Review: The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.”

REVIEW:

I was so excited to see this at my library last week. It has been on my TBR list for a while now, and it felt like the perfect time to read it. Since I read a lot of fantasy books, sometimes you need a calm romance where the stakes are not life or death.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. I loved that, for most of the novel, we get to enjoy Zoey and Graham together; their issue is just the looming countdown until the end of Zoey’s vacation. Their chemistry and banter is wonderful. You are rooting for them the minute their eyes meet. Zoey is an incredibly relatable heroine. She is the definition of “adorkable”. She has saved up for the last several years to come on this dream vacation, counting every penny. She is trying to make the most of the experience because she has sacrificed to get there. You really feel for her, when every one of her excursions blows up in her face.

I liked the dichotomy of tourists v. residents. I think it is an interesting idea where you can understand both sides. The town of Moose Springs relies on tourism and if your tourists are like Zoey well that’s not too bad. However, if your tourists are the rich, snooty kind with no appreciation you can see why the residents get fed up. My only issue with the book is I wish the friendship between Zoey and Lana had been more developed. Obviously, if Zoey is often left by herself it creates a situation where Graham and Zoey can spend more time together. We just kept hearing about how important Zoey is to Lana, but we only really get to see it once.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was perfect for the holiday weekend, and exactly what I needed before I start another series. Definitely check out The Tourist Attraction if you are looking for a fun romance.

RATING: 4/5

See what else I’m up to, follow me on Instagram!

Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #3)

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well… There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger… and they know it.

REVIEW:

Opal makes everything that happened in Obsidian and Onyx seem like child’s play. My heart is racing and dread is looming overhead after that ending.

It took me a bit longer to get into Opal, then either of the prior books. For me, most of the book feels like set up which makes sense, it is book three in a five book series. Armentrout is setting up where the series will go from here and how it will end. It was interesting to see this odd cast of characters all working together for the greater good. My favorite part of this book was seeing Katy and Daemon really coming together and becoming equal partners. I love their chemistry and relationship, so those scenes really stood out to me. I do wish Katy would have confided in Daemon a bit more, especially with the whole creepy Blake situation. Blake is not right in the head and his rationalizations for his actions are horrifying.

There were a ton of surprises in this book that I wasn’t expecting at all. There were also reappearances of characters that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve said this for every book in the Lux series, but I loved the world building and the expansion on what we already know. The ending! I was not prepared for that ending. It was also so well done, you can feel the dread, the tension and fear that Katy and Daemon are feeling.

Overall, I’m really loving the Lux series so far. I didn’t really have an expectations going in, but I am really enjoying it.

RATING: 3/5

Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.”

REVIEW:

I loved the first book in this series, Children of Blood and Bone, so I was very excited to see this at my library. That being said this book had a lot of ups and downs for me. When I was reading Children of Blood and Bone, I couldn’t put the book down because I was so sucked in, but with Children of Virtue and Vengeance I had to put the book down because I was so frustrated with some of the characters.

I was regularly frustrated with Amari and Inan. Inan is so completely spineless and can’t have a single thought of his own. He had grand plans in the first book and you understand his misguided prejudices. You would think after what happened to him in the first book, he wouldn’t be so susceptible to being pushed around by his mother. Amari, constantly insisting her way is right without any understanding of the situation at hand was frustrating to read over and over. It wasn’t until people died, that she was like “oh I really need to listen to other people”. Even though their actions frustrated the heck out of me, I don’t think they are necessarily a bad thing. Amari and Inan are outsiders trying to solve a problem that they truly don’t understand. They are not apart of the maji culture, and though their intentions are seemingly for the best, they don’t listen. This leads to their downfall.

Zélie’s journey is really incredible. This book handles her grief in a really believable way. She has become this savior to the maji, but magic has also killed everyone she’s loved. She really struggles with the weight of her new role in this revolution. There isn’t a simple, easy fix to her problems.

One big problem I had with this book was the forced romances. None of the romantic relationships felt genuine in this novel. They didn’t add anything to the story. I also wish we weren’t left with such a cliffhanger at the end of this novel. While I loved the cliffhanger at the end of the first book, this cliffhanger just felt like someone forgot to finish the chapter which was frustrating.

Overall, I have some mixed feelings about this novel. I think the pacing was a little too fast at times, sometimes I wished that we could let some actions breathe before we moved onto the next big plan. I really loved the handling of Zélie’s grief and trauma. I’m still interested to see where the next book in the series goes.

RATING 3.5/5

Review: Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #2)

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?”

REVIEW:

What did I just read?! You know how in the last book, Obsidian, I spent the entire book being annoyed by Daemon. Well I spent the entirety of Onyx annoyed by Katy.

Look Katy is a relatable heroine, and at the beginning her indecisiveness between Daemon and Blake makes sense. Daemon is suddenly throwing caution to the wind, and declaring his feelings for Katy even though he spent all of Obsidian being a complete jerk to her. It makes her wary of his affection. Then we have the new kid Blake, he’s nice, normal, human and shows interest in Katy. Blake doesn’t come with baggage which is understandably appealing.

Some spoilers below…

Then the reveal happens that Katy is a hybrid and so is Blake. Katy’s actions just become increasingly frustrating. Blake immediately becomes suspicious to Daemon and the reader. Blake’s actions become more and more reckless with Katy’s wellbeing. It becomes infuriating because Katy is a smart girl, and that girl seemed to be thrown out the window for this book. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t trust Daemon to help her control her powers. She has always felt safe with him so why throw that out the window.

That being said, even though I was annoyed, I still enjoyed this book. The expansion on what has been happening with these aliens and the government was exciting and felt natural to the story. Of course the government is up to no good. I’m excited to see Katy come into her own and the stakes have definitely been raised by the end of the novel. I’m also excited for her and Daemon’s relationship to evolve.

Overall, while I grew frustrated with Katy’s actions I still think this book expanded on the story really well. Opal and Origin just arrived in the mail so I’m very excited to continue the series.

RATING: 3/10

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.”

REVIEW:

As I continue to make my way through Jennifer L. Armentrout’s novels, I decided that the Lux series was going to be my next read through. I don’t read that many books involving aliens, so this seemed interesting. Like all Armentrout’s novels so far, I got sucked in pretty much right away and couldn’t put the book down.

Katy is an incredibly relatable heroine. She’s an every woman who doesn’t realize how great she actually is. She’s smart, headstrong and doesn’t back down from a challenge. I enjoyed that she was using the opportunity of being the new girl in town to her advantage, to branch out more. Daemon drove me insane! You could tell he obviously had a thing for Katy, but then he would say the absolute meanest things to her. I understand the justification of, he is protecting his family but there has to be something else you could do besides destroy a teenage girl’s feelings. It also just felt like a loop, Daemon and Katy would get closer then Daemon would say something completely horrible and destroy Katy’s feelings. It became frustrating at times. That being said I liked seeing Katy’s confidence grow, and I think this book leaves off in an exciting spot.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It felt different then some of the other Young Adult I have read and I think that’s because of the subject material. It is an interesting world and I’me excited to see where the series goes.

RATING: 3.5/5

Here’s my review of the next book in the series, Onyx!

Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.”

REVIEW:

I’ve always had a fascination with Greek mythology, and the myth of Hades and Persephone is one of my favorites. When I stumbled on A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair, I knew I needed to add it to my Amazon cart immediately.

A Touch of Darkness adds a modern spin to the classic myth, imagining these Greek gods in a modern society interacting with mortals. Once I was a few chapters in I was completely hooked, and it became hard to put the novel down. I loved the development of Persephone and Hades’ relationship. The chemistry and heat is there immediately, but I loved how they challenged each other as well. Their relationship is steamy, and St. Clair does not back away from the heat. She jumps right in. I really enjoyed the peppering in of different gods, and their interactions with Persephone. I also loved when Persephone came into her power. I found myself cheering in my head as she gave a couple people their comeuppance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m excited that it is being continued as a series, and even a set of books from Hades point of view. If you love Greek mythology or even just the myth of Hades and Persephone I definitely recommend this series.

RATING: 4.5/5

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”

REVIEW:

I was very excited to read An Ember in the Ashes from the synopsis alone. It soon became a book I couldn’t put down, staying up way too late some nights to read. Each chapter we jump between Laia and Elias’ points of view, each equally compelling. You really get a feel of the hardships on each side, and how crushing the Empire has become. There really isn’t an escape even if you are willing member of the Empire. The students at Blackcliff are punished harshly for their mistakes, even if they may seem innocent. That’s what makes this novel so compelling. Everyone is a victim, even if they may not realize.

Laia is incredibly relatable, she is terrified and unsure throughout most of the novel. She has every right to be, she watches her remaining family get slaughtered while her brother is hauled off to prison. She then is put into slavery by the Resistance as their pawn. She is desperate to live up to her family’s reputation and save her brother. Tahir’s world building is incredible. Things are placed subtlety and have importance later on, and I imagine even more important as the series continues. I’m excited to pick up the next book and see where this series goes.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book and series. It was compelling, exciting, and very easy to get sucked into.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Every Last Breath (Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“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…”

REVIEW:

And that’s it, I have finished the Dark Elements Series. I am shocked at how fast I flew through Every Last Breath. This series had been pretty formulaic up until this book, so I had thought I knew how things were going to play out and boy was I wrong.

*Some spoilers below…*

Every Last Breath picks up right where Stone Cold Touch left off which was perfect since it ended on a crazy cliffhanger. So we pick up with Layla’s world being ripped apart because of the Lillin. I thought they were really going to drag out Layla’s decision between Zayne and Roth. She makes a decision in the first third of the book, and it was so refreshing. We actually get to enjoy Roth and Layla together for a majority of the book. I also thought there was going to be a build up to this big battle, and while a crazy battle did happen it was not the end of the Lillin. I do wish that there had been more of a team up between the Wardens and the demons, instead of just like 2 demons and the Wardens of D.C..

It did feel a little rushed in some places, but I loved the conclusion and that we were given closure. Often times with these YA series, it just abruptly ends, or there is a super short epilogue. In Every Last Breath, there are several chapters after the Lillin is defeated. We are given a glimpse into how things will be moving forward.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It did not play out at all like I was expecting which is really exciting. I definitely recommend this series if you are a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. I will be diving into more of her series since I really have fallen in love with her books this year.

RATING: 3.5/5