Tag «the south»

Series Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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 Rebel Belle (from Goodreads):

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Audiobook 2017, Cover Love
Series: Rebel Belle Trilogy
Author: Rachel Hawkins
# of Books: 3 (Rebel Belle, Miss Mayhem, Lady Renegades)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2014 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I totally found this series by accident last year when I browsing potential audiobooks to borrow. I’d had Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall on my TBR for years but removed it during my Goodreads Purge sometime in the last year or two. This series caught my eye thanks to that awesome cover for Rebel Belle. After reading the synopsis, this seemed like it would be a fun series to listen to as an audio one and so I put it on hold.

The Concept / The World:

First, the concept for this series is just awesome. I had a great time learning about the various roles and what Harper was expected to do. It’s got a lot of layers and I enjoy that in my fantasy worlds.

The setting itself is equally fun. I don’t usually enjoy novels set in The South (they have a slower nature to them) but I seem to find exception in my YA fantasy/paranormal worlds like this one (or Beautiful Creatures for example). The prim and proper nature of Harper’s town and lifestyle provides a great backdrop for craziness to ensue. It’s this added factor to everything that happens and I think this series wouldn’t be the same without that Southern Charm.

The Plot:

Rebel Belle had a great blend and balance between the drama, the character moments, action and the romance. You get those moments dedicated to the world-building but you also get those moments where Harper learns more about herself as a teenaged girl and not just a Paladin.

Unfortunately, the other two books have a hard time living up the the high standards of Rebel Belle and come up a little short..

I found that the middle novel, Miss Mayhem, didn’t have the same charm as the first book. I think the synopsis for it is a little misleading too because you think you are going to get this action packed story. Instead, you get your typical Book 2 of a Trilogy novel that simply bridges the actions of Books 1 and 3 together.

The final novel, Lady Renegades, reminded me more of the first novel in terms of its delivery. It sees the return of the back and forth banter Harper is great at delivering. But I did find that my enthusiasm waned as the plot progressed.

That being said: I never got bored and I was always entertained even if I wasn’t entirely loving the plot’s direction.

The Characters:

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to make of Harper when she first started narrating her story. I even thought to myself “what did I get myself into?” just a few paragraphs into the story. But by the 15% mark she had completely charmed me. She’s hilarious with her inner monologue. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. She’s witty and has a very unique perspective on life, so I had a blast listening to her. In addition to that, she’s also a very sweet girl who genuinely wants to improve everyone’s lives so I couldn’t help but love her.

My only peeve with Harper is her lack of character development throughout the series. I think in an effort to make this series “light” and “fun” we don’t dwell on certain things that we should, like Harper’s relationship with her older sister. It gets mentioned on occasion and in a way that implies to the influence the sister has on Harper’s actions and reactions to be perfect, but it’s never expanded on. Because the fact of the matter is this: you could remove her sister’s character entirely from this series and it wouldn’t alter this story in any way since it has that little of an impact. I just felt like why mention it if you aren’t going to do anything worthwhile with it?

Moving on: the rest of the cast is fun too. I think they perhaps fall a little into the cliched roles but they do a great job supporting Harper’s story.

The Romance:

All the tension in Rebel Belle was delicious! I really liked David and Harper’s interactions. The whole “hate-to-love-you” bit provides some great banter between them.

I liked that the romance was never the main focal point of this series. It focuses on the fantasy elements for the most part. The only exception would be in Book 2, Miss Mayhem, where the romances of all the characters become on of the main plot-points in an effort to move the story forward.

My Audiobook Experience:

I’m very glad I read this as an audiobook. Honestly, I might have DNF’d this if I read the novel because I’m not sure if I would find Harper as charming as I did. With the Southern twang to her voice and the obvious sarcasm you get in the audioversion, it just made for an immersive and entertaining read for me.

Series Rating: 4/5

Rebel Belle 5/5| Miss Mayhem 3/5 | Lady Renegades 3.5/5

overall

While its sequels don’t live up to the charm of the first novel, this series is still very entertaining for fans of light and fun YA fantasy novels. I highly recommend the audiobooks!

Read if You Like: books set in the South, fun fantasy novels, lighter reads
Avoid if You: want only action in your fantasy novel, dislike magic

similarreads

  • Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1)
  • A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
  • Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs (Oh. My. Gods. Series #1)

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Fresh Fridays: Ball Buster (The Playbook #1) by Kara Sheridan

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:

The Playbook Series

Other books planned to be in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Ball Buster (from Goodreads):

Playbook Rule #1: Never ever give up

It’s official. The Alabama Warriors have the worst reputation in pro football. As the team’s captain, Carson Savage has his ass on the line and – thanks to a leaked photo – his ass is also online. Now the team is getting an image makeover from Sadie Reynolds, the hottest redhead in the South and Carson’s high school sweetheart. Maybe making a play for his sexy ex is a risky move… but Carson didn’t make it this far by playing it safe.

Alabama is the last place in the world Sadie wants to be. Going home again only reminds her of what – and who – she gave up. Seeing the insanely hot ex she never quite forgot is dangerous. Carson’s too sexy. Too tempting. And Sadie can’t afford to go out of bounds. So she’ll do whatever it takes to finish this job and leave town with her heart still intact. The only problem? Carson’s decided it’s not about winning the game… it’s about winning the girl.

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Series: The Playbook
Author: Kara Sheridan
# of Books: 3 (Ball Buster, Tight End, Big Jock)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Tight End is to be released December 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 15, 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you Forever Yours!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found Ball Buster as a Read Now title on Netgalley a few months ago and was drawn in by the cover. I’m a sucker for a good sports story and I’ve had great success with the genre in the past.

Ball Buster had me hooked with its synopsis. I love stories filled with unresolved tension and Carson and Sadie seemed like that had a lot of it. Not only are they high school sweethearts but you’ve got the forbidden-ness that comes from a client and PR agent romance.

What I Liked:

–The Physical Chemistry–

I mean these two can hardly be in the same vicinity as each other before they start making love on any surface. But the many sex scenes we get were not overly repetitive–which is hard to do–so I appreciated that.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Dramatic, Romantic and Character Development Cut Short–

For me, this story lacked the plot and character depth I crave my from second chance romances. When it comes to second chance romances I really need to see the proof of why these two need to reunite despite everything that has torn them apart. And while these two had great physical chemistry, I wasn’t sold on the emotional connection between them.

Any development in this story, whether it be character, romantic or drama, was cut short in order to watch these two spontaneously make love on whatever surface is near by. We’d finally see them start to work out their differences and problems of the past and we would lose all that progress. I’m not saying the physical aspects aren’t important in their relationship–I just needed more than that to see why these two haven’t been able to move on in 7 years with other people.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Since no one in particular stood out to me, I’m not going to be picking up the sequels.

My Rating: DNF

Ball Buster 2/5 | Tight End N/A | Big Jock N/A

overall

This book was just “meh” to me. Those who like second chance sports stories that stay par for the course will likely enjoy this but for more seasoned readers who want more surprises and deeper characters will need to look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: second chances, light reads, sexy times
Avoid if You: want more character depth
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Blog Tour: The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder by Cookie O’Gorman

Synopsis for The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder (from Goodreads):

In the south, everyone has a secret–and murder is served with sweet tea.

The word’s out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.

After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie’s spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it’s even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan’s family. With everyone convinced of Ethan’s guilt, it’s up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse…dead.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Cookie O Gorman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 5, 2018
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve been a fan of Cookie’s since her first novel, Adorkable and her second novel Ninja Girl made me add her to my “must read” author list soon after. So I was excited to see what she would write next.

I’ll say that a mystery wasn’t what I was totally expecting her to write next (though technically, she wrote this first) but the title and synopsis definitely had me curious. So I couldn’t wait to see what this ridiculous truth about Ethan Wilder really was.

The Plot:

This book has a slower start to it as it sets up the exposition and introduces all the characters. This is a trend I often see when I read books set in the South. We get swept up into the mundane everyday lives of the small towns and the small cast of characters. Cookie has a talent for writing intriguing characters so I didn’t mind as much as I usually would.

We get a bit of a double mystery here. You have the infamous Ethan who has just returned to town and seems to keep to himself–except for a those interactions with Delilah. And then you have the incidences involving his family –which don’t really start until the 30% mark. I thought this would start a little early and become the main focus of the story but it doesn’t really. It’s more of something that runs in the background while Delilah carries on with her everyday life in this small town.

However, the introduction of the mystery does add this tone of suspense to the novel and that suspense carries you through the rest of the novel. As for the mystery itself, I definitely didn’t figure it out so that always gets bonus points in my eye!

The Characters:

As I said before, Cookie has a great talent for creating characters. She has quite the eclectic cast here and they really do work for this story.

I liked Delilah as a lead. She’s got a great heart despite all the stuff people throw her way. Sure, she’s a little oblivious to boys liking her but that’s part of her charm in a way.

What I really liked is that Ethan is kept a total mystery to us. We don’t get his POV, just whatever interactions happen with Delilah or ones she hears secondhand. He’s got that bad boy appeal but also has his swoon-worthy moments as well so I liked whenever he was in a scene.

The Romance:

Well, Ethan became a book boyfriend for me so I think it goes without saying I thought this was totally cute. Again, I just love the romances Cookie creates! This one was really sweet and very subtle. So when you got those cute moments between them, it just made you smile.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall
This was a slow start for me so it took me a while to get truly invested. But once the pieces of the mystery start to reveal themselves, I found myself spinning various theories and eagerly awaiting the big reveal. Another great novel by Cookie O’Gorman.

Read if You Like: YA contemporary, books set in the South, mystery
Avoid if You: dislike slow starts, need lots of action

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Cookie O’Gorman

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE and NINJA GIRL are out now! Her third book, THE UNBELIEVABLE, INCONCEIVABLE, UNFORESEEABLE TRUTH ABOUT ETHAN WILDER, will be released April 5, 2018!

Author Links:

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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

Series Review: Rusk University by Cora Carmack

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

Rusk University Series

Other books in the series:
book4 book5

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Rusk University Trilogy
Author: Cora Cormack
# of Books: 5 (All Lined Up, All Broke Down, All Played Up, All Closed Off,TBD)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, All Closed Off will be published in the near future
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Football, Coming of Age, University Life, The South
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I loved Cora Cormack’s Losing It Trilogy and when I read the synopsis for All Lined Up, I knew I had to read it!

All Lined Up really reminded me of Losing It. Both follow a similar set up but I think All Lined Up improves upon my complaint that we didn’t get to see much of the relationship develop between the two leads. It definitely gets more of a focus here but it isn’t the only thing the book is about. What I really love about Cormack’s New Adult reads is that each lead character develops independently throughout the novel. They don’t become this person who relies so much on their significant other that it gets to the point of becoming nauseating to me. This book is just as much a coming of age novel as it is a romance.

I found All Lined Up to be a super quick and fun read. I loved the chemistry between Dallas and Carson–it was there from beginning to end. Dallas was a smart heroine who also had her funny moments as well. I really loved that she didn’t create senseless drama by jumping to conclusions (which is a very rare find in New Adult novels that are set in The South and/or deal with football players). They were both also very real characters and I think that most readers can identify in some capacity to each other them one way or another.

The only thing really lacking for me was a dramatic plot line–and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I was just expecting more drama based on the assumptions I drew from the synopsis. Instead, this book focuses on the growth of the characters instead of petty drama which is rather refreshing when I look back on it.

I’m surprised at who the hero is in the next novel, All Broke Down, but nevertheless I am super excited to read it! I hope that the third book, All Played Out focuses on two characters introduced in All Lined Up (Though NewsFlash, it doesn’t!). Regardless, I will be picking both of these books up!

updates

–December 5, 2015–Book 2: All Broke Down

I just finished All Broke Down and I have to say, I enjoyed it more than All Lined Up by just a smidgen. While the feelings for the two leads progressed more quickly than I normally like (not quite love at first sight but more insta-connection) I really felt like they were a good pair. The sexual tension was even better than All Lined Up and I loved watching everything unfolding. Before I new it I was halfway through the book and just kept plowing through it. While I feel like some things were left a little unresolved, it wasn’t enough to truly upset me and I have a feeling the next book will help wrap everything up.

Again, I’m surprised at who the leads are for All Played Up but given what we have seen of them so far and the plot synopsis, it promises to be a very fun and sexy ride. There is one particular character that I hope we get to see more of but I’m not sure if we will given the fact that the initial deal for this series was 3 books. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get something because I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants her story to be told 😉

–September 6, 2015– Book 3: All Played Out

I was really excited to read this one and after a few failed attempts at the library checkout system , I FINALLY got my hands on a copy!

All Played Out was exactly what I expected: a sexy but heartwarming read. The leads had fantastic chemistry together–both physical and emotional–so it made for a really easy read. So easy in fact that I stayed on the couch all day to finish it.


It’s my favourite of the series…so far…

As it turns out, this series has been extended to include at least 5 books which is fantastic! That means the particular character I wanted to read about will get their own book! It is the next book to be published as well so I simply CANNOT WAIT! I’ve been looking forward to the story we are about to get in All Closed Off since All Lined Up so this has been a long time coming!

Series Rating: 4/5

All Lined Up 4/5 | All Broke Down 4/5 | All Played Out 5/5

overall

Cora Cormack fans will love this new series as will fans of football themed New Adult novels. A quick, fun and romantic series that has that dash of reality that is often rare in this genre. For those who like New Adult novels that focus more on the coming of age aspect of the genre, this is a great one to pick up.

Read if You Like: coming of age, realistic New Adult, football
Avoid if You: dislike New Adult

similarreads

  • Crash by Nicole Williams (Crash Trilogy #1)
  • Losing It by Cora Cormack (Losing It Trilogy #1)
  • The List by Kate L Mary (College of Charleston Series #1)

    Synopsis for All Lined Up (from Goodreads):
    In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

    Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

    But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

    Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

    Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

    And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

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Single Sundays: Breathe into Me by Sara Fawkes

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 Breathe into Me (from Goodreads):
How did my life get so broken? It’s a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker exboyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out.

And then she meets Everett, whose presence changes her entire existence.

Everett is an outsider to her small community, in town for the summer housesitting one of the grand mansions off the Mississippi coast. When he saves her in a bar one night, she’s grateful but wary of his intentions. Lacey doesn’t trust most men in her life, but for reasons Lacey can’t understand, Everett is completely captivated by her. He’s determined to show her that life can offer more than she’d ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. As she works with him to free herself, Lacey desperately yearns to trust him, to move on and perhaps start fresh.

But what happens when she finds out that everything he’s told her about himself was a lie?

Review:

I came across this book by surprise–I was browsing the Swagbucks reading section and I was able to read an excerpt of this book to collect “swagbucks”. I’m not a huge fan of reading excerpts because it doesn’t make me want to read a book after reading 10 pages BUT, the synopsis sold me so I immediately grabbed a copy from my local library.

I really loved this book! I was immediately sucked into it and had a hard time putting it down. It was a good blend of romance and drama though there were some minor “flaws” (which is too strong of a word for what I really mean) with everything.

One reason I loved it was because of Everett. He was completely swoon-worthy and just such a nice guy that it was super easy to fall in love with him. He wasn’t super possessive or over-the-top alpha male which is really refreshing in the genre; especially with books set in the South. While I didn’t love Lacey nor would I list her as my favourite heroine of all time, I appreciated her strength and ability to be independent. I liked that she didn’t become a love-struck shmuck who couldn’t live without a man. I know some people have a hard time connecting to her character and I am in the same boat, but I think overall she is a solid character. I expected her to be a little more emotional given some of the things that happened to her but it wasn’t really a deal breaker for me.

As for the plot, some parts were very predictable while others weren’t. There was a lot going on in Lacey and Everett’s lives (though most of the focus is on Lacey’s life as it is told from her POV) so it keeps things interesting as you read. Some parts felt a little rushed near the end but I still feel like they were resolved enough to satisfy me (though I am hoping for a spin-off book about a certain character we meet because I felt like her story was unresolved a bit). I do wish though that the epilogue was fuller though because I felt like it told me nothing about what happens after everything.

Conclusion:

Maybe it was just the mood I was in but this book was a solid New Adult/Coming of Age book. I really enjoyed reading it and never felt bored while doing so. It felt like a more mature, less over the top dramatic Abbi Glines New Adult novel to me focusing more on character growth than the drama. New Adult fans will want to pick this one up I think 🙂

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Coming of Age, Abuse
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: gets hotter later in the book
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank (Off the Subject Series #2); Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Rosemary Beach Series #1) and Trouble by Samantha Towle

Series Review: House of Night by P.C. Cast

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Series: House of Night
Author: P.C and Kristin Cast
# of Books: 12 (Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned, Awakened, Destined, Hidden, Revealed, Redeemed)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Redeemed will be published in October, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Romance, Drama, Action
Heat Rating: very warm (for a Young Adult Novel)
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That as of May, 2014 I have only read up to Destined (Book 9) of the series.

I started this series as a recommendation from a co-worker. She absolutely loved this series and I had liked her previous suggestions so I decided to give this series a try.

I really did enjoy the first novel, Marked. It was a different spin on vampires and I liked that it was much darker than other Young Adult vampire reads. It was also a lot “spicier” than other books in the genre (definitely a result of PC Cast being an adult romance writer) as it mentions a lot more sexual content. Which was a bit of a shock to me because I hadn’t really come across that too much in other books but it isn’t full out descriptive by any means. Overall, it was your typical intro book to a longer running series.

One thing I knew from the start was that I didn’t like Zoey. Ugh–she is the definition of my most disliked heroine in a Young Adult series ever (though Bella Swan is a very close first). I just never connected well with her and Lead-Heroine Self-Sacrifice Syndrome. It is also no secret that I am NOT a fan of love triangles and this book has them in plenty. But wait…it gets better! Not only does Zoey find herself in one love triangle but she practically has 12 going on at the same time (no lie, she legit has 4 boys vying for her attention at any one time). I remember reading somewhere that this was done intentionally to have a female lead with polyamory because of something or other–but it’s just too over the top for me. It just drove me nuts because I never really liked any of the male romantic leads (except one really) and I just hated the flip-flopping back and forth.

When I started the series, there were only 6 books in the series–so I thought that was where it was going to end. Which would of been fine as I liked how the plot was progressing. But once I reached book 7, Tempted, I realized that wasn’t the case.

To me, this is one of those series that has suffered from its popularity and fandom in the case that the plot gets dragged out because readers want more. As is the case with a lot of other series **coughcoughCROSSFIREcoughcough** I think the series overall takes a hit. Do I necessarily remember how much I enjoyed the first set of books? No, but because I haven’t enjoyed the last 3 or so novels as much so it creates a bias to me that I didn’t enjoy the others that much either (though to be truthful this series never did too much for me anyways). I just feel like the plot has gone in a completely different direction and they keep doing stupid things just for the sake of dragging this series out.

As I said at the start of this post, I have only read up until book 9, Destined. Part of the problem was that I got tired of waiting a year to read each new book when I wasn’t totally in love with the series anymore. I’m probably going to finish the series just for the sake of finishing it, but I’m in no rush to do so. For anyone in the same boat or who doesn’t want to read it, Wikipedia has extensive plot overviews that will help you get back on track or finish the series for you.

According to the Wikipedia page for the series, 5 movies are planned for the series. Personally, I would have rather seen this a s a TV series more than anything with the way the series and its romances progress. The thought of it as a movie slightly scares me in that I fear it will do extremely well at the box office (though I don’t think that will be the case) and be a massive hit when other book-movie series like the Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Beautiful Creatures have substantially better characters and plotlines yet flopped at the box office. I probably will watch the movie if it is made but I won’t be going opening weekend…

Conclusion:

If you like high drama, love triangles galore and sexier Young Adult reads, you will probably love this series. But if you hate love triangles, like your heroines with a little more backbone and don’t enjoy dragged out plots, AVOID this series.

Rating: 3/5 (The first half of the series deserves the 3, the last half deserves a 2.5)

Similar Reads: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #1) and Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods #1)

Synopsis for Marked (from Goodreads):
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire — that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny–with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Series Review: Kylie Ryans by Caisey Quinn

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

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Kylie Ryans Trilogy
Author: Caisey Quinn
# of Books: 3 (Girl with Guitar, Girl on Tour, Girl in Love)

There will be a spinoff series called Second Chances

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Music, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm, gets warmer in later books
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Girl With Guitar:

I’ve been dying to get my hands on Caisey Quinn’s Kylie Ryan series ever since I devoured her Keep Me Still Series. I just loved the heartfelt story in that series so I was looking forward to a similar experience with her other works.

I bought Girl with Guitar (and then it was free the next week on Amazon :P); but I honestly didn’t mind paying the $1 it cost me because I knew I was going to get a good read. And I did! This book was just what I wanted–a romance with great sexual tension and a strong heroine. I easily finished the book in a day because it was so easy to get caught up in everything. To me the romance wasn’t as well developed as in her other series but it wasn’t like it came out of nowhere so I really didn’t mind.

Kylie is a strong and stubborn character and I think some readers might find it a little irritating at times. She has no problems speaking her mind and while I agreed with her observations most of the time, a few times she should have just kept her mouth shut because she came across as a little rude. But I would rather have a slightly overbearing heroine than a timid, whinny little girl any day so I really didn’t mind too much about Kylie’s attitude. I really liked Trace though–and every other character we meet along the way. Overall, it was a good cast of characters.

Girl on Tour differs from Girl with Guitar because this time we get to see more from Trace’s perspective. It alternates between Kylie and Trace though it is still third person narration. I’m glad we get this delivery because I found that there really wasn’t much going on in Kylie’s life to warrant a whole novel dedicated to it alone. We get the same approach in Girl in Love but it doesn’t necessarily alternate on a regular basis.

These books aren’t fast moving plot-wise though they are shorter so you can breeze through them quickly. However, I never felt like there was anything missing from the story because of the books’ page length. They were the perfect length without dragging everything on too much or unnecessarily. Each book blended well with each other and I love the journey we take from start to finish. Overall, I’m very satisfied with this series.

I just want to say that you don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy these books! I don’t listen to country music in any capacity but I never felt like I was at a disadvantage while reading this book. I also normally don’t enjoy New Adult books that are set in the South because they are overdramatic and tend to lack a bit of maturity but that really isn’t the case here. Kylie is exceptionally mature for her age and I never found any drama to be over the top.

There will be a spinoff series called Second Chances though it isn’t immediately about any of the characters featured in these novels that I can see. I’m really interested to see where it will go so I will definitely be checking it out!

Conclusion:

While I didn’t love these books as much as her other series, Caisey Quinn wrote a great New Adult romance for fans who like stories about musician celebrities, life and family. I enjoyed every minute of these books and am sad to see these characters go but the series as a whole is great. It’s realistic, has some interesting drama and a great cast of characters! Check it out!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Girl with Guitar (from Goodreads):
After Kylie’s dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy stepmother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true.

Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he’s pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.

Movie Mondays: The Secret Life of Bees

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid | Movie: The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Thoughts:

This is perhaps one of the few books that I read in high school that I can genuinely say I enjoyed reading. While it started slow, it really picked up and turned out to be a pretty interesting read.

I think why I really liked it was because I actually did study it and see why things were written as they were. Perhaps that is the English student in me that finds it enjoyable. There are a lot of subtle meanings behind the text and they tend to link up as you progress through the book.

It is a hard book to read for two reasons: 1) is the racism and treatment of a majority of the characters present and 2) it’s definitely a chick book. My poor brother had to read this in high school too and absolutely detested it! But as a girl, I liked it though I found the subject matter to be pretty heavy at times. It’s a book that makes you appreciate how far society has come in the last few decades.

Conclusion:

While I didn’t find this book spectacular, I did enjoy reading it. As I said before, it makes you appreciate the world that we live in now and reminds us that we still have some distance to go.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Movie:

It’s been a super long time since I watched the movie so bear with me!

The movie had a pretty stellar cast: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Dakota Fanning and Alicia Keys. Overall, I thought they did a good job in their roles; I’m not a huge Alicia Keys or Dakota Fanning fan but I felt like they fit the roles well and I’m not sure who else you could have gotten to do the roles and get the big name appeal.

I know that they changed the age of the Bee sisters and a few other things in the movie but I think they stayed true to the message of the novel.

It wasn’t anything overly fantastic, but it was well done to say the least.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. I just found it that touch more grittier than the movie and more impactful.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Secret Life of Bees (from Goodreads):
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Trailer:

Series Review: Eversea by Natasha Boyd

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

 

Series: Eversea

There is a spin-off series called Butler Cove.

Author: Natasha Boyd
# of Books: 3 (Eversea; Forever, Jack)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I can’t remember how I came across Eversea, but as soon as I read the synopsis I couldn’t get it out of my head. Eventually, I got copies of Eversea and Forever, Jack at the same time so I decided to read them between my library books.

Eversea has everything I like in a good romance novel. It has great sexual tension, likeable leads and enough drama to keep the book interesting. While there are some love triangles to be had, they aren’t irritating ones and I feel like they actually contribute to the story in a positive way–meaning they aren’t there simply for the sake of throwing them in for some unnecessary drama.

Like most books set in the South, Eversea can move slowly at times. But I found that there are some interesting plotlines going on with secondary characters that we get little hints of as we read and they managed to capture my attention so I was never bored per say. It’s ironic that the book seems to move so slowly because everything takes place within a few weeks at the start so it doesn’t feel like a rushed romance even though it is. I think a few more days of them getting to know each other more would help smooth things over all round.

Forever, Jack is book two and the end of Jack and Kari Ann’s story. I really wasn’t sure how this book was going to go but I was expecting a lot of back and forth. Near the end, the constant back and forth got to be a little annoying but I found it hard to be angry because I completely understood Kari Ann’s thoughts and reasons. I would probably be the same way if I was ever in her shoes (ha! I wish) but I wish she was more confident in herself!

Although Goodreads doesn’t show it, on the author’s website she has posted that there will be a third book in the story that will be about Joey and Jazz which is super exciting. I really hope that there are some other companion novels in this series because I really liked all the potential relationships we were introduced to in these two books and would love to see how they play out.

UPDATED: There is a spin-off series called Butler Cove that will feature Jazz and Joey’s story. There novel is called All That Jazz.

Conclusion:

For those readers who have always wanted to read a realistic fiction novel about an everyday girl falling in love with a major celebrity without BDSM and other kinky tastes, this is a great series to pick it up. Those who like mature, New Adult contemporary reads set in the South with a strong heroine and nice-guy hero will really enjoy this series.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Rumor Has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight Series #1)

Synopsis for Eversea (from Goodreads):
An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt.

A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.

A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him with her new director, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

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