Review: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

No-Brainer

Title:  Hotel Ruby
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 11/03/15
Length:  199 pages

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Program comes a brand-new haunting, romantic, and suspenseful story about one girl’s search for healing in a grand and mysterious hotel full of secrets.

Stay tonight. Stay forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between in a place that is so much more than it seems…

And the 13th chapter will only add to the mystery behind the 13th floor of Hotel Ruby…and ultimately, what it means for Audrey.

Welcome to the Ruby.

My Thoughts

coming from the author of The Program, i was certain that we’d get a great story – and while this was really good (ergo the reading it in less than 24 hours), it’s NOTHING like i expected.  Ms. Young had done a great job in her past series writing a compelling dystopian story, and here what we get, is a YA story for sure, with bits of fantasy and sci-fi (i.e. the ghosts???)

We learn that we’re about 3 months post the death of Audrey and Daniel’s mom and it’s been a really tough time for the family.  Their dad hadn’t been able to control his grief, and the kids had acted out – resulting in this move of the kids to their grandmothers for the summer (or forever).  While the kids plot their next move on the drive to grandmas, their lives change forever.

Dad decides to make a side trip overnight to stay as a family at Hotel Ruby since it’s late, and once they enter, everything that they knew, thought or felt was up in the air.  We know that Audrey meets Elias the first night when she sneaks into a party that’s invitation only only to get kicked out, resulting in his attention as he shows her around the hotel.  Daniel and their dad though, they find themselves in a different space.  Daniel of course gets the attention of women there and their dad seems to get grounded some how and comes out of his grief a bit.

The story from there goes through their stay being extended so that they can enjoy things a bit more as a family, Audrey continues to question what’s really going on in this supposed haunted hotel, decipher between the lives of the guests and the staff, all while trying to figure out what it is that draws her to Elias.

The ending, while surprising, isn’t that surprising at all.  i think that we all want a happy ending, wake up from a dream, find out that everyone’s in on a joke etc.  Ms Young doesn’t disappoint.  I feel like there were hopes for some things to happen and others to not.  For their dad to realize that he’s been neglecting them and go be all happy family again, but who knows if that’s even possible.

All wrapped up in a little bow, this one installment story has just the right level of intrigue, mystery, romance and character relationship depth/dynamic to make it a great read.  On that note – Happy Saturday everyone and i’ll be back soon.

Review: Apollyon (Convenant book #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Title: Apollyon
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher/Year: Spencer Hill Press, 4/09/2013
Length: 360 pages
Series: The Covenant #4

i definitely hate having to wait for a next installment to come out, and especially after reading Elixir which was book #3.5, i felt like the wait was too long.

We left off from Elixir where Alex had ‘Awakened’ and she had the eyes of the apollyon and some of the craziness.  the issue here though as having Seth around as the First, Aiden, Marcus and Apollo among all of the others had to do their best to keep Alex’s location a secret and keep Seth away.  If Seth found Alex and was able to transfer her power to him, then he would become the God Killer and that was BAD NEWS!

The even bigger issue here though was not that Set was entirely power hungry on his own, he was under the influence of Lucien (Alex’s stepfather no less) and some other powerful forces and was trying his best to be the undoing of all things that were ‘normal’ and standard in the word.

So Apollyon opens up with Alex being caged in for both her own good and for the good of everyone else since she was still ‘connected’ to Seth through their Apollyon stuff, and the Elixir had worn off.  Aiden was trying to ‘get through’ to Alex because he loves her so much and knows that she’s strong enough to some how find a better resolution to what’s going on.

Apollo comes in and out of this story as well, being the lineage of Alex and because he’s trying to protect her and figure out what the next steps should be.  Due to any number of circumstances (mainly being trickery), psycho Apollyon Alex escapes her cage and tries to make a run for it.  Aiden of course isn’t having this and some how manages to tackle her and through his love and persistence in the message that Alex is stronger than Seth, she some how manages to break the bond that she has with Seth and is almost the Alex that everyone came to know and love before this all happened.

Now if only that was the end of things right?  Well, it’s determined that Seth, Lucien and whatever God is working with them are up to no good, killing thousands of people both half-bloods and mortals alike.  They need to be stopped and Alex has to go on the quest to figure out how that can be done.

This book takes through the underworld again, through a lot of death and destruction.  it’s expected that some of the characters that we know and love will die, and some will be re-encarnated so to speak as well.

I think the best part of this story is that throughout the series there have been a few less than trust worthy folks and in Apollyon, we start to figure out why.  there’s a great unveiling at the end of this book which really leads into the expectations that we will now have waiting until January 2014 for Sentinel to come out.

enjoy!

 

Re-Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

I’ve been staring at the cover of Unravel Me for about a week now trying to get ready to read it, and realized that i owed it to myself to do a quick re-read of Shatter Me – the first book in the series.  I needed to make sure that i was fully up to speed on what happened, with whom, and it what order and what i needed to remember.

so for those of you that haven’t read it yet, we’re introduced to Juliette who is 17 and has been locked up in an asylum because she’s got some ‘power’ where she can’t touch another living person because she will kill them through some power in her skin.  the reason that she’s been locked up is because she accidentally killed a child that she was trying to help and her parents and society didn’t have any other option for her.

What I need to point out here is that society has gone to shit (at least that’s what people think because of what they’ve been told), and the ‘Re-Establishment’ has taken control of the world in the hopes of overpowering everyone else of influence and creating their own super power.

So while Juliette is locked up, after about a year of solitary isolation, she’s given a cell-mate and a guy at that.  she doesn’t know what to make of it and thinks that they are trying to kill her off or something like that.  Well…after a little bit of time, she begins to get these little flashes of recognition of her cell-mate – his eyes mostly really remind her of something/someone from her past.

After a few weeks of sharing a cell, they are ‘broken out’ by the reestablishment and to Juliette’s dismay, she learns that her cellmate is a soldier, sent in to make sure that she wasn’t truly crazy as many in the asylum are, and to bring her to Warner who is the head of Sector 45.  Warner knows of Juliette’s powers and wants to use her for his own benefit.

so…Juliette has become a pawn, and all the while didn’t know what to expect and who to trust.  Not long after she’s been taken by Warner, she learns that her cellmate Adam really is the kid that she knew from her past, and that they actually shared a mutual opinion of one another.  They weren’t ever able to talk to each other, but they both saw something powerful that drew each one to the other that it grew into someone quite unique.

Now that Juliette is captive, and Adam was used as the means to bring her in, they’ve had the opportunity to talk about their feelings from the past and realize that they actually share the same mutual respect and love for each other.

That’s when things get hairy.  See…Adam knows that it’s not safe for them to be there, and Juliette has no intention of helping Warner do what he wants, meaning that she HAS to get away.  They take an opportunity to escape and run as fast and as far away as they can.

In their travels, they come to a safe haven where they think they can hide for a bit until they are discovered not too long after arriving.  it’s Kenji , Adam’s best friend from the army and there’s confusion as to how he knew where to find them.  Low and behold, Adam and Juliette have to make a decision about whether to trust Kenji or not, and in this story, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s being made to seem one way or another.

In any event, i’m really excited about Unravel Me since there’s a lot that i want answers to.

1) What makes Juliette the way that she is?

2) what happens with Juliette and Adam

3) what’s the deal with Warner?  what’s in store for him?

4) Omega Point?  What’s that?

Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jenniver L Armentrout

It’s funny sometimes how book releases just creep up on you.  I don’t know why, but i had it in my head that i’d have to wait a heck of a lot longer for the follow up to Onyx to come out….and yet i didn’t.  NICE SURPRISE.

So, in Book 3 Opal, we are at a time in the story when Daemon and Katy’s relationship is going strong even though it’s a really hard time for every one of the Luxen because of Adam’s death, and the discovery that so many people weren’t who they seemed.  all that being said, katy continues to try her hardest to get back in the good graces (or at least not on the receiving end of a shit show) from everyone….while enjoying the heck out of the new found romance that she has with Daemon and is able to share.

So…this book takes us down that road, where Katy’s trying to be strong with everyone, Dawson is back, and he’s trying to both adjust to life out of being captured while trying to get Bethany freed as well.  that’s a tough one.  Blake returns, UN-surprising….cause everyone knew that he couldn’t just disappear after the rumble and ensuing death.  So Blake comes back, and everyone has to rely on his ability to get them into the secured home base to get Bethany (and Blake’s pair Chris) out ….in the hopes that good will happen and that Blake can prove to be trustworthy.  can he?  we don’t really know.

There’s also the ongoing stress and anxiety around whether or not Will is going to make his move.  We are lead to believe that he’s still in contact with Katy’s mom and that he says that hes going to come back but we don’t know if that means that the ‘healing’ that Daemon was forced into worked or didn’t.  That leaves everyone on edge, but it’s not the biggest issue for the crew so it’s on the back-burner.  for now….

What i liked in this story is a bit of what we got from Twilight.  (apologies if you’re not a fan).  In Twilight, Edward is really adamant about making sure that Bella gets all of the human experiences and rites of passage that she should have as a human.  the same goes here for Katy.  Daemon makes sure that she’s going through the motions as well….college applications/or thoughts about college, prom and all that other stuff.

So…this book takes us on a definite roller coaster.  We are dealing with pain and hurt that’s due to a death in the family, the building of a strong relationship and romance, the relief that a family member is found even if he’s not 100% back to his old self…yet there’s all those same issues with struggling on if someone can be trusted, not knowing what you’re getting yourself into….and where it will all end.

This story ends on a high note – one that i kind of saw coming, but didn’t really think was going to happen in the way that it happened.  I can’t wait to read book 4…..it’s a shame that we have to wait for Origin for so long….

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Review: Elixir (Covenant #3.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Gotta love those novellas – they give you just enough to curb the hunger, but definitely not enough to sustain you until the next full length story is out.

Elixir picks up at the point in time where we know that Alex has awakened, and that she’s joined with Seth – by her actions/words and mostly by the color of her eyes.  Aiden and everyone else have the hard task of both keeping her safe/sedated, themselves safe, and keeping her location hidden so that they can figure out a way to break the bond between her and Seth.  Yup – that means that we are 100% clear on the fact that seth is a bad apple and only wants to take his power in evil and bad directions.

The hardest part of this story is that in book 3, we finally got to the point where Aiden and Alex were able to come to terms with their love for one another, and they actually shared some much needed and awaited intimacy.  That’s all gone to pot though since the Alex that they all have with them isn’t the same one.

Aiden is forced to take drastic measures, at the urging of the Gods and give Alex the ‘Elixir’.  If you remember, this is the same potion in theory that is given to half-bloods that are put into a life of servitude.  It basically makes you unable to do much of anything of your own will….and Aiden is very fearful of this.  The issue being that this is the only way that they can all buy time to figure out a lasting way to break the bond between the Apollyons.

the question now is – does it work?  is Alex really able to keep Seth away, what’s the motive behind Seth’s evil ambition and what’s going to come of it?  We know that there are plots to take over the various Covenants ….and will that happen?  Who’s on what side and which side will win?

Now i just can’t wait until Apollyon – the next book in the series to come out.  I need to know if Aiden’s love for Alex is enough to stand by her, and help her through this.  I need to know if Seth will find a way to control Alex and bring her down….and i need to know what is going to become of the Pures, the Half Bloods and the Humans……

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Review: Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer L Armentrout

the long awaited sequel in the Covenant Series delivered what i was hoping for and what i needed.  Jennifer L Armentrout has quickly become one of my favorite authors in the YALit, paranormal, romancy genre because she has this ability to suck you in to the personal relationships while still maintaining the action and intrigue of the story itself.

In Deity, we find ourselves deep in the relationships of Alex (Alexandria) who is a half-blood and also the 2nd Appollyon of her generation.  Now if you haven’t read the other 2 books in the series, then you should know that it’s quite rare for there to be more than one Appollyon in a generation – and it’s actually only happened 1 time before in the history of these beings.  That one time didn’t end well, so you can only imagine what stress Alex is going through right now.  Anyway, back to Alex – she had made a choice in the last book to ‘see where things go’ with Seth who is the FIRST Appollyon of their generation, partly because he’s well….HOT, and partly becuase she understands that there’s a connection between them due to the Appollyon stuff and they are kind of meant to be mates in a sense of the word.  Atlhough she had made that choice in a sense, he heart is still with someone else, a PURE BLOOD named Aiden who she’s been close to for a bit, but hasn’t truly crossed the line with yet since he’s a pure and she’s not.  that’s forbidden in their society.

In any event, Alex is still tied up in her love triangle, and it’s getting closer and closer to her 18th birthday when she’ll Awaken and gain all the powers and ability of the Appollyon and therefore make Seth, the FIRST a ‘god killer’.  That’s the most feared thing going since it means that he’ll have all the power to do what he wishes to the gods – to the people, and if that power is harnessed by the wrong person or for the wrong reason – well things won’t be good.

In the last story, we saw attempts made on Alex’s life because of what she was and Seth kind of came to her rescue as did Aiden.  in Deity, we find that Alex has made a better choice for herself, doing what’s true to her heart and instead of going with Seth as her choice, she goes for Aiden who is her true love, and Aiden is able to give her more than anyone can imagine – support, trust, safety and love.

Aside from the romance bit of the story, like happened in the last book Pure, people are still after Alex, and she has more coming her way than any one can possibly expect to deal with.  She has to figure out who to trust, who’s on her side, what the Oracle really meant when there was foreshadowing to the future and of a generation with 2 Appollyons….and well, the biggest thing that we can take out of this story is that you really don’t know anyone at all.  those who you thought were one way, are entirely different, and certain people have ulterior motives.  you come to love some, hate others, and really enjoy most of the rest.  the last page…well….it hit me hard – and i really can’t wait for Book 4 to come out Elixer, because i see where the story is going and i really want it to work out a certain way.

I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say that there’s a bit of godliness in here, lots of fighting and anxiety, romance, twisted loyalties – and all that together makes for a GREAT read.

4.5 out of 5 stars (and that’s only because there really weren’t any Daimons in this book and i for some reason have become accustomed to worrying about when they are going to pop up next, who they will be and who they are after)

Review: Doms of Dark Haven 2 – Western Night

Similar to the first short story compilation, this set brings us to Dark Haven on another themed night – this time it’s Western night.  3 authors bring us back into the BDSM world within the club where we are introduced to yet another group of Doms.

A Good Sub Would… By Sierra Cartwright is the first short story in the series.  She introduces us to Masters David and Trevor while they are at Dark Haven for a charity poker game.  The dynamic between these 2 is very tense- they have a short history of Master Trevor stealing David’s subs….although i’m not quite sure how one can ‘steal’ a sub.  So this evening, Master David has Shelby with him, his ‘sometimes sub’ – as she is a long time friend and sometimes sub when she’s in town.  Their relationship is a relatively casual one but it works for them.  The challenge between these 2 is that Shelby sometimes tops from the bottom (a phrase that i’ve learned reading these types of stories) – she may be the sub, but she usually gives the direction to Master David in scenes.  Master Trevor on the other side though is one of the most domineering Doms that Dark Haven has known.  He’s got a reputation of expecting perfection from his subs, he dominates completely and punishes strongly when he’s not obeyed to the letter.

During the Poker game, some how Shelby is put up as a prize if the hand is lost by Master David, and some how that happens…..meaning that Shelby is in for the shock of her life.  She’s going from the safety of a dom that she’s known and knows what to expect to that of Master Trevor – 100% the unexpected yet that’s highly arousing

I enjoyed this story by Sierra much more than i did her story from Doms of Dark Haven (1) – i feel like there was much better development of the relationship between Shelby and the doms.  what i also REALLY ENJOYED was that Destiny was brought into this story as more than just a receptionist type character.  We see that she’s strong, caring and clearly very aware of everything that goes on in the club and around her.  i hope that one of the next stories that we read has her as a main character.

Hunting Holly by Belinda McBride is the 2nd story that we check into in the compilation and true to what we saw in Doms of Dark Haven 1, we’re revisiting the wolf pack.  Instead of meeting up with Harte’s pack, we’re back with the wolves from Chase’s crew – as they are summoned to Dark Haven by Master Xavier.  There seems to be something amiss that the Xavier seems to think that the wolves can help with and upon arrival, they find another young boy – similar to the one that we encountered in Doms of DH1 – and the wolves claim him since they know that he was ‘delivered’ by the Abraxas.  backing up a bit – once the wolves get to the club and learn that they are there for ‘someone’ – 2 wonder if it’s one of their own – a female (holly) that had run away from the pack a year ago.  Xavier confirms that it’s not a female and both Hunter and Tex seem a bit deflated since they were both hoping that they’d find her.

After claiming the boy, the wolves turn to leave when they get the sense that another one of their own species is in the club and while 2 leave with the boy, Hunter and Tex tune into the scent to figure out who it is.  That’s when they discover that in fact it IS Holly and that she’s there – and they go on the hunt to find her, and then stake their claim.

What i found in this story though, is that even though they are in a BDSM club, there really isn’t much of that at the forefront of the story.  Hunter is clueless in anything sexual since he’s quite the virigin, and although Tex has been at the club before and is comfortable with the environment (he has his own bag of toys) – he’s really not a commanding dom.  at least not compared to all those other doms that we’ve met at Dark Haven.  The little love triangle that kind of develops is really anti-climactic since it seems very PG to me.

what i did like though is that Destiny again takes a role in this story – she’s always watching out for what’s going on and Holly even gets a little sense from her that something’s up but she can’t put her finger on it and doesn’t give it another thought.  I hope that sometime soon we get to see more of a story about her.

Welcome to the Darkside  by Cherise Sinclair again reminds me of the reason to keep her as a fav and to read any collection that includes her since she truly is a good author.  This story is written in the same tone as all others, and ocntinues along with characters that we’ve met and enjoyed in previous books.  In this story, we re-meet Virgil who is Kallie’s cousin (from Master of the Abyss- Mountain Masters series). …and he’s not quite sure if BDSM is for him since he know how much he didn’t care for the lifestyle in the series.  He never looked favorably upon the reputation that it had from Logan/Jake in the series.  So here we are, finding Virgil at Dark Haven one night because he’s trying to determine if he’s a ‘pervert’ as he likes to call himself or if he’s just into a bit of kink and can put it on the back burner.

That same night we are re-introduced to Summer whom we met in Doms of Dark Haven 1 – when Rona was first involved with Simon and discovers Summer with a BAD DOM (Dirk) who isn’t respecting the use of a safe word.  So, because of that, Summer’s a bit gun shy around doms, yet she knows that she’s a submissive through and through.  Simon knows what Summer needs, and also knows a bit about Virgil, so it’s an easy pairing in his mind to put the two of them together.

So this story continues on that path, developing that relationship so much better than the other authors in the collection did with their pairings and that make the story so much richer and deeper.  Cherise doesn’t shy away from kink or dirty/rough sex scenes which is also nice compared to some of the more vanilla tones that we saw in the previous stories.

the question just becomes – what will Virgil decide about the BDSM lifestyle and how it works or doens’t work with his life as a cop in a small town.  Will Summer be ok in another relationship or has Dirk ruined her forever?  I have to give this story a 4 out of 5 stars because it was great – just not long enough to get any of that anticipation and anxiety that i do so love.

Again, these collections have something for everyone who’s into BDSM, Erotica, paranormal, and fantasy.  check it out!