Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Between Us (from Goodreads):
I’m just a girl…
I’m a famous country star who’s spent her life cultivating a good girl persona to avoid bad press, but I’ve reached my limit. I’m going away for spring break with my two best friends from college, and we’ve vowed to spend the vacation seeking out fun in the sun—along with some hot, no-strings-attached sex. The only thing I needed was the perfect guy, and then I met Austin Murphy. He might be totally wrong for me, but the tattooed bad boy is hard to resist. When I’m in his arms, everything just feels right.
And I’m just a guy…
I’m just a bartender who lives in Key West, stuck in an endless cycle of boredom. But then Mackenzie Forbes, America’s Sweetheart herself, comes up to me and looks at me with those bright green eyes…and everything changes. She acts like she’s just a normal girl and I’m just a normal guy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My past isn’t pretty, you know. I did what I had to do to survive, and she’d run if she learned the truth about my darkness. But with her, I’m finally realizing what it’s like to be alive. To laugh, live, and be happy.
All good things must come to an end…
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author (Jennifer Probst & Jen McLaughlin)
Series: Sex on the Beach
Author: Jen McLaughlin (Between Us); Jennifer Probst (Beyond Me); Jenna Bennett (Before You)
# of Books: 6 (Between Us, Beyond Me, Before You, Losing Us, Chasing Me, Finding You)
There is a spin-off short story called Holding On by Jenna Bennett
Book Order: Connected/Companion and Chronological
The first three books (Between Us, Beyond Me, Before You) take place simultaneously, following three different characters. The last 3 books (Losing Us, Chasing Me, Finding You) are sequels to each of those individual stories.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Before You); Alternating (Beyond Me; Between Us)
Publication Dates: March 2014 – March 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
When two of your favourite authors decide to collaborate and create a New Adult series, you can safely assume you are going to get a good read. That’s the case for me with the Sex on the Beach novella series by Jen McLaughlin, fave #1, (Between Us); Jennifer Probst, fave #2, (Beyond Me); Jenna Bennett (Before You).
The Concept / Book order:
The series is a little different from other series out there. Basically, the series is six novellas focusing on one of three best friends when she is on spring break with her other two best friends in Florida. Each author has one character and writes their two respective novellas.
What is really cool about this series is that all the stories overlap. So what is happening to Mackenzie in Between Us is occurring while Carrie and Quinn’s own stories are. Between Us, Beyond Me, and Before You take place during the first spring break while Losing Us, Chasing Me and Finding You are their respective sequels. All the authors do a great job of interweaving all the stories together, having them intersect at various points yet without giving away the other stories.
This means you can technically read these stories in any order or not read one and still get a great experience. But, my suggested reading order is:
Between Us, Beyond Me, Before You, Losing Us, Chasing Me, and Finding You
For me, that series has the best chronological flow, especially with the last 3 books.
Because these are novellas, everything happens at an accelerated paced. But at the same time, I was expecting that considering this series takes place over spring break (which is a week long). So things happen fast but considering the setting and the format, I took that in stride. Normally it would bother me but I really enjoyed it. It could have been really superficial but I felt like it was pretty grounded all considered. You’ll understand why when I get to the romance review.
Beyond Me and Between Us are your typical New Adult romance plot-line (not that that is a bad thing); Before You is more romantic suspense which was exciting albeit very predictable (Finding You had a much stronger plotline I feel like). But what really surprised me was that I felt like I was getting full stories from start to finished. They never felt underdeveloped like most novellas do so it made them very easy and addicting to read.
I liked all the characters we meet. I thought the girls all had their unique personalities which made it fun and enjoyable to read. My least favourite character was probably Cassie from Before You because I just didn’t like her personality or thought process (her story was painfully predictable). However, her sequel book (Finding You) was a lot more intriguing for me and I liked her character more in that book.
Things happened fast but in all cases, I felt like the relationships that were developed did have genuine emotional connections. Sure, they were rushed because of the time constraints but I was satisfied that I could see where things would be going if they had more time together. Which is why I appreciated the follow-up stories. It was nice to see how things developed and how things were worked out several months later.
Series Rating: 4/5
Between Us 4/5 | Beyond Me 4/5| Before You 3/5
Losing Us 4/5 | Chasing Me 3.5/5 | Finding You 4/5
If you want great summer (or spring break reads) that are quick, fun and sexy, this is a great novella series!
Read if You Like: novellas, connected/interweaving stories, new adult
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-love, want a longer story
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- Love Game by Emma Hart (Game Series #1)
- Gone for You by Jayne Frost (Sixth Street Band Series #1)
Sounds like an ‘avoid’ for me then – I’m not a novella or insta-love kinda gal. I’m surprised this series was written in this fashion, it seems like the different authors would have had to plot everything out to the nth degree to get their storylines to match up!
I would agree: if novellas aren’t really your thing, you probably won’t like this series. Though I was surprised by the quality of them.
I think it was a cool project idea. It’s like two authors collaborating to write one book but this time each author gets their own artistic license to write their own story and then briefly intermingle the other two’s work. They definitely did a great job plotting all of these stories out!
You make me wish I was a novella girl!
Haha Honestly, I’m hit or miss with novellas. But Colleen Hoover has given me hope that novellas can be amazing because hers are stellar!
I love CH (Losing Hope, Slammed trilogy), but I’ve never come across a novella from her. Which ones would you recommend?
Finding Cinderella is the novella for Hopeless (takes place afterwards and is Daniel’s story). Maybe Not is the sequelish novel to her Maybe Someday and it is also great!
I’ve totally read Finding Cinderella! Can’t believe I forgot about that one. lol.