Review: “Every Last Breath,” Jennifer L Armentrout

Review: “Every Last Breath,” Jennifer L ArmentroutEvery Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3)
Written by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published July, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
378 pages
Genres: Demons, Gargoyles, Romance, Urban Fantasy
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three-stars

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

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

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

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with Every Last Breath as a trilogy finale. While everything was kind of wrapped up, I felt it all came together way too conveniently and without much urgency. The ‘big bad’ wasn’t so bad after all when I look back on it. Still, I enjoyed watching everything play out and how the characters reacted. After a three-book journey, you can’t help but be attached to them in some way. Warning: spoilers in the full review.

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Review: “Stone Cold Touch,” Jennifer L. Armentrout

Review: “Stone Cold Touch,” Jennifer L. ArmentroutStone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2)
Written by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published October, 2014 by Harlequin Teen
464 pages
Genres: Demons, Gargoyles, Romance, Urban Fantasy
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three-stars

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…

Although I did enjoy Stone Cold Touch and devoured it just as quickly as its predecessor, I do feel that it fell into the trap that is ‘second book syndrome’. Quirks I enjoyed about the characters initially started to grate on my nerves as I realised they weren’t growing up or learning along the way. The love triangle, which I was quite happy to watch unfold initially, became a bit tedious, too.

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Review: “Pawn,” Aimée Carter

Review: “Pawn,” Aimée CarterPawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Written by Aimee Carter
Published November, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
346 pages
Genres: Dystopian
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three-stars

You can be a VII. If you give up everything.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Though it took a little time to really pick up, Pawn was a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. More simplistic than it’s fellow dystopian shelf-sitters, the plot and world of Aimee Carter’s new series is quite straightforward and the characters are easy keep track of. I liked this one more than I thought I would!Read the Full Review

Review: “Never Fade,” Alexandra Bracken

Review: “Never Fade,” Alexandra BrackenNever Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)
Written by Alexandra Bracken
Published October, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
507 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Psychics, Survival
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three-stars

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Though I devoured The Darkest Minds pretty much instantly, I had trouble enjoying Never Fade as much. It had a lot to do with my high expectations, the pacing and the ‘all over the place’ plot. While assorted pit-stops and road blocks were charming in The Darkest Minds, I felt that the second book in the series overdid it.Read the Full Review

Review: “The Morning Star,” Robin Bridges

Review: “The Morning Star,” Robin BridgesThe Morning Star (The Katerina Trilogy #3)
Written by Robin Bridges
Published August, 2013 by Delacorte
288 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural, Vampires, Werewolves / Shifters, Witches, Zombies
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three-stars

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1890

Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, wants to be known as a doctor, not a necromancer. But Tsar Alexander III forbids women to attend medical school; his interest in Katerina extends only to her ability to raise the dead. Twice now, Katerina has helped him by using her power to thwart the forces of darkness—vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar Konstantin Pavlovich so that he can take what he sees as his rightful place on the throne. Katerina thought she had bound Konstantin to the Greylands, the realm of the dead, but he has found a way out. Now he is searching for the Morning Star, a sword that will allow him to command a legion of supernatural warriors.

Katerina must find the sword before Konstantin does—and she must travel to Egypt to do so. Along the way, she puts up with unwanted attention from her former fiancé, the nefarious Prince Danilo, and struggles with her feelings for her true love, George Alexandrovich. But with the looming threat from Konstantin, Katerina's focus remains on the sword. Russia's fate will be determined by whoever wields the Morning Star—and delivers the final blow.

This one was so hard to review. I do love this series, but I had so many high expectations for The Morning Star and they just weren’t met. I had hoped that Robin Bridges would only expand upon the lavish world she had created in both The Gathering Storm and The Unfailing Light, but instead I felt that we were backpedalling in some way all throughout this one.Read the Full Review