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Series Review: Clayton Falls by Alyssa Rose Ivy

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Derailed (from Goodreads):

When you’re lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.

Broken over the death of her fiancé, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.

Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.

breakdown

Series: Clayton Falls
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
# of Books: 4 (Derailed, Veer, Wrecked, Book 4)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: There is a Book 4 planned but no release date
Genre: Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Derailed); Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up Derailed as a freebie one day on Amazon in 2013. I think I somehow knew that the “hero” was in a band because I always thought of it as a “band” novel–even though that is far from the case. I enjoy second chance stories for the most part and I thought this one had an interesting premise. I even picked up the boxset a few years later (2016) for a good price because I assumed I would want to read the sequels.

Like most books, I don’t get to them right away. If you check my activity on Goodreads, you’ll see that I moved Derailed (Book 1) on and off my “TBR” a total of 4 times over the span of 5 years. It was on my “pass” shelf until I drew the title from my TBR jar in January 2018 as a part of my Tackling the TBR Challenge for 2018. So I did my best to go in with an open mind and started the book.

Why I DNF’d Derailed at 42%–but kept progressing through the series:

So I did end up DNFing Derailed at 42% (just at the start of Chapter 10) for a few reasons. The main one was that this story was not catching my attention. The romance didn’t seem to have any substance to it (I felt like they were just nostalgic for each other and the feelings they shared)–and I was 42% of the way there! And there was a bit of a love triangle which didn’t help. I also didn’t like Molly as a lead. She was so boring to read about yet she was pretty melodramatic. I just found that I couldn’t get a good read on her character.

After I DNF’d it, I went on to read the synopsis for the next two books (since I already owned them) and saw that the leads were some characters that did capture my attention so I decided to give them a shot.

The Plot:

I found it took me awhile to get into all the books. We get these weird meetings between the leads–where they seem to blow the tiniest things out of proportions in an attempt to add “tension” to the relationships–and then we slowly uncover who they are as people. The endings all seemed a little rushed to me in the sense that things I would have liked to have seen early on to provide depth are neatly wrapped up in a chapter or two. It gave the books a lopsided feel to them in that regard.

For me, a lot of the dialogue between the characters came across as stiff and I feel like a majority of the chapters are dialogue. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I found that the lack of inner monologue resulted in the drama being escalated rather quickly and in a more melodramatic fashion than I anticipated.

The Characters:

Besides not liking the leads in Book 1 (Derailed), I did like the rest of the cast. One of the nice things about this series is that it does take place in a small town so you see a majority of the same characters throughout the series.

Once we delve a little deeper into the characters, I found the stories became more enjoyable. With Book 2 (Veer) that was the case entirely. When you start to understand their actions and feelings based on their past it makes it easier to like them as characters.

However, I found the character development to be very underwhelming throughout the series. I felt like we only scratched the surface of these extremely complicated characters. It’s not enough to simply list their troubled pasts–you have to do something with that. And I feel like this series never does anything with the foundations it lays down.

The Romance:

Again, I think the romances suffer from the underdevelopment the rest of the series does. All these characters fall hard and fast; and any conflict is quickly resolved in a neat fashion. So while I could see the basic/initial draw they each had to each other, I wanted to see more conversations and moments of growth with the romances.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While I think the premise for the 4th book is cute, after the ups and downs I’ve had with this series, it’s going to be a hard pass.

Series Rating: 2/5

Derailed DNF | Veer 3/5 | Derailed 2/5

overall

I craved more from each of these novels. But if you are looking for a straightforward, lighter romance that doesn’t feature in-depth sex scenes, this would be a good series for you.

Read if You Like: lighter reads, second chance stories, small town settings
Avoid if You: want more character development, want erotica

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Series Review: Maybe by Ella Miles

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 Maybe Yes (from Goodreads):

Her future is already set, all she has to do is marry a complete stranger.

Kinsley Felton has everything. Money, a loving family, and a modeling career. She graduates from Yale in just days, but unlike a typical college student she doesn’t have to spend hours looking for a job when she graduates. Kinsley will inherit the multi-billion dollar gaming and hospitality company her great-grandfather started. The only problem is she has to do everything her family asks for in order to get that money. That includes marrying a man of her family’s choosing. That’s not a problem since Kinsley has been following her family’s orders all her life. Until a phone call from her grandfather changes everything.

Will she marry the man her family chooses or will she decide her own future?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Dark Romance 2017
Series: Maybe

There is a spin-off series called Definitely.

Author: Ella Miles
# of Books: 3 (Maybe Yes, Maybe Never, Maybe Always)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: getting hot (Kink: mild in Maybe Always)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Maybe Yes), Alternating (Maybe Never onwards)
Publication Dates: March – July 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Amazon freebie box set)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure where I found out about Maybe Yes but I marked it on my TBR around the time it was first published in March 2016. And then I really lucked out when the trilogy boxset was listed as a freebie read on Amazon in February 2017. It’s not often that a book I mark as a TBR gets a reduced price let alone the entire series is marked as free so I immediately grabbed a copy.

This was a romance right up my alley! I like to read about unorthodox relationships in my romances–I find they keep things interesting between the usually romantic fare. And the “arranged relationship” trope is one of my faves as well. So to find one that seemed to combine both was awesome! However, I was hesitant that I wouldn’t like Kinsley’s character (I don’t like indecisive heroines) but went in with an open mind and was really excited to start this series when I pulled it from my TBR jar for my #ShelfLove Challenge!

The Concept:

The disclaimer for this series actually supremely helpful in preparing the reader for what to expect. Because the story we get in Maybe Yes (book 1) is nothing like the story we get in Maybe Always (book 3).

Warning: Three book series. Contains hot sex, a female that finds her strength, and dark pasts that turn very dark as the series progresses. Only for those that love dirty romances, edge of your seat suspense, twists, and a little bit of darkness.

That first part about a “female that finds her strength” is key when it comes to meeting Kinsley for the first time. She’s a naive girl who has her whole life controlled by her family–and for some unknown reason–so it makes her seem like she isn’t the brightest girl on the planet. But that also provides the perfect opportunity for character growth. More on that below. My point is, thanks to that disclaimer, I was able to have some patience with her character in that first book. I was able to get some understanding for why the situation is what it is.

The same thing goes for the “dark pasts” aspect. This isn’t just a story about a girl deciding if her arranged marriage will work for her–there is so much more going on and this story goes in a direction I never expected. It’s not your everyday contemporary romance (despite how the synopsis for book 1 reads) and that’s what I loved about it.

The Plot:

Like I said, this book always had me guessing! The plot is never what it seems and the twists are fabulous! I was absolutely hooked on this story and easily could have read all three books in one sitting if life didn’t get in the way.

But like the disclaimer said, this series moves in a direction you probably aren’t expecting when you pick up Maybe Yes. It has an edge of danger to it that I think some readers might not enjoy if they prefer their lighter romances that focus on the sexy times and everyday dramatics. There’s nothing “everyday” about this series at all.

The Characters:

The Kinsley we have in book 1 is by no means the Kinsley we get in book 3. Her character progression was fabulous to read. She truly gains her independence and learns that she is more than the beauty her family has told her to bank on her entire life. And what I really loved is that she doesn’t become co-dependent on her romantic interest either. You could have easily removed his role and you would still get this strong heroine at the end.

This series is really about Kinsley becoming her own woman but you need a strong partner as well. I’m not going to name her romantic interest because I think it is a slight spoiler; but I will say that I really loved his character and the role he plays. He was a great partner for Kinsley’s journey because he has one he has to complete as well.

The Romance:

While this happens pretty fast and doesn’t seem like it has too much depth to it, I think it’s easy for the reader to see why these two would work together. Like I said above, they were a great partnership and had fantastic chemistry to boot!

Series Rating: 4/5

Maybe Yes 4/5 | Maybe Never 4/5 | Maybe Always 4/5

overall

Take the disclaimer to heart. If you don’t like suspense or darker romances (like the ones in my similar reads section below), avoid this! But if you want a story that is always twisting with a heroine that truly grows as the story progresses, check it out!

Read if You Like: dark romances, suspense, danger
Avoid if You: dislike dark romances, want a lighter read

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Series Review: Atlanta Affair by Isabella Rae

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Workplace Affair (from Goodreads):

There are those once in a lifetime opportunities that come along, that in your wildest dreams would never happen to you. When independent Victoria Bryant’s opportunity comes, a climb up the corporate ladder turns into an affair with the owner. Now she must make decisions that will change her life forever. Will she choose to forgive the man she’s grown to love, or watch him walk away and give up everything that might have been…..

When Leland Ambrose started his company he was young and in charge, but when he meets Victoria, he discovers a weakness he hadn’t counted on. A weakness so great that his company could pay the price. Will he stand up for the woman he loves, or protect the company he’s worked so hard to build…

breakdown

Series: Atlanta Affair
Author: Isabella Rae
# of Books: 4 (A Workplace Affair, A Sweet Affair, A Wedding Affair, A Hidden Affair)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Hidden Affair, is slated to be published
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Disclaimer: After finishing A Workplace Affair (Book 1), I opted not to continue this series. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Have you ever put a book on your TBR list, excited to read it and then when you finally do years later, you can’t remember why you were so excited to read it? That’s me with this series.

I was really excited to read A Workplace Affair. It was marked on my Kindle Wishlist for a long time and I finally snagged a copy when the price dropped to $1 a few years ago. I think I was eager to try another contemporary romance after loving the Worth It Series by Karen Erickson. Or, I was mixing it up with Kristen Proby’s With Me in Seattle Series. Regardless, I remember being excited to read it when I bought it but when I reread the synopsis just before I started it, I didn’t have that same enthusiasm but I went in with an open mind.

What I Liked:

–The Integration of the Secondary Characters–

In a series where the sequels involve secondary characters, its always a nice to get to know them before hand so you are invested in getting their stories in the next novel. A Workplace Affair did a good job at giving you a little taste of all the subsequent leads and making you curious about their lifestories.

What I Didn’t Like:

–A Very Rushed Romance–

This story was a classic case of love at first sight. Leland sees Victoria and instantly has to have her. I think they talk twice before he is asking her to move in. I get instant connections but these two had hardly had a conversation before they were making these life altering decisions. Ugh.

–Unnecessary Drama–

One of my biggest pet peeves in contemporary romances is the communication assumption. You know, when the characters assume something to be true but never seek confirmation and drama ensues. But what’s even worse is when the character(s) purposely leave something out. Absolutely frustrating.

Spoiler: Unnecessary Drama Example #1

Leland has decided that he wants to move to Atlanta because he knows it’s too much for Victoria to move to NYC. So when she tells him she is willing to move, he says he doesn’t want her to move in with him anymore…and leaves it at that. Full well knowing it will drive Victoria away because he has a “surprise” (aka he is moving to Atlanta to be with her). Why couldn’t he just say that?!!??!?!

[collapse]

The other time is when Victoria knows that what has happened is outside of Leland’s control, gets that there is nothing he can do but then proceeds to be super upset by it. And I get that the situation was upsetting but I felt like she really blew things out of proportions.

Will I Finish It?

I do have A Sweet Affair on my Kindle since I picked it up as a freebie years ago but given my experience with A Workplace Affair, I’m not too optimistic that I will enjoy the rest of the series.

Series Rating: DNF

A Workplace Affair 2/5 | A Sweet Affair N/A | A Wedding Affair N/A | A Hidden Affair TBR

overall

If you like quick romances and don’t mind some cliche plot lines, you will likely enjoy this series! Otherwise, there are stronger adult contemporary romances out there.

Read if You Like: insta-love, workplace romances, quick stories
Avoid if You: dislike cliche plots

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Novella Serial Review: Luke by Cassia Leo

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Mirror (from Goodreads):

From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a hot new romance packed with emotion and suspense.

At twenty-eight, Luke Maxwell is the hottest eligible bachelor in America and the billionaire CEO of Maxwell Computers. When Brina Kingston is hired by Luke’s competitor as a corporate spy, Brina successfully works her way into a position as Luke Maxwell’s new executive assistant. What Brina doesn’t expect is to find herself in a compromising position in his bed.

Brina thinks she has the savvy to see past Luke’s cunning intellect and extract the trade secrets she was hired to acquire. But she soon finds herself falling for his charms and risking the most important assignment of her career and, possibly, the greatest relationship of her life.

breakdown

Series: Luke
Author: Cassia Leo
# of Parts: 7 (All Parts Listed Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (Alternating later on)
Publication Date: December 2012 – September 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I only read Mirror, Memory and Linked (#3) before I decided not to continue with this series. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I got the first part as a freebie on Amazon and later got the complete series as a freebie as well. I really enjoy series where one lead is “deceiving” the other (but falls in love) and so that aspect is what drew me to this serial.

When I needed a easy going, somewhat lighter (and shorter) story during my exams, I opted to pick this serial up.

What I Liked:

I’m going to be honest and say not much.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Espionage Concept is Lacking–

My main motivation for picking this up was the undercover assignment. I just love the tension it brings about. But it never really goes anywhere and it seems to resolve by the 4th installment.

–Insta-Love–

Bleh, it was insta-love at its finest. Three minutes after meeting, they’re having sex. Three days after they meet, they’re saying I love you. I guess the sex is that good.

–No Plot–

Was there one? It was hard to tell at times. All the inklings were there, they just didn’t get elaborated on.

Each installment (that I read) went like this:

  1. Reminder of why she is there (get company secrets)
  2. Luke does something sweet (ex. holds her hand)
  3. They have sex
  4. She talks about her brother
  5. She feels guilt for her deception

Will I Finish It?

Nope. It sounds like some of the later installments jump a few years ahead but that doesn’t win my interest over.

Series Rating: 2/5

overall

If you like romances quick and don’t need too much to them, this is a great serial for you.

Read if You Like: erotica serials, want more suspense
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, dislike serials
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  • Heated by Maya Banks (Most Wanted Trilogy #2)

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Single Sundays: Draw Play by Tia Lewis

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 Draw Play (from Goodreads):
Jake:
I can’t believe my coach assigned me a tutor. I’m all that on the field and between the sheets — who cares about my stupid grades?

But Claire doesn’t treat me like I’m dumb. When we’re not busy fighting, she actually encourages me. And with those sexy curves of hers, I know just how to thank her.

Claire:
I hate football players, but I need the money. Jake is just as cocky and arrogant as the worst of them … but his touch sets me on fire.

I have to believe he’s different, that he won’t use me and break my heart. Because I can’t stop wanting him. I just hope I survive the ride.

breakdown

Author: Tia Lewis
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was really excited when I saw this as a freebie on Amazon: I’m a sucker for the “in love with the tutor” trope. Add to that, I was looking for a story where a “popular” guy goes for the “nerdy” girl. I wanted some great sexual tension but a sweet romance as well.

The Plot:

What I liked about this story is that both of these characters have self-esteem issues. Claire is worried about her appearance (mostly her size) and how others tend to use her only for her brains; Jake’s academic abilities are overshadowed by his athleticism and good looks. They don’t see themselves as anything other than how people treat them and so they have a lot of growth and learning to do.

When it comes to the plot though, it follows your typical routine formula. They reluctantly meet, they exchange insults, they start to see the other person for who they truly are…and I think you know how the rest goes. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was exactly what I wanted to read at the time. I wanted a cute, quick and sweet romance that I would enjoy reading in one sitting.

The Characters:

Claire was a little overdramatic and I hate to say that because she does have a sad past that does warrant her reactions. There was a lot of potential there but it kind-of fell flat by her irrational actions. I just didn’t warm up to her as much as I had hoped.

I thought Jake had the best character growth. A lot of that is thanks to Claire and her ability to see him as a person and not a commodity. And in turn, he helps her with her self-confidence. I really enjoyed that aspect of their relationship. I like when romances aid in personal character growth.

The Romance:

This was more of a slow burn romance than I anticipated. And for the longest time, I didn’t see how these two would ever fall for each other. They were constantly at each other’s throats. It takes them a while to reach the point that is described in the synopsis I think.

But I really did warm up to these two as a couple and could see why they were drawn to each other.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

overall

While it personally lacks that little bit of polish, this is a super cute NA sports romance that focuses on getting to know the person, not just getting into their pants.

Read if You Like: sports romances, in love with the tutor trope
Avoid if You: want more plot twists

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Series Review: Layers Deep by Lacey Silks

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 Layers Deep (from Goodreads):
He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them…
…and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross’s resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

breakdown

Series: Layers Deep Trilogy
Author: Lacey Silks
# of Books: 3 (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled, Layers Off)

There is a prequel novel, Dazzled by Silver that is FREE on eBook sites.

There is a spin-off series called Crossed.

Book Order: Chronological (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled); Connected (Dazzled by Silver, Layers Off)

However, these all follow a series of Chronological Events.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Steamy; Kink: mild (Dazzled by Silver)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2013 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I read both Dazzled by Silver and Layers Deep but will not read Layers Peeled or Layers Off. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an erotica novel but I was in a reading slump when I decided to read this Rock My TBR 2016 title in the hopes it bring me out of my slump.

I’m not sure how this trilogy crossed my radar. I want to say it is because it shares the same cover work as one of my all time favourite adult contemporary romances, Fixed Trilogy but I’m not sure. It also could have been a sale from Kobo…it’s been on there for a long time but I’ve been looking for a good romantic suspense novel for a long time and this one showed some promise.

What I Liked:

–They Were Quick, Easy Reads–

I finished both books in 2-3 hours so I didn’t feel like I slaved over them. The plots move fast thanks to their simplicity. When I needed a quick, contemporary fix, they did the job perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Much Sexy Times, Not Enough Action–

I really wanted this to be a suspense novel and not so much of an erotica novel. However, it is definitely the latter. And while I like the steamy scenes just as much as the next person, that really wasn’t what I wanted to read.

Besides the leads wanting to bang each other’s brains out, there isn’t a lot to the story. I suppose things get a touch more exciting near the end of Layers Deep but I just don’t care to pick up the next two books.

–The Characters–

Tristan was a more healthy version of Christian Grey but I found their family structure to be similar. Allie was a strong, independent woman but as soon as she meets Tristan she becomes a little bit needy and I feel like her development gets stinted because of it. But, I did like the fact that she was strong and wasn’t necessarily defined by him either.

But they weren’t anything new to me–and I didn’t grow attached to them; definitely not enough to make me want to read their continuation of their story despite the cliffhanger of Layers Deep.

Will I Finish It?

If I get the last two books as freebies, maybe I’ll read them. But when I read Dazzled by Silver a week after Layers Deep, I still was OK not knowing what happens in Layers Peeled.

When to Read Dazzled by Silver:

Honestly, I think you can read it before Layers Deep and it won’t give away much. BUT, I think you’ll get more out of it and save yourself some minor spoilers if you read it after Layers Deep or Layers Peeled.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

[Dazzled by Silver 2.5/5] | Layers Deep 2.5/5 | Layers Peeled N/A | Layers Off N/A

overall

If you want a quick erotica read that has a bit more substance than your typical short stories, pick up these freebies!

Read if You Like: erotica, quick reads
Avoid if You: want more suspense, more plotline
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Meme-ful Musings: When that Book You Wanted Goes on Sale or is FREE!

memefulmoments
Meme-ful Musings: At the end of the month I’ll post a book-related meme that I think brings up an interesting discussion about books. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


book

(Meme from: troll.me)

Like most readers out there, I have a compulsion to buy books. I made a decision about 3 years ago to stop buying physical books because I was running out of space to put them all and because I was moving around a lot for school, it was just easier to use the library for my reading fix (instead of packing up all my books every few months when I moved). But then, I bought my first Kobo Touch (RIP good friend) and discovered three great things about eBooks:

  1. They are cheaper than physical books!
  2. There are a ton of free books available, especially classic novels!
  3. They don’t take up any physical space!!!!!!!!

That last point is key–now I could store all the books I wanted in a cloud or my hand held device. No more bending bookshelves or squeezing books together to get them to fit. Now I could buy as many books as a I wanted without worrying about the space!

Which has its downfall because I find that I now buy more books than I could possibly read because of book sales/promo codes and FREEBIES.

I always look for a bargain in anything that I purchase. I refuse to buy things at full price. I always wait for a sale or a some sort of discount to buy things. So it isn’t a surprise I do that with my reading habit. (Check out my tips for cheaper reading on my “Reading on a Dime” page). That’s why I subscribe to multiple eBook sale mailing lists that tell me the new books on sale or, even better, what books are now free.

Which is the inspiration for this musing. Nothing is better than browsing a list of freebie books and finding that a book you have wanted to read for a long time is now FREE! I get such great satisfaction when I can change the list status on my GoodReads account for a book that I was currently searching for to one that says it is now on my eBookshelf.

I feel the same way when books go on sale though it is a little more subdued. Kobo (as well as Amazon/Kindle but because I have a Kobo I buy more books from them) is great at having sales every so often on the more expensive books that can’t have promo codes applied to them. For example, I was able to pick up some books from the Lunar Chronicles (which typically retail for $10+ eCopy) for less than $4 which is pretty great! Even though I could easily take these books out of the library (after waiting for a long time on the hold list), it’s hard for the bargain hunter in me to turn down a great offer. Especially on books that I know I am going to love and will probably want to reread. I have also bought eCopies of books I have read before and loved when they are on sale (ex. The Princess Bride was on sale once for $1–HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY REFUSE!?).

In the end, the point of this musing is to simply say how awesome things are when they go on sale but how much better they are when they are free 😉

***

So, are you a bargain book hunter? Do you troll eBook merchant sites for freebies on a regular basis? Where are the best places to get cheaper reads?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

 

Series Review: A Billionaire Love Story by Lucy Lambert

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: A Billionaire Love Story
Author: Lucy Lambert
# of Books: 2 (The Pretend Girlfriend, The Pretend Fiance)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I did not finish book 2 in the series: The Pretend Fiance. I was 40% through the book when I DNF’d it.

This is the second (and third) book that I have read by Lucy Lambert. Her Rocked by Him story I read last year and subsequently ranked as the 2nd worst book I read in 2013. However, never knock the power of Amazon freebies because when The Pretend Girlfriend popped up as Free on Amazon, I was willing to give it a shot.

The book summary for The Pretend Girlfriend is very misleading. For one thing, the book is told from a third person POV, not a first person like used in the summary–though this isn’t the first time that has happened with a book. I have mixed feelings about it being third person: I prefer first person but I have a feeling if we got to read every thought that went through Gwen’s head we might get easily annoyed with her. So perhaps it was for the best. Right from the first line of the synopsis, it steers us in the direction that this is some dark, BDSM-driven billionaire erotic romance. You know, the type where an unbelievable attractive billionaire falls for the common girl and changes his ways when he falls in love with her; that same old song and dance. But, this isn’t the same old song and dance; which I found very refreshing but not what one expects after reading the synopsis.

First, let me say that this book is not erotica in the slightest. There isn’t a sex scene until the 60% completed mark and it isn’t anything particularly steamy. There is also no BDSM–which is awesome because I really hate that and I hate that all rich guys in novels have that as their kink. So I really wouldn’t say that Gwen is his “property” just that he expects her to be available when he calls her (she is his pretend girlfriend for appearances and that requires public outings!). I also hate that the synopsis says that she owes “money to the wrong people”. It makes her sound like she is in some criminal ring when she really just needs to pay her rent to her landlord: hardly the “wrong people” if you ask me.

But I will end my rant there. I just wanted to point out that the plot synopsis makes this book sound like something it is not and if I went in with those expectations I would have been severely disappointed. Because we don’t get all that dark, edgy romance. Instead, we get a nice guy hero who is as vanilla as they come and a heroine who falls for him a little to fast (in my opinion).

Regardless, I actually did enjoy The Pretend Girlfriend. Maybe I just needed a lighter read and this met that need. But I found the book refreshing in a way. As I said before, BDSM really doesn’t do much for me (though I enjoy the higher-stakes drama that usually accompanies it) so I liked reading about a genuinely nice billionaire who didn’t want to own the object of his attraction. I do wish that his character was more developed though. He just seemed like he was missing pieces of his past to explain why he was the way he was. Gwen was the same though she was a little more developed in a way but I think that was because we followed her throughout the novel.

Despite that though, I really liked them together as a couple. I think they balanced each other out well and seemed to genuinely have common interests besides physical attraction. I just wished that things didn’t happen within a two week span or else I would have enjoyed it more. Not the best “pretend girlfriend” novel I have read but it was a nice light read and seeing as I got the sequel as a freebie, I decided to read it.

The Pretend Fiance was a little too over the top for me. And by a little: I mean it was extremely over the plot. Again, the synopsis is misleading. Who I expected to be the main “antagonist” for Gwen was not who I would have ever pictured in a million years and I think it suffered from that. There is no other way to describe the plot as other than stupid. It was so ridiculous that it hurt my brain trying to read it. While the first book isn’t overly realistic it did have that touch of realism to it in a fictional sense whereas this one did not. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because both Gwen and Aiden were acting as idiots. I wish I just left these characters at the end of The Pretend Girlfriend because this sequel was completely unnecessary.

Conclusion:

While The Pretend Girlfriend is a nice, light freebie read its sequel really drops the ball off the face of this earth. This series was a flop. There are way better “pretend-billionaire’s-girlfriend” novels out there. And I think it is safe to say I won’t be reading more of Lucy Lambert’s work in the future, even freebies.

Rating: 2/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: NO

Similar Reads: Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed Trilogy #1) and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for The Pretend Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
If you’d have told me a week ago that I’d be a billionaire’s property…

Confident. Brilliant. Rich. Devastatingly handsome. Aiden Manning seemed to have it all. As naïve as I was, when he seemed interested in me, I fell head over heels immediately.

But Aiden Manning’s life held a dark side, one that he needed to hide at any cost. That’s where I would come in. My trusting nature had caused me to owe money to the wrong people, and Aiden was right there and ready to help, if only I’d help him out as well. Just one signature on a piece of paper, and suddenly I was bound to him. The ground rules I had laid out at the beginning quickly melted away, and I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into Aiden’s life.

However, someone couldn’t handle that. An even more powerful figure in Aiden’s life would stop at nothing to break the two of us apart. It soon became clear that I might have to sacrifice everything I had to keep the two of us together.

The real question was: How long could I pretend?

Series Review: Modern Arrangements by Sadie Grubor

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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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Save the Date (from Goodreads): Aidan Iverson III, old money wealthy and blatant playboy, has never felt the need to be with one woman. Why, when he has the looks, money and a family name to rule the nightlife? And, when it thoroughly aggravates Grandfather? LILLIAN SNOWE, do-it-yourself overachiever, has a plan to keep her father healthy and living in the home where he raised her. But, how can she, when the hospital bills are piling up, the bank wants their money and she is hundreds of miles away from home? From the moment they meet, Aidan would have to be blind not to feel an attraction, especially with Lilli’s work attire and feisty humor. When illness, death, debt and a mutual friend, bring these two together, feelings are hurt and someone is insulted. It takes determination, sneaky actions and cockiness to secure the deal. But, even with an iron clad marriage agreement and pre-nup in place, there are those who would seek to destroy the spark threatening to engulf our couple in a happily ever after. So, Save the Date, because you are cordially invited to the seduction of Lilli Snowe.

breakdown

Series: Modern Arrangements Trilogy
Author: Sadie Grubor
# of Books: 3 (Save the Date, Here Comes the Bride, Happily Ever Addendum)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2013 – June 2013
Source & Format: Own (Kindle Freebie)–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read the last two books in the series, Here Comes the Bride and Happily Ever Addendum, prior to writing this review.

Why I Picked it Up/My Expectations:

I got Save the Date as an Amazon Freebie one day and I put it near the top of my to-read list. One of my favourite contemporary romances is the Marriage Bargain where two friends enter a fake marriage for financial reasons but end up falling in love–so I love reading other books with a similar plotline.

My Review:

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Save the Date. One of the main reasons was the writing style. There were a few grammatical errors (using the incorrect verb tense, bad typos, etc.) but I could get past that because it wasn’t overwhelming. It just needed a good polishing because it started rough (felt very immature to me) but I felt like it improved–or maybe I just grew used to it as I continued to read. But I found the flow of the plot and how it was written didn’t do much for me.

For example, Lilli and Aiden don’t really interact until halfway through the book–so up until that point it was a little dull. I missed the sexual tension between the two of them as that is one of my favourite aspects of this type of plotline. Also, a lot of time would pass between events (weeks to months) so I had a hard time keeping the timeline straight. I think the biggest reason I struggled with the plot/timeline was that I thought this series was going to be a series of books about different characters within the same world. But it is actually a trilogy about Lilli and Aiden’s relationship. I think it would be stronger as a series of standalone but connected stories because Save the Date felt like a very long prequel novel to me. Here Comes the Bride sounds a little more exciting to me but I’m not sure if I will read it.

As for the characters, I didn’t totally love them. Aiden seemed nice enough but he just seemed like he was a couple pickles short a jar (I mean when he was trying to convince Lilli he could have mentioned that he liked her as a person for goodness sakes!). I totally understood Lilli’s side of things and I liked her character setup but I felt like I didn’t get to see enough of her to particularly care. I just felt like the communication between the two in terms of dialogue and actually being the in the same room and talking to each other was lacking.

Will I Pick Up the Rest?

I’m undecided about reading the next two installments of this series. People seem to enjoy the sequels but they also enjoyed the first novel when I really didn’t. If it pops up for free on Amazon/Kobo, I might consider it but for now, both are a pass.

Series Rating: DNF

Save the Date 2/5 | Here Comes the Bride N/A | Happily Ever Addendum N/A

overall

I’ve read better “arranged marriage” novels and I felt like this wasn’t up to par with them. I won’t be recommending this to my friends anytime soon (or ever).

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Series Review: Wanted by Amanda Lance

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 Wanted (from Goodreads):

Considering she’s a girl who calculates everything, Addie Battes knew the statistical probability of being abducted in her lifetime—too bad she never analyzed the odds of falling in love with her captor.

While stopping at a crowded rest area one summer night, seventeen-year-old Addie accidentally catches a truck hijacking in progress. Desperate to rid the crime of its only witness, one of the thieves kidnaps Addie. Yet surprisingly, when a renegade thief attempts to silence her for good, Addie is saved by the very man who abducted her. Now, forced on board a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, Addie finds herself surrounded by international smugglers who want nothing more than to throw her overboard.

All except the artistic and intriguing Charlie Hays, whose strange protectiveness convinces Addie to trust him, even when common sense tells her otherwise. Yet, despite her doubt, and his unrelenting temper, their relationship develops into something much more. But, Charlie’s scorned colleague has stowed away, and as he seeks revenge against his coworker, Addie and Charlie are forced to put their new love—and lives—at risk.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Freebie Series 2014
Series: Wanted
Author: Amanda Lance
# of Books: 2 (Wanted, Conviction)

The book, Outlaw, is Wanted retold from Charlie’s POV

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Dark, Crime, Suspense
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – October 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up?

One of my favourite books is a novel called Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It’s about a girl who gets abducted by a boy and the novel is told as a letter to her captor. It was so intriguing and unlike anything I have ever read and it’s always in the back of my mind. So when I saw the premise for Wanted one day when browsing the free bestseller’s list on Amazon, I immediately grabbed it (and eventually its sequel when it was available for free as well).

My Review:

I’ve read a lot of crappy free books but this wasn’t one of them. The writing was well done (though it would be nice to have some page breaks when things change to keep things straight) and Ms. Lance does a great job describing the scene and how Addie is feeling. I really liked Addie as a character and I enjoyed the rest of the cast as well.

I was worried about the romance between Addie and Charlie but I have to say it really grew on me. I saw their connection and liked how they interacted. But, I didn’t like how quickly everything happens (but I’m not surprised because it is an extreme situation and things always escalate quickly in those situations) and the age difference between them. Addie is extremely mature for her age (even before the whole abduction thing) but she is only 17 and I think I would have had an easier time with things if she was 19 years old instead.

I was excited to see where Conviction was going to go and I quickly dove into it. I didn’t love it as much as I liked Wanted but I did enjoy it. I just didn’t find it as exciting and suspenseful but it does pick up near the end. And while I was more accepting of their relationship in Wanted, I found myself a little uncomfortable with their relationship now. The inner psychologist in me found a few things unsettling and I just didn’t like Addie as much as I used to. But, don’t let that discourage you from reading the series because it does compliment the story well.

I will be picking up Outlaw because I’m intrigued to read why Charlie does what he does in Wanted so I’m looking forward to that.

updates

–August 24, 2018– Book #1.5: Outlaw

**I stopped reading at 30% (middle of Chapter 6)**

It’s been a long time since I read the full novels in the series but I find that usually doesn’t matter for an alternative POV sequel. And that was the case here for the most part–only I’m not sure how much of this material was new vs rehashed.

The reason I DNF’d this though was that it was awfully repetitive within itself. Charlie runs the same inner monologue for the first quarter of this book and there is very little interaction with Addie. Charlie’s POV is exactly what I imagined it would be (slang, grammatical errors) but it was also hard to read for an extended time.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Wanted 4/5 | [Outlaw DNF] | Conviction 3/5

overall

This series isn’t for everyone and I think a lot of people will have a hard time accepting the relationship between Charlie and Addie. It isn’t the normal everyday relationship between a heroine and a hero and that is why I liked it, but I know others won’t.

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