{Blog Tour Giveaway & Review} CURSED by Jennifer Armentrout

Happy Book Day to 
by Jennifer Armentrout!!!

Today marks the release of Jennifer Armentrout's latest novel, and Spencer Hill Press is celebrating the release of its first hardcover offering with a multi-blog blitz!  Stay tuned after my review for a chance to WIN!

(Sorry this is coming so late in the day and I haven't posted anything else this week.  This week has been rough on me, to say the least.  I'm going to try to bring you more content, though!)

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

SOMETHING SOFT AND WARM--definitely hand-sized--settled on my chest, and then moved to the right, headed uphill.  I wasn't sure why I expected to be looking into the baby blues of some hot guy when I opened my eyes.  Maybe it was because I'd just had the best dream of my life.  But I certainly didn't expect to be staring into washed-out, ghostly blue eyes.

There was a hamster perched on my chest, its white-and-brown fur covered in grime.  Specks of dirt covered my nightshirt, and bits of gravel clung to my bedspread...


...Somehow I managed a smile as my eyes fell over her [my sister Olivia's] nightgown.  Brown flakes of soil spotted the crisp cotton, and dirt sprinkled her little arms and chubby fingers.  The shoebox in her life was covered in filth.

The very same shoebox I'd used to bury Squeaky [the hamster] in the backyard last night.

I squeezed my eyes shut, mentally stringing together as many cuss words I could think of.  I should have known she'd do this.  A violent shivery went through me.

Olivia just couldn't let dead things be.
(Pages 1 and 2, US ARC edition)

Check out my reviews of Jennifer Armentrout's first two Covenant novels, HALF-BLOOD and PURE! The third novel in the series, DEITY, releases on November 6th. Armentrout also has two books out in her Luxe series with a third coming in December AND a contemporary romance novel under her pen name J. Lynn entitled TEMPTING THE BEST MAN, with a companion novel, TEMPTING THE PLAYER, out next month.

While CURSED by Jennifer Armentrout may not be my favorite of all of the author's published novels, it's still a solid, enjoyable story.  It's also a stand-alone, which is great news for anyone who has been hearing all the buzz about Armentrout, but has yet to read any of her other novels.  There's enough world-building and intrigue to leave wiggle room for a potential sequel, companion novel, series, etc., but it also works well on its own.  I felt more invested when reading the Covenant series than CURSED, but I also kept in mind that CURSED was also written before the series, which means that Armentrout has grown as an author.  Her chemistry between character sizzles more in later writing, though she still builds a strong mystery and plot line in CURSED. 

CURSED centers around a teenager named Ember with an unusual life.  She was in a horrible accident with her father and both were proclaimed dead...until Ember's younger sister Olivia touched her and brought Ember back to life.  Ever since that day, Ember's touch will kill anyone she touches, as well as animals and plants.  I will admit that at times, I envisioned Ember as Rogue from X-MEN because her skin is always covered and she wears gloves so that she can't accidentally touch anyone.  One day after Ember's touch accidentally kills an ex-boyfriend, she and Olivia find themselves in a house among others with them, everyone with his or her own unique abilities.  Ember doesn't trust anyone in the house, not even Hayden, a hot guy whose crazy about her.  When she learns that the accident that killed her wasn't really an accident, she's determined to get to the bottom of the matter and discover the truth, but someone is desperate enough to do anything to keep it a secret.

I like the way Ember doesn't fall head over heels in love with Hayden the moment she meets him.  She doesn't trust him, and she shouldn't, either.  He and his father stalked her and followed her around.  If I'd never talked to a guy who watched my every move and developed feelings through this secretive interaction, I'd be creeped out, too.  If Armentrout had created a situation full of insta-love, I would have hated it  and thrown the book across the room.  I'm so glad this route wasn't taken.  I also enjoyed the way Armentrout creates a compelling mystery that's not as predictable as other books tend to be, though I still caught on to some revelations quicker than most people might.

Overall, CURSED is a solid edition to Armentrout's repertoire, and while it's not my favorite from her so far, I would be intrigued to pick up a second book if she ever makes the decision to return to this world and create more novels.

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This is my favorite of all of Jennifer Armentrout's covers so far.  The lightning is great, and so is the way the model looks so...ordinary.  She wears hoodies just like the main character and really exudes her essence.  I've wanted to read this book since I saw the cover for the first time!

From the upside-down angling (I'm sort of over the sideways sleeping covers) to the way she's against an outdoorsy background, I've wanted to know more.  Is the girl asleep, dead, enjoying the sun?  This book would make me pick it up in the store even if I'd never heard of Jennifer Armentrout before!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  CURSED
Author: Jennifer Armentrout
Release Date: Out September 18, 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Received: Review Copy

Dying sucks-- and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out.

However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't? But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not have been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time
And now, enter to win!
Three lucky people will win a $25 Amazon giftcard, a copy of the book, a shirt and lots of SWAG!

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