Tag «Second Chance»

Spin-off Saturdays: Rise by Piper Lawson

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

Rise is a spin-off of Play and NSFW

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Canadian Author
Series: Connected to the novels Play and NSFW
Author: Piper Lawson
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single **Male POV**
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thanks so much Piper Lawson!

thoughts

My Expectations?

I’m always excited to return to the lives of characters I’ve already met so I was really excited to get Riley’s story after his cameos in Play and NSFW.

What I Liked?

–Only Told Through Riley’s POV–

One of the highlights of this story is getting it only in Riley’s POV. It’s hard to find a solo male POV in romance; even harder to find one where the lead is a genuinely nice guy. Riley isn’t some player out to get as many girls as he can. He wants a serious relationship, he’s just can’t seem to find one…probably because the right girl got away 10 years ago.

–Riley’s Character Development–

For me, this story is all about Riley discovering what he truly wants in life. His career is in a critical place, his best friend and business partner just had a baby, the girl he left behind years ago is back: life is starting to change. And I really enjoyed watching him go through all those hurdles and become a stronger character.

Anything I Didn’t Like?

–Slightly Off Pacing for Me–

I did struggle a little with that pacing at times because I felt like we got too invested in Riley’s work and that caused the romance to take a backseat sometimes.

–It Took Me a Bit to Warm Up to Sam–

We don’t get Sam’s POV and so we don’t know her thoughts or feelings unless she says something. But, the flashbacks we get of their shared past did help solidify why these two deserve a second chance and those scenes helped me to fall in love with their story.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy well-rounded romances that have a dash of humour, can tug at your heartstrings and feature strong characters, you’ll truly enjoy this novel!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, male POV, strong characters
Avoid if You: want erotica

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Rise (from Goodreads):

Falling is easy. Getting up is a b*tch.

When we met, we were lost.
Most seventeen year olds are.
We lifted each other up off the ground each time we fell. Until the day I let her down.
Now I have everything. A Bentley, a profile in GQ, a movie option and the company my best friend and I co-founded after school.
Until our paths cross ten years later at a gallery. The backdrop might be the same but we’ve both changed. I know it the second I see Sam standing in front of the canvas my best friend bought.
She’s more than the girl who used to draw comic book characters on my arm after class. The one I had inside jokes with. The one who taught me to be a rock when someone you love is being thrown around by the waves.
She’s beautiful. Confident. Edgy.
Sam should’ve been my first everything. God knows we both wanted it.
Now I have a second chance.
This time I won’t let her down.
This time, we’ll rise together.

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Single Sundays: Savage Love by Ella Miles

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 Savage Love (from Goodreads):

I hate him.

He’s made my life a living hell every day since we were five years old. We’ve been enemies since the day he cut off my pigtails in first grade and I retaliated by drawing on his face with a sharpie.

Our hate of each other grew stronger as we got older. We grew more savage in the way we dealt with each other. We broke bones in fights, sabotaged each other’s dates, and ruined any chance each other had at happiness.

We went our separate ways after college. I never thought I’d have to deal with that asshole again.

But I’m out of a job, so when the opportunity to compete for one of the highest profile PR jobs presented itself, I jumped at the chance. Even if it means I’ll have to compete with Carter for the job. I’ll be more than happy to crush him on the way to my dream job. I’m willing to do anything, savage things, to ensure I win.

There’s just one problem. I forgot how much my body betrays me every time I see Carter. Because despite all the horrible things he’s done, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to do naughty, unthinkable things with him. Will my savage heart be enough to resist his charms?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Ella Miles
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 26th, 2018
Source & Format: Author–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge fan of Ella Miles and her darker contemporary works. So I was really excited to see what she would do in a more contemporary, slightly lighter romance.

I’m a huge fan of the hate to love you trope and when it’s linked to the “in love with brother’s BFF” one? And you add in some pranks? I’m so there!

The Concept:

It definitely lives up to the “Savage” title with some of the ways these two try to out smart each other!

These two go to the extremes in their efforts to out match each other. Being a seasoned Ella Miles reader, I know that she will take things to that next level and that’s the case here. It makes the read entertaining though and keeps you hooked because you have to know what will happen between them.

The Plot:

I loved the back and forth nature of this story–it’s one of my favourite aspects of the hate to love you story. The characters would have these moments where they want to rip each other apart and then they want to rip each other’s clothes off. I love that type of drama and this book had it in spades.

My only complaint was with some of the dramatic elements that came as a result of the job they were competing for. They both are PR “fixers” but their solution to the situations just didn’t seem plausible to me. Plus, it resulted in some drama that I wasn’t a fan of.

The Characters:

I really liked these leads. I loved how driven Victoria was. How she wouldn’t stay down for long because she’d come back fighting.

It helped getting Carter’s POV as well because you start to understand his rational for his actions and thoughts. I’m not sure if I would have liked him as much if his POV was omitted because I really appreciated that insight into his mind. I did think he changed his tune a little too quickly but I enjoyed watching him trying to make things right.

The Romance:

For me, it was so easy to see why these two have been at ends with each other for years: they are too similar and so stubborn that they clash whenever they meet. I always love watching leads who are so perfect for each other fight the obvious and this was no exception. Their romance was definitely a highlight of the story and met my every expectation.

My only complaint was with some of the dramatic elements that came as a result of the job they were competing for. They both are PR “fixers” but their solution to the situations just didn’t seem plausible to me. Plus, it resulted in some drama that I wasn’t a fan of.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you love dramatic “hate-to-love-you” stories with plenty of steam, pick this up now!

Read if You Like: hate to love you, rivals, second chances
Avoid if You: dislike steamy scenes, dislike lots of drama

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Series Review: Breakaway by L P Dover

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 Hard Stick (from Goodreads):

He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

breakdown

Series: Breakaway
Author: L P Dover
# of Books: 3 (Hard Stick, Blocked, Playmaker)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes – I think
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Hockey
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2017 – February 2018
Source & Format: Own–Kindle (Hard Stick, Blocked); Netgalley (Playmaker)

Only Book #3 Playmaker was provided for review purposes.

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a living embodiment of the Canadian stereotype that we like live hockey. While I might not watch the NHL every week, I watch every international tournament and won’t say no to watching a game in person.

So it’s no surprise my love of hockey has translated to my reading preferences as well. I’m a sucker for a hockey sports romance and when I read the synopsis for Playmaker, I just had to read it. When I discovered there were two other books (and they sounded good too!) I bought copies for my Kindle and dove right in!

The World:

I’ve never read an L P Dover novel before but she has a LOT of titles out there. If you are a fan of her work, I think you will enjoy some of the cameos that happen in Hard Stick (#1) from previous series. I love when authors integrate series together like this!

The Plot:

One thing I really liked about these series is that each book has a different take on the romance novel. It’s easy to do with series that are a collection of standalones but very few authors make each novel so different from each other; they usually stick to the same tone and tropes. However, this series has a different flavour to each novel. Hard Stick is a romantic suspense; Blocked is more your classic “off-limits” romance; and Playmaker is a second chance story. It just made everything seem unique and fresh when I picked up the next novel.

However, I did find that the same rushed plot was in all the novels (though not as much in Playmaker #3). Conflict is revolved with a snap of the fingers it seems and that stifled some of the character and plot development that could have occurred.

The Characters:

I liked the fact that all our leads have their own unique personalities. I didn’t feel like I was reading carbon copies throughout the series.

I have to give a shoutout to Maddox who is the lead in Playmaker (#3) because he has the best development of anyone in the series. I didn’t have the greatest impression of him in Hard Stick (#1) but he very quickly redeemed himself in Playmaker. I love a “bad-boy-gone-good” story and his was awesome.

The Romance:

I had the same issues with the romance as I did with the plot: it happens very quickly. All the relationships were very insta-love to me and seemed rushed. We don’t get to see that deeper connection with the characters and that stopped me from seeing these relationships as anything but lust-driven.

Series Rating: 3/5

Hard Stick 3/5 | Blocked 3/5 | Playmaker 3.5/5

overall

If you are looking for some quick sports romances that feature some hot hockey players, check this out!

Read if You Like: sports romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love

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Single Sundays: The Rebound by Winter Renshaw

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 The Rebound (from Goodreads):

The last time I saw Nevada Kane, I was seventeen and he was loading his things into the back of his truck, about to embark on a fourteen-hour drive to the only college that offered him a full ride to play basketball.

I told him I’d wait for him. He promised to do the same.

But life happened. I broke my promise long before he ever broke his. And not because I wanted to.

We never saw each other again …

Until ten years later when Nevada unexpectedly returned to our hometown after an abrupt retirement from his professional basketball career.

Suddenly he was everywhere, always staring through me with that brooding gaze, never returning my smiles or “hellos.”

Over the years, I’d heard that he’d changed. And that despite his multi-million dollar contracts and rampant success, life hadn’t been so kind to him.

He was a widower.

And a single father.

And rumor had it, he’d spent his last ten years trying to forget me, refusing to so much as breathe my name … hating me.

But just like a rebound, he’s back.

And I have to believe everything happens for a reason.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 24, 2018
Source & Format: Hidden Gem Books–eARCs

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Winter Renshaw has quickly become a must read author for me. She writes consistently entertaining romances with their great premises and awesome characters. Her books always satisfy the romantic in me.

This one sounded great as soon as I read it. I loved the idea that there was this big secret that kept these two apart for 10 years and I couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

The Concept:

The first half or so of this novel is set in the past. You get to see how Yardley and Nevada fell in love as teenagers all the way up until the point where they break up. I relished this because I often find we don’t see that “first chance” in second chance stories. Seeing their past and how they loved each other had me falling in love with them while simultaneously shedding a tear because I knew it wasn’t going to last for some reason.

Then we jump ahead to the present and we see how the effects the past has had on them. As a result, it has a great flow and a “come-full-circle” feel to it that I sometimes find missing in second chance stories.

The Plot:

There isn’t much to the plot besides these two falling in love and growing as people. It’s a very character driven story in the sense that these two have to overcome the consequences of their earlier actions. They have to become stronger individuals to see their faults and learn how to move forward. And I really enjoyed that aspect.

The Characters:

I really loved these two. I loved that they had a grounded perspective on most things but still had the optimism that their love would last or that things would get better. They are both such nice people that it was hard to watch them suffer.

I will say that they are both stubborn–one of the character flaws that they each work on as the story progresses. It was really frustrating for me as a reader to see them have this conflict between them arise when it could have been easily solved by just listening to the other. Again, that is one of the things these two work on and it does serve as a good tool to show how far their characters have progressed over the years.

The Romance:

It honestly didn’t take much for me to fall in love with these two as a couple. It’s a bit more telling than showing at the start but that didn’t stop me from seeing the love they shared. I liked that the first half of the book focused on them talking and sharing moments instead of just sexy times. You see how strong their bond is and I loved that.

I could have used a little more romance in the second half. There was just something about the pacing of the romance that didn’t match the first half. Regardless, I still loved watching their story and the anticipation of seeing whether or not they would get their happy ending!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I devoured this story from start to finish! Winter Renshaw just writes super addicting and sweet romances and I can’t get enough!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, past and present chapters
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, want erotica

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Fresh Fridays: A Stardance Summer (Eternity Springs #13) by Emily March

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I usually review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. But this week I’m talking about a new book in an already published series.Here is this week’s offering:

Eternity Springs Series

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Stardance Summer (from Goodreads):

Lili Howe took a leap of faith when she decided to join the Tornado Alleycats, her elderly landlady’s all-female glamour-camping club. Lili’s always given everything to her career, putting herself on track to become her CPA firm’s youngest partner. But now that Lili’s carefully planned future is shattered, she’s willing to let summer work its magic on her―at all costs.

There’s never a dull moment at Stardance Ranch, the Colorado resort Brick Callahan built from the ground up. Still, a late night skinny-dipping session involving a bunch of “glamping” grannies. . .with his best friend’s kid sister Lili among them? He couldn’t have made up such story if he tried. The undeniable mutual attraction between Brick and gorgeous, spirited Lili is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when Brick’s ex-girlfriend suddenly shows up, he’s faced with a desperate choice: Do right by a woman he once loved or take a chance on Lili. . .and do everything he can to win her heart?

breakdown

Series: Eternity Springs

This is a spin-off of the Callahan Brothers Series.

Author: Emily March (aka Geralyn Dawson)
# of Books: 13 ( Full Reading List Here )
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2011 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St Martin’s Press!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not one to dive into a series that is 13 books long by reading the most recent release but I was drawn to A Stardance Summer when I read the synopsis. I’m a sucker for the heroine who is in love with her older brother’s BFF and second chance romances are always sweet. I’ve also been looking for a new small town romance series since I finished the Cottonbloom Trilogy last summer and one that is 13 books strong like this series, AMAZING! Plus, the whole premise of Lili joining a senior camping group sounded like a lot of fun.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

First off, the RV camping crew did not disappoint! I loved Patsy in particular. I want to be her when I grow up, seizing life at every opportunity!

I also loved the town! It’s a very close knit community and I think if I was more familiar with the previous novels I would have soaked up all the little mini cameos former book leads make.

–The Character Development–

Lili is in such a tough place in her life that it was nice to see her grow from that. She takes her time to find out who she is on her own and isn’t heavily influenced by others. I loved seeing her develop from start to finish.

–Sweet Romance–

While I don’t mind some sexy times in my novels, it’s nice to read a romance that didn’t focus on the physical chemistry between the leads on every other page.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Almost Too Slow of a Burn–

While I love slow burn romances, this one seemed a little off to me. I felt like it took too long to get the passion started. It seemed like the relationship took too much of a backseat to Lili’s character development. The sexual tension is there, but I wanted to see this relationship grow a little bit more than the implied past connection.

Will I Pick Up Other Books in the Series?:

Yes! I got a taste of some of the past stories and they sound super intriguing! Eternity Springs has such a fun cast that I’m looking forward to learning more about them all.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

This is the perfect read for fans of character-focused romances who like their romances to be sweet and not spicy. A fabulous small town series with an eclectic cast of characters you can’t help but love.

Read if You Like: sweet romances, small towns, character driven stories
Avoid if You: want spicy romance
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Series Review: Walk of Shame by Victoria Ashley

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 Slade (from Goodreads):
My name is Slade Merrick and I’m a fucking sex addict . . .

I’ve been told it’s a problem. But I see it as a passion; something that I’m good at. And who the fuck stops something that they’re good at?

They want me to seek help; get my cock in check. Don’t judge my lifestyle. You’re no better than me. Just admit it, you like to fuck too. Sex is what I do best; my own personal high, so I embrace it instead of being ashamed.

When I’m not fucking, I’m slinging drinks at Walk Of Shame or stripping my way into your bed; another thing I’m good at. Every woman’s darkest fantasy brought to life.

So, am I stopping? Fuck no. Sex is beautiful, raw and erotic and I get off knowing I can have it with anyone I want . . . with the exception of her.

Aspen.

She walks into the club swaying those hips, instantly drawing my cock to attention. She’s pure perfection. That is, until she opens that mouth, drawing me in and for the first time in forever I want something more than sex. I want her and she hates it.

Things get dirty. Dirty is what I like; it’s how I live. But . . . she’s playing a game she can never win.

breakdown

Series: Walk of Shame Trilogy

There is a spin-off series called Walk of Shame 2nd Generation

Author: Victoria Ashley
# of Books: 3 (Slade, Hemy, Cale)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2014 – July 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I got these books on my Kobo but there they were when I pulled a star labelled “Slade” from my TBR jar for my Make Me Read It Challenge. While I didn’t read it for my challenge, I still wanted to read all 10 books that I pulled since they contribute to my Rock My TBR Challenge.

I love stories about cocky bad boys who get put in their place by their significant other but it has been a long time since I’ve read a straight erotica novel…so I wasn’t sure if I would be ready for all the sexy times.

The Concept:

Each novella focuses on a different male stripper from the club, Walk of Shame. So if you are picturing Magic Mike, you’re not far from the situation.

The Plot:

Considering the words “erotica novella” are plastered on the front cover, there was a lot more to the plot than I expected. I was worried it was just going to be filled with sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters and their story!

The boys all struggle with pasts that have lead them to their current situation. It was very addicting to get to the bottom of their pasts and see how they were going to right those wrongs.

The Characters:

These boys are bad through and through; but they have these redeeming qualities to them that make you like them.

What I liked about the girls was that they didn’t become overly dependent on these boys once they got involved. While I might not have liked how they handled some of the conflict thrown their ways, I appreciated their characters.

It was crazy how attached I got to all these characters! As soon as I was a couple pages into Slade I just had to know more about Hemy and Cale and what their stories might be.

The Romance:

Even though each story was a novella, I still felt like the romance developed at a great pace. I was actually surprised by how well the romance was established. Lots of novellas rush things but that wasn’t the case here.

The Sexy Times:

I think it’s important that you read the Author’s note before you consider picking up this series:

Author’s Note: Due to strong language and a very high amount of dirty, sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. This is #1 in the Walk Of Shame series of novellas that will all be standalone reads. If you’re not into, cocky bad boys with filthy mouths and even filthier sex, then this series is not for you. If you are . . . then, come meet the dirty boys of Walk Of Shame

It’s very accurate and if erotica isn’t your thing, this isn’t your series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Slade 4/5 | Hemy 4/5 | Cale 4/5

overall

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series! Going in, I thought it was only going to be sexy times but there was actually substance to these characters. It was a blast getting to know them and their pasts better!

Read if You Like: erotica, stories about strippers
Avoid if You: erotica

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Series Review: Love Unplugged by Jamie Howard

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

Love Unplugged Series

book3 book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for All the Ways You Saved Me (from Goodreads):

Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.

Law school? Check.

Camera-ready smile? Check.

A dull and boring existence? Double check.

But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend’s unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.

It’s while she’s checking off her first item on the list–buy coffee for a stranger–that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he’s a complication Bianca doesn’t need but desperately wants.

With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she’s buried under what’s expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she’s willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author –> Favourite Author
Series: Love Unplugged
Author: Jamie Howard
# of Books: 4 (All the Ways You Saved Me, The Feeling of Forever, The Way Back to Us, After All This Time)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, After All This Time is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 1, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

If you’ve been following my blog at all this year, you should know that I found one of my new favourite authors in Jamie Howard. Her novel, Until It’s Right is one of my all-time favourite NA reads–like I plan on rereading it over the years to come–because it is perfection. So when I was asked if I wanted to read her latest novel, I think you know what my answer was…after I jumped around like my butt was on fire!

Image result for jumping freaking out gif

Even if Howard wasn’t the one to write this one, the premise of All the Ways You Saved Me sounded fantastic. It promised to have amazing character growth accompanied with a heartwarming romance. And given my experience with Howard’s other works, I knew that was just what I was going to get!

What I Liked:

–The Character Growth–

Without a doubt, this is the strongest aspect of this novel. If you want a solid NA story where both characters transform before your eyes: this is it.

Bianca was a great lead! I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with her given her family background but I didn’t find that to be the case. I think anyone who has ever dealt with others pressuring them to live their life a certain way will empathize with her. I loved her story from start to finish.

But it was really Ian’s story that really surprised me. I didn’t expect to love him as much as I did! His story is told as flashbacks to the past and I thought that was a great method. Instead of simply getting told during some “grand reveal” scene, the reader gets to experience what he went through–and let me tell you, it is a heart-wrenching (albeit beautiful) story…

–A Romance Focused on Friendship–

What I really liked about these two together was how their relationship made them better people individually. I hate when couples get so absorbed into each other that they lose sight of themselves. That really isn’t the case here. It’s easy to see why these two work together. They start as friends that challenge each other to do things they might not usually do and it blossoms from there.

It’s just a heartwarming story that makes you believe in love.

What I Didn’t Like:

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like. It was just a really good, solid story that captured my attention from start to finish and reminded me what I love to see in romances.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

OMG, there are so many great directions this series can go. I know I have a few stories I would like to see unfold…so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

updates

–January 15, 2017– Book #2: The Feeling of Forever

Is it possible to rate a book higher than 5 stars? Seriously, this book deserves more than 5/5!

WOW, just WOW! This is one of the best Contemporary romances I’ve read recently. No doubt about it!

This story had it all for me: extremely likeable characters, a heart-melting romance and a heart-pounding plot. I could not put this one down!

Jules and Felix are just a great pair. Their relationship had a solid foundation right from the start. The way they communicate and interact with each other: swoon. It’s just a beautiful story. I loved these two so, so much.

As for the rest of the book, it was great. It had the perfect balance between the romance and the drama. And what fabulous drama it is! It just added another layer to this already great story but without overshadowing it.

Honestly, Howard has perfected her craft. I literally cannot wait for the next book in this stellar series!

–December 6, 2017– Book #3: The Way Back to Us

This novel was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. To say I was super duper excited to start this is an understatement of possibly epic proportions.

It was nice to get some closure for Gavin. I was super curious to learn more about the girl who captured his heart and I was not disappointed in the journey to learn all about it.

Like The Feeling of Forever, this one has a romantic suspense vibe to it. Which was a little unexpected but kept me hooked and constantly coming up with new theories for what was happening. Of course, I was totally wrong so bonus points for that twist! But the whole premise gave this story a unique feel to it and I found it to be a refreshing take on the second chance romance.

My only complaint is that I wanted to see how these two fell in love. For me, it almost read like a sequel novel to their first book where they fell in love and this was the novel to wrap it all up to see if love can conquer all. Instead of being shown why they belong together we are told why they shouldn’t be together. I’m a reader who likes to see those romantic moments where couples fall in love. It doesn’t always work for me to be told why these two love each other as they battle the dramatic plot lines.

However, it did work here in a way. Obviously, these two make a great pair and I loved them together.  As I reader I definitely got why these two would fight everything to be together. In that aspect Howard succeeds in her writing. But I wanted a little bit of that “so called” first book of theirs because I’m a huge fan. I wanted to see them meet and establish what is a great relationship and partnership instead of seeing it already exist. We get little tidbits here and there but I craved more because I just loved these two characters so much.

My Rating: 5/5

All the Ways You Saved Me 5/5 | The Feeling of Forever 5/5 | The Way Back to Us 4/5

overall

If you want a New Adult romance that is somewhat lighter on the romance but features strong characters that transform before your eyes while melting your heart: this is it!

Read if You Like: character development, books about grief
Avoid if You: want more sexual content, dislike New Adult

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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.

breakdown

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.

disclaimer

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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Fresh Fridays: Tainted Love by K B Nelson

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:

Tainted Love Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Faithless (from Goodreads):
She’s a stripper. He’s a preacher. Her name is Faith and he’s been faithless since the day she went away.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know it’d end like this.
From the beginning, it could only go one way, and straight to hell it did.
My past reads like a film stuck on repeat; fall in in love, get heart broke, and then run. Just fucking run.

And run I did.
Straight back to that place I swore I’d never return.
Straight back to that place where my broken heart lies buried deep within one man’s chest.

Noah Parker was my first love. He was my only love.
The only boy that could ever make me feel alive.
The only boy who ever truly broke my heart.
The only boy who could possibly save me from myself.

But Noah isn’t a boy anymore…

breakdown

Series: Tainted Love
Author: K B Nelson
# of Books: 2 (Faithless, Blind Sided)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Blind Sided, will be published in March 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Suspense, Second Chance
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 23, 2016 – ongoing

was originally a 3 part serial that was rewritten and complied into the new edition.

Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed K B Nelson’s Bad Reputation and so I joined her mailing list to be notified of when she had new releases and review copies available. Now, Faithless isn’t exactly new. It was originally published as a 3 part serial starting in December 2014. This publication is the same story but features different scenes, a different ending and puts everything together to be a part of this new series.

I love forbidden love stories and the idea that a preacher and a stripper had some passionate romance? Colour me curious! I also loved that it was pitched with a darker theme–another trope I am a sucker for.

What I Liked:

–It wasn’t afraid to go places–

I like books that take risks with their characters and events. Nelson has no issue making this story as dark and tragic as it could possibly be, making the story completely unpredictable at times.

–The Suspense and Mystery–

I didn’t know that this was going to be a suspense novel so it took me for surprise when that’s what it turned out to be. But it really added something to this story that made me want to keep reading. The suspense plot here is so dark and twisty that it kept my attention and made the book very unpredictable.

The mystery of putting together the past was also really intriguing. I liked having the flashbacks to the past mixed with current events. It kept the story building and added more depth to the characters.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was more Suspense than Romance–

While I enjoyed the suspense elements, at the same time, I thought I was going to be reading more of a contemporary, second chance romance that focused on the forbidden passions between a preacher and his high school sweat heart–not the events that happen when these two reunite after years apart.

It’s more of a suspense novel that has events that occur because these two people reunite; rather than a second chance romance with a minor suspense plot. If that makes any sense.

–The “spiritual” moments–

I feel like this heading is a bit misleading because it implies that there is a lot of moments about God and/or religious faith but that isn’t what I am getting at. (For the record, this book wasn’t preachy at all about faith or the like). I’m just talking about a plot device that was used and that I wasn’t the biggest fan of it even though I understand why it was used. (I would elaborate further but I think it’s a bit of a spoiler). It just added a cheesy element to the story that I would have preferred not to have had.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

There is a great set-up in Faithless for what the story in Blind Sided is going to be and now that I know what to expect from this series, I’m looking forward to seeing the path Nelson takes us on with this new one.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Faithless 3.5/5 | Blind Sided TBP

overall

If you enjoy stories like Leah Raeder’s Black Iris or even stories by M Leighton, this is a fantastic series for you to start! I think people who want lighter romance will not enjoy this nor will those who want more romance than suspense. Definitely a unique series that has me very intrigued to see what will happen next!

Read if You Like: suspense, non-traditional romances, dark stories
Avoid if You: want more romance/sexual tension

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Fresh Fridays: Devious Minds by K F Germaine

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:

Devious Minds Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Devious Minds (from Goodreads):
When Sydney Porter transfers to Northern University, she’s ready to put her past behind her. Landing a job on campus as an irreverent radio personality, she uses the anonymity to air all the campus dirty laundry—earning the infamous Sunday Lane more than a few enemies. But her true passion is spinning records, even if Drunk Earl is her biggest fan.

Sydney’s junior year kicks off with the promise to be amazing. Or at least it does until Gray Peters, hotshot quarterback, unexpectedly reenters the scene. His presence threatens to destroy everything she has going, as well as resurrecting a night Sydney never wants to remember or repeat. She’d run away like a coward, but this time she’s determined to stay and fight.

A twisted battle of wit and trickery ensues, with one common goal—vengeance. Sydney and Gray set out to make each other miserable. But misery loves company, and soon, walls are destroyed and truths are revealed that could change their future forever.

*** Contains mature situations and language ***

breakdown

Series: Devious Minds
Author: K F Germaine
# of Books: 1+ (Devious Minds, TBA)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, a sequel book will be published in 2016
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chance, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read2Review provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you K F Germaine!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book on NetGalley and was about to request it but when I went back it was gone 🙁 Lucky for me, the New Adult reading group on Goodreads that I am a part of had made arrangements with K F Germaine to offer this book for anyone who wanted to review it. I pounced on the chance!

The key word for me in the synopsis was “vengeance”. I’m a sucker for books where people fall in love with their “mortal enemy” and the use of that word “vengeance” filled me with promise. Promise of lots of sexual tension, a mysterious past encounter and lots of drama.

Needless to say, I was stoked to read this one!

What I Liked:

–The Drama–

This book had more going on than just a romance.

All the back and forth hi-jinks kept me entertained even if I didn’t totally like what was done (which I will comment on later). And even moving away from the conflict between the two leads, the subplots were also really interesting! They linked up perfectly with the main story and never took away from the real focus of the book which is essentially the romance and the subsequent character growth. I felt like everything was really balanced when it came to the delivery which made it really easy–and addicting to read.

–Their Past–

Normally, second chance romances aren’t really my thing but this really isn’t your typical second chance romance. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I loved learning bits and pieces about their previous encounters and seeing how those interactions shaped them into the people we get today. Which leads me to:

–The Character Development–

I will admit, I didn’t like Gray or Sydney when I first met them. They were mean, mean people and they weren’t afraid to show it. But all of that changed the more I read about them.

As you learn more about their individual pasts, their characters start to make more sense to you. You see why Sydney has the attitude she does and why she acts a certain way when it comes to her brother. With Gray, it wasn’t until I learned about their past together that made me understand his character. And once that got revealed, I easily found myself rooting for these characters.

I love a book that can make me change my impression of a character (or two) simply by reading more. I think it shows the strength of the character development in this book.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Some of the Antics–

I thought a lot of the things these two do to each other–in terms of vengeance–were a little extreme. It made them seem cruel, thus enticing my dislike of them. It took me a while to get past that but as I said before, that changed the more I read.

Some were just over the top dramatic which made things very entertaining to read. They were exactly the type of things I expected, it’s just that these crueller ones did some minor damage to my reading entertainment.

–the quickness of the romance–

This is definitely more of a personal quip than anything because I truly did enjoy the romance! It wasn’t apparent to me at the start why these two would like each other because they seemed like polar opposites. However, once again, the more I read the more I saw why these two would work together.

I just thought things escalated rather quickly in terms of their feelings. There was a lot of sexual tension there so I understood why things happened the way that they did, I just personally wanted more. (ie I really enjoyed watching these two and wanted more…so I guess that really isn’t something to complain about)

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I thought this was going to be a standalone but I read on Germaine’s blog that there will be a sequel with a different set of leads. I am super excited to see who these new leads will be and can’t wait to read the next one!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really, really enjoyed this one! Devious Minds was a great New Adult book that had me chuckling and swooning as I read. It started a little rocky with this characters but I quickly got absorbed into their world. Very, very entertaining and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next!

Read if You Like: New Adult romance, character development, second chances
Avoid if You: don’t like revenge game premises

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