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Series Review: Men of Laguna by Kim Karr

Series Review: Men of Laguna by Kim Karr

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

Synopsis for No Pants Required (from Goodreads):
I, Makayla Alexander, am on a mission to reinvent myself. So when a super hot guy boards the plane and flashes his rock hard abs, I pay attention. When he sits next to me and offers me his nuts, I can’t resist. But when I choke on them and he tells me I need to work on my gag reflex, I realize I might be in over my head.

Before I know it we’re in the lavatory and attempting to join the Mile High Club. Let me just say this…anyone who tells you it’s easy to get it on at 37,000 feet isn’t telling you the truth. After the flight attendant busts us for getting frisky in the air, the only thing that can ease my total and complete mortification is the simple fact that I am never going to see him again.

Hours later, I can’t help but wonder if fate will ever allow me to become a new version of myself.

Because Fate, she’s a fickle bitch.

Case in point…my seatmate is my new next-door neighbor.

Even with the whole fate thing we have going on, we are so not meant to be together. He’s all cool and sexy in that make love not war kind of way. Guys like him are dangerous. With that bring-you-to-your-knees body, that handsome-as-hell face, and that dirty, dirty mouth, I guarantee one glance from him wets every girl’s bikini bottoms.

And then there’s me…the quirky girl looking to find herself in California. All I want to do is learn to let loose. Say words like peace and groovy. Bury my toes in the sand. Who knows, maybe even have sex on the beach.

Unable to get him out of my head, I entertain the thought of being more than just friends. I know the idea is absurd. And yet, I go with it. You see Camden Waters gets me. Really gets me. Like no other guy has before.

On this 7-mile stretch of paradise, I decide to keep things simple and just have fun…that is until fate decides to screw with me, again.

Can two people hell-bent on finding themselves realize the search should have ended the day they met? Find out in No Pants Required—a sexy, funny, romantic stand-alone, that will have you hurrying to grab your bathing suit and rushing to the beach to check out every lifeguard on duty.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Adult Fave 2016
Series: Men of Laguna
Author: Kim Karr
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure — more books planned
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Heat Rating: Smokin’
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 11, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook (#1); Own–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I stumbled upon this novel when Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag did the cover reveal for it back in June. I’ll admit, the title is what caught my attention but I’ve had Kim Karr on my TBR for a long time with her Connections series.

This one sounded like a lot of fun and would make the perfect lighter read between novels. It has been a long time since I read a novel that was actually funny and I was hoping this one would break that streak.

The Plot:

Ok, I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time! If I hadn’t started it close to midnight, I would have finished it in one sitting.

This book had a fantastic balance between fun, drama, character development and romance. It hooked me in with its fun and HILARIOUS start–seriously, I was laughing out loud during those first few chapters–making me fall in love with the characters while getting a taste for their stories.

I liked that this story wasn’t filled with lots of dramatics. By keeping it simple, you get to focus on the characters and their growth. And the characters are really what make this story.

The Characters:

I was worried I wouldn’t like Mikayla because of the synopsis. I feared that she was going to be an airhead or something. A very silly concern because she was great! I loved her story and her personal growth throughout the novel. Plus, she was pretty funny. She was exactly what this story needed.

It was a real treat that we got Cam’s POV. I definitely thought this was going to be a Single POV story when I read the synopsis. But getting inside Cam’s head was fabulous. He was so funny and charming. Plus, he has a great story as well.

The Romance:

These two complimented each other so, so well! It’s insane how much I love these two together. They would just feed off each other and it was fantastic watching them fall in love.

I was worried that this was just going to be lots of sex but that isn’t really the case. It plays a huge role in the story but honestly, there is so much substance in everything else that those scenes are just a bonus.

updates

–November 5, 2019– Book #2: Bedwrecker

This book was a lot of fun to read! It had plenty of sweet moments laced with some pretty steamy ones. From the start, these two had great chemistry and I found their story to be so easy to read. At times though, I thought some scenes were a little redundant by rehashing previous sentiments. But this book has a great flow to it so I didn’t mind to much. While it wasn’t as laugh out loud funny as its predecessor, there were some charming moments.

–November 9, 2019– Book #3: Hollywood Prince

So I had actually marked this book as one to read after viewing a Blog Tour post by Alicia @ Shooting Stars Mag before I realized that this was part of this series.

This was a solid book! It had more of a slow burn to it than the previous two novels but that was refreshing in a way because it allowed our leads to grow a bit as people and grow-up as well as get to know each other as people.

There was a lack of something–perhaps some drama?–that stopped me from becoming completely engrossed. But overall, it was an enjoyable read!

Series Rating: 4/5

No Pants Required 5/5 | Bedwreaker 4/5 | Hollywood Prince 4/5

overall

Honestly, this series is so much fun! It’s everything I want in an entertaining New Adult novel! Highly recommended for those who like lighter but well constructed contemporary romances with plenty of steam.

Read if You Like: humour, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike new adult

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Series Review: Balls in Play by Kate Stewart

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

Balls in Play Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Anything but Minor (from Goodreads):
“She’s a nerd.”
“Heyyyy!”
“Okay, she’s a flight instructor.”
“Better.”
“He’s a ballplayer.”
“The best that ever was.”
“Technically, you aren’t according to MLB stats.”
“See? Total nerd. She also has no filter.”
“He’s no southern gentlemen.”
“I had one last season to prove my worth.”
“I’d never seen a game.”
“He told me he was a player.”
“She told me she was a lesbian.”
“But you fell in love with me anyway.”
“Yeah, baby, I totally did.”

breakdown

Series: Balls in Play
Author: Kate Stewart
# of Books: 2 (Anything but Minor, Major Love)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 2016 – November 2016
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this when I was browsing Top Romance reads on Kindle Unlimited. I’ll admit, it was the cover that first drew me in but when I read the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to start this book! I added it at the last minute when I was finishing up my Kindle Unlimited Trial, throwing a wrench in my reading plans but nevertheless excited to read a funny contemporary romance.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

I really liked the sense of community this book created. When you meet all these characters and see their network, it made me excited to see what would happen to this crew in later books.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Insta-Love–

I couldn’t even tell you what these two liked about each other besides physical attraction. The romance just happened way too fast for me.

–It Just Bored Me–

Never have I contemplated DNFing a book more at the 50% mark than I have with this one. It’s a shame because this started so strong. I was chuckling along for the first 25% or so, getting used to the town and characters and then I just didn’t care anymore. Part of it was the insta-romance–I just wasn’t feeling these two together–but the other factor was the characters themselves.

Alice is quirky and I enjoyed that about her at the start. But then some of her traits just irked me. Like her inability to hold her bladder at certain times. Now, I’m not judging anyone who has bladder incontinence, but it was a little much for this story. And the humour started to die for me after that.

This story isn’t anything I haven’t read before and that just made it a little dull…

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite the fact that I really liked the people I met in this story, I just don’t really care to read what happens next. And I feel like things were semi-wrapped up in Anything but Minor so I’m OK with how things end.

My Rating: 2/5

Anything but Minor 2/5 | Major Love N/A

overall

This started strong but quickly bored me. If you haven’t read a lot of sports romances (or you really love them) this might be worth a read. Otherwise, if you don’t like quirky heroines, stay far away.

Read if You Like: quirky heroines, light romance, sports
Avoid if You: dislike sports
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Series Review: Friendship, Texas by Magan Vernon

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

Friendship, Texas Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Edge of Glory (from Goodreads):

“Welcome to Conti’s. I’m Lia and I’ll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh”.

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

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

“Uh… I mean…”

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

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

breakdown

Series: Friendship, Texas
Author: Magan Vernon
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: July 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook; Narrator–Audiobook (Rumor)

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

What I Liked:

–Jay–

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

–Lia’s Lack of Self-Confidence–

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

–Lia’s Family & The Town–

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

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

What I Didn’t Like:

–It Felt like Lia was 16, Not 20–

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

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

–The Perception I Should Know Everyone–

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: 3/5

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

overall

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

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

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Single Sundays: Where the Road Takes Me by Jay McLean

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 Where the Road Takes Me (from Goodreads):
Chloe has one plan for the future, and one plan only: the road. She’s made a promise to herself: don’t let anyone in, and don’t let anyone love her. She’s learned the hard way what happens if she breaks her rules. So she’s focused on being invisible and waiting until she can set out on the road—her dream of freedom, at least for a little while.

Blake Hunter is a basketball star who has it all—everything about him looks perfect to those on the other side of his protective walls. He can’t let anyone see the shattered pieces behind the flawless facade or else all his hopes and dreams will disappear.

One dark night throws Chloe and Blake together, changing everything for Blake. For Chloe, nothing changes: she has the road, and she’s focused on it. But when the so-called perfect boy starts to notice the invisible girl, they discover that sometimes with love, no one knows where the road may lead.

breakdown

Series Often grouped as the Road Series

There is a spin-off called the Kick, Push Duology

Author: Jay McLean
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually read the spin-off series first, Kick, Push, so I was introduced to Chloe and Blake and their story early on. Even though I knew how it ended, I was really excited to read their story because it seemed so sweet. I didn’t know they had their own story (though I hoped!) until I saw Amazon group Kick, Push as a part of the “Road” series. So I was really excited to know that their story was already out there and I could read it ASAP!

The Plot:

I had definitely built up what I wanted this story to be in my head before I started it. And, it wasn’t really what I thought which was disappointing.

In typical Jay McLean fashion, I found things to be overdramatic and taken to that next level. After reading so many of her books, I’m use to it but it rubbed me the wrong way this time. I think it was because I wanted the story to be something else and I didn’t want those dramatics.

It also seemed a little cliché at times–which I’m normally ok with but here it just seemed overused and it tired me.

The Characters:

Ok, I won’t lie, I definitely pictured Haley and Nathan from One Tree Hill the entire time I read this novel. I don’t know why because I never watched One Tree Hill but I’m familiar with the basics of their relationship. I think it was the basketball thing though in all honesty.

Like I said, I knew Blake and Chloe’s story and their characters from the other series so I already had my impressions of them. And they weren’t totally what I expected them to be but then again, Where the Road Takes Me is their journey to that point.

The Romance:

Cute but cliché I thought. It was a little too love at first sight for me but it definitely had its sweet moments.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This just wasn’t the story I wanted. It was cute but I got tired of it by the end.

Read if You Like: high school new adult stories
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance

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Series Review: Love Inc by Ella James

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

book2

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Selling Scarlett (from Goodreads):
Elizabeth DeVille doesn’t belong at a party like this – one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter’s den of vices, she’s a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn’t have, and she’s come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth – code-named Scarlett – to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life

Series: Love Inc.
Author: Ella James
# of Books: 3 (Selling Scarlett, Taming Cross, Unmaking Marchant)

The story in Unmaking Marchant finishes in the series finale novella, Something Blue.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Suspense, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (Selling Scarlett, Unmaking Marchant); warm (Taming Cross, Something Blue)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2013 – February 2014
Source & Format: Kindle & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

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

Selling Scarlett was a freebie that I found on Amazon and immediately had to read. The synopsis just sounded so interesting that I put it on my next read list.

I ended up reading it very quickly. There was a lot of suspense to the novel and it really drove the multiple plot lines forward. That was one thing I really liked about this book was that there was a lot going on. It wasn’t overwhelming but it made sure there was never a dull moment and it made reading this book a breeze. The book does share both Scarlett and Hunter’s POV and I think that really added to the plot progression as well.

Another thing I liked about this book was it had a grittier feel to it. I haven’t read a lot of books that focus on prostitution and brothels in the New Adult genre so that was refreshing for me. It added that extra layer of intrigue as I was reading so I really appreciated that.

The book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but when I finished I didn’t mind that much. I had hoped for more of a romance story with a minor subplot going on in the background when I read the synopsis. I love stories about reformed bad boys meeting the right girl and fixing their ways but that wasn’t the focus of this book. The book (at least to me) dealt more with the “secret” that could cost Scarlett her life than their romance. Which turned out to be fine in the end because I liked where the plot went, but just don’t go into this book thinking it is purely a romance novel. Hunter and Scarlett didn’t build up that great of an emotional romantic connection for me but they do share some steamy moments and that satisfied the romantic in me for the most part.

updates

–September 3, 2016– Book #2: Taming Cross

When I started Taming Cross, it had nearly been 3 years since I read Selling Scarlett. Luckily, I had the key plot points written down so I had a vague idea of what was happening–though it took me a while to orient myself.

The vibe in this story is very different from its predecessor. This definitely was more of an action-suspense novel that didn’t hold back on the physical fights and violence. So I found that the story moved fast because the characters themselves were moving fast.

I wish the romance was elaborated on more; especially given the circumstances. It made the ending a little rushed I felt.

As for the writing itself, I found it to be a little choppy at times. It made it hard to follow the sequence of events during the action scenes, and I would reread paragraphs to make sure I was reading everything correctly. But when I returned to those paragraphs, I discovered that it wasn’t as clear as it should be or was missing that one key line. There are some scenes that remain a bit of a mystery to me but I didn’t let that dampen my experience too much.

–September 4, 2016– Book #3: Unmaking Marchant

I thought this story was super sweet in an unexpected way. I really grew to like these two together and enjoy their relationship. It’s definitely the most romance focused novel in the series.

There isn’t too much to the plot but it does have its suspenseful moments–both physically as well as in the secrets these characters are keeping.

And everything was great until it ended abruptly and I found out that the novella, Something Blue finishes not only Marchant’s story but Cross and Lizzy’s as well.

–September 4, 2016– Book #3.5: Something Blue

Despite the fact that I found this unnecessary (really, these 30 pages could have been added to Unmaking Marchant), I did like the closure it provided for these characters. More so in Taming Cross and Unmaking Marchant, I felt like things were left hanging–major plot points that needed that little bit of work to say “finished”–but I get that here. You definitely need to read this book if you read the series all the way through!

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Selling Scarlet 4/5 | Taming Cross 3/5 | Unmaking Marchant 3.5/5  |  [Something Blue 3/5]

overall

I was really entertained by this series. It sucked me in and it was a pleasant surprise for me. While I was a little disappointed in the “lack” of romance, the plot is something I rarely encounter in my reads so but be satisfied with the story overall (if that makes sense).

Read if You Like: suspense, stories about the crime and/or brothels
Avoid if You: want erotica, want a romance focused story

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