Friday, August 17, 2012

Onyx Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway

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I know a lot of you are absolutely loving this series alongside me so I’m happy to have the Onyx make a stop at Xpresso Reads. I have my  review for you today, as well as a fantastic guest post about sex in YA by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and there’s a giveaway!

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux, #2
Publication date: August 14th 2012
by Entangled Teen


Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

*A copy was provided by Entangled Publishing for review purposes*

Ah! The long awaited sequel to Obsidian! Hot and spicy, Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series is up on top with having one of the strongest chemistry between characters, the hottest lust filled scenes, and the most infuriating beautiful being in YA.

This sequel’s strongest aspect, like its predecessor, is its deeply rooted characters. We have Katy–book blogger extraordinaire–who is a really fun, snippy protagonist, then we have Daemon who is… well he’s a jerk face, and I say this with a smile on my face. His punch-worthy behavior can be quite amusing–though I’m sure Katy would disagree–but I was pleased to see how far his character grew in this installment. We meet the personality behind his sarcasm; letting us glimpse at who he is at his core, his emotions and his fears. In between his slap-worthy demeaner and chuckling remarks, I began to see him as not just a source of entertainment (that I would quite strongly despise in real life), but as someone who is respectable and thoughtful. On the other hand, Katy, who I clicked with immediately in Obsidian, made me feel exasperated by her completely relentless skepticism towards Daemon and their feelings for each other. I understood her hesitation and fears, but her excuses ran a little longer than I would have liked. I still enjoyed her as a character as she’s easily likeable and relatable, yet I couldn’t help but hope for further character development on her part. We also meet a new male character in this novel who I was afraid, at first, would amount to an unwanted love triangle; fortunately, it was handled fairly well, giving the romance some extra oomph without turning into a cliché or simply antagonizing its readers. Plus, Daemon has an infinite stash of increasingly hilarious nicknames for this new fella that became the highlight of my reading experience. For every new nickname Daemon comes up with, an angel gets its wings!

The plot, although somewhat predictable in this particular novel, is starting to get a bit deeper as far as the consequential complexities of the Aliens coming to earth. I won’t say this sequel brings forth immense plot progressions, but we do learn some very interesting details about the people surrounding Katy and Daemon, while showing us a glance at the bigger picture of this vast conspiracy. The bigger part of the book is spent building up the complex and often complicated relationship between our two main characters. The chemistry has not left them; they have sparks like no other, but now emotions are involved. I was greatly satisfied by the direction their story took, it’s realistic and completely swoon-worthy. I did feel the book became long winded towards the end, however. The ending, itself, though not a true cliffhanger, raises a lot of questions about the upcoming novel and what will undoubtedly be some crazy interesting developments.

A completely addicting and non-stop flirty read – Onyx is an enthralling sequel that is a fine addition to the Lux series. For those who haven’t jumped on the Obsidian boat yet, you’re missing some very sexy reading!

4 Hot Espressos
 The Lux series so far:

Guest Post by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sex in YA

A few months ago, one of the YA sites had asked a question on Twitter. “Who do you think writes sexy YA?” I was unaware of this question until I started getting a lot of tweets with my name and the hashtag. I started to laugh… until it was like the twentieth tweet and I realized writing sexy YA is probably what I’m most known for.

Does that bother me?

Absolutely not.  Sex isn’t a four letter word. Sometimes it seems more acceptable to have books with teenager characters killing one another than having a sexy scene where the characters don’t even have sex. That alone blows my mind. Sex is somehow more evil than murder. So is profanity and I’m not even talking about the “F” word. I’ve seen more people get upset over the word “thrust” in a YA book than people get up in arms over two kids fighting to the death.

I do write the sexy in YA books, but I always keep it appropriate. The thing is that what is appropriate is totally subjective to whoever is reading the book. I’ve actually had readers tell me that they wished certain scenes would’ve gone further or had more details while other readers have felt that it was a little bit too much. I can’t say what the appropriate amount of ‘sexy’ in YA is. That’s up to the author and reader. I can tell you what I think is appropriate and why I write it.

What I write: I only write upper YA. For those wondering what the really means, upper YA is when your characters are between the ages of 17 and 18, most likely about to graduate from high school. Upper YA also tends to have more adult undertones. If I was writing about 15 year olds, I wouldn’t be putting those characters in the situations mine are in and I’m just not talking about the sexy scenes. With upper YA you can be riskier and push the limit.  (Please note: that is just my opinion. Another author or publisher may feel a different way.)

My reading habits: I also look back to what I was reading when I was a teenager. I grew up on historical romances. I started reading them around twelve or thirteen (and we all know the amount of heat those books have) and being exposed to sexual content didn’t turn me into a nymphomaniac. Or anyone else I knew that read those books as a teenager.  The only down side of reading those books was I had some way high expectations of sex. Like impossibly high expectations.

Teenagers know what’s going down: Once again, this is just my opinion. And this is the one that will probably get me in the most trouble. Treating a teenager like they have no idea what sex is, is just ridiculous. Most teenagers know more about sex than I do. That doesn’t mean they should be out there doing it, but some are. Some aren’t.  They kiss. They touch. They experiment. They can do a lot without actually doing, you know, the deed. Putting fictional teenagers in a bubble where no one in their world is doing any of those things is very unrealistic. As a teenager, I would’ve had a hard time relating to those characters, so I try to make my characters as realistic as I believe them to be, based on my own expectations and experiences.

Teenagers experience emotions too, you know: Teenagers experience love, hate, grief, loss, pleasure, heart break, lust, and a whole range of human emotions. They don’t start experiencing these things only when they turn 21. Not delving into those emotions would feel like I’m cheating my characters, the story, and the reader.

What I think is appropriate: It’s all in the details. There is a way to write scenes without going too far, because you can go too far. An erotica YA would be going too far and honestly would disturb even me. 

When I write the ‘sexy’ scenes in YA, I always take my time and make sure I’m not crossing any lines that I would be uncomfortable with. And the thing is, the less detail you give, the more chemistry your characters end up having. So for me, it’s a win/win. I write the way I do, because I feel like that’s acceptable. Not everyone will. That’s the great thing about reading and writing books. It’s all subjective. 

Jennifer’s Blog / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.  Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Entangled Publishing has generously offered one print copy of both Obsidian and Onyx for giveaway to one winner.
Open to US addresses only
Giveaway ends August 26th, 2012
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post was a part of the Onyx Blog Tour:

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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46 Responses to “Onyx Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway”

  1. Rebecca

    I skipped the review as I haven’t yet read Obsidian, however I did read Jennifer’s amazing guest post and can I just say, I LOVED it! I completely agree with everything Jennifer said and it was so interesting to hear her opinion and thoughts on the matter. I might not have started the Lux series but I have read Half-Blood and whilst I didn’t necessarily love it, I did appreciate the sexy scenes. Fabulous guest post, I wish more werem this addictive and interesting. Thanks, Giselle! Review, guest post and a giveaway? Your followers sure are lucky! 🙂

  2. Nick

    I’m really glad that you enjoyed the book, Giselle. 🙂
    I love how you call Daemon jerkface! LOL! 😀
    Lovely review, Giselle.

    I adore that guest post by Armentrout. I agree with everything she said.
    I’m with her when she says that sex is okay in YA, but there’s definitely a line that shouldn’t be crossed. A YA erotica would disturb everyone I think. O.O

    Great post, Jennifer.

  3. nea barabea

    OMG amazing guest post!! 🙂 I completely agree with Jennifer 🙂 And now, honestly, I think she is even more awesome than I thought before 😛 Also, great review Giselle 😉 I really enjoyed Onyx and Daemon was amazing as always 😛 though I think I prefer him as sarcastic and arrogant 😛 hihihi. Overall, great amazing, utterly awesome post, Giselle! 🙂 <3

  4. Sam

    A great review, Giselle! I’m glad you enjoyed this as much as I did. It was so nice to get a deeper glimpse into Daemon’s personality. I have to agree that he is very entertaining, jerk face or not. 😉 I’m eager for the next book now!

    Jennifer’s post is really interesting! Seeing as though I prefer mature YA books to average teen books, I’m usually disappointed if there aren’t a few sexy scenes. 😉 I also think it’s completely up to the author if they want to include sex or not. It’s not a big deal. 🙂

  5. Emily

    Great review! I have yet to read this seriess, but I own Obsidian so I hope I can start that soon. But I’ve read the Covenant series, and that’s pretty good, so I’m expecting this to be good as well. Thanks for the chance to win!! 🙂

    ~Emily@Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf

  6. Amy

    Great review chicky!! I love the other side of Daemon that we get to see in this book. I was laughing so hard every time he would call Blake something different. (That was his name right? lol) Awesome guest post!! I think that Jen writes YA sexy perfectly. I mean really, teenagers have sex, they make out and get frisky, so it’s unrealistic to not mention it or have some steamy scenes.

  7. emmyneal

    Yes. Just…. yes. I grew up on historical romances too and then went to work for my library in teh young adult and children’s sections. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how much the “PROTECT THE CHILDREN”-idea determines what books are bought for YA. As if teens never had health class or something.

  8. Silverlight

    Great GP from Jen! I agree w/her thoughts about writing sex scenes in YA, and the idea of less is more when it comes to sexual content, I love the heat that oozes from JLA’s pages, and characters.

    Giselle-I agree w/you on your thoughts about Katy’s “relentless skepticism towards Daemon” I felt it was dragged a little longer than I would of liked, and I really disliked the overplaying of Blake’s(Biff, Boris, etc) name.
    I did enjoy seeing a different, caring side of Daemon, though.
    I just finished reading this last night and while I loved Obsidian this one for me was a 4 star too. The ending was pretty great, though!

    Great review, as always!!

  9. Ellen

    Great review and interview I loved it. I agree with Jennifer’s comment about the sex in YA books, especially older YA books. I mean, who are we kidding, must teenagers know more than adults. To try to act like they don’t or they aren’t old enough to read about what they already know is well, kind of like all us parents hoping our kids will save themselves for marriage, which is a wonderful fantasy, but probably not a reality.

  10. Jana

    I love the guest post!! Jen IS the queen of sexy YA. She just knows how to write a sexy scene without it being TOO much. And I just want to say that I’m 16 and have been reading adult romances since I was like 11 so it just depends on the person reading. 😛

  11. Angeline Berd

    I agree that as teenagers we are definitely aware of sex. I swear I hear a sex-related joke at least once a day at school. It’s all in good fun. But at the same time, teenagers do “experiment”. Only 1 or 2 couples will go all the way (or at least attempt to). Not everyone is out there doing “it”. Every reader is entitled to their own opinion of how “steamy” the intimte scenes should be. But in my opinion, Armentrout is able to balance the scenes very nicely.

  12. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Such a great guest post! And I completely agree, wy pretend that these things aren’t happening at that age. I know they were in my life, so there is no use in pretending it doesn’t.

    We totally did a team read here! It was fun, I did have a bit more issue with the things that you also pointed out, but I feel the same way! Great review Bilbo Baggins!

  13. J.J. Bonds

    Great review! Can I just say that I’m really looking forward to seeing the real Daemon behind the jerk face? 😉 Even if he only grows a little bit, that’s progress, right? Besides, I wouldn’t want him to lose his edge!

    Loved the guest post too! JLA definitely writes some sexy scenes, but it doesn’t bother me as a reader or a parent. In fact, I think that’s part of the appeal her novels have– they push the limits. It probably goes without saying, but I think she nailed it in her post– the scenes have to be realistic and tasteful.

  14. Danny

    Well, I adore Jennifer, her writing and her books! I would probably be one of those, who would ask for more from certain scenes! But, I am not the best target here with my 34 yrs. (gosh that sounds old).

    But, I also tempt to read much more upper YA which is why Jennifer’s books perfectly fit my alley.

    I agree, kids these days totally know what’s going on. I also read a lot of historical romanes when I was still in school! Diana Gabaldons books came out in Germany when I was 17 – and… well, there was a loooot going on!

    I think there needs to be a certain amount of books for those kids that feel uncomfortable, but, ones shouldn’t be afraid to go one step deeper. They can handle it!

    Wonderful topic!

  15. Hafsah - IceyBooks

    I haven’t read any of Jennifer’s novels, but I’ve only heard awesome things about them. And I LOVE the guest post! I totally agree with what she has to say. Awesome review, Giselle – I’m glad to hear ONYX is addicting!

  16. Ems

    Such a great post. I totally agree with JLA that characters in a bubble aren’t at all interesting. I know I don’t want to read about them. Appreciate getting her POV on the topic!

    And thank you for the giveaway!

  17. Sharon ObsessionwithBooks

    A great review Giselle 🙂 this series is one of my favorites, I finished ONYX this week and still can’t get it out of my mind (ahem – Daemon 😉

    Jennifer’s guest post was spot on and her sexy scenes are written perfectly for her audience – Thankyou for sharing!

    Can’t wait for OPAL..

  18. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I really liked Katy but Daemon drove me bonkers! I wanted to slap him around a bit, tell him he wasn’t as awesome as he thought he was. With a big cliffhanger ending, I think I’ll wait until the next one’s out so I can read ’em all together. I really don’t mind smexy YA when it’s an integral part of the story. Not nearly as bad as what teens watch on MTV, for goodness sake!

  19. Rachel

    I’m not going to enter this giveaway as I have both copies but I wanted to say this is a fabulous post! I agree with JLA’s comment about teens and sex. You really would have to be delusional if you don’t think teens know about sex from a very early age on. I love JLA’s writing and think it’s totally appropriate without shorting us on steam. Thanks ladies for a wonderful post! 🙂

  20. Joie

    Such an awesome guest post! Jen writes the best sexy YA and I love hearing her opinions on the topic of sex in YA.
    Great post and thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  21. Stephanie Sinclair

    I really love this guest post. One thing that always gets me is how YA authors skirt around the sexy times with so much sexual tension. I’m even more interested to finally start this series now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Book me!

    Great post! This is why I love Jennifer, not only can she write a stellar book, but she gives the readers what they want! I’m a new follower and I’m completely in love with this site!
    Thanks for stopping by earlier!
    Book Me!

  23. Maji Bookshelf

    I FINALLY read Obsidian and it blew my mind away!
    I can’t wait to pick up Onyx!!

    Totally agree with Jennifer. It’s all perspective but I think some of her scenes are HOT without going borderline… inappropriate

    – juhins

  24. Maji Bookshelf

    haha i LOVED that guest post! I really do wanna start Obsidian so bad right now!! I loved your review Giselle, and im glad you’re still loving the Lux series!
    Farah @MajiBookshelf

  25. Kelly @ Dandelion Dreams

    What a wonderful guest post and giveaway!
    I definitely liked how she talks about sex being so taboo in YA books, but it’s perfectly fine for people to be running around killing everyone in them. I would much rather read a sexy, steamy scene than one with someone dying.
    Thanks for the AWESOME giveaway. I’ve been dying to read Obsidian but I have yet to pick it up. *fingers crossed*

  26. Kelly

    I hadn’t read any of Ms Armentrout’s books when I let my 12 year old read Obsidian. I read it afterwards and well, I should have read it first. When I asked her why she didn’t say anything about the book while she read it she giggled. We did use it as a teaching moment. I loved the book, but not for my 12 year old. It was a teaching moment for me too. Appreciate her comments.

  27. ShreShre

    Love your Onyx review Giselle! So glad you enjoyed it, JLA’s writing is simply superb! And an awesome guest post as well! I have to agree with Nick, there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed 😉

    Chocolate Coated Reviews

  28. Ashley Montgomery

    Reading is very subjective. You may find the best thing since sliced bread in a book or it may be worse than the plague. It all depends on your personal beliefs, personal preferences, etc.

    Personally, I think sexy YA is great. One of the main reasons being is that it is realistic and people can relate. I agree with everything Jennifer said.

  29. Kristin @ My ParaHangover

    What a great character study for a review! Second books are hard and it sounds like Jennifer did good! And your analysis of the characters was totally fair!!! And no spoilers ~ THANKS!! I never have to worry with you 😉

  30. Nikki Jefford

    This is a fantastic guest post (& I can’t wait to check out this series).

    I started reading historical and regency romance in my early teens, as well. J.A. Konrath wrote a similar post last year about violence being easily accepted, but sex causing a complete melt down with readers of his Jack Daniels series.

    I like sexy and based on the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, so does a mass amount of the reading public.

  31. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Fabulous review! It makes me SUPER happy to see you say that Daemon grows as a character. I already adore him – now I REALLY cannot wait to read Onyx!

    Also, I loved the post from JLA. I really respect her as a writer, and I think she does an amazing job of writing “sexy YA” without crossing the line or writing JUST sexy YA.

  32. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    Thanks for the fantastic giveaway! I’ve heard such great things about this series and I can’t wait to read them! And I agree with the author, it all depends on the age of the characters, and the way the sex is portrayed.

    Thanks again!

  33. Skagway Alaska

    Again wow!!! What a book if I could give it more than five stars I would. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book that can take me through such a range of emotions and actually makes me sit up with my heart pounding. I shouldn’t be too surprised because I pretty much love all of the Other work I have read by this author. This is a great story I would definitely recommend it.