Tag «I’m with the band»

Series Review: Love Unplugged by Jamie Howard

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

Love Unplugged Series

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Synopsis for All the Ways You Saved Me (from Goodreads):

Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.

Law school? Check.

Camera-ready smile? Check.

A dull and boring existence? Double check.

But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend’s unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.

It’s while she’s checking off her first item on the list–buy coffee for a stranger–that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he’s a complication Bianca doesn’t need but desperately wants.

With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she’s buried under what’s expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she’s willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author –> Favourite Author
Series: Love Unplugged
Author: Jamie Howard
# of Books: 4 (All the Ways You Saved Me, The Feeling of Forever, The Way Back to Us, After All This Time)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, After All This Time is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 1, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

If you’ve been following my blog at all this year, you should know that I found one of my new favourite authors in Jamie Howard. Her novel, Until It’s Right is one of my all-time favourite NA reads–like I plan on rereading it over the years to come–because it is perfection. So when I was asked if I wanted to read her latest novel, I think you know what my answer was…after I jumped around like my butt was on fire!

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Even if Howard wasn’t the one to write this one, the premise of All the Ways You Saved Me sounded fantastic. It promised to have amazing character growth accompanied with a heartwarming romance. And given my experience with Howard’s other works, I knew that was just what I was going to get!

What I Liked:

–The Character Growth–

Without a doubt, this is the strongest aspect of this novel. If you want a solid NA story where both characters transform before your eyes: this is it.

Bianca was a great lead! I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with her given her family background but I didn’t find that to be the case. I think anyone who has ever dealt with others pressuring them to live their life a certain way will empathize with her. I loved her story from start to finish.

But it was really Ian’s story that really surprised me. I didn’t expect to love him as much as I did! His story is told as flashbacks to the past and I thought that was a great method. Instead of simply getting told during some “grand reveal” scene, the reader gets to experience what he went through–and let me tell you, it is a heart-wrenching (albeit beautiful) story…

–A Romance Focused on Friendship–

What I really liked about these two together was how their relationship made them better people individually. I hate when couples get so absorbed into each other that they lose sight of themselves. That really isn’t the case here. It’s easy to see why these two work together. They start as friends that challenge each other to do things they might not usually do and it blossoms from there.

It’s just a heartwarming story that makes you believe in love.

What I Didn’t Like:

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like. It was just a really good, solid story that captured my attention from start to finish and reminded me what I love to see in romances.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

OMG, there are so many great directions this series can go. I know I have a few stories I would like to see unfold…so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

updates

–January 15, 2017– Book #2: The Feeling of Forever

Is it possible to rate a book higher than 5 stars? Seriously, this book deserves more than 5/5!

WOW, just WOW! This is one of the best Contemporary romances I’ve read recently. No doubt about it!

This story had it all for me: extremely likeable characters, a heart-melting romance and a heart-pounding plot. I could not put this one down!

Jules and Felix are just a great pair. Their relationship had a solid foundation right from the start. The way they communicate and interact with each other: swoon. It’s just a beautiful story. I loved these two so, so much.

As for the rest of the book, it was great. It had the perfect balance between the romance and the drama. And what fabulous drama it is! It just added another layer to this already great story but without overshadowing it.

Honestly, Howard has perfected her craft. I literally cannot wait for the next book in this stellar series!

–December 6, 2017– Book #3: The Way Back to Us

This novel was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. To say I was super duper excited to start this is an understatement of possibly epic proportions.

It was nice to get some closure for Gavin. I was super curious to learn more about the girl who captured his heart and I was not disappointed in the journey to learn all about it.

Like The Feeling of Forever, this one has a romantic suspense vibe to it. Which was a little unexpected but kept me hooked and constantly coming up with new theories for what was happening. Of course, I was totally wrong so bonus points for that twist! But the whole premise gave this story a unique feel to it and I found it to be a refreshing take on the second chance romance.

My only complaint is that I wanted to see how these two fell in love. For me, it almost read like a sequel novel to their first book where they fell in love and this was the novel to wrap it all up to see if love can conquer all. Instead of being shown why they belong together we are told why they shouldn’t be together. I’m a reader who likes to see those romantic moments where couples fall in love. It doesn’t always work for me to be told why these two love each other as they battle the dramatic plot lines.

However, it did work here in a way. Obviously, these two make a great pair and I loved them together.  As I reader I definitely got why these two would fight everything to be together. In that aspect Howard succeeds in her writing. But I wanted a little bit of that “so called” first book of theirs because I’m a huge fan. I wanted to see them meet and establish what is a great relationship and partnership instead of seeing it already exist. We get little tidbits here and there but I craved more because I just loved these two characters so much.

My Rating: 5/5

All the Ways You Saved Me 5/5 | The Feeling of Forever 5/5 | The Way Back to Us 4/5

overall

If you want a New Adult romance that is somewhat lighter on the romance but features strong characters that transform before your eyes while melting your heart: this is it!

Read if You Like: character development, books about grief
Avoid if You: want more sexual content, dislike New Adult

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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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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

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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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Series Review: Neon Dreams by Caisey Quinn

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 Leaving Amarillo (from Goodreads):
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.

Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.

Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Neon Dreams Trilogy
Author: Caisey Quinn
# of Books: 3 (Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Music, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Leaving Amarillo); Alternating (Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Publication Dates: March 2015 – October 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve really enjoyed Caisey Quinn’s other two New Adult series. She is really a must read New Adult author for me at this point so I was really looking forward to reading Leaving Amarillo–though I did have some hesitations.

I really liked the Kylie Ryan Series, which is about a young woman trying to make it in the country music world. So I was worried that this series was going to have a lot of similarities…

Yeah…I was so wrong!

The Plot:

I won’t lie, I was expecting a straight-up romance when I started Leaving Amarillo. So I was a little shocked when I saw that the eBook was close to 300 pages long (the average book is about 230-250 pages long). Did that mean that the romance was going to get dragged on? I sure hoped not.

Silly me! You can tell it had been a long time since I read a Caisey Quinn novel because I really should know better!

What I love about Quinn’s novels is that she truly balances the romantic side with the character and plot development. Meaning, she really hits the tri-factor of what a great New Adult novel should be: a strong romance, growing characters and an interesting plot. In other words: New Adult Goldmine!

What I love about the plot is that it spans all the books; meaning it doesn’t get fully resolved in the first two books and there are some lose ends to tie up in Missing Dixie. Which is great! It’s been a long time since I’ve followed a journey with a set of characters in contemporary romance. Most New Adult series focus on a core group of friends but each book is dedicated to two specific people. So you don’t really get to watch the characters you meet in the first book continually grow. I mean, you see their little cameo appearances here and there but my point is that everything usually gets wrapped up within their own books and that isn’t the case here. Leaving Amarillo follows the band, but mostly focuses on Dixie; Loving Dallas focuses entirely on Dallas and Missing Dixie will be the resolution for the band.

Perhaps that’s a little frustrating because you have to wait for the next novel, but is it worth it? Definitely!

The Characters:

I really grew to like these characters. They have so much history between them that at times you feel like the new kid trying to break into their existing group, so it took me a while. Everything builds slowly with these people but by the end you go “where did the last 150 pages go?”.

I was really worried Dixie would be just like Kylie (who I love don’t get me wrong) but I was pleasantly surprised that they really aren’t anything alike. Yes, they share a similar path of finding what they want in life and moments where they take a stand for themselves but they are different. Dixie is much more timid and has to find confidence in herself; which makes her character development so great. I never got annoyed with her and she never rubbed me the wrong way.

And that’s the same with the rest of the characters–well, maybe Gavin who I wanted to give him a little wake-up smack but that’s all part of the romance–I really began to root for these characters as I read their stories which made it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

Gah, there was the perfect amount of focus on the romantic side of things. You have all the sexual tension and then the actual “moments” (if yah know what I mean ;)) but I never felt like you had too much of one or the other. And the romance never overshadowed the plot. It complimented it in such a great way that made these books so much fun to read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to see everything wrap up in the finale! I’ve really come to care for these characters and I’ve really enjoyed this journey so far!

updates

–December 11– Book #3: Missing Dixie

This was a fantastic way to end the series! I felt like it started a little slow but it did build up it momentum as it went. I really like the direction this story took; it surprised me in a great way and I loved how everything had built up to this grande finale. The romance is white hot–I mean the tension is so there it is almost palpable. Sure, it was frustrating watching these characters not communicate when it would solve all their problems but I want them to succeed SO MUCH it made reading it frustrating in a fun way. Also, I definitely shed some tears with this one! I don’t think there has been a Caisey Quinn series that I haven’t shed a few tears for at some point.

Series Rating: 4/5

Leaving Amarillo 4/5  |  Loving Dallas 4/5  |  Missing Dixie 4/5

overall

If you want a New Adult story that is realistic in its approach to the music-celebrity-lifestyle, this is the series for you! This series has a great blend of romance, plot and character development. One of the best new New Adult series I’ve read this year!

Read if You Like: stories about making it big in music, sexual tension, drama
Avoid if You: don’t like overarching plots, want more romance

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Fresh Fridays: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1)

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:

The Heartbreaker Chronicles

Other books in the series:

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Synopsis for The Heartbreakers (from Goodreads):
“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Netgalley Read 2015
Series: The Heartbreaker Chronicles

This series is linked with her other novel, My Life With the Walter Boys

Author: Ali Novak
# of Books: 2 (The Heartbreakers, The Queen of Hearts)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, The Queen of Hearts is currently being published on Wattpad
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Romance, Music, Realistic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  |  Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Fire!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Well of course, the cover drew me in, and it was a cover that kept popping up everywhere I turned. So, I read the synopsis and knew I IMMEDIATELY had to read it. Average girl falling in love with a popstar? That’s right up my alley (Rockstar romances are my favourite trend this year). But what really captured my attention was the ill sister–this was an aspect that promised a heartwarming (possibly heartbreaking) plotline.

Needless to say, I was super excited when I was a approved to read this and couldn’t wait to dive in!

What I Liked:

– The Romance –

Boy, I was swooning within five seconds of meeting Oliver! He was charming and genuine–basically everything you want in your favourite pop-punk crush. Watching Stella and Oliver interact had me wanting more and I couldn’t put this book down! (It was torture being at work when all I wanted to do was stay in bed and read this!)

– The Family Dynamic –

Stella’s family situation was perfectly balanced with the romance. I enjoyed watching her grow as a person; learning what her fears were and how to conquer them. The situations she faces in her everyday life–a sick sister, a brother leaving home for college, herself leaving for college–really grounded this book in realism, making Stella relatable in an otherwise unorthodox situation. It added a depth to Stella’s character that I appreciated.

What I Didn’t Like:

– The required Romantic “Drama” Scene –

I was LOVING this book until this one romantic plot element that I could have done without. Now, because I don’t list spoilers, that previous statement makes it seem like some unfathomable event happened that ruined the entire book.

That isn’t what happened!

I saw this particular plot device a mile away but I had really hoped that wouldn’t happen. I see why it was added but for a book that was pretty logical and flowing, it really put a not-so-great kink in things. It made my love for the characters diminish just a touch BUT, it was really just one small aspect in an otherwise great novel.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I didn’t know this was going to be a series when I picked it up so I am ecstatic! I loved the rest of the band and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the boys!

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My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

It has been a long time since I wanted to put everything on hold just to finish a book! Normally, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary YA romance but this one had so many great elements that I loved. Can’t wait for more!

Read if You Like: coming of age stories, musicians, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: don’t like YA contemporary

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Series Review: Mayhem by Jamie Shaw

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 Mayhem (from Goodreads):
When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He’s soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn’t recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious “Peach” he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can’t help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam’s rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She’d just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she’s fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite New Adult Read 2015
Series: Mayhem
Author: Jamie Shaw
# of Books: 4 (Mayhem, Riot, Chaos, Havoc)
Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rockstar, Music, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I picked it up / What I was expecting:

I’m a sucker for a good rockstar romance and I’ve yet to really find one that satisfies my expectations. The Sinners on Tour Series is good but it has far too much sex for me and the Fighting Fate Series is a little too high school for me (though I did love it!). So when I randomly stumbled upon this series, I felt like I found a winner and other reviews seemed to confirm it.

The Concept & Plot:

There really isn’t much plot to these books besides the romance–which really was fine with me! I enjoyed watching these couples come together and there is so much sexual tension that I was a very happy camper. In particular, I had just finished some heavier books when I picked up Mayhem and it was the perfect recharge book for me. I truly had a hard time putting it down because it was just plain fun to read!

While I wouldn’t say these books are straight humour books, I did chuckle throughout them. The lightness to them reminded me a lot of Cora Carmack’s Losing It novel and I really enjoyed that aspect to them.

The Characters:

I loved, loved Adam <3 He is definitely a new book boyfriend for me! He was sweet but had that little cocky edge to him that I love in my heroes. I thought he was completely swoon-worthy and I totally know why Rowan had a hard time resisting his charms! The rest of the band is also fantastic and I really hope that all 4 guys get a book because I would love to see what happens next with these guys!

Rowan on the other hand I didn’t love. I liked her but she didn’t completely win me over and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was jealousy that she gets Adam 😛 HAHA Joking! In all seriousness, I think she just didn’t wow me in anyway but to be fair I think anyone would look underwhelming compared to Adam. She wasn’t anything new to me but she is still a solid character.

I loved the leads in Riot which easily made it my favourite of the two books! Riot had the perfect blend of individual character growth and romantic growth. They were a perfect match which made it so much fun yet so touching to read.

The rest of the characters, besides the band, are an interesting cast and they keep things very interesting. They are there just enough to contribute to the story but they don’t take away from it either. I was never distracted by their side stories but they definitely have me interested in their future stories 😉

The Romance:

The romance is really what sold me with Mayhem. The sexual tension was fantastic! It’s there from start to end and had me hooked! The banter between Adam and Rowan was fantastic as is it with the other leads. It isn’t completely sex focused–far from it actually–so it was nice to see real relationships develop between the characters.

And I challenge you not to love these male leads! They are everything a girl dreams about when it comes to a rockstar fantasy <3

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hope for a lot of sexual tension and some great character development and romances! Riot had just enough hints for what to expect in Chaos and I am literally counting down the days of my summer to get my hands on it!

updates

–November 23, 2015– Book 3: Chaos

I picked this book up on a whim when I needed a good pick me up–and this fit the bill! It was perfect and everything I had hoped it was going to be. The sexual tension between these two was off the charts and had me swooning at every turn. They were perfect for each other and I LOVED watching them find out for themselves. What I also really loved was that there was a touch of realism to this story. It didn’t follow all of those cliche situations you find in a romance novel and I really appreciated that.  I’m super stoked for the next one!

–April 29, 2017– Book 4: Havoc

The expectations for this book were unreal. I’ve been waiting for Mike’s story since Mayhem and this did not disappoint.

The chemistry is fantastic! These two were adorable and even the love triangle didn’t phase me. (To be fair, the heroine isn’t the one in the love triangle who has to choose so that helps). I also loved the character development. The heroine’s growth throughout was wonderful.

So sad to see this series go but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending than this!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Mayhem 4/5  |  Riot 5/5  |  Chaos 5/5  | Havoc 5/5

overall

One of the best New Adult series I’ve read this year! I loved the romance and the sexual tension. These books were just plain fun, perfect for the summer! Set aside a day people, because you will devour these books!

Read if You Like: romance focused books, rockstar romances, fun characters
Avoid if You: want more plot-lines besides romance

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Series Review: The Burke Brothers by Emma Hart

My 200th Series Review Post! Thanks for reading!

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

Dirty Secret by Emma Hart | The Burke Brothers Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Dirty Secret (from Goodreads):
Conner Burke never expected Sofie Callahan to come back.

Where she’s been for the last two and half years is a mystery, and so is the reason she left in the first place. Now, though, she’s back in their hometown of Shelton Bay, South Carolina, at the same time Conner’s band Dirty B. is home on a tour break.

Sofie Callahan has spent the months since her father’s death avoiding anything to do with her hometown. But with her brother in Afghanistan, she has no choice but to return and sort out her father’s house, even if it means facing the boy she fell in love with and revealing the reason she left.

Conner has questions, and when his broken heart and her guilty one collide, Sofie has to start answering them. Their present is rocky, their future unknown. Only one thing is certain: Sofie’s daughter will change everything.

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Series: The Burke Brothers
Author: Emma Hart
# of Books: 5 (Dirty Secret, Dirty Past, Dirty Lies, Dirty Tricks, Dirty Little Rendezvous)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chances, Drama, Family
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2014 – May 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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

Like most readers do, when I enjoy a work by an author I tend to pick up the other stuff they write and Emma Hart is no exception. I really enjoyed her Game Series and have a few of her other series on my to-read shelf; however, this new series got to be read first thanks to the library.

Normally second chance contemporary romances aren’t super high on my reading list: especially ones involving a kid. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because they are predictable and a cliche to a certain extent. BUT, I really enjoyed reading Trapped by Beverley Kendall because it had a little bit of a twist to it which made things more interesting; as is the case with this story, Dirty Secret, and the spin of a famous musician ex-boyfriend as the father of the baby.

Did I know exactly why things went down as they did in the past before even reading this book? You bet your last dollar I sure did. But did that stop me from enjoying the cute story? Not really. I think I was in the mood for a lighter story after reading a particularly darker New Adult novel so Dirty Secret served as a nice refreshing read.

Really this book is everything I expect from Emma Hart’s work (solely based on my experience reading one of her series). You’ve got a stubbornly independent female lead and a charming hero and their cast of entertaining friends.

I didn’t really like Sofie and by that I mean her and I wouldn’t be friends in real life. There was nothing really wrong with her, we just have conflicting personalities. I liked Conner but he wasn’t anything really special either. The romance steam (ie sex) is there but it takes a backseat to the emotional connection of the leads, only popping up here and there. And I would say there really isn’t much of a plot other than Conner and Sofie getting angry at each other but simultaneously wanting to rip the clothes off of the other; but, as I said before, it was a cute, sweet story so I didn’t mind that much.

Again, like in the Game series, my only peeve was the dialogue, specifically the Southern Accent. Now, I will admit, I don’t know what everyday conversation is like in the South but it just seemed like the characters’ accents were latent and would therefore only pop up occasionally. It just seemed inconsistent to me–but I am a Canadian so I’m running slightly on the stereotype of what a Southern accent “should” be. I also felt a bit of a disconnect between some of the narration and what was happening: like the whole baby gate and the naughty step. Maybe that is because I’m not a mom but that just threw me for a loop and I still don’t understand. But it isn’t enough that I would tell you to not read this book because if you ignore that little detail (and it really is a little detail), the book was a smooth read.

I’m looking forward to Dirty Past for two reasons: I really liked Tate’s “bad boy” character AND we actually get to see the two leads fall in love. Dirty Secret was cute and while we do get to watch them fall back in love I just felt like a lot of their relationship was assumed from the past and not really elaborated on. I enjoy watching my leads fall in love as a read and with Dirty Secret it’s like they are already there and are just working out a lover’s quarrel you would see in the second book of their love trilogy–only you didn’t read the first book to see them come together in the first place.

I’m also not sure how many books will be in this series. I am assuming there will be 4 because there are 4 brothers but there also is their sister who I would like to read about as well (but her story could always be a subplot to her brothers’). I guess we will have to wait and see…

updates

–July 19, 2015– Book 2: Dirty Past

I really liked Tate in Dirty Secret so I was excited to meet his match in Dirty Past. Overall, I liked them together but I just had a hard time reconciling their relationship at times, especially at the start. Tate can be quite egotistic and for someone just ending an abusive relationship, I’m not sure if they were the best match initially. Perhaps I was just reading too much into it, but I didn’t love the way he talked to her. I thought it was rude (which I expect from his character) and not the best environment for the heroine’s situation.

BUT, I did get past that and really enjoyed the story overall. It was a solid sequel overall and made me super pumped for Dirty Lies!

–December 28, 2015– Book 3: Dirty Lies

Sigh…I really wanted to like this one. It has everything I normally love: fake romance, asshole hero and a rockstar to boot. But it just fell apart for me despite its promising start.

I have a huge soft spot for asshole heroes and Aiden seemed like I would love him. But something just rubbed me the wrong way with him. I don’t mind confident assholes–which Aiden is–but he is also a little rude and I didn’t particularly like how he would talk about Jessie with his brothers.

On the other hand, I really liked Jessie. She was funny and I liked her independent attitude. And while I could see how these two would work out in theory, I just didn’t like the way their relationship developed. It’s a shame.

I’m holding out hope for Dirty Tricks though. Kye is the last brother and I think he is the nicest. And his heroine seems like she will be an interesting match for him!

–February 14, 2016– Book 4: Dirty Tricks

This book started strong, lost me a bit in the middle and ended on a good note. Kye is probably my favourite brother because he seems the most genuine to me and I liked how he wasn’t a complete asshole like the rest of his brothers (especially his twin).

Chelsea, hmm, I’m a little mixed on her. I totally got where she was coming from and I felt like I understood her character the most out of anyone in this series because her past is so well explained. But I didn’t like her immaturity even it I knew why she would act the way she did. Again, the dialogue was what really showed this and made me have that disconnect.

So while it was probably my favourite story premise of the series, I was a little bored with it at times. It was a solid way to end the series and I’m going to pick up the spin-off; but otherwise, this series was a bit of a bust 🙁

–July 2, 2017– Book 5: Dirty Little Rendezvous

**I DNF’d this book at 23% (start of Chapter 6)**

I really was not feeling this book and I really wanted to like it because Leila was (finally) the heroine and she’s been in the background throughout the series, peaking my interest. But damn, this was bad.

I can tolerate a little bit of crude talk in my novels but this was just brutal. I swear, every other page was about Leila’s vagina and her need to see some action. I’m all for a girl exploring her sexuality but I don’t like reading that in my novels, regardless of the POV’s gender. It get monotonous.

And don’t get me started on the ridiculous double standards of her brothers. I get it, she’s their little sister but after reading all their stories, they don’t really have any moral ground to stand on in my opinion.

Oh, and the romance? It seemed very shallow and rushed to me. Maybe if we got to see their past interaction, I would be on board with it but I just wasn’t liking these two.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Dirty Secret 4/5 | Dirty Past 3/5  |  Dirty Lies 3/5  |  Dirty Tricks 3.5/5

overall

I enjoyed the cute romance between the two leads but it wasn’t really anything memorable. If you want a sweet read about teen sweethearts reuniting after one becomes a celebrity years later, this is the book for you! Or if you enjoyed Emma Hart’s other works, this is right up your alley! However, I feel like the newest books in the series are essentially the same recycled romances, causing the series to lose some lustre.

Read if You Like: over the top drama, rockstar stories, stories about families
Avoid if You: want a more mature romance, want stronger romantic relationships

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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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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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