Tag «family drama»

Trilogy Termination: He’s So/She’s So by Kieran Scott

trilogytermination

Spring 2017

Trilogy Termination Blitz: I finally finish some trilogies I started years ago by reading the final book! But don’t let my delay in finishing them deter you from picking them up…or should it?

Miss the Introduction Post? Read it here!

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Synopsis for She’s So Dead to Us (from Goodreads):

Ally Ryan would rather be in Maryland. She would rather be anywhere, in fact, than Orchard Hill, site of her downfall. Well, not hers exactly—but when your father’s hedge fund goes south and all your friends lose their trust funds, things don’t look so sunny for you. Her mother moved her to Maryland to flee the shame, but now they’re moving back. Back to the country-club, new-car-every-year, my-family-came-over-on-the-Mayflower lifestyle that Ally has outgrown. One bright spot, however, is gorgeous, intense Jake Graydon. But it won’t be easy for the two of them to be together—not if his friends (her former friends) have anything to say about it. Is Ally ready to get thrown back into the drama of the life she left behind?

breakdown

Series: He’s So/She’s So Trilogy
Author: Kieran Scott
# of Books: 3 (She’s So Dead to Us, He’s So not Worth It, This Is So Not Happening)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, High School, Drama
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2010 – May 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover; eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t know how I learned about this series but I do know that I suggested that my local library buy it and that’s how I got my hands on this series! This was back in the day when my YA horizons weren’t broader than contemporaries and this one sounded like it had some juicy drama!

The Plot:

What I liked about these books was that the plot did have a few layers to it. You’ve got Ally struggling to fit back in with her friends and new family situation; Jake struggling with his feelings for Ally (and vice versa) and then some main plot for the book. And each book fits that formula and throws in some other love interests along the way.

Basically, it’s an extended teen soap opera episode.

So while I found each novel to be terribly predictable, I also found myself sucked into the lives of Ally and company.

The Characters:

Surprisingly, I liked Ally. I say surprisingly because I often find myself annoyed with teenaged heroines in high school dramas since they seem to have priorities and views I can’t stand. But Ally has a fabulous head on her shoulders and I really loved how she handled herself with all the craziness that is around her.

And it is a whole lot of crazy. Her friends are everything I despise in YA characters. They’re petty, selfish and love everything drama has to offer. I mean, it works for the story but it also makes them a little unlikable.

Jake is a great example of that. Talk about self-absorbed! Oye, his thought process slayed me sometimes. He definitely isn’t going to be on my list of book boyfriends anytime soon.

However, in the same breathe, it provides a great opportunity to see these characters grow up a little with all the stuff that gets thrown their way. (And for the most part, they seize that opportunity).

The Romance:

Seeing as I wasn’t a huge Jake fan, I didn’t always love the romance between him and Ally. And the constant love triangles they found themselves in were exhausting. But somehow, it worked for this story so I tolerated it.

Series Rating: 4/5

She’s So Dead to Us 4/5 | He’s So Not Worth It 4/5 | This Is So Not Happening 3.5/5

overall

If you love teen soaps but want one in a book, this is a series you should have on your radar!

Read if You Like: high school drama, teen soaps
Avoid if You: dislike drama

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Series Review: The Thousandth Floor (#1) by Katharine McGee

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

The Thousandth Floor Series

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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….

breakdown

Series: The Thousandth Floor Trilogy
Author: Katharine McGee
# of Books: 3 (The Thousandth Floor, The Dazzling Heights, The Towering Sky)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Towering Sky will be published in August 2018
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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**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The 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!

updates

–November 13, 2017– Book #2: The Dazzling Heights

Oh how I love all the juicy drama!

I forgot how much fun this world was until I picked this one up. It felt like I never left and immediately got sucked into the lives of all the characters. I always love series were you follow multiple characters. I’ts always interesting to see how your opinion on you favourite and least favourite characters change as the novels progress.

I did find that this one lagged a bit in the middle. I know that this is the middle book so you have those slower moments naturally. But the start and the end are so strong that I truly enjoyed every moment of this book!

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Thousandth Floor 4.5/5 | The Dazzling Heights 4/5

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: Cottonbloom by Laura Trentham

Synopsis for Kiss Me That Way (from The Publisher):
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

Other books in the series:
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Author: Laura Trentham
# of Books: 6 (Full reading order here)

There are also 2 novellas. See Reading Order Here.

Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 31, 2016 – July 31, 2018
Source & Format: St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

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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:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a strictly adult contemporary romance that wasn’t labeled as a “steamier” selection, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to read Laura Trentham’s new series, Cottonbloom Novels.

I wanted a contemporary romance that focused on the characters and their connection to each other–not simply a matter of getting each other into bed. While I normally don’t go for second chance romances, the synopsis gave me the impression that there was more at play in Kiss Me That Way and I was looking forward to finding out what it was.

The Setting:

Nothing gets you attached faster to characters than a great setting, which this series provides. Cottonbloom is such a fun, crazy little town that readers will fall in love with.

Forget the “wrong side of the tracks” motto, this is all about the “wrong side of the river”.

You essentially have a town split in two thanks to the river and that makes for some great, “forbidden” romances and connections. It makes the story a little lighter, providing an upbeat vibe to the somewhat darker stories of Cade and Monroe. Trentham does a beautiful job elaborating on this throughout the novel and you can see how the setting weaves together the next two novels in the series.

The Plot:

I loved the pace of this novel. There was great character development on all fronts–including the secondary characters, which is important for the next two novels. And when Monroe and Cade weren’t learning more about themselves or their families, their romance was so sweet to watch unfold.

But what I really loved was the overarching plotline of the festival. Like I said before, it gives the story a happier vibe without taking away from Cade and Monroe’s past. It also ramps up the anticipation for the rest of the series–which I cannot wait to see!

The Characters:

While the character elements of Monroe and Cade are ones I have encountered before, I still found their characters to be unique and genuine. You can’t help but root for them to succeed in whatever they want, whether that’s love or family matters.

Before I started, I worried that Monroe might be a stubborn woman who resisted all help because she was “independent” now (if that makes sense) and I find those types hard to immediately connect with as a reader. But that honestly wasn’t the case. I really liked her from start to finish. She was strong and smart and perhaps a bit stubborn, but not to the point where it was frustrating. She also didn’t become some simpering fool the minute Cade walked into her life again–she kept true to herself and her independence and I really respected that.

The Romance:

Normally, second chance romances aren’t my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. These two had great chemistry from the get-go which made it so much fun to watch. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I definitely enjoyed every minute watching these two come together.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

With the little tastes of everyone we got in this first book, I am dying to read the next two! Kiss Me that Way served as a great introduction into this series, and I can’t wait to see how the next two build on it!

updates

–July 10, 2016– Book #2: Then He Kissed Me


This book was everything I wanted it to be…and a little more!

I had just finished the second chapter when I realized I LOVED Nash! He was so sweet and so adorable that I immediately added him to my select list of book boyfriends. It was so refreshing to read about a hero who wasn’t totally confident in himself and I loved watching his character grow.

Tally was also fantastic. Her growth and self-discovery throughout this novel made it a treat to read.

They complimented each other so well which made the romance awesome to read. They had a great connection and palpable chemistry that I loved all their scenes together.

I enjoyed this novel from start to end and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

–July 31, 2016– Book #3: Till I Kissed You

This story has been building from the very first Cottonbloom novel and building throughout. So I had high expectations going in…and every one was met!

The tension between these two was sizzling off the pages! I loved watching them reunite and battle all the obstacles in their way. It was absolutely perfect–everything fans of this series will want!

Not only was the romance really strong, but the drama plot line was also fantastic. I loved the mystery/suspense aspect to it. It kept you interested as a reader and balanced out the romance beautifully.

Overall, it was an AMAZING way to end this series! I will definitely be checking out more books by Laura Trentham in the future!

–August 3, 2017– Book #4: Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be new books in the Cottonbloom Series, I thought it was a joke. A very cruel joke because I absolutely loved this series and it was a highlight of my 2016 summer.

I adored Leave the Night On. It has one of my all time favourite tropes, the fake relationship, and it is executed flawlessly. These two has sizzling chemistry from the start and I loved watching them fall deeper and deeper for each other. They were perfect for each other and I couldn’t help but root for them to get together.

And the plot was excellent as well. It had that perfect balance between character development and romantic development. These two had a lot of growth to do as characters and I loved that they did so not only together but independently as well. I had a very hard time putting this one down!

And of course, we got just enough of a taste of what’s to come that I cannot wait until the next Abbott brother gets his story.

–February 1, 2018– Book #5: When the Stars Come Out

Again, another great installment in this series! Ever since we met these two, I’ve been waiting for their story and I wasn’t disappointed! I loved every scene with these two. They are absolutely adorable together!

You could cut the tension between them with a knife. Those secret looks between them had me melting every time. These two were just a perfect compliment for each other.

But there was something about the pacing of this book that didn’t win me over. I think I wanted more build up with the romance instead of it just falling into place. I felt like their connection relied a little too much on the previous book; even if they did have very cute scenes together.

The dramatic plot also seemed to have an odd way of building. It felt a little long in the middle and not much was happening. The ending wasn’t overly rushed but I think things could have been teased out a little more in the middle.

Regardless, I still loved their story and can’t wait for the next one!

–July 27, 2018– Book #6: Set the Night on Fire

This one might just be my favourite Cottonbloom book starring the Abbott brothers. It was perfection from start to end!

I simply adored these two leads. Ella is the type of heroine you love to see in a book. She’s strong yet genuinely flawed so she’s relateable. I found her emotions and reactions to things were normal and understandable. I had a really good read of her as a character thanks to her development and her revealed past.

Mack is just a sweetheart–and it was nice to see that side of him because for the vast majority of this series, he comes across as jaded and withdrawn. But you see the love he has for his family and his ability to read and understand people. He was so perceptive about Ella’s fears and concerns and I LOVED how he supported her throughout.

The pacing of this romance was also fantastic. You have the whole slow burn between two rivals happening and it just brought some delicious tension to the story. Over time, these two start to talk and learn more about each other and it just makes their physical connection that much hotter. I was definitely a fan of these two from the start.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Kiss Me That Way 4/5 | Then He Kissed Me 5/5 | Till I Kissed You 5/5 | Leave the Night On 5/5 | When the Stars Come Out 4/5 | Set the Night on Fire 5/5

overall

This series really wasn’t what I was expecting–but in a totally good way! The slow burn romance intermingled with the character development and overall series plot made this one a blast to read! Definitely a great summer book series to get your hands on!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want an erotica romance

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Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

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

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Single Sundays: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

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 No One Needs to Know (from Goodreads):
Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

Review:

Yet again, this was a random pick from my library after browsing the new books. Normally, when I see books with 3 people on the cover, tangled in some sort of embrace, I avoid them at all costs because they tend to only mean one thing: love triangles–my least favourite plot device in the history of romance novels. But what grabbed my attention with No One Needs to Know is that instead of the guy holding both girls hands, the two girls are holding hands behind the guy’s back. Interesting.

I think it is fairly obvious what this book is about after you read the synopsis and despite the promise of a love triangle, I decided to give it a shot because this isn’t your everyday love triangle in a novel–which is a whole other topic for a whole other time.

This book was a really cute and quick read. The love triangle part never really bothered me because I knew how it was going to end within the first few chapters. But that really wasn’t a bad thing because I liked watching the characters develop to reach that ending together.

And while the main focus on the novel might be on the girls’ relationship with each other, it also focuses on growing up to be your own person and sibling relationships as you grow up. I think anyone with a sibling of the opposite gender who is close to their age can agree that your relationship dynamic changes when your in high school and this book deals with that.

What stopped me from giving this book a higher rating was that it was a little too simple for me. Coming of Age novels aren’t my favourite genre because I find they lack alternate plotlines besides character development and I like my books to have a good mix of both. Overall, I think this book is realistic but I wish it delved into some of the more thought-provoking topics that it could have given its subject matter. However, I love the message that it sends: be yourself no matter who you are, how much money you have or who you love because people will love you regardless.

Conclusion:

Although the book didn’t wow me per say, it did manage to keep my attention. It’s a cute quick read that fans of Young Adult coming of age novels will enjoy!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Perhaps

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Coming Out, Romance,
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Similar Reads:

  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
  • Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

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Novella Serial Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review 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. Here is this week’s offering:

Series: The Inheritance
Author: Olivia Mayfield
# of Parts: 6
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Chick Lit, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm (not a lot of sexual content but it is rather descriptive)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I randomly stumbled across this serial at my public library when browsing the newly added eBooks. I think at one point, I came across this book as a freebie on Amazon because the plot sounded extremely familiar to me when I read it  (but I opted not to download it because it was a serial series). However, my library had the complete novel available to borrow so I decided that I might as well grab it.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary mystery novels. In theory I should because I love puzzles, Clue is my all-time favourite board game and I just love the movies that require you to piece together clues to understand what is happening. But when it comes to reading, I prefer my suspense to come from drama and family secrets. This book has a mixture of both because the mystery focuses on family drama that is the result of a crime so I liked that it blended together. It managed to keep my attention and even when I wasn’t reading it I was trying to put the clues together.

I think like most serialized series, this series suffers from lack of character development. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters and I didn’t love Maggie. I think part of the reason is the third person narration but from a technical aspect I understand why mystery novels are written in third person. But most of the characters are your cookie-cutter mystery characters so nothing felt wholly original to me.

As for the mystery, I was expecting something a little more complicated as the solution to be honesty. However, I didn’t fully figure out the solution until shortly before the big reveals so I liked that.

Conclusion:

It was a cute read and it made for a good way to pass the time. Not the greatest story ever told but it was interesting and managed to keep my attention throughout. Don’t expect the romance aspect to be the main focus here; this book is primarily a contemporary mystery with a dash of romance on the side.

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

Similar Reads: His Wicked Games by Ember Casey (His Wicked Games Series #1) and Juliet by Anne Fortier

Synopsis for The Inheritance: The Complete Novel (from Goodreads):

Olivia Mayfield’s thrilling and sexy novel about seductive money, deadly secrets, and fatal attractions—available in one complete edition!

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. It turns out her grandfather named four people beneficiaries to his vast estate—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany. But only one of them will win his millions: whoever finds out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago.

As her grandfather’s strange challenge pits Maggie against those nearest to her, she’s reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister and distracted by a lingering attraction to Andrew. But as she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious vanishing, she begins to discover that each of the contestants has dangerous secrets to hide—and with ten million dollars on the line, no one, not even those she loves most, can be trusted…

Series Review: A Billionaire Love Story by Lucy Lambert

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: A Billionaire Love Story
Author: Lucy Lambert
# of Books: 2 (The Pretend Girlfriend, The Pretend Fiance)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I did not finish book 2 in the series: The Pretend Fiance. I was 40% through the book when I DNF’d it.

This is the second (and third) book that I have read by Lucy Lambert. Her Rocked by Him story I read last year and subsequently ranked as the 2nd worst book I read in 2013. However, never knock the power of Amazon freebies because when The Pretend Girlfriend popped up as Free on Amazon, I was willing to give it a shot.

The book summary for The Pretend Girlfriend is very misleading. For one thing, the book is told from a third person POV, not a first person like used in the summary–though this isn’t the first time that has happened with a book. I have mixed feelings about it being third person: I prefer first person but I have a feeling if we got to read every thought that went through Gwen’s head we might get easily annoyed with her. So perhaps it was for the best. Right from the first line of the synopsis, it steers us in the direction that this is some dark, BDSM-driven billionaire erotic romance. You know, the type where an unbelievable attractive billionaire falls for the common girl and changes his ways when he falls in love with her; that same old song and dance. But, this isn’t the same old song and dance; which I found very refreshing but not what one expects after reading the synopsis.

First, let me say that this book is not erotica in the slightest. There isn’t a sex scene until the 60% completed mark and it isn’t anything particularly steamy. There is also no BDSM–which is awesome because I really hate that and I hate that all rich guys in novels have that as their kink. So I really wouldn’t say that Gwen is his “property” just that he expects her to be available when he calls her (she is his pretend girlfriend for appearances and that requires public outings!). I also hate that the synopsis says that she owes “money to the wrong people”. It makes her sound like she is in some criminal ring when she really just needs to pay her rent to her landlord: hardly the “wrong people” if you ask me.

But I will end my rant there. I just wanted to point out that the plot synopsis makes this book sound like something it is not and if I went in with those expectations I would have been severely disappointed. Because we don’t get all that dark, edgy romance. Instead, we get a nice guy hero who is as vanilla as they come and a heroine who falls for him a little to fast (in my opinion).

Regardless, I actually did enjoy The Pretend Girlfriend. Maybe I just needed a lighter read and this met that need. But I found the book refreshing in a way. As I said before, BDSM really doesn’t do much for me (though I enjoy the higher-stakes drama that usually accompanies it) so I liked reading about a genuinely nice billionaire who didn’t want to own the object of his attraction. I do wish that his character was more developed though. He just seemed like he was missing pieces of his past to explain why he was the way he was. Gwen was the same though she was a little more developed in a way but I think that was because we followed her throughout the novel.

Despite that though, I really liked them together as a couple. I think they balanced each other out well and seemed to genuinely have common interests besides physical attraction. I just wished that things didn’t happen within a two week span or else I would have enjoyed it more. Not the best “pretend girlfriend” novel I have read but it was a nice light read and seeing as I got the sequel as a freebie, I decided to read it.

The Pretend Fiance was a little too over the top for me. And by a little: I mean it was extremely over the plot. Again, the synopsis is misleading. Who I expected to be the main “antagonist” for Gwen was not who I would have ever pictured in a million years and I think it suffered from that. There is no other way to describe the plot as other than stupid. It was so ridiculous that it hurt my brain trying to read it. While the first book isn’t overly realistic it did have that touch of realism to it in a fictional sense whereas this one did not. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because both Gwen and Aiden were acting as idiots. I wish I just left these characters at the end of The Pretend Girlfriend because this sequel was completely unnecessary.

Conclusion:

While The Pretend Girlfriend is a nice, light freebie read its sequel really drops the ball off the face of this earth. This series was a flop. There are way better “pretend-billionaire’s-girlfriend” novels out there. And I think it is safe to say I won’t be reading more of Lucy Lambert’s work in the future, even freebies.

Rating: 2/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: NO

Similar Reads: Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed Trilogy #1) and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for The Pretend Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
If you’d have told me a week ago that I’d be a billionaire’s property…

Confident. Brilliant. Rich. Devastatingly handsome. Aiden Manning seemed to have it all. As naïve as I was, when he seemed interested in me, I fell head over heels immediately.

But Aiden Manning’s life held a dark side, one that he needed to hide at any cost. That’s where I would come in. My trusting nature had caused me to owe money to the wrong people, and Aiden was right there and ready to help, if only I’d help him out as well. Just one signature on a piece of paper, and suddenly I was bound to him. The ground rules I had laid out at the beginning quickly melted away, and I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into Aiden’s life.

However, someone couldn’t handle that. An even more powerful figure in Aiden’s life would stop at nothing to break the two of us apart. It soon became clear that I might have to sacrifice everything I had to keep the two of us together.

The real question was: How long could I pretend?

Single Sundays: Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis


Synopsis for Whisper (from Goodreads):
I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…
Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica’s own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

Review:

I picked up this book because of my cover love for it. I had never heard of it before I saw it as a new addition to my library’s eBranch and once I read the synopsis it sounded interesting enough.

This book starts slow–I mean what we read in the last bit of the synopsis doesn’t even occur until after the halfway  point in the book. The first half is spent establishing Joy’s everyday life with her friends and family. It was a little boring but I generally didn’t mind too much. It was interesting for me to read about Joy’s perspective on things because of her ability to hear people’s thoughts. Joy seemed fairly realistic to me in the sense that she thinks like any other teenage girl but isn’t overly dramatic about it.

This book is really about Joy finding herself more than anything. It focuses on her relationships with her sister, her parents and her friends–and not so much on her romantic interactions but they are there. I don’t know if I particularly like the messages that this book sends about your relationship with your parents but this book definitely focuses on family relationships.

The last 1/4 of the book is the most “exciting” because you get an actual plotline. But I felt like it happened too fast and then the ending just felt lackluster. Goodreads lists this book as the first part of a series but it was published nearly 4 years ago and the author doesn’t seem to have the intention of publishing a sequel. It’s probably a good thing because I’m not sure what else you could to plot-wise other than Joy learning more about her ability.

Conclusion:

A very slow read about familiar relationships more than anything. Don’t be deceived by the book synopsis because the really “exciting” plotline promised doesn’t happen until the last end of the book. But, if you want a short, clean teen read, you’ll like this one.

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Supernatural, Family, Romance
Recommended for: 14+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person
Similar Reads: Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Series Review: Kiwi Brides by Alexia Praks

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

His Hired Girlfriend by Alexia Praks | Kiwi Brides Series

Other books in the series:
 

Series: Kiwi Brides
Author: Alexia Praks
# of Books: 2 (His Hired Girlfriend, Highland Kiss, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, A Secret Admirer has yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated as a DNF series review.**

I got His Hired Girlfriend for free on Amazon and decided to read it right away because it sounded like a lot of fun. While I’m used to reading books about rich men hiring average girls to be their girlfriends I’ve never read one where the guy pretends to be gay so that really interested me.

I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that it is told in the present tense BUT in third person. I’ve never read a book like that before so it really took some getting used to. Unfortunately, I think the book suffered from it because it just gave me the impression that the writing was scattered. One minute we would be getting Alex’s thoughts and then in the next two lines it would be Jay’s. It just confused me more than anything so I couldn’t get into the story as much as I wanted.

When we first met Alex, I really liked her. Same with Jay. But I just felt like their character development wasn’t the smoothest and they got a little irritating. For example, Alex just seemed really dim-witted about certain things and that frustrated me at times. She also never seemed consistent in her convictions. In one minute she was shy to be around Jay with clothes on and in the next she has no problem with him seeing her in her underwear. It just didn’t make sense to me.

The plot itself is cliché but I think that is pretty much expected so that didn’t bother me too much. This book reminded me of watching a soap opera because things are a little over the top at times and it follows a predictable path. I found with the way that this book was written it made for following the plot a little confusing at times. I’m also really confused as to why Jay (who is American) was in Sydney, Australia with his girlfriend and best friend at the start of the novel for him and his girlfriend’s anniversary–like to me that screams warning bells in my head.

Unlike other books, we don’t really get introduced to the character(s) in the next books. Briefly we meet Ruby, heroine of Highland Kiss, who discusses her impending trip abroad but not enough for me to really want to read her story. So I will be passing on the rest of the series.

concEND

Overall:

This book was disappointing in the sense that it could have been a lot more entertaining if the writing style was different and the characters were better developed. For a free read, I didn’t mind so much but I would have been very disappointed if I paid for it and this is what I got.

Rating: 2/5

Similar Reads: Faking it to Making It by Ally Blake and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for His Hired Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
Family oriented Alexandra Stewart is in desperate need of money for her dad’s heart surgery. She is stoked when Jayden McCartney unexpectedly barges in to her life and offers to help. On ONE condition. She must pretend to be his girlfriend. One look at Jay tells her to run in the opposite direction. He is too good looking, too successful, and too rich for her liking. When she is told Jay is gay; however, she feels sorry for him and, thinking that she’d kill two birds with one stone, agrees to the proposal. Now the only problem is how does she prevent herself from falling madly in love with Jay? When the way he looks at her makes her heart tremble and his touches set her body on fire?

Hot, recently single Jayden McCartney has to bring his girlfriend to his sister’s wedding in order to stop the matchmaking his grandmother has planned for him. Not in the mood for dating or a new woman after the discovery of his cheating ex, he hires a perfect candidate as his girlfriend in Alexandra Stewart. Alex, however, thinks he’s crazy and only when he commits a sinful lie that would damned his manhood forever does she agree to help. He convinces her that he is gay and that the possibility of his family finding out would ruin them financially and socially. Now Jay has to pretend to be batting for the other team. This is no easy task where the geeky turn sexy Alex is concerned because he wants her in his bed, and what Jay wants, he gets.

Single Sundays: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan’s mom gets sick, it’s hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn’t as far away as she thought…

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan’s getting to know the real Adam, and he’s actually pretty sweet…in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She’s not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend…and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can’t imagine living without.

Review:

I’m not a Twitter user but I do like looking at the hashtags people use (watch Jimmy Fallon’s Hashtag videos on Youtube! They are hilarious!). So when I saw the title of this book, it intrigued me and it’s been awhile since I read a coming of age book so it seemed like a good match.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like Janet Gurtler hit the nail on the head a few times with how young people use social media. I hate when people are constantly on their phones (if I didn’t need one for school purposes, I wouldn’t have one) and Morgan is a prime example of that; but what I love is that her friends call her out on it all the time. I get that people feel comfortable talking online with people more so than real people (I mean I have a book blog for goodness’ sake!) but I like that this book tries to teach you that there is more to life than popularity and social media so I really appreciated that.

To a certain degree, the book was a little predictable and I had a good idea of what was going to happen. But then there is this curveball that really adds another dimension to the story and I think I wouldn’t have liked the book as much if it wasn’t for that little twist. It was a good move and really cements the message of the story.

Part of the reason I didn’t love this book was because Morgan is a hard character to like at times but that’s probably the intention with a coming of age novel so you can see the character develop. She’s a tad self-centred but she seems to know it and knows she needs to fix it so I can appreciate that. She really does grow as a character by the end so it was nice to see that change. My biggest problem with her was that she didn’t seem like she was 18 years old. Reading it, I would have said 16 years old but I know why she was 18 given the plot of the story.

UPDATE (May 10, 2014): There is a great video out that talks about young people’s obsession with social media and how it is affecting our face-to-face communication. Watch it here!

Conclusion:

It’s a nice coming of age story that today’s teenager will probably relate to in some way. It’s very realistic in its delivery and is well written. While the plot is slow, the book doesn’t take long to read and there are a few chuckle-worthy moments. Readers who enjoy coming of age novels will enjoy this. It’s a definite feel-good read.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Drama, Romance, Realistic
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person
Similar Reads: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants #1) and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen