Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell


A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Book One of the Twisted Tales series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie? 

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

What I Liked:

Yikes! This could have gone a lot better. If you've seen the movie Aladdin (1992), then you're set. This book isn't necessary at all, if you've watched the movie. And even if you haven't watched the movie... there are issues with this book that are issues that I have that have to do with the writing, the structure, the plot, the basic development. This wasn't a good story, and it wasn't a good book based off the movie. Whatever it was, it wasn't great.

Aladdin is a Street Rat, born and raised in the streets of Agrabah. One day, the princess decides to take a stroll in the market. Aladdin rescues her from getting her hands cut off. She tells him that she is running away from home, because her father is going to force her to marry someone. Then Aladdin is whisked away to Jafar, who has him get the lamp from the cave in the desert, by trickery. Aladdin survives, Jafar gets the lamp, and makes two wishes - to be the sultan, and to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Together, Aladdin and Jasmine must rally the Street Rats and people of Agrabah in order to defeat Jafar and take back the city.

Well. I did actually finish this book, which is a plus. I notice a slew of DNF reviews on Goodreads, so I thought I'd point out that at least I managed to finish the book! I'm not in the habit of DNF-ing, but still. This book wasn't so awful that even I couldn't finish it. 

It's really similar to the movie, which I guess could be a good thing or a bad thing. I'm looking at it as a bad thing, but hey, another reader out there might be delighted that there is a new publication of Aladdin in book form, with a slightly different spin, too! Not me though. Read on.

What I Did Not Like:

The writing style was VERY trivial - juvenile, as a friend of mine said. And there was so much modern jargon, which was REALLY detracting from the feel of the story. Too many modern phrases (or attempts at modern phrases) for my taste. This is supposed to be a fantasy novel, with magic and sultans and sorcerers and genies. Nowhere is this supposed to have even a hint of modern-day contemporary world-building or aspects or anything. To my knowledge.

And back to the writing in general - poor, at best. I couldn't take the writing seriously, because it seemed choppy and almost conversational, but not a good kind of conversational. Like a conversational with someone that isn't telling the story well. It was like the author was trying too hard for this book to be fun and light and cute... but it just seemed silly and poorly written.

This book is so similar to the movie, I might as well have just popped the movie in and watched. But this book was way worse - the movie is amazing and cannot be touched, but this book doesn't come anywhere close to the movie. 

And separate the book from the movie - this book would still be painful, with the choppy, childish writing style, the poorly development characters, the sloppy romance. I'll get to that in a minute.

I didn't feel like Jasmine or Aladdin grew very much, as characters. Jasmine, maybe, because she stopped being spoiled for about ten minutes so she could save the world. The thing is, Braswell does a lot of telling, and not showing. The same goes with Aladdin's character development.

Not to mention - I still don't understand how a group of Street Rats (CHILDREN) defeated the greatest sorcerer in the world. I'm struggling to understand this. This book is supposed to be a Young Adult book, right? It seemed so poorly constructed, maybe for young kids, ages seven to ten or something. How in the world did CHILDREN defeat Jafar?! Logically, it doesn't make sense. There were a lot of cartoon moments in this novel, where I thought to myself, a REAL "villain" wouldn't just STAND there, or wouldn't do THIS, or wouldn't not do THAT, etc.

The romance is so sloppy! So much insta-love going on! From the start, it's attraction at first sight, which is FINE. But the relationship does not develop at all. Braswell does a lot of telling us about the relationship, but not showing. I don't know how Aladdin and Jasmine grew to trust each other or even like each other. It was instantaneous? Not good enough for me. 

Cookie cutter perfect ending! As one would probably expect. I feel like this book would have made a great Middle Grade novel. But not necessarily YA.

Would I Recommend It:

I wouldn't recommend this novel. Even if you love fantasy (like me). Even if you liked Aladdin (1992) the movie (like me). Or even if you have not seen the movie - just watch the movie, you don't need to read this book. This book is so unnecessary - it's not even a GOOD representation of movie. Or whatever it is supposed to be.

Rating:

1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. I think it's generosity at this point, and the fact that I was mostly entertained while reading. Notice I never said anything about boredom. I may read the next book in the series, especially the books are companion novels. There may be hope yet!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn


The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, which Kirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

What I Liked:

This book was... strange. It's one of those mystical, magical-realism-esque novels that don't seem to be going anywhere. The plot of this book didn't make sense to me, the story didn't make sense, and yet I couldn't pull myself away. I think I enjoyed the book, though I can't see myself going through it again, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

The Three Fates - Chloe, Serena, and Xinot - do not interact with mortals, do not live among mortal, do not interfere in the lives of mortals. They spin, mark, and cut threads. Chloe is the youngest, the one who looks like a young woman, the one whom men find irresistible. Serena is the middle-aged one, and she is the mothering type, though she will never have children of her own. Xinot is the elderly sister, the oldest one, the most intuitive. When Aglaia washes up on the sisters' island, Serena can't turn her away. But Aglaia has a dark future, and the Fates are now involved.

This book is told from Chloe's first-person point-of-view, although it's also told in second person, kind of. Chloe is telling "you mortals" a story, a story of why the Fates shouldn't interfere in the lives of humans. Chloe is NOT happy with Aglaia living with them. Serena is the one that allows it, and Xinot lets it be. Chloe has a strong will and is a bit more temperamental than the other two sisters. While it might seem like she doesn't care about Aglaia at first, she grows to care about her, just like the other sisters.

Aglaia's village was raided by soldiers, everyone murdered, the village burned. Aglaia survived, but the raiders wanted it so. Aglaia is filled with pain, and Serena puts a spell on her to erase her memories. But it doesn't erase the pain. Aglaia has something huge that will change the world, and the Fates are powerless to stop it. They are so powerful, yet so powerless.

The story is very short, yet very dense. If you skim something or flip too quickly, you might miss something vital. It is consuming, the kind of book that confuses the heck out of you, yet you can't look away. The writing is beautiful, lyrical, yet I was totally lost at times, but I couldn't not keep reading. The world is a fantasy, Greek-influenced one, but I couldn't get a firm grasp on it.

While I'm giving this book three stars, I liked the book. The story is SO intriguing (and I can't say much specifically because it gets spoilery really quickly), and the ending is strange but satisfying. I think. If I'm understand it correctly.

What I Did Not Like:

But therein lies my problem. This book is one of those gorgeously written book that are confusing as a Rubik's Cube (hush, Rubik's Cube solvers). A lot of fantasy novels that take on a magical realism feel are like this. They are lovely and flowy and pretty to read... but confusing. As a story, this one didn't have much structure, and didn't make sense.

How in the world did Aglaia end up by the Fates? Especially when we find out that the Fates are on an island which other humans live on (this isn't quite a spoiler, I promise). Why didn't she end up there? Why didn't the Fates throw her out? Why did they follow her, why did they stay? I can't say more without spoiling things, but trust me, things don't add up in this book. There is little plot structure. It's like someone is telling a tale but veers off in one direction and attempts to come back to the tale. Or something. The climax rolls around and then I'm even more confused. 

The ending is also confusing, but I think I get it and I think I like it? I think there is some heavy symbolism, or maybe I'm reading into it too much. In any case, I think the ending could have been more clear. The whole story, really.

This book is REALLY short. There could easily have been another 100-125 pages in this book. Maybe that would have fleshed out the plot and padded the worldbuilding. 

One thing that kind of bothered me - it is very OBVIOUSLY stated, both in the synopsis and in the book, that Chloe is the one that men fall for. Yet, there is NO romance in this book. None. Not even for Aglaia and some guy, or anyone. But especially not for Chloe. I was expecting it, because the author had a line in the beginning stating how men fell for Chloe all the time. Hello, foreshadowing? Likely unintentional, which is annoying!

Would I Recommend It:

I actually don't think I would recommend this book. It's interesting, but probably not worth the read. Initially, I was REALLY excited about it! Now I'm happy I read it, but not really singing its praises. If you have it, read it. If not, keep moving along!

Rating:

3 stars. Not terrible, but not amazing! But hey, it was super short, which almost makes me think I should reread it... almost. I can't quite wrap my head around this one.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#136)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, July 26th to Saturday, August 1st?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



I've not heard of this one! Unsolicited - thank you, Penguin!



Thank you, Penguin!


From NetGalley:



I couldn't help myself - already read this one and LOVED it! Thank you, Carina Press!


From Edelweiss:



I love this cover! And Lynsay Sands. No doubt this will be a good one!



The companion to Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires! I really liked that one :D


Fairly quiet week! Exciting things from the Avon Addicts - I got a whole pile of review copies for the Avon Addicts program that I didn't post here! I'm lazy ;) How was your week?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes


In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes
Book Two of the Time Served series
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: September 7, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Caitlin Dufresne has never loved anyone as much as she loves winning. A ruthless fifth-year associate at an elite Chicago law firm, she’s on the fast track to partner...until a stupid, serious error enrages her bosses. Caitlin’s continued refusal to share work—or credit—lands her a forced two-week vacation. She needs to regroup and learn to be part of a team, not just the star.

When she meets Eli Grant, head of the firm’s IT department, Caitlin knows the overgrown frat boy isn’t her type. But too much alcohol and a very public game of Truth or Dare turn into a dirty, breathless one-night stand. Which turns into a (mostly naked) two-week fling. Which turns into something that makes Caitlin incredibly nervous, despite the great sex.

Eli shows her the many upsides to sleeping in, and for the first time ever, Caitlin has more than the law waiting for her at home. But when she returns to the office and the relentless demands of a high-profile case, Caitlin must decide if winning this one is worth losing Eli forever.

What I Liked:

Back in February, I read and LOVED Time Served, book one of this series. It's one of my few five-star-rated novels for 2015 so far, and one of my favorites. Rachel and Dean's story was agonizing and heartbreaking and lovely. Caitlin Dufresne was a very important character in the story, and to be honest, I HATED her. So when I saw that Julianna Keyes had written a companion novel to Time Served in Caitlin's point-of-view, I was, well, wary. Still, I really enjoyed Time Served, so I put aside my doubts, and jumped at the chance to read this one early. No regrets!

Caitlin Dufresne is Chicago's most successful lawyer, in her early thirties, and one of the most attractive. She works all the time, late into the night, early in the morning. When her bosses stiff-arm her into taking a mandatory vacation, Caitlin is furious. She has no interests outside of work. When the IT guy of the firm, Eli Grant, stumbles on her in a bar the evening of her forced mandatory vacation, sparks fly, and Caitlin and Eli find themselves very attracted to each other. Steamy weeks follow, and Caitlin is slowly finding out that she doesn't have to be made of only work work work. She finds that she can't walk away from Eli, and will soon have to decide what is worth more of the effort - Eli, or her work.

Caitlin is so different from Rachel (the protagonist of Time Served). Rachel does not make any cameo appearances in this book. In Time Served, we find Caitlin to be a cold. heartless, cruel woman who seems to be sleeping with everyone in the firm. She made me so angry in that book. But as I've gotten into her head, I can understand her so much better. She wasn't sleeping with everyone to get power or promotions, she dated men, they broke up, like any relationship. Caitlin is cold and heartless, but she isn't made of stone. While she appears to be a marble sort of perfect, she isn't.

I found that I actually really liked her. She is a fighter, a dedicated worker, and she never gives up, even when she isn't familiar with something or doesn't like it. Her attraction to Eli is instant and surprising, and she doesn't want to stop seeing him after that one time, despite the fact that he isn't her usual type. I like that Caitlin is honest and straightforward, and goes after what she wants.

I really, really like Eli, especially in the beginning. He is also honest and straightforward, and goes after what he wants. He knows Caitlin's reputation, yet he stills want to get to know her, in more than one way. He pushes their relationship to new levels, and helps Caitlin feel comfortable with many things she wasn't previously comfortable with doing. Towards the end, there is a lot of miscommunication between Caitlin and Eli, and I wanted shake them both, especially Eli. But he is such a good guy, and a hawt one, at that. Overgrown frat boy? I know the type. I wouldn't mind one, to be honest.

The chemistry between Eli and Caitlin is off the charts. Talk about steamy, right from when they meet each other. It's instant attraction, which leads to more. There are so many steamy scenes in this book, much like in Time Served. But unlike in Time Served, Caitlin and Eli didn't know each intimately previously (or at all), and have no history. I almost liked this more, because the romantic and sexual experiences between Eli and Caitlin were completely new. No history clogging their relationship. This book is so, so steamy, guys. This series, in general. Time Served and In Her Defense are both very sexy romance novels, that deliver on the sexy, and the romance.

And of course, their relationship is very tested and tried. It's physical at first, but then the pair start to care about each other. There are some minor jealousy moments on both sides, and some miscommunication. One assumes one thing, the other assumes another. But their relationship seemed like an authentic growing relationship, and I liked how developed it was.

This book goes through Caitlin's development of character very thoroughly. Caitlin doesn't know who she is if she isn't working. But the forced vacation allows her to explore areas of her life that she has not spent enough time exploring. She starts going to her niece's softball games. She goes to baseball games with Eli, and actually becomes a pretty big fan of baseball. She helps Eli remodel properties that he owns, which she doesn't love, but she likes doing it with and for him. Caitlin discovers a life outside of work, and a life with Eli.

The climax of the story surrounds Caitlin and Eli's relationship, as well as a case that Caitlin has been working on. While I found the case interesting, I was more interested in how Eli and Caitlin would resolve their relationship issues. The ending is very bittersweet up until the last few pages. I kind of like how the author dragged things out a bit, because it felt very real. The ending itself is very sweet and a good one! No need to worry about that. Keyes always delivers a happily ever after that will satisfy readers!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specifically that I didn't like! The author did an amazing job with this novel.

Would I Recommend It:

I would so very much recommend this novel! It's the companion to Time Served, but I personally recommend that you read Time Served before reading this one. Then you can hate Caitlin as much as I did at first, and then love her in this book. Seriously, I didn't think the author could do it well, but she really convinced me to love Caitlin in this book, despite loathing her in Time Served. This is a really great contemporary romance novel that is not cute and fluffy, but dirty and steamy and moving.

Rating:

4 stars. More like 4.5 stars, if the world would let me rate books in half stars. This novel was an excellent companion novel, and such a fulfilling adult contemporary romance! If I want my romance fix, I know Keyes is the right author to look up! I am definitely excited to read more from her in the future, related to this series or not!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


Time Served is only $2.99 at the moment! Don't miss out!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong


Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy's most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan.

With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

- Rakshashi (standalone)
- Kat (Darkest Powers universe, non-series narrator)
- A Haunted House of Her Own (standalone)
- Learning Curve (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- The Screams of Dragons (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- The Kitsune’s Nine Tales (Age of Legends universe, non-series narrator)
- Last Stand (standalone)
- Bamboozled (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Branded (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The List (Otherworld universe, Zoe)
- Young Bloods (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- The Door (standalone, original to this collection)
- Dead Flowers by a Roadside (standalone)
- Suffer the Children (standalone)
- The Collector (standalone)
- Gabriel’s Gargoyles (Cainsville universe, Gabriel)
- Harbinger (standalone)
- V Plates (Otherworld universe, Nick)
- Life Sentence (Otherworld universe, non-series narrator)
- Plan B (standalone)
- The Hunt (Cainsville universe, non-series narrator)
- Dead to Me (standalone)
- Devil May Care (Cainsville universe, Patrick, original to this collection)

What I Liked:

I don't think I've ever reviewed an anthology! I've certainly read a few, but not reviewed one (that I remember). I don't read anthologies often - the stories inside are too short for my taste, and I never feel satisfied. With this anthology, I was really only interested in the Age of Legends story, The Kitsune’s Nine Tales. While that one was probably my favorite of all of the short stories, I enjoyed this anthology as a whole.

There are so many stories in this anthology, and I won't bother summarizes each one, or even commenting on each one. We'd be here all day! I'll highlight some of my favorites - The Kitsune’s Nine Tales, The Door, and Devil May Care

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales is the only story I really wanted to read in this anthology, when I first heard that this anthology would be a thing! I've read Armstrong's Darkest Powers series, and the Age of Legends series. I wasn't a huge fan of the Darkest Powers series, but I LOVE the Age of Legends series. The rest of Armstrong's books are unfamiliar to me, though I know how popular her books are (as well as she herself!). 

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales is the story of Alvar Kitsune and how he escaped death in the Forest. This story is very short, yet very dense. There are short cameos from Gavril, his son, but call that this story takes place over ten years ago, so Gavril is but a boy. This story seems like it is going in one direction, regardless of whether or not you've read the Age of Legends books, but Armstrong finds ways to surprise a reader. This story was certainly interesting, and a bit surprising!

The Door is the next story that I really liked. It is an original short story, not related to any of Armstrong's published novels. It is the story of a young girl whose father brings her books and toys, and when her sisters are born, brings them books and toys. The girl is not supposed to go near a certain door. When her father dies, and then her mother, the girl opens the door. She must make a decision, if she wants to keep opening it, or not. This story sounds really simplistic, with little conflict, but the story itself is so intriguing! What's beyond the door? What didn't her parents want her to see? What do their deaths have to do with the door? This was a strange short story, and I'm not entirely sure I understand it, but that is the beauty of short stories!

The last short story I want to highlight is Devil May Care. This story is a background sort of story relating to the Cainsville series. I've not read this series. This story is about how Gabriel's father and mother met, how Gabriel came to be. It is a strange story, because the Patrick and Seanna do not know each other until one they meet. Their interactions are very strange. Gabriel is conceived, but the parents do not want anything to do with each other. Nevertheless, I am very intrigued. The world of Cainsville seems to be one of fae, foretelling, fulfillment. This story was brilliant for several reasons, but importantly so because I am hooked and want to read the Cainsville series now!

Overall, the stories in this anthology were engaging, entertaining, interesting, and definitely helpful if you've read the full-length novels of the series that the short story corresponds to. And the short stories that stand alone are mesmerizing and strange, definitely worth reading! All of the stories are rather short, which I (for the most part) enjoyed!

What I Did Not Like:

I don't know if there was anything specific I didn't like? It's possible that I might have enjoyed some short stories more, had I read the full-length novels associated. But that's my problem, not the author's, and it's not a negative towards the book! Just a note, in case you're in the same boat as me!

Would I Recommend It:

If you're a Kelley Armstrong fan, or even if you've only read one or two books by her, check out this anthology! I'm not usually one for anthologies, but this one was quite interesting, and very easy to read, as the stories were short and engaging. Armstrong is a talented urban fantasy writer, that is proven over and over!

Rating:

4 stars. One of the few anthologies I've read, and I've enjoyed it! Might I recommend the Age of Legends series to everyone? High fantasy YA, simply amazing! The short story in this anthology for that series is very eye-opening! Definitely check out some of Armstrong's books if you get the chance.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Swoon Thursday (#131): Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman!


I grab him at the neck and pull him nearer. His mouth is warm and soft when it meets mine, his jaw rough 'gainst my skin. He leans into the kiss, arms gathering me up, and I swear a part of my head drifts right outta my body. I don't got a clue what I'm doing, but he seems to, so I let him lead. I let him lead like we're still dancing, and I follow blind, praying I ain't awful while trying to keep my knees strong, 'cus I wouldn't be shocked if they bucked and broke right there. Jesse Colton tastes like spice and tobacco and sweet mountain air, like salt and sweat from our travels. He feels like home and smells like mountains and I can't get enough. My one hand grips him tighter at the neck. The other curls into the front of his shirt.

- ARC, pages 272-273




This book took me by surprise! I'm delighted that I loved it :D

Release Day Blitz Week and Giveaway: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Welcome to the release day blitz week celebration for Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout! I'm a huge fan of JLA, and while I have not read Stone Cold Touch, I intend on binge-reading that one and Every Last Breath as soon as my preorder arrives! Check this novel and see how this series wraps up!



Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book Three of the Dark Elements series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Official Summary:

Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath

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…



Bitter Sweet Love:

White Hot Kiss

Stone Cold Touch:


About the Author:


# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.



The Trailer:




The Excerpt:

“Oh my God!” This time my hand connected with his arm. “You’re going to be in so much trouble, Roth! So much trouble.”

He shrugged a shoulder. “Defended myself.”

“Defended myself.” I mimicked him, bopping my head back and forth. “You can’t just go around killing Alphas, Roth!”

“You killed those angels?” Stacey asked, so I guessed she did remember them.

He sent her an innocent grin. “Well, I didn’t, but…”

“Roth!” I shouted, backing away before I started choking the ever-loving life out of him. “This is not a joke. You—”

He was damn fast when he wanted to be. One second he was several feet away from me and the next he was there, clasping the sides of my face. He lowered his head so he was eye level with me. “There are rules, Shortie.”

“But—”

“Rules that even the Alphas have to abide by. They cannot attack me without physical provocation. If they do, they tick the Boss off, and then the Boss retaliates in a way that makes what the Lilin could do look like child’s play. I’m not just some random demon. I’m the Crown Prince. They took a swing at me, and I defended myself. End of story.”

But he had provoked them—maybe not physically, but he wasn’t an innocent bystander in this. As the shock ebbed, there was a different kind of bitter pill to swallow. What if Roth had gotten his rules wrong? What if more Alphas were even now on the way to avenge their brethren?

“I’m going to be okay.” His eyes held mine as he stepped closer, lining his booted feet up with mine. “Nothing is going to happen to me. I promise.”

“You can’t make that promise,” I whispered, searching his gaze intently. “None of us can.”

His hands slid back and he curled his fingers in my loose hair. “I can.”
Those two words were like throwing down a gauntlet to the whole universe. I lowered my gaze as he dragged my hair back, tucking both sides behind my ears. It was then, as he slowly withdrew his hands, that I remembered we were not alone.

I jerked back and my gaze collided with Zayne’s. For a moment, I let myself really see Zayne. I hadn’t almost killed him. I had almost done something much, much worse than that. When a Warden lost their soul, they turned into a horrific creature. I knew that for a fact, because I’d seen what had happened to a Warden after their soul had been taken from them. I’d almost done that to Zayne, and he was still here, standing by my side.

A hole opened up in my chest as I saw the keen wariness in his stare. My stomach twisted something awful and I opened my mouth, but I didn’t know what to say. My heart and head were suddenly tearing in two very different directions. Fortunately, I didn’t get the chance to say anything.

“I leave you alone for a few hours, and you let Thumper fry and eat an Alpha.”

Yelping, I spun around as Stacey screamed. Cayman stood in the center of the destroyed living room. He’d come out of nowhere. Poof. There. He wore dark trousers and a white dress shirt he appeared to have gotten bored with when it came to buttoning it up, and his blond hair was loose around his angular face. When it came to the demon pecking order, Roth had once explained that as an Infernal Ruler, Cayman was middle management. He was kind of like the demon-of-all-trades, and I had a feeling he was more than just a…um, coworker of Roth’s. Whether Roth claimed it or not, they were friends.

“That was quick,” Roth commented, folding his arms across his chest.

Cayman shrugged. “It’s a sign of the times, man. It’ll probably be on some Alpha’s Facebook wall within the hour.”

Alphas had Facebook accounts?


The Giveaway: