Tag «Mature Subject Matter»

Single Sundays: It Ends With Us 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 It Ends With Us (from Goodreads):

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read 2017, Favourite Author
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Paperback

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan. With the exception of one series, I’ve read all her works. I eagerly await her new releases every year. So I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to get my hands on this book. It took FOREVER for my hold to come in from the library because I added my name to the list late.

But boy, was this book worth the wait!

The Concept:

Normally, I refrain from keeping spoilers in my reviews but I think it is very important that I highlight two things from the synopsis. The first being:

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

While I’ve read other books that get a lot more specific in terms of the descriptions of the graphic scenes, these moments were still hard for me to read. So if that makes you uncomfortable as a reader, just be prepared.

And looking at the synopsis you probably think, ‘Gee Lauren, why so serious? This sounds like a love triangle type of story’ because that’s what I thought when I read the synopsis for the first time. But it isn’tfar from it actually. Which brings me to the other highlight of the synopsis:

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer.

There is so much more to this story than what the synopsis implies and I really don’t want to give it away. It’s obvious to anyone who reads this that it is such a deeply personal story for Colleen Hoover to write as an author. It shows in every word and every scene. That’s what makes it so beautiful to read. So thank you Colleen for sharing something so personal with the world.

The Plot:

This plot sucked me in from the start. Part of that is because I instantly loved the characters and became so invested in them. More on that below.

As for the plot itself, it was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as the synopsis implies. It moves at the perfect pace; never dwelling on inconsequential things for longer than necessary.

You feel every range of emotions while reading this.


And I really have a hard time saying anything more without giving it away and I literally just finished the book 2 hours ago (January 26, 2017, 1pm) and I’m still at a loss for words.

The Characters:

What really makes this story is the characters. They become so real to you as a reader from the moment you first meet them. I fell in love with Lily and Ryle by the end of the first chapter. I loved Atlas from the moment Lily shares what her past with him is. And I loved every other character we meet along the way. It has been a long time since I loved a cast of characters as much I do with this one.

These are all strong characters in their own rights and so heartbreakingly real. Lily in particular really tore at my soul. How she handles everything that comes her way was so empowering yet so sad all at once. It was wonderful to see her evolve as a person throughout the novel.

The Romance:

It’ll tug at your heart from the start until the very end. I’m still shook up over it.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Before this novel, I would have told you that Maybe Someday is my favourite Colleen Hoover book because it is such a powerful story. But It Ends With Us is now my absolute new favourite work by her. It’s a story that everyone should read because it is beautiful, sad and most importantly empowering to read as a reader, no matter who you are.

Read if You Like: realistic fiction, strong characters
Avoid if You: dislike books about mature subject matter
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Single Sundays: Vanquished by S E Green

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 Vanquished (from Goodreads):

For a price, the world’s most powerful people can explore their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.

Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.

Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.

After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.

But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies . . .

**Warning: For mature audiences only**

breakdown

Author: S E Green (aka Shannon Greenland)
Genre: New Adult, Action, Dark
Heat Rating: cool **sexual situations mentioned**
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Lola’s Blog Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon | Kobo

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m pretty happy in my New Adult contemporary bubble. I love my romances but I’m always looking for those non-contemporary reads.

Vanquished appealed to me because it isn’t your everyday story. It has darker vibes to it thanks to the “secret society” and Valoria’s need to fight for her life. I was curious to see what her journey would take to get off the island.

(Also, I didn’t know this until I was writing the review but S E Green is a pen name for Shannon Greenland who wrote one of my favourite NA reads, Shadow of a Girl!)

The World & a Warning:

You can definitely expect a deviant world when you pick this novel up but thankfully, Green isn’t overly descriptive in the scenes. What I mean is you aren’t subjected to any scenes where sex acts are fully described nor are the scenes of violence particularly gory. They get to the point pretty quick.

However, if you are uncomfortable with abusive situations, especially ones involving teenagers and/or children, maybe stay away from this one! Like I said, the scenes don’t go on and on for pages but they are blunt in what is happening and it isn’t always the nicest image to have.

The Plot:

I really liked the action of this novel. Many times the “fight for your life” trope is overshadowed by the politics of the situation or the romance. That isn’t the case here. You get those fights scenes throughout the novel and it gives the story a faster pace.

That being said, the story lagged for me in the middle. While I liked all the developments, I kinda wish the final “putting it all together” ending started a little earlier. It just took a little too long to get there for me.

The Characters:

I really liked Valoria’s spirit. Her drive to save her sister is exactly what I wanted to see. I also liked that she never compromises herself to give in to the temptations of the island. Once she starts to win it would have been easy for her to live a life of relative comfort by being the victor. But she sticks to her morals (as much as she can given the circumstances) and I respected that. She’s one kick ass lady.

The Romance:

This didn’t play as much of a role as I expected (especially when the island has sex slaves–I thought there would be more sexual situations for Valoria). It’s definitely has a slow burn/will-they-won’t-they vibe to it. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure why this gets a romance label on Goodreads because it is such a small factor to the story.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you are looking for a gritty, take no prisoners New Adult action story, this is a great one to read. But if you are uncomfortable with violence, depraved sexual acts and fighting to the death, best to avoid it.

Read if You Like: dark stories, action
Avoid if You: dislike violence, want more romance
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Single Sundays: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

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 Little Peach (from Goodreads):
What do you do if you’re in trouble?

When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.

This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.

breakdown

Author: Peggy Kern
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Dark, Contemporary **Mature Subject Matter**
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I came across this book on someone’s blog (I should really start noting where I find these things!) and the whole topic of child prostitution caught my attention. I’m not a huge YA contemporary fan, but I do enjoy ones that deal with mature, often darker, subject matter (like bullying, teen suicide and similar issues). I’ve never read a book about child prostitution and my knowledge of it is very limited so I looked forward to (as much as one can with a topic like this) learning more about it.

The Concept:

As I was writing this review, I decided to look into some facts about child prostitution or trafficking.

The United Nations defines it as:

the act of engaging or offering the services of a child to perform sexual acts for money or other consideration with that person or any other person

I was shocked to learn that my country, Canada, has a serious child prostitution problem! I suppose it is one of those taboo subjects that just doesn’t get talked about or, even worse, isn’t reported to authorities. You can read about the 5 countries with the highest rates of child prostitution and I highly recommend you read this list of the 10 Most Surprising Facts of Child Trafficking: it is truly eye opening and informative!

The Plot:

The plot itself alternates between the present and the past (Michelle’s journey into prostitution): and boy, is it hard to read! Michelle’s situation is so heartbreaking and shocking that I couldn’t stomach more than a few pages at a time (and this book just clocked in at 100 pages on my Kobo which isn’t very long at all!). It was hard to watch her go through everything she did because it was so realistic! I could easily see this happen to real people and that’s what made this so hard: seeing what happens when people see no other option.

I also found this hard because Michelle is a bit of an unreliable narrator–not that I entirely blame her either given what happens to her. It was especially noticeable in the “present” scenes where I believe it is intentionally left vague as we haven’t met all the characters yet. It presses you to read on but I’ll admit I had a hard time trying to figure out who the “you” was and that I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. It definitely gets clearer as the story progresses and you are brought up to current events.

The Characters:

It isn’t long before you start to develop both empathy and sympathy for her because of how this story is written. You develop sympathy because you see how this 14 year old girl has been abused from early childhood all the way up to the present. And then you develop empathy because of how this book is written; how the scenes are described and the emotions and thoughts Michelle expresses as she narrates her story.

Everyone else is written in an extremely realistic way and they all contribute to this story in their own twisted way. I thought everyone was really well developed despite the short length of this book.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

You can tell that Peggy Kern has done a lot of research and interviews to write such a real characters and situations.

Read if You Like: eye-opening books, realistic fiction
Avoid if You: don’t like realistic fiction, don’t enjoy shorter stories

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Single Sundays: One Last Song by S.K. Falls

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 One Last Song (from Goodreads):
I was seven when I swallowed my first needle.

My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.

She stayed by my side all night.

I never wanted it to end.

When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It’s scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it’s like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.

For me, that someone was Drew.

Previously published as IPPY award-winning novel, Secret for a Song.

breakdown

Author: S.K. Falls
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Dark, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book among my library’s recent eBooks additions and decided to put myself on the hold list.

What intrigued me about this book is the very first line of the book synopsis. I’ve never read a book about someone with Munchausen syndrome (Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder that is characterized by the sufferer causing or pretending to have physical or psychological symptoms in his or herself.) though I’ve heard of it before so that really interested me.

The Concept:

For myself, as someone who is entering the healthcare field, it was hard for me to read about Sayor’s condition for two reasons. One is that this book is written in such a real way that it’s hard to read Saylor’s perspective on things because of her mental condition. You really understand what she is thinking and why and that is hard to stomach at times.

The other reason I found this book hard to read is that our healthcare system truly fails people suffering from this condition and other mental health conditions. In recent years, mental health is getting talked about more and more but there is still a huge stigma surrounding it and I like that this book brings more obscure disorders to the forefront.

The Plot:

The best way I can thing to describe this book is if The Fault in Our Stars had a love affair with Fight Club. Now this might seem like an odd combination but if you’ve read both of those books and then this one, you would understand where I am coming from. The Narrator from Fight Club really reminds me of Saylor as they both suffer from conditions that results in them attending a support group. While is why it also reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars because instead of the crazy, soap-making ride that is Fight Club, Saylor learns what it means to live by hanging out with people her own age suffering from their medical conditions.

This book is really about Saylor living with her condition and her personal growth. There are definitely little plot lines along the way that contribute to the plot and keep it from being too heavy but this really is about Saylor’s personal growth.

The Characters:

The characters in this book are extremely well-developed though some might come across as cliché. However, I thought they complimented each other well.

Drew reminds me a toned down Augustus Waters (TFIOS). I really liked him and I was just as interested in his journey as Saylor. I also really liked Saylor. She wasn’t funny like Hazel (TFIOS) but I found her very intriguing and I loved watching her develop.

The Romance:

This book is light on the romance. It definitely plays a key role in the plot but it isn’t a main focus by any means. I really didn’t mind because I felt like it complimented the story in the right way. Just don’t go into this thinking it is a straight romance because there are so many other factors at play.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I think some people will have a hard time reading this book. It deals with some serious issues and doesn’t hold back. However, I encourage everyone who is interested to try it because I think it tells an important story and starts the conversation about mental illness.

Read if You Like: narrators suffering from illness, light romance, books dealing with more mature subject matter
Avoid if You: don’t like books dealing with death or mental health; want more passion to your romances
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Single Sundays: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

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 + my choice for my standalone novel for my Everything YA Mini-Reading Challenge for January:

Synopsis for On the Edge (from Goodreads):
From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen’s other novels.

Review:

What drew me to this book was the cover and the tagline “Love is a Dangerous Thing”. I enjoy thriller movies but I haven’t really found any good thriller books–especially in the Young Adult department. So when I saw that this book was going to deal with gangs (another plot elements I haven’t had too much exposure too) my interest to read this book grew.

This book started pretty slow–as in the second part of the synopsis doesn’t kick in until a solid quarter of the book has passed. And while a lot didn’t happen up until that point plot-wise, I still found myself easily reading the story and not loosing interest. Maybe it was because Maddie’s world is a foreign one to me so I found it interesting in that sense or maybe it was simply the anticipation for what was to come.

However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to call this book a “thriller”. It was suspenseful for sure in the last little bit but nothing that had me gripping to the edge of my seat (see what I did there ;)). I actually found certain parts of the plot to be predictable so it lost some of the excitement for me. I kept waiting for a good twist to come and while there were a few good spins here and there, it wasn’t enough to make me gasp and go “wow!” or “no way!”.

I also could have done without the somewhat petty friend drama Maddie has going on. I suppose it was there to add to the “growing up” plot of the book since Maddie is leaving for college and while it did add some realism to the story (which seemed fairly realistic to me), it just didn’t do anything for me. I guess part of the reason I felt that way was because Maddie seemed like she was five years older than she was so it didn’t seem appropriate. She actually reminded me a lot of Zoe Barnes from House of Cards because of her passion for journalism (minus the sleeping with politicians bit). But she and the rest of the cast were nothing special or anything I haven’t really read before.

Conclusion:

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Nothing “wowed” me about it and as such it wasn’t all that memorable but I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time. If you want to read a tame (and by tame I mean not overly suspenseful because there are some heavier subjects like murder, sex trafficking and drug usage mentioned) and grounded gang-related story, this is the one for you!

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: No

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic, Suspense, Gangs
Recommended for: 16+ *does deal with mature subject matter like sex trafficking, drugs, sex and murder
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Similar Reads: Crossing Stars by Nicole Williams

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Novella Serial Review: Gypsy Brothers by Lili St. Germain

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review 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. Here is this week’s offering:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #2 Favourite Serialized Series 2014
Series: Gypsy Brothers

There will be a prequel trilogy spin-off that is set 16 years before this series called Cartel to be published in February 2015

Author: Lili St. Germain
# of Parts: 7 (Seven Sons, Six Brothers, Five Miles, Four Score, Three Years, Two Years, One Love)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Dark, Romance, Motorcycle Club, Erotica, Suspense
Heat Rating: getting hot + *mature subject matter*
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Seven Sons was a freebie on Kobo and Amazon and as soon as I saw it I had to read it. It hits all my favourite marks: a revenge story, romance and featured a motor cycle club (a plot element I always wanted to read but haven’t read it yet). However, the series had just started and I knew I would be addicted so I waited until the series was finished before I started reading it.

I feel like I should emphasize that this series isn’t for everyone because it is very, very dark. Probably the darkest series I have read so far. What I mean by dark is that it features situations that not everyone would be comfortable reading (for example rape and murder). I would say that if watching Criminal Minds makes you squeamish, avoid this series because you won’t like that element.

Despite that darker element, I was hooked into this series. The whole story, even if it made my heartbreak and was harder to read because of the subject matter, was captivating and really refreshing to me. If other MC (motorcycle club) books have this much suspense and tension, I understand why they are so popular.

I find that the synopsis for Seven Sons is slightly misleading in terms of Jase’s role because the impression it gives is not what actually happens and there is more to their connection when you actually read the series. Because of that, the first book wasn’t what I was expecting but I loved what we got instead and I find the rest of the series builds on that. I also loved how the series ended and I appreciate why St. Germain did it.

Each part is fast pace (there is one exception but it is needed) and I would devour them super quickly. I was expecting to read one a day but I found myself reading 2 or 3 just to find out what happens next! So make sure you have all parts on hand when reading (though I recommend you just get the first book for free first to make sure you like it before you buy the rest!)!

Conclusion:

I found this series to be very refreshing and highly addicting. However, I think some people won’t like the darker elements to it because they are quite strong. I recommend grabbing Seven Sons for free and reading it before buying the rest of the series if you are interested in reading it 🙂

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Serial Series to a Friend: Yes, but not all of my friends due to the subject matter

Similar Reads: Naked by Kelly Favor (Naked Series #1) and Wanted by Amanda Lance (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Seven Brothers (from Goodreads):
My father was most certainly NOT an innocent man. As the leader of the Gypsy Brothers MC, he was guilty of many things. But he died for a crime that he didn’t commit, framed by an enemy within who then stole his club and everything he had ever worked to protect.

Including my innocence.

When Dornan Ross framed my father, he set into motion a series of events that could never be undone. My father was murdered by Dornan Ross and his sons when I was fifteen years old.

Before my father died, Dornan Ross and his seven sons stole my innocence, branded my skin and in doing so, ensured that their lives would be prematurely cut short. That they would suffer.

I’ve just turned twenty-one, and I’m out for blood. I’m out for revenge.

But I didn’t expect to fall for Jase, the youngest brother in the club.

I didn’t expect that he would turn my world upside down, yank my heart out of my chest and ride away into the sunset with it.

Now, I’m faced with an impossible choice – Jase, or avenging my fathers death?

Single Sundays: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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 Thirteen Reasons Why (from Goodreads):
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Review:

This book is one of those books that always graces “Must Read Teen” Lists and while I maybe 7 years late to the party, I have to agree whole-heartedly. Everyone should read this book--not just teens– because it has a strong message that everyone needs to know: our actions, even the really small ones, can drastically impact another person’s life and we may not even know it.

I think anyone at any age can relate in some way to this story. It takes place in a high school but the scenarios we read about can really take place at work or in the neighbourhood or basically any place in society. I had tears in my eyes at multiple times and I cringed at some of the scenarios Hannah had to endure. I actually felt like I was Clay, reading about a classmate of mine because I could see how true this story could be and that really upset me. It is a very real story with real, everyday scenarios and that often makes this book hard to read–but that’s the point. This isn’t a subject to joke about and society needs to remove that stigma against mental health illnesses and bullying so that this book doesn’t become an everyday reality.

This book makes you think. It makes you think about how you treat others, how you react to rumours and how you lead your life. But it also made me appreciate all the people I have in my life and how thankful I am for the support system I have. I know a lot of people don’t have that support system and feel alone but I think the other important, often overlooked, message of this story is that you a not alone. There is always someone who loves you. They may not always be prominent, they maybe hidden in the background like Clay, but there is someone who cares for you and wants to be there for you so you are never alone.

This book is beautifully written and the delivery is fantastic. It grabbed my attention and held onto it throughout the entire novel. It was just very well done and it has been a very long time since a book has impressed me as much as this one has.

Conclusion:

This book will draw every emotion from you and really make you think about who you are as a person. This isn’t a novel for just teens, it’s a novel for a human beings.

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: HELL YES! I would recommend this to everyone!

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health, Mature Subject Mature, Death High School 
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Reads 2014, Everyone Must Read
Similar Reads: You Against Me by Jenny Downham, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin and Stolenby Lucy Christopher

Series Review: IFICS by Julia Crane

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

Freak Fractured

Series: IFICS Series
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Freak of Nature, Fractured Innocence, Fatal Abduction)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Fatal Abduction is to be published
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: really warm (for a young adult novel)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: This review is a part of review blitz for the IFICS series put on by Julia Crane’s publicist. I was contacted by her assistant publicist to do a review on the first two books of the series.

My previous exposure to Julia Crane’s work was with the Keegan Chronicles and that wasn’t a totally positive experience. The writing was choppy and the story just didn’t grab my attention the way I was hoping. But I am all for second chances and when I read the synopsis for Freak of Nature, I knew this book was more my tastes.

The writing in Freak of Nature is much smoother than it was in Coexist. It was easy to follow and more importantly flowed smoothly. While third person narration is not my favourite POV form, it works well for this series. I think it would be hard to read the series as a first person POV from Kaitlyn given that she doesn’t fully think like a human. Plus, it added to the story to get a feel for what was happening around Kaitlyn when she wasn’t there. This was especially important in Fractured Innocence–and one of my favourite parts of the book.

Freak of Nature was interesting, just slow to me. It seemed like an extended novella of sorts because it really set the stage for the world the series is set in. The plot was very singular in its delivery: there really isn’t much going on other than Kaitlyn learning the truth about her human past.

While reading Freak of Nature, I kept drawing parallels to Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Both are extremely similar novels but I found that Freak of Nature focuses more on the romantic side of things and more on Kaitlyn’s relationships with other people while Mila 2.0 focuses more on the action and what it means to be human. Two completely different takes on a similar Science Fiction element.

To me, Freak of Nature seemed to be struggling with identifying itself as a Young Adult read or a New Adult read. At first I labelled it as a Young Adult read but it was a much more mature Young Adult read in terms of sexual content. With Fractured Innocence, it was more obvious to me that it was more a New Adult read; it deals with some heavy content that not everyone will be comfortable reading.

Fractured Innocence touches on a subject that not a lot of Young Adult/New Adult books do. I enjoyed reading that aspect of the book because I think it is a subject people need to be more aware of. I felt like it was handled in an extremely mature and realistic way which I always appreciate. Though, as I said before, it might make some people uncomfortable reading it because it is a hard thing to stomach.

I was hoping Fractured Innocence was going to be faster paced and more action focused: it wasn’t. At the halfway point they were still sitting around doing nothing and the characters even complain about it in the book. When we do get the action, it lasts for 2-3 chapters and the remainder of the book it coming to terms with everything that happened, which isn’t that much. It kept my attention though because of the added POV and the anticipation that something was going to happen; but nothing ever really did. I was alos expecting more character development but it didn’t seem to happen either.

I’m undecided about whether or not I will be reading Fatal Abduction. It sounds like it will be more exciting and reviews I have seen have all been very positive so maybe one day in the future I will pick it up.

Conclusion:

This series reminds me a lot of the CW TV show Nikita (one of my all time favourite shows) just with a teen aged cyborg as the lead instead. However, it’s slower paced and not as action focused as I personally like when reading this type of genre. Nothing really blew my socks off but for those who like singular plot lines or want to dabble in Young Adult Science Fiction, this might be a series that is worth your time.

Rating: 2.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Probably to a younger friend who wanted a taste of SciFi.

Similar Reads: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Mila 2.0 Trilogy)

Synopsis for Freak of Nature (from Goodreads):
Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

 

Freak

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FONGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FONAMAZON

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Fractured

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FrInGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FIAmazon

FIND IT AT BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FrInBN

~*~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~*~

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/juliacraneauthor

WEBSITE: www.juliacrane.com

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/JuliaCrane2

Series Review: Unbreakable Trilogy by Rebecca Shea

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

Series: Unbreakable Trilogy
Author: Rebecca Shea
# of Books: 3 (Unbreakable, Undone, Unforgiven)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Drama, Contemporary, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts:

I decided to read Unbreakable as a lighter, more upbeat read after reading a particularly dry novel: so you can guess that I was in for a bit of a surprise when I realized that Unbreakable wasn’t that upbeat book I was looking for. I guess I missed that bit about the tragedy or assumed it would be something else when I read the synopsis because this book, while charming and fun at times, is more often than not a sadder, more serious read than I previously assumed.

I think a more plausible explanation is that I expected the book to be more about Gabe and Jessica falling in love and then dealing with a tragedy than what actually happens. The romance between Gabe and Jessica (the path of falling in love) mostly takes place “off-screen”, years before the story begins which was disappointing as I was really looking forward to the sexual tension as they succumbed to their feelings for each other. Instead, we get plunked right into the beginning of their relationship, then the tragedy and the events that unfold afterwards. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

This story is more about Jessica and Gabe dealing with the tragedy after it happens and trying to navigate their relationship accordingly. It was well done, especially in regards to what the “tragedy” is, so I didn’t mind reading the story. I could have done without a particular character introduced later in the story–I think it was unnecessary to this story (though I won’t lie and say that I am not excited to read about their story in the next book; so I guess it wasn’t the worst thing in the world :P).

While I loved the moments shared between Jessica and Gabe (for a while they were going to get the tag “fav couple”) I found I quickly got tired of them–Jessica in particular. This is one of those books about First Love so it can get a little sugary and “all-consuming” at times. Some of the things Jessica did made me think she was a little dim and I wish she had a bit more independence–I hate couples that are overly “couplely” if you know what I mean and Gabe and Jess were like that to me.

When all was said and done, I did enjoy Unbreakable–I think if I knew exactly I was getting into before I read it, I would have given it a higher rating.

Because I had an idea of what to expected with the second book, Undone, I think I enjoyed it a lot more. This time, I got to watch the couple fall in love and I enjoyed watching them do so because I loved the sexual chemistry between the two of them. They were a great pair that balanced each other out well. At first, I was worried that things were going to happen too fast between them but I was glad when things progressed at a slower pace than I anticipated. I also feel it is important to note that this novel reads more as adult contemporary romance with a New Adult feel to it because the characters are much older than the previous leads.

Although I knew what to expect, there were a few interesting twists along the way that I liked and were interesting to watch unfold. I didn’t feel like I was getting dragged through the motions as much as I did with Unbreakable. I think it’s clear that I much preferred this book to Unbreakable; however, this is one aspect that I felt like Unbreakable did better and that was how they handled the tragedy/secret. It isn’t a huge deal but it was something I personally didn’t particularly like in Undone when I think about it.

I’m really excited to read Unforgiven–I’ve been thinking about this particular pairing since Unbreakable and I’m excited to see where it will go!

updates

–February 11, 2016– Book #3: Unforgiven

*Sigh* This was NOT the story I was expecting when I finally picked up Unforgiven. Like Unbreakable, it’s more of a story about individual character development with a dash (and I mean a small dash) of romance on the side. I wanted to see these two characters fall in love and that really wasn’t what we got. It was very disappointing in that respect.

I did like the plot to a certain degree. I haven’t really read a book that deals with the topics this one does and I really liked the approach it takes. However, I was frustrated with how our male lead handles everything and that really turned me off of this story in the end.

Series Rating: 3/5

Unbreakable 3/5 | Undone 4/5 | Unforgiven 2.5/5

overall

This series has a more serious, darker feel to it than some other New Adult reads. It focuses more on the tragedies than the drama of relationships; instead, it focuses on each lead finding themselves and then finding out where they belong in a relationship. All the novels (so far) deal with mature subject matter that may make some people uncomfortable but for the most part the material is handled well in a realistic and mature manner that readers will respect.

Read if You Like: character development, tragedy, realistic stories
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike love triangles

similarreads

Synopsis for Unbreakable (from Goodreads):
Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together.

Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her.

But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal.

Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

readingchallengesbook

Series Review: Contours of the Heart by Tammara Webber

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

Easy by Tammara Webber | Contours of the Heart Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Read 2014 (Easy)
Series: Contours of the Heart
Author: Tammara Webber
# of Books: 4 (Easy, Breakable, Sweet, Brave)
Book Order: Overlapping + Connected

(Breakable is a prequel to Easy but is also an alternative POV of Easy); Sweet & Brave is Connected

Complete?: No, Brave, will be published in the near future
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: very warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

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.**

Easy is one of these New Adult reads that seems to be everywhere. I see it all the time I log into Kobo and all of my friends on Goodreads have read it and rated it very high so my curiosity was peaked. I wasn’t a fan of the vague synopsis but when my library got a digital copy of it, I grabbed it right away.

I’m glad I did–this book was great! It was a good blend of romance and cuteness but it also had some very intense moments that I thought were handled extremely well when compared to other reads of the genre.

I feel like I should mention that one of the main topics in this book is sexual assault and in particular, rape. I know that this makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it is a fact of everyday life that this occurs throughout the world. The opening chapter of the book describes Jackie’s assault and it was very hard to read and get past. So be prepared that this may strike a cord with you. Nothing is graphically described but you can easily get a clear picture of what is happening to her.

I know it will also probably upset some people regarding how Jackie handles the situation but I also found it to be realistic. There are some facts at the end of the book that capture the realism surrounding this topic. So while I personally don’t support her way of dealing with the problem, I could understand why someone would choose to follow that course of action and I tried to not let that dampen my respect or like for her.

Reading this book reminded me a lot of Veronica Mars’ third season–just without the funny wit and mystery solving. But both the book and the 3rd season deal with rapes and the Greek university system so I was used to this subject matter in these settings.

There is one part of this book that is very predictable–like I called it within reading the single sentence but I enjoyed watching everything unfolded despite that. I really felt the connection between the two of them and thought they were a good match for each other so I am happy on the romance front.

Breakable is described as a prequel and alternative retelling of Easy. DON’T read the synopsis unless you have read the book because it will be a spoiler. I’m really excited to read it because I feel like it will add another dimension to the story told in Easy.

UPDATED (Oct 5/14): I just finished Breakable and I have to say it was fantastic! It was everything I thought it would be. I was great getting the other side to this story and learning about this particular character’s past. Although it was pretty long (it’s 50 pages longer than Easy but it is longer than the average New Adult read) I never felt bored or dragged on. The flipping back and forth from the past to the current really drew me in, despite the fact that I already knew what was happening in the current since I read Easy. Just very well done and fans of Easy will love this hands down!

Although nothing appears to be planned for other books in this series, on Tammara’s website she has stated that Breakable is last we will see of Jacqueline’s story. However, she might write about other characters in the series. I personally hope that this will be the case because I really want to read about a particular childhood friend of the hero’s sometime in the future 😉 And it looks like I got my wish with the announcement of Sweet, set to be released April 2015!

Conclusion:

For people who don’t enjoy reading about more mature subject matter like sexual assault, you probably won’t enjoy parts of this book. But those who like realistic New Adult reads will like Easy so I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Wait for You… by J. Lynn (Wait for You… #1) and Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love #1)

Synopsis for Easy (from Goodreads):
Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.