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Single Sundays: Draw Play by Tia Lewis

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 Draw Play (from Goodreads):
Jake:
I can’t believe my coach assigned me a tutor. I’m all that on the field and between the sheets — who cares about my stupid grades?

But Claire doesn’t treat me like I’m dumb. When we’re not busy fighting, she actually encourages me. And with those sexy curves of hers, I know just how to thank her.

Claire:
I hate football players, but I need the money. Jake is just as cocky and arrogant as the worst of them … but his touch sets me on fire.

I have to believe he’s different, that he won’t use me and break my heart. Because I can’t stop wanting him. I just hope I survive the ride.

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Author: Tia Lewis
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was really excited when I saw this as a freebie on Amazon: I’m a sucker for the “in love with the tutor” trope. Add to that, I was looking for a story where a “popular” guy goes for the “nerdy” girl. I wanted some great sexual tension but a sweet romance as well.

The Plot:

What I liked about this story is that both of these characters have self-esteem issues. Claire is worried about her appearance (mostly her size) and how others tend to use her only for her brains; Jake’s academic abilities are overshadowed by his athleticism and good looks. They don’t see themselves as anything other than how people treat them and so they have a lot of growth and learning to do.

When it comes to the plot though, it follows your typical routine formula. They reluctantly meet, they exchange insults, they start to see the other person for who they truly are…and I think you know how the rest goes. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was exactly what I wanted to read at the time. I wanted a cute, quick and sweet romance that I would enjoy reading in one sitting.

The Characters:

Claire was a little overdramatic and I hate to say that because she does have a sad past that does warrant her reactions. There was a lot of potential there but it kind-of fell flat by her irrational actions. I just didn’t warm up to her as much as I had hoped.

I thought Jake had the best character growth. A lot of that is thanks to Claire and her ability to see him as a person and not a commodity. And in turn, he helps her with her self-confidence. I really enjoyed that aspect of their relationship. I like when romances aid in personal character growth.

The Romance:

This was more of a slow burn romance than I anticipated. And for the longest time, I didn’t see how these two would ever fall for each other. They were constantly at each other’s throats. It takes them a while to reach the point that is described in the synopsis I think.

But I really did warm up to these two as a couple and could see why they were drawn to each other.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3/5

overall

While it personally lacks that little bit of polish, this is a super cute NA sports romance that focuses on getting to know the person, not just getting into their pants.

Read if You Like: sports romances, in love with the tutor trope
Avoid if You: want more plot twists

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Series Review: Existence by Abbi Glines

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 Existence (from Goodreads):

What happens when you’re stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he’s about to break all the rules.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: Existence Trilogy
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 3 (Existence, Predestined, Ceaseless)

There is a novella #2.5 called Leif

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Existence); Alternating (Predestined onwards)
Publication Dates: December 2011 – September 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I never read Ceaseless (Book 3). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought this series within the first year of me getting my Kobo…and it took me 4 years to get around to. Oops!

In those 4 years though, Abbi Glines has become one of my most read authors on Goodreads. I’ve devoured her New Adult series in days and absolutely love her works. But I never got around to this series until I had to set some priority reads for my Rock my TBR 2016 Challenge.

It has been a long time since I read a YA paranormal series (I mostly read fantasies or dystopian novels) but the concept sounded unique and I love Glines’ ability to write addicting romances so I was excited to start this.

The Concept:

I feel like the synopsis does a bit of a disservice to the story because you really don’t know Death is “Death” until you are past the halfway mark. I think I would have liked not knowing what type of paranormal creature he was until later. Seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity but Glines does throw some other twists in there to give you some surprises.

The Plot:

I kinda forgot what it was like to read a YA paranormal romance until I picked this up. You know, little plot besides the heroine mooning after some mysterious hero who she inexplicably feels drawn to. It was very Twilight-y to say the least.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I did find myself easily drawn into Pagan’s world and there is a bit of a mystery to uncover which made it exciting to read. But as I found myself nearing the end of Existence (say the 80%) when the real plot started to unravel, I realized that nothing really happened for the first 80% of the book. Predestined had a lot more going on in it, but I just didn’t care enough…

The Characters:

Pagan is a bit on the dull side if you ask me. I also didn’t like her character progression once she meets death. She’s one of those heroines who loses who she is when she meets her love interest and that annoyed me.

I felt like more could have been done with these characters. They are pretty surface level in terms of their development.

The Romance:

This was a little lacking for me. Why does Death become obsessed fall in love with Pagan? Why does Pagan fall for Death? I didn’t get the connection at all. It’s a little too insta-love for my preferences.

Oh! Did I forget to mention the love triangle? To be fair, it wasn’t that bad and actually contributes positively to the plot at times.

When to Read the Novella, Leif:

Read this after book 2, Predestined. But it’s really just some deleted scenes from another character’s POV from the first two novels.

Will I Finish It?

I wasn’t very attached to these characters, so I’m happy with not continuing. I read enough reviews of Ceaseless to know what goes down.

Series Rating: DNF

Existence 3/5 | Predestined 2/5 | [Leif] N/A | Ceaseless N/A

overall

If I read this when I was a teenager when my preference was for YA paranormal, I would have LOVED this series. Glines has a solid plot for a series of this type but unfortunately, at this point in my reading life, I need that little bit more to keep me interested.

Read if You Like: YA paranormal, Twilight
Avoid if You: dislike dull heroines
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DNF Series Review: Beautiful by Emily McKee

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 A Beautiful Idea (from Goodreads):
Isabelle Clark always had ideas, but that’s all they ever were . . . until now.

She grew up in a world filled with poverty and hatred from the person who gave birth to her and had decided she would finally make her ideas a reality.

After moving away to college as a junior she ran into the University of Maryland’s walking one-night stand. Literally.

Ryder Mitchell was every girl’s wet dream all in one muscled, tattooed, pierced, baseball playing package. He thought he had the life: going to school, tattooing people by day, and giving girls the best orgasms of their life by night.

When he found out that Financial Aid didn’t fully cover Isabelle’s room and board Ryder had an idea: Isabelle should move in with him.

On the outside everybody sees Isabelle as a quiet bookworm and Ryder as a player, both on and off the baseball diamond. They soon learn who the other truly is.

Either way, they’re about to realize this idea was a beautiful one.

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SERIESous’ Top PicksWorst Reads 2016
Series: Beautiful
Author: Emily McKee
# of Books: 5 (View Titles Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: not sure…
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2013 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I stopped reading A Beautiful Idea at 32% & A Beautiful Mess at 19%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I picked up A Beautiful Idea for free on Kobo some time ago and then the rest of the series when they were on sale in the time since. Roommate romances have to be some of my favourite to read, so I was eager to read this when I pulled it out for my Make Me Read It Challenge. I wasn’t able to read it for that challenge, but I was able to read it as a part of my Rock My TBR Challenge.

What I Liked:

–All My Favourite Tropes in One Series–

Unexpected roommates falling in love; in love with your BFF’s brother; a bad girl falling in love–some of my favourite plot devices to read in a new adult romance. It’s just a shame that the writing doesn’t use these devices to their full potential.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Is A Beautiful Idea a Rip-Off?–

If you read any of the Goodreads reviews for A Beautiful Idea, you’ll see that lots of people call it a rip-off of a Beautiful Disaster. It’s been years since I’ve read Beautiful Disaster but they do share a lot of similarities. However, the whole “roommate” trope is pretty cliche in and of itself if you ask me so of course you are going to get similarities to any novel that shares the same premise.

–Telling and not Showing–

I like to be shown things as I read. I don’t like when certain things are told in passing because they happened “behind the scenes”. Like the romance. I don’t like when things are implied and I felt like this book was just stating facts and not letting the reader experience the scenes.

–Boring–

Everything seemed to be a little “happy-go-lucky” to me and the drama I could see brewing (I really didn’t get that far despite being 20-30% into the novel) was melodramatic and unnecessary. It was also a little cliche. Which I can usually handle but everything seemed so superficial in these relationships that I wasn’t into it.

Will I Finish It?

When I DNF’d A Beautiful Idea, I was willing to give A Beautiful Mess a shot. I was intrigued by the other characters and wanted to see if their stories would be any better.

And so, I started to read A Beautiful Mess…and promptly stopped reading it at the end of Chapter 1. I just couldn’t handle the way Jason talked about wanting to be with Ashlynn in a physical way and his flare of the overdramatics. Things just happened too fast without any build-up.

So no, I don’t plan to finish this series despite the fact that I have Book 3 and 4 waiting on my Kobo to be read.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

This book just didn’t have a strong execution at all. The characters were superficial and the drama melodramatic. Just not what I like in a New Adult series.

Read if You Like: melodramatics, love at first sight
Avoid if You: deeper new adult stories

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Series Review: Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters

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 Find You in the Dark (from Goodreads):
How do you keep going when you feel like your life is over?

Maggie never thought she’d see Clay again. So, she attempts to put her life back together after her heart has been shattered to pieces. Moving on and moving forward, just as Clay wanted her to.

Clay never stopped thinking of Maggie. Even after ripping their lives apart and leaving her behind to get the help he so desperately needed. He is healing…slowly. But his heart still belongs to the girl who tried to save him.

When a sudden tragedy brings Maggie and Clay face to face again, nothing is the same. Yet some things never change. Can the darkness that threatened to consume them be transformed into something else and finally give them what they always wanted? And can two people who fought so hard to be together, finally find their happiness? Or will their demons and fear drive them apart for good?

The thing about love, is even when it destroys you, it has a way of mending what is broken. And in the shadows, you can still see the light.

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Series: Find You in the Dark
Author: A Meredith Walters
# of Books: 2 (Find You in the Dark; Light in the Shadows)

There are two novellas: Cloud Walking (#1.5); Warmth in Ice (#2.5)

Book Order: Chronological

Cloud Walking (#1.5) is a connected story

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2012 – March 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I stopped reading Light in the Shadows (Book 2) at 55%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I came across this series. I think Kobo recommended it to me and I had seen it on a few blogs.

What grabbed my attention was the focus on mental health. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am a huge supporter of mental health initiatives and I love books that explore situations dealing with mental illness and the consequences of it going untreated.

So, I was looking forward to seeing how a high school romance would handle mental illness and I wanted it to be done in a thought provoking way.

The Plot:

I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember too much about the plot of Find You in the Dark (FYITD). I read it in November of 2013 and didn’t pick up the sequel, Light in the Shadows (LITS), until November 2016 for my Rock My TBR Challenge. I had tried to read LITS after finishing FYITD but just couldn’t get into it…

I do remember that I enjoyed the mental health aspect of the story in FYITD. It’s handled in a great way and in a way that is pretty realistic. It tugs on your heartstrings; making you empathetic to the situation at hand.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the plot of LITS. It was a lot of mooning and just didn’t seem to be going anywhere to me. It was just so boring even if I could appreciate what was attempting to be done. So I had to DNF it at 55% and I haven’t regretted it once.

The Characters:

When I composed my draft to write this series review in November 2013, all I wrote about the characters was:

“hard to like Maggie at times”

While I could sympathize with Clay’s situation (Walters does a great job at that I think), I didn’t really like Maggie at all. Over time, I’ve developed less tolerance for high schooler actions and I think that is what happened here. She just made decisions and thought in a way that I didn’t like or agree with. So that made it hard to me to want to root for this couple at times.

The start of LITS seemed promising in term of Maggie’s character development, but I felt like nothing really happened with her. I would have liked her going to some therapy sessions as well–especially with everyhting that happens in  FYITD.

The Romance:

The romance in FYITD was one of those all-consuming teenaged romances. And it has to be for this story to work.

But overall in the series, it becomes one of those romances that asks the question: can love truly heal? And I liked how the book when about it in theory, and for the most part, in its execution. I think I’m just past the stage of enjoying high school romances that can be a little over dramatic and so it didn’t really work for me.

Novella–Cloud Walking:

This was really cute and probably something most readers of FYITD will enjoy. It isn’t necessary to read it but it does provide that little extra backstory to events that happen with some side characters in FYITD.

Series Rating: DNF

Find You in the Dark 4/5 | [Cloud Walking] 3/5 | Light in the Shadows DNF’d | [Warmth in Ice] N/A

overall

This is one of those “great concepts; poor execution books” for me. Walters hits the mark right on the head with the mental health aspect. Probably one of the best I’ve ever encountered. It really just was the characters that fell flat for me. They bored me and I found it hard to root for them.

Read if You Like: mental health focused stories; realistic contemporaries
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy high school aged characters

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Series Review: Rixton Falls by Winter Renshaw

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 Royal (from Goodreads):
His name is Royal, but he’s no prince charming. He’s not even a prince – though you could say I loved him once upon a time.

He was my older brother’s best friend.

Growing up, he sat at our dinner table every Sunday, teased me mercilessly, and pretended I annoyed him.

When I was old enough, he took me on my first date.

Royal taught me how to drive. Escorted me to my junior prom. Gave me my first kiss…amongst other things. He was my first taste of toe-curling, all-consuming, can’t-sleep love.

We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was never anyone else for me but him.

And then he disappeared. No letter. No explanation. Not even a goodbye.

My sisters and brother never forgave him, and my parents forbade me from speaking his name in our house ever again. For all intents and purposes, we were to pretend Royal Lockhart never existed.

I’ve spent the last seven years trying in vain to forget my first love, but just when I think I’ve finally moved on, guess who’s back in town?

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Series: Rixton Falls

This series crosses over with the Amato Brothers Series in Priceless.

Author: Winter Renshaw
# of Books: 3 (Royal, Bachelor, Filthy)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February – June 2016
Source & Format: Own & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought Royal after seeing it listed as an Amazon Bestseller one day when I was browsing the freebie section. Of course, the cover drew me in but the synopsis listed one of my favourite romantic tropes: in love with brother’s BFF. Forbidden love is my kryptonite! Especially when it is a second chance romance that promises a juicy secret for why these two have been separated for all these years!

The Plot:

My only peeve with the drama of this series was how quickly certain things are resolved. The drama isn’t overly complex but even then, I felt like things don’t get expanded upon enough and things are finished nearly as soon as they are introduced.

Especially in Royal where there has been 7 years of bad tension and feelings; certain plot points seemed to be brushed over and not expanded upon. I just expected these characters to have a bit more of a grudge or at the very least, some damaged feelings that need more than a handshake to fully resolve.

But on a positive note, it was nice to have straightforward–and understandable–drama. I didn’t feel like anything was added just for shock factor nor did things come out of left field. Everything follows a nice progression even if its resolution wasn’t for me.

The Characters:

I feel like Royal has the best characters in terms of uncovering their many layers. We actually get to learn more about these two because of their backstory together at the start of the book. I just felt like I knew these two better than the rest of the leads in the other novels.

For the most part, we just scratch the surface with the other leads. And you know what, it works for their stories for the most part. I would have liked a little more elaboration but I was satisfied with what we were given.

The Romance:

Royal I think had the best romance because they already had an established relationship. It was easy to see why these two liked each other. It was the same situation with Filthy as well.

The reason I downgraded Bachelor to a 3/5 was because the romance was almost insta-love. I just needed to a little more to convince me these two got each other on a deeper level because everything happens so fast.

Series Rating: 4/5

Royal 4/5 | Bachelor 3/5 | Filthy 4/5

overall

If you want a quick and romantic read with just the right amount of drama and likeable characters, this trilogy makes for the perfect weekend series read to binge on!

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, new adult romance, drama
Avoid if You: dislike drama
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Single Sundays: Oblivion by Jessica Wood

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 Oblivion (from Goodreads):
I wake up to a life and a man that I can’t remember.

He says his name is Connor Brady—the tall, sexy CEO of Brady Global, Inc.

He says my name is Olivia Stuart, and that I was recently in an accident and lost my memory.

Also, he says I’m his fiancé.

Although I don’t remember Connor, or anything about my past, something about him seems familiar. He is kind, protective, and breathtakingly-gorgeous. But there is just one problem—he seems too perfect.

As I begin to rebuild my relationship with Connor and accept the idea that I may never remember my past, I unexpectedly meet Ethan James.

Ethan is the mysterious, rebellious stranger who pushes my boundaries to their limits and makes me feel alive. As our lives collide time and time again, the bits and pieces of my past start to unravel, unearthing the secrets that have been buried deep inside my subconscious. With every new memory I gain about my past, I become more torn between the man who is my fiancé and the stranger who is the key to my past. Is my life with Connor really as perfect as he leads me to believe?

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Author: Jessica Wood
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kindle)

*NOTE: this is listed as a part of a series on Goodreads but the “prequel” is just an extended sample of this novel that is for sale. Meaning this is simply a standalone story.

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Ever since I read Unravel by Caila Reed years ago, I love a good amnesia/rebuilding the past story. The suspense of trying to figure out what the hell happened is something I can’t get enough of. So when I come across a story that has promise, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The Plot:

This story is pretty basic in its execution as it isn’t overly complicated, but that works to its advantage. It’s an easy story to follow and it continually builds as you read. Sure, it helps that it isn’t an overly long novel but you really get swept into the story and I couldn’t put it down. I easily could have read this in one sitting if life didn’t get in the way.

The great thing about this story was that I only had part of the story figured out. I feel like the one aspect of this story was super easy to figure out early on, but the main twist really surprised me. I liked that a lot. A book always gets bonus points if it can surprise me and this one definitely got a few extra points.

The Characters:

The characters here aren’t overly developed but they do their job here very well. I liked that this wasn’t overly complicated as well–that we weren’t bombarded with unnecessary people and only kept what was needed for a solid foundation.

The Romance:

This could have been a little stronger I think. The plot focused more on Liv trying to figure out the past than her getting hot and heavy with the two boys. Which, in hindsight, was the strength of this story and what made it so enjoyable. I just wish the romance had a little more flare to it because I’m a romance fan at heart.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

This was a super quick read that totally delivered in every way I expected. If you enjoy a solid amnesia story, this is the one to get!

Read if You Like: amnesia stories, romantic suspense
Avoid if You: want more romance

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Series Review: Avoiding by K A Linde

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 Avoiding Commitment (from Goodreads):
Jack and Lexi never had a typical relationship. After 2 years without speaking, she receives a phone call that changes everything. He unexpectedly asks her to convince the new girl, Bekah, that he’s ready to commit. Jack is calling now after everything they had been through because there is another woman. She can’t believe it.

Follow Lexi in this heart wrenching drama as she relives her past relationship, or lack thereof, with Jack, and not just in her own mind, but to his fiance-to-be. Throw in Bekah’s hot brother who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, a past with more secrets to unravel than you can even imagine, and you get a recipe for disaster.

Find out what happens to Lexi as she travels to Atlanta to get the closure she so desperately desires from Jack, and how the bumps of life seem to keep getting in the way.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave New Adult Read 2016 (Avoiding Commitment)
Series: Avoiding Trilogy
Author: K A Linde
# of Books: 3 (Avoiding Commitment, Avoiding Responsibility, Avoiding Temptation)

There are two novellas: #1.5 Avoiding Decisions & #2.5 Avoiding Intimacy

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2012 – December 2013
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how this series crossed my radar; I think I might have seen it on Kindle or perhaps Kobo recommended it to me. Regardless, when the boxset was on sale on Amazon, I decided to buy it and give it a shot.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant to start this one. The main reason was that it reeked of a love triangle between Lexi, Jack and Bekah’s “brother”. I didn’t want to commit (see what I did there?) to a 3 novel story about a girl torn between two dudes. Which brings me to reason #2: I didn’t think I would like Lexi. The synopsis made it sound like she was a homewrecker who was going to stop at nothing to split Jack and Bekah apart. I’m not really sure how I got that impression reading it back again, but I didn’t have a favourable impression of Lexi before I started this series.

That quickly changed though…

The Plot:

What I really liked about this entire series was that we had chapters set in the present and chapters set in the past. Essentially, you are getting two stories at once so it makes for quite the addicting read. You slowly put together the pieces of the past to fill in your questions about the present to get the whole picture.

And what a picture you get!

I really worried that this story would just be Lexi torn between two boys and her being indecisive about who to choose. But there is so much more to it than that. As you learn more about the relationships you see that there is so much more to it than a girl in a love triangle. It’s one of those times where the love triangle as used as a necessary device to the story and not simply something added for some “excitement”.

The Characters:

Like I said above, I didn’t expect to like Lexi. I have very little patience for girls who get torn between two guys. However, it only took me two chapters to completely change my opinion about Lexi–and absolutely despise Jack. After seeing how awful Jack treated her, it was super easy to sympathize with her situation. Sure, she made some choices I vehemently disagreed with, but I understood why she felt like she had to make those choices and that worked well for me.

One of the best features of this series is the character development. The characters you start with are not the same people you get in the finale. All these characters evolve thanks to the events in these books and it’s truly awesome to watch. They have their flaws and their quirks, but it’s great to see how that contributes to the story. Solid character development never fails to impress.

The Romance:

Lexi’s relationship with Jack is the definition of unhealthy. The way he toys with her emotions makes it hard to read at times. But it also provided an interesting dynamic to the story that is the backbone to this series.

However, I can’t say that I really liked any of Lexi’s love interests. Part of the issue is that I never really saw the appeal of Lexi. Why did all these guys seem to find themselves in love with her? I truly don’t know. I get the impression she is physically attractive and perhaps ambitious when it comes to her career; but aside from that, it felt more implied than explained. Which is fine, I just like picking a side when it comes to my love triangles and I had a hard time choosing.

The Novellas:

I actually recommend that you read Avoiding Decisions (#1.5) after you read Avoiding Responsibilities (#2); even though the novella is listed as #1.5. It gives you a little too much insight into one character and I think that ruins your reading experience for Responsibilities. And Avoiding Intimacy (#2.5) is also best after Responsibilities (#2).

Series Rating: 4/5

Avoiding Commitment 5/5 | [Avoiding Decisions] 4/5 | Avoiding Responsibilities 4/5 | [Avoiding Intimacy] 4/5Avoiding Temptation 4/5

overall

It’s hard to say too much about this story without giving it away. All I’ll say is that this story really surprised me. It is so much more than a girl choosing between two love interests…it’s about growing up and dealing with whatever life throws your way. With just enough drama to keep you hooked!

Read if You Like: romance drama, stories with flashbacks
Avoid if You: dislike cheating
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Single Sundays: Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin

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 Bad Romance (from Goodreads):
Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

breakdown

Author: Jen McLaughlin
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw Bad Romance on Netgalley but wasn’t able to request it for a review at the time. I really enjoyed McLaughlin’s Out of Line Series and her Sex on the Beach Series so it seemed like a no brainer. Plus, I wanted to dive further into the romance world of forbidden Step-Brother romances. Rival is one of my favourite NA novels and it has a similar concept, so I was looking forward to expanding my horizons.

The Plot:

Besides these two having an unrequited love for each other for years, the plot for this one of so illogical it actually hurt my brain.

Lilly’s main argument for keeping her shame of an engagement irked me to no end because it was a stupid point. I mean, I understood the basis of it because she is a nice human being; but why she felt this obligation to save the company was beyond me. There are 20 other ways that conflict of a failing company could have been resolved. It just made her look like an idiot in the grand scheme of things. Super frustrating!

The Characters:

Like I said, Lilly seemed to not be the brightest crayon in the box and that annoyed me to no end. And its a shame because she did seem to be a decent person who just couldn’t think things through all the way to the end.

Jackson wasn’t anything new either. Meh.

The Romance:

While these two had a strong physical chemistry, I wanted their emotional connected to be established more. If it’s a “forbidden” romance, you have to convince me why they need to defy all the odds to be together. And while I get it on a basic level, I wish we had more background on these two and why they always felt drawn to each other.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

I simply wanted more from this book and it just didn’t deliver. There are definitely better step-brother romances out there.

Read if You Like: step-brother romances
Avoid if You: want a stronger romance connection, want more logic

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Novella Serial Review: Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Garcia Williams

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Reasonable Doubt (from Goodreads):
My cock has an appetite.

A huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a fucking liar… (Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was , until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview—a college-intern interview, and everything fucking changed…

breakdown

Series: Reasonable Doubt
Author: Whitney Garcia Williams
# of Parts: 3
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Heat Rating: Smokin’
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March – August 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how I came across this series, but I think Kobo recommended this to me when the first volume was published. However, I waited until I could buy the entire series as a whole.

The forbidden romance aspect is what first drew me to this series but it was the case of “misidentity” that really intrigued me. It promised to be just as dramatic as it was sexy and I couldn’t wait to start it!

The Plot:

As it is with most serials, the plot is to the point and doesn’t waste time with filler. I found the plot here moves at a great pace and one that is full and rich despite the page number. Meaning it isn’t singular in its drama and has a lot of aspects that work together in a way that benefits the story in a positive way.

There are a lot of twists and that adds to suspense; keeping you turning the pages to see what is going to happen next.

The Characters:

Andrew is complex and mysterious–perfect for the bad boy older lead. He was a bit of a dick but I did develop a soft spot for him the more I learned about his past.

I was worried “Alyssa” would be like any other girl who finds herself entranced by an older man but I did find that she had some quirks that made her standout. While I might not have loved how she handles herself, I didn’t mind her character as her story was elaborated on.

The Romance:

This was a slight miss for me. Not because I couldn’t see them or how they would work together but I just didn’t like its execution. How Andrew treats her and how Alyssa lets him irked me a bit. And its a shame because I thought they were cute together and really liked them together on the more basic level.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

This series was short and hot–exactly what I wanted it to be. But the drama and mystery was a bonus and made this series thoroughly entertaining!

Read if You Like: erotica, short stories/novellas
Avoid if You: want more established romance

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Novella Serial Review: Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Calendar Girl (from Goodreads):
It’s really simple. I needed money. A lot of money. One million dollars to be exact. The amount didn’t matter. All that mattered is that at the end of that price tag held my father’s life.

No money. No life.

The time limit was one year. On January 1st I had to pay up or my Father was going to be killed. When you’re faced with an ultimatum like this, you do whatever you have to do.

And that’s exactly what I did.

The job…Exquisite Escorts. My role, serve as high priced arm candy to anyone that can afford the $100,000 price tag for a month of my company. Sex is optional (for me) and a 20% increase on the price.

Mia Saunders just barely escaped a paltry life back home in Las Vegas until she gets the call that her Father has been beaten to within an inch of his life for not paying his gambling debt. Problem is, the lone shark is her lousy, ruthless ex-boyfriend. Another guy in a long line of men she’d fallen head over heels for. Not anymore. Mia’s mission is simple. Serve as a high-priced escort for her Aunt’s company and pay monthly against her Father’s bad debt. A month with a rich man who she doesn’t have to sleep with if she doesn’t want to? Easy money. At least that’s the way it was supposed to go.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Serial 2016
Series: Calendar Girl
Author: Audrey Carlan
# of Parts: 12 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: January – December 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

My best friend actually recommended this series to me. Rarely do my friends recommend that I read something because chances are, I’ve already read it. But I hadn’t even heard of this one when she suggested it. And so I waited until Kobo had a great sale and bought all the volumes at once.

The Concept:

The premise reminded me a bit of The Arrangement and Blurred Lines–serials I hadn’t kept up with though I enjoyed them. I wanted to see what adventures Mia would get in by being an escort but not necessarily sleeping with the client. So I was eager to get into this one!

The Plot:

Each “part” is a month of Mia’s assignment with a different man who has hired her. What he has hired her for varies from simply being a date to being a muse for an artist, but they are entertaining nonetheless. In addition to that, you have the overarching plot of her father being in the hospital while Mia pays off the debt. Needless to say, these stories move fast and always have something happening to keep you reading.

It’s apparent that this serial was thought out in advance. Never did I feel like Audrey Carlan was throwing out ridiculous plot twists for the sake of keeping the story going. It has a great flow and purpose and I greatly appreciate that.

The Characters:

Mia had tremendous growth throughout this series. I wasn’t her biggest fan in January but by March, I had really warmed up to her. What’s great about each “episode” is that Mia learns something new about herself through the relationship with her client. And I don’t mean she learns something romantically either. While Mia does learn more about what it means to have a strong romantic partner, she also learns to become more confident in herself and decide what she really wants in life. That what I like to see in my characters and I really appreciated that growth.

The Romance:

I like that the romance here isn’t straight erotica when it easily could be. Sure, she’s an escort and doesn’t have to sleep with the guys but the expectations are underlying…

I definitely picked my favourite for Mia and it was a lot of fun waiting to see if I was right as the months progressed.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

This series was SO MUCH FUN! As each novella progressed, I became more and more invested in the story and it’s outcome. It was the perfect blend of romance, drama and character growth!

Read if You Like: stories about escorts; novellas, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike serials, dislike escort stories

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