Tag «childhood friends»

Series Review: Walk of Shame by Victoria Ashley

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 Slade (from Goodreads):
My name is Slade Merrick and I’m a fucking sex addict . . .

I’ve been told it’s a problem. But I see it as a passion; something that I’m good at. And who the fuck stops something that they’re good at?

They want me to seek help; get my cock in check. Don’t judge my lifestyle. You’re no better than me. Just admit it, you like to fuck too. Sex is what I do best; my own personal high, so I embrace it instead of being ashamed.

When I’m not fucking, I’m slinging drinks at Walk Of Shame or stripping my way into your bed; another thing I’m good at. Every woman’s darkest fantasy brought to life.

So, am I stopping? Fuck no. Sex is beautiful, raw and erotic and I get off knowing I can have it with anyone I want . . . with the exception of her.

Aspen.

She walks into the club swaying those hips, instantly drawing my cock to attention. She’s pure perfection. That is, until she opens that mouth, drawing me in and for the first time in forever I want something more than sex. I want her and she hates it.

Things get dirty. Dirty is what I like; it’s how I live. But . . . she’s playing a game she can never win.

breakdown

Series: Walk of Shame Trilogy

There is a spin-off series called Walk of Shame 2nd Generation

Author: Victoria Ashley
# of Books: 3 (Slade, Hemy, Cale)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2014 – July 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I got these books on my Kobo but there they were when I pulled a star labelled “Slade” from my TBR jar for my Make Me Read It Challenge. While I didn’t read it for my challenge, I still wanted to read all 10 books that I pulled since they contribute to my Rock My TBR Challenge.

I love stories about cocky bad boys who get put in their place by their significant other but it has been a long time since I’ve read a straight erotica novel…so I wasn’t sure if I would be ready for all the sexy times.

The Concept:

Each novella focuses on a different male stripper from the club, Walk of Shame. So if you are picturing Magic Mike, you’re not far from the situation.

The Plot:

Considering the words “erotica novella” are plastered on the front cover, there was a lot more to the plot than I expected. I was worried it was just going to be filled with sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters and their story!

The boys all struggle with pasts that have lead them to their current situation. It was very addicting to get to the bottom of their pasts and see how they were going to right those wrongs.

The Characters:

These boys are bad through and through; but they have these redeeming qualities to them that make you like them.

What I liked about the girls was that they didn’t become overly dependent on these boys once they got involved. While I might not have liked how they handled some of the conflict thrown their ways, I appreciated their characters.

It was crazy how attached I got to all these characters! As soon as I was a couple pages into Slade I just had to know more about Hemy and Cale and what their stories might be.

The Romance:

Even though each story was a novella, I still felt like the romance developed at a great pace. I was actually surprised by how well the romance was established. Lots of novellas rush things but that wasn’t the case here.

The Sexy Times:

I think it’s important that you read the Author’s note before you consider picking up this series:

Author’s Note: Due to strong language and a very high amount of dirty, sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. This is #1 in the Walk Of Shame series of novellas that will all be standalone reads. If you’re not into, cocky bad boys with filthy mouths and even filthier sex, then this series is not for you. If you are . . . then, come meet the dirty boys of Walk Of Shame

It’s very accurate and if erotica isn’t your thing, this isn’t your series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Slade 4/5 | Hemy 4/5 | Cale 4/5

overall

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series! Going in, I thought it was only going to be sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters. It was a blast getting to know them and their pasts better!

Read if You Like: erotica, stories about strippers
Avoid if You: erotica

similarreads

readingchallengesbook

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Fresh Fridays: Tainted Love by K B Nelson

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

Tainted Love Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Faithless (from Goodreads):
She’s a stripper. He’s a preacher. Her name is Faith and he’s been faithless since the day she went away.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know it’d end like this.
From the beginning, it could only go one way, and straight to hell it did.
My past reads like a film stuck on repeat; fall in in love, get heart broke, and then run. Just fucking run.

And run I did.
Straight back to that place I swore I’d never return.
Straight back to that place where my broken heart lies buried deep within one man’s chest.

Noah Parker was my first love. He was my only love.
The only boy that could ever make me feel alive.
The only boy who ever truly broke my heart.
The only boy who could possibly save me from myself.

But Noah isn’t a boy anymore…

breakdown

Series: Tainted Love
Author: K B Nelson
# of Books: 2 (Faithless, Blind Sided)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Blind Sided, will be published in March 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Suspense, Second Chance
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 23, 2016 – ongoing

was originally a 3 part serial that was rewritten and complied into the new edition.

Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed K B Nelson’s Bad Reputation and so I joined her mailing list to be notified of when she had new releases and review copies available. Now, Faithless isn’t exactly new. It was originally published as a 3 part serial starting in December 2014. This publication is the same story but features different scenes, a different ending and puts everything together to be a part of this new series.

I love forbidden love stories and the idea that a preacher and a stripper had some passionate romance? Colour me curious! I also loved that it was pitched with a darker theme–another trope I am a sucker for.

What I Liked:

–It wasn’t afraid to go places–

I like books that take risks with their characters and events. Nelson has no issue making this story as dark and tragic as it could possibly be, making the story completely unpredictable at times.

–The Suspense and Mystery–

I didn’t know that this was going to be a suspense novel so it took me for surprise when that’s what it turned out to be. But it really added something to this story that made me want to keep reading. The suspense plot here is so dark and twisty that it kept my attention and made the book very unpredictable.

The mystery of putting together the past was also really intriguing. I liked having the flashbacks to the past mixed with current events. It kept the story building and added more depth to the characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was more Suspense than Romance–

While I enjoyed the suspense elements, at the same time, I thought I was going to be reading more of a contemporary, second chance romance that focused on the forbidden passions between a preacher and his high school sweat heart–not the events that happen when these two reunite after years apart.

It’s more of a suspense novel that has events that occur because these two people reunite; rather than a second chance romance with a minor suspense plot. If that makes any sense.

–The “spiritual” moments–

I feel like this heading is a bit misleading because it implies that there is a lot of moments about God and/or religious faith but that isn’t what I am getting at. (For the record, this book wasn’t preachy at all about faith or the like). I’m just talking about a plot device that was used and that I wasn’t the biggest fan of it even though I understand why it was used. (I would elaborate further but I think it’s a bit of a spoiler). It just added a cheesy element to the story that I would have preferred not to have had.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is a great set-up in Faithless for what the story in Blind Sided is going to be and now that I know what to expect from this series, I’m looking forward to seeing the path Nelson takes us on with this new one.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Faithless 3.5/5 | Blind Sided TBP

overall

If you enjoy stories like Leah Raeder’s Black Iris or even stories by M Leighton, this is a fantastic series for you to start! I think people who want lighter romance will not enjoy this nor will those who want more romance than suspense. Definitely a unique series that has me very intrigued to see what will happen next!

Read if You Like: suspense, non-traditional romances, dark stories
Avoid if You: want more romance/sexual tension

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Neon Dreams by Caisey Quinn

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 Leaving Amarillo (from Goodreads):
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.

Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.

Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Neon Dreams Trilogy
Author: Caisey Quinn
# of Books: 3 (Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Music, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Leaving Amarillo); Alternating (Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Publication Dates: March 2015 – October 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve really enjoyed Caisey Quinn’s other two New Adult series. She is really a must read New Adult author for me at this point so I was really looking forward to reading Leaving Amarillo–though I did have some hesitations.

I really liked the Kylie Ryan Series, which is about a young woman trying to make it in the country music world. So I was worried that this series was going to have a lot of similarities…

Yeah…I was so wrong!

The Plot:

I won’t lie, I was expecting a straight-up romance when I started Leaving Amarillo. So I was a little shocked when I saw that the eBook was close to 300 pages long (the average book is about 230-250 pages long). Did that mean that the romance was going to get dragged on? I sure hoped not.

Silly me! You can tell it had been a long time since I read a Caisey Quinn novel because I really should know better!

What I love about Quinn’s novels is that she truly balances the romantic side with the character and plot development. Meaning, she really hits the tri-factor of what a great New Adult novel should be: a strong romance, growing characters and an interesting plot. In other words: New Adult Goldmine!

What I love about the plot is that it spans all the books; meaning it doesn’t get fully resolved in the first two books and there are some lose ends to tie up in Missing Dixie. Which is great! It’s been a long time since I’ve followed a journey with a set of characters in contemporary romance. Most New Adult series focus on a core group of friends but each book is dedicated to two specific people. So you don’t really get to watch the characters you meet in the first book continually grow. I mean, you see their little cameo appearances here and there but my point is that everything usually gets wrapped up within their own books and that isn’t the case here. Leaving Amarillo follows the band, but mostly focuses on Dixie; Loving Dallas focuses entirely on Dallas and Missing Dixie will be the resolution for the band.

Perhaps that’s a little frustrating because you have to wait for the next novel, but is it worth it? Definitely!

The Characters:

I really grew to like these characters. They have so much history between them that at times you feel like the new kid trying to break into their existing group, so it took me a while. Everything builds slowly with these people but by the end you go “where did the last 150 pages go?”.

I was really worried Dixie would be just like Kylie (who I love don’t get me wrong) but I was pleasantly surprised that they really aren’t anything alike. Yes, they share a similar path of finding what they want in life and moments where they take a stand for themselves but they are different. Dixie is much more timid and has to find confidence in herself; which makes her character development so great. I never got annoyed with her and she never rubbed me the wrong way.

And that’s the same with the rest of the characters–well, maybe Gavin who I wanted to give him a little wake-up smack but that’s all part of the romance–I really began to root for these characters as I read their stories which made it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

Gah, there was the perfect amount of focus on the romantic side of things. You have all the sexual tension and then the actual “moments” (if yah know what I mean ;)) but I never felt like you had too much of one or the other. And the romance never overshadowed the plot. It complimented it in such a great way that made these books so much fun to read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to see everything wrap up in the finale! I’ve really come to care for these characters and I’ve really enjoyed this journey so far!

updates

–December 11– Book #3: Missing Dixie

This was a fantastic way to end the series! I felt like it started a little slow but it did build up it momentum as it went. I really like the direction this story took; it surprised me in a great way and I loved how everything had built up to this grande finale. The romance is white hot–I mean the tension is so there it is almost palpable. Sure, it was frustrating watching these characters not communicate when it would solve all their problems but I want them to succeed SO MUCH it made reading it frustrating in a fun way. Also, I definitely shed some tears with this one! I don’t think there has been a Caisey Quinn series that I haven’t shed a few tears for at some point.

Series Rating: 4/5

Leaving Amarillo 4/5  |  Loving Dallas 4/5  |  Missing Dixie 4/5

overall

If you want a New Adult story that is realistic in its approach to the music-celebrity-lifestyle, this is the series for you! This series has a great blend of romance, plot and character development. One of the best new New Adult series I’ve read this year!

Read if You Like: stories about making it big in music, sexual tension, drama
Avoid if You: don’t like overarching plots, want more romance

similarreads

readingchallenges

book

recapbutton

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Fresh Fridays: Days Like This (Landslide Series) by Danielle Ellison

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

Landslide Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Days Like This (from Goodreads):
Sometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is you.

Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother’s disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.

Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn’t involve Cassie Harlen.

When Cassie’s mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.

Neither does Cassie.

breakdown

Series: Landslide Series
Author: Danielle Ellison
# of Books: 1+ (Days Like This, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, this is a part of a new series
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chance, Mental Health, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 2, 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you Bookish World Press for the opportunity!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Normally, I don’t read second chance romances. They’re predictable and often full of cliches and I miss watching the couple fall in love. But lately, I’ve found them to be fairly interesting–especially in the New Adult genre. While the reasons why the one lead leaves is often the same between books, I love the drama, sexual tension and secrets of the past (even if I can figure them out pretty quickly). I guess you could say they are my guilty pleasure NA reads.

But what captured my attention with this book was the fact that Cassie’s mom is bipolar. As a health care student, I really love anything that promotes mental health awareness because it is a serious health concern. When it isn’t plagued with stigma, it’s completely neglected or ignored and that just isn’t cool with me. SO, I was really interested to see how this would add to the story and how the characters deal with a situation that is becoming more prevalent in society.

The Plot:

The plot isn’t a fast-paced, drama riddled one. Instead, it’s a slow burn with Cassie and Graham trying to navigate the messy world of best friends-turned lovers-turned scorned exes. This isn’t as bad (ie as flip-floppy) as it sounds. I actually really appreciated the way they handled things; even if I found them to be naive about their feelings. Nothing is more frustrating than watching people not talk to each other when it would solve everything. But hey, you wouldn’t have a story otherwise so I took it with a grain of salt. As I said, it really wasn’t overly annoying because I understood why they both were afraid to open up to each other given all that has happened to them.

You also have Cassie’s coming of age story, trying to find out who she is independently of Graham, her mom and her friends. Sure, it wasn’t the happiest story ever but it was great watching her learn from her faults and truly work on becoming a stronger person. This story was just as much about character development as it was about the second chance romance and that was just fabulous.

As for its dealings with mental health, I thought it was really well done. I feel like they captured all sides of it: the direct impact it has on the person, the impact it has on their immediate family and the indirect impact it has on friends of those directly involved.

The Characters:

As I said before, this story held a great balance between character development and romance.

Sure, it was frustrating to watch Graham and Cassie dance around their relationship issues but I felt like you learned enough about their past relationship to understand why they were acting like they were. Plus, you kinda sign-up for it when you decide to read a second chance romance.

Graham was a total sweetheart and you could tell he was genuinely a nice guy who cared about the impact of his actions. So that made it hard to like Cassie because she really screwed him over when she left without telling him why. (WHY do people think this it is always a good idea to leave without a word! Humans need closure by nature–why are we so afraid of honesty!*endsrant*). However, I really appreciated the journey of self-growth she took in this book. It takes a lot to admit what your own faults are and even more strength to try and fix them so I really grew to respect her character.

The Romance:

This was definitely more of a slow burn romance. You can tell the attraction and feelings are there so I never struggled with understanding why they cared for each other. Like with all second chance romances, I missed reading about them falling in love for the first time but I enjoyed watching them reconnect and work on building up the trust in their relationship.

It’s your typical childhood sweetheart story but the hurdles they have had to overcome really adds a genuine depth to their characters. I could definitely see this happening in real-life and I liked that realistic element it had to it.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m not sure who the next book is about. I have some ideas but I’m curious! I will definitely be checking it out regardless!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this book! Once I was into it, I had a hard time putting it down because I really loved watching the journey these two characters took. It was refreshing to read a New Adult novel that focused more on self-growth than it did on sex. I also loved the mental health aspect–it was really well done and eye opening.

Read if You Like: second chance romances, stories dealing with mental health, childhood sweetheart romances
Avoid if You: want more passion (ie sex scenes), don’t like coming of age stories/vibes

similarreads

catchphrase

Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav Author
Series: The Vincent Boys
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 2 (The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers)

On Goodreads there is a book 3 listed called My Vincent Boys. According to Abbi Glines blog she would like to write a prequel novel for the series but she has no immediate plans to write/publish it.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Technically Yes — but see note above
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm + spicy YA
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I feel like on this blog I have made it no secret that I detest love triangles in romance novels. If they are done right, they are great–I love sexual tension as much as the next girl–but most of the time they are taken to an extreme that does nothing for me except piss me off (ex Bella Swan in Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer). Just make up your mind! I read to escape from my stressful school life: I don’t want to be stressed waiting for the heroine to pick between the two most perfect men on earth that just happen to admit their undying love for her simultaneously–because that happens to me all the time in real life. I digress…

It is because of this frustration from love triangles that when I see a book cover with three people on it and/or read a synopsis that gives me the impression that the heroine is going to be spending the entire book torn between two guys, it’s an immediate pass. There are two exceptions: one is when it is obvious that there is really one guy the girl is truly in love with (you know those YA novels where there is one mysterious dark love interest who is evil and then the good guy); and two is when one of my favourite authors writes a novel with a love triangle. When my favourite author writes a love triangle novel, I’ll consider reading it, though my expectations might not be overly high going into it.

And this is the case here with Abbi Gline’s Vincent Boys series. Before I read my first Abbi Glines novel, I marked these books as a pass. But now that I have read two series by her and love her writing style and characters, I decided I should give this series a shot.

But even Abbi Glines couldn’t sell me on this one. I simply don’t enjoy reading stories where one partner cheats on another and that is what happens in The Vincent Boys. I get there there is more to the situation here then simply stepping out on your partner with some random person; all three have been friends since they were kids so of course there are unrequited feelings lingering. But that almost makes the whole thing worse for me. It also didn’t help that I didn’t like Ash at all–I just didn’t understand her one bit and some of the things she did made me raise an eyebrow (spoiler: |really Ash? You give your virginity to your boyfriend’s cousin and still plan to go back to said boyfriend after all is said and done? How are you going to explain that one?|). If you took Sawyer away from the equation, I would enjoy this book a lot more and would think it was a cute, quick childhood sweetheart read.

And while I enjoyed The Vincent Brothers a lot more, a “lot more” is a bit of a stretch. I mostly enjoyed it because none of the characters cheated on each other. I found the characters to be petty, vain and selfish–and far to angsty for my tastes. Granted, the characters are 17 so I expect immaturity and teenage rebellion but wow, the angst was palpable. I just didn’t like the blend of it an the sexy times we get.

Just a note about the sexy times: I read the uncut and extended version so I am assuming the original version isn’t as sex-orientation (please correct me if I am wrong!). This isn’t a young adult series where sex is simply alluded to–it is described in a fair amount of detail–more of what you would see in a New Adult series.

Conclusion:

This is one of those series that isn’t my personal cup of tea. It’s everything that I expect of Abbi Glines so in that sense I wasn’t disappointed; it’s just that it is too angst driven for me and I didn’t enjoy the love triangle aspect. However, if you like love triangles and don’t mind vain characters: this is a great, albeit spicy, young adult series for you to read.

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

Similar Reads: Rowdy by Jay Crownover (Marked Men Series #5); Breathe by Abbi Glines (Sea Breeze Series #1) and Torn by K.A. Robinson (Torn Series #1)

Synopsis for The Vincent Boys (from Goodreads):
Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist…

book book

Series Review: Marked Men by Jay Crownover

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

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Sad to See Go (2015), Best New Adult
Series: Marked Men Series

There is going to be a spin-off series called the Saints of Denver to be published October 2015. This is a series set in the same world as the Marked Men series but not a direct spin-off with a specific main character from this series. More info on Jay Crownover’s Website. Though please be warned that there is a spoiler on that page regarding Rule’s book in the question following the reading order!

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 6  (Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Rowdy, Asa)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological

Note: You can read each book as a standalone but they all follow a chronological order of events that may spoil an earlier story if you choose to read a later book first.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Bad Boys, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

The Marked Men series is a review blog fan-favourite. Whenever I browse a New Adult fan list, some character or book from this series graces the list. So, I decided to bite the bullet and take a chance with this series despite my hesitation after reading the synopsis for Rule.

I was hesitant to read Rule for two reasons: one was that the synopsis gave me the impression Shaw was going to be an airhead (not sure why when I reread it) and two was the fact that Shaw was Rule’s “dead twin brother’s girl”. I’m not a fan of reading stories where one person is unfaithful or there are love triangles; so when I read this line and the line that Shaw has “loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him” I winkled my nose in distaste thinking if she was his twin’s girlfriend, why did she love Rule?

I should have known that there was more to this book than the synopsis. Because the truth of the matter is: this book wasn’t what my first assumptions were–AT ALL! I actually really enjoyed Ruleone of the best New Adult stories I have read in a while in all honesty!

Shaw was a great, strong character and nothing like I assumed she would be; Rule was just plain awesome and together I really could see how they worked. The plot was also unexpected and a lot more suspenseful than I anticipated despite the fact that certain aspects were rather predictable. Regardless of its predictability, I still had a lot of fun reading it and it managed to capture my attention from start to finish.

I was super excited to read Jet simply based on the small taste we get of the leads in Rule. However, when I finally did read it, I felt like something was missing. I felt like there was more focus on their personal individual lives than there was with them as a couple; which was totally fine but not what I was really expecting when I picked up the book. I guess their relationship wasn’t as apparent to me as it was with Rule and Shaw and I just needed that little bit more.  I also felt like this book was acting as a bridge for the rest of the books in the series because we learn more about each of the Marked Men and their histories so it made me really excited to read the rest of the series. So while Jet was a good follow-up, it just wasn’t entirely what I was expecting so I gave it a lower individual rating than I thought I would.

Rome was more on par with what Rule was to me. I laughed, I cried and smiled to myself throughout the whole book. I really felt the relationship with this couple more so than in Jet. There was a good balance between them working on their relationship as a couple and them working on their individual lives. I would say it is my favourite of the series. It also served as the perfect segue to Nash which I immediately picked up after finishing Rome despite exams and a mountain of library books.

Nash was super cute and everything I thought it would be. It was a great blend of character growth and romance and also has a awesome message/theme about self-esteem which I really appreciate. And, no surprise, it made me super excited to read Rowdy.

Rowdy was everything I thought it was going to be though I didn’t find it as addicting as I expected it to be (though I did read it really fast!). I think it was because this couple has a strong history between them so everything felt like it was already established between them. But I still thought it was super cute and I liked the more dramatic/suspenseful elements featured in this novel.

Asa is going to be the last novel of the Marked Men series which makes me sad despite being super, super excited for this novel. I feel like this story has been building since Jet so I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

My understanding from reading Jay Crownover’s website is that she is planning a similar spin-off series that is set in the Marked Men universe but doesn’t directly involve the cast we see here. One character who makes a very brief appearance in this series is already slated to get a book. I’m hoping that two characters that I would love to see get a book but I guess we will have to wait and see what is in store!

UPDATED (June 2/15): I finally grabbed a copy of Asa and while I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped, it was still a very solid novel. As I said earlier, Asa’s story has been building since Book 2 and it was nice to finally have it all wrapped up. It definitely picked up near the end in terms of plotline and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Asa was a great way to wrap up this series but also get you excited for the spin-off series. I already have a few ideas about who the next set of leads will be but I definitely expect to be surprised with some things!

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

I’ve really enjoyed reading this series because it is so addicting and fun and just really well done! If you like tattooed swoon-worthy heroes and strong independent heroines this is a great series to read!

Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes!!!

similarreads

Synopsis for Rule (from Goodreads):

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

readingchallengesbook

Single Sundays: Silver Heart by Victoria Green

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 Silver Heart (from Goodreads):
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they must decide which road leads to personal happiness. For Dylan Silver, this is that moment…

For the past twenty-two-years, Dylan has been living in her parents’ carefully crafted world, always putting her own dreams on hold to play the role of a dutiful daughter. When her best friend coaxes her into a winter getaway to a mountain resort, she sees it as a chance to forget about the responsibilities waiting for her at home. At least for a little while.

But then her past catches up to her—in the form of sexy snowboarder, Sawyer Carter. Six long years had passed since Dylan bid goodbye to the only boy she ever truly loved. Now he’s standing right in front of her, bringing up bittersweet memories and igniting suppressed desires as he dares her to be the person she has always wanted to be.

Dylan and Sawyer’s unexpected meeting is a second chance, but will a girl who doesn’t believe in fate and taking risks be able to overcome her fears of losing control and finally embrace the life she desperately wants?

Only one thing is certain: after a week in Whistler, Dylan’s world will never be the same.

Review:

I actually bought this book by accident one day when I was browsing the Amazon Bestseller Freebie list. I’m not sure how I managed it but it wasn’t a big deal in the end. Truth is I probably would have bought it anyways another time. I’m glad I did buy it as I enjoyed reading it!

I was expecting a sweet read but it was definitely spicier than I thought; which isn’t a bad thing. However, at times I found it a little tedious to get through because I would have rather read about their hidden feelings for each other or have seen them interacting on a more emotional level instead of a physical one all the time. Really, it isn’t a big deal because I feel like I got enough emotional connection to keep me happy in the end.

Sawyer definitely knew all the right things to say and had me swooning practically anytime he opened his mouth. He was definitely the highlight of the book for me. I almost wished his POV was included because I really enjoyed his character and his history. But he is such a good talker and constantly shared his feelings and thoughts so I didn’t feel like I was seriously deprived of anything.

But having his POV would have given me a bit of a break from Dylan. One of my biggest pet peeves about Young Adult novels is unnecessarily angsty leads and that also goes for New Adult genre novels as well. However, with New Adult novels most of the time I find that they legitimately have a reason for being angst-ridden so it doesn’t bother me as much. In the Silver Heart, I find Dylan was right on that border for me. I understood why she had the mind-set that she did given her family history but I found she harped on the same point all the time.

Warning, I’m about to go on a bit of rant. Feel free to skip to the bottom paragraph in this section if you don’t want to read it 😉

I also think it doesn’t help that I’m the same age as Dylan and I can’t fathom why she just doesn’t tell her parents “no”. Like grow a backbone and take charge of your life–you’re 22 years old for goodness’ sake and have a degree! It’s not like she was a fish completely out of water. I can understand the psychology behind why she would have a hard time telling her parents but she seemed so self-aware of it that I’m surprised it took her as long as it did to breakdown. Maybe because I have a great relationship with my parents I don’t understand why people struggle with their own independence but it drove me a little nuts.

End Rant

As for the plot: there isn’t much other than Dylan trying to find herself and trying to find out where a relationship with Sawyer fits in. So mostly it is a romance with a dash of character development.

Also, I just need to ask the following spoiler question to satisfy the logical part of me: |why couldn’t Dylan just tell Sawyer she would talk to him after the tournament? It wasn’t like she didn’t have his cell phone number…communication people!|

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a sweet (yet spicy) read about second chance romances, this is a great one for you!

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Perhaps.

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Snowboarding, Second Chances, Coming of Age
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person
Similar Reads: Out of Line by Jen McLauglin (Out of Line Trilogy #1); Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert and He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington