Tag «Rating: 2.5/5»

Fresh Fridays: Cursed (The Hunter Inside #1) by Casey M Millette

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:

The Hunter Inside Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Cursed (from Goodreads):

A war rages between kings and clans for centuries, their nations split and their kingdoms fallen. Caught in the midst of poverty and bedlam, twenty-year-old Aldor faces a choice. Should he leave home and start his life anew, or stay and protect what little he has?

Aldor has only made one friend in his life and has never seen a legendary creature before. As soon as he steps beyond his door, he finds himself an outlaw, hunted by creatures of pure fantasy.

Forced into joining a team of misfits in a race to recover a sacred, lost stone, Aldor finds unexpected friendships and adventure. But just as things start to look promising, disaster strikes, wielding the unexpected and the terrifying!

Aldor’s life will never be the same as he struggles with true feelings of fear, loss, love, and suffering for the very first time.

breakdown

Series: The Hunter Inside
Author: Casey M Millette
# of Books: 1 (Cursed, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: Young Adult / Teen, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Casey M Millette!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Casey asked me if I wanted to read her debut novel (at the age of 16–impressive!) I wanted to give it a shot. I have a hit or miss relationship with adventure stories but the premise of dragons and magic is a lure too hard to resist!

What I Liked:

–The Lord of the Rings Vibes–

I think nearly all fantasy novels get compared to LOTR–it’s the gold standard I think–but I really could see how that story influenced Casey’s work here. Cursed has it’s own unique characters and plot but it is definitely reminiscent of LOTR. While Cursed may lack the considerable depth of LOTR, has the same prototype of a group of seemingly strangers following an unlikely hero as he completes an impossible quest. And that’s a lot of fun to read about when it is all said and done.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Lack of Character Development–

I felt like the characters weren’t as developed as I would have liked so I didn’t really form any bonds with them. I think that’s a result of only getting Aldor’s POV for the longest time and getting a singular viewpoint of the events. The crew also doesn’t interact too much inside themselves so I missed that banter and tension between them. I love watching a group of people become a team and I felt that was lacking a little.

–Linear Plotline–

One of the biggest reasons I tend to not enjoy adventure novels is the delivery of the plot. I tend to get bored as the characters just mosey along to the final destination. Aldor and crew do go through a lot of interesting obstacles so I wasn’t bored in that sense. However, I did feel like there was a suspense lacking in the plot itself. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and I felt like the plot here tackled Problem A before Problem B is ever introduced so I felt like we were just going through the motions.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’d really like to see this group of people become more of a team. I love banter between teammates and that was only starting to come to the surface near the end. It would also be great to learn more about the various characters as well.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Cursed 2.5/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

This is a classic case of a “just-not-for-me”. I think fans of fantasy adventure novels, particularly in the YA genre, will enjoy this debut.

Read if You Like: adventure stories, fantasy, LOTR
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Fresh Fridays: The Divinity Bureau (#1) by Tessa Clare

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:

The Divinity Bureau Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Divinity Bureau (from Goodreads):

The Hunger Games meets Romeo and Juliet in a stunning debut about a forbidden romance between a young activist and a government employee working for a corrupt bureau that controls the population by deciding who lives and who dies.

Roman Irvine is a disgruntled IT Technician for the Divinity Bureau, a government agency that uses random selection to decide who lives and who dies. In a world where overpopulation has led to pollution, a crippled economy, and a world in crisis, he has accepted the bureau’s activities as a necessity. That is until he meets April McIntyre.

April has every reason to be suspicious of Roman. He works for the Divinity Bureau, which sent her father to an early grave. However, he is also sweet and loyal, and unbeknownst to her, he saved her life. As Roman and April fall deeper in love, the deeper they are thrust into the politics of deciding who lives and who dies. Someone wants April dead. And the bureau’s process of random selection may not be so random after all.

breakdown

Series: The Divinity Bureau
Author: Tessa Clare
# of Books: 1+ (The Divinity Bureau, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, there is a sequel in the works
Genre: New Adult, Non-Contemporary New Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 21, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book first crossed my radar after I read a review for it over at Darque Dreamer Reads. The synopsis sounded like something I would enjoy (I love anything with a Romeo and Juliet vibe to it!) so I decided to keep an eye out for it. And wouldn’t you know that a review opportunity came up and I just knew it was a sign that I should read this book.

The Concept / The World:

First off, the premise of this book is just plain intriguing! Overpopulation and resources is something you hear about in the news every so often but it’s something you don’t think will ever happen (at least in your life time). But what happens if it did? One of the main reasons I love dystopian novels is that they take these ideas and take them to the extremes to explore what would happen.

And that’s where this novel truly succeeds. Tessa Clare has done an amazing job crafting this world to parallel current trends in the world despite this taking place in the distant future. One thing that really struck me in particular was the fact that Roman (our hero) has a masters degree but finds himself in a minimum wage job struggling to make ends meet. (I feel ya!)

However, I did feel like we got a little bit of info-dumping at the start of the novel. It stifled the flow a bit and so it took me awhile to get into the story; but once you get past that, things even out. It’s an easy world to understand though despite all this.

The Plot:

I’d say the first half of this novel is predominately focused on the romance–something I should have remembered from Darque’s review. While I enjoyed their romance and chemistry, I needed more action to keep my attention. Everything just felt mundane to me.

As it was, my interest had waned by the halfway point which is when all the political drama happens and we get to the gritty part of the story. By then I was just skimming because I found that the plot wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be.

The Characters:

Roman was definitely a highlight for me. He’s such a refreshing hero to have in a dystopian story because he is the everyday man. He’s not this overly confident guy who oozes charisma and is an action star prodigy. He’s definitely charming in his own way though. His heart is in the right place, even if he makes the wrong choices but you couldn’t help but root for him.

April is flawed in her own way too. She’s incredibly impulsive and lacks maturity despite her age. She’s got a fighting spirit though which I always like.

The Romance:

Again, this is a huge focus of the novel and it does a lot of good for the story as well. The clashing of these two really emphasizes the world and its problems. You’ve got a rich girl who has been shielded from the realities of the world and a poor boy who strives for more but can’t get there. But watching their love grow despite everything was really sweet.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I started this book thinking it was a standalone but I started to suspect as I got further into the novel that it would have a sequel. I’m curious to see how this will all be wrapped up but I don’t think I will be picking the sequel up.

My Rating: 2.5/5

overall

In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of the classic 1984. The characters are at the whim of the world around them and they slowly start to rebel in their own way. But for most of the story, we are focused on their everyday lives and how they are constricted by this oppressing world. It’s not a bad thing if you know to expect that. I just wanted a little more action and conspiracy and thrill.

I really think readers of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Series will enjoy this one!

Read if You Like: world-building, dystopian, slower starts, romance
Avoid if You: want physical action, want less romance

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Series Review: Layers Deep by Lacey Silks

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Layers Deep (from Goodreads):
He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them…
…and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross’s resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

breakdown

Series: Layers Deep Trilogy
Author: Lacey Silks
# of Books: 3 (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled, Layers Off)

There is a prequel novel, Dazzled by Silver that is FREE on eBook sites.

There is a spin-off series called Crossed.

Book Order: Chronological (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled); Connected (Dazzled by Silver, Layers Off)

However, these all follow a series of Chronological Events.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Steamy; Kink: mild (Dazzled by Silver)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2013 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I read both Dazzled by Silver and Layers Deep but will not read Layers Peeled or Layers Off. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an erotica novel but I was in a reading slump when I decided to read this Rock My TBR 2016 title in the hopes it bring me out of my slump.

I’m not sure how this trilogy crossed my radar. I want to say it is because it shares the same cover work as one of my all time favourite adult contemporary romances, Fixed Trilogy but I’m not sure. It also could have been a sale from Kobo…it’s been on there for a long time but I’ve been looking for a good romantic suspense novel for a long time and this one showed some promise.

What I Liked:

–They Were Quick, Easy Reads–

I finished both books in 2-3 hours so I didn’t feel like I slaved over them. The plots move fast thanks to their simplicity. When I needed a quick, contemporary fix, they did the job perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Much Sexy Times, Not Enough Action–

I really wanted this to be a suspense novel and not so much of an erotica novel. However, it is definitely the latter. And while I like the steamy scenes just as much as the next person, that really wasn’t what I wanted to read.

Besides the leads wanting to bang each other’s brains out, there isn’t a lot to the story. I suppose things get a touch more exciting near the end of Layers Deep but I just don’t care to pick up the next two books.

–The Characters–

Tristan was a more healthy version of Christian Grey but I found their family structure to be similar. Allie was a strong, independent woman but as soon as she meets Tristan she becomes a little bit needy and I feel like her development gets stinted because of it. But, I did like the fact that she was strong and wasn’t necessarily defined by him either.

But they weren’t anything new to me–and I didn’t grow attached to them; definitely not enough to make me want to read their continuation of their story despite the cliffhanger of Layers Deep.

Will I Finish It?

If I get the last two books as freebies, maybe I’ll read them. But when I read Dazzled by Silver a week after Layers Deep, I still was OK not knowing what happens in Layers Peeled.

When to Read Dazzled by Silver:

Honestly, I think you can read it before Layers Deep and it won’t give away much. BUT, I think you’ll get more out of it and save yourself some minor spoilers if you read it after Layers Deep or Layers Peeled.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

[Dazzled by Silver 2.5/5] | Layers Deep 2.5/5 | Layers Peeled N/A | Layers Off N/A

overall

If you want a quick erotica read that has a bit more substance than your typical short stories, pick up these freebies!

Read if You Like: erotica, quick reads
Avoid if You: want more suspense, more plotline
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Series Review: Sheridan Hall by Jessica Calla

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

Sheridan Hall Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for She Laughs in Pink (from Goodreads):

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

breakdown

Series: Sheridan Hall
Author: Jessica Calla
# of Books: 3 (She Laughs in Pink, She Runs Away, She Wants it All)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Love Triangles, College, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

She Laughs in Pink was the Read It Review It book for the month of June in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. While the hint of a love triangle in the synopsis frightened me, I thought it would go the way of Juliet realizing Ben is better as a friend and never really initiating anything. Juliet’s backstory was also really intriguing and I wanted to delve into that deeper.

So I prepared myself for a love triangle but had hope for the best before I picked up this book.

What I Liked:

–The Chemistry–

I felt like Chase and Juliet had great chemistry, right from the start. While their romance is definitely insta-love on the part of Chase, they had this passion to their relationship that made you swoon in romantic appreciation. Unfortunately, I feel like their chemistry only got them so far, but initially I really enjoyed it.

–Sense of Community–

I really liked the idea of a close knit residence floor that is presented here. I find a lot of college New Adult romances take place in the last year when people are in their own apartments or they only have that shitty, assigned roommate in their first year residence (who promptly gets ignored as the romance develops elsewhere). It was a neat approach that really added to this story in an unexpectedly cool way.

–Ben Knows About Juliet’s Feelings; And Acknowledges Them!?!–

What really surprised me was that early on, Ben tells Juliet “no” when it comes to becoming more. Sure, he isn’t tactful about it; but it definitely was refreshing to have a male BFF who isn’t totally oblivious to the feelings his “gorgeous” female BFF has for him. I get tired of the ignorant BFF role after awhile.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Misleading Synopsis–

Perhaps it was simply a matter of me reading too much into things (something I do often) or maybe it was me just misreading the synopsis (a regular occurrence) but the plot wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I’ll give you some examples:

“Four years after her twin is murdered”

This doesn’t get revealed until later on so it felt a little spoilery. All you know is Juliet’s twin died in high school and she feels responsible for it at the start of the novel. I feel like I would have had more sympathy not knowing she was murdered before I started the novel.

“Juliet will win Ben’s heart.”

I thought there would be more effort on Juliet’s part to get this set in motion besides her stating it numerous times.

” in love with his seemingly perfect”

That word “seemingly” implies that Ben isn’t perfect–and sure, Chase doesn’t know his new roommate before he insta-loves Juliet, but I think that statement gave me hope that Ben would be a total douche of a person and Chase would set Juliet right…and that wasn’t really the case.

–The “Seeing” Colours–

People with synesthesia often see letters or numbers as colours. I was aware of this phenomenon before I started reading but didn’t expect Chase to have something similar. The idea that he sees colours around people makes sense, he is an artist after all and he gets inspired by those around him. But I’m not sure I like how it was presented as an almost “psychic” ability. It was cool but I’m not sure I like it in my contemporary romances…

–Too Many Plots/Storylines–

I didn’t love the execution of the novel. I feel like the attempt to give these characters depth overwhelmed their development. Things definitely felt rushed at the end as all this somewhat random bits were thrown at these characters when nothing really happened in the earlier part of the novel. I like a lot going on in my novel but this was overwhelming and definitely delivered too late into the story for me to really care.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hummed and hawed over whether or not I would pick up the next book. I read the synopsis and wasn’t immediately sucked in. Perhaps it if was another couple, I would have considered it but I’m just not feeling these characters at all.

My Rating: 2.5/5

She Laughs in Pink 2.5/5 | She Runs Away N/A  | She Wants it All N/A

overall

While I liked the concept for the rest of the series, the execution was just too much, too late. Perhaps if this series started with a different couple, I would feel differently but these two did not win me over.

Read if You Like: slower stories, love triangles, drama
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, stubborn heroines, cheating

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Series Review: Supremacy by Christin 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:

Supremacy Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Supremacy (from Goodreads):

Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She’s on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.

breakdown

Series: Supremacy
Author: Christin Lee
# of Books: 1+ (Supremacy)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 3, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Christin contacted me about reviewing her book, I was willing to give it a shot. It has been a LONG time since I read an urban fantasy novel where everyday human meets some “unknown”. I’m a sucker for a good twist and while I had my ideas (before I even read the novel) about what Lucas’ hidden nature was, I was eager to see what the big secret was.

What I Liked:

–Lucas’ Secret–

Honestly, I never saw this twist coming! I thought it was a cool and unique premise; definitely something I had never encountered before. It gave this story an edge that separates it from your typical YA Urban Fantasy Romance.

–Kate’s (Lack of) Angst–

Kate seems to be pretty perfect when it comes to family life and school. She also seems to have a good heart and genuinely care for people (and animals)–you’re all-round American Sweetheart. I was worried that she would become unnecessarily angsty thanks to her overprotective family and their views on her relationship with Lucas, but she never did. Instead, she kept a level head about her and didn’t create a whole lot of “rebellious” teenage angst. I really liked that, because “forbidden” relationships can often make the heroine an unbearable character to read about **coughcoughBellaSwancoughcough**

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slow Start–

According to my Kindle, nothing really happened for the first 30% of the book or so besides Kate meeting Lucas. And even then, that wasn’t overly thrilling. It was your standard normal girl meets mysterious stranger; girl’s BFF encourages her to date him while others tell her to stay away; girl does research to find out boy’s secret. It’s your typical script for anyone who has encountered this premise before and I found it to be dull.

While it does a good job establishing the characters and building the basis for Lucas and Kate’s relationship–I wanted something exciting to happen. Once the “big reveal” happens, things get more intriguing but it was a slow start.

–Lucas’ Alpha Tendencies–

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas…sigh–and not in a good way.

I’m really torn on this to be honest. Thanks to the character development, I understand why Lucas has the personality and tendencies that he does. But they are rather violent, very anger-filled tendencies and they are more than a little terrifying. It makes the relationship between Kate and Lucas seem very unhealthy but almost in a glorified way. Like it is normal to be fearful of your partner because of their anger. While it was never that extreme, I felt like it was leading there at times. Though by the very end of the novel, thanks to the reveals and twists, I kinda got where this all stems from.

Perhaps I’m over analyzing or making a mountain out of a molehill but as I get older, sometimes I really wonder about the relationships that are presented in YA fiction and how young girls read them. The relationship here is definitely not the worst I’ve seen but it did make me concerned at times, even if I did understand the source.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Supremacy ended in an interesting way that has me curious to know what the future holds. But those twists were a little too late I think, and I’ve opted not to pick up the rest of the series.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Supremacy 2.5/5

overall

As the years between my high school graduation grow, I find myself not enjoying certain YA tropes as much as I used to. I think if I read this 6 years ago, I would have enjoyed it more. I think it is a great introductory novel for the Urban Fantasy world for those who are looking for something new. But unfortunately for me, it was a little too slow with the plot and I just didn’t bond with the characters.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, unique world
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more excitement, dislike insta-connections

similarreads

  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Falling Under Series #1)
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)
  • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

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

|

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Program (from Goodreads):
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

breakdown

Series: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
# of Books: 4 (The Remedy, The Epidemic, The Program, The Treatment)

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

The Remedy & The Epidemic are paired; The Program and The Treatment are paired

Complete?: No, The Epidemic will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I have not read The Remedy.  See why not below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful was one of the first books I put on my TBR once I started keeping an actual list. I have yet to read it. Shocking, I know 😉

What drew me to The Program was the cover. The bright yellow in a very white clinical setting? Call me intrigued. And when I read the synopsis? Even more intrigued. So I put my name on the holds list, eagerly awaiting there arrival

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

I just want to set the record straight about these books. This series contains 4 books, but they are two dual sets. The RemedyThe Epidemic are one duology focusing on one set of characters and The Program & The Treatment follow a different set. All take place within the same world. The Remedy is listed as a prequel to The Program as its events precede the events in The Program; it was published a few years after The Program.

I chose to read The Program & The Treatment first. I have also decided to further break up my headings into subheadings to review keep each duology separate.

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

The idea that there is a massive epidemic of young people committing suicide is a rather morbid basis for a book albeit unique. It is a tough topic to handle but one I think Young does well (though I wish there was a little blurb at the end about suicide prevention/information). It doesn’t glorify it and I think it shows the impact suicide can have on someone’s family and friends really well. It helps shed light on an issue we often shy away from in society.

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

The plot for The Program is extremely slow! Nothing really happens until the halfway point and even then, it’s a slow incline. The first half really establishes the world and the relationships Sloane has. I personally could of had half the number of pages and still had the main idea. I found it to be dull and because it deals with such a depressing topic, it isn’t a very uplifting read, making it hard to get through at times.

Once we actually get to the nitty-gritty of the epidemic, that’s when things get interesting and The Treatment keeps the pace going…for all of 10 pages. WOW, I didn’t think things could get duller but they did! This book was a lot of waiting around and romantic pining. WAYYY too much focus on the romance! I did appreciate the science fiction elements when they were there but, I wanted more. I wanted so much more that I almost quit reading just before the halfway point. But the need for answers (ie why the epidemic? why the program?) had me reluctantly pressing forward.

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Sloane was incredibly dull to me. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either–which is not good. Indifference is the death to any character and poor Sloane just never managed to get me on her side. While I understand her difficult situation and why she isn’t the first person jumping at the opportunity to save the world (I actually found that lack of motivation oddly refreshing), I just really wanted her to DO SOMETHING! Something other than pining for James or the other person in her unnecessary love triangle.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and that made reading this not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

I don’t really enjoy stories where the romance is already established. I like watching couples fall in love as I read and with Sloane and James, they have already been a couple for a while. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute and I like them together. But they are that nauseatingly cute couple that get too sugary sweet as you read. So by the time I got to The Treatment, I was a little over them as a couple. Oh, and it didn’t help that there are love triangles abound with them as well. It’s not a good thing when the romantic relationships can’t even save the dull plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really, really undecided about reading The Remedy. I’m really intrigued by the premise and I want to give these new characters a shot. But at this moment, I’m holding off on picking it up.

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Remedy TBD | The Epidemic TBP | The Program 3/5 | The Treatment 2/5

overall

The Treatment was a huge disappointment. I wanted a science fiction YA with a dash of romance; but instead, we get a YA romance with a dash of science fiction. In the end, The Program wasn’t for me!

Read if You Like: dystopian worlds, lots of romance, books about mental illness
Avoid if You: want more action

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Single Sundays: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwall

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 Mechanica (from Goodreads):
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

breakdown

Author: Betsy Cornwall
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Steampunk, Romance, Magic, Faeries
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you very muchHoughton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I first got my Netgalley account, this book captured my attention for its title and cover. And then when I read the synopsis, I really wanted to requested it. I love fairy tale retellings and a steampunk retelling of Cinderella? That’s just a major bonus!

Needless to say, I was really excited when I requested, got approved and finally picked it up.

The Concept / The World:

The steampunk application to the traditional (ok, the Disney Animated version of Cinderella) was really well done. I liked how mechanical creatures replaced the mice and how the magic was replaced with the machines Nicolette had made. It gave the story a gritter feel than the medieval story Cinderella is usually told in.

I also thought it was explained very well. There are lots of pages dedicated to Nicolette describing her mother’s work–too much if you ask me, but it helped me to get a good idea of the world this story was taking place in. However, that kinda fell apart at the end but that might have just been me reading the book to fast to fully grasp what was happening.

The Plot:

This is where the book fell apart for me. Nothing really happens for 200 pages and that makes it hard to get into. Which is a shame, because I was definitely enamoured with the world we are presented in the first 50 pages. Those pages flew by as I learned more about the politics, the faeries and the mechanics (literally) of the world. But then, it just kept going and I felt like too much time was spent in the past recalling Nicolette’s tough childhood. It really isn’t until the last 100 pages (FYI, my PDF eBook was 306 pages in length) that we get an actual story happening but at that point my interest was waning (which is a shame because I loved the approach it took for the ending).

If things were paced better, and the focus was more on certain plot aspects and less on others, this book would have been great! Because all the right gears were there, they just weren’t aligned properly to keep this flow going (see what I did there? :P).

The Characters:

I really appreciated Nicolette’s determination to fix her own problems. She isn’t some damsel in distress waiting for someone else to save her. Traditionally, (again, Disney animated version) Cinderella is just too nice to do anything about her situation (ie she’s a bit of a doormat) and thus relies on others (aka her fairy godmother) to solve her problems. Nicolette really doesn’t rely on others in the same sense. When she sees an opportunity, she goes for it and I really admire that. So much time is spent recalling her past, you do feel for her and want to see her succeed.

As for the rest of cast, they were exactly what you would expect and get very little air time.

The Romance:

I have mixed feelings about this. I kinda liked that the romantic side of things wasn’t the main focus of the story. You know, for the longest time I even forgot that there was a romantic plot in this story because so much time is spent watching Nicolette grow as a character.

But at the same time, I was hoping the romantic story would save the otherwise dry plot and give me something to be interested in.

My Rating: 2.5/5

overall

This is a classic example of a book simply missing its mark and it is a real shame! There are so many great take-away messages in this book: that it is ok for girls to fight for their own destiny; that you don’t always need someone to save you and that it is OK to be interested in fields usually “reserved” for the opposite gender. All these messages are winners in my eyes and ones that girls SHOULD associate with a story like Cinderella.

Read if You Like: fairy tale retellings, steampunk, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: don’t like slow paced books, want a faster/exciting plot, want more romance

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Series Review: Stripped by Jasinda Wild

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 Stripped (from Goodreads):
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated.

breakdown

Series: Stripped
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 2 (Stripped, Trashed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes? I think so.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Celebrity
Heat Rating: hot (closer to the end in Stripped; from the start and throughout Trashed)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Stripped); Alternating (Trashed)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Jasinda Wilder first came across my radar with her Falling Series. I have most of the books from that series waiting to be read on my Kobo (and some other freebies from her) but I haven’t managed to read them yet. When I came across these two books at my library and read the concept for Stripped, I decided to pick them up as quick romance reads.

I like unconventional romances–they are nice breaks from the everyday love story. Plus, I like the fictional element to it. Lots of girls like the fantasy that a rich, handsome actor/celebrity will notice regular-old them and I am no exception. Do I let it consume my every thought?–of course not, but I like that fiction let’s me imagine it could be me one day.

Unfortunately, Stripped was just plain boring. Grey was one of the dullest heroines I have ever encountered. I truly think that she was crying every three pages about something–which is fine considering her life hasn’t been all that easy–but it just got so exhausting to read about. I really felt indifferent to her as I read through the book.

The romance was also dull, and if it wasn’t dull, it was cheesy. I knew it was going to be a love at first sight story as soon as I picked it up but I was hoping for some good sexual tension between the two of them but that never happened! First, it is nearly 50 pages (eBook) before Dawson is even introduced–which is just too long when nothing else is really happening plot-wise and especially in a book slated as a romance. Then they speak together twice before he is undeniably in love with her and decides to chase her. I just didn’t see the connection whatsoever between them.

What also really bothered me was that there was no fallout/consequences from her career as a stripper. Every little problem that was introduced is neatly tied up inexplicably and I guess I just wanted something to happen that would capture my attention.

Trashed on the other hand was more solid to me. It wasn’t the greatest romance novel ever but at least it had more substance to it than Stripped did. The characters just seemed better developed to me and so did the romance. Despite its “deep-connection” roots I could actually see why these two characters liked each other. Overall it was an improvement over Stripped.

I’m not sure if there will be any more books in this series but if there were, I’m not sure if I would read them. I suppose it depends on the premise and what my experience is with Ms Wilder’s other novels. These novels haven’t turned me off of her other works but perhaps have changed my expectations for them.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

These books could have been really great but they just felt underdeveloped. They weren’t dramatic and they weren’t overly realistic either so they just come across as underwhelming. But if you want quick, cheesy romances these are great summer reads!

Read if You Like: cheesy romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: like more drama, want stronger character development
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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

FIND IT ON BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FONBNB

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

DNF Series Review: Hart by Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash

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

The Hart Series

 book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014
Series: The Hart Series
Author: Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash
# of Books: 3 (Chosen Heart, Shattered Heart, Destined Heart)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Soap Opera, Workplace Romance
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts on Chosen Heart:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel, Shattered Heart. Find out why below…

When I read the synopsis for this book when browsing Kindle’s Bestseller Freebie lists, I was really excited to read it. Never mind the other 100 books that I had previously acquired for my Kindle or the books I had out from the library–I had to read this one. The whole “you don’t marry your dirty little secret” line of the synopsis is what really drew me in. In my mind, that meant I was in for some good drama and a dash of mystery so I was there.

My initial impression of Chosen Heart was that is was very Fifty Shades of Grey-esque. A younger, just starting out in the real world (in this case a new job) girl meets a mysterious rich, slightly older man; has a best friend who is in love with her and features the classic “I’ll save you” at the bar scene. But to be fair to this book, it isn’t a regurgitation of Fifty Shades. Yes it has similar elements but I didn’t feel as though I was rereading Fifty Shades. Another key difference is that this book features an alpha male but one who isn’t super rich or into BDSM–so score there on that last point (unless you like that kind of thing)! So while this book starts as your typical contemporary, business setting romance it moves in a completely different direction.

The best way to describe this book is as a soap opera in a novel. There is a lot of back and forth between Alex and Elyssa in terms of their relationship and there are plenty of rivals for their affections at every turn. The last quarter of the book is the very definition of a soap opera to me when everything starts to come together and the drama unfolds. I felt like I was watching an episode of Dallas because it got very soapy near the end 😛

Truth be told, I probably would have stopped reading it because it felt like it was dragging at times. It’s weird to say that things were dragging considering everything really happens in a matter of days but it just seemed like it was the same regurgitation of things: he likes me, he ignores me, we reunite, we stop talking, ex-boyfriend shows up, etc. But this book kind-of became a guilty pleasure to me because I really wanted to know what all the secrets were. And I have to say that while I had my suspicions about what they would be and I was correct, there were a few good spins that I didn’t see coming that really added to the over-the-top drama.

I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the characters of Alex and Elyssa. Sometimes I would like them and other times I just wanted to smack them on the head. I never really liked Elyssa to be honest though there were a few moments I thought I might get on her side. She just rubbed me the wrong way with how she handled things and I felt like she was expecting too much from something that happened so quickly. She makes a lot of assumptions about things and sometimes the assumptions seemed so out of left field. Though to be fair, Alex was just as bad with his assumptions as well.

Alex was a very alpha male character and I didn’t feel that it was totally warranted at times considering they just met. I also felt like he was just going through the motions of the stereotypical alpha male but was missing a few things along the way. I didn’t always get how he got from point A to B–I just felt like he was missing a piece to his character here and there. Most of the time I think it was used to create drama for the reader but all it did for me was irritate me because it seemed to be so senseless. But I did like him when he expressed his views about the “big freshman secret” because he was completely right in my opinion–even if I didn’t like his physical reaction to it.

As I was finishing this book, I sort-of came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be reading the sequel. I didn’t love Chosen Hart as much as I thought and I really didn’t see what could happen in a sequel–so I wasn’t about to subject myself to more “he loves me, he loves me not” chapters. But once I got to the final few chapters, I found myself curious to see what would happen next. I think if my reading list permits it, I will check out the sequel but as of this moment, I am going to leave the series as is and finish it at a later time.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a good soap opera book, this is it. I felt like I was watching an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful unfold before my eyes as I read. A definite guilty pleasure read!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Chosen Heart (from Goodreads):
Elyssa Hart has tried to forget that frightful night during her freshman year of college. Since then it’s been hard to let anyone close, which is why she only has one friend near and dear to her heart. Forsaking all others, she lives a silent, lonely existence. That was until she jumped into the next chapter of her life; Sales Executive at the prestigious Salerno Health, Inc.

The moment she met the always calm and collected Alexander James, her life was set on a new path. One moment she’s slowly falling in love and the next she’s plummeting painfully to the ground with the realization that you don’t marry your dirty little secret; you keep her in the closet. That was, until she found out she was not his only kept secret.

Will the enigma of Mr. James be more than Elyssa can handle? Or will she choose him, like she promised she always would.

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