Monthly archives: July, 2015

Series Review: Embassy Row by Ally Carter

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

All Fall Down by Ally Carter | Embassy Row Series

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Synopsis for All Fall Down (from Goodreads):

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: Embassy Row Trilogy
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 3 (All Fall Down, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up)

There is a FREE bonus prequel scene available for Kindle called Before the Fall: Arrival

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I am a huge Ally Carter fan–she is probably IS the sole reason why I’ve picked up some of the YA novels that I do. I’m always a sucker for the marketing line “Fans of Ally Carter will love ___” even though time and time again I end up disappointed in these new finds.

My expectations for All Fall Down were simple: I was hoping this new series would be what I wanted Heist Society to be, which is a fast-paced adventure with a strong female lead, but with a great mystery instead of a heist. The Conspiracy of Us is probably the closest novel I have read that came close to meeting these expectations however it fell a little short when all is said and done.

The Concept/Plot:

I have a mixed reaction to All Fall Down. Do I think this is the best Ally Carter book ever written? The simple answer is no. But do I think it could be her best series yet? Absolutely! The potential is definitely there and this book proved it. It is an unfortunate but necessary fact that this book needed to be a bit on the slower side in order to set up the rest of the series. This book was all about building up the world Grace finds herself in and allowing the reader to get comfortable with it. Which I can appreciate from a critical sense but not completely enjoy as a reader.

The Characters:

I think a lot of readers will struggle to like Grace’s character–I know I did. She is very jaded and it is explained early on why she is the way she is. But even knowing that I just didn’t like her as much as a I wanted to. I think reading the short story, Before the Fall: Arrival, before I started the novel would have helped me come to grips with her character much earlier. She has a lot of potential for growth though, so I look forward to seeing her character develop in the next book.

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–February 7, 2016– Book #2: See How They Run

This one was a tough one for me to get into. I had high expectations, hoping that the somewhat dull first book did its job of setting up the world and story for some great twists and turns in its sequel. And while the last quarter of the book was definitely intriguing, the first 50% of it was very slow and uneventful.

Grace is her own worst enemy when it comes to her story. As I said before, her jaded personality is hard to get used to and it does her no favours here. Her depressing (albeit understandable) monologue makes her seem melodramatic and overly selfish and I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at her sometimes. What’s worse it that I totally understand why she is acting the way she is–it just didn’t garner any sympathy from me.

Also, this was totally me throughout the whole novel wanting to yell at Grace!

I definitely will be reading the 3rd book. This series is going in a direction I didn’t really expect (which is good, because I found this book to be a little predictable at times), so I’m curious to see how this story continues and wraps up in the last book.

–February 24, 2017– Book #3: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Should have called this one “Woe is Me”.

This was so boring! The plot, while interesting in concept, failed to entice me at all.

It doesn’t help that Gracie is one of the most annoying heroines I’ve ever had to endure. Everything is “me, me, me” and “me against the world”. I get it; she has had a rough go of things but I thought by book 3 we would have had some progression of her character past this point. It’s hard to read from the perspective of a character that is in such a negative headspace all the time.

A big miss for me.

My Rating: 3/5

All Fall Down 3.5/5 | See How They Run 3/5 | Take The Key and Lock Her Up 2/5

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This series reminds me a lot of the latter half of the Gallagher Girl Series: meaning it has a more mature and serious vibe to it. It takes a little while to build up, but once it does and the pieces fall together, it really doesn’t stop! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Read if You Like: thrillers, political intrigue, mystery
Avoid if You: want more romance, can’t stand jaded heroines

similarreads

  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls Series #1)
  • Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglin (Cold Fury Trilogy #1)
  • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Trust Me Series #1)

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Tag It Thursdays: Unpopular Opinions Book Tag [2]

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Tag it Thursdays: I occasionally get tagged by fellow bloggers to complete various tags. Once a month I will post my response. Please, feel free to tag yourself if any of these tags interest you!

This month’s tag:

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I think the title is pretty self explanatory though I have no idea where this tag originated from. I was tagged by ILOVEHEARTLANDX @JJBOOKLOVERSBLOG, someone I coincidentally share a lot of the same opinions with about other books (like the Maze Runner and Throne of Glass); thank you for the tag and for the great conversations we’ve had over books in the last few months!

Feel free to disagree with me all that you like with this one! I know a lot of people aren’t going to like my first answer but I can take the heat! I just ask that you remember to be respectful of other people’s opinions 😀

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Please be warned that there may be some spoilers ahead! Just read the title and then see if the cover is a book you don’t want spoiled before proceeding.

A popular book or series that you didn’t like:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Yeah, I never jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon. Boy, did I try though! I tried to read the first book but didn’t get more than a quarter through before I gave up. I then tried with Prison of Azkaban and I got pretty close to finishing but couldn’t make it. Magic series are really hit or miss for me and this one was a definite miss. I also found the start of the Harry Potter books to be so slow and dry. I would like to read these books just to say I have but I have no pressing desire to do so at the moment. I did watch most of the movies though and enjoyed them so I get the appeal.

A popular book or series that you like but everyone else seems to hate:

Ugly Love

This one was tough because I didn’t want to be cliché and say Twilight or the Fifty Shades Trilogy. Both are books I enjoyed at different parts of my life. You can read my reviews obviously to find out why I liked them but I’ll just say that I was the target age for Twilight when I read it and I enjoyed the idea that love can save in Fifty Shades even if the execution is sketchy at best.

So I said Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover. I’m a huge Colleen Hoover fan and I know that her books seem to be hit or miss with some people. This one especially. I’m a huge New Adult genre fan so I think that is why I really enjoyed this one because it is a great example of a NA read. Most people who aren’t big NA fans seem to struggle with the character development; and I’ll be the first to say it isn’t Hoover’s finest BUT, this story made me cry and held my undivided attention so it got major points with me.

A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with or an OTP you didn’t like:

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

First: I had no idea what OTP meant. I had to Google that and I added it to my review guide so I don’t ever forget.

The Nightshade Trilogy has one of the worst love triangles I have ever had to endure because I did NOT like who Calla ends up with. I hated Shay with a passion and felt like he was all wrong for Calla–especially given how his character develops in the later books. And damn you Andrea Cremer for continuously feeding my hope that she would pick Ren in the end! Calla was so back and forth that I came to the conclusion Ren was totally better off on his own anyways but, man, I really, really wanted him with Calla. I won’t even talk about what happens in the last book.

A popular book genre you hardly reach for:

Witches & Werewolves

I suppose that means I don’t like supernatural books but I really enjoy vampire stories so I don’t totally dislike the genre, just stories with witches or werewolves.

Like I said with Harry Potter, magic is hit or miss with me and most of the time when it’s with witches or wizards, it’s a miss. I just don’t like how magic is portrayed or limited by rules when it’s something that can be so nonrestrictive to me. I do like series that have magic as a plot element, I just don’t like when it is the main focus.

As for werewolves, I hate the alpha male mentality and how they are always driven by their primal instincts. That often leads to the characters doing something stupid that I just don’t agree with. I also find the stories to be boring.

A popular or beloved character that you do not like:

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Gale

I was never a Gale fan from the start–I was always team Peta. But his attitude in the last book was the last straw for me and I really detested him by the end.

A popular author you can’t seem to get into:

Firelight (Firelight, #1) Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1) Uninvited (Uninvited, #1)

Sophie Jordan

I’ve read three different series by Sophie Jordan and I’ve been disappointed in all of them in some respect. With Firelight I didn’t like the heroine; I didn’t like how the romances progressed in The Ivy Chronicles and I was severely underwhelmed by the execution of Uninvited. I’ve tried three different genre types with her and I still am not blown away.

A popular book trope you are tired of seeing:

The normal girl who doesn’t think she’s attractive but it turns out that the entire male population has been in love with her forever. Or she develops special powers and then proceeds to whine about it for the rest of the series. So cliché.

Or the girl who is equally torn between the “good guy” and the “bad boy”. So annoying.

A popular series that you have no interest in reading:

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

I have no desire to read If I Stay and I don’t even want to watch the movie. I’m not the biggest YA solely contemporary fan and the synopsis doesn’t appeal to me. I could have easily picked Gayle Forman for a popular author I can’t get into because I really didn’t enjoy her Just One Day Series and that experience didn’t have me jumping to read this one either.

The saying goes, ‘the book is always better than the movie,’ but what movie or TV adaptation did you enjoy more than the books?

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

Goodness, The Maze Runner books were SO BORING (except Scorch Trials, that one was amazing!). The books just had too much going on, poor character development and way too much descriptive detail. The entire time I was reading, I was thinking it would make a great movie and I was TOTALLY right! The Maze Runner Movie was fantastic! It had me on the edge of my seat, and focused on the stronger plot aspects that the novels have. I can’t wait until Scorch Trials is released!


 Thanks again JJBOOKLOVERSBLOG!

I’ll tag (if you have the time!):

What unpopular opinions do you have? Do you agree with my picks?

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Meme-ful Musings: The “I Need to Finish This NOW!” All-Nighter + readathons

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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://appraisingpages.com/2013/05/17/funny-book-meme-friday/)

Note: I wrote this post month’s ago when I was in exams and needed a study break. I find it funny now because I scheduled, unbeknownst to me, the day that I was ending my very first readathon and preparing for my next one! Readathons encourage dropping everything and reading (did anyone else have “D.E.A.R.” in school?) and that’s what this post is about as well! I’m going to double up this musing with my results and announcement post for those readathons but I encourage you to leave a musing comment if you want!

I am notorious for going to bed “early”. By early, I mean that I tell whoever I am living with goodnight a little after 10pm and they assume that means I am going to sleep. But the truth of the matter is that I actually am reading my book. And depending on what my day was like, I may put that book down before or after 11. I learned the hard way in my first year of undergrad how important keeping a regular sleep schedule is. So now, I go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This has done wonders for my attention span as well as my work, so I stick by it tooth and nail (you should try it!)

Except for when I can’t put a book down.

We all know that feeling. It’s that rush you get when the book takes an unexpected turn or the romance has just reached its boiling point and you simply can’t stop reading because you are figuratively dying to know what happens next. And so you proceed to read the book into the wee hours of the morning thanks to a second wind of “need to read” energy that has suddenly burst inside you.

But for me, that “need to read energy” doesn’t keep me reading. I’ll admit it helps me push through a few more chapters but eventually the need to sleep catches up to me. And now that I am “older” and know how my mind and body react to a lack of sleep, I let my body get the shut-eye it needs.

I just set my alarm for earlier in the morning so I can read before class 😉

It helps I am a morning person and if I am particularly excited (or nervous) about something I wake up early. So it’s natural for me to do this and I actually always read in the mornings once I get up regardless. The only bummer part is when I have to leave for class and I wasn’t able to finish the book or I do finish the book and risk being seriously late for my class! But I much prefer this than staying up into the late hours of the night to finish a book.

However, in the same vain, I will make myself read a chapter or two before I go to bed, even if I am going to bed later than normal. Reading is such a stress reliever for me that it helps me get to sleep even if I am super tired. But that is a meme-ful moment for another time (i.e. next month).

I had a lot of fun in my first ever readathon (July 10 – 27) and managed to read 6 of the 10 books I had picked!

Love, Rosie Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2) Near and Far (Lost and Found, #2) The Mad Tatter Before You (Sex on the Beach) Torrent (Condemned, #1)

A BIG thank you to everyone who voted!

So from one readathon to another! This one starts today and I’ve decided to focus on some library books I have out, plus an ARC. I had hoped to pick the books for a Trilogy Termination Blitz I wanted to do but the way it worked out, it was just easier to pick these ones. We have a long weekend this upcoming weekend in my province, so I am hoping to have some days dedicated solely to reading. I’m going to be a little bold and aim for 7 books and they are:

Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams, #2) Forbidden When You're Back (Rosemary Beach, #12) Mechanica

Mai Tai'd Up (Cocktail, #4) Broken Juliet (Starcrossed, #2) The Program (The Program, #1)

So, do you pull all-nighters to finish books? If so, is it a common occurrence or a rare event? Do you’re habits change when you do readathons?

Leave a comment below!

Single Sundays: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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 Fangirl (from Goodreads):
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

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Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance, Family, Realistic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: September 30, 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

If you don’t follow any YA blogs, I’ll let you know that there are two books that always get high praise: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and basically anything by Rainbow Rowell–but more often than not, it’s Fangirl.

So, I was curious and just had to pick up this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was up for anything and I tried to not let the numerous positive reviews cloud my judgement as I read.

The Plot:

This is probably one of the greatest examples of a coming of age story in recent times. This story is all about Cath adjusting to the many changes in her life: college, separation from her twin sister, navigating her relationships with her parents and basically anything that a young adult has to go through. Oh, and don’t forget first love!

What makes this story great is that everyone can relate to Cath in some way. I think the most obvious one is going to college but we all can relate in some indirect way. Sure, I don’t have a twin but I sympathized with the evolving sibling relationship–and that relationship could just as easily be with your BFF. I think lots of bloggers can relate to Cath’s need to write fanfiction. I know there were times in my undergraduate career where I told myself “just finish this assignment and then you can write your book reviews” just like Cath.

And the fandom part…I think we’ve all been there about something in our lives.

This is a slow journey watching Cath evolve but it touches on so many different aspects that it keeps the pace steady and true. While it was long for my personal tastes, I thought it was very thorough and well-balanced. Nothing is resolved immediately so in that respect, I found it to be very realistic in how the characters react and deal with various issues.

The Characters:

Cath can be a very hard character to like. I’m a very stubborn person so I find it hard to read about other stubborn characters. Cath is the very definition of stubborn and I think that can be off-putting to a lot of readers. She can make it hard to root for her when she says or acts a certain way when she knows it’s wrong. But I think that’s what makes this book so great; you watch Cath evolve and grow up right before your eyes. Does that make it very easy to read all the time? Of course not! But I can appreciate the journey.

I really liked all the characters in this book. They were really close to being clichés but they just had that little something that kept them grounded in reality. I think we all have these people in our lives to some degree which again, adds to the realistic element of this story because it is very character driven.

The Romance:

Yeah, that didn’t go the way I expected! I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the romance. I thought it was going to play a minor role in the story but it definitely had a larger role than I anticipated–not that it was a bad thing. I thought it was really well developed and I feel like it contributed in a very beneficial way to the plot.

My Rating: 4/5

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I didn’t fall in love with this book. One part is that I’m not the biggest coming of age YA fan (which is weird because I love New Adult and that’s pretty much coming of age all the time) and I think part of the reason is because it is so hyped up. I was expecting this book to blow me away and put other coming to age novels to shame…and I’ll admit, it was great, but I just never got sucked into it. It just didn’t WOW me.

Read if You Like: coming of age, stories about everyday relationships
Avoid if You: don’t like stubborn characters, want a more romance driven novel

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Series Review: Shades of Magic by V E Schwab

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 A Darker Shade of Magic (from Goodreads):
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

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Series: Shades of Magic Trilogy; A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy
Author: V.E. Schwab (aka Victoria Schwab)
# of Books: 3 (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Alternate Dimensions
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: February 2015 – February 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When this book first came out, it was on a lot of the blogs that I follow. Schwab’s The Archived Series has been on my TBR for a while but this one compelled me to pick it up first. I won’t lie, it was probably the cover 😛 But actually, I’ve really been loving alternate dimension books recently and I needed one for my Ready for Spring Bingo 2015 card so this was my pick!

So I was really excited to pick up this book even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was in store for me (I avoided all reviews for it before I read it to keep my mind clear of spoilers). I hoped for a fast paced adventure with witty banter between the two leads and I couldn’t wait to get started!

The World:

I really recommend that you start this book when your mind is clear and you aren’t really tired. I made the mistake of reading the first 100 pages (approx. a third of the book) fighting off some shut-eye and I had a very hard time grasping the world. I found that it definitely got easier to understand the more I read, but I think that was because we actually get a breakdown of everything all at once as Lila learns about the dimensions.

Because really, the dimensions are easy to understand as is the role of magic in the worlds. I love all the layers–literally and metaphorically. It’s great world-building and one of the coolest alternate dimension stories I have read. I just wish I was in a better place when I first picked it up so it didn’t take so long for me to get into it.

The Plot:

I really feel like this book could have been a lot shorter than it was. I found the first 100 pages to be really slow. I’m sure my tiredness played a role but considering the plot described in the synopsis doesn’t really start until we are 100 pages in I feel like I am justified in that conclusion. I like and appreciate world/plot building but I don’t like when it is prolonged.

Especially when we actually get to the main plot of the story and it’s an AMAZING ride! Despite this book being nearly 300 eBook pages, the last 200 pages fly by! The plot moves at a great pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are a lot of great twists and action and I loved every minute of it!

I feel like there is a greater emphasis on the role of magic in these worlds instead of how the alternate dimensions work. Of course the alternate dimensions play a huge role but magic is really the heart of the story. (I hope that makes sense). As a reader who doesn’t really love magic stories, I really liked this one and how it is executed. There was a great balance between the magic elements, the dimensions and action.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Kell–again, I think it was my tired state–but I loved Lila as soon as we met her! I love the bad-ass thief that she is and her wit. Together, Kell and Lila make one fantastic duo. Their banter back and forth was so much fun to read and I loved watching them learn to work together and trust each other.

I also love that there are good guys and bad guys–and that the bad guys are really bad. It makes for some interesting events which is a lot of fun. But I also like that Kell and Lila have flaws–that they aren’t straight-laced characters that are righteous in everything they do. They can be just as ruthless but you still want to root for them because their hearts are in the good places.

The Romance:

While there is definitely chemistry between Kell and Lila, this book has practically no romance. I think it’s going to come into play in later books but this book isn’t a romance by any means.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see what is in store next for these characters and their worlds. I can’t wait to see how everything develops over the next two books!

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–August 31, 2016– Book #2: A Gathering of Shadows

OK, this took me wayyyyy to long to get into.

I found the first 45% of the book to be terribly slow. Like, I contemplated actually finishing it or not because it wasn’t capturing my attention. But then I remembered I had the same feelings with ADSOM but in the end, I really enjoyed it. And like in ADSOM, I feel like you could have easily cut 100 (eBook) pages out and still had a kick ass story!

I mean the last 50% was AWESOME! Even if it felt a little like filler, I was thoroughly entertained. I like the hints we got of where things are going in the finale and it was nice to see the development of other characters as well as Lila and Kell.

In short: this was a slow start if you are someone who doesn’t love lots of descriptions but it becomes and enjoyable adventure past the halfway mark.

–May 7, 2018– Book #3: A Conjuring of Light

I think this one was my favourite of the series. I found the momentum was strong throughout the entire novel–no slow starts here!

But we also returned to the great character interaction as well that I loved in the first book. All the banter between all the characters; though mostly Kell and Lila. These two really made the series for me so I loved all their scenes together.

I did find the solution to be slightly anti-climatic; after reading 500+ pages only to have the main conflict wrap up within a few pages seemed odd to me. However, the rest of the book is strong so I can let that slip by.

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My Rating: 4/5

A Darker Shade of Magic 4/5 | A Gathering of Shadows 3.5/5 | A Conjuring of Light 4/5

overall

Each novel starts slowly but once it gets going, it really doesn’t stop! It’s a beautifully crafted and unique world that will suck readers in!

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

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Series Review: Finding Fate by Chelsea Fine

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 Best Kind of Broken (from Goodreads):

Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore ashower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

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Series: Finding Fate
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Best Kind of Broken, Perfect Kind of Trouble, Right Kind of Wrong)
Book Order: Connected (but the stories overlap very, very briefly)
Complete?: Yes — from what I can tell
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I put Best Kind of Broken on my TBR list before I realized that it was by Chelsea Fine, who I had read before. I enjoyed the romance in her Archers of Avalon YA series so when I put two and two together, I decided to bump this series up in my TBR list.

What I was expecting for these books was a lot of sexual tension and a sweet romance and I couldn’t wait to start them.

The Plot:

In all the books, the characters’ pasts are slowly revealed to us. The reason for Levi and Pixie’s separation, for example, is left a mystery for a good percentage of the book but you get little clues along the way. I would say that trying to figure out what happened is really what pushed me to continue reading this book. It really is a great story and I loved the character growth from it–and that’s all I’ll say without spoilers. Overall, I did enjoy reading Best Kind of Broken, I just felt underwhelmed by it.

Best Kind of Trouble had a more light-hearted approach though it dealt with grief. I thought the scenario the couple finds themselves in was a lot of fun to read about and overall I enjoyed it a lot more than Best Kind of Broken.

I was disappointed in the plot for the Right Kind of Wrong. I thought it was going to focus more on the road trip and not the destination. I also felt like the plot was a little over-dramatic–it just came out of left field and I didn’t really enjoy it.

Where all the books (except Right Kind of Wrong because it is the last) truly succeeded was in giving the reader little tastes of the next set of leads. It really built up the anticipation of what is in store for the next book and made me want to read them even more.

The Characters:

These books were a lot more humourous than I was expecting. It doesn’t mean that they are flat out comedy books but they definitely have some witty lines that made me chuckle. These books were just as much about character development as they were romance–perhaps even more so. The banter is great between the leads and the supporting characters are a lot of fun albeit stereotypical. But all in all, there is a great community set up in these books that makes you want to stay in this small town and know everyone else’s stories.

The Romance:

Best Kind of Broken was a sweet, often slow, romance. There was sexual tension but not enough to keep me happy. I personally prefer a little more spice to my New Adult novels but it wasn’t like the relationship was dull without the higher amounts of tension I was expecting. Pixie and Levi have enough of a connection that it was great to just watch them work out their relationship. I really saw how great of a match they were for each other throughout the novel–it wasn’t some physical lust between them but years of memories and feelings.

The same can be said about the other couples in the rest of the series. It was nice to read books that weren’t drenched in sex scenes and instead focused on the emotional connection between two people. I loved the banter between all the couples and I loved the dash of humour to all the stories. I just wished for a few more “close” encounters to help develop that romantic connection because all the relationships felt like they were developed prior to the start of the novel.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This series just didn’t wow me. I wanted more passion and relationship development. And while I appreciate the individual character growth, I just needed more to make this series seriously memorable.

Read if You Like: slower romances, character development
Avoid if You: want more heat

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Reading Challenges: Bookish BINGO – Ready for Spring 2015 Results

getreadyspring2015In April I decided to try my hand at two Bingos. I’m new to the world of reading challenges this year but Bingos seem like a fun challenge. I joined Retreat by Random House’s Canadian BINGO for the rest of the year (read more about my Canadian BINGO Card here)  and I also  joined Great Impressions Ready for Spring BINGO which ran from April to June.

In my sign-up post, I had listed all the books that I wanted to use for the full card. Now, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a full card but I wanted to make sure I had enough variety as I am a mood reader. A lot of these books were also ones I had purchased in the past and really wanted to knock off my TBR list.

bookishbingospring15card

Of the 25 I had picked, I read 7 by July 1. So no BINGO (my goal was to get two lines) with these books.

HOWEVER, I did read 59 books in total (April – June) so I’m sure SOMETHING will work for these squares! I also did some reshuffling of my original picks (is that legal?) and this is what I got:

  • Murder Mystery: Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Forgotten Fridays: All the Pretty Poses by M. Leighton
  • Aussie Author: Chancing on You by Melinda Ellen
  • Reread:
  • Dark Contemporary: Bad Reputation by K.B. Nelson
  • Classic:
  • Yellow Cover:
  • April/May/June Release: Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren
  • Rain or Storm in Title:
  • High Fantasy: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Parental Relationships: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
  • Bullying: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
  • FREE: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
  • Anthology or Collection:
  • WWII: The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
  • Horror:
  • Thieves/Assassins/Pirates:  All Fall Down by Ally Carter
  • Parallel Universe: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Green Cover: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
  • #weneeddiversebooks: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • Illustrated Cover: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Part of a Trilogy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Nonfiction/Memoir: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • Historical:
  • Plants on Cover: One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker

No so bad! Now I only have 7 spots not filled:

bookishbingospring15cardcom

And I got my two lines of BINGO!

What I learned?

Bingo challenges that have such a limited time span are not for me! Because I rely so heavily on my library for books (a habit I am trying to modify as per my Tackling the TBR challenge) via holds, I don’t have the luxury to only read the books on the list! In the future, I think I am going to try and pick one BINGO card at the start of the year and try to fill it up by the end. Or if I do try one that spans a couple of months, try to pick only one row to complete instead of random squares on the card. I suppose I could always just wing it and not pick books at the start, but half of the fun of this challenge was finding books that worked for this card!

How are you doing on your BINGOs? Did you do this one?

Any BINGO tips to share?

Single Sundays: One Last Song by S.K. Falls

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 One Last Song (from Goodreads):
I was seven when I swallowed my first needle.

My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.

She stayed by my side all night.

I never wanted it to end.

When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It’s scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it’s like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.

For me, that someone was Drew.

Previously published as IPPY award-winning novel, Secret for a Song.

breakdown

Author: S.K. Falls
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Dark, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book among my library’s recent eBooks additions and decided to put myself on the hold list.

What intrigued me about this book is the very first line of the book synopsis. I’ve never read a book about someone with Munchausen syndrome (Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder that is characterized by the sufferer causing or pretending to have physical or psychological symptoms in his or herself.) though I’ve heard of it before so that really interested me.

The Concept:

For myself, as someone who is entering the healthcare field, it was hard for me to read about Sayor’s condition for two reasons. One is that this book is written in such a real way that it’s hard to read Saylor’s perspective on things because of her mental condition. You really understand what she is thinking and why and that is hard to stomach at times.

The other reason I found this book hard to read is that our healthcare system truly fails people suffering from this condition and other mental health conditions. In recent years, mental health is getting talked about more and more but there is still a huge stigma surrounding it and I like that this book brings more obscure disorders to the forefront.

The Plot:

The best way I can thing to describe this book is if The Fault in Our Stars had a love affair with Fight Club. Now this might seem like an odd combination but if you’ve read both of those books and then this one, you would understand where I am coming from. The Narrator from Fight Club really reminds me of Saylor as they both suffer from conditions that results in them attending a support group. While is why it also reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars because instead of the crazy, soap-making ride that is Fight Club, Saylor learns what it means to live by hanging out with people her own age suffering from their medical conditions.

This book is really about Saylor living with her condition and her personal growth. There are definitely little plot lines along the way that contribute to the plot and keep it from being too heavy but this really is about Saylor’s personal growth.

The Characters:

The characters in this book are extremely well-developed though some might come across as cliché. However, I thought they complimented each other well.

Drew reminds me a toned down Augustus Waters (TFIOS). I really liked him and I was just as interested in his journey as Saylor. I also really liked Saylor. She wasn’t funny like Hazel (TFIOS) but I found her very intriguing and I loved watching her develop.

The Romance:

This book is light on the romance. It definitely plays a key role in the plot but it isn’t a main focus by any means. I really didn’t mind because I felt like it complimented the story in the right way. Just don’t go into this thinking it is a straight romance because there are so many other factors at play.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I think some people will have a hard time reading this book. It deals with some serious issues and doesn’t hold back. However, I encourage everyone who is interested to try it because I think it tells an important story and starts the conversation about mental illness.

Read if You Like: narrators suffering from illness, light romance, books dealing with more mature subject matter
Avoid if You: don’t like books dealing with death or mental health; want more passion to your romances
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Awards: Real Neat Blog Award

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Thank you to Yoyo @ willyoutalknerdytome for the The Real Neat Blog Award nomination. I know you nominated me forever ago and I apologize for taking so long! I have so much fun reading your blog and just want to let you know that I will talk nerdy with you any day of the week 😉 I can’t wait to read more of your future posts and wish you and your blog all the best!!!

7 Questions:

1. If you can chose to be friends with any superhero, who would it be?

This is super tough! I am a huge super hero fan! Any of the X-men would be sick (Storm or Rogue or Gambit would be my ideals…oh and Wolverine of course!). I also would love to meet The Flash and The Arrow…especially on their TV show.

2. What is in your bag/purse/backpack/book bag?

Too many things in my purse. I have lip chap, lotion, my rain jacket (it’s a pocket folding one that’s how), my Kobo, glasses cleaner and a pen. Plus random things I probably don’t even know are in there.

3. If you only have 1 year to live, how would you spend your last year?

It’s your typical cliche answer of travel. I would also spend time with family and friends.

4.If you could only stop one of these event: racism, sexism, rape, body-shaming, homophobia. Which one would you pick and why? (I hope this make sense. I thought of this in the shower so…)

This one is super tough! I really can’t pick all of them!?

I think sexism because it also helps stop body-shaming. It kills me that we (as in North America where I live) is so technologically advanced yet we still have such stereotypes for men and women, lower pay for women and feel like we can dictate what people can and can’t do to their bodies based on their sex. Drives me nuts!

5. Do you believe in horoscope and what is your sign?

I don’t believe in horoscopes in the sense that they predict the future. I believe that people see the connections that they want to see when they read it. But, I definitely like to read mine for fun 😉

6. Current Read and Last Read

I’m currently reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. The last book I read was Bad Reputation by K.B. Nelson.

7. What you want to study in Uni/ College?

I finished my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science (but I had an English Minor ;)) and I am currently in school studying Medical Laboratory Science.

***

My Nominees:

I have to do a MASSIVE award tagging in the near future so be prepared folks!

My Questions for my Future Nominees:
  1. What genre/theme is your current reading obsession?
  2. What character (novel or other) do you love to hate?
  3. Reality TV or Dramatic Show?
  4. What’s one talent you wish you had?
  5. What is your favourite social media platform?
  6. Where is your favourite place to read?
  7. What is your blog’s favourite feature/meme?

***

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blog.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog, etc.)

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Series Review: Sixth Street Bands by Jayne Frost

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

Sixth Street Bands

book3 book4 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Gone for You (from Goodreads):

As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em smiling when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

Note: You won’t need to turn up the heat—Sixth Street Bands Romances have plenty of steamy fun. This story can be read as a stand-alone but is part of the Sixth Street Bands music scene.

breakdown

Series: Sixth Street Bands
Author: Jayne Frost
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Rockstars, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single (Male POV), Alternating (Book 2 onwards)
Publication Date: April 2015 – September 2018
Source & Format: Author/Read It & Review It–eARC   Thank you so much for the opportunity!

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 include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually saw a review for Gone for You on another blog and planned to add it to my TBR. It wasn’t very long after that that I was contacted to read a copy and so I eagerly accepted!

Rockstars are my new Highlanders–meaning they are my latest reading obsession. I’ve read a lot of musician based stories spanning Young Adult to New Adult to Adult recently so I was more than ready to add another to the mix!

What I Liked:

-The Male POV-

I totally went into this book thinking I was going to get alternating POVs but I was very happy to see that it was just a straight POV–and a male one at that! Not very many authors attempt this and for Jayne Frost’s first novel, I applaud her for the risk and effort. It was an interesting place to be inside a male rockstar’s head and I actually didn’t mind not having Lily’s POV as much as I expected and I think it was because Cameron was so refreshing to read as a character!

It gets a little tiring reading about rockstars who are really normal guys or who have hearts of gold beneath their bad boy personas. I mean, I like those guys but it was nice to read about a rockstar who lives up to the name. Cameron is a bit of a jerk but that’s what makes the story so great–you get to watch him grow as a character and mature. I really appreciated that aspect.

-The Flow-

I actually read this book in a day. Partly because it is on the shorter side but more accurately, I just loved the flow the plot had. It moves at a great pace, keeps your attention and has a few little twists along the way. It truly is a great summer read when you have a few hours to spend on your patio reading (like I did!).

What I Didn’t Like:

-The Insta-Relationship-

I’m a little mixed on this. This relationship definitely started as insta-lust and I loved that. They have a connection, they act on it and they establish the base of a relationship: that all works for me. That is exactly what I expected.

And I even expected the fast connection and the insta-relationship but I wanted to see more! I really wanted to root for this couple but was just short of rooting for them. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of who they are and I wanted to see them learn more about each other. Because I really liked them as a couple, I could see how they would work, I just wanted strong character growth–something that I think will be present more in the sequels because we have been introduced to the characters I assume will be the next set of leads.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see who the next set of leads will be. I have my suspicions but I could be completely wrong. I’m excited to delve deeper into this rockstar world!

updates

–April 24, 2017– Book #2: Fall With Me

I was so happy that Fall With Me built upon the potential I saw when reading the first book in the series. While Gone for You seemed rushed in its delivery, this one had perfect pacing.

It definitely helped that the Mel and Christian had great chemistry from the start. It was easy for me to see why they would be drawn to each other. They are both geeky in their own ways and that served as a nice foundation for their romance. They actually talked instead of just exploring their physical chemistry.

I also liked Mel’s story. Her situation is so realistic and one that doesn’t get highlighted in novels let alone romantic ones and I really appreciated that. It added to the story in a strong way.

I’m excited to see if the momentum will keep up in the next book!

–October 13, 2017– Book #3: Missing From Me

This novel is the classic second chance romance that you always get in a rockstar series–but this story easily stands out on its own.

The plot never felt stale to me when it easily could have. The bumps along the way are ones that are super common to the second chance trope but they just worked so well for this unique story that I didn’t mind. It had my full attention from the start.

The journey these two have to take to find each other again is fascinating to read. Sean in particular has a lot of growth he needs to accomplish and it was such a joy to watch him transform before your eyes. He makes quite a few mistakes on the way but they help to ground the story and provide a backbone for the plot to move forward. The lesson of learning from the past to make a better, healthier future is always a winning attribute in my books.

While I loved these two as a pair and could see their obvious love for each other, I wish we saw more of them “back in the day”. I’m a reader who likes to be shown how two people fall in love, not necessarily told so that was a slightly “disappointing” aspect. Then again, this story isn’t about their past but how they are going to start the rest of their lives and I will say, it was rather refreshing to have this as the focus.

–January 14, 2018– Book #4: Lost for You

I really loved the journey of these two characters. For me, this was a story about two people finding themselves with a little dash of romance thrown in and I couldn’t get enough!

Both characters have their everyday struggles and that made them so real to me. Their struggles are so human and humbling that you truly connected with them. They have a lot of stuff to work through as people and they show that the path isn’t always straightforward or simple. I was so invested in the outcome, whatever it might be, and I had a hard time putting this book down.

I’m a huge romance fan and I like to see my relationships spelled out for me. I find this series has plenty of steam and the characters have great chemistry but the development of said romance takes a bit of a back seat to the character development. I knew to expect that with this book as well though I would have loved to see them establish that connection a little more for the romantic in me.

However, I appreciated the obstacles they had to overcome and realized that is the whole point of this story. It isn’t necessarily about finding love but overcoming your past to build a better present so you can embrace the future.

It’s a beautiful story.

This series just gets better and better the further we delve into it and I can’t wait for the next book!

–September 10, 2018– Book #5: Down to You

I think it’s safe to say that this entire series has been leading up to Logan’s story. I know I’ve spent the better part of this series wondering who would be the perfect match for Logan–and what secrets he holds–so I was eager to read his story.

I will be the first to admit that this book did take me awhile to get into it. The main reason is that it takes a long time for these two to even come within the same orbit of daily routine. We spend a good portion of the first quarter getting glimpses into their individual everyday lives and problems. So in that respect, it was great for the character development because I had a great understanding of the characters’s backstories and all their layers.

Jayne Frost has this great ability to write uniquely complex characters in each of her stories and she succeeds once again with these two. Logan is an absolute charmer and unlike any rockstar lead I’ve encountered in my many reads. He’s complex and layered and I dare you not to fall in love with him.

This romance is the definition of “slow burn”. It takes a good amount of time for them to start scratching beneath the surface of who the other person is. But that works to the story’s advantage because you know how perfect these two are for each other and the anticipation of waiting for them to discover it is wonderful.

As a whole, this is a great finale to the Caged Saga of this series. When I think back to that first novel in the series, it’s crazy how well this series as developed. In a way, everything has come full circle and we get this great closure on this one chapter of this universe while building up future sagas. I know I can’t wait for more stories and to see what Jayne Frost will come up with next!

Series Rating: 4/5

Gone for You 3/5 | Fall With Me 4/5 | Missing From Me 4/5 | Lost for You 4.5/5 | Down to You 4/5

overall

This series just gets better and better! The greatest strength of this series is the unique character stories we get. Each book focuses on character growth and development. You truly get invested in the characters and their stories. Plus, there are plenty of steamy moments between characters with fantastic chemistry!

Read if You Like: rockstar leads, character centered stories
Avoid if You: want a longer story, don’t enjoy instalove romances

similarreads

  • Mayhem by Jamie Shaw (Mayhem Series #1)
  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine (Wicked White Series #1)

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