Saturday, October 26, 2013

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout ☆☆☆☆

Wow. Just wow. So much happened in this book. Which is weird because the reviews I came across said nothing happened in this book and it was so boring. Did they read the same book? Seriously.

1. I didn't really like the way the first one ended because I thought Daemon was getting out of character with his feelings. I still kind of felt that way in this one too. He seemed to lose too much of his arrogance and snark, at least around her. And it was one of the things I loved about him, and even about them together. Though...reading the scenes from his point-of-view from Obsidian in the back of that book did help to piece together his seeming character change. [It also made me hate him slightly less after that cafeteria fiasco.]

2. So so so much sexual tension. They end up making out every where, no matter how many times she tells him it shouldn't happen because they don't feel anything for each other. None of the make out sessions are quite like the one he walked away from in the first book, but they still created tension. And it's hilarious that she keeps denying their feelings for each other. A large part of her denial is that she's upset with how he treated her in the first book, and hurt by it, so I'm screaming at him to tell her everything that was in his point-of-view from the back of the first book. Tell her what really happened at lunch!! Though he did have some incredible will power in the end.

3. Things get twisted. If their growing sexual tensions and denials of such weren't drama enough, throw in some extra super powers, a new kid in town that's suspicious, and huge connection to Dawson and Bethany's story and you have more drama than one person can deal with. Plus, we learn that there is more to the DOD than can be expected. While I didn't have as many suspicions about Blake as everyone else did, I still screamed at her to walk away when he was becoming too dangerous. She should have listened. It was more than Daemon being jealous and hurt and she knew it. But I had major suspicions about who turned in Dawson and Bethany which proved to be true, but was surprising in that I didn't realize he had already made an appearance in the story. Somehow I thought he was older the first time around.

4. While there are a lot of things unanswered (such as Bethany), and rightfully so to leave more to be discovered in he next novel, there were also things that were painful. I wished so so much that Blake wasn't as horrible as he was. It was beyond what I could handle in the end. I'm still really sad about it all. I was also shocked with and for Daemon with the people he crossed to protect Katy. And most especially, I realized that Katy was incredibly strong and incredibly stupid. She should have learned to trust her instincts, but she let emotional connections prevail every time. And I would have given up in her situation in the end when she kept fighting.

It did lose a star. And it was a very important star to lose with me. While I love the characters and the story, the passage of time was awkward and felt forced. "This happened and then this happened." One of my biggest fears as a writer is that kind of story telling. I've always been a short story writer and writing a novel made me nervous in that I wasn't sure how to fill in gaps in time without going through the motions of this then that then this. It's fine to do that in a rough draft, but it should be fleshed out at final draft. So it lost a star in delivery.

Although ending on a cliffhanger, this was the perfect cliffhanger to end on. It's enough that I'm satisfied where this one ended and also excited to read the next. The first book had a cliffhanger that seemed to end mid-scene so I had to keep reading the books to figure out what was happening. This one ended perfectly, that while I really want to read the next one, I can also stop and go read some other things I need to read first. Still a great series!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Shadows (Lux #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout ☆☆☆☆☆

So, apparently I thought Obsidian came first and that this was a prequel novel for it. But looking at the published dates, apparently this one came first. Regardless, I'm glad I read this one second. Some of the things that Daemon said in this one had me rolling with laughter because I knew what was going to happen and how far away from his promises to himself that he was going to go.
One thing I have to say is that I'm a little over the insta-love thing in stories overall. Especially when the characters are sixteen. I consider it highly naive. Not just because I was married right out of high school and it didn't last, but also because the kind of love-at-sight that's presented here was highly unrealistic. But I was still sucked in and completely pleased for it.

I really loved meeting Dawson and he was a great guy. There were so many differences between him and Daemon, but their love for each other was completely evident. They had a strong family bond. And I have to say my favorite part of this was the family, even though it centered around Bethany and was mostly from her point-of-view. I loved the arguments Dawson and Daemon were having telepathically, showing just how snarky they could both be. I love that they were both man-whores, but refused to let Dee even think of doing anything, telling her she'll be a virgin for life if they have any say. And most especially, I loved how Dee was too involved in anything. They're constantly stopping her in the middle of a sentence and telling her not to finish that sentence because it's too much information between family members. It made me love all of them that much more. And it made me highlight large portions of this book.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Arrangement 10 by H.M. Ward

The Arrangement 10 (Arrangement series) by H.M. Ward ☆☆☆☆

And it has arrived! I'd been waiting on this one. Sadly, my wait was in vain as this was pretty disappointing. Not disappointing in that I'd give it 3 stars though. In fact, I apparently had given in 5 stars on Goodreads until I started writing this review and then went back and changed it to 4 stars.

1. For an erotica series, nothing really happened in this segment. Sure, there was a lot of sexual tension, but that was it. Tension. She keeps denying what she wants and making excuses while doing his own thing.

2. This is where the segment should have dropped to 3 stars or even maybe less... This series has been built entirely on the sexual tension and the drama. I've already said it was lacking in the first. These segments have always ended with major cliffhangers that leave you dying to read more. The reason is the amount of drama. Just when something starts to tie up, everything goes to hell and Avery is thrown into more shit than she knows what to do with. This has been a given. And plenty of things were on the table for this segment to start that I was looking forward to it. But it all wrapped up way too easily, tied in a pretty bow. Amber just gives in? The videos are just handled? Everything goes beautifully? And Black doesn't even appear...yet. The drama was gone.

3. The characters were already changing way too much in the last one, slipping from their originally set up characters. In this one, it's even more so. Not only is Avery still changing, but Sean seems like a completely different character, and not in the cathartic moment sense of the phrase. He just is someone else entirely. This of course leads to the inevitable cliff hanger ending, which wasn't really a cliffhanger. The book says tune in to see what Sean says next, but it's beyond obvious. I'm not as excited to read the next, but I will because I'm emotionally invested in figuring out where this is going to go.

Although these reasons seem like more than enough to drop it more than one star, I didn't because it did have several really good scenes. And where a lot of things pulled me away from the story, there were still a lot of things I highlighted because I loved. And in the end, when I was complaining to my best friend that nothing happened, she kept reminding me, "There's still tension. You've said that. And that's what you really read it for. Not the erotica and not the drama. You read it for the sexual tension." And I guess she knows me well enough that I had to agree :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout ☆☆☆☆☆

Welcome back to my life, Jennifer! I had heard so much about Daemon and his snark, and I was already reading her other works so I finally gave in. Technically, I had given in and grabbed a copy far earlier, but I was putting it off because it was about aliens.

So, of course, I read it because I need an arrogant, snarky jerk. That's always my favorite love interest no matter what I read. And a synopsis of a hot boy next door that's great until he opens his mouth was a great way to lure me in. Add to that everyone talking about it and I couldn't resist.

Yes, I did put it off because of the alien thing. The only other alien series I've read is the Lorien Legacies. I'm not a huge alien fan. And in YA books as a romantic interest I was not anticipating the best. I was sorely mistaken. The most ironic part of this is that Katy is a huge reader and blogger and makes a comment that she really doesn't do alien books because they're not that interesting to her. Oh, the irony. Now if only my hot alien full of arrogance and snark would show up and prove me wrong too.

As I told my best friend when recommending this to her: "Daemon is the epic bad boy. The bad boy that puts all our favorite bad boys to shame. Jace, Will, anyone else you can think of...yeah, his snark is greater than them all."

I also love that Katy's a heavy reader as well as a blogger. It really ties in that side of us bloggers that isn't usually seen. It's even better in how serious she is about blogging. She does every In My Mailbox and Waiting of Wednesday. Things that drew me in to the blogs I was following. I sadly don't have the time for those. I barely keep up with this as is. I do miss my Top-Ten Tuesdays though. One day I'll have more time to put into my blog and can join in on all of those. Anyway, back on topic. It really made Katy a real character for so many of us, if not those that are blogging, but those that follow blog religiously as well. And I can totally relate to her in having books all over the house to read. She's a character that is one of us and so we root for her above all. Even when's she being an idiot and denying the undeniable.

....yep, my own personal Daemon has still not shown up to prove me wrong. Oh well...

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Transfer by Veronica Roth

The Transfer (Divergent #0.1) by Veronica Roth ☆☆☆☆☆

I've been looking forward to reading this since I heard it was coming out. Hell, since it was rumored that it was coming out. Four has always been my favorite, not only in this series, but over all. This series changed the way I look at writing and really inspired me. I was immediately jealous that someone so much younger than me could hit is so big with such a great book. And that jealousy has pushed me to keep going.

I love reading things from Four's point-of-view. Reading the knife scene in Free Four was really amazing. What made this ebook most interesting was the subject matter. We weren't looking at a scene we already saw from a different perspective. Instead we were seeing what Four's life was like growing up, the kind of monster his dad was behind closed doors (behind what we could see in his fear landscape). We also got to see the movements in his head that lead to his decisions for faction, how he was unaware of what he was going to choose up until he chose it. And we got to see what initiation was like for him, how it changed him and how he got his name. Most especially we got to see what initiation was like before it changed to what initiation became when it was Tris's turn.

I am so excited there are three more of these coming! I'm extremely excited that Allegiant is almost here! And most especially excited for the movie coming out for my birthday! So much love for this series :D

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Faulkner and Poetry

Faulker and Poetry: Yep, you read that right.

For some reason, I don't usually add the books I read to my list of books read for the year. Maybe it's because I don't always finish the books required for school. This semester I'm really trying to put in more effort, so I'm able to add them to my list. However, I am not going to review them. For one, it's already enough that I'm writing responses for them in class. But mostly, with Faulkner being so classic and the poetry being so independent, I don't have much to say on them for everyone to go by. I did, however, give them star ratings on Goodreads, but that's about it.

The Why:
Full-time grad school is three classes. Because I'm in my thesis year, I only take two regular classes, my thesis making up my third class. This semester, as my last semester of regular classes, I'm taking two studies in form class, a fiction class and a poetry. For fiction I am taking a class studying form in relation to Faulkner. That means we'll be reading many Faulkner novels this semester, so they'll appear on my list. For poetry I am taking a class on investigative poetry. I'm not going into explanation of that. Our professors has required books from small independent publishers to help the poetry community. These books only make up the first half of the semester though as the last half is workshopping our own investigative poetry. I'm doing my project on secrets :)

And back to my regular reading schedule.....
[Where hopefully I won't fall behind on blogging again where I have to alter the date for the post to pop up where it should have if I blogged regularly.......]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flat-Out Matt by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Matt (Flat-Out Love #1.5) by Jessica Park ☆☆☆☆

This isn't exactly a novel. It's more of a companion piece. This book tells several of the scenes in Matt's point-of-view rather than in Julie's. It gives an interesting character sketch of him. We get a pretty good sense of him before, but seeing his motivations and his guilt really made him so much better in my mind. As did listening to him break rather than watching him break. The poor boy.

Not only does it have scenes told from his point-of-view, but two of the scenes are more graphic in nature. She originally wrote this companion piece for fans and this bit gives those fans more sexual tension, which is always a plus. There was just a slight bit with Julie, but even more with Matt.

And most of all, this book finishes the last. The previous book left the ending very wide open so that we can imagine how it's going to go and feel content in the ending. This book continues from that point and gives more to the ending. We get to see what happens instead of just imagining it. And the bickering between them is forever great, especially when they turn into the parents of a road trip in regards to Celeste. My favorite part is their innuendo bickering over cathedrals in the end, when Celeste isn't as naive as they think. Great innuendo :)