Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?”

REVIEW:

Tokyo Ever After was immediately added to my TBR when I saw the Princess Diaries comparisons. That is one of my favorite book series and movies, so I was excited to read a familiar story with a different take.

Tokyo Ever After follows Izumi, she has never known who her father was growing up with her single mom. The book doesn’t dwell on this for too long, and it is quickly revealed who Izumi’s father is and how this will drastically change her life. Izumi has always wanted to belong but never felt like she did in her predominately white hometown. She sees this as an opportunity to learn her history and have a chance of calling someplace home.

This book was completely wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I mean honestly who hasn’t dreamed of secretly being an actual princess. This book is sweet and laugh out funny at times. I loved Izumi’s relationship with her mother and her blossoming relationship with her father. The family aspect of this novel is incredible. You really feel Izumi’s frustrations and heartbreak along with her. Now let’s get to the romance! Bodyguard and Princess romance, sign me up. Seriously, their romance was sugary sweet and I loved every moment of it.

I can’t say enough good things about this book! It’s fun, sweet, and hopeful with a dash of drama mixed in. There was even a genuine surprise for me toward the end. Please add this book to your TBR and read it immediately! I will be counting down the days to the sequel.

RATING: 5/5

Review: Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Katy can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.”

REVIEW:

I did it, I finished the Lux series!

I don’t quite know how to feel about this book.

Spoilers below for the whole series…

Things I really enjoyed about this book, I liked the continuation of dueling perspectives between Katy and Daemon. I also enjoyed the coming together of the Luxen and the Arum to battle the bigger evil. I also enjoyed the incorporation of the past classes of Origins into the alien invasion. Archer is great and I loved his dynamic with Katy and Daemon.

I have a big gripe with the last couple of books. Katy is assaulted multiple times, by different characters and her trauma is never really dealt with or truly discussed. Blake is introduced in Onyx and revealed to be a double agent by the end of the book. He is brought back again in Opal, and convinces the group that even though he was a double agent he’s there only hope of getting Beth back. By the end of the book, we find out that he has betrayed them again, but even more disturbing is that he has been disguising himself as Daemon and sneaking into Katy’s room at night and spooning with her. Genuinely and completely horrifying! Then Blake is back again in Origin, taunting and being his predatory self until he is killed in a fit of rage by Katy during one of her training sessions. Katy also has an unwanted full medical evaluation done to her while in the hands of the government. Then in Opposition, Katy is once again the target this time by Lotho, the head of the Arum. He says he will only help them if he gets to feed from Katy, ultimately revealing that he just wanted to see how much they were willing to sacrifice. However, after Lotho complements her, he kisses her. I just grew so frustrated because these actions are so completely horrendous, yet they are kind of brushed aside because “bigger” things are happening. I feel like these could have been handled so much better, even if it was just her talking to Daemon about it. I think it just hit a breaking point, for me personally, when the kiss with Lotho was played for laughs.

I felt like Daedalus kind of got the air taken out of their threat level. They were in the background of every book in this series, then the Luxen invade and just nothing. There was no build up for these Luxen invaders besides some throw away sentences, and its frustrating that this was what ended up being the big bad.

Overall, I am happy with the series conclusion. It does have a satisfying ending. I had to stick through it to finish out Katy and Daemon’s story. I’m going to take a bit of break before I start the Origin series. I just need a break from aliens.

RATING: 2.5/5

Have you read the Lux series? What are your thoughts on how it concludes? Did you have the same problems or am I just crazy?

Follow along on my book adventures on Instagram!

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

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: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Bridget Kemmerer

SYNOPSIS (via goodreads):

“Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.”

REVIEW:

At this point in my life, I will give any retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale a shot. It’s one of my favorite stories so honestly, it never really disappoints. So I, of course, needed to read A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Harper is a fierce heroine, who has cerebral palsy. I mention this because she doesn’t let her disability define her, and I think she is also the first YA Fantasy heroine I’ve read that has this disability which is incredible. This is very exciting for representation. She walks with a limp, and often gets sore and achy after doing physical activity. Her disability is not a main focus, and sometimes I wish she would have talked about it a bit more with Rhen and Grey, but I also enjoyed that they didn’t make it a defining feature.

Rhen and Harper have great chemistry, and the story really gives their relationship time to grow. Their development of trust feels genuine and isn’t rushed. I enjoyed that Rhen was bit different from other “beasts” that we’ve seen. He is a decent and genuine person, who through his upbringing found himself in this situation. He understands that he has made mistakes, but he has grown from them and learned. A lot of the time the “beasts” in other re-tellings have a temper and that’s the beast is a manifestation of that, which is what makes this telling so interesting. There is the hinting of a love triangle between Grey/Harper/Rhen, with Grey and Harper developing a friendship first. This love triangle doesn’t take over the book which was wonderful. I do have to say, I kinda preferred Grey/Harper than Harper/Rhen, but I’m excited to see how their relationship develops.

Overall, this book is really well done. The story is well paced and the characters and their relationships are well developed. I definitely recommend if you love YA Fantasy or fairytale retellings.

RATING: 4/5

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

Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

There has been a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and a queen of blood. One to bring about the fall of the world, and the other the savior of the world. Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save her best friend, who just happens to be the crown prince, after he is ambushed by a group of assassins. She reveals her powers and now must endure seven elemental trials to determine which queen she is.

One thousand years later, Queen Rielle is a well know legend and fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. She is a bounty hunter for the Empire, the Dread of Orline. She has always been a little special, but has always hid that ability. Women are now disappearing, and her mother is unfortunately one of them. To find her, Eliana teams up with a rebel captain and discovers the true horrors of the Empire.

REVIEW:

Furyborn was all over bookstagram and sparked my interest. The story is told through alternating perspectives of Rielle and Eliana, as we jump back and forth in time. I thought that both Rielle and Eliana are well thought out and interesting narrators. I enjoyed Rielle’s chapters a bit more, because I felt like she is a narrator that you don’t always get to read in YA Fantasy. She has a real darkness to her character that is fully explored, and I really enjoyed it.

I think that this book definitely checks a lot of the YA Fantasy boxes. Some elements of it are fairly predictable, but I think that this series has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see where it goes, especially if they really explore Rielle’s darkness. I recommend this if you are looking for a new fantasy series.

RATING: 7/10

Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Miryem is from a family of moneylenders, but her father is a sympathetic man who will take any excuse when people cannot pay him. It has brought his family to the brink of poverty. Miryem decides to take matters into her own hands, she sets out into the village to claim what is owed to her family. She gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-timed boast is overheard in the forest by the king of the Staryk, a magical race of creatures who seem more ice than human, she attracts his attention. She will forever alter the lives in two kingdoms. Miryem is given a seemingly impossible task, and her life becomes intertwined with a local peasant girl and the daughter of a local lord.

REVIEW

The was my first Naomi Novik novel and I wasn’t disappointed. I really enjoyed the blending of myths and fairy tales to create this stand alone adventure. Miryem is an interesting heroine, at times she is gold hungry and over confident which is what gets her into trouble, but her actions do feel justified and her arguments are valid. Our three heroines are all from different stations in life, and each have much different experiences with magic.

I do wish the book had been completely from these three viewpoints. Once she began to add in additional viewpoints I lost interest at times, and struggled to get through those chapters. There is always the risk taken when doing a story from multiple viewpoints. It just frustrated me, because I was flying through this book until the additional viewpoints were added about halfway through and then it really slowed me down.

Overall, I enjoyed Spinning Silver. It is a well written, well-paced fantasy novel. It makes me excited to check out other adventures written by Naomi Novik.

RATING: 8/10