Tag «Abuse»

Single Sundays: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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 It Ends With Us (from Goodreads):

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read 2017, Favourite Author
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Paperback

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan. With the exception of one series, I’ve read all her works. I eagerly await her new releases every year. So I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to get my hands on this book. It took FOREVER for my hold to come in from the library because I added my name to the list late.

But boy, was this book worth the wait!

The Concept:

Normally, I refrain from keeping spoilers in my reviews but I think it is very important that I highlight two things from the synopsis. The first being:

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

While I’ve read other books that get a lot more specific in terms of the descriptions of the graphic scenes, these moments were still hard for me to read. So if that makes you uncomfortable as a reader, just be prepared.

And looking at the synopsis you probably think, ‘Gee Lauren, why so serious? This sounds like a love triangle type of story’ because that’s what I thought when I read the synopsis for the first time. But it isn’tfar from it actually. Which brings me to the other highlight of the synopsis:

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer.

There is so much more to this story than what the synopsis implies and I really don’t want to give it away. It’s obvious to anyone who reads this that it is such a deeply personal story for Colleen Hoover to write as an author. It shows in every word and every scene. That’s what makes it so beautiful to read. So thank you Colleen for sharing something so personal with the world.

The Plot:

This plot sucked me in from the start. Part of that is because I instantly loved the characters and became so invested in them. More on that below.

As for the plot itself, it was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as the synopsis implies. It moves at the perfect pace; never dwelling on inconsequential things for longer than necessary.

You feel every range of emotions while reading this.


And I really have a hard time saying anything more without giving it away and I literally just finished the book 2 hours ago (January 26, 2017, 1pm) and I’m still at a loss for words.

The Characters:

What really makes this story is the characters. They become so real to you as a reader from the moment you first meet them. I fell in love with Lily and Ryle by the end of the first chapter. I loved Atlas from the moment Lily shares what her past with him is. And I loved every other character we meet along the way. It has been a long time since I loved a cast of characters as much I do with this one.

These are all strong characters in their own rights and so heartbreakingly real. Lily in particular really tore at my soul. How she handles everything that comes her way was so empowering yet so sad all at once. It was wonderful to see her evolve as a person throughout the novel.

The Romance:

It’ll tug at your heart from the start until the very end. I’m still shook up over it.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Before this novel, I would have told you that Maybe Someday is my favourite Colleen Hoover book because it is such a powerful story. But It Ends With Us is now my absolute new favourite work by her. It’s a story that everyone should read because it is beautiful, sad and most importantly empowering to read as a reader, no matter who you are.

Read if You Like: realistic fiction, strong characters
Avoid if You: dislike books about mature subject matter
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Spin-Off Saturdays: Kick, Push by Jay McLean

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 Kick, Push (from Goodreads):
There’s a single defining moment within every skater.
It lasts only a second. Two if you’re good.
Three if you’re really good.
It’s the moment you’re in the air, your board somewhere
beneath you, and nothing but wind surrounds you.
It’s the feeling of being airborne.

The sixteen-year-old version of me would’ve said it was the
greatest feeling in the world.
Then at seventeen, I had my son.
And every single second became a defining moment. Even the ones that consisted of heartbreak when his mother left us.

Seventeen. Single. Dad.
That’s what my life became.
Yet, every day, I managed to find that feeling of being
airborne.
Or at least I convinced myself I did.
But I lied—to myself and to everyone around me.
Until she showed up; Tanned skin, raven dark hair, and eyes the color of emeralds.

You know what sucks about being in the air?
Coming down from the high.
Sometimes you land on the board and nail the trick.
Then kick, push, and coast away.
Other times you fall.
You fall hard.
And those are the times when it’s not as easy to get back up, dust off your pads and try again.
Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Kick, Push — or Road

There is a prequel novel about two side characters called Where the Road Takes Me. Together, all 3 novels make up the Road Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 2 (Kick, Push; Coast)

See above note regarding Where the Road Takes Me

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – June 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC (Kick, Push); Kindle Unlimited (Coast)

disclaimer

(Note: I only received a copy of Kick, Push for review. I read Coast via Kindle Unlimited)

Note: Where the Road Takes Me will be reviewed separately.

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw Kick, Push on the list of upcoming New Adult Club Read It Review It titles, I was excited! I’ve really enjoyed Jay McLean’s work in the past for its addicting quality. While reading the More Than Series, I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I swooned–basically all the feels you can possibly feel while reading a book and I love that.

What really stood out to me about this book was the premise of a single dad. I don’t read a lot of single parent novels but when I do, they are mostly second chance stories where the mom has raised the baby without the dad knowing and they reunite–or something of that tone. But most of the time they are single moms; which is great but what about all the single dads out there? Plus, I’ve never really read a story about a skateboarder before.

The Concept:

While I don’t think any parent should abandon their child, I feel like women who do get a lot of flack compared to men who do. Maybe society is just more comfortable with the man leaving than the person who carried the child, I’m not sure. However, I don’t like this stigma that all women are expected to be instinctively maternal. So I was worried that this series would relay that stigma throughout its narrative. But I am happy to say that I never really felt like the book took that approach. While you will likely side with Josh once you know the whole story, I didn’t feel like it shamed or glorified the situation in any way and I truly appreciated that.

The Plot:

The story is just as much about Josh as it is Becca and I really enjoyed that. Both have so much growth and depths to their characters that I liked the balancing act between their stories as you read. The mashing of romance, character development and drama make this an addicting series to read.

And like Jay McLean’s other novels, there are just enough twists along the way to keep things interesting and exciting. I didn’t expect this story to go the way it did and I loved it!

The Characters:

Josh is an absolute sweetheart so it doesn’t take much for you to root for him. His heart is in the right place and I loved reading his story.

Becca, wow, what a story she has. It’s heartbreaking and she’s so sweet that it causes you to shed a few tears on her behalf.

Everyone else was great as well. I found the supporting characters did their job to a T and added a depth to the story that makes it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

When I first read the synopsis and started the book, I was confused about the line:

“Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.”

Everything starts so sweet and light that when the shit hits the fan, it becomes a huge mess. So the romance definitely leans to towards the darker side of love BUT, I love how it is elaborated on and becomes an integral part of the story. It isn’t there for shock value–it’s there because it is a part of their story and it adds to the depth of who these characters are as people.

Series Rating: 5/5

Kick, Push 5/5 | Coast 5/5

overall

If you want a book series that will make you feel every emotion, look no further my friends!

Read if You Like: New Adult romances, darker romance
Avoid if You: want a lighter, happier story, don’t want to cry

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Single Sundays: Shadow of a Girl by Shannon Greenland

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 Shadow of a Girl (from Goodreads):
Use cash and keep moving.

After I ran away from home, these were the two rules that dictated my life. Scoring a job as a roadie fit perfectly for what I needed. Traveling, cash, and life out of the spotlight. But when my path collides with West, the lead singer of Bus Stop, I can’t seem to stay out of his spotlight—especially since we’ll be touring together for an entire year.

West is determined to break down my walls. He won’t give up. And little by little they come crumbling. But if he knew what lurked behind them, he wouldn’t be so eager to get rid of them.

The more time we spend together, the more the lines of our friendship become blurred. He makes me dream of things I never thought possible. But while our friendship has been evolving into a romance, my secrets have been closing in. And just when I’ve decided to reveal my past to West, I’m confronted by it. The cost of my freedom could ruin the life of the guy I love…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave YA Contemporary
Author: Shannon Greenland
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Rockstar
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 19, 2016
Source & Format: NetGalley–eARC | Thank you Entangled Teen!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Normally, I’m not one for YA contemporaries but I am a sucker for rockstar based stories and I LOVED The Heartbreakers last year. So when I came across Shadow of a Girl, I just had to request it! The runaway premise also had me curious and I couldn’t wait to uncover it.

The Plot:

This story had a great balance between the romance and the dramatic plot line.

I was hooked into Eve’s story from the get-go. We only get bits and pieces about her past, building the anticipating for the big reveal. Her story is unlike anything I’ve encountered before in a contemporary story so it was very refreshing to me as a reader.

I find rockstar romances can be a little unrealistic (it’s part of their charm) but this story was very natural to me. Everything progresses at an acceptable pace–not too fast or too slow–in terms of plot development and character growth. This story just builds itself up organically, making it a joy to read. (Especially great for someone who was on the verge of a reading slump–it made getting hooked into the story so easy)

The Characters:

Eve was great. She has some of the best character development I’ve ever encountered in a contemporary romance. I loved watching her grow and get comfortable in her own skin. I liked that she isn’t brash or someone who jumps to one conclusion or another. She thinks about things and knows her own limits but knows that she needs to do something to challenge those in a healthier way.

And West…swoon! While I love an arrogant rockstar as much as the next girl, it was nice to read about a guy who is just genuinely a good guy. He’s patient and kind and I just love how he treats Eve. I also liked that his story and character never overshadowed Eve’s story as well.

The Romance:

This was very sweet. I love how it was a romance that started as a strong friendship before it became something more. It was so easy to see why they would like each other and that’s what I love in a good romance.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

This was just a great novel. It had a fantastic balance between the drama and the romance and everything just progressed so naturally. A must for fans of contemporary romance!

Read if You Like: rockstars, contemporary
Avoid if You: want a “spicier” read
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Fresh Fridays: Tainted Love by K B Nelson

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Tainted Love Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Faithless (from Goodreads):
She’s a stripper. He’s a preacher. Her name is Faith and he’s been faithless since the day she went away.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know it’d end like this.
From the beginning, it could only go one way, and straight to hell it did.
My past reads like a film stuck on repeat; fall in in love, get heart broke, and then run. Just fucking run.

And run I did.
Straight back to that place I swore I’d never return.
Straight back to that place where my broken heart lies buried deep within one man’s chest.

Noah Parker was my first love. He was my only love.
The only boy that could ever make me feel alive.
The only boy who ever truly broke my heart.
The only boy who could possibly save me from myself.

But Noah isn’t a boy anymore…

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Series: Tainted Love
Author: K B Nelson
# of Books: 2 (Faithless, Blind Sided)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Blind Sided, will be published in March 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Suspense, Second Chance
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 23, 2016 – ongoing

was originally a 3 part serial that was rewritten and complied into the new edition.

Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed K B Nelson’s Bad Reputation and so I joined her mailing list to be notified of when she had new releases and review copies available. Now, Faithless isn’t exactly new. It was originally published as a 3 part serial starting in December 2014. This publication is the same story but features different scenes, a different ending and puts everything together to be a part of this new series.

I love forbidden love stories and the idea that a preacher and a stripper had some passionate romance? Colour me curious! I also loved that it was pitched with a darker theme–another trope I am a sucker for.

What I Liked:

–It wasn’t afraid to go places–

I like books that take risks with their characters and events. Nelson has no issue making this story as dark and tragic as it could possibly be, making the story completely unpredictable at times.

–The Suspense and Mystery–

I didn’t know that this was going to be a suspense novel so it took me for surprise when that’s what it turned out to be. But it really added something to this story that made me want to keep reading. The suspense plot here is so dark and twisty that it kept my attention and made the book very unpredictable.

The mystery of putting together the past was also really intriguing. I liked having the flashbacks to the past mixed with current events. It kept the story building and added more depth to the characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was more Suspense than Romance–

While I enjoyed the suspense elements, at the same time, I thought I was going to be reading more of a contemporary, second chance romance that focused on the forbidden passions between a preacher and his high school sweat heart–not the events that happen when these two reunite after years apart.

It’s more of a suspense novel that has events that occur because these two people reunite; rather than a second chance romance with a minor suspense plot. If that makes any sense.

–The “spiritual” moments–

I feel like this heading is a bit misleading because it implies that there is a lot of moments about God and/or religious faith but that isn’t what I am getting at. (For the record, this book wasn’t preachy at all about faith or the like). I’m just talking about a plot device that was used and that I wasn’t the biggest fan of it even though I understand why it was used. (I would elaborate further but I think it’s a bit of a spoiler). It just added a cheesy element to the story that I would have preferred not to have had.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is a great set-up in Faithless for what the story in Blind Sided is going to be and now that I know what to expect from this series, I’m looking forward to seeing the path Nelson takes us on with this new one.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Faithless 3.5/5 | Blind Sided TBP

overall

If you enjoy stories like Leah Raeder’s Black Iris or even stories by M Leighton, this is a fantastic series for you to start! I think people who want lighter romance will not enjoy this nor will those who want more romance than suspense. Definitely a unique series that has me very intrigued to see what will happen next!

Read if You Like: suspense, non-traditional romances, dark stories
Avoid if You: want more romance/sexual tension

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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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Series Review: Gentry Boys by Cora Brent

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

book4 book book book

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Draw (from Goodreads):
“All my life I’d always known what the Gentry boys were. A set of fraternal triplets born to a depraved family, they were rough, sexy and wild as wolves.”

SAYLOR…
I don’t even know if love is real. After running from the bastard who brutalized me, I limped back to Arizona, choosing a vibrant college town in the hopes of starting over. I never expected to find him there. Cord Gentry. He and his brothers were tough, lusty forces of nature I’d known since childhood. Years ago, Cord seduced me as a sick game. I’ve hated him ever since. Now here he is again, a man who beats other men bloody for money.
Cord has always been heartless, dangerous, not to be trusted.
And I want him so much I can’t think.

CORD…
They called us ‘those white trash Gentry boys’ until we believed that’s what we were. Our people squatted at the edge of a hellhole prison town for generations. The childhood we endured was the stuff of nightmares. I’d learned early on that my brothers, Chase and Creed, were the only people on earth worth my time.
They all told us we were bad, that we’d always be bad.
The horrors of the past have scarred my soul.
But now I need to be better. For her.

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Series: Gentry Boys Series

Fall (#4) is a crossover between the Gentry Boys Series and the Defiant MC Series.

Author: Cora Brent
# of Books: 7 (Draw, Risk, Game, Fall, Hold, Walk, Edge)

There is a novella: #5.5 Cross

Book Order: Connected but chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Bad Boys
Heat Rating: really warm (it’s more crude than other series in terms of language)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I never picked up Fall (#4). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

For some reason I was really looking forward to Draw. I think it was because the two leads had a not so nice past involving some sort of “sick game” and I love stories like that. There is just so much sexual tension and drama with those types of books so I was really looking forward to it. Plus, the whole series focuses on a set of bad boy triplets so that’s a bonus point in and of itself.

My Review:

However, Draw wasn’t what I was really expecting. I was expecting Saylor and Cord to have to work on their relationship given their past and her current situation but instead it was a love at first sight situation and ya’ll know how I feel about those (FYI: I hate them!). So while I loved them together I did not love the fact that things happened so fast between them. It just made me feel like the romance part of the book was lacking and because the last half of the book focuses more on a dramatic event the is important for the next two books it emphasized that thought even more. It’s a shame really and I think if the execution was a little different it would have made the book more enjoyable.

So I was happen when I was reading Risk because the execution was much better. I loved watching the leads work on their relationship and the balance between the romance and nonromantic elements of the was great. I also liked how it gave little tidbits about the leads in the next book Game which made me really excited to read it.

But when it came to reading Game it was a bit of a disappointment. Again, I felt like the romance part was shortened more than I wanted it to be. So while I liked it, I didn’t love it like I was expecting.

There will be a fourth book about the triplet’s cousin Delcan which will be published in early 2015. I’m looking forward to it based on the little we know about him and will more than likely pick it up.

Why I Won’t Be Picking Up the Rest (February 5, 2017):

I’ve just lost interest in the series. I liked it but not enough to invest in the next 4 books. I’m just so out of touch with this series now.

Series Rating: DNF

Draw 3/5 | Risk 4/5 | Game 3/5 | Fall  N/A | Hold  N/A | Walk  N/A | Edge  N/A

overall

Not the greatest series ever but I enjoyed watching these bad boys fall in love. If you like watching manly brothers falling in love and changing their ways, this is a cute series to pick up.

Read if You Like: reforming bad boys, quick love, overarching plots
Avoid if You: want stronger romances, dislike alpha males
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Series Review: Ethan Frost by Tracy Wolff

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 Ruined (from Goodreads):
He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.

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Series: Ethan Frost
Author: Tracy Wolff
# of Books: 4 (Ruined, Addicted, Exposed, Flawed)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (Flawed)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, New Adult, Abuse
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2014 – January 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I never picked up Exposed or Flawed. Find out why below…

Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon Ruined one day and decided to give it a shot when I read the blurb:

Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point—and beyond.

Considering I read all three series and enjoyed them (for the most part, read my reviews on each for my full thoughts on each series), I was willing to give this series a shot. Especially when I saw that there was no BDSM–do you know how hard that is when it comes to an erotica novel about a billionaire? I mean I get that in fiction, and especially in the erotica genre, that there are some “fantasy” elements but I really don’t think every billionaire male in the world is some Dom waiting for his perfect Sub…

Characters:

I actually really liked Ethan Frost’s character. He was charming and funny and I enjoyed the scenes he was in throughout the novel. He was just a genuinely nice guy who wasn’t all alpha male when it came to pursuing Chloe. I really wish part of the novel was told from his POV because I liked him so much but also because I needed a break from Chloe.

Chloe was kind of “meh” to me. I just felt like her character wasn’t anything I haven’t read in this genre before. She often got trapped in her head and often times her logic for things escaped me. I’m sure part of the reason why she would think certain things was due to her past but because you don’t know her past until over the halfway point in Ruined, I just felt like I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped. Also, she used the word “Churlish” at least three times–who uses that word to describe anything? I didn’t even know that was a word until I saw it in this book!

Plot:

Ruined didn’t have much of a plot–but that doesn’t mean that they were just banging like bunnies the entire time either. It was actually cute to watch the whole pursuit between the two of them but I really wished there was more going on. To be fair, pretty much every book like this follows the same first-book pattern by focusing more on the developing relationship and sexual chemistry so I shouldn’t be surprised. I was just hoping that in a series that is only 2 books long that there was a more suspenseful plot line going on.

Because Ruined ends on a massive cliffhanger, I was looking forward to see where Addicted would go.

Unfortunately, it too followed the generic second-in-the-series romance novel formula and I was getting tired of all the back-and-forth between them. Again, I struggled to connect to Chloe and even Ethan (who I loved in the last book) was beginning to irritate me.

There was a bit more plot to this one but again, I wished there was more to it. There is really only so long you can read about the same plot line before it gets boring.

The nice thing about this series is that it is only two books long so the plot isn’t dragged out more than it really needs to be **coughcoughCrossfirecoughcough**. This book was also pretty short so I didn’t feel like I wasted my time completely.

Why am I not Continuing?

I really don’t see a point for a 3rd book is what it comes down to. And, by the time I realized there was a third book, it was a couple years later. I’ve moved on from this series and I have no interested in the spin-off 4th novel; even if it uses two new characters as the leads.

Series Rating: DNF

Ruined 3/5 | Addicted 3/5 | Exposed N/A | Flawed N/A

overall

For those who want a contemporary erotica series that doesn’t feature an over-the-top alpha male or if you don’t like overly complicated plot lines, this is a great one to grab. To me, it just didn’t have enough going on to really “wow” me and the second book bored me at times. But, they are both quick reads AND the series is only two books long!

similarreads
Release Me by J Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1)
Bared to You by Sylvia Cross (Crossfire Series #1)

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Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

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Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 6 (On Dublin Street, Down London Road, Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Echoes of Scotland Street, TBA)

There are novellas: #1.5 Until Fountain Bridge and #2.5 Castle Hill

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, book 6 will be published Summer 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Family, Tragedy, Abuse
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

This series has been on my to-read list for a really long time so I pounced when they were available at my library. After a blah start with Samantha Young’s Into the Deep series, I was really excited to see where these books would go because I have heard very good things.

First up is On Dublin Street. I didn’t know what to expect with this book but I was hoping for a cute read with a dash of excitement and sexual tension. Unfortunately I feel like this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t LOVE it.

I’m not sure where things went wrong because I did enjoy the first few chapters. The initial chemistry between Braden and Jocelyn was great but I found it wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. Part of the reason is their character personalities. I had a hard time liking Jocelyn despite her having characteristics I usually love in a heroine like wit and independence. I think she was just too extreme in her independence and that drove me a little nuts. Also, given her past her outlook on life is a little bleak and seeing as that the POV given is only hers, it makes it a sad place to be. As for Braden, I did like him but he was just on that cusp of being too alpha male for my personal tastes. (Read my full review of the novel here)

The plot was also a little lackluster in my opinion. It didn’t really get exciting until the last 50 or so pages. It just seemed to go through the motions and even the little petty drama things weren’t that exciting. It also didn’t help that I liked the relationship between Ellie and Adam a lot more than these two (which is thankfully the focus of the novella Until Fountain Bridge). (Bit of a side note: I have to hand it to Samantha Young for leaving the little tidbits about the next couple in each of the books. It always makes me super eager to get my hands on the next book.)

But I decided not to give up on the series because I really wanted to read Until Fountain Bridge and Down London Road because I liked those characters from On Dublin Street a lot more than I liked Jocelyn. And in the end I’m really glad I stuck with the series.

Until Fountain Bridge is listed as a novella and it’s about half the page length as On Dublin Street. Before reading it I was upset that Ellie and Adam’s story wasn’t going to be longer but once I read it, I realized it was the perfect length. I really liked its delivery which is a series of flashbacks as Ellie reads her diary–you basically get all the great romantic highlights but without all the angsty whining about the partner. It was super cute and super quick so I really liked that.

Down London Road started slow like On Dublin Street. But unlike its predecessor, I felt like the plot got a lot more exciting a lot quicker and didn’t really stop. It was a good blend of romance, drama and we get just enough of a taste of the next two leads that I was really excited to read the next two books. I also liked the tension between the two leads a lot more as well and loved their interaction and connection to each other. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more though I wish the first 100 pages or so were cut down to make things move a little faster.

Before Jamaica Lane was the perfect length and had a great execution. It wasn’t as “dark” (and by dark I mean depressing) as the previous two novels. It definitely had a serious side to it but I found it a lot more fun to read. I LOVED the male lead in this one and it was everything I expected it to be and a little bit more. I devoured it and it only made me more excited to read Fall from India Place and Echoes of Scotland Street.

In fact, I was so excited to read Fall from India Place that I immediately read it after Before Jamaica Lane despite having other books to read. It was sweet and not what I was totally expecting but I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped but, I would take it over On Dublin Street any day.

I’m super excited for what I think is the last book the series. This one has been building since Down London Road and I can’t wait to see what is in store!

UPDATED (Nov 9/14): I was super excited to read Echoes of Scotland Street. I think I’ve been anticipating this book since On Dublin Street, even more so since Before Jamaica Lane since we first met Cole. It was great! The story was interesting, the leads were great and it was the perfect length. Those who have been waiting for this book won’t be disappointed. 

Turns out, it isn’t the last in the series! I’m actually really excited that we will be getting at least one more book in this series. Although the next lead is someone we were just introduced to in Echoes of Scotland, I’m intrigued to read about his story and will be looking forward to its release this coming summer.

Conclusion:

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. It feels more like an older New Adult series that borders the line to Adult Contemporary. If you don’t like On Dublin Street, I encourage you not to give up on the series until you read another novel in the series. They get shorter but also better because you get more involved in all the characters lives. Each character is different and I find all their respective stories are different as well. A great contemporary romance series that I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes, though I would give a warning about On Dublin Street being a bit dry.

Similar Reads: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1); Choosing You by Allie Everhart (Jade Series #1) and Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1)

Synopsis for On Dublin Stree (from Goodreads):
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Series Review: Grayson Siblings by Faith Andrews

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: Grayson Siblings
Author: Faith Andrews
# of Books: 2 (Keep Me, Keep Her)
Book Order: Companion, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Abuse, Family
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

After reading a particularly slow young adult novel, I needed a lighter book to read  and decided to read Keep Me. Ever since I bought it, the plot synopsis had been stuck in the back of my mind so it was the first book that I thought to read.

It was just what I needed when all was said and done. It was a cute romance with an interesting spin on what I have seen in the past. Instead of a younger sister crushing on her BFF’s older brother we get a reversal with the younger brother falling for his older sister’s BFF. It was a lot of fun to watch and I love the subplot romance we get introduced to (and later becomes the focus of the companion novel Keep Her).

I really enjoyed reading Keep Me. It kept my attention and I had fun reading it. There is a lot going on in their lives so I found that helped keep things moving. However, I wish the romance was elaborated more. It seemed like there was a lot of talking saying how Marcus always wanted her but all they seemed to do was have sex constantly with each other. I wanted to see more banter and sexual tension leading up to them sleeping together because I truly liked the two of them together. It was just lacking that something to make me give it that full 4 stars.

That’s where Keep Her succeeds more in my opinion. It’s a companion novel in the sense that a majority of the book takes place during the events of Keep Me but instead focuses on Marcus’ sister instead. But I liked that we got more interaction between her and her love interest: you get to see the connection between them forming more than in Keep Me and their relationship isn’t just based on sex. I also felt like their characters were better developed overall.

Until about 75% through Keep Her, I was fully going to give it a 4/5 and mark it off as my favourite of the series. But within the last quarter of the book, it got a little too soap-opera-ry for me. I understand why it was added–there were a few loose ends to tie up–but it was just a little too much for me; especially when it felt like we were getting our resolution to everything. A little over the top if you ask me but not as elaborate as I have read in some books.

Conclusion:

These books reminded me of a New Adult version of the Darcy and Rachel Series (aka Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin). Similar setup in the sense that it revolves around a group of four friends and the romantic drama in their lives but with a young set of leads. Overall, these books are a sexier light read that fans of New Adult romances will enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Perhaps. Nothing really wowed me about these books but if they were looking for a certain type of read I might suggest this.

Similar Reads: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (Darcy and Rachel Series #1); Down London Road by Samantha Young (Dublin Street Series #2) and Trapped by Beverly Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

Synopsis for Keep Me (from Goodreads):

Sexy, tatted up, underwear model Marcus Grayson is every girl’s dream—or more likely worst nightmare. He’s a player, a self-proclaimed bachelor for life, and he’s got no problem living up to his man-whore status. But when his older sister’s friend comes back from the past, he may just have the chance to turn some of his adolescent fantasies into reality.

Tessa Bradley is a self-sufficient, take-no-bull, single mother—well, now she is. Finally rid of her abusive, alcoholic ex, she’s making a new life for herself and catching up with old friends; the ones she was forced to break ties with because of her controlling husband. When she runs into Marcus, her friend Riley’s once-adorable turned smoking-hot little brother, she has no idea how he’s about to rock her world.

Single Sundays: Breathe into Me by Sara Fawkes

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 Breathe into Me (from Goodreads):
How did my life get so broken? It’s a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker exboyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out.

And then she meets Everett, whose presence changes her entire existence.

Everett is an outsider to her small community, in town for the summer housesitting one of the grand mansions off the Mississippi coast. When he saves her in a bar one night, she’s grateful but wary of his intentions. Lacey doesn’t trust most men in her life, but for reasons Lacey can’t understand, Everett is completely captivated by her. He’s determined to show her that life can offer more than she’d ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. As she works with him to free herself, Lacey desperately yearns to trust him, to move on and perhaps start fresh.

But what happens when she finds out that everything he’s told her about himself was a lie?

Review:

I came across this book by surprise–I was browsing the Swagbucks reading section and I was able to read an excerpt of this book to collect “swagbucks”. I’m not a huge fan of reading excerpts because it doesn’t make me want to read a book after reading 10 pages BUT, the synopsis sold me so I immediately grabbed a copy from my local library.

I really loved this book! I was immediately sucked into it and had a hard time putting it down. It was a good blend of romance and drama though there were some minor “flaws” (which is too strong of a word for what I really mean) with everything.

One reason I loved it was because of Everett. He was completely swoon-worthy and just such a nice guy that it was super easy to fall in love with him. He wasn’t super possessive or over-the-top alpha male which is really refreshing in the genre; especially with books set in the South. While I didn’t love Lacey nor would I list her as my favourite heroine of all time, I appreciated her strength and ability to be independent. I liked that she didn’t become a love-struck shmuck who couldn’t live without a man. I know some people have a hard time connecting to her character and I am in the same boat, but I think overall she is a solid character. I expected her to be a little more emotional given some of the things that happened to her but it wasn’t really a deal breaker for me.

As for the plot, some parts were very predictable while others weren’t. There was a lot going on in Lacey and Everett’s lives (though most of the focus is on Lacey’s life as it is told from her POV) so it keeps things interesting as you read. Some parts felt a little rushed near the end but I still feel like they were resolved enough to satisfy me (though I am hoping for a spin-off book about a certain character we meet because I felt like her story was unresolved a bit). I do wish though that the epilogue was fuller though because I felt like it told me nothing about what happens after everything.

Conclusion:

Maybe it was just the mood I was in but this book was a solid New Adult/Coming of Age book. I really enjoyed reading it and never felt bored while doing so. It felt like a more mature, less over the top dramatic Abbi Glines New Adult novel to me focusing more on character growth than the drama. New Adult fans will want to pick this one up I think 🙂

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Coming of Age, Abuse
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: gets hotter later in the book
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank (Off the Subject Series #2); Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Rosemary Beach Series #1) and Trouble by Samantha Towle