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 Things I Wanted to Say, But Never Did (from Goodreads):
Whit Lancaster burst into my life like a storm. Dark and thunderous, furious and fierce. Cold, heartless and devastatingly beautiful, like the statues in our prep school gardens. The school with his family name on the sign. He can do no wrong here. This is his domain.
He’s a menace on campus. Adored and feared. Hated and respected. His taunting words carve into my skin, shredding me to ribbons. Yet his intense gaze scorches my blood, fills me with a longing I don’t understand.
When I stumble upon him one night alone, I find him broken. Bleeding. My instincts scream to leave and let him suffer, but I can’t. I sneak him into my room. Clean him up. Fall for his lies. Let him possess every single part of me until I’m the one left a gasping, broken mess.
When he leaves me alone in the dead of night, he takes my journal with him.
Now he knows all my secrets. My hate. My truth. And he promises to use my words against me. I’ll be ruined if my darkest secret gets out.
That’s when I strike a bargain with the devil.
I’ll let Whit Lancaster ruin me behind closed doors instead
Connected to the Arranged Marriage Series – Takes part in the Lancaster Universe
# of Books: 5+ (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 29, 2021 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–ARC
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
Things I Wanted to Say but Never Did (TIWTSBND) was originally written as a standalone — and then multiple spin-offs happened. I’m not complaining, I was drawn to a lot of the side characters in TIWTSBD. But I wrote them as standalone reviews. It wasn’t until the 4th book I’ll Always Be With You, that all the books were grouped as the Lancaster Prep Series by the publisher.
The Concept / The World:
If you are uncomfortable with lots of steam in your novels, or don’t like reading about teenagers doing adult things, I don’t think this is the series for you. It borders on New Adult as most of the characters are 18 but I think you need to know that there are plenty of sex scenes in all the novels.
As for the world, Monica Murphy has used the Lancaster family in a few of her series so you might have encountered them before. It’s a nice treat for fans of her works to see how the stories weave in and out of each other.
Suggested Reading Order of Lancaster Family Books:
Monica Murphy published a suggested reading order for the Lancaster family books in her reader news letter. However, you really could read most of these books on their own if you don’t mind some minor spoilers when reading them out of sequence:
- Things I Wanted to Say
- The Wrong Brother
- A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
- The Arranged Marriage Trilogy
- Promises We Meant to Keep
- I’ll Always Be With You
- You Said I Was Your Favorite
All of these books made me feel like I was reading a soap opera–and in a good way! There is lots of drama, family secrets and meddling, enemies, sex and angst to keep the plots moving.
While I think a lot of the novels struggle with some pacing issues because of the sex scenes, they are entertaining nonetheless.
Like any good soap opera, there are characters you love and love-to-hate. It’s quite the cast and they keep the drama high as a result.
I really loved the romance in TIWTSBND so it was a tall task for the subsequent novels to compare themselves too. Some of them I really liked, some had aspects I didn’t like. But for the most part, these are some passionate couples with a lot of angst between them!
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
I’m curious about the next Lancaster on the scene!
–November 15, 2023– Book #5: You Said I Was Your Favorite
This book definitely has a sweeter vibe than the other Lancaster Prep titles. The classic opposites attract when the popular boy on campus notices the quiet girl who has always been there. I really thought their love story was sweet, with a dash of spice, and these two easily captured my heart.
The only thing keeping this book from a 5 (because I honestly did have a hard time putting this down!) was the pacing of the drama. This isn’t as melodramatic as the other books. The plot lines made sense and added to the story and character development. It’s just that I felt we spent too much time on some aspects vs others. I get that this is a slow burn romance (and I enjoyed that), but it just felt a little lopsided with everything going off in the last little bit of the book.
–February 6, 2024– Book #6: Lonely For You Only
Unlike the previous novels, this doesn’t take place at the school nor do the leads have a “hate to love you” relationship trope going on. Instead, the story focuses on the two of them finding themselves while navigating a fake relationship. The characters’ journey to self-discovery is the main focus rather than melodrama and steamy scenes (which are great don’t get me wrong). I just found it to be very refreshing in that regard; especially when compared to the other novels in the series so far.
I struggled a bit with the pacing of this one though. It’s a long book and I just felt like the plotline that is pitched in the synopsis takes a long time to come about. The 25-50% range just felt slow to me and didn’t contribute too much to the overall story. I wanted more scenes with these two together and falling in love and I feel like an opportunity was missed there to expand upon it a bit more. Because when we get that in the latter half of the novel, I found myself much more engaged in the story.
Series Rating: 4/5
Things I Wanted to Say, But Never Did 5/5 | A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime 4/5 | [Birthday Kisses N/A] | Promises We Meant to Keep 3/5 | I’ll Always Be With You 3/5 | I’ll Always Be With You 4/5 | You Said I Was Your Favorite 4/5 | Lonely For Only You 3/5
If you don’t like angsty teenage drama as a soap opera in book form, than this isn’t the series for you. But if you like melodrama and over the top antics, this is the series for you!
Read if You Like: high school bully books, teenage angst
Avoid if You: dislike sex scenes, dislike soap operas
- Just Friends by Monica Murphy (Friends Series #1)
- Always Been You by Beverley Kendall (Unforgettable You Series #3)
- Paper Princess by Erin Watt (Royals Series #1)
- Secret Heir by M J Prince (Dynasty Series #1)
- Savage Royals by Callie Rose (Boys of Oak Park Prep Series #1)