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Series Review: Friends by Monica Murphy

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

Friends Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Just Friends (from Goodreads):

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Friends
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Just Friends, More than FriendsForever)

There is a prequel novella called One Night.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t like YA contemporary stories and I don’t like love triangles. So why on earth did I decide to read this one?

The simple answer: Monica Murphy.

She wrote one of the first (and one of my all time favourite) New Adult romance series, One Week Girlfriend. I adore that series. From the amazing characters to the fantastic plot twists, she knows how to write an addicting romance story. And her adult romance work as Karen Erickson is just as great.

So if anyone could sell me on a YA love triangle story, it’s her.

What I Liked:

–The Side Characters–

I love intricate stories and trying to figure out how everyone is linked together is what stole my attention here. I’m one of those readers who often gets caught up in the stories of the side characters and this story is no different.

When we met Amanda, I was immediately drawn into her story. Even Em’s character intrigued me with the little hints we get to see of her life. There are a lot of stories to uncover and I can’t wait to do that more.

–All the Drama–

While this novel mostly focused on Olivia’s romantic and friendship drama, we do get some other dramatics further on in the story. And I liked that a lot because it kept me interested. Most of it comes from the other characters we meet, but there are also some other developments in terms of Olivia’s life as well. It makes me eager to see what happens next.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Objects of Affection–

You know that expression, “lesser of two evils”–that describes this love triangle to a T. I honestly don’t like either of Olivia’s prospects and that was apparent to me early on in the story. Which made it hard to watch Olivia fawn over these two at times because they were not catches at all.

However, I did start to lean more towards a certain someone as more secrets are revealed so I’m curious to see how it all ends.

–The Abrupt Ending–

I thought this story was going to focus on Olivia and the resolution of her love triangle–yeah, so not the case!

Which is totally fine, it just was unexpected and I wished I had prepared myself to be left on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Note on Olivia:

I was really worried that I was going to hate Olivia as a character but I was surprised that that wasn’t the case necessarily. While she won’t be getting any praise from me by being the best heroine ever, she grew on me a little as the story progressed.

But I know that lots of readers will probably not like her character. If you are like me and don’t enjoy angsty lead heroines who change their minds on a dime, you probably won’t empathize with Olivia at the start. She fits the mold perfectly of a teenage girl who finds herself thriving on attention but doesn’t know how to handle it.

However, I did find myself sympathizing with her once the secrets were initially revealed because I understood her hurt. And while I may not agree with how she handled herself after all the shit hits the fan, I didn’t mind her as much as I worried I would.

The Novella–One Night:

I read this after I finished Just Friends–mostly because I didn’t know it existed until I was halfway through.

I’m glad I did because I feel like it gives away some tiny spoilers about some side characters. I much preferred uncovering their secrets in Just Friends because it gave me something to focus on other than the love triangle.

In the same breath, I think I wouldn’t have liked Olivia as much if I read this first. I think I would have created a not so favourable impression of her and it would have taken me longer to warm up to her. However, I do know that it’s the opposite for other readers.

I think if you are hesitant about reading this series, reading the novella is a good taste of what to expect. And it really can be read before or after because it just gives you a better understanding of the characters you are going to meet.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

It looks like we will be getting some more character POVs in the sequel…or at least I sure hope so! All the foundations have been laid down for a great sequel filled with some awesome plot twists and drama.

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–December 22, 2016– Book #2: More Than Friends

**I was not provided a copy for this novel**

I’ve been dying to read the story of these two since I picked up Just Friends…and it was everything I wanted!

I’m a sucker for the story where the popular boy falls for the “nobody” girl and this is no exception!

Amanda is a character you can really root for (Olivia in Just Friends was hit or miss). She’s aware of everything going on around her and seems to know when her friends (Olivia) are acting like idiots. But she is also self-conscious and that humanizes her as well. Sure, she makes some mistakes but you gotta remember she’s just growing up.

And Jordan…swoon! He just stole my heart. It’s obvious to anyone how much he cares and respects Amanda. He says all the right things and acts the way you want a totally smitten boy to.

Can’t wait to see how their story will wrap up!

–March 18, 2017– Book #3: Forever

**I was provided a copy of this novel for an honest review**

This was easily one of my most anticipated sequels this year and I adored every moment of it!

These two are just the cutest; Tuttle especially. His crush/love just warms my heart. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with a male hero in a story. Swoon!

I was really torn on what rating to give this book. While I loved this story and the characters, I was a little let down in the plot.

The whole reason we get this book is because these two have some unresolved issues that they need to work out. I went into this book excited to learn more about Tuttle’s character and see how he would open up to let Amanda in. Unfortunately, this aspect fell flat for me here in this book. We don’t get to uncover more about Tuttle than we already know and this story just goes through the motions of everyday life. Which is fine because I love anything with these two together but I just wanted that touch of depth to take that story to the next level. These two develop as characters in other ways but I wanted to see Tuttle grow that little bit more.

But fans will be more than satisfied with this installment! It has all the drama and teenage angst a fan could want!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Just Friends 3.5/5 | More than Friends 5/5 | Forever 4/5

overall

Normally, I avoid stories like this like the plague but I actually enjoyed this one! Every once and a while, a good angsty YA read is needed and this one meets that criteria without a doubt.

Read if You Like: teen angst, love triangles, YA contemporary
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Series Review: The Fowler Sisters by Monica Murphy

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 Owning Violet (from Goodreads):
I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: The Fowler Sisters Trilogy
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, Taming Lily)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama, New Adult
Heat Rating: hot, Kink: mild
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I really enjoyed Monica Murphy’s New Adult series, One Week Girlfriend (understatement: I loved it) and I also liked her contemporary romances as written by Karen Erickson. So picking up this series seemed like a no-brainer to me.

The Concept / The World:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Owning Violet. The whole “owning” bit of the title gave me the impression that this was going to be a BDSM novel–which are not my preferred cups of tea. But because it was Monica Murphy, I was going to give it a shot. I happy to say that there isn’t any BDSM though it definitely is erotica.

The series follows 3 sisters as they try to balance their love lives and family empire. It’s very soap opera in premise (it reminded me a little of The Young and the Restless :P) but not as cheesy or with as many characters involved.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romance novels of the adult variety, this series followed the formula of “meet”, sex scenes, last few chapters wrap up the plot. And that didn’t really work for me. All of these books had so many great elements to it but they never reached their full potential. I also felt like I was rereading the previous book only with a different female lead and a few little twists (Stealing Rose and Taming Lily nearly have the same identical premise).

You have the work drama, and the crazy plots that bring these characters together but they weren’t very “crazy” to me. They were rather subdued and I wanted all the juicy drama.

I did like that there was an overarching plot that linked each of the sisters stories together. It made me want to keep reading the series even if I wasn’t totally in love with these characters.

The Characters:

I was shocked when I got to chapter two in Owning Violet to see that Ryder was going to get his own POV chapters. I totally thought that the book would only be from Violet’s POV and I was looking forward to unearthing what Ryder’s dirty secret was. Having Ryder’s POV put a different spin on this novel for sure but I’m not sure if it was more harmful than helpful. I thought it really took away from the suspense of the novel and as a reader that made it boring to me.

I also wish there was more to these characters. In Taming Lily I had really hoped that Max’s character would have been developed more with the little inklings we get of his past. But in the same token, I thought Lily had the best character development of any of the sisters so I was really torn over the rating for that book.

The Romance:

All these leads had great sexual chemistry and for the most part they did establish an emotional connection as well. I just didn’t LOVE them as much as I had hoped and I think it was because I was a little tired of reading about them having sex constantly and wanted more drama.

Also, their romances happen very fast and so do the feelings. I just wanted more than endless descriptions of how attractive the girls were or how fantastic it was to have sex with each other. I needed to see more emotional connections (ie sharing of past experiences).

My Rating: 3/5

Owning Violet 3/5  |  Stealing Rose 3/5  |  Taming Lily 3.5/5

overall

This series just really underwhelmed me. I wanted more from these characters than sexual romps in an office and lacklustre character development.

Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, Workplace romances, quick romances
Avoid if You: don’t like erotica, want more character development

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Series Review: One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy

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

One Week Girlfriend

 

Series: Drew + Fable; One Week Girlfriend Quartet
Author: Monica Murphy
# of Books: 4 (One Week Girlfriend, Second Chance Boyfriend + Three Broken Promises, Four Years Later)

There is also a novella that takes place after Three Broken Promises called Drew + Fable Forever

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Really Warm to hot

Thoughts on One Week Girlfriend:

I really went into this book thinking it was going to be a typical, New Adult Romance where the girl from the wrong side of the tracks catches the eye of the Golden Boy and I was ok with that. But boy, was I wrong–and I am so glad that I was!

I really enjoyed this book! I really don’t think it has anything to do with the price (you know sometimes things seem infinitely better when you don’t pay much for them?) I just really enjoyed what happened in this first novel. There is a lot more going on here than what the summary eludes to and the great thing was that it didn’t play out the exact way I thought it was as a little bit of the mystery is revealed a little bit at a time.

I also loved Fable and Drew. Fable is everything I like in a heroine–strong, likeable, smart and witty.  So I didn’t find her annoying and I loved how independent she is. Drew is great too–he captures your heart. I really liked their relationship dynamic and could see how they connected besides a physical attraction–despite the fact that they are essentially together for a week.

Another thing I love is the set-up of the series. Two books is the perfect length for their story. It wasn’t dragged out in Second Chance Boyfriend and as a reader I appreciate that. Both books are also super quick to read page-number wise (but you will probably devour it anyways regardless of page numbers) but again, I didn’t feel like anything was missing from the story by having it shorter than some books.

UPDATE (DEC 4/13): I am to see that there will be two more books in this series about characters we have already met PLUS a follow-up novella about Drew and Fable! I’m glad that Drew and Fable’s story won’t be dragged out and excited to see what Ms Murphy has in store!

UPDATE (Feb 4/14): After tackling a never ending list of library books, I was finally able to read Three Broken Promises and Drew + Fable Forever.

I’ll start with Three Broken Promises. I had always hoped that we would get this book after Drew and Fable’s story was done and it was everything I had hoped it would be. It was cute, charming and swoon-worthy. While I did get a little irritated with the lack of communication between the two at times, I let it go pretty quickly because it was hard to dislike the two of them.

Drew + Fable Forever should be read after Three Broken Promises because it does take place shortly after it (I know it’s tempting to read it before but I promise it is worth it to wait). I like that this wasn’t a full blown novel, rather an extended epilogue and it gave me that little bit more of closure. It also made me excited to read Owen’s story in Four Years Later.

UPDATE (March 17/14): I really enjoyed Four Years Later. While I didn’t find it as strong as the previous books, I burned through it quickly and loved every minute of it. Overall, I felt like this book was more about Chelsea and Owen growing as individuals as a result of them meeting and then falling in love with each other. I didn’t feel like their connection to each other was as strong as the other two relationships in the previous books but I liked both of them a lot and as I read I saw their connection develop. The ending felt a little rushed but I was very satisfied with how this series wrapped up.

Conclusion:

One of my favourite New Adult reads this year: great characters, great stories, great romance and a great price!

Rating: 5/5

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Synopsis for One Week Girlfriend (from Goodreads):

Temporary. That one single word best describes my life these last few years. I’m working at a temporary job until I can finally break free. I’m my little brother’s temporary mother since our mom doesn’t give a crap about either of us. And I’m that temporary girl all the guys want to get with because I give it up so easily. According to the rumors, at least.

But now I’m the temporary girlfriend of Drew Callahan, college football legend and all around golden guy. He’s beautiful, sweet—and he’s hiding way more secrets than I am. He’s brought me into this fake life where everyone seems to hate me. And everyone seems to want something from him. The only thing he seems to want though is…

Me.

I don’t know what to believe anymore. All I know is, I think Drew needs me. And I want to be there for him.

Forever.

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