Book Review – ‘Till Death’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This one blew my sock off!

Till Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 400

From Goodreads:

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

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I wasn’t expecting the book I read. Although I didn’t know anything going into the novel, I expected it to be about some sort of abusive relationship, given the cover art and title… but it was a completely different creature. A psychopathic serial killer stalking our protagonist has re-appeared from her past. I absolutely loved it. It was such a fast read. Compelling.

I think I’ve enjoyed this the most out of all the JLA novels I’ve read to date.

I had developed two theories about who the killer was, and how it was all connected early on in the novel, and don’t mind bragging that one of those theories was spot on. However, I was kept guessing right to the last couple of chapters. Armentrout wrote this so expertly that I had no definitive idea of who it was until the reveal.

Sasha was a cool protagonist to read – she reacted to situations like a human being. It felt realistic. Though there were some moments that I felt she wasn’t being careful or paranoid enough. I like how she was battling with anxiety and PTSD, but it didn’t impact her ability to function or take over the plot. And it wasn’t a story where she was the only one who could discover all the answers, leaving the law enforcement to look like bumbling idiots. It was very organic.

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Cole, the love interest from both the past and in the present wasn’t really my cup of tea. Yes he was drop dead gorgeous, patient, and kind. But he was also just a bit pushy for my liking. And horror of all horrors, he kept calling Sasha ‘babe.’ Gag me! That is the one enormous turn off for me. Additionally, he kept calling her that even after she asked him to stop… grrr! The other thing, is that he was almost like a barnacle – latched to her side, never leaving her alone. Again, possessiveness anyone? So he has good and bad points as a character, and while he was perfect for Sasha, there were too many traits that gave me the willies.

I liked the inclusion of Sasha’s mum and friends in the story, and how they were present throughout, and not just superfluous characters so that Sasha didn’t look like some kind of shut-in lonesome nerd. They were equally sassy and caring and helped give Sasha a support system and courage to reclaim her life after running away from a difficult past.

The Bed and Breakfast was a great backdrop for the novel – it was large with sufficient spooky crooks and corners, old creaky floorboard and doors. It really added to the ambience of the book. I was a little keyed up from the suspense of it all.

And speaking of keyed up – there are a few sexy scenes. They are written pretty well, and are on the right side of graphic. Though I wasn’t quite comfortable with them. But that comes down to a matter of what I like personally, and the whole not entirely liking Cole thing.

A very easy read!! The pacing was excellent, I barely put the book down and consumed it in large chunks. I must say I like JLA’s writing here where it’s not overrun by teen angst or damaged adults having wild trysts. It was a solid story, great tension, and a mystery to solve.

Highly recommend this one!

Overall feeling: Bravo!

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Till Death Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I’ve been collecting the Wait for You series by J.Lynn, book number 7 and I’ve yet to start reading them. Too many fun books of hers to read #nerdgirlproblems.

Book Review – ‘Frigid’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A winter romance that left me cold…

frigid-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 252

From Goodreads:

For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love. 

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have. 

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

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I love JLA’s writing, it’s always great smutty escapism, but with ‘Frigid’ I was so annoyed over the first few chapters I was close to DNFing it. The relationship and behaviour of our two main characters was really off-putting. With a narrative told from two differing points of view, that of Sydney and Kyler as they dance around each other in varying degrees of love, like, lust and hate…

Sydney was cute as a button – and I mean that sarcastically. Hopelessly in love with her best friend. Hey we’ve all been there, and I pretty much ignored it too, and fantasized in private. *sigh* But the manhandling and controlling behaviour from Kyler blargh! – and she enabled him. Big time. It was painful to read. But I did have some favourite parts about Sydney: her clumsiness. The head-to-chin-butt had me in stitches.

There also seemed to be some sort of sick fascination about people putting their hands on Sydney’s hips – I think it was mentioned at least three times per chapter.

Kyler is so weak-willed, misogynistic, possessive, and controlling. Stereotypically the tall handsome hunk. It’s okay for a man to sleep around, but somehow, not for Sydney. Everything about this guy rubbed me the wrong way. I really wanted to punch him in the face. Additionally, to top it all off, a pet hate of mine are guys calling you “baby,” I winced every time Kyler said it. Sydney girl, you could do so much better.

I don’t think the dual perspective of Sydney and Kyler did all that much for the narrative, jumping in and out, just to hear how hot they thought the other one was. Other than that, it didn’t reveal anything new for the plot.

With what seems to be a lot of drinking and swearing, (again, unnecessary) it wasn’t setting the mood or the scene, just made the main characters look like potty-mouthed lushes who wanted to hump everything that walked by. Made me feel like I had a dog latched onto my leg. That, and the F-bombs. Drained the romance right out.

There were some intense sex scenes: some of it titillating, some of it not. I also just about gagged when Sydney was described as being “tight and drenched down there”… I mean, ew. There’s got to be some more passionate, creative ways to describe arousal that doesn’t sound like leaky plumbing. Another aspect that had me cringing was the whole sex-while-Sydney-is-asleep-thing. Creeped me out – I know it was meant to be sexy, build the tension and angst between the pair, but it had shades of rape that didn’t sit well with me.

And someone shooting a gun at some point felt like overkill. But, after all the bagging I’ve done, I got into ‘Frigid’ for the last third of the book. It felt like good old JLA again.

There’s just something about this coupling, and the situation that hasn’t sold me. The ending is very cutesy, but didn’t wrap everything up. Very mixed feelings about this book, overall it was okay – I kinda enjoyed it. But don’t think I’d recommend it. She has written so many other good books, this one pales in comparison.

Overall feeling: I shuddered, not shivered…

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.