Tag «tear jerker»

Blog Tour: Drumline by Stacey Kestwick

Synopsis for Drumline (from Goodreads):

Traditions are important. Especially in the South.
College football. Rivalries. Tailgating. Halftime shows.
Some things just don’t change.

Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullshit attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.

It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk. She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it.
She expects there to be tension. Even friction.
But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.

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Author: Stacey Kestwick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Source & Format: Audiobookworm Promotions–Audiobook via Audible

Add: Goodreads | Buy: AudibleAmazon / iBooks

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I read about 39 audiobooks but none of them were a straight-up romance novel. The whole idea of a romance novel as an audiobook scared me. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the sexy times being described aloud to me (even though I have no problem reading them on paper). But there are so many great novels out there and I felt like I was really limiting myself by not reading romances as audiobooks.

When I read the description for Drumline, I knew it would be the perfect book to introduce me to the world of audiobook romance reads. The premise was fun and unique and I knew there would be fantastic tension between the leads. I couldn’t wait to start it!

The Plot:

The plot for this story really surprised me in a great way. I thought most of this novel would be about Reese fighting for her spot on the team while fighting her attraction to Laird. But it has a much deeper and more heartfelt storyline than I anticipated.

It takes awhile to uncover this deeper story though. The first half of the novel focuses mostly on the tryouts for the team and the chemistry that is constantly brewing between Reese and Laird. But the second half of the novel is really where these characters shine and the great development of the romance and the characters take place.

The Characters:

I really liked Reese as a heroine. She’s determined to succeed and she has the brains to do it. I loved her independence and drive to earn her spot and never back-down. I admired that about her a lot. She’s a well rounded character.

Laird is also a great character. I wasn’t sure at first what he would be like but he really impressed me as the story progressed and we uncover more about him. He has a kind heart and he too is also very driven and determined to succeed.

All the secondary characters are fabulous as well. Eli stole my heart from the moment we met him and Smith was a great “robin” to Reese’s “batman”.

The Romance:

For the first half of the book, the connection between Reese and Laird is pretty superficial and understandably so. They don’t know each other very well given the circumstances but they have this palpable chemistry whenever they are in the same room together. It isn’t until the second half of the novel that the deeper, emotional connection starts to thrive and their relationship becomes something more than just physical.

My Audiobook Experience:

This was a fantastic choice for my first romance audiobook! The narration by Tracey Marks and Stephen Dexter was great. I loved the accents each character had; that definitely brought the setting of Alabama to life for me as well as reminding me that Reese wasn’t from there. And they definitely captured the chemistry these two had in every scene. I thought they did a great job! I mean, they made me cry which is always a good thing when it comes to performance!

My Rating: 4/5

overall
I laughed, I cried and I loved every minute of this book! It surprised me in the best way with its story and characters.

Read if You Like: new adult romance, heartwarming stories
Avoid if You: don’t like sexy times/language

similarreads

  • Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken (Wingmen Inc Series #1)
  • Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  • Like a Memory by Abbi Glines (Sea Breeze Meets Rosemary Beach Series #2)

 


Stacey Kestwick

USA Today bestseller Stacy Kestwick is a Southern girl who firmly believes mornings should be outlawed. Her perfect day would include puppies, carbohydrates, and lounging on a hammock with a good book. No adulting, cleaning, or bacon allowed.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

Tracey Marks (Narrator)

Tracy Marks has been acting onstage and onscreen since she was 12, and has been narrating audiobooks for 4 years. She lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and adorable dog, and considers herself very lucky to have an excuse to stay indoors in her toasty little booth during the cold winter months. Bringing heart, heat, vulnerability, and humor to her work, she has a passion for bringing love stories to life.

Narrator Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Stephen Dexter (Narrator)

Stephen always wanted to be an audiobook narrator. As someone who never liked the whole “reading silently” thing, and has had a lifelong penchant for performing and flair for the dramatic, it was inevitable that he would be doing this for a living. With dozens of titles to his credit, a majority of them steamy romance novels, he has had the pleasure of voicing characters from the Great Plains of Texas, the bayous of Louisiana, the streets of South Boston, the dungeons of a vampire’s castle, the deserts of Mars, and everything in between. It has been an honor to bring such amazing stories by Penny Reid (Marriage Of Inconvenience), Krista & Becca Ritchie (Hothouse Flower), Lex Martin (Shameless), Mia Sheridan (Kyland), and so many more incredibly talented authors, to life. Be sure to check him out on social media, Audible.com, ACX.com, and at www.stephendexter.com. SAG-AFTRA/AEA. Happy listening!

Narrator Links: Website | Facebook

 

Drumline Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card

Open internationally!

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Spin-off Saturdays: Kick, Push by Jay McLean

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 Kick, Push (from Goodreads):
There’s a single defining moment within every skater.
It lasts only a second. Two if you’re good.
Three if you’re really good.
It’s the moment you’re in the air, your board somewhere
beneath you, and nothing but wind surrounds you.
It’s the feeling of being airborne.

The sixteen-year-old version of me would’ve said it was the
greatest feeling in the world.
Then at seventeen, I had my son.
And every single second became a defining moment. Even the ones that consisted of heartbreak when his mother left us.

Seventeen. Single. Dad.
That’s what my life became.
Yet, every day, I managed to find that feeling of being
airborne.
Or at least I convinced myself I did.
But I lied—to myself and to everyone around me.
Until she showed up; Tanned skin, raven dark hair, and eyes the color of emeralds.

You know what sucks about being in the air?
Coming down from the high.
Sometimes you land on the board and nail the trick.
Then kick, push, and coast away.
Other times you fall.
You fall hard.
And those are the times when it’s not as easy to get back up, dust off your pads and try again.
Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Kick, Push — or Road

There is a prequel novel about two side characters called Where the Road Takes Me. Together, all 3 novels make up the Road Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 2 (Kick, Push; Coast)

See above note regarding Where the Road Takes Me

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – June 2016
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC (Kick, Push); Kindle Unlimited (Coast)

disclaimer

(Note: I only received a copy of Kick, Push for review. I read Coast via Kindle Unlimited)

Note: Where the Road Takes Me will be reviewed separately.

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw Kick, Push on the list of upcoming New Adult Club Read It Review It titles, I was excited! I’ve really enjoyed Jay McLean’s work in the past for its addicting quality. While reading the More Than Series, I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I swooned–basically all the feels you can possibly feel while reading a book and I love that.

What really stood out to me about this book was the premise of a single dad. I don’t read a lot of single parent novels but when I do, they are mostly second chance stories where the mom has raised the baby without the dad knowing and they reunite–or something of that tone. But most of the time they are single moms; which is great but what about all the single dads out there? Plus, I’ve never really read a story about a skateboarder before.

The Concept:

While I don’t think any parent should abandon their child, I feel like women who do get a lot of flack compared to men who do. Maybe society is just more comfortable with the man leaving than the person who carried the child, I’m not sure. However, I don’t like this stigma that all women are expected to be instinctively maternal. So I was worried that this series would relay that stigma throughout its narrative. But I am happy to say that I never really felt like the book took that approach. While you will likely side with Josh once you know the whole story, I didn’t feel like it shamed or glorified the situation in any way and I truly appreciated that.

The Plot:

The story is just as much about Josh as it is Becca and I really enjoyed that. Both have so much growth and depths to their characters that I liked the balancing act between their stories as you read. The mashing of romance, character development and drama make this an addicting series to read.

And like Jay McLean’s other novels, there are just enough twists along the way to keep things interesting and exciting. I didn’t expect this story to go the way it did and I loved it!

The Characters:

Josh is an absolute sweetheart so it doesn’t take much for you to root for him. His heart is in the right place and I loved reading his story.

Becca, wow, what a story she has. It’s heartbreaking and she’s so sweet that it causes you to shed a few tears on her behalf.

Everyone else was great as well. I found the supporting characters did their job to a T and added a depth to the story that makes it so much more enjoyable.

The Romance:

When I first read the synopsis and started the book, I was confused about the line:

“Especially when the girl with the emerald eyes becomes your drug…
And you become her poison.”

Everything starts so sweet and light that when the shit hits the fan, it becomes a huge mess. So the romance definitely leans to towards the darker side of love BUT, I love how it is elaborated on and becomes an integral part of the story. It isn’t there for shock value–it’s there because it is a part of their story and it adds to the depth of who these characters are as people.

Series Rating: 5/5

Kick, Push 5/5 | Coast 5/5

overall

If you want a book series that will make you feel every emotion, look no further my friends!

Read if You Like: New Adult romances, darker romance
Avoid if You: want a lighter, happier story, don’t want to cry

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Meme-ful Musings: Character Deaths

memefulmoments
Meme-ful Musings: At the end of the month I’ll post a book-related meme that I think brings up an interesting discussion about books. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


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(Meme from: https://www.pinterest.com/goosenavarre/great-books-that-might-have-made-me-cry/)

For some people this may be an embarrassing subject and they refuse to talk about it. I know that it is for me because I am definitely one of those people who cry over fictional characters. Whether they are on TV or in books it doesn’t matter: I will cry over their death if they are one of my favourite characters.

I’m going to keep this post as spoiler free as possible but some comments I might make may insinuate spoilers. So if you want to read the following book series (Beautiful Creatures, Firelight, The Infernal Devices, Mortal Instruments, Nightshade and Vampire Academy) without any spoilers/insinuations, I suggest you vote in my poll and then skip down to the bottom to leave a comment 😉

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Crying/tearing up from characters was something that started during my anime phase as a teen. I can still remember this one episode where one of my all-time favourite characters unexpectedly died and I just sat there in disbelief. The same thing happened in another series–and to this very day I refuse to believe that he is actually dead.

When it comes to books I find it noteworthy when a book makes me cry: whether it is through character death or another circumstance (I admit that some romance novels make me cry That’s one too many embarrassing admissions for the day). Not that it really takes much to make me teary (I sometimes cry over minor character’s deaths) but some books are able to elicit tears from me while other’s do not and that influences my ratings/review.

Vampire Academy’s Shadow Kiss is the first time I remember really being truly upset over a character’s death. I had been reading the books non-stop over March Break and quickly became attached to the characters. So when this unexpected plot twist came along and BAM!–the water works began. I didn’t even know how to fathom what was going to happen next! The worst part was that I didn’t have the 4th book at my disposal to read so I had to wait two days (I know that is nothing compared to the months others had to wait for the next book because I was in the same boat for the next two books) before I could make it to the library to pick it up! Actually, no, the worst part was trying to hide my tears from my mom who walked into the room just as I was reading the ill-fated chapter: talk about embarrassing!

Luckily, I had better luck company wise when I was reading Beautiful Creature‘s Beautiful Chaos: my roommates had left for the weekend so I was alone. I was literally sobbing when I was reading this book and the crazy part was I knew it couldn’t possibly be true but it still broke my heart to read about.

And while I was definitely attached to the characters in those two series, I have never been more attached to characters than I have with the Infernal Devices/Mortal Instruments. These books always cause a bucket of emotions to run through me but what always surprises me is how I never knew how attached I was to a particular character until they are no longer with us.

That is the same with some other series as well. Even when I wasn’t totally loving the story, a certain character’s death can change everything. While the fan in me doesn’t often appreciate it, the literary critic in me can understand the greater purpose of a character’s death. There is no denying that sometimes a certain character’s death can push the series in the direction it needs to go plot-wise (take for example Legend and the death of June’s brother right at the start of the novel). Other times though, I think it is just simply for shock factor and solves no other purpose than ending a love triangle in a more definitive way **coughNightshade/Firelightcough**.

Regardless, character deaths are inevitable–it’s just how we react to them that can vary. Thanks for reading!

So, do you cry when fictional characters die? Do they have to be a major character or a part of a longer series for you to shed a tear? Does it depend on the circumstance?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Single Sundays: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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 November 9 (from Goodreads):
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Most Read Author 2015, Favourite Author, Fav Standalone 2015
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Humour
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Paperback

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that Colleen Hoover is one of my new favourite authors. I devoured her books within a month of discovering her works in the spring of 2015 and had to wait until NOVEMBER to read this one! Slightly torturous but was it worth it?

The Concept:

When I first read this premise, I thought, “Isn’t this what that Anne Hathaway movie based on a book is about?” I will admit I don’t know the first thing about the book One Day or its movie other than that it follows two people on the same day of the year for so many years and people didn’t like Anne Hathaway’s accent. Ironically, this book also alludes to the fact that these stories are similar with the characters. But based on the way they go about it, both sound like they have their unique execution.

The Plot:

It’s an interesting premise for sure and for the most part it worked. I have some mixed feelings on it because I don’t really like insta-love stories and this one sorta starts like that. However, given the synopsis of the novel I expected that and so I knew what mindset to go into the novel with: caution.

The first few “chapters” were slow to me but  when I picked it up the next day, I finished the rest of the book in one sitting. There was just something about this story and the characters that sucked me in. I got so invested in figuring out their pasts and what happened in the other 364 days a year we didn’t see them that I just couldn’t put the book down. Everything just builds and then falls apart in the most fantastic way that it really becomes addicting to read.

The Characters:

I loved both Ben and Fallon for very different reasons. When it comes to Ben, I just loved how he empowered Fallon to see herself in a new light. He didn’t give her false praise or make her stronger because she was with him; he let her do that on her own by giving her a nudge in the right direction. He doesn’t force Fallon to be dependent on him and that was really important for me. He was also really funny and charming and he won me over in a matter of seconds.

As for Fallon, I loved watching her grow into the person she was always meant to be. I will admit, I didn’t love her scorned attitude when we first meet her but I definitely understood where it was coming from and so I didn’t mind too much. But once she starts living her life and not hiding, I really enjoyed watching her character develop. I might not agreed with all her decisions but I felt like I knew her character well enough to see why she did what she did. Plus, I found her to be funny, agreed with her views on books and loved her banter with Ben.

The Romance:

I was worried when I first started because this book just SCREAMED insta-love! Yet, I quickly found myself on board with it in a matter of a few pages.

Despite their brief meetings, I really understood why these two would work if they actually had met and dated in a real world situation. They brought out the best in each other and I loved the idea that their love helped them develop into the individual people they needed to be. It was refreshing to read about a couple who could love each other for who they are and not who they want them to be. Plus, I loved that it didn’t focus on all the “sexy” times it you know what I mean 😉 It sticks to the relationship and I will be the first to admit I definitely shed a tear or two over their story.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

If you’re a fan of Colleen Hoover, this one will not disappoint! But if you aren’t or are new to her work, I’m not sure if this one is the one to win you over. It’s definitely good but if you can’t get over the “insta-love” premise, it would be a hard one to get over.

Read if You Like: New Adult coming of age, flawed characters growing up
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, dislike New Adult

similarreads

  • One Day by David Nicholls
  • Kiss a Stranger by R S Lewis
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

 

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Single Sundays: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

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 Forbidden (from Goodreads):
She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But… they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite 2015
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dark, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 27, 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had heard about this book years ago but never picked it up. I was really hesitant to pick is up because of one word: incest. It’s a word that is reserved for taboo erotica novels (though those are mostly pseudo-incest where the people involved aren’t actually related but are “step-etc”) or ancient, royal blood lines who wanted to keep their bloodline “pure”. As a scientist, I’ve discussed the ramifications of breeding with close relatives (ie you don’t get “pure” blood lines as an outcome) but otherwise, it’s not a topic I really want to read or discuss at the end of the day.

However, many of my Goodreads friends/people I follow have given this book 5/5 so call me curious. When it comes to books, I feel like I am a much more open reader now than I was years ago. Since starting my blog my attitude is more of “I’ll try anything once” and so I decided to bite the bullet and put this one on hold at my library.

WOW. Am I ever glad that I did!

The Concept:

If you had asked me before I started this book whether or not I would have fallen in love with Lochan and Maya’s story I would have told you “NO”. Even going in with an open mind like I did, I still had my reservations. But it wasn’t long before those reservations were shattered to pieces.

I mean, positively-blown-out-of-this-galaxy, shattered.

The way Tabitha Suzuma has written this is absolutely heart-wrenching, beautiful and gripping–things I never thought possible given this “taboo” topic.  It’s done in such a classy, objective way that it doesn’t take you long to sympathize and root for Lochan and Maya. It focuses on the love between the two people and not just a physical desire (like I’m sure the freebie taboo erotica novels do). It’s probably the ultimate “forbidden romance” situation and I love how it explores that ideal within the book. It brings such a realistic edge to this story that easily wins its readers over.

The Plot:

I didn’t really expect the focus on Lochan and Maya’s homelife to be so emphasized at the start but I’m really glad it is. It really helps establish who they are as characters and why they find themselves in the situations they are in. It makes me see how this consensual relationship between siblings could happen–whether that is right or wrong is a moral dilemma that may never have an answer–but I suppose it helped me understand these characters in a way that allowed me to continue reading their story. It made me want to get to know them and see how they handle all the problems in their way.

The plot is a great balance between the romance and the coming of age aspect. It’s just beautifully crafted and if I wasn’t reading this at work, I would have shed tears.

The Characters:

I loved the depths to these characters. Lochan and Maya were such interesting characters all things aside and I loved watching them develop as individuals. The rest of their family were also intriguing and do a great job supporting the story and the leads. They are complicated people in a complicated situation and I loved the way it was all portrayed.

The Romance:

The romance was as equally cringe-worthy as it was romantic. Watching the love between these two made it so easy to forget they were blood related–and I often did until I forced myself to remember. I was rooting for them the entire way, hoping for some crazy twist where you find out that they aren’t really related at all and they can live happily ever after together. Because, at the end of the day, if you take away the fact that they are related, their romance is the type I love to see with my romantic leads in a contemporary romance: an emotional connection that pulls people together and is reaffirmed by physical chemistry. They are such a great pair together.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book blew me away! I should have known that consistent 5 star reviews from all my Goodreads friends means a great book! But I think if you can’t get past the idea of incest, you won’t enjoy this book at all! You need to read this book with an open mind and explore the fiction of the story. It doesn’t mean you have to change your views on incest and everything associated with it; I just like that it explores a side of a relationship that people might not think about.

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, emotional gripping novels, dark contemporary
Avoid if You: don’t like taboo topics

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Series Review: The Field Party by Abbi Glines

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

The Field Party Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Until Friday Night (from Goodreads):
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author; Most Read Author 2015
Series: The Field Party
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 4 (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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**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:

Abbi Glines is my most read author according to Goodreads–so I think it is apparent that any books she publishes, I’ll probably be reading it even if I’m skeptical.

You see, I don’t tend to enjoy books set in the Southern part of the USA. I find the drama is a little too…dramatic for me. It’s a little over the top and seems to bring out the worst in some characters. Of course, there are exceptions. Beautiful Creatures is one of my all time favourite series and it is a TOTAL Southern novel–but oh so good. Oh, and anything Abbi Glines writes seems to work for me…though maybe not The Vincent Boys.

From reading her various posts, I know that Abbi was really excited to start this series and it is something that is really close to her heart. Needless to say, I was excited to see what Abbi Glines would bring with this series…

What I Liked:

–The Romance–

Lately, I’ve been droning on and on about characters lacking an emotional connection when it comes to romance. This one did NOT have that problem!

I really loved watching West and Maggie develop that friendship first. I love romances where the characters support each other and work as partners to move through a difficult time. Sure, everything happens really fast in this novel but that is just part of the circumstances. It didn’t bother me that their relationship was fast-tracked because I could see why it was forming and how well they worked together.

OMG, you do not know how happy I was when Maggie clearly stated that their relationship was starting to become unhealthy! I’m all for the idea that love heals but I’m also a firm believer that it isn’t the only thing that can save a person. So I really appreciated the maturity Maggie showed by looking at their relationship and stating that it was heading into a place she didn’t like. She scored major points with me after that!

–The Plot–

I thought there was a great balance between the romance and the main plot line which is dealing with grief/family tragedy. The romance wasn’t all consuming but always had that underlying tension to keep it developing. It complimented the character progression well I think.

And if you’re worried this book is only going to focus on football, rest assured that it plays a very minor role in this story. It’s more of a connecting factor for West and the rest of the characters.

We also get introduced enough to the other characters who I assume are going to get their own books later. Not a ton to make me wish I was reading their book instead of West’s and Maggie’s but enough to get me excited for their stories once they are released.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Maggie’s Character Development–

I really feel like it was lacking for Maggie in this book. Looking back at the synopsis, I can see why the novel focused more on West because he really has the main, ongoing story unfolding. However, Maggie is a full POV character and I wish her situation was addressed more than it was. If the story was only told from West’s POV I would have been satisfied with her growth but I felt like more could have been done with her.

–Rushed Ending–

I know that some things were left dangling for the rest of the series but I felt like West and Maggie’s story could have used an extra 30 pages or so. Some things were wrapped up wayyyy to easily for my liking and others were just left out in the open. This was really the only time I felt like the plot focus was on the wrong aspect the entire time I was reading. I’m sure some of those things are going to be addressed in the next book but I kinda wanted a resolution to their story within their story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I’m curious to learn more about the rest of the characters and get some of my questions answered about those dangling bits.

updates

–March 19, 2017– Book #2: Under the Lights

Ok, I was really scared to read this when I read the synopsis. I detest love triangles in my stories; particularly in my YA because I can’t take all the petty back and forth drama. And I didn’t really enjoy The Vincent Boys which focuses on a girl torn between two BFFs…the same concept here.

But I should know better! Abbi’s writing over the years just gets stronger and stronger.

While the love triangle is an element here, it is never the sole focus. Instead, we get great character development which in turn leads to a strong romance.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than its predecessor for a variety of reasons. One is that all the leads had solid character development and it never felt lopsided or like one character was the focus more than the other. I also liked the dramatic plot a lot. It constantly surprised me with its development and I liked that it kept me on edge trying to figure it all out..

And of course, it sets up beautifully for the next installment.

–September 17, 2017– Book #3: After the Game

This was super cute! Their story was really heartfelt and mature in a way you don’t always see in YA contemporary romances. Watching these two learn to forgive and forget about what people think was fabulous. They’re just so likeable as characters and super sweet that you want to see them succeed.

I do wish the romance was a little more though. I just wanted to see that connection emphasized a little more at the start but they do make a great pair when all is said and done. I was thoroughly addicted to this story!

It was like the perfect hybrid between the first and second novel but with a new set of unique leads.

–October 8, 2018– Book #4: Losing the Field

To say I’m disappointed in this book would be an understatement. Honestly, this book was a 2/5 star read for me until the last three chapters when I really got angry with the direction it took.

Overall, the best way to describe this novel is underdeveloped. I can appreciate the attempted drama Glines tried to instill in this story. It’s soap opera-esque and melodramatic–exactly that I expect when I pick up this series. But I think there was too much thrown in here and it took away from the characters and romance. (Where was that plot for revenge anyways?)

As for their love? Where did it even come from? Tallulah’s worship of him over the years and her shedding a few pounds? Compared to other couples in this series I feel like we didn’t see much of them together and I failed to see the deeper connection they shared. I also think they spend more time apart then together…

But the moment that took this book from a “meh” read to an “oh wow, that’s awful”?

Why I Rated This 1/5 Stars:

When Tallulah decides not to press charges against the teacher that tried to seduce her–KNOWING he did the same thing to two other girls–that irked me to no end! In this time of assault awareness(#metoo movement) I’m so upset that her response was simply “It’s OK. It’s over now.” No, it’s not and you should be doing everything in your power to prevent it from happening again if you can; especially when there is a child involved.

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I hated that response and how it comes across to readers, especially younger readers. I’m all for fiction being fiction but I think there was a great opportunity for a strong lesson and it just didn’t happen.

My Rating: 4/5

Until Friday Night 4/5 | Under the Lights 4/5 | After the Game 4/5 | Losing the Field 1/5

overall

It isn’t my favourite Abbi Glines series, but it was exactly what I was expecting. I cried and swooned so mission accomplished. This is perfect for those who want to try an Abbi Glines’ novel but don’t like New Adult.

Read if You Like: high school drama, stories about grief, books set in the South
Avoid if You:  don’t like football players, high school drama

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Series Review: Maybe by Colleen Hoover

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 Maybe Someday (from Goodreads):

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks:  Favourite Author, 2015 Favourite Read
Series: Maybe
Author: Colleen Hoover
# of Books: 1 (Maybe Someday)

Maybe Not is a companion novella with different characters as the leads but read AFTER Maybe Someday!

Book Order: Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Music
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating (Novella is First Person, Single)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

This has been the year of Colleen Hoover for me. Ever since I read her Hopeless series, I’ve been steadily adding her books to my TBR list and making sure I have her books on hold at the library. With her writing, I know I’m reading a Colleen Hoover book but I don’t feel like I am reading a regurgitation of her previous books. Which is really important to me as a reader because I find quite a few authors have an almost formulaic style to their characters and plots which gets boring to read after awhile. But with Hoover, something always surprises me and Maybe Someday was no exception!

The Concept & The Plot:

Maybe Someday was just a fantastic book! Given the synopsis, it doesn’t seem like anything special but there is so much more under the surface. And I mean so. much. more. It’s really hard to talk about without spoiling everything –and I’m having a hard time writing about how impressed I was with this book! But I’m going to try…

I also want to give huge props for providing audio versions of the songs from the book. It just adds another layer to the book and makes it come to life, especially if you listen to the songs as they appear in the book. It’s one thing to make and include a playlist of popular songs at the end of your novel, its a completely other thing to make a SOUNDTRACK of all the original songs included in your book! You can find all the songs here (don’t worry, they aren’t spoilers!). Just supremely well done and it’s what makes me give this book such a high rating (well that and the fact that it is just plain awesome even if you forget about the soundtrack!).

The Characters:

Where this book really wins is with the characters: and not just the leads. Given the initial plotline, this book could have been a mess of over the top drama, sex and angst but it never goes in that direction. Not only is there hardly any sex (so the sex scenes don’t overshadow the relationships) but everyone handles the situations in an extremely mature way. I mean in a “let’s talk about this and our feelings” kind-of way instead of a “I hate the world” angsty kind-of way. I never got annoyed with this characters and respected them for how they handled everything. They made it so easy to read this book and root for them throughout the novel.

The Romance:

And while the romance plays a huge role in this book, there is a considerable amount of time dedicated to character growth–as a new adult novel should have. What 22 year knows exactly what they want out of life? I know I sure don’t and I really appreciated Sydney’s desire to find herself instead of being consumed by her romantic life. It just made for a nice treat that she had this romantic relationship developing on the side.

The Novella:

It is important to know that you should read the novella, Maybe Not, AFTER you read Maybe Someday or else you will read major spoilers despite the fact that it follows two different characters. It is a little confusing because Maybe Not starts before the events of Maybe Someday but eventually the events overlap. However, it does have spoilers and it really won’t mean as much to you unless you are introduced to these characters before you read their story. I do recommend you read it right after Maybe Someday because it explains some of the little events that happen in the first novel plus, after you meet these characters you just really want to read their story anyways 😉

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This is probably an inflated 5/5 rating because I just loved the execution of this novel! You can tell Colleen Hoover puts everything into her books and it shows. It was so refreshing to read about characters who had a genuine connection, who weren’t jumping into bed with each other as soon as they lay eyes on each other and actually mature into adults. A great book for Colleen Hoover fans to read but an even better book for people who want to read a Colleen Hoover book!

Read if You Like: character focused novels, sweet love stories
Avoid if You: don’t like/can’t tolerate love triangles*

*I’m not the biggest love triangle fan but I found this one wasn’t an all consuming, immature one so I really didn’t mind it.
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Series Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

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 Slammed (from Goodreads):
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: New Favourite Author 2015
Series: Slammed Trilogy
Author: Colleen Hoover
# of Books: 3 (Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl)
Book Order: Chronological but This Girl is an alternate POV of Slammed
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite finishing Hoover’s other series Hopeless before this one, Slammed was the first book I read by Hoover. When I first picked up Slammed from my library, Hopeless had been sitting on my Kobo for probably 2 years unread. I think it’s vague synopsis and all the hype made me hesitant to read it. But I have always heard really good things about Slammed so when they added new eBooks at my library and this series was one, I made sure I was near the top of that holds list. (Afterwards, it encouraged me to pick up Hopeless and I am so thankful that I did!)

My Review:

Slammed started out like any other Young Adult/New Adult where the lead moves to a new town after the death of a parent. Enter the angst-driven heroine and the cute boy who notices her right away and you’ve got the basis of many New Adult novels out there. But this book is nothing like those other books and it quickly sets itself apart through its characters, plot lines and poetry.

Layken is angsty–but not in annoying way. Obviously she is upset about what has happened to her family and it shows. I don’t think anyone can blame her for feeling and thinking the way she does. So this is well-done (read: valid reasons for) angst and I wish all authors did angst like this. However, she isn’t my favourite heroine ever. Her stubbornness bothered me a bit and because I didn’t love her, it stopped me from giving Slammed a 5/5. Will is a great character though: he had me smiling and charmed from the minute we meet him. And I loved watching them together because it was more than a physical attraction that drew them together and I could see why they liked each other. Despite not loving Layken, I really did feel like they were a good pair.

Then comes the “shocking revelation” and it really was shocking! I had no idea what was going to happen and when it did, my attention was grabbed. It’s not often that I get surprised by a plot line: so when I do, the book gets major points and this one does for sure!

As for the poetry aspect, like most people (in my classes at least) it was my least favourite subject in English. That definitely changed when I got to university and studied English and read a variety of poems. I don’t like writing poems but I don’t mind reading them. However, Slam Poetry is something that I have no experience with–just those clichéd bits on sitcoms and I watched a YouTube video one time of a Dad’s message “To the Boys Who One Day May Date My Daughter” (it’s really well done!). Reading this book almost made me wish that I was listening to the audio books because it would really add to the reading experience–though it really isn’t necessary as Hoover bolds/italicizes words so you get the gist of how it would be performed. So while poetry really isn’t my thing, it was refreshing to read (I find most people choose music lyrics instead of poetry) and added to the story in a way I didn’t expect.

I didn’t really think Point of Retreat was a necessary sequel per say, but it sure was icing on top of an already awesome cake. I really felt like Point of Retreat tied up some loose ends from Slammed that weren’t necessarily left dangling but it was nice to have them neatly wrapped up nonetheless. Of course there was a great twist along the way that I didn’t see coming (I should honestly know better by now).

What I love about Hoover’s work is that she doesn’t stretch out her character’s stories by publishing more books than necessary. Two, plus an alternate retelling is the perfect amount for this series. It might be tempting to read This Girl right after Point of Retreat or even congruently with Slammed but I wouldn’t. It actually chronologically follows the events of Point of Retreat and is told like as flashbacks to the past (ie Slammed). So read it as if it were a Book 3 or else you read major spoilers 🙂

(Though I enjoyed reading This Girl and appreciated how it told a different side of the story and provided some insight into Slammed‘s events, it was a little nauseating to read. You know, like that couple that is overly in love and always shows it? It was kinda like reading that at times. BUT, I enjoyed reading it and thought it was a great way to wrap up the series).

Rating: 4/5

overall

It may not be my favourite YA to New Adult series ever but I loved every minute I spent reading these books! They are just so well done with touching characters, amazing plot twists, poetry and great messages about family and love. I laughed, I cried and I smiled throughout the entire series. I will definitely be picking up anything and everything by Colleen Hoover in the future!

  • Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Game Series #1)
  • Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1)
  • On Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #2)

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Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

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 Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes

Single Sundays: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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 Thirteen Reasons Why (from Goodreads):
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Review:

This book is one of those books that always graces “Must Read Teen” Lists and while I maybe 7 years late to the party, I have to agree whole-heartedly. Everyone should read this book--not just teens– because it has a strong message that everyone needs to know: our actions, even the really small ones, can drastically impact another person’s life and we may not even know it.

I think anyone at any age can relate in some way to this story. It takes place in a high school but the scenarios we read about can really take place at work or in the neighbourhood or basically any place in society. I had tears in my eyes at multiple times and I cringed at some of the scenarios Hannah had to endure. I actually felt like I was Clay, reading about a classmate of mine because I could see how true this story could be and that really upset me. It is a very real story with real, everyday scenarios and that often makes this book hard to read–but that’s the point. This isn’t a subject to joke about and society needs to remove that stigma against mental health illnesses and bullying so that this book doesn’t become an everyday reality.

This book makes you think. It makes you think about how you treat others, how you react to rumours and how you lead your life. But it also made me appreciate all the people I have in my life and how thankful I am for the support system I have. I know a lot of people don’t have that support system and feel alone but I think the other important, often overlooked, message of this story is that you a not alone. There is always someone who loves you. They may not always be prominent, they maybe hidden in the background like Clay, but there is someone who cares for you and wants to be there for you so you are never alone.

This book is beautifully written and the delivery is fantastic. It grabbed my attention and held onto it throughout the entire novel. It was just very well done and it has been a very long time since a book has impressed me as much as this one has.

Conclusion:

This book will draw every emotion from you and really make you think about who you are as a person. This isn’t a novel for just teens, it’s a novel for a human beings.

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: HELL YES! I would recommend this to everyone!

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health, Mature Subject Mature, Death High School 
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Reads 2014, Everyone Must Read
Similar Reads: You Against Me by Jenny Downham, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin and Stolenby Lucy Christopher