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Single Sundays: As You Wish by Cary Elwes

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 As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (from Goodreads):

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Cary Elwes
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Memoir, Celebrity
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 24, 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Princess Bride is one of my favourite movies AND a favourite novel. The book is fantastic but the movie is just as good–if not better. If it is on TV, I have to sit down and watch it, regardless of what I am doing. Yes, I’m one of those people who throws out the famous lines whenever I have a chance. It’s a classic.

vizzini princess bride animated GIF

Anyways, I didn’t even know this book existed until I read a review by Lindsey @ Bring My Books last winter. The audiobook really appealed to me because I enjoy memoirs more in their audio version and the idea that all of these actors reunite to present their fave stories from the set? Fantastic! It took me a ridiculously long time to get my hold from the library, but once I did, I dove right in.

The Concept:

Let me explain... (The Princess Bride)

The best way to describe this book is this: it’s like a behind the scenes narration of a movie set. You know, that feature on DVDs where you can turn on commentary or a special video feature? It is just like that.

Cary Elwes (Westley), leads you through the making of the movie from its conception as a book, through the early stages of production to filming and how it has been received over the years since. Along the way, you get little tidbits from everyone else who was a part of it.

It’s a lot of fun to listen to if you enjoy behind the scenes stories and memories.

The Writing/Narration:

Image result for princess bride gifs

I thought the story had a great flow to it so it made it easy to listen to. Cary does a good job of explaining what filming was like “back in the day” so you don’t have to guess or fill your mind with stereotypes.

But what really sold me on this book was the narration from the other cast members. You can tell they have genuine affection for this movie and their time together which is so nice to see/hear. It just warmed my heart to listen to.

Did it Impact My Life?

Image result for princess bride gifs

Not particularly. I think it made me love the movie more though. The very idea that this movie might never had happened breaks my heart; but to see the end product and to see how the cast and viewers love it makes me smile a little bit more since reading this book.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy The Princess Bride movie and want to know more about how it was made, this is a great read. It brings back all the great memories you probably have of reading the book or watching the movie.

Read if You Like: behind the scenes stories, memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike the Princess Bride  <–if you ask me that would be:


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Single Sundays: Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise

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 Beyond the Stars (from Goodreads):
Falling for him wasn’t in the plans…

Most girls would kill for the opportunity to work for Jack McAlister, Hollywood’s hottest actor, but twenty-one-year-old Jessica Beckett is ready to kick him out of her red Ford Fiesta and never look back. She should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills. Instead she’s reluctantly working as Jack’s personal assistant, thanks to her powerhouse talent agent aunt.

Jack is private, prickly, and downright condescending. Jessica pushes his buttons—she’s not the type of girl to swoon over celebrity heartthrobs, precisely why her aunt thought she’d be perfect for the job—and Jack pushes right back.

But as she begins to peel away his layers, Jessica is shocked to find she craves her boss’s easy smile and sexy blue eyes. The problem is, so does the entire female population. And what started out as the job from hell soon has Jess wondering if a guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her.

breakdown

Author: Stacy Wise
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Celebrity, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book as a galley on NetGalley but never got a chance to request it. So it seemed like fate when a couple months later it was a part of the Read It, Review It program in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. I made sure I grabbed a copy ASAP!

I really enjoy the idea of celebrity romances with everyday people in my NA novels. Sometimes, it’s executed well but other times it’s a little whimsical and rushed. In other words, not my ideal. But this one sounded promising and I needed a good contemporary read to buffer a somewhat lacklustre one before I moved on to a fantasy novel.

The Plot:

This novel felt more like a coming of age story than a romance. Which is fine and even a little expected since New Adult novels tend to have this as a minor element. But the lack of a romance for almost 75% of the book drained me a bit. Especially when the last 25% seemed to pack everything in, rushing to wrap it all up. I would have liked to have seen those last few plot points scattered throughout the novel to give it that dramatic flare.

The Characters:

Jessica was alright. To be honest, something rubbed me the wrong way about her in the first chapter. I think it was her somewhat stubborn nature that made it hard for me to totally love her. But I did warm up to her as the novel progressed but she didn’t blow me away.

Jack was cute but unfortunately, a little to one-dimensional for me. I really wish this story was told in alternating POV because he did seem to have an interesting backstory that I would have liked to have explored more.

The Romance:

I really wanted some sexual tension and chemistry between these two but nothing ever happened. While I got that they had this emotional connection (the typical “she treats me like a real human being, not a celebrity” vibe), I didn’t really see much else between these two. At least, not enough to warrant the deep feelings they get so suddenly. Although it seemed to take forever to get to that romance point, only a couple of weeks had passed in the book so it made everything seem superficial to me.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

If you’re looking for a spicy NA romance featuring a celebrity, look elsewhere! But if you want a cute and sweet way to spend a summer afternoon, this is a great novel for you to read.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, coming of age stories, celebrity stories
Avoid if You: want a “spicier” read, more sexual tension

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Series Review: Sixth Street Band by Jayne Frost

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

Sixth Street Band

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Gone for You (from Goodreads):

As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em smiling when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

Note: You won’t need to turn up the heat—Sixth Street Bands Romances have plenty of steamy fun. This story can be read as a stand-alone but is part of the Sixth Street Bands music scene.

breakdown

Series: Sixth Street Band
Author: Jayne Frost
# of Books: 4 (Gone for You, Fall with Me, Missing From Me, Lost for You)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Lost For You is to be published
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Rockstars, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Male POV), Alternating (Book 2 onwards)
Publication Date: April 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author/Read It & Review It–eARC   Thank you so much for the opportunity!

disclaimer

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually saw a review for Gone for You on another blog and planned to add it to my TBR. It wasn’t very long after that that I was contacted to read a copy and so I eagerly accepted!

Rockstars are my new Highlanders–meaning they are my latest reading obsession. I’ve read a lot of musician based stories spanning Young Adult to New Adult to Adult recently so I was more than ready to add another to the mix!

What I Liked:

-The Male POV-

I totally went into this book thinking I was going to get alternating POVs but I was very happy to see that it was just a straight POV–and a male one at that! Not very many authors attempt this and for Jayne Frost’s first novel, I applaud her for the risk and effort. It was an interesting place to be inside a male rockstar’s head and I actually didn’t mind not having Lily’s POV as much as I expected and I think it was because Cameron was so refreshing to read as a character!

It gets a little tiring reading about rockstars who are really normal guys or who have hearts of gold beneath their bad boy personas. I mean, I like those guys but it was nice to read about a rockstar who lives up to the name. Cameron is a bit of a jerk but that’s what makes the story so great–you get to watch him grow as a character and mature. I really appreciated that aspect.

-The Flow-

I actually read this book in a day. Partly because it is on the shorter side but more accurately, I just loved the flow the plot had. It moves at a great pace, keeps your attention and has a few little twists along the way. It truly is a great summer read when you have a few hours to spend on your patio reading (like I did!).

What I Didn’t Like:

-The Insta-Relationship-

I’m a little mixed on this. This relationship definitely started as insta-lust and I loved that. They have a connection, they act on it and they establish the base of a relationship: that all works for me. That is exactly what I expected.

And I even expected the fast connection and the insta-relationship but I wanted to see more! I really wanted to root for this couple but was just short of rooting for them. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of who they are and I wanted to see them learn more about each other. Because I really liked them as a couple, I could see how they would work, I just wanted strong character growth–something that I think will be present more in the sequels because we have been introduced to the characters I assume will be the next set of leads.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see who the next set of leads will be. I have my suspicions but I could be completely wrong. I’m excited to delve deeper into this rockstar world!

updates

–April 24, 2017– Book #2: Fall With Me

I was so happy that Fall With Me built upon the potential I saw when reading the first book in the series. While Gone for You seemed rushed in its delivery, this one had perfect pacing.

It definitely helped that the Mel and Christian had great chemistry from the start. It was easy for me to see why they would be drawn to each other. They are both geeky in their own ways and that served as a nice foundation for their romance. They actually talked instead of just exploring their physical chemistry.

I also liked Mel’s story. Her situation is so realistic and one that doesn’t get highlighted in novels let alone romantic ones and I really appreciated that. It added to the story in a strong way.

I’m excited to see if the momentum will keep up in the next book!

–October 13, 2017– Book #3: Missing From Me

This novel is the classic second chance romance that you always get in a rockstar series–but this story easily stands out on its own.

The plot never felt stale to me when it easily could have. The bumps along the way are ones that are super common to the second chance trope but they just worked so well for this unique story that I didn’t mind. It had my full attention from the start.

The journey these two have to take to find each other again is fascinating to read. Sean in particular has a lot of growth he needs to accomplish and it was such a joy to watch him transform before your eyes. He makes quite a few mistakes on the way but they help to ground the story and provide a backbone for the plot to move forward. The lesson of learning from the past to make a better, healthier future is always a winning attribute in my books.

While I loved these two as a pair and could see their obvious love for each other, I wish we saw more of them “back in the day”. I’m a reader who likes to be shown how two people fall in love, not necessarily told so that was a slightly “disappointing” aspect. Then again, this story isn’t about their past but how they are going to start the rest of their lives and I will say, it was rather refreshing to have this as the focus.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Gone for You 3/5 | Fall With Me 4/5 | Missing From Me 4/5 | Lost for You TBR

overall

This was a solid debut overall. I really think this series could be really addicting once the world and characters are elaborated on a bit more. I really found it to be refreshing and I’m definitely curious to see what is going to happen next! This is the perfect summer read for any and all rockstar fans out there–a MALE POV PEOPLE!

Read if You Like: rockstar leads, Male POVs only
Avoid if You: want a longer story, don’t enjoy instalove romances

similarreads

  • Mayhem by Jamie Shaw (Mayhem Series #1)
  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine (Wicked White Series #1)

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Series Review: Real by Katy Evans

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

book book book6

booksynopsis

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

breakdown

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

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

How to Phrase this…

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

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

The Plot:

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

Yup, you read that right: virility.

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

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

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

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

The Characters:

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

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

The Romance:

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

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

Fun Fact:

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

My Rating: 3/5

overall

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

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

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Series Review: Stripped by Jasinda Wild

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 Stripped (from Goodreads):
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated.

breakdown

Series: Stripped
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 2 (Stripped, Trashed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes? I think so.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Celebrity
Heat Rating: hot (closer to the end in Stripped; from the start and throughout Trashed)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Stripped); Alternating (Trashed)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Jasinda Wilder first came across my radar with her Falling Series. I have most of the books from that series waiting to be read on my Kobo (and some other freebies from her) but I haven’t managed to read them yet. When I came across these two books at my library and read the concept for Stripped, I decided to pick them up as quick romance reads.

I like unconventional romances–they are nice breaks from the everyday love story. Plus, I like the fictional element to it. Lots of girls like the fantasy that a rich, handsome actor/celebrity will notice regular-old them and I am no exception. Do I let it consume my every thought?–of course not, but I like that fiction let’s me imagine it could be me one day.

Unfortunately, Stripped was just plain boring. Grey was one of the dullest heroines I have ever encountered. I truly think that she was crying every three pages about something–which is fine considering her life hasn’t been all that easy–but it just got so exhausting to read about. I really felt indifferent to her as I read through the book.

The romance was also dull, and if it wasn’t dull, it was cheesy. I knew it was going to be a love at first sight story as soon as I picked it up but I was hoping for some good sexual tension between the two of them but that never happened! First, it is nearly 50 pages (eBook) before Dawson is even introduced–which is just too long when nothing else is really happening plot-wise and especially in a book slated as a romance. Then they speak together twice before he is undeniably in love with her and decides to chase her. I just didn’t see the connection whatsoever between them.

What also really bothered me was that there was no fallout/consequences from her career as a stripper. Every little problem that was introduced is neatly tied up inexplicably and I guess I just wanted something to happen that would capture my attention.

Trashed on the other hand was more solid to me. It wasn’t the greatest romance novel ever but at least it had more substance to it than Stripped did. The characters just seemed better developed to me and so did the romance. Despite its “deep-connection” roots I could actually see why these two characters liked each other. Overall it was an improvement over Stripped.

I’m not sure if there will be any more books in this series but if there were, I’m not sure if I would read them. I suppose it depends on the premise and what my experience is with Ms Wilder’s other novels. These novels haven’t turned me off of her other works but perhaps have changed my expectations for them.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

These books could have been really great but they just felt underdeveloped. They weren’t dramatic and they weren’t overly realistic either so they just come across as underwhelming. But if you want quick, cheesy romances these are great summer reads!

Read if You Like: cheesy romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: like more drama, want stronger character development
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Series Review: Fighting Fate by Maree Green

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

book2 book

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014 (Muse)
Series: Fighting Fate
Author: Maree Green
# of Books: 3 (Muse, Hush, Fade)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Fade is set to be published
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Music, Suspense (Hush)
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts on Muse:

This post was orginally posted as a Toonie Tuesday Feature Post

Muse was a freebie read from Amazon that I decided to read immediately after downloading it. It seemed to combine aspects of New Adult reads that I love: girl falling for her brother’s BFF, rock stars and no-strings attached relationships that lead to more. But it also was set in high school which was a setting I hadn’t encountered all of these aspects in before. And so I dove right and … and then had a hard time putting it down.

We immediately get pushed into the thick of things within the first two chapters and things just go from there. I really liked Jace and Mia together and I felt like their relationship was developed well though I wished they would have talked more to each other. Everything happens so quickly and I felt like their emotional connection could have been brought up to par with their physical connection. It was a little to “insta-connection” for my personal tastes but to be fair, I saw more interaction between them later in the book so I didn’t mind too much.

Muse was definitely a guilty pleasure read. It was fun and over the top at times but I enjoyed every second of it. Because the characters are all still in high school I sometimes felt like they were playing grown-up with all the swearing and sex that they were having. Maybe this is how high school is now (or what some authors perceive it to be) but I know my high school wasn’t as dramatic as this one! I think if they were in college it might make it a little easier to take but considering they were only a few months from graduating high school I really didn’t let it get to me. Again, this was a total guilty pleasure read for me.

As for the writing itself, it was nothing overly fantastic. As I said before, I felt like I was reading a story about what an adult perceived high school to be like for teenagers. The drama is what you would expect in a TV show and not what you actually get in real life (but then again, I’ve been out of high school for some time). But, I really liked the flow of the story and I found it super easy to read and get lost in it.

I’m surprised that Hush, book 2, is about Mia’s friend Kaeli and not another member of the band. Considering the band is named “Fighting Fate” and the series is titled that I just assumed that the book would be about another member of the band and I was hoping it would be about the lead singer in particular or Mia’s brother. I’ll be picking it up I think because the synopsis is intriguing but I have some other books I want to read before I get to Hush.

updates

–March 5, 2016– Book #2: Hush

When I said I had a lot of other books to read before Hush, I wasn’t lying. This one got to the top of my TBR list thanks to my Rock The TBR Challenge when I randomly drew it from my jar.

This book had a different type of plot line than Muse but a lot of the same feels. The idea of finding someone who makes you feel safe, comfortable and gets who you are as a person remains the theme for this series. However, the plot line here was more suspenseful than your average contemporary romance read. There are elements of danger that make the story seem way more dramatic than it needs to be but I knew that going into the story. The dangerous storyline did keep me interested though because it was very unpredictable. I’m not a huge suspense fan but I liked the way it progressed.

It lost me a little near the end but I liked the majority of the book. I liked the romance, not as much as in the previous but that one is hard to beat I think. Definitely another guilty pleasure read for me though I am very excited for Fade.

Series Rating: 4/5

Muse 4/5 | Hush 3.5/5 | Fade TBR

overall

I really enjoyed Muse because it was fun to read. I liked watching Mia and Jace falling in love and seeing how they dealt with all the drama thrown at them. For a free read, it was really great but I would have been satisfied even if I had paid for it. If you like stories about up and coming musicians and/or finding that person who makes you feel safe, you’ll enjoy this series.

Read if You Like: high school new adult, dramas, over-the-top situations
Avoid if You: dislike new adult, dislike drama

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Synopsis for Muse (from Goodreads):
After a life altering tragedy during her childhood, Mia Campbell is left with an incapacitating fear of crowds – especially angry ones. Now at eighteen, with her final months of high school before her, she only has one goal: To remain unseen…
Jace Wallace is about to start living a rock star’s life. As lead guitarist for the newest internet sensation, Fighting Fate, he’s rocking the stage – and a different girl – every weekend, and that’s the way he prefers it. With the band’s popularity about to explode to new heights, he doesn’t have time for complications. Or commitments. He only has one goal: To succeed…
The only thing standing in the way of achieving their goals? Each other.
When unusual circumstances bring the two of them together, and one thing quickly leads to another, Mia finds herself proposing an arrangement she never thought she’d ever consider. A no-strings-attached relationship. But when feelings start creeping in, and their one goal blurs to include another, they’re both forced to make a decision.
Sit back and take what Fate hands you, or fight for what you want.

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Series Review: Lights, Camera by Laurelin Paige

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

Take Two by Laurelin Paige | Lights, Camera Series

 

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Lights, Camera
Author: Laurelin Paige
# of Books: 2+ (Take Two, Star Struck)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Star Struck will be published in June 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Celebrity
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: third person, alternate

Thoughts:

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

I’ve been patiently waiting to read Take Two since I finished Paige’s Fixed Trilogy in January. I absolutely loved that series and I was excited to see what she would do next.

This series is vastly different from the Fixed Trilogy. Yes, it has it’s sexier moments like Fixed on You did complete with great character chemistry–but it is much more light-hearted and easy going than the Fixed Series. The characters don’t have tragedy filled pasts and they don’t consume every aspect of their lives. Instead, we get two characters who are focusing on their careers and trying to see where a relationship fits in.

This book was just what I needed when I read it. I had a lot of fun reading about the characters and I loved their sexual chemistry right from the start. I normally don’t like insta-connection romances but it really didn’t feel like that to me. To me, it felt like I was reading a romance between two people who have a strong attraction to each other but want to develop it more. It wasn’t overly nauseating which I appreciated.

Another thing I really found refreshing about Take Two was that both Micah and Maddie worked in the movie industry. I think that’s why I liked their connection to each other so much because they had a lot in common. In other books I have read with actor or celebrity leads, the hero is always the celebrity and the heroine is an everyday girl who struggles with dating a celebrity. I think by having Maddie as someone behind the scenes but who understands the business made things seem more plausible and added a bit of a spin to things.

One thing that surprised me was that there wasn’t too much drama or any plot twists to the story. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I really liked how the story progressed on its own as a straight-forward romance but after reading the Fixed Trilogy where there was always something going on in the background I guess you can say I was expecting something to pop up along the way 😛

I will probably read Star Struck just because I really like Laurelin Paige’s works but the warning at the bottom of the synopsis is slightly deterring me from picking it up as it isn’t my usual cup of tea. Overall though, the plot sounds interesting and could be a lot of fun like Take Two was so I’m not writing it off completely.

Conclusion:

I feel bad comparing this series to the Fixed Trilogy–but I really, really enjoyed it so it’s hard not to compare this new series to her previous work. Although this series has a completely different feel to her other works, I don’t think fans of the Fixed Trilogy will be disappointed with this series if they go in expecting it to be a different type of contemporary romance. Part of what made the Fixed Trilogy so great is that it had great chemistry between the two leads and that is the case here as well. So if you are looking for a fun, celebrity romance that will make you smile grab this series!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Eversea by Natasha Boyd (Eversea Series #1) and Rumor has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight Series #1)

Synopsis for Take Two (from Goodreads):
He’s ready for his close up, but she’s the one calling the shots.

On the night of her graduation from film school, straight-laced Maddie Bauers fell completely out of character for an oh-my-god make-out session with a perfect stranger. Complete with the big O.

Seven years later, that romantic interlude is still fresh in her mind. That stranger is now a rich and famous actor. And she’s one very distracted camera assistant working on his latest production. She might consider another tryst…if he even remembers her.

Micah Preston does indeed remember Maddie. Too bad he’s sworn off Hollywood relationships. He allows himself as much sex as he likes—and oh, he does like—but anything more is asking for trouble. For the woman, not for him. Yet knowing Maddie could want more than a movie-set fling doesn’t stop him from pursuing her like a moth drawn to hot stage lights.

But as the shoot nears its end, it’s decision time. Is it time to call, “Cut!” on their affair, or is there enough material for a sequel?

Warning: Contains a dreamy movie star hero, a focus-pulling heroine, off-the-charts instant chemistry, steamy sex in near-public locations, and a new use for lip gloss.

Series Review: Eversea by Natasha Boyd

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

 

Series: Eversea

There is a spin-off series called Butler Cove.

Author: Natasha Boyd
# of Books: 3 (Eversea; Forever, Jack)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I can’t remember how I came across Eversea, but as soon as I read the synopsis I couldn’t get it out of my head. Eventually, I got copies of Eversea and Forever, Jack at the same time so I decided to read them between my library books.

Eversea has everything I like in a good romance novel. It has great sexual tension, likeable leads and enough drama to keep the book interesting. While there are some love triangles to be had, they aren’t irritating ones and I feel like they actually contribute to the story in a positive way–meaning they aren’t there simply for the sake of throwing them in for some unnecessary drama.

Like most books set in the South, Eversea can move slowly at times. But I found that there are some interesting plotlines going on with secondary characters that we get little hints of as we read and they managed to capture my attention so I was never bored per say. It’s ironic that the book seems to move so slowly because everything takes place within a few weeks at the start so it doesn’t feel like a rushed romance even though it is. I think a few more days of them getting to know each other more would help smooth things over all round.

Forever, Jack is book two and the end of Jack and Kari Ann’s story. I really wasn’t sure how this book was going to go but I was expecting a lot of back and forth. Near the end, the constant back and forth got to be a little annoying but I found it hard to be angry because I completely understood Kari Ann’s thoughts and reasons. I would probably be the same way if I was ever in her shoes (ha! I wish) but I wish she was more confident in herself!

Although Goodreads doesn’t show it, on the author’s website she has posted that there will be a third book in the story that will be about Joey and Jazz which is super exciting. I really hope that there are some other companion novels in this series because I really liked all the potential relationships we were introduced to in these two books and would love to see how they play out.

UPDATED: There is a spin-off series called Butler Cove that will feature Jazz and Joey’s story. There novel is called All That Jazz.

Conclusion:

For those readers who have always wanted to read a realistic fiction novel about an everyday girl falling in love with a major celebrity without BDSM and other kinky tastes, this is a great series to pick it up. Those who like mature, New Adult contemporary reads set in the South with a strong heroine and nice-guy hero will really enjoy this series.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Rumor Has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight Series #1)

Synopsis for Eversea (from Goodreads):
An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt.

A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.

A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him with her new director, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

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Series Review: Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Reads of 2014, Must Watch For Author
Series: Ruin Trilogy
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
# of Books: 3 (Ruin, Toxic, Shame)

There is a novella that is a continuation of Ruin BUT takes place after Toxic called Fearless.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, College
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Ruin was one of those books that was everywhere for me. Kobo had been recommending it for months and my friends on Goodreads had all given it super high ratings (I’m talking 5/5). Rachel Van Dyken is also an author that pops on numerous New Adult lists so I figured it was about time I read one of her books.

So I picked up Ruin on one of my mass Kobo book-runs and got to reading it a few days later. And finished it in a day–it was that fantastic!

What makes it fantastic is the great blend of romance, characters and plot. Nothing was overdone or underdone, it was just well done. I was worried that the romance between Wes and Kiersten would be rushed or happen too quickly but it wasn’t. Both seemed to understand what was happening but took their time and had good heads about them. It was hard not to like them really and they suited each other beautifully. I also really liked the rest of the characters so added bonus!

The plot wasn’t totally original to me as it reminded me a lot of A Walk to Remember (though I’ve only ever seen the movie) BUT the characters really do make a big distinction between the two novels so it didn’t bother me that much. It was super cute and I totally cried reading it 😛

As soon as I finished Ruin, I needed to read Toxic and get Gabe’s story. From the bits and pieces we get of Gabe in Toxic I wanted to know more about him and I thought I had a good idea of where the story was going to go. BUT, I was completely wrong. Toxic was different from Ruin in a lot of way but it still had that great blend of romance, plot and feelings its predecessor had. One thing that really separated the two was the mysterious and twisting plotRuin was a lot more straight forward in its delivery but I really had no idea where Toxic was going and when I thought I did, something else would happen. Simply a great follow up novel.

Fearless is basically an extended epilogue of Ruin but has little hints about what to expect in Shame. It was a little over the top for me at times but I enjoyed it and I would say it is worth the time to read.

updates

–January 16, 2016– Book #3: Shame

This book definitely got shafted to the back-burner for me. I totally forgot about it until I pulled it for my Rock my TBR challenge this year. I think reading it closer to the other books would have helped me enjoy it more but I can’t say that for sure.

I just couldn’t stay into this book and found myself getting bored with it. It started promising but things just happened too fast and I didn’t like its flow. It was predictable and slightly over the top; not what I was expecting for Lisa’s story. The logic and rational for the plot escaped me and took me away from enjoying the story. Even the romance was lacklustre and one that I had a hard time seeing besides physical attraction. For me, it just wasn’t a great way to end the series.

Series Rating: 4/5

Ruin 5/5 | Toxic 4/5 | Shame 3/5

overall

Overall, these novels are great! The romance is swoon-worthy but also realistic (even in Shame  to a certain extent) and grounding. This series makes you appreciate life and your loved ones and these characters will probably make you cry. Highly recommended for New Adult fans!

Read if You Like: romances, New Adult, tragic backstories
Avoid if You: dislike somewhat over the top drama

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Synopsis for Ruin (from Goodreads):
I’m not your typical girl. I’ve been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness…until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn’t know that time wasn’t my ally — that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer–each moment as it came–but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it’s the end, it’s only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn’t–I wouldn’t ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.

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Single Sundays: Strangely Normal by Tess Oliver

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
A unique summer job lands eighteen-year-old Eden Saxon into a lifestyle completely different than her own. She becomes a companion for nineteen-year-old Finley King, the daughter of a rock legend. Finley suffers from severe anxiety, and her father fears her being alone. Eden leaves her loving, but wildly dysfunctional, parents and dreary apartment and enters a world where no luxury is overlooked. She instantly adores Finley and her charming, quirky personality. The whole situation has only one flaw– Finley’s older brother, Jude. Jude King is cocky, arrogant and irritating. Unfortunately, he’s also completely irresistible.

Eden realizes she’s underestimated the depth of Finley’s problems, and suddenly her dream job turns out to be a lot more than she’d expected. Eden soon finds herself in over her head . . . and her heart.

Review:

This book was yet another of the many I bought in a recent Kobo mass purchase. I was really excited to read this because of Finley’s character situation and the promise of great sexual tension between Eden and Jude.

And there was great sexual tension between Eden and Jude. While things may have occurred a little too quickly between them for my tastes (the book seems to take place within a few weeks) I enjoyed watching them interact with each other. The sexual tension is right there from the get go and just keeps building so I really liked that.

Finley is an interesting character and I wish that part of the book was told from her perspective. I really liked her and I wished that the book focused more on her and her mental problems. I didn’t completely love how her mental issues were handled in this book (I’ve read much better) but considering she is a secondary character it isn’t a huge deal breaker for me. The story is mostly about Eden and her trying to navigate her life as it changes around her. I just wish I got a better conclusion about Finley’s journey in the process.

As for Eden, I liked her a lot at the start and then I just liked her by the end. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused me not to like her as much near the end but I think it was the rushed feeling this book had to it and that caused her character to be a little wish-washy to me.

I say that the book was rushed because it seemed like it had just built to its climax and then, BOOM, end. I guess I just really liked where the story was headed and things just happened and then ended so quickly that I felt like I was robbed. I really wish this book had a sequel because I really liked the King siblings and I want to see more of them.

Conclusion:

It’s definitely not the greatest book ever but, I got exactly what I wanted out of it: a quick, super cute romance read that had me smiling and swooning. A good book to read if you need a bit of a pick me up!

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Celebrity
Recommended for: 17+
Heat Rating: warm (there is talk of sexual situations but nothing is ever described)
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Everything Between Us by Mila Ferrera (Between Us Series #2); Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines (Perfection #1 or Rosemary Beach #3) and Always by Ellery Rhodes (Always Series #1)