Review: Poison Princess

Title: Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)17164644

Author: Kresley Cole

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: October 2, 2012

Summary: She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

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I don’t know what I thought this book was about, I read the summary and heard lots about it from this girl on YouTube that I really like, but for some reason I was not expecting anything even close to what this book was. I mean, this book was weird and unpredictable in a really great sort of way.

The book starts off months A.F. which we find out means “After Flash” and this creepy guys is luring our protagonist into his house, drugging her, and having her tell him her story. Evie explains how she was sent to a mental institution because of her nightmares and crazy hallucinations about the end of the world, which ultimately happens. But Evie has strange powers that she doesn’t understand and she needs to find her grandmother who can help her. But that means traveling across the now barren country, littered with cannibals, Bagmen (like zombie vampires), slavers, rapists, and who knows what else. It also means trusting Jackson, a Cajun bad boy she knew before the Flash that she didn’t quite get along with.

I really didn’t expect a lot of things in this book. One of the major things was all of the Tarot card stuff. Evie is apparently The Empress and there are a whole bunch of other teenagers still alive that represent one of the major Tarot cards. And there is a huge battle to come between good and evil where supposedly only one will survive. I actually really liked the Tarot mythology mixed into this, it was super interesting and not something I’d ever really read about. I thought it was kind of a strange blend with the post-apocalyptic world, but it really kind of worked, much to my surprise. We do get to encounter a few of the other tarot kids in this book, and I really liked seeing how they represented their card, and one of the things I’m looking forward to most in the next book is seeing a lot more of that.

As for the post-apocalyptic world, that actually really worked for me too. Even as I’m thinking about this book, the mix of things was really strange but somehow the author made it work really well. I loved the darker tones the author brought out in this world, with all of the cannibals and slavers, and the army sweeping across the land, taking supplies and women. Seeing Evie and Jackson having to scavenge for food and gas, all while avoiding certain death around every corner, it was so intense and gritty. It really had this kill or be killed vibe to it and I loved it. That just might be my inner Walking Dead fan-girl taking over though.

As for Evie though, I really kind of had a problem. I absolutely hated her at the beginning. When we see her life before the Flash, she is popular and rich and shallow and kind of a bratty snob. Then the apocalypse happens and she is all soft and whiny and completely unreasonable all the time and just annoyed me so much. She relied on Jackson to do everything, whined and cried when he treated her like a baby (even though she was acting like one) and really couldn’t do anything. At one point, she is mad that Jackson leaves her behind to go steal some supplies and possibly end up fighting his way out, despite the fact that she can’t fight, would totally get in the way and probably just distract him the whole time. Yet earlier in the book, he tries to get her to shoot his crossbow and she straight up refuses. Gah, she drove me so crazy. I did like the changes she was going through by the end of the book though, I have really high hopes for her in the next one.

As far as Jackson goes, I also hated him at first. Damn, I really hated this boy. He was rough and rude and not in a sexy, bad boy sort of way. But by the end of the book, he was really starting to grow on me. He still got super mad about stuff and was a possessive jerk sometimes, but it almost made him more realistic to me because he wasn’t some pretty boy spouting romantic poetry and constantly sweeping Evie off of her feet. He got mad and emotional and was stupid and mean sometimes and deserved to get kicked a lot. But when you starting getting bits and pieces of his life before and how he had to live, I couldn’t help but soften a little. Here’s the problem though. His goddamn Cajun accent. Now the talking in French, that I could totally handle no problem. And I love listening to someone talk with a Cajun accent just as much as the next girl. But reading around that awful accent, trying to figure out what the hell he was trying to say, it became a new form of torture for me. And I don’t hear Cajun accents often so reading his sentences didn’t quite have any sort of flow, so half of the time, me trying to decipher what he was saying made him sound like an uneducated idiot, which was not attractive. Yes, I was getting used to it be the end of the book, and yes, I know it’s shallow of me, but I almost couldn’t stand it. Plus I hated every single time he referred to himself as “ole’ Jack”. I mean, come on.

The romance was okay. The main problem I had was that they were both absolutely idiotic and ridiculous about the whole situation and it ended up being pretty predictable and cliche. We have Evie whining over Jackson being mean to her all the time, getting mad every time something bad almost happens, then crying because he must hate her. But we all know he is like that because he likes her and wants to protect her. Then we have Jackson who thinks Evie would never like someone like him because he was poor before the Flash. But we all know she couldn’t care less because money doesn’t exactly matter in the apocalypse. Then they kiss and misunderstandings happen, fighting and crying, enter a new hot girl that’s all over Jackson, jealousy, blah, blah blah… We all know how that goes and we all know how it’s going to end.

All I can say is that this book completely surprised me, went off in a direction I wasn’t expecting, and I really loved that. The world was dark and gritty, and I loved the more mature things mixed into this book, like the unexpectedly violent and graphic parts, I was surprised by that but it really added to the whole vibe of this book. I found that even though this mix of Tarot mythology and post-apocalyptic was a weird mix at first, the author really made it work. Even though I had a few problems with the characters, I found them really growing on me by the end of the book. I can’t wait to learn more about the other kids and what their powers are and how the fit into the upcoming battle. Not to mention I already have a thing for Death. Oh yeah, I’m sensing that behind that dark armor there in a misunderstood bad ass just waiting for a girl to come along and sooth his tortured soul. If Death has a soul. I guess we will find out.

RATING: 

Review: Partials

Title: Partials (Partials Sequence #1) 12476820

Author: Dan Wells

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: February 28, 2014

Summary: For fans of The Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica, and Blade Runnercomes the first book in the Partials Sequence, a fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting sci-fi teen series, by acclaimed author Dan Wells.

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.

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So I did an unboxing video recently for all of the books I ordered from Book Outlet on their boxing day sale and this book was the one that everyone commented on and freaked out over me needing to read it. Finally I caved in to all of the peer pressure like the wimp I am. And now I’ve got to say thanks to everyone that yelled at me for not reading this book because I really loved it.

In Partials, in the future we create artificial intelligence in the form of Partials, who look exactly like humans except they are built different internally and have things like super strength. We built them to fight in our wars and work in our factories, thinking them to be less than human because they were created; so they rebelled. What’s left of humanity, as far as they know, now live cornered off in a city, while Partials roam over the rest of America. But what’s worse is that the Partials created a virus that swept through and killed nearly everyone and now any baby that’s born doesn’t live more than three days.

Dan Wells did a great job in my opinion building this world. Because no babies are surviving, the government created the Hope Act which requires women to get pregnant at a certain age and to continue having babies as often as humanly possible. I found this to be both fascinating and horrifying. Fascinating because I sort of understood why it was happening, and I could see where the government was coming from. The more babies born, the more likely one will be born that survives. But horrifying because every single woman looses their baby then is forced to just keep having them, knowing every time that it wouldn’t live. That paired with the post-apocalyptic lands outside the city, the constant fear of attack, made this world eerie and unsettling because of how realistic it was.

Kira Walker is our main character, a sixteen year old girl who works in the hospital and records information on the baby deaths. But it’s not enough and she knows it. And when her sister becomes pregnant, she knows that she has to do something to save the baby. So she has the idea to capture a Partial and study it to see how it isn’t affected by the virus in hopes of making a cure. Kira was a really likable character to me, I admired her determination and compassion for others. She has this whole thing though where she wants to save everyone, but maybe that’s what happens when you live in a world where everyone dies.

All of Kira’s friends were pretty interesting but none of them particularly stood out to me. I liked them all just fine but they never really got lots of time or development in this book beyond the occasional conversation or scene. I did really like though that this book had little to no romance. Kira is dating Marcus, a boy she has known for years and she genuinely likes him. I liked that she wasn’t unhappy with him and just waiting for a new boy to come and sweep her off her feet. She has a good relationship with him and it showed through out the book for the few parts that there were any sort of romance moments. And with that, I was really happy to see that there wasn’t any stupid insta-love stuff. There is possibly a slight love triangle, but not really, I wouldn’t even consider it to be one which made me beyond happy.

I really liked that this book address that question about what makes people human. We have the Partials who we find out rebelled because they were living terrible lives, basically slaves, and they considered themselves worthy and alive enough to be deserving of rights. And we really get to see that when Kira finally encounters a Partial and he is more human than she expects. I love anything that really asks those sorts of questions about artificial intelligence because I think that it’s only a matter of time because we start creating advanced artificial intelligence and I wonder what it would really be like in comparison to examples we see in media today. And I definitely like thinking about them more as being misunderstood and just wanting to be treated well, rather than a violent group that wants to annihilate the human race.

I also really loved that this book made the science understandable. Kira is some sort of super science genius and it study the virus and various people’s blood and things like that. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I shouldn’t have been able to understand anything she was doing. Except, through the book, her research and thought process, as well as the virus itself, were all explained in a way I could understand. Which was saying something.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The plot was really fast paced and suspenseful, and I never knew what was going to happen next. The only problem I had with the book, besides the lack of interesting secondary characters, was the ending actually. Without giving too much away, it felt rushed and a few out of character things happened. I definitely didn’t enjoy the last fourth of the book as much as the rest. I’ve already ordered Fragments, and I can’t wait to see where this goes. Dan Wells did any amazing job with the world and addressing questions about artificial intelligence and I had a great time reading it.

RATING: 

 

February New Releases!

 

22055262 22535481 Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, #1) 15750874 20657437 Shutter

February is going to be an awesome month. There are so many new books coming out that I can’t wait to get my hands on! It’s times like this that I have to really struggle with myself to not pre-order every single book.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: This book sounds so amazing. Kell is a magician who has the ability to travel between parallel universes. His choices consist of Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London that no one speaks about. He apparently commits treason and has to go on the run, where he meets Delilah who forces him to take her along for the ride. As a fan of the movie Howl’s Moving Castle, I can’t help but squeal over how this book reminds me of how Howl would turn the wheel next to his door to a color, and each color opened somewhere new. I’m already in love with this book because it sounds like an amazing magical adventure and I trust V.E. Schwab to deliver.

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas: Sleeping Beauty isn’t a fairy tale that I’ve read many re-tellings about, but I’m excited all the same. Aurora wakes up to the prince kissing her and is supposed to run a kingdom that has been waiting for her return. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? On top of that, Aurora might still have a curse that sould destroy her whole kingdom. Yikes. I’m a huge fan of fairy tale books and even though this one has been getting some mixed reviews, I’m definitely going to be giving it a try.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: In this book, there is a huge social division between the poverty stricken Reds, and the rich Silvers who have been blessed with amazing powers. A Red girl named Mare finds herself working in a the Silver Palace and discovers that she has a power of her own. I love books that feature someone from the lower class infiltrating the higher class and looking at it with a different view. That was one of the things I loved about Red Rising. So this books sounds super intriguing and I can’t wait to see what the author does with this world and how she portrays the obviously different classes. I have heard that it features a love triangle though, so lets just hope that it’s not absolutely unbearable.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: In this book, Twylla’s touch kills anyone so she lives in the palace, engaged to the prince, and executes the prisoners once a month. I feel like there is so much potential here and I hope the author really focuses on her struggle to understand and live with her powers. I’m afraid though that it’s going to be very romance heavy and take away from all of the character development I’m hoping to get with Twylla. However, this book still sounds like it’s full of political intrigue and suspense, and of course fantasy. How could I resist?

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons: I’m a little nervous to read this book because it has the potential to be very dark and I don’t usually read things that involve rape or serious abuse. Women are scarce in this world and are hunted down by to be sold off to be bred to the highest bidder. Aya is surviving in the wild with a group of women, until they are caught. I’m very intrigued by this concept since it seems pretty unique in comparison to lots of YA books coming out right now, but again, I’m nervous that it’s going to feature some darker parts. It still has lots of potential to be a beautiful story about survival in this world, and I’m all about girl power so hopefully Aya kicks some butt and makes some changes.

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott: I read the first book in this series last year, Fire & Flood, and didn’t really like it. Tella, the heroine, was just annoying and constantly a damsel in distress and it drove me crazy. Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous romance. However, there were a few things that were kind of fun about the book and I’m willing to give the second one a shot, just because I want to see if Tella actually goes through any sort of growth in this book. She still haunts me to this day as just being one of the most idiotic protagonists of all time and I have to see what happens to her in this book. I know it’s an awful reason to be excited for this book, but if it’s bad, at least I’ll get a laugh out of it.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda: This book sounds so spooky and creepy and fascinating. It’s about Micheline, a girl who hunts ghosts and monsters and things and with weapons and a camera. Yep, a camera. This sounds so interesting to me, I hope the author does a good job of explaining how exactly that works because I have no idea but I’m intrigued. Her and her team are infected by some sort of curse and have a week to break it or they all die or get their souls sucked into hell. Sounds awesome and bad ass, right? All of the people on her tea have special skills and I’m excited to see how they all work together to hunt down monsters. Plus, I love demons and supernatural beasties of all sorts, so I couldn’t be more excited to read this.

There’s my list of books I ca’t wait to read next month, which of these are you guys most excited for? Or let me know if there are some you can’t wait to read that I didn’t put on my list!

Review: Stone Cold Touch

Title: Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) 17455815

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Summary: 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…

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I really didn’t think it was possible, but I think I loved this one just as much as the first book, White Hot Kiss. I mean, I don’t know how Jennifer L. Armentrout did it, but damn, I didn’t put this book down once.

So at the end of the first book, Roth had been sent to hell, Layla could change into a weird gargoyle/demon mix, and the bad guy was stopped, only after he broke a few of Lilith’s chains though. So we start off this book with Layla missing Roth, thinking he must not be coming back, and Zayne and her are kind of becoming closer. Then *poof*, Roth appears out of no where, with a warning that a Lilin has been made, and a cold-as-ice attitude towards Layla. On top of that, Layla’s powers are changing and Zayne can’t seem to keep his big grabby paws off of her.

The main thing that I really loved about about this book was that the plot was so interesting and really kept my attention. In the first book, I was mostly focused on the romance between Roth and Layla, but in this one, the mystery was what kept me on my toes most of the time. That might have been though because this book was a lot more about Zayne and the dreaded love triangle. But we’ll get to that in a minute. The mystery was intriguing and I thought I knew what was going on, but then there was a big twist and I was wrong and my mind was blown. I love a mystery that really keeps me guessing and is unexpected. Also, there were so many kick-ass parts in this book, mostly centered around Roth being a scary demon boy, and I loved it. Is it weird that I find Roth extra attractive when he’s ripping out people’s spines and shoving guns into their guts? *Swoon*

Layla had a really rough time in this book. Weird things start happening when she’s around and suddenly none of the Wardens, except Zayne, trust her. Even Abbott has it out for her. And it was actually really kind of sad seeing Layla still not being accepted by the man she considers her father, and knowing that they all think she is evil. You see it start to really get to her when even she starts to doubt herself. But with that, she also starts to question whether the bad side of her is really all that bad. Luckily though, she has two hunky boys trying to seduce her, so I’m sure that kept her distracted a lot of the time.

So of course, we have our love triangle. The love triangle worked a lot better for me in the last book because she was only really having a romance with Roth, she was just confused because she had been in love with Zayne forever. In this book though, she is kind of going full steam ahead with both boys and that frustrated me. Zayne is definitely the main boy focus through a big part of this book, and while I did enjoy their history and have to admit he isn’t the worst guy ever, he isn’t Roth. Which was something Layla had problems with too, constantly thinking about Roth when she was with Zayne, which should have been a huge sign to her. Not to mention, she should realize who the right choice is. I’m not saying that because I’m totally Team Roth, I’m saying it because of how each boy treats her. Roth lets her stand up for herself, and while he’s protective, he never holds her back. He also loved both sides of her and tries to help her realize that she demon half isn’t evil because that’s her choice. But Zayne constantly focuses on the fact that she is half Warden, which in his mind basically cancels out the demon half. He is too protective and doesn’t seem to think she is capable of taking care of herself. I think it’s obvious who she would be happier with. So this was the main thing I had a problem with during the book, and while it made for some funny scenes between Zayne and Roth, I found myself wanted to beat Layla over the head with a car for being such stupid about the whole situation.

With that, I also hated how stupid she was being about Roth in general. When she finally see him again and he is so cold to her, pushing her away, she immediately does the typical teenage girl thing and get’s a pitiful and sad, thinking she meant nothing to him and he was using her all the time, blah, blah, blah. I mean, it is literally a fact of life that when a dude does that to you, he is trying to protect you from something. Duh. Everyone knows that and it drives me beyond insane that for some reasons, fictional girls don’t understand that. Yes, it hurts when boys say mean things and push you away. Suck it up and realize that he obviously madly in love with you and must have a really good reason for doing it! UGH! Okay, rant over.

Obviously, I really enjoyed this book. Big surprise, I’m sure. The plot kept me guessing and really manages to be unpredictable, which is something I don’t say a lot with YA books. Although there wasn’t as much Roth time in this book, it just made the scenes with him so much better. As far as the love triangle went, it was easy to just ignore it most of the time and focus on other things, like the mystery and Roth’s tongue piercing, but at the end of the book, it kind of felt like a decision had been made, so hopefully it won’t be present in the last one. Full of sexy boys, snarky come-backs, bad-ass fights, and the occasional cheesy romantic comment, this book made me giggle and squeal and hold my breathe all the way to the end.

RATING: 

Top 5 Series I Want To Start This Year

Starting up my book blog and booktube channel last year really opened my eyes and introduced me to some really great series that I’ve been missing out on. As the year ended and I realized my TBR piles had grown substantially, I decided it was time for me to start tackling these books.

1.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Every person I follow on YouTube that has anything to do with books, absolutely adores this series and I hate that I’m missing out. I bought the first one, I just need to sit down and read it. It sounds like an amazing historical romance and I’ve heard enough girls gushing about Jamie to know I’m going to fall head-over-heels in love with him. Plus, it takes place in Scotland. How can I resist that?

2. Half-Blood (Covenent #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: I just recently read Jennifer L. Armentrout’s White Hot Kiss and adored it. So now I’m going a little crazy and trying to get my hands on all of her other books. This is a YA series and it gets absolutely fabulous reviews on Goodreads, so I don’t know how I haven’t read it yet. But I do know there’s going to be a great romance and loads of action. That’s enough for me.

3. The Lies of Locke Lomara (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch: I’ve been meaning to read this series forever. And after listening to a couple of booktube girls gush about how much they love these books, I knew this year was going to be it. This is supposed to be an amazing fantasy series and follows a clever criminal and his group of thieves. I’ve been meaning to read more epic fantasy type books and this seems like the best place to start.

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness: Another series that I constantly hear people gush about. I own the second book actually, but not the first for some reason. The idea of a whole town where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts is really intriguing and so many people have promised that this book will blow my mind. It sounds exciting and suspenseful and twisty and I’ve never read anything by Patrick Ness but I’ve heard lots of good things about his writing.

5. The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cindy Williams Chima: I decided I wanted to read this series after listening to one of my favorite booktubers talk about how Han, one of the main characters in this series, is one of her top fictional boyfriends of all time. I decided I needed to investigate this and found myself drawn into the summary. Not to mention that this first book has one of the best ratings I’ve ever seen for the first in a series. This one features another thief (obviously I have a type) and a princess and wizards and all sorts of magical fantasy stuff I can never resist.

What are some series you guys are wanting to start this year?

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)  17234658

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Summary: Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

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This book was one of my most anticipated of last year. I mean, check out that cover, it’s beyond gorgeous. And travelling through parallel universes? Uhm, yes please. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of Claudia Gray’s other stuff, but I was beyond excited to read this one and experience the intense ride the summary promised.

Unfortunately, a lot of this book was very disappointing to me. Maybe my expectations were too high and I knew exactly what I wanted to get from this book, so when it didn’t deliver, I had a hard time getting into it, but no matter what the reason, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I thought I would.

To start off with, I didn’t particularly like Marguerite as our main character and narrator. I never really got much of a connection with her and found her to be a bit bland, to be honest. I felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make her seem cool, but to be honest, she just kind of felt like a hipster. I can’t believe that I’m using that word to describe anyone, but that’s what she reminded me of with her artsy skills, constant pondering, appreciation for homeschooling, and closet full of fun clothing. I just got the feeling that she thought she was cooler than everyone else because she was different. So of course, I wasn’t surprised when she ended being special because she was importantly different from everyone else. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it frustrated me that instead of being a normal girl who just so happens to have super smart parents, she also ends up having something super special about her.

As far as the romance went, there was a love triangle and I didn’t really particularly care for either boy. Paul, the boy she is chasing down, who killed her father, was hard to like because I felt like we didn’t really get to know him that well. Which was frustrating because he was the most interesting character in this book. I just felt like all of the characters in this book were very one dimensional and if that had a little depth, it would have really made the book a lot more. Both boys that Marguerite liked, she had known for a really long time, but you didn’t really get the feeling that they actually knew each other, so it ended feeling like rushed, insta-love.

I also found it a little strange that right away, Marguerite and Theo decide to chase after Paul, to kill him. Kill him. Not to bring him to justice or turn him in or anything that normal people would do, they are totally planning on just straight up killing someone who is basically like a brother to them. Someone who they don’t even know for sure killed her father, he just so happens to be the prime suspect. I found that highly unbelievable.

The part I was most excited about was seeing all of the different parallel world that they get to travel to. Which ultimately ended up being one of the biggest disappointments. Now I know that these are parallel universes, not entirely different universes altogether, so I guess they couldn’t really be too different from our own. But I was still very disappointed at how little variety we got. Half of the places she goes are almost identical to our own, with just slight similarities that really do nothing to make it interesting. The universe that we spent the most time in is one where she is Russian royalty, a literally like no plot even happens, it’s all just gushy romance. I wanted more adventure, more excitement, more mystery solving and chasing, jumping from universe to universe.

When it came to the mystery, every single thing was handed to Marguerite. Literally, she just followed one boy after another from universe to universe, stumbling around, going “Huh? What?” a whole bunch until she finally wore them down enough that they would give her the answer. She did not mystery solving herself, just waited around for someone to tell her what was going on. I despised it. And the villain was predictable, not that we even get much plot around them.

One of the things that I did like was that the idea behind the Firebird was really interesting because the author does a good job of explaining the risks and problems involved with travelling through dimensions. When you go into another universe, you don’t just pop in, you pop into the other you’s body and after a while, it’s hard to remember who you were. You can get sucked into becoming that person without even realizing it. I really liked that, although it doesn’t really play a bit part because of course, it magically doesn’t affect Marguerite. Also, I liked the Russian world the most, and would have liked to see a lot more happening in it, instead of Marguerite just pretending to be the other her and it focusing all on romance. It would have been a great world to actually see her chasing Paul through, or anything other than being pampered in a castle and drooling over a guy.

A Thousand Pieces of You was ultimately just such a disappointment. I wanted an exciting chase through different universes, surrounded by mystery solving and ultimately hunting down whoever killed her father. But instead, I got tons of one dimensional romance, a heroine who really does nothing, and lots of dramatic whining and crying over just about everything. Such as waste of a beautiful cover.

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Review: White Hot Kiss

Title: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) 18006096

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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This was my first time ever reading a Jennifer L. Armentrout book, but I’d heard a lot about her and her steamy smooching scenes and hunky men. Since I was in the mood for some romance and swoony guys, I was definitely excited to finally get my hands on this book.

Upon finding it waiting for me at the library, my first thought was all about how ridiculous the cover looked. That cover is the kind that will get you relentlessly teased. So when I got home, I raced up to my room like I was trying to smuggle in drugs or something. There’s no shame in reading a book like this but I do get a little embarrassed when some grandma is giving me the stink eye because I’m reading a book called White Hot Kiss with two people almost making out on the cover. We all know what she’s thinking about me. Is it too much to ask that steamy romance books try to look at little more inconspicuous? I mean, really?

So at the start of the book, we get introduced to Layla, girl who is basically normal except for the fact she is absolutely gorgeous and is half Warden and half Demon. And she can see people’s auras. And suck out souls by kissing people. But besides that, mostly normal. Wardens, by the way, are gargoyles. But not normal gargoyles, these ones look like people until they turn into stone, and protect humans from demons. Cool stuff. Anyways, back to Layla. She goes around and “tags” demons so the Wardens can later come find them and send them back to hell. But the demon she follows ends up being a big baddie, and for some reason he seems to be looking for her specifically.  She is cornered, possibly about to die, when suddenly, out of the shadows appears… a smoking hot dude. And I mean, hot. 

It’s at this point we are introduced to Roth, the smoking hot dude, a total bad boy, covered in tattoos with a deliciously snarky mouth, who just so happens to be a demon. A very powerful demon. He saves Layla, who runs for her life, ending up back at home. She lives with the Wardens, including the also hot and sexy Zayne who she has been madly in love with for years and looks at her as nothing more than a little sister. So we have the two different but irresistible boys, the demons trying to track down Layla, and that’s our book.

In case you couldn’t guess, this book has one big fat love triangle. And you know how much I love a good love triangle *gags*. However, I have to admit that as far as love triangles go, this might be one of the least horrible ones I’ve read. I only say this because I find it all so understandable. Layla has never been accepted with the Wardens, she has always felt alone, so I find it totally likely that she attached herself to Zayne, the one boy who didn’t treat her like a monster. I also find it very likely that when a new guy come into her life, one who likes her for her good and bad side, she is going to be interested in him. The fact that Roth is probably the sexiest thing to ever walk into her life might have something to do with it too. And who can really blame her? I’d be all over him in a hot second.

So I’m sure to the surprise of no one, I’m totally in love with Roth. Who doesn’t love a sexy, snarky demon boy? I like my boys bad and sarcastic and Roth is rocking both qualities to an extreme. I also love that he just totally has no shame. If Layla is getting all swoony over him, he totally calls her out on it then basks in her mortification. His confidence is sexy. I also like that there wasn’t really a love at first sight thing going on, it was definitely more lust and everyone knew it. Roth made me giggle and blush and squeal and maybe drool just a teeny bit, and under that sexy, scrumptious, tattooed exterior, we all know he has a big heart of gold.

With that, I really like how this book is kind of pushing the young adult romance aspects a little into adult. There are some really sexy steamy parts, nothing overly graphic, but definitely not for a younger audience. And I like how Layla doesn’t love Roth or anything at first, she just feels lust for him. Not everything has to be the cliche love at first sight, and I like that Jennifer L. Armentrout was really rocking that in this book. I also love that she was getting them into a bit more mature scenarios because I find that more realistic. These are hormonal teenagers dealing with a lot of sexual tension. When they finally get their hands on each other, there’s going to be a bit of groping and rolling around in bed and that’s okay because that’s how it actually goes in real life.

When it came to Layla, I was definitely a bit nervous at first. She was doing the whole “in denial about being gorgeous” thing that makes me super annoyed. But I actually grew to like her because of what a strong character she was. She grew up without feeling like she had a place, and not in the typical angst-ridden teenage girl sort of way. All of the Wardens either hate her, want to kill her, or ignore her, so she never really felt loved or like she fit in. So it was great seeing her kind of let lose and be adventurous and rebellious through this book, and to start to find things she liked about herself. I liked that although she had to rescued a few times, she could still hold her own and had her own set of skills or talents to bring to the playing field.

As far as the plot goes, I was really interested in all of the demon and Warden stuff. I loved learning about the different sorts of demons, as well as seeing a lot more from a demon’s perspective. Learning about Layla’s abilities and her past was so interesting and surprising at the same time, I love all of the twists thrown in. I will admit, sometimes it felt like the plot was taking the backseat because of the romance, but you have to accept that if you’re going to read this book and I never had a problem with it. And the romance never felt out of sync with the rest of the story, the whole thing flowed together really well.  Sure, it was a little cliche and cheesy sometimes, but it still made me blush and giggle a bunch. And the action scenes we did get were really badass and awesome. Let’s just say that at some point, someone’s spine got ripped out and I was literally cheering like a crazy woman.

Obviously, I really really loved this book. I can talk about the technical flaws it had, but really, you can’t care about that if you’re going to read this book. You’re going to read this book if you want some sexy romance, ridiculously drool worthy guys, ass kicking, snarky comebacks, and laugh out loud moments. White Hot Kiss is basically the equivalent of book eye candy and I was not complaining. I can’t not give this book 5/5 after how much fun I had reading it.

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