Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrou ~ Early Review

Source:  Received eBook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My Thoughts

5 stars - Full of twists and turns this one really delivers!

First Impressions...

Anyone who knows me, knows that Jennifer L Armentrout is my favorite author.  I will stand in line to buy anything she writes.  When I found out she was writing a thriller, I was excited.  She's never let me down and I know she can write suspense because there was some in Frigid.  The cover had me thinking too.  Plus the blurb was so interesting.  Not being able to remember who you are and finding out who you were is not who you want to be?  My first thought was what happens when you remember?  Will you still want to be this different person?  Very interesting and very different.  So excited about this one.

The Characters...

I loved these characters.  I wondered when I read the blurb about Samantha.  How can someone change so much by just loosing their memory?  I really didn't like the before Samantha but the after Sam was awesome.  She was straightforward, determined, and spoke her mind.  But she was also kind, worried about others and not afraid to feel.  She was less worried about staying at the top of the social ladder and more worried about figuring out what had happened to her friend.  And as I learned what had happened, I clearly saw how someone could change so much.  When you take away the social stress she was under, the real her was left.  Her memory loss was a metaphor for what it's like being a teenager.  Somewhere under the hormone ridden teen, is the human being parents remember.  I loved that message.  It felt real.

As for Carson, I adored him.  Any guy who would stand by Samantha after some of these things she had done to him is amazing.  Gorgeous and athletic, he can dish it out as well as Sam can.  He quickly sees that she's not the same person she had been before and he helps her despite how she's treated him in the past.  I love that.  I loved hearing about how they had been friends growing up.  How they were always there for each other.  That friendship somehow made it through her memory loss and I was glad.  She needed him.  He needed her.

The Story...

Clues.  I'm good at them.  I usually pick up on things and enjoy watching them unfold exactly as I expect.  Not this time.  I did see a couple details but I went down to the end still unsure.  I really enjoyed that.  I think it helped turn the pages because I had to know what the truth was.

I love the way this book was crafted.  I don't read as many thrillers but I've recently read a few adult thrillers.  I enjoyed this one more.  It could be that it's YA.  It could be the fact that I'm a character driven reader and I loved these characters.  It could be that I love JLA books.  It could be that this book surprised me.  It could be that I enjoyed the amnesia angle that really had me wondering if she was crazy or what.  But really this story was a great way to get stuck in a book.  And I was stuck.

Could I Put It Down...

No, read it straight through.  Good thing it was Spring Break because I was up late reading this one.  But never did almost 400 pages fly by so fast.

In The End...

Any JLA fan is gonna love this one.  It has a great mystery with some uncertainty all mixed up with her well known romance.  A perfect mix for any one who loves YA.  A well written story that anyone would enjoy.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout: 

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author 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 is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


  1. Great review!

    I'm ashamed to say that I have never read any of JLA's books although I've had them on my TBR and have heard so many good things!

    This one sounds so much like something I would love and enjoy - especially with the mystery element and just looking at that awesome cover makes me want to go and get it straight away :)

    Camilla @

  2. I totally have this one not only on my TBR list but also preordered and I cannot wait till it downloads into my Kindle app to star devouring it!
    Thanks for the review!

  3. I cannot wait to get this one! I am so excited for it and I will definitely drop everything to read it ASAP. Great review!

  4. i HAVE ONLY READ her Half Blood book and it was really good
    But i never had time to finish her series
    I might start reading her books from the beginning this time
    GREAT review
    Your reader

  5. I really loved this one, too. I did feel like it took too long for Sam to stand up for herself & I hated the way her "friends" treated her. I also figured it out pretty early on, haha. But I loved every minute of it nonetheless. Great review!

  6. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one! I've been reading it's a really good book and has some really nice twists to it! And some good characters as well! And it's a JLA book, a must read then!

    Great review!!

  7. It's no surprise that you loved this! And pretty cool that Armentrout can pull off suspense. Great review!

  8. Wow! Powerful Review Val! I love JLA and like you, character driven stories are my favorite! I can't wait to read this one! The metamorphosis of Sam, the mystery and suspense behind her amnesia, and the fact that you could not put down this page turner have me wanting this book so badly!!!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  9. Great review! I also adore JLA but I was a bit worried about a thriller, even though I know it'll be amazing. Glad to know you loved it and can't wait for a chance to read it!

  10. Wonderful review. I can't wait to star this one. I need to set aside a month near Opposition's release and just read nothing but JLA books.

  11. I've read mixed reviews about this book, but I love JLA, so I'll read just about anything she publishes, plus, this does look really interesting, and I like to be my own judge when it comes to things like books and movies. :)