Tag «2014 fav»

Series Review: Most Wanted by J. Kenner

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: Most Wanted Trilogy
Author: J. Kenner
# of Books: 3 (Wanted, Heated, Ignited)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: Mild) (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

While I didn’t love how the Stark Trilogy ended, I still really loved the world and writing J. Kenner created–so I wasn’t giving up hope yet on her works. Hopefully the plan for this series to keep each couple contained within their own individual book would eliminate the problem of over-extended characters and storylines that wrecked the Stark Trilogy. Believe it or not: not every erotica romance about a billionaire and his girl needs to be a solo trilogy 😉

First up in this line up is Evan and Angie. Evan is briefly (and I mean very briefly) introduced to us in the Stark novella, Take Me. It wasn’t enough to peak my interest but I admit I was interested in how things where going to unfold about two chapters into Wanted once I started reading it. Evan and Angie have a cool spin on how they know each other: he’s quite a bit older than her (maybe 5 or 6 years) and is very close to her favourite uncle so she is completely off-limits. I’ve read about the heroine being in love with her older brother’s BFF but never this particular case. Needless to say, the sexual tension is there and it isn’t this “I just saw you now I need to have you” tension either. You can tell that they have a connection that isn’t just conjugated from thin air in the span of a minute.

However, I didn’t appreciate being reminded of this connection and her “want” of him constantly (it would be a fun game to count how many times “want” is used throughout the book because it is a lot!). Even worse was that it was reiterated using different words within a few sentences of each other. I found the first half of the book was a lot of regurgitation on Angie’s unrequited feelings towards him so nothing really happened. It’s a shame because I think the side plot that happens more in the last third would have been a lot more fun to play with earlier in the story.

Heated focused more on the plot right from the get-go. I loved how it started with the mystery and how Sloane described everything. It made things seem more suspenseful and gave the book a different feel from the previous novel. Unlike Wanted, these two characters don’t know each other so the relationship is one of those insta-connection ones; though it wasn’t too over the top. The middle of the novel diverts away from the mystery plot-line and focuses more on their relationship so I liked seeing them connect on that level. I definitely enjoyed it more than Wanted.

I’ve been waiting to read Ignited since Wanted when we got introduced to the two leads. Unfortunately though, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. The BDSM element is much stronger in this novel as it deals with a dominate-submission relationship: which I don’t like reading. I also wanted to see their relationship expanded a bit–they both sort of jumped into bed with each other and I wanted more sexual tension between them leading up to that moment. I just didn’t like the execution of this novel which means I gave it a lower individual rating (3/5 stars).

One thing I really love about Kenner’s work is that it isn’t totally sex-based and it isn’t overly descriptive or flowery in language. There actually is a story and not every other page is a sex scene. As for the BDSM, it is really quite tame. If you want a series that has more extreme BDSM and lots of sex, read Maya Banks’ Breathless Trilogy instead of this one.

Conclusion:

I didn’t love this series but I enjoyed reading it. It’s lighter on the BDSM stuff which I appreciate but I wish it had more plot to it. I guess I just missed the drama that I expect from contemporary romance novels; and while this book had it (and I loved the criminal, darker edge to it), it just wasn’t enough to satisfy me. So if you want a book with more sex scenes and a dash of plot on the side, this is probably a good one for you to read!

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Rush by Maya Banks (Breathless Trilogy #1) and Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1)

Synopsis for Wanted (from Goodreads):
He is everything I crave, all I desperately want—and he is everything I can’t have.

Evan Black embodies my every fantasy. He is brilliant, fierce, and devastatingly handsome. But he is also headstrong, dangerous, and burdened with secrets.

My family warned me to stay away, that I could never handle Evan’s dark dealings or scarred past. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have run. But our desire is undeniable, and some temptations you just can’t fight.

And from the moment we touch—the passion between us consuming us both—I know that I will never be the same.

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Series Review: Caroline & West by Robin York

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Read 2014
Series: Caroline & West
Author: Robin York
# of Books: 2 (Deeper, Harder)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

When the author of one of your all-time favourite New Adult series is featured on the cover of another book saying it is “The perfect New Adult Story. West will make you swoon!” you can bet your last dollar that you will be picking it up to see what all the fuss is about. And I have to agree with Monica Murphy on this one, Deeper & Harder are some of the best New Adult reads I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

It’s the perfect blend of realism and romance mixed with an edginess that I haven’t come across in a long time. It’s not over the top dramatic (which can be fun to read don’t get me wrong) but grounded in so much realism that I could actually see this happening in real life. How Caroline describes being a victim of revenge porn (sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual) and her struggle to come to terms with it is so heartbreaking and so real that my heart when out to her right away. With the increase of social media and the popularity of taking “dirty pictures” and the like, I’m surprised that more people aren’t talking about the impact it can have on people’s lives. Yes we all know that what you put on the internet remains there forever but Caroline (as well as Jennifer Lawrence in real life after her photos were published without permission) makes a great point that she did nothing wrong: she was in a loving and trusting relationship so why can’t she share that with her partner? The book really makes you think about all sides, aspects and opinions and starts a conversation about how people should be protected in this digital age.

As for the romance: it really was icing on the cake for me. While Caroline bravely battles her issues, West is struggling with his. I loved their relationship right from the get-go. It wasn’t just sexually chemistry (though there is more than enough to satisfy the reader) but a bond between two people that was so much fun to watch. They weren’t senselessly dramatic and they thought about their actions before they did them. It was so nice to read about a mature couple for once and I got absorbed into their story right away.

Conclusion:

This series was so refreshing to read. A great story, a great message and great characters! Loved every minute of it! I highly recommend it for all New Adult fans!

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: YES!!!

Similar Reads: One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (One Week Girlfriend Quartet); You Against Me by Jenny Downham; Dangerous to Know and Love by Jane Harvey Berrick

Synopsis for Deeper (from Goodreads):
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.

West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.

They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.

When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

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Novella Serial Review: Gypsy Brothers by Lili St. Germain

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

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Synopsis for Seven Brothers (from Goodreads):

My father was most certainly NOT an innocent man. As the leader of the Gypsy Brothers MC, he was guilty of many things. But he died for a crime that he didn’t commit, framed by an enemy within who then stole his club and everything he had ever worked to protect.

Including my innocence.

When Dornan Ross framed my father, he set into motion a series of events that could never be undone. My father was murdered by Dornan Ross and his sons when I was fifteen years old.

Before my father died, Dornan Ross and his seven sons stole my innocence, branded my skin and in doing so, ensured that their lives would be prematurely cut short. That they would suffer.

I’ve just turned twenty-one, and I’m out for blood. I’m out for revenge.

But I didn’t expect to fall for Jase, the youngest brother in the club.

I didn’t expect that he would turn my world upside down, yank my heart out of my chest and ride away into the sunset with it.

Now, I’m faced with an impossible choice – Jase, or avenging my fathers death?

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #2 Favourite Serialized Series 2014
Series: Gypsy Brothers

There will be a prequel trilogy spin-off that is set 16 years before this series called Cartel to be published in February 2015

Author: Lili St. Germain
# of Parts: 7 (Seven Sons, Six Brothers, Five Miles, Four Score, Three Years, Two Years, One Love)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Dark, Romance, Motorcycle Club, Erotica, Suspense
Heat Rating: getting hot + *mature subject matter*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up?

Seven Sons was a freebie on Kobo and Amazon and as soon as I saw it I had to read it. It hits all my favourite marks: a revenge story, romance and featured a motor cycle club (a plot element I always wanted to read but haven’t read it yet). However, the series had just started and I knew I would be addicted so I waited until the series was finished before I started reading it.

The Concept:

I feel like I should emphasize that this series isn’t for everyone because it is very, very dark. Probably the darkest series I have read so far. What I mean by dark is that it features situations that not everyone would be comfortable reading (for example rape and murder). I would say that if watching Criminal Minds makes you squeamish, avoid this series because you won’t like that element.

The Plot:

Despite that darker element, I was hooked into this series. The whole story, even if it made my heartbreak and was harder to read because of the subject matter, was captivating and really refreshing to me. If other MC (motorcycle club) books have this much suspense and tension, I understand why they are so popular.

I find that the synopsis for Seven Sons is slightly misleading in terms of Jase’s role because the impression it gives is not what actually happens and there is more to their connection when you actually read the series. Because of that, the first book wasn’t what I was expecting but I loved what we got instead and I find the rest of the series builds on that. I also loved how the series ended and I appreciate why St. Germain did it.

Each part is fast pace (there is one exception but it is needed) and I would devour them super quickly. I was expecting to read one a day but I found myself reading 2 or 3 just to find out what happens next! So make sure you have all parts on hand when reading (though I recommend you just get the first book for free first to make sure you like it before you buy the rest!)!

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

I found this series to be very refreshing and highly addicting. However, I think some people won’t like the darker elements to it because they are quite strong. I recommend grabbing Seven Sons for free and reading it before buying the rest of the series if you are interested in reading it 🙂

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Year’s Reads in Review – Top Picks for 2014

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When I went to set my Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge, I honestly didn’t think I was going to read that many books in 2014. I just met my challenge for 2013 and I knew that 2014 was going to be a very busy time for me, so I set my goal a little lower. Oh ye of little faith! I obliterated my challenge by mid-spring and just kept going!

I probably started more new series than I finished but 2014 is/was a great year for books so who can blame me!

Check out which books I read this past year here!

Like I did last year, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top picks from the various categories that I read this past year. Most categories deal with books published only this past year (2014) but there are some exceptions. Each category is introduced and has a brief explanation why I picked the top book in that category. I also have links to reviews if I was able to create my own reviews this past year.

Without further ado:

Top New New Adult Series – Series that were published in 2014
  1) Caroline & West (Deeper) by Robin York

⇒Edgy, realistic and great characters! This series will stay with me for a long time.

2) Rusk University (All Lined Up) by Cora Cormack
3) Trapped (Trapped) by Beverley Kendall
4) Grayson Siblings (Keep Me) by Faith Andrews
5) Crush (Just a Little Crush) by Renita Pizzitola

 

Top New New Adult Standalones – Standalones that were published in 2014
  1) Breath into Me by Sara Fawkes

⇒a great story, great characters-the perfect new adult standalone

2) Rewind to You by Laura Johnston
3) Third Degree by Julie Cross
4) Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

 

Best New Adult Series – A series that I read in 2014, not based on its publishing date
  1) Marked Men (Rule) by Jay Crownover (2012)

⇒NOW I get what all the fuss is about! A fantastic series for sure!

2) Ruin (Ruin) by Rachel Van Dyken (2013)
3) Out of Line (Out of Line) by Jen MacLaughlin (2013)
4) Keep Me Still (Keep Me Still) by Caisey Quinn (2013)
5) Contours of the Heart (Easy) by Tammara Webber  (2012)
Honourable Mentions: Kylie Ryans (Girl with Guitar) by Caisey Quinn (2013)
Sea Breeze Series (Breathe) by Abbi Glines (2011)

 

Top New Contemporary Romance Series – A series that I read in 2014, not based on its publishing date
  1) On Dublin Street (Before Jamaica Lane) by Samantha Young (2012)

⇒I know the series was first published in 2012 but it had three really awesome books published this year.

2) Lights, Camera (Take Two) by Laurelin Paige
3) Most Wanted Trilogy (Wanted) by J. Kenner

 

Best New Young Adult Series – New series that were published in 2014
  1) Cruel Beauty Universe (Cruel Beauty) by Rosamund Hodge⇒a beautifully crafted story that blew my mind as I was reading it!
2) The Young Elites (The Young Elites) by Marie Lu
3) Dark Elements (White Hot Kiss) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4) The Lovegrove Legacy (A Breath of Frost) by Alyxandra Harvey
5) Age of Legends (Sea of Shadows) by Kelley Armstrong

 

Best Young Adult Series – A series that I read in 2014, not based on its publishing date
  1) Legend Trilogy (Legend) by Marie Lu (2012)⇒everything I want in a Young Adult Dystopian
2) Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten (Lost Prince) by Julie Kagawa (2012)

 

Best Continuing Series – A series that had a sequel book that was published in 2014
  1) One More Chance (Chances #2/Rosemary Beach #8) by Abbi Glines

⇒ felt every emotion when I was reading this book. One of the best of the series so far!

2) More than Forever  (More Series #4) by Jay McLean
3) Rival  (Fall Away Series #2) by Penelope Douglas
4) The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies #5) by Pittacus Lore
5) Silver Shadows (Bloodlines Series #5) by Richelle Mead
Honourable Mentions: Toxic Heart (Mystic City Trilogy #2) by Theo Lawrence

 

Sad to See Go Series – Series that ended in 2014
 book6 1) The Mortal Instruments (City of Heavenly Fire) by Cassandra Clare

⇒one of my all-time favourite series and it ended so beautifully!

2) Pushing the Limits (Take on Me) by Katie McGarry
3) White Rabbit Chronicles (Queen of Zombie Hearts) by Gena Showalter
4) Under the Never Sky (Into the Still Blue) by Veronica Rossi
5) Sweet Trilogy (Sweet Reckoning) by Wendy Higgin
Honourable Mentions: Fixed Trilogy (Forever with You) by Laurelin Paige
Elemental Series (Sacrifice) by Brigid Kemmerer
One Week Girlfriend (One Week Girlfriend) by Monica Murphy

 

Best Serialized Series – Based on books that I read during this year, not their publishing date
  1) The Arrangement by H.M. Ward (2013)

⇒this series is a lot of fun and uses the serialization format to its full advantage

2) Gypsy Brothers by Lili St. Germain (2014)
3) Naked by Kelly Favor (2013)

 

Best Standalones – Books that I read in 2014, not their publishing date
  1) Unravel by Calia Read (2014)

⇒the story and novel was a crazy ride that captured my attention from start to finish

2) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007)
3) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)
Honourable Mentions: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

Best Freebie eBook – Based on Books that were Free during the 2014 year, not their publishing date
  1) He Belongs with Me by Sarah Darlington (2014)

⇒this book was just a lot of fun to read

2) Wanted (Wanted Series #1) by Amanda Lance (2013)
3) Muse (Fighting Fate Series #1) by Maree Green (2014)
4) Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore
5) The Pretend Girlfriend (A Billionaire Love Story Series #1) by Lucy Lambert (2014)

 

Biggest Disappointments – Books that were published in 2014
  1) Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

⇒When one of your all-time favourite series does a spinoff with two of your favourite characters, your expectations are high and this one didn’t hit the mark

2) Cold Calls by Charles Benoit
3) Crossing Stars by Nicole Williams
4) The Pretend Fiancé (A Billionaire Love Story Series #2) by Lucy Lambert)
5) Trigger (L.A. Girls #1) by Julia Derek

 

Worst Reads of 2014 – Based on books that I read during this year, not their publishing date
  1) Falling Into Infinity (Infinity #1) by Layne Harper (2013)

⇒I really wanted to like this series but never made it past book 1. Everything I dislike in a New Adult series spread out over too many books

2) Until I Met You by Jaimie Roberts (2014)
3) Price of a Kiss (Forbidden Men #1) by Linda Kage (2013)
4) Reflect Me (Reflect Me #1) by K.B. Webb (2013)
5) Crash Into Me (Heart of Stone Trilogy #1) by K.M. Scott (2013)

 

Best Movie Adaptations – Books that were made into movies in 2014
  1) The Maze Runner

⇒It was even better than the book! Wayyy better!

2) Divergent
3) The Fault in Our Stars
4) Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
5) Vampire Academy

 

What were your favourite reads of this past year? Did you read more or less than you expected?

Have a safe and happy New Year! I wish you all SERIESously happy reading!

 

 

Single Sundays: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for We Were Liars (from Goodreads):A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review:

If you haven’t heard of We Were Liars, you were probably living under a rock for most of 2014. But in all honesty, it’s ok if you haven’t–I actually stumbled upon it by accident and then discovered that people have been raving about it for the last 7 months. So I put it on hold and had to wait a very long time to get it and by the time I did, it had won the 2014 Goodreads Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. So when I finally picked it up, I was excited to read it to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s hard to describe what my feelings are about this book. It’s really good and really well done but it didn’t overly impress me and here’s why:

After reading the synopsis, I really didn’t know what to expect. And when I started reading it, I felt a little lost and a little overwhelmed  with all the character names and their family relationships. But, there is a very handy family tree at the start of the book that quickly sorted that all out for me.

However, I still felt a little lost as I was reading due to Candace’s way of describing things. At times I found it hard to know when she was being literal and when she was using metaphors. I suppose that is part of the charm of a book title “We Were Liars”: is Candace really telling the truth or is she lying? And it was fun trying to figure out what was really going on the island and that was when I really got into the book.

Why I have mixed feelings is because I read a very similar book to this called Unravel by Calia Read earlier this year. That book blew my socks off and has a very similar premise to We Were Liars in that you are trying to find out the truth about the lead’s life. I think that if I read We Were Liars first, I would have been much more impressed with it than I actually was. Unravel was much more enjoyable to me because I think its execution is a tad more put together (meaning, I never felt lost in the prose of Unravel as I did in We Were Liars).

Conclusion:

BUT that doesn’t mean that We Were Liars isn’t a great read–because it is! And it you have never read a mystery or rebuilding the past type of book, this is a great one to read!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Coming of Age, Family
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Unravel by Caila Read

Series Review: Sea Breeze by Abbi Glines

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Favourite New Adult Series 2014 (Honourable Mention)
Series: Sea Breeze Series
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books:9 (See full list here)
Book Order: Connected*

While each book focuses on a new pair of leads, the exception is Books 3 (While It Lasts) and 5 (Sometimes It Lasts) that focus on the same leads.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm (books 1-3); getting hot (books 4-9)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Ever done something when you know you shouldn’t? I sure have and this series is one of them. When I was planning my Christmas Holiday reads following my exams, I had planned to only read the Kobo purchases that have been sitting on my Kobo for ages and froze all my holds at the library to do so. But, when I checked the latest additions to my library’s eBook section and saw that all of the books in this series were newly added AND available to check out, I seized the opportunity and snagged them while I could! What was a couple of days spending on this series really in the grand scheme of things 😛

I’m glad I did! I basically read a book a day with this series. I really enjoyed reading this series and it was addicting in the sense that I really became attached to all the characters. Without reading the synopsis for each book, I cheated and found out what character would be the star of each book so that when I read one book I would pay attention to that character and that made me super excited to see what was in store next for this great cast of characters.

This series is one that straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult. I’ve read posts where Abbi Glines herself classifies it as Young Adult as it is less steamier that her New Adult reads; but I myself would say it is more New Adult than Young Adult. While it is less steamier than her other New Adult series, Rosemary Beach, it is definitely steamier than any Young Adult read I have ever read. Sex is more than eluded to in this series but it isn’t as descriptive as Glines’ other works. But I found it got a little more descriptive as the series progressed.

Speaking of Rosemary Beach, this series is very similar. It reminds me of the teenage/younger version of Rosemary Beach in that the characters are all jaded in their own ways but everything is toned down compared to the Rosemary Beach series. The male leads aren’t full out alpha males, the sexual content is quite tame and most of the characters are quite a bit younger (though they do get older as the series progresses). This series also isn’t as drama heavy as Rosemary Beach and the character relationships and events don’t overlap as much as Rosemary Beach. So I think it goes without saying that if you enjoy one, you will enjoy the other!

My only “peeve” about this series is that some of the romances were of the “insta-connection” variety. Not all of them were like that (4 come to mind that weren’t) but it can be a little bit of a turn off if that isn’t your cup of tea. I find that they do expand upon the initial physical attraction so you warm up to the relationship by the end but I think it is important to mention just in case.

FUN FACT: While it Lasts is going to be made into a movie! Details can be found here!

Conclusion:

Another great New Adult series by Abbi Glines! If you love the Rosemary Beach series or just New Adult reads in general, this is a great one to pick up!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Rosemary Beach Series #1); Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola (Crush Series #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Breathe (from Goodreads):
Sadie White’s summer job isn’t going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother’s increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother’s job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationships never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can’t breathe without Sadie.

Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes

Single Sundays: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Thirteen Reasons Why (from Goodreads):
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Review:

This book is one of those books that always graces “Must Read Teen” Lists and while I maybe 7 years late to the party, I have to agree whole-heartedly. Everyone should read this book--not just teens– because it has a strong message that everyone needs to know: our actions, even the really small ones, can drastically impact another person’s life and we may not even know it.

I think anyone at any age can relate in some way to this story. It takes place in a high school but the scenarios we read about can really take place at work or in the neighbourhood or basically any place in society. I had tears in my eyes at multiple times and I cringed at some of the scenarios Hannah had to endure. I actually felt like I was Clay, reading about a classmate of mine because I could see how true this story could be and that really upset me. It is a very real story with real, everyday scenarios and that often makes this book hard to read–but that’s the point. This isn’t a subject to joke about and society needs to remove that stigma against mental health illnesses and bullying so that this book doesn’t become an everyday reality.

This book makes you think. It makes you think about how you treat others, how you react to rumours and how you lead your life. But it also made me appreciate all the people I have in my life and how thankful I am for the support system I have. I know a lot of people don’t have that support system and feel alone but I think the other important, often overlooked, message of this story is that you a not alone. There is always someone who loves you. They may not always be prominent, they maybe hidden in the background like Clay, but there is someone who cares for you and wants to be there for you so you are never alone.

This book is beautifully written and the delivery is fantastic. It grabbed my attention and held onto it throughout the entire novel. It was just very well done and it has been a very long time since a book has impressed me as much as this one has.

Conclusion:

This book will draw every emotion from you and really make you think about who you are as a person. This isn’t a novel for just teens, it’s a novel for a human beings.

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: HELL YES! I would recommend this to everyone!

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health, Mature Subject Mature, Death High School 
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Reads 2014, Everyone Must Read
Similar Reads: You Against Me by Jenny Downham, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin and Stolenby Lucy Christopher

Series Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series 2014, Favourite Couple 2014, To-Watch Author
Series: Legend Trilogy
Author: Marie Lu
# of Books: 3 (Legend, Prodigy, Champion)

There is a prequel novella called Life Before Legend.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Adventure, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Political
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read Legend since it first came out in 2011 but I could never get my hands on a copy from the library. I also let it slip to the back of my mind and read other, more “popular” dystopian novels. But after reading the first novel, Legend, I’m upset with myself that I waited this long!

Legend was everything I love in a novel. It has strong lead characters (especially a strong female heroine), suspense, mystery, a dash of romance and action. I was sucked into the book the moment I started it and couldn’t put it down. Like most dystopian novels, it has many layers to it. You have the overall political issues, the class divisions and then the main plot for the individual novel. There were some great twists and turns along the way and I found that the suspense never died.

What I also loved was that this book wasn’t like other dystopian books out there. Yes, it had similar elements but I found the story to be very refreshing. It is definitely on the darker side in the sense that it isn’t afraid to talk about death or feature killing. It might make some readers uncomfortable but I thought it really added to the story.

June was great on her own as was Day but I loved the chemistry they had together. They weren’t immature despite being only 15 years old and they didn’t grate on my nerves like some teen leads can. I felt like I was reading about 17 year olds and I almost wish that they were older just for the sake of what they have to go through but it really isn’t a big deal. June does do a few things that irk me a little later on but overall I really do like her character.

Prodigy never slumped in its delivery. It was fast-paced from start to finish and I loved the character development we get along the way. It’s one of the best middle books of a trilogy that I have read. I find a lot of novels in a trilogy, especially a dystopian series, really struggle with the sequel book. But this one was strong throughout and I loved every minute of it!

Champion started slow (compared to the rest of the series) but picked up quickly. The last third was super intense and I couldn’t get enough of it. Dystopian authors take note, this is how you write the conclusion to your trilogy: it was perfection. It had action, character development, a dash of realism (which I really, really appreciated) and a thorough wrap-up. Just well done.

Just a quick note on Life Before Legend. The title is slightly confusing in the sense that it gives the impression that you should read it before you read Legend. DON’T! It really won’t mean anything to you until you read Legend and have met the characters. I haven’t read it yet but my understanding is it is a nice treat for fans of the series.

UPDATED (October 14/14): Life Before Legend isn’t anything spectacular. To be honest, I mostly skimmed through it. It’s a cute little extra that fans will enjoy but it’s nothing to worry about as it really doesn’t add anything to the story. I recommend you read it after book 2, Prodigy, just because one story refers to a particular scene in Prodigy so it will have more relevance than if you read it after the finished series.

Conclusion:

I devoured these novels! I would sit down and find that an hour had past and I had made significant progress reading. I highly recommend you read them as close together as possible because you will need to know what happens next. Marie Lu has become an author I plan to read a lot more from. If you loved Divergent and want a book with a similar vibe, this is the series you need to read. If you like action, a splash of romance and suspense in your young adult novels, pick this series up!

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Hell YES!

Similar Reads: Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy #1); Mystic City by Theo Lawrence (Mystic City Series #1) and Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Legend (from Goodreads):
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Series Review: Trapped by Beverley Kendall

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Trapped by Beverley Kendall | Trapped Series

The Trap (Trapped, #0.5) 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Trapped (from Goodreads):
My life has turned out to be such a cliché. And not in a good way.

It’s not exactly Sixteen and Pregnant, but at eighteen my only advantage is a high school diploma. And if that’s not enough, the father—and I use that term loosely—couldn’t have hightailed it out of my life fast enough.

I thought I really knew him. Unfortunately, my boyfriend of three years transformed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde once he realized his carefree, childless days would be coming to an end.

I’m over him now though. The real love of my life is chubby, has more gum than teeth, and stands a little over two feet tall. She may not have been planned, but I’ve never regretted having her. She is the center of my world.

A world that’s been turned upside down when Mitch returns ready to earn the love and trust of the child he abandoned before birth.

Letting him into my daughter’s life is one thing but letting him back into mine isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Now if only I can get my heart to heed the lessons of the past.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite new New Adult Series 2014
Series: Trapped

This series intersects with Kendall’s other series, Unforgettable You, just before book 2 in the series, Always for You. However, you do not need to read that series to read this series.

Author: Beverley Kendall
# of Books: 3 (Trapped, Tamed, Played)

There is a prequel novella for Trapped called The Trap (it’s FREE) that I recommend you read before you read Trapped.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 20142018
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up:

Every since I saw the synopsis for Trapped, I’ve been counting down the days to read it. Though I didn’t love Beverley Kendall’s other full New Adult novel, Only for You, I did love its novella that took place after with a different set of characters (All Over You). So I wasn’t going to give up on her yet!

The Prequel, The Trap:

I started by reading the prequel novella, The Trap, which is FREE on all major eRetailers. I highly recommend that you read this novella before you read Trapped because it really sets the context for everything and does so better than the full novel did. I think reading the novella helped give me some sympathy (or at the very least understanding) towards the characters that I wouldn’t necessarily have had if I had just read the novel. Because let’s face it, Mitch is a bit of a jerk for doing what he did regardless; but getting the full story thanks to the novella helped me grow to like him in Trapped.

The Plot:

Trapped was great! Normally I’m not a huge fan of second chance romances because I find them very predictable but this one wasn’t entirely predictable in the sense that there are a few other plotlines going on that add interesting twists to everything. I found that very refreshing. It was a slower plot but I always found that it kept my attention

The Characters:

As for the characters, I thought everyone was great. Mitch and Paige were much more mature than Kendall’s other leads in Only for You despite being the same age and friends with them. They were also super cute together and weren’t over the top in anything that they did. The hotter scenes between them aren’t numerous but I’m glad that was the case because I think it would have taken away from the story. The other supporting characters were just as interesting as Mitch and Paige but they didn’t overshadow them in anyway which was super nice.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m very excited to get some of the secondary casts stories!

Series Rating: 4/5

[The Trap 4/5] | Trapped 4/5 | Played TBD

overall

I really enjoyed The Trap and Trapped. They were refreshing in the sense that they were realistic with a dash of dramatics that one expects in a New Adult fiction read. Those who like second chance romances (especially with unexpected pregnancies) will really enjoy this one!

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