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Friday, December 3, 2021

Book Review! Covet by Tracy Wolff

Covet (Crave #3) by Tracy Wolff
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

I may have reached my breaking point. As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire. Oh, and the Bloodletter has decided to drop a bomb of epic proportions on us all... Then again, when has anything at Katmere Academy not been intense?

And the hits just keep coming. Jaxon's turned colder than an Alaskan winter. The Circle is splintered over my upcoming coronation. As if things couldn’t get worse, now there’s an arrest warrant for Hudson’s and my supposed crimes—which apparently means a lifetime prison sentence with a deadly unbreakable curse.

Choices will have to be made...and I fear not everyone will survive.

Covet is the third book in the Crave Series by Tracy Wolff. So much goes on in each book, I don't even know where to begin. And they get better and better, hitting you with some surprises and a good dose of the unexpected. I'm Team Hudson.. all the way. To me, there's no competition, but Jaxon is a keeper too! They both have genuine qualities. We've gotten Grace's point of view through the whole thing so far, and she is such a fun and amazing character. A true spit fire! So, when the point of view changed at the end, it scares me a little going into the next book! 

This isn’t how it was supposed to happen.

This isn’t how anything was supposed to happen. Then again, when has my life gone according to plan this year? From the moment I first got to Katmere Academy, so much has been out of my control. Why should today, why should this moment, be any different?

I finish pulling up my tights and straighten my skirt. Then I slide my feet into my favorite pair of black boots and grab my black uniform blazer from the closet.

My hands are shaking a little—to be honest, my whole body is shaking a little-as I ease my arms into the sleeves. But I feel like that’s fair. This is the third funeral I’ve gone to in twelve months. And it hasn’t gotten any easier. Nothing has.

It’s been five days since I beat the challenge.

Five days since Cole broke the mating bond between Jaxon and me and almost destroyed us both. Five days since I nearly died…and five days since Xavier actually did.

My stomach pitches and rolls and for a second, I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I take several deep breaths—in through my nose, out through my mouth—to quell the nausea and the panic rising inside me. It takes a minute or three, but eventually both feelings subside enough that it’s no longer like I’ve got a fully loaded 18-wheeler parked on my chest.

It’s a small victory, but I’ll take it.

I pull in one more deep breath as I fasten the brass buttons on the front of my blazer, then glance in the mirror to make sure I look presentable. I do…as long as you play fast and loose with the definition of “presentable.”

My brown eyes are dull, my skin sallow. And my ridiculous curls are fighting the bun I’ve wrestled them into. Of course, grief has never been my best look.

At least the bruises from the Ludares challenge have started to fade, turning from their original violent black and purple into that mottled yellow/lavender color that happens just before they disappear completely. And it helps slightly to know that Cole finally hit my uncle’s too-many-strikes-and-you’re-out limit and got expelled. Part of me wishes that he’ll meet an even bigger bully at that school for paranormal delinquents and misfits he was sent to in Texas…just to see how it feels for once.

The bathroom door opens, and my cousin, Macy, walks out, robe on and towel wrapped around her head. I want to hurry her along—we’ve only got twenty minutes before we’re supposed to be in the assembly hall for the memorial—but I can’t. Not when she looks like her every breath is an agony.

I know, too well, how that feels.

Instead, I wait for Macy to say something, anything, but she doesn’t make a sound as she heads toward her bed and the dress uniform I’ve laid out for her. It hurts to see her like this, her bruises no less painful than mine for being on the inside.

From my first day at Katmere, Macy has been this irrepressible presence. Light to Jaxon’s dark, enthusiasm to Hudson’s sarcasm, joy to my sorrow. But now…now it’s like every single speck of glitter has disappeared from her life. And from mine.

“Do you need help?” I finally ask as she continues to stare down at her uniform like she’s never seen it before.

The blue eyes she turns my way are haunted, empty. “I don’t know why I’m being so…” Her voice drifts off as she clears her throat in an attempt to force away the hoarseness of misuse—and the sadness that is causing it. “I barely knew—”

This time she stops, because her voice breaks completely. Her fists clench, and tears swim in her eyes.

“Don’t,” I say, moving to hug her, because I know what it’s like to beat yourself up over something you can’t change. Over surviving when someone you love hasn’t. “Don’t discount your feelings for him just because you didn’t know him forever. It’s about how you know a person, not how long.”

She shudders a little, a sob catching in her chest, so I just hug her harder, trying to take away a little bit of her pain and sadness. Trying to do for her what she did for me when I first got to Katmere.

She holds me just as tightly, tears rolling down her face for so many tortured seconds. “I miss him,” she finally chokes out. “I just miss him so much.”

“I know,” I soothe, rubbing her back in slow circles. “I know.”

She cries in earnest now, shoulders shuddering, body shaking, breath breaking, for minutes that seem to last forever. My heart crumbles in my chest-for Macy, for Xavier, for everything that’s brought us to this moment—and it’s all I can do not to cry with her. But it’s Macy’s turn right now…and my turn to take care of her.

Eventually, she pulls away. Wipes her wet cheeks. Gives me a fragile smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. “We need to go,” she whispers with one last pass of her hands over her face. “I don’t want to be late to the memorial.”

“Okay.” I return her smile with one of my own, then walk away to give her some privacy to get dressed.

When I turn back a few minutes later, I can’t help but gasp. Not because Macy has done a glamour to dry and style her hair-I’m used to that-but because her hot-pink hair is now pitch-black.

“It didn’t feel right,” she murmurs as she combs her fingers through a few strands. “Hot pink isn’t exactly a mourning color.”

I know she’s right, and still I mourn for the last vestiges of my bright and shiny cousin. We’ve all lost so much recently, and I’m not sure how much more we can take.

“It looks good,” I tell her, because it does. But that’s no surprise—Macy would look good bald or with her hair on fire, and this is a far cry from either of those. It does make her look even more delicate, though. Even more fragile.

“It doesn’t feel good,” she answers. But she’s sliding her feet into a stylish pair of flats, adding earrings to the myriad holes in her ears. Doing another glamour—this one to get rid of her red and puffy eyes.

Her shoulders back, her jaw locked, her eyes are sad but clear as they meet mine. “Let’s do this.” Even her voice is resolved, steely, and it’s that determination that gets me moving toward the door.

I grab my phone to text the others that we’re on our way, but the second I pull open the door, I figure out it’s unnecessary. Because they’re all right here in the hall, waiting for us. Flint, Eden, Mekhi, Luca. Jaxon…and Hudson. Some are more banged up than others, but they’re all a little worse for wear—just like Macy and me—and my heart swells as I look them over.

Things are a mess right now—oh my God, are they a mess—but one thing hasn’t changed. These seven people have my back and I have theirs…and I always will.

But as my eyes meet Jaxon’s cold, dark ones, I can’t help acknowledging that while one thing hasn’t changed, everything else has.

And I have no idea what to do about any of it.

Have you read the other books in this series?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff is a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. A onetime English professor, she now devotes all her time to writing dark and romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all her sixty-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family.

To learn more about Tracy Wolff and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Book Review: The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance/Science Fiction)
Date Published: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen

When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux—only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected.

Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is—and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions.

Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous…and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists.

And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point.

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the world of the Lux with this steamy, shocking second installment of the Origin series that will leave readers reeling.

The Burning Shadow is the second book in the Origin series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. We find out so much juicy stuff about Evie within this book, I don't even know where to start. There was more down time in this book over the first one, but when things were happening, it was pure craziness. You really have to read these books in order, and preferably one right after the other so as not to forget the details. There is so much in the details! I'm so anxious to get my hands on the next book in this series!

“Just put it in your mouth already.”

Blinking rapidly, I lifted my gaze from the steaming bowl of tomato soup to where my mom stood.

That was a string of words I sort of never wanted to hear come out of her mouth ever again.

Her blonde hair was smoothed back into a short, neat ponytail and her white blouse was impressively wrinkle free. She wasn’t so much staring as she was glaring from where she stood on the other side of the island.

“Well,” came the deep voice from beside me. “Now I feel super uncomfortable.”

The woman I’d believed to be my birth mother up until a few days ago appeared remarkably calm despite the fact that the dining room was still in shambles from the epic death match that had taken place less than twenty-four hours ago. This woman did not tolerate disorganization of any kind. However, the taut corners of her lips told me she was seconds from becoming Colonel Sylvia Dasher and it had nothing to do with the broken dining table or the shattered window upstairs.

“You wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup,” she said, punctuating each food item as if they were a newly discovered disease. “I made it for you, and all you’ve done is sit and stare at them.”

That was true.

“I was thinking.” There was an elaborate pause. “That getting you to make me grilled cheese and tomato soup was too easy.”

She smiled tightly, but it didn’t reach her eyes—eyes that were brown only because she wore specially designed contacts that blocked the Retinal Alien Check—RAC—drones. Her real eyes were a vibrant blue. I’d only seen them once. “Are you worried that the soup is poisoned?” 

Check out my reviews of other books by this author!

# 1 New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

To learn more about Jennifer L. Armentrout and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramBookBub, and Twitter. You can also check out her Goodreads page as J. Lynn.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Book Review: Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance/Dystopian)
Date Published: April 2, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen

The gripping fifth installment in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shatter Me series. Will Juliette’s broken heart make her vulnerable to the strengthening darkness within her?

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.

Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.

This is the fifth book in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. After the way the last book ended, I really needed Juliet's present day perspective sooner than I got it. We got her past perspectives. We got Warner's past perspectives. We got a lot from Kenji in the present, and then finally we got present day Juliet. This book gave us a lot of history, which is good, I suppose. So, much was going on with Warner, Juliet, and Emme that we had no clue about during the first three books, but I dunno, I'm still not sold on it. I liked it ending as a trilogy. Sometimes less is more, you know? That original trilogy was amazing. We didn't need more. This book? It almost felt forced in places. It worries me. I really hope the next book leaves us with a satisfying overall ending.


She’s screaming.

She’s just screaming words, I think. They’re just words. But she’s screaming, screaming at the top of her lungs, with an agony that seems almost an exaggeration, and it’s causing devastation I never knew possible. It’s like she just—imploded.

It doesn’t seem real.

I mean, I knew Juliette was strong—and I knew we hadn’t discovered the depth of her powers—but I never imagined she’d be capable of this.

Of this:

The ceiling is splitting open. Seismic currents are thundering up the walls, across the floors, chattering my teeth. The ground is rumbling under my feet. People are frozen in place even as they shake, the room vibrating around them. The chandeliers swing too fast and the lights flicker ominously. And then, with one last vibration, three of the massive chandeliers rip free from the ceiling and shatter as they hit the floor.

Crystal flies everywhere. The room loses half its light, bathing the cavernous space in a freakish glow, and it’s suddenly hard to see what’s happening. I look at Juliette and see her staring, slack-jawed, frozen at the sight of the devastation, and I realize she must’ve stopped screaming a minute ago. She can’t stop this. She already put the energy into the world and now—

It has to go somewhere.

The shudders ripple with renewed fervor across the floorboards, ripping through walls and seats and people.

I don’t actually believe it until I see the blood. It seems fake, for a second, all the limp bodies in seats with their chests butterflied open. It seems staged—like a bad joke, like a bad theater production. But when I see the blood, thick and heavy, seeping through clothes and upholstery, dripping down frozen hands, I know we’ll never recover from this.

Juliette just murdered six hundred people at once.

There’s no recovering from this.

I shove my way through the quiet, stunned, still-breathing bodies of my friends. I hear Winston’s soft, insistent whimpers and Brendan’s steady, reassuring response that the wound isn’t as bad as it looks, that he’s going to be okay, that he’s been through worse than this and survived it—

And I know my priority right now needs to be Juliette.

When I reach her I pull her into my arms, and her cold, unresponsive body reminds me of the time I found her standing over Anderson, a gun aimed at his chest. She was so terrified—so surprised—by what she’d done that she could hardly speak. She looked like she’d disappeared into herself somewhere—like she’d found a small room in her brain and had locked herself inside. It took a minute to coax her back out again.

She hadn’t even killed anyone that time.

I try to warm some sense into her, begging her now to return to herself, to hurry back to her mind, to the present moment.

“I know everything is crazy right now, but I need you to snap out of this, J. Wake up. Get out of your head. We have to get out of here.”

She doesn’t blink.

“Princess, please,” I say, shaking her a little. “We have to go—now—”

And when she still doesn’t move, I figure I have no choice but to move her myself. I start hauling her backward. Her limp body is heavier than I expect, and she makes a small, wheezing sound that’s almost like a sob. Fear sparks in my nerves. I nod at Castle and the others to go, to move on without me, but when I glance around, looking for Warner, I realize I can’t find him anywhere.

What happens next knocks the wind from my lungs.

The room tilts. My vision blackens, clears, and then darkens only at the edges in a dizzying moment that lasts hardly a second. I feel off-center. I stumble.

And then, all at once—

Juliette is gone.

Not figuratively. She’s literally gone. Disappeared. One second she’s in my arms, and the next, I’m grasping at air. I blink and spin around, convinced I’m losing my mind, but when I scan the room I see the audience members begin to stir. Their shirts are torn and their faces are scratched, but no one appears to be dead. Instead, they begin to stand, confused, and as soon as they start shuffling around, someone shoves me, hard. I look to up to see Ian swearing at me, telling me to get moving while we still have a chance, and I try to push back, try to tell him that we lost Juliette—that I haven’t seen Warner—and he doesn’t hear me, he just forces me forward, offstage, and when the murmur of the crowd grows into a roar, I know I have no choice. I have to go.

Check out my reviews of the other books in this amazing series.

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the SHATTER ME series. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste.
When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts.
SHATTER ME is her first novel.

Foreign rights have sold in 25+ territories to-date and film rights have been optioned by 20th Century Fox.

Her work is represented by Jodi Reamer of Writers House, LLC.

To learn more about Tahereh Mafi and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookPinterestInstagram, and Twitter.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

The Damned (The Beautiful #2) by Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Historical Romance)
Date Published: July 7, 2020 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful. 

The Damned is the second book in The Beautiful series by Renée Ahdieh. I had a really hard time getting into this one. I actually stopped reading it for a while and then came back a month or so later to finish it up. I don't know what was different from the first book, but I was just not clicking with it. I missed some of the dark mystery, and charm, and that chemistry between Celine and Bastien that we found in the first book. It felt very tedious with not a lot happening most of the time. There are a lot of good reviews out there.. It just didn't grab me, and at this point, I feel like I probably won't read the next book. 

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. In my spare time, I like to cook, mess with makeup, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

To learn more about Renée Ahdieh and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramTumblr, and Twitter.

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