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Sparkles and Lightning

Hello all! I'm Annabelle, a (currently inactive but soon to be back) book blogger with a thing for red roses and rain and fictional boys.

Currently reading

The Hobbit or There and Back Again
J.R.R. Tolkien
Civilization and Its Discontents (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud)
Sigmund Freud, James Strachey, Peter Gay
The Problems of Philosophy
Bertrand Russell
Dark Triumph
Robin LaFevers
Dark Matter Heart
Nathan Wrann
Temptation (Harlequin Teen)
Karen Ann Hopkins
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl
Half-Blood - Jennifer L. Armentrout *****FINAL RATING: 4.60 STARS*****CATCHALLSo, wow. Obsidian was my first Jennifer Armentrout book, and soon after finishing that I picked up this, hoping for something just as awesome and fantastic to draw me in. I was anything but disappointed. Half-Blood was full of heart-pounding action and some seriously intense moments. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It was literally one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Anything but boring, it captured both my attention and my heart. I've never read anything like it. (A lot of people do say it is very similar to Vampire Academy, but as I haven't read that series I can't compare it to that.)THE HEROINEALEXAlex is our butt-kicking heroine who doesn't let anything get in her way. She both follows and breaks the rules. She isn't stupid, though, and she knows when to stand down. But she's far from meek. And she's so remarkably human. She goes through some really difficult things regarding her mother, who she learns some things about that she never expected. While she's strong, she has her weaker and extremely human moments, and those are the things that make her so wonderfully relatable. It's easy to connect to her, which of course I love.THE LOVE INTERESTSAIDENSo, Aiden. Mmm, Aiden. I love Aiden. He is so wonderful and sexy and swoonworthy and I just adore him. He puts on a tough-guy front, but he's actually rather sensitive once you get to know him. He's definitely the strong and silent type, but he's not so strong and silent that I just roll my eyes and mentally cringe. And one thing that I think is impossible not to admire is that he is always, always there for Alex. When she needs him, he's there, but he's also not smothering or overprotective. He lets her be who she is.SETHI'm sorry, but I just don't like Seth at all. Probably because his attitude reminds me a heck of a lot of my bastard of an ex-boyfriend, who is my ex for a reason. I just. Don't. Like him. At all. He's completely rude and basically treats every but Alex like dirt. He totally uses people, and he's also way too arrogant for my taste. He's constantly acting like he owns everything, and that type of overconfidence is just not sexy at all. Frankly I don't care that he's the Apollyon—I don't have any idea when that became an excuse for being a jerk.THE FRIENDCALEBCaleb and Alex have awesome chemistry—as friends, I mean. They just really click for me, and even though they've spent so many years apart they still work together, and that's obvious. Watching them interact is like watching the average person interact with their friends—it's that real and that genuine. They connect so nicely. It's really nice to see that between two characters of different genders without the romantic storyline, because that's something you don't see a lot. And it's executed so gorgeously here.THE PLOTHalf-Blood really struck a chord with me. I mean, it feels so real. Everything is woven so beautifully together. It really takes talent to do that, and Jennifer has it down to an art. Every single detail was looked after to make sure that nothing stood out as being false. The Covenant itself, the rules, the way everything fit with the world. I was seriously impressed.And yes, I really do think that it was original. Personally I don't think I've ever read anything that was even remotely similar to this. It's sexy and fun. Alex's story was definitely unique.The best part as far as I'm concerned is that I really don't remember anything sticking out as too coincidental or too convenient. Jennifer's characters have to earn what they work for, and when things happen to them they don't just happen randomly. They actually have a cause. And they have an effect, so that the consequences of said event continue to happen and don't simply truncate. One thing leads to another.Transitions were smooth. I loved that, of course. The mini-cliffhangers throughout the book, when they happened, created major suspense. And that was enough to keep me from putting the book down, always dying to know what was going to happen next.And there was emotional struggle throughout the novel, too, which really helped tie everything together.In short, I think the word I'm looking for here rhymes with erfect.THE ROMANCEAh, romance. Jennifer writes some seriously amazing romance. I don't like this love triangle, but I do love the way she develops Alex and Aiden's romance. You can literally feel the tension and the passion sparking off the pages, it's so strong. It has its ups and downs and like the characters themselves, it feels genuine and not forced at all. They have some serious chemistry. I love that their relationship isn't perfect…even after certain things happen, not everything is perfect. Throughout the novel it's clear that both of them struggle with what they want and what is allowed.THE WRITINGJennifer's writing is awesome, and I will go to my grave saying that. She captures the voice of Alex so well that I can really hear her. Yet she doesn't abandon the other characters, either, giving them too unique things that make them stand out without leaving Alex in the dark. Her dialogue is so beautiful and it definitely glitters. And the description plus the world-building? To die for. I absolutely completely and totally adore it. It's so easy to picture the world that Alex lives in.THE ENDINGThis book ended exactly where it should have. It closed up the part of the plot that needed to be finished and didn't drag it out melodramatically. That was the most fantastic part. And while I was dying for more, I'm glad that it didn't leave us with a cruel or unusually punishing cliffhanger. Jennifer made me want more without that. I was entirely satisfied with the ending. Executed beautifully, obviously with lots of forethought, it made the book.WRAPUPWell, I beyond love Jennifer's books, I really do. She creates the most marvelous concepts and characters and makes something that shimmers into something that shines and glitters like a disco ball with her writing. That metaphor is kind of confusing and I actually sort of lost myself, but you guys are smart. You get the point. So what I'm saying is, if you haven't read this book you should really go out and buy it, like, now. Seriously an awesome book with a huge place in my heart.FINE.Find more of my reviews on Sparkles and Lightning!