January 2015 Wrap-Up

So January was a big month for me reading wise. I read a total of 10(!) books, two of which were re-reads. So, that’s 8 new books! Let’s get started.

The first book that I finished in January (started in December, but it counts toward January, if you ask me) is Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars, and since I wrote a review, I’m not going to talk about it here.

Soon after that, I finished White Hot Kiss also by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I rated this 3 out of 5. I did not find it quite as compelling as some of her books. It wasn’t bad but it also didn’t ensnare me so much that I couldn’t put it down. There wasn’t any of that extra quality I’m looking for when I read her stuff.

Then, I finished Dragon Bound, the first installment of the Elder Races series, by Thea Harrison. I listened to this on audiobook, so it was an exercise-time read, for the most part. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I really, really enjoyed it for the most part. There were parts I wasn’t a huge fan of. The sex was good, but almost too mind-blowingly perfect, for my tastes. I prefer more, well, down-to-earth sex scenes.

I read Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott next. I rated this 3 out of 5 stars. I wasn’t feeling this one, to be quite honest. The writing felt a little too juvenile for me, even for a YA book. I was disappointed. The plot was super intriguing, but I didn’t feel the story or the writing did it justice. I did, however, grow to like the characters and feel they were pretty well-developed, especially the main character, Tella. I’ll probably continue on with the series, but I can’t promise anything.

Then, I read the second book in the Unwind series, Unwholly, by Neal Schusterman. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. I liked this better than Unwind (which I read in December). This story is so gripping, and the different perspectives just grab you. The tone goes from creepy to romantic to action-packed ferocious. I loved some of the new characters in this one, including Cam, and Trace, and Starkey (well, I loved to hate at least one of these people.)

I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin next. I rated this one 4 out of 5 stars. It was very good, very creepy, and the romance was also pretty okay, I thought. Not great, but not cringeworthy or just thrown-in there, either. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

Finally, for my first-time reads, I listened to the first two books of the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I have many thoughts.

I gave the first book, Halfway to the Grave, 5 out of 5 stars. Wow. I was astonished. I loved, loved, loved this book. The romance was smoldering, and the story was well-paced, and the villain was sufficiently villainous. Just…beautiful.

And then, the second book, One Foot in the Grave. Sigh. I only gave this 3 out of 5 stars and I cannot explain how disappointed I was. The book started off even better than the first, if that is possible. The first scene between Cat and Bones was just perfection. And then everything went to crap. Friendships only existed to be a threat to the couple. Jealous lovers. Cat fights. I hate this stuff. Why can’t characters just be friends? Of course Cat’s male best friend is in love with her. And of course every women in Bones’ past must be trying to get in his pants still now. Because unhealthy contrived relationship drama is the best! Or not. I won’t be continuing this series. Sorry. I might do a review of this book so more adequately capture my grievances, because it seems I have a lot to say. (If three stars sounds generous, that’s because I averaged how much I liked the first half of this book with how much I hated the second.)

So, those are all the books I read for the first time in January. As for re-reads? Well, the sixth and final installment of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series, The Ruby Circle, is coming out on February 10th, and it is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. So, I’ve decided to marathon the first five books of the series to freshen up on this series. I’m two books deep so far: Bloodlines and The Golden Lily. These are both 2014 reads that I rated 3 and 4 stars out of 5, respectively. I think this series in underrated, and after I finish marathoning it and read the final book, I might just have to reread the Vampire Academy series. Who knows?

I guess I was a tough grader for the books I read in January, with only one five-star book. I’m still looking for something to “wow” me and keep me enthralled. Halfway to the Grave could have been it, but the second book made it not so. There’s still plenty of time left in 2015, though!

January 2015 Wrap-Up

Review: Wicked, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

wickedcover

Rating: 4/5

So, I went on a Jennifer L. Armentrout kick over the holidays. I read White Hot Kiss, Opposition, and this little beauty.

First: the cover. Meh. That’s the thing about covers for her books — they are never very good, unfortunately. This one is better than most of them; I like the background and the font, but the picture? Not feeling it.

On to other things…

This book takes place in New Orleans, with a 21-year-old woman, Ivy, who is a member of “the Order,” a secret organization who fight the Fae — otherworldly human-appearing nemeses roaming the cities unbeknownst to most humans. After Ivy encounters a Fae with strange powers who is not harmed by her trusty iron stake, she realizes that there is a bigger threat out there. The only person who is willing to be honest with her about that threat is Ren, an elite Order member who just transferred to the New Orleans branch — and who takes a special interest in Ivy.

This was probably my favorite JLA read of the month, mainly because the other two are YA. I like YA, don’t get me wrong, but she writes these steamy romances and honestly, I just get kinda skeeved out by them if they’re so young, y’know? I liked the Lux series, but after book two the romance became too much. In this book the characters were still pretty young, but at least they weren’t still legally kids. When Daemon and Katy had sex, I had to pretend in my mind they were older to not feel like a total creeper. I’m not saying YA books should be chaste, but I am saying that when it comes to steamy romance — I, personally, prefer to go to the adult section.

The story was actually pretty good. The romance I was lukewarm on. I liked both of the characters, Ivy and Ren, but I wasn’t sure how much I was feeling them together. I expected more from JLA in terms of creating romantic and sexual tension between the two of them. I feel like it was consummated far too quickly, and it followed all the predictable lines of a paranormal romance without any deviation from the norm.

That’s the thing about this book: Nothing really stood out until the end. Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it: I actually really enjoyed this book. It was good. Just good. The thing is, I enjoy paranormal romance, so if a story follows the rules, so to speak, it’s a safe four stars from me.

So, now, we get to the ending.

Warning: Here be spoilers

Continue reading “Review: Wicked, by Jennifer L. Armentrout”

Review: Wicked, by Jennifer L. Armentrout