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A LIGHT IN THE FLAME by Jennifer L Armentrout

The only one who can save Sera now is the one she spent her life planning to kill.

The truth about Sera’s plan is out, shattering the fragile trust forged between her and Nyktos. Surrounded by those distrustful of her, all Sera has is her duty. She will do anything to end Kolis, the false King of Gods, and his tyrannical rule of Iliseeum, thus stopping the threat he poses to the mortal realm.

Nyktos has a plan, though, and as they work together, the last thing they need is the undeniable, scorching passion that continues to ignite between them. Sera cannot afford to fall for the tortured Primal, not when a life no longer bound to a destiny she never wanted is more attainable than ever. But memories of their shared pleasure and unrivaled desire are a siren’s call impossible to resist.

And as Sera begins to realize that she wants to be more than a Consort in name only, the danger surrounding them intensifies. The attacks on the Shadowlands are increasing, and when Kolis summons them to Court, a whole new risk becomes apparent. The Primal power of Life is growing inside her, pushing her closer to the end of her Culling. And without Nyktos’s love—an emotion he’s incapable of feeling—she won’t survive her Ascension. That is if she even makes it to her Ascension and Kolis doesn’t get to her first. Because time is running out. For both her and the realms.

Title : A Light In The Flame
Author : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Flesh & Fire #2
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 652
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Bluebox Press
Release Date : November 15, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

I still adore these two MCs
Pacey read
Second half addict

A Light In The Flame didn’t start out as I expected; it was a slow journey to really get to some juicy plot. However, my utter connection to Nyktos and Sera kept me persevering to the good parts. There was plot in the first half, it was just slow turning, although I appreciate there was significant relationship and character development in that portion.

Then we hit halfway and BOOM! The plot took off at speed, a lot happened and I was glued while being much happier with the pacing. The story took us to safe and trechorous places, to loyalty and betrayal (I was shook) and never once did these characters lose my interest.

Meeting Kolis for the first time was an experience but Vetes took the biscuit for me in terms of evil characterisation. I liked Bele, I adored Reaver and Jadis and Nektor was pretty amazing too. Sera had depths, anxiety, hidden mental health issues and the kind of loyalty and selflessness that was admirable. Nyktos cared but that damn kardia, I need to have more from him, I feel he’s almost there.

“I’m always in awe of you. I could keep going, but most of all, what I feel is the closest thing to peace I’ve ever experienced.”

The end of this book was that kind of painful satisfactory cliff of an ending. So much so, how am I going to make it to December to get this next book? I hope the pacing is better, but I’ll be here for it nevertheless.

3.75 stars rounded up.

A SHADOW IN THE EMBER by Jennifer L Armentrout

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.

Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.

Title : A Shadow In The Ember
Authors : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Flesh & Fire #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 695
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Publisher : Blue Box Press
Release Date : October 19, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 

Micky’s 5 star review

Finished 2022 with a bang
Off shoot series gold
Dragon alert

Flesh and Fire series started blew From Blood and Ash out of the water for me. I think some of this was because I am comfortable and knowledgable in this world, I know most how it works, who are the good and bad guys, so there was limited world building needed. But more than that, I just adored the two main characters in this book so much.

Sera came from interested progeny but boy, did that evolve. Her life in some ways had similarities to Poppy. She was fierce, wreckless but loyal. I hated her brother and really liked Sir Holland, but wanted to know more.

As to Ash, he was mystery but I knew all along who he really was…that didn’t make it any less delicious in execution. These two together were irreverant, argumentative, quietly caring and literally oozing chemistry. How both their family lines evolved and mapped out their future was brilliant reading.

I’m gutted I don’t have the next two books just to roll straight into because these plots are intricate and I’m pretty obsessed with knowing what happens next.

I loved ending 2022 with five stars!

KINGDOM OF FLESH & FIRE by Jennifer L Armentrout

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.

Title : Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
Author : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Blood and Ash #3
Format : ebook
Page Count : 637
Genre : Fantasy/PNR
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : September 1, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Relationship ups and downs
Being real
Why is this such a long book?

Ahhhhh, I’m left with overall great feels about this book on finishing even though it isn’t a refined journey getting there. I am here with this series for the characters and the plot twists but it does not need to be a nearly 650 page book; there’s a fair bit of blather (talking in a long-winded way) packed in there.

The focus on pretend and real in the MCs relationship had me glued to the page. The way they navigated their feelings, how they found the foundations and growth was so believable and left me greedy to read the emotions. The heat, was well…it was intense. The ‘joining’, yeah I’m gonna need that in book three, heavy on the description please. I had an inkling about some elements of that future joining but I wait to see what is realised.

The world building was pretty good in this book. It layered nicely and played into the twists beautifully. All along you know there’s going to be more to come about Poppy, but you never know what it’s going to be. The end lines were all well designed to keep the reader panting for more.

This is such a clever series, great characters, sterling plot, I just wish it was written a bit more concisely.

FROM BLOOD AND ASH by Jennifer L Armentrout

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.

Title : From Blood and Ash
Author : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Blood and Ash #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 622
Genre : Fantasy/PNR
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : March 29, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Slow start but picked up at 20%
Shocks around the corners
Jaw dropping addiction

That was one hell of a ride! From Blood and Ash starts slow, there’s world building to be done but do not be put off because by 15-20% of the way in, it was an addiction. That world building I mentioned? Yeah, some of that comes tumbling down, all to shock the reader.

Poppy as a character was complex and well-constructed. She was a woman shielded from life but revered and abused at the same time. She had scars in all the ways and I loved her tenacity, badassery and deep compassion. Hawke was a complex character and more difficult to fathom, shady as-**** but appealing all the same. I still feel conflicted but addicted by him at the end. There was serious conflict between these two that channeled in lust and hate.

Plot wise, this was cleverly thought out, lulling the reader into one way of thinking then producing twist after twist. I dropped into some buddies DMs giving them live reactions and gif while they laughed at me. Such a satisfying read in terms of unexpectedness despite the one main twist I guessed.

It’s not a perfect read with the slow start but it feels like a great read all the same. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I’ve read pretty much all of JLA’s catalogue and I’ve been reading her nearly for a decade but she still managed to surprise me with this one and this was probably the most steamy of hers I’ve read.