Tag «drama»

Single Sundays: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Forbidden (from Goodreads):

A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy.

Annie has never experienced the ‘spark’ with a guy-that instant chemistry that renders you weak in the knees. That is, until a night out brings her face to face with the dangerously sexy and mysterious Jack. It’s not just a spark that ignites between them. It’s an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.

Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who’s had such a powerful impact on her must be dangerous. She has no idea that he belongs to another. That he’s forbidden.

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Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thank you Forever Publishing!

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve never read a Jodi Ellen Malpas novel but I know that she has a very strong and loyal fan base. So when I had the opportunity to read her latest novel, I knew I had to seize it.

It doesn’t hurt that this novel is billed as a “forbidden romance”. I LOVE forbidden/taboo romances. They have this edge of suspense to them that keeps me hooked thanks to all the secrets, drama and passion. I couldn’t wait to dive into this novel and see what was in store for me.

The Concept:

Let’s just say, I never saw what the “taboo” element was going to be and I loved that. When we had that big reveal, my mouth dropped and I muttered some curses because, damn, it’s a good one. It sucked me in like no one’s business.

The Plot:

While this story is a romance as its core, there is enough going on to keep the story moving and fresh. I never had a dull moment reading this novel. I was hooked.

The story has a great blend of being real and dramatic at the same time. The circumstances Annie and Jack find themselves in I think is fairly realistic. Some of the drama that accompanies it definitely has a dramatic flare but it just works so well with this story.

The Characters:

I really loved all the characters here. Malpas does a great job of bringing them to life and making you see their side of the situation. Did I agree with all their choices? No, but I could appreciate them and why they felt they had to make the choices they did.

The Romance:

One of the most important elements for me in a forbidden romance is that the novel has to convince me why these two should pursue their relationship despite all the obstacles in the way. I want to fall in love with these characters despite what they are doing–I want to root for them.

And this novel succeeded in that in every way!

I loved these two together–they have this phenomenal chemistry and connection–and I desperately wanted to see a positive outcome for them. And given the “forbidden” nature of this story, Malpas has done an amazing job to elicit that reaction from me.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

One of the best forbidden romances I’ve ever read. It kept me on the edge of my seat and had me totally invested in the outcome.

Read if You Like: forbidden love
Avoid if You: dislike romantic dramas
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Single Sundays: Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Royce Rolls (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear–without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable–save the show. But when her future brother-in-law’s car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister’s fiance inside-on the day of the big made-for-TV wedding, no less-things get real.
Really real. Like, not reality show real.

Told in a tongue-in-cheek voice that takes a swipe at all things Hollywood, Royce Rolls is a laugh-out-loud funny romp with an LA noir twist about what it means to grow up with the cameras rolling and what really happens behind the scenes.

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Author: Margaret Stohl
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Satire, Drama, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Margaret Stohl is a co-author on one of my all time favourite series, Beautiful Creatures. Yet, despite that fact, I’ve never picked up another one of her novels! So when I saw this title on Netgalley, I knew I had to change that depressing thoughts.

One of my favourite TV shows is UnREAL. For those who don’t know, UnREAL gives you a behind the scenes look of what “theoretically” happens on a Bachelor-esque show. It’s so addicting to watch and when I read the synopsis for Royce Rolls, I knew I found that in book form. I love satires on popular culture and I think the world needs a book like this one in our lives to remind us that what we see on TV isn’t always reality.

The Concept:

Like I said before, I love satires on popular culture and what better than the realm of reality TV. I’m one of those people who doesn’t understand the appeal of reality TV shows that are based on celebrities’ “everyday” lives. It’s boring to me and, most of the time, it’s fake.

So having this book explore the nuts and bolts of what makes a reality TV show was a lot of fun. And it’s also intelligent. From the character’s antics to the production footnotes throughout the chapters, this novel is beautifully crafted and so on point to current trends in the reality TV world.

(You can read an interview with Stohl here about her inspiration!)

The Plot:

I liked that the plot wasn’t always about the (often hilarious) antics for the show. You get those moments of character development and mystery as well.

While I enjoyed reading this novel from start to finish, I did feel like the first half of the book was rather slow when it came to the plot. The first half does a create job of establishing the characters and the setting, getting the reader acquainted with the circumstances. But it kind of moseyed along; especially when you compare it to the latter half of the novel which was non-stop plot-movement and suspense.

The Characters:

Bentley’s love for her family is endearing and she is such a likeable heroine that you can’t help but root for her to succeed in whatever she has put her mind to.

The rest of the characters grew on me too. Once you get below the surface of their TV personas, you see that they are real people too who aren’t always who they pretend to be.

The Romance:

Not a huge aspect here but what is here works perfectly for the story.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Stohl has written a novel packed with wit, hilarity and above all, intelligence. It’s beautifully crafted and so on point with modern popular culture it is nothing but impressive.

Read if You Like: books about reality TV, satires, YA contemporary without a romance focus
Avoid if You: dislike books about hollywood/celebrities

 

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Series Review: Lover’s Dance by Deanna Roy

Synopsis for Forbidden Dance (from Goodreads):

She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.
An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy

For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Homeschooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.

Then Blitz arrives.

He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.

At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.

He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.

I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.

But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.

Other books in the series:
book3 book book

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Series: Lover’s Dance
Author: Deanna Roy
# of Books: 5 (Full List Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Tender Dance, will be published May 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Dancer
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon // B&N // Kobo // iBooks

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**This post was originally posted as a Blog Tour 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’ll admit that at first, I picked this one thinking that our lead, Livia, was in a wheelchair because she teaches ballet to girls who are. Turns out, that isn’t the case (The Feeling of Forever by Jamie Howard does have this though) but the concept was still intriguing. I love when regular people fall in love with celebrities! And a romantic player from a reality TV show? I’m there.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery of Livia’s Past–

Even though you learn Livia’s secret within the first few chapters, there was still so much suspense to it! I found her past to be really intriguing. Why is she so sheltered? Who are the key players involved? And what does it mean for the future? And when do we find out? This is a past that will be revealed over the next few installments.

–Livia’s Character Growth–

Unlike other heroines who exude innocence, I found it really easy to be sympathetic to her character. You know there is more to her nativity than just the trope of innocence meets a sexy player. Her past is complicated because of her upbringing and it shows.

Because Livia is so sheltered, it provides the perfect opportunity for character development. I really enjoyed watching her become her own person as she discovers she does have control over her own life and destiny if she chooses to.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Insta-Love–

If you’ve read any of my romance reviews in the past, insta-love is something that I am not a fan of. While this one seems to have a slow burn vibe to it, it’s definitely an insta-love kinda story. Don’t get me wrong, these two have great chemistry and it shows in their dancing and interactions, I just found that there wasn’t too much to their “getting to know you”. They dive head first based on their physical chemistry–which is fine–it’s just that I hope we can see the more emotional side of everything in the next installments.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I still have a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered, so I’m looking forward to Wounded Dance.

updates

–April 20, 2017– Book #2: Wounded Dance

I was super excited when I read the synopsis for Wounded Dance because I was finally going to be getting some answers about Livia’s past. And boy did we ever.

I had a lot of ideas about Livia’s past but I was definitely wrong–in a great way. The reasoning really did surprise me! It was nice to delve into her past and learn the reason behind her parent’s protectiveness. It also helped to establish her character and why she is the way she is during the start of Forbidden Dance.

However, I did find the ending to be a little rushed. I wanted it teased out a bit more; everything seemed to wrap up a little too nicely for my liking. Maybe some of those things will be at play in the next novel, Wicked Dance. It’s hard to say because these novels are pitched as ones you can read as standalones so I get why everything is wrapped up before the end. Either way, I’m curious to see what will happen next!

–May 13, 2017– Book #3: Wicked Dance

When I first read in the synopsis for Forbidden Dance that Blitz was a reality TV star, I was so excited to see that element in the narrative. Unfortunately, the reality TV portion takes a back seat in the first two novels but it comes out full swing here–and it is so much fun!

I’m a huge fan of the TV series unREAL and this felt like I was reading an episode of it instead of just a romance novel (not that is is your everyday type of romance anyways). I was thoroughly entertained by the antics the show was throwing at them–even if the whole idea was a little silly. BUT, I think it goes to show Deanna Roy’s talent that I truthfully had no idea how this novel was going to end. It was a very addicting read.

The only reason I held back from a 5 star review was simply because I felt the character development was a little stagnant here. While Livia does evolve in some way in each novel, I’m still waiting for her truly break that mold and find her independence. She’s so close and I think the next novel, Tender Dance, is going to give that to me from what I get from the synopsis. I also liked that we saw a bit of a different side to Blitz as well but I can’t help but want a little more from his character as well.

 

My Rating: 3.5/5

Forbidden Dance 3.5/5 | Wounded Dance 4/5 | Wicked Dance 4/5 | Tender Dance TBR | Final Dance TBR

overall
Intriguing characters and a passionate romance make this an great read for romance lovers who like overarching romance stories. As the series continues, you get more and more invested in Livia’s story.

Read if You Like: stories about dancers
Avoid if You: dislike insta-connections
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Deanna Roy

Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction.

She is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She has several books on the subject, including her bestseller FOREVER INNOCENT, a romance about a couple whose baby is taken off life support at seven days old.

She has run the website PregnancyLoss.Info for fifteen years, including many large spin-off support groups both online and in person.

To learn about new releases, sign up for her subscriber list at http://deannaroy.com/news. She has regular giveaways in conjunction with major pregnancy loss events.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon // B&N // Kobo // iBooks

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Series Review: Rixton Falls by Winter Renshaw

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 Royal (from Goodreads):
His name is Royal, but he’s no prince charming. He’s not even a prince – though you could say I loved him once upon a time.

He was my older brother’s best friend.

Growing up, he sat at our dinner table every Sunday, teased me mercilessly, and pretended I annoyed him.

When I was old enough, he took me on my first date.

Royal taught me how to drive. Escorted me to my junior prom. Gave me my first kiss…amongst other things. He was my first taste of toe-curling, all-consuming, can’t-sleep love.

We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was never anyone else for me but him.

And then he disappeared. No letter. No explanation. Not even a goodbye.

My sisters and brother never forgave him, and my parents forbade me from speaking his name in our house ever again. For all intents and purposes, we were to pretend Royal Lockhart never existed.

I’ve spent the last seven years trying in vain to forget my first love, but just when I think I’ve finally moved on, guess who’s back in town?

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Series: Rixton Falls

This series crosses over with the Amato Brothers Series in Priceless.

Author: Winter Renshaw
# of Books: 3 (Royal, Bachelor, Filthy)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February – June 2016
Source & Format: Own & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought Royal after seeing it listed as an Amazon Bestseller one day when I was browsing the freebie section. Of course, the cover drew me in but the synopsis listed one of my favourite romantic tropes: in love with brother’s BFF. Forbidden love is my kryptonite! Especially when it is a second chance romance that promises a juicy secret for why these two have been separated for all these years!

The Plot:

My only peeve with the drama of this series was how quickly certain things are resolved. The drama isn’t overly complex but even then, I felt like things don’t get expanded upon enough and things are finished nearly as soon as they are introduced.

Especially in Royal where there has been 7 years of bad tension and feelings; certain plot points seemed to be brushed over and not expanded upon. I just expected these characters to have a bit more of a grudge or at the very least, some damaged feelings that need more than a handshake to fully resolve.

But on a positive note, it was nice to have straightforward–and understandable–drama. I didn’t feel like anything was added just for shock factor nor did things come out of left field. Everything follows a nice progression even if its resolution wasn’t for me.

The Characters:

I feel like Royal has the best characters in terms of uncovering their many layers. We actually get to learn more about these two because of their backstory together at the start of the book. I just felt like I knew these two better than the rest of the leads in the other novels.

For the most part, we just scratch the surface with the other leads. And you know what, it works for their stories for the most part. I would have liked a little more elaboration but I was satisfied with what we were given.

The Romance:

Royal I think had the best romance because they already had an established relationship. It was easy to see why these two liked each other. It was the same situation with Filthy as well.

The reason I downgraded Bachelor to a 3/5 was because the romance was almost insta-love. I just needed to a little more to convince me these two got each other on a deeper level because everything happens so fast.

Series Rating: 4/5

Royal 4/5 | Bachelor 3/5 | Filthy 4/5

overall

If you want a quick and romantic read with just the right amount of drama and likeable characters, this trilogy makes for the perfect weekend series read to binge on!

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, new adult romance, drama
Avoid if You: dislike drama
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Fresh Fridays: The Thousandth Floor (#1) by Katharine McGee

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 Thousandth Floor Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Thousandth Floor (from Goodreads):

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

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Series: The Thousandth Floor
Author: Katharine McGee
# of Books: 1+ (The Thousandth Floor, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 will be published in August 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *more implied*
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: August 30, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Thousandth Floor first crossed my radar when I was voting for Stephanie @ In Wonderland Book Blog‘s Make Me Read It Readathon in the summer of 2016. I’ll admit, it was the cover that captured my attention (and vote) but the synopsis sounded great as well.

I like stories where there are lots of things going on and multiple character POVs is one way to do that. When I read the synopsis, the first thing that crossed my mind was: SCANDALS! I was hoping for a story rich with plot twists and characters whose lives somehow intertwine together. I couldn’t wait to uncover the dirt.

What I Liked:

–A Futuristic Gossip Girl

I adored the first few Gossip Girl books because I’m a sucker for delicious drama and gossip. Seeing how all these character’s lives interweave–sometimes in ways they don’t even know–is just so addicting! 

It’s the “haves” meets the “have nots” and when they meet dramatic chaos ensues. It was very reminiscent of the early Gossip Girl days–not the latter ones where things just got weird.

–Multiple POVs–

I like stories that have a lot going on; especially in my contemporaries because I don’t always enjoy the leads. So having multiple POVs allows me to attach to at least one character’s story that drives me to see what happens next.

What surprised me was that I was intrigued by all of these characters at some point or another. I really enjoyed their stories–and their secrets. There were definitely some characters I enjoyed more than the others.

–The Secrets–

This was what kept me reading! I just loved figuring out what everyone was hiding and how it all weaved together. Plus, the mystery of who fell from the roof had me spewing all sorts of theories!

What I Didn’t Like:

–Surface-Deep Characters–

Perhaps this is one disadvantage of the multiple POVs but you don’t get to see these characters on a deep level. I feel like each character briefly has a moment when we get to see more than the surface; but we change to another character so quickly that it never gets elaborated on. So I never felt like I knew more about these characters than what was necessary to drive the plot forward.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to see what happens to everyone next! So many secrets, lies and unresolved feelings; I don’t know how these characters are going to react to it all!

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Thousandth Floor 4.5/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

I was definitely in the right mind frame when I picked this novel up. It’s the perfect drama filled read for those who are looking to be entertained and not have to think so much. But if you don’t enjoy books with multiple POVs, this might not be the one for you.

Read if You Like: Gossip Girl, drama, scandals
Avoid if You: dislike multiple POVs, want more romance

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Series Review: Avoiding by K A Linde

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 Avoiding Commitment (from Goodreads):
Jack and Lexi never had a typical relationship. After 2 years without speaking, she receives a phone call that changes everything. He unexpectedly asks her to convince the new girl, Bekah, that he’s ready to commit. Jack is calling now after everything they had been through because there is another woman. She can’t believe it.

Follow Lexi in this heart wrenching drama as she relives her past relationship, or lack thereof, with Jack, and not just in her own mind, but to his fiance-to-be. Throw in Bekah’s hot brother who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, a past with more secrets to unravel than you can even imagine, and you get a recipe for disaster.

Find out what happens to Lexi as she travels to Atlanta to get the closure she so desperately desires from Jack, and how the bumps of life seem to keep getting in the way.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave New Adult Read 2016 (Avoiding Commitment)
Series: Avoiding Trilogy
Author: K A Linde
# of Books: 3 (Avoiding Commitment, Avoiding Responsibility, Avoiding Temptation)

There are two novellas: #1.5 Avoiding Decisions & #2.5 Avoiding Intimacy

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2012 – December 2013
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how this series crossed my radar; I think I might have seen it on Kindle or perhaps Kobo recommended it to me. Regardless, when the boxset was on sale on Amazon, I decided to buy it and give it a shot.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant to start this one. The main reason was that it reeked of a love triangle between Lexi, Jack and Bekah’s “brother”. I didn’t want to commit (see what I did there?) to a 3 novel story about a girl torn between two dudes. Which brings me to reason #2: I didn’t think I would like Lexi. The synopsis made it sound like she was a homewrecker who was going to stop at nothing to split Jack and Bekah apart. I’m not really sure how I got that impression reading it back again, but I didn’t have a favourable impression of Lexi before I started this series.

That quickly changed though…

The Plot:

What I really liked about this entire series was that we had chapters set in the present and chapters set in the past. Essentially, you are getting two stories at once so it makes for quite the addicting read. You slowly put together the pieces of the past to fill in your questions about the present to get the whole picture.

And what a picture you get!

I really worried that this story would just be Lexi torn between two boys and her being indecisive about who to choose. But there is so much more to it than that. As you learn more about the relationships you see that there is so much more to it than a girl in a love triangle. It’s one of those times where the love triangle as used as a necessary device to the story and not simply something added for some “excitement”.

The Characters:

Like I said above, I didn’t expect to like Lexi. I have very little patience for girls who get torn between two guys. However, it only took me two chapters to completely change my opinion about Lexi–and absolutely despise Jack. After seeing how awful Jack treated her, it was super easy to sympathize with her situation. Sure, she made some choices I vehemently disagreed with, but I understood why she felt like she had to make those choices and that worked well for me.

One of the best features of this series is the character development. The characters you start with are not the same people you get in the finale. All these characters evolve thanks to the events in these books and it’s truly awesome to watch. They have their flaws and their quirks, but it’s great to see how that contributes to the story. Solid character development never fails to impress.

The Romance:

Lexi’s relationship with Jack is the definition of unhealthy. The way he toys with her emotions makes it hard to read at times. But it also provided an interesting dynamic to the story that is the backbone to this series.

However, I can’t say that I really liked any of Lexi’s love interests. Part of the issue is that I never really saw the appeal of Lexi. Why did all these guys seem to find themselves in love with her? I truly don’t know. I get the impression she is physically attractive and perhaps ambitious when it comes to her career; but aside from that, it felt more implied than explained. Which is fine, I just like picking a side when it comes to my love triangles and I had a hard time choosing.

The Novellas:

I actually recommend that you read Avoiding Decisions (#1.5) after you read Avoiding Responsibilities (#2); even though the novella is listed as #1.5. It gives you a little too much insight into one character and I think that ruins your reading experience for Responsibilities. And Avoiding Intimacy (#2.5) is also best after Responsibilities (#2).

Series Rating: 4/5

Avoiding Commitment 5/5 | [Avoiding Decisions] 4/5 | Avoiding Responsibilities 4/5 | [Avoiding Intimacy] 4/5Avoiding Temptation 4/5

overall

It’s hard to say too much about this story without giving it away. All I’ll say is that this story really surprised me. It is so much more than a girl choosing between two love interests…it’s about growing up and dealing with whatever life throws your way. With just enough drama to keep you hooked!

Read if You Like: romance drama, stories with flashbacks
Avoid if You: dislike cheating
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Novella Serial Review: Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

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 Calendar Girl (from Goodreads):
It’s really simple. I needed money. A lot of money. One million dollars to be exact. The amount didn’t matter. All that mattered is that at the end of that price tag held my father’s life.

No money. No life.

The time limit was one year. On January 1st I had to pay up or my Father was going to be killed. When you’re faced with an ultimatum like this, you do whatever you have to do.

And that’s exactly what I did.

The job…Exquisite Escorts. My role, serve as high priced arm candy to anyone that can afford the $100,000 price tag for a month of my company. Sex is optional (for me) and a 20% increase on the price.

Mia Saunders just barely escaped a paltry life back home in Las Vegas until she gets the call that her Father has been beaten to within an inch of his life for not paying his gambling debt. Problem is, the lone shark is her lousy, ruthless ex-boyfriend. Another guy in a long line of men she’d fallen head over heels for. Not anymore. Mia’s mission is simple. Serve as a high-priced escort for her Aunt’s company and pay monthly against her Father’s bad debt. A month with a rich man who she doesn’t have to sleep with if she doesn’t want to? Easy money. At least that’s the way it was supposed to go.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Serial 2016
Series: Calendar Girl
Author: Audrey Carlan
# of Parts: 12 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: January – December 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

My best friend actually recommended this series to me. Rarely do my friends recommend that I read something because chances are, I’ve already read it. But I hadn’t even heard of this one when she suggested it. And so I waited until Kobo had a great sale and bought all the volumes at once.

The Concept:

The premise reminded me a bit of The Arrangement and Blurred Lines–serials I hadn’t kept up with though I enjoyed them. I wanted to see what adventures Mia would get in by being an escort but not necessarily sleeping with the client. So I was eager to get into this one!

The Plot:

Each “part” is a month of Mia’s assignment with a different man who has hired her. What he has hired her for varies from simply being a date to being a muse for an artist, but they are entertaining nonetheless. In addition to that, you have the overarching plot of her father being in the hospital while Mia pays off the debt. Needless to say, these stories move fast and always have something happening to keep you reading.

It’s apparent that this serial was thought out in advance. Never did I feel like Audrey Carlan was throwing out ridiculous plot twists for the sake of keeping the story going. It has a great flow and purpose and I greatly appreciate that.

The Characters:

Mia had tremendous growth throughout this series. I wasn’t her biggest fan in January but by March, I had really warmed up to her. What’s great about each “episode” is that Mia learns something new about herself through the relationship with her client. And I don’t mean she learns something romantically either. While Mia does learn more about what it means to have a strong romantic partner, she also learns to become more confident in herself and decide what she really wants in life. That what I like to see in my characters and I really appreciated that growth.

The Romance:

I like that the romance here isn’t straight erotica when it easily could be. Sure, she’s an escort and doesn’t have to sleep with the guys but the expectations are underlying…

I definitely picked my favourite for Mia and it was a lot of fun waiting to see if I was right as the months progressed.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

This series was SO MUCH FUN! As each novella progressed, I became more and more invested in the story and it’s outcome. It was the perfect blend of romance, drama and character growth!

Read if You Like: stories about escorts; novellas, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike serials, dislike escort stories

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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: Broken by Kimberly 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:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Beautiful Broken Rules (from Goodreads):
The most valuable lesson Emerson Moore ever learned was from her parents: Never get too attached to someone else. That’s why this hard-partying college student plays by her own code of bedroom conduct, refusing to stay with the same guy for too long. She gets all the pleasure of having a good time without the messiness of a relationship.. So what if frat house–hopping has earned her a certain reputation around campus? At least no one gets hurt this way—especially her.

When ridiculously gorgeous Jaxon Riley moves in next door, Emerson’s not sure how long her vow against emotional intimacy can last. Jaxon’s tattoo, muscles, and sexy voice make him tempting, but he also seems to really understand her…until his jealous ex-girlfriend and Emerson’s life-changing discovery about her parents get thrown into the mix. After everything she’s been through, can Emerson handle a real relationship? Or will breaking her rules just lead to a broken heart?

breakdown

Series: Broken Trilogy
Author: Kimberly Lauren
# of Books: 3 (Beautiful Broken Rules, Beautiful Broken Mess, Beautiful Broken Promises)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Drama, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2013 – May 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t recall how this one crossed my path but it was either through Kobo or Goodreads when I first started exploring the New Adult genre.

I was excited to read a story about a “female player” in Beautiful Broken Rules. While I enjoy bad guys becoming good, I really wanted to see what would happen when the roles were reversed.

The Plot:

Unfortunately, Beautiful Broken Rules (BBR) was a disappointment. I found the story to be needlessly overdramatic. I just didn’t enjoy the execution at all and the maturity of the characters was lacking as well. I didn’t appreciate how their matters were handled–I would have liked for these characters to get some professional therapy instead of how it resolves.

Because I didn’t enjoy BBR, I wasn’t going to pick up Beautiful Broken Mess (BBM). But when I read who the leads were going to be, I just had to pick it up. There was a deeper story here and I couldn’t wait to uncover it. The first half of BBM was great, I loved the character backgrounds and their story. The context it provides for BBR was fantastic. However, the last half seemed to run into the same problems as BBR and it lost its momentum for me.

I feel like things just resolve too easily in this series and I like a little more friction in my conflict. Surprising, because I found things to be overdramatic most of the time. I just didn’t want things to be resolved so easily when they were so over-emphasized throughout.

After I read BBM, I wasn’t going to pick up Beautiful Broken Promises (BBP). While intrigued about Lane’s story, I wasn’t sure if  wanted to read his story given my experience with the previous 2 novels. But when I had my Kindle Unlimited Trial, it was an available title and so I figured, why not? I’m really glad I did because I LOVED it! The story was unlike anything I had read and I thought it was by far the strongest novel of the trilogy.

The Characters:

All these characters lacked a maturity I feel (well, not so much in BBP). I can’t describe what it is exactly but their attitudes remind me of characters on a CW teen drama. They approach things in the most over dramatic way possible and just do stupid things with no real consequences. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

Though I have to give a shout out to Audrey–I thought she was the best composed when it came to her character story and she was by far the most consistent in her actions. And I never thought I would say that after she is introduced in BBR.

The Romance:

The romances were cute but lacked the substance I want in my romances. Things happen quickly and seemed to be superficial or via some insta/subconscious connection that I wanted elaborated on.

Series Rating: 3/5

Beautiful Broken Rules 2.5/5 | Beautiful Broken Mess 3/5 | Beautiful Broken Promises 5/5

overall

While cute and quick, there are much strong New Adult stories out their with similar elements. But maybe just pick up Beautiful Broken Promises if you are intrigued by this series.

Read if You Like: new adult, over-dramatic
Avoid if You: dislike immature characters

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DNF Series Review: Falling by Jasinda Wilder

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 Falling Into You (from Goodreads):
I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way.

Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.

Colton didn’t teach me how to live. He didn’t heal the pain. He didn’t make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Disappointment 2016
Series: Falling
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 5 (Falling Into You, Falling Into Us, Falling Under, Falling Away, Falling for Colton)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2013 – January 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Falling Into You (Book 1) at 39%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up Falling Into You years ago for my Kobo when I first got into the New Adult genre. I was looking forward to reading it but the topic of death was one I was rarely in the mood for. So I put it off for years but continued to buy the sequels for the day I finally got around to the series.

I actually read Wilder’s Stripped Series before I read this one. I had really mixed feelings of it as a whole and I was a little skeptical starting Falling Into You when I pulled it for my Rock My TBR challenge. But, I tried my best to go in with an open mind and give Falling Into You a far chance.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Immaturity = Dramatics–

Falling Into You starts with Kyle and Nell’s story–something I wasn’t entirely expecting but understand. However, because they are in high school, the petty drama was just a little too much for me to handle. Even worse was that Nell knew she was being melodramatic about certain things but continued on anyways.

So while I could cut them some slack because of their ages and I understand the more rushed nature of those “prequel-esque” chapters in order to set the tone of the story–I just got off on the wrong foot with those characters, resulting in me getting slightly annoyed by their behaviour and simply not caring what happened to them.

–The Romance–

It wasn’t the circumstances of the relationship that were off-putting, rather it was the almost “insta-love” vibe I got from Colton that really nailed the coffin closed on this series. I believe that connections between people can happen in a moment but this was just too much for me to swallow when I wasn’t loving everything that I had seen previously. I just didn’t enjoy the more implied, innate nature of the romance.

Will I Finish It?

Sigh…I bought the next two books in the series shortly after I bought the first one just because I got a really good deal. I hate having books unfinished that I’ve purchased but even the idea of skimming Falling Into You while trapped on a train for an hour wasn’t even appealing to me. Maybe later this year I’ll force myself to read a chapter a day or something while reading something else…

Series Rating: DNF

Falling Into You DNF | Falling Into Us N/A | Falling Under N/A | Falling Away N/A | Falling for Colton N/A

overall

This series wasn’t my cup of tea and I think if I had read some more reviews before buying a majority of the series, I would have known that. Perhaps one day I’ll power through them all just to get them finished on my Kobo but not at this time.

Read if You Like: dramatics, insta-love
Avoid if You: if you want more mature characters

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  • More than This by Jay McLean (More Series #1)
  • Find You in the Dark by A Meredith Walters (Find You in the Dark Series #1)
  • Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines (Sea Breeze Series #8)

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