Tag «reviewed years later»

Series Review: Hot Shots: Men of Fire by Bella Andre

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


Synopsis for Wild Heat (from Goodreads):
Maya Jackson doesn’t sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she’s ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face to face with him again. Gorgeous, grinning Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number-one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires.
Risking his life on a daily basis is what gets Logan up in the morning. As leader of the elite Tahoe Pines Hotshot Crew, he won’t back down from a blaze-or from beautiful, lethal Maya Jackson. She may have seduced him with her tears and her passion, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. Until Maya’s life is threatened. With his natural-born hero instincts kicking in, Logan vows to protect the woman sworn to bring him down. And as desire reignites, nothing-not the killer fire or the killer hot on their trail-can douse the flames…


Series: Hot Shots: Men of Fire
Author: Bella Andre
# of Books: 3 (Wild Heat, Hot as Sin, Never too Hot)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense, Action
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2009 – May 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Disclaimer: I read Wild Heat in July 2013 but did not pick up the sequels. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I first started blogging, my reading tastes weren’t what they are now. I hadn’t discovered the New Adult genre yet and so I mostly alternated between Adult Contemporaries and Young Adult reads. Bella Andre quickly became a go-to adult contemporary author for me since her books weren’t all that long and lean towards the lighter side of romance. And so I started to make my way through her collection of titles.

I picked up Wild Heat in the hopes it would be a light, quick read in between some other books I was reading.

What I Liked:

–It was a romance suspense–

This book is “darker” than the other Andre reads I have read. It is definitely more of a mystery suspense novel than a straight romance. Again, not necessarily a bad thing but not what I was looking for at the time. The book started really slow and then picked up after a few chapters in. I had a hard time putting it down once I reached the climax.
Bonus was that it wasn’t overly predictable either!


In my mind, Bella Andre is notorious for rushed endings that leave me little to no closure. So I was really pleased that this story seemed to have a complete ending.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It Just Didn’t Wow Me–

While it was an enjoyable way to pass the time, I wasn’t blown away by this book. It did start a little slower so I don’t think I got as invested into the story as I would have liked.

And despite the fact that the romantic suspense genre appeals greatly to me, this one just didn’t have me convinced this is the genre for me to explore more.

Will I Finish It?

Considering the fact that I read Wild Heat in the summer of 2013, drafted a review for it and never thought about the series again until I cleaned up my draft folder on my blog in October 2016—the short answer is no.

Series Rating: DNF

Wild Heat 3/5 | Hot as Sin N/A | Never too Hot N/A


I’m sure fans of Bella Andre will enjoy this one. But I feel like there are better romantic suspense novels out there if that is what you are looking for.

Read if You Like: firefighters, light romance
Avoid if You: want a stronger romantic suspense


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Series Review: Broken by Kimberly Lauren

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


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

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


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


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

The Plot:

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

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

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

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

The Characters:

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

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

The Romance:

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

Series Rating: 3/5

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


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

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



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Series Review: McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks

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


Synopsis for In Bed With a Highlander (from Goodreads):
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Fav Couple (Never Love a Highlander)
Series: McCabe Trilogy
Author: Maya Banks
# of Books: 3 (In Bed With a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Never Love a Highlander)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Highlander, Erotica, Action
Heat Rating: Hot  (Kink: mild [Seduction of a Highland Lass])
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2011 – October 2011
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I went through a Highlander romance phase during the Spring of 2012. It was a weird phenomenon for me to be honest because Highlanders are the very definition of alpha male–a characteristic I detest in my romance heroes. But what I think makes it for me is the fact that the women are just as strong and independent…at least in most cases. There is just something so satisfying to see a man change his perception of what the role of a female should be when he meets a woman who isn’t going to take his brutish ways. Also, the action and fight scenes are fun to read too!

Of course, historical romances–especially highlander ones–have their fair share of docile women and I definitely read a few duds during my addiction. However, this series has that little something and actually has my favourite highlander romance of all time in its midst (Never Love a Highlander).

The Concept / The World:

It is very important to read these books in publication order. There is a bridging plot line that runs through all the books and concludes in the final novel. You can definitely read them out of order, but everything makes more sense if you read them together in the order they are meant to be read in.

The Plot:

What I liked about these books was the balance between the plot and the romance. While it definitely focuses more on the romance, the plot that is there is enough to keep you interested. And it is an overarching plot that links all the books together. I just loved how it was building; it was like watching a soap opera, seeing how all these events and people shape the story to be what it is. I suppose that is why Outlander is such a TV hit…

The Characters:

I break down the couples in the Romance section but I really did like the characters in this series. Because you follow this plot line for multiple books, you easily get attached to characters and it’s nice to see people pop up here and there. I like how they all interweave and how loyal they are to each other.

I also love that the bad guys are BAD. It makes them so easy to hate them and root for the good guys. I like the danger and drama they cause; it keeps the books interesting.

The Romance:

I really enjoyed Mairin in the first novel. She was spunky and though she became a little too submissive for my liking (you know, one of those girls who seems to change once she meets a man) I admired her spirit. Ewan was a great match for her and I loved watching their story unfold.

It was not the same situation with Alaric and his chosen (I’m not going to name her because it is a bit of a spoiler) in Seduction of a Highland Lass. They just did not work me. I didn’t see the connection and their love scenes made me cringe. If you’ve read more of Maya Banks’ books, you’ll know she tends to write more of the BDSM/kinky erotica and I don’t really enjoy that. It seemed like such a change from the previous book and it really made me dislike the leads.

But Caelen and his girl in Never Love a Highlander—WOW one of my favourite couples ever! I actually reread this novel this during exams in December 2015 because I adore it. They have everything I love in a romantic couple: attraction, an emotional connection and they love each other for who they are, flaws and all. I swoon every time I read their story <3

Series Rating: 4/5

In Bed with a Highlander 4/5 | Seduction of a Highland Lass 3/5 | Never Love a Highlander 5/5


If you enjoy historical romances with strong Highlanders, head-strong women and lots of spice (but not full blown erotica), this is a great series for you to pick up!

Read if You Like: historical romance, highlanders
Avoid if You: dislike highlander stories


  • Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs Trilogy #1)
  • Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn (Children of the Mist Series #1)
  • Captured by a Highlander by Julianne MacLean (Highlander Series #1)


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Series Review: The Wanton Dairymaid by Tessa Dare

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


Synopsis for Goddess of the Hunt (from Goodreads):
In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.
Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion-one that could send all her plans up in smoke.
Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?


SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy
Author: Tessa Dare
# of Books: 3 (Goddess of the Hunt, Surrender of a Siren, A Lady of Persuasion)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Adult Fiction
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating


I actually read these books years ago but realized I didn’t write a review for them until I was updating Tessa Dare’s latest series, Castles Ever After, on my blog. So my review may be a little on the short side but I do remember loving every minute of these books!

During my Regency phase, I stumbled upon Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove Series and when I was waiting for the rest of those books to publish, I wanted to read more from her and found this series.

This series is everything you expect from Tessa. It has its charmingly funny moments which I find so refreshing in this genre. You also have great heroines who are independent and just plain fun to read about! The romances are great as they focus more on an actual emotional connection and not just physical lust towards the significant other. Make sure you set significant time aside because you will want to read anything by Tessa Dare in a day.

What I particularly liked about this series is that it felt like a modern contemporary romance but set in regency times. The classic situation of asking someone you know to help you seduce someone else, only to fall in love with the student/teacher is a very modern concept to me. It’s also one of my favourite scenarios to read about because they are often a lot of fun and super sweet. The rest of the books in the series are no exception. They also reminded me of The Marriage to a Billionaire Series by Jennifer Probst as that series also has a “magical book” that seems to bring romantic situations to the characters once it is in their possession.

Although you can definitely read each book as a standalone in any order, I really recommend that you read them in the order of the trilogy. The events of the last book are due to the results of the first two books so I feel like you would miss out on knowing why things are the way they are.

My Rating: 4/5


Fans of Tessa Dare will love this series and if you aren’t a fan of hers, I think these books will make you one! If you want a regency read that is more fun than cheesy and a dash more modern than not, this is a great series for you to grab!

Read if You Like: fun regency reads, humour
Avoid if You: less sexual situations, regency



Series Review: Madison Sisters by Lynsay Sands

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


Synopsis for The Countess (from Goodreads):


Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened …

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title … only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited wife — certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new husband … and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts.


Series: The Madison Sisters Trilogy
Author: Lynsay Sands
# of Books: 3 (The Countess, The Heiress, The Husband Hunt)
Book Order: Companion (The Heiress), Connected (The Husband Hunt)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Humour
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: public library–eBooks


I first came across Lynsay Sands during my Highlander novel phase when I read her Devil of the Highlands Series. After my Highlander phase Regency/Historical Romances were my thing (perhaps it was more concurrent than I remember) and I came across the synopsis for The Countess and immediately had to read it. Her husband dies and she tries to hide it? Plus it turns out her husband was posing as his twin? It has all the makings of a great comedy so I was totally there.

I really enjoyed The Countess. It was a lot of fun to read and the characters were entertaining. I find Lynsay Sands writes really light-hearted stories that lean more towards “cheesy” romance than “erotica”. So of course you get your assumptive communication scenes and a lot of back and forth, but I was highly entertained when reading The Countess.

The Heiress is a true companion novel as most of its events take place congruently with The Countess. The problem with this is that if you The Heiress immediately read after reading The Countess, the first half of the book seems redundant. The first half is a rehash of what happens in The Countess but with a different perspective. I didn’t mind that much because I always forget what happens in previous books but I think it would bother some people. The last half or so is completely new scenes and those are fantastic!

I read these books years ago so I don’t remember my exact feelings but I do know I was disappointed in The Husband Hunt. The characters just weren’t what I was expecting and I didn’t love the romance because of it. I liked getting that closure but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

My Rating: 4/5


If you want a light-hearted Regency read, this is a great series for you! It’s light on the sex scenes but is very entertaining. The concept of the first book, The Countess, is one I have never encountered and that made it a refreshing read.

Read if You Like: fun regency reads, light romance, humour
Avoid if You: like more erotica in your regency reads



Series Review: Beau Rivage by Sarah Cross

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

Series: Beau Rivage
Author: Sarah Cross
# of Books: 2 (Kill Me Softly, Tear Me Apart)

There are two novellas: After the Ball and Twin Roses

Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: So far–but more books could be published
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retellings, Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple


I read Kill Me Softly a long time ago (before a sequel was ever announced) and I really don’t remember all that much about it. I know I didn’t love it but I enjoyed the world Sarah Cross created and was open to the idea of read its sequels.

I think it should be a big disclaimer that these fairy-tale retellings are true to the original tales: meaning they are gory and not always that happy as they primarily focus on the curses. Don’t go into these books thinking you are reading some light-hearted, Disney-esque fairy tale retellings (like any of Alex Finn’s novels) because you will be sorely disappointed! The best way to describe it is like a darker Into the Woods (the movie/play) as a book featuring teenaged characters.

So I went into Tear You Apart not really remembering anything about Kill Me Softly.You really definitely don’t have to read Kill Me Softly to enjoy Tear You Apart but it does help you to be more familiar with the world of Beau Rivage. but I found that Tear me Apart brought me up to speed quickly enough…it just wasn’t enough to keep my attention for long.

I actually read Tear You Apart in two installments. The first time I read it I was away on vacation and I found that the book couldn’t keep my attention. To be fair, I was reading it when I was tired and had found a spare moment to pick it up. However, I really did feel like the story moved too slowly for me to actually enjoy it. I loved the premise and I really didn’t mind all the angst but it just took too long to get somewhere. So I stopped reading it when I was about a third of the way through and decided to try it again later when I could give it a fair shot.

When I picked it up the second time, I found it much easier to read and I think that was the case because the plot actually starts to move somewhere. Instead of focusing on one girl’s curse we get multiple curses at play and that just made things much more interesting to me. It gets a little darker as well and I really had no idea how it was all going to end.

While there are no immediate plans for more novels in this series I would be open to reading them if they ever do get published. The biggest reason I rate this series on the lower end of the spectrum is because I haven’t found any characters that I truly like. I love the world and I love the incorporation of multiple fairy tales but I just have a hard time finding characters I want to root for. And perhaps that is part of the charm or goal for this series–who knows?–but I just haven’t made that strong enough connection to bump up my rating.

I do want to read the novellas since I think I might like those characters more and they sound interesting. My library has yet to get them so I have no immediate plans to read them. But if given the chance, I would read them.


For those who like darker stories, especially fairy tales, this is a great series for you!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No.

Similar Reads: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Synopsis for Kill Me Softly (from Goodreads):
Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.


book book


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Series Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

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

Series: Fury Trilogy
Author: Elizabeth Miles
# of Books: 3 (Fury, Envy, Eternity)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person


PLEASE NOTE: That I only read the first book, Fury, of this series. Find out why I didn’t pick up the rest below…

First, I want to admit that I read Fury about 2 years ago and don’t really remember it all that well. Which is the first sign that this review isn’t going to be about a stellar book–but I’ll try my best to give a well-delivered review.

What drew me to this series was the cover (which isn’t the one I have up above, rather is features a creepy looking red-haired girl). I do remember stumbling across it shortly after I set up my Goodreads account and checking to see if my library had copies. It did so I grabbed the first and second book and got ready to be sucked into a deceptive world.

Yeah, I didn’t get pulled into anything–I actually pulled this book away from me and never bothered to pick up the second novel.

This book was just plain boring (ie. slow) coupled with the fact that I had no clue what was actually happening. I mean, I got the gist of everything: Em and Chase are not so nice teens who have been selected to be punished for their “sins”. But what I never got was the purpose of the Furies–you know, the main antagonists of and reason for the series. I honestly don’t think they did anything other than show up occasionally and be pretty. So unfortunately the promised mythology of this series did not deliver.

Neither did the characters really. I don’t mind if my characters have flaws or are considered “anti-heroes”. I love reading about a villain or not so nice person as much as I enjoy reading about a nice person. I actually prefer my characters to have flaws because perfect people, in novels, drive me nuts. But with these characters it just didn’t work: they still drove me nuts.

I didn’t connect with Em’s character at all. Did I appreciate the fact that she was after her BFF’s boyfriend? No. Did I think she deserved to die because of it? Ah, no because that is a little on the extreme side of punishments. (Plus, it takes two to tango and Zach is just as much to blame really in my opinion.) Chase’s story I didn’t mind so much because it actually interested me. I felt like he had some depth to his personality and I understand why he was chosen by the Furies. If it wasn’t for Chase’s story I probably would have stopped reading this book altogether–or died of boredom by Em.

So even though the story continues in Envy, I had no desire to find out what happens next. I didn’t even bother to open the book and try reading the first chapter. Even reading the synopsis for Envy and Eternity didn’t spark my interest and I quickly labeled this series as incomplete.


Great concept, poor execution (no pun intended). This series just focused on the wrong things and not enough on the important parts. I felt like it never went anywhere and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I suppose if you like darker, slower paranormal YA this is a good series for you but I don’t know many people who would enjoy this one.

Rating: 2.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

Synopsis for Fury (from Goodreads):
Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better—the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

Series Review: Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

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

Series: The Vampire Diaries

There are a number of spin-off series; some written by L.J. Smith, others by a ghost writer. See all here. The Wikipedia page for the series has some interesting statements about how this series and the spin-offs are published.

Author: L.J. Smith
# of Books: 4 (The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, Dark Reunion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Technically, Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural, Vampires, Magic, Witches
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person


PLEASE NOTE: First and foremost, I read these books a looooonnnngggg time ago. Also, I want to be clear that I am only rating the original 4 Vampire Diaries novels. There are a number of spin-offs that I have never read…find out why below…

I can’t remember if I read these books before or after Twilight; I’m pretty sure it was after but definitely before the show first aired. I had the combined volumes I used for the covers for this post so I really have a hard time differentiating the plot of each book because it just seems like one big story–which is what a series is really–but what I’m trying to say is that it is all one big blur so don’t ask me about individual books!

One thing I really loved about Vampire Diaries is that it is a darker series where evil is always lurking. I know that there is lots of disagreements over how vampires are portrayed in books/popular culture but I’ve never really minded these alterations to what I call “modern vampires”. Yet Vampire Diaries features your blood drinking, bat-changing vampires who are up to no-good. It makes things creepy and darker than some of the other vampire series out there. I like how there is a villain and I like that actual dangerous things happen and sometimes they have disastrous consequences. It wasn’t always happy-go-lucky in this series and I liked that.

What I didn’t really like about the series was the romance. I’m not sure how many of you have read old romance novels from the late 80s/90s but they are drastically different from the romance novels you get today. Elena and Stefan’s romance was super cheesy to me and I think it was a product of it’s time (the first Vampire Diaries novel was published in 1991). I also wasn’t annoyed with the love triangle because, to me, it wasn’t truly a love triangle; it was more a by-product of what was going on plot-wise.

As for the characters, they weren’t anything that exciting or unique to me. They didn’t seem all that complex to me–even brooding, fighting-against-his-nature Stefan. I remember liking one of Elena’s friends more than I liked Elena.

I know a lot of people probably watch the TV or watched it (I stopped after season 3) and want to know how close it is to the books. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t anything close to the books. Sure, the basic ideas are there but things are drastically different. Things as simple as Elena’s list of friends and family are changed and the TV series definitely has a sexier feel. Some of the basic backbones are there but characters have radically different purposes in each. I LOVED the first two seasons of the show; but Season 3 just started to get too complicated for me and with school it was hard to keep up with it all. I plan to catch up on Netflix this summer.

The TV show is the reason I stopped following the book series. I enjoyed the TV series way more than I ever did the books so I never felt the need to pick them up. And I probably won’t ever pick up the books. I don’t like dragged out things and I feel like these spin-off series are just the by-product of the TV show. (Which is great because anything that encourages reading is fantastic but I feel like it takes away from the original spirit of the series).


Simply put: I’ve read better vampire romances. But I can appreciate the fact that I can probably thank this series for spawning all of the “better vampire romances” out there. Unlike the TV show, it’s cheesy and basic in its delivery. If you want a sexier, danger-filled vampire romance, watch the TV show instead!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No, I’d recommend the TV show first!

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)

Synopsis for The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (from Goodreads):
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he’d kill to possess her.

Series Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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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Series: Shopaholic Series
Author: Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham)
# of Books: 7 (See Full List Here)

There is a novella after book 3: Shopaholic on Honeymoon

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes…I think
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humour, Romance, British Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single


PLEASE NOTE: That I have only read the first 4 books in the series (up to and including Shopaholic and Sister). Find out why I stopped reading the rest of the series below…

I was in my mid-teens when I started reading this series and I loved Confessions of a Shopaholic. These were my Meg Cabot days (I think we all have those) and I really loved the fun scenarios of “chick lit” and the dash of romance in them. They were fun, light-hearted reads that had me chuckling and captured my attention. I revisited the series again when I started university but it was hard for me to get back into them and I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 2 books (Shopaholic to the Stars hadn’t been published yet).

Part of the issue is that I grew out of “chick lit”. I tended to gravitate away from the light-hearted, often predictable plot-lines of chick lit and more towards the “darker”, twisty plot lines of young adult fiction and adult romances. I just got tired of reading about the same situations all the time and that included the heroine.

It also doesn’t help that I read some of Madeleine Wickham’s standalone novels that were published afterwards and I felt like she just writes the same type of heroine all the time. I guess you write what you know best but I had a hard time liking them and I think that might have influenced how I felt about Becky in her later novels.

I’m not a huge fan of “air-headed” heroines so it’s kind of a surprise that I would enjoy Becky’s character. But when I didn’t take her too seriously, I just found her to be so funny and a lot of fun…until she wasn’t. I just felt like Becky’s character never grew in the way I expected. I wanted her to learn from her mistakes and mature and it just got tiring waiting for that to happen. At times, it made her hard to read about and I could see how her character would rub people the wrong way.

After a while, each book just seemed like a regurgitation of the past and formulaic and that isn’t fun for me to read. I just wanted something to surprise me and I didn’t want to be annoyed by Becky so I made the decision to stop reading the series (and other Madeleine Wickham novels).


If you chick lit, this is a great series for you: it’s light and funny and British. But it can get a little tiring if you like unpredictable reads and heroines that have more substance to them.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: If they loved chick lit, yes!

Similar Reads: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot (Queen of Babble Series #1)

Synopsis for Confessions of a Shopaholic (from Goodreads):

Becky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something …

Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.