Tag «college»

Blog Tour: Drumline by Stacey Kestwick

Synopsis for Drumline (from Goodreads):

Traditions are important. Especially in the South.
College football. Rivalries. Tailgating. Halftime shows.
Some things just don’t change.

Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullshit attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.

It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk. She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it.
She expects there to be tension. Even friction.
But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.

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Author: Stacey Kestwick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Source & Format: Audiobookworm Promotions–Audiobook via Audible

Add: Goodreads | Buy: AudibleAmazon / iBooks

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I read about 39 audiobooks but none of them were a straight-up romance novel. The whole idea of a romance novel as an audiobook scared me. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the sexy times being described aloud to me (even though I have no problem reading them on paper). But there are so many great novels out there and I felt like I was really limiting myself by not reading romances as audiobooks.

When I read the description for Drumline, I knew it would be the perfect book to introduce me to the world of audiobook romance reads. The premise was fun and unique and I knew there would be fantastic tension between the leads. I couldn’t wait to start it!

The Plot:

The plot for this story really surprised me in a great way. I thought most of this novel would be about Reese fighting for her spot on the team while fighting her attraction to Laird. But it has a much deeper and more heartfelt storyline than I anticipated.

It takes awhile to uncover this deeper story though. The first half of the novel focuses mostly on the tryouts for the team and the chemistry that is constantly brewing between Reese and Laird. But the second half of the novel is really where these characters shine and the great development of the romance and the characters take place.

The Characters:

I really liked Reese as a heroine. She’s determined to succeed and she has the brains to do it. I loved her independence and drive to earn her spot and never back-down. I admired that about her a lot. She’s a well rounded character.

Laird is also a great character. I wasn’t sure at first what he would be like but he really impressed me as the story progressed and we uncover more about him. He has a kind heart and he too is also very driven and determined to succeed.

All the secondary characters are fabulous as well. Eli stole my heart from the moment we met him and Smith was a great “robin” to Reese’s “batman”.

The Romance:

For the first half of the book, the connection between Reese and Laird is pretty superficial and understandably so. They don’t know each other very well given the circumstances but they have this palpable chemistry whenever they are in the same room together. It isn’t until the second half of the novel that the deeper, emotional connection starts to thrive and their relationship becomes something more than just physical.

My Audiobook Experience:

This was a fantastic choice for my first romance audiobook! The narration by Tracey Marks and Stephen Dexter was great. I loved the accents each character had; that definitely brought the setting of Alabama to life for me as well as reminding me that Reese wasn’t from there. And they definitely captured the chemistry these two had in every scene. I thought they did a great job! I mean, they made me cry which is always a good thing when it comes to performance!

My Rating: 4/5

overall
I laughed, I cried and I loved every minute of this book! It surprised me in the best way with its story and characters.

Read if You Like: new adult romance, heartwarming stories
Avoid if You: don’t like sexy times/language

similarreads

  • Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken (Wingmen Inc Series #1)
  • Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  • Like a Memory by Abbi Glines (Sea Breeze Meets Rosemary Beach Series #2)

 


Stacey Kestwick

USA Today bestseller Stacy Kestwick is a Southern girl who firmly believes mornings should be outlawed. Her perfect day would include puppies, carbohydrates, and lounging on a hammock with a good book. No adulting, cleaning, or bacon allowed.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

Tracey Marks (Narrator)

Tracy Marks has been acting onstage and onscreen since she was 12, and has been narrating audiobooks for 4 years. She lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and adorable dog, and considers herself very lucky to have an excuse to stay indoors in her toasty little booth during the cold winter months. Bringing heart, heat, vulnerability, and humor to her work, she has a passion for bringing love stories to life.

Narrator Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Stephen Dexter (Narrator)

Stephen always wanted to be an audiobook narrator. As someone who never liked the whole “reading silently” thing, and has had a lifelong penchant for performing and flair for the dramatic, it was inevitable that he would be doing this for a living. With dozens of titles to his credit, a majority of them steamy romance novels, he has had the pleasure of voicing characters from the Great Plains of Texas, the bayous of Louisiana, the streets of South Boston, the dungeons of a vampire’s castle, the deserts of Mars, and everything in between. It has been an honor to bring such amazing stories by Penny Reid (Marriage Of Inconvenience), Krista & Becca Ritchie (Hothouse Flower), Lex Martin (Shameless), Mia Sheridan (Kyland), and so many more incredibly talented authors, to life. Be sure to check him out on social media, Audible.com, ACX.com, and at www.stephendexter.com. SAG-AFTRA/AEA. Happy listening!

Narrator Links: Website | Facebook

 

Drumline Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Novella Serial Review: Addicted to You by Lucy Covington

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a 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 or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

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Synopsis for Dangerously Damaged (from Goodreads):
Dangerous. Sexy. Damaged.

These are the words used to describe Justin Brown.

Intelligent. Capable. Responsible.

These are the words used to describe Lindsay Cramer.

Irresistible. Addicting. Passionate.

These are the words used to describe their relationship.

Good girl Lindsay Cramer has her life completely in order, and she keeps her goals on a checklist — obtain scholarship to Ivy League University, finish undergrad, and move on to med school. She’s worked hard to get where she is, and she’s determined not to let anything – or anyone — get in her way.

Until she meets Justin Brown. JB is gorgeous, and the kind of guy who is all wrong for Lindsay — the kind of guy who is all wrong for anyone . He drinks, he fights, and he has a secret past Lindsay’s not so sure she wants to know about.

But when the two of them are together, Lindsay can’t help but lose herself in him. It’s the way his eyes burn when he looks at her. The way his smile makes her dizzy. The way his hands feel on her body.

Soon, Lindsay and Justin are completely addicted to each other. But when their dangerous game culminates with Lindsay having to make a shocking choice, will she be able to keep JB in her life? And if so, will she lose everything in the process?

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Series: Addicted to You
Author: Lucy Covington
# of Parts: 9+ (See full reading order here)
Complete?: Unknown Series Status
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 25, 2013 – unknown
Source & Format: eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I feel like Kobo recommended this too me when it first came out. I waited a bit for the rest of the parts to be published before I start–because reading 50 pages at a time sucks.

Only, I didn’t read this until 2016 when I pulled it from my TBR jar for my Rock My TBR challenge.

Series Status?

Ok, I didn’t realize this series wasn’t finished when I started to read it. If I had known that I wouldn’t be getting a conclusion, I probably wouldn’t have started this.

I have no idea if the ending will ever be published or revealed. According to Twitter, 2013 was a hard year for the author so maybe she had to abandon it?

The Plot:

This is your typical “first year of college” story. You have good girl Lindsay trying to navigate the waters of being a little fish in a big pond when she meets a bad boy (Justin) she is inexplicably drawn to. Of course, unbeknownst to Lindsay, every guys she comes across wants her and they would be “better choices”. And Justin doesn’t do so bad with female attention either.

Cue the slow burn, jealousy and adolescent love story if you please.

Add to that mix Justin’s BFF friend dealing with a drug addiction (which I wish took more precedence because that was an interesting battle) and Justin’s fighting career and gym drama.

I like a lot of things happening in my novels, but in a serial, it almost becomes overwhelming. Especially if you have to wait a week or more for each instalment. Sure, it adds to dramatics but I feel like it prevents the other plotlines from developing at a stronger pace.

The Characters:

Lindsay wasn’t anything new or exciting. For a bright girl, she didn’t have that many shinning moments. I get it though, she’s growing up and has lots of hurdles thrown her way. But she kinda let’s everything happen around her and whines when it doesn’t go that great.

Justin was much more interesting to me. His life is more complicated and complex. I wish more was done with his story but it gets overshadowed a bit with the romance.

The Romance:

This is one of the most drawn out slow burn romances I’ve ever read. It takes a ridiculous amount of time for these two to even kiss! Which is fine, but it got tiring listening to each of them moan on about how much they wish they had kissed during their last encounter.

Like I said earlier, this romance was more “insta”, based on a connection that doesn’t really get expanded upon besides a physical connection.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

Besides the fact that this series will likely never be concluded, it’s a little all over the place. Not the best serial I’ve ever read. It would have been a great standalone novel I think instead.

Read if You Like: slow burn romance
Avoid if You: hate not knowing how it ends

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Series Review: Sutton College by Rebecca Paula

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

Sutton College Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Between Everything and Us (from Goodreads):
Matisse Evans is determined to make her sophomore year of college successful after failing out of a prestigious art school and spending a horribly boring gap year at home. Despite her focus, time isn’t on her side as she struggles to hold down three jobs so she can afford her first apartment while juggling course work. In the chaos of it all, Beau Grady moves in and shakes up her world. A college dropout and tattooed bad boy, the rumors about Beau mean one thing for Matisse—trouble. Paralyzed by the fear that she’s missing out on life, Matisse discovers plans may unravel, but what rises in their wake can be worth the uncertainty.

After spending the summer couch surfing, Beau Grady moves into an empty room at his ex-girlfriend’s Portland bungalow, skipping his senior year of college to spend his days working at a Vietnamese food cart instead. Once a star hockey player and gifted student, he’s put his life on hold after receiving a life-altering diagnosis, complacent to live in the moment. Hiding behind false rumors and bad habits, Beau falls for Matisse, letting her believe the worst until their relationship blooms into something they both can’t ignore. Falling for her means having to face a future he’d rather forget, but loving her just might be worth it.

breakdown

Series: Sutton College
Author: Rebecca Paula
# of Books: 2 (Between Everything and Us, Anything More than Now)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 2015 – January 2016
Source & Format: NetGalley –eBook  Thank you Rebecca Paul for the opportunity!

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The cover of this book drew me to click on it when I was browsing Netgalley after creating my account but the synopsis is what made me want to read it. It sounded like it would be a book filled with sexual tension but great character growth–plus who can resist a bad boy hockey player? (I’m Canadian, what can I say!?)

The Plot:

While this book is a romance, I love that both Beau and Matisse grow individually. The vast majority of this book is spent with these characters trying to find out what the next steps in life will be in terms of school, health, career paths, parental relationships and, of course, their relationship. It isn’t always a happy story and that means it isn’t the easy novel to read because it is a little depressing at times. It’s raw and it makes you think about life.

However, I felt like the book focused too long on their unhappiness with their everyday life and not enough time on the romance (or dealing with Beau’s condition). The last 50 or so pages when that becomes the focus was the best part of the book to me. That is what I thought I was going to be reading and that appealed to me the most. That was when I got sold on Beau and Matisse being a couple and saw how/why they would care for each other. Up until that point I didn’t really get the connection between the two of them (besides the physical attraction).

The Characters:

Both Beau and Matisse are flawed characters which made this book enjoyable because you really get to watch them grow and mature. But I never fell in love with them. I think it was the overall tone of the book, which is slightly depressing and sad, that just stopped me from really enjoying their characters. I warmed up to them by the end but by then it was just too late.

It also didn’t help that I started to get a little more interested in the secondary characters, specifically the two that are the leads in the next book. I felt like their stories and relationships weren’t fully explained and were left unresolved so I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store next.

The Romance:

After reading the synopsis, I thought we would start the book right when Beau moves into the house but it actually starts about a month after. So by that point, they’ve established a bit of a relationship, though it is fair from romantic. However, I had a hard time seeing why they liked each other at the start because I didn’t see them build their initial relationship. I definitely started to see it as I continued to read because they actually spend some time together but it took far longer than I expected to get on bored with their relationship.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I plan on reading Anything More Than Now just because these two characters peaked my interest in this novel. I felt like there were some unresolved plot issues with each lead so I’m want to see where their story goes next.

but

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I appreciated Between Everything and Us more once I finished it because I appreciated the realistic, raw edge it had to it. I just feel like if there was more focus on some plot aspects and less on others, this would have been a great read. So while it missed the mark, I’m still continuing on with the series because it has some potential. If you want a true coming of age new adult read, this is the one you want!

Read if You Like: slower stories, characters in a dark place of mind, realistic romance
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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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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Series Review: 2B by Ann Aguirre

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

Series: 2B Trilogy
Author: Ann Aguirre
# of Books:3 (I Want it That Way, As Long as You Love Me, The Shape of My Heart)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I love the Backstreet Boys–so as soon as I saw the title “I Want it That Way”, I broke out into song and choreographed dance–just kidding! But I did start humming along to the song soon after…and do so every time I read the title…

Anyways, I decided to pick up the book because the plot synopsis was interesting enough and has a premise I don’t often read. But I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect given the reviews on Goodreads (FYI it has a rating of 3.67 from ~1500 readers which isn’t stellar) so I was a bit skeptical when I started it.

I Want it That Way was cute, but I also found it a little boring. There really wasn’t a plot other than Nadia pining away at a guy she falls in love with after sparsely talking to him for a week. And when she isn’t pining away for Daniel “Ty” Tyler, she is describing her work and school work which I don’t particularly want to read about when I pick up a romance novel. So while I appreciated that this book was more realistic than it was dramatic, I just needed something to add a little dash of excitement to it. It also didn’t help that I was expecting to get an alternate POV from Ty given the synopsis. I think it would have kept things interesting because by the midway point I was a little bored with the book and found myself skimming some sections to get to the end.

As for the characters, they were an interesting cast. Nadia was alright. I appreciated the fact that she wasn’t your typical innocent virgin heroine despite her younger age (same with the other heroines in the series). And I liked the relationship she develops with Ty despite the rushed “love at first sight” aspect to it.

So even though I didn’t love I Want it That Way, I decided to read the next two books in the series given that the characters they are about intrigued me in the inaugural book. Probably the most interesting thing to happen in I Want it That Way had to do with these secondary characters so I figured their books should be a tad more exciting.

But they really weren’t. Again, the rest of the series is one of those slow romance novels where we get to see every trivial moment of the heroine & hero’s day. I prefer a little more drama in my novels–especially when I am trying to plow through a long list of books from the library. Often times it felt like a bit of a chore to get through the slower parts of the book–which is a shame because it isn’t an awful book by any means. Shape of my Heart had a little more excitement to it because of some family drama but I still had to read parts at a time over the course of a few days (I average a book every two days but this one took me 5) to get through it all without falling asleep.

Conclusion:

I was going to try to come up with some pun about this series not being what I wanted and “I want it that way” but I couldn’t come up with anything creative. If you enjoy slower romance novels where love heals, this is a great series for you. I prefer a little more drama in my books which is why I didn’t rate it as high.

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

Similar Reads: Keep Her by Faith Andrews (Grayson Siblings Series #1) and Foreplay by Sophie Jordan (Ivy Chronicles Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for I Want it That Way (from Goodreads):
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

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Series Review: Caroline & West by Robin York

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: Favourite Read 2014
Series: Caroline & West
Author: Robin York
# of Books: 2 (Deeper, Harder)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

When the author of one of your all-time favourite New Adult series is featured on the cover of another book saying it is “The perfect New Adult Story. West will make you swoon!” you can bet your last dollar that you will be picking it up to see what all the fuss is about. And I have to agree with Monica Murphy on this one, Deeper & Harder are some of the best New Adult reads I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

It’s the perfect blend of realism and romance mixed with an edginess that I haven’t come across in a long time. It’s not over the top dramatic (which can be fun to read don’t get me wrong) but grounded in so much realism that I could actually see this happening in real life. How Caroline describes being a victim of revenge porn (sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual) and her struggle to come to terms with it is so heartbreaking and so real that my heart when out to her right away. With the increase of social media and the popularity of taking “dirty pictures” and the like, I’m surprised that more people aren’t talking about the impact it can have on people’s lives. Yes we all know that what you put on the internet remains there forever but Caroline (as well as Jennifer Lawrence in real life after her photos were published without permission) makes a great point that she did nothing wrong: she was in a loving and trusting relationship so why can’t she share that with her partner? The book really makes you think about all sides, aspects and opinions and starts a conversation about how people should be protected in this digital age.

As for the romance: it really was icing on the cake for me. While Caroline bravely battles her issues, West is struggling with his. I loved their relationship right from the get-go. It wasn’t just sexually chemistry (though there is more than enough to satisfy the reader) but a bond between two people that was so much fun to watch. They weren’t senselessly dramatic and they thought about their actions before they did them. It was so nice to read about a mature couple for once and I got absorbed into their story right away.

Conclusion:

This series was so refreshing to read. A great story, a great message and great characters! Loved every minute of it! I highly recommend it for all New Adult fans!

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: YES!!!

Similar Reads: One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (One Week Girlfriend Quartet); You Against Me by Jenny Downham; Dangerous to Know and Love by Jane Harvey Berrick

Synopsis for Deeper (from Goodreads):
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.

West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.

They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.

When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

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Series Review: Crush by Renita Pizzitola

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

Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola | Crush Series

Other books in the series:

Series: Crush
Author: Renita Pizzitola
# of Books: 3 (Just a Little Crush, Just a Little Flirt, Just a Little Kiss)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, College
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Just a Little Kiss)

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.**

Yet again, I picked up Just a Little Crush after randomly browsing the new additions on my library’s website. But the synopsis really drew me in: it sounded like a great combo of all my favourite New Adult plot devices and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The synopsis though is a little misleading: I was expecting alternating POV between both characters but instead we just get Brinley’s POV. In the end I think it was a good call just to have the one POV to give the book some mystery regarding Ryder and his actions/past.

Perhaps it is just a byproduct of reading so many New Adult books, but I did find certain plot aspects to be overly predictable and frankly I’m quite embarrassed for Brinley that she didn’t figure it out on her own.  However, even knowing what was going to happen I really enjoyed reading the journey it took to get there. It has quite a few plot elements that layer each other so I found that there was always something happening that captured my attention. Add to that that Ryder and Brinley were great characters and despite their almost insta-connection love, I really liked the relationship they had with each other. I also really liked the other characters we meet and I hope that there will be a few more books in the series because I would definitely read them!

I’m super excited for Just a Little Flirt. It sounds like it will be really interesting based on the character we have already been introduced to plus the synopsis doesn’t seem like anything I have read before which is an added bonus!

updates

–April 16, 2015– Book 2: Just a Little Flirt

Just a Little Flirt was a super sweet read and I totally found a new book boyfriend 😉 It was light-hearted, had great sexual tension and chemistry but also had great character development. I never felt like it dwelled on one thing too long so the plot moved at just the right pace. Some of the drama aspects were a little over the top (mild soap opera antics).  Despite the fact that the romance essentially takes place within 6 weeks, it didn’t really feel like a love-at-first sight situation which I appreciated. I don’t mind quick romances (they just aren’t my favourite thing to read) so long as there is an adequate emotional connection between the characters and in this case there definitely was! I loved watching this couple fall in love and do it sensibly–i.e. they actually communicated and talked about their feelings! *gasp*

I’m looking forward to reading Just a Little Kiss. I completely forgot about this character but I’m excited to read his story 🙂

–October 1, 2015– BOOK 3: JUST A LITTLE Kiss

Because I really enjoyed Just a Little Flirt, I was a little worried about reading Just a Little Kiss. I wasn’t a huge Mason fan in the first book and Cade (Just a Little Flirt) is a hard act to follow.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While it suffers from some of the same over the top drama (I call it “communication assumption” drama) that is almost soap-opera-y, it still has a great coming of age aspect.

I really feel like this is Felicity’s story more so than Mason’s. I found a lot of the focus was on Felicity learning to become confident in herself more so than Mason coming to grips with his past. Which was fine, but it took me a long time to connect with Felicity since I didn’t particularly like her attitude towards dating and the like. I definitely grew to like her though as her character developed.

The romance is a little fast but I think it is also realistic in how they deal with it. I thought they had a great connection and chemistry so it was fun to watch them fall in love.

Series Rating: 4/5

Just a Little Crush 3.5/5 | Just a Little Flirt 4/5 | Just a Little Kiss 3.5/5

overall

If you enjoy New Adult romances about reunited High School Crushes or layered New Adult romances, this is a great choice. Just a Little Crush and it’s sequels are cute, often swoon-worthy and super quick to read! They aren’t heavy on the sex but have enough sexual tension to keep the sizzle alive! They are perfect for fans of New Adult romance, but don’t want a particularly dark or tragedy filled NA novel.

Read if You Like: coming of age new adult stories, sweet romances
Avoid if You: don’t like unnecessary drama

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Synopsis for Just a Little Crush (from Goodreads):
Good girls stay away from Ryder Briggs . . . or, at least, they try to. In Renita Pizzitola’s emotional novel of heartache and seduction, one college freshman just can’t get enough.

Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?

Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.

Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?

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Series Review: Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

updates

–January 16, 2016– Book #3: Shame

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

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

Series Rating: 4/5

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

overall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Series Review: The Ivy Chronicles by Sophie Jordan

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

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan | The Ivy Chronicles


Other books in the series:

Series: The Ivy Chronicles
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Foreplay, Teased, Wild)

There is a short story about Hunter from Foreplay in the Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

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.**

My exposure to Ms. Jordan’s work before Foreplay has been her Young Adult series, Firelight which I have mixed feelings about but I always knew she wrote romance novels first and foremost so I decided to give this one a shot.

I enjoyed it, but simply put, I have read better New Adult reads in recent times. I just felt like something was missing from this book and that disappointed me slightly because I felt like it started off strong. But by the halfway point, I was getting a little bored with it.

I think part of the problem was Pepper. I just didn’t like her all that much. It’s not because I found her to be annoying–I just found her to be boring. Which is a shame because she could have been a very interesting character given the stuff we learn about her later in the book. Reese was the same for me too. He just seemed very generic but I did find him swoon-worthy at times.

I’m not sure how I feel about the love triangle either. Usually, they irritate me to no end but this one didn’t bother me that much. I’m not sure if it is because I always knew how it was going to end or if I just was indifferent to Pepper–I think it’s the latter though.

As I said, I had a pretty solid idea about how this book was going to end going into it so nothing really surprised me as I read it. Though I will give credit to two particular “twists”/events that got me to perk up in my seat as I read them–they made things a little more exciting but not enough for me to proclaim that I loved this book.

Although Goodreads lists only two books in the series, the description of the series gives me the impression that there will be a total of 3 books. Despite this lackluster start, I plan on reading Tease because I really liked Emerson’s character and I think there is a lot of potential with her book.

UPDATED (November 22/14): I finally got my hands on Tease (just in time for Wild to come out so maybe there was a method to by madness!) and finished it in a little over a day. I suppose that I like Tease more than I liked Foreplay, but again, there was just that something missing for me. I think the main thing was I just didn’t see the initial connection between Emerson and her lead. Yes, I saw why they worked well together later in the book but it just seemed so abrupt that I never fully comprehended it. Like the previous book, there were a few interesting plot twists that stopped it from being overly predictable and it is written well. It just didn’t wow me.

I’m still hoping Wild will be the standout book in the series for me. It looks like it will have an aspect to it that most New Adult reads don’t have so I’m curious to see where that will go.

UPDATED (December 3/14): I managed to get a copy of Wild and read it very quickly (they are rather short, easy books to read when all is said and done)–though using it to procrastinate from studying might have driven me to read it as quickly as I did 😛 Wild is probably my favourite of the series but it still didn’t overly impress me. The first half was great and I could see the connection between the two leads forming and loved watching all that sexual tension unfold. But then, it just fell apart for me like Foreplay did and just like the inaugural book in the series I slightly blame the heroine for this because I just didn’t get that connection to her. I think if these books had the male POV it would add that depth to the books that was missing and would take them from “ok” to “really good” because everything is all there, it just needs to be brought up a level.

Conclusion:

All and all, this book (and series) was alright. When I finished it, I gave it a 4/5 but when I thought about it more, it’s more of a 3.5 that’s closer to a 3. It wasn’t anything overly exciting (drama wise) but I enjoyed reading it. I think it’s a great book to read if you are looking at getting into the New Adult genre, but I think those who have read a good number of New Adult reads will find this a little dull. Though, it should be said that the writing caliber of this book is SIGNIFICANTLY better than a lot of New Adult reads out there.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Games #1); Wait for You by J. Lynn (Wait for You Series #1); Keep Me by Faith Andrews (Grayson Siblings #1)  and Saved by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #2)

Synopsis for Foreplay (from Goodreads):
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…

Series Review: My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron

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

My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron | My Favorite Mistake Series

 

Series: My Favorite Mistake
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
# of Books: 2 (My Favorite Mistake, My Sweetest Escape, Our Favorite Days)
Book Order: Connected + Direct Sequel (Our Favorite Days)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Tragedy, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I have not read the second book in the series, The Sweetest Escape, and have no plans to do so in the near future.

I went into with this book with high hopes and came away a little disappointed. It was super cute but it was a little too much at times.

I didn’t really like Taylor. At first I thought I would like her because she takes no shit from anyone but I often found like it was a little over the top. Because you don’t know Taylor’s secret, you don’t know why she acts the way she does. When you find out, it makes more sense but I still feel like she was a little abrupt with her thoughts and actions. If it was toned down a touch, I would have liked her more.

Hunter was a little too good to be true. Instant-love connection, understanding bad-boy, jaded background and nearly every other stereotypical “hero” aspect. I liked him enough but sometimes I just wanted to roll my eyes a bit at things he did. I would have appreciated a little more character development from his end.

I think that was my main issue with the book–nothing was overly refreshing or new to me. I had read similar stories before that seemed to have a higher level of maturity so this book wasn’t up to that level which left me disappointed.

One thing about this book is that it is only told by Taylor’s POV. The summary gave me the impression that we would be getting to see Hunter’s POV but we don’t. It would have been nice to have had his POV but it was a nice change from the shifting POVs most New Adult reads have.

Conclusion:

I enjoyed the banter between the two of them and it was a super easy and quick read. It was nothing too exciting but it was a nice way to pass the time. Those just starting the genre and don’t want too heavy of a story will like this one.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Wait for You… by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wait For You Series #1)

Synopsis for My Favorite Mistake (from Goodreads):
Taylor Caldwell can’t decide if she wants to kiss her new college roommate or punch him.

On the one hand, Hunter Zaccadelli is a handsome, blue-eyed bundle of charm. On the other, he’s a tattooed, guitar-playing bundle of bad boy. Maybe that’s why Taylor’s afraid of falling in love with him, or anyone else. She doesn’t want to get burned, and even though her other roommates adore him, she wants him gone before it’s too late.

Hunter himself has been burned before, but the fact that Taylor calls him out on his crap and has the sexiest laugh ever make him decide maybe love isn’t a lost cause. They make a bet: if she can convince him she truly loves or hates him, he’ll leave the apartment–and leave her alone. The problem is, the more time they spend together, the less she hates him, and the more she moves toward love.

But when the man who holds the key to Taylor’s fear of giving up her heart resurfaces and threatens to wreck everything, she has to decide: trust Hunter with her greatest secret, or do everything in her power to win that bet and drive him away forever.

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