Tag «Erotica»

Series Review: Gravity by Sarina Bowen

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

Series: Gravity Trilogy
Author: Sarina Bowen
# of Books: 3 (Coming in from the Cold, Falling from the Sky, Shooting for the Stars)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2014 – March 2015
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 reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

I randomly picked this book up from my library because the cover drew me in. I thought it might be a New Adult read but it is actually an Adult Contemporary read. I’ve read a few New Adult reads about being trapped in a storm so I was interested to see what would happen in an Adult Contemporary novel. Plus: I have never read a book about a professional skier and his “faulty DNA” so that drew me in.

I enjoyed reading this book but there was nothing “WOW” about it. It was your classic insta-romance though it had some interesting twists to it that added some realism to it. I liked the characters despite the insta-romance–they felt like a good match; but like most “insta-romance” books I wish that there was more interaction between the two of them.

This book was more a romance and the drama associated with the romance more than anything. That wasn’t a bad thing either: it was a cute, quick romance that tackled some serious issues like genetic diseases.

I’m not sure what the sequel will be about; I am assuming it will be about another set of characters. I’ll check it out if it comes to my library because I liked this book but I’m not in a huge rush to read it.

Series Rating: DNF

Coming in from the Cold 3/5 | Falling from the Sky N/A | Shooting for the Stars N/A

overall

If you want a quick, steamy romance with two people that deal with some very real issues, this is a great book to pick up!

similarreads
Frigid by J. Lynn (Frigid Series #1)
Forbidden by Vanessa Devereaux
booksynopsis

Synopsis for Coming in from the Cold (from Goodreads):
Alpine ski champion Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he has an excellent reason. No woman would ever say “I do” to a guy whose faulty DNA will eventually cost him everything: his spot on the US Ski team, his endorsements, and the ability to fly downhill at 90mph.

While Willow Reade moved to rural Vermont to get back to the land, that wasn’t meant to include a night stranded in her vehicle during a blizzard. Luckily, the hot ski racer she practically ran off the road has granola bars and a sleeping bag, and is happy to share. Maybe it’s the close quarters, maybe it’s the snow, but soon the two are sharing a lot more than conversation.

Yet neither can guess how their spontaneous passion will uncork Dane’s ugly secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only their mutual trust and bravery can end the pain and give Willow and Dane a shot at hard won happiness.

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

catchphrase

Series Review: Bad Boys of Football by Bella Andre

Series: Bad Boys of Football
Author: Bella Andre
# of Books: 3 (Game for Love, Game for Seduction, Game for Anything)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Erotica, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

After a rocky start with the Sullivan Series, I eventually decided to check out some of Bella Andre’s other series. For the most part, the series have been hit or miss but this was one of the first that I read and I enjoyed them overall.

The books are nothing overly special as they all follow a similar formula for a contemporary romance for women. Game for Love has an “arranged” marriage; Game for Seduction is about a young girl liking an older man for years; and Game for Anything is about a second chance at a high school love. So in that aspect, it wasn’t anything new but I wasn’t really expecting anything new either.

After reading a few of Ms. Andre’s books I have discovered that she too has a formula for her writing. Most of the romances are based off an instant-connection/love-at-first-sight romance which isn’t always my favourite plotline. But I find the sexual tension is always great in her stories. There is definitely a lot more sex than really needed too and when the books are shorter like these ones are, it can be a little too much at times. One of my biggest peeves with her books though are her rushed endings. I find too much time is spent on the erotica bits that the actual plot gets pushed to the side and then is resolved within a few pages. I really hate rushed endings so I am always disappointed in that aspect.

Conclusion:

For readers who want a quick romantic read featuring celebrity sportsmen–this is a good series for you to grab. They aren’t too big on the plot so if you want a steamier contemporary read without BDSM and other kinkiness, this is a good one to get.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Look of Love by Bella Andre (The Sullivans #1) and The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst (Marriage to a Billionaire Series #1)

Synopsis for Game For Love (from Goodreads):
In a relationship built on lies…the only truth is their feelings for each other.

To fulfill his grandmother’s dying wish, linebacker Cole Taylor must find and marry a good girl. First grade teacher Anna Davis fits the bill perfectly. Their deal is simple: If she’ll be his temporary wife, he’ll give her more pleasure than she ever imagined was possible.

Only, love is the ultimate game-changer.

Series Review: Heart of Stone by K.M. Scott

Series: Heart of Stone Trilogy
Author: K.M. Scott
# of Books: 3 (Crash Into Me, Fall Into Me, Give in to Me)

There is an epilogue novella called Ever After to be published

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes, though the novella is yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person (later books alternate POV)

Thoughts:

I was hesitant to buy Crash Into Me and read it but I hoped it would be like the Fixed Trilogy so I eventually caved and bought it.

The first chapter of Crash Into Me almost made me stop reading. It was one of the most frustrating opening to a book that I have ever had to endure. I encountered some stupid and naïve heroines but Nina is definitely in a league of her own. The best word I can think to classify her as is “delusional”.

warning

WARNING: this is a bit of a spoiler but seeing as it happens in the first chapter, I’m not going to hide it.

Of course like all cliché contemporary erotica romances, it all starts with a glance at a stranger across the room. I don’t fault the girl for being attracted to him–but what I can fault her for is her stupidity. She gets into his car and is simultaneously wondering if he is going to kiss her or kill her and chop her into tiny little pieces as he takes her outside the city. Um–what?! Why do you want this man who essentially kidnapped you to kiss you? I don’t care how good looking he is! Have some pride you stupid broad!

There are a few other prize winning Nina moments where she wonders if they are going to continue dating after meeting him for the second time; another is when she signs a contract without reading every page despite the fact that she knows something is up. Oh and keep in mind that up until this point she has probably only heard 20 words from him that weren’t a yes or no answer.

I tell you, the number of times I had to put down the book to take a big breath and pull my hair out is astounding–I’m surprised I still have hair.

Tristan isn’t any better. He is the stereotypical alpha male billionaire who sweeps her off her feet. I personally found it extremely creepy and I would be begging Nina to run if I was her friend Jordan–who, of course, thinks it is a brilliant idea to do all of this with a strange but rich man. Emphasis on the “rich” man part because his wanting to take care of her is all that her friend will need to be happy in life. *eye roll* I also found his character to be really unstable in the sense that he would appear one way and then another. His character and personality is never consistent throughout the book which is frustrating. I suppose it is attributed to his past but it really came out of nowhere at times.

*End Of Possible Spoilers*

Considering my rant, it is probably a surprise that I actually continued to read this book. I thought about giving up, but kind of like a train wreck, I just had to keep going. Eventually, it got better once some time passed in the plot. The relationship between Nina and Tristan got to be a lot healthier and I could sort of see their connection together. Near the end of Crash Into Me, we get more plot than their “intense” romance and it makes the story more interesting. I was still pulling my hair out and eye rolling as I read the last half of the book but I was “enjoying” the book I suppose.

Fall Into Me starts right after Crash Into Me but this time we are offered an alternating POV between Nina and Tristan. I welcomed this because it allowed for more insight into Tristan as a character. Even with the added perspective I still feel like I don’t know him too well but I suppose part of his appeal is the “mysterious” part of him. I felt like parts of Fall Into Me were added simply for the sake of making it “risqué” (just like a scene in Crash Into Me which was completely unnecessary). I could have done without them and I think the book would be better off without them. Overall,  the book was interesting and kept my attention though parts just felt like rehashes of the first book.

Give in to Me didn’t do much for me. There was only so much “I love you”‘s and sappy bits I could take before it started to take its toll. I just found it to be dull and even when the “suspense” part of the plot picked up, I just didn’t really care. Some good little twists at the end but not enough to wow me in any way.

I will be reading the novella, Ever After, when is comes out just for the sake of closure though I did like the way Give in to Me ended. I think the epilogue is just a bit of a treat for readers.

Conclusion:

While this series isn’t the worst contemporary series that I have read, it definitely isn’t the best. A promising plot just a poor execution and it really isn’t anything that I haven’t read before. I personally wouldn’t recommend this series to my friends because it irritated me at times; but it you want a story that is heavy on physical attraction and has a bit of a mystery to it, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1); Down to You by M. Leighton (The Bad Boys #1) and Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed on You Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Crash Into Me (from Goodreads):
What would you give up for everything?

Tristan Stone was powerful, commanding, sex incarnate. And he wore it all so well. From the moment his mesmerizing gaze met mine, I had no choice but surrender to everything he was. His power. His decadence. His passion. He was all I never knew I needed.

He wanted to possess me, and I wanted to be his everything. All I had to do was accept what he offered. But everything has a price.

The world he gave me fulfilled my wildest dreams, but would that be enough when the past crashed into the present?

DNF Series Review: Peaches Monroe by Mimi Strong

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

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads of 2014
Series: Peaches Monroe Trilogy
Author: Mimi Strong
# of Books: 3 (Stardust, Starlight, Starfire)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Humour (?), Romance
Heat Rating: pretty warm – almost hot (at least I think it gets hotter)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts on Stardust:

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Stardust at Chapter 5. Find out why below…

Stardust was next on my to-buy list when it popped up for free on Kindle. I always love when books I want to buy pop up for free but it also worries me because why is it now free? That is the question I should have asked myself when I started to read this book.

What was I hoping for when I read this book: a Bridget Jones-esque novel. The synopsis hints that this book is going to be a lot of fun, star a hot male lead and a funny heroine. But instead we just get a weird concoction of everything–and not in a good way like Worst Week Ever was.

First, Peaches was about as mature as a child in grade school. I never want to listen to a grown woman call her body-parts what Peaches does in this book–in real life or in fiction. I didn’t find it quirky or funny–I found it disturbing and I am a girl who laughs at everything. Sure it’s a nice change from the often anatomy-driven descriptions we get in some erotica novels but I also like to keep my brain cells as I read a book–not subject them to apoptosis by reading immature drivel. It felt like a pre-teen girl wrote this and was trying to come up with 50 different ways to not say the word penis or vagina

Dalton isn’t any better. I felt indifferent to him and the lure of his big dark secret wasn’t enough to keep me reading. There romance is fast, superficial and based on absolutely nothing other than the fact that they were in each other’s personal spaces longer than 5 minutes.

This book is praised for its wittiness and quirkiness but I think people are using the wrong words for stupidity and juvenile. There isn’t really a plot, there is very little wit and the writing is confusing at times. It’s awkward and not in that good way either. It’s just plain weird and I’m going to have to stop because I am running out of adjectives to describe how bad this book was…

Series Rating: DNF

Stardust 1/5 | Starlight N/A | Starfire N/A

overall

I’m baffled by the “great” reviews this book has on Goodreads. I think I bowed out of this book around chapter 5–I didn’t even enact my 50 page rule so that should be a good sign of how much I disliked this book. I’m glad I didn’t pay the $1 that this book is usually worth because it is just that bad and stupid. It’s easily one of the worst books I have ever read–and I’ve read some stinkers. I won’t be picking up the sequels anytime soon (i.e.: NEVER!)

Read if You Like: odd heroines, celebrity love stories
Avoid if You: like good romance novels

similarreads
(and by this I mean actual good books that have a similar plot concept that are actually worth your time!):

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary #1)
  • Rumour Has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight #1)

Synopsis for Stardust (from Goodreads):
There I was, minding my own business at Peachtree Books when this lunatic comes racing in the door and knocks me into his arms. I would have ripped him a new one, but he was kinda familiar, and hot. Like I-want-to-have-your-sexy-babies-now hot.

Turns out he looks familiar because I stare at his gorgeous face on TV every week. Yup, Dalton Deangelo. In the oh-so-firm flesh.

I let him hide out from the press for a while, then I thought he’d be on his way, and I could breathe normally again. But no. He found me interesting. He wanted to tag along to my cousin’s wedding with me. I couldn’t say no to that face … or THOSE EYES. Before the night was through, he was saying sweet things, then dirty things. Very dirty things.

I try to keep my eyes wide open. I’ve made terrible, stupid mistakes in the past. But Dalton Deangelo’s touch turns me to Jell-O.

I’m just a regular girl, and he’s rich and famous with no body fat. The guy has a butler! So, why is he chasing me? And why can’t I say no? And what is this sordid secret of his the reporters are trying to uncover?

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

catchphrase

Series Review: Forgotten Goddesses by Stephanie Julian

Series: Forgotten Goddesses
Author: Stephanie Julian
# of Books: 3 (What a Goddess Wants, How to Worship a Goddess, Goddess in the Middle)

There is also a novella, #2.5 Cat’s First Kiss

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal
Heat Rating: Smokin’

Thoughts:

***NOTE: I never finished How to Worship a Goddess (Book 2).

I came across these books by accident at my local library’s eBook branch. The covers and titles intrigued me so I looked them up on Goodreads and saw that they had a high rating and the summary of the first book grabbed my attention. I love mythology based books and I haven’t really found any (not that I have been looking that hard) romance mythology books for adults. So I decided to give these ones a shot.

I’m not sure how I feel about What a Goddess Wants. When I was about halfway through, there hadn’t been any major plot progression other than the Cal and Tessa having sex numerous times. There was a plot premise and I know that obvious work went into the creation of this world (as there is a “list of terms” at the start of the book), so I was a little disappointed that the book was mostly sex focused. Once I reached the halfway point, we got some more plot action and that made the book move a little faster. Overall, I liked the book enough to check out the sequel because I felt that it had potential.

I was actually looking forward to reading Lucy’s story in How to Worship a Goddess based on the brief intro we got in What a Goddess Wants. But in the end, I was really disappointed and didn’t even manage to finish the book. I didn’t like Lucy and Brandon and I just felt like something was lacking from the book: mainly a plot.

Conclusion:

The series is an interesting concept but just fails to execute it properly. While definitely steamy, the steam overwhelms the book and makes the plot secondary so you basically feel like you are only reading a book about sexual encounters. If you like really steamy books with minimal plot lines, grab this series!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Storm Born by Richelle Mead (Dark Swan Series #1)

Synopsis for What a Goddess Wants (from Goodreads):
Tessa, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, is desperately fighting off a malicious god, but her powers are weakening. She needs a hero and fast, because only sexual energy can give her strength. So she seeks out Caligo, whose sexual prowess is legendary.

Caligo is a fabled Cimmerian warrior determined to stay away from spoiled goddesses who trample hearts after they’ve had their fun. But there’s something irresistibly hot and inviting about Tessa, and he knows he’s her only chance to escape the encroaching darkness

Series Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

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

book

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Beautiful Bastard (from Goodreads):

An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release

breakdown

Series: Beautiful Bastard

This series crosses over with the Wild Seasons Series in book 4, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are 5 novellas.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild, BSDM: light in Book #2)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2013 – October 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Audiobook

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Series Review of the first few of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked Up This Series / It’s FanFiction Origins:

This series peaked my interest for three reasons: 1) the title (it isn’t every day you see “bastard” in a title); 2) the enemy to lovers plotline (I’m a sucker for this type of romance plotline) and 3) the fact that it was fan-fiction before being republished.

Now, the fact that it was fanfiction, specifically Twilight fanfiction, would rightfully deter people away from picking up Beautiful Bastard. I mean, Twilight fanfiction brought us Fifty Shades of Grey and I think that correlation creates a bias for all other fanfiction that orignated from Twilight. So, needless to say I was a bit skeptical about this book, but I did like Fifty Shades when all is said and done so I decided to give this a shot.

I have to say, this book wasn’t very “Twilight-y” in its delivery. Unlike Fifty Shades where you can pick up the obvious parallels between its story and Twilight, I really didn’t get that here. After I finished the book and read the authors’ biographies, I realized that this published version was different than the original fanfiction they created. So if you are worried that this is just a reworking of Twilight, it isn’t so go into it with a fresh mind.

My Review of Beautiful Bastard (#1):

As for the book, Beautiful Bastard, it was a quick and cute read. Nothing wholly original but I was entertained nonetheless. I wish there was a bit more tension between the characters before they started sleeping together. I kind-of wanted more of a buildup to the eventual “moment” but they do give some flashback and insight to their past relationship so that helps. But I still don’t really understand why they are drawn to each other besides the sex (which happens a LOT, nearly every chapter). I suppose it is expanded upon a bit later on but I could have used a little more details.

The book also ends rather abruptly I think. I like a nice little epilogue or wrap-up at the end of my books; especially when the next full length novel in the series doesn’t deal directly with those two characters. So the way it ended was a bit of a disappointment but the nice thing is the Beautiful Bitch novella picks up from the end of Beautiful Bastard and closes up some of those gaps. However, it also ended abruptly (it is a novella after all) but I did feel like I got some closure. I was lucky to borrow a copy but if I had paid the $6 to buy the book from Kobo, I would have been severely disappointed in this novella. But when all is said and done, I enjoyed it and it did get me excited to read Beautiful Stranger.

My Review of Beautiful Strangers (#2):

Unfortunately, Beautiful Stranger was a bit of a disappointment. It is really a shame because I really did like the characters and wanted to really like this book. There were two issues that caused me not to enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. One was the same problem I have with Beautiful Bastard: I don’t understand why these characters fall in love with each other. Sure, they have amazing sexually chemistry but again, I would have appreciate an expansion on the things they have in common and their connection because I do think it was there, it was just tucked behind the scenes. The other issue would be the “kink” factor these two share. By no means is it as kinky as some erotica novels out there but I really don’t understand the fascination with taking photos of yourself–especially when you know the risks involved. Just doesn’t float my boat and it took me a long time to get over that. Overall, I liked Beautiful Stranger, but not as much Beautiful Bastard and I wish there was an epilogue!

updates

–January 9, 2015– Book #2.5: Beautiful Bombshell

I won’t lie–this series slipped to the back of my mind in 2014 and that only reason I remember I read it was because of my library adding the last few works to the online catalogue in December. So I put my holds on them and waited.

I actually read Beautiful Player before I read Beautiful Bombshell just because of how my holds at the library worked out. I don’t feel like I missed out on much because it really had nothing to do with the leads in Beautiful Player (maybe two little facts about the hero) and everything to do with the leads in the previous two books. Beautiful Bombshell is basically just reading sex scenes involving the last two couples in various places in Vegas. I actually skimmed a lot of it because it was almost a sex overload — though I thought the last chapter was really cute.

–January 9, 2015– Book #3: Beautiful Player

As for Beautiful Player–hands down my favourite book in the series! I loved loved the two leads, loved their relationship and loved the plot line. Hanna reminded me so much of myself in her everyday life and she had my laughing throughout the book. Of course she had her little dumb moments but nothing that stopped me from loving her. And Will was just plain swoon-worthy. I never had to question why these two liked each other because their chemistry and connection was apparent from the start. They didn’t jump into bed together but actually had a relationship before all the sexual stuff came into the equation. But the sexual tension was there from the start and it made that moment when they actually crossed that line that much sweeter. I just thought it was really well done even if there wasn’t much else going on plot-wise other than their relationship growing.

–March 28, 2015– Book #3.6: Beautiful Beloved

Updated (March 28/15): I read Beautiful Beloved and really enjoyed it. Unlike Beautiful Bombshell, I didn’t feel like I was reading extended sex scenes of all the characters–it actually had a plot and an intriguing one at that! It raises good questions for the modern woman: how do you balance your work life with your obligations as a mother? And while I may not necessarily be in that place in my life at the moment, I think a lot of older women (and guys too!) will relate in some capacity to the couple here.

But perhaps the best part of Beautiful Beloved was the brief introduction to the hero in Beautiful Secret! I cannot wait for this book–I already have my name on the hold list at my library and am counting down the days!

–April 1, 2015– Book #3.5: Beautiful Beginning

I will admit that I didn’t give Beautiful Beginning the time it deserved because I had to return it to the library and read another book before it expired on me too. Like Beautiful Beloved, I thought it was a great way to wrap up these characters’ stories and it would have been a great way to end the series had they not decided to write Beautiful Secret (the crossover with their other series). It’s not sex scenes every two pages and it made me appreciate these two characters and their relationship a lot more. It was fun, touching and overall a great novella!

–May 6, 2015– Book #4: Beautiful Secret

Despite getting Beautiful Secret on its release day, I didn’t get a chance to read it until now. While this book didn’t blow my away like Beautiful Player, I simply adored it! I was worried it was going to be a British regurgitation of Beautiful Bastard (the premise is slightly similar with a young intern as the female lead) but they are drastically different. It was fun and sweet and sexy–everything I want (and have come to expect) in a Christina Lauren novel! I loved that instead of a naive young girl, we get a male lead who isn’t too sure of his sexual prowess and who hasn’t been sleeping his way through London. It made their connection more realistic to me than this “magical” connection that makes him change his ways after a mind-blowing “shag” (you know the stories I’m talking about?).

–July 6, 2020– Book #4.5: Beautiful Boss

These two are my favourite couple from this universe so I was excited to spend some extra time with them. This was a cute story and I think it answered some of those lingering questions I had about their future. Plus, it serves as a great segway to the finale!

–July 6, 2020– Book #5: Beautiful

I would have been happy ending the series at Book #4 but I’m so glad they wrote Beautiful. With a new couple to fall for and extended epilogues with everyone in the series: this is how you should wrap up an interconnected series like this!

Series Rating: 4/5

This series has come a long way since its humble beginnings as fanfiction. As they released more books, Christina Lauren’s writing vastly improved to show why they are a formidable romance writing duo!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike sex scenes

similarreads

readingchallenges

book book

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: Fifty Shades by E.L. James

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

book

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Fifty Shades of Grey (from Goodreads):
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

breakdown

Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy
Author: E.L. James
# of Books: 3 + 1 (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed, Grey)

Grey is an alternate POV retelling of Fifty Shades of Grey

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Adult, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!
Publication Dates: May 2011 – June 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Preface:

This will probably taint all future book blogs I do, BUT I actually did enjoy the Fifty Shades Series. Were they the best books I ever read? NO. Did I like all the sex? Not particularly. Is it the next writing masterpiece? Definitely not.

My Review:

So why, you might ask, did I (and so many others) like this series if my answers were negative? The answer is that I liked the plot and concept. Roll your eyes, do whatever you must but I am telling the truth–I enjoyed the plot.

Now, I’m not going to lie: so I will admit the truth that there is absolutely no plot in book 1, Fifty Shades of Grey. It is mostly just sex at every turn with little tid-bits of plot thrown in here and there. You know how most romance novels have three solid sex scenes at most and then the rest are just alluded to? Not the case here. I think in the entire series, there are only 2 sex scenes alluded to, the rest we all get to read.

What I did like about book 1 was the pursuit. It is a fiction novel and Christian Grey takes the pursuit to a whole other level. It’s over the top but I can appreciate that it is fiction and it can be over the top. I think that is the best way to read this novel–knowing that it is FICTION and not as a realistic storyline. It provides an escape from other romance novels out there which is why I think it has been so successful.

Fifty Shades Darker follows the evitable pattern of 2nd books where the couple has broken up only to be quickly reunited. But here, I find we get to see another side to Christian and Anastasia. Although Christian can come across stalkerish and a little too alpha male, there is a sweeter albeit darker side (hence the title) and we get to see that in this book. More of his past is revealed and that past comes back to make this book (and the last one) that touch more suspenseful (which is what I enjoyed about this series). I also really liked Ana. She was strong (although extremely naïve in book 1) but I think she grows as a character as the series progresses. I think in this book you really get to see why they are drawn to each other besides the sex.

Finally, the last book Fifty Shades Freed was also enjoyable for me. Again, it’s a little more plot driven and I like that. Not much else to say here without giving everything away.

As for the movie adaption, it can be done I think. There is enough plot in the later books to work with but the first one will be hard to pull off I think. And for my casting picks, I have a few in mind but we will wait and see 😛 You can read my thoughts on the movie here!

updates

–August 22, 2015– Book 4: Grey

When they announced Grey was coming out, I was a little excited. James had included little excerpts of Christian’s POV at the end of the original books and I thought they were interesting reads. While I would have liked one Christian book that encompassed the entire series (not just the first novel), I looked forward to the breakdown of what exactly Christian was thinking in that first book.

Prior to reading Grey, I read the critic reviews that it was just a regurgitation of Fifty Shades of Grey. “It has all the same scenes and dialogue” the complaints would say and I remember scratching my head and thinking: of course it does! It’s an alternate POV sequel for goodness’ sake! I think retellings have a fine line to walk. People want the memorable scenes but they don’t want the exact same novel again and I think that is a hard think to deliver for any author.

It has been 3 years since I read Fifty Shades of Grey so I don’t really remember every single detail of the book (and the movie doesn’t have everything in it). Therefore, I didn’t really mind the “regurgitation”–I feel like it saved me from rereading Fifty Shades of Grey (which I wanted to do in the near future to see how I feel about it years later and after being subjected to its harsh criticism for years). I thought it was in interesting insight into Christian’s mind and I thought James did a great job considering there really isn’t too much plot-wise.

Reading Grey reaffirmed my appreciation for Ana’s character and their relationship overall. While I don’t think her affect on Christian is realistic in real life, I do like novels that have relationships that challenge people to be better individuals. I like to think that love can save, especially in my books and I saw it again in this book. Do I think their relationship is something to aspire to? No I don’t and I like that it brings that much needed conversation to light.

And I really liked that this book emphasized consent and discussion between partners. Ana doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to. She questions, she tries when she feels comfortable doing so but she is always clear that she needs something else in their relationship and that if she doesn’t think she is going to get it, she will walk away. I think people think that because she is a virgin she is manipulated into something she doesn’t want but I never get that impression in either Grey or Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’m going to digress before I write a really long post, so I’ll just end by saying that I liked Grey and recommend that you read it AFTER you read the trilogy (if you did enjoy the trilogy) because it does give some spoilers about events/revelations revealed in Fifty Shades Darker.

Series Rating: 4/5

Fifty Shades of Grey 4/5 | Fifty Shades Darker 4/5 | Fifty Shades Freed 4/5 | Grey 4/5

overall

If you want to try a different type of romance, give it a shot but keep in mind it is over the top. It definitely isn’t for everyone though. I know that the BDSM label turns people off but I would say in terms of the actual scenes it’s a “lighter” BDSM than some novels out there (ex. Maya Banks’ Sweet Series) but if you are uncomfortable with the concept, I wouldn’t read this.

Read if You Like: alpha males, contemporary erotica, mysterious heroes
Avoid if You: dislike erotica, dislike BDSM, dislike alpha males

similarreads

readingchallenges

book

recapbutton

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

catchphrase

Series Review: The Sullivans by Bella Andre

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 Look of Love (from Goodreads):
Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is—until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love—and protect—her, but will she let him?

Chloe vows never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Only, with every loving look Chase gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—as the attraction between them sparks and sizzles, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the only exception. And although Chase didn’t realize his life was going to change forever in an instant, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether…for Chloe’s heart.

breakdown
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Top Family Series
Series: The Sullivans; The San Francisco Sullivans

There are spin-off series: Seattle Sullivans & New York Sullivans & Summer Lake

Author: Bella Andre
# of Books: 10 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Families, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

thoughts

Please Note: This is an ongoing series review as I have not read all the books in the series.

I decided to read this series after I got the 3rd one, Can’t Help Falling in Love for free from a Kobo promotion last year. Because it was the 3rd one, I decided to read the first two in order to not lose out on the history (though you can totally read these books in any order without it taking anything away from the current story).

I nearly stopped reading The Look of Love because it was everything I hate in a romance: instant love-at-first-sight romance and that irks me to no end. I love fiction because it isn’t real life but I don’t like love at first sight–to me it’s just lust and physical attraction and I like my romances to be slightly realistic. It also didn’t help that I didn’t care for Chase or Chloe so it was a battle to read. The only reason I finished was because it was extremely short so it wasn’t a huge waste of my time.

Within the last few chapters of book 1, I decided I wasn’t going to continue with the series. I had the free book 3 but it was just going to sit on my Kobo at no loss to me. But then, I finished the 1st book and guess what? It ends in a pretty steep cliff-hanger about a character I actually enjoyed so I decided to pick up From This Moment On because I really wanted to see where it went. Damn.

Luckily, From This Moment On was significantly better in my opinion than The Look of Love. I liked the relationship that develops between Marcus and his lady. Unlike Chloe and Chase, they realise that their relationship was more physical initially but I feel like they actually got to know each other on a deeper level than just sex. It was a cute, quick read and you meet more of the Sullivan family so I decided to stick with it.

From then on, the rest of the books get better! I think part of it has to do with the fact that you are slowly introduced to the rest of the Sullivan clan as you read along and you get attached to the secondary characters and want to see what happens to them. The other reason is that the next book picks up directly where the previous book left off so it’s like you are reading one long, continuous story.

My favourites of the series so far have been Book 2 (From This Moment On); Book 3 (Can’t Help Falling in Love); Book 4 (I Only Have Eyes for You); and Book 6 (Let me be the One).

One thing I find with Bella Andre’s writing is that she tends to have subplots (by this I mean storylines that aren’t the romantic relationship) that build throughout the story and then end suddenly (conclude within 5 pages). I find it can be a bit of a let down because as I am reading I think more is going to happen with this plot and then it doesn’t. Not all the books in the series have this but some do.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I still have to read the last 3 in the series. From what I have read, The Way you Look Tonight is about a Sullivan cousin and not any of the siblings we see throughout the first 7 books. The last book is about the sibling’s parents so I am really excited to read that this fall!

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

If you want a super quick romantic read that is heavy on the romance and not much on anything else, pick these books up. If you didn’t enjoy The Look of Love give From This Moment On a chance because the rest of the series is much better in its delivery.

Read if You Like: quick reads, family stories
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, want more depth

similarreads

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

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: S.E.C.R.E.T. by Marie Adeline

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

S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline   |   S.E.C.R.E.T. Series


Other books in the series:
book

Series: Secret
Author: L. Marie Adeline
# of Books: 1+ (S.E.C.R.E.T., S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Chick-Lit
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating in sequel books

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 with the exception of the third book.**

Ever had a book that just seemed to be everywhere that you looked? That was the case with this one. It seemed like every place I search for books (Kobo, my library, Chapters) was telling me I had to read this book–so I decided to give it a try.

The plot idea intrigued me but also made me weary to read this book. I definitely thought this book was going to turn into some BDSM society plot but it doesn’t get even close to that type of sexual fantasies–so that’s a plus! Cassie’s sexual fantasies are nothing that you wouldn’t read in any other contemporary romance so that is the type of sex you can expect in this book. In other words, it’s very “vanilla” 😉 (That changes a little in the sequel book but nothing overtly kinky.)

However, I still felt uncomfortable reading these books for two reasons: my age and the society itself.

I’ll start with my age. I am 10 years too young to be reading this book. I haven’t reached my midlife so I really couldn’t relate to Cassie’s character in that sense. This book is definitely catered to the 30+ crowd or women who have been in a similar marriage events as Cassie. I think that they would enjoy and get more out of Cassie’s journey to self-discovery than someone in their early 20s like me.

The second issue was the S.E.C.R.E.T. society. It seemed extremely cultish to me so that creeped me out. Especially as the book progresses and you realize that the society is everywhere. I totally get the purpose of the group and I support women helping other women to raise their self-confidence, but I felt like a majority of Cassie’s problems could have been solved by being on TLC’s What Not to Wear since her biggest problem was seeing that she was beautiful and worth something.

When I picked up this book, I thought it was a stand-alone. It wasn’t until I reread the plot summary on Goodreads before I read the book that I learned it was a series. Seeing that, I wondered how it was going to end and as I read I thought I saw how it was going to end but the ending surprised me and I have to say that I am interested in seeing where the sequel will go now.

UPDATED (October 1/14):  To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have picked up S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared if the first book in the series hadn’t ended on the cliffhanger it did. I still felt really uncomfortable reading this book because again, I can’t relate to the characters. I’m nowhere near to where they are in life so I just can’t connect to them. The writing also really got to me in this book in the sense of the words used to describe the “sexy” times. It just made it awkward. I did like that we get introduced to a new character and get to watch her evolve because I don’t think I could have taken a whole novel of Cassie again. Nothing really happened in this book other than your typical bridge to the third and final novel of the series.

Conclusion:

If you want to take a step into erotic contemporary romance but don’t want BDSM-like storylines, this is a great book to pick up. It’s a quick read and has an actual story to it! But I would say that people 30+ would probably enjoy this book more so than 20-somethings.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks (Sweet Series) however, this has elements of BDSM

Synopsis for S.E.C.R.E.T. (from Goodreads):
In S.E.C.R.E.T there are…
No Judgments. No limits. No shame.

Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

Series Review: Marriage to a Billionaire Series by Jennifer Probst

   

Series: Marriage to a Billionaire
Author: Jennifer Probst
# of Books: 4 (The Marriage Bargain, The Marriage Trap, The Marriage Mistake, The Marriage Merger)

You can also read the “spellbook” featured in the series: The Book of Spells

Complete?: No, The Marriage Merger will be released July 30, 2013 Yes
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot

Thoughts:

I had high anticipation for these books. I finally gave in and bought them for myself for Christmas and I am glad I did!

The first book, The Marriage Bargain is a great opening for a series. It has everything you want in a contemporary romance: heat, great characters, drama and love. I loved Alexa and Nicholas and their story. It was realistic, humorous and cute. I think the problem was that it was so great, it set my hopes up too high for the next two.

Maggie, Michael, Carina and Max are all characters that are flawed in some way and I think it makes them hard to like at times. They are all stubborn and not as easy-going and likeable as Alexa and Nicholas. This isn’t to say that the other two books are bad–they aren’t!–it’s just that I wasn’t as into them as the first one. I still devoured them in a day though.

The Marriage Trap was great despite the stubborn characters. It had a lot of drama which made it a page turner.

The Marriage Mistake is probably my least favourite, which is upsetting because I was really looking forward to it. It was a little too far fetched for me which irked me but I think readers of the series will enjoy it regardless.

The series was originally planned to be three books from what I can see, but I’m glad there will be a 4th one because the characters set to star in it have grabbed my attention.

UPDATED (Jan 29/14): I FINALLY got to read the Marriage Merger and I am very happy with how everything wrapped up! The book was entertaining, slightly more realistic than The Marriage Mistake and it was great to see all of the previous characters again. Solid end to a solid series.

Conclusion:

These are great contemporary reads. My only issue is that they are too short! UPDATED: Jennifer Probst has easily become one of my must read authors.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Look of Love by Bella Andre (The Sullivans #1) and The Arrangement by H.M. Ward (The Ferro Family #1)

Synopsis for The Marriage Bargain (from Goodreads):
A marriage in name only…

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…