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Series Review: The Field Party by Abbi Glines

Series Review: The Field Party 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:

The Field Party Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Until Friday Night (from Goodreads):
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author; Most Read Author 2015
Series: The Field Party
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 6 (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Game Changer, is to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Abbi Glines is my most read author according to Goodreads–so I think it is apparent that any books she publishes, I’ll probably be reading it even if I’m skeptical.

You see, I don’t tend to enjoy books set in the Southern part of the USA. I find the drama is a little too…dramatic for me. It’s a little over the top and seems to bring out the worst in some characters. Of course, there are exceptions. Beautiful Creatures is one of my all time favourite series and it is a TOTAL Southern novel–but oh so good. Oh, and anything Abbi Glines writes seems to work for me…though maybe not The Vincent Boys.

From reading her various posts on her blog, I know that Abbi was really excited to start this series and it is something that is really close to her heart. Needless to say, I was excited to see what Abbi Glines would bring with this series…

What I Liked:

–The Romance–

Lately, I’ve been droning on and on about characters lacking an emotional connection when it comes to romance. This one did NOT have that problem!

I really loved watching West and Maggie develop that friendship first. I love romances where the characters support each other and work as partners to move through a difficult time. Sure, everything happens really fast in this novel but that is just part of the circumstances. It didn’t bother me that their relationship was fast-tracked because I could see why it was forming and how well they worked together.

OMG, you do not know how happy I was when Maggie clearly stated that their relationship was starting to become unhealthy! I’m all for the idea that love heals but I’m also a firm believer that it isn’t the only thing that can save a person. So I really appreciated the maturity Maggie showed by looking at their relationship and stating that it was heading into a place she didn’t like. She scored major points with me after that!

–The Plot–

I thought there was a great balance between the romance and the main plot line which is dealing with grief/family tragedy. The romance wasn’t all consuming but always had that underlying tension to keep it developing. It complimented the character progression well I think.

And if you’re worried this book is only going to focus on football, rest assured that it plays a very minor role in this story. It’s more of a connecting factor for West and the rest of the characters.

We also get introduced enough to the other characters who I assume are going to get their own books later. Not a ton to make me wish I was reading their book instead of West’s and Maggie’s but enough to get me excited for their stories once they are released.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Maggie’s Character Development–

I really feel like it was lacking for Maggie in this book. Looking back at the synopsis, I can see why the novel focused more on West because he really has the main, ongoing story unfolding. However, Maggie is a full POV character and I wish her situation was addressed more than it was. If the story was only told from West’s POV I would have been satisfied with her growth but I felt like more could have been done with her.

–Rushed Ending–

I know that some things were left dangling for the rest of the series but I felt like West and Maggie’s story could have used an extra 30 pages or so. Some things were wrapped up wayyyy to easily for my liking and others were just left out in the open. This was really the only time I felt like the plot focus was on the wrong aspect the entire time I was reading. I’m sure some of those things are going to be addressed in the next book but I kinda wanted a resolution to their story within their story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I’m curious to learn more about the rest of the characters and get some of my questions answered about those dangling bits.

updates

–March 19, 2017– Book #2: Under the Lights

Ok, I was really scared to read this when I read the synopsis. I detest love triangles in my stories; particularly in my YA because I can’t take all the petty back and forth drama. And I didn’t really enjoy The Vincent Boys which focuses on a girl torn between two BFFs…the same concept here.

But I should know better! Abbi’s writing over the years just gets stronger and stronger.

While the love triangle is an element here, it is never the sole focus. Instead, we get great character development which in turn leads to a strong romance.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than its predecessor for a variety of reasons. One is that all the leads had solid character development and it never felt lopsided or like one character was the focus more than the other. I also liked the dramatic plot a lot. It constantly surprised me with its development and I liked that it kept me on edge trying to figure it all out..

And of course, it sets up beautifully for the next installment.

–September 17, 2017– Book #3: After the Game

This was super cute! Their story was really heartfelt and mature in a way you don’t always see in YA contemporary romances. Watching these two learn to forgive and forget about what people think was fabulous. They’re just so likeable as characters and super sweet that you want to see them succeed.

I do wish the romance was a little more though. I just wanted to see that connection emphasized a little more at the start but they do make a great pair when all is said and done. I was thoroughly addicted to this story!

It was like the perfect hybrid between the first and second novel but with a new set of unique leads.

–October 8, 2018– Book #4: Losing the Field

To say I’m disappointed in this book would be an understatement. Honestly, this book was a 2/5 star read for me until the last three chapters when I really got angry with the direction it took.

Overall, the best way to describe this novel is underdeveloped. I can appreciate the attempted drama Glines tried to instill in this story. It’s soap opera-esque and melodramatic–exactly that I expect when I pick up this series. But I think there was too much thrown in here and it took away from the characters and romance. (Where was that plot for revenge anyways?)

As for their love? Where did it even come from? Tallulah’s worship of him over the years and her shedding a few pounds? Compared to other couples in this series I feel like we didn’t see much of them together and I failed to see the deeper connection they shared. I also think they spend more time apart then together…

But the moment that took this book from a “meh” read to an “oh wow, that’s awful”?

Why I Rated This 1/5 Stars:

When Tallulah decides not to press charges against the teacher that tried to seduce her–KNOWING he did the same thing to two other girls–that irked me to no end! In this time of assault awareness (#metoo movement) I’m so upset that her response was simply “It’s OK. It’s over now.” No, it’s not and you should be doing everything in your power to prevent it from happening again if you can; especially when there is a child involved.

[collapse]

I hated that response and how it comes across to readers, especially younger readers. I’m all for fiction being fiction but I think there was a great opportunity for a strong lesson and it just didn’t happen.

–July 4, 2020– Book #5: Making a Play

While this was a definite improvement over the last novel in the series it was still just an “okay” read for me.

The subject matter of race is a timely one and so I appreciated that the romance explored the difficulties multiracial couples can face, particularly in smaller traditional towns. And having a heroine who is deaf was also a great way to explore prejudices as well.

However, while I am a romantic at heart, I struggled with the love at first sight we get here. These two make some very important life decisions based on a 5 day interaction. But fast and dramatic romances are Abbi’s style so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

My Rating: 4/5

Until Friday Night 4/5 | Under the Lights 4/5 | After the Game 4/5 | Losing the Field 1/5 | Making a Play 3/5

overall

It isn’t my favourite Abbi Glines series, but it was exactly what I was expecting. I cried and swooned so mission accomplished. This is perfect for those who want to try an Abbi Glines’ novel but don’t like New Adult.

Read if You Like: high school drama, stories about grief, books set in the South
Avoid if You:  don’t like football players, high school drama

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Series Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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

The Girl at Midnight Series

Synopsis for The Girl at Midnight (from Goodreads):
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

breakdown

Series: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
# of Books: 3 (The Girl at Midnight, The Shadow Hour, The Savage Hour)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult,  Urban Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Shadow Hour)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere when it was first released. I loved the cover but everyone’s positive reviews really drew me to read the synopsis. It sounded like my type of book: a blend of action, urban fantasy and prophecy. Plus, it has been a really long time since I’ve read an Urban Fantasy and waiting for the next Mystic City novel is leaving me with a bit of an urban fantasy hangover.

What I Liked:

–The Mortal Instrument Vibes I got–

Don’t get scared off by this statement if you aren’t a Mortal Instruments fan and really wanted to read this book! They really don’t have that much in common besides some very basic urban fantasy tropes (like teleportation across the world, war against two different races, magic, etc), set in NYC and the fact that they are both narrated in the third person by multiple characters.

It was the narration that spoke to me the most. I got really attached to the side characters with The Girl at Midnight. Echo was a little on the dull side as a heroine for me so I liked having multiple characters tell the story instead of just Echo. (Who I grew to like more, for the record)

–It Surprised Me!–

There were some twists at the end that I wasn’t expecting. I probably should have but I just didn’t put two and two together. So I really liked that! It made the last 100 or so pages exciting to read.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Slow Start–

I’m all for gradual plot progression but this book just took too long for me. I felt like nothing really happened for the first 200 pages (its was ~295 eBook pages). Sure, some minor plot leads were there and they definitely added to the awesomeness that was the last 50 pages that knocked my socks off, but otherwise, this book was on the drier side.

I think I was expecting more action given the fact that Echo is labelled as a thief. Thief just equates to action/suspense to me but this book reads more like an adventure/journey. Which is fine, just not what I wanted. I find adventure novels can be dull until the end and this is definitely the case here.

–The Romance–

I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the romance, I’m just not sold on it quite yet when it comes to Echo. (I’m definitely on board with some other potential romances though!). The direction Echo’s romantic life is going in is completely different from what my intital impression was when I first started so I’m interested to see what is going to happen next. It’s just going to have to work a little harder to get me to ‘ship her romantic life.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see where this series is going to go next! There were a lot of neat spins that were added near the very end that make me want to read the sequel. I’m not dying to read it though.

updates

–April 8, 2018– Book #2: The Shadow Hour (Audiobook)

I enjoyed this middle novel enough. It did take me awhile to get into it because I have been away from this world for a very long time but I also think not a lot happens at the start either so it was a nice gradual approach. I still really like all the characters so I enjoyed the various spurts of growth they experience. However, this series is very singular in its plot despite having a cast of multiple characters to follow. They all approach the main problem with different angles but I often wished for something else to be happening in the background. We get a few good twists along the way but nothing really impressed me.

As for the audiobook–unfortunately it’s narrated by one of my least favourite narrators so that was a bummer. But it was a great way to read this book regardless.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

The Girl at Midnight 3/5 | The Shadow Hour 3/5 | The Savage Dawn TBA

overall

I wasn’t blown away by this series like I had hoped. It’s a little too one dimensional when it comes to the plot for my liking (ie not a lot of subplots). However, I really liked the cast of characters and how we move around from person to person. It keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace, even when much else isn’t happening.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, adventure stories, the Mortal Instruments
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, dislike adventure

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Series Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Vengeance Road (from Goodreads):

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read 2015, Favourite Heroine (Vengeance Road)
Series: Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
# of Books: 2 (Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails)
Book Order: Connected by Chronological Events / Spin-off
Note: The Author calls the sequel a companion novel but to me, a companion novel is the original story told from an alternate POV. As such, I label it as a connected sequel or a spin-off.
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Action, Historical, Western, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Retribution Rails)
Publication Date: September 1, 2015 – November 2017
Source & Format: ARC Paperback — A prize from Lola @ Hit Or Miss Books! Thanks so Much! | Hardcover (RR)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Single Sunday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I won this book through a contest on Lola’s Hit Or Miss blog and immediately loved the cover. I wasn’t planning on reading it until late August, but the cover kept popping up everywhere and I was eager to try reading a Western novel–something I had never experienced before–so I decided to post-pone some books and bump this one up to the top.

The Concept / The World:

I was speaking like a prospector by the end of this one! From the language used to the descriptions of the setting itself: I really felt like I was in the Wild West. It has all the “stereotypical” aspects of the Wild West but is grounded in a realism that shows Erin Bowman did her research. I was really impressed with how the world-building came together in this story and it easily drew me in!

The Plot:

Normally, I’m not one for adventure stories. I find they drag and if I don’t like the leads, my attention wanes. That isn’t the case with this story! Part of it is because of the heroine (more below) and the other part is that this story never lags. We aren’t left in the Arizonian desert  stewing for the next exciting thing because plot twists are happening every few pages. It builds up the excitement and keeps the pages turning.

I really didn’t know how things were going to end. I had my theories but I was definitely surprised by some of the events that happened, thus the 5/5 because I loved that!

The Characters:

Can Kate be my new BFF? That would be great thanks! She reminds me a lot of Scarlet from A C Gaughin’s Scarlet Trilogy: one kickass, let’s get-er-done heroine who takes no attitude from no one. I loved her by the end of chapter one and rooted for her the entire way. Definitely a new favourite heroine for me!

As for the rest of the cast, they are great! While they fill your typical Western roles, they each have their own unique quirks that made it so enjoyable to read. Overall, a solid cast that does their job perfectly.

The Romance:

This isn’t a straight forward romance as the romance takes a backseat to the revenge-adventure plot. There is enough to satisfy the romantic reader (I’m a huge romance junkie and I was more than happy) and when it is there, it helps keep the plot moving–it doesn’t overshadow it and its great!

updates

–January 21, 2018– Book #2: Retribution Rails

I would say Retribution Rails was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. Unfortunately, it took me forever to get to it thanks to life and my mom (I let her read it first), but thankfully, I was able to renew my library copy enough times to get to it myself.

It took me a while to get into this one. I’m not sure why because I loved both leads and their stories. I think it just took a little bit to get the plot in motion for me. I wasn’t as into it as its predecessor (which I couldn’t put down) and I’m not sure why. It wasn’t like this book was predictable–it went in directions I didn’t even fathom.

I think it was just the different style this book took. The revenge plot needed to brew instead of being the main drive like it was in the first book. The characters get a little more time to develop and make mistakes. And the romance is very subtle and goes unnoticed.

But the last third of this book was awesome! It had that faster, thrilling pace to it that reminded me of Vengeance Road and I enjoyed that a lot.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Vengeance Road 5/5  |  Retribution Rails 4/5

overall

I loved the Western setting, the AMAZINGLY strong heroines (and later hero) and the plot!

Read if You Like: kickass heroines, revenge stories, Westerns
Avoid if You: want more romance, don’t like action stories

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Series Review: Thunder Road by Katie McGarry

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

Thunder Road Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Nowhere But Here (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Favourite Read 2016
Series: Thunder Road Trilogy
Author: Katie McGarry
# of Books: 3 (Nowhere But Here, Walk the EdgeLong Way Home)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: Yes

Originally planned to be 4 books, the publisher has decided to keep this a trilogy.

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2015 – January 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I simply adored Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits Series. It is the standard for me when it comes to YA contemporary. McGarry’s writing just has a maturity to it that blows me away and keeps my attention.

I broke my no holds at the library rule (as per my Tackling the TBR challenge) to put this book on hold because Take Me On left me in such a book hangover–one that has lasted close to a year long.

What I Liked:

-The Backstory/History-

The mystery surrounding Emily’s family captured my attention from start to finish. There was just so much history and depth to these characters that I just had to know what happened, why and how they were going to move forward.

Which is really important, because this book is quite long page wise (375 eBook pages; the typical eBook is ~250) but it really doesn’t feel like it. I got so absorbed into this story that the pages were just flying by. McGarry has a great balance between the romance, drama and character growth–honestly, YA contemporary doesn’t get better than this if you ask me.

-The Character Development-

This goes hand in hand with the backstory because it really adds to the character development. I started this book not totally loving Emily (she’s a bit of a spoiled princess but she is supposed to be) but I really enjoyed watching her story unfold. And truth be told, she won me over by the end. Her character really grows, as does Oz’s, and I loved that.

-New Book Boyfriend-

All I have to say is: where can I find myself an Oz? Swoon <3

What I Didn’t Like:

Honestly, this book worked on all cylinders for me. There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book.

Perhaps, the motor cycle club aspect was a little over-dramatic and perhaps unrealistic BUT the situations dealing with family and the like were extremely realistic and that is why I put the “realistic” tag on this book,

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is one story that I CANNOT WAIT TO READ…do I make myself clear? I’ll probably have to wait until the very last book to get the story I want but that is OK. Given this explosive start, I can only imagine that great things are on the way. I’m stoked to see what is going to happen in the next book, Walk the Edge, because I didn’t expect the lead we get and I can’t wait to see the next phase of this series.

updates

–May 4, 2016– Book #2: Walk the Edge

Honestly, this book had me from start to finish and I never wanted it to end!

This novel just builds off the great foundation of Nowhere but Here. Some minor story-lines carry over and you start to see the overarching series plot but it keeps it focus on the two leads when it needs to. It’s fast-paced but well-developed and it kept me on the edge of my seat (pun intended) waiting to see what would happen next and it often surprised me in a totally great way.

I thought the romance was AMAZING. Not only were these two a great match for each other in every way possible but the sexual tension was palpable. It was by far the most addicting part of this novel and my favourite aspect. Sigh…it was just great. I also found it easier to understand these characters, especially our female lead when I compared her story to Emily’s. She isn’t as angsty as Emily but has the right and understandable level given her character background and I thought I worked really, really well.

I cannot wait to see what happens next!

–January 23, 2017– Book #3: Long Way Home

I’ve been dying for Violet’s story since book 1. This wasn’t what I expected but in a good way. I got sucked in by the plot and there were so many great twists along the way. I would have liked more romance though. I think the fact that we already knew these two loved each other stopped some of the great tension these books usually have from surfacing. I still adore them together and their scenes melted my heart, but I just craved more from them.

I had no idea that this book was going to be the finale for the series until after I finished it. But I started to suspect it by the end anyways and fans will be more than satisfied with how everything wraps up.

My Rating: 5/5

Nowhere But Here 5/5 | Walk the Edge 5/5 | Long Way Home 4.5/5

overall

This series steadily amplifies in all aspects as the pages increases. Fans of Katie McGarry will be more than happy with this next series and I have no doubt that she will pick up some new fans!

Read if You Like: YA contemporary, realistic fiction with a dash of dramatics, balanced stories
Avoid if You: dislike motor cycle clubs

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Series Review: Shades of Magic by V E Schwab

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Darker Shade of Magic (from Goodreads):
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

breakdown

Series: Shades of Magic Trilogy; A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy
Author: V.E. Schwab (aka Victoria Schwab)
# of Books: 3 (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Alternate Dimensions
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: February 2015 – February 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When this book first came out, it was on a lot of the blogs that I follow. Schwab’s The Archived Series has been on my TBR for a while but this one compelled me to pick it up first. I won’t lie, it was probably the cover 😛 But actually, I’ve really been loving alternate dimension books recently and I needed one for my Ready for Spring Bingo 2015 card so this was my pick!

So I was really excited to pick up this book even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was in store for me (I avoided all reviews for it before I read it to keep my mind clear of spoilers). I hoped for a fast paced adventure with witty banter between the two leads and I couldn’t wait to get started!

The World:

I really recommend that you start this book when your mind is clear and you aren’t really tired. I made the mistake of reading the first 100 pages (approx. a third of the book) fighting off some shut-eye and I had a very hard time grasping the world. I found that it definitely got easier to understand the more I read, but I think that was because we actually get a breakdown of everything all at once as Lila learns about the dimensions.

Because really, the dimensions are easy to understand as is the role of magic in the worlds. I love all the layers–literally and metaphorically. It’s great world-building and one of the coolest alternate dimension stories I have read. I just wish I was in a better place when I first picked it up so it didn’t take so long for me to get into it.

The Plot:

I really feel like this book could have been a lot shorter than it was. I found the first 100 pages to be really slow. I’m sure my tiredness played a role but considering the plot described in the synopsis doesn’t really start until we are 100 pages in I feel like I am justified in that conclusion. I like and appreciate world/plot building but I don’t like when it is prolonged.

Especially when we actually get to the main plot of the story and it’s an AMAZING ride! Despite this book being nearly 300 eBook pages, the last 200 pages fly by! The plot moves at a great pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are a lot of great twists and action and I loved every minute of it!

I feel like there is a greater emphasis on the role of magic in these worlds instead of how the alternate dimensions work. Of course the alternate dimensions play a huge role but magic is really the heart of the story. (I hope that makes sense). As a reader who doesn’t really love magic stories, I really liked this one and how it is executed. There was a great balance between the magic elements, the dimensions and action.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Kell–again, I think it was my tired state–but I loved Lila as soon as we met her! I love the bad-ass thief that she is and her wit. Together, Kell and Lila make one fantastic duo. Their banter back and forth was so much fun to read and I loved watching them learn to work together and trust each other.

I also love that there are good guys and bad guys–and that the bad guys are really bad. It makes for some interesting events which is a lot of fun. But I also like that Kell and Lila have flaws–that they aren’t straight-laced characters that are righteous in everything they do. They can be just as ruthless but you still want to root for them because their hearts are in the good places.

The Romance:

While there is definitely chemistry between Kell and Lila, this book has practically no romance. I think it’s going to come into play in later books but this book isn’t a romance by any means.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see what is in store next for these characters and their worlds. I can’t wait to see how everything develops over the next two books!

updates

–August 31, 2016– Book #2: A Gathering of Shadows

OK, this took me wayyyyy to long to get into.

I found the first 45% of the book to be terribly slow. Like, I contemplated actually finishing it or not because it wasn’t capturing my attention. But then I remembered I had the same feelings with ADSOM but in the end, I really enjoyed it. And like in ADSOM, I feel like you could have easily cut 100 (eBook) pages out and still had a kick ass story!

I mean the last 50% was AWESOME! Even if it felt a little like filler, I was thoroughly entertained. I like the hints we got of where things are going in the finale and it was nice to see the development of other characters as well as Lila and Kell.

In short: this was a slow start if you are someone who doesn’t love lots of descriptions but it becomes and enjoyable adventure past the halfway mark.

–May 7, 2018– Book #3: A Conjuring of Light

I think this one was my favourite of the series. I found the momentum was strong throughout the entire novel–no slow starts here!

But we also returned to the great character interaction as well that I loved in the first book. All the banter between all the characters; though mostly Kell and Lila. These two really made the series for me so I loved all their scenes together.

I did find the solution to be slightly anti-climatic; after reading 500+ pages only to have the main conflict wrap up within a few pages seemed odd to me. However, the rest of the book is strong so I can let that slip by.

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

A Darker Shade of Magic 4/5 | A Gathering of Shadows 3.5/5 | A Conjuring of Light 4/5

overall

Each novel starts slowly but once it gets going, it really doesn’t stop! It’s a beautifully crafted and unique world that will suck readers in!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Series Review: Sixth Street Bands by Jayne Frost

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

Sixth Street Bands

book3 book4 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Gone for You (from Goodreads):

As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em smiling when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

Note: You won’t need to turn up the heat—Sixth Street Bands Romances have plenty of steamy fun. This story can be read as a stand-alone but is part of the Sixth Street Bands music scene.

breakdown

Series: Sixth Street Bands
Author: Jayne Frost
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Rockstars, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single (Male POV), Alternating (Book 2 onwards)
Publication Date: April 2015 – September 2018
Source & Format: Author/Read It & Review It–eARC   Thank you so much for the opportunity!

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thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually saw a review for Gone for You on another blog and planned to add it to my TBR. It wasn’t very long after that that I was contacted to read a copy and so I eagerly accepted!

Rockstars are my new Highlanders–meaning they are my latest reading obsession. I’ve read a lot of musician based stories spanning Young Adult to New Adult to Adult recently so I was more than ready to add another to the mix!

What I Liked:

-The Male POV-

I totally went into this book thinking I was going to get alternating POVs but I was very happy to see that it was just a straight POV–and a male one at that! Not very many authors attempt this and for Jayne Frost’s first novel, I applaud her for the risk and effort. It was an interesting place to be inside a male rockstar’s head and I actually didn’t mind not having Lily’s POV as much as I expected and I think it was because Cameron was so refreshing to read as a character!

It gets a little tiring reading about rockstars who are really normal guys or who have hearts of gold beneath their bad boy personas. I mean, I like those guys but it was nice to read about a rockstar who lives up to the name. Cameron is a bit of a jerk but that’s what makes the story so great–you get to watch him grow as a character and mature. I really appreciated that aspect.

-The Flow-

I actually read this book in a day. Partly because it is on the shorter side but more accurately, I just loved the flow the plot had. It moves at a great pace, keeps your attention and has a few little twists along the way. It truly is a great summer read when you have a few hours to spend on your patio reading (like I did!).

What I Didn’t Like:

-The Insta-Relationship-

I’m a little mixed on this. This relationship definitely started as insta-lust and I loved that. They have a connection, they act on it and they establish the base of a relationship: that all works for me. That is exactly what I expected.

And I even expected the fast connection and the insta-relationship but I wanted to see more! I really wanted to root for this couple but was just short of rooting for them. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of who they are and I wanted to see them learn more about each other. Because I really liked them as a couple, I could see how they would work, I just wanted strong character growth–something that I think will be present more in the sequels because we have been introduced to the characters I assume will be the next set of leads.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see who the next set of leads will be. I have my suspicions but I could be completely wrong. I’m excited to delve deeper into this rockstar world!

updates

–April 24, 2017– Book #2: Fall With Me

I was so happy that Fall With Me built upon the potential I saw when reading the first book in the series. While Gone for You seemed rushed in its delivery, this one had perfect pacing.

It definitely helped that the Mel and Christian had great chemistry from the start. It was easy for me to see why they would be drawn to each other. They are both geeky in their own ways and that served as a nice foundation for their romance. They actually talked instead of just exploring their physical chemistry.

I also liked Mel’s story. Her situation is so realistic and one that doesn’t get highlighted in novels let alone romantic ones and I really appreciated that. It added to the story in a strong way.

I’m excited to see if the momentum will keep up in the next book!

–October 13, 2017– Book #3: Missing From Me

This novel is the classic second chance romance that you always get in a rockstar series–but this story easily stands out on its own.

The plot never felt stale to me when it easily could have. The bumps along the way are ones that are super common to the second chance trope but they just worked so well for this unique story that I didn’t mind. It had my full attention from the start.

The journey these two have to take to find each other again is fascinating to read. Sean in particular has a lot of growth he needs to accomplish and it was such a joy to watch him transform before your eyes. He makes quite a few mistakes on the way but they help to ground the story and provide a backbone for the plot to move forward. The lesson of learning from the past to make a better, healthier future is always a winning attribute in my books.

While I loved these two as a pair and could see their obvious love for each other, I wish we saw more of them “back in the day”. I’m a reader who likes to be shown how two people fall in love, not necessarily told so that was a slightly “disappointing” aspect. Then again, this story isn’t about their past but how they are going to start the rest of their lives and I will say, it was rather refreshing to have this as the focus.

–January 14, 2018– Book #4: Lost for You

I really loved the journey of these two characters. For me, this was a story about two people finding themselves with a little dash of romance thrown in and I couldn’t get enough!

Both characters have their everyday struggles and that made them so real to me. Their struggles are so human and humbling that you truly connected with them. They have a lot of stuff to work through as people and they show that the path isn’t always straightforward or simple. I was so invested in the outcome, whatever it might be, and I had a hard time putting this book down.

I’m a huge romance fan and I like to see my relationships spelled out for me. I find this series has plenty of steam and the characters have great chemistry but the development of said romance takes a bit of a back seat to the character development. I knew to expect that with this book as well though I would have loved to see them establish that connection a little more for the romantic in me.

However, I appreciated the obstacles they had to overcome and realized that is the whole point of this story. It isn’t necessarily about finding love but overcoming your past to build a better present so you can embrace the future.

It’s a beautiful story.

This series just gets better and better the further we delve into it and I can’t wait for the next book!

–September 10, 2018– Book #5: Down to You

I think it’s safe to say that this entire series has been leading up to Logan’s story. I know I’ve spent the better part of this series wondering who would be the perfect match for Logan–and what secrets he holds–so I was eager to read his story.

I will be the first to admit that this book did take me awhile to get into it. The main reason is that it takes a long time for these two to even come within the same orbit of daily routine. We spend a good portion of the first quarter getting glimpses into their individual everyday lives and problems. So in that respect, it was great for the character development because I had a great understanding of the characters’s backstories and all their layers.

Jayne Frost has this great ability to write uniquely complex characters in each of her stories and she succeeds once again with these two. Logan is an absolute charmer and unlike any rockstar lead I’ve encountered in my many reads. He’s complex and layered and I dare you not to fall in love with him.

This romance is the definition of “slow burn”. It takes a good amount of time for them to start scratching beneath the surface of who the other person is. But that works to the story’s advantage because you know how perfect these two are for each other and the anticipation of waiting for them to discover it is wonderful.

As a whole, this is a great finale to the Caged Saga of this series. When I think back to that first novel in the series, it’s crazy how well this series as developed. In a way, everything has come full circle and we get this great closure on this one chapter of this universe while building up future sagas. I know I can’t wait for more stories and to see what Jayne Frost will come up with next!

Series Rating: 4/5

Gone for You 3/5 | Fall With Me 4/5 | Missing From Me 4/5 | Lost for You 4.5/5 | Down to You 4/5

overall

This series just gets better and better! The greatest strength of this series is the unique character stories we get. Each book focuses on character growth and development. You truly get invested in the characters and their stories. Plus, there are plenty of steamy moments between characters with fantastic chemistry!

Read if You Like: rockstar leads, character centered stories
Avoid if You: want a longer story, don’t enjoy instalove romances

similarreads

  • Mayhem by Jamie Shaw (Mayhem Series #1)
  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine (Wicked White Series #1)

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Series Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

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

Synopsis for 99 Days (from Goodreads):
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

breakdown

Author: Katie Cotugno
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Coming of Age, Drama, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 21, 2015 – May 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (9 Days)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Standalone review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Normally, I would stay FAR FAR away from any YA/NA/Adult contemporary romance that primarily deals with a love triangle. I don’t like reading about someone who is torn between two people she loves equally simultaneously. And I LOVE romance stories. There is just something about love triangles that gets on my last nerve and frustrate me to no end. Especially if there is cheating involved.

So it’s still a little shocking to me that I even picked up 99 Days because it is the very definition of an annoying love triangle. One girl. Two brothers. Cheating. Need I say more?

However, the concept of the story being told as “days” instead of chapters interested me and I loved the cover. The reviews I had read were so-so but I was willing to give it a shot and entered into it with an open mind and unsure expectations.

The Concept:

I really loved the execution of using each day as a chapter. I found it cut of the unnecessary prattle and got to the gritty part of each day. It made things seem so much faster as I was reading because I wasn’t getting bored by mundane details.

The Plot:

You know, I got really into the plot of this book! I won’t lie: I really wanted to know what happened that caused Molly to sleep with Patrick’s brother when it seems like she really, truly loved him. Patrick and Molly’s past relationship was shown bit by bit and I found myself addicted to those presented moments. I could have easily read this book in a sitting if I had the time because it flows really nicely.

I would say that the book is split 50/50 between the romance and the coming of age aspect. Molly (and the rest of the characters) have a lot of growing up to do (understatement) and that focus was split equally on which brother she would end up with.

This book was also more realistic than I expected. A lot of the situations Molly finds herself in I could easily say happen at most high schools to a certain degree. I think as teens a lot of us struggled finding the direction we wanted our life to go in; had a hard time balancing our romantic and social lives; and maintaining our relationship with our parents. I also thought the talks about sex and drinking were really realistic as well. And the whole “slut-shaming” bit was super frustrating to read because HELLO, it takes two to tango and Gabe is just as much at fault! Ugh, I hate double standards and I’m glad it’s addressed (though not as much as I would have liked personally) in this book.

The Characters:

Molly is really a make-or-break character. If you don’t like cheating protagonists or characters who aren’t strong in their convictions–stay AWAY from this one! You will really find Molly to be a frustrating character and not enjoy this novel whatsoever.

Which is a shame because I think Molly gets a bad rap in both the book and with readers. She is a young and a confused girl–watching her work out these issues is the whole point of a coming of age story! You can’t expected her to be flawless and selfless or else you wouldn’t have a story!

Does that mean I support the decisions she makes throughout this book? HELL NO! But at the same time I cut her some slack (at least with the stuff in the past) because that’s some tough shit to go through emotionally and I can’t entirely blame her for thinking that she only had those options. And again, DOUBLE STANDARD! It takes two people to do what she did and I wish everyone else would remember that!

So is Molly my favourite heroine ever? Definitely not. Was she selfish? To a certain extent regarding certain things, yes. Did I find her frustrating to read about? Sometimes. But I tried my best to reserve judgement as I watched her try to work on her issues. She’s in a tough spot and doing the best she can, even if I don’t agree with how she handles things.

The rest of the characters were your typical contemporary fodder. I wouldn’t say that I loved any characters in particular but they suited the story.

The Romance:

If I put the cheating aside, I really didn’t mind how the romance was done in this book. If I put the cheating back in, I feel a little icky but I’ll live.

One of the reasons I find love triangles to be so frustrating is that sometimes my “team” (aka the guy I am rooting for) doesn’t have a shot in hell at being with the girl in the end when I really want him to be. But with this one, I flopped between who I wanted to see with Molly at the end.

So I guess that I can’t entirely blame Molly for being stuck between the two brothers because they sure don’t make it easy! They both know how to manipulate her by saying and doing the right thing at the right time. However, I really didn’t fall for any of their charms and by the end, I was just hoping she would kick both of them to the curb–girl power!

But like I said earlier in my review, I thought the romance balanced nicely with Molly coming to grips about who she is as a person and how much she needs to grow up.

updates

–September 8, 2018– Book #2: 9 Days and 9 Nights

I never thought this story would get a sequel–and I’ll admit that I was ok with how things wrapped up at the end of 99 Days. But of course, my curiosity would not be sated until I found out what was next for Molly.

I enjoyed the one a lot when I listened to the audio. I think listening to the audio version and hearing Molly’s conflict and emotions through her voice helped me understand her dilemmas a lot and perhaps be more patient or empathetic to her situation.

I’m not sure if the character development was good or bad. I feel like we did see Molly grow up a bit by the end so I suppose that means it is there. But I thought the content in the middle seemed overly repetitive.

Overall: for a sequel I never thought I needed, I enjoyed this little bit of closure on Molly’s life for what it was.

My Rating: 3.5/5

99 Days 3.5/5 | 9 Days and 9 Nights 3.5/5

overall

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It had a great reading flow to it and I found myself hooked into the simple story. However, if you don’t think you can read this book with an open mind (especially with cheating) or really can’t stand indecisive heroines, stay away!

Read if You Like: love triangles, coming of age romances, teenaged drama
Avoid if You: don’t like cheating characters, love triangles

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Series Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Alienated (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

breakdown

Series: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a FREE bridging e-novella #1.5: Until Midnight

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Aliens, Humour
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcopy; Audiobook (United)

thoughts

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this series; I think I was doing my 6 degrees of book recommendations on Goodreads–you know, where you look up one book and in the corner you see this other cover that captures your attention and so on and so forth… Regardless, I found this book and saw that my local library had copies so I said why not? The only YA alien romance novel/series that I have read to date is Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux Series which I enjoyed quite a bit. So when she says “with the right mix of sizzling romance, action, and suspense, ALIENATED is easily my favorite alien book to date” well, I was going to pay attention and pick it up–so mission accomplished marketing department 😉

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read Alienated. I suppose I expected the cliches of an antagonistic love affair and high school drama–and that is there for sure but it also had a splash of humour which was what I loved the most!

I loved Aelyx’s cynical attitude about things and how he would describe everyday Earth things as if they were the craziest thing he had ever seen. Cara was also really funny and sensible–which I find rare in a YA heroine these days. Together they had a really great connection and their banter back and forth was a lot of fun to read!

And while there was some high school drama, it balanced well with the romance and the larger-scheme plot lines that were happening. Like Armentrout said in her review, it really was the perfect mix of everything you like in a YA novel which makes it such a treat to read!

I read the novella, Until Midnight, right before Invaded. It definitely isn’t necessary but it bridges the physical time gap between the two books. Plus, it’s a FREE eBook so really it’s almost silly not to read the 5 chapters of the short story!

Invaded took me longer to get into. I think part of the reason is the circumstances of the plot (which is hard to elaborate on when you write spoiler-free reviews!) but suffice it to say, given the situations Aelyx and Cara find themselves in, I expected it to begin on the slower side of things. So while I appreciated the character development in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the faster pace of the last half a lot more.

This series is listed as completed–Landers is writing a new book for 2016–but she said on her website page that more books are contingent upon book sales of Invaded. While I am completely satisfied with the way things ended, I would be open to reading more books in this series–or at the very least a follow-up novella.

updates

–January 3, 2019– Book #3: United

I was really excited to return to the world of Alienated but I ended up slightly disappointed in this instalment. I like a lot of things happening in my novels at once but the plot here was almost too overwhelming to fully enjoy. I missed the banter between our two leads the most. I felt like we just rehashed the same things between them over and over without any concrete resolution. It has been a long time since I read the previous novels so perhaps I wasn’t a up-to-date with the world as I should have been…but I did find the recaps we got were sufficient in the book though.

Finally, I wasn’t a fan of the audiobook production. She was a very stiff narrator: which works for the L’eihr dialogue but not very well for a 3rd person POV of both humans and L’eihr.

My Rating: 4/5

Alienated 4/5 | Invaded 4/5 | United 3/5

overall

This series was a fun, light-hearted read that I found to be refreshing! While it won’t be gracing the top of any of my favourites list, I enjoyed reading it a lot. It was a great blend of everything I like in a YA romance read: great chemistry, funny leads and interesting plot situations.

Read if You Like: hate-to-love romances, aliens, humour
Avoid if You: dislike “forbidden” romances, are expecting a true Science Fiction focus, dislike “fluffier” YA

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Series Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Conspiracy of Us (from Goodreads):

A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

breakdown

Series: The Conspiracy of Us Trilogy
Author: Maggie Hall
# of Books: 3 (The Conspiracy of Us, Maps of Fate, The Ends of the World)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Adventure, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2015 -July 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (#1); Audiobook (#2 & #3)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked The Conspiracy of Us Up:

What drew me to this book was the cover, but what made me want to read it was the hook that it was “perfect for fans of Ally Carter”. It’s no secret that I fall prey to these every-time; especially when they are for Ally Carter. Let me explain why: Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors because I love her strong heroines and the suspense of her novels. While Gallagher Girls started off more light-hearted and fun, it definitely became more intricate in the plot later on; whereas Heist Society always seemed more tense and serious to me right from the start. Most of the time when books say they are perfect for Ally Carter fans they are referring more to the style of Heist Society–which I liked but didn’t really love–and how it is intricate right form the get-go. Which is fine because I’m still looking for that perfect heist novel, but I can’t wait until I find a book with the same flare as the Gallagher Girls Series.

The Concept:

Regardless, The Conspiracy of Us is its own novel. The premise reminded me a bit of the slightly darker novel The Book of Blood and Shadow–a book I thought had a great premise but a poor execution.

For the most part The Conspiracy of Us had a good execution. However, it was difficult for me to get past the idea that Avery literally jumps on a plane to travel across the world with two boys she barely knows without any hesitation. I understand that this event had to happen to get the story in motion; and to a certain degree I could see why she would jump at the first chance she gets to any information about her unknown family past. But, I just wanted to see a few lines about her concerns or why it could potentially be a bad idea. It just frustrated me because, for the most part, I felt like she was a rational character with everything else that happens in the book.

The Plot:

The book is pretty slow until you get about half-way through. That’s when the clues start to come into play and the pace of the book picks up exponentially. Which is why I am giving the book a 3.5 instead of a solid 4 because that first half of the book really didn’t do much story-wise and felt a little unnecessary.

While some of the events are cliche to a mystery novel, I thought the whole prophecy/mystery bit was a lot of fun. There were a lot of little unexpected twists that accompanied it and that made me excited to continue reading. It actually reminded me a lot of a Young Adult version of Juliet by Anne Fortier in terms of its execution (though the plots are completely different!).

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m looking forward to the sequel but I am not dying to pick it up.

updates

–May 9, 2018– Book #2: Map of Fates

Yikes! This book was a complete miss for me. I probably should have DNF’d it but the whole prophecy thing has got me invested (even though I knew the solution very early on). I felt like this book spend far too much time on the mundane. The constant back and forth for Avery’s love life was exhausting and not enjoyable in the slightest. I will say that there were some good twists along the way but they don’t get a ton of screen time in the long run so this made for a duller read.

At first I thought it was the fact that I was listening to the audio version and the narrator is one of my least favourite to listen to. However, I actually thought she did a great job so I can’t really complain about that aspect.

–May 23, 2018– Book #3: The Ends of the World

My reading experience here was much more positive than the previous. I thought this book started with a “bang” and had great momentum…up until the halfway point when we seem to reiterate the same romance themes again and again. By this point, I had warmed up to the romance a little more but I did find the scenes to be tiresome as they distracted from the thrilling plot line.

There were some good twists along the way and I did like how everything wrapped up so it’s a solid finale when all is said and done.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Conspiracy of Us 3.5/5 | Map of Fates 2/5 | The Ends of the World 3/5

overall

A unique premise to be sure but this series just gets too caught up in its other factors, dampening the reading experience.

Read if You Like: more romance focused, love triangles, conspiracy theories
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more suspense

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Series Review: Firebird by Claudia Gray

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

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Firebird Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Thousand Pieces (from Goodreads):
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Firebird Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate Dimensions, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2014 – November 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Million)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’ve read two other Claudia Gray series and have enjoyed both very much. I love her writing style, her plot twists and how she creates her worlds. She made me enjoy a witch-based Young Adult series (Spellcaster Trilogy) so that means I’m willing to give anything she writes a shot. So when I saw the premise for this series, I was SUPER excited. It sounded like it was going to be what I thought Alternity by Mari Mancusi was going to be mixed with the Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier so I was sold.

The Concept / The World:

This book was a lot of fun to read and it quickly had me hooked (which was good because I had to return it to the library the next day!). I was worried that the alternate dimensions aspect would be confusing but it was explained perfectly at the start of the novel, making the rest of the novel easy to follow.

The Plot:

Like in most of Gray’s books, there are little twists and turns along the way that keep the plot moving and unpredictable. Part of the charm of a book like this is the mystery aspect that you put together as you read and while I definitely had a good inkling of how things were all connected, I really didn’t know if I was right or not given the little surprises here and there. I liked that it kept my full attention and the last half of the book is really non-stop which was great. I never felt like plot dragged and it easily could have if Marguerite and Theo spent too long in a certain dimension but it was executed perfectly.

The Romance:

Even the love triangle was well done–rare words from me indeed. I think it helps that the focus of this book isn’t really the romance aspect–rather Marguerite spends her time trying to figure out what exactly is at play and I liked that a lot. There was enough romantic moments to keep the romance reader in me satisfied but it really was the plot of this book that I loved so much.

updates

–December 19, 2015– Book 2: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

I was really curious to see what was going to happen next given the ending of the last novel. The plot for this one was interesting for sure and I really like the direction it is going. However, I did feel it lull a bit in the middle. I found Marguerite annoyed me a little in her outlook on things and that frustrated me. At the same time, I can appreciate the situation she is in and I liked how she grew from what happens. I was worried that that love triangle would escalate into a situation that I wouldn’t like but, again, I think it worked for the story and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I really like the way the story progressed though. I thought I have everything figured out but those twists again kept me on my toes. Can’t wait to see how this all wraps up!

–January 7, 2019– Book 3: A Million Worlds With You

This was a great finale! I really felt like things were brought back full circle in terms of the themes and topics this series has addressed. I got a little lost in the plot (it felt a little roundabout at times) but it was always moving and I really loved that.

Plus the audio was exactly what I imagined it to be considering I read the previous books instead of listening to them.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

A Thousand Pieces of You 5/5 | Ten Thousand Skies Above You 4/5 | A Million Worlds With You 4/5

overall

I feel like it has been a long time since I read a good YA novel and this novel helped fill in that void. Everything is just well executed and it was so refreshing to read about Alternate Dimensions. I loved how it built and that there were constantly little plot twists along the way. If you plan to read it, make sure you set aside a lot of time because you won’t likely be putting it down anytime soon!

Read if You Like: world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike parallel universes, don’t want as much romance

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