The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 PagesThe Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 474
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads
five-stars

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

As anything that Jennifer Armentrout writes is pretty much on my auto-buy list and so The Problem with Forever too found its way to my home. It pretty much inevitable that my Read-Everything-By-Jennifer-Armentrout-Obsession struck again… And boy, what a book! The Problem with Forever definitely won me over (as pretty much every book has done before). It was powerful and moving, and it broke my heart and mended it all within +400 pages.

Mallory was a complex character, sometimes her story was incredibly hard to read, but at the same time she’s relatable and tries so hard that you will root for her every step of the way as she tried to put her past behind her and overcome her fears.  Her character grows SO MUCH throughout the story and has so much depth, it is on of the aspects of the story that made this book shine from beginning to end.

Then there is Rider Stark, who has the whole kinda-bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold going on. Rider and Mallory have so much history together and so much chemistry that all the feels and the sparks just fly right off the pages. He’s artistic and kinda (read: a lot) damaged, which is hardly surprising considering the past they share. Again, so much depth and complexity to his character. I dare you to not fall in love with his character (I’m betting you can’t).

The supporting characters were just as good as the main characters: Mallory’s adoptive parents, Rider’s foster family, Mallory’s best friend! Characters usually make or break for me, and The Problem of Forever is a perfect example of how they can make a book unforgettable. That, and the writing, because, as always, Jennifer Armentrout’s writing was beautiful and on point!

The Problem with Forever is an emotional and inspiring book that will break your heart and mend it again. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be brave and moving past the difficulties of what is in one’s past. It has wonderfully complex characters with tons of depth that you can’t help but root for along the entire way!

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Review

Talon by Julie Kagawa | ReviewTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 499
Goodreads
four-stars

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

What I thoughtWhen I got the news Julie Kagawa would be visiting the Netherlands I (finally) picked up my sister’s copy of Talon. I’d heard some incredibly good things about this book, but was a bit afraid of reading it. Ever since I read Eragon I’ve loved dragon stories, but once you’ve found a great read, it’s hard to find one that will be just as good. So even though I was hesitant, I never pass up the chance to meet an author, so I picked up Talon. And I’m so glad I did, because even though I love Eragon more, I can’t deny that this was a VERY good read!

Talon is a really character driven story. There are three POV’s throughout the story: Ember, a dragon; Garrett, a dragon hunter; and eventually Riley, a rogue dragon. Ember is awesome. She’s spunky and has a razor sharp tongue. She’s tough, braved through her training, and then sneaked off to enjoy the perks of summer. She was pretty damn awesome, even though her name *cough* Ember *cough* is a bit of a cliché. Then for Garrett… I wasn’t really sure about him. Military boy that holds a grudge (understandably) against dragons and focussed 100% on his mission. He kinda grew on me. It was fun reading about him trying to relax and have fun (he was a grumpy captain-no-fun at first). Last but not least: Riley. Whom I kinda digged. Ah, who am I kidding, I have a thing for ‘badboys’ in YA. Ember and Riley have a relationship that built very slowly (and who doesn’t like a slow-burner?). The characters were really rich and full of depth, it’s what made the story so enjoyable for me.

The thing about this book, it isn’t about Ember’s abilities, neither is it all about Talon the organization, or about the history of the dragons: it’s about Ember’s one chance to be free. One summer to be free from the system. The only summer she’ll get to have fun before she’ll have to face her future. Not only that, but it’s also about falling in love, falling in love and wanting to be normal for a little while. All three characters have some pretty harsh realities and some even tougher responsibilities, but they all have some secrets that don’t really allow that to be a reality (and let’s not forget that they’re enemies, and those secrets draw a line straight between them). The thing is, because the emphasis was really on this ‘one summer’ that Ember’s abilities and the history of her race wasn’t that important in this book, but I’m guessing (hoping) it will be in the next book!

I really enjoyed this book. It was a superb summer read! The ‘forbidden’ love, the training, and the surfing! I love the characters, they have depth and they’re ballsy (just all-round awesome). The end of the book is one major cliff-hanger, but it’s not wholly unbearable (it’s actually a pretty smart one and I didn’t really see it coming until it was right in front of me).

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

So yeah, I liked this book. I would’ve liked a little more depth, but as first as a first book in a series goes, Talon was pretty damn promising. I’m happy I took a chance and read it, because it was really really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see how the sequel will unfold!

 

 

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Review

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout | ReviewEvery Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 28th 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

What I thought

I have a so much love for Jennifer Armentrout’s books. If only for the fact that they make me laugh so much. Her books have every ingredient to make for a fantastic binge read. I pondered on the rating for a bit, but in the end, there is just no flaw in this book (or the entire series for that matter), so 5 wholly deserved stars it is.

Every Last Breath made me laugh. The dialogue, as in the previous two books, is absolutely great. Layla has a great personality and it shines through in everything she does and says. The dialogue is absolutely top-notch. There’s stories that are character-driven, but Jennifer Armentrout writes books that are dialogue-driven, and she does it flawlessly!

The characters are still awesome. I haven’t made it a secret that I have a big BIG thing for Roth. I think he challenges and pushes Layla to be the best person she can be, and his personality continues to shine in this final instalment. Layla was badass, we saw her grow throughout the first two books and we got to see her at her best in Every Last Breath. Strong, witty, and relatable characters, what’s not to love?

Action all around. The plot was filled with lots of action that made for one fast-paced read. I read it in ONE sitting. There were some moments where we could take a breath, when the characters were resolving an issue, or talking things through, but for the most part the plot was everything and more I wanted from this book.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!I’ve been looking forward to Every Last Breath for a long time. I couldn’t wait to see how the story unfolded (and who Layla ended up with!). The anticipation was enormous, and it lived up to every expectation I had. It had all the feels that come with reading a Jennifer Armentrout book, and all the feels and more after having read the final instalment of a series you love! Explosion of feels!

The Dark Elements series by Jennifer Armentrout | Review

The Dark Elements series by Jennifer Armentrout | ReviewWhite Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 25th 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

What I thought

Holy crap on a cracker! I love this book! JLA is THE queen of writing about guys that you know are bad news, but can’t help falling in love with anyway. Honest to god, White Hot Kiss + Me = Love at first word.

The pace of the story is really good. It felt easy and effortless, yet thrilling at the same time. There were some moments to catch your breath, and then you were thrown right onto another rollercoaster. You can’t help but read this in one sitting (seriously, I think I looked all crazy eyed murmuring ‘must keep reading’ the whole time).

The characters are fun and witty and so damn adorable. Layla was strong and feisty and the guys in this story… *fawns self*. In true JLA style there’s some drool worthy guys in this story. And I’ve picked what side I’m on! #TeamRoth all the way.

I think what I love most about Jennifer Armentrout’s books is the dialogue. It’s just so good and entertaining. It’s what I loved so much about Katy and Daemon’s relationship, the funny bantering and bickering. And White Hot Kiss had the same top notch dialogues as well.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

White Hot Kiss is a fantastic read. Lots of good plot twists, great romance, awesome dialogue and drool worthy guys to add to your list of fictional crushes. I all but devoured it in a few hours. LOVED it.

[divider]

What I thought

Stone Cold Touch picks up right where book one left off. With Roth temporarily out of the picture we get to learn more about Layla and Zayne’s relationship. As I am team Roth all the way, I was afraid this book was going to annoy me something fierce. But it didn’t really. View Spoiler » JLA’s books are one of the few where I don’t mind a little love triangle, because they’re extremely well done.

Layla really grows throughout this book. She was already feisty, but she’s fierce and badass when she has to be. Some of her actions had me laughing out loud, others had me pump a fist in the air yelling ‘GIRLPOWER’. She’s awesome.

That ending was absolutely killing. And mean. And really really really damn mean. Meaner than mean. And the wait for Every Last Breath has been killing me (even worse is that I’ll be on holiday and won’t be back until somewhere in August… meaning I have to wait even LONGER). Also, I can’t believe that who Layla is going to end up with is being decided through a poll! I sincerely hope Roth wins that damn poll, if not… I’ll go Thumper on people’s asses.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!I have so much love for this series. I read this series about a year ago and never typed up a review… I just reread them both and IT WAS BLISS. My emotions are through the roof, jumbled and messed up thoroughly. Jennifer Amentrout has all the ingredients to make a story that you won’t be able to put down, the first sentence had me hooked.

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin | Bonus Scene and Giveaway!

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin | Bonus Scene and Giveaway!

Hi there my lovely readers!

Today I have quite the treat for you *smiles brightly* A few weeks ago I read and reviewed Another Little Piece of my Heart by Tracey Martin. If you wish you can check out my review of Another Little Piece of My Heart right here.

And for those of you that don’t know this book:

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin | Bonus Scene and Giveaway!Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin
Published by Harlequin Teen on December 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads

What if your devastating break-up became this summer’s hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart.

At her dying mother’s request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she’s ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared’s big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire’s heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio.

The summer after her senior year, it’s been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

You might or might not have seen raving about this book, if you did, I think it is safe to say that I very much loved this book. How could I not? It was such a fun and  cute read. Besides, I’m probably not the only one that thought -after reading the synopsis- that a rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion was absolutely awesome!

Anyways, let’s go back to the moment where I mentioned a treat, shall we? Becasue *drumroll please*, Tracey Martin, has given me a special bonus scene from Another Little Piece of My Heart. So I’d say, sit back and enjoy reading!

Bonus Scene

Jared…

 

“Dude, I can’t believe you’re doing this.”

Mike’s shaking his head at me from the doorway. Ignoring the disbelief in his voice, I toss my empty Coke can in his recycle bin and grab my guitar. “You’ve said that like five times now. I’m doing this. Let’s go.”

Let’s go before the event is over. Let’s go before Mike’s asshole roommate, Zach, shows up. Let’s go before I decide trying to win my ex-girlfriend back using the very same method that made her hate me is not the best decision I ever made.

Let’s fucking go.

Mike unlocks his car, and I carefully strap in my guitar case on the back seat. Smacking a mosquito, I climb in the front. Let’s go before I contract Lyme Disease or Triple E.

Neither of us say much on the drive to Eliot Beach. I don’t know what Mike’s thinking as he plays with the radio, but my mind is so far away I can barely hear the music. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Connecticut… My memories ping pong back and forth until I’m dizzy with them.

For the past two years, my last memory of Claire was the way her lip trembled that day in the mall, her brown eyes wide and almost eerily unseeing. Her face vacant and distressed. It didn’t make for a good last memory, not for a girl whose smile used to make my heart stop, and whose one-liners used to make me wonder how I’d duped her into thinking I was smart enough to hang out with her, and whose lips on my skin…

I should stop there. She’s not mine to kiss anymore, and if I follow that line of thought, I’ll just get depressed.

Point is, that scene didn’t make for a good last memory, but I’m the one who made it my last memory. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I ran into her in the strangest, most unlikely place in the entire country. How does that happen? What kind of twisted deity arranged for that?

I hadn’t wanted a second chance. I’d told myself I’d moved on. But her constant presence was too much.

I didn’t deserve a second chance. So I told myself she was better off. But the way she played that day in the park was too irresistible. I knew then I had to have her back anyway. She’s either my muse or some demon sent to torment me.

So here I am, either about to do something really romantic or something incredibly stupid. With my luck, probably stupid. If I hadn’t been an idiot two years ago, I might not have lost all that time.

My stomach twists thinking about it, and I consider that downing that Coke so fast was not a good move. I close my eyes, concentrating on my new song and playing air guitar with my seatbelt. It helps relax me, but it’s not performing the song tonight that’s making my insides roll like the waves.

Finally, Mike parks under a streetlamp by the house where Claire’s family is staying. I force myself to breathe. I inhale the scent of the beach through the open car window and realize I’m about to spin my thumb ring off.

Mike realizes it too. “You sure you—”

“Yes, damn it.” I pry my fingers away from the ring and open the door. “Don’t ask me that again.”

But he asks me that again when we reach the coffee shop, too.

I shoot him a nasty look, and he laughs, and now I know he’s just trying to bug me. “Come on.” I push him into the crowd.

The shop is packed, laughing and whispering people spilling onto the boardwalk. Over the ocean, the sky is already turning dark and the temperature is dropping as fast as the light is fading. But inside the store, it’s barely brighter.

The show’s begun and the lights have been dimmed. I follow Mike to the counter, grateful that no one’s paying any attention to the guy the with the guitar case for a change. That’s because some other guy with a guitar is already performing, regaling everybody with my least favorite Dylan song. I tune him out, just like I always try to tune out Dylan whenever anyone puts on his music.

After signing some paper and buying some over-priced coffee, I worm my way to the back. Mike’s head is swiveling around, searching for Claire and company, I guess. I let him look out for friends. I have to look out for my guitar. There’s not enough room for all of us.

“Found them,” he whispers at last, just as the guy on the makeshift stage finishes. Mike motions with his cup to the other side of the room, and I push hair out of my eyes, squinting through the mass of bodies that block my view.

It’s Claire that I find first. Of course. It could be that crazy orange hair—what the hell was she thinking dyeing it orange of all colors?—but I think it’s just that my gaze will hone in on her no matter what. Especially with that hair, she’s like a flame. I can’t not stare.

But she doesn’t seem to notice me. She’s not noticing much if I had to guess. Her face is strained. She looks nervous. I can’t tell from here, but I’d bet she’s gripping her case strap with white knuckles.

Poor Claire. I used to tell her all the time she shouldn’t be nervous about performing because damn, she’s good. But I don’t think she ever believed me.

If she’d let me, I’d make her believe it. But I’m not sure she will.

My hand runs to the Buddha charm hanging around my neck, a tiny silver thing that she once gave me for my birthday. Although I’d stopped wearing it because it was too painful after we split, I kept the charm in my guitar case this whole time. When I finally put it back on tonight, I was thinking I needed the Zen. From the looks of it, though, Claire might need it more than me.

That’s it. I have to go to her now. I have to say something.

I pick up my case, ready to risk clocking a bunch of innocent people with it in order to cross the shop, but then the guy at the mic calls out her name. Too late.

As usual for me.

I settle back against the counter instead, drinking coffee I don’t really want.

“You coming?” Mike asks while Claire gets settled up front.

There’s only one seat open at the table since she got up, so I shrug. Not worth assaulting people to get to it. “I’m good.”

As soon as Mike moves away, I return my attention to Claire. She’s tuning her guitar and saying something to the owner. Even from this distance, I can feel the spark in her—the heat and the life—and I wonder if other people can too. It’s this crazy way she lights up a room that make my lips dry, as though needing her to wet them for me. Her wide nervous eyes and that smile filled with self-doubt only add to her presence. It makes her charming too. And it’s making me crazy.

Some girls think they’re the hottest things on the planet, and I’ve met way more than my share of them. But they have no idea.

She is, without question, the hottest thing on the planet, and she doesn’t even know it. And if she did, she wouldn’t care. That’s part of what makes it so true.

Claire’s talking, and I have to refocus to hear her. “But I did have an ex who wrote more than one unflattering song about me. So this is the song I wrote about the experience.”

I cringe and drink more. If that’s the worst she has to say about that whole ordeal, she’s being too nice. I’m guessing “Romeo Must Die” is one of the least angry songs she wrote in retaliation. Not sure I want to hear the others.

Then she starts to play, and even though I’ve watched videos of her performing this song online, watching her live is amazing. She’s changed so much. Gotten so much better.

And right there I decide she’s the hottest, most talented girl on the planet, too. I might be a bit biased, but screw it. I’m allowed to be. She sounds damn good. Someone else can play critic.

I can’t drag my gaze away until she finishes, and then I assess the audience. They’re smiling and staring at her like I was. That’s my girl, I start to think, except she’s not.

“Um, yeah. New song,” Claire’s saying. “Let’s hope I don’t forget it like I’m forgetting what I’m saying, you know? It’s called ‘That Girl.’”

I lean forward with interest until I hear her lyrics. The words wrap around my chest like a rope, pulling me toward her and crushing the life from me at the same time. I’m not sure what to think, what to make of this plea that she’s singing. But it’s directed at me. I can sense that through and through.

At one point I almost catch her eye but she quickly looks away, and for a half beat, she fumbles. I hear the rhythm crash like the breakers on the rocks. Then she recovers, almost seamlessly.

I don’t, and I close my eyes.

“So why can’t I make you see?

That girl is gone

This girl is here

That girl’s a ghost

This girl is near

That girl hurt you

This girl hurts too

This girl’s sorry for what she did to you”

As her clear, silky voice fades, the room bursts into applause, but I can’t move. Why is she apologizing? I’m the one who’s supposed to apologize. She did that years ago. I’m the one who refused to listen.

I’m the one. And she’s the one. It’s my job to make her see, not the other way around.

For the first time tonight, I feel a little less crazy about what I’m going to do. Not any less nervous because there’s probably never a time when telling the girl you love that you need her in your life is not going to be vomit-inducing, but less crazy. Hopeful even.

I remain by the counter, finishing my coffee for several more performers, but I don’t hear a damn thing until my name. When the owner calls out “Jared Steele,” sounding hilariously confused, I’m ready. Inside, I know I’ve been ready for longer than I care to admit. Claire’s been stuck in my head and heart like the catchiest damn tune ever, so it’s time to make good on this unexpected second chance.

What music hurt, it must also be able to heal.

Giveaway

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About the author

Author_UNH_41_532x700Tracey Martin grew up outside of Philadelphia, the lucky recipient of a drama-free childhood, which is why she spent so much time reading about other people’s lives. It was while she was working on her doctorate in psychology that she had an epiphany–imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she began writing. Never able to choose just one of anything, she currently writes both urban fantasy for adults and contemporary stories for teens.

She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.

Tracey is represented by Michelle Humphrey at the Martha Kaplan Agency and finds referring to herself in the third person to be very weird.