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Series Review: Grad Night by Molly E Lee

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

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Synopsis for Love in the Friend Zone (from Goodreads):

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams.

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much.

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Couple (Love Between Enemies)
Series: Grad Night
Author: Molly E Lee
# of Books: 3 (Love in the Friend Zone, Love Between Enemies, Book 3)
Book Order: Companion
Complete?: No, Book 3 is to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Love in the Friend Zone); Netgalley (Love Between Enemies)

Copy of Love Between Enemies

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was actually alerted to a sale for Love in the Friend Zone and that’s how I discovered this series. I also read the synopsis for Love Between Enemies and just had to learn more. These books sounded like a lot of fun and heartwarming and so it seemed like a no-brainer to try them out.

The Concept:

The idea is that each book follows a different couple on the night of their high school graduation. With college looming on the horizon, each character has their own set of “goals” they want to accomplish before the summer starts and college begins and they all see this final high school party as the opportune time to get things done.

So essentially, you have 3 stories running simultaneously in the setting (hence the “companion” label I give this series). You get little inklings of the other stories while you read a single novel but not enough to completely ruin the surprise of what is happening with the other couples. It entices you to want more while also bringing back some nostalgia of the other stories. It’s a very cool atmosphere to have in a series.

The Plot:

Considering these books all take place within a 24 hour span or so, nothing ever felt rushed to me. Every scene has a purpose in driving the narrative forward so I really enjoyed the lack of petty drama. It focuses on the characters and establishing that hidden to them (but obvious to everyone else) connection that will steal your heart.

This book was a lot of fun too. All the silly stuff that happens at the party definitely gave me a few chuckles as I read.

The Characters:

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to warm up to Fynn and Braylen (Love in the Friend Zone). I feel like we get thrown into their story since they are the first couple we meet and as such, we don’t get those little moments throughout the story like the other couples do. But I have to say, as the story progressed, I really grew to enjoy them as characters.

It was a different situation in Love Between Enemies. I felt like that novel gave us a little more background about the rivals and helped set the stage for their motives. I had a much better grasp on them as characters before the party even started and I think that helped my enjoyment of the story overall.

The Romance:

These are all such sweet romances! They are exactly what I love to see in my romantic reads: great partnerships. All the couples have this great understanding of each other. They get each other’s quirks and they love them more for it. I just adored watching all of them fall in love and showing that vulnerable side to the other.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

OMG, I am so excited for Lennon’s story! After getting little hints in the previous two books I am dying to find out what happens to him on graduation night.

Series Rating: 4/5

Love in the Friend Zone 3.5/5 | Love Between Enemies 5/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

This series has some of my favourite tropes and executes them perfectly! The whole concept of three romances that come to life at the last party of their high school lives is a fun premise that will have you wanting more!

Read if You Like: high school romances, companion novels
Avoid if You: want steamier scenes

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  • Just Friends by Monica Murphy (Friends Series #1)
  • Lace Up by Shae Ross (Pretty Smart Girls Series #1)
  • Bully by Penelope Douglas (Fall Away Series #1)

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Series Review: The Truth She Knew by J A Owenby

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

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

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

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

Other books in the series:

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

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thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

What I Liked:

–The DRAMA!!!–

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

This story does that.

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

–That it is Set in the 1980’s–

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

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Insta-Love–

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

–Everything Happens at the End!–

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

My Rating: 3/5

The Truth She Knew 3/5  | Book 2  TBR

overall

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

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

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J A Owenby

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

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

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

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

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

Author Links: Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Series Review: Furious Rush by S C Stephens

Synopsis for Furious Rush (from Goodreads):
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: Furious Rush
Author: S C Stephens
# of Books: 1+ (Furious Rush, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thanks Forever Publishing

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love a good forbidden romance and this one seemed to fit the bill perfectly when I read the synopsis. Rivals falling in love? It doesn’t get much better than this folks!

The world also grabbed my attention. Racing stories are few and far better–or they are for me–and the premise of a young women trying to break into a male-dominated world fascinated me. I dunno how many people remember the Disney Original Movie Motorcrossed, but it was a favourite of mine growing up.

The World:

I know nothing about professional racing but Stephens provides you enough to get easily understand the world. You aren’t bombarded with information nor are you left hanging wondering what the heck is happening.

It was great entering this world and a nice change in pace from the endless Football heroes…

The Plot:

This one started on the slower side for me. While the sexual tension was brimming from the get-go, I found the drama took awhile to reach its peak. In hindsight, it’s a great set-up for the rest of the series but I just felt like there were too many open-ended questions left.

The Characters:

Kenzie was a strong heroine. She sticks to her convictions even when the world is telling her not too. Her love and loyalty for her family is commendable and two of her best attributes. It made it easy for me to root for and empathize with her as the story progressed.

Hayden is the bad boy with a heart of gold that you can’t help to fall for. One of the nice things about not getting his POV is the mystery of who he is and why. I loved uncovering more about him as Kenzie did. I forget how nice only having a single POV can be in terms of suspense.

The Romance:

These two are perfect for each other and I love how obvious that is early on. If it is a forbidden romance, you need to convince me that these two belong together–and Stephens does that excellently! It was great watching these two fall in love, fighting every obstacle in their way!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I felt a lot of things were left open-ended so I’m very curious to see what is going to happen next!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Furious Rush 3.5/5 | Book 2 TBA

overall
It was super refreshing to have a sports novel set in a non-traditional sport like racing. The forbidden love aspect provides the perfect slow burn romance to keep you eager for more. Plus, the drama promises lots of fallout in the novels to come!

Read if You Like: sport-based novels, drama, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike slow burn romance

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About S C Stephens:
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

Website| Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Series Review: Narrow Gate by Amyrn Cross

Synopsis for The Broken Crown (from Goodreads):
Princess Emilia Aurelius was only seven when she watched her mother die at the hands of her father—martyred for believing in the God of the Atlas Empire’s Insurgo rebels. At seventeen, exiled to a military outpost where no one knows her true identity, she’s vowed to leave her royalty behind and explore the truth of the Insurgo rebels her mother loved.

When the Emperor of Atlas summons the princesses from each of the provinces to the imperial city to choose a wife for the crown prince, Emilia must leave her military life behind to join a royal court rife with cunning and intrigue. Navigating the waters of court politics and budding love are treacherous on their own, but Emilia fears for her life should anyone learn of her Insurgo sympathies.

With an unlikely ally in the captain of the emperor’s guard, Emilia must uncover the truth of the Insurgos, start a revolution, and learn to become the princess she’s vowed never to be, all while protecting her heart from a prince who could sign her death warrant.

Other books in the series:

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave 2016, Fave Heroine
Author: Amryn Cross
# of Books: 2+ (The Broken Crown, The Desolate Reign)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Desolate Reign , will be published in 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Historical
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 23, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

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

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Well, I will admit that I was first drawn to this title thanks to its cover. The colours, the title itself and the artwork seemed to promise me great things. And then I read the synopsis and was immediately sold. This story seemed to be what I wanted The Selection to be: a romantic yet politically intriguing novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. Emilia seemed like she’d be a kick-ass heroine thanks to her military past and I couldn’t wait to see if she would be the next great heroine for me.

This book literally had everything I love about YA fantasy and I couldn’t wait to start it!

The World:

What I really loved about this world is the use of religion as the main political source for tension. Most High YA Fantasy novels use magic/powers or a caste system to entice conflict; but here, it all stems from religion. How realistic is that? Very if you ask me. I enjoyed reading about a world that wasn’t flowing with magic but instead looked at something we have in our own world and something everyone has had a brush with at one point or another.

Now, don’t let that scare you into thinking this book is all about religion. It doesn’t push some agenda other than the characters’ own motivations within the context of the story. I thought it was a great tool and really added depth to this story.

The Plot:


The balance between Emilia’s character development, romance and the political world was perfect. The plot moves at a fast, but constant pace throughout the story. I never got bored thanks to the various twists that happen and the way it shifted seamless from one plot aspect to the next. Amryn Cross has a great talent for writing and it shines in this novel.

The premise of Emilia competing amongst other princesses for the princes hand was very a la The Selection for me–but this was what I wanted the The Selection to be. Instead of a whinny girl who resists the opportunity to change the system, Emilia sees the opportunity for what it is and makes the best of it. Her trying to navigate this new world was such a thrill to watch. It made the story just as dangerous as it could be and that won major points with me.

The Characters:

I really enjoyed Emilia as a character. I loved that she learned from her mistakes and that she wasn’t this flawless princess nor was she so flawed that she was jaded and hard to like. She’s strong and independent but knows that she can’t do this alone and she doesn’t resist change. She’s a fighter and a thinker and she easily makes my list of favourite heroines ever. Emilia seemed so real to me and I just really loved that.

As for the rest of the characters, they are fabulous. Well crafted and well developed even if Emilia takes centre focus. Everyone complimented the story so well that I can’t wait to see what happens next!

The Romance:

While I feel like I predicted the romance situation pretty early on, I can’t say that I know how it is all going to end. I LOVED the romance here. I swooned, I sighed and I really got absorbed into it all. I liked that is shined when it needed to but took a step back to let the other parts of the story develop.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

GAH! I can’t wait! Honestly, I feel like everything is just getting started! There are so many promising story lines to work with in The Desolate Reign that I cannot wait to see what happens next!

My Rating: 5/5

overall
If you want a great fantasy novel that shies away from magic and instead focuses on the politics of a kingdom and how one princess tries to change it all, you NEED to read this book!

Read if You Like: stories dealing with politics, kingdoms, strong heroines
Avoid if You: want magic, more romance focused

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Amryn Cross
A tomboy with southern belle roots, Amryn Cross was born and raised in Tennessee where she learned the importance of God, family, Southern hospitality, and football. She’s loved the written word from the time she was a child, convinced the squiggly lines on top of the Hostess cupcake really spelled out a secret message.

Amryn is a proud momma to two adorable puppies–Argo and Luna–who provide lots of laughs and kisses. She is also an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and My Book Therapy (MBT) and answers writers’ forensic questions at Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Series Review: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles by Katie Hamstead

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

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Synopsis for Princess of Tyrone (from Goodreads):
Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.

All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.

Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.

But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.

A quirky, adventurous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a less than princess-ly princess!

breakdown

Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles
Author: Katie Hamstead
# of Books: 2 (Princess of Tyrone, Myths of Mish, Dwarves of Calcus)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Dwarves of Calcus, will be published March 2018
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person & Third Person
Publication Date: March 31, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I adore Fairy Tale retellings and reading the Lunar Chronicles earlier this year really reminded me of that. It also reaffirmed my love for Science Fiction reads. So when I saw the Blog Tour sign-ups for Princess of Tyrone–a fairy tale retelling set in another galaxy–I just had to sign up!

The Concept / The World:

Not only is it a retelling of my favourite princess (Sleeping Beauty) but it takes place in space! I love stories told in other galaxies that mirror Earth but have way cooler technology.

This world really reminded me of the one we get in the TV show Once Upon a Time, where the various fairy tales are woven together via their characters. (ie The idea that fairy tales share the same characters) My favourite aspect of this story was learning about the history of the galaxy and how all the different fairy tales fit in with each other. I won’t spoil it, but I really enjoy the path it takes through this.

I’m picky about my magic in my stories but I found this one was straight forward and easy to follow. You have curses at play and fairy godmothers so it could be complicated but I had no problems whatsoever.

The Plot:

I will not lie, I really misread the first part of the synopsis just before I picked this up. I thought Apolline was a pirate not that she lived on a pirate filled planet–so I was expecting a story more like Starflight by Melissa Landers when that really wasn’t the case. Regardless, I figured out pretty quickly I got it wrong and enjoyed the story we got instead.

The plot is definitely more romance and character based for the first half of the book. Apolline and Allard are trying to balance out their new-found relationship and their obligations and it’s cute to watch. I thought they were super adorable together so I didn’t mind the slower pace though I craved a little more to the story.

What I craved makes an appearance in the later half of the book and that was when I couldn’t put the story down. When everything comes together and character pasts and identifies are revealed, it was so much fun to read! This book definitely built itself up and it was worth it!

The Characters:

It may surprise you to hear that Sleeping Beauty is one of my favourite princesses. I know it surprises me. Normally, I like my princesses with a little spunk and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, isn’t that spunky. She is also your classic damsel in distress, so she gives the appearance that she isn’t independent. However, I really like the romance of her story (true love’s kiss) AND I like that she has met and fallen in love with him before everything happens (at least in the Disney Version). I’m a romantic sucker like that.

(I also think the animation is beautiful in that movie)

So I really liked that Apolline could take care of herself. She has a great shot (literally) and doesn’t need someone to save her. Simply put, she kicks major bum. She’s everything you expect in a princess (kind and caring) but there is something so real and genuine that I think girls will like and connect with her.

Allard was a charming and genuine character as well. He was so easy to like as was the rest of the cast. I really grew to like all of these characters and I found myself very invested in their happily ever afters.

The Romance:

This is definitely a romance novel first and foremost with a little action thrown in near the end. I loved watching everything develop before my eyes. In particular, I liked seeing the romance build-up because it let me understand why these characters are draw to each other. I have no complaints here about how the romance worked out. It was everything I expected.

New Adult or Young Adult?

While the characters are definitely of the “New Adult” variety (ie 21), this story read more like a Young Adult novel. Meaning it isn’t some hot, passionate romance that you are watching unfold, rather a tame, emotional connection. I think this is a great novel for those looking to jump into the New Adult world from the YA one or for those who are tired of contemporary NA reads.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really excited to delve deeper into this world. Hamstead has created a truly fascinating world that has my full attention. I can’t wait to see what the next story (which features different characters) has in store!

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall
It took me a while to get into this story, but once I saw the bigger picture and more history and characters were revealed, I was totally on-board. This series has great potential and fans of quirky fairy tale retellings will enjoy this one!

Read if You Like: fairy tale re-tellings, science fiction, non-contemporary NA
Avoid if You: want more than a romance, dislike fairy tales

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Katie Hamstead
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Author Links:

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Series Review: House of Royals by Keary Taylor

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

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Synopsis for House of Royals (from Goodreads):

Every town has its history and skeletons, but Silent Bend, Mississippi’s are darker than most. Ruled from the shadows by the House—the immortal Born and their aging, enslaved Bitten—everyone knows not to go out after dark and that the police will never look into crimes involving blood.

Alivia Ryan didn’t know the man who claims to be her father through a will even existed until she inherits the Conrath plantation. Instead of the sleepy house she expects, she finds a mansion and a staff who look at her with fear in their eyes.

Ian Ward tried to kill Alivia the first time they met, and then insisted he train her to defend herself against the House, who he claims will try to manipulate and take her in for their own political reasons. And the growing attraction between them will threaten their lives—Ian is a sworn enemy of the House.

In Silent Bend, people disappear, the threat of a demented King and the legend of his resurrecting Queen hang over everyone’s heads, and proving loyalty means far more than blood. You’d better watch who you trust in this town…

breakdown

Series: House of Royals; Blood Descendants Universe

Spin-off Series: Crown of Death

Author: Keary Taylor
# of Books: 8 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological & Connected

Story Arcs: Books 1-5; Books 6-8

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley & Own–eBook

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I tried my hand at a New Adult vampire novel, Queen of Blood and loved it. Despite the bad rep they get, I enjoy the action and excitement most vampire novels have. I also love the new adult genre as a whole and so combining those two things seem like a winning combination.

So when I saw House of Royals on Goodreads and saw that it had a political spin on it, I just had to have it in my hands.

The Concept / The World:

I found the vampire world very easy to understand. It’s pretty straightforward which makes for easy reading. I didn’t feel very confused or left behind in any respect.

I also like the darker aspect to it. Vampires that fight their inner nature are great and all, but I don’t mind a little blood shed and these books definitely had their share of action and death.

The Plot:

The plot for House of Royals is pretty straight-forward and that has its pros and cons. Not having a lot happening really allows the reader to get a grip on the world and the setting. By not focusing on too many issues at once, I was able to get attached to the characters and understand the world they found themselves in. In the same stroke, it made for a story that really only reached its climax within the last few chapters; which is definitely a good thing because it makes you want to pick up that sequel.

The Characters:

I liked Alivia a lot. I thought she had a good head on her shoulder (for the most part) and made the best of the situation she finds herself in. Obviously she makes some mistakes but I totally understand why she would given everything that happens.

The side characters keep things interesting as well. They are unpredictable and have intriguing backstories that kept me wanting more from them.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet with this one. Forbidden love is my favourite romance trope and this one is pretty flawless. I really liked Ian and Alivia together. I thought they complimented each other well. I simply adored their scenes together and rooted for them the entire time I was reading even when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited to see what is going to happen next for these characters! I feel like House of Royals built everything up at a great pace that the next few books are going to unleash all the pent up energy and tension between all the characters at play!

updates

–January 6, 2018– Book #2: House of Pawns      **copy not provided**

It’s been a long time since I read the first one but I found it so easy to get back into this world. I love all its politics and danger. We get to meet a lot more characters and the world is getting a little more complex so it sucked me in.

Alivia has an interesting character development path in this one. Her reaction to certain things (mostly of the romance variety) at the end frustrated me. But we get some interesting plot developments so I’m curious to see what happens next!

Series Rating: 4/5

House of Royals 4/5 | House of Pawns 4/5 | House of Kings TBP

overall

My experience with this book has just cemented vampire New Adult books to be my new favourite subgenre. While House of Royals doesn’t have a lot happening within its own book, I feel like it sets the stage for some great plot twists in its sequels!

Read if You Like: vampire novels, New Adult characters, simple plots
Avoid if You: dislike royal politics, vampires, forbidden love

similarreads

  • Queen of Blood by Jill Myles
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (The Clann Series #1)
  • Bloodspell by Amalie Howard (The Cruentus Curse Series #1)
  • House of Night by PC and Kristen Cast (House of Night Series #1)

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Series Review: Spindle Cove by Tessa Dare

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #1 Regency Read; Must Read Author; Favourite Author
Series: Spindle Cove
Author: Tessa Dare
# of Books: 4 (A Night to Surrender, A Week to be Wicked, A Lady by Midnight, Any Duchess will Do, Do You Want to Start a Scandal)

There are also 3 ebook novellas: #1.5 Once Upon a Winter’s Eve; #3.5 Beauty and the Blacksmith; #4.5 Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Complete?: No, Do You Want to Start a Scandal, will be published September 2016
Genre: Regency, Romance, Strong Heroines, Humour
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2011 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBooks & Paperbacks

Thoughts:

I can remember picking up A Night to Surrender and going into it with so-so expectations. This was during my Regency phase so basically I was reading whatever my library had in eBooks and I came across this series and decided to give it a try.

I’m I sure glad that I did!

These books have everything I enjoy in a book. Strong females (in droves I might add!), swoon-worthy males, hot romance and the best part of all is they have a dash of humour. I find that in Regency reads, it is really hard to find one where the leads have a witty sense of humour. Most of the time, the books of this genre only focus on the romance but with these ones, you get the whole package and this is something I think is unique to Tessa Dare’s writing and why she has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

A Night to Surrender was a great start to the series. It sets the tone for the rest of the books and introduces us in the perfect way to Spindle Cove and its characters. Spindle Cove is a place filled with unique, independently strong women so you can only imagine the stories that ensue. I find that this book, as well as the others never have a dull moment so it is extremely hard to put them down once you have started.

A Week to be Wicked (book 2) picks up right where book 1 ends and we get enough of a taste in A Night to Surrender that I was dying to get my hands on book 2. I finished this book in a day–it was that good and addicting (and at the time I was studying for exams so not so good!). It was just a lot of fun to read and I laughed throughout the novel. It is by-far my favourite of the series though book 4 is a very close second.

A Lady by Midnight (book 3) is probably my least favourite of the series. It is still a fantastic read, but it just didn’t get me the way A Week to be Wicked did–though to be fair, whatever followed A Week to be Wicked was going to have a tough act to follow. I really enjoyed it though and it still was a great addition to the series 🙂

Any Duchess will Do (book 4) reminded me of a cross between Pretty Woman and the Princess Diaries. The whole plot premise was a lot of fun and the characters were a hoot. Again, I devoured this book in a day and it definitely one of my favourites of the series. It was a great way to end the series though I wish there were more coming. I read on Dare’s blog that she has no immediate plans for more books in the series though she imagines she will return to Spindle Cove someday–all I have to say is that I sure hope so!

As for the novellas, they are cute reads that have what would normally happen in the full-sized novels but in a quicker, shorter read. You don’t need to read them after/before the respective books as they don’t totally tie in to the stories of the following novel, but they (particularly Beauty and the Blacksmith) feature a character’s story that you will probably be dying to read after the first few books. I highly recommend you read them if you are looking for quick reads between books.

updates

–March 3, 2016– Book #4.5: Lord Dashwood Missed Out

I was really, really excited when I heard Tessa Dare was returning to Spindle Cove. While I was satisfied with the way the series “ended”, I will never deny the chance to return to see some favourite characters.

This novella was a lot of fun yet touching at the same time. It was great to see all the characters again a few years later and I loved the two new leads we get. The flow is great, the romance is sweet with just a dash of spice and the whole situation is just a lot of fun and typical Spindle Cove shinanegans. I wish the story was longer though. I wanted to tease out the relationship a bit more but it was a great, quick read.

I am so excited to the 5th full length book!

Series Rating: 5/5

A Night to Surrender 4/5 | [Once Upon a Winter’s Eve] 4/5 | A Week to be Wicked 5/5 | A Lady by Midnight 4/5 | [Beauty and the Blacksmith 5/5 | Any Duchess Will Do 5/5 | [Lord Dashwood Missed Out] 4/5 | Do You Want to Start a Scandal TBR

overall

One of my all-time favourite series. Just a great blend of story, characters and wit. If you want a regency read that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a dash of humour to it, PICK THESE UP! They are great light reads and highly addicting.

Read if You Like: fun regency reads, light-hearted, head-strong women
Avoid if You: want a more serious regency read

similarreads

Synopsis for A Night to Surrender (from Goodreads):
Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are… nowhere to be found. Or are they?

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters… and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle… but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?(

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Fresh Fridays: Wait for You… by J. Lynn (Wait for You Series)

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:

Wait for You by J. Lynn | Wait for You Series

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Wait for You
Author: J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout)
# of Books: 6 (Full List Here)

There are also novellas. Find the full reading order here.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: hot

Thoughts:

Jennifer L. Armentrout is a must read author for me. I’ve loved her paranormal Young Adult reads so I was stoked when I learned she was writing a New Adult book.

I read Wait For You when I was in a New Adult genre obsession phase (ie, I was basically reading only New Adult books for a solid two weeks) and it came out as one of my favourite reads.

The relationship between Cameron and Avery was great. I really liked both of them as characters and I could see their connection. I liked that both had issues to work through but they did so in a healthy way. I can’t stress how important the “healthy” bit is to me because sometimes I feel like books give people the idea it is completely normal to have crazy-passion filled and often obsessive relationships–especially in a genre that is attempting to be “realistic”–I just think it is important to remember it is fiction and most relationships in real life are not like that. Luckily, that isn’t the case here so I digress 😉

But I do have to say this book does a great job handling the subject matter that it brings up. This part was handled in an extremely mature way and isn’t something that is discussed often in New Adult reads. I also felt like it was realistic in how the characters deal with it and feel so I really respect that about this book–so kudos!

I’m really excited to read the next book and even though it isn’t a direct sequel of Avery’s story, I have enough clues from this book to get me excited for the sequel!

Conclusion:

One of the most mature New Adult reads I have ever read. Overall just a great read.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines (Perfection, #1) and One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (Drew + Fable, #1)

Synopsis for Wait for You… (from Goodreads):
Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

Fresh Fridays: Fate on Fire Series by Wendy Knight

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:

Feudlings by Wendy Knight | The Fate on Fire Series

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Series: Fate on Fire
Author: Wendy Knight
# of Books: 2+ (Feudlings, Feudlings in the Flames)
Complete?: No, book 2, Feudlings in the Flames, will be released later in 2013
Genre: Teen, Magic, Romance, Action

Thoughts:

I will admit that I was hesitant to read this book based on the synopsis. I find that I am not a huge fan of “witch/spell” type books so that was a worry. I was also worried it was going to be more of a romance with some action and seeing as it is targeted more for teens, the presumed teen angst nearly turned me off from reading it. But that’s what happens when you assume!

This book was definitely more about action than romance. Yes, it is there but there was so much else going on that it nearly took a back seat. It started off slow but it really picked up when you learn more about the world Wendy Knight has created. It’s simple yet complicated at the same time so it is easy to follow along.

At first, I wasn’t a fan of Ari. She was a little too angst-y for me but when you learn more about her past it makes sense why she feels the way she does. (Nothing worse than a whiney, spoiled heroine but that is not the case here!). As for the rest of the characters, I really liked them and can’t wait to see more of them!

Conclusion:

Definitely check this book out if you enjoy star-crossed romance with a lot of action; magic; smart characters and strong female leads!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Feudlings (from Goodreads):
Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not fall-ing in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.

Series Review: The Game by Emma Hart

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

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Synopsis for The Love Game (from Goodreads):

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he’s everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn’t she say no? She doesn’t know either.

Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her – and he’d do anything to have her, hence why he’s agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it’s the only way he’ll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there’s more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined – and he can’t help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn’t just a walking erection – he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don’t exactly hurt. That means trouble – but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren’t so alike anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, they’re exactly what each other needs.

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Series: The Game
Author: Emma Hart
# of Books: 4 (The Love Game, Playing for Keeps, The Right Moves, Worth the Risk)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2013 – May 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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

Review of The Love Game:

Given the facts that it is a romance novel and the main protagonists are trying to get the other to fall in love with them, you pretty much know how it is going to go–they are going to fall in love with each other for real. But that shouldn’t stop you from reading this book because there is more to it.

I found this novel very refreshing. Despite the fact that it has characteristics of New Adult novels (ex. at least one protagonist has a tragic past which results in their inability to trust and love others) it also puts its own spin on the genre. The whole premise of the game was very Shakespearian (in theory) which I love; especially when you add in the supporting characters.

I also love the fact that Maddie and Braden don’t have an “insta-love” connection (a major turn-off for my reading) and I appreciate that this is talked about in the book as well. It made it very realistic and believable. Another plus is that you actually watch them fall in love with each other and you can see why they do. I find that some novels fail to provide the backbone to a relationship and just focus on the “physical connection” between two characters.

Maddie is great at telling Braden to calm the “caveman” act down. I think a lot of New Adult novels promote the idea that a man who claims you as “his” at every turn is sexy when it is not always the case (this isn’t to say that they present an abusive relationship in anyway–because they don’t–I just think it can border on an unhealthy relationship in the real world and I fear it will give girls the wrong impression). And this isn’t to say that Braden is always caveman like that, he does have really cute moments throughout and is genuinely a nice guy.

My only negatives about are more pet-peeves of mine. Sometimes when Maddie talked it was a little too metaphor-y for me. Given the fact that she is 18 it just was a little “too deep” for me at times (especially the whole comparison to various board games at one point in the last few chapters) but I guess I see how she might be a little wiser beyond her years considering her backstory. Still, she’s only 18!

But to end on a bright note: the story of Maddie and Braden concludes within this book. So yay for not dragging on a story! From what I can see the second book is about two different characters we meet in this book and there are enough hints throughout that I am excited to see what happens next!

>>Bonus: Here is the epilogue for The Love Game (WARNING: It contains spoilers!)

updates

–January 15, 2014– Book #2: Playing for Keeps

I just finished Playing for Keeps after having it sit on my Kobo for months and I have to say another great book in the series! While I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Love Game, it definitely had its enjoyable moments throughout. I’m happy with the way the story went though at times I felt like it was a little over the top considering everyone’s ages. I think if the characters were, say 4-5 years older, I would have an easier time believing their maturity and some of the things they say. I’m not saying you can’t be mature at that age, it just seemed a little odd to me when I was reading.

One thing I didn’t like about this book was that it just jumped into things without much background. Considering Meagan is a secondary character in the previous book, we don’t know a whole lot about her and while I knew there was tension between her and Aston, I just wished it was elaborated more at the start of this book. It’s been a long time since I read The Love Game so I forgot about their interaction in that book–I guess I just wanted to see more of why they liked each other in the first place. But to be fair, the rest of the book is about them finding love in each other so it does make up for it in a way.

These books aren’t like typical New Adult reads. The hot romance really takes a back seat to the building up of a relationship and love and using love to heal broken pasts. So if you are looking for a crazy steamy read, these aren’t the books for you!

I’m interested to see where the next book, The Right Moves, goes from here. From what I have read of the synopsis it has nothing to do with the cast of characters we met in the last two books which I think is a good thing because I don’t know if I could handle another story about this group (I just think all their stories have been exhausted and I wouldn’t want everything to be dragged out). I guess we will see what happens.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Love Game 4/5| Playing for Keeps 3.5/5 | The Right Moves TBA | Worth the Risk TBA

overall

I really enjoyed reading this book. It had me turning pages and was such an easy read (writing-wise). If you enjoy books about love healing tormented past and changing playboy ways, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: NA romances, love heals stories
Avoid if You: like when characters act more their age

similarreads

  • Someone to Love by Addison Moore
  • Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Games Series #1)

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