Monthly archives: May, 2015

Series Review: College of Charleston by Kate L. Mary

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

College of Charleston

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The List (from Goodreads):
The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . .

Body piercing
Get drunk
First kiss

But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .

Fake ID
Skinny dipping
Road trip!!!

Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.

But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .

Lose it
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love

breakdown

Series: College of Charleston
Author: Kate L. Mary
# of Books: 4 (The List, No Regrets, Moving On, Letting Go)
Book Order: Companion (No Regrets); Connected (Moving On, Letting Go)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Toasty; warm (No RegretsMoving On)
Point of View: First Person, Single; First Person Alternating (Moving On)
Publication Date: May 26 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley & Author–eBook  Thank you Kensington Books & Kate L Mary for the opportunity!

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Note: This was originally published as a Fresh Friday Post on May 29, 2015 where only The List was reviewed. As of March 18, 2016 it is now the Series Review Post.

Why I Picked Up The List / My Expectations:

I love making lists–I make them for everything! Whether it’s books to read to tasks I need to do in a day, I constantly make them. So when I saw this book was about a girl making a list of things to do for college–yeah, I was so there!

My only hesitation was the promise of a love triangle–I really hate those! But, the synopsis lead me to believe that it really was going to be one sided so I went in hoping for the best!

The Plot (The List):

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much going on besides Annie flip-flopping between the two guys–more on that particular situation later. It’s a shame because I think if the focus was on Annie finding herself as a person WITHOUT a man, it would have been a great story. More of a coming of age instead of a “why doesn’t he love me” type of situation.

There is also the mystery of Annie’s mother’s death and why it had such a huge impact on her upbringing. Again, I wish it was elaborated more because it really would have helped develop Annie’s character and maybe garner some sympathy from me as a reader because Annie sure wasn’t getting any from me!

The Characters (The List):

I didn’t really like Annie; she irritated me for a few reasons. One is that I didn’t understand her. I’ll touch on it in a bit in my romance section, but I really didn’t like how she treated one of the guys. It was like he would say one thing honestly and she would just snap at him; but if the other guy said it to her she was like “oh, ok”. It just rubbed me the wrong way as did some of her other actions. She is a very selfish, reckless character who really didn’t think about the consequences of her actions and did things simply because she could. Which, I get given her home life and all but these were just poor decisions.

The two love interests, Ryan and Chris, weren’t anything special either. They were your typical love interests: the super nice guy and the off-limits sensitive boy. And I really didn’t understand why they instantly loved Annie besides her looks because she wasn’t any prize in my eyes and they really didn’t talk to each other much either.

As for the rest of the cast, I was far more interested in Annie’s BFFs situation than Annie’s which isn’t really a good sign…

The Romance (The List):

My only hesitation picking this book up was the vibe of a love triangle in the synopsis. But I also got the impression that this wasn’t going to be a full blown love triangle; rather, it was more of a situation where two love interests are present but really only one is in contention. And this story definitely leaned more that way well sorta kinda maybe…

Because you knew that she really didn’t like the other guy and the worst part is that SHE knew she didn’t like him the same way but she kept toying with his emotions anyways and didn’t truly feel guilty about it! UGH! So FrUsTrAtInG! (Thus why I dislike Annie so much!)

And so begins the saga of Annie flopping like a fish between the two guys (the worst part of a love triangle ever!). Whining that the guy she likes, and who likes her back, is too “honourable”/weak to tell his BFF that he likes the same girl he likes because he is sexually attracted to her.

The whole situation I found to be extremely immature and annoying. I also didn’t know why the boys liked her so much because they really didn’t interact all that much or really spend that much time together to warrant such strong feelings. It just didn’t add up for me which is very disappointing.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite not liking this book, I do want to read No Regrets. I really liked these characters and want to know their story. I’m undecided about Moving On–I’ll have to read the full synopsis when it’s released to make a decision though I feel like the unresolved events in The List will cause me to read it anyways.

updates

disclaimer

–March 18, 2016– Book #2: No Regrets

I was looking forward to reading this story because I’m a sucker for the “forbidden” romance trope. Not that this romance was forbidden, more like it was “off-limits”.

It took me awhile to like Cami. She’s a bit of a rambling person and it makes her come across as an airhead (and I think she is to a certain degree) but I knew that she was going to have some strong character development as the story progressed.

Unfortunately, I wanted to read about her falling in love. I wanted to actually see it happen and not have it neatly summarized as “we talked everyday for the next week and I couldn’t stop thinking about him”. So I had a hard time understanding the connection between these two beside physical attraction. Their relationship seemed like a side plot which is fine, just not what I was expecting.

If I had to give an overview of the whole novel, I would say it was all about Cami growing up. Which is why I would label this story as a coming of age story more so than a romance. Cami is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and I did like that her character grew up a bit as you read. It took a while for me to get comfortable with that idea because I wanted it to be a romance. But once I realized the direction it was taking, I enjoyed the latter half of the book.

I also didn’t realize that this novel would be a companion novel (ie. taking place simultaneously with The List). I actually liked that a lot because it helped me keep the pacing of everything and answered some of the questions you have while reading The List when it comes to Cami and Liam’s relationship.

–March 20, 2016– Book #3: Moving On

Having just finished No Regrets the day before, I was better prepared for the type of story I was going to get with Moving On. I knew it was going to be more of a slow burn romance story, with the romantic passion coming on in the end. And that was exactly what we got.

What I enjoyed about this novel was the alternating perspectives and their character development. I liked watching these two form their bond of friendship first and getting to know each other. I understood why they liked each other and how their feelings developed. Again, the story is more about them growing as people and coincidentally finding love along the way. It’s a quick, cute read and by far the best of the series.

(Fun Fact: This book has the two lead characters from Diana Gardin’s Falling Deep [Nelson Island #2] in it!)

–February 1, 2017– Book #4: Letting Go

I will not be picking up the 4th book in the series.

My Rating: 3/5

The List 3/5 | No Regrets 2.5/5 | Moving On 4/5 | Letting Go N/A

overall

The List was too much love triangle for me and not enough character development. Whereas the opposite was true for No Regrets. Moving On had a great slow burn romance but if you are looking for loads of passion and sexual tension, there are other New Adult Series that would suit you better.

Read if You Like: slower stories, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, don’t like reckless rebellious characters, want a hotter romance

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Meme-ful Musings: Not Everyone Understands

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


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(Meme from: http://majibookshelf.blogspot.ca/2013/04/that-awkward-thursday-when-your-online.html)

Recently a good friend of mine came to visit me and somehow we got to talking about reading. I think I was talking about how I have so many books out from the library right now and how I was struggling to read them all before I had to return them. I think I also ranted on about how this one book I was reading wasn’t exactly grabbing my attention–but I could see that his interest was waning so I took the social cue to shut up and quickly changed the subject. It wasn’t that his reaction was rude–far from it honestly!–it was just that he didn’t seem to understand my “problem” or why I felt that way.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m the “reader” in my various groups of friends. I’m the girl that reads more books in one week than some of my friends read in an entire year. So when people want to know what book to read next or want to get an opinion on a popular novel, I’m the one they ask. But I can’t necessarily say that I get the favour returned all the time. Sometimes I do, but really only once in a blue moon does a close friend recommend a book for me. (Though to be fair, chances are that I probably read it already)

I lucked out in university that the girl who later became my best-friend and roommate also liked to read. I often told her to read this series or that one and we would “fan-girl” over the series as she read them. While I might not have remembered all the little details of each book, it was nice to share my thoughts with someone about the bigger picture or swoon over the newest book-boyfriend.

For me, I love talking about the books I am reading. The problem is: no one reads as many books as I do or no one reads the same books I do. Now that we don’t live together, my friend and I don’t sync up reading the ongoing series that we started together. So when I want to freak out about this or that, it’s often just a quiet reaction to myself as I am reading and/or a text message telling her to hurry up and read it! If it’s something I really can’t let go, I’ll try to explain it to my friend(s) but that causes me to tell spoilers–and honestly who likes those?

Which brings me back full circle to my original predicament: having friends who “just don’t understand”. I know I sound like the angsty, petty heroines I detest so much but it’s really the only way I can think to phrase it. There’s just something about sharing your thoughts on or reactions to certain books that adds to your reading experience. It’s probably why book clubs and blogging forums/communities started in the first place.

And I think that is part of the reason why I started to blog in the first place: because by creating a book reviewing blog, I was entering a community where people understand my reading habits. Here was a place I could write my thoughts about a book and hopefully get some feedback or find some recommended reads. So while I love all my friends and love that we connect in many different ways, I guess I love that I have this blogging community in my life too that enriches my reading experience in a way I never really expected.

So what about you? Are you the chronic reader in your group? Or are your friends just like you? If you have a blog, do you feel like it fills in that “void” that is “missing”?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

DNF Series Review: Fifth Avenue by Yates & Crews & Hewitt

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 Avenge Me (from Goodreads):
Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York’s elite would never believe it – especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father – risking his family name and those he loves – without any proof?
Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen’s reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?

breakdown

Series: Fifth Avenue Trilogy
Author: Maisey Yates (Take Me & Avenge Me); Caitlin Crew (Scandalize Me) & Katie Hewitt (Expose Me)
# of Books: 3 (Avenge Me, Scandalize Me, Expose Me)

There is a FREE prequel novella, Take Me–see notes below

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot, BDSM: mild
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May – July 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I did not read Scandalize Me or Expose Me. Find out why below..

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw Take Me as a freebie for Kindle so I decided to  download it: who am I to refuse a guy in a suit? But what actually sold me on reading this series is the little blurb for the series on Goodreads:

Ten years ago one devastating night changed everything for Austin, Hunter and Alex. Now they must each play their part in the revenge against the one man who ruined it all.

I LOVE revenge stories. I love all the secrecy, forbidden feelings and drama. They make for fun reads and this on in particular looked like it would live up to those expectations.

Plus, my library had the book set so why not?

The Plot:

Sigh… Avenge Me was a huge disappointment. Never did I think I would be upset that a book had too much romance BUT I underestimated a Harlequin Romance.

It’s unfortunate that the focus was on Austin and Katy’s relationship and not on the task at hand: bringing down Austin’s dad. Sure, that plotline was there but it was buried under numerous mild BDSM sex scenes. I was hoping for a book more along the lines of Heated by J. Kenner, which balanced the sexy times with the mystery of the plot, but Avenge Me definitely wasn’t in that league. I guess I should have known when the publisher is “Harlequin” but it’s been so long since I’ve read one that I guess I forgot.

The Characters:

Katy and Austin were nothing new to me. I also didn’t really like them separately or together. Austin was too controlling and Katy–who showed independence and drive at the start–gave in wayyyy to easily. Sure, I can cut Katy some slack considering she has had to raise herself and her younger brother from a young age so the appeal that someone else would “take care of her” makes sense for her character. I just didn’t like how fast everything happens.

The Romance:

I can get over the fact that Katy gives up her virginity to a guy she’s talked to for 5 minutes. While I don’t really respect that, I understand that, hey, the “romance” has to start somewhere (it’s fiction). What I didn’t understand was how she knew she liked to be “dominated” in the bedroom when her previous sexual encounters were pretty much zilch. I dunno, maybe I’m just used to the skeptical heroine being introduced to the BDSM world by an experienced older male and liking it after she’s experienced it.

It was just a little too insta-connection for me with the two of them. I also got real tired of the sex scenes real quick.

Notes on the novella:

Because I had the boxset and Take Me was listed first, that’s what I read first. I would read it first because it shows you the event that inspires the “revenge” in the actual novels. It’s a shame it isn’t a full novel because I really love the story of these two leads but for a novella, I thought it was well done.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

I expected too much from what are essentially extended novellas. I love the premise but hate the execution. If you love lots of sexy times and little plot, this is a great series for you!

Read if You Like: harlequin romances, lots of sexy times
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-connections, want more plot

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  • Heated by J. Kenner (Most Wanted Trilogy #1)

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Single Sundays: Confess by Colleen Hoover

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

Synopsis for Confess (from Goodreads):
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary 
Heat Rating
: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I think by this point it’s fairly obvious that anything Colleen Hoover publishes, I will be reading it. But even if she didn’t write this one, I would have picked this book up for the concept alone. It just seemed like a book that would be filled with secrets and–obviously–confessions and I needed a good drama filled contemporary romance when I picked this up. It’s just an added bonus that Colleen Hoover writes this because I just know there are going to be some AWESOME plot twists.

The Concept:

In Slammed, the focus is Slam Poetry; in Maybe Someday we get a music soundtrack. But in Confess, the focus is art–and you betcha, there is actually photos of the artwork in the text! I recommend you either get this book in print or at the very least look at the eBook on your computer or tablet because the photos look great in black and white (like your eReader) but they look even better when in colour! I just love these additions Colleen Hoover adds to her works and it’s what makes her a must read author for me.

The other cool concept this book plays with is confessions. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the community project Post Secret but the idea is that you mail in your secret/confession on a postcard anonymously. A few years ago, the band All American Rejects used postcards from the site in their video Dirty Little Secret. Anyways, Owen’s artwork is inspired by similar confessions which is a interesting spin and really grounds this book and makes it more realistic to me.

The Plot:

Don’t go into this book expecting a cheery and light romantic read–it’s actually kind-of depressing. Which is why it took me a while to get into it. I cried three pages in (you’ll understand why if you read it) and I cried at the very end for the same reason. While some aspects of the plot I figured out before they were revealed, in classic Colleen Hoover style there were some great twists which kept the plotline from getting too predictable. As I was reading, I really didn’t know what was going to happen next and, even better, I had no clue how everything was going to wrap up.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Broadway musical Once but this book gave me similar vibes in the sense that two people are exploring their connection despite external forces and secrets driving them apart. But instead of music, we get artwork.

The Characters:

I really liked all the characters we meet in this book–even the ones you are supposed to hate. Hoover writes great characters that always feel developed yet still manage to grow at the same time. I find they are consistent in their convictions (ie they don’t flop like fish) but they still have flaws and they try to fix it. So while these character might not be gracing a list of my all-time favourite characters, I still enjoyed reading about them.

The Romance:

As I said before, this isn’t a happy-go-lucky type of romance book. It’s also a bit of a insta-connection / “must be fate” kind of romance which I don’t really like. However, I didn’t mind it in this case because you watch these characters struggle with that connection. It isn’t like they dive into bed together as soon as their eyes connect and forget the rest of the world. In fact, it is the complete opposite. It also helps that the focus of a majority of the book is on individual character growth and dealing with the world around them rather than their romantic connection. There were definitely enough “romantic” scenes but there was just the right amount to balance the “drama” portion of the story.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This may not be my favourite Colleen Hoover book but I still really enjoyed it! I thought it had a great execution and unique attributes that made this different from your everyday romance novel. It kept my attention from beginning to end and I loved the fact that it still surprised me at the very end. Another great book by Colleen Hoover!

Read if You Like: romantic fate, drama, a dash of suspense, artist heroes
Avoid if You: dislike insta-connection, want a more “upbeat” romance
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Tackling the TBR – May & June 2015 [1]

tackling

This post is slightly inspired by Niki @The Obsessive Bookseller who posted about her new method for tackling her TBR list. I had always planned to tackle my TBR list this summer but her post inspired me to take a more definitive route of action. I’ve tried various ways to tackle my growing TBR list (it was one of my major New Year’s Resolutions this year) but so far, my attempts have been futile.

So while I have a few personal goals (like finishing my t-shirt quilt and learning Spanish) for the summer, my main focus is tackling my purchased TBR list. This is my last true summer vacation as a student (I have a summer semester next year for school) so I REALLY wanted to get the majority of my books read when I have the time to read copious amounts of books and write the subsequent reviews.

For my plan of action, I had to ask myself: why do I not read the books I buy? It’s not a matter of finding the time to read (I still average 3-4 books a week) so what is it?

  1. I have WAYYYYYY to many books on hold at the library. It’s actually embarrassing since I have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. I find that most of the books I am reading are because I have the eBooks checked out from the library and I have to read them before they expire. (And Murphy’s Law dictates that multiple books become available at once so that also adds to the problem). It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something that takes up all my reading time.
  2. I buy too many books-more than I manage to read. Honestly, who doesn’t have this problem? I blame Kobo and their awesome contest periods where I win promo coupons and subsequently do a bulk purchase.

Once I identified these as the source, it was time to come up with a game plan for May and June (so that I would be in better shape for July and August when I would reevaluate). And here it is:

  • For the last half of May and the entire month of June, no books shall be added to my holds lists at my libraries. I will put novels on my wishlist reads instead to add at a further time.
  • No buying books for the entire month of May and June. (The slight exception is if it is a series I select from my TBR jar and need the sequel to complete the review or a book goes on sale for $1–I’m not missing out on saving money!).
  • I can browse freebies but can only grab sequel books that I already have or I have had it on my wishlist.
  • Read at least 1 book from my TBR jar a week.

Hopefully, this will get me in shape for July and August when I can make a significant dent in my Kobo purchase list (I’m going to do a second post with my new game plan). I would love to use Netgalley more and read some of the freebies I’ve acquired over that last few months, but with my current system, it’s just not going to happen. In an ideal world, I would read one library book, one purchased book and one freebie/ARC per week. But it’s hard when I write a series review blog and have to read multiple books to write one review. Plus, I enjoy series a lot more when I can read all of the books at once and not have to wait–or try to remember what happened in the previous book–for the next book. So we will see how this goes!

What methods have you tried to tackle your TBR list?

Have any worked?

Do you have any summer reading plans?

Series Review: Once Upon a Crime Family by Tiffany Schmidt

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

Once Upon a Crime Family

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hold Me Like a Breath (from Goodreads):
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

breakdown

Series: Once Upon a Crime Family
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
# of Books: 2 (Hold Me Like a Breath, Break Me Like a Promise)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 2015 – June 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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**This post was originally published 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:

First off, I love the cover! That’s mostly why I even considered reading this book. Tiffany Schmidt has a few books on my  TBR list but the promise of a mafia/crime family book stole my attention. Add to that the fairy tale retelling, I’m sold!

I was hoping this book would be faster paced and grittier than Nicole William’s Crossing Stars (which was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with modern day crime families). So I was really excited to read it but some “meh” reviews made me lower my initially high expectations.

The Concept / The World:

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what the fairy tale element of Hold Me Like a Breath was until I read the author’s note at the end. That’s when everything clicked into place. So don’t go into this thinking it is a straight fairy tale retelling: it’s simply influenced by one particular fairy tale and that’s about it.

On the other hand, I loved the organ black-market aspect. It was nice to read a a story about a crime family that doesn’t deal in drugs or loans. It also added an interesting ethical/moral debate to the book (though it isn’t a highly philosophical book by any means).

The Plot:

I found this book took a long time to build up to the main plot. It definitely has a slower vibe to it but it always held my attention. I won’t lie: I definitely wanted more physical action when it comes to crime family conflicts but that really didn’t happen. It’s there in little spurts but nothing crazy.

While this book did have the gritty parts to it that I wanted, the majority of this plot is about Penelope growing up and becoming independent. Which is great but not entirely what I was expecting.

This book kept me on my toes. While I had predicted some plot elements (they were super obvious) there were other aspects that stopped me from knowing the ending right away. I really had no idea how everything was going to wrap up and I liked that a lot.

The Characters:

Penelope is exactly what you would imagine from a girl in an overprotective family; she’s struggling for independence and wanting to rebel. This can get really annoying in a character but I really warmed up to Penelope and loved watching her grow.

The rest of the cast is pretty typical and perhaps borders on the cliche; however, they really worked for this story and truly supported Penelope in a way that didn’t take away from her development or overshadow her.

The Romance:

While the romance is really important in terms of the plot, it isn’t some grand romance novel. For me, it left a little something to be desired (I LOVE romances) and I wasn’t sold on it. I think it is was how it was executed (which is one of the twists I talked about earlier) and how I had my heart set on one outcome but it didn’t play out like I expected.

So while I don’t love how everything unfolded (that’s just the romantic in me), I think it worked for this story and liked that it took a backseat when it needed to.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I have NO clue what is in store for the rest of the series. I assume it’s going to follow a different set of characters but I have no idea. It isn’t high on my priority list to read but I’m curious to see what the sequel’s spin will be.

I have opted not to pick up the sequel because A) my library doesn’t have a copy and B) the plotline doesn’t interest me.

My Rating: DNF

Hold Me Like a Breath 3.5/5 | Break Me Like a Promise N/A

overall

I enjoyed reading Hold Me Like a Breath even if it wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s not a high action, fast paced adventure rather, it is a coming of age story with a small fairy tale basis. Unfortunately, it just didn’t WOW me. I’m interested in the sequel but I’m really have no idea what to expect so I’m not counting down the days; hence, time will tell!

Read if You Like: slower stories, coming of age stories, crime families
Avoid if You: want a integrated fairy tale retelling, don’t like coming of age stories, want more action

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Series Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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 Alienated (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

breakdown

Series: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a FREE bridging e-novella #1.5: Until Midnight

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Aliens, Humour
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcopy; Audiobook (United)

thoughts

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this series; I think I was doing my 6 degrees of book recommendations on Goodreads–you know, where you look up one book and in the corner you see this other cover that captures your attention and so on and so forth… Regardless, I found this book and saw that my local library had copies so I said why not? The only YA alien romance novel/series that I have read to date is Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux Series which I enjoyed quite a bit. So when she says “with the right mix of sizzling romance, action, and suspense, ALIENATED is easily my favorite alien book to date” well, I was going to pay attention and pick it up–so mission accomplished marketing department 😉

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read Alienated. I suppose I expected the cliches of an antagonistic love affair and high school drama–and that is there for sure but it also had a splash of humour which was what I loved the most!

I loved Aelyx’s cynical attitude about things and how he would describe everyday Earth things as if they were the craziest thing he had ever seen. Cara was also really funny and sensible–which I find rare in a YA heroine these days. Together they had a really great connection and their banter back and forth was a lot of fun to read!

And while there was some high school drama, it balanced well with the romance and the larger-scheme plot lines that were happening. Like Armentrout said in her review, it really was the perfect mix of everything you like in a YA novel which makes it such a treat to read!

I read the novella, Until Midnight, right before Invaded. It definitely isn’t necessary but it bridges the physical time gap between the two books. Plus, it’s a FREE eBook so really it’s almost silly not to read the 5 chapters of the short story!

Invaded took me longer to get into. I think part of the reason is the circumstances of the plot (which is hard to elaborate on when you write spoiler-free reviews!) but suffice it to say, given the situations Aelyx and Cara find themselves in, I expected it to begin on the slower side of things. So while I appreciated the character development in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the faster pace of the last half a lot more.

This series is listed as completed–Landers is writing a new book for 2016–but she said on her website page that more books are contingent upon book sales of Invaded. While I am completely satisfied with the way things ended, I would be open to reading more books in this series–or at the very least a follow-up novella.

updates

–January 3, 2019– Book #3: United

I was really excited to return to the world of Alienated but I ended up slightly disappointed in this instalment. I like a lot of things happening in my novels at once but the plot here was almost too overwhelming to fully enjoy. I missed the banter between our two leads the most. I felt like we just rehashed the same things between them over and over without any concrete resolution. It has been a long time since I read the previous novels so perhaps I wasn’t a up-to-date with the world as I should have been…but I did find the recaps we got were sufficient in the book though.

Finally, I wasn’t a fan of the audiobook production. She was a very stiff narrator: which works for the L’eihr dialogue but not very well for a 3rd person POV of both humans and L’eihr.

My Rating: 4/5

Alienated 4/5 | Invaded 4/5 | United 3/5

overall

This series was a fun, light-hearted read that I found to be refreshing! While it won’t be gracing the top of any of my favourites list, I enjoyed reading it a lot. It was a great blend of everything I like in a YA romance read: great chemistry, funny leads and interesting plot situations.

Read if You Like: hate-to-love romances, aliens, humour
Avoid if You: dislike “forbidden” romances, are expecting a true Science Fiction focus, dislike “fluffier” YA

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The Perfect Match: Spring Edition 2015

Introducing my new Seasonal Feature:theprefectmatch

 

Spring 2015 Edition

The Perfect Match: A seasonal feature where I play matchmaker but with books! What happens when you take Book A and combine it with Book B?  The answer is Book C!

For as long as I can remember, I have always hybridized celebrities. As in, you take celebrity A + celebrity B and you get celebrity C. Recently, I’ve discovered that I do this with books as well! So why not have some fun and do a post for my blog? I opted to do a seasonal post for this because I do enough features on a monthly basis plus, creating these book love-children is a hard thing to do!

And just for fun, I thought I would include a celebrity pick as well 😉 Enjoy!

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Why This Match?

Princess of Thorns features a kick-ass heroine who meets a prince she never expects to get along with–just like Katsa in Graceling. Plus the Grimm’s fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is the underlying concept of Stacey Jay’s Princess of Thorns.

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Why This Match?

While For the Darkness Shows the Stars is more futuristic, it shares a lot of common elements with The Winner’s Curse like the high-society heroine’s close relationship with a servant and her desire to fix the world around her. However, the relationship of Arin and Kestrel reminds me a lot more of June and Day’s in Legend where they find themselves on opposing sides of war. Plus, Kestrel is such an intelligent heroine like June.

naspring15 Why This Match?

Mayhem has two popular New Adult concepts: an up-and-coming rock band (like Muse) plus the tutor falling for the player student (like After Math). Together, it’s perfect harmony!

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Agree or Disagree with my picks?

Feel free to suggest some of your own in the comments below!

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Series Review: Worldwalker by Josephine Angelini

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

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini | The Worldwalker Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Trial by Fire (from Goodreads):
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

breakdown

Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy
Author: Josephine Angelini
# of Books: 3 (Trial by Fire, Firewalker, Traitor’s Pyre)

There is a novella that is an alternate POV for a scene in Trial by Fire called Rowan

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches, Magic
Heat Rating: warm but suggestive content
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public library–eBook; Hardcover (Firewalker)

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 I first stumbled upon Trial by Fire, I had marked it as a pass on my Goodreads account. I’m not sure why when I look back at it other than the fact that it features witches and I rarely enjoy witch-focused books. I also think it was because the synopsis made me think about an anime I watched as a teen called .hack//sign. The show follows a set of video game characters that also have alternate “real-world” lives; where one character is, coincidentally, sick in the real world but is of course fine in the game. All I know is that it confused me on so many levels and I still have no clue what the ultimate meaning of the show was .

So I think the alternate universe part of this book turned me off because my less than great experiences with them. However, I stumbled upon a review where this book was given a stellar review so I decided “why not?”. Plus, my library had one last available copy online right after I made that impulsive decision so I figured that was a sign that I had to read this book…

The Concept/World:

In addition, having read Claudia Grey’s A Thousand Pieces of You novel a week or so before I read Trial by Fire made me more receptive to reading a book with alternate dimensions because I really loved A Thousand Pieces of You (ATPOY) and more importantly, it was executed very well. So I went in with a more positive attitude when it came to reading this book.

The difference between the execution of ATPOY and Trial by Fire is that the narrator explains how alternate dimensions work early in ATPOY whereas in Trial by Fire the reader learns as the heroine learns–which I think works for each respective story and adds another level to the reading experience. ATPOY focuses on chasing someone through alternate dimensions to solve a mystery and as such, the reader needs to know how everything works early on to enjoy the journey. Trial by Fire is also focused on a mystery of sorts, but because the heroine doesn’t understand the world she is now in, she learns as she goes and in turn, the reader must do the same.

The world Lily finds herself in is pretty cool. I think my inner science geek enjoyed how the witch-craft was more science based than “magic” based. The world really reminded me of the anime/manga Full Metal Alchemist where they use elemental science for various purposes in a world that is almost medieval but has little touches of the modern world here and there; which is really interesting to read about. So I didn’t mind learning as I was going and even enjoyed learning about this world as I went (which is why I gave it the .5 rating I did because I really loved this aspect).

The Plot:

What did “bother” me about this book was I wanted more focus on why Lily was brought into the world. Character and world building is great and all, but it serves a larger purpose by contributing to the plot. And I felt like Trial by Fire spent a little too much time on all this background building and not enough on figuring out why Lily was there. It reminded more of an adventure/journey story at times because of this aspect. It definitely picks up near the end, but by the halfway point I was ready to have the larger plot become the main focus of the story. In other words: this book moved slowly to me and in turn, I wasn’t able to really get into the story. If the eBook was 30 pages shorter, I think I wouldn’t have had this problem so much. (It took me a lot longer to read this book than it usually does)

The Characters:

Lily wasn’t all that exciting to me as a heroine. But the cast does its job well. I like that there is a villain that you can easily dislike.

The Romance:

As for the romance, it definitely didn’t go the way I expected and it didn’t play as huge of a role as I expected either. So if you are looking for a romance-driven book, this isn’t it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m interested in seeing where this series is going to go because the last few chapters are where things started to get my attention. I don’t mind slower inaugural books that build up so long as the sequel delivers and I kind of get the vibe that this second book will deliver now that the plot is going somewhere–so I look forward to reading Firewalker in September but I’m not exactly counting down the days until its release either.

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–September 3, 2015– Book 1.5: Rowan

I completely forgot that Rowan was going to get his own POV short story until I saw it at my library. I actually really enjoyed it. I thought it brought a fresh perspective to the story. It’s been so long since I’ve read Trial by Fire that I don’t remember all the particulars so it was hard to recall all the details. Considering it was only a couple of pages long, I thought it did a good job getting the point across and recreating the scene. All and all, a good novella to read after Trial by Fire.

–December 4, 206– Book 2: Firewalker

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Firewalker at 26% (90/352). Find out why below…

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this sequel but what we got wasn’t what I had hoped for.

It was so boring! There were some promising little tidbits at the start but they get pushed to the side to focus on some monotonous day-to-day stuff. And I get it, you needed to establish the circumstances these characters find themselves in; but make it a little more worth my while.

Nothing was happening and I didn’t want to wait around for a great cliffhanger ending to make me feel compelled to read the 3rd and final novel.

My Rating: DNF

Trial by Fire 3/5 | Firewalker DNF | Witch’s Pyre N/A

overall

I did enjoy reading this book and I could see why lots of people like it. But if you are like me and want a faster-paced book that doesn’t focus solely on character building, this series might not be your cup of tea. Those who enjoy lots of character development and world building at a slower pace will love this series!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance, want more action

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Series Review: Mayhem by Jamie Shaw

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 Mayhem (from Goodreads):
When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He’s soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn’t recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious “Peach” he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can’t help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam’s rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She’d just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she’s fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite New Adult Read 2015
Series: Mayhem
Author: Jamie Shaw
# of Books: 4 (Mayhem, Riot, Chaos, Havoc)
Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rockstar, Music, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I picked it up / What I was expecting:

I’m a sucker for a good rockstar romance and I’ve yet to really find one that satisfies my expectations. The Sinners on Tour Series is good but it has far too much sex for me and the Fighting Fate Series is a little too high school for me (though I did love it!). So when I randomly stumbled upon this series, I felt like I found a winner and other reviews seemed to confirm it.

The Concept & Plot:

There really isn’t much plot to these books besides the romance–which really was fine with me! I enjoyed watching these couples come together and there is so much sexual tension that I was a very happy camper. In particular, I had just finished some heavier books when I picked up Mayhem and it was the perfect recharge book for me. I truly had a hard time putting it down because it was just plain fun to read!

While I wouldn’t say these books are straight humour books, I did chuckle throughout them. The lightness to them reminded me a lot of Cora Carmack’s Losing It novel and I really enjoyed that aspect to them.

The Characters:

I loved, loved Adam <3 He is definitely a new book boyfriend for me! He was sweet but had that little cocky edge to him that I love in my heroes. I thought he was completely swoon-worthy and I totally know why Rowan had a hard time resisting his charms! The rest of the band is also fantastic and I really hope that all 4 guys get a book because I would love to see what happens next with these guys!

Rowan on the other hand I didn’t love. I liked her but she didn’t completely win me over and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was jealousy that she gets Adam 😛 HAHA Joking! In all seriousness, I think she just didn’t wow me in anyway but to be fair I think anyone would look underwhelming compared to Adam. She wasn’t anything new to me but she is still a solid character.

I loved the leads in Riot which easily made it my favourite of the two books! Riot had the perfect blend of individual character growth and romantic growth. They were a perfect match which made it so much fun yet so touching to read.

The rest of the characters, besides the band, are an interesting cast and they keep things very interesting. They are there just enough to contribute to the story but they don’t take away from it either. I was never distracted by their side stories but they definitely have me interested in their future stories 😉

The Romance:

The romance is really what sold me with Mayhem. The sexual tension was fantastic! It’s there from start to end and had me hooked! The banter between Adam and Rowan was fantastic as is it with the other leads. It isn’t completely sex focused–far from it actually–so it was nice to see real relationships develop between the characters.

And I challenge you not to love these male leads! They are everything a girl dreams about when it comes to a rockstar fantasy <3

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hope for a lot of sexual tension and some great character development and romances! Riot had just enough hints for what to expect in Chaos and I am literally counting down the days of my summer to get my hands on it!

updates

–November 23, 2015– Book 3: Chaos

I picked this book up on a whim when I needed a good pick me up–and this fit the bill! It was perfect and everything I had hoped it was going to be. The sexual tension between these two was off the charts and had me swooning at every turn. They were perfect for each other and I LOVED watching them find out for themselves. What I also really loved was that there was a touch of realism to this story. It didn’t follow all of those cliche situations you find in a romance novel and I really appreciated that.  I’m super stoked for the next one!

–April 29, 2017– Book 4: Havoc

The expectations for this book were unreal. I’ve been waiting for Mike’s story since Mayhem and this did not disappoint.

The chemistry is fantastic! These two were adorable and even the love triangle didn’t phase me. (To be fair, the heroine isn’t the one in the love triangle who has to choose so that helps). I also loved the character development. The heroine’s growth throughout was wonderful.

So sad to see this series go but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending than this!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Mayhem 4/5  |  Riot 5/5  |  Chaos 5/5  | Havoc 5/5

overall

One of the best New Adult series I’ve read this year! I loved the romance and the sexual tension. These books were just plain fun, perfect for the summer! Set aside a day people, because you will devour these books!

Read if You Like: romance focused books, rockstar romances, fun characters
Avoid if You: want more plot-lines besides romance

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