Kingdom of Flesh and Fire – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published September 1, 2020

A Betrayal…
Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…
Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…
But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.


Ok so. Let’s see here. There’s a lot to unpack… 

I’m not sure if rushed is the word I’d like to tag onto to this book, but I feel like it is. I feel like it was mostly just build build build build build and BAM. But the building of the story didn’t really go anywhere…if that makes sense. I felt like there wasn’t a lot of substance between where Poppy ended (location wise) in the first book, and then like a week long trek to Atlantia…SO MUCH could have happened yet nothing did, nothing that impacted the story at least. And then WHAM out of nowhere the last like 10 minutes of the book, this huge thing/reveal happens OUT OF NOWHERE. I’m trying to be really respectful of those who haven’t read this yet. 

But man, I don’t feel satisfied with this book as much as I did with From Blood And Ash. First of all, I feel like Poppy ended up randomly overly violent out of the blue, there was no build up to it, why she decided she needed to resort to violence all of a sudden, I mean I know we see a glimpse of it in the first book but that’s for a legitimate reason. Then, I feel like there was so much depth and amazingness in the Wolven, like…why not spend time on them? I feel like there was so much that could’ve been replaced that was unnecessary that could’ve had some really cool Wolven stuff in it instead. AND THEN. My god, the end. WHY WHY WHY unleash an ending like that when there’s no precursor to any type of power/magic/being like that. We know Gods exist, magic exists, but like…how HOW does that reveal just happen out of the blue? I don’t understand it, unless I’m missing something completely I feel like Poppy went from 0 – 1000 really quickly. 

There was a good amount I enjoyed about this book though. I have to give it to JLA, her writing is just overall great. I love it, I can’t ask for anything better really. It just flows and keeps you hooked. I’ll admit it, I usually read two books at a time, this book was my SOLE FOCUS when I was reading it because I literally couldn’t be bothered with anything else because to me it’d be considered sub-par. Her writing style is just something that HAS TO be mentioned, it can’t be overlooked. THE SMUT SCENES. DEAR LORD. – do I need to say any more? I literally was blushing by the end of some scenes, my goodness. And I love Casteel and Poppy, they’ve quickly become one of my favorite couples. They remind me a lot of Jude and Cardan from the Folk of the Air trilogy. Which I also loved. 

I just think overall, yes it was entertaining but there was a lot that could be worked on. For a 600+ page book, I felt like there was a lot of dead air, in a sense. So hopefully the next book will be better, because I’m still excited to read it! 

3.75/5 Stars

 

From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published March 30th 2020

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.


Ok well, I wasn’t expecting to start my year off with a read like this, but I did. I decided I wanted to get myself to try and read one book a week. And damn it, I read this book like I was getting paid to do it. I finished it SO QUICKLY. I couldn’t put it down. I have been asked to read Jennifer L. Armentrout books for a while, and none of them really spoke to me (SORRY JLA!) but this one, after reading this I would roam the earth recommending this author to people.

I felt like this book was like seeing an old friend after being apart for a long time. It just felt like the right read, and it was somehow reading a favorite book I had set aside for a very long time. The writing was so smooth, approachable, and just the flow of everything worked and felt familiar, it made it so easy for me to get lost in this book for hours on end. And I know sometimes reading a book you have to read it at the right time to really strike a good rapport with a book, let alone a 600+ page book that’s you’re first read of 2021 coming out of a slump. 

There are a few small things I have to get off my chest though…as much as I’d hate to. I was getting a bit antsy at the beginning of this book to really get moving with some sort of catalyst. It took a while to really get things moving plot wise, and as much as I love how strong Poppy is, witty Hawke is, loving Tawny and protective Vikter are, there’s only so much of that content I could absorb. I also felt like it got a bit repetitive with all the Maiden stuff and what it was like being the Maiden day to day and the sneaking out. I was beginning to get bored, and then BAM! COMING IN WWITH THE SECOND ACT. The book really rose to the occasion of a stellar read at about 25% I’d say. So if you’re struggling with this read I BEG YOU to tough it out and wait because it’s so worth it. 

My small tiny other piece that kind of made me go “oh bummer” was, I’m not sure if I just have really good deduction skills or figuring out plot twists, but I knew it all along. I won’t spoil, but I knew the twist the whole time. Not sure if it was supposed to be that obvious, but I figured it out and it made the reveal really anti-climactic for me. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a great plot twist. But it just was a bummer that I had already put the clues together to figure it out so early on. 

Everything else in this book really worked for me. The romance was steamy and amazing (probably some of my favorite steamy scenes I’ve read from an author) and I just loved the progression of Poppy and Hawke’s relationship through the book. I loved Poppy as a main character. A strong-willed, strong bodied, smart woman suppressed to be this quiet, submissive “chosen one”, and as much as that can sometimes be a trope, I feel like JLA wrote Poppy so wonderfully that it didn’t feel like an over done trope or that I’ve read about this character a million times. And I loved that. Poppy felt like such a unique character to me (and I might have some bias towards the name as I’ve always wanted to name a daughter, if I have one Penelope). 

I also feel like I’ve never read anything like Armentrout’s writing before. It felt lyrical, heart-felt, and just some overall strong writing. I literally would feel my heart clench or my stomach drop, and just FELT while reading this which is the best sign of great writing, truly, and the fact that I haven’t had a book do that in a while, I appreciate it so much. This book had almost everything I’ve been looking for in a book and I’m so glad I picked it up. And I want to thank JLA for taking the time to really make an amazing book, I wasn’t expecting it at all. 

On to “A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire”! 

4.75/5 Stars

Review: Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

13614836Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

Published April 23rd 2012

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first…

I’m such a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout, especially when she’s writing as J. Lynn. I loved Wait for You so much and I’ve been meaning to read her other books for quite some time. I finally go around to it and I’m so glad that I did.

Tempting the Best Man is such a fun read. I read it in like 5 hours and stayed up until midnight to finish it. And I had so much fun reading this book. I laughed out loud, I fell in love with the characters, and I flailed around like a crazy person.

I really just had a blast reading Tempting the Best Man and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun romance.

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Taylor-Signature