Onyx & Opal ( Lux #2 & #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Reread Double Review

 

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Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Dates: 3rd June, 2012 & 11th December, 2012

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Onyx (Lux #2) Goodreads Synopsis:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

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.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are 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.

But then everything changes…

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?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Opal (Lux #3) Goodreads Synopsis:

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 of. 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.

Okay, I’ve never written a joint review before, so you’re going to have to bare with me on this one guys!

For the past month, I’ve been revisiting the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I read the first three books quite a few years back, and absolutely loved them – but because I’m a bookworm and my TBR pile is completely out of control, I lost track of the series and never got around to finishing it.

And so, after some awesome people commented on a post (where I moaned about heading into a dreaded reading slump) and suggested I try rereading a book, I quickly got swept up in the world of this series, and haven’t been released yet.

I’ve just finished reading the fifth book (the last book guys – how am I going to cope with no new happenings with my fave characters?!), and I loved it. But enough with the backstory – let’s get on with reviewing the second and third novels, Onyx and Opal!

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There are two reasons I decided to review these books together:

  1. I have very similar thoughts on them both
  2. …which is due to the fact I finished Onyx and started Opal no more than a minute after, so it’s a bit blurry where my thoughts for one end and the other begins. (I’m a bad bookworm and blogger, I know, I’m sorry. I’m working on my organisational skills, I really am haha!)

I feel the first thing I should say is that I really loved these books – I’ve reread them a number of times, but much like with Obsidian (which you can check out my review of here!), I still love them just as much as the first time I read them. They were so fun to read – I’m pretty sure I was laughing at something every other page. They’re full to the brim with comedic quips and sass, and I loved it.

I loved our characters – Katy was a great main character (and she was a book blogger, so of course she was awesome); Daemon was just the ultimate book boyfriend really, and Dee was a sweetheart. The only thing I’ll say about Blake is this: ugh.

There’s something incredibly addictive about the Lux series, and I feel like it’s definitely Daemon Black down to how awesome Armentrout is at spinning a great story. The plot was completely unique (I’ll say it again – who would’ve thought hot aliens would work?!), and that’s one of the best parts about it.

There was a mysterious element to these books – particularly the third. I sped through both books because I knew what happened, and I couldn’t deal with the suspense. I’d say the first two novels in this series are almost ‘fluffy’ reads, and it’s the third one where it starts to get serious. (And I’d just like to point out I don’t say fluffy in a bad way at all – I adore the first two books, I just mean they feature lighter topics than the rest of the series).

There’s an awesome combination of things in the novels of this series that just make them work: the originality, the characters, and the humour. I loved Onyx and Opal, and if you haven’t read the Lux series yet, what are you waiting for?!

Topic Awareness:

  • Violence (scenes of intense pain)
  • Death

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

‘Dog-eared pages were the Antichrist of book lovers everywhere.’

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Starcrossed (Starcrossed # 1) by Josephine Angelini | Reread Review

 

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Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Publisher: Harperteen

Publication Date: May 31st 2011

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

How do you defy DESTINY?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is – no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood… and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together – and trying to tear them apart.

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I’ve really been in a rereading mood these past few weeks, and couldn’t resist revisiting a series that I absolutely adore, which is the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini.

To start with, Angelini is a great author. Her writing flows really well, and the story moved along at a good pace. I found myself flying through the pages of this book, and felt completely absorbed within the story line, much like the first time I read it.

The plot of this novel is such a wonderful thing – it’s all about the Greek Gods and myths, which I absolutely adore. But the path this author took with the plot was completely unique, and I love it. I’m not a fan of the plot twist (actually, it breaks my heart), but there needed to be something there (which I know sounds pretty cryptic, but I can’t say much otherwise I’ll be heading into spoiler territory).

‘The Gods know what it is to be eternal, and they love to toy with mortals who use absolutes.’

Our characters are just awesome. Helen was a good main character, and I love Lucas and Hector, too. I actually thought all of the characters in this novel were great, and all had their own interesting personalities.

As I’ve already said, this was a reread for me, but I still love it just as much as I did the first time. It was so lovely to revisit a book that I love so much, and I loved having wave after wave of feels hit me whilst rereading it.

Topic Awareness:

  • Violence
  • Death

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Reread Review

 

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Genre: YA Paranormal

Publishers: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: November, 2011

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts

I’ve read this book more than a couple of times, and every time I do, I always remember just how amazing it really is. The Lux is a brilliant series, and Jennifer L. Armentrout is such a wonderful author!

I have to start off by saying that I love the way Jennifer writes. Through-out all of the novels I’ve read by her, there’s always something so enticing about her books. I’m hooked from the moment I start reading, and I feel completely drawn into the story. There’s always just the right amount of suspense going on – not so much that you feel like the story isn’t moving forward, but not too little that you’re not really intrigued anymore.

The writing flowed really well, and I just found myself speeding through the pages. It was packed with the type of humour that I love, and I’ve found myself in complete awe of how wonderful Obsidian was. Again.

‘Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys.’

Books by Jennifer are always a favourite of mine because of the sass she infuses into her characters – it’s so brilliant. Our main characters, Katy and Daemon, are just walking sass bombs, and I love it. I adore all of our characters (Dee is such a sweetheart), and all I really have to say about them is this: oh the feels.

I felt just as captivated by this book as the first time I read it (and I’ve reread it multiple times). I was so desperate to carry on reading this series that I searched for my Kindle to do so (I moved last year and still have yet to unpack most of my boxes, which are currently stored in my closet, which was where my Kindle was lost safely stored. The bad news: my Kindle screen was broken. The good news: my sister kindly gave me hers and I transferred all of my books over).

Overall, this book was a great reread. I loved reconnecting with old characters that I adore, and enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for what I knew was to come!

‘”I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect.” His eyes searched mine intently, and for a moment we stood there toe to toe. “The ones who throw their beauty around, waste what they have? Their beauty is only passing. It’s just a shell hiding nothing but shadows and emptiness.”‘

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Mini Review

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishers: Hodder Children’s Books

Publication Date: 21st September, 2017

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s time to fight like a girl!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

TIME TO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL

This book was wonderful! I absolutely adored it, and I’m struggling to find the words to fully describe how amazing it was.

‘Moxie Girls Fight Back!’

Moxie made me want to get up and start fighting the patriarchy right there in my living room! I’m actually in a feminist club that my friends and I run, and we’re in the midst of setting up a blog, too, and I feel even more inspired after reading this book.

I was so sad when I finished it – I need more Moxie in my life! There aren’t enough YA books that talk about feminism, and it’s such an important topic. Sexism still plagues the world today, and the controversy that surrounds feminism is terrible.

The definition of feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

This book showed our main character discovering feminism for the first time as she realised how crazy it is for men to be treated differently – better, in this case – than women. Some of the injustice we see in this book made me so angry, because they are definitely things that could happen, have happened, and are probably happening right now.

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This book highlighted issues to do with race and sexuality, as well –  inter-sectional feminism is believing every woman, regardless of race or sexuality (as well as trans people) deserve to have equal rights. I personally believe you can’t call yourself a feminist at all if you don’t believe everyone deserves equality. We also saw this book tackle the ‘not all men‘ notion. I won’t go into it, because I don’t want to give anything away that happens in the book, but I will say I appreciated how subtly the author included this.

I really enjoyed the writing style – but something sort of shocked me: there seemed to be a lot of grammatical errors I came across (namely misspellings). This wasn’t really too important, but I thought it was worth a mention.

This book made me angry and sad, but it also made me laugh and smile. It explores some really important topics, and I loved it. I want to see feminism featured more prominently in YA books!

Moxie is a wonderful novel, and I can’t recommend it enough!

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall | Mini Review

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Genre: Young Adult Realistic/Contemporary

Publishers: Chicken House

Publication Date: 7th July 2016

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

I adored this novel. It was an enlightening, emotional and relate-able read, and I’m so grateful I had the chance to read it.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a wonderful book. I absolutely loved it, and didn’t find any flaws while I was reading it. I’m not going to ramble on and on (because I really could just keep saying how lovely this book was), but there are a few key things I’d like to mention.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is our main character, Norah, who we see suffering with OCD and agoraphobia throughout the novel. Our author gave a very honest insight into the struggles of having mental health issues, and handled it with extreme care.

Books with diverse characters like this one can offer comfort to someone who relates to what a character is going through, can teach others who don’t understand, and can help raise awareness. There’s this vile stigma that surrounds mental illness, and it’s horrible. We need books like this to keep being written, to keep being published, so eventually that stigma can be gone and the world be a slightly more accepting place.

‘See, anxiety doesn’t just stop. You can have nice moments, minutes where it shrinks, but it doesn’t leave. It lurks in the background like a shadow, like that important assignment you have to do but keep putting off or the dull ache that follows a three-day migraine. The best you can hope for is to contain it, make it as small as possible so it stops being intrusive. Am I coping? Yes, but it’s taking a monumental amount of effort to keep the dynamite inside my stomach from exploding.’

Another thing I wanted to mention was the romance aspect of this novel, because I really appreciated how it was handled – romance can often be the cure to anything in books, and that’s just not accurate. No matter how lovely Norah’s love interest may be, he will never ‘fix’ her mental illness, and we’re very clearly shown that. (But I will say that Luke is probably one of the loveliest fictional characters I’ve come across, just saying.)

This novel was truly wonderful, and I’m so glad I read it. It’s helped me in a number of different ways, and I’m sure it will do (and has done) for anyone who reads it – which you definitely should!

Topic Awareness:

  • OCD and agoraphobia featured prominently
  • Theft

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Book Review | The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

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Genre: YA Contemporary

Publishers: Skyscrape

Publication Date: 1st December, 2016

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers: crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

I really enjoyed this book! It took me a few days to get through it (it seems I keep hitting mini-slumps when I get to the middle of a book), but I determinedly sat down the other night and quickly finished it in a couple of hours.

My initial reaction upon finishing this book was: did it have to end? Can’t they be at camp forever? And then, what other books has this wonderful author written? The Odds was such a lovely novel, and I’m sort of feeling love-struck.

‘”If we don’t have hope, Zander, we don’t have anything.”‘

This novel had so much representation for mental illness, along with race and gender identity. A lot of mental illnesses were briefly talked about, and though I can’t speak on the accuracy of them all, I thought how they were portrayed was really positive. We don’t really go in-depth about any of the disorders which I would’ve liked to have seen (at least with our main character Zander), yet at the same time there was no hiding from the brutal-ness of mental illness – somethings that were said were pretty hard-hitting.

I liked our characters! I really felt for Zander – she experienced something very traumatising, and my heart really sympathised with her. The way she feared feeling anything instead of just being numb broke my heart – because in some cases, it is easier not to feel – but it’s not healthy, and truthfully, it sucks. I was really glad to see the character growth she went through.

Now comes the enigma that was Cassie. Cassie was a whirlwind of a character, and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around her (I still can’t). I liked her (I think) – it’s hard because she was really mean, but I think that was because being rude was the only way she really knew how to protect herself.

Zander’s friendship with Cassie was a roller-coaster, but I loved that it was such a big part of the book. Friendship isn’t normally the focus of YA books (though it really should be – a romantic interest isn’t the most important thing in the world), and I felt like it was such an important aspect in this novel, which was a brilliant surprise. Although this book is titled ‘loving Grover‘, I definitely felt like it was more about friendship, and the importance of learning to trust. (On a side note, if you read this book, you’ll understand why the name of this novel is so clever.)

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Alex Trebek was a pathological liar, and I felt our main character’s frustration reflected in myself when it came to him. I had a slight issue with something that happened with Alex – but I can’t say what, because it’s a bit of a spoiler. I’m just sort of doubting a change that happened within his personality.

Then there’s Grover. I don’t feel like I got to know him really – I know he’s eccentric, sort of poetic, and just wants to help people, but the focus was definitely on the relationship factor. I can’t say much, because of spoilers (though I guess perhaps the books title could be a bit of a spoiler), but I’m glad that whatever transpired between Zander and Grover took a backseat.

The ending had me all emotional, I won’t lie. I do have an issue with the very end: it just didn’t seem realistic. And again, I’m sort of stuck not being able to explain why I feel that way, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. (But just trust me; I think my opinion has good reason.)

We don’t end on a cliff-hanger, but we don’t know how our characters end up – it’s sort of more like the author was saying, ‘this is where I finish, now give them the future you want’, and I really liked that. It’s nice to be able to imagine a better ending than perhaps would be the reality.

The Odds is a wonderful novel, and I recommend it to everyone who enjoys Young Adult novels that tackle important issues.

Topic Awareness:

  • Mentions of: anorexia, anxiety, schizophrenia, pathological lying, self harm, bulimia, depression and bipolar disorder
  • Suicide
  • Death

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

Book Review | A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

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Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Publishers: Titan Books Ltd

Publication Date: 21st February, 2017

My Rating:🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

*Spoiler Warning: certain aspects of previous books in the series may be spoiled in this post.*

It’s always hard reading the last book in a series. What if the ending doesn’t live up to your expectations? What if we don’t get closure for a character? What if the fandom can’t cope without new material?

The final book leaves a lasting impression, so if it sucks, the series sort of gets this haze over it that can ruin your thoughts about it. So after saying all that, I’m very happy to say that A Conjuring of Light lived up to my expectations and more.

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

It took me a little while to get through this book – it’s six hundred and sixty six pages long, and I sort of hit a slump in the middle of it. However, I persisted on and I’m so glad I did! Here’s why:

The writing was brilliant. Does Schwab’s imagination know no end? A Gathering of Shadows was all about the wonders of magic, and Lila discovering her powers. A Conjuring of Light was about accepting that power, and combining strengths to face a greater evil. We didn’t get the wonderful magic of Red London, but something much darker, and it made for a very interesting read.

If you’ve read my review of A Darker Shade of Magic, you’ll know I didn’t really connect with the characters in the first novel. However, I fell in love with them during the second, and I feel very emotional that I’ve finished the final novel! Were there a few things I wanted to know about the future of our characters? Of course, but I’m also happy it was left up to the readers to decide on certain things.

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And that ending! I was an emotional wreck after reading it! The last quarter was soul destroying. Seriously, if you read this novel (which you definitely should), prepare yourself for the feels. It felt like every couple of chapters I was crying – it was heartbreaking, but so incredibly good. It really was a magnificent book.

It’s a bittersweet feeling this series that I’ve only recently discovered is over already, but it was so worth the read. I wish the series could go on forever, but this was the closure that it needed. (Of course I wouldn’t mind some extras like short stories, though!)

Topic Awareness:

  • Death
  • Violence (detailed)
  • Upsetting scenes

Thanks!

– Emma

Read On!

“Anoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”