Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

I received copies of this title via NetGalley and via a Goodreads giveaway. It does not impact my review.

Storm and Fury will be available June 11, 2019. 

I really enjoyed this. I must confess, I was never a huge fan of the original The Dark Elements series that this series spun-off from and I thought I would feel similarly about this one. However, it definitely surpassed my expectations.

I thought Trinity was a good main character. She frustrated me a little bit with her impulsiveness and argumentativeness, but she was a pretty classic JLA heroine. One thing that really made her stand out is that she’s dealing with a vision disability – Retinitis pigmentosa. It causes tunnel vision and a host of other vision problems and will most likely end in blindness. JLA has been diagnosed with this in real life and I have to imagine including this in a character was a bit cathartic, but also difficult. There are parts here and there when Trinity says something about it that I have seen JLA say on social media, so you know this character is very personal to her and it made her that much more special to read.

I also liked seeing Zayne again. I was Team Zayne in The Dark Elements series, even though I knew it was never going to happen, so I was happy to see him really start to move on a bit. I liked his banter with Trinity and his protectiveness of her. I also thought we got just the right amount of Roth and Layla. They’re around enough to make fans of the original series happy, while also contributing to the plot in a big way, but they don’t take the focus off of Trinity and Zayne.

At over 500 pages, I did think this book was a little too long, though. There is honestly not that much going on and I think it really could’ve been cut down a bit. However, there is lots of character development and I never felt bored or anything, despite the slow moving plot. There were several reveals saved until the end that I thought were pretty obvious much earlier in the book, but there was one big one that I hadn’t seen coming and I liked that it managed to surprise me.

Other than the length, there was only really one other thing I didn’t care for. I expect a little more mature content from a JLA book, but there is one scene that I thought was a little too explicit for YA. I could see that an argument could be made for this being New Adult instead of Young Adult since Trinity is 18 and Zane is a few years older, but everything else reads very much YA, so it still felt a little inappropriate.

Overall, I really enjoyed Storm and Fury. I thought it improved upon the original series it spun off from. I liked the characters and shipped the romance. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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WWW Wednesday: May 15, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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In the Darkness (Zoe Bentley Mystery #2) by Mike Omer. I enjoyed the first book in this series and I’m hoping this will be just as good. I’m not too far in yet, but it’s promising.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by JLA, The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall, Those People by Louise Candlish. Reviews to come on all of these 🙂

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I am making my way through my NetGalley ARCs and One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase is up next. I started this once and couldn’t get into it, so I’m hoping it goes better this time around.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: May 8, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by JLA. Despite never really loving the original series this one is spun off from, I am really enjoying this so far. It’s classic JLA Paranormal YA, which is where I think she most excels.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. You can see my review for it here!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall. I recently got this from NetGalley. I have to admit that cover is what first drew me to this one.

What are you reading?

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Recently Removed from my TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Goodreads group, is a freebie. I decided to share some of the book I’ve recently removed from my TBR.

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1. Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

First of all, I am not a Shadowhunters fangirl. I have had many problems with the multiple series, but I have also enjoyed several of them, as well. So why am I quitting this series at it’s finale? First of all, it’s 900+ pages. Just no. I’ve also happened to read a couple reviews that involved some spoilers and it has made me not at all interested enough to invest my time in this. Maybe if it was around 300 pages I would still give it a try, but not for 900 pages. The only thing I really care about in this series is Julian and Emma and their resolution sounds kind of stupid. I also refuse to ship polyamorous relationships. If that’s how you want to live your life, then ok, that has nothing to do with me, live your life. But I’m not going to choose to read and ship it.

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2. Kiss Collector by Wendy Higgins

It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Wendy Higgins and I was excited for her new book. I did actually get this one from the library and I read the first chapter and knew I was just way too old for this book. I never marked it as reading and I didn’t really give it a chance past the first chapter, so I’m not marking it as DNF, I’m just removing it from the TBR.

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3. I Like You, I Love Her by J.R. Rogue

I did get this off of Kindle Unlimited and read a few chapters before I knew I wasn’t in the right mood for it. I put it back on the TBR because I did plan on trying it again, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I will never pick it up again.

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4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Ok, don’t hate. I’ve read pretty much nothing but wonderful things about this book and I have no doubt the author is very talented. However, lately I just CANNOT get into fantasy novels. Add that to the whole thing on Twitter where Adeyemi accused Nora Fricking Roberts of copying her and I just can’t. She did end up apologizing for jumping to conclusions and did eventually delete the tweet, I believe, but how full of yourself do you have to be -as a debut author, no less – to think an author as popular as Nora Roberts would need to copy you to sell books…

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5. Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is another book I have actually read several chapters of before deciding I wasn’t in the mood for it. I used to want to read all of JLA’s book, but a good deal of them end up just not being for me and this series falls into that category.

Have you read any of these books? Should I reconsider any of them?

2018 End of Year Survey

This annual survey was developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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**2018 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 147
Number of Re-Reads: 8
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Thriller and Romance/Contemporary
**These are the stats as of 12/26/18, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

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I can’t pick one, so here are the three that I gave 4.5 Stars in 2018: Close to Home by Cara Hunter, Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies. I absolutely adored My Lady Jane and I expected to love this one just as much, but it was probably my biggest disappointment of the year.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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I mean come on, does Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter look like a book I would enjoy? But I totally did enjoy it. I read it in a day and laughed all the way through it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

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So I don’t actually feel like I pushed many books on people this year. I will say that I told my mother about Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas and then when I started sharing some quotes with her she said she wanted to read it so I bought it for her for Christmas.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

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Started: Beartown by Fredrik Backman, Sequel:  What You want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka, Ender On Magnolia Lane (Blue Ridge #3) by Denise Hunter.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Cara Hunter and Fredrik Backman

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. I don’t read a lot of horror and while I had my issues with this one, I mostly enjoyed it.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

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I can’t really think of any books that were really action-packed, so I’m going with one of my re-reads for this year, Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown.

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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Beartown

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

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The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4) by Katerina Diamond

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Benji from Beartown

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I mean, not to sound like a broken record, but Beartown. 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

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There were a lot of good lessons in the The Faithful devotional.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. Brandie bought me a copy for my birthday in 2017 and it was almost a year later before I read it and I really enjoyed it.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“When we decide that boundaries are needed, they can be hard to set – and maintain – if we doubt ourselves and our assessment of the situation. Survivors often wonder if they are overreacting or being too sensitive…Another reason setting boundaries is difficult to do? We internally worry that we are withholding forgiveness and staying resentful. Boundaries have nothing to do with forgiveness or resentment. They have everything to do with the quality of our interactions with the people in our lives.” – Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

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Shortest: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

Longest: Oblivion by JLA (this was a re-read!)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

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The subtle twist at the end of Our House by Louise Candlish is probably my favorite shock of the year.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

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Bellarke forever!!! This is more about the show than the book, but I’m counting it.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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The group of friends in My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Have to go with Beartown again. I wouldn’t have ever picked it up if Brandie hadn’t lent it to me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Close to Home by Cara Hunter.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

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Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Beartown and Us Against You

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi. I was so excited for this series to continue, but the majority of this book was just the characters taking major steps back and rehashing old drama. It seemed like really lazy writing and it made me mad because I expect more from this author.

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1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I always feel too bad to answer these questions. Add to that I always forget how long I’ve been following someone, so I’m going to skip this question. I love you all, though!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

This beautiful book-themed cake my former co-worker made me for my goodbye party.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

This year I went to events for Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Linwood Barclay and they were all fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I hit over 1,000 blog posts and reached over 1,000 followers.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Due to real life, I ended up taking two month-long (or almost month-long) hiatuses.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

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My review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I mean, honestly, all of them.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I don’t really feel like I made a bookish discovery this year?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads reading challenge with a goal of 105 books and I surpassed that (147 at the time of writing this, but it will probably go up before the end of the year).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

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I don’t think it will be my number one priority, but I really wanted to read Archenemies by Marissa Meyer. I got it from the library, but my hold came in at a bad time and it expired before I got to it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

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Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Review more books. It feels like I only properly review ARCS and a few select other books and I want to get back into reviewing the majority of what I read again.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing and I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Review: The Darkest Star (Origin #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Darkest Star will be available October 30, 2018. 

Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series is one of my favorite YA series and I was so excited to learn there was going to be a spin-off. Luc was such an interesting character in the Lux world and I always hoped we would get more of his story someday. While The Darkest Star didn’t give me all that I was anticipating, it was definitely a good start to this new series.

I think Armentrout definitely wrote this book so it’s possible to read without having read the original series it spun-off from. This is great for new readers, but it did provide me with some frustration. Lux fans already know what Luc is and we know his connection to Evie (maybe we aren’t supposed to connect the dots so quickly, but yeah). However, it takes to about the 45% mark before the word “Origin” is used. I felt like there was way too much build up for something I already knew. I also felt like the plot was pretty thin. The whole book is basically Evie finding out about Luc and her connection to him and how she deals with that. There’s a bit of a murder and mystery thrown in, but mostly there’s just a lot of up set up for future books.

Speaking of things I already knew, I thought that this book was extremely similar to Obsidian, the first book of the Lux series. There were scenes between Luc and Evie that seemed almost carbon copies from scenes of Daemon and Katy. I’m really hoping that symmetry was intentional. I was also expecting Daemon and Katy to play larger roles here, but Daemon is only in a few scenes and Katy is mentioned a couple of times, but never appears. I’m really hoping they pop up in future books because I will always need more Daemon Black in my life. I also liked the Archer cameo and would like more from him, as well.

So, despite some obvious issues, I did really enjoy this book. I have so much love for the first series and just being back in their world was so nostalgic for me. I’ve always liked Luc and I liked him just as much here. I also thought Evie was a pretty likable character. I really thought we were going to get Luc’s POV and was a little disappointed that we didn’t, but Evie was a good narrator so I didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would. I enjoyed the signature JLA banter between them and look forward to seeing their relationship progress.

Overall, I enjoyed The Darkest Star. I’m increasing my rating by at least half a star just because reading it gave me so much nostalgia for Lux. I’m already planning on going back and re-reading it. I honestly don’t know if I can be impartial enough to rate or recommend this book without letting myself be influenced by the first series. I do think that fans of JLA will enjoy this, especially if they read the Lux series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

*I’ve traditionally included every book I’ve read in a month that hasn’t been reviewed, but I have decided that I am no longer going to include books that will have full reviews posted at a future date.*

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Us Against You (Beartown #2) by FredrikBackman. Read September 3-8. 4.5 Stars.

Beautifully written. I was just as invested in all these characters as I was during the first book. I was really expecting this book to be more uplifting and focus on the recovery from the events that took place in the first book. And it still has those elements of hope and inspiration, but this story was probably even heavier than the first one. Backman portrays really well how much hate there is in the world today. I liked how he showed it’s easy to blame one person or one side, but it’s really everyone’s fault. 

I love the characters. Benji will always be my favorite, though. There were a few that played bigger roles in the first book that I would’ve liked to have seen more from in this one (David, Amat), but I liked getting to know others (Teemu, Richard Theo – who is either a genius or a sociopath (probably both)). While we do hear about a few far in the future endings, things were still left a little too open for me. This book was probably more of a 4 than a 4.5 for me, but I’m giving it that extra half star for all the emotion Backman managed to wrench out of me.

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The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips. Read September 9-11. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute and humorous at times. I thought it was going to focus more on the Bachelor-like reality show, but it’s more about what happened after. I thought the big conflict was kind of unrealistic, though. Hanna was nicknamed Holy Hanna because of her Christian values, but then Will insinuated that they slept together (when they hadn’t) and it completely ruined her life. While I do believe that the internet likes nothing more than someone’s supposed fall from grace, I don’t think the extensive tabloid coverage and all the hate mail would really be as extreme as it was. And while I liked that it portrayed a Christian going through a phase of questioning God and her faith, I thought the “come-to-Jesus” moments could’ve been a little better written. I thought the book was a little too long, but I was looking for something fun and light that I didn’t have to think too much about and this definitely entertained me. Would recommend to Christian Contemporary/Romance fans.

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Just One of the Boys (The Chicago Falcons #1) by Leah & Kate Rooper. Read September 11-12. 3 Stars. 

This was a little uneven for me. Both the lead characters were really unlikable for long stretches at a time. But then there would be chapters here and there where I really enjoyed them. The story is pretty much the hockey version of the She’s the Man movie. I don’t really have too much to say about this one. I read the second book before this book. I might give the third one a shot whenever it comes out.

************************Re-Read************************

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Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. This was just as cute as I remembered it.

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Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I just read The Darkest Star (the first book in the spin-off series) and it made me feel so nostalgic for this book that I decided I should re-read this series. I love Daemon and Katy so much. I love the banter and the humor. It’s not going to win any great literary awards or anything, but it’s definitely a fun read.

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Oblivion (Lux) by Jennifer L Armentrout. I decided to re-read this whole series and decided I would read Oblivion after each of the first three books. So I read Obsidian and then I read Daemon’s POV of Obsidian and then I was going to read Onyx, but I decided just to stick with Daemon’s POV for books 2 and 3. I enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time. It really reminded me that Daemon is one of my favorite characters. The only thing that kind of bothered me was the bonus chapter with Luc. After reading the spin-off book, I feel like this scene doesn’t make sense with the book. Maybe I still need to read the remaining books in this series to remember the timeline exactly, but I’m thinking this scene contradicts how things played out in The Darkest Star.

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Fight or Flight by Samantha Young. DNF @ 11%. I just can not get into this book and I am really not in the mood to make myself try. I really dislike both the lead characters so far and the male lead’s Scottish accent is driving me insane. A couple of main words (like “to” and “didn’t”) are spelled out differently to show the accent and I’m just not feeling it. I think you need to do most of the dialogue like that or none at all.