The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

32172479Rating: 3 stars

Series: Tales of the Black Lily #1

Clearly I must have read this wrong. Sure it was good, but I didn’t love it like everyone else. It was a creative retelling of Cinderella. Arabelle wasn’t some pathetic, lost soul who needed saving. She was intent on doing the saving herself. Prince Marius was just about perfect: intelligent, strong, charming, and willing to do what is right. Obviously being a Cinderella story instalove was going to be part of it, so I was okay with that. In the beginning Arabelle treated Marius like shit. It was hard for me to believe that she was so beautiful and brave that he was willing to overlook her major faults.

Arabelle was a hard character to like. I admit I have been obsessed with politics lately. I think that may be part of the reason why I didn’t like Arabelle. Her attitude at least for the first half of the book or so was reminiscent of the things I hate about politics which are strongly prevalent in the world today. Helping her people who had been oppressed was an admirable goal. There is a right and a wrong way to go about it. IMO she chose the wrong way. She was doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Being motivated by hatred is never a good thing. Hatred has a way of making people blind to the truth and reason.

Arabelle was obsessed with taking down the vampires. They needed to be killed because they were killing humans. Nothing is ever so simple. In any given group of people, the bad actions of a few does not mean the entire group is bad, but in Arabelle’s hatred she had convinced herself that all vampires were bad. The actions she wanted to take to right the wrongs of the vampires made the humans no better. Her willful ignorance of the situation as a whole consumed my thoughts while reading this. Since she was the leader of the rebellion her stupid beliefs and actions were hard to ignore. The one good thing I will say in her defense is that she did grow as a character and change her views when presented with facts, which is why I liked the book more towards the end.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Burn by Suzanne Wright

25828477Rating: 3 stars

Series: Dark in You #1

I had high expectations for this based on all of the amazing reviews and was left feeling disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it was just another PNR novel. In this world, each demon has one demon who is their anchor. It’s not a sexual thing but is a close bond between them. They don’t chose their anchors; when they find them, they instinctively know. Anchors make it easier for the demons to control their demons once they bond.

Since the characters were demons, they exuded sexuality, but the intense insta lust was irritating. Knowing Knox and Harper were anchors only increased the desire or so it seemed. It didn’t take long before Knox started throwing around the phrase she’s mine often although he was one of those men who didn’t do serious relationships. Neither Knox nor Harper seemed like the types to instantly be drawn to someone else.

Knox Thorn was was too alpha male for me. He wasn’t a jerk or anything but was selfish and demanding. I didn’t think he respected Harper’s wishes since he was always trying to force her to do what he wanted to do. He really pissed me off when they had sex since he only allowed her to come on demand. I wanted to smack him every time he called her a good girl. He did everything possible to pry information from Harper about her life, but refused to reciprocate when she wanted to know something about him.

I had an issue with Harper. Considering she was supposedly strong willed and independent, she easily gave into Knox’s demands. Because of her past Harper had trust issues, but she seemed to trust Knox easily enough. Knox was drawn to her because she was brave and didn’t back down. A lot of her actions in regards to how she treated Knox contradicted the descriptions of her. She didn’t want to bond with him or even get to know him, but whenever he’d show up, she’d go where ever he dragged her without much complaint. Knox didn’t have to try hard to convince her to do anything. In many ways she was submissive to him, and someone as prickly as her should have been more combative.

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

10583175Rating: 4 stars

Series: Unbound #1

Three words: Mafia with magic. It’s the best way to describe this world. In this city there are two rival syndicates. Everyone in each syndicate is bound to the leader via magic meaning they have to do anything the boss tells them to do. They can’t flee because they can be tracked via magical means. Once someone signs on with a syndicate they’re screwed because their life isn’t really their own until their contract is up.

Some people are unskilled which means they’re a person without magic. Plenty of people have magic called skills. Commons skills are binding, shadow walking, and tracking. People with rare skills or lots of magical power are highly desired by the syndicates and hunted down if necessary.

Liv was a tracker. She was best at tracking people by using their blood. An old friend Anne showed up unexpectedly because her husband was murdered. They were bound to help each from an old childhood oath. Her friend asked her to do something she really didn’t want to do, but she had no choice but to help her. Worse yet she wanted Liv to work with her old boyfriend Cam who she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t want to see again.

Liv was tough. She came off as bitchy at first, but there was good reason for it. She was being backed into a corner by people she cared about when she already had troubles from the Cavazos syndicate she was bound to. The more I learned about Liv the more I liked her. At first I was unhappy that Cam wormed his way into Liv’s life the way he did, but I grew to like him quickly. I understood why Anne did what she did, but I thought she was a bitch. Even as I learned more about her situation, I couldn’t sympathize with her.

The story was told by alternating Liv and Cam’s POV. It really helped to get both of their perspectives and know what was going on in their heads. There were some unexpected twists in the case they were working on and were some surprising revelations about Cam and Liv’s relationship. This was an original take on UF and a really good for the first book in a series.

Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black

11202715Rating: 3 stars

Series: Nikki Glass #2

I have no idea why I rated this so highly the first time around. Maybe it was just that UF was new to me back then and I was more forgiving. This book irritated the hell out of me on this reread. Nikki is a great character, but she didn’t seem as smart. There were a few times she did something, and I just knew it was a bad idea. It was mentioned often that she was rebellious during her rough childhood. It seems hard to believe since she is generally very cautious as an adult. Nothing about her comes off as reckless.

For a smart woman Nikki has piss poor judgement when it comes to people. She only sees what she wants to see and has no interest in learning more, which is probably why many characters are underdeveloped. Emma is a raging bitch and treats Nikki like crap. Nikki’s dislike of her makes sense, but it bothers me that she completely lacks empathy for her. Emma died every day for 10 years just to be brought back to life to experience it all over again. Considering what happened to Nikki in this book, I would have thought she’d understand on some level how traumatizing that could be. Loki is a trickster. Pulling pranks is what he does. Nothing he has done is really bad, but Nikki thinks he’s such an asshole. Why does she feel this way? Jamaal is an asshole, and she lets it slide. So why not do the same for Loki? Her fear of Anderson doesn’t make sense either. He is not someone to fuck around with because of his powers, but if he really wanted her dead it would have happened long before now. He’s always been reasonable. How does she not see that?

Anderson has several liberi living in his house, but what is the point of most of those characters being included in the book? After two books virtually nothing is known about them. Nikki mentioned that Maggie was her best friend. In the last book she was nice but no history was given, and she had almost no page time in this. Then there’s the computer geek whose name I can’t even remember because he is so insignificant. Apparently Loki is just a trickster and nothing more. Her sister barely had page time. Her sole purpose in the series is for her to be used as leverage against Nikki, so apparently an interesting personality isn’t needed. A few minor things were learned about Blake, but it wasn’t enough to make me care. There are a few other characters who I literally remember nothing about, and I just read this book yesterday.

My biggest gripe with this book is Jamaal. I can’t stand him. Everything he does irritates me, and he had so much page time. The dude has serious anger issues. Why would anyone want a relationship with an angry, violent person? Is Nikki a masochist? Because being in a relationship like that isn’t fun. Nikki feels bad for him because he’s controlled by his death magic. It makes his life so hard. Cry me a fucking river. It does suck that Jamaal has dangerous magic that is hard to control, but I really doubt him being such a dickhead all the time has to do with his magic. In the last book he was physically violent with her because he passionately loathed her, but I guess it’s all good now because he’s suddenly gotten over it. I don’t understand why Nikki forgave him for all of the shit he put her through. Why does she give him a pass on his behavior but doesn’t do it for anyone else? When any of the other characters behaved poorly, she expected them to be responsible and control their behavior.

“It didn’t matter that he sometimes bore a disturbing resemblance to a raving lunatic; Jamaal was hot, hot, hot.”

The moral of this story is it’s okay to date abusive assholes if they’re hot. Nikki hadn’t seemed like the type to fall for an asshole because of a pretty face. And Nikki liked him because according to her they were similar in some ways, but in reality they couldn’t be more different. Just because they both were abandoned by their parents doesn’t make them alike especially since the circumstances were completely different. I’m sure it won’t happen, but Nikki needs to take off the rose colored glasses and see Jamaal for the guy he really is.

The mystery aspect of the story was good. The killer was interesting. I actually felt bad for the guy. The murders caused some chaos and big changes in the world of the liberi, so the book wasn’t a complete loss. And there’s Anderson. I love Anderson! He’s smart and isn’t quick to judge. There is a dangerous side to him, but he’s got it under control. So he unlike some other characters isn’t a threat to be around.

Forevermore by Kristen Callihan

af02b78be614b34cddd1a94f91e8287dRating: 4 stars

Series: Darkest London #7

I’m sad to see this series end, but this was definitely one of the better books in the series. Sin may be my favorite guy in the series. Then again I’m a sucker for a tortured hero. One bad choice as a kid trapped him in a horrible situation, and it drastically altered the course of his life. Most people gave up on him and believed the worst of him, and it all fed into his self loathing. Although emotionally damaged, he wasn’t a lost cause; with the right support he could learn to cope with his past.

Layla was a unique kind of demon. She exhibited some strange traits that made her sought after by some dangerous creatures. Sin was given the job of being her guardian, which was awkward since they were close as children but hadn’t seen each other in years. Layla was the complete opposite of what a demon is expected to be. She was honest and sweet and didn’t have a deceptive bone in her body.

Sin and Layla had good chemistry, but it was a very slow burning romance. It got to the point where I was dying for them to kiss let alone have sex. Although it was slightly frustrating, it worked plot wise. Sin had some serious issues to work through, and by not jumping head first into a relationship Sin’s issues weren’t made light of.

Several of the characters from the other books made appearances and wrapped up some of their storylines. There were a few mysteries to be solved, but the romance was more central to the plot. This could be read as a standalone, but I’d recommend reading Soulbound or at least just the parts with Sin. His background was explained in this, but the bad stuff that happened to him actually happened in the last book. I used the kindle search feature to reread the parts with Sin. It made his current situation easier to understand.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour

18505811Rating: 3 stars

Series: Night and Nothing #1

First half of the book gets 4 stars, and the second half gets 2 stars. Finn, short for Serafina, was a teenager living with her dad in San Francisco. Her mother was long dead, and about a year ago her sister committed suicide. She and her dad moved back his hometown in New York. It was a bizarre place. Spooky things happened in the woods, and many homes which used to be extravagant were abandoned. Some of the young people in town were strange and different. Many people in town were oblivious to these oddities.

For while I was really into this. Finn was depressed over the loss of her sister. She settled into her new town quickly by making friends and starting college. Finn had a hard time believing her sister committed suicide, and the more she learned about her sister the more suspicious her death seemed. She met Jack Fata and the rest of his bizarre family. She got the feeling there was some kind of connection between them and her sister. Something weird was going on with Jack. Being around Finn made him be able to bleed again, and I really wanted to know what that meant for him.

Unfortunately this went from interesting to YA cliched crap. The plot began to focus more on the romance than the sister’s death or the bizarre happenings in town. Jack was a mysterious bad boy, so of course Finn was drawn to him against all better judgement. At one point things with Finn and Jack were getting intense when it was mentioned that Finn had only known Jack for a month. By then they were acting like they couldn’t live without each other. Their relationship turned out to be nothing more than instalove with no realistic basis for a relationship. They didn’t know each other at all.

Farther into the story it developed a stronger YA feel. Finn and her friends were college freshman, so they were roughly 18. It felt like they were in high school. There was too much petty bickering and bullying. Finn got in a fight at college and went home to tell her dad. She was an adult. At that point in her life she wasn’t obligated to tell her dad about every mistake she made. Out of Finn and her two friends only one of them had a car. Finn didn’t even know how to drive. She and her other friend rode bikes. All three of them still lived at home. That didn’t seem so weird since the college was in the town. It was weird that Finn had a curfew. It was midnight which isn’t early, but the idea of college kids having curfews is odd IMO.

The character development was seriously needed work. The side characters had no depth. What you see is what you get with them. At first I thought some of the characters would be grey, and it would be hard to know where their loyalties lie. The bad people were simply bad, and the good were good. The only character with slightly questionable motives was Jack. He was supposed to be a serious threat to Finn, but I never got the feeling he would really hurt her. Finn’s two friends didn’t add much to the story. Sometimes I wondered why they were even in the book.

Finn acted dumber and dumber as the book went on. Her decisions became more reckless although everyone around her kept telling her what she was doing was dangerous. The intelligence of her friends was highly questionable also. They tagged along for every dumbass thing Finn did which put their lives in danger as well. The bad people were obviously otherworldly. Apparently her stupid friends thought they’d somehow be able to protect her from them. After a while it was fairly obvious what the Fatas were, but it took forever for Finn to figure it out. It took even longer for her to convince her friends. By the time the drama happened at the end, she’d been in the town and known everyone for about 2 months. She and Jack were literally willing to die for each other. The whole scene was overly dramatic.

This is the first book in a trilogy. Some things like her sister’s death got vague explanations but were satisfactory. Finn and Jack’s story was completely wrapped up. Nothing in this made me feel compelled to read the next one. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was a standalone.