Tag «sexual tension»

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:

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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.

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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

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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: Starcrossed by Leisa Rayven

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:

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven | Starcrossed Series

Other books in the series:
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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav Read 2015, Must Read Author, Fav Read 2016
Series: Starcrossed
Author: Leisa Rayven
# of Books: 3 (Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet, Wicked Heart)

There are a few short stories. See the full reading list here.

Book Order: Chronological; Wicked Heart is Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Second Chances, New Adult, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–hardcover, eBook; Wicked Hearts – NetGalley eARC

Thoughts:

This review was original published as a Fresh Friday feature and has seen been updated to a full Series Review.

I read anything with a hint of Shakespeare so it’s no surprise I picked up this book given its title. I can’t remember how I learned of its existence but when I did, I added it to my hold-list at the library. However, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book–I’m not the biggest fan of second chance romances–but when I actually had it in my hands and saw that 3 of my favourite authors had given it high praise, I was really excited to read it.

When I was reading this book, I had to read another book at the same time so I budgeted to read this book over a few days, just a little bit at a time. That was hard to stick to because I really got into this story (as well as the other book I was reading!)! I love enemy-to-lover storylines and it has been so long since I read one that I instantly fell for this one. It also doesn’t hurt that Cassie is a funny heroine and Ethan is a suave jackass (my favourite hero characteristic). That made reading this book so easy and fun!

I think my favourite part about this book is that it has two congruent storylines: Cassie and Ethan’s past plus Cassie and Ethan’s present. It was almost like reading two stories at once, one that is a contemporary adult romance (the present) and a new adult romance (the past). When you read the present, you are trying to figure out what exactly Ethan did to break Cassie’s heart and you hate him a bit for making her feel that way. BUT at the same time, you watch them fall in love in the past and you can’t help but root for them in the present. It really kept me on my toes trying to get to the bottom of their “torrid” affair and I enjoyed every minute of it!

What I loved about the romance was all the sexual tension. I adore sexual tension in my novels and Bad Romeo had it in buckets. It’s far from erotica–meaning there aren’t copious amounts of sex scenes–but there are a lot of foreplay (that’s the best word I can come up with besides “heavy make out scenes”) scenes which I thought was really great because you actually got to see their emotional relationship together and not just their physical attraction.

As for the Shakespeare element, it isn’t overly in your face besides them acting in the play. I’m sure there are some parallel connections but it isn’t a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in anyway–so if that was turning you off of reading this, please think about reading it again!

I was kinda hoping Broken Juliet was going to be an alternate POV retelling when I picked up Bad Romeo but it is a continuation of the story. I’m glad it is the conclusion because I would hate to see this story dragged out! I’m really looking forward to getting some closure with these two and seeing what is in store for them in the next novel.

updates

–August 5, 2015– Book 2: Broken Juliet

I simply could not put down this book! It  was intense, romantic and had such a great pacing to it! I loved the focus on the relationship and how it promoted healthy relationships and communication in those relationships. I really thought I would get bored and feel like the story was dragged out considering this is a sequel in a second chance romance. SO NOT THE CASE!

Leisa Rayven has done a superb job writing this novel! If this book had been written with the past in one whole book and the present in the sequel, this series would have lost me. But because we get these two stories simultaneously, it just hooks you in! You root for these characters, you want to slap these characters and you fall in love with this characters. I was just as engrossed in their present story as I was their past and that is what gives makes it a 5 star read for me!

I’m soooooooooooooooooo stoked for the new book in the series, Wicked Heart! I thought this series was going to be a duology (which it is in terms for Ethan and Cassie’s story) but I can’t wait to read Elissa’s story! Gah!

–April 16, 2016– Book 3: Wicked Heart

disclaimernetgalley

You have no idea how excited I was when Wicked Heart was uploaded to NetGalley–and you can’t even imagine how ecstatic I was when my wish was granted to read it! I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time and I had high expectations and guess what:

This book was AMAZING!

I was really looking forward to Elissa’s story and I was not disappointed! It was funny, amazingly sweet, had tons of palpable sexual tension with just the right amount of angst and it was very, very addicting. I easily could have finished this book in one sitting but ya know, I had to study for exams.

I’m not normally a fan of second chance romances but Leisa Rayven writes ones that make me a believer and a fan. This book follows a similar set-up to the previous books but definitely has its own unique charms and features to set itself apart. It had me laughing one minute, crying the next and squealing in delight. I was easily won over by Elissa and Liam.

In short: this book was contemporary romance perfection and a must read!

Series Rating: 5/5

Bad Romeo 4.5/5 | Broken Juliet 5/5 | Wicked Heart 5/5

overall

If you like books with a dash of humour and loads of sexual tension, this IS the series for you! It reads like a Christina Lauren novel but with less emphasis on sex and more on the connection and relationship between the two leads (though there are definitely enough romantic scenes 😉 ). Even if you don’t like Shakespeare but love contemporary romances, this is great! One of my all-time favourites!

Read if You Like: relationship-focused romances, passion, second chance romances
Avoid if You: don’t like flashbacks, want more than a relationship focused plot

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Synopsis for Bad Romeo (from Goodreads):
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.

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Series Review: London Steampunk by Bec McMaster

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Steampunk Series
Series: London Steampunk
Author: Bec McMaster
# of Books: 5 (Kiss of Steel, Heart of Iron, My Lady Quicksilver, Forged by Desire, Of Silk and Steam)

There is a novella, Tarnished Knight, that is #1.5 of the series and #3.5 The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Of Silk and Steam will be published March 2015
Genre: Steampunk, Action, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: Third Person, multiple

Thoughts:

I’m a sucker for a good Steampunk novel.  I think it’s the inner scientist in me who loves these mechanical contraptions that come to life in the Victorian era (which the romantic side of me also loves). It’s a great blend of my two favourite genres to read: I just find as a whole the genre does a great job of keeping the action going while having great romantic stories. But what sets this series apart from it other books in this genre is the paranormal aspect of it–vampires. Twilight aside, I do like vampire novels (Vampire Academy anyone?) and this series is not Twilight by any means!

What I love about this series is that it isn’t overly complicated despite the many layers. I know it must sound daunting that there is steampunk elements AND vampire elements but Ms. McMaster does a great job in each book with refreshing you on what the Blue Blood world is so you always know what is going on. I found in Kiss of Steel that I quickly got used to the new terms regarding vampires and how their “vampirism” worked (let’s get real, every vampire novel has its own twist on the vampire and this is no exception).

I won’t lie–I admit that I read this book because I was hoping for a steamier steampunk read (no pun is intended). When I picked up Kiss of Steel, I had been reading more young adult steampunk novels and while I absolutely loved them, I wanted that little dash of maturity and romance that comes with an “adult” steampunk/romance novel. If you are expecting a book where the characters get it on within the first 50 pages, you will be severely disappointed. These books are BRIMING with sexual tension–great sexual tension that makes the wait worth it! More on that later though…

Which brings me to the characters–there wasn’t a single lead that I didn’t like (ok, perhaps Lena for a bit at the start of Heart of Iron but she really grew on me by the halfway point). All the female leads are strong, independent woman who don’t suffer from clinginess or lose themselves to their male counterpart. They kick some serious ass–especially Rosalind in My Lady Quicksilver. The males are definitely alpha but not in an overly unhealthy way that would turn you off (unless you like that–I don’t so this series gets bonus marks from me).

Now back to the sexual tension. While the books follow a series of chronological events, they all focus on different characters. The great part is that characters that star in the sequel books are characters that we have been introduced to before and in some capacity have seen them together in some sexually tense scene prior to their starring novel. This gets you super pumped for the next book–so make sure you have the rest on hand when you are reading! Also, we still get the occasional visit from past characters which is always awesome. I am so upset that I have to wait for Forged by Desire because the little slice we get in My Lady Quicksilver has me dying to read it!

UPDATED (November 25/14): I finally got my hands on Forged by Desire and it was worth the wait! I absolutely loved it but I think the only reason why I liked it so much was because I read the novella that is listed between My Lady Quicksilver and Forged by Desire. Technically, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace takes place 3 years before Forged by Desire and the other novels so it is a prequel of sorts; however, you should read it after My Lady Quicksilver but before Forged by Desire. Because the romantic leads in Forged by Desire are two people who have known each other for years and not leads that meet within their starring novel, there is a lot of assumed knowledge about their relationship. By reading the novella first, I felt like I better understood the sexual tension in the novel and enjoyed it all that more. Otherwise, I think I would have been frustrated with how their relationship progresses in the novel and felt like I was missing something.

As for the actual plot of the story, I loved the detective fiction spin to it. It made it a lot of fun to read and gave the book a different vibe than the other three novels. While not my favourite of the series, I still think it is a solid novel and fans shouldn’t be disappointed in it.

Of Silk and Steam is probably the novel I have been anticipating the most. Not only will the overarching plot line reach its own crazy climax, but I’ve been dying to see more of the male lead since his introduction in the first novel. March can’t get here quick enough!

Conclusion:

If you asked me to pick a favourite from the series, I would be hard pressed! I’ve enjoyed all the books so far in the series and they always meet my expectations. If you love romance, action, strong characters, steampunk and don’t mind a dash of the paranormal, GRAB THESE BOOKS! You will not be disappointed!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas #1); The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles #1) and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Kiss of Steel (from Goodreads):
When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking