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Series Review: Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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

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Synopsis for Cinder (from Goodreads):
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Series 2015
Series: Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
# of Books: 4 (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter)

There is a novella between Cress and Winter called Fairest; there are also short stories (full list here)

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: January 2012 – November 2015
Source & Format: Own–Kobo (CinderScarlet & Winter) Public Library–hardcover (Cress

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve wanted to read Cinder since its publication but trying to get my hands on it was a hard thing to do. I guess everyone loves a good science fiction fairy tale retelling. It seemed like the best of both worlds. Eventually, Cinder and Scarlet went on sale for my Kobo but I didn’t want to start something and wait. So this past Christmas Break, I decided to tackle the Lunar Chronicles.

Yah, that was the best decision EVER!

The Concept / The World:

I love that this series isn’t a a full blown retelling of various fairy tales; that it has a loose adaptation and a unique one at that. It reminds me a lot of the TV Series Once Upon a Time where they integrate everything together in a way that always surprises and intrigues me. The science fiction spin on everything is great. It’s not overly complicated but it is complex and I like that a lot. It was so much fun to read!

I also like that we get introduced to new female characters in each book who each get their own story while continuing with Cinder’s. It provides a fresh perspective and also prevents Cinder’s story from being dragged out by forcing so many books. Not that her story couldn’t be that many books, I just like how it all adds to the experience.

The Plot:

I felt like each book built up and reached a climax within it’s own pages.

I think Cinder stands on its own when you compare it to the rest of the series. It serves as the main introduction to the overarching storyline of Scarlet through Winter. But even on its own, it captured my attention from start to finish. It’s a smart yet fun YA story.

Like all the books, I thought there was a great blend of romance, plot and character development. It keeps everything moving at a strong pace and I never felt like there was a dull moment. Even in Winter which was ridiculously long!

If you are worried that there is going to be too much Science Fiction or that it is the main focus of the plot, I wouldn’t worry. The SciFi in this book is used as a great device but I wouldn’t say it is straight Science Fiction or is overly complicated. Everything has been explained in a great (and might I say accurate) way that is easy to follow. It compliments the story in a great way.

I also want to say that I was never able to predict exactly what was going to happen. Meyer definitely takes some risks in where she pushes her characters to go and I appreciated that realistic edge. These are Disney fairy tales where everything is happy-go-lucky (not that I don’t love those tales as well) but I found it refreshing that there was a darker tint and the stories didn’t follow the fairy tales exactly. I would say that these stories are more inspired by fairy tales than they are straight retellings.

The Characters:

I loved all the characters in this series. Of course, I have a few standouts (Thorne is one for sure!) but it was so easy to fall in love with this cast of characters.

Cinder won me over right from the get-go. I loved her wit and some of the comments she would say had me chuckling aloud. Scarlet was strong and stubborn yet had space to grow; Cress was probably a close second favourite because I loved her approach to life and how she handled herself; and Winter was sweet despite all her wounds. All in all, each heroine had her own personality and battle to face and I looked the unique aspect they all brought to the story.

I also liked that there was adequate character development of all the characters, even those who weren’t the leading ladies. The male “sicekicks” had great depth to them as well and I loved them just as much as the ladies did.

And I also have to say that I loved Levana

The Romance:

As soon as Kai and Cinder interacted for the first time, I was in love with them as a couple. They are definitely two of my favourite YA characters ever and I couldn’t help but root for them to get their happy ending.

I also liked all the other romantic pairings. I felt like each couple complimented each other very well and I could see why they would like each other. Well, not so much in Scarlet but I get what was happening there and why so I can over look it (and for the record, I thought that that particular relationship improved in the last two books).

Overall, solid romances that contributed to the stories but never took away from the main plot.

When to read Fairest?

What a dilemma this was! I had no idea when to read Fairest as it is a prequel story but was published between Cress and Winter. I went with Marissa Meyer’s suggestion on her blog to read them according to publication date–and I would say that the author knows best.

I felt like reading Fairest before Winter helps you understand why Levana does the things she does and gives you the history of Luna. You might gain a little sympathy for her but I wouldn’t worry about that too much. I think it benefited me to get the full history before I read Winter than had I read it after. Regardless, I definitely wouldn’t read it before Cinder, it would just cause a disconnect between the stories I think.

Should You Read the Short Stories? When?

I waited to read all the short stories until Stars Above, the short story collection, came out. It’s a great collection and it was nice to reunite with all these characters. I think the exclusive end epilogue story to Winter (called Something Old, Something New) makes it worth it on its own but I did enjoy all the other stories as well. They are put in chronological order as per the Lunar Chronicles time line though most a prequel stories. Again, I would refer to Marissa’s suggestion of reading order if you want to intersperse the short stories with the larger novels, but for fans who have already read the main novels, it’s a great treat to be reunite with everyone and learn a little more about your fave characters.

Series Rating: 5/5

Cinder 5/5 | Scarlet 5/5 | Cress 5/5 | [Fairest] 5/5 | Winter 5/5

overall

It’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve enjoyed a story as much as this series! I don’t even know that last time I gave a series all 5 star reviews! This series was just a great blend of everything I adore about the YA genre from start to finish. Definitely a new faovurite and one I would consider reading again years from now.

Read if You Like: Science Fiction, Fairy Tale Retellings, long story arcs
Avoid if You: want a straight romance retelling, dislike ongoing story arcs

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Series Review: Nocte by Courtney Cole

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 Nocte (from Goodreads):
My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole. My other half—my twin brother, my Finn—is crazy. I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me. I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. Dare DuBray. He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. He has the power to destroy me. Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. Why? Because of a secret. A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. You won’t either.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Adult Fav 2015
Series: Nocte Trilogy
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 3 (Nocte, Verum, Lux)

There is a novella published between Verum and Lux called Initium.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Dark, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm (Noctum); warm (Verum & Lux)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating (Noctum); Single (Verum & Lux)
Publication Dates: November 2014 – October 2015
Source & Format: Provided by Author –eBook  |  Thank you Courtney Cole!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed Cole’s If I Stay and so I jumped on the chance to review this series. It promised lots of twists, a passionate romance and strong characters. I couldn’t wait to see what was happening to these characters and so I dove right in…

The Plot:

“A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. You won’t either.”

That synopsis is so true. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was happening but I was proven completely wrong. It positively floored me when everything was revealed. And the best part was that I could have figured it out if I had known what to look for in hindsight. Especially Nocte; I felt like it was executed flawlessly with respect to the mystery and that is what makes it a 5 star read.

Verum also had a great twist but I found it didn’t captivate me as much. I found it hard to be constantly told “I just can’t tell you, you have to figure it out yourself”. I don’t like when I am purposefully kept in the dark. It’s kinda like lying by omission: if I don’t know you aren’t hiding something, I’m cool with it because I don’t know better. But when I know that I could know and it simply isn’t being told to me, I get frustrated. I like where it went, I just didn’t like how I got there.

Lux was a book that left me with mixed feelings. I spent so much time confused out of my mind trying to figure out what was past/present/future/real and it was a little exhausting. In her author’s note, Courtney Cole writes that that was her purpose in her writting. She wants the reader to experience what Calla is reading and in that respect she succeeds. Once everything starts to get revealed though, I was totally on board and it was nice to see how everything came together.

Note on the Novella–Initium:

I read the novella, Initium, between Verum and Lux which is the order the books were given to me. That is probably the right order regardless and it isn’t too spoilery. It does a good job of getting your mind going and trying to link up everything you’ve learned in the previous books for the big reveal. But at the same time, but I almost wonder if it is better to read it after you finish Lux. There are a few things I think would have a bigger impact in Lux if you didn’t get that backstory you do in the novella. But even with my knowledge of what happened in Initium, I was still surprised by what happened in Lux so I think whenever you read it would be fine.

The Characters:

All these characters play their roles perfectly. They develop at a great pace but they all still have their secrets that make you want to get to know them more.

I liked Calla as a character. Her love for her brother really made me like her (as a sister myself, I understand that drive to protect your sibling). I didn’t love how she referred to Finn as “crazy” when she knows full well (and even understands) his illness but that is more of a personal issue for me (I don’t like the terms some people associate with mental illness). And at the same time, I understand how it worked for the story and the need for it. In short: Calla was an easy character to get to like and that made reading her story so addicting.

The Romance:

I really liked the romance. It compliments the story in a great way that you appreciate the more you read. I think it is more of a focus in Noctum than the other novels. The final two novels focus more on Calla trying to understand what is happening, including her romantic life but it definitely takes to the background.

Series Rating: 4/5

Nocte  5/5 | Verum 4/5 | (Initium 4/5)  |  Lux 3.5/5

overall

If you enjoy books that make you think and distort reality, this is a great one for you to read! It keeps you on your toes and constantly has you guessing what is going to happen. But if you don’t enjoyed being toyed with, then I wouldn’t pick this one up. Overall, it is one of the most intriguing New Adult reads I’ve read in a while and I liked the suspense and mystery it brought to the genre.

Read if You Like: mindfucks, psychological thrillers, rebuilding the past
Avoid if You: don’t like mysteries, don’t enjoy distored realities, want a romance driven story

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  • Unravel by Caila Reed
  • We Were Liars by E Lockhart
  • Fight Club by Chuck  Palahniuk
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzman
  • Black Iris by Leah Raeder
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (Hopeless Series #1)

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Series Review: Redemption by Lauren Layne

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 Broken (from Goodreads):
Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both… or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav New Adult Series 2015, Fav Couple (Crushed)
Series: Redemption
Author: Lauren Layne
# of Books: 3 (Isn’t She Lovely, Broken, Crushed)

Technically, Isn’t She Lovely is listed as #0.5 and Broken is #1; but Isn’t She Lovely is a full length novel and preceeds the events of Broken.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2013 – April 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Own-eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t know how I stumbled upon Broken but I have a feeling I either used a coupon or found it randomly on sale for under $2. Regardless, I would have found this book somehow. It’s right up my alley: war veteran, a girl who needs to redeem herself and buckets of sexual tension with a “hate to love you” scenario. Yup, this is everything I love in New Adult–but does it deliver?

The Concept / Book Order:

Notice how I mention Broken first? I didn’t realize that Isn’t She Lovely was a full length prequel until I was halfway through Broken. I actually didn’t remember it existed until the moment I looked it up on GoodReads. It really isn’t necessary to read it first–but I do think it makes things easier to follow chronologically. On the other hand, the “sins” Olivia and Michael feel they need to be redeemed for are all revealed in Isn’t She Lovely so I think you lose that slight mystery aspect to their pasts by reading it first.

I read Isn’t She Lovely last and I think that I’m glad that I did just because I liked learning about Olivia and Michael’s characters in their own books. I really don’t think you can go wrong by reading Isn’t She Lovely before or after Broken either way but I do recommend reading Broken before Crushed.

The Plot:

Isn’t She Lovely has that 90s romantic comedy feel to it but one that is completely aware that it does and works it to its advantage. It was definitely more modern and there are a lot more heartfelt issues at play. It was fun but serious when it needed to be and was the perfect pick-me up for my reading slump. Simply New Adult at its finest!

Broken has a very Beauty and the Beast vibe to it. You have a man who doesn’t leave his house because of his own self-esteem issues and into his life comes a beautiful girl who changes everything. But unlike the sweet, goody-two-shoes Belle, we get Olivia who is jaded in her own way. It was great to watch these characters grow individual as well as together. I enjoyed the “love can heal” message behind this book. It’s definitely the darker and spicier read of the group.

Crushed has a completely different plot. It’s more of a fun when it comes to the drama. It’s the classic Ugly Ducking story meets the falling-for-the-guy-helping-you-fall-for-the-other-guy situation. Of course there is a lot more at play, but I was sucked into this story immediately and I think it is a great way to wrap up the series.

The Characters:

I really enjoyed Ethan and Stephanie’s characters in Isn’t She Lovely. Not only was their situation a lot of fun to read about it but I just loved them as people. They had a lot of great growth individually and as a couple and that made reading their story very enjoyable.

What I loved about Broken is that these characters made me work to like them. You don’t instantly love them but you see how vulnerable they are and watching them grow into great people is what keeps you around. As I said before, their growth was well balanced with the romance and I really enjoyed that.

I immediately fell in love with Chloe in Crushed. SERIOUSLY! I was two sentences into her POV and I knew I was in store for a great character. Her development was also great and complimented her male lead perfectly. Together, they were so much fun to read about. Definitely a standout for me!

The Romance:

Isn’t She Lovely has a great romantic premise and it’s one of my favourite to read about in New Adult books: the fake girl/boyfriend relationship that becomes more. It’s just so much fun to read but also has such great character development that it is a total blast to read about.

With the romance in Broken, it started on the line between healthy and unhealthy to me. It definitely got better and definitely won me over by the end. It helped immensely that I began to see why these two worked as a couple as their stories were revealed. Learning more about them really pushed the romance back into the healthy zone for me.

I adored the romance in Crushed. It was New Adult PERFECTION in my eyes. It worked really well and it quickly added these two to my favourite couples! <3

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Isn’t She Lovely 5/5 | Broken 4/5 | Crushed 5/5

overall

One of my favourite New Adult series that I’ve read in this past year! They have the perfect blend of romance, character development and fun.

Read if You Like: new adult romances, character development
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy the “cliche” romance situations like fake relationships, etc.

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Series Review: Cocktail by Alice Clayton

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 Wallbanger (from Goodreads):
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Contemporary 2015
Series: Cocktail Series
Author: Alice Clayton
# of Books: 4 (Wallbanger, Rusty Nailed, Screwdrivered, Mai Tai’d Up)

There is a finale novella, Last Call.

Book OrderWallbanger, Rusty Nailed and Last Call are chronological; Screwdrivered and Mai                  Tai’d Up are connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humour, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2012 – January 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Cocktail Series, is a popular title in the adult contemporary romance world. I stumbled upon it after reading and loving Tangled by Emma Chase. It’s hard to find that great contemporary read that balances romance, humour and plotline without going over the top or by creating annoying characters (coughcoughShopaholic). So my expectations were high for this one given the great reviews on Goodreads.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romances, there isn’t much plot besides the relationship between the two leads. But the sign of a great romance book (at least to me) is when you don’t even realize there isn’t much going on and you really don’t care because you are having such a FANTASTIC time reading it!

The humour in this series is great! It was funny, fun and highly entertaining. At the start, I worried that Caroline would go a little off her rocker or become a ditsy, one-track heroine a la Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic, but she was funny, charming and so real despite the slightly ridiculous situation she finds herself in. And the same can be said about the other heroines in the series–even if I didn’t love their stories as much as that first novel.

Just a note on the sequel to Caroline and Simon’s story (Rusty Nailed). I thought it was going to be boring and monotonous but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought it was realistic and a nice way to close their story, though it definitely wasn’t needed.

The Characters:

Great stories need great characters and the cast in this series is so much fun! These characters aren’t overly complex but they have enough unique quirks that keep them interesting. And I’m not just talking about the leads either!

Not only did I fall in love with Simon and Caroline, I also fell in love with their friends (and the other eventual leads in the other books). The supporting characters kept my attention and added to the plot but I never felt like they overshadowed the leads in any way.

The Romance:

Sigh…I loved the romance between Caroline and Simon. The development is everything I crave in a romance. It starts with great sexual tension, expands the emotional connection and has a few close encounters before the big moment. These two just fit so well together and it was apparent to me why they liked each other so much. I definitely added them to my favourite couples lists by the time I finished Wallbanger.

I also liked the relationships between the other characters in the connected books, Screwdrivered and Mai Tai’d Up. Well developed and fun. They are definitely slow burn romances but nothing is wrong with that!

Series Rating: 4/5

Wallbanger 5/5  |  Rusty Nailed 4/5  |  Screwdrivered 3.5/5  |  Mai Tai’d Up 4/5

overall

Normally, I’m not a fan of slow burn romances but this series is an exception! I had so much fun reading these books and watching these characters act out all their shenanigans! Probably one of my favourite groups of characters in a romance series!

Read if You Like: humour, great supporting characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slow burn romance, want an erotica

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Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

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

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booksynopsis

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

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

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

breakdown

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

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

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

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

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

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

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

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

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

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

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

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

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

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

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

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

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

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

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

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

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

overall

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

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

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Series Review: The Fowler Sisters by Monica Murphy

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 Owning Violet (from Goodreads):
I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: The Fowler Sisters Trilogy
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, Taming Lily)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama, New Adult
Heat Rating: hot, Kink: mild
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I really enjoyed Monica Murphy’s New Adult series, One Week Girlfriend (understatement: I loved it) and I also liked her contemporary romances as written by Karen Erickson. So picking up this series seemed like a no-brainer to me.

The Concept / The World:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Owning Violet. The whole “owning” bit of the title gave me the impression that this was going to be a BDSM novel–which are not my preferred cups of tea. But because it was Monica Murphy, I was going to give it a shot. I happy to say that there isn’t any BDSM though it definitely is erotica.

The series follows 3 sisters as they try to balance their love lives and family empire. It’s very soap opera in premise (it reminded me a little of The Young and the Restless :P) but not as cheesy or with as many characters involved.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romance novels of the adult variety, this series followed the formula of “meet”, sex scenes, last few chapters wrap up the plot. And that didn’t really work for me. All of these books had so many great elements to it but they never reached their full potential. I also felt like I was rereading the previous book only with a different female lead and a few little twists (Stealing Rose and Taming Lily nearly have the same identical premise).

You have the work drama, and the crazy plots that bring these characters together but they weren’t very “crazy” to me. They were rather subdued and I wanted all the juicy drama.

I did like that there was an overarching plot that linked each of the sisters stories together. It made me want to keep reading the series even if I wasn’t totally in love with these characters.

The Characters:

I was shocked when I got to chapter two in Owning Violet to see that Ryder was going to get his own POV chapters. I totally thought that the book would only be from Violet’s POV and I was looking forward to unearthing what Ryder’s dirty secret was. Having Ryder’s POV put a different spin on this novel for sure but I’m not sure if it was more harmful than helpful. I thought it really took away from the suspense of the novel and as a reader that made it boring to me.

I also wish there was more to these characters. In Taming Lily I had really hoped that Max’s character would have been developed more with the little inklings we get of his past. But in the same token, I thought Lily had the best character development of any of the sisters so I was really torn over the rating for that book.

The Romance:

All these leads had great sexual chemistry and for the most part they did establish an emotional connection as well. I just didn’t LOVE them as much as I had hoped and I think it was because I was a little tired of reading about them having sex constantly and wanted more drama.

Also, their romances happen very fast and so do the feelings. I just wanted more than endless descriptions of how attractive the girls were or how fantastic it was to have sex with each other. I needed to see more emotional connections (ie sharing of past experiences).

My Rating: 3/5

Owning Violet 3/5  |  Stealing Rose 3/5  |  Taming Lily 3.5/5

overall

This series just really underwhelmed me. I wanted more from these characters than sexual romps in an office and lacklustre character development.

Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, Workplace romances, quick romances
Avoid if You: don’t like erotica, want more character development

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Series Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

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 Nevermore (from Goodreads):
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

breakdown

Series: Nevermore Trilogy
Author: Kelly Creagh
# of Books: 3 (Nevermore, Enshadowed, Oblivion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2010 – July 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (Nevermore, Enshadowed), eBook (Oblivion)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t recall how I found Nevermore. I think it was through Indigo’s YA Summer reads one year. Anyways, the idea of a cheerleader falling for a “goth” is a cliché in and of itself, but the weavings of Edgar Allen Poe’s work into a paranormal world? Call me intrigued!

The Concept / The World:

I’m not a huge Poe fan per say, but I’ve read many of his works for school and enjoy his unique stories. So I was excited to see how Kelly Creagh was going to work it all together.

The great thing about this series is that you don’t have to know Poe’s work inside and out in order to understand what is happening. I’m sure it would help at times and it would enrich your experience, but it isn’t necessary.

I will admit I still don’t really understand the world all that well–even after finishing the books. I know enough to enjoy the story and move forward without feeling completely lost. Part of the issue is that there was nearly 2 years between all the books–that is a super, super long time between books! Especially when you have read numerous other books in between and don’t have the time to reread everything (because these books are long). Thankfully, I kept good notes on what happened but I still feel like some of the finer details were missing for me in the grande scheme.

The Plot:

The plot takes a long time to get going at the start. I remember reading Nevermore waiting for the romance and drama to begin. And that isn’t to say that nothing happened during those first few chapters; it’s just not a high action paranormal read. Those chapters instead focus on character and world development, which is needed because the paranormal aspects are quite complex. But once everything starts to reveal itself, you get more of the paranormal plot line. 

There really isn’t much else to these books besides the romance and paranormal plot line. Meaning, there isn’t a lot of subplots as everything stems to the one common problem. And because of that, I didn’t find this book to be extremely “twisty”, rather it just had big revelations when things were made clear to the reader. Despite not having high levels of action for its book length, I still found this series to be super easy to read and it kept my attention. My attention may have been spent 80% of the time trying to keep everything about the world straight, but it made me pay attention.

The Characters:

I remember not really liking Isobel initially when I started Nevermore. She reminded me a lot of Elena from The Vampire Diaries in her character delivery–the cold hearted, popular cheerleader. But she really grew on me as her character expanded.

Varen is also a complex character but I always really liked him. He’s got that tortured soul thing going on and I like the mystery surrounding him. He always really intrigued me, especially when Isobel is the main focus of the narration, because he comes across as such an enigma. It was fun trying to learn more about him as a character while I read.

The rest of the cast is pretty typical of a paranormal YA series. New girl quickly becomes BFF, crazy exes, over protective parents, etc. But they all really work for this story and do their roles well.

The Romance:

I really liked Van and Isobel together. I think it helped that we got to really know their characters first when it came to seeing their relationship bloom.

It’s also a dark love–very reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Perhaps I was just oblivious to it or perhaps it really doesn’t manifest until the final book but it almost seemed unhealthy to me. I think part of my issue was that it had been so long since I read Enshadowed and so I forgot plot developments and feelings. Once I got into Oblivion a bit more, I was totally back on board with their romance.

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Nevermore 4/5 | Enshadowed 4/5 | Oblivion 3/5

overall

This series continually builds to its climax in the final book so I recommend reading them as close together as possible. I think because I read Oblivion nearly 2 years after Enshadowed, it lost some of its appeal to me and I ended up really disappointed in the story. I don’t think would have been the case if I had read it right after Enshadowed.

Overall, it is a dark paranormal YA romance that has a unique edge to it that I haven’t really encountered in just one book and I really enjoyed them was all said and done…I just didn’t like waiting for them all 😛

Read if You Like: Edgar Allen Poe, dark paranormal, alternate dimension stories
Avoid if You: dislike long books with slower starts

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Series Review: Without a Trace by Ally Bishop

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

book4

Buy Inside the Lines  |  Buy Crossing the Line  |  Buy Tracing the Line  |  Buy Outside the Lines

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Inside the Lines (from Goodreads):
What happens in love might destroy you…

Or remake you altogether.

I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway.

I’ve never surrendered to anyone. That’s not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate.

But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance.

Now I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m questioning everything.

What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze?

I have to stop it…us. I can’t keep going like this. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.

Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don’t?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Best Adult Contemporary 2015
Series: Without a Trace
Author: Ally Bishop
# of Books: 4 (Inside the Lines, Crossing the Line, Tracing the Line, Outside the Lines)
Book Order: Connected

Reading Order: In terms of chronological events, the books should be read as Crossing the Line, Inside the Lines, Tracing the Line then Outside the Lines

Complete?: Yes, possible spin-off series in works
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild, BDSM: mild [Inside the LinesTracing the Line, Outside the Lines])
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: March 2015 – November 2015
Source & Format: Upgrade Your Story–eARC  | Thank you!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was contacted to review the latest in the series, Tracing the Line when I realized I had Crossing the Line already on my Kobo. Taking that as a good sign that I would be interested in potentially reviewing this series, I decided to fulfill the request.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a straight Adult Contemporary Romance, but these books had everything I like in their synopsis: plenty of heat and unconventional situations that promised some interesting drama. They aren’t very long (~200 eBook pages), so these books were the perfect end-of-midterm-time books to dive into after two stressful weeks.

Book order:

I was told by the agent that contacted me to read Crossing the Line first and then read Inside the Lines and Tracing the Line afterwards. This is because the events of Inside the Lines actually take place after Crossing the Line despite Inside the Lines being published first.

Of course, you don’t have to read these books in any order as they work as standalones in their own right. I think you just get more out of the experience if you read them in chronological event order.

The Plot:

These books all have the same basic premise: female heroine discovers more about herself through a brand new relationship. I was worried that that meant she was going to lose herself to her new relationship (you know, become one of those Bella-Swan-I-Can’t-Live-Without-Him sufferers) but those fears were for naught.

These books have a great tone of female independence but recognizing what it means to be an equal partner in a relationship. Something that I strive to look for in my romance novels. They are also very sex positive which is also great and I like the message the books promote.

There are also some interesting plot twists along the way. I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of the previous book because each of the leads has her own “issues” to work out and the situations they find themselves in are different. These books were just as much fun as they were about dealing with serious issues.

The Characters:

Like I said before, I found all the heroines had unique personalities that helped make the book their own. It was great watching them develop and become independent.

As for the “heroes”, I really liked them too. They were great catalysts for change but didn’t totally consume the heroine in any way or smoother her character development. All and all, they were are fantastic, equal partners for the girls and I really appreciated that.

The Romance:

I was really hesitant to start Crossing the Line simply because the synopsis hints at a very fast, pretty much love-at-first-sight type of situation–basically my least favourite romantic trope ever. However, once I started reading, it didn’t really feel like that to me (much to my relief). Sure, the romance happens fast but I definitely saw the connection these two had. It made sense to me that they would be drawn together and so it didn’t really bother me that they were falling fast. It also helped that Ella recognized the situation and acted accordingly. Overall, I really found their story to be very addicting to read and that really surprised me given my preconceived expectations going into it.

And the rest of the books where the same way. They all have a strong initial connection but that connection really develops as the story does so it was easy for me to see why all these couples would work out in the long run.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really hope there are a few more books in this series. There are two characters in particular that I would love to see have their own stories (or perhaps, story?). (I was told by the agent that contacted me that there is a new book called Outside the Lines that will be published in the near future!)

updates

–December 23, 2015– Book 4: Outside the Lines

This book just hit all the right notes for me. I thought there was a fantastic balance between character growth and the romance. There was plenty of steam to keep me satisfied but there was also the right amount of character stories. I loved watching Blue’s journey to find herself. Her story is heartbreaking but so well done and realistic. I thought her story was told beautifully and it definitely the strongest of the series (at least I think so). I also like how it links back to the previous novels. It felt like the best way to wrap up the story of the Trace sisters (though I hope we get those spin-offs soon!).

The romance was also strong and I loved how well they worked for each other. and I thought her romantic match was just perfect for her. It complimented Blue’s story in the best way possible.

Series Rating: 4/5

Inside the Lines 4/5 | Crossing the Line 4/5 | Tracing the Line 4/5  |  Outside the Lines 4.5/5

overall

One of the most balanced Adult Contemporary reads I’ve read in a long time. These books aren’t dripping in BDSM or alpha males; rather they focus on the heroine’s development and the start of a great romantic partnership–they just happen to be loaded with lots of sexy scenes. Highly recommended for those who want a quick and satisfying adult contemporary romance read.

Read if You Like: Adult Contemporary Romances, sex positive novels
Avoid if You: dislike adult contemporary romances, erotica

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Series Review: Neon Dreams by Caisey Quinn

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 Leaving Amarillo (from Goodreads):
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.

Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.

Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Neon Dreams Trilogy
Author: Caisey Quinn
# of Books: 3 (Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Music, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Leaving Amarillo); Alternating (Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie)
Publication Dates: March 2015 – October 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve really enjoyed Caisey Quinn’s other two New Adult series. She is really a must read New Adult author for me at this point so I was really looking forward to reading Leaving Amarillo–though I did have some hesitations.

I really liked the Kylie Ryan Series, which is about a young woman trying to make it in the country music world. So I was worried that this series was going to have a lot of similarities…

Yeah…I was so wrong!

The Plot:

I won’t lie, I was expecting a straight-up romance when I started Leaving Amarillo. So I was a little shocked when I saw that the eBook was close to 300 pages long (the average book is about 230-250 pages long). Did that mean that the romance was going to get dragged on? I sure hoped not.

Silly me! You can tell it had been a long time since I read a Caisey Quinn novel because I really should know better!

What I love about Quinn’s novels is that she truly balances the romantic side with the character and plot development. Meaning, she really hits the tri-factor of what a great New Adult novel should be: a strong romance, growing characters and an interesting plot. In other words: New Adult Goldmine!

What I love about the plot is that it spans all the books; meaning it doesn’t get fully resolved in the first two books and there are some lose ends to tie up in Missing Dixie. Which is great! It’s been a long time since I’ve followed a journey with a set of characters in contemporary romance. Most New Adult series focus on a core group of friends but each book is dedicated to two specific people. So you don’t really get to watch the characters you meet in the first book continually grow. I mean, you see their little cameo appearances here and there but my point is that everything usually gets wrapped up within their own books and that isn’t the case here. Leaving Amarillo follows the band, but mostly focuses on Dixie; Loving Dallas focuses entirely on Dallas and Missing Dixie will be the resolution for the band.

Perhaps that’s a little frustrating because you have to wait for the next novel, but is it worth it? Definitely!

The Characters:

I really grew to like these characters. They have so much history between them that at times you feel like the new kid trying to break into their existing group, so it took me a while. Everything builds slowly with these people but by the end you go “where did the last 150 pages go?”.

I was really worried Dixie would be just like Kylie (who I love don’t get me wrong) but I was pleasantly surprised that they really aren’t anything alike. Yes, they share a similar path of finding what they want in life and moments where they take a stand for themselves but they are different. Dixie is much more timid and has to find confidence in herself; which makes her character development so great. I never got annoyed with her and she never rubbed me the wrong way.

And that’s the same with the rest of the characters–well, maybe Gavin who I wanted to give him a little wake-up smack but that’s all part of the romance–I really began to root for these characters as I read their stories which made it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

Gah, there was the perfect amount of focus on the romantic side of things. You have all the sexual tension and then the actual “moments” (if yah know what I mean ;)) but I never felt like you had too much of one or the other. And the romance never overshadowed the plot. It complimented it in such a great way that made these books so much fun to read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t wait to see everything wrap up in the finale! I’ve really come to care for these characters and I’ve really enjoyed this journey so far!

updates

–December 11– Book #3: Missing Dixie

This was a fantastic way to end the series! I felt like it started a little slow but it did build up it momentum as it went. I really like the direction this story took; it surprised me in a great way and I loved how everything had built up to this grande finale. The romance is white hot–I mean the tension is so there it is almost palpable. Sure, it was frustrating watching these characters not communicate when it would solve all their problems but I want them to succeed SO MUCH it made reading it frustrating in a fun way. Also, I definitely shed some tears with this one! I don’t think there has been a Caisey Quinn series that I haven’t shed a few tears for at some point.

Series Rating: 4/5

Leaving Amarillo 4/5  |  Loving Dallas 4/5  |  Missing Dixie 4/5

overall

If you want a New Adult story that is realistic in its approach to the music-celebrity-lifestyle, this is the series for you! This series has a great blend of romance, plot and character development. One of the best new New Adult series I’ve read this year!

Read if You Like: stories about making it big in music, sexual tension, drama
Avoid if You: don’t like overarching plots, want more romance

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Series Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch

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 Snow Like Ashes (from Goodreads):
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read 2015 (Snow Like Ashes)
Series: The Snow Like Ashes Trilogy
Author: Sarah Raasch
# of Books: 3 (Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire, Frost Like Night)

You can read the deleted prologue (Icicles like Kindling) here! Flames Like Vines is a companion story to Ice Like Fire, read it here!

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Magic, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single; First & Third Person (Ice Like Fire onwards)
Source & Format: Public Library, eBook

thoughts

Snow Like Ashes caught my eye after I saw the cover on a few blogs. I had seen it before when browsing various book sites but I never bothered to read the synopsis. I’m SO glad that I decided to read it–because I absolutely loved it!

When I started reading Snow Like Ashes, I wasn’t totally in the right mindset and the slightly slower pace of the first two chapters didn’t keep my attention where it should be. But, that QUICKLY changed when Meira leaves for her mission.

I was initially worried that Meira would be like Celaena from the Throne of Glass Series: a jaded, take-no-prisoners kind of girl. And while I do love Celaena’s character (and other kick ass heroines like her) it was refreshing to actually watch a character develop into that strong female heroine role like we do with Meira.

Unlike Celaena, Meira isn’t so great at the  hand-to-hand combat aspect, but what she lacks she makes up for in passion and intelligence. Her passion to save her kingdom is there right from the get-go and she doesn’t let it jade her in anyway–she keeps pushing forward and I loved that tenacity. I find a lot of heroines–especially in more dystopian novels–are reluctantly thrust into a rebellion situation and their dislike of being in the “leader” position shows, giving the books a sad, more negative feel. With Meira, I never felt that because she is so optimistic about everything and that was so refreshing to me.

What is even better is that she actually thinks about the consequences of her actions before she gives in to her impulses which wins her major points in my books. I also love her narration: she was sarcastic, witty and just a lot of fun to read about which made this book so addicting to read!

I could probably go on for days about why I loved Meira but I’ll touch on some of the other great aspects of this book.

The “dangerous politics” portion of the synopsis is probably overlooked by most potential readers–I know I sure overlooked it! While this book does have some great action sequences in it, the real focus (at least it seemed to me) was the politics of the world these characters find themselves in. It’s been a long time since I read kingdom focused book a la The Girl of Fire and Thorns or The Iron King and while I did initially have issues sorting out all the places/people (use the map in the books my friends!) it was easier to pick up on as you went.

updates

–November 6, 2015– Book 2: Ice Like Fire

I was super excited to start this one but my excitement died a little once I actually started to read it. Compared to Snow Like Ashes, this book has a more melancholy feel to it and less action…at the start. Given the ending of Snow Like Ashes, I should have expected that and I did to a certain extent. I just kept waiting for it to amp up a bit and get to the good stuff.

Even though most of this story is the politics of the world (something I LOVE in my High Fantasy stories), I did get bored with it. It was just so expected and ordinary that it made me worry that this book wasn’t going to deliver.

Patience is a virtue and in this case, it is your best friend. The last 100 pages were intense, oh so very twisted and action packed. Suddenly the very dry, level story reaches an amazing climax that makes you connect the dots to everything you previously read. In hindsight, it is a beautifully crafted story but it isn’t until the end that you appreciate that. 

–November 6, 2016– Book 3: Ice Like Night

I’ll admit, I went into this book wrong. Despite my excitement to start this, I had briefly read someone’s observations that this wasn’t that great of an ending and so I lowered my expectations.

I could see why someone would be disappointed. I thought the first half of the book was terribly slow. A lot of talking and not enough action–which sucks because I associate this series as the perfect blend of action and political intrigue. It was boring at times and I was thankful we had two other POVs to counteract the somewhat dull Meira POV.

Once I got to the halfway point, there were little blimps of excitement. But it did start to build and I really did enjoy the last 75 pages of so.

Overall, a satisfying ending but not as strong as I had wanted.

My Rating: 4/5

Snow Like Ashes 5/5 | Ice Like Fire 4/5 | Frost Like Night 3.5/5

I hesitated for a long time between giving Snow Like Ashes a 4/5 and a 5/5 (on GoodReads–man I wish they did half stars!). I found that it did lag in places but the slower bits were necessary to the story. I think if I didn’t have to study for exams–which caused my reading to be broken up into large and small chunks–I would have finished this book in one sitting guilt-free. So I opted to give it a 5 on GoodReads and I’ll do the same here.

overall

It’s a solid series that starts to move away from the action into the political sphere of things, slowing the momentum down at times. But even when I thought I had things figured out, I was quickly turned in another direction–so I loved that it kept me on my toes!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, world-building, political intrigue, kick-ass heroines
Avoid if You: dislike action, dislike magic

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