Tag «has novellas»

Series Review: Existence 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:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Existence (from Goodreads):

What happens when you’re stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he’s about to break all the rules.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: Existence Trilogy
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 3 (Existence, Predestined, Ceaseless)

There is a novella #2.5 called Leif

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Existence); Alternating (Predestined onwards)
Publication Dates: December 2011 – September 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I never read Ceaseless (Book 3). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought this series within the first year of me getting my Kobo…and it took me 4 years to get around to. Oops!

In those 4 years though, Abbi Glines has become one of my most read authors on Goodreads. I’ve devoured her New Adult series in days and absolutely love her works. But I never got around to this series until I had to set some priority reads for my Rock my TBR 2016 Challenge.

It has been a long time since I read a YA paranormal series (I mostly read fantasies or dystopian novels) but the concept sounded unique and I love Glines’ ability to write addicting romances so I was excited to start this.

The Concept:

I feel like the synopsis does a bit of a disservice to the story because you really don’t know Death is “Death” until you are past the halfway mark. I think I would have liked not knowing what type of paranormal creature he was until later. Seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity but Glines does throw some other twists in there to give you some surprises.

The Plot:

I kinda forgot what it was like to read a YA paranormal romance until I picked this up. You know, little plot besides the heroine mooning after some mysterious hero who she inexplicably feels drawn to. It was very Twilight-y to say the least.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I did find myself easily drawn into Pagan’s world and there is a bit of a mystery to uncover which made it exciting to read. But as I found myself nearing the end of Existence (say the 80%) when the real plot started to unravel, I realized that nothing really happened for the first 80% of the book. Predestined had a lot more going on in it, but I just didn’t care enough…

The Characters:

Pagan is a bit on the dull side if you ask me. I also didn’t like her character progression once she meets death. She’s one of those heroines who loses who she is when she meets her love interest and that annoyed me.

I felt like more could have been done with these characters. They are pretty surface level in terms of their development.

The Romance:

This was a little lacking for me. Why does Death become obsessed fall in love with Pagan? Why does Pagan fall for Death? I didn’t get the connection at all. It’s a little too insta-love for my preferences.

Oh! Did I forget to mention the love triangle? To be fair, it wasn’t that bad and actually contributes positively to the plot at times.

When to Read the Novella, Leif:

Read this after book 2, Predestined. But it’s really just some deleted scenes from another character’s POV from the first two novels.

Will I Finish It?

I wasn’t very attached to these characters, so I’m happy with not continuing. I read enough reviews of Ceaseless to know what goes down.

Series Rating: DNF

Existence 3/5 | Predestined 2/5 | [Leif] N/A | Ceaseless N/A

overall

If I read this when I was a teenager when my preference was for YA paranormal, I would have LOVED this series. Glines has a solid plot for a series of this type but unfortunately, at this point in my reading life, I need that little bit more to keep me interested.

Read if You Like: YA paranormal, Twilight
Avoid if You: dislike dull heroines
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Fresh Fridays: Three Dark Crowns (#1) by Kendare Blake

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Three Dark Crowns Series

book3 book4

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Three Dark Crowns (from Goodreads):

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

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Series: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
# of Books: 4 (Three Dark Crowns, One Dark Crown, book 3, book 4)

There is a prequel novella, The Young Queens.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, One Dark Crown will be published in September 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: September 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve had Anna Dressed in Blood on my TBR for YEARS but have never managed to pick it up. But when I saw this book on Stephanie @ In Wonderland‘s Make Me Read It Readathon options, I was more than intrigued.

The simple cover and that dangerous synopsis sounded AMAZING! I love stories with a darker edge to them and what is more sinister than 3 sisters having to duke it out to become queen? The answer: nothing. Well, maybe brothers having to battle it out.

What I Liked:

–The World–

I really liked the world we got here. It was easy to follow but is pretty complex and interesting. I never got lost in how the world or political system operated which was nice. The girls have such unique powers–it isn’t just straight magic and differing abilities in that respect–so that was really refreshing for me as a reader.

–The Strong Female Characters–

I’m not just talking about the sisters here; I’m talking about the world as a whole. One of the really cool aspects of this series is the matriarchal society. Women are the rulers and decision makers for the entire populace. It isn’t young women being carted off to the potential King to get married: it’s the young men to the potential Queen. It isn’t the men who decide what the triplets will do, it’s the women.

–Game of Thrones Political Vibe–

Essentially, this story is about 3 different groups competing to be the ruler of the entire world. Sound familiar? It’s basically the premise of every “kill to get the throne” novel but it really reminded me of Game of Thrones. All these people are trying to propel who they think deserves to be the Queen by whatever means necessary. There really is no holding back here and I enjoyed that a lot. I hate books that can’t take those risks.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It’s a really, really slow start when you expected something else–

I went into this novel thinking I was going to be getting action right away. Not the case. At all.

Instead, we get long chapters establishing the 3 girls in their current homes and communities. And yes, it was nice to establish the setting and all the players involved in the game, but I wanted action and I wanted it ASAP.

In fact, I feel a little let down by the synopsis. It made me think this battle for power was going to be the pain plot point. When in fact, what we get is the building up to that moment when the girls will have to fight it out. We wait a long time for “the night the sisters turn sixteen”.

But once I got over the fact that the plot I thought we were getting wasn’t actually the plot, I started to enjoy the novel more for what is truly was.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

This series ended with a bang which made the struggle at the start worth it. I feel like what I expected this novel to be, is what One Dark Crown will be. So I am very excited to read what happens next.

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

Three Dark Crowns 4/5 | One Dark Crown TBP

overall

If you know what to expect going into this, you’ll probably enjoy yourself a lot more than I did at the start. But if you want a strong world with a promising story, you’ll love this!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

similarreads

  • Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (Age of Legends Trilogy #1)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass Series #1)

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DNF Series Review: Undescribable by Shantel Tessier

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 Undescribable (from Goodreads):

Samantha Hall needs a fresh start

Broken hearted and alone in a new city, Samantha begins to build a new life for herself while working as a bartender. Focusing on her new friends and rebuilding her broken life, Samantha is content.

Until she meets him – attorney by day and a cocky, foul mouth playboy by night. All girls want Slade Long, but not one has ever been able to keep his attention for long. Having a different woman in his bed every night is how he prefers it-no emotion, no connection.

Until he meets her – an angel with the sweetest voice he has ever heard and the most enticing green eyes. Samantha makes him second guess his actions and has him wanting something he didn’t know existed. How can a man who has never been in love, be so sure? Can real love happen this fast?

Burned by her past, Samantha struggles to keep up with the overwhelming passion she feels for Slade. She knows that he will be nothing but trouble to her already fragile heart, but how long can she continue to deny the love that she feels for him?
Will Samantha let Slade prove his love is real, or will she push him away?

She thought she knew love…… He thought he never wanted love….. Together they will show each other what they can’t live without.

breakdown

Series: Undescribable Series or the UN Series
Author: Shantel Tessier
# of Books: 5 (Indescribable, Unbearable, Uncontrollable, Unforgettable, Unpredictable)
Book Order: Chronological (#1-3) & Connected (#4-5)

Full series reading order, including novellas, found here.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Unsure
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 2013 – April 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Undescribable (Book 1) at 14%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for the asshole playboy who gets turned into a bonefide boyfriend. I’m pretty sure that’s why I bought this book nearly 3 years ago…I’m really not sure why I bought this or how it crossed my radar.

But I was excited to start this. I was looking forward to a book filled with sexual tension after finishing a particularly slower novel.

What I Liked:

Honestly, nothing really stood out…probably why I DNF’d it.

What I Didn’t Like:

–One Dimensional Characters–

These characters didn’t seem to have much depth to them. Samantha was a little naive in my opinion about somethings. She was kinda uninspiring as a heroine and so I didn’t find myself rooting for her.

And Slade…he just didn’t work for me. He was definitely an asshole but he wasn’t winning me over to his side. I could tell that he was going to be a quick convert to the “whipped” camp. (I mean he was practically in love with Sam after hearing her voice on the phone for all of 5 minutes…)

–Drawn-out Plot–

While 14% might not seem like I got far into the novel before I DNF’d it, I was actually a solid 60 pages into the story. And the two of them had just met… I like my romances to start early in terms of the couples meeting. Yes, they did have the phone call interaction but I wanted a little more.

It’s not that the writing is especially detailed; I just think it focuses on the wrong things and tends to drag them out. It just felt like it was talking a while to get to the main plot.

Will I Finish It?

At the 14% mark, I couldn’t see where this story was going to go. It didn’t seem like there was going to be much of a plot besides these two playing cat and mouse. When I say that it was going to take me another 5 hours to read this book, I didn’t think I could do it. Add to it the fact that this series has two more books with these characters when there seemed to be nothing happening.

So no, I won’t be finishing this novel or this series.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

If I read this when I bought it, I would have enjoyed a straight romance series. But as I have evolved as a reader, I need more depth to my stories and characters.

Read if You Like: contemporary romance, asshole heroes
Avoid if You: a deeper story and characters.
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Blog Tour: Cry Wolf (Underwood District #1) by Greta Stone

Synopsis for Cry Wolf (from Goodreads):

Peter is a kitsune. Chaos follows him wherever he goes. Good intentions, bad intentions—it doesn’t matter. Even mimicking the howl of a friend he hasn’t seen in over a decade turns out to have disastrous consequences.

The wolf doesn’t have a name. For now, he goes by Luca. He has no past, and as an escaped slave, if he can’t stay hidden in the shadows, he’ll have no future. When someone steals his howl, he’s drawn to investigate, and ends up saddled with a mouthy fox who insists they used to be friends once upon a time.

Petty problems and a dubious reunion are pushed aside the longer they’re stranded together. The Underwood is a dangerous place.

They have two choices: work together or die.

Join Greta Stone in a dark paranormal MM romance retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and David P. Mannix’s classic novel, The Fox and the Hound.

Other books in the series:

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Series: Underwood District
Author: Greta Stone
# of Books: 1 (Cry Wolf)

Mating Season is classified as #1.5

Book Order: Unure
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance (MM), Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 1, 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to Cry Wolf for 3 reasons:

  1. Adult Paranormal Story
  2. Retellings of well known stories that aren’t always retold
  3. MM Romance

I’ve realized I’ve outgrown YA paranormal stories but I do so love the idea of them. That’s why I thought this would be a great one to get me back into the genre with its retelling and romance.

What I Liked:

–The World is Well Thought Out–

I really enjoyed the depth this world had to it. You can tell Greta Stone has invested a significant portion of her time crafting this detailed world because it has so many different layers to it. The weaving of various fairy tales and nursery rhymes is very well done and will have readers going “hey, I recognize that story!”–in a good way of course.

–Slow Burn Romance–

One reason I typically avoid any werewolf story is the insta-love that often accompanies the romance. You know the type where “instincts” call the two together to mate for no reason other than some unspoken tie. So colour me happy when that wasn’t the case here. This is classic slow burning romance that has an enemies to lovers flare to it that makes the romance all that much sweeter.

–Rebuilding the Past–

It was cool trying to uncover the past these two leads shared together. I think it helped to foster that budding relationship between them because they have this shared connection from the past–meaning there is more substance to the relationship than physical attraction.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Almost too Much is Happening at Once–

Truthfully, I had a very hard time getting into this because so much is happening at the start. A rare statement from me who usually dings books for not having enough action in their plotlines. The writing is a little overly descriptive at times and because it is told from a third person POV, I got a little lost in all the pronouns. For a while I couldn’t keep straight who Peter was and who Luca was in terms of their character back stories. **(Though, to be fair, I was also working the night shift and was very over tired while reading this so that could totally be a me thing)** This does get better as you read and start to get accustomed to the flow of the writing but it was a slow start for me. I’m sure those who are more acquainted with the paranormal/urban fantasy world will have no issue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I don’t know what is next for this series but I’m curious to see what story will be crafted next.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

Cry Wolf 3/5 | [Mating Season] N/A

overall
Those who are readily familiar with the adult paranormal and urban fantasy genres will gobble this up with no issue. You have lots of action, a slow burn romance and a suspenseful rebuilding the past story that will no doubt seize your attention.

Read if You Like: urban fantasy, paranormal retellings
Avoid if You: dislike third person POV, want more erotica based romance
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  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld Series #1)


Greta Stone

Greta is the unruly offspring of a tiger and a dragon. She spends most of her time reading, stalking her favorite musicians, and harassing other authors with pranks.

Underwood District Series (MM Romance/UF)
Cry Wolf – Book 1
Cry Wolf: Mating Season – Book 1.5

Take a Tour of New Gotham: www.brimstonepub.com

Sign up for GRETA STONE’S MAILING LIST and receive access to a bonus adventure featuring Peter and Luca.(Their fates might be changed forever.)

Copy and paste to join my newsletter: tinyurl.com/l99rh6m

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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The first 5 people to comment on ANY tour post (given on each day) will automatically win a free e-book copy of Cry Wolf! 

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Giveaway note from author:

Take a trip to New Gotham!

A paid vacation to New Gotham is an expensive affair. I found a witch who specializes in crafting gatestones. These magical pendants are used for traveling between dimensions. The bauble offered as a contest prize should take the winner to Avaline’s Trees. Keep in mind, gatestones are touchy things. It might not do anything at all. Or you might up in oblivion. Good luck with that. We’ll read about it in the papers, no doubt.

Elderstone Keys – What’s the big deal?

There is a house in New Gotham that is rumored to be haunted. No one has lived in it since the Great Depression, and no one can recall what its last occupants looked like, what they did for a living or where they went. Only one is fated to enter and learn its secrets. Anytime I host a contest, I give away keys to Elderstone. The person who collects ten of them is fated to own the house. Among their keys, they’ll have the mystical key that opens the door. (More information)

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Book Tour Organised by: ButtonXBT

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Series Review: Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters

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 Find You in the Dark (from Goodreads):
How do you keep going when you feel like your life is over?

Maggie never thought she’d see Clay again. So, she attempts to put her life back together after her heart has been shattered to pieces. Moving on and moving forward, just as Clay wanted her to.

Clay never stopped thinking of Maggie. Even after ripping their lives apart and leaving her behind to get the help he so desperately needed. He is healing…slowly. But his heart still belongs to the girl who tried to save him.

When a sudden tragedy brings Maggie and Clay face to face again, nothing is the same. Yet some things never change. Can the darkness that threatened to consume them be transformed into something else and finally give them what they always wanted? And can two people who fought so hard to be together, finally find their happiness? Or will their demons and fear drive them apart for good?

The thing about love, is even when it destroys you, it has a way of mending what is broken. And in the shadows, you can still see the light.

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Series: Find You in the Dark
Author: A Meredith Walters
# of Books: 2 (Find You in the Dark; Light in the Shadows)

There are two novellas: Cloud Walking (#1.5); Warmth in Ice (#2.5)

Book Order: Chronological

Cloud Walking (#1.5) is a connected story

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2012 – March 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Light in the Shadows (Book 2) at 55%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I came across this series. I think Kobo recommended it to me and I had seen it on a few blogs.

What grabbed my attention was the focus on mental health. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am a huge supporter of mental health initiatives and I love books that explore situations dealing with mental illness and the consequences of it going untreated.

So, I was looking forward to seeing how a high school romance would handle mental illness and I wanted it to be done in a thought provoking way.

The Plot:

I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember too much about the plot of Find You in the Dark (FYITD). I read it in November of 2013 and didn’t pick up the sequel, Light in the Shadows (LITS), until November 2016 for my Rock My TBR Challenge. I had tried to read LITS after finishing FYITD but just couldn’t get into it…

I do remember that I enjoyed the mental health aspect of the story in FYITD. It’s handled in a great way and in a way that is pretty realistic. It tugs on your heartstrings; making you empathetic to the situation at hand.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the plot of LITS. It was a lot of mooning and just didn’t seem to be going anywhere to me. It was just so boring even if I could appreciate what was attempting to be done. So I had to DNF it at 55% and I haven’t regretted it once.

The Characters:

When I composed my draft to write this series review in November 2013, all I wrote about the characters was:

“hard to like Maggie at times”

While I could sympathize with Clay’s situation (Walters does a great job at that I think), I didn’t really like Maggie at all. Over time, I’ve developed less tolerance for high schooler actions and I think that is what happened here. She just made decisions and thought in a way that I didn’t like or agree with. So that made it hard to me to want to root for this couple at times.

The start of LITS seemed promising in term of Maggie’s character development, but I felt like nothing really happened with her. I would have liked her going to some therapy sessions as well–especially with everyhting that happens in  FYITD.

The Romance:

The romance in FYITD was one of those all-consuming teenaged romances. And it has to be for this story to work.

But overall in the series, it becomes one of those romances that asks the question: can love truly heal? And I liked how the book when about it in theory, and for the most part, in its execution. I think I’m just past the stage of enjoying high school romances that can be a little over dramatic and so it didn’t really work for me.

Novella–Cloud Walking:

This was really cute and probably something most readers of FYITD will enjoy. It isn’t necessary to read it but it does provide that little extra backstory to events that happen with some side characters in FYITD.

Series Rating: DNF

Find You in the Dark 4/5 | [Cloud Walking] 3/5 | Light in the Shadows DNF’d | [Warmth in Ice] N/A

overall

This is one of those “great concepts; poor execution books” for me. Walters hits the mark right on the head with the mental health aspect. Probably one of the best I’ve ever encountered. It really just was the characters that fell flat for me. They bored me and I found it hard to root for them.

Read if You Like: mental health focused stories; realistic contemporaries
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy high school aged characters

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Series Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Wrath and the Dawn (from Goodreads):

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2016 Fav
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
# of Books: 2 (The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and The Dagger)

There is also 3 novella short stories. Full Reading Order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Heat Rating: warm *more implied than anything*
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: May 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s a bit of a weird story. I always thought that I had The Wrath and The Dawn on my TBR (ie Goodreads) because it was around quite a bit on the blogosphere when it was first released and it sounded like a story I would enjoy. When I saw it again at the bookstore, it’s cover (the one I added below) caught my attention and I thought it was a new book. But as soon as I read the synopsis, I realized that I already had marked this book as TBR. So imagine my surprise when I checked on Goodreads to see that I hadn’t even added it! I think I just added it to my library wishlist and left it at that.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

The revenge trope is one of my favourites; especially when there is an assassination involved. Perhaps that is a little morbid, but I find stories with that “I must kill my enemy” element are grittier and have that (obvious) element of danger to them. The stakes are higher and that makes every subsequent action even riskier and more thrilling. Forbidden love is so much sweeter when you fall for your target.

The Concept / The World:

I’ll be the first to admit, I know nothing about A Thousand and One Nights nor The Arabian Nights. I’m sure I would get more out of the retelling if I was more familiar with these works but it really isn’t necessary.

The world here is beautiful! I loved how Ahdieh was able to create this magical world that was so easy to see and emerge myself in without copious amounts of detail. The pages weren’t littered with unnecessary descriptions and so I never felt lost or bored while reading.

Oh! Also, there is a glossary! There were a few terms that I had to Google because I couldn’t find the glossary when I first looked for one. But don’t let that scare you! It’s not like there are a ton of terms you have to learn to enjoy this.

The Plot:

What I really loved about this series is that it wasn’t unnecessarily complicated. It struck that perfect balance between world building, character development and dramatic plot.

The Wrath and The Dawn has a great suspense to it. Why is Khalid killing his wives? Will Shazi really fulfill her need for revenge? I loved watching all that unfold before me. It really hooked me into the story–in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. I really just wanted to sit all day and read this compelling work.

The Rose and The Dagger also had a suspenseful plot but more for the political aspects–which I absolutely adored. It just had that hint of danger to it that had me glued to the pages. And the twists were fabulous!

The Characters:

I think Shazi can be a hard character to like initially. She’s hurt and jaded and she gives off this aura of selfishness that makes it hard to root for her. But she really grows throughout the series and I really appreciated that. And it wasn’t long before I was on her side, wanting her to succeed.

As for Khalid, I really liked him. As much as he is the catalyst for the story we get, the story really is about Shazi and how she deals with everything. And because of that, his development takes a bit of a backseat. But he really is a fascinating character to uncover as the series progresses. I always love a good, mysterious male counterpart.

But one of the highlights of this series is the strong secondary characters. I really fell for the rest of the cast as the story progressed.

The Romance:

This was lacking a bit for me in The Wrath and The Dawn. Despite the fact that it was easy to see why these two would fit together as a reader looking in, I just wanted their sparks elaborated on more. The romance was more implied than I would have liked; more show and tell than watching it unfold. But I still enjoyed it and liked these two together.

And I think that’s why I enjoyed The Rose and The Dagger more. Everything there was just emphasized that little bit more and the romance was definitely amplified there. Here, it was obvious why these two felt the way they did and it was a joy to watch as a reader.

The Novellas:

Well, to call The Crown & The Arrow and The Mirror & The Maze novellas is being generous. They are merely deleted chapters totalling 9 pages and are free on eBook sites. However, I do recommend reading The Crown & The Arrow before The Wrath and the Dawn for some context. Same with The Mirror & The Maze before The Rose & The Dagger. Nevertheless, you could get by without ever reading them as well.

The Moth & The Flame is an actual novella that is probably best read after The Wrath & The Dawn because it is a little spoilery about some side characters.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Wrath and The Dawn 4/5 | The Rose and The Dagger 5/5

overall

The entire series is crafted beautifully. From the characters to the drama to the romance; it’s everything you want in a solid YA series.

Read if You Like: retellings, forbidden love, duologies
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike more romance-based stories

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Series Review: Finding by Megan Smith

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 Finding Us (from Goodreads):
Jasmine Jennings is running from her past, something she never wants to deal with again. Starting out fresh in a new city, life is finally looking up.

That is until she meets him — Knox Mitchell. She tries to elude him, but he’s everywhere. When she finally gives in, he begins to avoid her.

One tragic night, Knox’s future was ripped away. His body and soul crave revenge from the man who took everything away from him, but when Jasmine crashes into Knox’s muddled life, he’s torn. What is he supposed to do about falling for the girl who was to be part of his plan for retaliation?

When all secrets are revealed can they move forward without the past destroying any hopes of having a future?

breakdown

Series: Finding
Author: Megan Smith
# of Books: 3 (Finding Us, Finding Ours, Finding Happiness)

Finding Ours is technically a novella

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Finding Happiness, is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how I found (pun not intended) Finding Us. I noticed that I had purchased it in March 2016 but have had it on my Goodreads TBR since January 2015. I thought that is was perhaps a recommended novel on Goodreads for Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker–but I can see that I read that particular novel after I added Finding Us so who knows.

But, when I got around to reading this series (which was first selected for my Make Me Read It Readathon and later read for my Rock my TBR challenge), I was very excited to read it. I love stories with secrets. I love stories with revenge. And like they do here, they often go hand in hand. So I was eager to uncover what Knox’s plans were for Jasmine and why they should never be together.

The Plot:

Finding Us started strong for me. Despite the cliched life of rich-girl-turned-rebel Jasmine, I did enjoy the start of this novel a lot. Knox was a bad boy who appeared out of thin air and I liked the feelings of suspense those scenes brought about. Who was Knox and what did he want with Jasmine? That anticipation is amped up with the brief and secretive Knox POVs included at the end of most chapters.

But somewhere in the middle, it just lost it for me. Sure, the secret is great–very unexpected and worthwhile–but it was the romance that completely fizzled for me.

The Romance:

There was this disconnect for me between Jasmine’s “I hate him; he gives me the creeps” and her “I want to jump his bones”. The same goes for Knox. What did Jasmine possess that made him want to give up his plans? I still don’t know the answer.

Romances can be based on some unseen connection; it’s not my favourite but it’s fiction. However, in a story like this where one character has been targeting the other for some seriously heavy revenge, I need more substance in the relationship–besides “the best sex of my life”–in order to say I’m on board.

The Characters:

Jasmine was pretty cliche I thought. Knox had his cliche moments as well but I was intrigued by the mystery he presented himself with.

What I really liked about Finding Us was the introduction of Knox’s friends. Their stories were much more interesting to me and they provided some bright spots; especially near the end.

The Novella — Finding Ours

This novella focuses on two characters you meet in Finding Us. It was exactly what I wanted the story to be; cute and heartfelt and romantic. The only bummer part was parts of it were recycled from Finding Us. Which makes sense because the later half overlaps with Finding Us but I didn’t really want a regurgitation word-for-word of what I had just read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

If you had asked me at the 50% mark if I would have continued on with this series, I would have said no. But I’m really intrigued by the character who is the star of Finding Happiness. There was a great setup for that and I can’t wait to see what story we get.

Series Rating: 3/5

Finding Us 3/5 | [Finding Ours] 3.5/5 | Finding Happiness TBP 

overall

I had a bit of a disconnect with the leads in Finding Us but the rest of the characters have me interested to see what is next. I’m not sure when Finding Happiness will be released, but I’m going to keep an eye on it for the time being.

Read if You Like: revenge stories, family secrets
Avoid if You: want stronger romance connections

similarreads

  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Until We Fly by Courtney Cole (Beautifully Broken Series #4)
  • She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla (Sheridan Hall Series #1)

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Series Review: Friends by Monica Murphy

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

Friends Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Just Friends (from Goodreads):

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Friends
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Just Friends, More than FriendsForever)

There is a prequel novella called One Night.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

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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 don’t like YA contemporary stories and I don’t like love triangles. So why on earth did I decide to read this one?

The simple answer: Monica Murphy.

She wrote one of the first (and one of my all time favourite) New Adult romance series, One Week Girlfriend. I adore that series. From the amazing characters to the fantastic plot twists, she knows how to write an addicting romance story. And her adult romance work as Karen Erickson is just as great.

So if anyone could sell me on a YA love triangle story, it’s her.

What I Liked:

–The Side Characters–

I love intricate stories and trying to figure out how everyone is linked together is what stole my attention here. I’m one of those readers who often gets caught up in the stories of the side characters and this story is no different.

When we met Amanda, I was immediately drawn into her story. Even Em’s character intrigued me with the little hints we get to see of her life. There are a lot of stories to uncover and I can’t wait to do that more.

–All the Drama–

While this novel mostly focused on Olivia’s romantic and friendship drama, we do get some other dramatics further on in the story. And I liked that a lot because it kept me interested. Most of it comes from the other characters we meet, but there are also some other developments in terms of Olivia’s life as well. It makes me eager to see what happens next.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Objects of Affection–

You know that expression, “lesser of two evils”–that describes this love triangle to a T. I honestly don’t like either of Olivia’s prospects and that was apparent to me early on in the story. Which made it hard to watch Olivia fawn over these two at times because they were not catches at all.

However, I did start to lean more towards a certain someone as more secrets are revealed so I’m curious to see how it all ends.

–The Abrupt Ending–

I thought this story was going to focus on Olivia and the resolution of her love triangle–yeah, so not the case!

Which is totally fine, it just was unexpected and I wished I had prepared myself to be left on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Note on Olivia:

I was really worried that I was going to hate Olivia as a character but I was surprised that that wasn’t the case necessarily. While she won’t be getting any praise from me by being the best heroine ever, she grew on me a little as the story progressed.

But I know that lots of readers will probably not like her character. If you are like me and don’t enjoy angsty lead heroines who change their minds on a dime, you probably won’t empathize with Olivia at the start. She fits the mold perfectly of a teenage girl who finds herself thriving on attention but doesn’t know how to handle it.

However, I did find myself sympathizing with her once the secrets were initially revealed because I understood her hurt. And while I may not agree with how she handled herself after all the shit hits the fan, I didn’t mind her as much as I worried I would.

The Novella–One Night:

I read this after I finished Just Friends–mostly because I didn’t know it existed until I was halfway through.

I’m glad I did because I feel like it gives away some tiny spoilers about some side characters. I much preferred uncovering their secrets in Just Friends because it gave me something to focus on other than the love triangle.

In the same breath, I think I wouldn’t have liked Olivia as much if I read this first. I think I would have created a not so favourable impression of her and it would have taken me longer to warm up to her. However, I do know that it’s the opposite for other readers.

I think if you are hesitant about reading this series, reading the novella is a good taste of what to expect. And it really can be read before or after because it just gives you a better understanding of the characters you are going to meet.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

It looks like we will be getting some more character POVs in the sequel…or at least I sure hope so! All the foundations have been laid down for a great sequel filled with some awesome plot twists and drama.

updates

–December 22, 2016– Book #2: More Than Friends

**I was not provided a copy for this novel**

I’ve been dying to read the story of these two since I picked up Just Friends…and it was everything I wanted!

I’m a sucker for the story where the popular boy falls for the “nobody” girl and this is no exception!

Amanda is a character you can really root for (Olivia in Just Friends was hit or miss). She’s aware of everything going on around her and seems to know when her friends (Olivia) are acting like idiots. But she is also self-conscious and that humanizes her as well. Sure, she makes some mistakes but you gotta remember she’s just growing up.

And Jordan…swoon! He just stole my heart. It’s obvious to anyone how much he cares and respects Amanda. He says all the right things and acts the way you want a totally smitten boy to.

Can’t wait to see how their story will wrap up!

–March 18, 2017– Book #3: Forever

**I was provided a copy of this novel for an honest review**

This was easily one of my most anticipated sequels this year and I adored every moment of it!

These two are just the cutest; Tuttle especially. His crush/love just warms my heart. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with a male hero in a story. Swoon!

I was really torn on what rating to give this book. While I loved this story and the characters, I was a little let down in the plot.

The whole reason we get this book is because these two have some unresolved issues that they need to work out. I went into this book excited to learn more about Tuttle’s character and see how he would open up to let Amanda in. Unfortunately, this aspect fell flat for me here in this book. We don’t get to uncover more about Tuttle than we already know and this story just goes through the motions of everyday life. Which is fine because I love anything with these two together but I just wanted that touch of depth to take that story to the next level. These two develop as characters in other ways but I wanted to see Tuttle grow that little bit more.

But fans will be more than satisfied with this installment! It has all the drama and teenage angst a fan could want!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Just Friends 3.5/5 | More than Friends 5/5 | Forever 4/5

overall

Normally, I avoid stories like this like the plague but I actually enjoyed this one! Every once and a while, a good angsty YA read is needed and this one meets that criteria without a doubt.

Read if You Like: teen angst, love triangles, YA contemporary
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Series Review: Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

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 Incarnate (from Goodreads):
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2016
Series: Incarnate Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite)

There is a novella #2.5 Phoenix Overture

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I started Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen Series and it was one of my favourites of 2015. Her Incarnate Trilogy had been on my radar thanks to their beautiful, eye-catching covers but I didn’t get inspired to pick them up until after I finished The Mirror King, the finale to The Orphan Queen Series. I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a book-hangover and thought another Jodi Meadows series could be the cure.

So I went to check what the waitlist was like at my library and saw that all the eBooks were available for checkout simultaneously–it was just a sign I had to listen to and so I picked these novels up!

The Concept / The World:

Reincarnation is a concept I haven’t really read about in a long time. The last series that really focused on this was the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel for me. Instead, I’ve been reading more novels focusing on alternate dimensions.

It’s an interesting concept that meets a cool fantasy twist with the appearance of dragons, centaurs and sylphs. Unfortunately, not much is done with these elements until the 3rd book (and by then I wasn’t really a fan of its execution), but it gives the world a unique flare that intrigued me.

The Plot:

Incarnate felt like it had no plot whatsoever–I literally just think time passed as Ana explored the new city and her relationship with Sam. But even then, I felt like nothing happened. The romance is subdued and predictable–your typical young adult fodder. The plot is so slow, I contemplated DNFing the book multiple times. Sure, there is a little bit of world-building to the story as the pages go by but I just wanted it to GO somewhere.  And it does get more interesting near the end when a major event happens, paving the way for Asunder.

Asunder has more of a mystery feel to it and starts much stronger than its inaugural novel. Now, Ana actually does something about the problems of her situation and the world. I started to get drawn into the world and the plot. Because there actually was a plot! But it started to lose me near the end; I felt like it was waiting to long to make its move. However, I much preferred Asunder to Incarnate.

Infinite gets some more physical action but didn’t impress me any more than the rest of the series. I actually would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t the last book–and by this point I just wanted to see how everything would wrap up. Even the use of the fantasy elements didn’t keep my attention. It was just too late to make me a fan of this series.

The Characters:

Ana is duller than an unsharpened pencil if you ask me. Even being an outcast didn’t help give her much of a personality. Part of the issue is that I understand why she is on the boring side: she is an outcast and has been raised her entire life to believe she is nothing. So it is fitting that she has a subdued personality. She does start to grow as the series does but she isn’t anything new nor anyone who inspires me to follow her story closely.

It’s the same sort of situation with the other characters. Given the state of their world (which is more apparent in the 2nd and 3rd books) it makes sense that these characters fit molds and see no issue with breaking out of them. I felt like everyone was subdued–even though I knew why–and I just didn’t “connect” with anyone.

The Romance:

Nothing new or exciting here. It actually got a little bit nauseating as I pressed on through the series. Though it was refreshing not having everyone in love with the heroine for once.

The Novella:

Definitely read the Phoenix Overture AFTER book 2, Asunder. It will spoil most of Asunder for you as it elaborates on the “big reveal”. The novella is well done and I does a good job of building upon the momentum of Book 2. It isn’t necessary to read but I highly recommend it if you are able to get your hands on a copy.

Series Rating: 3/5

Incarnate 3/5 | Asunder 3/5 | Infinite 2/5

overall

If you don’t enjoy Incarnate, I highly recommend that you do not pick up the rest of the series. All the books have the same slow plot mixed with some cheesy romance and dull characters. I’m glad I picked up Orphan Queen before I read this series because it would have made me super hesitant to pick it up.

Read if You Like: slow stories, fantasy
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike slow stories

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Spin-off Saturdays: Saints of Denver by Jay Crownover

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

Saints of Denver Series is a spin-off of the Marked Men Series

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breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: Saints of Denver

This is a spinoff of the Marked Men Series.

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 3 (Built, Charged, Riveted, Salvaged)

There is a prequel novella called Leveled

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Riveted, will be published in Februrary 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

warning
WARNING: If you have not finished the original series, this review may have spoilers!

thoughts

My Expectations?

To say I was excited for this series was an understatement. I had been anticipating Built before this spin-off series was even announced and I was dying to finally read this story.

Over the last year, Jay Crownover has become one of my favourite authors. Her books each have a unique flare to them but still evoke all the right feels when you read them. I simply devour any of her books and I always make exceptions to put her books on hold at the library despite my self-imposed limits.

So yah, I was just a little excited to finally read Built (and Leveled too!)

How does it compare to the original?

GAH! Built was absolutely fabulous! It evoked so many feels and was so hard to put down!

It had all the charms of the original series (complete with cameo appearances) plus a little something more that makes this series unique. You still get blazing hot passion between these characters and AMAZING character development but there is this little something that makes this series its own. It’s hard to put my finger on what that “little something” is (if you know, please tell me below!) but whatever it is, it sure works!

Anything I Didn’t Like?

That when it was finished it was over? And now I have to wait for the next one?

My Thoughts on Leveled:

I actually read Leveled after I read Built thanks to the way my holds worked at the library but it definitely doesn’t matter when you read it/if you read it at all. Leveled was a great way to wrap up the Marked Men Series and transition readers over to this one. It fills in some of the time gaps and gives you little hints about what to expect in Built.

This was my first Male-Male Romance and I don’t think it will be my last! It was super sweet and felt like a full story despite its novella size. It was a perfect way to bring closure to a certain character that I’ve wanted to know more about since Rule–and Jay Crownover did a great job with it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really excited to see what happens in Charged. There was just enough build-up in Built (pun intended) to make me super excited to see what is in store next! Is it May yet?

updates

–July 31, 2016– Book #2: Charged

This book was sizzling!

Thanks to the little hints we got in Built, I was eager to start this one. It was just as much fun as it was serious and I really enjoyed that. The suspenseful plotline near the end was a welcomed surprise as well.

These two had a great connection that balanced their relationship in a fantastic way. I’m not sure what stopped me from totally loving them together (maybe it was the slight insta-connection they had?) but, regardless, I enjoyed their journey from start to end.

Can’t wait to start the next one!

Series Rating: 5/5

[Leveled] 5/5 | Built 5/5 | Charged 4/5 | Salvaged TBP

overall

Another great series by Jay Crownover. Fans of the original series will love this new cast of characters and new readers who love all the feels! Definitely worth a read!

Read if You Like: contemporary romance, character development
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Built (from Goodreads):
Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

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