Year archives: 2019

DNF Series Review: The Honors by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Fresh Fridays: Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

The Honors Series

Other books planned to be in the series:


Synopsis for Honor Among Thieves (from Goodreads):

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead of moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.


Series: The Honors
Author: Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adventure
Heat Rating: unsure
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 13, 2018 – February 11, 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Disclaimer: I stopped reading Honor Among Thieves (#1) at 34%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I think I found this by browsing the new titles at my library one day. Science fiction in YA is always something I’ve enjoyed but it seems to the new trend (maybe I’m the only one who thinks that?) like high fantasy was a few years ago. But hey, I’m not complaining!

When I read the title and synopsis for this, I was hoping for a Starflight-esque novel. Something that was adventurous and fun but perhaps a little darker and more thought provoking.

I kinda forgot Ann Aguirre was a cowriter on this one until just before I was going to read it. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t had the best track record with her novels. Her writing style isn’t for me as I find her novels take an extremely long time to get anywhere but I really hoped that wouldn’t be the case here since it was cowritten…

What I Liked:

–The World–

This world just felt like a great blend of science fiction worlds I’ve read in the past–yet something completely its own at the same time. I was definitely sucked into this futuristic world and wanted to know more about it at the same time. I loved the little tidbits of information we got along the way like news clippings etc. I find those really add to the world in a way that simple narration can’t provide.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Wasn’t What I Thought–

I thought this would have more thieving on it–my mistake for reading way too much into the title because the synopsis (when I read it now) doesn’t hint at that at all.

–More Character Driven than Drama–

I was 34% of the way into the book and I felt like nothing had truly happened other than Zara meeting the ship and her new honor partner. Not very exciting. So I found myself zoning out a lot while I was listening because it wasn’t holding my attention.

This story is very much character driven. It’s about Zara exploring this new life, the ship and growing up. And simply put: that just didn’t interest me in anyway.

My Audiobook Experience:

Perhaps the audiobook was a poor choice because it is on the longer side of things but I’ve actually had really great luck with this genre as audiobook selections…the production is great though!

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I read the synopsis for book 2 and it didn’t interest me at all.

My Rating: DNF

Honor Among Thieves DNF | Honor Bound TBP | Book 3 TBP


For those who really enjoy books that take their time and are super rich in world building, this is a great science fiction series for you to start!

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


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Top Ten Tuesdays: New to Me Authors in 2018

Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!

This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these but I couldn’t resist this topic when I read it! While I spent a good portion of last year attempting to finish series I had already started, I was able to find some new authors who rocked my literary world! Check them out!

(In no particular order):

Links to My Reviews:

Grad Night Series | On the Edge Series | Beauty of the Beast | When It’s Real

Who were your new to you authors of 2018?

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Leave a Link to your TTT for me to visit in the comments below!

Monthly Inventory: December 2018

December 2018

2018 was quite the year; I don’t know how else to describe it. I had a lot of big life changes along the way and they truly did impact my reading in ways I didn’t expect…

I’ve had many hobbies over the years but reading (primarily) and blogging are the ones that have stuck with me the longest. But there were days in 2018 that I didn’t pick up a book at all; and there were even times where I didn’t touch my blog at all during the week. Practically unheard of just a short year ago. I’ve talked about “adulting” before on this blog but 2018 was truly the year that phrase really meant something to me.

I know that last paragraph may sound a little bleak but I promise lighter times are on the way! Even with a shift in my priorities as my personal life evolves, I’m counting on a great 2019 in all things–but especially reading!

I have a new plan of action for reading in 2019you’ll be able to read all the specifics here–and one that I really think will work well with my life moving forward!


Total for December 2018: 15 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 2 Books

Last December: 21 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read + 1 DNFs

Grand Totals for 2018:

74 Books + 86 ARCs + 66 Audiobooks + 20 Novellas + 29 DNFs = 231 Books

*Note some ARCs were audiobooks or novellas so they maybe have been counted twice

Standout Read (★★★★★)

I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I finished the first novel in its series and this did not disappoint! It was exactly what I needed to remind me what a good contemporary romance is!

Biggest Let Down (★★)

I love the Disney movie Aladdin so I was excited to see what a retelling focusing on a genie would be like. Unfortunately, the lacklustre romance pulled the magic carpet out from under this unique premise. (See what I did there ;))

For Black Friday this year, Kindle had a promotion for new Kindle Unlimited Subscribers where you got 3 months of reading for only $0.99!!! Usually, we don’t get these deals in Canada so I made sure I locked in ASAP. I started my subscription at the start of December and it will end the first week of March. I wanted to keep track of what books I read to see if what I read is worth the monthly fee just like I did when completing the free trial.

  • Bad Romeo Christmas – $1.03
  • Arrogant Master – $2.99
  • Arrogant Playboy – $3.99

So I was just shy of reading books that would total the regular monthly fee but I definitely made back my $1!


Every quarter I take a look at my Kobo stats to see how I’m doing. My Kobo is my main reading device, used for personal and library books. My Kindle is used for ARCs but it lacks the statistic features of my Kobo.

As of:

December 27, 2018

December 29, 2017

Total % of Library Complete



Total # of Books Finished



Total # of Reading Hours



Moving Forward: Cleaning up my Kobo eReader is my main priority for 2019 and I hope that will be reflected in my stats by the end of next year.

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

DNF December Review Blitz: Intro

Most Viewed Review

Standalone Review: When It’s Real

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!


Previously posted series reviews that got updates:


You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 6 titles this month alone! | 25 of 25 Titles Read – Completed!
Goodreads Challenge: 231 of 190 — Completed!
52 Sequel Challenge: 7 titles added | 52/52 Sequels – Completed!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 5 books added | 33/36 Books – Incomplete!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Overall: After such a dismal reading challenge year in 2017 I really wanted to get my TBR numbers down in 2018 and I think I managed to do that. (You’ll find the specific TBR stats below). Despite the fact that it felt like I rarely had a moment to read in 2018, I somehow managed to complete nearly all my reading challenges! The one exception is the Tackling the TBR challenge where I fell a little short. However, I still consider it a “success” when I take into account that by DNFing 9 novels from my personal collection–with the ones I finished–I did “remove” 36+ titles from my owned TBR so WIN!

2019 Reading Challenges:

For 2019 I wanted to make the focus be books I already own. It’s so easy to get caught up in the new releases and new library books; and that’s what I often do. But I have a TON of books waiting on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders (~100 on EACH device). Mind you, a lot of those are freebies I probably won’t ever read but who can resist free books?! Anyways, I’m bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge and my Tackling the TBR Challenge from 2018 to help me get the job done and clean up those eReaders.

My Goodreads Goal this year is 200 Books.

I read 40 more books than I expected this year (only 10 short of last year’s target) but the last few months have seen a drastic decrease to my reading numbers–and I only expect it to get worse come 2019. So I think by setting my goal to 200, it’s still an obtainable goal but one that I will have to be actively thinking about to achieve.

5 Year 5 Book Challenge 2019 Edition!

I really like doing this challenge ever year because it helps me get some of those backlisted titles off my TBR. It gives me specific titles to read and focus on. This year, 15 of my 25 selected books are from my personally owned collection!

>> View the titles I’ve selected here!

Tackling the TBR – The 2019 Challenge

I’m following the same guidelines as last year by only counting titles that I owned prior to 2018. The minimum goal is 24 titles in 2019. Titles from my 5Y5BC do not count towards this challenge (unlike last year).

In February 2017, I created a challenge for myself to bring my Want to Read Goodreads Shelf to 500 books. By the end of December 2017, I had brought the shelf down from 1205 to 511 books! The ultimate goal for 2018 was to get that number lower than 500 and also bring down my “sequel” shelf as well. I’ve decided that every quarter I will check my stats to see how I’m doing when it comes to cleaning up my TBR–and now it’s time to see if I reached my goal!


December 31, 2017

Want to Read (New)



To Read (Sequels)



I DID IT! It would be nice to say that I reached my goal by only reading the books but that isn’t solely the case. It was a combination of reading; DNFing titles I just wasn’t into; doing the Down the TBR Hole meme monthly as well as general housekeeping (removing sequels from series I don’t want to continue, etc) that truly helped get my numbers down.

Moving forward: I’m really happy with where my “New” TBR shelf stands but for 2019 but if I could get it closer to 400, I’d be one happy reader! I’d like to see my “Sequels” shelf dip below the 250 mark for sure though. I would also love to see a significant decrease to my Kobo and Kindle owned shelves (they currently sit at 80 and 70 titles respectively).

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and have decided to do this on a monthly basis and will continue this into 2019.

This month (7 new to me series + 3 previously started series):











Pass: 6 | Keep: 4

Grand Totals YTD — Pass: 45 | Keep: 55

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!


While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I usually only update every quarter.

My Progress for January to December, 2018:

ARCs Read: 86  |   ARCs Overdue: 2+1*  |  Upcoming: 4

(September’s State: ARCs Read: 71  |   ARCs Overdue: 2+2*  |  Upcoming: 3

*Titles given to me as a member of an author’s street team to read ASAP.

Going Forward:

I’m sticking hard to my 2 ARCs a month for 2019. I might even limit the amount of ARCs I read by an author for the year (the exception being Street Teams I’m a part of) if I find it gets too much. I’ve also limited my requests from authors for the time being as well. My focus this year is really on books I already own and so I want to be more selective about the ARCs I pick up.

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past year and month?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2019

2019 Is the All About Cleaning Up My Bookshelf

In the last 3 years or so, I’ve worked really hard on maintaining healthier reading habits. That means not borrowing 3 books from the library at one time; or having 20 books on hold simultaneously; or requesting every book on Netgalley that sounds remotely interesting. I’ve also come a long way in terms of DNFing books when they just aren’t working for me and not feeling guilty about it after the fact.

Last year, my reading plan focused on keeping those good habits going and I would say for the most part that I succeeded. I got my “TBR” to less than 500; I read more books than I anticipated (according to my Goodreads Goal) but I powered though a lot of titles in December in order to accomplish all my 2018 Reading Challenges. While I always come up with these great reading plans at the start of the year, life just gets in the way and I always seem to scramble by the end of the year.

So this year, I’m mixing things up a bit. I’ve still created my standard reading plan but I’ve shifted the focus and method of completing it. Here are the 3 goals I had in mind while I crafted my plan:

#1 – Clean Up my Backlogged Owned Bookshelves

I have an almost absurd number of unread novels on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders thanks to a combination of freebies and book sales. Every year, I always intend to read more of my own books with various challenges but I never seem to read as many as I want.

So I wanted to change that this year. Reading books I already own is the cornerstone of my reading challenges for 2019. I’m bringing back my Tackling the TBR Challenge and I’m also bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge, only this time, the vast majority of my “highly anticipated” reads of the last 5 years are titles I own.

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: Tackling the TBR

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: 5 Year 5 Book Challenge

Last year, I discovered the Down The TBR reading meme and I used it as a monthly TBR checkup. Thanks to it, I eliminated 45 books that I probably wouldn’t have ever read from my TBR, most them being owned/freebie novels. I plan on continuing that monthly habit in 2019 as a part of my Monthly Inventory Recap.

#2 – Finish Previously Started Series

When I wrote my plan for 2018, I had 131 book series on the go, totalling nearly 179 unread books! This year I have 124 book series with 174 unread books! A slight improvement but still a lot of novels! I have a lot of series post drafts waiting to be released for the blog and I hope to get most of them out by year’s end.

I had a sequel challenge last year and it had mixed results. I liked that it made me pay attention to reading sequels but I found I had too many “must-reads” each month and it got to be too much. This year, I intend to dedicate 1 month per quarter solely to sequels. I do this successfully every year with “Sequel September” and I want to bring it to other months as well. I’ve also incorporated sequels into my Reading Plan for Wishlist Reads and Library Holds by making one title of the two a sequel for my monthly reads.

#3 – Reduce the Number of ARCs

In the past, I usually limited myself to 3 ARCs per month but I wasn’t always the best about sticking to it. I definitely think I got some ARC fatigue near the end of 2018. It’s hard because I love promoting authors I adore and their newest releases but I never want it to feel like a chore (and it was starting to be in some ways).

This year, I plan on reading no more than 2 ARCs a month. I think this will be the biggest challenge because it is always so tempting to say “yes” and sign-ups/opportunities can appear months to days before a release. To succeed, I’m trying to keep with the mindset that I can support the author by buying a copy of the book when I am able to do so and have just as much as an impact while giving the promo opportunities to another blogger/reader who wants to participate.

Introducing my 2019 Reading Plan:

Like the Reading Plans of the past, it features a list of set categories to complete throughout the month. I’m hoping this year’s will be more flexible than the others I’ve created. I found the amount of books I read in a month really fluctuated in 2018 depending on my work and social schedule so I wanted something that was specific yet broad enough to give me the direction of what I should be reading while being open about what titles I actually read.

The Highlights:

  1. TBR Picks [2] – purchased novels on my Kobo/Kindle/bookshelf
    • I’m keeping this at 2 as a minimum
    • This doesn’t include titles from my 5Y5BC
  2. 5 Year 5 Book Challenge [2] — a Personal Challenge to read 25 books from the last 5 years
    • 15 of the 25 books selected are titles I already own
  3. Wishlist [2] —“available now” titles from my library

    • I add books my library owns to a library Wishlist
    • The idea here is to not be waiting for holds all the time, but to read titles that are ready immediately for reading
  4. ARCs/Tours/Requests/Netgalley [2]

    • I’m setting a hard limit of 2 books per month
    • If I get declined, I will not be replacing the title with another
  5. Library Holds [2]

    • One will be a new-to-me title; the other will be a sequel
      • They will remain on the list until I receive and read them
    • This isn’t a reading requirement, more so a way to limit the titles I have on hold at one time so I’m not panicking to read 5 books when they come in all at once!
  6. Audiobook Series [2]

    • Much like the “library holds” category, it’s just a way of keeping track of what audio series I have on the go at one time
  7. “Sequel Month”
    • All books read in that month must be a sequel to a previously started series
      • Exception is library holds & audiobooks

Going Forward:

I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store! I’m hoping with this more open plan that I won’t feel as stressed out about not reading all the books I need to on a monthly basis.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2019 reading goals?

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Single Sundays: Exmas by Winter Renshaw

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 Exmas (from Goodreads):

This Christmas, I’ll be getting a visit from a man in a suit, only it won’t be Santa.

Let me first say: Reed York was never my boyfriend. He was the pen. I was the company ink. Though if you want to get technical, we were more like colleagues-who-hated-each-other … with benefits.

Everything was fine until the charming jerk went behind my back, stole my promotion, and became my boss—literally overnight.

Refusing to work beneath him (professionally speaking and otherwise), I transferred 2,014 miles away to our Chicago division, and I’ve spent the past year trying to remember how much I hated his panty-melting smirk so I can forget how much I secretly loved the way his ocean eyes lit every time I walked into the room.

But he’s just announced a last-minute site visit the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and on top of that, he’s audaciously designated me as his ‘right hand gal’ during his visit. If he thinks he has a snowball’s chance in this hell at getting back in my good graces, he’s got another thing coming.

Reed York might be a man used to getting everything he’s ever wanted, but Joa Jolivet is a woman that never forgets.

He can put me on his Christmas list all he wants, but everyone knows naughty boys only get coal.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source & Format: Hidden Gem Reviews–eARC


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love Winter Renshaw’s work and she’s a must read author for me. I’m not usually one for “holiday” reads but I liked the premise of this second chance romance. I always enjoy books with a bit of a “mystery” to the break-up and I couldn’t wait to figure out why Reed stole Joa’s dream job.

The Concept:

Sometimes, flashbacks to the past can be distracting but here I think it truly cemented their relationship and shaped them as characters. Otherwise, I would have wanted more from the present day plot because they don’t interact that much romantically. The flashbacks sold me on the second chance romance aspect; through them I was able to see how these two worked as a couple and why they are still hung up on each other a year later.

It’s a little light on the Christmas aspect but that’s ok. You could read it any time of the year but if you are reading it around the holidays, it’ll bring out the best in the season through Joa’s family.

The Plot:

My reason for the lower rating is that I wanted a little more from the drama. While I liked the mystery behind why Reed got the job, it was kinda predictable so that blew some of the wind out of the anticipation. Getting his POV gives his motives away even if I understand the reason behind his actions. I think that’s why I enjoyed the flashback scenes so much; in a way, it gave me something to look forward to.

In a way, you kinda get two stories in one thanks to the flashbacks. Each “present day” chapter is followed by a snapshot of the past and I liked the anticipation that built up to the story because you are getting the pieces one at a time to the full picture.

The Characters:

I really liked these two as individuals. Reed was my favourite; I thought he had the best development. He was sweet and Joa slowly melts his heart and opens up his views on what he wants in life and love. Joa was great too–I just got frustrated with her anger towards Reed because it was a bit of a communication assumption for why he took the job and her stubbornness (avoiding talking to him) caused their issues. I also think her character growth wasn’t as strong.

The Romance:

I loved these two and their hate-to-love-you romance. They had such great chemistry together so it was a treat to watch their story unfold. Again, the flashbacks really sold me on the romance.

My Rating: 4.5/5


It’s an addicting, quick read that fans of second chance romances will enjoy.

Read if You Like: second chances, workplace romances, flashbacks
Avoid if You: want a more suspenseful read


  • Sweet Spot by Stella Rhys (Irresistible Series #1)
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick (Jackson Boys Series #1)

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Blog Tour: More (Ryder Brothers #3) by J D Hawkins

Synopsis for More (from Goodreads):

It starts with a bang.

As in me and Hadley, the maid of honor, during my brother’s wedding reception.
Sure, it was amazing, but I’m a one-and-done kind of guy.
After spending years of my life getting screwed over by managers and agents with the Ryder Brothers, I no longer like to commit.

I don’t even play music anymore.
The secret that I haven’t told anyone- is that I can’t.

A chance to raise money for my best friend’s nonprofit to help child stars means it’s time to deal with my block.
Hiring Hadley seems like the obvious solution.
She wants inside my head (not happening). I want to bang her again (she says she can’t sleep with clients).

Between my baggage and her professionalism, can my problem even be fixed?
Or will we both end up just wanting more?

Other books in the series:


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Contemporary Series 2018
Series: Ryder Brothers
Author: Kayti McGee
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Celebrity
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 10, 2018 – December 2018
Source & Format: Candi Kane PR–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve really enjoyed the last two novels in the series but I had a special curiosity for Jonas’ story. He’s been such an enigma throughout the series that I couldn’t wait to learn more about him and how he ends up with a character we met in the first novel, Hadley.

What I Liked:

–Very Character Driven Story–

While there are plenty of steamy moments between these two, there wasn’t only those moments. Both our leads have their flaws and seem to be in ruts when it comes to their lives. So it was great to see both of them work on their individual selves throughout the novel and grow. These two talk a lot and about a variety of things so I felt like a had a great grasp on who they are as people and why they’ve been holding back in their lives.

–Slightly Forbidden Romance–

This is a little twofold in some ways. First, it’s the fact that Hadley is  BFFS with Jonas’ brother’s wife and they hook up for the first time at the wedding…and don’t want anyone to know.

But then comes the working element of their relationship where Jonas becomes her client. I really liked how this added to their relationship, taking it to that next level of development. It was a great plot device and one that really enhanced the story the more you read.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Missing a Little Je Ne Sais Quoi

I don’t know how to describe what was missing from this book for me (ie why it isn’t a 5 star read).

I had worried that the nature of their relationship (life coach and client) would lead down a very unhealthy one but that wasn’t the case at all (I was really impressed by how that all unfolded and was dealt with). So that wasn’t it.

I think it might have been the pacing a bit? It just seemed a little off in places when I think back about the novel as a whole.

My Rating: 4/5

Close 5/5 | Want 4/5 | More 4/5


A great way to wrap up this fabulous series!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, celebrities
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy character driven stories



J D Hawkins

JD Hawkins writes erotic romance with modern-classic alpha males and strong, independent women. He currently lives with his wife in Austin, TX. He loves to travel and has lived in many places, including LA, New York City, India and Thailand. When he isn’t writing, JD enjoys surfing, training in Mixed Martial Arts, reading and taking naps. He once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. He’s always loved making up stories, especially ones inspired by real life.

Author Links: Facebook | Readers Group | Bookbub | Goodreads | Twitter

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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