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Series Review: Family Matters by Liana Key

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

book3 book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Nothing Matters (from Goodreads):
Nathan
I should never have fallen in love with her. I was just an ordinary boy from the wrong side of town, I’d never be good enough for her. But she didn’t see it like that. She loved me, I loved her. This was the real thing.
And then one night, one event changed everything. Now she can’t even bear to look at me. I lost the love of my life…and now nothing f**king matters…

Magdala
If ever there was a love at first sight moment, it was when I saw Nathan. I didn’t care where he lived, what car he drove, nothing mattered other than our love. Our love was unexpected, but it was real, it was true. He made me crazy, he made me laugh, he made me dream…
And then It happened…and everything we had was lost.

Flynn
She was the girl I never thought I could have, sweet, beautiful, perfect. Why she fell for someone like me, shy, inexperienced, scarred, I couldn’t work it out. A brief summer romance, that’s all it would ever be.
But circumstances brought us together again and the hardest lessons of love and loss were yet to be learned…

Three lives learning about love and life the hard way
Love, pain, truth
Finding out what really matters…

breakdown

Series: Family Matters
Author: Liana Key
# of Books: 4 (Nothing Matters, All that Matters, Book 3, Book 4)
Book Order: Companion + Chronological
Complete?: No, there will be a 3rd novel in the series
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm – hot (All that Matters) *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC  |  Thanks so much Liana Key!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Liana contacted me about reviewing her series, I was definitely intrigued. Normally, I’m not one for love triangles and when I saw 3 names in the synopsis of Nothing Matters, I’ll admit I was hesitant. BUT, I thought there might be more to the surface (like what was this “one night, one event”?) and wanted to give it a shot.

The Series Order:

Just a quick note on the series order. Nothing Matters is Magdala’s story and Book 3 will be a continuation of that story. All that Matters is Cassian’s story and takes place simultaneously as Nothing Matters (therefore a companion novel of sorts) and Book 4 will be the continuation of that story.

Because of that, I’m going to split the remaining categories by story arc because they are both so different and have completely different plot lines.

The Plot:

Nothing Matters

This one had a slow start for me because it was a little too much high school romance. Insta-love, mushy feelings and all that jazz. I got a little worried that this story was going to be petty romance moments but that quickly turned once the “big event” happens.

From that point on, the story gets deeper and gritter–and I really, really liked that. The shift from romance to coming of age was fantastic and very addicting. Watching these characters deal with everything and in a fairly realistic way was awesome.

All that Matters

This novel was definitely more romance focused than its predecessor, giving it an entirely different feel. The forbidden romance plot was definitely intriguing but I felt it lacked the depth of Nothing Matters. Which is A-ok but I just wanted it to give me a little more.

The Characters:

Nothing Matters

I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t particularly care for either Nathan or Magdala when I first met them. They were a little too one-dimensional for me at the start of the novel. But, all this changes later on in the book when everything gets set into motion and I loved watching them grow as characters.

Surprisingly, I instantly loved Flynn. He was so unique and I felt like he was well developed from the get-go.

All that Matters

The characters here are what really gave me mixed feelings. Having met Cassian in the previous novel, I had a good handle on him and I did like him. But Paola was a lot harder to like. She was super immature given her age and the like. She made it super hard to root for the two of them because she seemed so juvenile. I just wanted more depth to them (and their romance).

The Romance:

Nothing Matters

Like I said earlier, this one started a little too high-schooler to me but it quickly morphed into something I really enjoyed. I feel like the romance takes a back seat for the last half of the book while the characters developed but I’m curious to see what will happen in the next instalment.

All that Matters

I’m a sucker for forbidden romance and I was really excited by the premise of this one when I finished Nothing Matters. But this one fell a little flat. For forbidden romances, you have to prove to me why these two people belong together; why they should even fall in love and defy all convention to be together–and I didn’t totally get that here. Like I said before, Paola really dampened this for me with her immature attitude. But it didn’t help their romance was based on physical attraction and very insta-love. Not what I wanted.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super curious to see where each story goes from here! Their stories are so intriguing to me, taking paths I never really expected and so I want to know what happens next!

Nothing Matters

All That Matters

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Nothing Matters  4/5 | All that Matters  3/5

overall

It takes a while for these stories to build, but once you get everything established, they take you on an enjoyable journey that somehow becomes super addicting to follow!

Read if You Like: high school new adult, love at first sight, first love
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, don’t want sexy time scenes

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Series Review: What Love Is by Bry Foster

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

What Love Is Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Love Is an Action (from Goodreads):

Khloe Hudson is all out of everything.

All out of patience for her alcoholic father. All out of money from her summer job savings. All out of scholarship essay ideas. And all out of room in her heart for people who don’t care to see her for who she really is.

But even she has to admit that the French jerk attending her academy is starting to worm his way in just a bit.

Cash Castille couldn’t care less about what Khloe thinks she knows. None of her advanced classes have taught her that love isn’t something that can be measured or figured out using scientific methods. Actions often speak louder than words. And although he gets a rise out of driving her crazy, he can’t help but wonder when her brain will stop arguing with what their hearts already know.

When Cash drops a bomb and asks for the favor of a lifetime, Khloe reluctantly agrees because despite the terms, she needs the benefits of their arrangement. However, as Cash and Khloe navigate through their new found relationship, she can’t help but wonder if the cost of this ploy will be another expense she can’t afford to give. Her heart.

breakdown

Series: What Love Is
Author: Bry Foster
# of Books: 1+ (Love is an Action, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, there will be more books in this series
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eBook (Read It Review It Program)

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Love is an Action was a title available for the Read It, Review It program for the group I am a part of on Goodreads. Some of my favourite New Adult titles see couples that seemingly hate each other come to love each other through some twisted act of fate and that’s what I was hoping for when I read the synopsis for this one.

What I Liked:

–Cash–

Though Cash doesn’t get too much air time during this book, the moments he was there for were great. I thought he was very swoon worthy, especially near the end of the book.

–That it was a High School New Adult–

I read so many NA books that take place in college that I forget that they can take place in the last year of high school as well. However, this aspect was definitely a double edged sword.

What I Didn’t Like:

–That it was a High School New Adult–

Because these two leads are SO YOUNG, the situation they find themselves in seemed completely ridiculous to me! It just made everything so over the top and dramatic and I will admit that I nearly stopped reading because my tolerance was being tested. I really don’t enjoy soap opera-esque dramatics in my novels and that was what we had here. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me.

–The Romance–

For the first 50% of the book, I feel like the romance was non-existent. Cash and Khloe rarely seemed to interact to me and so it took me a while to see why they would even like each other. I felt like a lot was implied when I wanted it to be shown to me. It did get better as the book progressed though and the focused shifted away form Khloe’s home life and inner monologue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea where this series is going. I dunno if it is going to be another set of characters as the leads or if it is a continuation of Cash and Khloe’s story. Regardless:

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This was just too much petty drama for my liking. And it is a shame because it has everything that you want in a good NA novel. I’m sure others will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Read if You Like: soap operas, single POV stories, high school New Adult
Avoid if You: dislike petty drama, dislike high school drama, want more mature characters

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Series Review: Supremacy by Christin Lee

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

Supremacy Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Supremacy (from Goodreads):

Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She’s on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.

breakdown

Series: Supremacy
Author: Christin Lee
# of Books: 1+ (Supremacy)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 3, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Christin contacted me about reviewing her book, I was willing to give it a shot. It has been a LONG time since I read an urban fantasy novel where everyday human meets some “unknown”. I’m a sucker for a good twist and while I had my ideas (before I even read the novel) about what Lucas’ hidden nature was, I was eager to see what the big secret was.

What I Liked:

–Lucas’ Secret–

Honestly, I never saw this twist coming! I thought it was a cool and unique premise; definitely something I had never encountered before. It gave this story an edge that separates it from your typical YA Urban Fantasy Romance.

–Kate’s (Lack of) Angst–

Kate seems to be pretty perfect when it comes to family life and school. She also seems to have a good heart and genuinely care for people (and animals)–you’re all-round American Sweetheart. I was worried that she would become unnecessarily angsty thanks to her overprotective family and their views on her relationship with Lucas, but she never did. Instead, she kept a level head about her and didn’t create a whole lot of “rebellious” teenage angst. I really liked that, because “forbidden” relationships can often make the heroine an unbearable character to read about **coughcoughBellaSwancoughcough**

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slow Start–

According to my Kindle, nothing really happened for the first 30% of the book or so besides Kate meeting Lucas. And even then, that wasn’t overly thrilling. It was your standard normal girl meets mysterious stranger; girl’s BFF encourages her to date him while others tell her to stay away; girl does research to find out boy’s secret. It’s your typical script for anyone who has encountered this premise before and I found it to be dull.

While it does a good job establishing the characters and building the basis for Lucas and Kate’s relationship–I wanted something exciting to happen. Once the “big reveal” happens, things get more intriguing but it was a slow start.

–Lucas’ Alpha Tendencies–

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas…sigh–and not in a good way.

I’m really torn on this to be honest. Thanks to the character development, I understand why Lucas has the personality and tendencies that he does. But they are rather violent, very anger-filled tendencies and they are more than a little terrifying. It makes the relationship between Kate and Lucas seem very unhealthy but almost in a glorified way. Like it is normal to be fearful of your partner because of their anger. While it was never that extreme, I felt like it was leading there at times. Though by the very end of the novel, thanks to the reveals and twists, I kinda got where this all stems from.

Perhaps I’m over analyzing or making a mountain out of a molehill but as I get older, sometimes I really wonder about the relationships that are presented in YA fiction and how young girls read them. The relationship here is definitely not the worst I’ve seen but it did make me concerned at times, even if I did understand the source.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Supremacy ended in an interesting way that has me curious to know what the future holds. But those twists were a little too late I think, and I’ve opted not to pick up the rest of the series.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Supremacy 2.5/5

overall

As the years between my high school graduation grow, I find myself not enjoying certain YA tropes as much as I used to. I think if I read this 6 years ago, I would have enjoyed it more. I think it is a great introductory novel for the Urban Fantasy world for those who are looking for something new. But unfortunately for me, it was a little too slow with the plot and I just didn’t bond with the characters.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, unique world
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more excitement, dislike insta-connections

similarreads

  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Falling Under Series #1)
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)
  • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark Trilogy #1)

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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…

breakdown

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

thoughts

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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.

[collapse]

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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Fresh Fridays: Devious Minds by K F Germaine

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:

Devious Minds Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Devious Minds (from Goodreads):
When Sydney Porter transfers to Northern University, she’s ready to put her past behind her. Landing a job on campus as an irreverent radio personality, she uses the anonymity to air all the campus dirty laundry—earning the infamous Sunday Lane more than a few enemies. But her true passion is spinning records, even if Drunk Earl is her biggest fan.

Sydney’s junior year kicks off with the promise to be amazing. Or at least it does until Gray Peters, hotshot quarterback, unexpectedly reenters the scene. His presence threatens to destroy everything she has going, as well as resurrecting a night Sydney never wants to remember or repeat. She’d run away like a coward, but this time she’s determined to stay and fight.

A twisted battle of wit and trickery ensues, with one common goal—vengeance. Sydney and Gray set out to make each other miserable. But misery loves company, and soon, walls are destroyed and truths are revealed that could change their future forever.

*** Contains mature situations and language ***

breakdown

Series: Devious Minds
Author: K F Germaine
# of Books: 1+ (Devious Minds, TBA)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, a sequel book will be published in 2016
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chance, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read2Review provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you K F Germaine!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book on NetGalley and was about to request it but when I went back it was gone 🙁 Lucky for me, the New Adult reading group on Goodreads that I am a part of had made arrangements with K F Germaine to offer this book for anyone who wanted to review it. I pounced on the chance!

The key word for me in the synopsis was “vengeance”. I’m a sucker for books where people fall in love with their “mortal enemy” and the use of that word “vengeance” filled me with promise. Promise of lots of sexual tension, a mysterious past encounter and lots of drama.

Needless to say, I was stoked to read this one!

What I Liked:

–The Drama–

This book had more going on than just a romance.

All the back and forth hi-jinks kept me entertained even if I didn’t totally like what was done (which I will comment on later). And even moving away from the conflict between the two leads, the subplots were also really interesting! They linked up perfectly with the main story and never took away from the real focus of the book which is essentially the romance and the subsequent character growth. I felt like everything was really balanced when it came to the delivery which made it really easy–and addicting to read.

–Their Past–

Normally, second chance romances aren’t really my thing but this really isn’t your typical second chance romance. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I loved learning bits and pieces about their previous encounters and seeing how those interactions shaped them into the people we get today. Which leads me to:

–The Character Development–

I will admit, I didn’t like Gray or Sydney when I first met them. They were mean, mean people and they weren’t afraid to show it. But all of that changed the more I read about them.

As you learn more about their individual pasts, their characters start to make more sense to you. You see why Sydney has the attitude she does and why she acts a certain way when it comes to her brother. With Gray, it wasn’t until I learned about their past together that made me understand his character. And once that got revealed, I easily found myself rooting for these characters.

I love a book that can make me change my impression of a character (or two) simply by reading more. I think it shows the strength of the character development in this book.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Some of the Antics–

I thought a lot of the things these two do to each other–in terms of vengeance–were a little extreme. It made them seem cruel, thus enticing my dislike of them. It took me a while to get past that but as I said before, that changed the more I read.

Some were just over the top dramatic which made things very entertaining to read. They were exactly the type of things I expected, it’s just that these crueller ones did some minor damage to my reading entertainment.

–the quickness of the romance–

This is definitely more of a personal quip than anything because I truly did enjoy the romance! It wasn’t apparent to me at the start why these two would like each other because they seemed like polar opposites. However, once again, the more I read the more I saw why these two would work together.

I just thought things escalated rather quickly in terms of their feelings. There was a lot of sexual tension there so I understood why things happened the way that they did, I just personally wanted more. (ie I really enjoyed watching these two and wanted more…so I guess that really isn’t something to complain about)

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I thought this was going to be a standalone but I read on Germaine’s blog that there will be a sequel with a different set of leads. I am super excited to see who these new leads will be and can’t wait to read the next one!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really, really enjoyed this one! Devious Minds was a great New Adult book that had me chuckling and swooning as I read. It started a little rocky with this characters but I quickly got absorbed into their world. Very, very entertaining and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next!

Read if You Like: New Adult romance, character development, second chances
Avoid if You: don’t like revenge game premises

similarreads

 

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Series Review: Summer Tour by Diane Matlick

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

Summer Tour by Diane Matlick | Summer Tour Series

Synopsis for Summer Tour (from Goodreads):
Take a journey with a group of friends…

Ben has always had it bad for his childhood friend Anna, but after years of unrequited pining, he’s officially done with her. It’s the summer before he and his best friends graduate college and they are about to go on tour, following their favorite band all over the east coast. This group is like a family—extremely close but with their fair share of old wounds and hidden secrets…

Anna figured out at a young age not to rely on anyone and she has always done whatever necessary to get by. She has carefully constructed her life—keeping herself isolated to stay focused and avoid getting hurt. But everyone has vulnerabilities and even the strongest willed have their breaking point…

Ryan is buried in stress at work, so when his friend suggests a night out, he reluctantly agrees. But what starts off as a typical night in a strip club just outside New York City, ends in an encounter that will change everyone’s lives…

breakdown

Series: Summer Tour Series
Author: Diane Matlick
# of Books: 3 (Summer Tour, Winter Break, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological but connected
Complete?: Yes?
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 2014 – unknown
Source & Format: Provided by author–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I recently joined a New Adult review group on Goodreads and they run a Read2Review program where you can sign up to read NA books that have been provided by the author.

I picked Summer Tour because I wanted to read a book with multiple perspectives. I also thought it would be fun to hear about a group of friends following their favourite band when they are on tour.

What Didn’t Work: 

-The Drug Usage-

I’m not a huge fan of having drug references in my novels. I can deal with leads that have a drug addictions and the like but reading about people taking drugs recreationally isn’t my idea of a good time. Call me a prude but I really don’t like the message it promotes—even if it is “just marijuana”.

-The Character’s Pasts-

These characters have intense, drama filled pasts which is what I was expecting, it just seemed way over the top. The drama reminds me a lot of the later Gossip Girl books where friends are sleeping with friends and giving into various substances.  These people are complex but I think they are too complex. They just had so much drama in their lives that it was a little overwhelming. While there was some great character development and growth, I think the impact would have been more apparent if each character only had one or two issues instead of 3+.

-The Romance-

Because the first quarter of the book focuses on Ryan and his role in the story–which is important but went on for far too long when the point could have been proven in one or two chapters–I felt like not enough time was given to develop Ben and Anna’s relationship and discuss their past together. Their relationship didn’t develop enough for me and by introducing the romances of all their friends, it got overwhelming and distracted from Anna’s story.

What Worked:

-The Friendships-

I love reading about groups of friends and all the drama associated with that. Their lives are so woven together that they have so many different layers to their relationships. I think if this had been better executed (for example only give Anna and Ben POV for this book and then do the next book about two other characters) it would have been great!

-Personal Growth-

All of the characters had great growth throughout the novel despite their many issues. So while the romance wasn’t as strong as what I wanted it to be, I appreciated the independent development of the characters.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While this novel can be read as a standalone, the preview I had at the end of this book indicated that there is more in store for this cast of characters. There was an interesting relationship development (though I wouldn’t have developed it as much as it was–I would have saved it for the sequel) at the end of Summer Tour that has piqued my interest so I will probably check out the second novel but not right away.

updates

–December 3, 2015– Book 2: Winter Break

I have to say that Winter Break was a huge improvement over Summer Tour!

Everything that I didn’t really like in the first book was toned down (ie the drugs and the drama). It’s still there but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming or the only thing the characters seemed to do. The focus moved to each pair working on themselves and their relationship. The result is stronger characters (better rounded and more developed) and great character growth. It was much more enjoyable to read in that respect because I was starting to understand each individual character and not their projected personalities.

I also liked the plot. It was more obvious to me and I liked that there was a set path or course to follow. And I honestly didn’t see how everything linked together until the very end so I really liked that!

I’m curious to see who the spin-off is about but I feel like I have a good idea (or perhaps some hopes).

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This book (Summer Tour) had a great concept but a messy execution. I think if it focused more on a few things (like it’s sequel, Winter Break) and not on introducing so many different elements it would have been a great New Adult read.

Read if You Like: friend drama, complex characters
Avoid if You: don’t like books with drug references, don’t like drama

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DNF Series Review: Gilded Wings by Aimee Agresti

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads of 2014 (Illuminate)
Series: Gilded Wings Trilogy
Author: Aimee Agresti
# of Books: 3 (Illuminate, Infatuate, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 3 will be published in the near future
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: March 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That I only read 50% of Illuminate (Book 1) when I wrote this review. I stopped reading it and currently have no plans to finish it. Find out why below:

My Expectations:

Illuminate has been on my Kobo for quite some time now but I only managed to read it this year. It was simply a case of out of sight, out of mind and its subsequent burial in my Kobo once I bought more books.

My Review:

Anyways: I started Illuminate and was shocked by how long it was. It nearly put me to sleep a few times because I found it so slow. This book is one that suffers from a very detailed exposition–so detailed that it is actually mind-numbing and I would forget what I was reading because I would get lost in thought or fall asleep. I NEVER FALL ASLEEP READING A BOOK, especially in broad daylight. There really was no need for the drivel that is in this book–and as I said before, it was USELESS information. I love getting a full description of the scene but this was overboard and in place of essential character interaction. I found a lot of the dialogue between the characters was also unnecessary and boring.

I was 48% through the book when I made the decision to stop reading–despite having paid for this book and also having the sequel, Infatuate, out from the library. There were two reasons I stopped reading: 1) was that my Kobo was telling me that it was going to take another 5 hours to finish it; and 2) there was absolutely no plot happening.

Again, this book suffered from too much detail and it shows in the nonexistent plotline. The parts where Haven reads from the mysterious book and ACTUALLY interacts with Lucian are too few and far between for my tastes. I was very bored with this book and even reading the plot synopsis for the sequel, Infatuate, wasn’t enough to stimulate my curiosity for what is actually happening at this hotel and to Haven.

It doesn’t help that Haven is extremely dull herself. I didn’t understand her fascination with Lucian at all. They met twice and only spoke a handful of words to each other and she fancies herself in love with him. I was expecting more romance in the story but instead, it focused more on Haven doing every day things at her internship and giving a minute-by-minute account of what she does in a day–which is BORING! So I think it goes without saying that this book was lacking in sexual tension or any romantic interaction really–and that makes it a dull read.

One day in the far future I might decide to finish Illuminate just for the sake of having a complete library on my Kobo–but until that day comes, I won’t be finishing this series anytime soon.

Series Rating: DNF

Illuminate 1/5 | Infatuate N/A | Book 3 N/A

overall

For me, this is one of these book series that I should have read the reviews to before I bought it. I think I was blinded by the cover because if I managed to read the reviews I probably wouldn’t have read this book at all. Just a poor execution for a good idea (or what I assume is the idea). If you want a similar book but with a much better plot and execution, read Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins.

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Synopsis for Illuminate (from Goodreads):

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

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Series Review: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

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 The Name of the Star (from Goodreads):

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

breakdown

Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
# of Books: 4 (The Name of the Star, The Madness Underneath, The Shadow Cabinet, Book 4)

There is a prequel novella called The Boy in the Smoke

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 4 will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I did not finish reading The Madness Underneath (Book 2)when I published this review. Find out why below…

The Name of The Star Review:

I read The Name of the Star for two reasons: 1) I loved the eBook cover (the one when it first came out) and 2) I hadn’t read anything about ghosts in a long time, if ever. Normally, I prefer to read romance or action novels–I don’t really enjoy ‘scary’ movies but I LOVE thrillers and this book sounded like an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite TV shows) but with a supernatural twist.

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star didn’t do much for me. I didn’t really like Rory as a character and I had a hard time convincing myself to like her. I just didn’t like how she acted–I think some people might label it “quirky’; I would label it “quacky” because I thought she was very odd. I’m not sure if it is the writing style as it is a novel set in the UK and I most books I read that are set there tend to have a slower pace to them but it didn’t do much for me. But I was hooked into the mystery so I continued to read–and I’m glad I did because I liked the ending and solution to the mystery all things considered.

However: I had no interest in reading the sequel. But what happens at the very end of the novel–plus the connection I thought I saw between Rory and another character–kept my interest enough to see what the sequel was all about.

The Madness Underneath Review:

Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath fell (no pun intended) into the classic Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump. I was halfway through the book when I had to ask myself: what the hell is the plot? Honestly, halfway through the book the “mystery” (the “creepy new terror haunting modern-day London”) is never mentioned. Instead, we get to listen to an angsty Rory as she tries to navigate her teenaged life–which is not my cup of tea in any book and especially in this series where I’m not a huge fan of Rory. It would have been ok if the other characters we meet were involved but Rory pretty much flies solo for most of the book.

I was 40% of the way through The Madness Underneath when I decided to stop reading it. I read in other reviews that the ending is very exciting but in my opinion it was too little too late. I decided to sleep on it and see if I changed my mind but I decided I really didn’t care (because nothing had really started by that point) and I could live with not knowing considering I had lived without reading The Madness Underneath for two years since its release. I just didn’t want to be committed to another book if I did like the ending. I have better series to read from the library so I am officially putting this one to rest.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Name of the Star 3/5 | The Madness Underneath DNF | The Shadow Cabinet N/A | Book 4 N/A

overall

While I personally didn’t enjoy this story, I quite a few people will like the supernatural/paranormal spin of it. If you like slower series with books dedicated to personal character development then this series is for you. But if you are like me and like having multiple plotlines or faster plotlines with lots of twists and action, you won’t enjoy this series so stay away!

similarreads

  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Hereafter by Tess Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Three Irish Brothers by Joanna Mazurkiewicz

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

Other Books in the Series:
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Series: Three Irish Brothers
Author: Joanna Mazurkiewicz
# of Books: 3 (Beautiful Pain, book 2, book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unknown
Genre: New Adult, Mature, Emotional, British
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Beautiful Pain:

I actually got this book for free one day for both my Kobo and Kindle. Since then it has gone up in price but I wouldn’t have been overly upset if I had paid the two dollars for it.

I think it is important to highlight the fact that this book is British. It’s written by a British author so it has that style of writing we aren’t completely used to this side of the pond. It tends to be very proper, not as many contractions in the sentences and not much slang–it almost comes across as mechanical to readers who typically read North American literature. Because I read a lot more North American books than British, it always throws me for a bit of a loop but I do read quite a few British novels so I easily get accustomed to that.

So it could easily be a product of the book being British in origin or maybe people in British are super mature: but I just found the dialogue to be a little awkward and overly mature for the age of the characters. I’m the same age as Sophia and no one I know talks like she does so I found that hard to accept at times. But given her past I wouldn’t be surprised if she is just that next level of maturity.

Out of all the freebie books that I have, I choose to read this one because the concept it really cool and different from other books out there. I mean, Harry is the ultimate bad boy and the element of Sophia being his probation officer is something I have never encountered before. It’s an interesting spin on things I think it is executed fairly well all things considered.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really understand Sophia and Harry’s relationship and how it worked between them. Their relationship is essentially built on lust and the “unspoken” connection between them. I don’t particularly care for these “unspoken”/love-at-first-sight-deal stories so I really didn’t get how they worked together or why they liked each other. I supposed it improved as we went but I never really got it to be honest–which is a shame because I really wanted to love them together.

I want to really stress that this book can be very dark at times. Although it is told through a 3rd person narration, there are times when we get a first person POV from Sophia when she describes her past. Nothing is really held back which I both appreciate and find uncomfortable at the same time. I find it’s hard to read in the mind of someone who has an abusive or depression filled past because it can be very dark and very emotional. On this regard, the book really excelled at conveying those feelings. It made Sophia seem very real and more than just a character in the book.

Conclusion:

Overall, this book didn’t really float my boat. I liked it and can appreciate it; but not enough to watch out for the rest of the series. I’m not particularly interested in the next set of characters but I’m not so turned off of the idea of picking the sequel up if it happens to be free on Amazon again. For those who want a darker New Adult read, this is a solid choice; especially if you like Ireland 😉

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Pain (from Goodreads):

My decisions were always wrong. I needed to get away from London, I wanted to start from scratch in Belfast, escape from the life that I didn’t want.

Working for Probation Service for the whole summer was going to give me the experience that I needed. I always felt much better when I could help people whose lives were shattered.

My parents told me that I wasn’t ready and I wouldn’t make it through but I was determined to show them that the past was behind me.

I had three months to forget about my bad memories, about the pain and my scars. Then I run straight into him, throwing it all to the wind, falling into a trap of love and lust.

Harry O’Donaghue was a local offender. At our first meeting he gave me the impression that he didn’t care about what I had to say and didn’t want to be evaluated by a stupid young girl like me.

Harry wasn’t an easy subject, either when it came to straight forward conversation about his future or about the crimes that he had committed.

Harry had a secret and everything suddenly became complicated. He was bad to be around, bad for me in every respect, but I still allowed him take me to paradise…

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Series Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

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

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence | Mystic City Series

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breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite read of 2012 (Mystic City)
Series: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
# of Books: 3 (Mystic City, Toxic Heart, Body Electric)
Complete?: No, Body Electric will be published TBA
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool

thoughts

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

I won’t lie, the only reason I picked this book up or at least considered reading it was because of the “fans of X-men” line–I can’t help but be a little curious about a book when a publisher uses that line. So I went in with weary expectations, only to come out of it all with my mind blown and me counting down the endless number of days until the sequel.

This book was FANTASTIC! One of my favourite reads this year for sure!

It just had everything I want in a book: A rich, twisting plot full of drama that wasn’t very predictable (there are clues along that way that you pick up on but there were some things that I happened that surprised me!); a dash of romance; a strong female lead; mystery and a whole lot of suspense and action. I had a very hard time putting this down at the end!

It can be worrisome when a book is compared or suggested to fans of another series. I often find the new books are carbon copies of the “fans of BLANK” books so it can be disheartening when you actually read it and it doesn’t meet your high expectations. I can happily say that this book was unlike anything I have read–sure it takes similar plot concepts from other stories but the way that they are weaved all together makes this book totally original and a joy to read.

UPDATED (July 24/14): I finally was able to get my hands on a copy of Toxic Heart after a very length wait (only know I will have to wait for the third book :P). While the plot isn’t as intricately woven as it was Mystic City, I found it managed to keep my attention right from the get go. It does suffer a bit from the “book-two-of-a-trilogy-slump” but there were still some mystery elements and good plot developments. Aria started to irritate me just a smidgen at the start of the novel but I quickly got over that once I was a few chapters in. Overall, it was a good followup to its predecessor and sets the stage for some awesome plotlines in the next installment!

Conclusion:

I know that this book gets mixed reviews on Goodreads but I think for those who want to try something a little different, this one is worth a shot! It is hard to say anything else without giving too much away but fans of dystopian who love a good mystery plot will LOVE this! If you get a chance pick it up so you can join me in the misery that is waiting for the sequel 😛

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Black City Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis for Mystic City (from Goodreads):
For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

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