Tag «conclusion: downhill»

Downhill: This book/series got progressively worse as you read. It might not be worth your time to read.

Other Conclusions:
End of the Road | Missed the Mark | New Favourite | Not for Everyone | Only Gets Better | Slow Start | Staying Tuned | Time will Tell | Worth a Read

Fresh Fridays: To Betray My King (Betrayal Legacy #1) by Kayla Lavan

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:

The Betrayal Legacy

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for To Betray My King (from Goodreads):

Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?

Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.

A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Worst Reads of 2017
Series: The Betrayal Legacy
Author: Kayla Lavan
# of Books: 3 (To Betray My King, To Betray My Kingdom, To Betray Myself)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, there are sequels planned
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: May 1, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Blog Tours–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite the suggestion of a love triangle in the synopsis, the fact that there was forbidden romance (I’m a sucker, what can I say?) and the hopes of political intrigue had me eager to see what was in store.

What I Liked:

–Roland–

I didn’t expect to like him but I really liked the prince. He’s that charming, smug prince that I’m a sucker for. I thought he had the best character development of anyone in the novel.

Which is why is is a shame that he is gone for more than half the novel.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Romance–

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about when it came to the love triangle. It was pretty non-existent. And that’s thanks to the fact that Arianna and Conrad had absolutely no chemistry together. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have known they were supposed to “fall in love” if the synopsis didn’t tell me that was the case.

I think that Arianna and Roland had a much stronger connection and one that could have believably turned into a romance.

–Lack of a Plot–

This book treaded water for a majority of the book. Honestly, nothing much happened to the character’s POVs we get. Everything seems to happen around them and they just carry on.

And it’s a shame because the ending does have some great twists and revelations. They just come too late to salvage the story.

–The Missing Chapter–

This book ends abruptly. I mean you literally reach the climax of the fight and then you get the epilogue. No wrap up for the big fight, no telling you what the hell happened to all the characters. Instead, you get a vague epilogue that lists no names and leaves you wondering, WTF just happened?

Then you turn the page and realize that if you want chapter 21.5, sign up for the newsletter. I’m going to bite my tongue on my thoughts about that. Regardless, I wanted that chapter and when I read it, it immediately tied up some of those loose ends. It’s a crucial chapter, one that shouldn’t be left out of the initial novel because it changes EVERYTHING! It changes what you think happens to the characters, changes the meaning of the epilogue and changes the projection for subsequent sequels.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really don’t know. I’m so mixed up over this whole novel.

My Rating: 1/5

overall

Frankly, this book was all over the place. It had the right ideas but truly lacked the right execution. It’s the end of the road for me with this one.

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Series Review: Pucked by Helena Hunting

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

book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Pucked (from Goodreads):

With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

breakdown

Series: Pucked

Crosses over with the Clipped Wings Series in a novella, Get Inked (#5.5)

Author: Helena Hunting
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)

Has a novellas & deleted scenes extras

Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: No, Book 6 TBA
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Hockey
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I finished Pucked (Book 1 – Review Here) but DNF’d Pucked Up @ 42% and Pucked Over @ 6%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Pucked had two things I absolutely love in my romance reads: hockey players and a playboy hero who actually has a heart of gold. Plus, this series is kinda everywhere I look; especially on Kobo where I buy most of my books. So I was definitely curious to see what all the fuss was about.

What I Liked:

–Canadian-isms–

Ok, as a Canadian, it’s a bit of a personal peeve when people use Canadian stereotypes incorrectly in novels. The number of times I’ve seen “eh?” used incorrectly in books has me apologizing on their behalf. It’s painful.

But thankfully Helena Hunting is also a Canadian so she knows how to add the dialogue effortlessly into the story.

–Alex–

Alex is what you want in a “bad” boy (who really isn’t) hockey player to be. As a Canadian who has grown up watching hockey, Alex is exactly what my NHL player dreams are made of. He’s a sweet, down to earth guy who kicks serious ass on the ice. Swoon!

What I Didn’t Like:

–Odd-Ball Heroines–

Honestly, I was in the right mood when I read Pucked because Violet could have easily rubbed me the wrong way. She’s one of those quirky, no filter heroines who can rub a reader the wrong way. Her humour isn’t for anyone and I know that if I was in a different mood, I would have DNF’d it simply for that reason alone. But once I learned more about her character, I started to see the humour in her comments.

However, when I started Pucked Over (Book 3), I felt like I was reading Violet all over again even though it’s a brand new heroine. And this time, I really wasn’t in the mood for it. It felt like a regurgitation of the first book.

–Lack of a Plot–

The main reason I DNF’d Pucked Up was the fact that I was 40% in and nothing was happening. And when I thought back to Pucked, there wasn’t much of a plot either.

Instead of drama or plot, I got pages of the leads describing their attraction towards their partner or sexy times. i wanted more conversations to deepen the relationships or some dramatic twist to keep me interested.

Will I Finish It?

No. I was really excited to read Pucked Up but flet severely let down. And I really only looked at Pucked Over because I had already bought it. I’m ok with leaving these unfinished.

Series Rating: DNF

Pucked 4/5 | Pucked Up DNF | Pucked Over DNF | Forever Pucked N/A | Pucked Off N/A

overall

If you want a romance that focuses more on the sexy times with bad boy hockey players, this is it! Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: erotica, hockey players
Avoid if You: want a stronger storyline
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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:

booksynopsis

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?

breakdown

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

thoughts

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: Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

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 Incarnate (from Goodreads):
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2016
Series: Incarnate Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite)

There is a novella #2.5 Phoenix Overture

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I started Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen Series and it was one of my favourites of 2015. Her Incarnate Trilogy had been on my radar thanks to their beautiful, eye-catching covers but I didn’t get inspired to pick them up until after I finished The Mirror King, the finale to The Orphan Queen Series. I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a book-hangover and thought another Jodi Meadows series could be the cure.

So I went to check what the waitlist was like at my library and saw that all the eBooks were available for checkout simultaneously–it was just a sign I had to listen to and so I picked these novels up!

The Concept / The World:

Reincarnation is a concept I haven’t really read about in a long time. The last series that really focused on this was the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel for me. Instead, I’ve been reading more novels focusing on alternate dimensions.

It’s an interesting concept that meets a cool fantasy twist with the appearance of dragons, centaurs and sylphs. Unfortunately, not much is done with these elements until the 3rd book (and by then I wasn’t really a fan of its execution), but it gives the world a unique flare that intrigued me.

The Plot:

Incarnate felt like it had no plot whatsoever–I literally just think time passed as Ana explored the new city and her relationship with Sam. But even then, I felt like nothing happened. The romance is subdued and predictable–your typical young adult fodder. The plot is so slow, I contemplated DNFing the book multiple times. Sure, there is a little bit of world-building to the story as the pages go by but I just wanted it to GO somewhere.  And it does get more interesting near the end when a major event happens, paving the way for Asunder.

Asunder has more of a mystery feel to it and starts much stronger than its inaugural novel. Now, Ana actually does something about the problems of her situation and the world. I started to get drawn into the world and the plot. Because there actually was a plot! But it started to lose me near the end; I felt like it was waiting to long to make its move. However, I much preferred Asunder to Incarnate.

Infinite gets some more physical action but didn’t impress me any more than the rest of the series. I actually would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t the last book–and by this point I just wanted to see how everything would wrap up. Even the use of the fantasy elements didn’t keep my attention. It was just too late to make me a fan of this series.

The Characters:

Ana is duller than an unsharpened pencil if you ask me. Even being an outcast didn’t help give her much of a personality. Part of the issue is that I understand why she is on the boring side: she is an outcast and has been raised her entire life to believe she is nothing. So it is fitting that she has a subdued personality. She does start to grow as the series does but she isn’t anything new nor anyone who inspires me to follow her story closely.

It’s the same sort of situation with the other characters. Given the state of their world (which is more apparent in the 2nd and 3rd books) it makes sense that these characters fit molds and see no issue with breaking out of them. I felt like everyone was subdued–even though I knew why–and I just didn’t “connect” with anyone.

The Romance:

Nothing new or exciting here. It actually got a little bit nauseating as I pressed on through the series. Though it was refreshing not having everyone in love with the heroine for once.

The Novella:

Definitely read the Phoenix Overture AFTER book 2, Asunder. It will spoil most of Asunder for you as it elaborates on the “big reveal”. The novella is well done and I does a good job of building upon the momentum of Book 2. It isn’t necessary to read but I highly recommend it if you are able to get your hands on a copy.

Series Rating: 3/5

Incarnate 3/5 | Asunder 3/5 | Infinite 2/5

overall

If you don’t enjoy Incarnate, I highly recommend that you do not pick up the rest of the series. All the books have the same slow plot mixed with some cheesy romance and dull characters. I’m glad I picked up Orphan Queen before I read this series because it would have made me super hesitant to pick it up.

Read if You Like: slow stories, fantasy
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike slow stories

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Series Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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 The Darkest Minds (from Goodreads):
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

breakdown

Series: The Darkest Minds Trilogy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
# of Books: 3 (The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, In the Afterlight)

There are 3 novellas. See their reading order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2012 – October 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was lucky enough to get my wish granted to read Bracken’s Passenger before its release and really enjoyed it. While it had its longer moments, I really loved how Bracken built her world and was curious to see what else she had written. Turns out, The Darkest Minds is a big hit among my fellow bloggers and so I was more than curious to pick it up. It was also one of my “Weekly” series to read for my personal 365 Days of YA Challenge and so I did just that during my “Reading Week” (study break) in February (well, at least I attempted to. More on that later).

I don’t really enjoy witch-magic based stories but this seemed to be more of a Darkest Powers type of magic and I was cool with that. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure what else to expect from this series and so I went in hoping to be impressed.

The Concept / The World:

The world of The Darkest Minds seems like a hybrid of many other books that I’ve read before (you can check them out below in my Similar Reads section) but still had its own unique vibe. I didn’t feel like I was reading a knock-off of another novel nor a regurgitation, making it enjoyable to read. It reminded me a lot of the Red Queen in that sense–just a mash-up of the best tropes of its genre.

I also like that the premise is easy to follow. I’m of the philosophy less is more and that fits this series perfectly. I’m not a fan of “magic” based stories but the powers here have a great set-up that makes sense to me.

The Plot:

It took me a long time to get into The Darkest Minds. While I liked that it was building, it definitely hit a plateau for the vast majority of the book that had me wondering “when is this going to get exciting?”. The answer is the last 100 pages. Once you reach the climax of the series, things get pretty great and it makes all those previous pages worth it.

I expected Never Fade to keep this momentum going but that wasn’t necessarily the case. Never Fade, like its predecessor had a strong finish but it was an uphill struggle to get there. I found it to be a little dry at times despite the fact that the plot kept moving. It’s a solid sequel–just don’t expect it to hit the ground running from the get-go.

It was the same situation with the finale, In the Afterlight, but worse. This book seemed to reset everything back to an exposition like level and slowly made an upwards climb to the exciting parts. But by then, it was too late for me. I honestly skimmed this last book just because I didn’t want to leave this series open-ended. I contemplated DNFing it probably once a day for the nearly 2 weeks it took me to read.

I had planned to read this series in 1 week–it took me 1 month to read everything. Sure, it doesn’t help that they are longer than your average book but I just found them all to be so slow and overly descriptive that I didn’t get into them as much as I had hoped. It was like a flashback to the torture that was reading the Maze Runner Trilogy. I would find my mind drifting because nothing was happening and inevitably bored.

The Characters:

I’ll admit, I wasn’t really won over by Ruby. She’s a bit of a dud but understandably so. I mean, she has been in a rigid camp for the last 5 years, negating any chance for fun or a personality. What I really liked was her character development. While the plot might not have been super exciting in The Darkest Minds, Ruby’s character was constantly evolving giving some purpose to the story. I also like that she isn’t perfect–that she makes stupid mistakes–but that she learns from them. It’s a trend that continues throughout the series. She does get a good case of Lead Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome in In the Afterlight and that got to be annoying; but at the same time, I was in such a sour mood reading that last book that I think it altered my perception slightly.

For me, I always connect more to the side characters. I definitely have a few faves in this bunch and I think if you can’t connect/like Ruby, you’ll find someone else to root for somewhere along the way.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet and was there enough to add to the story, but never took away from it. Which is important I think. I never felt smothered by the romance and its devices where always there to move the story forward. But I could have taken or left it.

Novellas:

There are a total of 3 novellas: In Time, Sparks Fly and Beyond the Night  .

In Time bridges the story arcs of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade though it focuses on characters elsewhere in the world. It gets alluded to a lot more In the Afterlight I found so it might be worthwhile to read. Sparks Fly is kind-of a separate short story that takes place in the world. It’s with a character you’ve met before but it isn’t necessary to read. Beyond the Night is the follow-up to Sparks Fly and is an epilogue of sorts to the series.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Darkest Minds 3.5/5 | [In Time 3/5] | Never Fade 3/5 | [Beyond the Night 3/5]  | In the Afterlight 2/5 | [Sparks Fly 3/5]

overall

Maybe the hype-monster killed this one for me but I think I would have had the same results regardless. This series just had too much description and not a whole lot of action so I found it hard to get into it. While I like the premise, I struggled to get into the plot and enjoy the characters. It needed that little bit more for me.

Read if You Like: post apocalyptic world, teens with powers
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Series Review: Made Men by Sarah Brianne

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 Nero (from Goodreads):
Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

I just want to be a fu**ing made man.
I’m just a fu**ing waitress.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Guilty Pleasure 2015
Series: Made Men
Author: Sarah Brianne
# of Books: 3 (Nero, Vincent, Chloe)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: No, Chloe will be published in 2016
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Bad Boys, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I found this series. I think it was recommended to me by Kobo from my previous purchases OR I found them when I was buying other books. Regardless, the synopsis sounded intriguing. I love reading about player bad boys who get turned around by a girl they never expected and that’s what Nero looked like it was going to be given what I read.

Also, those covers! I’m not just talking about the attractive models, there is just something so visual striking about both of them. So I picked both Nero and Vincent up for under $5 and put them on my TBR.

The Concept:

I always really enjoy Mob/Mafia Family stories. While I’m normally not a fan of romantic suspense stories, I enjoy the complex nature of mafia-orientated stories. You have family loyalty tested and the perfect setup for forbidden love.

The mafia in this story is pretty stereotypical but that’s exactly what I expected. I also like how there is an ongoing plot regarding the family that links all the books together despite their focus on a different set of lead characters.

The Plot:

Hmmm…where to start…When I first started Nero, I almost put it down. You know when teenagers attempt to act like adults and it just makes everything a little awkward? That’s what the plot is in this story. I had to remind myself numerous times that these characters were 17 and in high school–not 24 and in college. Everything was really melodramatic and over the top. Some of the things Nero and his crew do blew my mind and had me shaking my head to make sure I was reading everything correctly. The plot in this series is definitely over the top…but the weird thing was that I kinda grew to like it.

Reading Nero reminded me of watching Secret Life of the American Teenager for the first time. You watch one episode to see what it is about and then you find yourself 5 episodes in because it is so cheesy and ridiculous you can’t wait to see what crazy stunt they are going to make the characters undergo next.

This series reads like a soap opera but with a lot of suggested violence and descriptive sex scenes. It really isn’t unlike anything you might see on your typical teen TV soap nowadays but everything was just taken to that little bit too far for me.

Basically, this series was so bad it was good–in a total guilty pleasure kind of way. I feel like if I hadn’t bought these books (thus feeling a compelling need to read and finish them), I would have DNF’d Nero and never picked up Vincent. And now that I am two books in, I feel the need to read Chloe when it comes out because I need to know what happens next…damn.

The Characters:

I like a confident guy but, as you can already guess, Nero was a little too much for me. He did have some really sweet moments but for the most part, I wasn’t a huge fan. He seemed too wish-washy in his personality (sometimes he would act like a teenager and other times he acted like a 40 Christian Grey) and that made it hard for me to get a solid grasp on his character. Elle was the same way. I liked her desire to protect her friend but I didn’t like her character development too much. In Vincent, I didn’t really care for either of the leads for the exact same reasons.

The girls in both Vincent and Nero really bothered me and I explain why in the Romance section.

The Romance:

This is where my mixed feelings about Nero come in. Near the end of the story, I really started to root for Elle and Nero. Like I said before, I have a soft spot for forbidden love and stories where the bad boy falls for the nice girl.

However, at the same time, their relationship really disturbed me. Again, part of the problem is their young age and how I felt like they were playing pretend adults throughout the story. I thought their relationship dynamic had its moments where it just wasn’t healthy. It really upset me how easily Elle fell into a submissive role and it worries me that young girls will read this and find Nero’s possessive and dominating attitude “sexy”. Some moments boarded on abusive, making it hard for me to love their relationship.

It was the exact same situation in Vincent, even if the heroine of that one did seem to be aware of the situation. And given the potential characters in Chloe, I know it is going to be the exact same. My hope is that people will read this romance and see that it is FICTION--not realistic or reflects romance in the real world.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Chloe is going to focus on a love triangle–normally a huge turn off for me and to be honest it still is here. However, I’m curious to see how it will play out. I’m not dying to get my hands on it, but I will consider picking it up if I come across it after its release and the price is reasonable.

Series Rating: 2/5

Nero 2/5 | Vincent 2/5 | Chloe TBP

overall

If you like over-the-top, melodramatic books where teens try to be adults, you will really like this series! For me, it was just too much and I had a hard time taking it seriously. In the past, I’ve read a lot strong YA/NA series that have a similar tone but a better execution.

Read if You Like: melodramatic series, high school new adult
Avoid if You: dislike alpha males, dislike soap operas

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Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

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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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Program (from Goodreads):
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

breakdown

Series: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
# of Books: 4 (The Remedy, The Epidemic, The Program, The Treatment)

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

The Remedy & The Epidemic are paired; The Program and The Treatment are paired

Complete?: No, The Epidemic will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I have not read The Remedy.  See why not below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful was one of the first books I put on my TBR once I started keeping an actual list. I have yet to read it. Shocking, I know 😉

What drew me to The Program was the cover. The bright yellow in a very white clinical setting? Call me intrigued. And when I read the synopsis? Even more intrigued. So I put my name on the holds list, eagerly awaiting there arrival

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

I just want to set the record straight about these books. This series contains 4 books, but they are two dual sets. The RemedyThe Epidemic are one duology focusing on one set of characters and The Program & The Treatment follow a different set. All take place within the same world. The Remedy is listed as a prequel to The Program as its events precede the events in The Program; it was published a few years after The Program.

I chose to read The Program & The Treatment first. I have also decided to further break up my headings into subheadings to review keep each duology separate.

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

The idea that there is a massive epidemic of young people committing suicide is a rather morbid basis for a book albeit unique. It is a tough topic to handle but one I think Young does well (though I wish there was a little blurb at the end about suicide prevention/information). It doesn’t glorify it and I think it shows the impact suicide can have on someone’s family and friends really well. It helps shed light on an issue we often shy away from in society.

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

The plot for The Program is extremely slow! Nothing really happens until the halfway point and even then, it’s a slow incline. The first half really establishes the world and the relationships Sloane has. I personally could of had half the number of pages and still had the main idea. I found it to be dull and because it deals with such a depressing topic, it isn’t a very uplifting read, making it hard to get through at times.

Once we actually get to the nitty-gritty of the epidemic, that’s when things get interesting and The Treatment keeps the pace going…for all of 10 pages. WOW, I didn’t think things could get duller but they did! This book was a lot of waiting around and romantic pining. WAYYY too much focus on the romance! I did appreciate the science fiction elements when they were there but, I wanted more. I wanted so much more that I almost quit reading just before the halfway point. But the need for answers (ie why the epidemic? why the program?) had me reluctantly pressing forward.

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Sloane was incredibly dull to me. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either–which is not good. Indifference is the death to any character and poor Sloane just never managed to get me on her side. While I understand her difficult situation and why she isn’t the first person jumping at the opportunity to save the world (I actually found that lack of motivation oddly refreshing), I just really wanted her to DO SOMETHING! Something other than pining for James or the other person in her unnecessary love triangle.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and that made reading this not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

I don’t really enjoy stories where the romance is already established. I like watching couples fall in love as I read and with Sloane and James, they have already been a couple for a while. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute and I like them together. But they are that nauseatingly cute couple that get too sugary sweet as you read. So by the time I got to The Treatment, I was a little over them as a couple. Oh, and it didn’t help that there are love triangles abound with them as well. It’s not a good thing when the romantic relationships can’t even save the dull plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really, really undecided about reading The Remedy. I’m really intrigued by the premise and I want to give these new characters a shot. But at this moment, I’m holding off on picking it up.

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Remedy TBD | The Epidemic TBP | The Program 3/5 | The Treatment 2/5

overall

The Treatment was a huge disappointment. I wanted a science fiction YA with a dash of romance; but instead, we get a YA romance with a dash of science fiction. In the end, The Program wasn’t for me!

Read if You Like: dystopian worlds, lots of romance, books about mental illness
Avoid if You: want more action

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Series Review: Embassy Row by Ally Carter

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

All Fall Down by Ally Carter | Embassy Row Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for All Fall Down (from Goodreads):

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: Embassy Row Trilogy
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 3 (All Fall Down, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up)

There is a FREE bonus prequel scene available for Kindle called Before the Fall: Arrival

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I am a huge Ally Carter fan–she is probably IS the sole reason why I’ve picked up some of the YA novels that I do. I’m always a sucker for the marketing line “Fans of Ally Carter will love ___” even though time and time again I end up disappointed in these new finds.

My expectations for All Fall Down were simple: I was hoping this new series would be what I wanted Heist Society to be, which is a fast-paced adventure with a strong female lead, but with a great mystery instead of a heist. The Conspiracy of Us is probably the closest novel I have read that came close to meeting these expectations however it fell a little short when all is said and done.

The Concept/Plot:

I have a mixed reaction to All Fall Down. Do I think this is the best Ally Carter book ever written? The simple answer is no. But do I think it could be her best series yet? Absolutely! The potential is definitely there and this book proved it. It is an unfortunate but necessary fact that this book needed to be a bit on the slower side in order to set up the rest of the series. This book was all about building up the world Grace finds herself in and allowing the reader to get comfortable with it. Which I can appreciate from a critical sense but not completely enjoy as a reader.

The Characters:

I think a lot of readers will struggle to like Grace’s character–I know I did. She is very jaded and it is explained early on why she is the way she is. But even knowing that I just didn’t like her as much as a I wanted to. I think reading the short story, Before the Fall: Arrival, before I started the novel would have helped me come to grips with her character much earlier. She has a lot of potential for growth though, so I look forward to seeing her character develop in the next book.

updates

–February 7, 2016– Book #2: See How They Run

This one was a tough one for me to get into. I had high expectations, hoping that the somewhat dull first book did its job of setting up the world and story for some great twists and turns in its sequel. And while the last quarter of the book was definitely intriguing, the first 50% of it was very slow and uneventful.

Grace is her own worst enemy when it comes to her story. As I said before, her jaded personality is hard to get used to and it does her no favours here. Her depressing (albeit understandable) monologue makes her seem melodramatic and overly selfish and I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at her sometimes. What’s worse it that I totally understand why she is acting the way she is–it just didn’t garner any sympathy from me.

Also, this was totally me throughout the whole novel wanting to yell at Grace!

I definitely will be reading the 3rd book. This series is going in a direction I didn’t really expect (which is good, because I found this book to be a little predictable at times), so I’m curious to see how this story continues and wraps up in the last book.

–February 24, 2017– Book #3: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Should have called this one “Woe is Me”.

This was so boring! The plot, while interesting in concept, failed to entice me at all.

It doesn’t help that Gracie is one of the most annoying heroines I’ve ever had to endure. Everything is “me, me, me” and “me against the world”. I get it; she has had a rough go of things but I thought by book 3 we would have had some progression of her character past this point. It’s hard to read from the perspective of a character that is in such a negative headspace all the time.

A big miss for me.

My Rating: 3/5

All Fall Down 3.5/5 | See How They Run 3/5 | Take The Key and Lock Her Up 2/5

overall

This series reminds me a lot of the latter half of the Gallagher Girl Series: meaning it has a more mature and serious vibe to it. It takes a little while to build up, but once it does and the pieces fall together, it really doesn’t stop! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Read if You Like: thrillers, political intrigue, mystery
Avoid if You: want more romance, can’t stand jaded heroines

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  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls Series #1)
  • Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglin (Cold Fury Trilogy #1)
  • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Trust Me Series #1)

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Series Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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 Red Queen (from Goodreads):
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Read 2015 (Red Queen), Biggest Disappointment 2016 (Glass Sword)
Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
# of Books: 3 (Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, book 4)

There are two novellas: #0.1 Queen Song & #0.2 Steel Scars

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, King’s Cage, will be published February 2017
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Dystopian, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Find out why I DNF’d the Glass Sword (Book 2) below:

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Lately I’ve been really into High Fantasy novels–if you look at my 5/5 star books for the year, most of them are high fantasy YA novels. I’m loving this blend of dystopian tones, magic, romance and political intrigue. They are everything I love in novels and I’m so stoked that current YA trends are churning out these amazing pieces of fiction.

So, I think it goes without saying, I was super excited to read the Red Queen. I was actually excited for it before I even picked up the other High Fantasy books I read this year and dutifully ignored other reviews so nothing would be spoiled. I was hoping this book would be what I wanted The Selection to be: a politically focused dystopian read with a heroine who is actually intelligent. And after I read The Winner’s Curse and Snow Like Ashes, I was really hoping Mare would be in league with these fantastic leading ladies!

The Concept / The World:

The entire Red Queen world is a combination of lots of other fantasy and dystopian worlds but at the same time, I found it to be very refreshing. It took elements from my favourite books and used them to their full advantage without going over the top or feeling unoriginal. So while some people will definitely see parallels, I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of another book. The book does a great job of building and explaining the world at the start and throughout the novel so world-building fans will love it!

I usually don’t love magical elements in my stories but I really loved the way it works here. It was very Avatar: Legend of Korra to me with their powers and I had a lot of fun learning about all the different types of Silvers.

The Plot:

While this book started very slow to me, it really kept my attention and I always felt like it was building up to something. And boy was it building up to something! This story is great! It truly kept me on my toes and I never knew what was going to happen next!

This book had a great balance between action and politics; though the political aspects are the standout feature to me. I’m not sure how many people watch Game of Thrones but I adore the political games that are always afoot with those characters. And this book had the same deceptive games. I loved that it kept me thinking five moves ahead but I was always surprised but what happened next.

And the last 100 pages—simply amazing!

The Characters:

When I first started reading this book, I was really worried Mare would be like America from The Selection: a girl thrust into a situation she never imagined yet does nothing as everything happens around her to resolve the world. That frustrated me to no end with the Selection Trilogy so I was very relieved that that wasn’t the case with Mare.

Mare isn’t an instant kick-ass character though she is a interesting character–and I really loved that. She isn’t flawless and she really has to work for what she wants which made reading so captivating.

And the same can be said about the other characters. They really kept me on the edge of my seat and they all had great character development.

The Romance:

Don’t go into this book expecting some passionate romance. While it definitely is there and has an important role to play, it isn’t all consuming which was great. Even the romantic in me was satisfied by what we had here.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Red Queen really set the stage for the rest of the series and I truly can’t wait to see what happens next!

updates

–November 17, 2016– Book #2: Glass Sword

I really hummed and hawed over DNFing this one or not. Even ran a Twitter poll…most people said to DNF it.

I was SO BORED by this book!

I LOVED the Red Queen! I was a strong defender of it, telling everyone to not be so hard on it and all that. So Glass Sword was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016.

But this was dreadfully dry. Nothing seemed to be happen except the passing of time.

Understandably, everyone is a little beaten down. Mare especially. I really struggled with her character. Cal was so dull; and there was very little Maven.

This is the very definition of a Book 2 slump if you ask me. It’s just one of those bridging books that is a necessary evil to the series. Seems like something big happens at the end that I am curious about, but not curious enough to pick this one back up.

It’s been 8 months since I stopped in the middle of the novel and I haven’t regretted it yet.

Perhaps I’ll finish it another time but as of right now, this is a DNF’d series for me.

My Rating: DNF

Red Queen 5/5 | Glass Sword DNF

overall

Even the slow start couldn’t deter me from loving this book! It’s perfect for readers who love political games with a dash of physical action. YA High Fantasy at its finest!

Obviously, my opinion has changed. Each book seems to have a slow start and really only climaxes at the end of the novel. Sorry, but I just need something that will keep my attention all the way through.

Read if You Like: characters with magical/supernatural powers, world-building, high fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike slow starting stories, want more romance

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DNF Series Review: Fifth Avenue by Yates & Crews & Hewitt

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 Avenge Me (from Goodreads):
Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York’s elite would never believe it – especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father – risking his family name and those he loves – without any proof?
Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen’s reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?

breakdown

Series: Fifth Avenue Trilogy
Author: Maisey Yates (Take Me & Avenge Me); Caitlin Crew (Scandalize Me) & Katie Hewitt (Expose Me)
# of Books: 3 (Avenge Me, Scandalize Me, Expose Me)

There is a FREE prequel novella, Take Me–see notes below

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot, BDSM: mild
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May – July 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I did not read Scandalize Me or Expose Me. Find out why below..

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw Take Me as a freebie for Kindle so I decided to  download it: who am I to refuse a guy in a suit? But what actually sold me on reading this series is the little blurb for the series on Goodreads:

Ten years ago one devastating night changed everything for Austin, Hunter and Alex. Now they must each play their part in the revenge against the one man who ruined it all.

I LOVE revenge stories. I love all the secrecy, forbidden feelings and drama. They make for fun reads and this on in particular looked like it would live up to those expectations.

Plus, my library had the book set so why not?

The Plot:

Sigh… Avenge Me was a huge disappointment. Never did I think I would be upset that a book had too much romance BUT I underestimated a Harlequin Romance.

It’s unfortunate that the focus was on Austin and Katy’s relationship and not on the task at hand: bringing down Austin’s dad. Sure, that plotline was there but it was buried under numerous mild BDSM sex scenes. I was hoping for a book more along the lines of Heated by J. Kenner, which balanced the sexy times with the mystery of the plot, but Avenge Me definitely wasn’t in that league. I guess I should have known when the publisher is “Harlequin” but it’s been so long since I’ve read one that I guess I forgot.

The Characters:

Katy and Austin were nothing new to me. I also didn’t really like them separately or together. Austin was too controlling and Katy–who showed independence and drive at the start–gave in wayyyy to easily. Sure, I can cut Katy some slack considering she has had to raise herself and her younger brother from a young age so the appeal that someone else would “take care of her” makes sense for her character. I just didn’t like how fast everything happens.

The Romance:

I can get over the fact that Katy gives up her virginity to a guy she’s talked to for 5 minutes. While I don’t really respect that, I understand that, hey, the “romance” has to start somewhere (it’s fiction). What I didn’t understand was how she knew she liked to be “dominated” in the bedroom when her previous sexual encounters were pretty much zilch. I dunno, maybe I’m just used to the skeptical heroine being introduced to the BDSM world by an experienced older male and liking it after she’s experienced it.

It was just a little too insta-connection for me with the two of them. I also got real tired of the sex scenes real quick.

Notes on the novella:

Because I had the boxset and Take Me was listed first, that’s what I read first. I would read it first because it shows you the event that inspires the “revenge” in the actual novels. It’s a shame it isn’t a full novel because I really love the story of these two leads but for a novella, I thought it was well done.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

I expected too much from what are essentially extended novellas. I love the premise but hate the execution. If you love lots of sexy times and little plot, this is a great series for you!

Read if You Like: harlequin romances, lots of sexy times
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-connections, want more plot

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  • Heated by J. Kenner (Most Wanted Trilogy #1)

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