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Series Review: Furious Rush by S C Stephens

Synopsis for Furious Rush (from Goodreads):
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

Other books in the series:

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Series: Furious Rush
Author: S C Stephens
# of Books: 1+ (Furious Rush, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thanks Forever Publishing

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love a good forbidden romance and this one seemed to fit the bill perfectly when I read the synopsis. Rivals falling in love? It doesn’t get much better than this folks!

The world also grabbed my attention. Racing stories are few and far better–or they are for me–and the premise of a young women trying to break into a male-dominated world fascinated me. I dunno how many people remember the Disney Original Movie Motorcrossed, but it was a favourite of mine growing up.

The World:

I know nothing about professional racing but Stephens provides you enough to get easily understand the world. You aren’t bombarded with information nor are you left hanging wondering what the heck is happening.

It was great entering this world and a nice change in pace from the endless Football heroes…

The Plot:

This one started on the slower side for me. While the sexual tension was brimming from the get-go, I found the drama took awhile to reach its peak. In hindsight, it’s a great set-up for the rest of the series but I just felt like there were too many open-ended questions left.

The Characters:

Kenzie was a strong heroine. She sticks to her convictions even when the world is telling her not too. Her love and loyalty for her family is commendable and two of her best attributes. It made it easy for me to root for and empathize with her as the story progressed.

Hayden is the bad boy with a heart of gold that you can’t help to fall for. One of the nice things about not getting his POV is the mystery of who he is and why. I loved uncovering more about him as Kenzie did. I forget how nice only having a single POV can be in terms of suspense.

The Romance:

These two are perfect for each other and I love how obvious that is early on. If it is a forbidden romance, you need to convince me that these two belong together–and Stephens does that excellently! It was great watching these two fall in love, fighting every obstacle in their way!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I felt a lot of things were left open-ended so I’m very curious to see what is going to happen next!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Furious Rush 3.5/5 | Book 2 TBA

overall
It was super refreshing to have a sports novel set in a non-traditional sport like racing. The forbidden love aspect provides the perfect slow burn romance to keep you eager for more. Plus, the drama promises lots of fallout in the novels to come!

Read if You Like: sport-based novels, drama, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike slow burn romance

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About S C Stephens:
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

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Series Review: Jordinia by C K Brooke


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 The Duchess Quest (from Goodreads):

“Love is destined to find her…”
Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest to seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward! Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost royal, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart. Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, startling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.

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Series: Jodinia
Author: C K Brooke
# of Books: 4 (Full Series Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological, Spin-Off (Descendants & Daughters)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 2014 – February 2018
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC; Author–eARC

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Normally, I stay clear of novels that have any hint of a love triangle or a love entanglement. BUT, this one sounded like it would be more fun than frustrating. Also, the word “swashbuckling”–yeah, it sold me! For some reason, it made me think of The Princess Bride (one of my all time favourite novels AND movie) so I was really stoked when I got the email that I would be a part of this blog tour!

What I Liked:

–The Adventure–

I’m not usually one who enjoys an adventure novel. They tend to be on the slower side of things and fail to keep my attention.

But that wasn’t the case here!

This story was so much fun! The premise is thoroughly entertaining that it captured my attention from the start. It also moved the story at a quick (but not too quick pace!). There are also quite a few twists along the way that keep the story from being overly linear which was fabulous.

–The Multiple POVs–

The various characters we get here are really what drive this story. They each have their unique flare and interesting backstories to keep you intrigued and wanting more.

I like a lot of things happening in my stories and I know that multiple POVs can scare people. But don’t let it deter you from this book! Because it is a third person POV throughout, each different chapter acts as a way to provide an alternate perspective to the same event that is unfolding. It also enriches the story by broadening the story and its reach. Simply put, it’s really done well and one of my favourite aspects.

What I Didn’t Like:

–More Young Adult Than New Adult–

How this book started made me think it was going to be more New Adult in its approach. Not only because of Dainy’s age but with the way the male characters acted when it came to romantic partners. Unfortunately, it was more YA in its delivery (which is was totally fine) but I just wanted a touch more maturity (I suppose that is the right word) to the characters and their story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m very curious to see how this will all wrap up and will definitely be grabbing the conclusion to this series soon!

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–August 15, 2016– Book #2: The Duchess Inheritance

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I was excited to start this one after finishing the fun adventure that was The Duchess Quest. I was really curious to see how Dani would get her kingdom back and what trouble her and her companions would get into.

This one started strong, lulled a little just before the halfway point but finished strong. The last half of this book was by far the best part. It was nonstop action, plot twists and memorable character moments for the latter 50%. I really liked how everything came together.

Again, the multiple POVs are the strength of this series. It provides a 360 degree view of the world and keeps the story moving. It also gets you inside the minds of the various characters. I didn’t realize how attached to these characters I was until it all came to an end. I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to their story.

I also have to say that my concerns over the more Young Adult approach were squashed here. This was definitely a non-contemporary New Adult novel like I wanted it to be.

–February 11, 2017– Book #3: The Duchess’s Descendants

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Spin-offs are a tricky thing to write. Do you rely on the original characters and plot devices, or do you branch off on your own with new characters and a new plot? For me, it’s a blend of both…and that’s what C K Brooke has done here. It is perfection!

I enjoyed this one immensely, even more than its predecessor!

Descendants has all the charm of its parent novels. A fun, action-packed plot that keeps your attention from start to finish; adorable romances you can’t help but root for and an eclectic cast of characters that put a smile on your face.

The characters are what made it for me. I really fell in love with Johanna, Drew and Ludwig. They are all so unique in their personalities; yes, they have some of their parents’ quirks but they also aren’t straight regurgitation of their parents. Their stories were so fun but heart-warming at the same time. And the adventures they find themselves in were definitely memorable.

This novel is just a blast to read and I couldn’t put it down. A great addition to this series!

–August 19, 2018– Book #4: The Emperor’s Daughters

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I never thought that we would get a 4th book in this series, but after reading it, I’m so glad this series was expanded by one final addition.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Jordinia so it took me a few chapters to get back into the groove of things and reacquaint myself with this great world. But, before I knew it, I was sucked into this story like its predecessors before it.

While this instalment lacked the more “physical action” packed journey that the others had, it still had that adventure (albeit subtle) vibe this series is great at conveying. You have those great moments of character growth; the swoon-worthy romances and an engaging plotline of drama and intrigue that keeps you invested.

Overall, it’s a great way to wrap up this series by instilling all the lessons learned in the past novels while creating its own fresh story.

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Duchess Quest 4/5 | The Duchess Inheritance 4/5 | The Duchess’s Descendants 5/5  | The Emperor’s Daughters 5/5

overall
This story was a lot of fun! The adventure, the romance and the characters were a blast!

Read if You Like: The Princess Bride, adventure
Avoid if You: dislike multiple POVs
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C K Brooke

C.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers’ Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books – reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them. When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. There’s tons to check out at the new CKBrooke.com, so come and see what she’s up to!

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

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Series Review: Speak by T A Roth

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Synopsis for Say Something (from Goodreads):

Chemistry
What most girls search a lifetime for…
I felt it the minute he set those whiskey colored eyes on me.
Magnetism
We had it in spades…
My body was drawn to hers the moment she set foot into the room.
What happens when you both have pasts that threaten the future?
Do you do nothing?
Or
Do you Say Something?

22 year old Ari Munoz is used to keeping men at arm’s length. So when her best friend Vonne guilts her into going to a frat party, she couldn’t think of a worse way to spend a Thursday night. That’s until she sparks the interest of love’m and leave’m Ben Rodriguez. The electricity she feels when they lock eyes is something she’s never felt before.

22 year old Ben Rodriguez has it all. He’s a football star, president of his fraternity, and well known ladies’ man. His endless pick of beauties, makes him the envy of all of his fraternity brothers. So why are a pair of long legs and hazel eyes making him want to throw out all of his rules?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Must Read Author 2016
Series: Speak
Author: T A Roth
# of Books: 2+ (Say Something, Say Nothing, Say Anything)
Book Order: Chronological & Connected (Say Anything)
Complete?: No, Say Anything is to be published in the near future!
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley & Xpresso Blog Tours–eARC

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Note: The Blog Tour is for Say Nothing but I’ve made it a Series Review because the first book is so important for the sequel!

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw the Blog Tour announcement for Say Nothing, I immediately signed up…well, after I read the synopsis for Say Something (since I hadn’t read it yet). It promised a lot of sexual tension and fantastic character chemistry so I was immediately sold. And I knew that there was a deeper story to be unravelled once Ben and Ari meant…and I couldn’t wait to figure it out!

And man oh man, was I right!

The Plot:

While the story definitely focuses on Ari and Ben meeting and falling in love, there is also the underlying drama regarding the secret Ari has been holding back for most of her life. And what a heartbreaking secret it is. Watching her struggle with this was hard to read at times because you really want her to be happy and carry on with her life.

I did find the romantic drama to become slightly repetitive in Say Something though. I felt like it was the same cycle of drama again and again–trust/communication issues. Which is fine and even understandable given the characters we have. But I just got a little tired of it repeating itself when it seemed like they had moved past it earlier on. Or maybe it was just my frustration at seeing them struggle when I really wanted them to be together forever–I’m not too sure.

I wanted a little more from Say Nothing as well. The ending felt a little rushed and I wish certain things had been elaborated earlier on. BUT, there were some great twists and I did enjoy reading it a lot.

The Characters:

Ari had great character development as did Ben.

I became so attached to these two (and their BFFs) because they seem so normal. They weren’t over the top nor were they perfect. They each have their faults and they each have their issues but it was so, so great seeing them work on these things together. Even if it frustrated me (in a completely good way) at times 😉

The Romance:

Ari and Ben had great chemistry right from the start. I loved watching them interact and seeing their romance bloom. Things happen faster than I normally like, but I definitely saw how these two worked and why they liked each other so much. Their story was super addicting to read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Thank goodness the next story is about Vonne!!! I was SO WORRIED we wouldn’t get a resolution for her romance and I CANNOT WAIT to read it! (The teaser at the end of Say Nothing nearly killed me!)

Series Rating: 4/5

Say Something 4/5 | Say Nothing 3.5/5  |  Say Anything TBR

overall
If you want a sweet yet sexy New Adult read, this is the series for you!

Read if You Like: college romances, family secrets
Avoid if You: dislike sexy times, New Adult romances

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T A Roth
T.A. Roth is a wife and mother of two funny and crazy kids. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. When she’s not beautifying clients as a stylist/make-up artist at her day job you can find her reading, fangirling her favorite authors, or singing along to the radio. After getting the opportunity to read the debut novel of a then client now friend something clicked. Her “what the hell” attitude kicked in and a year later, here we are.

Say Something… A new adult romance is her debut novel.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

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Book Review: 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa

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Synopsis for 27 Days to Midnight (from Goodreads):
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.

Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.

Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.

In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.

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Author: Kristine Kruppa
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Adventure, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple (though mostly Alternating)
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

If I see the word “steampunk” I almost always pick that book up or add it to my TBR. It’s one of my favourite genres because I love the fusion of historical fiction and science fiction. With it comes rebellious heroines and dashing heroes; action and adventure. It’s a combination of my favourite things and when I saw the blog tour opportunity for this standalone novel, I knew I had to try to be a part of it.

I was looking forward a fun and fast steampunk adventure with a little dash of romance. Plus, the whole idea of knowing when you die via a watch? That was pretty interesting!

The World:

What a love about steampunk novels is that there are staples in every book (like automatons and aircrafts), regardless of the author but there is always a really cool twist that makes each novel or series unique–and this is no exception.

The idea that everyone knows when they are going to die is super intriguing. It’s also really well done, giving this story its backbone and driving plotline. I thought everything was clearly explained or very easy to follow in that respect. It’s complex but not complicated and I loved that.

The Plot:

The plot definitely had its ups and downs but is pretty steady for the last 75 pages. I’m not the biggest adventure fan but this one kept me interested throughout. And this story was definitely more adventure than anything else. But along the way you get some great character and plot development that keeps everything moving. Plus, there is a lot of action–more so than I expected!

Where this story really succeeds is with its POVs from other characters that aren’t Dahlia and Farren. They don’t happen very often but when they do, they add a depth to the story and its plot. You get the fuller picture and you’re able to put things together before Dahlia or Farren would and so you begin to anticipate what will happen next. Those scenes really made me excited to keep reading.

The Characters:

I didn’t like Dahlia immediately but I quickly warmed up to her the more I read. Her character development was fantastic I think. She really grew from the young, spoiled girl we meet at the start to a stronger young woman who I really liked.

Farren charmed me right from the start. I think I have a soft spot for rakish young aviators but that is beside the point! He too had some great development and I think he was the perfect companion for Dahlia on this quest.

The Romance:

This was my only disappointed in the novel. I really wanted some more substance here. The romance really takes a backseat while I personally wanted it to be a bit more at the forefront. However, I really enjoyed the other plot aspects and there was enough action to keep me entertained but I wouldn’t have minded a few more romantic moments here and there 🙂

My Rating: 4/5

overall
If you are looking for a fun, action packed adventure novel set in a steampunk world, this is it! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Kruppa’s future works.

Read if You Like: adventure stories, steampunk
Avoid if You: more focus on the romance

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kristinekruppaKristine Kruppa

Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.

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Series Review: Cottonbloom by Laura Trentham

Synopsis for Kiss Me That Way (from The Publisher):
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

Other books in the series:
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Author: Laura Trentham
# of Books: 6 (Full reading order here)

There are also 2 novellas. See Reading Order Here.

Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 31, 2016 – July 31, 2018
Source & Format: St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

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**This post was originally posted as a Blog Tour 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:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a strictly adult contemporary romance that wasn’t labeled as a “steamier” selection, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to read Laura Trentham’s new series, Cottonbloom Novels.

I wanted a contemporary romance that focused on the characters and their connection to each other–not simply a matter of getting each other into bed. While I normally don’t go for second chance romances, the synopsis gave me the impression that there was more at play in Kiss Me That Way and I was looking forward to finding out what it was.

The Setting:

Nothing gets you attached faster to characters than a great setting, which this series provides. Cottonbloom is such a fun, crazy little town that readers will fall in love with.

Forget the “wrong side of the tracks” motto, this is all about the “wrong side of the river”.

You essentially have a town split in two thanks to the river and that makes for some great, “forbidden” romances and connections. It makes the story a little lighter, providing an upbeat vibe to the somewhat darker stories of Cade and Monroe. Trentham does a beautiful job elaborating on this throughout the novel and you can see how the setting weaves together the next two novels in the series.

The Plot:

I loved the pace of this novel. There was great character development on all fronts–including the secondary characters, which is important for the next two novels. And when Monroe and Cade weren’t learning more about themselves or their families, their romance was so sweet to watch unfold.

But what I really loved was the overarching plotline of the festival. Like I said before, it gives the story a happier vibe without taking away from Cade and Monroe’s past. It also ramps up the anticipation for the rest of the series–which I cannot wait to see!

The Characters:

While the character elements of Monroe and Cade are ones I have encountered before, I still found their characters to be unique and genuine. You can’t help but root for them to succeed in whatever they want, whether that’s love or family matters.

Before I started, I worried that Monroe might be a stubborn woman who resisted all help because she was “independent” now (if that makes sense) and I find those types hard to immediately connect with as a reader. But that honestly wasn’t the case. I really liked her from start to finish. She was strong and smart and perhaps a bit stubborn, but not to the point where it was frustrating. She also didn’t become some simpering fool the minute Cade walked into her life again–she kept true to herself and her independence and I really respected that.

The Romance:

Normally, second chance romances aren’t my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. These two had great chemistry from the get-go which made it so much fun to watch. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I definitely enjoyed every minute watching these two come together.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

With the little tastes of everyone we got in this first book, I am dying to read the next two! Kiss Me that Way served as a great introduction into this series, and I can’t wait to see how the next two build on it!

updates

–July 10, 2016– Book #2: Then He Kissed Me


This book was everything I wanted it to be…and a little more!

I had just finished the second chapter when I realized I LOVED Nash! He was so sweet and so adorable that I immediately added him to my select list of book boyfriends. It was so refreshing to read about a hero who wasn’t totally confident in himself and I loved watching his character grow.

Tally was also fantastic. Her growth and self-discovery throughout this novel made it a treat to read.

They complimented each other so well which made the romance awesome to read. They had a great connection and palpable chemistry that I loved all their scenes together.

I enjoyed this novel from start to end and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

–July 31, 2016– Book #3: Till I Kissed You

This story has been building from the very first Cottonbloom novel and building throughout. So I had high expectations going in…and every one was met!

The tension between these two was sizzling off the pages! I loved watching them reunite and battle all the obstacles in their way. It was absolutely perfect–everything fans of this series will want!

Not only was the romance really strong, but the drama plot line was also fantastic. I loved the mystery/suspense aspect to it. It kept you interested as a reader and balanced out the romance beautifully.

Overall, it was an AMAZING way to end this series! I will definitely be checking out more books by Laura Trentham in the future!

–August 3, 2017– Book #4: Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be new books in the Cottonbloom Series, I thought it was a joke. A very cruel joke because I absolutely loved this series and it was a highlight of my 2016 summer.

I adored Leave the Night On. It has one of my all time favourite tropes, the fake relationship, and it is executed flawlessly. These two has sizzling chemistry from the start and I loved watching them fall deeper and deeper for each other. They were perfect for each other and I couldn’t help but root for them to get together.

And the plot was excellent as well. It had that perfect balance between character development and romantic development. These two had a lot of growth to do as characters and I loved that they did so not only together but independently as well. I had a very hard time putting this one down!

And of course, we got just enough of a taste of what’s to come that I cannot wait until the next Abbott brother gets his story.

–February 1, 2018– Book #5: When the Stars Come Out

Again, another great installment in this series! Ever since we met these two, I’ve been waiting for their story and I wasn’t disappointed! I loved every scene with these two. They are absolutely adorable together!

You could cut the tension between them with a knife. Those secret looks between them had me melting every time. These two were just a perfect compliment for each other.

But there was something about the pacing of this book that didn’t win me over. I think I wanted more build up with the romance instead of it just falling into place. I felt like their connection relied a little too much on the previous book; even if they did have very cute scenes together.

The dramatic plot also seemed to have an odd way of building. It felt a little long in the middle and not much was happening. The ending wasn’t overly rushed but I think things could have been teased out a little more in the middle.

Regardless, I still loved their story and can’t wait for the next one!

–July 27, 2018– Book #6: Set the Night on Fire

This one might just be my favourite Cottonbloom book starring the Abbott brothers. It was perfection from start to end!

I simply adored these two leads. Ella is the type of heroine you love to see in a book. She’s strong yet genuinely flawed so she’s relateable. I found her emotions and reactions to things were normal and understandable. I had a really good read of her as a character thanks to her development and her revealed past.

Mack is just a sweetheart–and it was nice to see that side of him because for the vast majority of this series, he comes across as jaded and withdrawn. But you see the love he has for his family and his ability to read and understand people. He was so perceptive about Ella’s fears and concerns and I LOVED how he supported her throughout.

The pacing of this romance was also fantastic. You have the whole slow burn between two rivals happening and it just brought some delicious tension to the story. Over time, these two start to talk and learn more about each other and it just makes their physical connection that much hotter. I was definitely a fan of these two from the start.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Kiss Me That Way 4/5 | Then He Kissed Me 5/5 | Till I Kissed You 5/5 | Leave the Night On 5/5 | When the Stars Come Out 4/5 | Set the Night on Fire 5/5

overall

This series really wasn’t what I was expecting–but in a totally good way! The slow burn romance intermingled with the character development and overall series plot made this one a blast to read! Definitely a great summer book series to get your hands on!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want an erotica romance

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Book Review: Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Synopsis for Love, Lies and Spies (from Publisher):
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top PicksFav YA Standalone 2016, New Must Watch Author
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Mystery, Espionage, Humour
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC via NetGalley

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book when I was browsing NetGalley and the cover piqued my interest. The concept sounded like a lot of fun but I was bogged down with other reviews so I didn’t put it on hold right away. Until, the opportunity came along to be a Blog Tour Host and I knew I had to sign-up!

Not only is Cindy Anstey a fellow Canadian ? (woot!) and I love supporting my fellow Canadians, but this book sounded like so much fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve read an historical YA novel so I was eager to dive into that world again. 

The Concept:

This book is a great homage to Jane Austen’s work. You can definitely see where Austen’s influence lies in the not-your-everyday-beau-monde heroine Juliana and the scheming of family members. It also has all the “season-drama” as well. But don’t think the writing reads like a classical novel. The writing has a great, fast and often quirky flow to it that makes it such a joy to read. So if you didn’t enjoy Pride and Prejudice (maybe read the Zombie version 😉 ), don’t think you won’t enjoy this one because you totally will (if you like historical espionage romances that is).

The Plot:

I found that there was never a dull moment with this book! If I wasn’t absorbed into the romance, I was trying to figure out the political espionage or enjoying the antics of the other characters during the season. I knew right from the start given the situation Juliana immediately finds herself in and how she meets Spencer that this was going to be a fabulous and fun read.

There are plenty of twists along the way and there is always something to keep your attention. The best way I can describe this book is as the perfect hybrid between Meg Cabot’s YA historical reads and Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove Series. You have the stronger, independent heroines, the dashing but intriguing heroes and a splash of humour that makes reading the story so entertaining!

The Characters:

I loved Juliana from the start. I thought she was a quirky character and I like how she handled herself throughout the novel. Maybe it’s just the novels I read that are historical romances but most of the time, the heroine is one that breaks all of societies rules so it can get a little monotonous. However, I never really felt that way with Juliana. She was very unique and had a great aura about her that drew me to love her.

Spencer was also completely swoon-worthy. He was just as entertaining as Juliana so when they were together, it was magical. He was everything I wanted a cute dashing spy to be and perhaps a little more <3

The Romance:

While I normally read romances that are a little spicier than this, there was something so sweet and completely addicting about the romance here. I think it was because I knew what a great match these two were for each other right from the get-go. Their interactions together were a blast to read and I know I giggled like a little school-girl at some of the things they said. Definitely my favourite aspect of the novel for sure.

My Rating: 5/5

overall
This is definitely at new personal favourite for me! I don’t reread books often simply for the sake of rereading them but this one I will be picking up again. I just loved the plot, the antics and the romance. It has a comforting feel about it, like Victoria and The Rogue (one of the only books I have reread multiple times).  I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish and I cannot wait to read Cindy Anstey’s next novel!
Read if You Like: historical YA, witty characters, historical espionage
Avoid if You: want a steamier read, dislike historical stories

similarreads

  • Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot
  • A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove Series #2)

Cindy Anstey
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Author Links:
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Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Synopsis for Adorkable (from Goodreads):
Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite YA read 2016
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: YA Bound Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While I do like the cover of this novel, it was actually the title that drew me in. A nerdy heroine? Sounds just like me. (No joke). Never mind the fact that I say “adorkable” at least once a week whenever I can fit it into a conversation.

When it comes to best friends falling in love, I’m a picky girl. It’s not that I am against the idea of best friends falling in love–far from it actually. I honestly think there is nothing sweeter than falling in love with your best friend. But I hate unrequited love stories because they perpetuate the idea that girls and guys can’t be platonic friends when that is far from the truth.

So when I see a story that has two friends who most likely return the same feelings–like this one does–I’m so there! Add to that a fake boyfriend-girlfriend relationship–one of my favourite tropes in a romance–and I will immediately sign up to read it.

I think it goes without saying, I was looking forward to this book quite a lot.

The Plot:

Given the synopsis of the book, I had a pretty good idea of where this story was going to go but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go exactly as I thought. There were enough interesting plot developments to make the story interesting from start to finish. It never felt like a cliché when it easily could have.

I felt like there was a great balance between the romance, the character development and the coming of age. In that respect, its story kinda reminded me of The DUFF; only replace the cynical Bianca with a nerdy and more upbeat Sally. It has its funny moments and its charming moments but it also has its real moments and I think readers will connect really well with that.

I also like that it isn’t over-dramatic! As I get older, I associate high school based stories with petty, unnecessary drama but I never felt like that with this story. It had just the right amount of drama to keep things interesting but not enough to make me roll my eyes or sigh in frustration.

The Characters:

It helps that the characters are great (more on that below) but there interactions are as equally funny as they are charming. When I wasn’t swooning from Becks or rooting for Sally, I was laughing at something someone had said or at Sally being a complete nerd (in the best way possible of course). They are so realistic and you just want these people to be your friends in real life.

Sally is so refreshing to read as a heroine. She has her own self-esteem issues that I think any girl can relate to and it was awesome to see her grow in that respect. She never looses herself despite everything that happens and I really appreciated that.

Becks and his family completely won me over. Becks was so sweet and charming and everything I wanted him to be.

The Romance:

What I love about best friends falling in love with each other is that you can see why they like each other and why they feel that way. I just loved these two so much! They understand and look out for each other so much that you only want what is best for them whatever it may be. It was great to watch everything unfold!

My Rating: 5/5

overall

I have to say that Gorman has a great flow to her writing. She had me hooked from the very first chapter and I finished this book in one sitting. It was cute, charming and funny and had me feeling all the feels. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but this one reminds me why I do enjoy the genre from time to time. I can’t wait to see what else Cookie O’Gorman has in store in the future!

Read if You Like: YA contemporaries, BFFs in love, fake boyfriends/girlfriends
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, don’t like high school stories

similarreads

  • The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks Series #1)

Cookie O’Gorman
Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE will be released in 2016.

Author Links:

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