Review: Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.” 

REVIEW:

So this was recommended to me after I finished From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout and was looking to fill that void. It is a New Adult Fantasy Romance. This book was exactly what I needed right now, and after finishing it I definitely want to read other books by Laura Thalassa.

Fair warning, the topics of rape, sexual assault, and abuse in general are a recurring topic throughout this book, and I would assume the series.

Rhapsodic hooks you in right from the start, the set up is just perfect. Throughout the book we alternate time lines. Present time, and seven years ago when The Bargainer (or Desmond) and Callie first met. This really helps to build their relationship and you discover how important Desmond and Callie are to each other. The book’s strongest feature is their relationship. I absolutely loved it and it gets bit steamy which is also great.

I wish there had been more world building in this novel. I wanted to know so much more about the Otherworld and the magic beings in general. This book just gave an overview or basic understanding so you wouldn’t be completely confused once the action moved there. I’m hoping that this world will be expanded on in the other books, so fingers crossed for more world building. Besides Callie and Desmond the other characters in the story aren’t really fleshed out which I think hurts it a little as well. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. This also caused me to fly through this book too.

Overall, if you are a fan of Sarah J. Maas or Jennifer L. Armentrout, you will enjoy this book. Honestly, I’m a sucker for Fantasy with some romance mixed in and if you are to, you should check this out.

RATING: 4/5

Please follow me on Instagram – @kerryreadsthings

Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (#4 in Lux Series)

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, Daemon’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way Katy can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?”

REVIEW:

Wow, I devoured Origin in two days. I had to force myself to put this book down so I could go to sleep. This is definitely my favorite book in the series so far.

Origin picks up right where Opal left us hanging with that cliffhanger. The pacing of this book is fast, things are moving right from the start. One big change from previous books is that we get the perspectives of both Katy and Daemon, which I loved. We learn a ton of new information from Daedalus and what they have been doing. This book also completely changes the game. We discover that while Daedalus is still a huge threat, there is an even bigger threat that has just been waiting in the wings.

I really enjoyed the fact that we got dueling perspectives with this book, I think it really opens up for new opportunities. Because Daemon tends to brush things off and hide how he is truly feeling, it was great to see what was going on his head. I loved the introduction of new characters, like Archer. I also loved the integration of background characters like Luc being brought into the main story. The stakes are incredibly high in this book, and several characters do not make it out alive.

I already have the last book Opposition in my possession, so I will be reading that soon and concluding this series.

RATING: 4/5

As always, please follow along at my Instagram @kerryreadsthings

December TBR

I’m much more of a mood reader, but I’m going to attempt to plan some of these books out because they have been sitting on my TBR list for awhile.

#1 – Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa

This one has been sitting on my kindle since the summer and I’m very excited to read this one. I just started it this today and I’m loving it. This got recommended to me after reading From Blood & Ash, since it also falls into the categories of Fantasy, Romance and New Adult.

#2 – In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

This was my Book of the Month choice, very excited and I’ve heard wonderful things about this book. It will also definitely put me into the Christmas spirit.

#3 – Opposition (Lux Series #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’m going to finish out the Lux series this month. I just finished Origin this week and I’m excited to see how this series concludes.

These are going to be the only books I plan on reading. A lot of the time I will pick my next book on how the one previously left me feeling. So I know I’ll end up reading more than three books this month, but I don’t want to plan any others out.

Let me know what you’ll be reading this month!

You can always follow my bookish escapades 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: 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: 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

Review: Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Dark Elements #2)

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“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…”

REVIEW:

Alright, so I had a bit harder time getting through Stone Cold Touch. I still enjoyed it and when I got to the last 100 pages, it really flew by for me. I felt like this book was just a rehash of White Hot Kiss. Layla, once again spends most of the novel confused, and being treated like completely crap by the Wardens. Though most of the time, Layla’s confusion makes sense. There isn’t anyone she can go to about her powers, because there isn’t anyone like her. She also started having feelings for Roth, while still having a crush on Zayne. When you are seventeen, that is an awful lot. I guess I just grew frustrated because it was the same problems essentially as the first novel. It didn’t show any growth for Layla.

I was frustrated with Roth, with his whole I’m gonna be a dick to keep Layla safe. I also grew frustrated with Zayne, because it felt like he never treated Layla’s concerns as valid. She had every right to be concerned for his safety and he would just brush those concerns aside. Which her concerns are proven as valid towards the end of the novel. As I was reading, I just kept getting frustrated with how everything felt repetitive. It felt like we were just biding our time until we could get to the moment when something big could happen, and then move onto the next portion of the story.

Overall, I still enjoyed Stone Cold Touch, but it definitely has middle book syndrome. I still enjoyed the characters, and was so happy that Stacey had finally been let in on Layla’s secret. The cliffhanger was exciting, and I will be interested to see where this series goes.

RATING: 2.5/5

Review: White Hot Kiss (Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Layla just wants to fit in at school and go on a date with Zayne, whom she’s crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is a half demon, half gargoyle with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with keeping humanity safe, Layla’s kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.

Then she meets Roth—a demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it’s tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne, but as Layla discovers she’s the reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.”

REVIEW:

I’m a sucker for angels and demons stories, and after reading From Blood and Ash this past summer, I’m officially a member of the Jennifer L. Armentrout fan club. I picked up White Hot Kiss, because I’m really interested in reading Storm and Fury which takes place in the same world. (That felt like a lot of explaining for just one book but whatever). The other reason I picked this book up was because I was just coming off a reading slump. I love Armentrout’s writing style so I knew that it would be perfect for me at the moment.

White Hot Kiss has an interesting take on the world of angels and demons, adding gargoyles into the mix. I also always enjoy taking fantasy or magical elements and introducing them into the modern world. So everyone is trying to keep to the status quo so that humans don’t realize that these creatures walk among them. This novel is pretty formulaic. It definitely checks off a lot of boxes of young adult fantasy. Layla, our lead, has been an outsider her whole life. She finds herself in a love triangle, with the quintessential good guy and bad boy. So, obviously White Hot Kiss isn’t doing anything to really blow the doors off this genre. That being said, I really enjoy Armentrout’s writing style. She is able to create these characters that are incredibly easy to fall in love with or even hate. Her world building is fantastic and her books are just really entertaining.

Overall, this book is enjoyable even if it is formulaic. If you know that you enjoy Armentrout’s books, then you are going to enjoy this one. I’m excited to see where this series goes.

RATING: 7/10

September Wrap-Up

September had a wide variety of books. It had some fantasy, some contemporary fiction and some romance.

September Books:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout
No Offense by Meg Cabot
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Favorite Book of the Month: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book I’m Still Thinking About: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Easiest Read: No Offense by Meg Cabot
– finished in 24 hours

Hardest Read: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
– hardest read in terms of subject matter, the dealing of grief was often heavy at times and this book had me openly weeping.

I really enjoyed all the books I read during September. I’m excited to start my October books, I have a couple of spooky books lined up to get me in the Halloween spirit.

Happy Reading!