Tag Archives: 1.5/5

Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published on July 19, 2016 by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

Genre: paranormal NA romance.

My rating:

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

srcek

This is the review for the second part of A Wicked Saga, so there will definitely be some spoilers for the first book of the series. If you’re new to it, you can start by reading my notes on Wicked (it’s not exactly a review, but yeah).

I buddy-read Torn with Becky and Danya, which was my first experience of the kind and I enjoyed it A LOT. We read it in three relatively equal parts (first 10 chapters, then the next 10, then a sprint to the end) and vented after each one. Their comments made me snort-laugh, so you’d better go check out their reviews here and here!

So. Torn. I am in two minds about this book. I would have given it an even lower rating if it wasn’t for its readability and my weakness for Armentrout’s writing. I flew through each of the thirds and liked the tempo if nothing else. However, it’s also a pretty horrible book. If someone told me this was where the story would go, I honestly wouldn’t have started the series. That’s how annoyed I was.

The first issue I have is with Ivy. We find out she’s a halfling (half human, half fae) at the end of Wicked. This means that the fae prince will want to make a baby with her in order to open the gates to the Otherworld, allowing all the nasty fae to swarm into the human realm and take over. I was not okay with this “a woman’s womb is the possible source of the apocalypse” plotline, and I was even less impressed by how Armentrout dealt with it. I mean, I never expected Armentrout to write a feminist story but this was just plain awful.

There are several instances where Ivy is nearly raped, threatened with rape, and drugged by the prince and forced to do things she never would have done otherwise. AGAIN, I know some authors can write about such delicate issues and master them beautifully, however, Armentrout is not such a writer. She has Ivy feeling ashamed for her actions, even though she keeps telling herself she did nothing wrong, and feeling guilty, too. That is appalling. Okay. I’m changing my rating (from 2.5 hearts). This is pissing me off too much even as I write.

Ivy is also so damn cliché when it comes to her personal image. When she’s not thinking that she’s an abomination because she is half-fae (yawn), she’s thinking that she isn’t hot enough for Ren – because he is gorgeous and she is just this special, milk-skinned redhead that no one would look at twice. *facepalm*

Another problem I had was with Ren. The guy was really hot in Wicked and even though he subscribed to the Order’s weird mentality (they killed two innocent people in this part, for example, because their daughter was suspected of being a halfling – she wasn’t, so they were killed for nothing), he was strong and confident and, well, kind of mouth-watering. In Torn, however, he starts off by being an overprotective jackass and steadily progresses into being a controlling, judgmental asshole. Why this change? I have no idea, especially as he’s somewhat redeemed at the end of the book. But I can’t reconcile this last-chapter Ren with the unreasonable guy we meet in the first half of the book. I usually read Armentrout’s books for a good amount of sass and sex and now I couldn’t even enjoy those. Meh.

Armentrout also did a fantastic job of isolating Ivy from all her friends. She even can’t trust Tink properly now that he’s a man-sized brownie, not a tiny winged creature anymore (yeah, that happened…). There are also no significant women left around her – and unless one fae lady who helped her and another human one become much more prominent characters in the third book, Ivy is going to be the only woman around. Also, Armentrout calls women “females”. I just… wow.

Oh! Oh! And Ivy makes a deal that … wait, that’s a spoiler. *spoiler in white* Anyway, she makes a deal with the prince that goes like this: he will release Ren, who has been captured, beaten, and fed on, if she willingly submits to the prince in three weeks – aka sleeps with him in order to make the door-making baby. And she agrees to the deal because a) she feels guilty about Ren being captured, even though we later find out he’d been an asshole and went fae hunting without being ready; b) she doesn’t feel good enough because she’s a halfling anyway, and c) muses that she could still kill herself before sleeping with the prince if she doesn’t manage to escape in time. SHOOT. ME. NOW. *end spoiler* Okay, I feel better now.

I’m not even sure I’ll be reading the third part. Probably not, even though I’m on a mission to finish more series (doing… poorly) and I want to know if Armentrout is capable of redeeming herself. I kind of thought Torn might be the final part but I saw that we have one more book to go (or so it seems now). I was also shocked to see that Torn has a 4,3 rating on Goodreads! Were we even reading the same book?! I don’t think I’ll be picking up her next series, whatever it is, so this might just be the final goodbye. It’s sad and harsh but there are just so many better books out there.

srcek

Have you read Wicked and/or Torn? What did you think?

Do you have any good paranormal recs for me?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

Upside Down by Lia Riley

Upside Down (Off The Map #1) by Lia Riley
Published August 5, 2014 by Grand Central / Forever.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: Publisher via Netgalley. Thank you Grand Central / Forever for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: NA contemporary romance.

My rating:

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart. (Goodreads)

srcek

This review contains spoilers, even though this is book one in the series.

This was one of those NA reads that you blast through in one sitting. Which is, in itself, usually a good thing! But here, I found myself skipping ahead because I couldn’t really connect with the characters. Or their stories. I fell for the pretty cover once again and it bit me in the butt.

The main reason for my dislike: too much angst. Look, I like some drama in my romance, sure, but here, both people are traumatised by the things that happened in their pasts so they have difficulty connecting to each other. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

I liked Talia better. I actually enjoyed the fact that a main character in a romance has a mental problem, OCD in this case, and gets anxious if her rituals aren’t performed (like eating two chips at the same time, never one, and unplugging the appliances and locking the door). She’s convinced that this problem of hers got her sister killed – she died in a car crash that clearly wasn’t Talia’s fault but her mother blames her for it anyway. I really hated the mother, let me tell you that. I get that she’s grieving but that’s no excuse to act the way she did.

By the beginning of the novel, Talia’s spiralling, she flunked her year in college and is escaping to Australia for a semester to cover that fact/get her shit together. So far, so good, yeah?

Enter Bran. At first, he just seems like a bit of a jerk with too many ex-hookups and a bad attitude but let me list all the things that have happened to him that made him the way he is:

  • His parents are ultra-rich but he doesn’t want their dirty money.
  • He got his high school girlfriend from Denmark pregnant and offered to marry her.
  • She cheated on him while pregnant.
  • She told him she got an abortion.
  • He flew off in a huff and survived a plane crash and decided his life is meaningless (or something).
  • He slept with his best friend’s ex and said it didn’t mean anything and was then surprised when said friend held a grudge over it.
  • He now lives with two roommates, one of whom is an extremely bitchy young woman who basically calls Talia a slut. Nice.
  • His ex-fiancé came back to Australia, telling him she cheated on him on purpose to get him to call off the wedding – she actually kept the baby but the poor thing died because it had a birth defect. (It was around here that I just wanted the novel to finish – and seriously considered DNF-ing it because really.)
  • He invites Talia to come live with him (after a two-month relationship) on Tasmania.
  • He thinks Talia is hooking up with the aforementioned friend with a grudge and is intensely nasty to her, leaving her on the street, in the rain, telling her he now doesn’t want her to move to Tasmania with him (omg this is so ridiculous).
  • Instead of phoning or e-mailing her when she goes back to the US, he follows her a week or so later (I don’t remember correctly) to convince her to make a go of it and come to Tasmania after all (OK so I’ve lowered the rating twice during the time I was writing this review. Gah.)

AND SHE TAKES HIM BACK AND MOVES TO TASMANIA WITH HIM!!!!

People, I don’t know what to say. I know love is blind and all but in all seriousness: I wanted to give Bran a good strong kick in the posterior and then shake Talia for a bit to make her come to her senses.

I will not be reading the two sequels to this novel, especially since contrary to most NA series, they do not focus on other couples but on Talia and Bran again. I simply can’t stand any more of their story and that’s that. Oh, yeah, and there’s one really awkward sex scene in the book that just made me cringe (and not normal-awkward in the sense of two strangers hooking up and not knowing their way around each other; it was just spectacularly weird).

Upside Down was, sadly, just not written for me.

srcek

Have you, perchance, read Upside Down? What did you think of it?

Do you like bad boys with a touch of asshole or do you prefer your gents with a modicum of sense and kindness?

As always, I’d love to hear from you! ;)

Mini Reviews #2: The NA Edition

Sooo, I’ve been on a new adult romance bender the last month or so (with some adult contemporary romances thrown in to shake things up a little o_O). This is a desperate attempt to make sense of the mounting pile of books to review – and I don’t really want to do a separate review for each one of these. These are not my favourite novels. I do like the new adult genre, it’s just that these weren’t a good fit for me. I’ll be honest with you: the “buy now with one click” feature on Amazon and the Kindle deals will be the death of me (or my bank account). You can check out my first batch of mini reviews here.

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return-armentroutThe Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, published in February 2015 by Spencer Hill Press. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: I’m a big fan of JLA, especially her paranormal romances (both YA and NA), but this one fell short of my expectations. I really wanted to love it, but I guess I’d be more inclined to like Seth if I’d read the Covenant series, because this is a spin-off (but The Return can be read as a standalone). In any case, shit hits the fan when Titans are released from Tartarus and Seth has to protect Josie, one of the few demigods left alive (she’s Apollo’s daughter). I expected something along the lines of Wicked, where Ivy is a kick-ass heroine, but JLA fell into the helpless virgin + manwhore macho trap again, so I couldn’t really connect (it’s also less hot). It was a fast-paced read and I’ll probably read the sequel out of pure curiosity!

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rush-me-allison-parrRush Me, Running Back, and Imaginary Lines (New York Leopards #1, 2, and 3) by Allison Parr, published by Carina Press. Goodreads (1 2 3). Author.

Source: purchased (e-book) – all three.

My rating2.5/5 (for all three of them).

My mini opinion: Damn, I have no idea what possessed me to read not only one, but three books about American football players when I don’t know anything about the sport apart from the fact that the ball looks funny (seriously, this is not a popular sport here. Hockey ftw.). Anyway, the romance is passable, the football references vague enough that they’re bearable, and the banter is cool. Not my favourite series in the world but it was cheap for Kindle and I needed some fluff (which I got).

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boomerang-noelle-augustBoomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August, published in 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks. Goodreads. Authors.

Source: puchased (e-book).

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: This was probably the best of the batch apart from The Return. It’s full of banter and bad decisions, and features a girl (Mia) who actually goes after her career and doesn’t slut-shame, so YAY for that (but she’s a bit privileged and spoiled, so that’s a downer). Ethan is adorable and scruffy, and I liked him quite a lot. The main problem for me was the ubiquitous lack of communication between the parties involved: talk to each other, people!!! Talking would have saved them from all the angst. But then the book would have about 15 pages, so there’s that.

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frigid-j-lynnFrigid (Frigid #1) by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout), published in 2013 by Spencer Hill Conteporary. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 2.5/5.

My mini opinion: Ahhhh WHYYYY, WHYYYY do we need another manslut/virgin book? Gah. These two get snowed into a beautiful ski chalet alone (because their friends get snowed in elsewhere…) and she loses her virginity to him (he’s her best friend but of course they’ve been secretly in love with each other FOREVER and he felt she was too good for him and she felt she wasn’t pretty enough) while a couple of mountain redneck psychos try to kill them because he’d slept with one girl too many. Eh. The sequel, Scorched, is coming out in a few months and I’ll probably cave and read it anyway because it seems that JLA is my crack.

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inspire-carmackInspire (The Muse #1) by Cora Carmack, published in 2014. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 1.5/5.

My mini opinion: Apparently, Greek mythology is all the rage this days? I admit, I fell for the pretty cover (it’s been known to happen to me – I’m starting to suspect that my love for the cover is inversely proportional to my love for the story – all those horrible fantasy covers are proof to this theory). So this book is terrible (but go here for a 5-star review; I’m not sure we read the same text though). The unhealthy behaviour displayed by the two protagonists, the instalove (This is an actual quote: “I’m terrified. I can’t lose him. We’ve only known each other a month, and have been seeing each other officially for a little over a week, but he’s already imprinted on my heart.“), the obsessiveness, the clinginess… And THE ENDING of this thing is… I have no words to describe it beyond the fact that I groaned and wanted to throw my poor Kindle across the room.

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Untitled-2When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill (Liz Czukas), published in February 2015 by Ballantine Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (e-book).

My rating: 2/5.

My mini opinion: Eh. Why do I even bother. Here we have a situation where two virtual strangers (Joss and Matt) decide to have “sorbet sex”, which is a palate cleanser after a bad breakup, so they make good new memories. While this might be a good practice for a month or so, seven years signals a problem to me – they actually start relationships with other people so they can break them off and jump each other afterwards. I wanted to write a full review on this one and vent a little, but it’s really not worth it. I wanted fun and fluff, and rainbows, but I was disappointed. Go here for a 4/5 review of this book and here for a 1.5/5 one (this one is great!).

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WHEW! Now this is done and I can make peace with my impulsive, unnecessary e-book purchases. The writing of this post was very therapeutic for me…

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Have you read any of these NA titles? What did you think? 

Do you have any good NA recommendations for me? 

Come, let’s discuss and rant together! :)