Tag «chick lit»

Single Sundays: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

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 Dating You / Hating You (from Goodreads):

 

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve been a fan of Christina Lauren’s series for a while so I was curious to see what they could do with a standalone. This one looked like it would be a lot of fun and I couldn’t wait to see the chemistry between Evie and Carter come to life as they competed for the job.

The Plot:

I laughed a lot while listening to this which is always a big plus. The antics these two get into were creative and hilarious. I got some very high intensity ideas to prank my co-workers with 😉

The other big highlight for me was the emphasis on sexism in the workplace. I read this book in February 2018, just on the cusp of the #MeToo movement and it further resonated with me the systemic problems women face in the workplace. Watching both Evie and Carter come to terms with it was an interesting aspect to this novel.

There was something off about the pacing which is why this isn’t a 5/5. This book was utterly addicting thanks to the characters and the chemistry between them. But I felt like it got lost in some of the more filler moments.

The Characters:

I really loved these two. Evie was a strong heroine and her attitude and drive is admirable. She’s hilarious ad completely her own person which is great. As is Carter who is equally charming and sincere.

Both had some great character development and I got sucked into their stories.

The Romance:

I loved the chemistry between Evie and Carter. They were a perfect match from the start. Carter is just adorable with his infatuation. This book has a bit of a slow burn feel to it so the tension is just palpable between these two.

Compared to other Christina Lauren novels I’ve read, I liked that this one wasn’t so focused on the sex scenes. They’re really aren’t all that many (just your standard for contemporary romance nowadays) and I really appreciated that in a way because it just highlighted the great connection between these two instead of their physical chemistry.

My Audiobook Experience:

I’m really glad with my decision to read this as an audiobook. It just made this thing seem like a rom-com movie to me. One of the funniest audiobooks I’ve listened to. Shayna Thibodeaux  and Deacon Lee did great jobs as the narrators. Their tone and performance was just fabulous!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This is a funny and charming contemporary romance. It isn’t as erotica based as previous Christina Lauren novels so take with that what you will. But returning fans and new readers alike will enjoy this novel!

Read if You Like: Chick Lit, office romance, rom-com
Avoid if You: want more erotica

similarreads

  • Wallbanger by Alice Clayton (Cocktail Series #1)
  • Lace Up by Shae Ross (Pretty Smart Girls Series #1)
  • Smut by Karina Halle

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Movie Mondays: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this edition’s offering:

Book: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (2012) | Movie: Me Before You (2016)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Series: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Truth be told, I really hummed and hawed over whether or not to read this book. I knew I was most definitely going to be watching the movie. Sam Claflin has a special place in my heart after watching Love, Rosie so I wasn’t going to miss my chance to see him on the screen again. But I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to read the book first or watch the movie first. I also read a bit of a spoiler on a blog and that diminished my enthusiasm to read it. In the end, I decided I would probably never read the book if I watched the movie first and it seems like one of those books that you just have to read at some point.

I almost didn’t finish the book though when I started to read it. It was really just a timing thing–I had a lot going on and I was in a bit of a reading slump–but then I got sucked into this book and I had a hard time putting it down.

Truth be told, it was Louisa’s character that sucked me in.

She was quirky in a way I found endearing and she had me laughing at times. Her situation tugged on my heartstrings a bit and it was so easy to want to root for her. And the same can be said for Will as well. It was amazing how attached to these characters I got.

After seeing the movie trailer, I figured this book was going to be a full blown romance and that really isn’t the case. Yes, romance does play a part in it but it isn’t the main theme of the book. The main theme is really about life and what it means to the people who live it. Its a good philosophy question that will never get answered because it really is a subjective topic.

And yes, I cried. I really didn’t think I would but I totally did.

overall

I really enjoyed this book! It was a great story about life, love and friendship. I laughed and I cried. However, I don’t plan on reading the sequel. I’m really happy with how things ended and I’m not really interested in what happens next.

Rating: 5/5

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Were My Expectations Met?

YES! This movie was so sweet and funny. I thought I might cry but I was able to keep back the tears. I think it helped that I pictured Sam and Emilia as the leads while I read this so I was prepared to see them in the movie.

How Close is it to the Book?

Very close actually. I was impressed by how much of the dialogue was word for word from the book. Of course, it helps when the author writes the screenplay.

All the major moments are shown so it was great to see those on the screen. A few things were omitted–like Lousia’s tension with her sister; or her research–but the heart of the novel is still there and it shows.

Did I Like the Cast?

Yes! Emilia was fantastic as Louisa! She had me laughing throughout just like in the novel. I don’t know who else you would get for that role.

Sam was also great as Will. His facial expressions to Louisa’s actions were exactly what I pictured when I read the novel. He was perfect.

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I connected a lot more with the characters in the book. I liked the focus the novel had on life and friendship more so than the movie. It just went that little bit deeper for me. But I thought the movie was great and a solid adaptation of the novel.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Me Before You (from Goodreads):

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Trailer:

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Series Review: Cocktail by Alice Clayton

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

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Synopsis for Wallbanger (from Goodreads):
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Contemporary 2015
Series: Cocktail Series
Author: Alice Clayton
# of Books: 4 (Wallbanger, Rusty Nailed, Screwdrivered, Mai Tai’d Up)

There is a finale novella, Last Call.

Book OrderWallbanger, Rusty Nailed and Last Call are chronological; Screwdrivered and Mai                  Tai’d Up are connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humour, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2012 – January 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Cocktail Series, is a popular title in the adult contemporary romance world. I stumbled upon it after reading and loving Tangled by Emma Chase. It’s hard to find that great contemporary read that balances romance, humour and plotline without going over the top or by creating annoying characters (coughcoughShopaholic). So my expectations were high for this one given the great reviews on Goodreads.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romances, there isn’t much plot besides the relationship between the two leads. But the sign of a great romance book (at least to me) is when you don’t even realize there isn’t much going on and you really don’t care because you are having such a FANTASTIC time reading it!

The humour in this series is great! It was funny, fun and highly entertaining. At the start, I worried that Caroline would go a little off her rocker or become a ditsy, one-track heroine a la Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic, but she was funny, charming and so real despite the slightly ridiculous situation she finds herself in. And the same can be said about the other heroines in the series–even if I didn’t love their stories as much as that first novel.

Just a note on the sequel to Caroline and Simon’s story (Rusty Nailed). I thought it was going to be boring and monotonous but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought it was realistic and a nice way to close their story, though it definitely wasn’t needed.

The Characters:

Great stories need great characters and the cast in this series is so much fun! These characters aren’t overly complex but they have enough unique quirks that keep them interesting. And I’m not just talking about the leads either!

Not only did I fall in love with Simon and Caroline, I also fell in love with their friends (and the other eventual leads in the other books). The supporting characters kept my attention and added to the plot but I never felt like they overshadowed the leads in any way.

The Romance:

Sigh…I loved the romance between Caroline and Simon. The development is everything I crave in a romance. It starts with great sexual tension, expands the emotional connection and has a few close encounters before the big moment. These two just fit so well together and it was apparent to me why they liked each other so much. I definitely added them to my favourite couples lists by the time I finished Wallbanger.

I also liked the relationships between the other characters in the connected books, Screwdrivered and Mai Tai’d Up. Well developed and fun. They are definitely slow burn romances but nothing is wrong with that!

Series Rating: 4/5

Wallbanger 5/5  |  Rusty Nailed 4/5  |  Screwdrivered 3.5/5  |  Mai Tai’d Up 4/5

overall

Normally, I’m not a fan of slow burn romances but this series is an exception! I had so much fun reading these books and watching these characters act out all their shenanigans! Probably one of my favourite groups of characters in a romance series!

Read if You Like: humour, great supporting characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slow burn romance, want an erotica

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Series Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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

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Series: Shopaholic Series
Author: Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham)
# of Books: 7 (See Full List Here)

There is a novella after book 3: Shopaholic on Honeymoon

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes…I think
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humour, Romance, British Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I have only read the first 4 books in the series (up to and including Shopaholic and Sister). Find out why I stopped reading the rest of the series below…

I was in my mid-teens when I started reading this series and I loved Confessions of a Shopaholic. These were my Meg Cabot days (I think we all have those) and I really loved the fun scenarios of “chick lit” and the dash of romance in them. They were fun, light-hearted reads that had me chuckling and captured my attention. I revisited the series again when I started university but it was hard for me to get back into them and I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 2 books (Shopaholic to the Stars hadn’t been published yet).

Part of the issue is that I grew out of “chick lit”. I tended to gravitate away from the light-hearted, often predictable plot-lines of chick lit and more towards the “darker”, twisty plot lines of young adult fiction and adult romances. I just got tired of reading about the same situations all the time and that included the heroine.

It also doesn’t help that I read some of Madeleine Wickham’s standalone novels that were published afterwards and I felt like she just writes the same type of heroine all the time. I guess you write what you know best but I had a hard time liking them and I think that might have influenced how I felt about Becky in her later novels.

I’m not a huge fan of “air-headed” heroines so it’s kind of a surprise that I would enjoy Becky’s character. But when I didn’t take her too seriously, I just found her to be so funny and a lot of fun…until she wasn’t. I just felt like Becky’s character never grew in the way I expected. I wanted her to learn from her mistakes and mature and it just got tiring waiting for that to happen. At times, it made her hard to read about and I could see how her character would rub people the wrong way.

After a while, each book just seemed like a regurgitation of the past and formulaic and that isn’t fun for me to read. I just wanted something to surprise me and I didn’t want to be annoyed by Becky so I made the decision to stop reading the series (and other Madeleine Wickham novels).

Conclusion:

If you chick lit, this is a great series for you: it’s light and funny and British. But it can get a little tiring if you like unpredictable reads and heroines that have more substance to them.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: If they loved chick lit, yes!

Similar Reads: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot (Queen of Babble Series #1)

Synopsis for Confessions of a Shopaholic (from Goodreads):
MEET BECKY BLOOMWOOD, AN IRRESISTIBLE HEROINE WITH A BIG HEART, BIG DREAMS — AND JUST ONE LITTLE WEAKNESS …

Becky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something …

Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.

Series Review: Wild Seasons by Christina Lauren

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

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav Reads 2015, Favourite New Adult Series 2015
Series: Wild Seasons Series

This series crosses over with the Beautiful Bastard Series in book 4 of the Beautiful Bastard Series, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 4 (Sweet Filthy Boy, Dirty Rowdy Thing, Dark Wild Night, Wicked Sexy Liar)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: hot, (Kink: minor [Dark Wild Night])
Point of View: First Person, Single (Sweet Filthy Boy), Alternate (Dirty Rowdy Thing onwards)

Thoughts:

When I first saw that Christina Lauren had a new New Adult series, I didn’t put it to the top of my to-read list. Despite the fact that I did enjoy the Beautiful Bastard Series (by this point I had only read the first two novels in the series) and that I like that they write strong independent female heroines, I just wasn’t sold on reading another series by them. But then two things happened: 1) was that I read Beautiful Player, the 3rd novel of the Beautiful Bastard Series an LOVED it! and 2) I actually read the synopsis for Sweet Filthy Boy and I just had to know what happened.

And I am so glad that I did!

If I didn’t have a midterm test the next day, I would have stayed up all night reading Sweet Filthy Boy. It hooked me in the second I started reading and I couldn’t put it down. I laughed, I teared-up and most importantly, I fell in love with Mia and Ansel. Sure, the romance was a bit of a love-at-first-sight situation but it never felt like that. They really had a strong connection and I loved watching their relationship develop. Seeing them connect emotionally and not just physically was such a blast to read about. This is what I wanted Gayle Forman’s Just One Day Series to be: a cute, albeit it slightly unrealistic, soul-mate finding romance set in Paris. Sweet Filthy Boy was the perfect blend of character growth, romance and fun (including humour!).

Ansel was swoon-worthy–definitely a new book boyfriend for me–and I really connected to Mia more than I thought I would. Mia was really the best part of the book for me. Certain traits of hers reminded me a lot of myself but I loved watching her grow during this book. She also wasn’t a stupid and irrational character–which was quite the bonus because I was reading another book at the time with a super annoying heroine so Mia made for a nice break–and actually thought about things before she acted. I loved how she handled everything that was thrown at her and did it in a smart way. And I know from reading an interview with Christina and Lauren that they were worried that having only a single POV wouldn’t go over well with fans but I think it worked out perfectly and Mia was awesome to read about.

The rest of the characters are also great–which made me super excited to read the rest of the series.

While I didn’t love love Dirty Rowdy Thing like I loved Sweet Filthy Boy it was still a great read! Again, the focus wasn’t just on sex and instead you get to see a relationship actually build; plus the signature sexy times Christina Lauren is known for thrown in for good measure. It too was a great blend of realism (in terms of relationships), romance and humour and it lead me to the conclusion that Christina Lauren might be one of my new favourite authors because this series is everything I want in a contemporary, New Adult romance series. The little quirks that irked me in the first two Beautiful Bastard Series novels are gone like they were in Beautiful Player and the result is just a really great read.

Words cannot describe how excited I am for Dark Wild Night: I hate the fact that I have to wait until September to wait for this couple’s story. At least I will have the crossover novel until them, Beautiful Secret…sigh

updates

–October 12, 2015– Book #3: Dark Wild Night

I’ve wanted to read this couple’s story since the very first book so to say I was highly anticipating this one isn’t adequate enough. However, I was worried when I read the initial synopsis. I didn’t like where it was going and I am SO GLAD that Christina Lauren rewrote this book before publication because the story we get is perfect for these two.

I’m not a fan of unrequited friendship love stories but when it’s two friends who are equally in love with each other and don’t know what to do about it–I’m so there. I spent the first 50 or so pages with butterflies in my stomach because it was adorable and perfect. I loved watching this relationship become something more.

I was expecting this book to be my favourite of the 3 but I still think Sweet Filthy Boy takes the cake. I think Mia and Ansel in the first book are better developed characters. So while I really, really enjoyed Dark Wild Night, it did lose me for a second or two in the middle but quickly righted itself in the end.

Can’t WAIT to how it is going to wrap up in the final (?) book: Wicked Sexy Liar!

–March 16, 2016– Book #4: Wicked Sexy Liar

I really didn’t know what to expect with Wicked Sexy Liar. These two were characters we had only met in passing before and hadn’t been anticipating their relationship from the first book.

The more I read this book, the more I enjoyed it. I really liked the relationship that developed between these two. I liked how they had more in common than just physical chemistry and they had that friendship blossoming between them. I definitely fell more in love with them as a couple the more I read.

I also liked how honest these characters were. For a book titled “Wicked Sexy Liar”, I really thought more lying would be happening but that wasn’t the case. These two were so open and had great communication that it made me wonder why they titled the book this.

Not my favourite in the series, but a solid way to end it all I think. Definitely an enjoyable read!

(PS can Margot please have your own story? That would be great thanks!)

Series Rating: 5/5

Sweet Filthy Boy 5/5 | Dirty Rowdy Thing 4.5/5 | Dark Wild Night 5/5 | Wicked Sexy Liar 4/5

overall

Maybe I loved these first two books so much because I was supposed to be studying for midterms both times I picked them up, but I really don’t think that is the case. This series is everything I like in a contemporary romance–strong heroines, swoon-worthy heros, humour, an actual emotional connection–and lacks what I hate about contemporary romance–over the top relationship drama. Christina Lauren have written winners with this series!

Read if You Like: new adult contemporary, emotionally connected romance
Avoid if You: dislike crude love scenes

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Synopsis for Sweet Filthy Boy (from Goodreads):
One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

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Novella Serial Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Series: The Inheritance
Author: Olivia Mayfield
# of Parts: 6
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Chick Lit, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm (not a lot of sexual content but it is rather descriptive)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I randomly stumbled across this serial at my public library when browsing the newly added eBooks. I think at one point, I came across this book as a freebie on Amazon because the plot sounded extremely familiar to me when I read it  (but I opted not to download it because it was a serial series). However, my library had the complete novel available to borrow so I decided that I might as well grab it.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary mystery novels. In theory I should because I love puzzles, Clue is my all-time favourite board game and I just love the movies that require you to piece together clues to understand what is happening. But when it comes to reading, I prefer my suspense to come from drama and family secrets. This book has a mixture of both because the mystery focuses on family drama that is the result of a crime so I liked that it blended together. It managed to keep my attention and even when I wasn’t reading it I was trying to put the clues together.

I think like most serialized series, this series suffers from lack of character development. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters and I didn’t love Maggie. I think part of the reason is the third person narration but from a technical aspect I understand why mystery novels are written in third person. But most of the characters are your cookie-cutter mystery characters so nothing felt wholly original to me.

As for the mystery, I was expecting something a little more complicated as the solution to be honesty. However, I didn’t fully figure out the solution until shortly before the big reveals so I liked that.

Conclusion:

It was a cute read and it made for a good way to pass the time. Not the greatest story ever told but it was interesting and managed to keep my attention throughout. Don’t expect the romance aspect to be the main focus here; this book is primarily a contemporary mystery with a dash of romance on the side.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: His Wicked Games by Ember Casey (His Wicked Games Series #1) and Juliet by Anne Fortier

Synopsis for The Inheritance: The Complete Novel (from Goodreads):

Olivia Mayfield’s thrilling and sexy novel about seductive money, deadly secrets, and fatal attractions—available in one complete edition!

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. It turns out her grandfather named four people beneficiaries to his vast estate—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany. But only one of them will win his millions: whoever finds out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago.

As her grandfather’s strange challenge pits Maggie against those nearest to her, she’s reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister and distracted by a lingering attraction to Andrew. But as she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious vanishing, she begins to discover that each of the contestants has dangerous secrets to hide—and with ten million dollars on the line, no one, not even those she loves most, can be trusted…

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

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

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: A Favourite Young Adult Series
Series: Gallagher Girls Series
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 6

There is a crossover novella with the Heist Society novels called Double Crossed. There are also two other novellas: Classified Material (#4.5) and a Gallagher Wedding (#6.5).

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Espionage, Action, Adventure, Romance, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

The first thing that capture my attention with this series was the witty titles. I love punny things so I counted that as a sign that I should read these books. I also love stories about kick-ass female heroines and the whole espionage thing was an added bonus. When I really started getting into my reading addiction, this series came up all the time but I didn’t read the first book until 5 years after it had been published (so my first year of university). I was probably a little too old to be reading it but I couldn’t resist.

This series reminds me a lot of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series--but if Georgia and crew were spies. Gallagher Girls definite has more suspense and focuses on the action part of the plot, but the friendship between Cammie and her friends really reminds me of Georgia and her crew which I really liked. It was a lot of fun reading about this group of girls and joining them on all their adventures from finding first love to saving the world.

These books continued to be a lot of fun even when the plot line got to be more serious after book 3, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover. The first three books have a story arc that starts and concludes within the same novel (for the most part). There are some hints here and there about the eventual over-arching plot line that takes place in the later books but I found they focused mostly on a single plot line. Book 4, Only the Good Spy Young, is where the final story arc of the series begins but I found that the plot never dragged despite spanning 3 books. I think it helps that the characters are all solid in their personalities and by this point in the series you are attached to every single one of them.

I really enjoyed reading these books! They were always what I expected them to be (and a little bit more) and I’m sad to see Cammie and co. go.

Conclusion:

A very well executed and written Young Adult series. If you like tough but fun and lovable girls as your YA heroines, this is a great series for you to read. Definitely geared more towards the younger set of readers but older YA fans will no doubt enjoy.

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)

Synopsis for I’d Tell You I Love You, But I’d Have to Kill You (from Goodreads):
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Series Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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 Just One Day (from Goodreads):
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

breakdown

Series: Just One Day Series
Author: Gayle Forman
# of Books: 2 (Just One Day, Just One Year)

There is a followup novella to the previous books called: Just One Night

Book Order: Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Coming of Age, Travel, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adventure, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Just One Day); Alternating (Just One Year)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

What I Expected / Why I Picked It Up:

While Gayle Forman’s most well known novel, If I Stay, isn’t my particular cup of tea, I’ve heard good things and decided to read this series instead.

The Concept:

I went into Just One Day thinking it was going to be a book that focused on “just one day”. So I was braced to emerge myself into a novel filled with love-at-first sight moments and the many sights in Paris. But that isn’t what I got.

Instead, Just One Day–and its sequel/companion novel, Just One Year–focuses on the growth of the respective characters (Allyson in Just One Day and Willem in Just One Year). Which is fine and dandy–just not what I was expecting.

The Plot:

This series is really about finding yourself–and what I really like is that each character works independently to accomplish this (ie they don’t become co-dependent “I can’t live without him/her” type of people). It gets a little dull at times because the journey it takes to reach this growth isn’t always a happy one. (I found it was a little blah during the middle of Just One Day because of this–it was a little too long for my tastes whereas Just One Year was the perfect length by being 50 pages shorter).

It’s a good blend of “fantasy” vs realistic fiction.  “Fantasy” isn’t really the right word–what I’m trying to say is that this series takes an unrealistic situation (I don’t know too many people who would go off to Paris with a random stranger for the day) and makes it realistic by having two characters learn from that situation in a truly real way. Perhaps that is the message of the series: seize every opportunity and don’t be afraid to make that leap that may seem like “fantasy” to the real world because you may grow from it. (Enough philosophical thoughts for this review).

The Characters:

These books are essentially about that one life defining moment many young 20-somethings will find themselves in and I think a lot of readers can identify to this and with these characters. I think the vast majority of us have been in Allyson’s shoes trying to bridge that gap between our teens and adulthood and managing our relationships with our parents as we do so. The same can be said for Willem’s book.

Anyone who has been to the places that are described in the book will have a lot of fun reading about them. I found that the tours around each place were just as interesting as the actual story. I liked Just One Year a bit more because I’ve never been to any of the places described in the book and I found Willem’s personal story more interesting.

The Novella–Just One Night:

All I can say is thank goodness for the enovella, Just One Night. I was a little peeved at the abrupt ending of Just One Year (though I understand why it ended the way it did) so I’m glad to get some closure with the novella. Make sure you have it on hand right away when you finish Just One Year 😉

Series Rating: 4/5

Just One Day 4/5 | Just One Year 4/5| [Just One Night 5/5]

overall

If Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill and Finding It by Cora Carmack had a child together, it would be this series. While the romance plays a big role in the grand scheme of things, this series is really about finding the true you given the circumstances life deals you and the journey to take to get there. Fans of coming of age novels and/or travel novels will love this.

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DNF Review: Until I Met You by Jaimie Roberts

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 Until I Met You (from Goodreads):
What happens when the worlds of two tortured souls collide?

Angelina Bradshaw has always believed that she does not need a man in her life. That’s what she has been telling herself her entire adult life. She feels worlds apart from her family’s dreams for her to meet a man, settle down, and have babies. She certainly can’t be doing that because love just gets in the way. She has a ‘go to’ guy and that’s enough for her.

Living in rural Cornwall, she is bored and in desperate need of adventure, so when a family friend offers her a job in London, there’s no hesitation. She expected adventure, she expected a new start, but what she didn’t expect was to meet a man who would turn her life upside-down. Seth Jacobs is hot, sexy, and can’t understand why Angelina doesn’t want him. No one has ever said no to Seth Jacobs—in fact—they all fall at his feet.

Seth pursues her relentlessly and Angelina fights him at every corner. He is the only man who has ever affected her, and the need to run from him is immense. However, Seth is not one to give up so easily. He soon finds himself on a mission, determined to win her heart.

Unfortunately for Angelina, all is not well when her past and present collide after receiving some unwelcoming and frightening news from home. She feels desperate and alone, but most of all, she feels she has to push Seth away before it’s too late.

To make matters worse, a catastrophic secret from the past is revealed, threatening to destroy the one thing, Angelina finally holds dear to her heart.

Review:

PLEASE NOTE: That I only read until the end of Chapter 6 (page 91) for this book and did not finish it prior to publishing this review. Find out why below…

I got this book as an Amazon Freebie one day and decided to read it right away because of the positive reviews on Goodreads and the synopsis captured my attention (also, I needed a standalone novel for my blog post this week). But once I was 50 pages in I started to wonder if I was reading the same thing as everyone else…

I can get past the slightly sloppy writing and editing errors when reading a book, especially ones that I get for free on Amazon because they are mostly self-published. And that was my plan going into this book after reading the reviews. However, I can’t get past slow plot lines and annoying heroines. I almost enacted my 50 page rule but decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt because we hadn’t met Seth yet (yes, that’s how slow the book is) and I had hoped he was going to save the book.

He didn’t…

And the reason is Angelina. Of course every man in the world is attracted to her and I have no idea why. For a 26 year old woman she acts like she’s 15 at times. Perhaps I expected her to be more mature considering “her secret from the past” but I was very disappointed in her as a character. I just didn’t like her at all and because the book is told solely from her POV it irritated me beyond belief. Lots of other reviews said she was “funny”–again, I fail to see how. I laugh at everything and I never laughed at anything she said/did. I just didn’t like her.

As I mentioned before, the book was slow. Certain plot points weren’t needed. For example the first chapter could have been greatly reduced to get the same message across and get into the thick of things. Because from what I’ve read from others’ reviews, there were some great twists along the way. I just wish we got that momentum earlier in the book because I probably would have stuck it out if we did.

Conclusion:

As of this moment, I don’t have any plans to finish this book. I was 1/3 of the way through when I stopped reading and I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything as I write this review. Just poor execution and nothing original (from what I read) in terms of contemporary romance. Pass.

Rating: 1/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Hell no.

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Contemporary, Romances, Drama, Chick Lit
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads 2014
Similar Reads: Reflect Me by K. B. Webb (Reflect Me Series #1) and Chosen Heart by Ann Stewart (Hart Series #1)

Single Sundays: Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

Synopsis for Love the One You’re With (from Goodreads):
The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I’m with when I can’t forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live.

Love the One You’re With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

Review:

Again, this is another one of those books that I read much to early in life–though in all honesty I think I wouldn’t enjoy it later in life either.

I don’t enjoy stories featuring love triangles and by far the worst type of love triangle is one featuring an affair. While cheating is the main premise of Something Borrowed I had a better grasp of why it was occurring more than why it was here. It doesn’t mean I condone it in anyway, but the story was written in such a way that you sided with Rachel when all was said in done.

But here, I really couldn’t care less what happened and that was because the characters were dull. I didn’t really like anyone and I just never connected with them.

This was the fourth Emily Giffin book I read–and the last. While I can appreciate her taking realistic issues as the main focus of her books, I just wish she would follow-through with realistic plotlines or plotlines with characters that have some depth to them. I’m tired of reading Chick Lit books with selfish heroines who don’t think clearly in anything that they do. Where have all the strong heroines gone and how do we get them back?

Conclusion:

Another miss from Giffin I think. It just fell flat in everything it tried to do. Pass!

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Recommended for: 30+ women
Heat Rating: cool
Similar Reads: Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin (Darcy and Rachel Series #1); Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella