Tag «forbidden love»

Single Sundays: Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin

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 Bad Romance (from Goodreads):
Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

breakdown

Author: Jen McLaughlin
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw Bad Romance on Netgalley but wasn’t able to request it for a review at the time. I really enjoyed McLaughlin’s Out of Line Series and her Sex on the Beach Series so it seemed like a no brainer. Plus, I wanted to dive further into the romance world of forbidden Step-Brother romances. Rival is one of my favourite NA novels and it has a similar concept, so I was looking forward to expanding my horizons.

The Plot:

Besides these two having an unrequited love for each other for years, the plot for this one of so illogical it actually hurt my brain.

Lilly’s main argument for keeping her shame of an engagement irked me to no end because it was a stupid point. I mean, I understood the basis of it because she is a nice human being; but why she felt this obligation to save the company was beyond me. There are 20 other ways that conflict of a failing company could have been resolved. It just made her look like an idiot in the grand scheme of things. Super frustrating!

The Characters:

Like I said, Lilly seemed to not be the brightest crayon in the box and that annoyed me to no end. And its a shame because she did seem to be a decent person who just couldn’t think things through all the way to the end.

Jackson wasn’t anything new either. Meh.

The Romance:

While these two had a strong physical chemistry, I wanted their emotional connected to be established more. If it’s a “forbidden” romance, you have to convince me why they need to defy all the odds to be together. And while I get it on a basic level, I wish we had more background on these two and why they always felt drawn to each other.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

I simply wanted more from this book and it just didn’t deliver. There are definitely better step-brother romances out there.

Read if You Like: step-brother romances
Avoid if You: want a stronger romance connection, want more logic

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Series Review: The Collide by J C Hannigan

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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Synopsis for Collide (from Goodreads):
Harlow Jones has a troubled past, and a questionable future. Surrounded by death, tragedy, and intrigue, she is forced to mature long before her time. Plagued by anxiety and depression, she hides her inner turmoil with spite and sarcasm. Her thick skin is impenetrable…or so she thought. Until she becomes involved with her grade twelve English teacher.

In this exclusive entry into the new adult genre, with raw style that is as dark as it is poignant, Collide presents the ultimate choice: forbidden love or doing the right thing.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: Collide Trilogy
Author: J C Hannigan
# of Books: 3 (Collide, Consumed, Collateral)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May – November 2015
Source & Format: Author–eARC  |  Thank you J C Hannigan!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

J C Hannigan is a Canadian author who has quite a few titles under her belt. But it was Collide that really grabbed my attention.

I love a good forbidden romance and that’s what drew me to this title. Student-teacher romances are often glorified on TV but in real life, they are far from that. So I was curious to see what path this story would take.

The Plot:

I went into Collide thinking it was going to be a straight forward romance; focusing entirely on the relationship between Harlow and her teacher. But that really wasn’t the case. While the romance plays a big role in the plot, a sexual assault case really takes center stage and is the driving force of this first novel. And I really didn’t mind because it was an intriguing case. You really get to see how Harlow’s character deals with everything thrown at her which makes for an entertaining read.

Consumed deals with the consequences of the first novel and I liked that a lot. Most of the time in New Adult series you get a new set of characters in the sequel novel so you don’t see how the characters deal long term with everything that has happened. But here, you still follow Harlow as she tries to orient her life. The novel is also much more suspenseful and has some great plot twists along the way.

Collateral was definitely the more subdued of the other novels. But I enjoyed watching everything come full circle and it was a solid way to end the series.

The Characters:

Harlow reminded me of a young Rose from Vampire Academy. That type of girl who presents a strong front because of all the crappy things life has thrown her way. I just loved the way to carried herself–she made it really easy to root for her to succeed in whatever thing she got herself into.

But this series is very character driven. I like how it takes its time to explore Harlow’s life journey as she deals with things from her past and present. As I said before, it was nice to stick with one character for all 3 novels and watch her grow because of everything that happens.

The Romance:

In Collide, I would have liked a little more focus on the romance in terms of its development. I felt like the connection was a little unseen between the two of them (ie love at first sight sort-of deal). I like my forbidden romances to really show me why these two should defy convention and be involved romantically. And there definitely is some development on that later in the book but I would have enjoyed a little more.

I did like that there wasn’t a huge focus on their intimate scenes. This book is a pretty clean entry into the New Adult genre in that respect and it complimented the story well I thought. Because it isn’t about the crazy physical attraction these two have together, rather it is there mutual understanding of each other.

Series Rating: 4/5

Collide 4/5 | Consumed 4/5 | Collateral 3/5

overall

This series has so many great aspects to it: great character development; realistic plot lines; forbidden love and numerous plot twists. If you enjoy New Adult contemporaries with a more suspenseful plotline that is lighter on the sex, this is a fabulous series for you to read!

Read if You Like: stories without copious sex scenes, character focused stories
Avoid if You: want steamier romance, want more over the top drama

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Blog Tour: Furious Rush (#1) by S C Stephens

Synopsis for Furious Rush (from Goodreads):
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

Other books in the series:

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Series: Furious Rush
Author: S C Stephens
# of Books: 1+ (Furious Rush, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thanks Forever Publishing

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love a good forbidden romance and this one seemed to fit the bill perfectly when I read the synopsis. Rivals falling in love? It doesn’t get much better than this folks!

The world also grabbed my attention. Racing stories are few and far better–or they are for me–and the premise of a young women trying to break into a male-dominated world fascinated me. I dunno how many people remember the Disney Original Movie Motorcrossed, but it was a favourite of mine growing up.

The World:

I know nothing about professional racing but Stephens provides you enough to get easily understand the world. You aren’t bombarded with information nor are you left hanging wondering what the heck is happening.

It was great entering this world and a nice change in pace from the endless Football heroes…

The Plot:

This one started on the slower side for me. While the sexual tension was brimming from the get-go, I found the drama took awhile to reach its peak. In hindsight, it’s a great set-up for the rest of the series but I just felt like there were too many open-ended questions left.

The Characters:

Kenzie was a strong heroine. She sticks to her convictions even when the world is telling her not too. Her love and loyalty for her family is commendable and two of her best attributes. It made it easy for me to root for and empathize with her as the story progressed.

Hayden is the bad boy with a heart of gold that you can’t help to fall for. One of the nice things about not getting his POV is the mystery of who he is and why. I loved uncovering more about him as Kenzie did. I forget how nice only having a single POV can be in terms of suspense.

The Romance:

These two are perfect for each other and I love how obvious that is early on. If it is a forbidden romance, you need to convince me that these two belong together–and Stephens does that excellently! It was great watching these two fall in love, fighting every obstacle in their way!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I felt a lot of things were left open-ended so I’m very curious to see what is going to happen next!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Furious Rush 3.5/5 | Book 2 TBA

overall
It was super refreshing to have a sports novel set in a non-traditional sport like racing. The forbidden love aspect provides the perfect slow burn romance to keep you eager for more. Plus, the drama promises lots of fallout in the novels to come!

Read if You Like: sport-based novels, drama, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike slow burn romance

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About S C Stephens:
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

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Series Review: The DIMILY Trilogy by Estelle Maskame

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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Synopsis for Did I Mention I Love You? (from Goodreads):

Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities—what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn’t seen in three years, a stepmom, and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry green eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging.

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t love…

breakdown

Series: DIMILY Trilogy or Did I Mention I Love You Trilogy
Author: Estelle Maskame
# of Books: 3 (Did I Mention I Love You?, Did I Mention I Need You?, Did I Mention I Miss You?)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2015 – December 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Paperback (Sourcebooks Fire edition); Netgalley (DIMIMY)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw DIMILY on Netgalley but I wasn’t able to read a copy. So I patiently waited for my library to get a copy and eventually, I was able to read it.

I really, really enjoyed Rival by Penelope Douglas a couple of years ago which also has a step-sibling relationship. I love forbidden romances so I think it’s obvious why DIMILY was on my radar. I was hoping for a more New Adult version of a YA contemporary but was willing to give this one a chance because the plot-line really intrigued me.

The Plot:

The plot in Did I Mention I Love You (DIMILY) is your typical YA story set in California: lots of underage parties with the rich, beautiful kids and their overly dramatic lives. Don’t forget the teen angst! It’s here in buckets!

DIMILY is really just Eden trying to navigate her new everyday family life by immersing herself in the Californian way of life. She has her own insecurities from the past (that slowly get revealed in time but that I felt were pretty obvious) and she harbours a lot of (understandable) resentment towards her father whom she has agreed to stay with for the summer. She does a lot of rebelling which is interesting; it just gets monotonous over time because it is always the same thing.

Honestly, there isn’t that much to the plot but there is something addicting about the story in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Mostly, I think it was the enigma that is Tyler that keep me reading because I wanted to get to the bottom of his story and could have cared less about Eden and her issues.

Did I Mention I Need You (DIMINY) is your typical bridging trilogy romance BUT, I found it much easier to read (see in the characters section below for why). Again, it had this addicting quality to it that kept me intrigued from start to finish. Eden’s character development seemed to come to light more here as well.

The Characters:

As someone who reads a lot of New Adult novels now (I rarely read a YA contemporary), the problems these characters faced seemed a little petty. So it made getting comfortable with Eden as a narrator difficult; especially because she is so angsty at the start of the series. I did, however, manage to look past her angst in order to see why she acts the way she does and it did work for the most part. Eden has a lot of self-esteem issues that come to the surface and influence her character development too. I was really hoping for a little more focus on that as the story progressed but it doesn’t really happen all that much. Regardless, she does has some depth to her.

I also struggled with Eden’s actions as a character. I was never able to get a good read on her. It wasn’t like she was saying one thing and then completely doing another, but I really don’t think she thought things through all the way in most situations. Perhaps that is the result of her being a 16 year old girl and needing to mature a bit (I had to remind myself numerous times that these characters were still in high school) or simply a result of her self-esteem issues, I’m not really sure. She also comes across as slightly selfish–but that does get better as the series progresses. Regardless, I didn’t really love Eden as a character and it made it hard to root for her at times.

Tyler on the other hand was interesting. It could be the result of him not having a POV, leaving you to only know as much about him as Eden (the narrator) does but I found his character was much more complex than Eden’s. His journey kept me interested in the story more so than Eden did and I liked watching it unfold.

The Romance:

This was a little lacklustre for me in DIMILY. Seeing as it was the main selling point for picking up the series, I really wanted to be blown away.

While Eden is (understandably) intrigued by Tyler, I really didn’t think they interacted that much or at least enough to warrant the feelings they do. Yes, she keeps digging into his life and shows that she cares–which is great and obviously something he needed–but I didn’t get the fascination on either end truthfully.

Their relationship becomes stronger as the series continues but they definitely aren’t gracing my list of favourite couples ever–even if I have come to root for them.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

DIMINY’s ending has me very curious to see what is going to happen in the finale. Hopefully we see some mature characters who have learned from their past actions and get a super romantic finale. The more I read about these characters, the more I want to see things work out for everyone involved.

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–December 4, 2016– Book #3: Did I Mention I Miss You? (DIMIMY)

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I had high expectations for this finale. Everything has been building for this book and I couldn’t wait to dive in!

And it was perfect! This was exactly what I wanted in this final book.

The proof of character growth that we got here was fantastic. These aren’t the same characters we had in DIMILY. They’ve grown and it’s shown here perfectly. I loved watching Eden mature into the young woman she becomes. I wasn’t a big fan of hers at the start of this series but I’ve really grown to like who she has transformed into before my eyes.

And Tyler has the same great progression as well. Perhaps even more so.

I felt every range of emotions reading this book; in a completely great way. If you had asked me when I picked up DIMILY (where I watched these immature teenagers rebel with so much angst), I would have said “no”. But it’s amazing how much I fell in love with these two and their journey the more invested I became in this series.

This book hit all the right notes and I have no doubt in my mind that fans of this series will LOVE this final novel.

I know I sure did!

Series Rating: 4/5

Did I Mention I Love You? 3/5 | Did I Mention I Need You 4/5 | Did I Mention I Miss You 5/5

overall

It you enjoy high school drama and angst, this is a great series for you! You need to be able to tolerate a lead you might not really connect with or like–but the story and relationships have this addicting quality to them that makes it entertaining to read. And the character growth from start to finish makes the journey worth it!

Read if You Like: YA contemporary, forbidden love
Avoid if You: dislike angst, teenagers pretending to be adults, cheating characters

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Series Review: Family Matters by Liana Key

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

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Nothing Matters (from Goodreads):
Nathan
I should never have fallen in love with her. I was just an ordinary boy from the wrong side of town, I’d never be good enough for her. But she didn’t see it like that. She loved me, I loved her. This was the real thing.
And then one night, one event changed everything. Now she can’t even bear to look at me. I lost the love of my life…and now nothing f**king matters…

Magdala
If ever there was a love at first sight moment, it was when I saw Nathan. I didn’t care where he lived, what car he drove, nothing mattered other than our love. Our love was unexpected, but it was real, it was true. He made me crazy, he made me laugh, he made me dream…
And then It happened…and everything we had was lost.

Flynn
She was the girl I never thought I could have, sweet, beautiful, perfect. Why she fell for someone like me, shy, inexperienced, scarred, I couldn’t work it out. A brief summer romance, that’s all it would ever be.
But circumstances brought us together again and the hardest lessons of love and loss were yet to be learned…

Three lives learning about love and life the hard way
Love, pain, truth
Finding out what really matters…

breakdown

Series: Family Matters
Author: Liana Key
# of Books: 4 (Nothing Matters, All that Matters, Book 3, Book 4)
Book Order: Companion + Chronological
Complete?: No, there will be a 3rd novel in the series
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm – hot (All that Matters) *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC  |  Thanks so much Liana Key!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Liana contacted me about reviewing her series, I was definitely intrigued. Normally, I’m not one for love triangles and when I saw 3 names in the synopsis of Nothing Matters, I’ll admit I was hesitant. BUT, I thought there might be more to the surface (like what was this “one night, one event”?) and wanted to give it a shot.

The Series Order:

Just a quick note on the series order. Nothing Matters is Magdala’s story and Book 3 will be a continuation of that story. All that Matters is Cassian’s story and takes place simultaneously as Nothing Matters (therefore a companion novel of sorts) and Book 4 will be the continuation of that story.

Because of that, I’m going to split the remaining categories by story arc because they are both so different and have completely different plot lines.

The Plot:

Nothing Matters

This one had a slow start for me because it was a little too much high school romance. Insta-love, mushy feelings and all that jazz. I got a little worried that this story was going to be petty romance moments but that quickly turned once the “big event” happens.

From that point on, the story gets deeper and gritter–and I really, really liked that. The shift from romance to coming of age was fantastic and very addicting. Watching these characters deal with everything and in a fairly realistic way was awesome.

All that Matters

This novel was definitely more romance focused than its predecessor, giving it an entirely different feel. The forbidden romance plot was definitely intriguing but I felt it lacked the depth of Nothing Matters. Which is A-ok but I just wanted it to give me a little more.

The Characters:

Nothing Matters

I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t particularly care for either Nathan or Magdala when I first met them. They were a little too one-dimensional for me at the start of the novel. But, all this changes later on in the book when everything gets set into motion and I loved watching them grow as characters.

Surprisingly, I instantly loved Flynn. He was so unique and I felt like he was well developed from the get-go.

All that Matters

The characters here are what really gave me mixed feelings. Having met Cassian in the previous novel, I had a good handle on him and I did like him. But Paola was a lot harder to like. She was super immature given her age and the like. She made it super hard to root for the two of them because she seemed so juvenile. I just wanted more depth to them (and their romance).

The Romance:

Nothing Matters

Like I said earlier, this one started a little too high-schooler to me but it quickly morphed into something I really enjoyed. I feel like the romance takes a back seat for the last half of the book while the characters developed but I’m curious to see what will happen in the next instalment.

All that Matters

I’m a sucker for forbidden romance and I was really excited by the premise of this one when I finished Nothing Matters. But this one fell a little flat. For forbidden romances, you have to prove to me why these two people belong together; why they should even fall in love and defy all convention to be together–and I didn’t totally get that here. Like I said before, Paola really dampened this for me with her immature attitude. But it didn’t help their romance was based on physical attraction and very insta-love. Not what I wanted.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super curious to see where each story goes from here! Their stories are so intriguing to me, taking paths I never really expected and so I want to know what happens next!

Nothing Matters

All That Matters

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Nothing Matters  4/5 | All that Matters  3/5

overall

It takes a while for these stories to build, but once you get everything established, they take you on an enjoyable journey that somehow becomes super addicting to follow!

Read if You Like: high school new adult, love at first sight, first love
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, don’t want sexy time scenes

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Novella Serial Review: Secrets by Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Secrets (from Goodreads):
Sex is supposed to be sexy, tantalizing, and completely erotic, but Anna never seems to find the right guy. This one seems to be a germ-a-phobe, and the previous boyfriend wasn’t much better. Anna just wants to be wanted. Is that too much to ask?

As Anna tries to wiggle out of one relationship, a new one surfaces, but it’s forbidden. Cole Stevens is twice her age, arrogant, rich, sexy as hell, and her boss. When Anna’s internship plans derail, she ends up interning at Cole’s elite New York City studio. Close proximity leads Anna to discover that the billionaire bachelor is emotionally scarred. Everyone has secrets, but Cole’s run deeper, cutting him to his core. Cole is trouble in a sexy shell. He’s nothing Anna needs and everything she wants.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Serial Author
Series: Secrets
Author: Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)
# of Parts: 5
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm to hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2012 – December 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite not finishing them, I’ve really enjoyed H M Wards previous serialized stories, like the Ferro Family ones and Trystan Scott and while I was enjoying them, I picked up her 5 part series Secrets. This was YEARS ago and I only managed to read this series now thanks to my Rock myTBR challenge. This was one of the lucky ones to be pulled for the month of January.

I liked the forbidden teacher-student romance that Damaged had and I knew that Ward would write another strong one with this series. I was excited to delve into it–especially when it was only 5 complete parts and no more than that…

The Concept:

In Part 1, I was really confused as to why Anna felt like she had to botch the interview with Cole when it seemed like she had a sure thing at the other agency that she wanted. I’m sure I just missed that one key line that explained the internship process but it threw me for a loop and prevented me from getting into the story initially.

The Plot:

I felt like the story was very predictable. While I couldn’t predict all the events of the book specifically, I had the general gist very early on in the series so I was never really surprised by anything.

The Characters:

I admit that I wasn’t completely sold on Anna as a character when we first met her. Her whole reason for botching the interview with Cole seemed bizarre to me. Perhaps I missed something in the book, but I didn’t understand why she had to sabotage her interview with him if she was for sure going to get the job at the place she wanted. It just seemed to contradict who she was as a strong intelligent woman. And I don’t think she ever recovered from that for me either though I appreciated that she didn’t become some buffoon who couldn’t live without Cole.

Cole was alright as a hero. I liked that he wasn’t overbearing or too much of an alpha. He seemed like a genuine guy so I appreciate that.

The Romance:

What I initially enjoyed about the Part 1 was that it wasn’t an insta-love connection between Cole and Anna. Oh, there were buckets of sexual tension which was great but I liked that nothing happens too fast. Unfortunately, the nature of a serial means that it can’t last forever at that pace. While I liked the two together, I just wanted to see a little more of why they liked each other besides physical attraction. It becomes a little more apparent later on to a certain extent but I didn’t like the first jump.

Series Rating: 3/5

Part 1 3/5 | Part 2 3.5/5 | Part 3 3/5 | Part 4 3/5 | Part 5 3/5

overall

This book reminded me of a subdued version of Fifty Shades of Grey but much more predictable. I was really let down by this one but if you enjoy soap opera-esque drama, you will probably like this one!

Read if You Like: soap operas, forbidden love
Avoid if You: don’t like predictable plots

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Series Review: The Rockers of Steel by M J Fields

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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Synopsis for Memphis Black (from Goodreads):
From bedroom performances to center stage, Memphis Black’s dreams have come true.

Together with his band mates—Finn, River, and Billy B—he takes some time for fun in the sun in Miami while gathering inspiration to finish their first full-length album. Some down time before hitting the road to tour the country, spreading their kind of rock like an STD.

Tallia Priest, a preacher’s daughter grew up next door to Madison Black, her polar opposite and very best friend. Tallia has harbored a crush on Madison’s older brother Memphis for a lifetime.

A boy like him would never notice a girl like her, yet he did … once.

After a tough freshman year of college, Madison invites Tallia to join her in Miami for a much needed break. Madison fails to mention they will be staying with ‘Steel Total Destruction.’

When Tallia arrives, there is no way for a stunned Memphis to miss the transformation of the once awkward, innocent girl next door.

Forbidden desires must be hidden, lines cannot be blurred, and no one can ever know.

Will the heat in Miami tempt them even further? Will buried secrets destroy lives? Can a broken heart ever be mended?

It’s all fun and games until someone gets rocked.

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Series: The Rockers of Steel

Set in the same universe as the Men of Steel Series

Author: M J Fields
# of Books: 3 (Memphis Black, Finn Beckett, River James)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author (Read It, Review It Program)–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In 2015, I fell in love with rockstar New Adult novels. They just have that great blend of drama, an interesting subplot, hot romance and more often than not, confident boys who get put in their place by a strong female character. So when the opportunity came to read Memphis Black via my New Adult reading group on Goodreads, I jumped on the chance.

What I Liked about Memphis Black:

–The Forbidden romance concept–

I’m a sucker for a forbidden romance and this one fit the bill to a T. You’ve got Tallia who is Memphis’ little sister’s best friend AND a preacher’s daughter. Then you’ve got Memphis who is everything you don’t want your daughter to date let alone look at. It’s the perfect set-up…unfortunately the execution failed for me (I’ll elaborate later).

–The boys are BAD

If you think rockstars do it, these boys probably do it at some point. They are bad boys and hold nothing back when it comes to embracing the rockstar lifestyle. I found that to be refreshing because most books I read are rockstars with hearts of gold or are misunderstood bad boys. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it made this book have a spin I wasn’t used to.

I thought I was pretty hip with the lingo people use nowadays but I liberally used Urban Dictionary while reading this and let’s just say I learned a LOT of new words and their meaning. Where do people come up with these terms?!

What I Didn’t Like ABOUT MEMPHIS BLACK:

–The Development of the Romance–

I felt like a lot of Memphis and Tallia’s relationship was implied given their past history. I wanted to see it develop more. I just didn’t see why they liked each other “now” besides physical attraction and that was really disappointing.

–The Character’s thought process–

While I get the need for dramatics (and love it), I felt like some of the drama here was unwarranted. I didn’t understand why the characters would act this way or that because I felt like I didn’t know who they were as characters. Everything seemed like a hot mess that  resulted in a roundabout manner and I just didn’t enjoy that.

Will I Finish The rest of the series?

Unfortunately I will not be finishing the rest of the series. Surprisingly, I didn’t really latch on to any of the characters enough to want to read their stories in the subsequent novels.

Book Rating: 2/5

overall

This book just missed the mark for me. It was a little all over the place and I just couldn’t get invested in the story.

Read if You Like: bad boy rockstars, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: want further character and romantic development

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Single Sundays: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

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 Forbidden (from Goodreads):
She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But… they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite 2015
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dark, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 27, 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had heard about this book years ago but never picked it up. I was really hesitant to pick is up because of one word: incest. It’s a word that is reserved for taboo erotica novels (though those are mostly pseudo-incest where the people involved aren’t actually related but are “step-etc”) or ancient, royal blood lines who wanted to keep their bloodline “pure”. As a scientist, I’ve discussed the ramifications of breeding with close relatives (ie you don’t get “pure” blood lines as an outcome) but otherwise, it’s not a topic I really want to read or discuss at the end of the day.

However, many of my Goodreads friends/people I follow have given this book 5/5 so call me curious. When it comes to books, I feel like I am a much more open reader now than I was years ago. Since starting my blog my attitude is more of “I’ll try anything once” and so I decided to bite the bullet and put this one on hold at my library.

WOW. Am I ever glad that I did!

The Concept:

If you had asked me before I started this book whether or not I would have fallen in love with Lochan and Maya’s story I would have told you “NO”. Even going in with an open mind like I did, I still had my reservations. But it wasn’t long before those reservations were shattered to pieces.

I mean, positively-blown-out-of-this-galaxy, shattered.

The way Tabitha Suzuma has written this is absolutely heart-wrenching, beautiful and gripping–things I never thought possible given this “taboo” topic.  It’s done in such a classy, objective way that it doesn’t take you long to sympathize and root for Lochan and Maya. It focuses on the love between the two people and not just a physical desire (like I’m sure the freebie taboo erotica novels do). It’s probably the ultimate “forbidden romance” situation and I love how it explores that ideal within the book. It brings such a realistic edge to this story that easily wins its readers over.

The Plot:

I didn’t really expect the focus on Lochan and Maya’s homelife to be so emphasized at the start but I’m really glad it is. It really helps establish who they are as characters and why they find themselves in the situations they are in. It makes me see how this consensual relationship between siblings could happen–whether that is right or wrong is a moral dilemma that may never have an answer–but I suppose it helped me understand these characters in a way that allowed me to continue reading their story. It made me want to get to know them and see how they handle all the problems in their way.

The plot is a great balance between the romance and the coming of age aspect. It’s just beautifully crafted and if I wasn’t reading this at work, I would have shed tears.

The Characters:

I loved the depths to these characters. Lochan and Maya were such interesting characters all things aside and I loved watching them develop as individuals. The rest of their family were also intriguing and do a great job supporting the story and the leads. They are complicated people in a complicated situation and I loved the way it was all portrayed.

The Romance:

The romance was as equally cringe-worthy as it was romantic. Watching the love between these two made it so easy to forget they were blood related–and I often did until I forced myself to remember. I was rooting for them the entire way, hoping for some crazy twist where you find out that they aren’t really related at all and they can live happily ever after together. Because, at the end of the day, if you take away the fact that they are related, their romance is the type I love to see with my romantic leads in a contemporary romance: an emotional connection that pulls people together and is reaffirmed by physical chemistry. They are such a great pair together.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book blew me away! I should have known that consistent 5 star reviews from all my Goodreads friends means a great book! But I think if you can’t get past the idea of incest, you won’t enjoy this book at all! You need to read this book with an open mind and explore the fiction of the story. It doesn’t mean you have to change your views on incest and everything associated with it; I just like that it explores a side of a relationship that people might not think about.

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, emotional gripping novels, dark contemporary
Avoid if You: don’t like taboo topics

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Single Sundays: Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

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 Queen of Blood (from Goodreads):
For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.

Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .

A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

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Author: Jill Myles (aka Jessica Clare)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book on NetGalley thanks to its stunning cover. It drew me in and when I read the synopsis, I just had to request it! It’s been a long, long time since I read a vampire story and so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one!

Did I fail to mention the whole forbidden love and politics? That was a big draw for me as well!

The World:

I really enjoyed how simple this world was. I don’t mean simple to be a bad thing either–in this case it was perfect! What I mean is that the world isn’t overly complicated and it is easy to follow along. Within a few chapters you know why the world is the way it is, why Seri struggles with her new position and how Graeme and his people operate. Getting a strong handle on the world a few chapters in really let me connect to these characters and their story–instead of focusing on what this term or that term is.

The Plot:

I got HOOKED into this story. Everything built at a great pace when I was reading. In hindsight, it took a long time to get to what the synopsis describes and I think the beginning is slow action wise. It also felt a little rushed at the end. However, I think it goes to show Jill Myles’ talent that none of that really mattered to me as I was reading. I was addicted to see what happened next and didn’t mind that it took me awhile to get there.

I would say the plot mostly focuses on Seri learning who she is and becoming comfortable with that person. It’s very “New Adult” in that respect. While the politics of the world are important, don’t expect some great political saga or action (ie fighting) packed story. The tension of the plot comes from the romance and the character development.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Seri–but I think that is part of the point. As I said before, it is her coming of age story in a way and so I expected her to have some great growth as we progressed and she did.

I did immediately like Graeme though. I think because we don’t really get his POV, he comes across as an already established character. He easily became a book boyfriend for me I think 😛

The Romance:

This is what sold me on this book: the sexual tension. WOW, it was off the charts. I’m not one for insta-love but I expected it given the synopsis–and in the end, I really didn’t mind. I really saw how these two worked together and it was a blast watching them find out for themselves. Definitely a New Adult romance and not a YA read.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Perhaps I just read this book at the right time but I really, really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to escape into this world. The romance is passionate and drives the story forward. I wish the plot had a better flow but I honestly didn’t realize until I had finished the book. If you want a New Adult vampire book, I recommend this one!

Read if You Like: vampires, forbidden romance, New Adult
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-love/connections, want more political drama

similarreads

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection Series #1)
  • Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series #1)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy

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Synopsis for A Court of Thorns & Roses (from Goodreads):
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy; ACOTR
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 3 (A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 3, will be published in May 2017
Genre: New Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Faeries, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was a huge fan of Throne of Glass before it became mainstream. I loved the world Sarah J. Maas created but before I could move her from a “must-read” author to a “favourite author” I needed to read another series/book by her. So when I saw that she was releasing a 2nd series my reactions were this: 1) WHAT?! Write Throne of Glass faster! Not start a new series!; and 2) Yes please!

I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is a very popular one. So I really was expecting something out of the box with this book; especially because it focused on actual Fae, my favourite fantasy species. I also was expecting some fantastic world building, a strong heroine (or at least one who becomes strong) and a great romance. Some tall shoes to fill but I knew Sarah J. Maas could do it.

This book was everywhere before and after its release! ARC reviews were posted months in advance and there was so much hype that I was a little terrified to read this. I avoided all reviews (sorry everyone!) so I could go into it with a fresh mind and give it a fair shot.

The Concept / The World:

I loved the world Feyre lives in because I LOVE faerie stories! Doesn’t matter how many faerie books I read, each one has its own unique flare that sucks me in and this book is no exception. Maas does a great job building up the world and devotes the first half of the book really explaining how the faerie world works. And this could have been really dry but I felt like things moved along at a decent pace for the first half of the book so it didn’t bore me.

As for the Beauty and the Beast element, I liked that it didn’t follow the traditional conventions. The parallels are obvious but I felt like each had its own little spin on it. I thought it worked really well and I would have to say it is one of the best (if not the best) Beauty and the Beast retellings I have had the pleasure of reading.

The Plot:

So, don’t hate me, BUT, I felt like the first half of the book was really slow. It could easily just be due to the fact that I was reading it really early in the morning or late at night so I was more than a little tired. However, I feel like there really wasn’t much happening in the first half of the book besides building up the world–which is fine and all but not my personal cup of tea. I like action in my books and when it comes to faeries, I love their games.

Which is why I adored the second half of the book. It focused more on the faerie world’s political games, had more romance and had better character growth. I couldn’t put down the book once I reached the halfway point. And I knew that going into this book because Throne of Glass was written in the exact same way: slow and building.  So while I was expecting it, that doesn’t mean I was happy that that was the case.

The Characters:

What I loved about this series is that these characters made you work to like them. Feyre is jaded and initially hard to like because she really isn’t in a good place in her life. You really sympathize with her and I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the novel.

Tamlin–yeah, I wasn’t completely sold on him. I really didn’t feel like he was present much in this book enough for me to develop a crush on him. Sure, in theory he is everything a swoon-worthy hero needs to be: mysterious, charming and caring. It just didn’t work for me.–I’ll explain more in my romance section. I feel like he’ll have some great development in the sequel (that seems to be the trend in the Throne of Glass Series) so I’m hoping that will convince me of his “amazingness”.

All the other characters were great. Love ’em or hate ’em, they were all well developed and evolving as the story progressed which was great.

The Romance:

For a majority of the book, I wasn’t really sold on the romance between Feyre and Tamlin. A lot of their interaction isn’t narrated verbatim, rather it is just summarized by Feyre after it happens. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great scenes between them–because they’re are–I’m just saying it didn’t totally convince me their feelings were at that higher level. I could see why they would suit each other, I just wanted more scenes together that showed that.

For me, I couldn’t see why Tamlin had such deep feelings for Feyre when they really hadn’t talked all that much. They ignored each other at the start of time together (or at least is seemed like that because a lot of their interaction happens “off-stage”) and then BAM! His primal instincts are calling for her. It was a little too alpha male for me and I don’t like alpha male heroes.

Eventually, I warmed up to their romance and was totally rooting for them–it’s hard not to really given what happens in the last third of the book. It’s just that they won’t be gracing the top of my favourite couples list anytime soon.

I know that some people’s concerns with the Beauty and the Beast romance is the Stockholm Syndrome  situation. I definitely had those thoughts when I started reading and I could see why people would label it as that (I mean Feyre can’t really leave) BUT, I felt like these two would have connected even if they weren’t kept to his estate for the majority of their relationship.

Now, I feel like I have to say that is book is more like a New Adult Fantasy than it is a Young Adult Fantasy. While the sex scenes aren’t fully described (and there really isn’t a lot of them either)–they are sex scenes that don’t leave much to the imagination which isn’t really a YA characteristic. I found that refreshing because I don’t understand why sex should be so taboo in YA (I’m not saying full out, descriptive endless pages here)–it happens people so why should we ignore it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really don’t know what to expect for the next book! While not everything is wrapped up in this book, I felt very satisfied in how everything is left at the end of the book. I’m not dying for a sequel though I really do want to read it. I have some worries because I fear that one of my least favourite romantic tropes is on the way BUT I’m putting my faith in Maas to deliver and totally shock me like she did with Crown of Midnight–no pressure though!

updates

–July 3, 2016– Book #2: A Court of Mist and Fury


I was really impressed with this book!

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses but somethings just weren’t on point for me, so it wasn’t an automatic 5 star read.

But what Maas does here is genius! The manipulation of the Beauty and the Beast story; the richness of the faery world; to Feyre’s character development–everything hits its peak here, making this one hell of a read.

While I still struggled to like Feyre, she definitely grew on me; as did the romance. The way everything interweaves and builds really helped with that.

I can’t wait to see what is in store for this cast of characters next!

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My Rating: 4/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses 4/5 | A Court of Mist and Fury 5/5 | Book 3 TBR

overall

I really enjoyed this book–it just didn’t WOW me. It started slow but really built up by the halfway mark and was hard to put down. It leaves a great setup for a fantastic sequel but I really don’t know what to expect! I’m looking forward to it!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, don’t like jaded heroines, don’t like fairy tale retellings

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