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Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #3
Genre: YA Science Fiction / Paranormal Romance
Publication date: December 1 2012
by Entangled Teen
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

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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 not 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.
I am so in love with the Lux series, it's insane. Seriously, I had wanted to get so many other books out of the way so that I could read Opal, I was that excited to read it. It doesn't really surprise me that I liked the book as much as I did - I mean, I finished it in two days and stayed up until 2 AM to finish it. On a Sunday. But, despite how quickly I devoured and liked Opal, I don't think it's the best book in the series, for a couple of reasons.

Due to a ma-hoo-sive spoiler that occurs at the end of Onyx and is a main part of Opal, I won't be summarising the plot like I usually do in reviews and we'll move straight on to my reactions. At the beginning of the book, I took me a very brief while to get back into the feel of the series, since I had read Onyx quite a while ago. Luckily, it didn't take me long to do that but I did find the beginning to be just a little slow and it took a while to get properly into the story. Once I'd gotten past the beginning, I did not want to stop. At all. I really liked the way that things progressed; there were very few moments that bored me and I was kept excited to keep turning the pages and continuing on with the story. And then, that ending. That. Freaking. Ending. That was just mean. How can Jennifer Armentrout do this to me? I feel like a piece of my soul is missing, that was so heartbreaking! I need a moment...

My main reason as to why I don't think Opal is the best book in the series, is sadly down to Katy and Daemon. As much as it pains me to say, certain things they said and did just irked me a little bit. Daemon was protective of Katy before, but now that they're officially together, he got scarily protective. As in threatening to hurt a certain person if they even spoke to her. No. Just no. Daemon, I get that you really like Katy, she means a lot to you and you don't want to see her get hurt. But that doesn't mean that you have to make threats against another person's life, just because they want to speak to her. Seriously, calm down. I was really , really hoping that he wouldn't turn into one of those *whispers*Edward Cullen (I sure hope no one heard that) kinds of guys with his overprotectiveness, but thankfully he didn't. Phew. But the fact that he was inching just that little bit closer worried me a bit. Katy didn't bother me as much as Daemon did at times, but there was a moment where I wanted to sit her down and tell her what was up. She got jealous over something that had happened a long time ago, that something being Daemon's past relationship with Ash. I'm sorry, but there is nothing I hate more than when a girl freaks out and is insanely jealous over her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. Why? He's not dating her, he's dating you, Katy. You also need to calm down!

Okay, rant over.

One of my favourite things about the Lux is that even though it is technically a romance series, we still get a fair share of science-fiction in here, which makes me an incredibly happy bunny. I really enjoyed seeing Katy training with Blake and the Luxen to take control of the abilities she gained in Onyx and also becoming stronger in the process. That's not to say that I don't like the more romantic aspects of the series, because I do. Some scenes are particularly interesting, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I found myself rereading certain passages, just to make sure my brain wasn't playing tricks on me.

Despite my few issues with the book, I really did enjoy Opal. I loved the way that the story flowed and how exciting it was at times and I am still in recovery from that ending. And now to wait for me to gain that part of my soul back when I get to read Origin!

Stacking the Shelves (10)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which I showcase books that I have received in this week.

Hello my duckies, I'm finally back! During my two weeks of absence I took my time with my reading, rather than reading in huge chunks like I usually do; it's definitely got me motivated to continue updating the blog! Also, while I took some time off, I was reminded of why I don't really like to read outdoors: I got a nasty sunburn on the back of my hand while reading outdoors. Ouch >.< My reading will be kept indoors from now on! Anyways, on to the books!



Don't forget to leave me a link to your post so I can
pop by and see what you got!

Review: Splendour by Anna Godbersen

Anna Godbersen
Series: The Luxe #4
Genre: YA Historical
Released: October 2009
by Harper
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★

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New York City, 1900

While the once revered Holland family recovers from scandal, the spirited Miss Diana Holland is seeking adventure abroad. But then a surprising clue about her father's death is revealed and everything is thrown into question.

Meanwhile, the delectable Henry Schoonmaker has also left the city and bravely gone to war while his wife relishes her role as Manhattan royalty - until a real prince pays a visit and turns her fickle head.

As New York's most dazzling stars chase dreams, cling to promises and tempt fate, society wonders: at exactly what prince does a life of splendour come?
I've finally finished The Luxe series! Finally! I hadn't found the series to be too impressive since the story tends to run quite slowly (that can be partly owed to the fact that very little things that stand out happened in the time period that the series is set in), but I really do like Anna Godbersen and I was willing to give the final book in the series a chance, hoping that the ending would be satisfying. That didn't happen. For me, Splendour was so meh, that I just didn't react to any of it. Not even the bigger events.

My main problem with Splendour is that so little happened throughout the story that once things that would have been remotely exciting started to happen, my brain was just numb and refused to register a response. Towards the end, this happened just a little bit too much. I didn't feel a single thing at all and that kind of worries me. Do I have a soul for not reacting to the compromising situations that these dull flat characters find themselves in? Probably but I'll gain it back when I read something that actually makes me feel things.

One of the most disappointing things I thought occurred in Splendour is that the character development that appeared in Rumours and Envy is just completely thrown out of the window, except in one case. Penelope is still the horrible person that I would love to slaughter and leave for everyone to find, while Elizabeth has gone back to being dull and controlled which bored me so much. When she finally did show a backbone, I didn't think much of it thanks to my numb brain. Another change in character that I didn't react much to was the fact that towards the end of the book, Henry finally, finally, asserted himself and pretty much told people where to go. But, again, my brain was so numb by this point that I thought "good for him, should have done that sooner though".

I have said in past reviews that I really like Anna Godbersen's writing style but I completely take that back. After four books of flowery fluff and describing people's frocks that actually sound quite hideous at times, I feel like my puke would be floral patterned. I honestly prefer the way that the books in the Bright Young Things series were written. It's still a bit flowery, but nowhere near as flowery as here.

In all complete honestly, as odd as this sounds, I would have rather that this book was absolutely freaking terrible because then I would've actually had a reaction and this review would have been a whole lot easier to write. The fact that I just didn't react is more frustrating that if I had wanted to throw the book into a woodchipper. Meh.

Follow Friday (28)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Q: What do you do with your books after you've finished reading them?

If they belong to me, I put them back on my shelf where I'll probably come back and re-read them some time in the future; if I've borrowed them from a friend, I'll give them back when I see them next; or if they're from the library, I'll return them at the soonest chance I get!

Happy Friday!

Review: The Heat (2013)

The Heat
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy
Genre: Comedy / Action
Released: June 28 (USA) July 31 (UK) 2013
by 20th Century Fox Pictures
Running time: 117 minutes (1 hr, 57 mins)
Rated: 15 (BBFC) R (MPAA)
Rating: ★★★★

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Sarah Ashburn, an FBI agent, is extremely ambitious and has her eye on a promotion, but she doesn't get along with her co-workers. She is sent to Boston to uncover the identity of an elusive drug lord, Larkin, by tracking down his proxy, Rojas, and is told that she'll have a good shot at the promotion if she finds Larkin. When she arrives in Boston, she learns that Larkin has been eliminating his competition and taking over their operations. She learns that Rojas is in Boston PD custody and goes to see him to ask him what he knows about Larkin, but is warned that the cop who arrested Rojas, Shannon Mullins, is very territorial, and she is not exactly sociable. When the two meet they don't get along. When Mullins learns why Ashburn is in Boston, she decides to find Larkin herself. Ashburn is told by her boss to work with Mullins, but it won't be easy because Ashburn does things by the book while Mullins does things her way.
I haven't watched many comedy films for quite some time now, since the recent film season has been quite action-and-explosion-oriented, which doesn't really bother me but sometimes I do like to watch a film that doesn't have me gripping the edge of my seat and jumping all the time. Even though The Heat technically falls under the sub-genre of action, I was incredibly eager to finally see something funny (and for free too, since my dad and I had free tickets to an advanced screening). I wasn't too sure about the kind of humour that the film would have, but Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actresses so I did kind of expect great acting, which I'll get on to in a little bit.

The Heat is about FBI agent Sarah Ashburn who is assigned with finding a notorious drug lord in Boston and ends up being partnered with Shannon Mullins, a rebellious and territorial police officer. I really liked how straightforward the story is and how smoothly it flowed, and on top of that I loved how funny the film is. There are so many funny moments that I found it quite hard to pick a favourite moment, but my two favourite moments are the scene where Mullins cuts up Ashburn's clothes and the scene where they get drunk in a bar and dance to Deee-Lite's Grove Is in the Heart. The action of the film is nicely woven into the humour with some of the action scenes employing good physical comedy, especially when it comes to scenes that show Mullins's rough authority style.

As a duo, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy worked together really well. The characters of Ashburn and Mullins are so different from each other that they are an example of a classic comedy duo: Ashburn being the level-headed agent who works by the book, and Mullins being the loud-mouthed, streetwise cop who does things her own way. I loved seeing how they progressed from disagreeing with how the other works, to working together as the perfect team. As I'd said above, Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actresses and I loved her performance as Ashburn. Her comic timing is really spot-on and in sync with Melissa McCarthy who gives an awesome performance as Mullins, and never failed to make me laugh. I really hope that they do another film together in the future because they worked together really well.

As The Heat is an action film, as well as a comedy, there is quite a bit of action, however, it doesn't really crop up until toward the end of the film. I would've preferred it if it was distributed evenly throughout the film instead of being almost all-at-once. But that aside, I loved how it was two awesome ladies kicking ass and toting firearms, which is something that isn't seen very often in the male-centric action genre.

I loved the use of music in The Heat, which varies quite a bit. The music used in the opening credits feels quite reminiscent of buddy cop films and TV shows of the 1970's and 80's, and there is very good use of licensed music from some awesome female rappers, which really helps to set the mood for some of the scenes that drip with badassery. I don't think there was any time that I thought that the music use was bad or unnecessary.

Overall, I really liked The Heat. I loved its humour, its heart and its action, but I do wish that the action had been distributed evenly as it does appear in one go towards the end. I will definitely be going to see this film again!

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

J.L. Bryan
Genre: NA Dystopian / Science Fiction
Release date: July 26 2013
Source: Received from the author for review
Rating: ★★★★

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They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

Although I had only read two of JL Bryan’s books prior to reading Nomad, I would definitely consider myself of his awesome and unique work. I just could not turn down Nomad, but I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway because it falls under the category of my favourite genre: my beloved science fiction. Plus, there’s time travel! Infinite win! I think it’s safe to say that I kind of had a good feeling that I wouldn’t be disappointed and it’s a good thing that I trusted that good feeling because I definitely wasn’t disappointed at all!

As soon as Nomad begins, we meet Raven who finds herself alone in the middle of a highway, unable to remember where she is or where she came from, with only a few select images standing out in her memory. As she goes on her way, she gradually remembers what she is doing and that she has arrived in 2013 from the year 2064, where the United States has become a horrific dictatorship with many people living in poverty, including Raven herself. From a weird gizmo she has found on herself, she is reminded of what it is she has to do: she must find the future dictator and assassinate him before he comes into power. I love how we are thrust straight into the action once the book begins, which told me that I was in for something totally awesome. Throughout the plot, there are flash-forwards to Raven’s time which help to explain her mission, what is going on in the future and also the whole concept of time travel and what happens when history is changed, which I thought was explained very clearly. I didn’t have any problem with following the storyline and the time travel concept and I found it very interesting and original. Although I liked the way that the story progressed as a whole, I did find some parts of the book to be just a little bit slow compared to other parts.

Our heroine, Raven, is just all kinds of awesome and I loved her for that. She is strong, smart and really knew what she was doing. I liked how she was able to gather her thoughts relatively quickly so that she was able to get on with her mission as swiftly as possible and do the best job possible and also that she didn’t let on to anybody that she was from the future, that can be due to how well she managed to integrate with our modern society. I really admired how intelligent she was. She thought out everything carefully and considered both the benefits and consequences of her actions, rather than just going head first into doing something. I also loved how badass she is: this girl knows how to kick some butt and handle a weapon. What could be more awesome than that?

Even though Nomad primarily takes place in our time, I really liked the world-building of the future. I enjoyed learning about how far technology has advanced and also how the general state of things in the US has deteriorated to the point of extreme poverty (hopefully something like that wouldn’t happen in real life, or even in the UK where I am!). Thanks to the fantastic world-building, I really enjoyed the flash-forwards and was always excited to return to this harrowing future that I certainly would not hope for.

I loved how unique Nomad is; I haven’t read many dystopians that feature time travel, which has been done so well here. I wasn’t confused by anything at all, but the book did leave me wondering a few times. Every time I came back to the story, I just read and didn’t want to stop (unfortunately, the real world gets in the way) because I was enjoying the story so much. However, there were a few slower moments here and there, but once I’d gotten past them they were definitely worth it due to the book’s awesome ending that I kind of didn’t expect.