Tag «loved you since high school»

Spin-off Saturdays: Rise by Piper Lawson

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:

Rise is a spin-off of Play and NSFW

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Canadian Author
Series: Connected to the novels Play and NSFW
Author: Piper Lawson
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single **Male POV**
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thanks so much Piper Lawson!

thoughts

My Expectations?

I’m always excited to return to the lives of characters I’ve already met so I was really excited to get Riley’s story after his cameos in Play and NSFW.

What I Liked?

–Only Told Through Riley’s POV–

One of the highlights of this story is getting it only in Riley’s POV. It’s hard to find a solo male POV in romance; even harder to find one where the lead is a genuinely nice guy. Riley isn’t some player out to get as many girls as he can. He wants a serious relationship, he’s just can’t seem to find one…probably because the right girl got away 10 years ago.

–Riley’s Character Development–

For me, this story is all about Riley discovering what he truly wants in life. His career is in a critical place, his best friend and business partner just had a baby, the girl he left behind years ago is back: life is starting to change. And I really enjoyed watching him go through all those hurdles and become a stronger character.

Anything I Didn’t Like?

–Slightly Off Pacing for Me–

I did struggle a little with that pacing at times because I felt like we got too invested in Riley’s work and that caused the romance to take a backseat sometimes.

–It Took Me a Bit to Warm Up to Sam–

We don’t get Sam’s POV and so we don’t know her thoughts or feelings unless she says something. But, the flashbacks we get of their shared past did help solidify why these two deserve a second chance and those scenes helped me to fall in love with their story.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy well-rounded romances that have a dash of humour, can tug at your heartstrings and feature strong characters, you’ll truly enjoy this novel!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, male POV, strong characters
Avoid if You: want erotica

similarreads

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Rise (from Goodreads):

Falling is easy. Getting up is a b*tch.

When we met, we were lost.
Most seventeen year olds are.
We lifted each other up off the ground each time we fell. Until the day I let her down.
Now I have everything. A Bentley, a profile in GQ, a movie option and the company my best friend and I co-founded after school.
Until our paths cross ten years later at a gallery. The backdrop might be the same but we’ve both changed. I know it the second I see Sam standing in front of the canvas my best friend bought.
She’s more than the girl who used to draw comic book characters on my arm after class. The one I had inside jokes with. The one who taught me to be a rock when someone you love is being thrown around by the waves.
She’s beautiful. Confident. Edgy.
Sam should’ve been my first everything. God knows we both wanted it.
Now I have a second chance.
This time I won’t let her down.
This time, we’ll rise together.

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: Broken by Kimberly Lauren

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 Beautiful Broken Rules (from Goodreads):
The most valuable lesson Emerson Moore ever learned was from her parents: Never get too attached to someone else. That’s why this hard-partying college student plays by her own code of bedroom conduct, refusing to stay with the same guy for too long. She gets all the pleasure of having a good time without the messiness of a relationship.. So what if frat house–hopping has earned her a certain reputation around campus? At least no one gets hurt this way—especially her.

When ridiculously gorgeous Jaxon Riley moves in next door, Emerson’s not sure how long her vow against emotional intimacy can last. Jaxon’s tattoo, muscles, and sexy voice make him tempting, but he also seems to really understand her…until his jealous ex-girlfriend and Emerson’s life-changing discovery about her parents get thrown into the mix. After everything she’s been through, can Emerson handle a real relationship? Or will breaking her rules just lead to a broken heart?

breakdown

Series: Broken Trilogy
Author: Kimberly Lauren
# of Books: 3 (Beautiful Broken Rules, Beautiful Broken Mess, Beautiful Broken Promises)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Drama, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2013 – May 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t recall how this one crossed my path but it was either through Kobo or Goodreads when I first started exploring the New Adult genre.

I was excited to read a story about a “female player” in Beautiful Broken Rules. While I enjoy bad guys becoming good, I really wanted to see what would happen when the roles were reversed.

The Plot:

Unfortunately, Beautiful Broken Rules (BBR) was a disappointment. I found the story to be needlessly overdramatic. I just didn’t enjoy the execution at all and the maturity of the characters was lacking as well. I didn’t appreciate how their matters were handled–I would have liked for these characters to get some professional therapy instead of how it resolves.

Because I didn’t enjoy BBR, I wasn’t going to pick up Beautiful Broken Mess (BBM). But when I read who the leads were going to be, I just had to pick it up. There was a deeper story here and I couldn’t wait to uncover it. The first half of BBM was great, I loved the character backgrounds and their story. The context it provides for BBR was fantastic. However, the last half seemed to run into the same problems as BBR and it lost its momentum for me.

I feel like things just resolve too easily in this series and I like a little more friction in my conflict. Surprising, because I found things to be overdramatic most of the time. I just didn’t want things to be resolved so easily when they were so over-emphasized throughout.

After I read BBM, I wasn’t going to pick up Beautiful Broken Promises (BBP). While intrigued about Lane’s story, I wasn’t sure if  wanted to read his story given my experience with the previous 2 novels. But when I had my Kindle Unlimited Trial, it was an available title and so I figured, why not? I’m really glad I did because I LOVED it! The story was unlike anything I had read and I thought it was by far the strongest novel of the trilogy.

The Characters:

All these characters lacked a maturity I feel (well, not so much in BBP). I can’t describe what it is exactly but their attitudes remind me of characters on a CW teen drama. They approach things in the most over dramatic way possible and just do stupid things with no real consequences. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

Though I have to give a shout out to Audrey–I thought she was the best composed when it came to her character story and she was by far the most consistent in her actions. And I never thought I would say that after she is introduced in BBR.

The Romance:

The romances were cute but lacked the substance I want in my romances. Things happen quickly and seemed to be superficial or via some insta/subconscious connection that I wanted elaborated on.

Series Rating: 3/5

Beautiful Broken Rules 2.5/5 | Beautiful Broken Mess 3/5 | Beautiful Broken Promises 5/5

overall

While cute and quick, there are much strong New Adult stories out their with similar elements. But maybe just pick up Beautiful Broken Promises if you are intrigued by this series.

Read if You Like: new adult, over-dramatic
Avoid if You: dislike immature characters

similarreads

readingchallengesbook

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Fresh Fridays: Days Like This (Landslide Series) by Danielle Ellison

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:

Landslide Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Days Like This (from Goodreads):
Sometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is you.

Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother’s disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.

Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn’t involve Cassie Harlen.

When Cassie’s mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.

Neither does Cassie.

breakdown

Series: Landslide Series
Author: Danielle Ellison
# of Books: 1+ (Days Like This, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, this is a part of a new series
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chance, Mental Health, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 2, 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you Bookish World Press for the opportunity!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Normally, I don’t read second chance romances. They’re predictable and often full of cliches and I miss watching the couple fall in love. But lately, I’ve found them to be fairly interesting–especially in the New Adult genre. While the reasons why the one lead leaves is often the same between books, I love the drama, sexual tension and secrets of the past (even if I can figure them out pretty quickly). I guess you could say they are my guilty pleasure NA reads.

But what captured my attention with this book was the fact that Cassie’s mom is bipolar. As a health care student, I really love anything that promotes mental health awareness because it is a serious health concern. When it isn’t plagued with stigma, it’s completely neglected or ignored and that just isn’t cool with me. SO, I was really interested to see how this would add to the story and how the characters deal with a situation that is becoming more prevalent in society.

The Plot:

The plot isn’t a fast-paced, drama riddled one. Instead, it’s a slow burn with Cassie and Graham trying to navigate the messy world of best friends-turned lovers-turned scorned exes. This isn’t as bad (ie as flip-floppy) as it sounds. I actually really appreciated the way they handled things; even if I found them to be naive about their feelings. Nothing is more frustrating than watching people not talk to each other when it would solve everything. But hey, you wouldn’t have a story otherwise so I took it with a grain of salt. As I said, it really wasn’t overly annoying because I understood why they both were afraid to open up to each other given all that has happened to them.

You also have Cassie’s coming of age story, trying to find out who she is independently of Graham, her mom and her friends. Sure, it wasn’t the happiest story ever but it was great watching her learn from her faults and truly work on becoming a stronger person. This story was just as much about character development as it was about the second chance romance and that was just fabulous.

As for its dealings with mental health, I thought it was really well done. I feel like they captured all sides of it: the direct impact it has on the person, the impact it has on their immediate family and the indirect impact it has on friends of those directly involved.

The Characters:

As I said before, this story held a great balance between character development and romance.

Sure, it was frustrating to watch Graham and Cassie dance around their relationship issues but I felt like you learned enough about their past relationship to understand why they were acting like they were. Plus, you kinda sign-up for it when you decide to read a second chance romance.

Graham was a total sweetheart and you could tell he was genuinely a nice guy who cared about the impact of his actions. So that made it hard to like Cassie because she really screwed him over when she left without telling him why. (WHY do people think this it is always a good idea to leave without a word! Humans need closure by nature–why are we so afraid of honesty!*endsrant*). However, I really appreciated the journey of self-growth she took in this book. It takes a lot to admit what your own faults are and even more strength to try and fix them so I really grew to respect her character.

The Romance:

This was definitely more of a slow burn romance. You can tell the attraction and feelings are there so I never struggled with understanding why they cared for each other. Like with all second chance romances, I missed reading about them falling in love for the first time but I enjoyed watching them reconnect and work on building up the trust in their relationship.

It’s your typical childhood sweetheart story but the hurdles they have had to overcome really adds a genuine depth to their characters. I could definitely see this happening in real-life and I liked that realistic element it had to it.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m not sure who the next book is about. I have some ideas but I’m curious! I will definitely be checking it out regardless!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this book! Once I was into it, I had a hard time putting it down because I really loved watching the journey these two characters took. It was refreshing to read a New Adult novel that focused more on self-growth than it did on sex. I also loved the mental health aspect–it was really well done and eye opening.

Read if You Like: second chance romances, stories dealing with mental health, childhood sweetheart romances
Avoid if You: want more passion (ie sex scenes), don’t like coming of age stories/vibes

similarreads

catchphrase

Series Review: Mayhem by Jamie Shaw

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 book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Mayhem (from Goodreads):
When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He’s soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn’t recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious “Peach” he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can’t help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam’s rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She’d just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she’s fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite New Adult Read 2015
Series: Mayhem
Author: Jamie Shaw
# of Books: 4 (Mayhem, Riot, Chaos, Havoc)
Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rockstar, Music, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I picked it up / What I was expecting:

I’m a sucker for a good rockstar romance and I’ve yet to really find one that satisfies my expectations. The Sinners on Tour Series is good but it has far too much sex for me and the Fighting Fate Series is a little too high school for me (though I did love it!). So when I randomly stumbled upon this series, I felt like I found a winner and other reviews seemed to confirm it.

The Concept & Plot:

There really isn’t much plot to these books besides the romance–which really was fine with me! I enjoyed watching these couples come together and there is so much sexual tension that I was a very happy camper. In particular, I had just finished some heavier books when I picked up Mayhem and it was the perfect recharge book for me. I truly had a hard time putting it down because it was just plain fun to read!

While I wouldn’t say these books are straight humour books, I did chuckle throughout them. The lightness to them reminded me a lot of Cora Carmack’s Losing It novel and I really enjoyed that aspect to them.

The Characters:

I loved, loved Adam <3 He is definitely a new book boyfriend for me! He was sweet but had that little cocky edge to him that I love in my heroes. I thought he was completely swoon-worthy and I totally know why Rowan had a hard time resisting his charms! The rest of the band is also fantastic and I really hope that all 4 guys get a book because I would love to see what happens next with these guys!

Rowan on the other hand I didn’t love. I liked her but she didn’t completely win me over and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was jealousy that she gets Adam 😛 HAHA Joking! In all seriousness, I think she just didn’t wow me in anyway but to be fair I think anyone would look underwhelming compared to Adam. She wasn’t anything new to me but she is still a solid character.

I loved the leads in Riot which easily made it my favourite of the two books! Riot had the perfect blend of individual character growth and romantic growth. They were a perfect match which made it so much fun yet so touching to read.

The rest of the characters, besides the band, are an interesting cast and they keep things very interesting. They are there just enough to contribute to the story but they don’t take away from it either. I was never distracted by their side stories but they definitely have me interested in their future stories 😉

The Romance:

The romance is really what sold me with Mayhem. The sexual tension was fantastic! It’s there from start to end and had me hooked! The banter between Adam and Rowan was fantastic as is it with the other leads. It isn’t completely sex focused–far from it actually–so it was nice to see real relationships develop between the characters.

And I challenge you not to love these male leads! They are everything a girl dreams about when it comes to a rockstar fantasy <3

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hope for a lot of sexual tension and some great character development and romances! Riot had just enough hints for what to expect in Chaos and I am literally counting down the days of my summer to get my hands on it!

updates

–November 23, 2015– Book 3: Chaos

I picked this book up on a whim when I needed a good pick me up–and this fit the bill! It was perfect and everything I had hoped it was going to be. The sexual tension between these two was off the charts and had me swooning at every turn. They were perfect for each other and I LOVED watching them find out for themselves. What I also really loved was that there was a touch of realism to this story. It didn’t follow all of those cliche situations you find in a romance novel and I really appreciated that.  I’m super stoked for the next one!

–April 29, 2017– Book 4: Havoc

The expectations for this book were unreal. I’ve been waiting for Mike’s story since Mayhem and this did not disappoint.

The chemistry is fantastic! These two were adorable and even the love triangle didn’t phase me. (To be fair, the heroine isn’t the one in the love triangle who has to choose so that helps). I also loved the character development. The heroine’s growth throughout was wonderful.

So sad to see this series go but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending than this!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Mayhem 4/5  |  Riot 5/5  |  Chaos 5/5  | Havoc 5/5

overall

One of the best New Adult series I’ve read this year! I loved the romance and the sexual tension. These books were just plain fun, perfect for the summer! Set aside a day people, because you will devour these books!

Read if You Like: romance focused books, rockstar romances, fun characters
Avoid if You: want more plot-lines besides romance

similarreads

readingchallenges

book

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: The Burke Brothers by Emma Hart

My 200th Series Review Post! Thanks for reading!

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

Dirty Secret by Emma Hart | The Burke Brothers Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Dirty Secret (from Goodreads):
Conner Burke never expected Sofie Callahan to come back.

Where she’s been for the last two and half years is a mystery, and so is the reason she left in the first place. Now, though, she’s back in their hometown of Shelton Bay, South Carolina, at the same time Conner’s band Dirty B. is home on a tour break.

Sofie Callahan has spent the months since her father’s death avoiding anything to do with her hometown. But with her brother in Afghanistan, she has no choice but to return and sort out her father’s house, even if it means facing the boy she fell in love with and revealing the reason she left.

Conner has questions, and when his broken heart and her guilty one collide, Sofie has to start answering them. Their present is rocky, their future unknown. Only one thing is certain: Sofie’s daughter will change everything.

breakdown

Series: The Burke Brothers
Author: Emma Hart
# of Books: 5 (Dirty Secret, Dirty Past, Dirty Lies, Dirty Tricks, Dirty Little Rendezvous)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chances, Drama, Family
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2014 – May 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

Like most readers do, when I enjoy a work by an author I tend to pick up the other stuff they write and Emma Hart is no exception. I really enjoyed her Game Series and have a few of her other series on my to-read shelf; however, this new series got to be read first thanks to the library.

Normally second chance contemporary romances aren’t super high on my reading list: especially ones involving a kid. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because they are predictable and a cliche to a certain extent. BUT, I really enjoyed reading Trapped by Beverley Kendall because it had a little bit of a twist to it which made things more interesting; as is the case with this story, Dirty Secret, and the spin of a famous musician ex-boyfriend as the father of the baby.

Did I know exactly why things went down as they did in the past before even reading this book? You bet your last dollar I sure did. But did that stop me from enjoying the cute story? Not really. I think I was in the mood for a lighter story after reading a particularly darker New Adult novel so Dirty Secret served as a nice refreshing read.

Really this book is everything I expect from Emma Hart’s work (solely based on my experience reading one of her series). You’ve got a stubbornly independent female lead and a charming hero and their cast of entertaining friends.

I didn’t really like Sofie and by that I mean her and I wouldn’t be friends in real life. There was nothing really wrong with her, we just have conflicting personalities. I liked Conner but he wasn’t anything really special either. The romance steam (ie sex) is there but it takes a backseat to the emotional connection of the leads, only popping up here and there. And I would say there really isn’t much of a plot other than Conner and Sofie getting angry at each other but simultaneously wanting to rip the clothes off of the other; but, as I said before, it was a cute, sweet story so I didn’t mind that much.

Again, like in the Game series, my only peeve was the dialogue, specifically the Southern Accent. Now, I will admit, I don’t know what everyday conversation is like in the South but it just seemed like the characters’ accents were latent and would therefore only pop up occasionally. It just seemed inconsistent to me–but I am a Canadian so I’m running slightly on the stereotype of what a Southern accent “should” be. I also felt a bit of a disconnect between some of the narration and what was happening: like the whole baby gate and the naughty step. Maybe that is because I’m not a mom but that just threw me for a loop and I still don’t understand. But it isn’t enough that I would tell you to not read this book because if you ignore that little detail (and it really is a little detail), the book was a smooth read.

I’m looking forward to Dirty Past for two reasons: I really liked Tate’s “bad boy” character AND we actually get to see the two leads fall in love. Dirty Secret was cute and while we do get to watch them fall back in love I just felt like a lot of their relationship was assumed from the past and not really elaborated on. I enjoy watching my leads fall in love as a read and with Dirty Secret it’s like they are already there and are just working out a lover’s quarrel you would see in the second book of their love trilogy–only you didn’t read the first book to see them come together in the first place.

I’m also not sure how many books will be in this series. I am assuming there will be 4 because there are 4 brothers but there also is their sister who I would like to read about as well (but her story could always be a subplot to her brothers’). I guess we will have to wait and see…

updates

–July 19, 2015– Book 2: Dirty Past

I really liked Tate in Dirty Secret so I was excited to meet his match in Dirty Past. Overall, I liked them together but I just had a hard time reconciling their relationship at times, especially at the start. Tate can be quite egotistic and for someone just ending an abusive relationship, I’m not sure if they were the best match initially. Perhaps I was just reading too much into it, but I didn’t love the way he talked to her. I thought it was rude (which I expect from his character) and not the best environment for the heroine’s situation.

BUT, I did get past that and really enjoyed the story overall. It was a solid sequel overall and made me super pumped for Dirty Lies!

–December 28, 2015– Book 3: Dirty Lies

Sigh…I really wanted to like this one. It has everything I normally love: fake romance, asshole hero and a rockstar to boot. But it just fell apart for me despite its promising start.

I have a huge soft spot for asshole heroes and Aiden seemed like I would love him. But something just rubbed me the wrong way with him. I don’t mind confident assholes–which Aiden is–but he is also a little rude and I didn’t particularly like how he would talk about Jessie with his brothers.

On the other hand, I really liked Jessie. She was funny and I liked her independent attitude. And while I could see how these two would work out in theory, I just didn’t like the way their relationship developed. It’s a shame.

I’m holding out hope for Dirty Tricks though. Kye is the last brother and I think he is the nicest. And his heroine seems like she will be an interesting match for him!

–February 14, 2016– Book 4: Dirty Tricks

This book started strong, lost me a bit in the middle and ended on a good note. Kye is probably my favourite brother because he seems the most genuine to me and I liked how he wasn’t a complete asshole like the rest of his brothers (especially his twin).

Chelsea, hmm, I’m a little mixed on her. I totally got where she was coming from and I felt like I understood her character the most out of anyone in this series because her past is so well explained. But I didn’t like her immaturity even it I knew why she would act the way she did. Again, the dialogue was what really showed this and made me have that disconnect.

So while it was probably my favourite story premise of the series, I was a little bored with it at times. It was a solid way to end the series and I’m going to pick up the spin-off; but otherwise, this series was a bit of a bust 🙁

–July 2, 2017– Book 5: Dirty Little Rendezvous

**I DNF’d this book at 23% (start of Chapter 6)**

I really was not feeling this book and I really wanted to like it because Leila was (finally) the heroine and she’s been in the background throughout the series, peaking my interest. But damn, this was bad.

I can tolerate a little bit of crude talk in my novels but this was just brutal. I swear, every other page was about Leila’s vagina and her need to see some action. I’m all for a girl exploring her sexuality but I don’t like reading that in my novels, regardless of the POV’s gender. It get monotonous.

And don’t get me started on the ridiculous double standards of her brothers. I get it, she’s their little sister but after reading all their stories, they don’t really have any moral ground to stand on in my opinion.

Oh, and the romance? It seemed very shallow and rushed to me. Maybe if we got to see their past interaction, I would be on board with it but I just wasn’t liking these two.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Dirty Secret 4/5 | Dirty Past 3/5  |  Dirty Lies 3/5  |  Dirty Tricks 3.5/5

overall

I enjoyed the cute romance between the two leads but it wasn’t really anything memorable. If you want a sweet read about teen sweethearts reuniting after one becomes a celebrity years later, this is the book for you! Or if you enjoyed Emma Hart’s other works, this is right up your alley! However, I feel like the newest books in the series are essentially the same recycled romances, causing the series to lose some lustre.

Read if You Like: over the top drama, rockstar stories, stories about families
Avoid if You: want a more mature romance, want stronger romantic relationships

similarreads

readingchallenges

book

recapbutton

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Marked Men by Jay Crownover

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

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Sad to See Go (2015), Best New Adult
Series: Marked Men Series

There is going to be a spin-off series called the Saints of Denver to be published October 2015. This is a series set in the same world as the Marked Men series but not a direct spin-off with a specific main character from this series. More info on Jay Crownover’s Website. Though please be warned that there is a spoiler on that page regarding Rule’s book in the question following the reading order!

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 6  (Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Rowdy, Asa)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological

Note: You can read each book as a standalone but they all follow a chronological order of events that may spoil an earlier story if you choose to read a later book first.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Bad Boys, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

The Marked Men series is a review blog fan-favourite. Whenever I browse a New Adult fan list, some character or book from this series graces the list. So, I decided to bite the bullet and take a chance with this series despite my hesitation after reading the synopsis for Rule.

I was hesitant to read Rule for two reasons: one was that the synopsis gave me the impression Shaw was going to be an airhead (not sure why when I reread it) and two was the fact that Shaw was Rule’s “dead twin brother’s girl”. I’m not a fan of reading stories where one person is unfaithful or there are love triangles; so when I read this line and the line that Shaw has “loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him” I winkled my nose in distaste thinking if she was his twin’s girlfriend, why did she love Rule?

I should have known that there was more to this book than the synopsis. Because the truth of the matter is: this book wasn’t what my first assumptions were–AT ALL! I actually really enjoyed Ruleone of the best New Adult stories I have read in a while in all honesty!

Shaw was a great, strong character and nothing like I assumed she would be; Rule was just plain awesome and together I really could see how they worked. The plot was also unexpected and a lot more suspenseful than I anticipated despite the fact that certain aspects were rather predictable. Regardless of its predictability, I still had a lot of fun reading it and it managed to capture my attention from start to finish.

I was super excited to read Jet simply based on the small taste we get of the leads in Rule. However, when I finally did read it, I felt like something was missing. I felt like there was more focus on their personal individual lives than there was with them as a couple; which was totally fine but not what I was really expecting when I picked up the book. I guess their relationship wasn’t as apparent to me as it was with Rule and Shaw and I just needed that little bit more.  I also felt like this book was acting as a bridge for the rest of the books in the series because we learn more about each of the Marked Men and their histories so it made me really excited to read the rest of the series. So while Jet was a good follow-up, it just wasn’t entirely what I was expecting so I gave it a lower individual rating than I thought I would.

Rome was more on par with what Rule was to me. I laughed, I cried and smiled to myself throughout the whole book. I really felt the relationship with this couple more so than in Jet. There was a good balance between them working on their relationship as a couple and them working on their individual lives. I would say it is my favourite of the series. It also served as the perfect segue to Nash which I immediately picked up after finishing Rome despite exams and a mountain of library books.

Nash was super cute and everything I thought it would be. It was a great blend of character growth and romance and also has a awesome message/theme about self-esteem which I really appreciate. And, no surprise, it made me super excited to read Rowdy.

Rowdy was everything I thought it was going to be though I didn’t find it as addicting as I expected it to be (though I did read it really fast!). I think it was because this couple has a strong history between them so everything felt like it was already established between them. But I still thought it was super cute and I liked the more dramatic/suspenseful elements featured in this novel.

Asa is going to be the last novel of the Marked Men series which makes me sad despite being super, super excited for this novel. I feel like this story has been building since Jet so I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

My understanding from reading Jay Crownover’s website is that she is planning a similar spin-off series that is set in the Marked Men universe but doesn’t directly involve the cast we see here. One character who makes a very brief appearance in this series is already slated to get a book. I’m hoping that two characters that I would love to see get a book but I guess we will have to wait and see what is in store!

UPDATED (June 2/15): I finally grabbed a copy of Asa and while I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped, it was still a very solid novel. As I said earlier, Asa’s story has been building since Book 2 and it was nice to finally have it all wrapped up. It definitely picked up near the end in terms of plotline and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Asa was a great way to wrap up this series but also get you excited for the spin-off series. I already have a few ideas about who the next set of leads will be but I definitely expect to be surprised with some things!

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

I’ve really enjoyed reading this series because it is so addicting and fun and just really well done! If you like tattooed swoon-worthy heroes and strong independent heroines this is a great series to read!

Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes!!!

similarreads

Synopsis for Rule (from Goodreads):

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

readingchallengesbook

Series Review: Crush by Renita Pizzitola

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

Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola | Crush Series

Other books in the series:

Series: Crush
Author: Renita Pizzitola
# of Books: 3 (Just a Little Crush, Just a Little Flirt, Just a Little Kiss)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, College
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Just a Little Kiss)

Thoughts:

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

Yet again, I picked up Just a Little Crush after randomly browsing the new additions on my library’s website. But the synopsis really drew me in: it sounded like a great combo of all my favourite New Adult plot devices and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The synopsis though is a little misleading: I was expecting alternating POV between both characters but instead we just get Brinley’s POV. In the end I think it was a good call just to have the one POV to give the book some mystery regarding Ryder and his actions/past.

Perhaps it is just a byproduct of reading so many New Adult books, but I did find certain plot aspects to be overly predictable and frankly I’m quite embarrassed for Brinley that she didn’t figure it out on her own.  However, even knowing what was going to happen I really enjoyed reading the journey it took to get there. It has quite a few plot elements that layer each other so I found that there was always something happening that captured my attention. Add to that that Ryder and Brinley were great characters and despite their almost insta-connection love, I really liked the relationship they had with each other. I also really liked the other characters we meet and I hope that there will be a few more books in the series because I would definitely read them!

I’m super excited for Just a Little Flirt. It sounds like it will be really interesting based on the character we have already been introduced to plus the synopsis doesn’t seem like anything I have read before which is an added bonus!

updates

–April 16, 2015– Book 2: Just a Little Flirt

Just a Little Flirt was a super sweet read and I totally found a new book boyfriend 😉 It was light-hearted, had great sexual tension and chemistry but also had great character development. I never felt like it dwelled on one thing too long so the plot moved at just the right pace. Some of the drama aspects were a little over the top (mild soap opera antics).  Despite the fact that the romance essentially takes place within 6 weeks, it didn’t really feel like a love-at-first sight situation which I appreciated. I don’t mind quick romances (they just aren’t my favourite thing to read) so long as there is an adequate emotional connection between the characters and in this case there definitely was! I loved watching this couple fall in love and do it sensibly–i.e. they actually communicated and talked about their feelings! *gasp*

I’m looking forward to reading Just a Little Kiss. I completely forgot about this character but I’m excited to read his story 🙂

–October 1, 2015– BOOK 3: JUST A LITTLE Kiss

Because I really enjoyed Just a Little Flirt, I was a little worried about reading Just a Little Kiss. I wasn’t a huge Mason fan in the first book and Cade (Just a Little Flirt) is a hard act to follow.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While it suffers from some of the same over the top drama (I call it “communication assumption” drama) that is almost soap-opera-y, it still has a great coming of age aspect.

I really feel like this is Felicity’s story more so than Mason’s. I found a lot of the focus was on Felicity learning to become confident in herself more so than Mason coming to grips with his past. Which was fine, but it took me a long time to connect with Felicity since I didn’t particularly like her attitude towards dating and the like. I definitely grew to like her though as her character developed.

The romance is a little fast but I think it is also realistic in how they deal with it. I thought they had a great connection and chemistry so it was fun to watch them fall in love.

Series Rating: 4/5

Just a Little Crush 3.5/5 | Just a Little Flirt 4/5 | Just a Little Kiss 3.5/5

overall

If you enjoy New Adult romances about reunited High School Crushes or layered New Adult romances, this is a great choice. Just a Little Crush and it’s sequels are cute, often swoon-worthy and super quick to read! They aren’t heavy on the sex but have enough sexual tension to keep the sizzle alive! They are perfect for fans of New Adult romance, but don’t want a particularly dark or tragedy filled NA novel.

Read if You Like: coming of age new adult stories, sweet romances
Avoid if You: don’t like unnecessary drama

similarreads

Synopsis for Just a Little Crush (from Goodreads):
Good girls stay away from Ryder Briggs . . . or, at least, they try to. In Renita Pizzitola’s emotional novel of heartache and seduction, one college freshman just can’t get enough.

Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?

Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.

Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?

readingchallengesbook

Series Review: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love by Anna Antonia

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 Mad for You (from Goodreads):
I had gone to high school with Gabriel Gordon. Despite his heavenly name and matching beauty, Gabriel was anything but angelic. Rich, spoiled, and far too cynical for his age, he could easily charm the skirt off a prim beauty or a young teacher or two. Gabriel Gordon was mad, bad, and …well, you probably know the rest.

The years hadn’t changed him, despite taking over his father’s company and expanding it into a multinational corporation. Unfortunately, it was just my luck that I found myself working in Gabriel’s building. Although I had managed to avoid him for the better part of a month, a chance encounter in the elevator proved he was still an arrogant man who showed far too much interest in the shape of my mouth and nape of my neck.

From then on, Gabriel bedeviled me, teased me, and more often than not, made me want to throw things at his head. Still, just as in high school, I couldn’t help but see the pain behind his lazy grin and the shadows in his crystalline gaze. When Gabriel confessed his love for me, I should have been the happiest woman in the world. Too bad I couldn’t believe him…

Emma Adams had always considered herself level-headed, even-tempered, and most of all, sane. So how did she become someone who couldn’t seem to push Gabriel Gordon away? No matter how sweet his words could be or how easily passion exploded between them, getting involved with the outrageously wealthy playboy had to be the height of insanity. Given their tumultuous natures and personal demons, there was only way a relationship between them could survive: in madness.

breakdown

Series: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Love
Author: Anna Antonia
# of Books: 4 (Mad for You, Bad for You, Dangerous for You, All to Love You)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: light in Bad for You onwards)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up this book for super cheap after reading the synopsis. I love stories about reuniting with a high school love who didn’t seem to know you existed–I mean it’s fiction for a reason 🙂 But it promised to be a quick read with a swoon-worthy hero so I quickly moved it up my to-read list.

This book was enjoyable and it did have it’s cute and swoon-worthy moments that I was hoping for. BUT, I did have a few issues with the execution and writing style.

As much as I liked Gab, he didn’t sound like a 25 year old male to me. He talked very old fashioned which threw me considering it is a contemporary, modern read. I guess that is supposed to be part of his appeal but I just felt like it was off for his modern businessman bad boy persona. Maybe he has matured based on what we learn about him in the story but it just didn’t fit or work overly well for me.

My other peeve was the writing flow. One minute we would be in the past and then without an ellipse or noticeable break in the paragraphs we would find ourselves in the present. This confused me and I often had to reread sections to figure out what had happened.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

What happens at the end is something I didn’t see coming and I’m not sure how I feel about it because it ended so abruptly. It definitely left me curious to read the next book but not enough that I would drop everything to read it. I don’t want to give it away but I know I wasn’t expecting that turn and it makes for an interesting twist in a New Adult novel.

updates

–January 8, 2017– Book #2: Bad for You

I was curious to see how they would handle the plot given the ending of the previous book but I ended up torn.
Torn, because I appreciated the honesty of the characters and how they were going to move forward with their relationship (so win); but in the same breath, I easily got tired of the love-dovey, mushy romance (so loss).
I just wanted a little more substance to this story. It really only focused on one aspect and it just seemed to rehash that point over and over…I just found myself so bored and simply not connecting with these characters.

Series Rating: DNF

Mad for You 3/5 | Bad for You 2/5 | Dangerous to You N/A | All to Love You N/A

overall

If you want a quick and simple romance series, this is for you. If you like an alpha male who will do anything for his heroine, this is the book for you. But if you want a little more to your romances, look elsewhere.

similarreads
Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase