Tag «over the top»

Series Review: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

FUN FACT: This is my blog’s 100th post! Thanks for reading everyone!

Series: Gossip Girl
Author: Cecily von Ziegesar
# of Books: 12 — See the Full list here!

There is also a prequel novella, #0.5 It Had to be You and a serial killer retelling of Gossip Girl, #13 Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Romance
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

NOTE: I only read the first 5 books of the series (last read book was I Like it Like That). At this time I have no plans to finish the series–find out below:

I started reading Gossip Girl just before the TV show debuted in 2007. I mostly read them because I knew the show was coming and I wanted to see if it would be worth checking out. Funny thing is, I stuck with the show and dropped the books soon after.

The books started off great; especially book 1, Gossip Girl. They were interesting and edgy. The characters were intriguing and dramatic so it caught my attention and kept it. Around this time The O.C. had ended so I was looking for that dash of the over-the-top antics of the rich and famous and I found that in the Gossip Girl Series.

So all was good in the Gossip Girl world until 1) the characters started to go a little crazy and 2) I discovered the TV show was 20x better.

Now one can argue that the characters had always been crazy. Part of their charm was that they were over-the-top, extremely selfish and super dramatic and that’s what made the books and plots so interesting and worth reading. But I just couldn’t get past Chuck Bass with his pet monkey or Dan and his tormented poet life. They just freaked me out and bored me to tears.

It especially got worse once the TV show started and they revamped that characters. Gone was the monkey toting Chuck Bass and here was a suave, manipulative and cunning young man who still had a love of bizarre suits but now played a more crucial role in the plot. I love the Chuck Bass of the TV version–I even like Dan in the TV show. I also find that when you watch the show, you see another side to the characters. They aren’t always selfish–though most of the time they are–but sometimes you see that they do have a heart and you don’t really get that with the books. Once I became hooked to the TV show, I forgot about the books.

I’m not sure how the rest of the series goes, but based on the synopsises I read, it looks like it might get a bit better. I do know that by book 9, Only in Your Dreams, a ghost writer replaces Cecily von Ziegesar to continue the story. I’m not sure what affect that has on the rest of the books, but I would love to hear your comments!

Conclusion:

This is a series I would skip. Watch the TV show if you are looking for a dramatic insight into the lives of the Upper East Side. The TV show has better characters, stories and is just so much more interesting than what we get here.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: none come to mind at this moment

Synopsis for Gossip Girl (from Goodreads):
Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep–sometimes with each other.

S is back from boarding school, and if we aren’t careful, she’s going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, steal our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I’ll be watching closely…

You know you love me,
gossip girl

Series Review: Wanted by Kelly Elliot

Series: Wanted
Author: Kelly Elliot
# of Books: 3 4 (Wanted, Saved, Faithful, Cherished)

There is a novella that takes place between Faithful and Cherished called Believe

Complete?: No, Faithful will be released in August 2013 Yes, but spin-off series are in the works
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Abuse
Heat Rating: hot

Thoughts:

This is one of those series that has a extremely high rating on Goodreads and I have no idea why. I bought Wanted and Saved because the rating on Goodreads was so high and the plot of Wanted intrigued me–I haven’t really read any books where the heroine falls in love with her older brother’s best friend so I wanted (no pun intended) to see what it was like. I also like reading as many books in the series as close together as I possibly can so I decided to buy Saved as well. It also didn’t hurt that the books were under $3 with my coupons from Kobo.

The first book in the series Wanted reminded me a lot of This Beautiful Thing by Amanda Heath (Young Love Series #1) I had read just a few weeks ago and did not enjoy all that much. Basically, I didn’t like This Beautiful Thing because of the lack of maturity in the characters and it is the same case here. Based on the synopsis I was expecting a much more mature story in Wanted seeing as Ellie has been abused by her mother. By no means did I expect her to be confident but I didn’t expect her to be so juvenile in her thoughts and action. I had hoped Gunner would be a tad more mature as he is 3 years older but he is just as bad, if not worse. Even her older brother, Jefferson needed a good smack on the head at times. As I said in the review of This Beautiful Love it is as if someone wrote this book after watching too many teen drama series on TV and thinking “this is what teenagers are like!” and unless I come from another planet, that isn’t what most teenagers are like.

I hate insta-love connection stories and that is what we get here. I probably would have stopped reading it if I just borrowed this book from the library but seeing as I did buy it, I decided to finish it. I believe I developed a tolerance to the writing after a while so I did manage to finish. I didn’t particularly care for Ellie or Gunner at all throughout the story. I actually feel like their story is a side-story and most of the plot focuses on Jeff and Ari–even though they have their own book, Saved which is the next in the series. I think I would have enjoyed Wanted more in theory if we lost the Jeff and Ari saga and had a more solid (actually, ANY) plot for Ellie and Gunner.

Saved follows a similar path as Wanted in that Ari and Jeff are the main focus, but we also get side-stories about Gunner & Eli and Josh & Heather. Again, I would have appreciated separate books dedicated to each couple instead of little hints here and there. As they currently stand, it makes the books really long and I feel like I am reading two different books as the same time.

As for the book itself, I enjoyed Saved a touch more. Once I got past the occasional grammar mistake and lack of quotation marks, I thought the story overall was better handled. While it still was a little over the top, there were parts that I thought were more realistic to the story that made it more interesting.

UPDATED (Jan 27/14): After having Faithful on my Kobo for months I finally got around to reading it (part of my goal for the month of January to finish 5 series I had previously started).

I actually really enjoyed this book — way more than I expected. I think part of the reason was that this book seemed a touch more mature than the others considering the events these two characters go through. I also think that splitting up the story amongst the various couples we have been introduced to at this point and not having just one main plot really helped: I didn’t become overwhelmed with the stupidity and naivety of these characters. (Which is ironic because I had complained about the multiple plot lines before in the previous novels in this review :P).

When I bought Faithful, I didn’t realize that there were actually 4 books to this series. When I finished Faithful, I was glad there were 4 because I was excited to see and learn more about the next set of characters. Unfortunately, Cherished dropped the ball for me. I just felt like it was filled with double-standards, over the top drama and an annoying heroine which I didn’t like too much. It was just meh but again, I am somehow roped into seeing where the next two spin-off series go–damn!

Conclusion:

I probably would have stopped reading it if I just borrowed these book from the library but seeing as I did buy them, I decided to finish. Definitely not my favourite books that I have read this year but somehow I got a little attached to the last two characters that will be in book 3 and I will probably end up reading the 3rd one just to have some closure. Otherwise, it is not my cup of tea that I would pass on if I could do it again. *UPDATED* I still would probably pass on this series–there is nothing really outstanding about this series other than the naivety of the characters and the crazy amount of ways to say “I love you”.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: This Beautiful Thing by Amanda Heath (Young Love Series, #1)

Synopsis for Wanted (from Goodreads):
Verbally abused by her mother for years, 18 year old Ellie Johnson always believed she would never be loved or wanted by anyone. She focused all of her attention on her grades and getting into the University of Texas to start a new life away from her mother.
The last thing Ellie expected was to fall in love with Gunner Mathews, a starting linebacker for the University of Texas football team and not to mention, her brothers best friend.
Gunner only had two passions in life, football and his grandfather’s ranch, until he falls for his best friends little sister. He will stop at nothing to show Ellie how much he wants her, even if it means he has to move faster than she would like.
Gunner knows they are meant to be together forever, but Ellie keeps denying her feelings out of fear of being hurt again. Every time he gets close to winning her love, something pushes her away again. Will Ellie ever be able to let go of the past and let him into her heart and will Gunner be patient enough to wait for her?
What will it take for them to realize they are all each other have ever WANTED?