Tag «insta-love»

Novella Serial Saturdays: Luke by Cassia Leo

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 Mirror (from Goodreads):

From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a hot new romance packed with emotion and suspense.

At twenty-eight, Luke Maxwell is the hottest eligible bachelor in America and the billionaire CEO of Maxwell Computers. When Brina Kingston is hired by Luke’s competitor as a corporate spy, Brina successfully works her way into a position as Luke Maxwell’s new executive assistant. What Brina doesn’t expect is to find herself in a compromising position in his bed.

Brina thinks she has the savvy to see past Luke’s cunning intellect and extract the trade secrets she was hired to acquire. But she soon finds herself falling for his charms and risking the most important assignment of her career and, possibly, the greatest relationship of her life.

breakdown

Series: Luke
Author: Cassia Leo
# of Parts: 7 (All Parts Listed Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (Alternating later on)
Publication Date: December 2012 – September 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I only read Mirror, Memory and Linked (#3) before I decided not to continue with this series. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I got the first part as a freebie on Amazon and later got the complete series as a freebie as well. I really enjoy series where one lead is “deceiving” the other (but falls in love) and so that aspect is what drew me to this serial.

When I needed a easy going, somewhat lighter (and shorter) story during my exams, I opted to pick this serial up.

What I Liked:

I’m going to be honest and say not much.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Espionage Concept is Lacking–

My main motivation for picking this up was the undercover assignment. I just love the tension it brings about. But it never really goes anywhere and it seems to resolve by the 4th installment.

–Insta-Love–

Bleh, it was insta-love at its finest. Three minutes after meeting, they’re having sex. Three days after they meet, they’re saying I love you. I guess the sex is that good.

–No Plot–

Was there one? It was hard to tell at times. All the inklings were there, they just didn’t get elaborated on.

Each installment (that I read) went like this:

  1. Reminder of why she is there (get company secrets)
  2. Luke does something sweet (ex. holds her hand)
  3. They have sex
  4. She talks about her brother
  5. She feels guilt for her deception

Will I Finish It?

Nope. It sounds like some of the later installments jump a few years ahead but that doesn’t win my interest over.

Series Rating: 2/5

overall

If you like romances quick and don’t need too much to them, this is a great serial for you.

Read if You Like: erotica serials, want more suspense
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, dislike serials
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  • Heated by Maya Banks (Most Wanted Trilogy #2)

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Fresh Fridays: Hellion (Billion Dollar Bastards #1) by Emmy Joel

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

Billion Dollar Bastards Series

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hellion (from Goodreads):

Prison darkens their past. Ink colors their skin. Vengeance fuels their ambition.

Addiction has a name.

Once a coldhearted brawler who ruled the streets with his fists, now a billionaire contractor who rules society with his wealth, Malcolm Bradshaw has only one priority: Pharaoh Construction. Built on lies and ghosts that need to stay silent, it’s his gateway to Texas elite. But when he agrees to restore a centuries-old estate for the wedding of American royalty and long-buried human remains are found during excavation, his self-made kingdom is put in jeopardy. He’ll walk through hell before he backs down from anyone–especially Cate Lois, the introverted archeologist sent to look over his shoulder. From the shyness of her smile to the secrets in her eyes, she’s a drug he knows he shouldn’t touch.

It looks like sin. It talks like temptation.

Mysteries of the past and backroom business dealings don’t faze Cate. Taking what she needs and walking away was never a challenge before. But shadowing Malcolm, who beneath his expensive suits and easy charm is a tattooed son of a bitch, rattles her. What started as a plot to appease her blackmailer and steal a collection of rare artifacts becomes irrevocably complicated the moment Malcolm strips her down to bare skin and naked lust.

And what it doesn’t destroy, it turns into pure, decadent ecstasy…

breakdown

Series: Billion Dollar Bastards
Author: Emmy Joel
# of Books: 3 (Hellion, Rival, Saint)
Book Order: Connected by Chronological Events
Complete?: No, Rival, is to be published in May 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 11, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley via Author–eBook | Thanks so much Emmy Joel!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I was interested in reading Hellion, I was drawn to the description for a few reasons. One being the mystery behind the human remains and the jewels. That sounded positively juicy! Recently, I’ve found myself drawn into the world of romantic suspense (something I never really enjoyed before) thanks to a new fascination with mystery novels (last year it was fantasy novels, I guess 2017 is all about the mysteries). Add to that the danger of 3 criminally-convicted male leads and I was very excited to see what danger this series would bring.

What I Liked:

–Reads Like a Soap Opera–

I don’t know how many people know about the Soap Opera, The Bold and The Beautiful, but it’s this 30 minute soap opera with a tiny cast of larger than life characters. Their lives are all intertwined through romances, family and work, which means there is a ton of drama and secrets.

Reading Hellion reminded me of that show in the sense that you have these characters that are all linked together but you aren’t quite sure how. Everyone is looking out for themselves and everyone has a secretive past. Add in some drama about the jewels, the intrigue about the body and a dash of somewhat forbidden romance and you’ve got yourself one non-stop story.

–Not Full-Blown Erotica–

I don’t mind sexy times in my novels but I wouldn’t say I am a fan of full-out erotica (you know the ones with very little story and a whole lot of sex). So I was a little worried when I saw this labeled as “erotica” and looked at the page size. I didn’t want to read 125 pages of smut and then get a few pages to quickly wrap up the mystery plot (and no shame if you do want that!).

But there was a great balance between the sex scenes and the mystery. It switched the narrative to the actual plot when it needed to and returned to the romance at the appropriate times.

–The Mystery is Woven Throughout the 3 Novels–

I like that the mystery aspect is something that is continued throughout all the novellas. I feel like it just helps tie the books all together besides having the 3 men all be good friends and business partners.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Novella Format–

Obviously from my above comments this story has a lot of positives to it. It has all the right components to make for a great trilogy. However, it does suffer greatly from the novella-size format.

Everything just felt a little underdeveloped to me.

I wasn’t really sold on the romance because I hardly felt like these two interacted with each other. I felt very little chemistry between them and that made their hasty romance even more of an insta-love situation (which I’m not a fan of even though I was expecting it here).

And while the mystery is going to be carried out over the next two stories, I do feel like it was very “rushed” here. I would have enjoyed it being a little more layered and developed.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to find out the conclusion for the mystery and there is one particular couple that has me curious to see what is in store for them. Maybe the next two will be longer…

My Rating: 3/5

Hellion 3/5 | Rival TBP | Saint TBP

overall

This (will be) a great summer weekend binge series once all the books are out for fans of shorter stories that pack a lot into them.

Read if You Like: romantic mysteries, bad boys
Avoid if You: dislike novella format, want straight-up erotica
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Fresh Fridays: Bad Nanny (#1) by C M Stunich

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

Bad Nanny Trilogy

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Bad Nanny (from Goodreads):

Holy sweet baby Jesus.

I don’t know anything about taking care of kids.
I pierce nipples, navels, and noses for a living.
I’ve never even held a baby before. Not once. Never changed a diaper or cleaned up a skinned knee. Hell, I don’t even want kids. I’m more of a drifter, a once in a lifetime lover, and then I move on.
Family? Commitment? Nuh uh, no way.

Tough shit, though, because my brother and his kids need me. Desperately.
I never thought to wonder if I might need them, too.
That I might need her, this strange woman I met at a playground.
Brooke Overland.
She doesn’t know I’m not a professional nanny, but what am I supposed to do now?

She hired me; I took care of her sister’s kids for her; I fucked her.
My life is so screwed up.

breakdown

Series: Bad Nanny
Author: C M Stunich
# of Books: 3 (Bad Nanny, Good Boyfriend, Great Husband)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Good Boyfriend, is TBA
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I like unconventional romances (I read a lot and so I like fresh takes on your everyday tropes) and this was pretty unconventional. I mean, how often does a tattooed body piercer become a nanny? Not often.

So with this one, I was looking forward to a fun and sexy read that wasn’t something I have read before.

What I Liked:

–The Quirky Characters–

Zayden wasn’t what I expected at all. Given the description, I thought he was going to be some badass alpha male and that was not the case. At all. He is the quirky, nerdy guy who is very different from your typical “erotica” hero. I liked his “march to the beat of his own drum” mentality. It was rather refreshing. He’s a big softy and doesn’t really try to hide it.

Brooke was the perfect balance for him. She is her own brand of quirky but perhaps more grounded? It becomes easy to root for her given her situation. I thought she had great character development.

–It’s Insta-Love, But it Works–

This book takes place within a 2 week span so everything happens fast. I’m not a fan of insta-love but with these two, I could see how it would work. They are great partners and this story takes the time to show that. While there are plenty of steamy moments, there are scenes where these two just talk and learn more about each other. I appreciated that a lot.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Story Dragged a Bit–

This book is over 300 pages and sometimes it felt like that. There isn’t much plot besides pooping babies, sexy times and the occasional heart to heart. I just needed a little bit more to the drama of the plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m on the fence about picking up the next one. It all depends on the description honestly. I’m happy with the way this one wrapped up and I’m not sure what else the future holds.

My Rating: 3/5

Bad Nanny 3/5 | Good Boyfriend TBP | Great Husband TBP

overall

If you like unconventional romances that are light, flirty and fun, this is a great one to try!

Read if You Like: tatooed heroes/bad boys, light reads
Avoid if You: dislike steamy scenes
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Blog Tour: The Truth She Knew by J A Owenby

Synopsis for The Truth She Knew (from Goodreads):
Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.
For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: The Truth
Author: J A Owenby
# of Books: 3 (The Truth She Knew, Echoes Beneath, Whispers of Hers)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2016 – July 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

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thoughts

This is just a review of the first novel, The Truth She Knew.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a HUGE advocate for mental health. I think people often stay focused on the physical health of a person; I’m guilty of it at times as well because that’s what my job focuses on. But mental health is such a massive factor in a person’s overall health. I think we’ve come a long way in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health but we’ve still got a long way to go.

So when I saw that this book dealt with the impact a parent’s mental condition can have on their child, I desperately wanted to read this book! I’ve come across this premise in other books but rarely does the protagonist not know about the parent’s condition and so I was interested to see how it was dealt with here.

What I Liked:

–The DRAMA!!!–

I’m not one for unnecessary dramatics so when I find a novel that has the right amount of drama & it’s given in the right way, I feel like I’ve struck gold.

This story does that.

Everything just builds up as you read which makes this book pretty addicting. But what I liked was that the drama all stems from something. Whether’s it’s the result of Lacey’s actions or her mother–nothing ever felt like it was added simply for shock factor. It all serves a purpose and one that contributes to the grand scheme of things.

–That it is Set in the 1980’s–

I don’t read a lot of contemporary novels that don’t take place in the last 10 years. I loved how these characters had to call the home phone or use a payphone to contact each other then simply shooting off a text to their cellphone. It just brings a simplicity to the story that I like. Plus, it reminded me of my younger days (though I was born in the 1990’s–just sayin’).

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Insta-Love–

Maybe in the 1980s people fell in love really fast–I’m sure there are stats out there that can prove that–but I didn’t love how the romance progressed here. Mind you, I wasn’t reading this novel for the romance so it wasn’t a huge factor; I just thought it all happened really suddenly even though I enjoyed the dramatics it brought to the story.

–Everything Happens at the End!–

The shit literally hits the fan in the last few chapters of this novel and it just makes you wish the book didn’t end! It all just reaches its climax and you are left wondering: what is going to happen next?!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really want the next book to focus more on the mental illness aspect of this story. While it was present here, I want to see Lacey grow more from her experience still. And some resolution to the other dramatics would be great 🙂

My Rating: 3/5

The Truth She Knew 3/5  | Book 2  TBR

overall

This is a heartbreaking story that will definitely touch its readers. In particular, The Truth She Knew does a great job of building up this story for its sequel. While my rating is lower here, I know that great things are in store and I can’t wait to read them!

Read if You Like: books dealing with mental health
Avoid if You: want a straight romance novel

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J A Owenby

J. A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.

She’s a published author of six short stories and is beginning her first full length novel. J.A. doesn’t mess around when it comes to working with a professional team in order to present her best writing.

She also runs her own business and helps people find jobs they love as a professional resume writer.

She is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and pop tarts. Her downtime consists of a beautiful summer evening, snuggling with her hubby outside underneath the stars. If it’s winter, listening to the rain and watching NFL football.

You can follow the events of her upcoming novel on https://www.facebook.com/JAOwenby

Author Links: Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Series Review: Sheridan Hall by Jessica Calla

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

Sheridan Hall Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for She Laughs in Pink (from Goodreads):

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

breakdown

Series: Sheridan Hall
Author: Jessica Calla
# of Books: 3 (She Laughs in Pink, She Runs Away, She Wants it All)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Love Triangles, College, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

She Laughs in Pink was the Read It Review It book for the month of June in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. While the hint of a love triangle in the synopsis frightened me, I thought it would go the way of Juliet realizing Ben is better as a friend and never really initiating anything. Juliet’s backstory was also really intriguing and I wanted to delve into that deeper.

So I prepared myself for a love triangle but had hope for the best before I picked up this book.

What I Liked:

–The Chemistry–

I felt like Chase and Juliet had great chemistry, right from the start. While their romance is definitely insta-love on the part of Chase, they had this passion to their relationship that made you swoon in romantic appreciation. Unfortunately, I feel like their chemistry only got them so far, but initially I really enjoyed it.

–Sense of Community–

I really liked the idea of a close knit residence floor that is presented here. I find a lot of college New Adult romances take place in the last year when people are in their own apartments or they only have that shitty, assigned roommate in their first year residence (who promptly gets ignored as the romance develops elsewhere). It was a neat approach that really added to this story in an unexpectedly cool way.

–Ben Knows About Juliet’s Feelings; And Acknowledges Them!?!–

What really surprised me was that early on, Ben tells Juliet “no” when it comes to becoming more. Sure, he isn’t tactful about it; but it definitely was refreshing to have a male BFF who isn’t totally oblivious to the feelings his “gorgeous” female BFF has for him. I get tired of the ignorant BFF role after awhile.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Misleading Synopsis–

Perhaps it was simply a matter of me reading too much into things (something I do often) or maybe it was me just misreading the synopsis (a regular occurrence) but the plot wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I’ll give you some examples:

“Four years after her twin is murdered”

This doesn’t get revealed until later on so it felt a little spoilery. All you know is Juliet’s twin died in high school and she feels responsible for it at the start of the novel. I feel like I would have had more sympathy not knowing she was murdered before I started the novel.

“Juliet will win Ben’s heart.”

I thought there would be more effort on Juliet’s part to get this set in motion besides her stating it numerous times.

” in love with his seemingly perfect”

That word “seemingly” implies that Ben isn’t perfect–and sure, Chase doesn’t know his new roommate before he insta-loves Juliet, but I think that statement gave me hope that Ben would be a total douche of a person and Chase would set Juliet right…and that wasn’t really the case.

–The “Seeing” Colours–

People with synesthesia often see letters or numbers as colours. I was aware of this phenomenon before I started reading but didn’t expect Chase to have something similar. The idea that he sees colours around people makes sense, he is an artist after all and he gets inspired by those around him. But I’m not sure I like how it was presented as an almost “psychic” ability. It was cool but I’m not sure I like it in my contemporary romances…

–Too Many Plots/Storylines–

I didn’t love the execution of the novel. I feel like the attempt to give these characters depth overwhelmed their development. Things definitely felt rushed at the end as all this somewhat random bits were thrown at these characters when nothing really happened in the earlier part of the novel. I like a lot going on in my novel but this was overwhelming and definitely delivered too late into the story for me to really care.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hummed and hawed over whether or not I would pick up the next book. I read the synopsis and wasn’t immediately sucked in. Perhaps it if was another couple, I would have considered it but I’m just not feeling these characters at all.

My Rating: 2.5/5

She Laughs in Pink 2.5/5 | She Runs Away N/A  | She Wants it All N/A

overall

While I liked the concept for the rest of the series, the execution was just too much, too late. Perhaps if this series started with a different couple, I would feel differently but these two did not win me over.

Read if You Like: slower stories, love triangles, drama
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, stubborn heroines, cheating

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Series Review: The Illumination Paradox by Jacqueline Garlick

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

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Lumière (from Goodreads):
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: The Illumination Paradox
Author: Jacqueline Garlick
# of Books: 3 (Lumière, Noir, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, there is a third book to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction
Heat Rating: cool (gets a little more suggestive in Noir)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook  Thank you Skyscape!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love steampunk! Its one of my favourite genres because I find each series has its own little spin on the genre. So when I saw Lumière in the Read Now section of NetGalley, I couldn’t pass it up!

I was looking forward to a perhaps more dystopian steampunk world (the Vapours sounded like something from Under the Never Sky) with a take-charge heroine. I also was looking forward to this alluring stranger character and the fact that there seemed to be a true evil villain.

The World:

I really enjoyed the world of this series. It’s classic steampunk but with a more supernatural spin to it. I find a lot of steampunk stories focus on the mechanical aspects of the story (ie machines) but only a few have a paranormal/supernatural element. Sometimes it felt like there were too many elements to it all but once you get used to everything, it’s easier to keep everything straight.

I think at times this book is a little too descriptive. I would find myself drifting away from the long paragraphs. It definitely helps the reader get a clear picture of everything but at times it seemed to be a little too much.

The Plot:

At first, the plot of Lumière reminded me a bit of Vengeance Road as Eyelet suddenly finds herself on the run from an enemy. But it quickly morphed into more of a Beauty and the Beast premise, something I really wasn’t expecting. And then that quickly changed into its own unique story for the rest of the book.

I liked the premise for the plot, I just felt that it took WAY TOO LONG to get there. Lumière is nearly 400 eBook pages long, which is about 150 pages longer than your average eBook. And unfortunately, I really felt like nothing happened until the last 150 pages or so. The extra page length was great for establishing the complex world but I felt like I had a good grasp of everything about 100 pages in and would have liked the main plot line to have shifted into focus. I just wanted more because the last 100 or so pages were exciting, but my enthusiasm for them had significantly decreased by the time I got there.

The Characters:

I liked Eyelet and Urlick. They had their strengths and their flaws which I appreciate. However, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of character development for them in Lumière despite the length of the book. Who they are as characters is readily established and is well done, I just felt like there was something lacking for me when it comes to their characters–which might be a result of the romance clouding my impression of them (see below).

Otherwise, you have quite the interesting cast of characters. The supporting characters do their jobs perfectly and Smrt as a villain (though he has a smaller part than I expected) was entertaining.

The Romance:

In Lumière, the romance just didn’t work for me. It seemed like it bloomed out of nowhere. That really frustrated me because I could see why these two would work together but I failed to understand how they knew that. I really don’t think they had spoken all that much to each other before they were feeling these deeper things. I get the physical attraction part of it all, I just didn’t see the emotional connection and that resulted in a lacklustre romance for me.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I think now that the world has been established and all the major players have been introduced, we are going to get more from Noir. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

updates

–November 6, 2015– Book 2: Noir

This book moved well from beginning to end. I felt like it kept the pace at a constant and didn’t drag on like Lumière often did. Secrets are revealed, there are lots of interesting plot twists and the characters get a little more depth to them. Overall, Noir just felt complete. It was solid and built up as you read. I got hooked into the story and the pages just flew by. This book was a lot of fun to read and really made me happy that I stuck with this series.

I’m excited to see what will happen in the next one!

concSLOW

Formally: Time Will Tell

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Lumière 3/5 | Noir 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

Lumière showed some great promise and build up an intriguing world, but I just wanted a little more wow from it. I’m hoping that will come in the sequel. Noir does a great job of building on what the first novel has created. It kept my attention from start to end and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Read if You Like: slower stories, steampunk with supernatural elements
Avoid if You: want a faster story, want more romance

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Series Review: Real by Katy Evans

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

book book book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Real (from Goodreads):
A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…
He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.
I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.
If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

breakdown

Series: Real
Author: Katy Evans
# of Books: 6 (Real, Mine, Remy, Rogue, Ripped, Book 6)
Book Order: Real and Mine are Chronological, Remy is the alternate POV sequel to Real the rest of the series is Connected
Complete?: No, Book 6, will be published Fall 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (Real, Mine, Remy); Alternate (Rogue, Ripped)Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Real is one of those books that has been haunting me on my Kobo account’s recommendation list since it was published. And while I was intrigued by it and all the positive reviews my Goodreads’ friends had given it, I simply can’t afford to shell out $10 a book to read the series. So when my library got copies of the book, I immediately added my name to the hold list.

I knew that the males were going to be top alpha dogs before I even started and while that usually doesn’t appeal to me, I was going to keep an open mind. I also figured these books were going to be more erotica than contemporary romance so I didn’t expect thrilling, complex plot lines either.

How to Phrase this…

My feelings on Real (both as a book and as a series) are mixed and I can understand why some people might give it an extremely low rating after reading it while others love it. In all honesty, I was enjoying it until I started to write this review (because I was writing this as I was reading it) and after I creeped some of the reviews on Goodreads to see what others thought of it. Reading this book after I did that was like when you notice someone’s bad habit for the first time and then that is all you can notice in the future.

I found that all the books in this series were kinda like that: the more I thought about them, the more I disliked them. It was weird because when I started to read the book, I was really enjoying it. But when I returned to reading it later, I didn’t like it that much and the same can be said for the subsequent times I picked up these books. There are two reasons I think this happened to me: 1) is the development of the heroines; and 2) the repetitiveness of the writing. And they both go hand in hand at times.

The Plot:

So, the plot isn’t really anything stellar, especially in Real. They definitely improve in the subsequent novels where we get some more “suspense” romance plot lines but for the most part, these books are just the heroines describing the virility of their men.

Yup, you read that right: virility.

The entire first half of Real is literally Brooke describing how the primal instincts in her are attracted to the “virile” man Remy is (It’s the same situation in the other books as well, though the page count is a little less). Honestly: there is a paragraph describing how the “female” in her wants to “mate” with Remy because she wants his genetics for her babies–I kid you not. And while the scientist in me appreciates that fact that this is a true human reaction, it just seemed a little over the top to me.

Personally, I could have done without all the redundant descriptions of how Remy turns her on–I got it after the first two times thank you. Brooke uses the worst words possible to describe their sexual encounters and often repeats them numerous times within a paragraph. Some are just hilarious to me and even now I have a silly grin on my face because I can’t believe that anyone would refer to their private parts like that.

But it also seems to dampen the flow of the book because you will be getting narration about where they are and then suddenly, BAM–Brooke’s describing how hot Remy makes her for two pages before BAM–you get shoved back into the actual scene narration. This gets better in the sequel books but they definitely have the same vibe.

It’s a shame because Remy’s story is actually interesting and it kinda takes a backseat to Brooke’s descriptions of his eight-pack. Same in the other books with the other leads. And when we do get the drama, it is over the top and a tad ridiculous but I guess that is the consequence of fiction.

The Characters:

I really struggled with these heroines. Heroines really make or break a series for me. I think it’s because I am a female so I can easily put myself in their shoes as opposed to a male character. And I’ll be honest: the primal alpha male heroes we get in this series really do nothing for me but I came into this series knowing that I wouldn’t particularly love them so it didn’t necessarily bother me.

What bothered me was that Brooke has the maturity of a 16 year old fangirl–which means she has very little. Even when we switch narrators in the other books in the series, I found that the delivery was much the same. The heroines become those immature girls who don’t see their self-worth without a man in their lives. And as soon as they do find their partner, they get immediately clingy. Basically, it’s the grown woman’s condition of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome and it is just plain annoying. (Though to be fair, Pandora’s story, Ripped, doesn’t completely fall into this scenario.)

The Romance:

As I said before, these are basically books about acting on your lust. Two of the three couples have an insta-connection type of romance; the exception is Ripped where it is a second chance romance. I appreciated that one a lot more than the other two in that respect.

What I did love was the chemistry and the sexual tension. That is definitely one nice thing about insta-love stories because there is always so much frustration and close encounters before the big consummation.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea who the next story in the series is about though I have a pretty good guess. I’ll read it just for the sake of finishing this series but it’s not high on my “have to read it now!” list.

Fun Fact:

Before I read Real I never knew that “scent” could be used as a verb–and after reading it 10 times as a verb I understand why: it’s annoying and awkward!

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I’m not sure what everyone else was reading but I don’t think I read the same thing. If you don’t mind clingy heroines, alpha males and over the top dramatics with lots of sex scenes, this is a good series for you! It just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in place and I found that I felt more frustrated than happy when reading these books.

Read if You Like: alpha males, over dramatics, lots of sex
Avoid if You: can’t tolerate petty heroines, crude language

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Single Sundays: Confess 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 Confess (from Goodreads):
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

breakdown

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

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I think by this point it’s fairly obvious that anything Colleen Hoover publishes, I will be reading it. But even if she didn’t write this one, I would have picked this book up for the concept alone. It just seemed like a book that would be filled with secrets and–obviously–confessions and I needed a good drama filled contemporary romance when I picked this up. It’s just an added bonus that Colleen Hoover writes this because I just know there are going to be some AWESOME plot twists.

The Concept:

In Slammed, the focus is Slam Poetry; in Maybe Someday we get a music soundtrack. But in Confess, the focus is art–and you betcha, there is actually photos of the artwork in the text! I recommend you either get this book in print or at the very least look at the eBook on your computer or tablet because the photos look great in black and white (like your eReader) but they look even better when in colour! I just love these additions Colleen Hoover adds to her works and it’s what makes her a must read author for me.

The other cool concept this book plays with is confessions. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the community project Post Secret but the idea is that you mail in your secret/confession on a postcard anonymously. A few years ago, the band All American Rejects used postcards from the site in their video Dirty Little Secret. Anyways, Owen’s artwork is inspired by similar confessions which is a interesting spin and really grounds this book and makes it more realistic to me.

The Plot:

Don’t go into this book expecting a cheery and light romantic read–it’s actually kind-of depressing. Which is why it took me a while to get into it. I cried three pages in (you’ll understand why if you read it) and I cried at the very end for the same reason. While some aspects of the plot I figured out before they were revealed, in classic Colleen Hoover style there were some great twists which kept the plotline from getting too predictable. As I was reading, I really didn’t know what was going to happen next and, even better, I had no clue how everything was going to wrap up.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Broadway musical Once but this book gave me similar vibes in the sense that two people are exploring their connection despite external forces and secrets driving them apart. But instead of music, we get artwork.

The Characters:

I really liked all the characters we meet in this book–even the ones you are supposed to hate. Hoover writes great characters that always feel developed yet still manage to grow at the same time. I find they are consistent in their convictions (ie they don’t flop like fish) but they still have flaws and they try to fix it. So while these character might not be gracing a list of my all-time favourite characters, I still enjoyed reading about them.

The Romance:

As I said before, this isn’t a happy-go-lucky type of romance book. It’s also a bit of a insta-connection / “must be fate” kind of romance which I don’t really like. However, I didn’t mind it in this case because you watch these characters struggle with that connection. It isn’t like they dive into bed together as soon as their eyes connect and forget the rest of the world. In fact, it is the complete opposite. It also helps that the focus of a majority of the book is on individual character growth and dealing with the world around them rather than their romantic connection. There were definitely enough “romantic” scenes but there was just the right amount to balance the “drama” portion of the story.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This may not be my favourite Colleen Hoover book but I still really enjoyed it! I thought it had a great execution and unique attributes that made this different from your everyday romance novel. It kept my attention from beginning to end and I loved the fact that it still surprised me at the very end. Another great book by Colleen Hoover!

Read if You Like: romantic fate, drama, a dash of suspense, artist heroes
Avoid if You: dislike insta-connection, want a more “upbeat” 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.

Single Sundays: Crossing Stars by Nicole Williams

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 Crossing Stars (from Goodreads):
While the city of Chicago sleeps, a war wages in the streets between two powerful families. While the public assumes organized crime is nothing more than a chapter torn out of America’s history, the Costa and Moran families battle for territory and domination.

Caught up in the middle of this sinister world is Josette, the only child of Salvatore Costa, the ringleader and notorious godfather of Chicago’s Italian mafia. After the Irish Morans attempted to assassinate her when she was a child, Josette’s parents hid her behind the walls of their sprawling estate and kept her contact with outsiders to a minimum. But now Josette’s eighteen, and she’s questioning if a long life behind walls is worth trading for a potentially short one filled with excitement and adventure and all the things she’s only lived in her dreams.

On the night she decides to risk becoming just an anonymous face in the crowd, Josette realizes that death isn’t only a possibility—it’s a certainty. Yet when a young man comes to her rescue, the turbulent waters between life and death are further muddied.

Review:

I love Nicole Williams other works so when I read that her next standalone novel was going to be a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, I was excited and immediately put it at the top of my to-buy list. I loved the Romeo + Juliet movie with Leonardo DiCaprio all those years ago and Crossing Stars seemed like it was going to have that same edge to it with the two rival mafia families.

And for the most part it did have that interesting modern edge. The rivalry between the two families was well done and kept my attention. I also liked that this book wasn’t just a modern, word-for-word retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It did have its own plot events that weren’t necessarily parallel or occurred in Romeo and Juliet.

But that modern edge wasn’t enough to save this book. It really dragged in parts for me (the last two chapters were really fast-paced). Part of the problem was Josette. She was a dull heroine who couldn’t manage to capture my attention throughout the novel. Rylan was a bit more exciting to me but I think it was because he was more of a mystery to me because his POV is not given. I understand why it wasn’t but I wish it was because I think it would have made things more interesting.

I know Romeo and Juliet is the classic example of a love-at-first-sight story but I just had a hard time grasping it in this one. I think it was because Josette had just finished reading it and seemed to know that everything about it was crazy with her and Rylan but still did it anyway. It might have also helped to have Rylan featured more because he was missing for a good majority of the book. Perhaps that is the whole “romantic” part of the story but it’s not my cup of tea (even though I love Romeo and Juliet as a play).

Conclusion:

This story just didn’t do it for me. I’ve read better Romeo and Juliet stories. It had a few interesting twists but nothing outstanding. If you read anything and everything about Romeo and Juliet OR insta-love stories, then you will probably want to read this. Otherwise, watch the 1996 movie instead.

Rating: 2/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: No

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Romeo and Juliet
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Authors, Worst Standalone Reads 2014
Similar Reads: Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman (Son of the Mob Series #1)

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