Tag «suspense»

Series Review: Surrender by Lauren Smith

Series Review: Surrender by Lauren Smith

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 Gilded Cuff (from Goodreads):

Every passion has its price . . .

Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground.

From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.

breakdown

Series: Surrender
Author: Lauren Smith
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete? 2 more books are planned
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Suspense
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM: high, Kink: mild)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: Februrary 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC; Newsletter Freebie (#4)

ARCs Received for Books #1-3 only

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I read and LOVED Lauren Smith’s Her British Stepbrother Series last year. She writes addicting romances and I couldn’t wait to see what she could do with a full length trilogy.

I’m slowly getting into the world of romantic suspense but haven’t been overly successful. Either you get a thriller that is more thrills than romance or the complete opposite, with an erotica that only has a dash of a plot. So trying to find that perfect series was seeming like a fruitless effort but this one seemed more than promising…

The Concept:

I don’t overly enjoy BDSM novels. Alpha males are something that–obviously–come with the territory and they more often than not irk me. However, BDSM novels are the ones that have the exciting and dangerous plotlines that I adore so I pick them up and hope for the best.

This one had the right balance between sexy times and suspenseful ones. I’d say the first 20% is dedicated to the sexual tension, the next 50% is a mix of plot and romantic developments and the last 30% is the suspense. It has that little bit of everything to satisfy the various audiences that will be drawn to this title.

The Plot:

The first two novels have an overarching plotlines so it was exciting to watch it develop. Whereas the third has its own suspenseful plotline though I didn’t find it as dangerous as the previous two.

Regardless, as I said before, all the books had the right balance between romantic developments and dramatic ones. I found these books to be really addicting and I enjoyed them immensely.

The Characters:

I really liked all of these characters–even the alpha males. They all have their flaws and their strengths and that just made them all seem genuine to me. I also liked that they were all unique. I didn’t feel like I was reading carbon copies of the previous leads–they all have their own personalities and thought processes so I never got bored with them.

The Romance:

While these romances are based on insta-connections, I really didn’t mind them as much as I usually do when I come across insta-love stories. All these pairs just work together and I think knowing the characters’ histories as you do really helps to establish these romances. Sure, I would have liked the characters to have known each other more than a few days before they are professing their love for each other, but their fast feelings made sense to me.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really hoping a certain character will be getting his own story sometime soon!

updates

–September 28, 2019– Book #4: The Darkest Hour

I was super excited when this book popped up as a freebie on one of the email Romance Clubs I subscribe to. I had been waiting for Royce’s story so when I needed another sequel book to read that was on the short side, this fit the bill.

Unfortunately, I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it closer to the other novels. I often get this series mixed up with Lauren’s Her British Stepbrother Series–even though they are completely different. But that’s what time away from a series does to my brain.

Regardless, I did enjoy the novel. I thought some of the plot points didn’t seem necessary and were only added for the romance–but they didn’t need to be.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Gilded Cuff 4/5 | The Gilded Cage 4/5 | The Gilded Chain 3.5/5 | The Darkest Hour 3/5

overall

I finally found a contemporary romantic suspense novel that strikes the right balance between romance and plot line!

Read if You Like: romantic suspense
Avoid if You: dislike BDSM based novels
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Series Review: Tangled by K.L. Middleton

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 Tangled Beauty (from Goodreads):

Sinclair Jeffries thought she knew what she was getting into when her zany, gay friend, Jesse Eddington, talked her into portraying his girlfriend during his parent’s anniversary party on Huntington Beach. That is, until she met Reed, Jesse’s sexy as hell older brother, and ends up getting much more than what she’d bargained for.

Reed Eddington assumed his future was settled until he met Sinclair, his brother’s so-called “girlfriend”, but the raw, sexual tension between them is hard to ignore. As he watches their ruse from the sidelines, he finds himself wanting to uncover more than just their amusing little facade.

breakdown

Series: Tangled Trilogy
Author: K L Middleton
# of Books: 3 (Tangled Beauty, Tangled Mess, Tangled Fury)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2013 – June 2014
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

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Disclaimer: I never picked up Book 3: Tangled Fury. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Tangled Beauty was a freebie that I picked up a few years ago. I love the “fake” girlfriend premise but the angle here–that Sinclair was a fake girlfriend for her gay BFF–really intrigued me and so I picked it up right away. While I love stories where fake couples fall in love, I loved the drama this one provided by NOT being that story.

What I Liked:

–Fast Moving Story–

I found myself easy absorbed into these novels. They do have a substantial number of pages but I found I just flew through them every time. The story is always moving and new elements are introduced to keep you intrigued.

They are the perfect example of a light contemporary read.

–The Surprise Suspense Angle–

I really didn’t expect this aspect at all in either story. This isn’t a flat out suspense story (Tangled Fury seems to be a little more however) but there is enough of it to make it worth mentioning. It just gives this story another angle that I found was exciting.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Fast Romance–

I found this to be more of the case in Tangled Beauty but both romances happen fast. They are pretty insta-love in my opinion. I also feel like they are never really elaborated on. That made it hard for me to really see the connection between the characters (it’s better in Tangled Mess [#2])

–The Plot Never Fully Develops–

I feel like things were introduced, scratched a bit and then ignored for the novels. The focus of the plot just seemed off to me; like it couldn’t find that perfect balance.

Tangled Mess is a great example of that. Certain things happen, important enough developments for the plot, but nothing else happens with it. I just felt like I never got closure–maybe I just focused on the wrong things.

Part of the issue is that the suspense element–while a good feature–carries throughout the trilogy. Perhaps I would get closure if I read Tangled Fury but I’m just not that invested.

Will I Finish It?

Like I said, I’m not that invested in this series. While I’m curious to know how the suspense element will resolve, the synopsis of Tangled Fury doesn’t appeal to me at all. So I’m comfortable leaving this series as is.

Series Rating: 3/5

Tangled Beauty 4/5 | Tangled Mess 3/5 | Tangled Fury N/A

overall

It’s a cute, quick series that would make the perfect weekend binge. But it just doesn’t have that intensity of other series in this genre.

Read if You Like: quick reads, some suspense
Avoid if You: want stronger stories

similarreads

  • Touch of Eden by Jessi M
  • Rush of Innocence by L R Potter (The Rush Series #1)

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Single Sundays: Oblivion by Jessica Wood

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

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

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

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

Also, he says I’m his fiancé.

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

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

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

breakdown

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

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

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

The Plot:

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

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

The Characters:

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

The Romance:

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

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

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

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

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Series Review: 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

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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!

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thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to 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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Series Review: Layers Deep by Lacey Silks

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 Layers Deep (from Goodreads):
He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them…
…and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross’s resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

breakdown

Series: Layers Deep Trilogy
Author: Lacey Silks
# of Books: 3 (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled, Layers Off)

There is a prequel novel, Dazzled by Silver that is FREE on eBook sites.

There is a spin-off series called Crossed.

Book Order: Chronological (Layers Deep, Layers Peeled); Connected (Dazzled by Silver, Layers Off)

However, these all follow a series of Chronological Events.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Steamy; Kink: mild (Dazzled by Silver)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2013 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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Disclaimer: I read both Dazzled by Silver and Layers Deep but will not read Layers Peeled or Layers Off. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an erotica novel but I was in a reading slump when I decided to read this Rock My TBR 2016 title in the hopes it bring me out of my slump.

I’m not sure how this trilogy crossed my radar. I want to say it is because it shares the same cover work as one of my all time favourite adult contemporary romances, Fixed Trilogy but I’m not sure. It also could have been a sale from Kobo…it’s been on there for a long time but I’ve been looking for a good romantic suspense novel for a long time and this one showed some promise.

What I Liked:

–They Were Quick, Easy Reads–

I finished both books in 2-3 hours so I didn’t feel like I slaved over them. The plots move fast thanks to their simplicity. When I needed a quick, contemporary fix, they did the job perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Much Sexy Times, Not Enough Action–

I really wanted this to be a suspense novel and not so much of an erotica novel. However, it is definitely the latter. And while I like the steamy scenes just as much as the next person, that really wasn’t what I wanted to read.

Besides the leads wanting to bang each other’s brains out, there isn’t a lot to the story. I suppose things get a touch more exciting near the end of Layers Deep but I just don’t care to pick up the next two books.

–The Characters–

Tristan was a more healthy version of Christian Grey but I found their family structure to be similar. Allie was a strong, independent woman but as soon as she meets Tristan she becomes a little bit needy and I feel like her development gets stinted because of it. But, I did like the fact that she was strong and wasn’t necessarily defined by him either.

But they weren’t anything new to me–and I didn’t grow attached to them; definitely not enough to make me want to read their continuation of their story despite the cliffhanger of Layers Deep.

Will I Finish It?

If I get the last two books as freebies, maybe I’ll read them. But when I read Dazzled by Silver a week after Layers Deep, I still was OK not knowing what happens in Layers Peeled.

When to Read Dazzled by Silver:

Honestly, I think you can read it before Layers Deep and it won’t give away much. BUT, I think you’ll get more out of it and save yourself some minor spoilers if you read it after Layers Deep or Layers Peeled.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

[Dazzled by Silver 2.5/5] | Layers Deep 2.5/5 | Layers Peeled N/A | Layers Off N/A

overall

If you want a quick erotica read that has a bit more substance than your typical short stories, pick up these freebies!

Read if You Like: erotica, quick reads
Avoid if You: want more suspense, more plotline
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DNF Review: London With Love by Chris Haigh

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 London With Love (from Goodreads):

Emily Gibson is age 26, attractive, and working in London. Her love life up to now has been a disaster, making her reckless and unpredictable. In spite of being good at her job, she gets fired.
Scott Gillons is four years older, a hot and handsome plastic surgeon who has developed a secret microchip tracker to implant into humans. Even though women adore him, he finds serious relationships don’t work – until he meets Emily.
She’s been two-timed and abused by a previous boyfriend, and yet Emily still likes a bad-boy element in her men. She rejects Scott, while confiding a secret to her friends. Tensions mount as her life takes an unexpected turn, and she makes a discovery which threatens her safety.
Truths emerge as Scott has to face up to his own issues. There are confessions he needs to make to Emily if their friendship is to become true love, confessions which will leave him vulnerable and, if made public, would damage his career as a surgeon.
As the facts come out, Emily and Scott become entangled in each other in a search for commitment and a future together.

breakdown

Author: Chris Haigh
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure;  BDSM: light; Kink: mild
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 8th, 2016
Source & Format: Author–eARC

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thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading London With Love at 30%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

As someone who enjoys suspense movies and loves romance novels, I rarely read romantic suspense. I’m not sure why, I guess I just gravitate more towards romantic dramas instead.

So when I was asked if I was interested in reading London With Love, I wanted to give it a chance. It sounded promising with two characters holding two life-impacting secrets and I couldn’t wait to uncover those.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

I really don’t read enough novels set in London, England. Especially now that I’ve visited there and can picture the scene so much easier. I also love British slang and so I enjoyed that aspect of the writing as well.

–The Premise–

When I stopped reading, I could see that there was potential for this story. While it hadn’t gotten to the suspenseful part yet, I was starting to see where the story was going.

I also like stories with darker vibes and this one was giving them to me. These two have interesting pasts that aren’t so happy and it was obvious what those effects had on their psyche.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Plot Moved Very Slow–

I was at 30% and I could count on one hand the number of times Scott and Emily had interacted with each other. In other words, this is the very definition of a slow burn romance and it just wasn’t grabbing my attention.

I did like the darker premise a lot but it just took a little too long for that element to come into play. I feel like everything would have come to light in the next chapter or two but my interest just wasn’t there.

–The 3rd Person Narration–

This is the biggest reason why I DNF’d this book when I did: I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening.

I’m not sure if it was the third person narration or the writing itself, but I was struggling to visualize what what I was reading and that dampened my reading experience. I think part of it is just my inexperience reading third person POV suspense novels as well (I would say 90% of the books I read are first person).

Will I Finish It?

While I am curious to see how these two handle their secrets so I might try this one again next year.

My Rating: DNF

overall

If you enjoy romantic suspense novels and the slow burn romance that often accompanies them, this is a great novel for you!

Read if You Like: slow burn, romantic suspense
Avoid if You: want more romance
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DNF Series Review: Heroes by Roo I MacLeod

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

Heroes Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for No More Heroes (from Goodreads):

On the crime ridden streets of Old London Town the law has been subcontracted and justice awarded to the highest bidder. But from the dark depths of despair and chaos, a hero is born.

A murder on the streets of Ostere isn’t headline news
A vagrant running from conscription is common place
But this vagrant was witnessed fighting with the deceased
So now the police want a word
As do the killers
Ben Jackman, 20 year old vagrant by day, hunter of road kill by night, isn’t the man to take the fall
Proving his innocence is obvious
Finding the killer is crucial
But Ben needs a gun, a big gun with lots of bullets, because the seedy streets of Ostere have a new breed of criminal and they aren’t looking to take prisoners

breakdown

Series: Heroes
Author: Roo I MacLeod
# of Books: 2 (No More Heroes, Heroes Don’t Travel)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Suspense, Crime
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 2016 – February 2017
Source & Format: Author–eARC  |  Thank you Roo I MacLeod!

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thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading No More Heroes at 10% (start of Chapter 6). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Roo contacted me to see if I was interested in reading his book, I was willing to give it a shot. It was something I wouldn’t have picked for myself but I was intrigued by the dark and gritty feels I was getting from the synopsis and cover. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I was curious to see how everything would unfold.

What I Liked:

–The World Vibes–

While I was reading this, I got all sorts of vibes from other novels as well as movies. The scorned, chip on his shoulder lead reminded me of Sam Spade from the classic, The Maltese Falcon. And the setting itself reminded me of the worlds of Judge Dredd and Sin City–dark, desolate and gritty. AKA, places I would never want to be on my own…or ever. It was amazing how quickly I created the world in my mind.

Image result for sin city gif

What I Didn’t Like:

–Too Many Characters–

I just got a little lost in who everyone was while I was reading. They all had uncommon, nickname like names that I couldn’t keep straight. Add to that the street name and areas that also sounded like people…I got confused pretty early. I’m sure if I kept reading, it would have sorted itself out in time but I just felt overwhelmed.

–It Really Wasn’t my Cup of Tea–

MacLeod has an interesting writing style. I’m not sure how to describe it. I found that the narrator jumped a little all over the place and so I got lost in what was actually happening vs what was in the past etc.

I’m not really one to read crime stories, I prefer to watch them, and I think this book reaffirmed that I’m not as ready as I thought to leave the safety net of New Adult and Young Adult fiction.

Will I Finish It?

I stopped reading right when the main plot starts to unfold and while I’m curious to see how it all plays out, this story just couldn’t keep my attention.

My Rating: DNF

overall

If you like crime novels and/or stories with a unique writing style, this is a great novel for you to check out!

Read if You Like: crime noir, unique writing style
Avoid if You: don’t like adult crime novels

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Single Sundays: Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

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 Escape from Witchwood Hollow (from Goodreads):
Everyone in Arnn – a small farming town with more legends than residents – knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.

After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.

Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.

To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.

How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?

breakdown

Author: Jordan Elizabeth
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy, Magic, Witches, Suspense
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 29, 2014
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Jordan Elizabeth!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t usually enjoy witch-based stories, though there have been notable exceptions in the past. But what intrigued me about Escape from Witchwood Hollow was the mystery of Witchwood. Who is the witch? What is her hold on the town of Arnn? What happened in the past?

The Concept:

One of my favourite aspects of this story is the flashbacks to the past. I love layers to my story, and by alternating POVs that’s exactly what happens. It was fun trying to take everything in and put it all together to figure out what is happening in Arnn.

The Plot:

Despite the alternating POVs keeping the plot moving, I did find the book to be terribly slow at the start. Not a lot is happening besides Honoria trying to learn about her new school and town. Which is why I appreciated the other POVs because it gave me something to be interested in while building the story.

And once everything comes together and the mystery comes to light, this book is great. I love when I can’t really figure out the plot until the big reveal and that’s what happened in this book.

The Characters:

I feel like the characters take a bit of a backseat because the forest is really the focus of this story. While I felt like these characters are developed enough to contribute to the story, I didn’t become particularly attached to any of them.

Honoria was a bit of a dud but I warmed up to her as the story continued.

The Romance:

There really isn’t a romance in this story! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a YA novel where romance isn’t a main focus of the story so I enjoyed the break!

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really liked how everything came together in this story. The slower pace of this novel isn’t my preferred style but this book was a refreshing Young Adult Fantasy nonetheless!

Read if You Like: slower paced stories; lack romance; mystery
Avoid if You: want romance, dislike slower stories

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Single Sundays: Kiss a Stranger by R J Lewis

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Kiss a Stranger (from Goodreads):
I loved him.
I loathed him.

I knew he had secrets.
I knew he had darkness in him.

And yet I took all of him. Accepted all his ugly the way he embraced all of mine.

But sometimes loving someone isn’t enough. Sometimes it breaks you apart and moulds you into somebody else entirely.

And sometimes the person you loved the most can be the one to hurt you worst of all.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav New Adult Standalone 2015
Author: R J Lewis
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Dark
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: July 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kindle)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found this book when I was browsing the bestsellers on Kindle one day and the price was totally right (I paid $1 I think). I liked the mystery behind the synopsis–it sounded like a good dark New Adult story with some good twists. I don’t read a lot of NA suspense but this one seemed like it had some promise.

The Plot:

The plot of this book really surprised me! I didn’t really know it was going to be a suspense novel until I actually started to read it. I liked that it was part mystery (what happened to Claire?; who really is Ben?) and part suspense plot line (what is Claire going to do about what she has learned?). I was really surprised with the suspense direction and that is what hooked me into this book. I really had no idea how it was going to end and that really motivated me to keep reading.

There was also a great balance with the romance and the character development as well.

The Characters:

I did not like Claire in the first chapter, but that’s the point. This story is about her growth as a person and she does have some great character development as you read. I started to sympathize with her situation and definitely understood why she makes the choices she makes.

Ben was perhaps a little too alpha male for my personal tastes BUT, I did enjoy his enigma of a character. He was mysterious enough to keep you reading but not so mysterious that I felt like he was underdeveloped. It really worked well I think.

The Romance:

I’m slightly torn about the romance and how its presented. On a personal note, I wanted to see more of a connection between these two. But at the same time, the story is “Kiss a Stranger” and so I understand that things are going to happen fast and be a little superficial.  I think it really worked for the suspense of the plot to have the romance as it was. And so, in the end, I suppose I really didn’t mind how it came about even if I wanted a little more between these two.

My Rating: 4.5/5

This is definitely an inflated rating. It’s definitely a solid 4 but I really liked how the plot progressed and so it gets bonus points!

overall

This book kept me guessing and really surprised me with its delivery. If you want to try a darker New Adult or try a NA suspense novel for the first time, this is a great introductory book to start with!

Read if You Like: suspenseful stories, character growth
Avoid if You: don’t like fast romances, darker stories

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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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