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

34221193

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

Advertisements

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.*

36373463

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.

34524313

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.

36198644

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************************

8369681

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

12578077

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.

25944732

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.

************************DNF************************

36579299

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.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

I’ve seen this tag floating around over the last month or so and I have done it the past couple of years, as well, so thought I would keep the tradition going. One thing I have noticed about my reading year so far is that I have not read a lot of books that are really that memorable. I do have several 4 star reads, but even most of them don’t really stand out in my mind. I want to try and make some better choices for the remainder of the year.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

36315374   37810913

I haven’t given any books above 4 stars (if you know me, you know I haven’t given out a 5 star rating yet since starting this blog, but I usually have a few 4.5 stars every year, but none so far in 2018), but Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and The Promise by Katerina Diamond stand out to me.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

35902056

What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

35355027

Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2) by A.V. Geiger. I’m still waiting for this one to come to the library.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

35887251

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Biggest Disappointment

36301023

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. It took me forever to finish this book and the humor felt so forced.

Biggest Surprise

36197404

Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter. I mean, come one, does this look like a book I would like? I really enjoyed it, though!

Favorite New Author

36315374

Jar of Hearts was the first Jennifer Hillier book I’ve read and it definitely made me want to read more from her.

Newest Fictional Crush.

35750273

Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Newest Favorite Character

38326753

Ivan from From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Book That Made You Cry

None!!

Book That Made You Happy

36127456

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West. Kasie West books always make me happy.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I haven’t seen any.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

36599415

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

34221193

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout. A lot of her books have been been hit or miss for me lately (mostly miss), but this is the spin-off to the Lux series which I had a lot of love for when I was first getting back into reading, so I’m feeling optimistic about it.

Reviewing the Unrevewied: February 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.

36599415

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon. February 16-17. 4 Stars. 

Love. Love. Love.  Amy Harmon writes beautiful books.

36295452

My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris. Read February 17-18. 3 Stars. 

love this concept! I read through the book several times choosing different scenarios and feel like I only scratched the surface on the possibilities. Full review to come.

36012399

Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell. Read February 18-19. 4 Stars. 

Lisa Jewell does it again. I was so consumed by this story that I finished it in under 24 hours. Full review to come.

35464451

Honeysuckle Dreams (Blue Ridge Romance #2) by Denise Hunter. Read February 19-21. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, though the added drama at the end did bring it down a bit for me. I liked the characters for the most part and the Marriage-of-Convenience theme. I look forward to continuing the series. Full review to come.

33796618

Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne. Read February 21-23. 4 Stars. 

Such a fun book. I really liked both Ellie and Gage. I enjoyed the “The Bachelor” type setting, too, though I thought it could have been played up a bit more. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

35902056

What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka. Read February 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was well-paced and well-written, with a really interesting mystery. I also love that this book is set in Columbus, OH and I recognized a lot of the areas mentioned. I definitely recommend this series to Mystery fans and am looking forward to reading more from Lepionka in the future. Full review to come.

********Re-Reads********

15839976  18966819  18966806

After finishing Iron Gold I fell into a book slump and decided to re-read the original trilogy, which I failed to do prior to reading Iron Gold. I still loved them all the second time around (third time for Red Rising). I had forgotten how completely epic Morning Star really is.

9888775

Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally. This was recently free on Kindle. I pretty much have all the same issues with this book as I did the first time I read it. However, I think I may have enjoyed it slightly more this time around. It’s a pretty quick read.

********Back on the TBR********

27797316  35605410  26032825

Books from the library that I never started before they expiredFragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda, A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

35154776  35068738  29589074

Books from the library that I started and couldn’t get into: Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn, Moonlight Sins by Jennifer Armentrout, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. I usually love a good fake relationship story, but I read several chapters of Fake Wife and just couldn’t get into it. I think I want to try it again someday, though. I read about a chapter and a half of Moonlight Sins and again, just couldn’t get into it. I used to love everything by JLA, but all but one of her last several books have been ones I didn’t like or didn’t finish. I’m not sure if I’ll ever give this one a chance again. Truly Devious seems promising, but I was in a mood when I started it and then I realized it was the first book in a series and not a standalone, so I think I’ll wait until more books are published before I read it.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2017

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.

32920264

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleaver. Read October 26-November 7. 3 Stars. 

I’m going to preface this by saying that I think if I had read this at a different time I would have enjoyed it much more and read it much faster. It just happened to be the book I started when a lot of life stuff happened and I didn’t really feel like reading. I can’t really tell if I just didn’t find this that interesting or if it was my mood. Maybe a little of both? I did like the general concept and the multiple perspectives. I liked Joshua. I liked the ending. I thought the writing was a little too wordy at times. I felt like it over-explained a lot of things. Overall, it was a decent book, but I didn’t love it. Again, it might have just been my reading mood.

31933359

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini. Read November 8-11. 2 Stars. 

I wanted to read this because I thought it sounded a little bit reminiscent or Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren and When It’s Real by Erin Watt, both of which I loved. However, Public Relations fell far, far short of my expectations. The main character, Rose, was pretty awful. She was incredibly self-centered, completely unprofessional, and just so, SO unlikable. I did not find her to be a sympathetic character at all and I almost wished things would’ve blown up in her face by the end instead of following it’s obviously predictable path just because I would’ve liked her awful behavior to have some type of consequence. I also found the book way longer than it needed to be, filled with so much pointless detail that I had to skim some parts. So why am I giving this 2 stars instead of 1? Archie Fox! I often found myself smiling at scenes he was in and even though I did not understand at all why he was into Rose, I enjoyed their scenes together (though she often ruined it by the end of the scene). Sadly, though, even Archie Fox is not enough for me to recommend this book to anyone.

30962267

The Ghostwriter by Allesandra Torre. Read November 14-19. 3 Stars. 

So I thought this book was supposed to have twists? Did I misunderstand? Where were the twists?!?! I’m trying to not let the disappointment of my expectations effect my rating. The writing wasn’t bad. I really liked Mark. It was verrrrry slow going, though. And I was ok with that because I thought there would be a great pay off later…but there wasn’t really. A decent book, but another instance where my expectations/hype ruined it a little.

A big thanks to Suzanne @ https://thebookishlibra.com/ for a copy of the book which I won as the book of my choice from a giveaway on her blog.

36001035

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back #1) by A.V. Geiger. Read November 19-22. 4 Stars. 

This is maybe more of a 3.5, but I’m bumping my rating up to 4 for a couple reasons. I thought this was really compulsively readable and I did not really see the end coming. I can’t wait for the next book to see if my predictions are right.

I also liked the psychological aspects of the story. I thought the role reversal of online obsession was well done.


33584818

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham. Read November 22-25. 3.5 Stars.

I liked the writing. I read the first part of the book very quickly. I enjoyed both Meghan and Agatha’s POVs. There just wasn’t anything that surprising. Based on all the reviews I expected a few more shocks or twists, but it was all pretty straightforward. One thing that I did like, though, was that I forgot this was written by a man. I don’t always think 1st person POV female characters written by men are very believable, but I thought Robotham’s writing was solid. I’ll read more from him in the future.

I started this book while I was at my brother and sister-in-law’s for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law is named Megan and is pregnant so I kind of felt like the story was a little more personal. I told her to stay away from any unknown pregnant women that try to befriend her lol.

********Back on the TBR********

33998316   30640834   27845924   19286628

Library books that expired before I started them:

If There’s No Tomorrow by JLA, Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George, Little Deaths by Emma Flint, Betrayedby Lisa Scottoline.

Library books I barely started before I immediately thought, “Nope! Not in the mood!”

30025336   31944679   33654421

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin.

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

30731416

When It’s Real by Erin Watt. As you can probably tell by now, this was a very moody reading month for me where I spent more time figuring out what I didn’t want to read than actually reading. I decided a good re-read was in store and went for this one. I loved it just as much the second time around.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List.

15797848

1.  There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

34020169

2. Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey

30025336

3. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

33602143

4. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe my Melissa De La Cruz

33998316

5. If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

29749085

6. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

31944679

7. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

30037038

8. Killing Kate by Alex Lake

25614492

9. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

34637610

10. Shoot the Moon (Seeking Mansfield #2) by Kate Watson

What books are on your Fall TBR?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2017

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

29284789

Winging It (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3) by Cate Cameron. Read February 28 – March 1. 3 Stars.

This was a quick, fairly cute read. It was a little more friends-to-love trope than fake-relationship, but since I like both of those, it was ok. I didn’t really care for Natalie. I enjoyed the chapters from Toby more, but he fell a little short of being a character I could really love. Overall, it was a good palate-cleanser from all the more serious books I’ve been reading lately.

29478744

The Rule Book (The Rule Breakers #1) by Jennifer Blackwood. Read March  9-11. 3 Stars.

I really enjoyed pretty much every interaction between Lainey and Brogan in this book. I liked the romance and even all the times Lainey just said really stupid stuff in front of him. There were a lot of humorous moments, too. However, there were a couple things that bothered me. I’m not sure if it’s ever stated how old Brogan is (I think 30 was hinted at it) and Lainey is 24. I know that’s not a huge age difference, but I felt like there was such a difference in their maturity (plus he’s her employer) that the romance almost felt uncomfortable for awhile. (I did get over that eventually, though. Like I said, I liked almost every interaction between them.) My major problem, though, is that if you cut out all of Lainey’s inner-monologues about wanting to do her boss, the book would be about half as long. It just kind of annoyed me. There was a lot of good about the book, though, and it was a cute romance, overall.

29939230

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab. Read March 12-25. 4 Stars.

I had a lot of issues with the previous book in this series, but I’m really glad I decided to still read this one. As always, Schwab’s writing is excellent. But in addition to that, I feel like the plot was advancing in almost every chapter. Though it did get a little slow at times and there was a great deal that I felt didn’t really have purpose and could have been cut to make the book a little shorter, I still enjoyed the story. I didn’t HATE Lila so much, either. I loved Kell and Holland and Rhy (even though he really frustrated me most of the time). I have a hard time giving this a proper review because I took a week off from reading right in the middle of it due to illness, but overall I thought it was a pretty good end to the series and probably the best book of the three.

31558744

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read March 25-26. 4 Stars.

After being really disappointed in the last few JLA books I’ve read, I’m so happy in how much I enjoyed this. It veered a little more towards romance than suspense, but I was a fan of the romance, so I was ok with it. I really liked both Sasha and Cole and their relationship. I liked the mystery aspect, even though I basically figured out who the bad guy was really early in the book. ***SUPER MILD SPOILER*** There was a really random detail about one of the characters given on early in the story and then nothing was really done with it. It gave a bit of a motive and while it was nice that the killer didn’t come out of left field, it was a little disappointing that it was included so early in the story and – at least to me – done in a really obvious way. ***END OF SPOILER*** Overall, I just really enjoyed it and didn’t want to put it down. It’s restored my faith a bit in JLA.

30038906

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. March 27-28. 2.5 Stars.

I have heard from people who are hesitant about this book because there is some religious content. If you are one of those people, I would say you might be slightly annoyed at times, but I don’t think it’s written in a way that will “ruin” the book for you. I have also heard from people who were very happy to see a “realistic” Christian character not be a complete psycho. To those people I would caution to not get too excited. Yes, the main character comes from a religious background and is not awful. However, this is NOT a Christian book and the overall message is not of Christian faith. There are definitely a few themes throughout that is congruent with the Christian faith, but at the end of the day the message is more one of universalism and the goodness of people. I mean, it’s still a hopeful message and is more than is in most YA, but I just want to caution my Christian friends. Full review to come.