Tag «canadian author»

Single Sundays: Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith

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 Follow Me Down (from Goodreads):

Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the North Dakota town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their small town, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his high school students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect.

All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run?

As Mia reevaluates their difficult, shared history and launches her own investigation into the grisly murder, she uncovers secrets that could exonerate Lucas—or seal his fate. In a small town where everyone’s history is intertwined, Mia will be forced to confront her own demons, placing her right in the killer’s crosshairs.

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Author: Sherri Smith
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Source & Format: Publisher–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Adult mystery/thrillers are my latest obsession. I’ve tried to get my hands on as many as I can so I was really excited when this one crossed my radar. Lead returns home to her small town to solve a murder involving her brother? Thrillers were made for this.

The Plot:

Despite the intrigue, the first 30% of this novel was dreadfully slow. The focus shifts towards Mia as a character and shies away from the murder investigation–not what I wanted to read about truthfully. I felt like it stayed there a little too long and made the story dry. But once it got over that hump, it was a thrilling read.

The mystery itself was great. Not everything is what it seems and I really had no idea what the solution to it all was. It made the slower first half worth it in the end.

The Characters:

Mia reminded me a lot of Rachel from The Girl on the Train. She’s that unreliable narrator that is just on the edge of sobriety so it leads to some questionable events and circumstances. Her heart is in the right place but her actions aren’t always the wisest. It does make for an “on-the-edge” of your seat ride though.

The Romance:

Not really the focus here but it did bring an interesting layer to the story. But I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a “romance” either.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

overall

While this story suffers from a long exposition, the mystery itself will have you guessing to the very end!

Read if You Like: mystery/thrillers, slower stories
Avoid if You: want more romantic suspense
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Blog Tour: Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Synopsis for Duels & Deception (from Goodreads):

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author, Must Read Author
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Regency
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks // Kobo

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that I absolutely adored Cindy Anstey’s debut, Love, Lies and Spies. It had everything I love in a novel: wit, fun and a swoon-worthy romance. As soon as I finished, I had to know what else she had written and that’s why I’ve spent the better part of the last year awaiting Duels & Deception.

The Plot:

Anstey has such a talent for writing entertaining stories. Should a kidnapping scene have you laughing out loud? Not likely but Anstey manages to do it. That whole event was super entertaining and it made me wish it lasted longer.

However, I did find the momentum of the novel slowed a bit after the kidnapping chapters. The mystery of who is after Lydia is enticing but unfortunately, I had a pretty good idea of the culprit before the big reveal. What I didn’t guess who how everything was going to be resolved so that had a few good twists for me to read.

The Characters:

Lydia was everything you like in a historical fiction leading lady. She’s as sharp as a whip, a compassionate daughter and definitely independent. If she was real, she would be my best friend.

And starring opposite her is Robert, pretty much the ideal hero. Again, he’s super smart but he is also adorably sweet and caring. He isn’t some over the top hero and I loved how grounded he was.

The rest of the cast is quirky and entertaining and adds to the story’s fun and lighter tone.

The Romance:

SWOON! Talk about two leads who are perfect for each other! Not only did they compliment each other in every way but they also had fantastic banter. I loved every scene with these two in it.

My favourite part was watching these two slowing coming to the realization that they were falling in love. The slow burn romance was so on point!

My Rating: 4/5

overall
This is a perfect read for fans of historical romance who love quirky, witty characters and a romance that has you swooning from the start!

Read if You Like: regency reads, witty leads, slow burn
Avoid if You: dislike historical fiction
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Cindy Anstey

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

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:

Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

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Series Review: Casey Duncan by Kelley Armstrong

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 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for City of the Lost (from Goodreads):

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana’s husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you’re accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. As a murderer, Casey isn’t a good candidate, but she has something they want: She’s a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn’t the only secret Rockton is hiding—in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: Casey Duncan or Rockton
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 4 (City of the Lost, Darkness Absolute, Book 3, Book 4)

City of the Lost was initially released as a serial novellas.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, there are to be (at least) 4 books in this series
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (City of the Lost); Publisher–ARC (Darkness Absolute)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that I am a Kelley Armstrong fan. It’s not just because she is a fellow Canuck; she’s one talent writer in every genre she tries. I’ve enjoyed both her YA and Adult paranormal series over the years but I was really excited to see what she could do with a contemporary mystery/thriller.

I knew it was going to be suspenseful–full of great twists and strong characters–so I couldn’t wait to get started!

The Concept / The World:

First, I love the fact that this book is set in Canada! I don’t get to read many books set in my home country so that was a big bonus for me.

Then the idea that there is this isolated town filled with people trying to escape their previous lives? Fascinating. And the perfect place for trouble to brew! You’ve got this small town vibe where anyone can be a suspect and it’s just great to read about. I loved the setting for this series!

The Plot:

I loved, loved, loved the many layers to this series. Everything just builds from start to finish, book to book.

It’s hard to say much without giving anything away–especially for mystery novels–but I’ll just say that this book was far from predictable. There were so many great twists and the big reveals always had me going “say what!?” in surprise.

I will say, that City of the Lost did drag for me in the middle of the novel when the plot shifted more to character development than the actual mystery. Which was fine, because it really helped established the setting for the remainder of the book and the series, but it did feel slower than the first and latter half of the novel. I never had that problem with A Darkness Absolute however. It is a non-stop roller coaster ride from start to finish.

The Characters:

Like I said above, the small town vibe works extremely well for this series. The anticipation of figuring out whodunit when you’ve met everyone is just fabulous for a reader.

All the characters are just so well developed–even the side ones. I loved learning more about each person.

Casey in particular is a winner in my mind. She’s a strong heroine who definitely has her flaws. She’s complex but as the stories progress, you learn more about her and she learns more about herself. Her character development is a highlight for sure. She reminds me of a more subdued version of Lisbeth from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo–a scarred girl who learns to adapt as her world expands.

The Romance:

A very minor role here but one I really enjoyed. I don’t want to give to much away…so I’m just going to leave it at that.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really hope there are more books to this series! It’s a great world, a fantastic set of characters and the mysteries are just so good.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

City of the Lost 4/5 | A Darkness Absolute  5/5 | Book 3 ?

overall

Honestly, I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this series! (Maybe I hang out in the wrong crowds). It delivers in every way that you want a mystery/thriller to.

Read if You Like: mysteries/thrillers, small town stories
Avoid if You: dislike mysteries
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  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Underworld Series #1)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson (Millennium Series #1)

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Series Review: The Collide by J C Hannigan

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 Collide (from Goodreads):
Harlow Jones has a troubled past, and a questionable future. Surrounded by death, tragedy, and intrigue, she is forced to mature long before her time. Plagued by anxiety and depression, she hides her inner turmoil with spite and sarcasm. Her thick skin is impenetrable…or so she thought. Until she becomes involved with her grade twelve English teacher.

In this exclusive entry into the new adult genre, with raw style that is as dark as it is poignant, Collide presents the ultimate choice: forbidden love or doing the right thing.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: Collide Trilogy
Author: J C Hannigan
# of Books: 3 (Collide, Consumed, Collateral)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May – November 2015
Source & Format: Author–eARC  |  Thank you J C Hannigan!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

J C Hannigan is a Canadian author who has quite a few titles under her belt. But it was Collide that really grabbed my attention.

I love a good forbidden romance and that’s what drew me to this title. Student-teacher romances are often glorified on TV but in real life, they are far from that. So I was curious to see what path this story would take.

The Plot:

I went into Collide thinking it was going to be a straight forward romance; focusing entirely on the relationship between Harlow and her teacher. But that really wasn’t the case. While the romance plays a big role in the plot, a sexual assault case really takes center stage and is the driving force of this first novel. And I really didn’t mind because it was an intriguing case. You really get to see how Harlow’s character deals with everything thrown at her which makes for an entertaining read.

Consumed deals with the consequences of the first novel and I liked that a lot. Most of the time in New Adult series you get a new set of characters in the sequel novel so you don’t see how the characters deal long term with everything that has happened. But here, you still follow Harlow as she tries to orient her life. The novel is also much more suspenseful and has some great plot twists along the way.

Collateral was definitely the more subdued of the other novels. But I enjoyed watching everything come full circle and it was a solid way to end the series.

The Characters:

Harlow reminded me of a young Rose from Vampire Academy. That type of girl who presents a strong front because of all the crappy things life has thrown her way. I just loved the way to carried herself–she made it really easy to root for her to succeed in whatever thing she got herself into.

But this series is very character driven. I like how it takes its time to explore Harlow’s life journey as she deals with things from her past and present. As I said before, it was nice to stick with one character for all 3 novels and watch her grow because of everything that happens.

The Romance:

In Collide, I would have liked a little more focus on the romance in terms of its development. I felt like the connection was a little unseen between the two of them (ie love at first sight sort-of deal). I like my forbidden romances to really show me why these two should defy convention and be involved romantically. And there definitely is some development on that later in the book but I would have enjoyed a little more.

I did like that there wasn’t a huge focus on their intimate scenes. This book is a pretty clean entry into the New Adult genre in that respect and it complimented the story well I thought. Because it isn’t about the crazy physical attraction these two have together, rather it is there mutual understanding of each other.

Series Rating: 4/5

Collide 4/5 | Consumed 4/5 | Collateral 3/5

overall

This series has so many great aspects to it: great character development; realistic plot lines; forbidden love and numerous plot twists. If you enjoy New Adult contemporaries with a more suspenseful plotline that is lighter on the sex, this is a fabulous series for you to read!

Read if You Like: stories without copious sex scenes, character focused stories
Avoid if You: want steamier romance, want more over the top drama

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Fresh Fridays: The Good Fight (#1) by Justin Robinson

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

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Good Fight (from Goodreads):
Toronto is a crowded place. Plenty of eyes and ears all around. Plenty of chances to be overheard. Be careful what you say…

In this spooky Canadian page turner, 16-year-old Terry Conner finds herself the target of an unspeakable evil, bent on enslaving all of humanity. Her crime? Nothing less than speaking her mind. Faced with the choice between silencing herself or fighting back, Terry chooses to fight.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: The Good Fight
Author: Justin Robinson
# of Books: 1+ (The Good Fight, book 2, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, more books to come!
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: June 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love supporting Canadian authors whenever I get the chance. So when Justin asked me if I would review his debut novel, I of course said yes! It wasn’t just because the novel was set in Toronto–a place I called home for 2 years–but because I was genuinely curious to read a novel that was part science fiction part thriller.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

You don’t have to be familiar with Toronto or even Canada to enjoy this novel. Sure, it’s nice to be familiar with the setting for once (like I’m sure it is for people who live in NYC and read books set there). But Toronto is a modern city and that’s what makes this setting so adaptable to readers anywhere.

–The Premise–

It was this line right here in Justin’s email that had me on board:

“a positive message for teen readers about the importance of individuality and integrity”

I love smart fiction; especially fiction that takes our everyday modern world and challenges it by forcing something in our everyday life to the extreme. And it doesn’t get much more extreme than the limiting of someone’s right for the freedom of speech. It’s what makes this book interesting for both teenagers, young adults and adults. The execution on this front is great and it really is something I haven’t come across in YA in recent years.

–Terry Is Kick-Ass, In an Intelligent Way–

I like heroines who cannot only kick butt physically but intellectually as well. I really liked Terry. It was refreshing not to have a lead who worried about popularity or one who was jaded from the past. She’s a smart girl who uses her brains more than anything to solve the problem at hand and I really liked that.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Started a Little Slow–

This one took a while for me to get into. I’m all for establishing the setting and the characters, but I wanted a little more action or thrills earlier on in the story. Because the last half of the novel–where Terry actually starts to unveil the “evil” group–is a lot of fun to read and quite thrilling at times.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m not sure what will happen next! I am curious to see though what will.

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Good Fight 3/5 | Book 2 TBP | Book 3 TBP

overall

This story reminded me a bit of a mash-up between 1984 and The Walking Dead. But unlike the zombies in The Walking Dead where they want to eat your flesh, you get a group of people who want to create a horde of like-minded individuals who believe the world should be as uniform as possible (ideal utopia of 1984). While slow at the start, I enjoyed this story very much.

Read if You Like: modern science fiction, books set in Canada
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Series Review: Season for Scandal by Kelly Bowen

A Duke To Remember blitz banner_

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 Duke of My Heart (from Goodreads):
Scandal can be handled…

Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he’s returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl—quite inconveniently deceased—tied to his missing sister’s bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he’s at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.

Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected—yet absolutely true.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author; Fave Historical Romance Series
Series: Season for Scandal Trilogy
Author: Kelly Bowen
# of Books: 3 (Duke of my Heart, A Duke to Remember, Between the Devil and the Duke)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Historical, Romance, Regency, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2016 – January 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (Duke of my Heart); Netgalley–eARC (A Duke to Remember)

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Forever asked if I was interested in reading A Duke to Remember, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. While most of the series on my blog are YA or NA, I do LOVE a good historical romance; especially of the regency kind. So while I had never read Duke of my Heart (which was easily rectified thanks to my public library), the synopsis for both novels sounded great and I couldn’t wait to get started with them.

Oh, and Kelly Bowen is Canadian and I love supporting my fellow Canadian authors in any way that I can!

The Concept:

One of my favourite aspects of a connected romance series is an overarching plot or theme throughout all the novels, even though the leads change for each. Here, we get Victorian era “Olivia Popes” (Scandal TV series) who fix people’s messes like nobody’s business. It give these characters a unique flare that provides fantastic entertainment base for the readers besides a corset busting romance (which it does have in the right amounts as well).

The Plot:

While these are romances at their core, you do have the mystery/suspense elements. These aspects gave each book a flare for entertaining dramatics that kept me interested and pressing forward. What I also loved was their twists–they weren’t easily predictable which was great. Because I have encountered some of these tropes before and I was worried they were going to be carbon copies—NOT THE CASE AT ALL!

These books were fun, fresh and equally sweet as they were sexy! Simply what I love in a good regency series.

The Characters:

These characters were a blast to read about! I loved their unique quirks and character history. I find in the historical romance genres, characters tend to be crafted from the same mold: a stoic or playboy duke who gets schooled in his ways and a rebellious heroine. And while those serve as the basis for these characters, there is so much more to them! Getting to know each one with their rich histories was fantastic. And you are left with enough teasers about the next set of leads to make you want more.

The Romance:

Sweet yet sexy! Gahhh the romance here is just so well done! While they seem a little insta-connection, these characters compliment each other so well and have such great sexual tension that you jut want them to get together faster! The couple from A Duke to Remember easily made my Fave Couple list.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Between the Devil and the Duke looks like its going to be the most dangerous one yet! I cannot wait to read it and am so sad I have to wait for January 🙁 I want it now!!!

updates

–January 15, 2017– Book #3: Between the Devil and the Duke

Kelly Bowen as the fantastic ability to make me fall in love with the leads by the end of the first chapter.

These two as leads had me swooning and rooting for them from the start. I loved Angelique right away and found her refreshing as a heroine. She has a big heart and an even bigger brain–and that was what stood out for me. Her intelligence in math and numbers is something you don’t often see in a romance of this genre. Yes, you have those heroines who read books and are smart in their own way; but her mathematics skills was a nice touch for her character.

And Alex…swoon! I was a big fan of his from the previous novels and he did not disappoint. He’s smart, protective (but not overly so) and just a great lead. His partnership with Angelique–both in the romantic and in the practical–is EXACTLY what I want for my couples. Perfection.

The plot itself was fantastic! The suspense never stopped building throughout this novel. And there were so many twists I didn’t see coming! I loved the unpredictability of this story.

Just a well crafted novel from start to finish and a fabulous way to end this AMAZING series!

Series Rating: 5/5

Duke of My Heart 5/5 | A Duke to Remember 5/5 | Between the Devil and the Duke 5/5

overall

Definitely a new favourite for me! I just loved the blend of fun, danger and romance!

Read if You Like: Tessa Dare novels; Suspenseful historical romance
Avoid if You: want a “sweeter” than sexier romance

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Kelly Bowen

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.
But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance.  When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process.  Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Series Review: Off-Campus by Elle Kennedy

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 The Deal (from Goodreads):
She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite New Adult 2016, Canadian Author
Series: Off-Campus

There is a spin-off series to come!

Author: Elle Kennedy
# of Books: 4 (The Deal, The Mistake, The Score, The Goal)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Hockey
Heat Rating: hot (perhaps a mild kink in The Mistake and The Score)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2015 – September 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m rather embarrassed that it took me so long to get around to reading this series despite the fact that I knew about The Deal shortly after it was released last year and that everyone seems to love it. Add to the fact that the author is a fellow Canadian and I shake my head in shame. So it was a no brainer to add The Deal to the priority list of my Rock the TBR challenge.

I love New Adult novels so I was really excited to read this series everyone praises so highly. In particular, I was really excited to read The Deal because it seems to have every New Adult trope I adore (fall in love with the tutor, lover arrangement, a bet/deal, nice guy player) AND it focuses on hockey players! While I love football, it gets a little tiring reading about the star quarterback with a heart of gold in most New Adult Sport titles.

And, I’m Canadian: hockey is a strong passion of mine 😉

The Concept / Reading Order:

I say this series is “Connected yet Chronological” because it does follow a particular order of events with some of the previous plot points reappearing in the next novel. It essentially follows 4 hockey teammates/roommate in their last 2 years of college together as they navigate life and find love. You definitely don’t have to read these books in order, but I feel like you will get a better experience if you do. 

Especially when it comes to The Goal. It overlaps with The Score in terms of chronological events, so you’ll get more out of it if you read it after the previous 3 novels.

The Plot:

All these novels had a great balance between everything that makes a fantastic New Adult novel. You have a passionate romance that is the main focus of the plot but not the only thing happening in the novel. You also have strong character development and some additional drama that keeps things interesting.

In other words: you never get bored.

I felt like all these books moved at a great pace and it was one that kept my full attention at all times. I easily could have finished The Deal in one sitting if I didn’t have school that day. It is sheer New Adult perfection in terms of its delivery if you ask me. And the other books do a great job of following that pattern but with their own unique twists.

The Characters:

I really liked all of these characters! They were so genuine and charming that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. At one point or another they had me laughing at something they said or did, making it so much fun to read their stories.

Garret and Hannah especially were great in The Deal. I just loved watching their interactions and appreciated who they were as people. They just seemed so real to me and they are easily one of my favourite new adult couples.

The cast as a whole has great, relatable stories the make each of their stories unique and so it was great to get to know each of them on a more personal level as the series progressed.

The Romance:

Again, I thought the romance in these novels was pretty damn-well near perfect. While some of the romances start off based on insta-attraction, you really come to see how these couples work the more you read. I’m one who likes to see the emotional connections and I got that in spades here. While these couples do share their “steamy” moments together, they also have those moments that remind you of what it’s like to fall in love with someone who just “gets you”.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:


I thought this series was only 3 books when I bought The Score but I am very excited to get Tucker’s story in The Goal. I honestly can’t wait! I wish I had it in my hands right.now.

updates

–February 12, 2017– Book #4: The Goal

There were two reasons why I didn’t read this right away: 1) I’m cheap and was waiting for a sale; and 2) I really didn’t want this series to be over. I just love this cast so much that I don’t want to part with them.

Honestly, this novel was perfect. I DEVOURED IT!

Tucker is such a sweet-heart. We didn’t get to see much of him in the previous novels, so unraveling his character was a joy. And his lucky leading lady was fabulous as well. I definitely fell in love with them the more I read.

Given the ending of The Score, I thought The Goal was going to pick up right from there. Instead, it takes the route of a companion novel and starts around the same time as The Score. This works to its benefit and gives you the story you wanted the moment you finished The Score. It’s a great way to wrap up this series.

I’m SO EXCITED that there is going to be a spin-off series! I already have some people in mind 😉

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Deal 5/5 | The Mistake 4/5 | The Score 4.5/5 | The Goal 5/5

overall

Fans of the New Adult genre as a whole will love this series but I also think it is a great starting point for those who are new to the genre or want to try it out. If you like romances with great characters and connections, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: New Adult, stories about athletes
Avoid if You: dislike New Adult, contemporary romance

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Series Review: Chased by Piper Lawson

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 Chased (from Author):
Two college track stars. She wants her spot back. He’s looking for redemption. Throw them together and what do you get? Fights, sparks, and a whole lot of endurance jokes.
They say runners have the best sex. So…Your pace or mine?

~

Being a twenty-one-year-old screw-up has its perks:
Sleepwalk through class.
Drink all day.
Nail anything that walks.

Easy f#*$ing peasy.

In another lifetime, I was the fastest guy at Fielding College. I broke more track records than anyone on the West Coast.

But since my world fell apart last year, all I want is to be left the hell alone.

Ariel Hastings isn’t just a wrench in that plan—she’s a bomb. The quiet girl with secrets shows up out of nowhere and suddenly our fates are tied together. She wants to run with me, learn from me, even live with me…everything but f*ck me.

Now we’re spending way too much time together and it’s threatening to bring back the old Chase Owens. I crave something she won’t give me and I sure as hell can’t ask for.

Because we’ve both got pasts that won’t let go. Even if I can survive hers, we can’t outrun mine.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author, New Must Read Author
Series: Chased
Author: Piper Lawson
# of Books: 2 (Chased: Part 1; Chased: Part 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC

Buy on Amazon: Chased – Part 1  |  Chased – Part 2

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Piper Lawson’s novel Schooled is one of my favourite New Adult reads of the year. It was great from start to finish and I put her on my “must watch” authors list soon after. When she asked if I would want to read Chased, a series that is a little darker and a little edgier than her Travesty Series, I was immediately on board.

The Plot:

Part 1 serves more so as an introduction. You have the boy meeting the girl and you learn a little bit about who they are as people. It started a little rough for me simply because Chase is a bit of an asshole and I was having a hard time finding his redeeming qualities. BUT, as I read more and learned more about Chase’s background, I really warmed up to his character. And that’s what Part 1 is: the development of Chase and Ariel’s characters as they explore this new relationship between them.

Part 2 is more drama and it’s of the slightly over-the-top variety. It’s still very feasible drama but it isn’t your typical, everyday New Adult drama. I thought it was a lot of fun regardless and it kept me eager to see what was next.

The Characters:

Like I said before, it took me awhile to warm up to Chase but once I did, I respected his character. He has great character growth from start to finish. It takes a good writer to make you like a character you initially disliked so props to Piper for that one.

Ariel also had great character progression as well. Despite the POV alternating between the two, I thought Chase got more air-time but it really is his story so it didn’t bother me too much. Sure, it would have been nice to explore some of her character traits a little more but I was satisfied with how it all worked out in the end in terms of her character’s story.

The Romance:

In Part 1, the romance was more slow burning and antagonistic. I love the tension that comes from people who don’t know how good of a match they are for each other until that “big moment”. I thought Chase and Ariel complimented each other beautifully. She’s exactly what he needs, though he doesn’t know it yet, and I loved watching that dynamic come to life. Part 2 really builds upon that I think. They both have their flaws but they bring out the best in each other and that’s all you can ask for.

Series Rating: 4/5

Chased: Part 1   4/5 | Chased: Part 2   3.5/5

overall

This series was a quick read that entertained me from start to finish. It was a little heavier than your typical sport-romance reads but I liked its approach!

Read if You Like: duologies, shorter stories, sport romances, high drama
Avoid if You: want more “realistic” drama, a lighter read

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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

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon  Barnes and Noble  iTunes  Kobo

disclaimerXPRESSO

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:
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

 

*Giveaway is for US/CAD only*

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Single Sundays: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

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 All the Rage (from Goodreads):
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

A few years ago I read a fantastic novel called You Against Me which focuses on the siblings of the two people wrapped up in a rape case. I loved how it showed the effects on both families involved in a rape situation. So what appealed to me about All the Rage is that it deals specifically with the victim of a rape case–the victim who no one believes.

The Concept:

There are so many rape cases that are never reported for the simple reason that they feel powerless. Shame, self-blame and the belief that reporting will have no effect are all common reasons rapes are never reported. (You can read an in-depth news article here)

I think that sometimes these statistics do more harm than good. For example, if you broadcast something as an unfavourable experience (such as reporting a sexual crime), people won’t want to go through it. However–and more importantly–they also prove that the system is broken if these are the statistics it produces. Rape culture is getting more awareness now in mainstream media but still, no real change is happening. The double-standards, prejudices and attitudes towards victims disgusts me and it made me all the more eager to pick up this book which explores all these facets in today’s modern world. 

The Plot:

As is expected, this story mostly focuses on Romy trying to live her life after reporting her rape. It’s an absolutely heart-breaking story to read because this poor girl is just continuously decimated by her peers. She is the butt of every joke and is continuously bullied by everyone in town. Yes, everyone. This book does a great job of showing that it isn’t just young people who have stigmas against anyone involved in a rape, it spans all ages and genders.

I was actually surprised with the mystery element to this book. I really just thought this book was going to be more about Romy’s life after she reports her rape and how she has to deal with all the backlash at school. So having that mystery aspect kept the book moving forward. I thought it was a great mystery plot and very unpredictable. It also adds another layer to the story that really drives the message home.

The Characters:

Romy is a hard character to get a grasp on because she is unravelling before you. Her story is so emotionally draining that it breaks your heart that there are women around the world who live in Romy’s world everyday.

My problem with Romy is that she is an unreliable narrator. Which is fine, I just found that I had a really hard time following what was happening. The critic in me can appreciate the frazzled, tormented mind of Romy but the reader in me got lost a lot trying to figure out what was happening and that really diminished my reading experience.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I’m so torn over how I feel about this book. On one hand, I LOVE the message is has and how it opens the discussion about rape and how society deals with it. On the other hand, I got lost sometimes in the narration. There are still parts in this book that I have no idea what was happening and I really don’t like that.

I think this is a great read for young people to read. It’s very eyeopening and the mystery aspect makes you want to keep reading about Romy’s experience even when it gets hard to swallow it all. It’s definitely a book that will stick with me for the rest of my life because it truly nails the message that we need to fix how we perceive rape in our culture or else we will suffer terrible consequences.

Read if You Like: eye-opening realistic fiction
Avoid if You: don’t like reading via unreliable narrators

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