Tag «in love with brother’s BFF»

Single Sundays: Just Say When by Kaylee Ryan

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 Just Say When (from Goodreads):

Saving myself for marriage, not hardly.‬‬
Saving myself for someone who will make my heart race, most definitely.

In theory it’s a good plan, however even the best-laid plans fall through. Seeing him, being around him, alerts all my senses and I dream about being his, wrapping myself in his arms and never letting go. The only problem – he sees me as his sister.

My name’s Ava Evans and I’m in love with my older brother’s best friend, Nate Garrison.

Burying myself in work for the past two years, avoiding any thought of her, has worked, until now. She’s everywhere, in my dreams, in my gym, and in my heart. I’m not sure when I fell in love with Ava Evans, but I am completely in love with my best friends baby sister.

At first she was too young for me and that made it easy to stay away. Now, it’s a struggle to keep my distance.

How am I supposed to resist her when I can’t escape her? If he ever found out, it would ruin our friendship. Even with that knowledge all she would have to do is…

Just Say When.

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Author: Kaylee Ryan
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 16, 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I marked this as a novel I found on a blog but I’m not sure who’s blog that was (sorry!).

Anywho, I enjoy the “in love with my brother’s BFF” trope for many reasons so that’s what caught my eye. They’re usually filled with delicious tension and swoon worthy moments. I had just finished a YA novel I didn’t particularly enjoy and had just DNF’d another NA read that bored me to tears so I had high hopes that this novel would lift me up from a downward slump.

The Plot:

There isn’t anything new here. If you’ve read any book with this trope, you’ve essentially read this novel. It’s not a bad thing, but I need a little more to stimulate my interest. There isn’t much to this story but these two trying to deny their obvious feelings.

I contemplated DNFing this one pretty early on to be honest because it just moved so, so slowly. But I stuck with it and skimmed the rest of the novel.

The Characters:

They were pretty flat if you ask me. Again, nothing new here. I didn’t care for either of them.

The Romance:

This is definitely a slow burn romance. It wasn’t until the 30% mark that these two make their first move. Which is fine, but not exactly what I wanted from this novel. I wanted tension and longing looks early on…and they are there to an extent. It just wasn’t as passionate as I wanted; it was more sweet and cheesy.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

If I read this when I bought it two years ago, perhaps my review would be different. This novel isn’t awful, it just isn’t anything new. So if you are looking for a sweet and cheesy read about a young girl finally realizing her crush isn’t so unrequited, it might be worth your time.

Read if You Like: sisters in love with brother’s BFF
Avoid if You: want a deeper romance
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Fresh Fridays: A Stardance Summer (Eternity Springs #13) by Emily March

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

Eternity Springs Series

Other books in the series:
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booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Stardance Summer (from Goodreads):

Lili Howe took a leap of faith when she decided to join the Tornado Alleycats, her elderly landlady’s all-female glamour-camping club. Lili’s always given everything to her career, putting herself on track to become her CPA firm’s youngest partner. But now that Lili’s carefully planned future is shattered, she’s willing to let summer work its magic on her―at all costs.

There’s never a dull moment at Stardance Ranch, the Colorado resort Brick Callahan built from the ground up. Still, a late night skinny-dipping session involving a bunch of “glamping” grannies. . .with his best friend’s kid sister Lili among them? He couldn’t have made up such story if he tried. The undeniable mutual attraction between Brick and gorgeous, spirited Lili is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when Brick’s ex-girlfriend suddenly shows up, he’s faced with a desperate choice: Do right by a woman he once loved or take a chance on Lili. . .and do everything he can to win her heart?

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Series: Eternity Springs

This is a spin-off of the Callahan Brothers Series.

Author: Emily March (aka Geralyn Dawson)
# of Books: 13 ( Full Reading List Here )
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2011 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St Martin’s Press!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not one to dive into a series that is 13 books long by reading the most recent release but I was drawn to A Stardance Summer when I read the synopsis. I’m a sucker for the heroine who is in love with her older brother’s BFF and second chance romances are always sweet. I’ve also been looking for a new small town romance series since I finished the Cottonbloom Trilogy last summer and one that is 13 books strong like this series, AMAZING! Plus, the whole premise of Lili joining a senior camping group sounded like a lot of fun.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

First off, the RV camping crew did not disappoint! I loved Patsy in particular. I want to be her when I grow up, seizing life at every opportunity!

I also loved the town! It’s a very close knit community and I think if I was more familiar with the previous novels I would have soaked up all the little mini cameos former book leads make.

–The Character Development–

Lili is in such a tough place in her life that it was nice to see her grow from that. She takes her time to find out who she is on her own and isn’t heavily influenced by others. I loved seeing her develop from start to finish.

–Sweet Romance–

While I don’t mind some sexy times in my novels, it’s nice to read a romance that didn’t focus on the physical chemistry between the leads on every other page.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Almost Too Slow of a Burn–

While I love slow burn romances, this one seemed a little off to me. I felt like it took too long to get the passion started. It seemed like the relationship took too much of a backseat to Lili’s character development. The sexual tension is there, but I wanted to see this relationship grow a little bit more than the implied past connection.

Will I Pick Up Other Books in the Series?:

Yes! I got a taste of some of the past stories and they sound super intriguing! Eternity Springs has such a fun cast that I’m looking forward to learning more about them all.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

This is the perfect read for fans of character-focused romances who like their romances to be sweet and not spicy. A fabulous small town series with an eclectic cast of characters you can’t help but love.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, small towns, character driven stories
Avoid if You: want spicy romance
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Series Review: Rixton Falls by Winter Renshaw

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

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Synopsis for Royal (from Goodreads):
His name is Royal, but he’s no prince charming. He’s not even a prince – though you could say I loved him once upon a time.

He was my older brother’s best friend.

Growing up, he sat at our dinner table every Sunday, teased me mercilessly, and pretended I annoyed him.

When I was old enough, he took me on my first date.

Royal taught me how to drive. Escorted me to my junior prom. Gave me my first kiss…amongst other things. He was my first taste of toe-curling, all-consuming, can’t-sleep love.

We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was never anyone else for me but him.

And then he disappeared. No letter. No explanation. Not even a goodbye.

My sisters and brother never forgave him, and my parents forbade me from speaking his name in our house ever again. For all intents and purposes, we were to pretend Royal Lockhart never existed.

I’ve spent the last seven years trying in vain to forget my first love, but just when I think I’ve finally moved on, guess who’s back in town?

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Series: Rixton Falls

This series crosses over with the Amato Brothers Series in Priceless.

Author: Winter Renshaw
# of Books: 3 (Royal, Bachelor, Filthy)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February – June 2016
Source & Format: Own & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought Royal after seeing it listed as an Amazon Bestseller one day when I was browsing the freebie section. Of course, the cover drew me in but the synopsis listed one of my favourite romantic tropes: in love with brother’s BFF. Forbidden love is my kryptonite! Especially when it is a second chance romance that promises a juicy secret for why these two have been separated for all these years!

The Plot:

My only peeve with the drama of this series was how quickly certain things are resolved. The drama isn’t overly complex but even then, I felt like things don’t get expanded upon enough and things are finished nearly as soon as they are introduced.

Especially in Royal where there has been 7 years of bad tension and feelings; certain plot points seemed to be brushed over and not expanded upon. I just expected these characters to have a bit more of a grudge or at the very least, some damaged feelings that need more than a handshake to fully resolve.

But on a positive note, it was nice to have straightforward–and understandable–drama. I didn’t feel like anything was added just for shock factor nor did things come out of left field. Everything follows a nice progression even if its resolution wasn’t for me.

The Characters:

I feel like Royal has the best characters in terms of uncovering their many layers. We actually get to learn more about these two because of their backstory together at the start of the book. I just felt like I knew these two better than the rest of the leads in the other novels.

For the most part, we just scratch the surface with the other leads. And you know what, it works for their stories for the most part. I would have liked a little more elaboration but I was satisfied with what we were given.

The Romance:

Royal I think had the best romance because they already had an established relationship. It was easy to see why these two liked each other. It was the same situation with Filthy as well.

The reason I downgraded Bachelor to a 3/5 was because the romance was almost insta-love. I just needed to a little more to convince me these two got each other on a deeper level because everything happens so fast.

Series Rating: 4/5

Royal 4/5 | Bachelor 3/5 | Filthy 4/5

overall

If you want a quick and romantic read with just the right amount of drama and likeable characters, this trilogy makes for the perfect weekend series read to binge on!

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, new adult romance, drama
Avoid if You: dislike drama
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Spin-off Saturdays: Saints of Denver by Jay Crownover

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

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

book3 book4

breakdown

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

This is a spinoff of the Marked Men Series.

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 4 (Built, Charged, Riveted, Salvaged)

There is a prequel novella called Leveled

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2015 – June 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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

This was originally a review of the first 2 novels in the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications.

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My Expectations?

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

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

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

How does it compare to the original?

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

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

Anything I Didn’t Like?

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

My Thoughts on Leveled:

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

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

updates

–July 31, 2016– Book #2: Charged

This book was sizzling!

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

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

Can’t wait to start the next one!

–October 6, 2017– Books #3 & 4: Riveted & Salvaged

Both these books were focused on couples I’ve been dying to read about since the Marked Men days and they didn’t disappoint. It was just fantastic to see these scorned people finally get their happy endings.

For both books, I felt a little underwhelmed by the dramatic plot lines. In Riveted, it felt like a rehash of an early story at times. Which is fine, just not as refreshing as I wanted. For Salvaged, I think the drama felt a little rushed near the end but it still provided closure so no biggie.

I found the love scenes in both novels were a little dragged out more so than I remember in the previous novels. Not that they are filled with crude detail or anything but Crownover really gives you every thought that runs through their heads so it’s quite lengthy to read. I was reading these on the plane so it was a little awkward to read when someone could read over my shoulder.

Regardless, these were solid books and a great way to wrap up this entire world Crownover has created. As a fan, I can’t say I was disappointed.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

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

overall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Series Review: Neon Dreams by Caisey Quinn

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

booksynopsis

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

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

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

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

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

Yeah…I was so wrong!

The Plot:

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

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

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

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

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

The Characters:

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

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

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

The Romance:

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

updates

–December 11– Book #3: Missing Dixie

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

Series Rating: 4/5

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

overall

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

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

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Single Sundays: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

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 Ugly Love (from Goodreads):
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating
: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m at the point now where Colleen Hoover writes a book and I automatically read it. It could be a love triangle infested, alpha male overload book (two automatic book passes for me) and I would still pick it up. So me reading Ugly Love wasn’t a huge surprise.

I really didn’t know what to expect once I started reading. As with all Colleen Hoover (CoHo) books I knew that there was definitely going to be something more to this story than a simple “no-strings-attached” sex plot-line but I had no idea what and that made me excited. I have yet to be disappointed in CoHo’s delivery so I don’t feel guilty putting so much anticipation on this book.

The Plot:

I just love how CoHo writes her books. The plot can be so simple, like it is in this case, but she makes you feel like you are reading a brand new story every time. So while we might not have had music (Maybe Someday)–though there is a special song written for this book, it’s just not featured within the book–or art (Confess) or slam poetry (Slammed) as a primary element in this story, it was still as beautifully crafted as her other novels.

With this book we get the present day told from Tate and the alternating chapters are Miles from his past. While I enjoyed watching Miles and Tate together, I have to admit that reading Miles past was really addicting to me. I was immediately captivated by his story and loved how is character is presented. It just added a depth to his character that made me like him more because I’m not sure if I would have liked him if his story was kept hidden and he told his POV in the present…

The Characters:

Compared to previous CoHo books I felt like the character development wasn’t completely on point when it came to Tate. She really takes a backseat in this story. I’m not sure if it’s because I found Miles to be a much more interesting character given his past but Tate wasn’t all that impressive of a character to me. Of course I liked her and I loved her interaction with Miles (they had great sexual tension together!)–she is a solid character in her own right and I think that is the “problem”.

Miles is the one who has to overcome this issues and grow into the man he was always meant to be. Tate just has a much better grasp on her life so you really don’t see her growth as a character since she already has found herself by the time we are introduced to her.

I know that there aren’t any plans for immediate sequels for these books but I would love to read Corbin (Tate’s brother) and Ian’s (Miles’ BFF) stories *sigh*

The Romance:

I thought Miles and Tate had great chemistry together. I could see their connection despite not having these long, emotional talks together. I think their relationship in this book is more about finding that person you feel you can be completely comfortable with and the work it takes to let the past go and  embrace that. So what I mean is that I didn’t see this great connection between them like I have in other books but I did see it coming to light and that was enough for me in this book.

Movie!

This is going to be an indie movie! You can watch the official teaser trailer here!

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

It’s definitely not my favourite Colleen Hoover book but it is definitely worth a read! I shed some MASSIVE tears reading this because the story is so heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. CoHo fans will love this and those new to her works will definitely enjoy!

Read if You Like: no-strings-attached romances, emotional drama, tragic pasts
Avoid if You: want equal character development in your leads, don’t like emotional baggage, want a more erotica based novel
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Series Review: College of Charleston by Kate L. Mary

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

College of Charleston

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The List (from Goodreads):
The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . .

Body piercing
Get drunk
First kiss

But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .

Fake ID
Skinny dipping
Road trip!!!

Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.

But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .

Lose it
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love

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Series: College of Charleston
Author: Kate L. Mary
# of Books: 4 (The List, No Regrets, Moving On, Letting Go)
Book Order: Companion (No Regrets); Connected (Moving On, Letting Go)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm; warm (No RegretsMoving On)
Point of View: First Person, Single; First Person Alternating (Moving On)
Publication Date: May 26 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley & Author–eBook  Thank you Kensington Books & Kate L Mary for the opportunity!

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Note: This was originally published as a Fresh Friday Post on May 29, 2015 where only The List was reviewed. As of March 18, 2016 it is now the Series Review Post.

Why I Picked Up The List / My Expectations:

I love making lists–I make them for everything! Whether it’s books to read to tasks I need to do in a day, I constantly make them. So when I saw this book was about a girl making a list of things to do for college–yeah, I was so there!

My only hesitation was the promise of a love triangle–I really hate those! But, the synopsis lead me to believe that it really was going to be one sided so I went in hoping for the best!

The Plot (The List):

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much going on besides Annie flip-flopping between the two guys–more on that particular situation later. It’s a shame because I think if the focus was on Annie finding herself as a person WITHOUT a man, it would have been a great story. More of a coming of age instead of a “why doesn’t he love me” type of situation.

There is also the mystery of Annie’s mother’s death and why it had such a huge impact on her upbringing. Again, I wish it was elaborated more because it really would have helped develop Annie’s character and maybe garner some sympathy from me as a reader because Annie sure wasn’t getting any from me!

The Characters (The List):

I didn’t really like Annie; she irritated me for a few reasons. One is that I didn’t understand her. I’ll touch on it in a bit in my romance section, but I really didn’t like how she treated one of the guys. It was like he would say one thing honestly and she would just snap at him; but if the other guy said it to her she was like “oh, ok”. It just rubbed me the wrong way as did some of her other actions. She is a very selfish, reckless character who really didn’t think about the consequences of her actions and did things simply because she could. Which, I get given her home life and all but these were just poor decisions.

The two love interests, Ryan and Chris, weren’t anything special either. They were your typical love interests: the super nice guy and the off-limits sensitive boy. And I really didn’t understand why they instantly loved Annie besides her looks because she wasn’t any prize in my eyes and they really didn’t talk to each other much either.

As for the rest of the cast, I was far more interested in Annie’s BFFs situation than Annie’s which isn’t really a good sign…

The Romance (The List):

My only hesitation picking this book up was the vibe of a love triangle in the synopsis. But I also got the impression that this wasn’t going to be a full blown love triangle; rather, it was more of a situation where two love interests are present but really only one is in contention. And this story definitely leaned more that way well sorta kinda maybe…

Because you knew that she really didn’t like the other guy and the worst part is that SHE knew she didn’t like him the same way but she kept toying with his emotions anyways and didn’t truly feel guilty about it! UGH! So FrUsTrAtInG! (Thus why I dislike Annie so much!)

And so begins the saga of Annie flopping like a fish between the two guys (the worst part of a love triangle ever!). Whining that the guy she likes, and who likes her back, is too “honourable”/weak to tell his BFF that he likes the same girl he likes because he is sexually attracted to her.

The whole situation I found to be extremely immature and annoying. I also didn’t know why the boys liked her so much because they really didn’t interact all that much or really spend that much time together to warrant such strong feelings. It just didn’t add up for me which is very disappointing.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite not liking this book, I do want to read No Regrets. I really liked these characters and want to know their story. I’m undecided about Moving On–I’ll have to read the full synopsis when it’s released to make a decision though I feel like the unresolved events in The List will cause me to read it anyways.

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–March 18, 2016– Book #2: No Regrets

I was looking forward to reading this story because I’m a sucker for the “forbidden” romance trope. Not that this romance was forbidden, more like it was “off-limits”.

It took me awhile to like Cami. She’s a bit of a rambling person and it makes her come across as an airhead (and I think she is to a certain degree) but I knew that she was going to have some strong character development as the story progressed.

Unfortunately, I wanted to read about her falling in love. I wanted to actually see it happen and not have it neatly summarized as “we talked everyday for the next week and I couldn’t stop thinking about him”. So I had a hard time understanding the connection between these two beside physical attraction. Their relationship seemed like a side plot which is fine, just not what I was expecting.

If I had to give an overview of the whole novel, I would say it was all about Cami growing up. Which is why I would label this story as a coming of age story more so than a romance. Cami is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and I did like that her character grew up a bit as you read. It took a while for me to get comfortable with that idea because I wanted it to be a romance. But once I realized the direction it was taking, I enjoyed the latter half of the book.

I also didn’t realize that this novel would be a companion novel (ie. taking place simultaneously with The List). I actually liked that a lot because it helped me keep the pacing of everything and answered some of the questions you have while reading The List when it comes to Cami and Liam’s relationship.

–March 20, 2016– Book #3: Moving On

Having just finished No Regrets the day before, I was better prepared for the type of story I was going to get with Moving On. I knew it was going to be more of a slow burn romance story, with the romantic passion coming on in the end. And that was exactly what we got.

What I enjoyed about this novel was the alternating perspectives and their character development. I liked watching these two form their bond of friendship first and getting to know each other. I understood why they liked each other and how their feelings developed. Again, the story is more about them growing as people and coincidentally finding love along the way. It’s a quick, cute read and by far the best of the series.

(Fun Fact: This book has the two lead characters from Diana Gardin’s Falling Deep [Nelson Island #2] in it!)

–February 1, 2017– Book #4: Letting Go

I will not be picking up the 4th book in the series.

My Rating: 3/5

The List 3/5 | No Regrets 2.5/5 | Moving On 4/5 | Letting Go N/A

overall

The List was too much love triangle for me and not enough character development. Whereas the opposite was true for No Regrets. Moving On had a great slow burn romance but if you are looking for loads of passion and sexual tension, there are other New Adult Series that would suit you better.

Read if You Like: slower stories, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, don’t like reckless rebellious characters, want a hotter romance

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Series Review: Sea Breeze by Abbi Glines

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

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Favourite New Adult Series 2014 (Honourable Mention)
Series: Sea Breeze Series
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books:9 (See full list here)
Book Order: Connected*

While each book focuses on a new pair of leads, the exception is Books 3 (While It Lasts) and 5 (Sometimes It Lasts) that focus on the same leads.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm (books 1-3); getting hot (books 4-9)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Ever done something when you know you shouldn’t? I sure have and this series is one of them. When I was planning my Christmas Holiday reads following my exams, I had planned to only read the Kobo purchases that have been sitting on my Kobo for ages and froze all my holds at the library to do so. But, when I checked the latest additions to my library’s eBook section and saw that all of the books in this series were newly added AND available to check out, I seized the opportunity and snagged them while I could! What was a couple of days spending on this series really in the grand scheme of things 😛

I’m glad I did! I basically read a book a day with this series. I really enjoyed reading this series and it was addicting in the sense that I really became attached to all the characters. Without reading the synopsis for each book, I cheated and found out what character would be the star of each book so that when I read one book I would pay attention to that character and that made me super excited to see what was in store next for this great cast of characters.

This series is one that straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult. I’ve read posts where Abbi Glines herself classifies it as Young Adult as it is less steamier that her New Adult reads; but I myself would say it is more New Adult than Young Adult. While it is less steamier than her other New Adult series, Rosemary Beach, it is definitely steamier than any Young Adult read I have ever read. Sex is more than eluded to in this series but it isn’t as descriptive as Glines’ other works. But I found it got a little more descriptive as the series progressed.

Speaking of Rosemary Beach, this series is very similar. It reminds me of the teenage/younger version of Rosemary Beach in that the characters are all jaded in their own ways but everything is toned down compared to the Rosemary Beach series. The male leads aren’t full out alpha males, the sexual content is quite tame and most of the characters are quite a bit younger (though they do get older as the series progresses). This series also isn’t as drama heavy as Rosemary Beach and the character relationships and events don’t overlap as much as Rosemary Beach. So I think it goes without saying that if you enjoy one, you will enjoy the other!

My only “peeve” about this series is that some of the romances were of the “insta-connection” variety. Not all of them were like that (4 come to mind that weren’t) but it can be a little bit of a turn off if that isn’t your cup of tea. I find that they do expand upon the initial physical attraction so you warm up to the relationship by the end but I think it is important to mention just in case.

FUN FACT: While it Lasts is going to be made into a movie! Details can be found here!

Conclusion:

Another great New Adult series by Abbi Glines! If you love the Rosemary Beach series or just New Adult reads in general, this is a great one to pick up!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Rosemary Beach Series #1); Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola (Crush Series #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Breathe (from Goodreads):
Sadie White’s summer job isn’t going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother’s increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother’s job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationships never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can’t breathe without Sadie.

Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

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Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 6 (On Dublin Street, Down London Road, Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Echoes of Scotland Street, TBA)

There are novellas: #1.5 Until Fountain Bridge and #2.5 Castle Hill

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, book 6 will be published Summer 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Family, Tragedy, Abuse
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

This series has been on my to-read list for a really long time so I pounced when they were available at my library. After a blah start with Samantha Young’s Into the Deep series, I was really excited to see where these books would go because I have heard very good things.

First up is On Dublin Street. I didn’t know what to expect with this book but I was hoping for a cute read with a dash of excitement and sexual tension. Unfortunately I feel like this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t LOVE it.

I’m not sure where things went wrong because I did enjoy the first few chapters. The initial chemistry between Braden and Jocelyn was great but I found it wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. Part of the reason is their character personalities. I had a hard time liking Jocelyn despite her having characteristics I usually love in a heroine like wit and independence. I think she was just too extreme in her independence and that drove me a little nuts. Also, given her past her outlook on life is a little bleak and seeing as that the POV given is only hers, it makes it a sad place to be. As for Braden, I did like him but he was just on that cusp of being too alpha male for my personal tastes. (Read my full review of the novel here)

The plot was also a little lackluster in my opinion. It didn’t really get exciting until the last 50 or so pages. It just seemed to go through the motions and even the little petty drama things weren’t that exciting. It also didn’t help that I liked the relationship between Ellie and Adam a lot more than these two (which is thankfully the focus of the novella Until Fountain Bridge). (Bit of a side note: I have to hand it to Samantha Young for leaving the little tidbits about the next couple in each of the books. It always makes me super eager to get my hands on the next book.)

But I decided not to give up on the series because I really wanted to read Until Fountain Bridge and Down London Road because I liked those characters from On Dublin Street a lot more than I liked Jocelyn. And in the end I’m really glad I stuck with the series.

Until Fountain Bridge is listed as a novella and it’s about half the page length as On Dublin Street. Before reading it I was upset that Ellie and Adam’s story wasn’t going to be longer but once I read it, I realized it was the perfect length. I really liked its delivery which is a series of flashbacks as Ellie reads her diary–you basically get all the great romantic highlights but without all the angsty whining about the partner. It was super cute and super quick so I really liked that.

Down London Road started slow like On Dublin Street. But unlike its predecessor, I felt like the plot got a lot more exciting a lot quicker and didn’t really stop. It was a good blend of romance, drama and we get just enough of a taste of the next two leads that I was really excited to read the next two books. I also liked the tension between the two leads a lot more as well and loved their interaction and connection to each other. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more though I wish the first 100 pages or so were cut down to make things move a little faster.

Before Jamaica Lane was the perfect length and had a great execution. It wasn’t as “dark” (and by dark I mean depressing) as the previous two novels. It definitely had a serious side to it but I found it a lot more fun to read. I LOVED the male lead in this one and it was everything I expected it to be and a little bit more. I devoured it and it only made me more excited to read Fall from India Place and Echoes of Scotland Street.

In fact, I was so excited to read Fall from India Place that I immediately read it after Before Jamaica Lane despite having other books to read. It was sweet and not what I was totally expecting but I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped but, I would take it over On Dublin Street any day.

I’m super excited for what I think is the last book the series. This one has been building since Down London Road and I can’t wait to see what is in store!

UPDATED (Nov 9/14): I was super excited to read Echoes of Scotland Street. I think I’ve been anticipating this book since On Dublin Street, even more so since Before Jamaica Lane since we first met Cole. It was great! The story was interesting, the leads were great and it was the perfect length. Those who have been waiting for this book won’t be disappointed. 

Turns out, it isn’t the last in the series! I’m actually really excited that we will be getting at least one more book in this series. Although the next lead is someone we were just introduced to in Echoes of Scotland, I’m intrigued to read about his story and will be looking forward to its release this coming summer.

Conclusion:

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. It feels more like an older New Adult series that borders the line to Adult Contemporary. If you don’t like On Dublin Street, I encourage you not to give up on the series until you read another novel in the series. They get shorter but also better because you get more involved in all the characters lives. Each character is different and I find all their respective stories are different as well. A great contemporary romance series that I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes, though I would give a warning about On Dublin Street being a bit dry.

Similar Reads: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1); Choosing You by Allie Everhart (Jade Series #1) and Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1)

Synopsis for On Dublin Stree (from Goodreads):
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Series Review: Grayson Siblings by Faith Andrews

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

Series: Grayson Siblings
Author: Faith Andrews
# of Books: 2 (Keep Me, Keep Her)
Book Order: Companion, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Abuse, Family
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

After reading a particularly slow young adult novel, I needed a lighter book to read  and decided to read Keep Me. Ever since I bought it, the plot synopsis had been stuck in the back of my mind so it was the first book that I thought to read.

It was just what I needed when all was said and done. It was a cute romance with an interesting spin on what I have seen in the past. Instead of a younger sister crushing on her BFF’s older brother we get a reversal with the younger brother falling for his older sister’s BFF. It was a lot of fun to watch and I love the subplot romance we get introduced to (and later becomes the focus of the companion novel Keep Her).

I really enjoyed reading Keep Me. It kept my attention and I had fun reading it. There is a lot going on in their lives so I found that helped keep things moving. However, I wish the romance was elaborated more. It seemed like there was a lot of talking saying how Marcus always wanted her but all they seemed to do was have sex constantly with each other. I wanted to see more banter and sexual tension leading up to them sleeping together because I truly liked the two of them together. It was just lacking that something to make me give it that full 4 stars.

That’s where Keep Her succeeds more in my opinion. It’s a companion novel in the sense that a majority of the book takes place during the events of Keep Me but instead focuses on Marcus’ sister instead. But I liked that we got more interaction between her and her love interest: you get to see the connection between them forming more than in Keep Me and their relationship isn’t just based on sex. I also felt like their characters were better developed overall.

Until about 75% through Keep Her, I was fully going to give it a 4/5 and mark it off as my favourite of the series. But within the last quarter of the book, it got a little too soap-opera-ry for me. I understand why it was added–there were a few loose ends to tie up–but it was just a little too much for me; especially when it felt like we were getting our resolution to everything. A little over the top if you ask me but not as elaborate as I have read in some books.

Conclusion:

These books reminded me of a New Adult version of the Darcy and Rachel Series (aka Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin). Similar setup in the sense that it revolves around a group of four friends and the romantic drama in their lives but with a young set of leads. Overall, these books are a sexier light read that fans of New Adult romances will enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Perhaps. Nothing really wowed me about these books but if they were looking for a certain type of read I might suggest this.

Similar Reads: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (Darcy and Rachel Series #1); Down London Road by Samantha Young (Dublin Street Series #2) and Trapped by Beverly Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

Synopsis for Keep Me (from Goodreads):

Sexy, tatted up, underwear model Marcus Grayson is every girl’s dream—or more likely worst nightmare. He’s a player, a self-proclaimed bachelor for life, and he’s got no problem living up to his man-whore status. But when his older sister’s friend comes back from the past, he may just have the chance to turn some of his adolescent fantasies into reality.

Tessa Bradley is a self-sufficient, take-no-bull, single mother—well, now she is. Finally rid of her abusive, alcoholic ex, she’s making a new life for herself and catching up with old friends; the ones she was forced to break ties with because of her controlling husband. When she runs into Marcus, her friend Riley’s once-adorable turned smoking-hot little brother, she has no idea how he’s about to rock her world.