Tag «Ri&Ri»

Ri&Ri = Read It & Review It
It is the review program for the New Adult Group on GoodReads where copies are provided by the author in exchange for honest reviews of their work.

Single Sundays: Halo by R C Stephens

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 Halo (from Goodreads):
I fell in love with Thomas Wells and knew he was my forever.
I was sixteen when I gave him my heart.
Our love was the kind to last a lifetime.

But Thomas was broken.
The first day we met he told me he was going to become a Navy SEAL.
At nineteen he enlisted.
At twenty he married me.
At twenty five he left me pregnant and didn’t turn back.
I knew he was suffering….
I also knew I couldn’t save him.
He left me broken.
I was scared and alone.
Until I met Ryder St. John a wounded soldier…
He was lost.
I was lost.
Together we made sense.
I fell in love again…
What Ryder forgot to mention was that he held a secret so explosive that it could shatter both our worlds.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: R C Stephens
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Military
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source & Format: Read It, Review It (New Adult Book Club)–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While this novel looked like it could have a love triangle, I really, really wanted to know what the ” secret so explosive ” was. Plus, I’m a sucker for military heroes in my novels. If I need a good mini-cry, those heroes always get me.

I didn’t know that R C Stephens was Canadian so that also swayed my decision. I love supporting my fellow Canadians <3

New Adult or Adult:

I heard about this book in a New Adult Book Club. But after reading it, I felt more comfortable labelling it as an Adult Contemporary Romance. Primarily because the lead characters are 25+ which is that cut off for me, especially if they aren’t in a “college” setting and are living in “the real world”.

However, it almost reads like a NA read so it’s one of those bridging reads that straddles the line in between.

The Plot:

This story is told through a series of past and present chapters, which is a brilliant way to execute this story. The story builds as you go and you start to put all the pieces together. And even then, I didn’t see the reveal coming at all–which is fabulous! Major bonus points for me for that!

However, this story seemed a little lop-sided as a whole. I felt like so much of the time was used to build up the relationships–which you have to for sure–but that it lacked a little more “drama” post-reveal.  Not that the ending was rushed by any means; it’s just that it could have been flushed out a tad more I think. There was definitely a lot you could do with that reveal and I felt like it never truly reached its potential in that respect.

The Characters:

I really liked Halo. She’s a strong girl but she has her weaknesses too. While she is raised on a pedestal by the guys and her family, she does have her flaws and personal struggles that she has to endure. She was a much more rounded character than I expected going into this story.

Thomas and Ryder irked me a little with their constant high praise of Halo (like I said, she’s on a pedestal) but I liked that they too had developed personalities and growth.

The Romance:

The flashbacks of Thomas and Halo in high school are sickeningly sweet; you know that couple that just sees nothing past their love? It leads to very long “sexy time” scenes which I wasn’t totally expecting. So that particular aspect I wasn’t a fan.

But what I did like is how they loved and supported each other through all their difficult times. In my books, I love seeing romantic leads that are partners in life and that definitely shows at times in this novel.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this novel! Once the “secret” was revealed, I had a hard time putting this one down. It’s just a solid romance that makes you believe in the power of love.

Read if You Like: military heroes, big twists
Avoid if You: dislike contemporaries romances

similarreads

  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Out of Time by Jen McLaughlin (Out of Time Series #1)
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick
  • Trapped by Beverley Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

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Single Sundays: Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise

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 Beyond the Stars (from Goodreads):
Falling for him wasn’t in the plans…

Most girls would kill for the opportunity to work for Jack McAlister, Hollywood’s hottest actor, but twenty-one-year-old Jessica Beckett is ready to kick him out of her red Ford Fiesta and never look back. She should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills. Instead she’s reluctantly working as Jack’s personal assistant, thanks to her powerhouse talent agent aunt.

Jack is private, prickly, and downright condescending. Jessica pushes his buttons—she’s not the type of girl to swoon over celebrity heartthrobs, precisely why her aunt thought she’d be perfect for the job—and Jack pushes right back.

But as she begins to peel away his layers, Jessica is shocked to find she craves her boss’s easy smile and sexy blue eyes. The problem is, so does the entire female population. And what started out as the job from hell soon has Jess wondering if a guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her.

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Author: Stacy Wise
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Celebrity, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book as a galley on NetGalley but never got a chance to request it. So it seemed like fate when a couple months later it was a part of the Read It, Review It program in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. I made sure I grabbed a copy ASAP!

I really enjoy the idea of celebrity romances with everyday people in my NA novels. Sometimes, it’s executed well but other times it’s a little whimsical and rushed. In other words, not my ideal. But this one sounded promising and I needed a good contemporary read to buffer a somewhat lacklustre one before I moved on to a fantasy novel.

The Plot:

This novel felt more like a coming of age story than a romance. Which is fine and even a little expected since New Adult novels tend to have this as a minor element. But the lack of a romance for almost 75% of the book drained me a bit. Especially when the last 25% seemed to pack everything in, rushing to wrap it all up. I would have liked to have seen those last few plot points scattered throughout the novel to give it that dramatic flare.

The Characters:

Jessica was alright. To be honest, something rubbed me the wrong way about her in the first chapter. I think it was her somewhat stubborn nature that made it hard for me to totally love her. But I did warm up to her as the novel progressed but she didn’t blow me away.

Jack was cute but unfortunately, a little to one-dimensional for me. I really wish this story was told in alternating POV because he did seem to have an interesting backstory that I would have liked to have explored more.

The Romance:

I really wanted some sexual tension and chemistry between these two but nothing ever happened. While I got that they had this emotional connection (the typical “she treats me like a real human being, not a celebrity” vibe), I didn’t really see much else between these two. At least, not enough to warrant the deep feelings they get so suddenly. Although it seemed to take forever to get to that romance point, only a couple of weeks had passed in the book so it made everything seem superficial to me.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

If you’re looking for a spicy NA romance featuring a celebrity, look elsewhere! But if you want a cute and sweet way to spend a summer afternoon, this is a great novel for you to read.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, coming of age stories, celebrity stories
Avoid if You: want a “spicier” read, more sexual tension

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Fresh Fridays: Unknown (#1) by Wendy Higgins

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:

Unknown Series

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Unknown (from Goodreads):
Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.

breakdown

Series: Unknown
Author: Wendy Higgins
# of Books: 3+ (Unknown, Unrest, Undone)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No Unrest, will be published February 2017
Genre: New Adult, Non-Contemporary, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read It and Review It–eARC  |  Thank you Wendy Higgins!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Sweet Trilogy is one of my all time favourite fallen angel series. I loved the dark and dangerous world Higgins created. Although it was labeled as a YA series, it definitely had a more mature vibe to it that I adored. So I was pretty excited to see she was taking on the New Adult genre with this particular piece.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery–

Ok, I have no idea what the hell is happening here and I LOVE IT!

This is the good kind of WTF: the type that keeps you in the dark until that moment of the big reveal–but you still know what is actually happening to the characters around you. Meaning this novel isn’t confusing to read, it just leaves you waiting in anticipation for the “unknown”. Fantastic.

–Amber’s Family–

Because the first half of the book really focuses on establishing Amber and her family’s lives, you really, really get invested into these characters. I loved their family dynamic and their relationships.

–The Romance–

There is just the right amount of romance here in this book. But what I really liked was the suspense it brought. You know, a lot of the time the “forbidden” relationships between a girl and her brother’s BFF are terribly predictable. It’s obvious that they’ve secretly loved each other for years yada yada. Not so much the case here. So I really enjoyed watching everything unfold for this aspect.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slower Pacing–

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I just had my own preconceived notions about what the actual plot of the story was going to be. I thought the aftermath of the bombings was going to be the main focus of the novel–and that isn’t totally the case. The bombings don’t happen until the 50% mark.

Instead this book takes its time by setting up Amber’s life and relationships–not the action packed novel I expected. However, as you can see from above, I rather enjoyed that part of the novel in the end. The pacing is still great and never lags so I wasn’t bored by this shift; I just wasn’t expecting it. I liked how invested I became in the characters and truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have been if we had just jumped right into the action.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

When we finally get to the action, this book was addicting to read. I have so many unanswered questions and theories that I can’t wait to uncover in the sequel. Is it here yet?

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

Unknown 4/5 | Unrest TBP | Undone TBP

overall

This is another solid series by Wendy Higgins. The characters are fantastic, the romance is there in just the right amount and the suspense is awesome.

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, post-apocalypse
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Spin-Off Saturdays: Kick, Push by Jay McLean

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 Kick, Push (from Goodreads):
There’s a single defining moment within every skater.
It lasts only a second. Two if you’re good.
Three if you’re really good.
It’s the moment you’re in the air, your board somewhere
beneath you, and nothing but wind surrounds you.
It’s the feeling of being airborne.

The sixteen-year-old version of me would’ve said it was the
greatest feeling in the world.
Then at seventeen, I had my son.
And every single second became a defining moment. Even the ones that consisted of heartbreak when his mother left us.

Seventeen. Single. Dad.
That’s what my life became.
Yet, every day, I managed to find that feeling of being
airborne.
Or at least I convinced myself I did.
But I lied—to myself and to everyone around me.
Until she showed up; Tanned skin, raven dark hair, and eyes the color of emeralds.

You know what sucks about being in the air?
Coming down from the high.
Sometimes you land on the board and nail the trick.
Then kick, push, and coast away.
Other times you fall.
You fall hard.
And those are the times when it’s not as easy to get back up, dust off your pads and try again.
Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Kick, Push — or Road

There is a prequel novel about two side characters called Where the Road Takes Me. Together, all 3 novels make up the Road Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 2 (Kick, Push; Coast)

See above note regarding Where the Road Takes Me

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – June 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC (Kick, Push); Kindle Unlimited (Coast)

disclaimer

(Note: I only received a copy of Kick, Push for review. I read Coast via Kindle Unlimited)

Note: Where the Road Takes Me will be reviewed separately.

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw Kick, Push on the list of upcoming New Adult Club Read It Review It titles, I was excited! I’ve really enjoyed Jay McLean’s work in the past for its addicting quality. While reading the More Than Series, I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I swooned–basically all the feels you can possibly feel while reading a book and I love that.

What really stood out to me about this book was the premise of a single dad. I don’t read a lot of single parent novels but when I do, they are mostly second chance stories where the mom has raised the baby without the dad knowing and they reunite–or something of that tone. But most of the time they are single moms; which is great but what about all the single dads out there? Plus, I’ve never really read a story about a skateboarder before.

The Concept:

While I don’t think any parent should abandon their child, I feel like women who do get a lot of flack compared to men who do. Maybe society is just more comfortable with the man leaving than the person who carried the child, I’m not sure. However, I don’t like this stigma that all women are expected to be instinctively maternal. So I was worried that this series would relay that stigma throughout its narrative. But I am happy to say that I never really felt like the book took that approach. While you will likely side with Josh once you know the whole story, I didn’t feel like it shamed or glorified the situation in any way and I truly appreciated that.

The Plot:

The story is just as much about Josh as it is Becca and I really enjoyed that. Both have so much growth and depths to their characters that I liked the balancing act between their stories as you read. The mashing of romance, character development and drama make this an addicting series to read.

And like Jay McLean’s other novels, there are just enough twists along the way to keep things interesting and exciting. I didn’t expect this story to go the way it did and I loved it!

The Characters:

Josh is an absolute sweetheart so it doesn’t take much for you to root for him. His heart is in the right place and I loved reading his story.

Becca, wow, what a story she has. It’s heartbreaking and she’s so sweet that it causes you to shed a few tears on her behalf.

Everyone else was great as well. I found the supporting characters did their job to a T and added a depth to the story that makes it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

When I first read the synopsis and started the book, I was confused about the line:

“Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.”

Everything starts so sweet and light that when the shit hits the fan, it becomes a huge mess. So the romance definitely leans to towards the darker side of love BUT, I love how it is elaborated on and becomes an integral part of the story. It isn’t there for shock value–it’s there because it is a part of their story and it adds to the depth of who these characters are as people.

Series Rating: 5/5

Kick, Push 5/5 | Coast 5/5

overall

If you want a book series that will make you feel every emotion, look no further my friends!

Read if You Like: New Adult romances, darker romance
Avoid if You: want a lighter, happier story, don’t want to cry

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Single Sundays: Lord Bachelor by Tammy L Bailey

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 Lord Bachelor (from Goodreads):
Edmund Rushwood is a single English lord in possession of a great fortune who is in desperate need of a rich wife.

In accordance with his father’s will, Edmund has until he turns twenty-six to find a wealthy bride or lose his vast inheritance. To retain his selfish lifestyle, he agrees to join an American dating game show to find the woman who can save him. He doesn’t bargain on meeting Abby Forester, an impoverished, spirited American woman who is content to live out her father’s dreams in his vintage record shop.

With covert intervention from an unlikely source, Abby lands on the dating game show as one of Edmund’s potential brides. As their worlds entangle and love begins to bloom, Abby discovers Edmund cannot marry her and retain his wealth at the same time. Will love keep them together, or will greed triumph and tear them apart?

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Author: Tammy L Bailey
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: December 7, 2015
Source & Format: Read It, Review It (New Adult Book Club)–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I read the premise for this book, I was really interested. The TV series the Bachelor is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine and I LOVE the TV show UnREAL which I marathoned just before this book crossed my radar. I had also just finished The Crown from the Selection Series and wanted to see a different take on the Bachelor/ette concept.

The Concept:

I think it is fair to warn potential readers that this novel isn’t primarily focused on their interactions during the TV show. It starts a little before the show and continues for a little after but I think that works in its favour when it comes to romance and character development. Just don’t think you are going to be reading a season of the Bachelor–there’s a bit more to it than that 😉

The Plot:

I thought this plot was a lot of fun! Abby has an interesting life as does Edmund; even if both lives are slightly over the top. It’s a little soap-opera that way but I kind-of expected that going into the novel given the Bachelor premise.

I did like the parallels it drew to Abby’s literature assignment. I thought that was a lot of fun but maybe that was just the inner English student in me coming out 😛

There were a few things that I didn’t feel were entirely necessary that were added; but they really played such a minor role that it wasn’t a huge deal in the end. Probably more of personal preference than anything.

The Characters:

I’ll admit it too me a while to get into Abby and Edmund as characters. Both have the facades they present the world so it really wasn’t until they started to reveal their insecurities and their pasts that I began to really like them.

The cast is everything you expect to see on something like the Bachelor–slightly over the top and eccentric. But I have to say that once you learn more about Abby and Edmund, they become a lot more grounded and I liked that a lot.

The Romance:

Although I expected the story to start right as the TV show does, seeing these two interact before the show was great. It gave their relationship more substance and a better foundation than a two week reality TV show. You really start to root for these two because you see how they work together. Plus, I thought they had great chemistry and the sexual tension was awesome!

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

It took me longer than I thought to get into it but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s a cute and sweet romance that will put a smile on your face.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, contemporary
Avoid if You: dislike soap-opera-esque stories

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Single Sundays: Sexy Bits by Remi Wild

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 Sexy Bits (from Goodreads):
Imagine a twenty-three year old virgin in this century…then imagine that virgin stranded at an adult nude sex resort. Thanks to my best friend, Jess, I am forced to participate in the vacation of her dreams, while trying desperately to hold onto my v-card–okay, so I’m not trying that hard. It’s pretty difficult to hold onto something when your host for the week could melt butter with his gaze…

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Author: Remi Wild
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: Read It & Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw this in the review program I’m a part of, it seemed like it could be a fun book. The whole premise is exciting and different; so I was curious how it would all play out.

Plus, it’s a novella which means it isn’t a huge time commitment.

The Concept:

This premise is something I’ve never really encountered before. Do adult sex resorts even exist? I’m too scared to search that in Google…

The Plot:

There isn’t a whole lot to this plot besides the obvious. Claire (the lead) arrives, freaks out and then promptly makes the best of an odd situation. It’s pretty straight-forward with some minor surprises along the way.

The Characters:

Claire started off a little all over the place. I couldn’t figure out if she wanted to keep her virginity or lose it. Her attitude about the resort also seemed to be flipping on a dime. All of that made it hard for me to like her or her journey. I did warm up to her by the mid-way point though when her development seemed to be steady.

The Romance:

This novella has more heat packed into than your average contemporary read but it isn’t full blown erotica either. It’s definitely more open about the sex than other novels as well.

The romance is pretty basic but enjoyable.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This started shaky for me, but once I got comfortable with it, I enjoyed it. I think the whole sex resort aspect though might be awkward for some readers.

Read if You Like: unique premises, novellas
Avoid if You: dislike the idea of a “sex resort”
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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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Single Sundays: Until We Break by Jamie Howard

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 Until We Break (from Goodreads):
When Sloane Avery stops to help a stranded driver, she finds more than a broken down car on the side of the road. Luke Evans is faster and sexier than her Maserati, but with her heart still on the mend, she’s not interested in taking him for a test drive. Despite their initial disdain for each other, emotion and passion simmer, complicating their fragile friendship. But when a tragic loss and devastating betrayal send them spiraling, their growing love isn’t enough to save them.

That was five years ago, practically a different lifetime and definitely a different Sloane. Before she’s been hardened by booze, sex, and as much distance as she could get from the past. Now, called home on a family emergency, she’s determined to hold onto her heart the next time she sees Luke.

Except Sloane’s not the only one who’s changed. Luke’s turned his life around. Only the reappearance of Sloane and the reminder of his biggest mistake can put a dent in his plans. Luke is set on fixing what he’s broken. But with her emotions boiling to the surface, Sloane needs to decide if falling in love is life’s greatest gift or its cruelest joke.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Must Watch Author
Author: Jamie Howard
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Read It Review It (Author)–eBook  |  Thank you Jamie Howard!

Note: This book has a follow-up titled Until It’s Right. Read my review of it here.

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I did things a little out of order and actually read the follow-up novel, Until It’s Right, before I read this one. By doing that, I was really intrigued to see what exactly happened with this cast of characters and why.

Until It’s Right has a fun plot line so I knew Until We Break was going to be a little “darker” and have more jaded characters. I was looking forward to a second chance romance and figuring out what on earth happened to Sloane to make her into the character we see in Until It’s Right.

The Plot:

I really liked that the book is split into two parts: before and present. By having everything laid out for you in terms of what happened 5 years ago, you are able to bond with the characters and get the full story before you jump ahead. At first, I thought I wanted alternating flashback chapters but having a clear divide was the best execution for this story.

There is a lot of drama and secrets so it really pushes you to read forward. Even though you get both Luke and Sloane’s POV, you still are kept in the dark about a few things and I appreciated that. These secrets make the story darker than Until It’s Right so don’t expect a fully light-hearted read with this one.

That being said, I thought there could have been a lot more drama than there was. A few minor things seemed unresolved to me when I finished the book but not enough to dampen my reading experience. It’s more of me being picky as a reader 😛

The Characters:

Because I read the previous book, I already had a preconceived idea of Sloane and Luke–but Sloane specifically. Given how she is presented there, I wasn’t sure if I could be empathetic to her story while I read Until It Breaks. But I think having the full backstory (the 5 years before part), I was able to see why she acts the way she does later on.

I thought the character development was adequate, I just wanted it to go that little bit further. Again, comparing it to Until It’s Right, I know that Howard can deliver great characters and I wanted to see more of that here.

The Romance:

Normally, I don’t enjoy second chance romances that much but this one had enough secrets that I didn’t feel like I knew how everything was going to go down from day 1. I thought these two had a great match but, again, I think I wanted it elaborated a little more. But given the concept of the story, how the romance is executed is very well done and all readers will be satisfied.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

While I didn’t enjoy this one as much as its follow-up, this is a solid New Adult debut! It has intriguing characters, the foundation for great character development and enough secrets and drama to keep you reading! I’m definitely keeping my eye out for future Jamie Howard releases!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, drama, secrets
Avoid if You: dislike drama, jaded characters

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Series Review: What Love Is by Bry Foster

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

What Love Is Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Love Is an Action (from Goodreads):

Khloe Hudson is all out of everything.

All out of patience for her alcoholic father. All out of money from her summer job savings. All out of scholarship essay ideas. And all out of room in her heart for people who don’t care to see her for who she really is.

But even she has to admit that the French jerk attending her academy is starting to worm his way in just a bit.

Cash Castille couldn’t care less about what Khloe thinks she knows. None of her advanced classes have taught her that love isn’t something that can be measured or figured out using scientific methods. Actions often speak louder than words. And although he gets a rise out of driving her crazy, he can’t help but wonder when her brain will stop arguing with what their hearts already know.

When Cash drops a bomb and asks for the favor of a lifetime, Khloe reluctantly agrees because despite the terms, she needs the benefits of their arrangement. However, as Cash and Khloe navigate through their new found relationship, she can’t help but wonder if the cost of this ploy will be another expense she can’t afford to give. Her heart.

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Series: What Love Is
Author: Bry Foster
# of Books: 1+ (Love is an Action, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, there will be more books in this series
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eBook (Read It Review It Program)

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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:

Love is an Action was a title available for the Read It, Review It program for the group I am a part of on Goodreads. Some of my favourite New Adult titles see couples that seemingly hate each other come to love each other through some twisted act of fate and that’s what I was hoping for when I read the synopsis for this one.

What I Liked:

–Cash–

Though Cash doesn’t get too much air time during this book, the moments he was there for were great. I thought he was very swoon worthy, especially near the end of the book.

–That it was a High School New Adult–

I read so many NA books that take place in college that I forget that they can take place in the last year of high school as well. However, this aspect was definitely a double edged sword.

What I Didn’t Like:

–That it was a High School New Adult–

Because these two leads are SO YOUNG, the situation they find themselves in seemed completely ridiculous to me! It just made everything so over the top and dramatic and I will admit that I nearly stopped reading because my tolerance was being tested. I really don’t enjoy soap opera-esque dramatics in my novels and that was what we had here. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me.

–The Romance–

For the first 50% of the book, I feel like the romance was non-existent. Cash and Khloe rarely seemed to interact to me and so it took me a while to see why they would even like each other. I felt like a lot was implied when I wanted it to be shown to me. It did get better as the book progressed though and the focused shifted away form Khloe’s home life and inner monologue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea where this series is going. I dunno if it is going to be another set of characters as the leads or if it is a continuation of Cash and Khloe’s story. Regardless:

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This was just too much petty drama for my liking. And it is a shame because it has everything that you want in a good NA novel. I’m sure others will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Read if You Like: soap operas, single POV stories, high school New Adult
Avoid if You: dislike petty drama, dislike high school drama, want more mature characters

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Fresh Fridays: Touch Me Not (Manwhore #1) by Apryl Baker

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:

Manwhore Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Touch Me Not (from Goodreads):
A past tragedy has left Lily Holmes burdened with a devastating secret…

Since the death of her twin sister, Lily can’t bear to be touched. Not accidentally, not casually…and certainly not intimately. This makes it impossible for her to confess to her best friend Adam Roberts that she’s in love with him. She can’t give him the sort of relationship he needs, so she watches in silence while he plans his wedding with someone else.

Enter Nikoli Kinkaid, the campus manwhore…

Nikoli is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of women, and he wants to add Lily to his list of conquests, but she wants nothing to do with him—until he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He’ll teach her to enjoy human contact again, giving her a chance to win over Adam, while Nikoli uses all his considerable charm to seduce her.

But Lily raises the stakes…

Lily loves cars. Her late father was a racer, and she grew up under the hood of a car and on the racetrack. Nikoli has a limited edition 1970 Plymouth Barracuda she covets, so she informs him the terms of their deal also require he not sleep with anyone for six months. If he does, she’ll win the car. If she surrenders and ends up in his bed, his beloved ’Cuda is his to keep.

In an intricate dance of control and surrender, a reluctant friendship becomes something more. Lily begins to crave things she never believed she could, and Nikoli realizes there is more at stake than his reputation.

If Lily overcomes her phobia, will she crave Adam’s touch as she’s starting to crave Nikoli’s? Or will she only find pleasure from the touch of a semi-reformed manwhore?

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Series: Manwhore
Author: Apryl Baker
# of Books: 1+ (Touch Me Not)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, this is the first of a series
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC (Read It, Review It Program)

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I told myself I wasn’t going to pick up anymore review copies for the month of January but I couldn’t resist the temptation of reading this one when I read the synopsis for Touch Me Not. It has some of my favourite New Adult tropes like:

  • Taming a playboy
  • A dating/learning to love arrangement
  • A bet
  • An interesting character tick

Needless to say, I was SO IN!

What I Liked:

–The Characters–

I was worried that Lily would be some goody-two-shoes virgin who would be nothing but an airhead (ie lacks personality or substance). Harsh, but a combination that is A) boring and B) slightly over-done. So I was SO HAPPY when Lily turned out to be nothing like I had worried she would be. She had a great back story and seemed to have a solid head on her shoulders. It was great to watch her develop as a character and person as the novel progressed.

The same can be said for Nikoli. He too had a lot of substance to his character. I liked their complexity as people and it added to the story in a fantastic way.

–The Romance–

It’s been a long time (ok, only a few books ago) since I’ve found a couple that I truly felt were a fantastic match for each other. Not only do Lily and Nikoli have a lot in common in terms of interests and hobbies but even their personalities complimented each other so well. In other words: their emotional connection to each other was just as strong as their physical, if not stronger. It was so easy to fall in love with them as they fell in love with each other–an absolute pleasure to watch!

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Inevitable “Communication Assumption”–

Perhaps a bit of a spoiler but one that is definitely expected with this type of story. I had hoped that these two would escape that inevitable plot device–and for a while it looked promising–but alas, they too were susceptible.

–Trying too Hard to have a more Complex plotline–

I have a feeling that one of the particular plot lines is going to be the focus of a sequel book, so I can understand why it was added and I can overlook it.

However, at times, I felt like things were randomly thrown in for more drama. They seemed to come from nowhere and it really threw me off. I was THIS CLOSE to giving this book a 5/5 but the random bits deterred me from that. I’m sure that those devices worked for most readers but for me, I just wanted that little bit of polish or even some insinuation earlier in the story about what was to come. I’m all for a good surprise but I feel like some of these “twists” should have been alluded to earlier.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea who the next book with be about though I have my suspicions. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for it regardless!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Touch Me Not 4/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

I was really impressed with Touch Me Not. It had great characters and a solid story! If you enjoy New Adult romances, this is a great new series to get into!

Read if You Like: New Adult romances, stories about playboys,
Avoid if You: dislike arrangement/bet storylines, want more spice

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