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Series Review: Broke and Beautiful by Tessa Bailey

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 Chase Me (from Goodreads):

College drop-out, Roxy Cumberland, moved to New York with dreams of becoming an actress, but her dwindling bank account is quickly putting the kibosh on that fantasy. To make some quick cash, she signs up to perform singing telegrams. Her first customer is a gorgeous, cocky Manhattan trust-funder if she ever laid eyes on one. And what could be more humiliating than singing an ode to his junk, courtesy of his last one night stand? Maybe the fact that she’s dressed in a giant, pink bunny costume…

After a night out to celebrate winning his last case, lawyer Louis McNally II isn’t prepared for the pounding in his head or the rabbit serenading him from the front door. But the sassy wit and sexy voice of the girl behind the mask intrigues him, and one look at her stunning face—followed by a mind-blowing kiss against his doorjamb—leaves Louis wanting more.

Roxy doesn’t need a spoiled rich boy who’s had everything in life handed to him on a Tiffany platter. But there’s more to Louis than his sexy surface and he’s determined to make Roxy see it…even if it means chasing her all over NYC.

breakdown

Series: Broke and Beautiful
Author: Tessa Bailey
# of Books: 3 (Chase Me, Need Me, Make Me)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: Hot (Kink: mild in Need Me and Make Me)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2015 – August 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had Chase Me marked on my library wishlist for a long time and when my library card was expiring, I decided that this was one of the “new” series I was going to binge read before I lost access. The premise seemed fun and I’m always up for a lighter New Adult read.

The Plot:

The plot in these books is all about the chase (pun intended?) and the obstacles these couples face as they try to make their seemingly impossible relationship(s) work. Sometimes these books get a little too caught up in the back-and-forth of it all (Make Me #3 for example) but I still enjoyed the story. They get into a lot of hi-jinks along the way thanks to their unique personalities and circumstances so I always found each book was a refreshing story to me.

The Characters:

I really liked all the characters. As I said above, they were each unique and not carbon copies of each other.

I will say that I didn’t like our hero in Make Me as much as I had anticipated. It’s not that I didn’t like him, I just didn’t expect one of his character traits and that threw me off a bit. I actually read Make Me (#3) before Need Me (#2) as was the order I got them from the library. Had I read Need Me first, I probably would have known what to expect a little more but I still really liked him as a hero when it’s all said and done.

The Romance:

While all these couples had great romantic tension and chemistry, I feel like we only scratched the surface of their relationship. The stories are kept light, fun and flirty so we don’t get more than your necessary amount of soul baring from each character. So while I could see the basis of their relationships forming, they fall quick and hard solely based on a few interactions and not much else.

Series Rating: 4/5

Chase Me 4/5 | Need Me 4/5 | Make Me 3.5/5

overall

This series is perfect for fans who want some lighter New Adult romances with plenty of laughs and steam!

Read if You Like: new adult romances, humours contemporary
Avoid if You: want deeper characters

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Series Review: Kingpin Love Affair by J L Beck

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 Indebted (from Goodreads):
It was suppose to be a debt settled, just a price being repaid.
Instead love was born…
…from unpaid dues it bloomed.
See, that’s the funny thing about love, you never expect it.

After losing her mother to cancer a few months prior to graduating, Bree Forbes was finally able to take some time away and enjoy her college days. That all changed in a blink of an eye the moment Bree came home for break. She didn’t expect to find her dad strapped to chair, a gun pointed at his head.

Alzerro “Zerro” King wasn’t a man to be messed with. Women flocked to him and men ran from him. He ruled the mafia with an iron fist and no one ever crossed him unless they wanted to pay the price. He believed the only way to pay for something, if unable to do so, was to do it in blood. Nothing got him harder than stringing someone up, and putting a bullet in their head.

That is until Bree.

One look is all it took for him to know she could pay for her father’s debt in many other ways… Ways that could get him hard.

Could a big city mafia king fall in love with the small town country girl? Would she be able to handle his dark and demanding ways? When push comes to shove, would Bree end up running only to be killed? Or would she sacrifice herself for love?

breakdown

Series: A Kingpin Love Affair
Author: J L Beck
# of Books: 4 (Indebted, Inevitable, Invincible, Injustice)

There is a novella #4.5: Infringe

Book Order: Chronological (Indebted + Inevitable); Connected (Invincible + Injustice)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica, Mafia
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: November 2014 – August 2015
Source & Format: Own & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: This review is only for the first two novels of the series (Indebted & Inevitable). Find out why I didn’t read books 3 & 4 below.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found Indebted as a freebie on Amazon one day. On occasion, I enjoy a dark romance read–when they are done right. I had totally forgot about this book until I was cleaning up my Goodreads TBR and reread the synopsis: I was really intrigued.

I love stories where someone falls for the enemy or reluctantly falls in love with someone.

The Concept:

You know, I don’t read a lot of books dealing with the mafia. Crime stories yes, but most of them seem to be about motorcycle clubs nowadays. So in a way, it was refreshing to spend some time with the mafia setting.

The Plot:

The story here moves really fast thanks to the somewhat simple plot. And I don’t mean simple in a bad way. I liked how uncomplicated this story was because it gave more meaning to the secrets and twists when they did occur. It was great to just read about these characters as they went through the motions.

I will say that the plot was stronger in Indebted vs Inevitable. Indebted focuses more on the situation whereas Inevitable has slightly more romantic tone to it.

The Characters:

To be honest, neither lead really did it for me. While I understood the reasoning behinds Zerro’s personality, he wasn’t my ideal dark romance hero.

Bree was boring as well. Her emotions are all over the place–which is understandable when you start falling for a guy who essentially kidnapped you–but I just didn’t like her hot and cold approach to things. Her overreactions to certain things and not others bothered me a bit.

As for the rest of the characters–I think my lack of desire to read the next two books shows how much I didn’t really connect with the cast.

The Romance:

The romance here is one that gave me mixed feelings. I’m all for a good forbidden and dark romance but not when it borders on abusive like this one did.

There would be moments where I really liked these two together; then Zerro would have to “show his dominance” and it would just turn me off immediately. Their relationship isn’t healthy by any stretch of the imagination so if you don’t enjoy relationships that straddle the line between abusive and normal–stay away from this one!

Will I Finish It?:

I’m satisfied by the conclusion we get in Inevitable so I have no desire to continue on with the series. I’m impartial to the other leads and while I know they would be quick reads, I would rather spend that time on a series I’m more excited to read.

Series Rating: 3/5

Indebted 3.5/5 | Inevitable 3/5 | Invincible N/A | Injustice N/A

overall

If you are a fan of darker romance and are looking for a quick read, this one might be worth picking up. However, if you want to try your hand at a darker romance–this isn’t the one to try to wet your tastebuds. There are definitely stronger titles out there.

Read if You Like: dark love, mafia, suspense romance
Avoid if You: dislike dark love, can’t read potentially abusive romances

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Series Review: Playboys in Love by Gina L Maxwell

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

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Shameless (from Goodreads):

People say I’m shameless. They’re right.

I like my sex dirty. It takes a hell of a lot to tilt my moral compass, and I always follow when it’s pointing at something I want. That goes double when it points straight at the one girl in all of Chicago who’s not dying for a piece of me.

She’s all I can think about, and that’s a problem, because she wants nothing to do with me. But I’ve seen her deepest secrets, her darkest fantasies, and they match mine to a fucking T.

I want her. Bad.

Now I need to show her how good it can feel…to be shameless.

breakdown

Series: Playboys in Love
Author: Gina L Maxwell
# of Books: 3 (Shameless, Ruthless, Merciless)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Merciless, will be published TBA
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot (Kink: mild | BDSM: light)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Publisher–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had actually never heard of this series until I was asked if I wanted to review book 2, Ruthless. I’m not a huge erotica fan per say but I do like to read adult contemporary romances from time to time. This series sounded like it was the perfect in between, bordering on the New Adult spectrum but with an adult erotica spin.

The Concept:

It’s not mentioned in the synopsis, but this series follows a bunch of male strippers who strip for fun (aka they have other day jobs) and how they meet their match in some special girl. The concept is a lot of fun, it reminded me of the movie Magic Mike but focusing on individuals and not the whole troop. It also reminded me of the Walk of Shame Series that shares a similar idea but this series isn’t as overly dramatic though it shares the kink factor.

Which brings me to the kink factor. It isn’t as extreme as say, a Maya Banks series, but it is definitely present and provides for lots of sexy times. I think if someone is looking for a nice bridge into the erotica genre, this is a nice gateway. It’s well done.

The Plot:

I would say that this series is more focused on the romance and the sexy times than it is with high dramatic antics. Which I really appreciated because I hate when the drama is soap opera-esque. Of course you have some typical tropes thrown in there but otherwise, you get a pretty linear plot.

I will say that the plot had a much better balance in book 2, Ruthless. It actually had more substance to it than sexy times and worked on the character and romance development.

The Characters:

All these characters are very likeable. The females are strong and independent. I never found them losing themselves in their relationships or conforming to be something other than more self-confident.

I also liked the guys. Even though I’m not a huge alpha hero fan, I definitely liked these male leads. They (like the ladies) have great character development throughout the story.

The Romance:

I found the romance to be much stronger in Ruthless (#2) than in Shameless (#1). For me, the romance in Shameless was more insta-love because things move so fast and all seems rooted in instinct rather than emotional connection. I like my romances to spell things out for me when it comes to the romances and it just didn’t work in Shameless for me even though I could see, in theory, how they would work.

Which is why I enjoyed the romance in Ruthless so much more. Thanks to the balanced plot, we actually get to see these two interact in moments other than sex scenes. You see the emotional connection form and you can’t help but root for them.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I definitely know what characters I want to see get their own story next. We get just enough of a taste of each of the male leads to get you excited to see what their story is going to be!

Series Rating: 4/5

Shameless 3.5/5 | Ruthless 4/5 | Merciless TBR

overall

If you like books with plenty of sexy times and just a dash of kink, this is a great one for you to read! The perfect series to bridge the NA and Adult erotica gap.

Read if You Like: erotica, books with kink, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike erotica

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Series Review: Real by Katy Evans

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

book book book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Real (from Goodreads):
A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…
He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.
I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.
If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

breakdown

Series: Real
Author: Katy Evans
# of Books: 6 (Real, Mine, Remy, Rogue, Ripped, Book 6)
Book Order: Real and Mine are Chronological, Remy is the alternate POV sequel to Real the rest of the series is Connected
Complete?: No, Book 6, will be published Fall 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (Real, Mine, Remy); Alternate (Rogue, Ripped)Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Real is one of those books that has been haunting me on my Kobo account’s recommendation list since it was published. And while I was intrigued by it and all the positive reviews my Goodreads’ friends had given it, I simply can’t afford to shell out $10 a book to read the series. So when my library got copies of the book, I immediately added my name to the hold list.

I knew that the males were going to be top alpha dogs before I even started and while that usually doesn’t appeal to me, I was going to keep an open mind. I also figured these books were going to be more erotica than contemporary romance so I didn’t expect thrilling, complex plot lines either.

How to Phrase this…

My feelings on Real (both as a book and as a series) are mixed and I can understand why some people might give it an extremely low rating after reading it while others love it. In all honesty, I was enjoying it until I started to write this review (because I was writing this as I was reading it) and after I creeped some of the reviews on Goodreads to see what others thought of it. Reading this book after I did that was like when you notice someone’s bad habit for the first time and then that is all you can notice in the future.

I found that all the books in this series were kinda like that: the more I thought about them, the more I disliked them. It was weird because when I started to read the book, I was really enjoying it. But when I returned to reading it later, I didn’t like it that much and the same can be said for the subsequent times I picked up these books. There are two reasons I think this happened to me: 1) is the development of the heroines; and 2) the repetitiveness of the writing. And they both go hand in hand at times.

The Plot:

So, the plot isn’t really anything stellar, especially in Real. They definitely improve in the subsequent novels where we get some more “suspense” romance plot lines but for the most part, these books are just the heroines describing the virility of their men.

Yup, you read that right: virility.

The entire first half of Real is literally Brooke describing how the primal instincts in her are attracted to the “virile” man Remy is (It’s the same situation in the other books as well, though the page count is a little less). Honestly: there is a paragraph describing how the “female” in her wants to “mate” with Remy because she wants his genetics for her babies–I kid you not. And while the scientist in me appreciates that fact that this is a true human reaction, it just seemed a little over the top to me.

Personally, I could have done without all the redundant descriptions of how Remy turns her on–I got it after the first two times thank you. Brooke uses the worst words possible to describe their sexual encounters and often repeats them numerous times within a paragraph. Some are just hilarious to me and even now I have a silly grin on my face because I can’t believe that anyone would refer to their private parts like that.

But it also seems to dampen the flow of the book because you will be getting narration about where they are and then suddenly, BAM–Brooke’s describing how hot Remy makes her for two pages before BAM–you get shoved back into the actual scene narration. This gets better in the sequel books but they definitely have the same vibe.

It’s a shame because Remy’s story is actually interesting and it kinda takes a backseat to Brooke’s descriptions of his eight-pack. Same in the other books with the other leads. And when we do get the drama, it is over the top and a tad ridiculous but I guess that is the consequence of fiction.

The Characters:

I really struggled with these heroines. Heroines really make or break a series for me. I think it’s because I am a female so I can easily put myself in their shoes as opposed to a male character. And I’ll be honest: the primal alpha male heroes we get in this series really do nothing for me but I came into this series knowing that I wouldn’t particularly love them so it didn’t necessarily bother me.

What bothered me was that Brooke has the maturity of a 16 year old fangirl–which means she has very little. Even when we switch narrators in the other books in the series, I found that the delivery was much the same. The heroines become those immature girls who don’t see their self-worth without a man in their lives. And as soon as they do find their partner, they get immediately clingy. Basically, it’s the grown woman’s condition of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome and it is just plain annoying. (Though to be fair, Pandora’s story, Ripped, doesn’t completely fall into this scenario.)

The Romance:

As I said before, these are basically books about acting on your lust. Two of the three couples have an insta-connection type of romance; the exception is Ripped where it is a second chance romance. I appreciated that one a lot more than the other two in that respect.

What I did love was the chemistry and the sexual tension. That is definitely one nice thing about insta-love stories because there is always so much frustration and close encounters before the big consummation.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea who the next story in the series is about though I have a pretty good guess. I’ll read it just for the sake of finishing this series but it’s not high on my “have to read it now!” list.

Fun Fact:

Before I read Real I never knew that “scent” could be used as a verb–and after reading it 10 times as a verb I understand why: it’s annoying and awkward!

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I’m not sure what everyone else was reading but I don’t think I read the same thing. If you don’t mind clingy heroines, alpha males and over the top dramatics with lots of sex scenes, this is a good series for you! It just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in place and I found that I felt more frustrated than happy when reading these books.

Read if You Like: alpha males, over dramatics, lots of sex
Avoid if You: can’t tolerate petty heroines, crude language

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Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

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 On Dublin Street (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.

breakdown

Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are a number of novellas (See Here)

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Family, Tragedy, Abuse
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2012 – June 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

My Expectations:

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.

Book 1: On Dublin Street

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.

Books #1.5 to #4:

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.

updates

–November 9, 2017– Book #5: Echoes of Scotland Street

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.

–February 5, 2018– Book #6: Moonlight on Nightingale Way

I was very excited to read this book but clearly time got away from me!

I had very high expectations for this book and it did not disappoint!  I had high anticipation for Logan’s story and I loved it. The slow burning tension kept me hooked. I loved the plot too! It was so sweet! But I really loved the character development. Both our leads are so complex and they have a lot of growth to do independently.

Not only was this a great book (I literally couldn’t put it down!), it was a fantastic way to wrap up the series. Seeing everyone again was just awesome.

Series Rating: 4/5

On Dublin Street  3/5| [Until Fountain Bridge 4/5] | Down London Road 4/5 | Before Jamaica Lane 5/5 | [On Castle Hill 4/5] | Fall from India Place 4/5 | Echoes of Scotland Street 5/5 | Moonlight on Nightingale Way 5/5

overall

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. 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.

Read if You Like: adult contemporary, complicated characters, Scotland
Avoid if You: dislike longer romance novels

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Series Review: Heart of Stone by K.M. Scott

Series: Heart of Stone Trilogy
Author: K.M. Scott
# of Books: 3 (Crash Into Me, Fall Into Me, Give in to Me)

There is an epilogue novella called Ever After to be published

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes, though the novella is yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person (later books alternate POV)

Thoughts:

I was hesitant to buy Crash Into Me and read it but I hoped it would be like the Fixed Trilogy so I eventually caved and bought it.

The first chapter of Crash Into Me almost made me stop reading. It was one of the most frustrating opening to a book that I have ever had to endure. I encountered some stupid and naïve heroines but Nina is definitely in a league of her own. The best word I can think to classify her as is “delusional”.

warning

WARNING: this is a bit of a spoiler but seeing as it happens in the first chapter, I’m not going to hide it.

Of course like all cliché contemporary erotica romances, it all starts with a glance at a stranger across the room. I don’t fault the girl for being attracted to him–but what I can fault her for is her stupidity. She gets into his car and is simultaneously wondering if he is going to kiss her or kill her and chop her into tiny little pieces as he takes her outside the city. Um–what?! Why do you want this man who essentially kidnapped you to kiss you? I don’t care how good looking he is! Have some pride you stupid broad!

There are a few other prize winning Nina moments where she wonders if they are going to continue dating after meeting him for the second time; another is when she signs a contract without reading every page despite the fact that she knows something is up. Oh and keep in mind that up until this point she has probably only heard 20 words from him that weren’t a yes or no answer.

I tell you, the number of times I had to put down the book to take a big breath and pull my hair out is astounding–I’m surprised I still have hair.

Tristan isn’t any better. He is the stereotypical alpha male billionaire who sweeps her off her feet. I personally found it extremely creepy and I would be begging Nina to run if I was her friend Jordan–who, of course, thinks it is a brilliant idea to do all of this with a strange but rich man. Emphasis on the “rich” man part because his wanting to take care of her is all that her friend will need to be happy in life. *eye roll* I also found his character to be really unstable in the sense that he would appear one way and then another. His character and personality is never consistent throughout the book which is frustrating. I suppose it is attributed to his past but it really came out of nowhere at times.

*End Of Possible Spoilers*

Considering my rant, it is probably a surprise that I actually continued to read this book. I thought about giving up, but kind of like a train wreck, I just had to keep going. Eventually, it got better once some time passed in the plot. The relationship between Nina and Tristan got to be a lot healthier and I could sort of see their connection together. Near the end of Crash Into Me, we get more plot than their “intense” romance and it makes the story more interesting. I was still pulling my hair out and eye rolling as I read the last half of the book but I was “enjoying” the book I suppose.

Fall Into Me starts right after Crash Into Me but this time we are offered an alternating POV between Nina and Tristan. I welcomed this because it allowed for more insight into Tristan as a character. Even with the added perspective I still feel like I don’t know him too well but I suppose part of his appeal is the “mysterious” part of him. I felt like parts of Fall Into Me were added simply for the sake of making it “risqué” (just like a scene in Crash Into Me which was completely unnecessary). I could have done without them and I think the book would be better off without them. Overall,  the book was interesting and kept my attention though parts just felt like rehashes of the first book.

Give in to Me didn’t do much for me. There was only so much “I love you”‘s and sappy bits I could take before it started to take its toll. I just found it to be dull and even when the “suspense” part of the plot picked up, I just didn’t really care. Some good little twists at the end but not enough to wow me in any way.

I will be reading the novella, Ever After, when is comes out just for the sake of closure though I did like the way Give in to Me ended. I think the epilogue is just a bit of a treat for readers.

Conclusion:

While this series isn’t the worst contemporary series that I have read, it definitely isn’t the best. A promising plot just a poor execution and it really isn’t anything that I haven’t read before. I personally wouldn’t recommend this series to my friends because it irritated me at times; but it you want a story that is heavy on physical attraction and has a bit of a mystery to it, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1); Down to You by M. Leighton (The Bad Boys #1) and Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed on You Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Crash Into Me (from Goodreads):
What would you give up for everything?

Tristan Stone was powerful, commanding, sex incarnate. And he wore it all so well. From the moment his mesmerizing gaze met mine, I had no choice but surrender to everything he was. His power. His decadence. His passion. He was all I never knew I needed.

He wanted to possess me, and I wanted to be his everything. All I had to do was accept what he offered. But everything has a price.

The world he gave me fulfilled my wildest dreams, but would that be enough when the past crashed into the present?

Series Review: A Long Road to Love by Liza O’Connor

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014
Series: A Long Road to Love Trilogy
Author: Liza O’Connor
# of Books: 3 (Worst Week Ever, Oh Stupid Heart, Coming to Reason)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

NOTE: I have only read the first book, Worst Week Ever, of this series.
I picked up Worst Week Ever as a freebie from Amazon one day and I needed a light-hearted book to read around that time so I decided to read it right away.

It is important to go into this book knowing it isn’t going to be the greatest book ever. The writing isn’t anything fantastic and the plot is over-the-top. But it you go into the book knowing that, you will enjoy reading it.

The situations Trent and Carrie find themselves in were very entertaining and often hilarious. Trent reminded me a lot of Drew from Tangled in how he views life and women–but Trent is much more over-the-top. Carrie is easy to empathize with and she keeps a level head despite all the craziness.

I will be reading the next book in the series, Oh Silly Heart, but I would have been happy with the series ending at Worst Week Ever. I’m not in any rush to read it but I hope to read it one day.

Conclusion:

Part of the reason I liked this book so much was that I didn’t pay the $5 for it and I went in with low expectations. I wanted a fun book that would potentially make me laugh. If these books pop up for free on Amazon and you want to read something that is lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Rating: 3.5/5

Similar Reads: Tangled by Emma Chase (Tangled #1)

Synopsis for Worst Week Ever (from Goodreads):
Trent Lancaster spends one month without his Executive Assistant (or as his drivers refers to Carrie: ‘Trent’s brain, left hand, and right hand’. He’s had a miserable month without her at his side and to ensure it never happens again, he intends to marry this brilliant beauty. Only given all the times he’s threatened to fire her, he’s not sure she even likes him. However, the future of his company and his happiness depend upon him succeeding, so Trent begins a slow one week seduction, that happens to coincide with Carrie Hanson’s Worst Week Ever when everything that can go wrong does so in hilarious form. (Hilarious to the reader, Carrie is not having much fun this week.)

Series Review: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love by Anna Antonia

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

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Synopsis for Mad for You (from Goodreads):
I had gone to high school with Gabriel Gordon. Despite his heavenly name and matching beauty, Gabriel was anything but angelic. Rich, spoiled, and far too cynical for his age, he could easily charm the skirt off a prim beauty or a young teacher or two. Gabriel Gordon was mad, bad, and …well, you probably know the rest.

The years hadn’t changed him, despite taking over his father’s company and expanding it into a multinational corporation. Unfortunately, it was just my luck that I found myself working in Gabriel’s building. Although I had managed to avoid him for the better part of a month, a chance encounter in the elevator proved he was still an arrogant man who showed far too much interest in the shape of my mouth and nape of my neck.

From then on, Gabriel bedeviled me, teased me, and more often than not, made me want to throw things at his head. Still, just as in high school, I couldn’t help but see the pain behind his lazy grin and the shadows in his crystalline gaze. When Gabriel confessed his love for me, I should have been the happiest woman in the world. Too bad I couldn’t believe him…

Emma Adams had always considered herself level-headed, even-tempered, and most of all, sane. So how did she become someone who couldn’t seem to push Gabriel Gordon away? No matter how sweet his words could be or how easily passion exploded between them, getting involved with the outrageously wealthy playboy had to be the height of insanity. Given their tumultuous natures and personal demons, there was only way a relationship between them could survive: in madness.

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Series: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love
Author: Anna Antonia
# of Books: 4 (Mad for You, Bad for You, Dangerous for You, All to Love You)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: light in Bad for You onwards)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up this book for super cheap after reading the synopsis. I love stories about reuniting with a high school love who didn’t seem to know you existed–I mean it’s fiction for a reason 🙂 But it promised to be a quick read with a swoon-worthy hero so I quickly moved it up my to-read list.

This book was enjoyable and it did have it’s cute and swoon-worthy moments that I was hoping for. BUT, I did have a few issues with the execution and writing style.

As much as I liked Gab, he didn’t sound like a 25 year old male to me. He talked very old fashioned which threw me considering it is a contemporary, modern read. I guess that is supposed to be part of his appeal but I just felt like it was off for his modern businessman bad boy persona. Maybe he has matured based on what we learn about him in the story but it just didn’t fit or work overly well for me.

My other peeve was the writing flow. One minute we would be in the past and then without an ellipse or noticeable break in the paragraphs we would find ourselves in the present. This confused me and I often had to reread sections to figure out what had happened.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

What happens at the end is something I didn’t see coming and I’m not sure how I feel about it because it ended so abruptly. It definitely left me curious to read the next book but not enough that I would drop everything to read it. I don’t want to give it away but I know I wasn’t expecting that turn and it makes for an interesting twist in a New Adult novel.

updates

–January 8, 2017– Book #2: Bad for You

I was curious to see how they would handle the plot given the ending of the previous book but I ended up torn.
Torn, because I appreciated the honesty of the characters and how they were going to move forward with their relationship (so win); but in the same breath, I easily got tired of the love-dovey, mushy romance (so loss).
I just wanted a little more substance to this story. It really only focused on one aspect and it just seemed to rehash that point over and over…I just found myself so bored and simply not connecting with these characters.

Series Rating: DNF

Mad for You 3/5 | Bad for You 2/5 | Dangerous to You N/A | All to Love You N/A

overall

If you want a quick and simple romance series, this is for you. If you like an alpha male who will do anything for his heroine, this is the book for you. But if you want a little more to your romances, look elsewhere.

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Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Breathless by Maya Banks

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Breathless
Author: Maya Banks
# of Books: 3 (Rush, Fever, Burn)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)

Thoughts:

Maya Banks is a must read author for me for a few reasons. One is that her highlander books are my favourite to read of that genre; another is that no matter the setting or genre, her writing is consistent and I always get what I expect; and three, I just enjoy the stories she creates. So when I saw that she was coming out with a new contemporary series, I jumped on it.

I personally am not a fan of BDSM-focused books. That stuff doesn’t turn my crank but I don’t mind some of the milder stuff that we see in other popular contemporary reads like the Stark Trilogy or the Crossfire Saga. The books of the Breathless Trilogy are a bit lighter than some other BDSM novels out there (like Banks’ Sweet Series) but they a touch more heavier than the Stark or Crossfire series. So my recommendation is if you don’t enjoy or can’t get past EXTREMELY dominate, alpha males, don’t pick up this series–it will NOT be your cup of tea!

I really enjoyed Burn but not as much as I had hoped. To be honest I’m not sure why I didn’t like it as much as I had hoped. I liked all the characters and their stories. There was more to the plot than just sex (though it does take a while for the secondary plot to kick in but I enjoyed watching how the romance progressed so I didn’t mind too much) and it ends on a solid note. I think the reason I would give it a 3.5 rather than a 4 is the BDSM element to it. I think it was a little too much at times and I just can’t fathom the whole concept personally so I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I could have.

When it comes to Fever, the BDSM element again is the factor holding back my higher rating. In Fever the BDSM element is definitely more present than before so that turned me off a bit. I also would have liked more of a personal relationship between Jace and Bethany. It just happened so quickly and I just didn’t understand their “connection”. All I really needed to see was one date where they talked without ripping their clothes off and I would have been satisfied. But overall, the plot was a lot more suspenseful so that was a bonus.

Burn was a major disappointment for me. Ash’s need for submission really made reading the book uncomfortable for me. It was way too much for me and I didn’t like that element. Again, I wanted more of a personal connection between the characters and we didn’t get that. The last 50 or so pages were really great and I couldn’t put it down so I wish that there was more of that suspense. I also would have loved a real epilogue but I was happy with the way it ended.

Conclusion:

Not the best series of all time and I was disappointed but I did enjoy the stories. However, this series is not for everyone! If you don’t like BDSM novels or extreme alpha male characters–AVOID these books! These books are a lot more “hardcore” than others out there and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Fans of Bank’s other contemporary series will like these.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks (Sweet Series, #1) and Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis for Rush (from Goodreads):
Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Series Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

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Series: Beautiful Bastard

This series crosses over with the Wild Seasons Series in book 4, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 4 (Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player, Beautiful Secret)

There are 4 novellas #1.5 Beautiful Bitch, #2.5 Beautiful Bombshell, #3.5 Beautiful Beginning and #3.6 Beautiful Beloved

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama
Heat Rating: Smokin’, Kink: mild, BSDM: light
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

This series peaked my interest for three reasons: 1) the title (it isn’t every day you see “bastard” in a title); 2) the enemy to lovers plotline (I’m a sucker for this type of romance plotline) and 3) the fact that it was fan-fiction before being republished.

Now, the fact that it was fanfiction, specifically Twilight fanfiction, would rightfully deter people away from picking up Beautiful Bastard. I mean, Twilight fanfiction brought us Fifty Shades of Grey and that presents a bias for all fanfiction that is published after its initial posting. So, needless to say I was a bit skeptical about this book, but I did like Fifty Shades when all is said and done so I decided to give this a shot.

I have to say, this book wasn’t very “Twilight-y” in its delivery. Unlike Fifty Shades where you can pick up the obvious parallels between its story and Twilight, I really didn’t get that here. After I finished the book and read the authors’ biographies, I realized that this published version was different than the original fanfiction they created. So if you are worried that this is just a reworking of Twilight, it isn’t so go into it with a fresh mind.

As for the book, Beautiful Bastard, it was a quick and cute read. Nothing wholly original but I was entertained nonetheless. I wish there was a bit more tension between the characters before they started sleeping together. I kind-of wanted more of a buildup to the eventual “moment” but they do give some flashback and insight to their past relationship so that helps. But I still don’t really understand why they are drawn to each other besides the sex (which happens a LOT, nearly every chapter). I suppose it is expanded upon a bit later on but I could have used a little more details.

The book also ends rather abruptly I think. I like a nice little epilogue or wrap-up at the end of my books; especially when the next full length novel in the series doesn’t deal directly with those two characters. So the way it ended was a bit of a disappointment but the nice thing is the Beautiful Bitch novella picks up from the end of Beautiful Bastard and closes up some of those gaps. However, it also ended abruptly (it is a novella after all) but I did feel like I got some closure. I was lucky to borrow a copy but if I had paid the $6 to buy the book from Kobo, I would have been severely disappointed in this novella. But when all is said and done, I enjoyed it and it did get me excited to read Beautiful Stranger.

Unfortunately, Beautiful Stranger was a bit of a disappointment. It is really a shame because I really did like the characters and wanted to really like this book. There were two issues that caused me not to enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. One was the same problem I have with Beautiful Bastard: I don’t understand why these characters fall in love with each other. Sure, they have amazing sexually chemistry but again, I would have appreciate an expansion on the things they have in common and their connection because I do think it was there, it was just tucked behind the scenes. The other issue would be the “kink” factor these two share. By no means is it as kinky as some erotica novels out there but I really don’t understand the fascination with taking photos of yourself–especially when you know the risks involved. Just doesn’t float my boat and it took me a long time to get over that. Overall, I liked Beautiful Stranger, but not as much Beautiful Bastard and I wish there was an epilogue!

I’m looking forward to the next eBook, Beautiful Bombshell and hoping for some resolution with the previous characters and also hoping for some more insight into the characters of the 3rd book, Beautiful Player.

Updated (Jan 9/15): I won’t lie–this series slipped to the back of my mind in 2014 and that only reason I remember I read it was because of my library adding the last few works to the online catalogue in December. So I put my holds on them and waited.

I actually read Beautiful Player before I read Beautiful Bombshell just because of how my holds at the library worked out. I don’t feel like I missed out on much because it really had nothing to do with the leads in Beautiful Player (maybe two little facts about the hero) and everything to do with the leads in the previous two books. Beautiful Bombshell is basically just reading sex scenes involving the last two couples in various places in Vegas. I actually skimmed a lot of it because it was almost a sex overload — though I thought the last chapter was really cute.

As for Beautiful Player–hands down my favourite book in the series! I loved loved the two leads, loved their relationship and loved the plot line. Hanna reminded me so much of myself in her everyday life and she had my laughing throughout the book. Of course she had her little dumb moments but nothing that stopped me from loving her. And Will was just plain swoon-worthy. I never had to question why these two liked each other because their chemistry and connection was apparent from the start. They didn’t jump into bed together but actually had a relationship before all the sexual stuff came into the equation. But the sexual tension was there from the start and it made that moment when they actually crossed that line that much sweeter. I just thought it was really well done even if there wasn’t much else going on plot-wise other than their relationship growing.

Updated (March 28/15): I read Beautiful Beloved and really enjoyed it. Unlike Beautiful Bombshell, I didn’t feel like I was reading extended sex scenes of all the characters–it actually had a plot and an intriguing one at that! It raises good questions for the modern woman: how do you balance your work life with your obligations as a mother? And while I may not necessarily be in that place in my life at the moment, I think a lot of older women (and guys too!) will relate in some capacity to the couple here.

But perhaps the best part of Beautiful Beloved was the brief introduction to the hero in Beautiful Secret! I cannot wait for this book–I already have my name on the hold list at my library and am counting down the days!

Updated (April 1/15): I will admit that I didn’t give Beautiful Beginning the time it deserved because I had to return it to the library and read another book before it expired on me too. Like Beautiful Beloved, I thought it was a great way to wrap up these characters’ stories and it would have been a great way to end the series had they not decided to write Beautiful Secret (the crossover with their other series). It’s not sex scenes every two pages and it made me appreciate these two characters and their relationship a lot more. It was fun, touching and overall a great novella!

UPDATED (May 6/15): Despite getting Beautiful Secret on its release day, I didn’t get a chance to read it until now. While this book didn’t blow my away like Beautiful Player, I simply adored it! I was worried it was going to be a British regurgitation of Beautiful Bastard (the premise is slightly similar with a young intern as the female lead) but they are drastically different. It was fun and sweet and sexy–everything I want (and have come to expect) in a Christina Lauren novel! I loved that instead of a naive young girl, we get a male lead who isn’t too sure of his sexual prowess and who hasn’t been sleeping his way through London. It made their connection more realistic to me than this “magical” connection that makes him change his ways after a mind-blowing “shag” (you know the stories I’m talking about?).

Right now, there are no plans for further books in the series and I am OK with that. Christina Lauren have shown that they can write other stories with their Wild Seasons Series (which I immensely enjoy) so I would like to see them expand their catalogue a bit. But that isn’t to say I wouldn’t read the next novel in this series if there were to be one. You can definitely count me in!

Definitely not the greatest books ever written–though all things considered, they are written well–but if you are looking for a cute quick read that is filled with lots of sex, look no further than this series! It’s a great modern, contemporary erotica romance series without all the dark, alpha males in the traditional contemporary erotica series.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire Trilogy, #1); Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy, #1); and Worth the Scandal by Karen Erickson, (Worth It, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Bastard (from Goodreads):
An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release

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