Origin by Jennifer Armentrout – 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Origin (Lux, #4)

Synopsis:

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

_______________________________________________________________________

Ok, so we all know by now that I enjoy the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout. Origin is the fourth book in the series.  I’m going to try very hard to not spoil anything from Origin, but there will be some minor spoilers from the preceding books because this far into a series you can’t really avoid it.

My Thoughts:

-While the first three books are told from Katy’s first person POV, Origin is told in first person POVs of both her and Daemon. As I’ve mentioned before, I love multiple first person POV. There were times in this book that I didn’t always feel it worked out well, though. Mostly Katy and Daemon’s “voices” were distinct and well defined, but there were a couple times where it was in Daemon’s POV and I thought it was Katy for a while.

Meet Daemon Black~the very sexy Alien from THE LUX SERIES by Jennifer Armentrout

-The first few chapters were told while Daemon and Katy were separated and I was glad that Armentrout didn’t drag that out too long because they are always better together. Armentrout promised this book would change the game and it did in several ways. Katy and Daemon’s relationship is one example. This is the first book where their relationship is really cemented. Even though they were together in Opal, there was still a lot of strife between them. In this book they were a very united front. There were still sarcastic remarks between them – which are always fun – but this time they seemed to be taken as a joke and not a reason for a fight. However, I almost felt like their relationship tipped a little too far in the other direction. Daemon becomes distracted by Kat’s left hand (specifically her ring finger) and Kat talks about how they “make” each other. A little too Twilight for me.

– We spend a good deal of the book away from any familiar characters, other than Katy and Daemon. While I didn’t exactly miss all of them, it was still nice that they weren’t left out entirely, which is where I thought the story was going. There’s also a couple new characters introduced, as well as some old characters given bigger roles. I actually liked all of that. Archer, a new ally, is smart and caring and sarcastic. Luc, who we first met in Onyx, is fleshed out more in this book and lingering questions about him are finally answered.

-While Kat and Daemon are with Daedalus being tested, we learn a lot about Daedalus’ mission, why they had captured Dawson and Beth, and what they want from Daemon and Katy. This was also another game changer from the first three books. Daedalus and the DOD were always villains, but it was still a very high school vibe. Origin leaves all the kid stuff behind and throws them into adulthood. While I’m fine with leaving the high school setting, they still act very much like the teenagers they are and some of their “grown up” decisions feel a little forced.

-Finally, Origin delivered on the big surprises we were promised (with the exception of Beth and Dawson’s situation, because that was almost too obvious). There are several character deaths that I did not see coming – One of which I’ve been waiting on for a while, but actually ended up being a little sad when it happened. The decisions made in this book affected much more of the world than just Daemon and Katy and it culminated in an ending that both surprised and impressed me.  I can’t wait to see what happens in the final book, Opposition (out next summer).

"You have got to be kidding me" Origin Teaser

-Overall, I enjoyed Origin and thought it was another great addition to the Lux series. The different setting and additional characters kept the story fresh and the risks Armentrout took paid off. I would still recommend the Lux series to those looking for a new great YA series.

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Bookish Senior Superlatives

bookish-survey

I stumbled upon this “Senior Superlative” survey from The Perpetual Page Turner and I thought it looked fun. Fun fact: My senior superlative was Most Shy.

Most Likely To Change The World
I feel like this is such an obvious answer, but Katniss Everdeen. Obviously.

Cutest Couple
Ivy Thaxton and Martin Rilke in The Passing Bells. They were perfect! *sniff*

Class Clown
Kenji in the Shatter Me series.

Most Likely To Become Famous For Their Athletic/Musical/Artistic Abilities
Hmmmm. I don’t know about this one. Edward Cullen from Twilight for his piano skills?

All Around Good Person
Lincoln from Attachments.

Biggest Flirt
Adrian from The Vampire Academy series.

Most Likely To Be Fought Over
Adam from Shatter Me series.

Mostly Likely To Be Friends Forever
Rose & Lissa from The Vampire Academy series

Most Likely To Have Their Own Reality Show
I feel like this is another obvious answer. Maxon from The Selection. Because it basically is.

Most Unique
Juliette from Shatter Me series. I feel like I keep using the same series over and over. Oh well.

Most Likely To Survive An Apocalypse
Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments series. Dude is resourceful.

Most Likely To Be A Villain
Warner from Shatter Me series. I have faith in him, but the jury’s still out.

Biggest Wallflower
Carissa in the Lux series

Most Likely To Break Your Heart
Fenton Wood-Lacey
in The Passing Bells series.

Most Changed
Tomasetti in the Kate Burkholder series

Most Likely To Get Arrested
Cinder in the Lunar Chronicles. She’s a wanted android.

Self Proclaimed God/Goddess
Daemon in the Lux series

Best Person To Bring Home To Mom & Dad
Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy

Books                                                      

Most Likely To Make You Cry:

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

The Passing Bells

Dares To Be Different (in world, plot, storytelling, etc.)

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)

The Bone Season

Best Dressed (pretty cover!)

Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Cress – Can I still use this since it isn’t out yet? I am. This cover is beautiful.

Most Likely To Make You Swoon

Attachments

Attachments

Loveliest Prose

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park

Most Likely To Be A Favorite Of 2013

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

Unravel Me

Most Likely To Change The World (or change your life)

The Bible.

Book You Are Most Likely To Keep Putting Off

Life After Life

Life after Life

Most Likely To End Up As Christmas Gifts For Everyone You Know

Never Look Away: A Thriller

Never Look Away. Or basically anything by Linwood Barclay. I’m obsessed with him.

Most Likely To Be Thrown

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Requiem – Worst. Ending. Ever.

Most Likely To Be Reread More Than Once

Origin (Lux, #4)

Origin

Most Likely To Make You Read Through An Earthquake Because It’s THAT Engrossing

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Most Likely To Be Passed On To Your Children

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

The Hunger Games

Most Likely To Break Your Heart Into A Million Pieces

Dark Places

Dark Places.

Most Likely To Brighten Up Your Day

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Obsidian

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Secondary Characters

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish is about your favorite secondary characters.

1. Finnick  from the Catching Fire and Mockingjay. He starts out as just charming and funny and conceited and turns into a really complex, wonderful character.

2. Boggs from Mockingjay. He’s not in the book for long, but in the short time he was, he became one of my favorites. Mostly for this line: “Well don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.”

3. Mary Musgrove from Persuasion. She has no filter. No self-awareness. No tact. I love her.

4. Simon from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s sarcastic and wonderful.

5. “Captain” Thorne from Scarlet. He’s narcissistic, but in a totally amusing, lovable way. He provided a great counterpart to Cinder and was my favorite new character added to the series in this book.

6. Park’s dad from Eleanor and Park. Yes I am too lazy to look up his actual name right now. Though he has flaws, he’s a great husband and a great father. And he gets Eleanor and her situation.

7. Glock from the Kate Burkholder series. He’s everything a good cop should be and is always there for Kate.

8. Penryn’s mom from Angelfall. (I’m still too lazy to look up her actual name). She’s crazy, but she knows it. And she owns it.

9. Chris from Ashes. Pretty much everyone wants to use him for some purpose or another and he tries to please everybody. I think he’s really more complex than what he first appears.

10. Adrian from The Vampire Academy series. I didn’t like his character at first, but he totally grew on me. He’s charming and sarcastic and tortured and a little crazy. He’s the reason I have to read the spinoff series because he was completely shafted at the end of this series.

What are your favorite secondary characters?

Monday’s Minutes

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post about what I’m reading and what I’ll be reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I’ve actually already read this and it was just ok for me (before you start hating, know that I felt the series got better as it went on – except for the most recent book, which was again just ok for me), but I’m going to go see the movie this weekend so I wanted to skim through it again beforehand. Maybe I’ll  like it better this time around since I know how my biggest issue with this book was later resolved.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Origin (Lux, #4)

Origin comes out tomorrow! Yay! Apparently there were some stores that were selling hard copies this weekend, but I will wait for the ebook.

What are you reading?

Hollow Bones by C J Lyons – 3 stars (out of 5)

Hollow Bones

I received a copy of Hollow Bones by CJ Lyons from NetGalley. It goes on sale on August 27, 2013.

Synopsis (from Good Reads):

From the ancient mysteries of a Mayan temple to the sinister secrets of modern medicine, FBI agent Caitlyn Tierney uncovers crimes that have been buried far too long and far too deep…

It’s the kind of case that chills Caitlyn to the bone. Missing person. College student. Beloved daughter of a world leader in biotechnology. She was last seen on a spring break cruise. No witnesses. No motives. Just one possible lead—reports of a stranger who may have lured the young archeology major off the ship and into the jungles of Guatemala.  When Caitlyn follows her hunch into the jungle—with the FBI’s Jake Carver by her side—the trail takes a surprising turn into the very heart of darkness.

MY THOUGHTS:

-I once again started reading a book without properly researching if it was part of a series. This is the second book that focuses on Caitlyn Tierney. So even though I didn’t read the first book, I still enjoyed this one. I felt like the beginning chapters could have done a little better job of establishing Caitlyn’s past and her relationship with Jake Carver, but as the book went on I feel like I got a decent enough overview to understand what went down in book one. I actually think the first book, Black Sheep, sounds pretty good and I’m adding it to my To-Read list.

-Maria is the college student that went missing. She mostly drove me crazy. She’s a young girl that goes to a foreign country to meet people she doesn’t know and has no way to stay in contact with anyone back home. Oh and it’s to prove to her overbearing parents that she’s an adult. But despite the fact that she starts out very naïve and stupid, I think she redeemed herself as the story went on.

-The story juggled a few different storylines – from the shady dealings of tissue procurement of BioRegen, the disappearance of Maria, the relationship between Caitlyn and Carver, and the political unrest in Guatemala. Where the story really started to interest me was when they all converged, in the jungle of Guatemala.

-There wasn’t a lot of humor in the book, but the funniest part for me when Carver, a CPA (who was formerly with the IRS, but ended up going undercover with a biker gang in the first book – I still don’t understand how that happened), was talking about this college days, his pranks included pennies in the door to get the door to jam. This was particularly funny to me because all I could think about what the Janitor and JD on Scrubs. 🙂

-The end could’ve been a little more resolved for me. Some of the characters got happy endings, which I like, but I feel like not all of the bad guys really faced the justice they deserved to.

-Overall, I enjoyed Hollow Bones. Despite some of the scientific language, it was easy to follow. Most of the characters were likable. I would recommend this book to those who like a little science with their mystery.

Saturday Spotlight: The Unexpected Gift by Berna King

The Unexpected Gift

Today I would like to shine the spotlight on The Unexpected Gift by first time author Berna King. I had an opportunity to go to a book signing today at Dayspring Christian Bookstore and got my Mom’s copy signed, as well as picking up a copy for myself (because really, what’s better than signed books!). I haven’t read this yet, but I’ve heard from several people – who’s opinion I trust – that it’s a great read!

The Unexpected Gift tells the story of two families whose lives are shattered by two tragic events occurring within a few months of each other. Despite his shaken faith, Dr. Scott Benson, local veterinarian, strives to guide his daughter Rachel in her adjustment to blindness and short-term memory loss resulting from an auto accident that kills her mother. Shannon Martin, who now volunteers at a local therapeutic riding center, struggles with learning to trust again after the suicidal death of her fiancé, Todd Trent. When Shannon, who is blind herself, begins tutoring young Rachel in braille, romance between Scott and Shannon blossoms.

Meanwhile, a web of suspicion and turmoil comes to light involving Jill Trent, the oldest of the Trent siblings. Jill’s children do not know their biological father, so Mark Trent, their uncle, helps the now nearly grown children as they struggle to live a different kind of life despite their mother’s choices.

The fledgling romance between Scott and Shannon and the Trent family’s battle with Jill’s drug addiction collide in a series of shocking events that reveal deception, blackmail, and murder. Who is behind the crimes? Will the romance between Scott and Shannon last? Can the Trent family finally experience reconciliation? Find out how each character learns to rely on God for direction.

Berna King is a rehabilitation counselor, assisting people with visual impairments to return to the workforce. Visually impaired herself, she grew up in rural northeast Ohio, riding horses and meeting life’s challenges head-on. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she holds a Master of Arts in rehabilitation counseling. Assisted by her Seeing Eye dog, Berna currently lives and works in Canton, Ohio.

You can get a copy of The Unexpected Gift in either hard copy or e-book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. You can check out Berna’s Good Reads page here.

Vampire Academy Series – Random Thoughts

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

I finally finished the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not one of my favorites.  My original plan was to write an in-depth review of the whole series. However, after drafting it in Word I was already three pages in and didn’t even come close to being done with what I wanted to say. Instead I decided to just post some random thoughts about what I liked and what I didn’t throughout the whole series. I won’t be explaining terms or going too in depth on any given event I mention, so if you haven’t read the book, nothing will really make sense. And if you plan on reading the series, definitely don’t read any further. SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON. (But feel free to scroll down to the movie trailer at the end.)

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

-More often than not, Rose annoyed me. She’s impetuous and childish.

-The “Keepers” in the last book were mostly a waste of time, though there were a few amusing moments. I kept waiting for them to be brought up in the end, but after Dimitri, Rose, and Sydney leave them, we never hear about them again. What was the point?

-While I always rooted for Rose and Dimitri, the beginning of their relationship is kind of creepy. She’s seventeen and he’s her 24 year old teacher. It’s practically a Lifetime movie.

-We never find out what Sydney and Abe’s arrangement was. This drove me crazy. It was alluded to several times and never resolved.

-Adrian’s ending was ridiculous. He became one of my favorite characters and his ending consists of Rose wondering if she’d ever see him again. THAT MAKES TWO OF US. Though I kind of liked them together, Rose and Adrian dating was the worst. She never fully committed to him. He gave her outs and she just kept saying she wanted it to work. My other big issue is when she first goes to Adrian to get money to go on her trip after Dimitri. It’s a big deal because she knows she’s using his feelings to her advantage and he tells her he wants a serious chance with her when she gets back. I kind of felt like this came out of nowhere. I mean, Rose mentioned previously that Adrian often talked about how he liked her, but she thought he just wanted to get laid. Then at the end of that particular book she knows how much he cares about her and believes he’s serious about it. There was nothing really leading up to this for me. I would have liked to have seen more moments between the two of them leading up to this.

-In addition to Adrian, Rose also used Mason to try to forget about Dimitri, thought she still spent the whole time with Mason pining after Dimitri. It took until the last book for Rose to realize, “…It was better to be alone with self-respect than be in the wrong relationship.” No crap.

-Almost the entirety of the third book. It was all spent pining for Dimitri, even when she was with him as a Strigoi. Very, very little happened in this book and it drug on forever. Also, the whole Avery side plot was worthless. The only thing that came out of it was finding out Lissa can’t bond with more than one person.

-Rose started seeing ghosts because either the wards were weakened or she was outside of them. What about the whole 2 years she and Lissa were outside the wards? She never had any problems then.

-Did anyone tell Dimitri’s family he was “cured” and is a Dhampir again? Because after watching them grieve for him, I really wanted to see their reunion. Or at least a mention of it.

WHAT I LIKED:

-I enjoy 1st person POV and this series was told from Rose’s 1st person POV. Through her bond with Lissa we were also able to see events that happened when Rose wasn’t present, without “cheating” by changing between 1st and 3rd person. For the most part I felt like this worked and helped move the story along. It only fell apart for me in the last book when all shifts from Rose to Lissa were preceded by something like, “since I had time, I thought I’d check on Lissa…”

-There were a couple good surprises I didn’t see coming – but they still made sense when you thought about them. The first was the reveal of Abe as Rose’s father. The second was the reveal of Jill being Lissa’s half-sister. And the third was Tasha being the one that killed the queen (my only problem with this last one is that they spent half a chapter with Rose knowing who did it, but only gave us hints and after really the first hint or two it was obviously Tasha. But it was still a surprising choice for the murderer).

-Rose, Christian, and Adrian’s sarcasm. Pretty much all the humor in the series came from the sarcastic comments from one of these three characters and I enjoyed it.

-Dimitri. If you can overlook the whole sex offender status, he’s a pretty great character. Strong, protective, smart, loving. I was pretty angry when he became a Strigoi, and liked the twist of a spirit user being able to bring Strigoi back from the undead.

-Lissa and Rose’s relationship. While there were moments throughout the book they both drove me crazy, I think their friendship is the real “love story” in the series. At the end of the day it’s about best friends that will do anything for each other.

The Vampire Academy is also going be a movie (out February 14, 2014, I believe). For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included the first trailer. I am not a fan of the casting AT ALL and almost all of the dialogue in it is NOT in the book, but I’ll probably watch it anyways.

*EDIT* I just found out that there is a spin-off series that focuses on Sydney and Adrian and Jill and a girl from the Keepers. So I kinda hate that the last book in this series was used as a “back door pilot” for a new series, I’m obviously going to have to read it. Because I MUST know what happens.*