Tag «in love with a celebrity»

Series Review: Dance Off by Alexis Daria

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

Dance Off Duology

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Take the Lead (from Goodreads):

Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He’s handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.

Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.

When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Contemporary 2017, To Watch Author
Series: Dance Off
Author: Alexis Daria
# of Books: 2 (Take the Lead, Dance With Me)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Celebrity
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 2017 – December 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook | Thank You St. Martin’s Press – Swerve!

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was very excited to start this book. The biggest draw: the opposites attract storyline. I love when unlikely romances blossom between two people. But I also loved the reality TV aspect. I like books that explore what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling (or perhaps unknowingly rolling).

What I Liked:

–The Chemistry–

I felt the connection between these two immediately. I’m talking within seconds of them meeting for the first time. That’s quite an accomplishment for a writer when fresh new characters are introduced.

The tension between them is so, so good. They have this magnetism between them that I positively adore. It was so apparent to me why these two would be drawn to each other and how love could grow between them. They have that deeper connection to them and I couldn’t get enough of it in the book.

–The Characters–

After reading this book, I wish that Gina was a real person. Not only did I love her character and personality, I also respected her work ethic and self-awareness. It’s really inspiring to read about a heroine who doesn’t define herself by her romantic relationships but on her own hard work and cares about the image she is presenting to the young girls look up to her. This never felt forced in anyway either; Gina is a super genuine character and it comes across at every page.

And Stone is a great compliment to that. He has quite the journey too when it comes to deciding what he wants in life. I also liked that he was masculine without being overbearing. He’s just a nice guy who cares about his family and doing the right thing.

–Perfect Amount of Drama–

There was just enough drama in this book to keep things interesting. Nothing felt over the top or out of left field. It just worked well to highlight the various elements of character growth. Plus: everything is handled in a very mature (and logical) way that I completely respected as a reader.

What I Didn’t Like:

That it took me so long to read this? I blame my hectic life for letting this one sit as long as I did.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

We got a juicy little hint about what’s to come for Dance With Me and I CANNOT WAIT to read it!

updates

–November 20, 2017– Book #2: Dance With Me

Once again, the character development here is great! I often find in romances that one of the characters is “stronger” (or more put together) than the other when it comes to their lives but in this novel, I liked that they each had their flaws and things to work on. I loved watching both of our leads grow as people and push each other to better things. They make great partners in all aspects which is what I loved watching in this book.

They also make a great romantic pair because they have fantastic chemistry. Sure, the somewhat forbidden element of their relationship adds to the tension but they are both super passionate people and it shows.

The main reason this rating isn’t a 5/5 is that I wanted a little more showing than telling with the romance. It’s always hard to write a romance where the characters have already fallen in love with each other without the readers seeing that because we love watching the initial sparks fly (or at least I do). These two have had a relationship for a long time (one that isn’t really touched on in the previous book either other than its brief mention) and those feelings for each other are already established. As I said above, these two have great chemistry and it shows but often times I felt like I was reading the sequel novel to their story without reading the first because I wanted more of those sparks.

However, I still really enjoyed this book! The character development is truly the highlight of this novel (it’s hard to find a solid character driven romance instead of just a focus on sexy times) and Alexis Daria has succeeded once again!

My Rating: 5/5

Take the Lead 5/5 | Dance With Me 4/5

overall

I think I found a new contemporary romance author to follow! It has everything I love in a solid contemporary romance: fantastic characters, just the right amount of drama and a completely swoon-worthy romance. This definitely takes the trophy!

Read if You Like: adult romance, reality TV, drama
Avoid if You: want more erotica based story
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Single Sundays: Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Beyond the Stars (from Goodreads):
Falling for him wasn’t in the plans…

Most girls would kill for the opportunity to work for Jack McAlister, Hollywood’s hottest actor, but twenty-one-year-old Jessica Beckett is ready to kick him out of her red Ford Fiesta and never look back. She should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills. Instead she’s reluctantly working as Jack’s personal assistant, thanks to her powerhouse talent agent aunt.

Jack is private, prickly, and downright condescending. Jessica pushes his buttons—she’s not the type of girl to swoon over celebrity heartthrobs, precisely why her aunt thought she’d be perfect for the job—and Jack pushes right back.

But as she begins to peel away his layers, Jessica is shocked to find she craves her boss’s easy smile and sexy blue eyes. The problem is, so does the entire female population. And what started out as the job from hell soon has Jess wondering if a guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her.

breakdown

Author: Stacy Wise
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Celebrity, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book as a galley on NetGalley but never got a chance to request it. So it seemed like fate when a couple months later it was a part of the Read It, Review It program in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. I made sure I grabbed a copy ASAP!

I really enjoy the idea of celebrity romances with everyday people in my NA novels. Sometimes, it’s executed well but other times it’s a little whimsical and rushed. In other words, not my ideal. But this one sounded promising and I needed a good contemporary read to buffer a somewhat lacklustre one before I moved on to a fantasy novel.

The Plot:

This novel felt more like a coming of age story than a romance. Which is fine and even a little expected since New Adult novels tend to have this as a minor element. But the lack of a romance for almost 75% of the book drained me a bit. Especially when the last 25% seemed to pack everything in, rushing to wrap it all up. I would have liked to have seen those last few plot points scattered throughout the novel to give it that dramatic flare.

The Characters:

Jessica was alright. To be honest, something rubbed me the wrong way about her in the first chapter. I think it was her somewhat stubborn nature that made it hard for me to totally love her. But I did warm up to her as the novel progressed but she didn’t blow me away.

Jack was cute but unfortunately, a little to one-dimensional for me. I really wish this story was told in alternating POV because he did seem to have an interesting backstory that I would have liked to have explored more.

The Romance:

I really wanted some sexual tension and chemistry between these two but nothing ever happened. While I got that they had this emotional connection (the typical “she treats me like a real human being, not a celebrity” vibe), I didn’t really see much else between these two. At least, not enough to warrant the deep feelings they get so suddenly. Although it seemed to take forever to get to that romance point, only a couple of weeks had passed in the book so it made everything seem superficial to me.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

If you’re looking for a spicy NA romance featuring a celebrity, look elsewhere! But if you want a cute and sweet way to spend a summer afternoon, this is a great novel for you to read.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, coming of age stories, celebrity stories
Avoid if You: want a “spicier” read, more sexual tension

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Fresh Fridays: Edge of Glory (Friendship, Texas #1) by Magan Vernon

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:

Friendship, Texas Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Edge of Glory (from Goodreads):
“Welcome to Conti’s. I’m Lia and I’ll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh”.

I froze. Directly facing me was Olympic swimmer, Jay Morningstar… and I just made an idiot of myself.

The rest of the table looked up to see me standing there with my mouth practically gaping. His coach, who I recognized from TV interviews, and even two other swimmers from the Olympic team… they didn’t say anything, they didn’t even blink.

“Uh… I mean…”

I couldn’t even put together my words and Jay Morningstar was just staring at me with that Wheaties box smile and those icy blue eyes.

What was I supposed to say? Sorry I just made a weird noise, it’s just that I have a poster of you on my wall where you are wearing nothing more than your gold medals, a smile, and a pair of man panties?

breakdown

Series: Friendship, Texas
Author: Magan Vernon
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order)

There is a novella: #2.5 Meeting Virginia

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Books 5-7 will be released in the future
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: July 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this on Netgalley but I didn’t have the time to request it. I was excited by the prospect of reading about an Olympic swimmer–a sports athlete I hadn’t come across in any other sports romance. Plus, I love when famous people fall for everyday people.

So I was super excited when I saw this as a title for Kindle Unlimited and moved it to the top of my list. Add to that, the Summer Olympics in Rio had just ended and I was in a bit of an Olympic withdrawal. (I live on my couch for 2 weeks watching everything).

What I Liked:

–Jay–

Jay was super adorable and said all the right things. He’s exactly what you want when you think about your favourite celebrity when he falls in love with you: a totally sweetheart. But I also liked that he had his flaws and that he was trying his best to work on them.

–Lia’s Lack of Self-Confidence–

Lia had a lot of growing to do in this novel and I think she does a great job with that. I like that she is able to see her self-worth because of their relationship but doesn’t define herself through the relationship. Meaning, she doesn’t become this girl who can’t live without her boyfriend.

–Lia’s Family & The Town–

Lia’s family was hilarious, especially her brother. While they felt a little cliche, I definitely enjoyed their scenes.

The same goes for the rest of the town and the other characters. There are a lot of potential stories here and I’m really curious to learn more about these characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It Felt like Lia was 16, Not 20–

At times, this story read like a Young Adult novel. The restrictions Lia seemed to think her parents placed on her were frustrating to read about. For goodness’ sake: she’s 20! I think she can go out on a date without her parent’s permission… I know everyone’s family is different but it just bothered me. It was definitely something for her to work on (it goes hand in hand with her self-confidence issues)

But it gave this story a younger vibe that I never really recovered from.

–The Perception I Should Know Everyone–

I knew that this series takes place in the same town as another series, Forever Sweet which I had never read. I really don’t think that that much intersects but I felt like I was on the outside looking in. Like I was supposed to know all these people in this world already–like Jay’s famous sister. It’s not a huge deal but it did rub me the wrong way.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really like that Magan Vernon is letting fans vote for who the next lead(s) should be. There are so many potential stories out of this little town so I’m curious to see what happens next.

My Rating: 3/5

Edge of Glory 3/5 | Rumour Has It TBA | Part of Me TBA | The One that Got Away TBA

overall

I thought this was really cute and I enjoyed it but I wanted a little more from it.

Read if You Like: sweet new adult, sports
Avoid if You: want more spice

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Series Review: VIP by Kristen Callihan

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

VIP Series

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Idol (from Goodreads):

Libby
I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian
As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.

breakdown

Series: VIP
Author: Kristen Callihan
# of Books: 3 (Idol, Managed, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Book 3, is to be released
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library & Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I adore rockstar romances…I don’t think I need to say anything else.

I will say, this is my first Kristen Callihan book. I do have her Game On Series purchased but unread on my Kobo. She’s one of those authors I consistently hear great things about so I was excited to see that she wrote a rockstar romance and that my library had it.

What I Liked:

–The Band–

One of my favourite aspects of rockstar romances is the band. I usually find myself attached to the side characters of a story and bands provide the perfect opportunity for that. You get a taste of who they are as characters and you just want to know what happens to them next.

I’m excited to learn more about the band and the management team as the series progresses!

–The Romance-

I liked how well Libby and Killian complimented each other. It was so obvious to me why these two would fall in love with each other. I know lots of people struggle with the idea of a major celebrity falling for an everyday person but I think this story would challenge that notation because it is so obvious why it could happen with these two.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Maybe a Little More Drama?–

When I first started reading, I thought to myself that Idol could be a 5 star read. But as I approached the halfway mark, it lost that 5 start quality for me. And I’m not particularly sure why.

I really loved watching these two fall for each other away from the music scene (the first half of the book or so). It just seemed natural to me, even if the circumstances of them meeting is over the top. But when we get to the music world, the execution lacks something. My best guess is the lack of resistance to the conflicts presented to these characters. Things just seemed subdued and perhaps cliche–which sucks because the beginning had that great spark of life to it.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I was a little surprised the next book is about the band’s manager but I’m really excited to see that story unravel. I can’t wait to see what happens to the rest of the band as well!

updates

–July 4, 2017– Book #2: Managed

I was really excited for Scottie’s book and I immediately loved his story from the start. These two had fantastic chemistry from the start and we’re just great partners in everything. I love that in my romances.

My only complaint (like with Idol) is that I wanted a little more conflict in the middle. This is by definition a slow burn romance and when that is the case, I need something else to happen to keep things fresh. I found that there wasn’t too much happening besides these two fighting their feelings and it got a little monotonous near the middle of the story. They do have some great character growth moments in that time but needed just a little more to keep things exciting.

My Rating: 4/5

Idol 4/5 | Managed 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

A very refreshing rockstar romance series that focuses on genuine romantic connections, refreshing characters and keeps the drama light.

Read if You Like: rockstar romances, slow burn
Avoid if You: dislike celebrity romance stories

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Series Review: Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

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

Wicked White Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Wicked White (from Goodreads):
After his mother dies, rock star Ace White—lead singer of the red-hot band Wicked White—is done with the celebrity game. The phony people, the meaningless one-night stands: he doesn’t want any of it anymore. Quitting in the middle of a sold-out tour, Ace sets out to find some place—any place—where he can be alone.

Aspiring singer Iris Easton’s life has never been easy. First, her mother walked out on her when she was a kid. Now she’s buried in debt, weeks after losing her beloved grandmother. When a mysterious and sexy new guy moves in next door, Iris can’t help but be drawn to his soulful gaze. She can tell there’s something from his past haunting him—something he’s not telling her.

Just as Ace starts falling for Iris, the media go on a worldwide hunt to find the missing rocker. Will true love conquer all, or will the truth be the very thing that tears the couple apart?

breakdown

Series: Wicked White
Author: Michelle A Valentine
# of Books: 3 (Wicked White, Wicked Reunion, Wicked Love)
Book Order: Connected but Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Music
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 23, 2015 – May 31, 2016
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook    Thanks Amazon Publishing!

disclaimernetgalley

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:

While High Fantasy novels are my current Young Adult trend, rock-star romances are definitely my New Adult trend. So when I saw this book on Netgalley, I just had to request it.

I have Michelle A. Valentine’s Black Falcon series on my Kindle but haven’t managed to read it yet. I know that her other rock-star series have consistently high ratings so I was looking forward to Wicked White. Good guy rock-star in hiding? Yes please.

What I Liked:

-The Communication-

Iris and Ace share an insta-connection, but one that is based on mutual attraction. While their romance develops fast, I feel like we had enough time to learn why these characters were suited for each other. They definitely share a lot of common interests, views on life and a shared comradery over a rough childhood. But what I liked most of all is that they communicated with each other and shared their thoughts and feelings about their relationship. It’s just so refreshing to read about characters who aren’t consumed by the need to “work” on their physical relationship and actually spend time trying to get to know each other. So while things happen at a faster pace, I felt like there was still a solid foundation for a relationship to start from.

(Of course the communication between them only lasts so long before it becomes a plot device but nonetheless, when it comes to initiating their relationship it’s great!)

-Character Growth-

What I liked is that these characters not only develop their relationship together but they also mature on their own. Sometimes I think New Adult novels forget about the “growing up” aspect of the genre. Ace in particular really grows up throughout this novel and I liked that. And I like that Iris doesn’t become solely dependant on him either. They had a great balance to their relationships that made you want to root for them.

What I Didn’t Like:

-Happy-Go-Lucky Plot-

Everything in this book just happened wayyyy to easily for me. Nothing ever met resistance for very long and that made it a little boring at times. I guess I’m just use to lots of over the top drama with rockstars because of the other novels I read so I wanted that flare and dramatics. The problem (it’s not really a problem, perhaps it is an “issue”) is that Ace is a genuinely nice guy who doesn’t like the way he is presented to the world. He isn’t some sauve jack-ass and that is A-OK, believe me. It’s just that he isn’t like your typical rockstar so don’t expect your typical rockstar situations.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I have no idea what the next book is going to be about. I have some suspicions but I really don’t think they are right. I’m definitely curious to see what is going to happen next in this series!

updates

–December 7, 2015– Book #2: Wicked Reunion

Normally, I’m not a fan of second chance romances. They are a little boring and are often predictable (I mean, I think we all know how they are going to end). But I have noticed lately, thanks to Bad Romeo, that I enjoy ones where we get scenes from both the past and the present. It gives a bit more suspense to the story and pushes you to find out what really happened to split these two apart. This book is one of those cases!

I thought the story was much more compelling and addicting. I wanted to know what happened and it helped me to see why these two belonged together.

The only flaw I find with this story is how the reunion comes to be. I suppose I wanted more dramatics between the two of them when they finally reunite. I wanted sparks to fly (and they did) and I wanted the dramatics (and there definitely were some)–but I really wanted them to FIGHT for their relationship. It seemed like a lot of “you’re here and I haven’t stopped thinking about you so lets do this”. But that didn’t really come across to me on Jared’s part. I was really disappointed in how he just didn’t put too much effort in when all was said and done. And that sucks because I could see why they would work thanks to the scenes from the past; but in the present 5 years later, I just needed a little more convincing.

Regardless, I really did enjoy their story and their character growth. This story was completely addicting and had me on the edge of my seat, trying to find out what was going to happen next. Definitely my favourite of the two books so far!

–May 9, 2016– Book #3: Wicked Love

Wicked Love had a lot of potential but it just fell flat to me in the end.

Part of the issue was the maturity of the characters. Avery had so much potential to have some great growth (especially with her self-esteem issues) but she is stilted by her immature views that are never matured as the story progresses. I cut her some slack considering she is only 18 or so when the story starts but I scratched my head in confusion a few times with some of her thoughts and actions. Tyler was only slightly better but these two both lacked the ability to think two steps ahead, only seeing the immediate future and not thinking any further than that. It was really frustrating to read because the logic was screaming out at me as I read but they were both oblivious to it.

I also didn’t realize that a majority (~70%) of the story is actually the retelling of their past. It establishes their relationship which is a cute story but these two failed to impress me with their thoughts and actions. When I picked up the book, I actually thought that it would focus more on their reunion and only allude to the past as they worked through their struggles. The last 30% or so does focus on their reunion but things just happen too easily and without any resistance. Like in the previous novels, the “happy-go-lucky” attitude prevents these characters from really maturing and developing because they never face any true conflict. I was really disappointed in how everything wraps up and I wanted more drama–especially when there was so much potential for said drama.

While this was an enjoyable read to pass the time, I wanted more from it.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Wicked White 3.5/5 | Wicked Reunion 4/5 | Wicked Love 3/5

overall

This book was a refreshing take on the rockstar world. I really like that it humanizes celebrities and reminds readers that they are people too. I enjoyed watching Ace and Iris grow together and grow up throughout the novel. And while I didn’t find the drama to be anything scandalously juicy, it still kept my interest the entire time. I’m definitely going to bump up Valentine’s other series on my TBR list and keep an eye out for the sequel.

Read if You Like: celebrities finding love, nice guy celebrities, don’t want over the top dramatics
Avoid if You: dislike happy go lucky stories, want more passionate romance and dramatics

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Author Spotlight

*Please note my blog is not affiliated with any of these links. They were provided by the publisher*

Author Biography

Michelle A. Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Rock the Heart. Wicked White is the first novel in her Wicked White romance series. She attended college as a drafting and design major, but her love of people soon persuaded her to join the nursing field. It wasn’t until after the birth of her son that she began her love affair with romance novels, and she hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not writing, she feeds her music addiction, dabbles in party planning, and expresses herself by working with arts and crafts. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two beloved dogs.

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Series Review: Stripped by Jasinda Wild

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 Stripped (from Goodreads):
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated.

breakdown

Series: Stripped
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 2 (Stripped, Trashed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes? I think so.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Celebrity
Heat Rating: hot (closer to the end in Stripped; from the start and throughout Trashed)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Stripped); Alternating (Trashed)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Jasinda Wilder first came across my radar with her Falling Series. I have most of the books from that series waiting to be read on my Kobo (and some other freebies from her) but I haven’t managed to read them yet. When I came across these two books at my library and read the concept for Stripped, I decided to pick them up as quick romance reads.

I like unconventional romances–they are nice breaks from the everyday love story. Plus, I like the fictional element to it. Lots of girls like the fantasy that a rich, handsome actor/celebrity will notice regular-old them and I am no exception. Do I let it consume my every thought?–of course not, but I like that fiction let’s me imagine it could be me one day.

Unfortunately, Stripped was just plain boring. Grey was one of the dullest heroines I have ever encountered. I truly think that she was crying every three pages about something–which is fine considering her life hasn’t been all that easy–but it just got so exhausting to read about. I really felt indifferent to her as I read through the book.

The romance was also dull, and if it wasn’t dull, it was cheesy. I knew it was going to be a love at first sight story as soon as I picked it up but I was hoping for some good sexual tension between the two of them but that never happened! First, it is nearly 50 pages (eBook) before Dawson is even introduced–which is just too long when nothing else is really happening plot-wise and especially in a book slated as a romance. Then they speak together twice before he is undeniably in love with her and decides to chase her. I just didn’t see the connection whatsoever between them.

What also really bothered me was that there was no fallout/consequences from her career as a stripper. Every little problem that was introduced is neatly tied up inexplicably and I guess I just wanted something to happen that would capture my attention.

Trashed on the other hand was more solid to me. It wasn’t the greatest romance novel ever but at least it had more substance to it than Stripped did. The characters just seemed better developed to me and so did the romance. Despite its “deep-connection” roots I could actually see why these two characters liked each other. Overall it was an improvement over Stripped.

I’m not sure if there will be any more books in this series but if there were, I’m not sure if I would read them. I suppose it depends on the premise and what my experience is with Ms Wilder’s other novels. These novels haven’t turned me off of her other works but perhaps have changed my expectations for them.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

These books could have been really great but they just felt underdeveloped. They weren’t dramatic and they weren’t overly realistic either so they just come across as underwhelming. But if you want quick, cheesy romances these are great summer reads!

Read if You Like: cheesy romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: like more drama, want stronger character development
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Series Review: Beautifully Broken by Courtney Cole

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


Other books in the series:
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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Beautifully Broken
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 4 (If You Stay, If You Leave, Before We Fall, Until We Fly)

There is a novella: #2.5 Until We Burn

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drugs, Abuse, Tragedy
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild [Before We Fall])
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2013 – July 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts:

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

Wow, I LOVED this book! It was everything I wanted in a New Adult read and it was such a great read!

I will admit, I was skeptical before reading this. I find with New Adult reads, some hit the mark perfectly by blending tragedy+romance+drama+maturity all into one. That is why I enjoy New Adult reads because they are more mature than most young adult books that have characters in high school. I’m in university myself so I find I relate better to characters my own age & their problems than the often petty high school drama. However, not all books hit the maturity level quite so well and I got worried this one wouldn’t.

I’m happy to say I was proven wrong. This book was extremely mature and handled the issues within it perfectly. The characters didn’t run from their past or just jump into bed together. They actively worked on their issues (and did so in the right way) and I found that extremely refreshing. (FYI, I had just finished the first book in Kelly Elliot’s Wanted Series which I found to be an extremely immature series so I might be a little skewed in my opinion when it comes to this one ;))

For some reason, I love the jerk/player character in romance novels. I guess it’s the hopeless romantic in me that likes to think love can heal people. Regardless, I really liked Pax as a character. He is charming, sweet and troubled but willing to make the right changes. Mila is also fantastic. She is strong and mature and I really respect her as a character.

The book is a really quick read–or maybe you just get sucked into it and lose all sense of time. There isn’t too much else to the plot other than their relationship and dealing with their personal problems (score for no unnecessary drama!) but there is enough to keep you interested.

I’m really looking forward to book 2, If You Stay and I refused to read the little 1 chapter preview in my book because I don’t want to get hung up on it 😛

updates

–January 28, 2016– Book #2: If You Leave

It is just a TAD ridiculous that it took me nearly 3 years to read a book I was super excited to read–and I want to be clear that it in no way reflects my opinion on the series. I was faithful and continued to buy each book as they were released–I just never got around to them thanks to the countless other books that fell into my hands.

But let’s just start by saying that this book was worth the wait! I loved this story for so many different reasons! I thought the relationship and characters were extremely realistic, even if things between them happened fast or some of the events were more dramatic than necessary. I felt so many emotions when reading this book–from joy to sadness to anger to frightfulness–you name an emotion and this book probably has it. It was just plain addicting to read and I easily became absorbed in the story.

–February, 2016– BOOK #3: Before WE Fall

I was really curious to see where this book was going to go given the heroine–but it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting nor one that I loved.

I really didn’t enjoy the relationship between these two at the start and even contemplated not finishing the novel. But I really wanted to find out the backstory of our hero and so I stuck around. I do feel like the story and relationship improved as the story progressed but it could have simply been me  becoming accustomed to these characters and their story.

While the tragedy of the past novels is here, the dynamic of this story is so different from the previous books I think. I didn’t love the heroine’s progression, especially given the events of the past book and I felt like the focus was more on our hero. Which is fine, just not what I really expected. I also felt like their romantic relationship was very unhealthy and I didn’t immediately see why they would like each other besides physical attraction. I supposed I just wanted–and expected more from these characters.

Loads of sexual tension (though it did make me uncomfortable at times) and buckets of drama, this book combines elements I’ve read in other books in a way that is unique but I think will be really hit of miss with its readers.

Series Rating: 5/5

If You Stay 5/5 | If You Leave 4.5/5 | Before We Fall 3/5 | Until We Fly TBD

overall

One of the best new adult reads I have read this year. Great story, great characters and it is mature in its delivery. You can’t go wrong!

Read if You Like: mature stories, passionate romance, tragedy filled stories
Avoid if You: dislike tragedy

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Synopsis for If You Stay (from Goodreads):
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
Seriously.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.

But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
Wrong.

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he’s working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?

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