White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
Layla just wants to be normal—fit in at school, go out on real dates and do other typical teenager things. Trouble is, Layla is anything but normal and her longtime crush, Zayne, treats her like a little sister. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities that no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe, Layla’s kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.
Enter Roth—a smart-mouthed demon who claims to know her deepest, most dangerous secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it’s tough when that whole soul thing isn’t an issue. Trusting Roth could brand her a traitor to the Warden family that raised her and destroy her relationship with Zayne. But with a violent demon uprising looming in the distance, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the end of the world.
White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)Review:
I just (like ten minutes ago) wrote a review for a different Armentrout book. I reread White Hot Kiss because I’m on a romance kick and this is sort of urban fantasy romance. This book takes place in a world with wardens (read: gargoyles). They fight demons that manage to come topside from hell. They are the good guys, right? The story being from Layla’s point of view makes them look not as good as they should. It’s interesting because she clearly idolizes most of them. But not actually being Layla, it’s clear that they’re not telling her the whole truth.
Layla was honestly a little annoying. She wanted to be a badass, but she was also kind of whiney. Her best friend, Zayne, kind of called her out on it too and I loved it. He told her that if she wanted to be treated like an adult than maybe she shouldn’t act like a child. She does grow a bit by the end of the book, but I’m hoping there’s more growth for her as the series continues. Now, the men. I’m not going to even talk about Zayne because he’s irrelevant in my opinion. Roth is end game and I love him. Sue me, I’m a sucker for the bad boy.
Overall, this was fun and entertaining. I’m definitely going to continue my reread of the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

GoodReads Summary:
The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?
Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.
What Kind of GirlReview:
I’m going to be writing this review while using The Bookish Chick’s review because I read it after I finished this book and she pretty much summed up my thoughts perfectly. But I will be writing this and trying to put it in my own words. I was excited about this book when I saw the ebook available through my library because I’m trying (and failing amid the virus closures) to not buy all the new releases.
This book starts off with anonymous narrators the chapters are just titled with who the narrator could be classified as. For example, “The Girlfriend, The Burnout, The Popular Girl” which was interesting, at first. But then I reached part two and was left very confused. I didn’t totally understand what the transition to part two meant. But the further I got into the book the more I was sure that I knew what the author was doing. I thought this was interesting, but it only goes on for half of the book. I would have liked for it to go on longer or not at all. While it was an interesting sort of twist, it just left me confused and sort of annoyed.
The other problem I had with this book was the ending. It made me so mad that I forgot most of what happened until I read Alana’s review and remembered. Maya finally stands up and sets straight the rumors that are circulating, she stands her ground and says what she thinks should happen (since something like this isn’t specified in the student handbook). I loved seeing her finally stand up, but then the book just ends. Maya is provided with options to go move with her dad or stay with her mom. But we never find out what happens. We don’t know if her boyfriend even gets in trouble and I’m mad all over again typing this.
Overall, this was a pretty quick read. But not one I was overly pleased with. I know there will be many readers who will love this story, so please take this review with a grain of salt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

GoodReads Summary:
The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian fighting to keep their identities secret. While the battle rages on between their alter egos and their allies, there is a darker threat shrouding Gatlon City.
The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.
Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.
Supernova (Renegades, #3)Review:
I have to start this by saying that I listened to the audiobook and somehow I managed to listen to all seventeen hours in less than two days. This may make it seem like I really loved the story, which isn’t completely true. I really enjoy the characters and the conflicts and the things going on, but I had issues. I was annoyed quite a bit but I was definitely gripped by the story.
Supernova was the finale book in the Renegades trilogy. It’s a series I was determined to finish this year (because 2020 is the year of finishing series I’ve gotten behind on.) Superficially, I had fun with this book but I spent most of the time yelling in my head “JUST TELL THE TRUTH ALREADY!” I thought this in the direction of several characters.
So, there’s Nova. She’s a complex character. I really loved her as a whole because of her inner struggle, between loyalty to the villain family that raised her or the heroes that she’s struggling not to agree with. This inner battle was honestly fascinating. Her journey was the only reason I kept going in this series, to see how her choices fell and her story ended.
Adrian was interesting too, but he just irritated me. He had a great life. Though it’s sad he lost his mother, he had two wonderful adoptive dads and brother. He had powers to draw things that come to life. But that wasn’t enough for him. He had something to prove. Enter his alter ego, who is a vigilante and plays outside the rules that his dads enforce for all Renegades. I just wanted him to tell his parents and Nova the whole book.
Between Nova’s secret identity and Adrian’s, I was just annoyed. I really hate the secret-keeping trope when if Nova had just told the truth the plot twist (which I should have seen coming but totally didn’t) would have come out earlier and maybe she could have become a hero sooner.
Overall, this story was action-packed and full of interesting and diverse characters. I loved all the supporting characters and their stories. I loved that Nova and Adrian were both morally gray. The audiobook was super well done and kept me engaged, but there were just too many moments that really annoyed me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

GoodReads Summary:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)Review:
Okay, I just honestly am not sure where to begin or what to say. Also, I’m a fair bit into book three while writing this, so I’m going to do my best to keep them separate.
I’m honestly a bit over it. I think that’s because half the book Elias and Laia weren’t even together. If Elias had just stayed none of the bad shit would have happened with Laia and those who have read this know who. I’m so mad that he left. I am just mad at him in general. He’s a huge idiot. I liked the forest that he finds that I can’t remember the name of right this minute. I thought it was a very interesting place and the girl he meets there challenged him. I really enjoyed the interactions between them.
Now, Laia. I honestly liked her with Keenan until I found out the truth. Despite that, I find myself annoyed with Laia. She’s on the way to rescue her brother and manages to find herself in a stupid love triangle, like why Laia, why. I did enjoy the relationships she created with the Tribes people and I’m interested to see what direction that will go in the next book. I also am very intrigued by her mysterious ability and am wondering where it came from and why that was not explained. Maybe we’re left to assume it’s the same as where Helene’s came from?
Helene’s parts of this book were so sad. I felt so bad for her. She does not deserve any of the things she has to do or see in this book. I really hope there is some good for her somewhere in the rest of this series because it’s clear that she wants to be a good person, but she’s being controlled by a monster and has to play the games of those around her, no matter how horrible.
Overall, I didn’t love this, but I still plan to continue the series. I liked the characters. The story was interesting. Things were slow here and there, but that’s with most fantasy books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

GoodReads Summary:
When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?
Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.
Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.
Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.
Cracked Up to BeReview:
In the new introduction that Courtney Summers added when this book was published again, she mentions that Parker is a hugely unlikeable character. This is so true. She’s self-destructive and beyond unlikeable. She was pretty relatable because I was pretty self-destructive when I was her age. I liked that she had friends (sort of) that were there and tried to keep her accountable.
This book was almost hard to read, but the mystery and suspense of the flashbacks (which led up to why Parker went from head bitch to almost drop out) kept me interested. I really wanted to know what Parker went through to cause this change. I was a little disappointed with the reveal. It was a terrible thing, but really, she did a terrible thing. She didn’t look out for her friend and that just made me mad. It made me angry with an already unlikable character.
Overall, this was a pretty quick read. If you like Courtney Summer’s other books, you’ll probably like this one too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

GoodReads Summary:
Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)Review:
I’ve read all of the Shadowhunter books so did anyone really expect that to not include this one? I went into it not expecting much because I didn’t really love The Infernal Devices. Something about the time period just isn’t my favorite. But I’m happy to say that I really loved this book and I’m very excited for the series to continue.
I love that we get to see will, Jem, Tessa, and a few others from TID. I love it when books connect with other series. There are such great friendships and relationships in this book. I loved being back in a (mostly) familiar world with a whole new cast of characters.
Obviously, Cordelia was the mysterious one. Our lady on the cover. I adored her. She’s fierce and passionate. She’s full of love for her family and the new friends that she’s making. I loved her friendship with Lucy. I’m also super invested in her relationship with someone I won’t mention. Her brother Alistair was a character that I went back and forth so many times sometimes hating and sometimes loving. I think by the end of the book I really love him. He grows and that matters.
Lucy Herondale is the sister of James and I love both of these Herondales. Lucy is a writer. She’s a good sister and a loyal friend. I love seeing her with Cordelia and the gang. I’m excited to see where her story is going to go. Because she is a child of Tessa, she has some warlock blood in her, so I think that’s where her extra ability to see ghosts comes from. I’m interested to see where this aspect of the story will go. Then there’s her brother, James. Our messy, messy James. I really adored him except when he was thinking or talking about Grace. We know about their relationship from one of the novellas. I vaguely remember liking her in the short story, but I almost immediately did not like her in this book. I wish she would go away and that’s all I’m going to say about her. James was messy because of Grace. But other than that, he was an extremely loyal brother and friend. His relationship with his parabatai, Matthew, was my favorite. James will do anything for the people that he cares about and it’s very clear. I adored seeing the friends together after getting to know them a bit in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. Christopher, Matthew, James, and Thomas. These four are best friends and though they each face their own issues, none of them ever has to do it alone. I really liked Matthew, personally. But that’s because of my own issues. I could go on and on about all the different characters that were involved in this story, but I won’t. I just don’t have the time or attention span for that.
So, I’m just going to say that I really really loved this book. I loved the friendships. I loved the characters. I loved the mystery and drama. I loved every single minute and I am already dying for book two.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

GoodReads Summary:
The world is not tame.
Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off-trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
Be Not Far From MeReview:
What a wild ride this book was for me. I’ve had a hit or miss relationship with McGinnis’ books. But this one has gotten some pretty good praise since its release, so I thought I’d give it a try when I saw my library had the ebook available. I read this in one sitting. It’s a shorter book, but action-packed and so suspenseful.
The things that Ashley goes through was just wild. First of all, she catches her boyfriend literally cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend. I just have to say I was totally here for the way that this situation was resolved. The story starts with a group of friends drinking in the woods. This was relatable as hell for me because that’s pretty much also what I did in high school.
But then she runs and manages to really hurt herself. Her friends are jerks and think she’s just gone home. So, we follow her as she’s trying to (sort of) heal herself and figure her way out of the woods. I will say that the people who I know that have read and enjoyed this, they mentioned that it was pretty graphic and a little gory, but I didn’t feel that way. It was definitely descriptive, but there was only one specific part that really grossed me out (read: possum). I thought the rest of the book while Ashley is trying to survive in the wild while injured was so well written. It was suspenseful and dramatic. But we also got a fair bit of backstory for Ashley and relationship history with various characters.
Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a new favorite book. But I read it very quickly because the writing pulled me in and wouldn’t spit me out until Ashley managed to escape the woods. I’d definitely recommend this book for anyone that thinks it sounds interesting.

Quotes:

“We live in a place where geography can not only kill you, but also dictates your friends.”

“No, I’m not freezing and I’m not starving, and I know both these things are true because I’m in pain. When you can’t feel anything is when you need to worry.”

“I’m discovering me out here, for the good and the bad. There’s things I’m proud of and stuff I’d rather forget, but it all makes up who I am and what I was, and what I’ve got to work with if I want to become something else. And I don’t get to do those things or be that person if I die out here.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.