Tag «suspense»

Series Review: Love Inc by Ella James

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 Selling Scarlett (from Goodreads):
Elizabeth DeVille doesn’t belong at a party like this – one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter’s den of vices, she’s a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn’t have, and she’s come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth – code-named Scarlett – to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life

Series: Love Inc.
Author: Ella James
# of Books: 3 (Selling Scarlett, Taming Cross, Unmaking Marchant)

The story in Unmaking Marchant finishes in the series finale novella, Something Blue.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Suspense, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot (Selling Scarlett, Unmaking Marchant); warm (Taming Cross, Something Blue)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2013 – February 2014
Source & Format: Kindle & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

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

Selling Scarlett was a freebie that I found on Amazon and immediately had to read. The synopsis just sounded so interesting that I put it on my next read list.

I ended up reading it very quickly. There was a lot of suspense to the novel and it really drove the multiple plot lines forward. That was one thing I really liked about this book was that there was a lot going on. It wasn’t overwhelming but it made sure there was never a dull moment and it made reading this book a breeze. The book does share both Scarlett and Hunter’s POV and I think that really added to the plot progression as well.

Another thing I liked about this book was it had a grittier feel to it. I haven’t read a lot of books that focus on prostitution and brothels in the New Adult genre so that was refreshing for me. It added that extra layer of intrigue as I was reading so I really appreciated that.

The book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but when I finished I didn’t mind that much. I had hoped for more of a romance story with a minor subplot going on in the background when I read the synopsis. I love stories about reformed bad boys meeting the right girl and fixing their ways but that wasn’t the focus of this book. The book (at least to me) dealt more with the “secret” that could cost Scarlett her life than their romance. Which turned out to be fine in the end because I liked where the plot went, but just don’t go into this book thinking it is purely a romance novel. Hunter and Scarlett didn’t build up that great of an emotional romantic connection for me but they do share some steamy moments and that satisfied the romantic in me for the most part.

updates

–September 3, 2016– Book #2: Taming Cross

When I started Taming Cross, it had nearly been 3 years since I read Selling Scarlett. Luckily, I had the key plot points written down so I had a vague idea of what was happening–though it took me a while to orient myself.

The vibe in this story is very different from its predecessor. This definitely was more of an action-suspense novel that didn’t hold back on the physical fights and violence. So I found that the story moved fast because the characters themselves were moving fast.

I wish the romance was elaborated on more; especially given the circumstances. It made the ending a little rushed I felt.

As for the writing itself, I found it to be a little choppy at times. It made it hard to follow the sequence of events during the action scenes, and I would reread paragraphs to make sure I was reading everything correctly. But when I returned to those paragraphs, I discovered that it wasn’t as clear as it should be or was missing that one key line. There are some scenes that remain a bit of a mystery to me but I didn’t let that dampen my experience too much.

–September 4, 2016– Book #3: Unmaking Marchant

I thought this story was super sweet in an unexpected way. I really grew to like these two together and enjoy their relationship. It’s definitely the most romance focused novel in the series.

There isn’t too much to the plot but it does have its suspenseful moments–both physically as well as in the secrets these characters are keeping.

And everything was great until it ended abruptly and I found out that the novella, Something Blue finishes not only Marchant’s story but Cross and Lizzy’s as well.

–September 4, 2016– Book #3.5: Something Blue

Despite the fact that I found this unnecessary (really, these 30 pages could have been added to Unmaking Marchant), I did like the closure it provided for these characters. More so in Taming Cross and Unmaking Marchant, I felt like things were left hanging–major plot points that needed that little bit of work to say “finished”–but I get that here. You definitely need to read this book if you read the series all the way through!

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Selling Scarlet 4/5 | Taming Cross 3/5 | Unmaking Marchant 3.5/5  |  [Something Blue 3/5]

overall

I was really entertained by this series. It sucked me in and it was a pleasant surprise for me. While I was a little disappointed in the “lack” of romance, the plot is something I rarely encounter in my reads so but be satisfied with the story overall (if that makes sense).

Read if You Like: suspense, stories about the crime and/or brothels
Avoid if You: want erotica, want a romance focused story

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Series Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

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

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray | Spellcaster Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Spellcaster (from Goodreads):
When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed – and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Surprise Reads of 2013
Series: Spellcaster Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (Spellcaster, Steadfast, Sorceress)

There is also a prequel novella, The First Midnight Spell — see note below

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: March 2013 – March 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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.**

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

Witches are not normally my “thing” when it comes to reading. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never enjoyed witch books as much as I should. The only exception being Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, one of my all time favourite series. However, I did like the CW TV Series “The Secret Circle” (based on books of the same name) and this book was pitched for fans of that so I decided to give it a shot. I also enjoyed Gray’s Evernight Series and like her style so I decided to pick this book up.

My Review:

I’m glad I did. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a young adult book (but that could also be because of my hectic school schedule cutting out my reading time and/or only reading short, freebies from Kindle ;)) and once I got into this one, it was hard to put it down.

I think one thing that I liked about this book was the writing style Gray uses. One is that it was very mature. Nadia and group are very grown-up for high school students and I really appreciated it. They weren’t focused on who was dating who (though it does come up of course) but the main point is that it wasn’t the ONLY plot of the book–more on that later. They were all very smart and I really liked all the characters we meet. Another thing I really liked was the third person POV and how it switched between multiple people. I like books like this because you get more plot development and you get a better understanding of the characters. I think it worked really well for this book and I’m glad this was the route Claudia Gray took when writing it.

The plot development in this was great. I like how it unfolded as you read it but there were still a few twists that really add to the story. As I said before, it isn’t primarily a romance novel but there is that element. It is more a mystery/suspense plot that keeps you hooked. I don’t want to dive into it, but the plot really builds as you read.

The series reminded me a lot of Beautiful Creatures in it’s delivery (they have similar starts I think with the main characters) but there is enough in this book to make it unique and different. It will do a good job of filling the void Beautiful Creatures left after the final book was published 🙁

The Novella:

Although The First Midnight Spell is listed as a “prequel” novella, I wouldn’t read it until after you read Spellcaster because it will have some spoilers. While it isn’t necessary to read it for the rest of the series, it does shed some light on a particular character and helps explain why things are the way they are in Captive Sound.

updates

–May 12, 2014– Book #2: Steadfast

When my eReader died in March, the book I was reading was Steadfast and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish it just as I really got into the story. So after a few months of waiting, I finally got my hands on a copy.

Steadfast was a great follow-up to Spellcaster. It has the exact same formula that made the first book so enjoyable and addicting. Again, lots of twists and turns throughout the plot so I never found it to be predictable. One thing I really enjoyed was that we got to see more about Verlaine and to be honest it was her story that really drew me in this time around. I’m really excited to see how everything wraps up in the next and final novel of the series.

–March 25, 2015– Book #3: Sorceress

I was first on my library’s list to get Sorceress when it was released but because of school, I wasn’t able to read it for a few weeks. I’m not sure if it was because I was in a rush to finish it before my download expired or if it is because its been a year since I read Steadfast but I just didn’t get into it. I think I was expecting more instant drama/action based on how Steadfast ends so I felt like Sorceress took a long time to build up to what should have been there from the start (in my opinion). Just past the halfway point was where things started to pick up but by then I was a little bored. Overall though I thought it was a solid way to end the series and I liked the way things progressed eventually. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that my current mood really influenced my reading. (So while I gave it a 3/5 on GoodReads, it’s more of a 3.5/5 because I think fans of the series will be satisfied).

Series Rating: 4/5

Spellcaster 4/5 | Steadfast 4/5 | Sorceress 3/5

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If you like witches and magic with a dash of romance, pick this up!

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Fresh Fridays: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin (Low Red Moon Series)

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:

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin | Low Red Moon Series


Other books in the series:

Series: Low Red Moon
Author: Ivy Devlin
# of Books: 2 (Low Red Moon, Moonrise)
Complete?: No, Moonrise will be released January 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

This is one of those books that gets my special “judged by cover” tag on my Goodreads account because truthfully, the only reason I randomly grabbed this book off the shelf was the shiny red cover. Of course, I then read the plot and it seemed interesting enough for me to pick up.

I’m glad I did because I really liked this book. It was part mystery and part romance and I think Devlin does a great job of blending the two together. When it comes to the mystery, I was sucked in. It was suspenseful and I liked trying to figure it all out as I went along. It was a darker read but nothing that would scare you to stay up all night; it just felt like it wasn’t afraid to get nitty-gritty in the details which I really liked.

And when it wasn’t the mystery of Avery’s parents, it was the mystery of Ben and the excitement of their romance that drove me further into the book. I have to say that their romantic moments were steamier than most young adult scenes and that added another depth to the story. I think it is pretty obvious that this book never really seemed to have a dull moment and that is what really impressed me.

As for the werewolf aspect to the story, it wasn’t anything overbearing which I appreciated. Werewolves aren’t really my thing so I tend not to enjoy books about them. But I find you have enough to think about with the murder and the romance that it isn’t a book that focuses specifically on werewolves–it takes a bit of a backseat but it definitely adds to the story in a good way.

When I first read the book (back when it was first published in 2010) there hadn’t been a plan or announcement for a sequel so I was left really disappointed in how the book ended. While we do learn the truth behind Avery’s parents’ murder, I just felt like so many things were left unanswered between Avery and Ben and the town as a whole and I would have liked more closure if Low Red Moon was going to be a stand-alone novel. But luckily for me, it isn’t and I’m really excited to see where this sequel, Moonrise, will go because it has been long overdue!

Conclusion:

A refreshing read for those who enjoy Young Adult novels. It has a great blend of mystery, romance and paranormal activities so there is never a dull moment! Plus, it makes for a very quick read!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade, #1)

Synopsis for Low Red Moon (from Goodreads):
The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can’t, and there’s nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she’s ever experienced. When Ben reveals he’s a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she’s not the only one who can’t remember the night her parents died. Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans.