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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

similarreads

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)

DNF Series Review: Peaches Monroe by Mimi Strong

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 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads of 2014
Series: Peaches Monroe Trilogy
Author: Mimi Strong
# of Books: 3 (Stardust, Starlight, Starfire)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Humour (?), Romance
Heat Rating: pretty warm – almost hot (at least I think it gets hotter)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts on Stardust:

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Stardust at Chapter 5. Find out why below…

Stardust was next on my to-buy list when it popped up for free on Kindle. I always love when books I want to buy pop up for free but it also worries me because why is it now free? That is the question I should have asked myself when I started to read this book.

What was I hoping for when I read this book: a Bridget Jones-esque novel. The synopsis hints that this book is going to be a lot of fun, star a hot male lead and a funny heroine. But instead we just get a weird concoction of everything–and not in a good way like Worst Week Ever was.

First, Peaches was about as mature as a child in grade school. I never want to listen to a grown woman call her body-parts what Peaches does in this book–in real life or in fiction. I didn’t find it quirky or funny–I found it disturbing and I am a girl who laughs at everything. Sure it’s a nice change from the often anatomy-driven descriptions we get in some erotica novels but I also like to keep my brain cells as I read a book–not subject them to apoptosis by reading immature drivel. It felt like a pre-teen girl wrote this and was trying to come up with 50 different ways to not say the word penis or vagina

Dalton isn’t any better. I felt indifferent to him and the lure of his big dark secret wasn’t enough to keep me reading. There romance is fast, superficial and based on absolutely nothing other than the fact that they were in each other’s personal spaces longer than 5 minutes.

This book is praised for its wittiness and quirkiness but I think people are using the wrong words for stupidity and juvenile. There isn’t really a plot, there is very little wit and the writing is confusing at times. It’s awkward and not in that good way either. It’s just plain weird and I’m going to have to stop because I am running out of adjectives to describe how bad this book was…

Series Rating: DNF

Stardust 1/5 | Starlight N/A | Starfire N/A

overall

I’m baffled by the “great” reviews this book has on Goodreads. I think I bowed out of this book around chapter 5–I didn’t even enact my 50 page rule so that should be a good sign of how much I disliked this book. I’m glad I didn’t pay the $1 that this book is usually worth because it is just that bad and stupid. It’s easily one of the worst books I have ever read–and I’ve read some stinkers. I won’t be picking up the sequels anytime soon (i.e.: NEVER!)

Read if You Like: odd heroines, celebrity love stories
Avoid if You: like good romance novels

similarreads
(and by this I mean actual good books that have a similar plot concept that are actually worth your time!):

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary #1)
  • Rumour Has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight #1)

Synopsis for Stardust (from Goodreads):
There I was, minding my own business at Peachtree Books when this lunatic comes racing in the door and knocks me into his arms. I would have ripped him a new one, but he was kinda familiar, and hot. Like I-want-to-have-your-sexy-babies-now hot.

Turns out he looks familiar because I stare at his gorgeous face on TV every week. Yup, Dalton Deangelo. In the oh-so-firm flesh.

I let him hide out from the press for a while, then I thought he’d be on his way, and I could breathe normally again. But no. He found me interesting. He wanted to tag along to my cousin’s wedding with me. I couldn’t say no to that face … or THOSE EYES. Before the night was through, he was saying sweet things, then dirty things. Very dirty things.

I try to keep my eyes wide open. I’ve made terrible, stupid mistakes in the past. But Dalton Deangelo’s touch turns me to Jell-O.

I’m just a regular girl, and he’s rich and famous with no body fat. The guy has a butler! So, why is he chasing me? And why can’t I say no? And what is this sordid secret of his the reporters are trying to uncover?

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Series Review: Limelight by Elisabeth Grace

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

Rumor Has It by Elizabeth Grace | Limelight Series


Other books in the series:
book3

Series: Limelight
Author: Elisabeth Grace
# of Books: 3 (Rumor Has It, Picture Perfect, Collateral Damage)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Celebrity, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

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’m not sure what it is about celebrity romance stories, but I am a sucker for them–especially if they are in the New Adult genre! So this was a must-buy for me and when I found out that the other was Canadian, it was a no-brainer.

Overall, I really enjoyed Rumor Has It. I loved Ellie and Mason. While Ellie could have easily gotten on my nerves, she didn’t irritate me. She was a strong, independent heroine and I liked how she handled certain situations (though in some situations I just felt like it went a bit against her character to do what she did–but I was able to get over it). Mason was super sweet and swoon-worthy and there isn’t much else to say about that. I liked that they had more in common than physical attraction but I felt like their relationship progressed much too quickly for my tastes. While I did like Ellie, when it came to certain decisions, I just felt like it went a bit against her character to do what she did–but I was able to get over it.

When I was a few chapters in, I knew how the book was going to end. I felt like it was a little obvious but what I didn’t expect was the pathway to get there. It was filled with drama (but not over the top drama which was great) and that made the story a lot more interesting to me.

updates

–June 25, 2014– Book #2: Picture Perfect

Skye wasn’t a huge character in Rumour Has It but I was excited to read her story in Picture Perfect and when I did get the time to read it, I really enjoyed it. The chemistry between her and Landon was fantastic and the sexual tension built throughout the book.

I felt like the book had a good blend between romance and plot–so I never got bored reading it. My only disappointment with the book was that some of the moments between Skye and Landon seemed out of character for Skye. I got the initial impression she was more reserved than she actually was when I read the book–but it really wasn’t a huge deal or turn-off for me when I was reading it though it threw me for a bit of a loop at first. Overall, it was a great follow-up to Rumour Has It and I can’t wait to read book 3, Collateral Damage!

–May 4, 2016– Book #3: Collateral Damage

This one was easily my favourite of the entire series (even though I got the world mixed up with Laurelin Paiges’ Lights, Camera Series universe). If I hadn’t been on vacation and busy doing activities, I would have devoured it in one sitting. It was exactly what I needed to read when I did.

I thought the characters had great depth to them and I enjoyed the equal focus on their own development as individuals as well as the romance. Calder and Francesca were not only a great match for each other but they were intriguing on their own. The sexual tension between them was great and I loved how it was supported by a real emotional connection. You really wanted to see them work it out and succeed.

Things happen fast though in this novel and there isn’t too much to the story besides this couple trying to form. I wanted certain plot aspects to be address, not swept under the rug but I suppose that it was more “realistic” with the approach it took. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this lighter romance novel from start to finish.

Series Rating: 4/5

Rumor Has It 4/5 | Picture Perfect 4/5 | Collateral Damage 4/5

overall

This series is a great quick but solid celebrity contemporary romance series. Enjoyable from start to end, this is a great choice for a lighter romance read.

Read if You Like: quick romance reads, celebrity romances, sexual tension
Avoid if You: want more drama

similarreads

  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Eversea by Natasha Boyd (Eversea Series #1)
  • Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #2)
  • Girl With Guitar by Caisey Quinn (Kylie Ryan Series #1)
  • Take Two by Laurelin Paige (Lights, Camera Series #1)

Synopsis for Rumor Has It (from Goodreads):
All publicity is good publicity, right? Unless you’re recent college grad Ellie Wagner and an embarrassing video of you and your boyfriend goes viral. Every man in your life abandons you, but who knew a one-minute clip of your latest doomed relationship would brand you a slut, prevent you from getting your perfect job, and force you to keep doing the one thing you swore you’d never do again…live with your mother.

But staying with mom and her latest boy-toy (is this husband number four or five?) until your life turns around might not be all bad. Especially when you fall – literally – at the feet of a sexy, green-eyed stranger who offers you freedom and a life of luxury on a gold-rimmed platter.

There’s only one little problem – the man of your dreams is none other than Mason Nash, the latest hip-hop star busting up the music charts. Fame and fortune are his calling cards and he’s vying to steal the show on a new reality TV series that will catapult him into mainstream stardom. Hello spotlight.

The man behind the famous persona is perfect for Ellie in every way, but can she overcome the ugly pitfalls that come with Mason’s celebrity status? Or will she be forced to choose between the man she loves and the independent life she longs for? After all, fame and fortune aren’t always what they seem and not all publicity is good publicity…

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Series Review: Falling Into You by Lauren Abrams

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Falling Into You
Author: Lauren Abrams
# of Books: 2 (Falling Into You, Falling Into Forever)
Complete?: Yes (at least from what I can see!)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Movie Stars
Heat Rating: lukewarm

Thoughts:

I came across this book series randomly when I was looking at other books to read and decided to pick it up as well. I then decided to read Falling Into You after I had started one book that just didn’t do it for me. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this series.

I thought Falling Into You was a really refreshing New Adult read. I went into it thinking: normal girl falls in love with rich playboy actor, cue the generic storyline. But that wasn’t the case at all with this first book. For one, Chris isn’t some asshat playboy–he is a kind, self-conscious boy who is on the cusp of stardom. One thing I really liked about him was that he is genuine–sure he starts off a little rough at the party scene but you really get to see the true side of him throughout the book. Hallie was also fantastic–another genuine character that I think most girls can relate to. You really see their connection develop and why they fall for each other.

When I read the book description I thought their pasts might be a little more involved in the plot, but that doesn’t really come into play out until the end of the book. I thought I would miss that part in the novel but it was so cute watching them falling in love, I really didn’t mind 😛 That being said though, I think the ending was a little rushed but I was satisfied with the way it ended.

Based on the ending of Falling Into You I had a few directions where this book might go and I will say that none of them were how Falling Into Forever plays out. It was more of what I expected the first book to be–dealing with the fame and fortune and how that strains a relationship. Again, I though it was a refreshing take on a romance novel sequel. There is just something about this series that seems realistic to me despite the fact that not every normal girl falls in love with a budding movie star. I totally shed a few tears during this last book and I’m A-OK with that and I had a hard time putting it down.

Conclusion:

These were two books I picked up on a whim and wasn’t too sure about. I’m glad I found these little gems and I hope that more people discover their charm. Overall, a refreshing take on the New Adult genre that fans of the genre should pick up 🙂 I know I have found a new “must-read” author here!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Too Far Series, #1) and Come a Little Bit Closer by Bella Andre (The Sullivans Series, #7)

Synopsis for Falling Into You (from Goodreads):
When Hallie Caldwell, normal girl extraordinaire, perpetual wingwoman, and queen of the friend zone, accepts her college roommate’s invitation to spend winter break in New York, she figures it’s a chance to live out her childhood fantasies of a life in the big city. Instead, thrust into a world of glittering parties and oversized bank accounts, she immediately feels like an outsider.

Chris Jensen’s Hollywood agent keeps telling him that he’ll be the next big star, just as long as he gets the lead role in the reboot of a classic action franchise. When he returns to New York after a two-year absence, he has other things on his mind—his dying father, an irate sister, and the beautiful, seductive, infuriating, and ruthless Sophia Pearce. He’s not exactly thrilled when she asks him to be her roommate’s tour guide, but he reluctantly agrees.

When Hallie and Chris meet, they’re irresistibly drawn to each other. However, Chris’s meteoric rise to stardom and long-suppressed secrets from Hallie’s past threaten to destroy their tenuous connection, and each is forced to examine whether happy endings are nothing but a Hollywood fantasy