Tag «fav series»

Series Review: Royally by Emma Chase

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 Royally Screwed (from Goodreads):

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Fav Couple, 2018 Fav
Series: Royally Trilogy; Royals Trilogy; Royally

There is a Spin-Off Series titled The Bodyguards!

Author: Emma Chase
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order)

There is a free novella: #2.5 Royally Raised

Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events

Technically, Royally Yours (#4) is a prequel

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2016 – October 2018
Source & Format: Own–eBook; Library–Audiobook (Royally Endowed); eARC (Royally Yours)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve been eager to read another Emma Chase series since I finished Tangled years ago. She is one of those authors who never fails to make me laugh. She just has the total package when it comes to writing. The Legal Briefs didn’t interest me all that much (but I do have it on my TBR now because I just love her work) but when I saw she was writing a series about royals? Hell yes!

The Plot:

I really liked that all 3 books had a different plot style to them because each set of leads has a different flare to them. It’s hard to talk about them all without spoilers (particularly because the events in Royally Screwed heavily influence Royally Matched) but I’ll just say you’ll feel every emotion as you read. I laughed, I cried, I swooned.

For me, this whole series is just adult contemporary perfection. You’ve got great characters with great development. Heart-pounding romance and tension. A solid plot throughout. And you can’t forget the humour Emma Chase flawlessly infuses into her stories and her ability to make you cry just moments later. They’re just an absolute pleasure to read!

The Characters:

I loved all these characters. I loved how they were all uniquely complicated. I loved watching them grow as people. I loved their wit and humour. Basically, I loved them and they really made these novels awesome.

The Romance:

You know, all of these characters make my “Favourite Couples” list. They were everything I love in a romantic pair. Great communication, complementary personalities, a strong partnership. While they grow as people, so does the romance.

There’s plenty of heat and tension along the way as well. The chemistry between all the leads just leaps off the pages and it makes all the stories so addicting.

When to Read the Novella #2.5 Royally Raised?

I was a little worried that Royally Raised (which is a freebie novella at most eBook retailers) would have some spoilers for Royally Endowed (Book #3) but it doesn’t at all. It has spoilers for Books 1 & 2 but you really shouldn’t be reading a novella that’s set 20 years later before you read the actual stories of the characters it’s about. (Just sayin’)

Anyways, I read it after Royally Matched and I think that’s the perfect time to read it. It makes for an extended epilogue of sorts with the leads and it’s absolute perfection! Highly recommend!

My Audiobook Experience–Royally Endowed:

I did plan on reading Royally Matched as an audiobook as well but I already had a voice for Henry in my mind and the narrator for that audiobook didn’t sound like that. Thus, I opted for the eBook.

But I’m so, so glad I listened to the audiobook for Royally Endowed. It was absolutely fabulous! Shane East and Andi Arndt did an AMAZING job (they narrate the other novels as well and what I had listened to of Royally Matched was also great). The accent Shane did was the perfect blend of English and Scottish like the Wessco accent is described and it really helped me to get lost in the story. I highly recommend the audiobooks for this series!

updates

–November 1, 2018– Book #4: Royally Yours

I could have used 20 more chapters; I really didn’t want this one to end! I loved this prequel so much!

When should you read this prequel? I think you will enjoy it more if you’ve read all the other books in the series but you could easily read this before the other novels without any spoilers.

Read my Full Review here!

Series Rating: 5/5

Royally Screwed 5/5 | Royally Matched 5/5 | [Royally Raised 5/5] | Royally Endowed 5/5 | Royally Yours 5/5

overall

I see a lot of rereads with this series in the future. One of my all time favourite Adult Contemporary Romance Series EVER!

Read if You Like: romances involving royals, humour
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy romance novels

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Series Everyone Should Know About

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!
This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Series I Want People to Know About

When I read the topic for this week (“Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While”), I wasn’t sure where to start. So, I looked at my Top Book Series to see what I had there. Only three I feel are of the “underrated” variety and so I had to think of another way to come up with titles. What I did, was go to my “Read” folder on GoodReads and sorted my books by the number of GoodReads ratings they had (least to largest). It wasn’t long before I found a few series I thought more people should read.

I’m also super excited to display my picks as a slider thanks to Riffle Books now that my site is self-hosted. Simply click on the arrow to see what books I have picked and why!

(In no particular order):


Links to My Reviews:

  1. The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy) by Robin Bridges
  2. The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross
  3. The Iron King (The Iron Fey Series) by Julie Kagawa
  4. Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange Trilogy) by Lesley Livingston
  5. Crossing the Line (Without a Trace Series) by Ally Bishop
  6. Schooled (Travesty Series) by Piper Lawson
  7. Leaving Amarillo (Neon Dreams Trilogy) by Caisey Quinn
  8. After Math (Off the Subject Trilogy) by Denise Grover Swank
  9. Vixen (The Flappers Trilogy) by Jillian Larkin
  10. Mystic City (Mystic City Trilogy) by Theo Lawrence

Honourable Mentions:

Do you share some of these series on your TTT post?

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Leave a Link to your TTT in the comments below!

Series Review: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

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

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite 2015, New Must Read Author, Favourite Series, Sad to See Go 2016
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
# of Books: 3 (The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss)
Book Order: Chronological

There is a prequel novella: Bridge of Snow

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, High Fantasy, Alternate History
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I won’t lie: the covers are what drew me to pick up this series (it wasn’t until after I read it that this book seemed to be on a lot of blogs that I follow). Both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime were new additions to my library’ eCatalogue and after I read the synopsis, I decided I really wanted to read these books. I honestly didn’t know what to expect plot-wise from these novels but I knew that I was expecting awesome things and I eagerly dug in.

I didn’t get right into The Winner’s Curse because I felt like it was assumed that I knew the history of the world. Not that the world is overly complicated (I got the gist of it pretty quick); I just felt like it was expected that I knew why these two cultures were clashing and why there was conflict in Kestrel’s world on a deeper level without being told why. Perhaps I just missed that one key line that explains everything earlier in the book. Regardless: the truth of the matter is that the conflicts present in this book are no different than the conflicts we see in our modern world despite its historical edge. And once I was a few chapters in, I was sold (no pun intended) on everything this book was bringing.

If you take the intelligent, strategic heroine of June from the Legend Trilogy, minus her physical ability to kick ass and add the historical vibes of For the Darkness Shows the Stars, you get The Winner’s Curse.

Which means it’s pretty awesome!

Despite my personal distaste for slower novels, I really loved The Winner’s Curse! I loved how everything built up slowly and was intricately linked together. There was a plot-line I wasn’t expecting and I thought it made the story 20x more interesting. This book was never afraid to take risks and that makes it vastly different from the other dystopian YA novels out there. (Though it isn’t really that much of a dystopian novel, rather a high fantasy with some dystopian elements present.)

It also differs from other YA with its AMAZING heroine! I adored Kestrel as a heroine. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a dystopian-esque heroine that didn’t drive me up the wall in some way or another. She was smart, always thought about her actions and was never irrational in her decisions. She’s a strategist and I find that so refreshing in a heroine. Don’t get me wrong, I love heroines who can physically kick ass but it was so AWESOME to read about a heroine who uses her intelligence to outwit her opponents instead of her fists or sword.

I also really liked Arin and her relationship with him. It’s slow building but has so many interesting layers to it that it was a lot of fun to read about. It reminded me a lot of June and Day’s relationship (from Legend) in the sense that they balanced each other out. They were a great pair when they were together but just as amazing when they were on their own and I loved that! Being “on their own” is an important thing to highlight because if you are expecting some grand romance–think again! I found that the romance played a very minimal part in the story as it focuses more on the politics of the countries wayyyy more than it does on the relationship between Arin and Kestrel. It is definitely there but it takes more of a backseat throughout the story.

The Winner’s Crime doesn’t slow down from where its predecessor left off; in fact, it builds on it. Though I thought it started on the slow side, it quickly amped up its pace as you read. The Winner’s Crime definitely has more political intrigue to it which I have been craving to read about for such a long time and that made me really happy. So many great twists and turns! I really didn’t know what was going to happen despite all the clues along the way–which is probably why I would say it is my favourite of the two so far (but it was a really close and hard choice to make!).

I simply cannot wait to read The Winner’s Kiss!!! I just want to see a cover or a synopsis or even a specific release date so I can satisfy some part of my excitement!

Just a quick note on the novella (well, it’s really just a very short story). It takes place when Arin was a child, therefore it is technically a prequel. However, I think you will get more out of it if you read it after The Winner’s Curse or even The Winner’s Crime. I read it after The Winner’s Crime and I feel like that was a good time to read it because I could make the connections it inspires. However, it really doesn’t contribute to the story in any way other than to provide a taste of Arin’s life before The Winner’s Curse and isn’t necessary to read if you can’t find it (or don’t want to pay the $1 to read 20 pages).

updates

–May 23, 2016– Book #3: The Winner’s Kiss


I admit, I was worried this book wouldn’t live up to the personal hype I’ve built up in my mind over the last year waiting its arrival.

But damn, this book was finale perfection!

It had everything I wanted: politics, action, romantic tension and great twists. I was absorbed from start to finish, hanging on every word. Even though I’m sad this series is over, I couldn’t have asked for a better finale!

Series Rating: 5/5

The Winner’s Curse 5/5 | The Winner’s Crime 5/5 | The Winner’s Kiss 5/5

overall

One of my favourite YA reads this year and a new favourite series for me! Loved every minute of these books! (I may even break my buying physical books pact to own these novels!) If you want to read a dystopian-esque novel with a FANTASTICALLY intelligent heroine, her complimentary male counterpart and lots of political intrigue–this is the read for you!

Read if You Like: intelligent heroines, politics, high fantasy
Avoid if You: want more romance, want more detailed world-building

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Synopsis for The Winner’s Curse (from Goodreads):
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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Series Review: Rosemary Beach 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:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Series, Favourite Author
Series: Rosemary Beach + Too Far; Perfection; Chances Series
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 14 (See All Books + Reading Order Here)

There are also a number of novellas. See the reading order and list here.

Book Order: Chronological but connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (The Too Far Series), Alternating (Twisted Perfection onwards)
Publication Dates: December 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBooks + Public Library–eBooks & Paperbacks

thoughts

I decided to create one homepage for this series because I realized that there are quite a few more books that are going to be published (yay!) in this series that are technically classified as “Rosemary Beach” and not by a spin-off series title.
That being said…

This review post will begin to review books 9+ in the Rosemary Beach Series (so anything after You Were Mine). If you have not read books 1-8 this page may have some spoilers.

Read reviews for books 1-4 (Too Far Series) here

Read reviews for books 5-6 (Perfection Series) here

Read reviews for books 7-8 (Chances Series) here

updatesAlrighty, now that that is all out of the way…

–December 17, 2014– Book 9: You Were Mine

You Were Mine is probably a novel that readers of the series have been waiting for since Fallen too Far–I know I have. And my anticipation for this book increased incrementally after Simple Perfection and the CRAZY twist we get. And after reading it, I have to say that it is the perfect answer to all fans’ wants. Thankfully, the story isn’t dragged out into two books and sticks to the one. It’s heart-breaking, sweet and just a great addition to the series.

–April 22, 2015– Book 10: When I’m Gone

I walked through rain, hail and sunshine to get When You’re Gone–I’m not lying! We had the weirdest weather when I left to go pick this book up! So despite it being in the thick of exams AND already having 2 books on the go, I finished this book in day. It was really addicting because it was a such a sweet romance! I loved Reese’s story and how she was trying to find herself after years of abuse and working with her learning disorder. And her hero (I don’t want to give away exactly who he is for those not yet reading the series) was the perfect compliment for her. Though I don’t love the alpha male tendencies it wasn’t overwhelming and he really did let her work through her issues on her own when it came down to it. Of course, there were some dramatics but they weren’t anything new (ie unexpected) to the series–it’s your regular antics but it was still fun to read! I’m looking forward to their story wrap up in the next book, When You’re Back.

–August 1, 2015– Book 11: When You’re Back

When You’re Back has to be my least favourite book in the series. I was expecting a completely different plotline with this book given how the previous book ended

–one that emphasized character growth and not just jealous inducing situations. I’m tired of sequel books where the leads are the most desirable people in the world that everyone wants to bang, regardless of the fact that they are in a committed relationship with someone. Because when that is the case, the leads to communicate and the entire plotline becomes something that could have been prevented if they had just SAID THEIR FEELINGS!

I just felt like this book went in the wrong direction. I felt like I had been there, done that with this book so I was really disappointed in it. It was a good bridge for the next two books–and I will admit there was one great twist–but overall, it was sub-par at best.

–January 23, 2016– Book 12: The Perfect Goodbye

I was really curious to see what would be in store Captain in this book. He definitely isn’t a favourite character of mine but the bits and pieces I knew about him had me more than a little anxious to see what Abbi had in store for him.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than When You’re Back. The execution and flow was simply much stronger than the previous instalment. I liked the back story we got for each character and how it made me love their characters even more. They were also stronger characters individually can while I found myself frustrated with them at times, knowing their past and what was happening, I found it easier to understand and look past it.

However, I thought the ending was rushed. Everything wrapped up too quickly but at the same time, I’m glad it won’t be dragged into a sequel book. At the same time, I made me excited for the very last novel, Up in Flames by dropping a few little hints…I can’t wait for this grand finale!

–August 11, 2016– Book 13: Up in Flames

The grande finale is here! I’ve been waiting for this story since book 1…and it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting.

I gotta give Glines credit here: this story is unlike anything else we’ve seen in this series. It’s perhaps a bit of a risk but it kept me curious to see how everything would fall into place. I’ve found the last few novels to be very similar to each other, and while enjoyable, I wasn’t overly impressed.

But this one was different. It grew on me as I read and I got into the story more and more. And by the end, it had won me over.

I dunno how else you could have concluded this story–and this series–but Glines does a great job! I’m going to miss this series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Fallen Too Far 4/5 | Never Too Far 4/5 | Rush Too Far 4/5 | Twisted Perfection 4/5 | Simple Perfection 4/5 | Take a Chance 4/5 | One More Chance 5/5 | You Were Mine 4/5 | Kiro’s Emily TBD | When I’m Gone 3.5/5 | When You’re Back 3/5 | The Best Goodbye 4/5 | Up in Flames 4/5

overall

One the best and one of my personal favourite New Adult Series. Full of swoon-worthy guys, drama and great heroines–a must read for any New Adult fan!

Read if You Like: soap opera like drama, hot new adult romances
Avoid if You: don’t like some alpha male tendencies, new adult novels

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Synopsis of Fallen too Far (from Goodreads.com):
To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.

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Series Review: Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Science Fiction Series, Top Series #17
Series: Lorien Legacies or I am Number Four Series
Author: Pittacus Lore (Fun Fact: This is actually the name of a character in the book!)
# of Books: 7 (I am Number Four; The Power of Six, The Rise of Nine, The Fall of Five, The Revenge of Seven; Fate of Ten; United as One)

There is an entire set of novellas that provide background info and other stories. The complete list can be found here Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Aliens, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person (I am Number Four); Multiple (Power of Six onwards)
Publication Dates: August 2010 – June 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Hardcover
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

Like most people, I only read I am Number Four because it was about to be released as a movie. I tried my best to finish before the movie but I wasn’t able to read it fast enough before it was out of the theatres. I still haven’t seen the movie but once I find a copy of it, you’ll be the first to read my review on it!

I know the movie bombed at the box office and this book isn’t particularly a hit with readers either. And that’s a damn shame because the rest of the series is far superior and so fantastic that lots of people who probably would enjoy reading it probably dropped it after reading I am Number Four.

I am Number Four isn’t anything special. It’s actually pretty mediocre and follows the typical Young Adult Science Fiction plot line: boy is in hiding, discovers his special powers and falls in love with a human girl. It’s very formulaic. It also doesn’t help that Four/John isn’t the easiest person to like. He’s kinda whinny and has a bit of righteous attitude that rubbed me the wrong way. But I loved Sam (his sidekick) and I loved the concept of the story. And by the end of the book, we get a bigger and better plotline that makes reading the next book so awesome.

The Power of Six was absolutely fantastic! After I finished reading the book, I even said so to myself. I really really enjoyed it. There is a lot more action and more about the purpose of John & company is revealed. I think it helps that we get a few more characters to read about so you don’t get John-overload. It was just a lot of fun to read about and had everything I love in a good series novel.

The Rise of Nine picks up right where The Power of Six leaves us (and thank goodness for that!) and it keeps going with the faster-pace action and has lots of twists and turns. It was hard to put this one down as well.

The Fall of Five is much slower than The Rise of Nine action wise in the middle of the book but I also devoured it. This was more a book about plot development but I never found it dull because of the multiple perspectives and the twists always had me thinking. I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to see where the next two books go in the series because the building up of the story has been fantastic in the last two novels. The wait until August is probably going to kill me 😛

As for the novellas, I’ve only read one or two. You don’t really need them to appreciate the world and I find that Pittacus Lore is good at reiterating the little facts about each character as you go between the books so things are always fresh on your mind. But they do make for a good way to pass the time while waiting for the next novel 😉

updates

–October 9, 2014– Book 5: Revenge of Seven

Words cannot describe how excited I was to read to read the Revenge of Seven. August has become synonymous with the release of these novels to me so I was absolutely dying to get my copy from the library. While Revenge of Seven wasn’t what I was entirely expected (I thought we were going to get a certain character’s perspective but we didn’t) I loved every minute of it. This book was really about building up to the final climax so I found it wasn’t focused on the physical action so much, though don’t get me wrong there was plenty of action just not as much as previous books. I really loved how everything is coming together and I can’t wait to read the final novel!

–November 19, 2015– Book 6: Fate of Ten

I was probably halfway through Fate of Ten when I realized that it was NOT the final book of the series. That irked me a little because I had opted to pay a late fine at the library in order to finish it thinking I was getting the grande finale.

Despite that, this book was good. Again, not as action packed as the previous novels though it does increase as you reach the end. It helps link up all of your questions and has some interesting developments that have me on edge to see how everything is going to wrap up. Solid book overall.

–August 22, 2016– Book 7: United as One

I loved and hated every moment of this book. Loved it because it was everything I wanted the ending to be but hated it because I am seriously going to miss this cast of characters!

I thought this book started slow–then again, it’s been so long since I read the previous novel. Everything started to come back to me the further I got and I found myself once again drawn into the struggles of these characters.

I really, really liked this ending! The journey is finally at a close and what a wild adventure it has been!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

I am Number Four 3/5 | The Power of Six 4/5 | The Rise of Nine 5/5  |  The Fall of Five 5/5  |  The Revenge of Seven 4/5  |  The Fate of Ten 4/5  |  United as One 5/5

overall

Don’t judge the series by I am Number Four. I like to think of I am Number Four as one big prequel novella for the rest of the series. Those who love science fiction and stories with lots of kickass action, you will enjoy the rest of the faster paced books in the series! So while it is important to read I am Number Four, don’t let it dissuade you from reading The Power of Six. But if you don’t enjoy The Power of Six, then you won’t like the rest of the series because that is what the rest of the series is like.

Read if You Like: slower starts, world-building, aliens, YA Science Fiction
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike science fiction

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Synopsis for I am Number Four (from Goodreads):
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

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Series Review: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Top Series #11, Must-Read Author
Series: The Iron Fey
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 4 (the Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight)

There are lots of novellas and extras that take place between the books. A full list is here.

There is also a spin-off series: Iron Fey: The Call of the Forgotten

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Romance, Action, Mythology, Fairy Tales
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

This was one of the first series I read in an eBook format–and truth be told I wanted to read this series so bad that I started to read eBooks just so I could read it! So I strained my eyes on my tiny iPhone screen reading the first two books of the series and then read the rest on my best gift ever: my Kobo.

By the time I picked up The Iron King I had read a considerable amount of faerie novels. While some didn’t do much for me, I do have a few that are within my top series picks so I do have a pretty hefty set of standards when it comes to faerie novels. But one thing I find with these faeries novels is that each series has a different spin–and this one is no exception.

Ms. Kawaga creates a world that is so unique yet easy to follow that it’s extremely easy to get immersed in it. Not only does she blend in the faerie world with the human world but she manages to add everyday fairy tales and other aspects that just give this world so much depth. It was such a pleasure reading about the world Meghan and company are in.

And Meghan is probably one of my top favourite heroines ever. She is just so strong and independent that I never got annoyed with her–even when a love triangle comes about (but let’s be real, we always knew who she was going to pick). Her complex to save the world (aka Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome) didn’t piss me off, it just made me really sad at times because I really didn’t know how everything would end up. Ash and Puck were also fantastic.

That was another thing I loved about this series. It was never predictable. Sure I could put the dots together but it wasn’t until I got the clues that I had an inkling about what was going to happen.

Each book built upon the last and reading the novellas is extremely helpful in bridging the gaps between the books–so I recommend that you do follow the reading order you see on Goodreads.

When I read this series, it was only a trilogy but the fourth book, The Iron Knight was on its way due to fan demand (and when you read the third book you will understand why). I was really worried about this book because I find when author’s write something because fans want it, the result is a mediocre fan-fiction effort (I’m looking at you Breaking Dawn). But The Iron Knight was fantastic. I laughed, I cried (more like balled my eyes out and sobbing) and it made me really excited to see where the spin-off series was going. It gave me the impression that Kagawa had always intended to write this story because it was crafted so well.

I haven’t picked up the spin-off series yet, but it is near the top of my to-read list!

Conclusion:

I remember telling my roommate she had to read these books and she did and she loved them! It’s not just a romance novel set in a faerie world–it’s a complex story that happens to be filled with a romance, lots of action and plot twists. Simply a great series that I think even older “young adults” (ie adults) will enjoy.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker Trilogy #1); Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Series #1) and Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Iron King (from Goodreads):
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Movie Mondays: Beautiful Creatures

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl | Movie: Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Beautiful Creatures or the Caster Chronicles
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #3
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Paranormal, Romance, Drama, Gothic, Southern
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

Beautiful Creatures is the start to one of my favourite book series of all time though it isn’t my favourite of the series. However, it is a great start to the series and really sets the stage for the subsequent novels.

It’s a bit of a shock to me that a “witch” book is in my Top 3 favourite series. I usually can’t stand witch/magic novels because I find them a bit boring and the logical, scientific part of my brain struggles with the concept of magic. But this series managed to capture my attention, my heart and my time.

The plot continually builds throughout Beautiful Creatures and finally reaches an awesome climax that sets up the rest of the series. Add to it the great, swoon-worthy romance of Lena and Ethan, their maturity and independence as well as the great cast of characters that surrounds them and this book is a winner.

This book is a lot slower than most books out there so it will take a while to get into. That’s partly because parts of the plot are revealed along the way after we get a feel for the town and partly because it is set in the south and things tend to be slower there.

Conclusion:

A great start to an awesome series. It’s truly unlike anything I have ever read before. Well written, great characters and a mysterious, ever-changing plot that sucks you into the world of casters.

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore Trilogy, #1) and Spellcaster by Claudia Gray (Spellcaster Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I can’t remember where I was in the series when they announced the movie, but I do remember being excited. It always seems like my favourite series aren’t known by the general population and there are always rumours of movie options but never any movie. So when they started announcing the cast, I was getting super excited and trying to find every piece of info that I could get about the film.

So first, I’ll talk about the cast. Alice Englert as Lena was EXACTLY what I pictured when reading the book in every way and watching the movie reaffirmed that fact. But Alden Ehrenreich wasn’t what I pictured for Ethan. He just seemed too old for the role and the movie trailers didn’t really sell me on him. He made me skeptical to watch this movie because we read the book from Ethan’s POV so he is essentially the story and on a personal side, Ethan is probably my favourite character of the series next to Link. However, I have to say that by the end of the movie, Ehrenreich won me over and I thought he did a great job as Ethan. As for the rest of the cast, they were all what I imagined them to be and did a great job.

Now, I understand that movie adaptations are always going to be different from the actual books (they are called “adaptations” for a reason) but I like them to be as close as possible or at the very least have them make changes that I understand and can eventually come to respect. And it’s a bit of a mixed case for this movie.

I can understand the changes they made to Amma and I should have known that there were going to be changes considering Viola Davis was coming off an Oscar nomination at the time she was cast. Nevertheless, I also feel like they shot themselves in the foot if they were ever planning on making a sequel because the changes they made have serious consequences on future plotlines. But it became apparent to me by the end of the movie that they were going in a different direction from the book based on the unfolding of certain events if a sequel was ever in the works.

I was watching this on the airplane on my way back from my trip and my brother was looking over my shoulder. He asked me what I was watching and told me that it looked a little cheesy. And I would have to agree with him, it was cheesy at times but I think that is the fault of the graphics. While the book isn’t particularly dark, it isn’t the lightest book out there and I felt like they shied away from that a bit with the aspects of the book they choose to exclude.

One thing I have to give this movie credit for is capturing the feeling of the book. Despite the many changes, they really left the romance between Ethan and Lena the way it was in the book and it was awesome to see some of the key scenes from the book on the screen between the two of them. Also, I always had the hardest time picturing Macon’s house so seeing it in the movie was an added treat for me!

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. The plot is just so much more intricate in the novel and exciting that there really isn’t a contest. Fans of the book will probably be upset with the plot changes in the movie and rightfully so as it doesn’t do the book justice. However, I give the movie props for visually creating this wonderful world so well.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Beautiful Creatures (from Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Vampire Academy

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Movie: Vampire Academy (2014)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Vampire Academy
Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

There aren’t enough good things that I can say about this series. It is one of my favourite, if not THE favourite Young Adult series I have ever read and it all starts with this book.

Vampire Academy is definitely the weakest in the series. Compared to the rest of the series, the plot in this one isn’t as intricate as the later books can be and it is a little slower. However, this book easily sucked me in (no pun intended) and in the end, its a great opening to a series.

The characters are great, complex and lots of fun. The plot is always twisting and building as I said in my full series review, this isn’t Twilight. This series features killing, blood-sucking vampires and has a maturity about it that Twilight severely lacks. Definitely the best vampire series I have ever read.

Conclusion:

I could go on for days about this book and the series but I’ll just say: it’s awesome. Finally a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t need a man to complete her and has no problem doing what needs to be done!

Rating: 4.5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant Series #1) and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines Series #1, a spin-off of Vampire Academy).

The Movie:

I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since I finished the book. At the time, it didn’t sound like anything was going to come to fruition but over time it did and I’ve been counting down the days since.

At first, I was worried about the movie after seeing the commercials. It looked very high school and cheesy (and not necessarily the good kind) and that scared me. But after reading a blog post by Richelle Mead (who was present during filming) she reassured fans that the trailers were tailored for those who haven’t read the series to get interest in the film and that put my worries to rest.

Mind you, I did go in with lower expectations but in the end, I really enjoyed it.

First I’ll tacklet the casting. Everyone looks exactly like I pictured and Zoey Deutch as Rose was great. She was the perfect blend of tough and spunky and that made it easy to watch and see the book unfold. Danila Kozlovsky as Dmitri was everything I wanted in the infamous guardian and I absolutely loved Cameron Monaghan as Mason and Dominic Sherwood as Christian. For me there are two weak spots in the casting and those are Olga Kurylenko as the Headmistress and Lucy Fry as Lissa. For me, the Headmistress was nothing that I imagined. To be fair, it’s been a super long time since I read the books  so I could be totally off, but she was just a little too over the top for me at times and it threw me off. Lucy as Lissa started off really awkward but she really did get better as the movie progressed.

Part of the reason I think Lucy was so awkward was the script and the screenplay. Sometimes the dialogue was a little cheesy and it just felt forced. The actors all manage well though and the acting definitely improved as the movie went on.

As for the adaptation to the big screen: the movie isn’t identical to the book and that is ok. To be fair, it has been a solid few years since I read the book so I can’t remember everything but I would say that the changes they made probably needed to be done to keep the movie more faster paced. They manage to capture the essence of the book and the major key plot moments are still in the movie.

I just want to say that for fans who have read the entire series, don’t be worried about the “high school” approach this movie appears to be taking. It’s definitely for the 17+ crowd and you have to remember that the first book DOES take place in high school. It really isn’t until book 3, Shadow Kiss, that the maturity level increases in this book. I’m guilty of it too and it’s easy to forget that the Rose we get in Last Sacrifice was a high school student at one time; but the truth is that she was and we all loved her when she was!

Overall, the movie will please fans. There were a few humorous moments, both new additions as well as character moments from the book; and it was awesome to see some of my favourite scenes from the book come to life.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While I truly did enjoy the movie, it has nothing on the book. But, fans of the book will enjoy the movie so definitely go see it! I really want a sequel movie (TBH I just want to see who they cast as Adrian and Eddie).

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Vampire Academy (from Goodreads):

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Trailer:

Series Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #13
Series: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
# of Books: 5 (Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows, Darkest Mercy)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

This is one of my favourite series for a lot of reasons.

One is the whole concept of the world Melissa Marr creates. I have read a lot of faerie stories and there is always a little spin to each and every one. With this series, it takes the faery world and makes it a dark, modern tale. The characters aren’t your standard goody-two shoe faeries or humans thrown into a world of chaos. These characters can be twisted and evil whenever it suits them and that works for me!

Two is the relationships. There are a lot of characters in these books–not so much that it is hard to keep track of, but enough to keep you interested–but I loved watching the relationships develop between them all. I had a hard time with some of the love triangles deciding who’s team I was on so that was great! Surprisingly, I actually didn’t mind the love triangles in this one as much as in other books–so win! Even the bromances grabbed my attention 😛

Three is the ever twisting plot. Again, this goes back to the world Marr creates, but I never could totally predict what was going to happen. All the characters had their own agendas and weren’t afraid to get dirty to achieve it. I think it also helps that books 2 (Ink Exchange) and 4 (Radiant Shadows) focus on a different set of characters that we have been introduced to in other books instead of (Aislin and Co. who are the stars of Wicked Lovely). The characters in these “companion” novels go through events that help shape the rest of the series. It is very important to read these books in the order I have listed (or as you see on Goodreads) because the events occur in chronological order. I remember picking up Fragile Eternity and reading it first because it was tag-lined “sequel to Wicked Lovely“. I was completely thrown off and confused reading Fragile Eternity because there are some events in Ink Exchange that influence what happens in Fragile Eternity (ex. the roles some Faeries have) and make no sense whatsoever unless you read Ink Exchange first.

I read Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy a year of so after I Darkest Mercy was published. It took me a while to get into the swing of things so I recommend that you read these books as close together as possible! Regardless of when I read them, Darkest Mercy  is the perfect conclusion for a series! Although I didn’t like the very short epilogue (mostly because it only focused on two characters but I understand why it was done that way) I was very satisfied with the conclusion of everything in the end–it was my favourite book of the series.

Conclusion:

One of the most captivating and darkly beautiful books series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series about faeries who aren’t afraid to manipulate and follow their darker natures, read this series! It is definitely an older younger adult read so just be aware! Also, did I mention how beautiful the covers are? They look great on a bookshelf 😉

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange, #1) and Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker, #1)

Synopsis for Wicked Lovely (from Goodreads):
Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale

Series Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #3
Series: Beautiful Creatures or Caster Chronicles
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
# of Books: 4 (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Redemption)

There is a novella that takes place between books 2 & 3 called Dream Dark. There are also background story novellas that are to be read AFTER the series: The Mortal Heart.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Romance, Paranormal, Gothic, Southern
Heat Rating: cool
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

This is one of my favourite series, which surprises even me when you look that the other series in my top 5–but of course there is an excellent reason why the Caster Chronicles is in my Top 3 Favourite Book Series of all time.

I am not a huge fan of witch-paranormal reads. They tend to bore me and the subject of “magic” and how it is often used bothers me. But with this series I never had that problem. Garcia and Stohl weave a rich and addicting story of magic, family and fate which makes each book impossible to put down. I liked the powers that are revealed and used throughout the series as they logistically make sense and it is easy to understand where, when and how they can and cannot be used.

Another thing is the pacing of the books. The story takes place in the South (and I have to say Garcia and Stohl have captured the South perfectly!) so understandably everything moves a little slower. Normally, this would bother me but I found with Beautiful Creatures (which is definitely the slowest book of the 4) I liked the pacing as it really built up the suspense for the climax and the big reveal. The rest of the series still has the Southern feel to it all, but the pacing is a little faster as more of the plot is revealed.

I also adored the characters of the series. Ethan and Lena were incredibly mature for high school students and I was never annoyed with them. They thought everything through and acted accordingly which I really enjoyed. The rest of the cast, like Link, Ridley and Amma–just to name a few–were absolutely fantastic and I was just as interested in their stories as I was with the main plot.

The series overall has a great plot. Each book builds upon each other as you learn about the various families’ pasts, the Caster World and the characters themselves. One thing I really liked was the fact that there are little clues or hints about what is going to happen along the way so everything connects. But I never found the books to be predictable which was great.

Beautiful Darkness does a great job of not falling into the trap of most sequels despite the fact that it contains many elements that most sequel books have. The plot in book 2 is just as strong, if not stronger, than Beautiful Creatures and I enjoyed book 2 a lot more than the first book.

I have to make a special mention of Beautiful Chaos. This is by far my favourite book of the series because as you read this book you discover how much you love the characters. Perhaps this is a spoiler warning but I balled my eyes out for this book–and I mean full out sobbing, tears running down my cheeks for an hour as I read it. I have only had that happen when reading one other book since (that book, for the curious, is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare of the Infernal Devices Trilogy, #3) but all I can say is I am glad my roommates weren’t home to witness my midnight cry-fest 😉

Beautiful Redemption took me a while to get into. I think part of it was my hesitation to actually finish the series. I have followed it since its start so it was hard to say goodbye to some of my favourite book characters. But the last 150 pages really pick up. I recall being slightly disappointed with the ending (not enough closure for my liking) but overall, it was a great ending to a fantastic series.

UPDATED (May 17/15): I randomly stumbled upon The Mortal Heart on my library’s website and HAD to read it. When this revelation of the past was revealed in the original series, I was floored. It was unexpected and I wanted to know more and this novella is the answer to that. I wish it was a full length novel because it would be such a great story, but in the end this was the perfect length and answered nearly all (what can I say? I’m greedy) my questions. It reminded me how much I love this series and all its layers and I can’t wait to read the other two novellas I think they have planned!

Conclusion:

As I said before, one of the best book series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series that is rich in Southern culture, pick this one up. It is unlike any of the other “magic” series out there and has a deep gothic feel that very few books do nowadays and great lead and supporting characters.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Creatures (from Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.