A) Feisty but really a damsel in distress

B) Special and one of a kind

C) Pretty and she doesn’t realize it AND

D) All the boys miraculously love her even though up until this point she’s never had a boyfriend…

If you answered any one of these you have the typical Armentrout heroine and Layla is no exception.  I see shades of both Katy and Alex in her.  Honestly, I really wanted to like Layla.  And I’ll admit she had her moments, but at the end of the day she was a bit of a cliche.  I just really have a hard time liking these one of a kind, chosen one heroines.  And yeah, I know that chosen ones is just a cliche that is unfortunately going to have to be dealt with when it comes to YA books, but Armentrout usually does it in over kill mode.

Her saving grace though is that she has a really great voice.  At least when it comes to her YA heroines.  New Adult, I think her voice borders a little on whiney.  But with these books it’s sort of hidden given the fact we have demons walking around the Earth and gargoyles.  Plus, the editors at Harlequin Teen regulated the “Sweet Baby Jesuses” that are heavily featured in other Armentrout classics.

God bless you, Harlequin Teen.

2) What is your book mainly about

A) A highly complicated plot that explores two races and plays homage to a classic 1990’s cartoon with an unconventional romance.

B) Romance, romance, romance!  With a lot of sweet kissing and more kissing.  An oh yeah, super powers.  Let’s put them in at the end though, can’t forget the romance!

C) A deep look at a character who feels misplaced.

If you chose B then you guessed how this book went perfectly.  Honestly, I was stoked when I read this summary.  I am a huge fan of the 90’s cartoon Gargoyles and if this book would’ve been half as good as that show…Armentrout would be singing me some sweet baby Jesuses.

Hell, yeah.

That being said the gargoyle element was heavily underplayed in this book.  While the whole demon aspect was a little bit more thought out, it still was not really developed either.  It really was set in the book just to set up the romance.

Interestingly enough, a lot of the demon/gargoyle thing seemed similar to the luxen/arum thing.  Even the appearance of these creatures was comparable.

It’s more or less like the mythology is an after thought which is fine.  If you know what your’e getting yourself into that is.  Fans of folklore probably aren’t going to really like this book as someone looking for a romance with feels.

3) Speaking of romance your romantic lead in an Armentrout book will typically be:

A) An average guy who will have an occasional quirk or two, not look like an Armani underwear model-but is still pretty cute, and while he’s not always perfect he does something occasionally romantic that makes up for it.

B) Brad Pitt but younger (duh).  But you can’t be together because your like a second class citizen to him.  But if you were….oh, sweet baby Jesus you’d be the happiest dappiest couple ever.

C)Travis Maddox.  Obviously. It doesn’t matter if he’s doing ten to twenty behind bars, your love is true.

or

D) A guy who is snarky and borderline rude that annoys you.  But then he saves your life and oh sweet baby Jesus he looks good naked.

If you answered B or D (and I gave you a pretty obvious hint).  You’re correct.

Both Zayne and Roth are really Aiden and Daemon in slightly different packaging.  I’m actually, in a weird way, okay with this.  Even though it’s a bit annoying I’m getting essentially a McRib in slightly different packaging.

What interests me about this is that is I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of this love triangle.  Because it’s sort of like…well, who did I like more in my previous series.

And to be fair, these versions of Aiden and Daemon are a little bit more refined in some ways than their originals in some regard.  And they are original enough.  It’s just that despite their differences, I see who they really are.  I can just see a conversation like this going on between Armentrout and her editor about trying to cash in on the swoon that was so popular in her other series but in love triangle form. And how it will be the awesomest of awesome love triangles because Aiden and Daemon are so swoon worthy.

Here’s the thing, while I am sort of interested in this triangle, at the same time I see it for what it is (contrived).  Much like the rest of the book.  I’ll be the first to admit, that when I read this book I enjoyed it.  It was good brain candy.  I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, but at the end of the day I do see it for what it truly is.  Do I recommend it?  Yes, I do.  If you like fluff, but you have to know that your getting something that is written on a very obvious formula.  A successful formula, sure.   But a formula.

Overall Ratng: A solid B.

Another Nauseating NA Book: Be With Me by J Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout)

 

I officially give up on Jennifer L Armentrout (alias J Lynn) when it comes to New Adult thanks to Be With Me.

This has to be one of the blandest, most contrived NA books I’ve read in awhile.

In general, I find NA books to be bland.  I read them though out of some weird hope that one day one will break out from the norm of the abusive cute coed and BMOC and wow me.

It has not happened yet.

Jennifer L Armentrout is a writer who could’ve made an impact on NA.  I enjoy her early Lux novels and she has some interesting ideas, but her NA books really are lackluster and average to me.  Really, Wait for You is really a derivative of Tamara Webber’s Easy, except that book written better and the character seemed realistic (despite Lucas’s over dramatic backstory).  Frigid, was completely pointless.  Sure, it had a bit more of a plot than Wait for You, but at least Cam and Avery’s relationship was developed unlike Kyler and Sydney’s.

I really didn’t really have a lot of hope for Be With Me, but I did think that maybe, just maybe, Armentrout’s third NA book might be better than the last two.

It was worst.

The leads are insipid.

There’s Teresa who is really just your standard NA girl.  Super skinny, despite eating junk all day, who seems to attract every guy on campus.  Especially the BMOC who just can’t be with her because her past.  Well, in this case both of their past.  Rolls freaking eyes.

I really, really, couldn’t stand our leading man in this one.  The only thing Jase had going for him was his secret, which really had no role whatsoever in this story except for making him broody.

Tess’s backstory was a bore too.  The way it as played out was over dramatic and contrived that…well, General Hospital was more realistic.

That big tragedy on campus had me seething on so many levels.  For one thing, it wasn’t realistic.  I’ve watched enough Sherlock and CSI  to know that cops aren’t that daff.  Okay, more CSI  on that statement since Sherlock would probably say that cops can be idiots.  But still, it was sort of obvious that that character’s fate wasn’t as it seemed.  And based on the circumstances, you’d think the police would conduct a proper investigation.

But you know what Stephenie Meyer.  It’s fiction.

Oh, fuck that.

To be honest, that whole plot point bothered me on so many levels because it involved sensitive subject matter.  Finding out your roommate “hung” herself, does not mean start boinking the object of your lust especially in your brother’s apartment.

Really?  Really?

That disgusting tidbit aside, what really bothered me about this book was how copy/paste it felt.  A lot of these scenes seemed fairly repetitive from Armentrout’s other New Adult and Adult books.  I honestly skim through them because I already know what they’re going to say and they bore me.

Same with the courtship.  You know the characters aren’t going to get together for a hundred or some odd pages even though they are practically together (in an Armentrout book).  I get that this happens in a lot of YA and NA books, but in Armentrout’s case it’s always about ten times worse especially in the NA books.  I mean, seriously a guy brings you cupcakes every day and you don’t think he likes you…

I usually know that when these scenes of OMG sex is so good with him are included that they characters are going to fight and that they’ll make up sooner than later because the great sex was so good that means they were meant to be together.

That and Armentrout will throw some hasty life and death situation in front of them.

At the end of the day, I just really don’t know what to say.  This book isn’t horrific.  I’ve read worse NA books, believe it or not.  But I expect better from an author with Armentrout’s potential.  I really, just really, found this book to be cliche and full of soap opera melodrama.

Overall Rating: Three out of ten (C-).