Tag «in love with a celebrity»

DNF Series Review: Aligned by Ella Miles

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Aligned (from Goodreads):

He’s an arrogant complication.

I don’t care if Landon Davis has sold millions of records. I don’t care that his damn crooked grin makes my panties wet.

I can’t want him.

I should be mourning, but I can’t. I just need him gone. Then I can align the chaos floating in my head.

——

She has a f*cking boyfriend.

I’ve seen the picture of them together. But Alex Blakely still wants me. And who am I not to oblige when her body is begging for me?

I need one night to own her body.

I should be focused on getting my career out of the gutter. I’ll take one night first. Then I’ll be gone.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Aligned
Author: Ella Miles
# of Parts: 4 (1+2 are novellas; 3+4 are novels)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2015 – June 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I only read Aligned Volumes 1 + 2 and never picked up Volumes 3 + 4. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m an Ella Miles fan without a doubt. Her stories always surprise me with the direction they take and they keep me on my toes. I actually grabbed this series after I read my first Ella Miles’ read, Maybe but didn’t actually read it until I had a few more Ella Miles’ titles under my belt.

What I Liked:

–The Rebuilding of Alex’s Past–

I really enjoyed the first volume thanks to the suspense of Alex’s missing past. Watching her try to establish her new life while completely oblivious to her old one was intriguing. It kept me curious trying to figure out what would happen next.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Landon–

I just couldn’t get myself to like him. I think he suffers a little bit from underdevelopment in the first volume since we spend more time with Alex and her situation. He starts to get more interesting in Volume 2 when his secrets are alluded to more but by then I just didn’t care.

–Not Enough in Volumes 1+2 to Keep Me Hooked–

I enjoyed Volume 1, probably because I knew it was just the start and that more things would come given the foundations it had set. But Volume 2 just felt like filler to me with not a whole lot else happening. I know that the full novels are jammed pack with twist after twist thanks to other reviews I read while contemplating my DNF decision, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care and it felt like a chore to try and get there.

Will I Finish It?

No. I read the spoilers for Volumes 3 & 4 and I definitely missed out on some interesting developments to say the least. In some ways I do regret not sticking it out but I just didn’t like the characters enough to try.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

This one just wasn’t for me. But if you like stories with crazy twists that build and build, you will love this!

Read if You Like: dramatic stories, lots of twists, crazy characters
Avoid if You: want a more traditional romance read

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Single Sundays: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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 When It’s Real (from Goodreads):

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Read of 2018, Canadian Author
Author: Erin Watt (pen name of Elle Kennedy & Jen Frederick)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Source & Format: Public Library (Hoopla)–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This novel was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. Not only is it written by a duo of authors I adore but it also has some of my favourite romance tropes. Fake relationship; in love with a celebrity; hate to love you; in love with a musician. In fact, I was so scared that I would pick up this book and end up disappointed that I kept putting it off. Which is why I made it a selection for my 5 Year 5 Book Reading Challenge for 2018. I needed to read this book and I was going to read it sooner than later.

The Plot:

Have you ever wanted a book not to end? Seriously, I could have followed these two until they day they die. The story just flowed so effortlessly from start to finish and I found myself getting caught up in it all.

I think the best part of this novel is that nothing seems rushed. The romance has a slow burn vibe to it so that continues to build and rope you in. But in the meantime, you get to focus on Vaughn and Oakley growing as characters, tackling their everyday (and as a result of their arrangement) problems. Everything just had a great balance for me.

The Characters:

These two easily became new favourite characters! They are written extremely well; I never felt like they were wish-washy in their convictions or actions. And I think that is the result of some great character development. The characters we get at the start of the book are not who we end the book with–only they are because you have watched these two evolve before your eyes.

And the rest of the cast is superb! They truly support Oakley and Vaughn and add to this story in a great way.

The Romance:

SWOON! Seriously, it’s a wonder I didn’t hurt anyone while listening (and swooning) to this audiobook as I drove. Oakley stole my heart and I loved watching Vaughn unravel his character. Their banter at the start of the book immediately sold me on their relationship and I couldn’t get enough of them as the story progressed.

I do have one issue with the romance and I put it in the spoiler box (even though one aspect is something revealed in the first three chapters) but I don’t like to do spoilers without warning.

My Little Complaint

One thing that really bothered me in the middle of the book was Oakley’s attitude that “he could get any girl he wanted” and that Vaughn should be “honoured” that he was even thinking about her. This attitude really got on my nerves because I felt like Vaughn was trading her toxic relationship with W (who kept reminding her that should be grateful he wasn’t pressuring her for sex when he could get it from anyone) for another one with Oakley. Thankfully, I felt like Oakley matured out of this attitude within the next few chapters.

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My Audiobook Experience:

I am SO SO SO happy I (found and) listened to this as an audiobook! The narrators (Caitlin Kelly and Teddy Hamilton) were so amazing! I seriously found two new favourite narrators. They truly brought these characters to life for me. I felt every range of emotion in this book and I think it was amplified thanks to their stellar performance.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

I don’t say this very often (especially with contemporary romances) but I definitely plan on rereading this book in the years to come. I just loved the characters, the romance and the story!

Read if You Like: fake relationships, swoon-worthy heroes, jaded celebrity hero
Avoid if You: dislike YA contemporary romances

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Single Sundays: To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise

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 To Love Jason Thorn (from Goodreads):

Jason Thorn… My brother’s childhood friend.

Oh, how stupidly in love with that boy I was. He was the first boy that made me blush, my first official crush. Sounds beautiful so far, right? That excitement that bubbles up inside you, those famous butterflies you feel for the very first time—he was the reason for them all. But, you only get to live in that fairytale world until they crush your hopes and dreams and then stomp on your heart for good measure. And boy did he crush my little heart into pieces.

After the stomping part he became the boy I did my best to stay away from—and let me tell you, it was pretty hard to do when he slept in the room right across from mine.

When tragedy struck his family and they moved away, I was ready to forget he ever existed.

Now he is a movie star, the one who makes women of all ages go into a screaming frenzy, the one who makes everyone swoon with that dimpled smile of his. Do you think that’s dreamy? I certainly don’t think so. How about me coming face to face with him? Nope still not dreamy. Not when I can’t even manage to look him in the eye.

Me? I’m Olive, a new writer. Actually, I’m THE writer of the book that inspired the movie he is about to star in on the big screen. As of late, I am also referred to as the oh-so-very-lucky girl who is about to become the wife of Jason Thorn.

Maybe you’re thinking yet again that this is all so dreamy? Nope, nothing dreamy going on here. Not even close.

breakdown

Author: Ella Maise
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

There is a spin-off novel: To Hate Adam Conner

Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ll be honest, I only picked this book up because I saw the cover 😛 When I was browsing audiobook titles to take out, this one caught my eye and I couldn’t resist learning more. After I read the synopsis, I realized that it had some of my favourite tropes in contemporary romance (fake marriage, in love with a celebrity, childhood friends) and so I just had to read it!

The Plot:

For me, there was just something about the pacing that stopped me from loving this story. I don’t know if there were too many tropes thrown in to work through or if the somewhat over the top drama got to me–but something just stopped me from totally loving the plot.

I will say that I did love how we get to see the history between these two at the start of the book. It provides some great context for their relationship moving forward.

The Characters:

Unfortunately, I did not love Jason Thorn. Simply put, the guy’s an asshole but I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt and watch him get some great character growth…but he really doesn’t. He wasn’t making me swoon (his perpetual use of the nickname “Little One” for Olive gave me the hebejebes and turned me off of his charm to say the least) and he didn’t convince me that he was worthy of Olive in the end.

As for Olive, I liked her enough but I wasn’t totally loving her character either.

The Romance:

This was a very big let down. One of my biggest problems with Jason is that I never felt like he fell in love with Olive. I definitely think he felt lust for her but I don’t know what he loved about her. Sure she’s a nice person and she worships the ground he walks on for some reason but I don’t know what he sees in her that would make him give up his manwhore ways. He never convinced me that he loved her and more than he liked what she provided for his career and image.

As for Olive, I too don’t know what she really loved about Jason. Sure, it’s cute she had a crush on him as a kid and he gave her that irritating nickname while they were growing up but what else was there? I think she was so blinded by the idea of him (and his cute face) that her inner monologue didn’t provide much substance to the relationship.

My Audiobook Experience:

I do wonder if I would have enjoyed this more if I read the printed version. Audiobooks are longer to get through than a physical book so perhaps that’s the reason the story seemed excessively long (though to be fair, I was listening to it at a faster speed so it didn’t take me that much longer). I didn’t totally love the voice for Jason–it was too deep or something–either. But the production is great overall so no complaints in that respect.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This one just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in place. I wanted a swoonworthy romance but I ended up wondering why these two even liked each other by the end.

Read if You Like: in love with actor stories, second chances involving childhood friends
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy asshole heroes

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Series Review: Freedom by Bella d’Amour

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

Freedom Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Free to Play (from Goodreads):

He’s a player and she’s ready to play… but what happens when the fun gets serious?

“Brent, will you be my first?”

Joey is mortified to face Brent the next morning after letting the question slip in a weak moment. She’s shocked when Brent not only agrees but proposes a friends with benefits arrangement. How can she accept when it threatens what’s most important to her: her friendship with his sister, her new job with his football team, her self-respect when an ex-girlfriend is suddenly back in the picture – and her heart?

After years of working hard to fulfill his responsibilities, Brent is finally enjoying his life – with women who want nothing more than a good time. But when Joey asks him to be her first lover, he can’t resist finally getting his hands on her luscious body, one he’d been lusting after for years. Only problem is, once isn’t enough. He’s not ready to give up his hard-earned freedom nor is he ready for a woman to invade his life – or his heart. When demons from his past come back to haunt him, will he let them ruin what he’s found with Joey?

breakdown

Series: Freedom Series
Author: Bella d’Amour
# of Books: 3 (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Companion (Free to Live); Connected
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 27, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thanks so much Bella d’Amour!

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’m a sucker for the “in love with BFF’s brother trope”. I just love all the delicious tension it brings when two people inevitabley fall for each other (if they aren’t secretly in love with the other person already). I wasn’t sure what the case was going to be here, but I was excited to dive into Free to Play.

What I Liked:

–Fantastic Chemistry–

These two had great chemistry from the start! Their attraction to each other is palpable and I loved every moment shared between them. They make such a great pair and part of the reason is that:

–They Actually Talked to Each Other!–

Don’t worry, there are plenty of steamy moments between the two of them. However, they had these great moments of conversation where they discussed their hopes and fears among other topics. I like seeing that emotional connection be established in my romances and this one succeeds beautifully.

–Building Joey’s Self-Esteem–

I love stories where the heroine learns to be confident in herself. Sometimes that’s hard to do in a romance because all too often, the heroine only become more independent by becoming dependent on the hero/their relationship. (I know that’s confusing but I hope you get what I am saying). And while Brent does help Joey build her self-esteem when it comes to her body image, I would say he is a vehicle for her start to see herself in a different light, not the sole reason. He helps her to see herself outside the stereotypes she’s boxed herself into and once that seed is planted, she learns to grow on her own. I loved that.

This isn’t to say that Brent doesn’t have great character development. He too goes on a journey where he grows up and figures out what is truly important in his life and I liked that a lot.

What I Didn’t Like:

–A Tad Too Dramatic Near the End–

I get why certain things happened at the end. They help enhance the lessons of the novel and that’s great. But this novel felt so grounded for so long that I didn’t entirely enjoy all the (slightly) over the top drama that occurs. Again, I know why everything happens as it does, I just wish it didn’t.

However, we have more than enough time to wrap everything up nicely so win!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited for the sequel! I loved Brent’s family and I hope they become the focus of the sequel novels. I already have a hypothesis of who the next book involves so I can’t wait to see if I’m right!

updates

–April 15, 2018– Book #2: Free to Live

I had my suspicions about who the leads for book 2 would be and I was not disappointed!

Despite the quick initial spark with these two shared, I loved the slow burn of this romance. It gave the romance an edge of anticipation knowing that they had crossed the line but were holding back despite their every need not to. I loved watching these two get to know each other and breakdown those barriers that they had erected in the past to stop the pain of falling in love only to be hurt later.

In this story, I think it’s our hero who gets more time to shine but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He definitely had the more convoluted history and I enjoyed the mystery of uncovering that past so he could move forward. I would have liked to have seen a little more from the heroine in terms of development, but I think she was a great compliment to our hero’s story.

We get just a taste of what the future might hold in terms of possible sequels and I know that I’m definitely sticking around to see what will happen next!

–September 27, 2018– Book #3: Free to Risk

I was really excited for Stevie’s story and I’m a sucker for a solid second chance romance; so this was a great combination from the start!

Bella d’Amour has this incredible talent for bringing characters to life. Her romances always have great tension and chemistry between the leads, but I’m always blown away by her ability to develop genuine, relateable characters. I feel like these characters could be my friends and I get super invested in their lives and journeys. Both leads have fantastic growth from start to finish–probably because they actually share what they are feeling with each other and communicate! It’s so refreshing to see in a romance.

If you want a book that will tug on your heartstrings, pick this up!

My Rating: 4/5

Free to Play 4/5 | Free to Live 4/5 | Free to Risk 4/5

overall

If you love character-strong romances, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: sport romances, heroines building self-esteem
Avoid if You: dislike steamier reads, dislike contemporary romance

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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

 

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: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a novella: #2.5 Dance All Night

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Celebrity
Heat Rating: toasty
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 2017 – ongoing
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!

–December 3, 2018– Book #3: Dance All Night

I’m so happy that we got to spend more time in the world of Dance Off. I love this series for so many reasons and this novella highlighted them all!

Despite finishing this book in a little over an hour, this never felt like a novella because it is so well developed. You’ve got great, layered characters; an addicting, sweet romance and just the right amount of drama to give this novel a little flare. Oh–and CHRISTMAS! Everything just mixed together so well.

It was nice to have the roles reversed a bit. I always like reading novels where the male hero is more invested in the relationship and he has to win over the somewhat cynical heroine. Nik is such a genuine guy that he will have you swooning from the start. And Jess has some great character moments as a result of her growing feelings.

My only downside is the conflict the two face: it’s a bit of a communication-assumption thing and that always irks me. But I loved these two together so much that I’m willing to over look that little bit!

My Rating: 5/5

Take the Lead 5/5 | Dance With Me 4/5 | [Dance All Night 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

disclaimer

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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Series Review: Friendship, Texas by Magan Vernon

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

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)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: July 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook; Narrator–Audiobook (Rumor)

thoughts

**This post was originally published 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 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 total 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 intersects much 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.

updates

–October 6, 2018– Book #2: Rumor Has It

Ever since we were briefly introduced to these two in the first book in the series, I’ve been curious about their story.

Second chance romances can be hard to write but I think Magan succeeds in delivering for the most part. We get plenty of flashbacks to the past so it helped define the relationship these two have and why they’ve always been drawn to each other. It was also great to get half of the story told from Brooke’s POV and then from Eddie’s. I personally would have liked to have seen more “present” day romantic interactions between the two–I felt like we focus a little to much on their individual developments–so I wasn’t entirely sold on why they work as a couple now.

I think I’m in the minority as well when it comes to character likeability. I really didn’t like Brooke as a character at all. She came across as vain, somewhat shallow and shameless. I hated how she treated her current boyfriend, Drake, and how she seemed to lack any remorse about her feelings and actions towards him. To me, there was nothing redeemable about her and I felt like she didn’t grow either by the end of the book (ie she didn’t learn any lessons).

I liked Eddie though. He seemed a little more level headed. And of the two, I think he showed a little more growth by the end of the novel.

As for the audio production, I thought it was FABULOUS! Kassiopia DeVora was a great narrator–I was truly impressed by her narration. The accents were spot on; each character had a unique voice; and she did a great job singing as Eddie when the occasion called.

My Rating: 3/5

Edge of Glory 3/5 | Rumour Has It 3/5 | 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

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: Toasty
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.

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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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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