Tag «guilty pleasure read»

Series Review: Made Men by Sarah Brianne

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 Nero (from Goodreads):
Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

I just want to be a fu**ing made man.
I’m just a fu**ing waitress.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Guilty Pleasure 2015
Series: Made Men
Author: Sarah Brianne
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Bad Boys, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2014 – December 2018
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I found this series. I think it was recommended to me by Kobo from my previous purchases OR I found them when I was buying other books. Regardless, the synopsis sounded intriguing. I love reading about player bad boys who get turned around by a girl they never expected and that’s what Nero looked like it was going to be given what I read.

Also, those covers! I’m not just talking about the attractive models, there is just something so visual striking about both of them. So I picked both Nero and Vincent up for under $5 and put them on my TBR.

The Concept:

I always really enjoy Mob/Mafia Family stories. While I’m normally not a fan of romantic suspense stories, I enjoy the complex nature of mafia-orientated stories. You have family loyalty tested and the perfect setup for forbidden love.

The mafia in this story is pretty stereotypical but that’s exactly what I expected. I also like how there is an ongoing plot regarding the family that links all the books together despite their focus on a different set of lead characters.

The Plot:

Hmmm…where to start…When I first started Nero, I almost put it down. You know when teenagers attempt to act like adults and it just makes everything a little awkward? That’s what the plot is in this story. I had to remind myself numerous times that these characters were 17 and in high school–not 24 and in college. Everything was really melodramatic and over the top. Some of the things Nero and his crew do blew my mind and had me shaking my head to make sure I was reading everything correctly. The plot in this series is definitely over the top…but the weird thing was that I kinda grew to like it.

Reading Nero reminded me of watching Secret Life of the American Teenager for the first time. You watch one episode to see what it is about and then you find yourself 5 episodes in because it is so cheesy and ridiculous you can’t wait to see what crazy stunt they are going to make the characters undergo next.

This series reads like a soap opera but with a lot of suggested violence and descriptive sex scenes. It really isn’t unlike anything you might see on your typical teen TV soap nowadays but everything was just taken to that little bit too far for me.

Basically, this series was so bad it was good–in a total guilty pleasure kind of way. I feel like if I hadn’t bought these books (thus feeling a compelling need to read and finish them), I would have DNF’d Nero and never picked up Vincent. And now that I am two books in, I feel the need to read Chloe when it comes out because I need to know what happens next…damn.

The Characters:

I like a confident guy but, as you can already guess, Nero was a little too much for me. He did have some really sweet moments but for the most part, I wasn’t a huge fan. He seemed too wish-washy in his personality (sometimes he would act like a teenager and other times he acted like a 40 Christian Grey) and that made it hard for me to get a solid grasp on his character. Elle was the same way. I liked her desire to protect her friend but I didn’t like her character development too much. In Vincent, I didn’t really care for either of the leads for the exact same reasons.

The girls in both Vincent and Nero really bothered me and I explain why in the Romance section.

The Romance:

This is where my mixed feelings about Nero come in. Near the end of the story, I really started to root for Elle and Nero. Like I said before, I have a soft spot for forbidden love and stories where the bad boy falls for the nice girl.

However, at the same time, their relationship really disturbed me. Again, part of the problem is their young age and how I felt like they were playing pretend adults throughout the story. I thought their relationship dynamic had its moments where it just wasn’t healthy. It really upset me how easily Elle fell into a submissive role and it worries me that young girls will read this and find Nero’s possessive and dominating attitude “sexy”. Some moments boarded on abusive, making it hard for me to love their relationship.

It was the exact same situation in Vincent, even if the heroine of that one did seem to be aware of the situation. And given the potential characters in Chloe, I know it is going to be the exact same. My hope is that people will read this romance and see that it is FICTION--not realistic or reflects romance in the real world.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Chloe is going to focus on a love triangle–normally a huge turn off for me and to be honest it still is here. However, I’m curious to see how it will play out. I’m not dying to get my hands on it, but I will consider picking it up if I come across it after its release and the price is reasonable.

updates

–February 7, 2017–

I have opted not to continue with this series. I don’t even remember anything about the characters so I think now is a good time to let this series go.

Series Rating: DNF

Nero 2/5 | Vincent 2/5 | Chloe N/A | Lucca N/A | Angel N/A

overall

If you like over-the-top, melodramatic books where teens try to be adults, you will really like this series! For me, it was just too much and I had a hard time taking it seriously. In the past, I’ve read a lot strong YA/NA series that have a similar tone but a better execution.

Read if You Like: melodramatic series, high school new adult
Avoid if You: dislike alpha males, dislike soap operas

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Series Review: Sinners on Tour by Olivia Cunning

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 Backstage Pass (from Goodreads):
Five stunning guys, one hot woman, and a feverish romance…

For him, life is all music and no play…

When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius…

She’s the one to call the tune…

When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on…

Then the two lovers’ wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory… and sin…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read
Series: Sinners on Tour
Author: Olivia Cunning
# of Books: 5 (Backstage Pass, Rock Hard, Hot Ticket, Wicked Beat, Double Time, [Sinners at the Altar, Sinners in Paradise, Sinners Rock the Cradle])

Sinners at the Altar/in Paradise/Rock the Cradle are anthology books that are extended epilogues of the previous novels.

Book Order: Connected

The order of the events in the books doesn’t follow the publishing order for the first 5 books. The books’ order according to timeline: Backstage Pass, Rock Hard, Hot Ticket, Wicked Beat, Double Time. I read them in order of events, not publication.

Complete?: No, Sinners in Paradise and Sinners Rock the Cradle have yet to be published.
Genre: Erotica, Contemporary, Rock stars, Kinky, Music, Drama, BDSM
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2010 – March 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That as of publishing this review, I have only read the first 3 novels in this series (Backstage Pass, Rock Hard and Hot Ticket). I have opted not to read the rest of this series.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I honestly have no idea why I decided to read these books. I guess I wanted to try a new “erotica” series and I’ve been enjoying reading New Adult books about rock stars and musicians so it seemed like this series was an obvious choice.

My Review:

As you can expect, these books are basically about having sex with rock stars. And unsurprisingly there is a lot of sex. I think in Backstage Pass, you could probably go about 5 pages (max) before the couple was having sex or fondling each other. And it isn’t necessarily your everyday vanilla sex either: it’s got a bit of a kink to it and that kinkiness gets more elaborate as the series wares on. This series is pretty much every female fantasy about rock stars coming to life: so if your fantasy rock star does it in your dreams, he probably does it in this book.

I like a bit of spice to my books as much as the next person but I don’t need copious amounts of it in my novels. I also don’t enjoy BDSM or “heavier” sex novels and these books bordered on that line at times. However, I did enjoy the story underneath all the sex (though there really wasn’t much there). It was a definitely guilty pleasure read and I think readers who need a mindless romance novel to read after reading a darker, more serious story (like I do) will enjoy it.

The books are quite long as well: which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about erotica novels. I personally wished they were condensed a bit more so that I got more plot but they are easy reads to get through for sure.

updates

–November 2, 2014– Book #3: Hot Ticket

I just finished Hot Ticket (book 3) and I think this book is my favourite out of the series so far. I really liked the two leads and I found I didn’t get annoyed by them like I did in Rock Hard. I also liked that they built more of an emotional connection other than just their physical chemistry. I had planned to just read this book here and there while I read another book but I actually got pretty hooked into this one and finished it in a weekend.

Series Rating: DNF

Backstage Pass 3/5 | Rock Hard 3.5/5 | Hot Ticket 4/5

overall

If you are looking for a hot, mindless read with lots of sex (and not of the vanilla kind)–this is a series for you!

similarreads

  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks (Sweet Series #1)

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Series Review: Fighting Fate by Maree Green

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: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014 (Muse)
Series: Fighting Fate
Author: Maree Green
# of Books: 3 (Muse, Hush, Fade)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Fade is set to be published
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Music, Suspense (Hush)
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts on Muse:

This post was orginally posted as a Toonie Tuesday Feature Post

Muse was a freebie read from Amazon that I decided to read immediately after downloading it. It seemed to combine aspects of New Adult reads that I love: girl falling for her brother’s BFF, rock stars and no-strings attached relationships that lead to more. But it also was set in high school which was a setting I hadn’t encountered all of these aspects in before. And so I dove right and … and then had a hard time putting it down.

We immediately get pushed into the thick of things within the first two chapters and things just go from there. I really liked Jace and Mia together and I felt like their relationship was developed well though I wished they would have talked more to each other. Everything happens so quickly and I felt like their emotional connection could have been brought up to par with their physical connection. It was a little to “insta-connection” for my personal tastes but to be fair, I saw more interaction between them later in the book so I didn’t mind too much.

Muse was definitely a guilty pleasure read. It was fun and over the top at times but I enjoyed every second of it. Because the characters are all still in high school I sometimes felt like they were playing grown-up with all the swearing and sex that they were having. Maybe this is how high school is now (or what some authors perceive it to be) but I know my high school wasn’t as dramatic as this one! I think if they were in college it might make it a little easier to take but considering they were only a few months from graduating high school I really didn’t let it get to me. Again, this was a total guilty pleasure read for me.

As for the writing itself, it was nothing overly fantastic. As I said before, I felt like I was reading a story about what an adult perceived high school to be like for teenagers. The drama is what you would expect in a TV show and not what you actually get in real life (but then again, I’ve been out of high school for some time). But, I really liked the flow of the story and I found it super easy to read and get lost in it.

I’m surprised that Hush, book 2, is about Mia’s friend Kaeli and not another member of the band. Considering the band is named “Fighting Fate” and the series is titled that I just assumed that the book would be about another member of the band and I was hoping it would be about the lead singer in particular or Mia’s brother. I’ll be picking it up I think because the synopsis is intriguing but I have some other books I want to read before I get to Hush.

updates

–March 5, 2016– Book #2: Hush

When I said I had a lot of other books to read before Hush, I wasn’t lying. This one got to the top of my TBR list thanks to my Rock The TBR Challenge when I randomly drew it from my jar.

This book had a different type of plot line than Muse but a lot of the same feels. The idea of finding someone who makes you feel safe, comfortable and gets who you are as a person remains the theme for this series. However, the plot line here was more suspenseful than your average contemporary romance read. There are elements of danger that make the story seem way more dramatic than it needs to be but I knew that going into the story. The dangerous storyline did keep me interested though because it was very unpredictable. I’m not a huge suspense fan but I liked the way it progressed.

It lost me a little near the end but I liked the majority of the book. I liked the romance, not as much as in the previous but that one is hard to beat I think. Definitely another guilty pleasure read for me though I am very excited for Fade.

Series Rating: 4/5

Muse 4/5 | Hush 3.5/5 | Fade TBR

overall

I really enjoyed Muse because it was fun to read. I liked watching Mia and Jace falling in love and seeing how they dealt with all the drama thrown at them. For a free read, it was really great but I would have been satisfied even if I had paid for it. If you like stories about up and coming musicians and/or finding that person who makes you feel safe, you’ll enjoy this series.

Read if You Like: high school new adult, dramas, over-the-top situations
Avoid if You: dislike new adult, dislike drama

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Muse (from Goodreads):
After a life altering tragedy during her childhood, Mia Campbell is left with an incapacitating fear of crowds – especially angry ones. Now at eighteen, with her final months of high school before her, she only has one goal: To remain unseen…
Jace Wallace is about to start living a rock star’s life. As lead guitarist for the newest internet sensation, Fighting Fate, he’s rocking the stage – and a different girl – every weekend, and that’s the way he prefers it. With the band’s popularity about to explode to new heights, he doesn’t have time for complications. Or commitments. He only has one goal: To succeed…
The only thing standing in the way of achieving their goals? Each other.
When unusual circumstances bring the two of them together, and one thing quickly leads to another, Mia finds herself proposing an arrangement she never thought she’d ever consider. A no-strings-attached relationship. But when feelings start creeping in, and their one goal blurs to include another, they’re both forced to make a decision.
Sit back and take what Fate hands you, or fight for what you want.

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DNF Series Review: Hart by Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash

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

The Hart Series

 book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014
Series: The Hart Series
Author: Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash
# of Books: 3 (Chosen Heart, Shattered Heart, Destined Heart)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Soap Opera, Workplace Romance
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts on Chosen Heart:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel, Shattered Heart. Find out why below…

When I read the synopsis for this book when browsing Kindle’s Bestseller Freebie lists, I was really excited to read it. Never mind the other 100 books that I had previously acquired for my Kindle or the books I had out from the library–I had to read this one. The whole “you don’t marry your dirty little secret” line of the synopsis is what really drew me in. In my mind, that meant I was in for some good drama and a dash of mystery so I was there.

My initial impression of Chosen Heart was that is was very Fifty Shades of Grey-esque. A younger, just starting out in the real world (in this case a new job) girl meets a mysterious rich, slightly older man; has a best friend who is in love with her and features the classic “I’ll save you” at the bar scene. But to be fair to this book, it isn’t a regurgitation of Fifty Shades. Yes it has similar elements but I didn’t feel as though I was rereading Fifty Shades. Another key difference is that this book features an alpha male but one who isn’t super rich or into BDSM–so score there on that last point (unless you like that kind of thing)! So while this book starts as your typical contemporary, business setting romance it moves in a completely different direction.

The best way to describe this book is as a soap opera in a novel. There is a lot of back and forth between Alex and Elyssa in terms of their relationship and there are plenty of rivals for their affections at every turn. The last quarter of the book is the very definition of a soap opera to me when everything starts to come together and the drama unfolds. I felt like I was watching an episode of Dallas because it got very soapy near the end 😛

Truth be told, I probably would have stopped reading it because it felt like it was dragging at times. It’s weird to say that things were dragging considering everything really happens in a matter of days but it just seemed like it was the same regurgitation of things: he likes me, he ignores me, we reunite, we stop talking, ex-boyfriend shows up, etc. But this book kind-of became a guilty pleasure to me because I really wanted to know what all the secrets were. And I have to say that while I had my suspicions about what they would be and I was correct, there were a few good spins that I didn’t see coming that really added to the over-the-top drama.

I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the characters of Alex and Elyssa. Sometimes I would like them and other times I just wanted to smack them on the head. I never really liked Elyssa to be honest though there were a few moments I thought I might get on her side. She just rubbed me the wrong way with how she handled things and I felt like she was expecting too much from something that happened so quickly. She makes a lot of assumptions about things and sometimes the assumptions seemed so out of left field. Though to be fair, Alex was just as bad with his assumptions as well.

Alex was a very alpha male character and I didn’t feel that it was totally warranted at times considering they just met. I also felt like he was just going through the motions of the stereotypical alpha male but was missing a few things along the way. I didn’t always get how he got from point A to B–I just felt like he was missing a piece to his character here and there. Most of the time I think it was used to create drama for the reader but all it did for me was irritate me because it seemed to be so senseless. But I did like him when he expressed his views about the “big freshman secret” because he was completely right in my opinion–even if I didn’t like his physical reaction to it.

As I was finishing this book, I sort-of came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be reading the sequel. I didn’t love Chosen Hart as much as I thought and I really didn’t see what could happen in a sequel–so I wasn’t about to subject myself to more “he loves me, he loves me not” chapters. But once I got to the final few chapters, I found myself curious to see what would happen next. I think if my reading list permits it, I will check out the sequel but as of this moment, I am going to leave the series as is and finish it at a later time.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a good soap opera book, this is it. I felt like I was watching an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful unfold before my eyes as I read. A definite guilty pleasure read!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Chosen Heart (from Goodreads):
Elyssa Hart has tried to forget that frightful night during her freshman year of college. Since then it’s been hard to let anyone close, which is why she only has one friend near and dear to her heart. Forsaking all others, she lives a silent, lonely existence. That was until she jumped into the next chapter of her life; Sales Executive at the prestigious Salerno Health, Inc.

The moment she met the always calm and collected Alexander James, her life was set on a new path. One moment she’s slowly falling in love and the next she’s plummeting painfully to the ground with the realization that you don’t marry your dirty little secret; you keep her in the closet. That was, until she found out she was not his only kept secret.

Will the enigma of Mr. James be more than Elyssa can handle? Or will she choose him, like she promised she always would.

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