Category «Series Reviews»

Series Review: The McGregor Brothers by Karina Halle

Series Review: McGregors by Karina Halle

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Pact (from Goodreads):

It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them were in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Series: McGregor Brothers
Author: Karina Halle
# of Books: 5  (Full Reading Order)

There is a novella: #3.5 Winter Wishes

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook (#1); Public Library–Audiobook (#2-#5)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Karina Halle is one of those authors that I see all the time and own quite a few novels of but haven’t read too many. But after I read Smut, I knew she had the potential to be a Must Read author.

I think The Pact (#1) was my most anticipated read by her. In fact, I put off reading it for a long time, (I even read and finished her Nordic Royals Series despite owning these for years) waiting for the perfect moment to dive in because I knew I was going to love it.

The Plot:

The Pact (#1) was a bit of a choppy execution for me. I loved the start but it lost its momentum by the halfway point. It was the same with The Play (#3) — which was excessively long; half the length would have done the trick.

The plot in The Lie (#4) is one that I struggled with given the nature of how the two leads meet. Our lead’s story also seemed too similar to the plot of A Nordic King (Nordic Royals #3) so it felt a little repetitive to me even if they are different series and completely different dramatic plotlines.

The Characters:

I wasn’t a huge fan of Linden or Stephanie which was weird because I really thought I would. I felt like we only scratched the surface of who they were…and I didn’t really love what we got.

The character development does improve in the author books in the series. The backstories become more intricate. I think it helps you get a little taste of the next McGregor hero in the book before so you get excited to learn more about them.

The Romance:

I really struggled with the romances in quite a few of these stories. With The Pact (#1) and The Play (#3) I thought the switch from friends to lovers was slightly abrupt despite the slow burning nature of the romance.

I think The Offer (#2) had the strongest executed slow burn romance of the series. Some people with struggle with the romance in The Lie (#4) I think because of how these two meet.

When to Read Winter Wishes (#3.5):

I didn’t read it (I was a little over reading about that particular couple) but I know it takes place right between the end of The Play (#3) and the start of The Lie (#4). You don’t have to read it before The Lie, they basically recap it within that book.

My Audiobook Experience:

Besides the fact that The Play (#3) clocks in at nearly 17 hours in length (WHOA), these were easy enough listens. All the books use the same Scottish male narrator who leaves something to be desired with his female voices. Maybe it’s because I upped the speed to 1.75X that made his heroine voice extra cheesy but it made me fast forward through the sexy times that he narrated because they made me uncomfortable with their high pitch. The female narrators were all different.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Pact  2/5 | The Offer 4/5 | The Play 3/5 | [Winter Wishes N/A] | The Lie 3/5 | The Debt 3/5

overall

These aren’t your everyday contemporary romance so I think they will appeal to readers looking for a grittier side of love without all the BDSM-esque stuff that often accompanies it. I can appreciate the realistic approach some of these romances take in their progression but I struggled to like the characters and get invested in their stories.

Read if You Like: realistic contemporary romances
Avoid if You: dislike slow burn romances

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Series Review: Pretend by Ella Miles

Series Review: Pretend by Ella Miles

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Pretend I’m Yours (from Goodreads):

I’m a twenty-two-year-old virgin. Tonight that changes.

I thought my first time had to be magical. The perfect date. The perfect place. The perfect guy. I thought I wanted to be in love.
But now, I’m desperate.
I’ll take any guy as long as he’s decent looking and treats me well, at least for the night.
Turns out Mr. Perfect isn’t so hard to find. He’s hot, dreamy, and filthy rich. And he wants me.
Sex with him is going to be better than I ever imagined. He’s going to ruin me for all other guys. I know that it is just for one night, but it doesn’t matter. I’m happy to get my perfect night.
One night isn’t enough, for either of us.
Because Mr. Perfect just fake proposed to me. And he wants this proposal to last a lot longer than one night.

Will you pretend to be my wife?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Pretend
Author: Ella Miles
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2018 – June  2022
Source & Format: Author–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Originally pitched as a standalone novel with Pretend I’m Yours, Ella Miles created two spin off novels featuring some characters we meet along the way. I reviewed Pretend I’m Yours, and Pretend We’re Over separately but the last book in the series, Pretend I’m Her, is only available in the boxset. Hence, this series review.

I consider Ella Miles to be a must read author for me, but I do have a hit and miss relationship with her titles. I often love the concept but not always the execution.

The Concept / The World:

Each novel features a “fake” relationship plot – a favourite romance trope of mine! Some are executed better than others but it is the common theme amongst the novels.

The Plot:

One thing I really enjoy about Ella Miles’ novels is that I never really know how they will end or how we will get there. She keeps me on her toes with her twists and intricate plotlines.

However, one thing I can struggle with Ella Miles’ novels is that sometimes the logic doesn’t always add up. Or the characters run hot and cold in their convictions for no reason. That was something very noticeable to me in Pretend We’re Over (#2).

The Characters:

In a nutshell, I really loved the leads in Pretend I’m Yours (#1); not so much in Pretend We’re Over (#2); and felt they were alright in Pretend I’m Her (#3).

The Romance:

Part of the reason I held the rest of this series to such a high standard was the explosive chemistry our two leads had in the first book. I loved the banter and the tension between them. We still got that in the rest of the series but perhaps not always to the same extent.

Series Rating: 3/5

Pretend I’m Yours 5/5 | Pretend We’re Over 3/5 | Pretend I’m Her 3/5

overall

As a series, not my favourite. But if you want quick, angsty reads, they fit the bill. However, I do consider Pretend I’m Yours to be one of my favourite Ella Miles novels in her catalogue.

Read if You Like: angst, fake relationships
Avoid if You: dislike drama
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Serial Saturday: Hush by Amanda Maxlyn

Serial Saturday: Hush by Amanda Maxlyn

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hush (from Goodreads):

I never expected to get fired on my birthday of all days. But that was the start of many unexpected things.
With him.
It was one night masked in desire and pleasure that changed everything. He’s all I think about- all I want. And he’s everything I can’t possibly have.
My sisters ex. My swim coach.
Now, all I’m left with are stolen glances, brief touches, and a burning desire for more as I drown in my need for him- the man who’s off limits, totally forbidden.
Unless …
We keep it completely hushed.

breakdown

Series: Hush
Author: Amanda Maxlyn
# of Parts: 4
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: January 2017
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kindle)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

So I discovered this series one day when I was browsing through a Book Bub newsletter and saw it was on sale for $1. I LOVE forbidden romances and this sounded like a quick read with lots of sexual tension.

Fast forward nearly 5 year later and I finally picked this one up when I had a craving for a quick, easy to read romance.

The Plot:

I actually didn’t reread the synopsis before I started reading and I think that was for the better. I think the fact that Trey dated Emma’s sister was enough of a forbidden factor but I liked that the fact that he was Emma’s new swim coach was a mystery to me until it was revealed in the book. That was a nice spin and I think the synopsis ruins that.

After that particular twist, there isn’t too much else to up the ante. It’s just watching these two navigate their complicated, budding romance.

The Characters:

Trey’s decision to throw away everything for Emma after 3 encounters was a little much for me. Because we don’t get his POV I felt like I missed why he really felt like it was worth the risk. He has a good backstory, it would have been nice if that was built up a little more.

Emma is alright. I can appreciate how she tries to navigate things with her sister (who is a bit of a narcissistic diva to say the least). But she wasn’t anything groundbreaking or memorable.

The Romance:

Classic instalove at its finest.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

If you want something quick with a dash of taboo, this is a great read to finish in one sitting. But if you want a more complex forbidden romance, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike instalove
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Series Review: Heartache Duet by Jay McLean

Series Review: Heartache Duet by Jay McLean

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Heartache and Hope (from Goodreads):

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

breakdown

Series: Heartache Duet

Set in the same world as the More Than Series & Preston Brothers Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2019 – July 2019
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge Jay McLean fan and was eager to read this series when it first came out. But being a Jay McLean fan means I know I want the full series to be released before I dive in so I’m not biting my nails waiting for the next installment thanks to her massive cliffhangers!

When the audiobooks were made available at my library and I wanted to listen to contemporary romance next, this was the one I downloaded.

The Plot:

There was something incredibly addicting about Heartache and Hope (#1). I was so absorbed into Connor and Ava’s individual stories in addition to their blossoming romance. I laughed, I cried, I exclaimed things aloud while listening to this audiobook in public. I just became engrossed in this story.

While First and Forever (#2) wasn’t as addicting to read for me, it was still a solid finale. I just felt like we regurgitated a few of the same sentiments again and again. But it was great to watch these characters grow and see where they end up in the world.

The Characters:

No one writes angst — real heart-wrenching, truly tough angst — like Jay McLean. These characters aren’t simply upset because their crush won’t give them the time of day. They have experienced trauma and are doing everything they can to overcome the hand life has dealt them.

I loved Connor and Ava — and I definitely would read some books about some other characters we meet to. Everyone had such great personalities and development; they helped enhance the story.

The Romance:

I love a good slow burn, hate-to-admit-I-like-you attraction between characters. There was just this delicious tension between these two. Some of their banter was a little quirky but it worked for these two. Yes, it has all the moments of that all encompassing first love but you could see how these two would work long term which always balances that aspect out.

My Audiobook Experience:

The audiobook production was great. I loved how the narrators brought these characters to life. I think I got a lot more of the emotion and turmoil these characters were experiencing simply because someone was saying those sentiments allowed.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Heartache and Hope 5/5 | First and Forever 4/5

overall

If you want a book series that will make you laugh, cry and shout aloud, why are you waiting! Real world angst at its finest here!

Read if You Like: first loves, complicated characters
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, want lighter subject matter

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Fresh Fridays: Last of the Talons (Talon #1) by Sophie Kim

Fresh Fridays: Last of the Talons (Talon #1) by Sophie Kim

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:

Talon Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Last of the Talons (from Goodreads):

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

breakdown

Author: Sophie Kim
Series: Talon
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Retellings, Fantasy, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Last of the Talons at 51% (start of Chapter 25) and have opted not to pick up the sequels. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was so excited to read it when I got my copy! I wanted something a la Iron Widow but maybe not as dark, but certainly just as thrilling. Perhaps something a little more like The Wrath and the Dawn with a slow burn romance.

What I Liked:

–The Basics–

This has the right foundations but it just didn’t spark that excitement to keep reading for me. I really thought the world was cool and easy enough to understand.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Unintriguing Heroine–

Shin is exactly what I imagined her to be: an angsty “me against the world” heroine. However, I didn’t find her to be very exciting to listen to (her inner monologue often felt repetitive) and she didn’t impress me with some of her choices. I wanted her to be sneaking around more, not doing the dishes in the kitchen.

–Underwhelming Romance–

I think the potential romance between her and Rui was the aspect I was looking forward to the most. Which is probably why it was the deciding factor in me DNFing this book. I didn’t see any chemistry or tension between them at all. I felt like it took them a long time to even interact in the first place. Rui would just pop up here and there so he felt rather absent than as an integral factor of this plot.

Will I Finish It?

No. While I can appreciate that this novel took the time to lay down the basics of the world and introduce the various (if almost too many) characters, it wasn’t enough to keep me pushing through to the end.

My Rating: DNF

Last of the Talons DNF | Wrath of the Talon TBP

overall

Overall, this book was just a lot of me waiting for something big to happen next. It’s a slow build and I could see the potential for future novels to be more thrilling once the reader is familiar with the world. But for me, it took too long to get there which was ultimately why I stopped reading.

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

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Series Review: The Fallen World by Laura Thalassa

Series Review: The Fallen World by Laura Thalassa

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Queen of All That Dies (from Goodreads):

In the future, the world is at war.

For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world.

All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can.

Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption.

Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read of 2022
Series: The Fallen World
Author: Laura Thalassa
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2015 – May 2016
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I resuscbribed to Kindle Unlimited during an Amazon Prime promotion, this was one of the series I downloaded first. It had been on my list for a while and I figured now was as good a time as any. Particularly because I was in a major reading funk and contemporary romances weren’t working for me. This sounded very different that what I was attempting to read and so I picked it up!

The Concept / The World:

The story is set years into the future after war has ravaged the earth and a sole ruler claims domain over everything. Reading this while global tensions around Ukraine and Russia were mounting really added to the impact of this setting for me. And I think it amplified the political plotline of this story as well.

The Plot:

One of the things I loved most about this series is that I never knew where the plot was going…in a good way! The plot was filled with twists and turns, unpredictable characters and never held back from violence or death.
The politics of this world were great! Everything slowly built from that first book and just keeps going right until the end. I loved that danger could be caused by something intellectual than just physical violence.

The Characters:

Serenity has grown up in a violent world knowing her life’s purpose is to save the world (or at the very least, her country). She kinda makes Katniss Everdeen look like a meek little girl. She’s so angsty and closed off from the world that it was super cool to watch her character evolve as life throws her numerous curve balls.

As for the King — I love a good bad guy. He is ruthless, more so than Serenity. Which makes their scenes together explode!

The Romance:

I think some people will struggle with the romance but I found that to be the most interesting aspect. It’s hate to love you in all its dark glory. You don’t know if you should root for it or cringe but the hopeless romantic in me was cautiously optimistic and loved every minute of it. I think it was the best aspect of the plot or at the very least, the ultimate hook.

Series Rating: 5/5

The Queen of All that Dies 5/5 | The Queen of Traitors 5/5 | The Queen of All that Lives 5/5

overall

I’ve never read anything like this. One of my all-time favourite dystopian/non-contemporary new adult reads EVER!

Read if You Like: hate to love you romances, political intrigue, science fiction
Avoid if You: dislike violence
similarreads

  • Queen of Blood by Jill Myles
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1)
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh( The Wrath and the Dawn Series #1)

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DNF Series Review: Kings of Football by Ilsa Madden-Mills

DNF Series Review: Kings of Football by Ilsa Madden-Mills

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 4: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Revenge Pact (from Goodreads):
River Tate is a god on campus.
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you.
The only chink in his armor is her, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair.

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody.
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin.
The only chink in her armor is him, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her.

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and picks up the pieces.
Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is, sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

breakdown

Series: Kings of Football
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills, Meghan Quinn, Adriana Locke
# of Books: 3 (View Full Reading Order here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Football
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2020
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Note: I stopped reading Book 1, The Revenge Pact, at 44% (start of Chapter 14) and marked the series as DNF. Find out why…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Admittedly, I was in a bit of a reading funk when I picked up the Revenge Pact but I really thought that book would cure it for me. I enjoy a good college sports romance; Ilsa Madden-Mills is pretty consistent for me; and I’m a sucker for a romance where the male hero is completely in love with the heroine before she does. Plus, I liked that the sequels were written by different authors–particularly authors I hadn’t read before and I always like to explore new reads.

What I Liked:

Honestly, I was nearly halfway through and I can’t tell you a thing I liked (or remembered about this one as I write this review a month later…). I didn’t even gravitate towards the future leads like I usually do in this series.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Lack of Chemistry–

These two had as much spark as a wet piece of paper. I was seriously underwhelmed by the tension. Sell me on this undeniable connection between them would you?!

–Boring Plot–

When “revenge” is in the title, I really wanted something with a little more drama. I’m not even sure if I had reached the “revenge” aspect of their plan by the time I decided to call it quits. All I know, I was bored and it was becoming a chore to read this.

–Because the Plot Didn’t Have to Exist at All–

I think part of the reason I struggled with the plot was that everything was so obvious and stereotypical. Anastasia’s boyfriend is obviously a dud so it was obvious very early on she needed to drop him ASAP. But even River’s “infatuation” with Anastasia could have been sorted out earlier. Like I really don’t understand his hesitation because he really isn’t that close to her boyfriend in any way that would make it “forbidden” or out-of-line.

Will I Finish the Series?:

Nope. I read the synopsis for the other books but they didn’t really appeal to me.

Series Rating: DNF

The Revenge Pact DNF | The Romantic Pact N/A | The Relationship Pact N/A

overall

I’m probably in the minority for this one. But I couldn’t get into this plot and I found the characters to be uninspiring.

Read if You Like: sports romances
Avoid if You: dislike college romances

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Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

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DNF Series Review: Fallen Series by Lauren Kate

DNF Series Review: Fallen Series by Lauren Kate

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 3: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Fallen (from Goodreads):
What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

breakdown

Series: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
# of Books: 5 (View Full Reading Order here)

There are short stories: View Full Reading Order here.

Book Order: Chronological (#1-#4) & Connected (#5)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Angels, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2009 – November 2015
Source & Format: Own–Hardcover

thoughts

Note #2: I actually stopped reading Book 3, Passion at 4% and marked the series as DNF. Find out why…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Back in the days before I discovered Goodreads and bought all the books I wanted to read, I stumbled upon Fallen by Lauren Kate. I was fresh off the Twilight Train and looking for the next fix. At the time, angel based books were all the rage in YA and so I bought Fallen and Hush, Hush around the same time and dove in.

The Concept / The World:

While the concept of ordinary human falling for a supernatural being isn’t anything new, I did enjoy the foundation for the world itself. It’s your classic story of good vs evil and you never know who you can trust. So I liked that that added some suspense to the story. I did enjoy that it was a story rich in its own history and that it did have that strong foundation for the story.

The Plot:

I enjoyed the slow reveal of Fallen. You really are kept in the dark about Daniel and the rest of the school so it really drove my need to keep reading. However, that means everything happens at the end so the book is pretty tame in comparison.

And given the ending of Fallen, I wanted Torment to keep the momentum strong. Instead, we get a stale, standing-still novel that suffers from that Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump even though it is a 4 book series. There are little inklings of storylines that I assume become important later on but it feels like nothing happens within this on. I even tried to reread Torment years ago when Passion came out but stopped just shy of 25% of the way through because it was so dry.

The Characters:

I never liked Luce as a lead. She’s very dull and uninspiring as a heroine. Daniel didn’t do much for me either.

However, I did like the rest of the cast. Particularly the other angels. They just had such solid personalities that it was easy to like (or love-to-hate) them.

The Romance:

Again, when you don’t like the heroine, it’s hard to support the romance. I constantly found myself asking why all these guys were falling (no pun intended) for such a blah heroine…

My Attempt to Finish the Series & Why I DNF’d:

Despite owning all the books, I wanted to try the audiobook of Passion (book 3) instead as I started commuting to my job. I think I subconsciously knew that I wouldn’t be invested in the physical copy of the novel if I tried that.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t even make it past the first chapter before I was dreadfully bored. I realized that I hadn’t thought about this series in nearly 6 years and I didn’t particularly care about what happens. I lived 6 years without knowing and I could leave it at that.

The Movie?:

Did you know that they made this into a movie? I knew it was something in the works but I never knew it got released. I haven’t watched it yet but you can be sure I will do a Movie Monday post as soon as I do.

Series Rating: DNF

Fallen 4/5 | Torment 3/5 | Passion DNF | Rapture N/A | Unforgiven N/A

overall

While I don’t think the time (6 years) between books helped my enjoyment of this series, I do remember not totally loving it either when I did read it. It’s a slow story with meh leads (though an awesome side cast) that feels like it was just on par with the YA trends at the time. I’ve read better fallen angel stories in the time since that really leave this one in the dust.

Read if You Like: fallen angels, slower stories
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles

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DNF Series Review: The Five Syndicates by Parker S Huntington

DNF Series Review: The Five Syndicates by Parker S Huntington

DNF December Review Blitz — Day #2: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel(s) in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Asher Black (from Goodreads):

It started with my bladder.

I didn’t mean to witness a shady deal in the restroom hallway.
I didn’t think twice when I called the cops.
And I certainly didn’t know who the club belonged to.

Asher Black.
Former mafia hitman.
Billionaire CEO.
New York’s most eligible bachelor.

When he shows up at my college, looking for the girl who called the cops on his business, I know I’m as good as dead.
What I don’t expect is his offer–he’ll pay my tuition and set me up with a cushy job after I graduate.
All I have to do is… be his fake fiancée.

breakdown

Series: The Five Syndicates Series
Author: Parker S Huntington
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are novellas as well.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mafia, Dark, Suspense
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2017 – July 2019
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) at 19% (start of Chapter 8). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I read the synopsis for Asher Black (#1) on an ARC Galley website, I really wanted to read it. I love darker romances and the synopsis seemed like it would be a darker, perhaps quirky romance that was right up my alley.

Eventually, I did get a copy when I resubscribed to Kindle Unlimited and really enjoyed it. But, my subscription was ending and decided to leave the series at just that first book. A little over a year later, I picked up Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) when I got Kindle Unlimited again…but things didn’t go so well this time around.

What I Liked:

–Not Super Dark–

While there are mafia mobsters involved, nothing is particularly violent or gruesome. It just as a slightly darker tone to the romances and an edge of danger to the story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Unlikeable Characters–

This is more for Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) than it was for the first book in the series, Asher Black. Perhaps if I read them closer together I would remember Minka as a character from Asher Black. But I didn’t find her a likeable character in the slightest. She has a backstory that conveys why she is the way she is but she still treated people like crap.

Will I Finish It?

Not the series. I enjoyed Asher Black (#1) as a standalone and I was happy to leave it there when I finished it…should have stayed that way.

My Series Rating: DNF

Asher Black 4/5 | Niccolaio Andretti DNF | [Ranieri Andretti N/A] | Bastiano Romano N/A | [Renata Vitali N/A] | Damiano De Luca N/A

overall

If you like the edge of danger that comes from mafia romances and don’t mind a slower pace, these might work for you. But if you want something fast and hard, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: darker romances, slow burns
Avoid if You: want faster pacing

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Series Review: Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi

Series Review: Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Children of Blood and Bone (from Goodreads):

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

breakdown

Series: Legacy of Orïsha
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: March 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I feel like you couldn’t escape Children of Blood and Bone (#1) in 2018. It seemed to be everywhere and talked about by everyone. I’m not sure why I didn’t pick it up right away. I think it was the mention of magic — books with magic (particularly witch and wizard books) can be a little hit or miss for me.

When I was looking for a new audiobook series to start, I happened to see that both Children of Blood and Bone (#1) AND Children of Virtue and Vengeance (#2) were available for instant download at my library so I thought was a great time to start this series (I thought it was a duology, I didn’t realize the 3rd book was still in the works).

The Concept / The World:

At the end of Children of Blood and Bone (#1), Tomi has left an author’s note detailing how the deaths of young black people at the hands of police motivated her to publish this series. You can definitely see the parallels between the maji of the novels being persecuted for their perceived differences (physical and ability) and the events of our current world when it comes to racial prejudices. The English minor in me would love to explore those parallels in an essay because it is very well done throughout the series.

This world is also heavily inspired by various African cultures, particularly Nigeria, with the language used for casting spells to character names and so forth. It was a refreshing approach for me because I find a lot of high fantasy novels I’ve read lately are Asian or Northern European inspired.

The Plot:

I struggled with the pacing of Children of Blood and Bone (#1). The first half of this book was very adventure based–a genre I don’t tend to enjoy for its slower pace. So I had a hard time keeping focused for the first little while. Things really picked up by the middle when all the players start setting up for the finale but then it tapered off until the last quarter. I loved the last quarter of the book though. Lots of action and plot twists! Overall, it was very up and down for me and my interest.

I felt like Children of Virtue and Vengeance (#2) suffers heavily from middle book syndrome. It’s very character driven as our leads try to navigate the world they find themselves in. I can appreciate the struggle they are going through but I needed a little more excitement to keep my interest.

The Characters:

Zélie falls into the common heroine category of high fantasy worlds where they are thrust into the position to be the savior of the world, much to their chagrin. She also very emotionally driven in her actions, which is understandable given everything that happens. I just have a personal preference for heroines who are more logical than emotional when it comes to actions in my fantasy novels (like Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy or Helena from An Ember in the Ashes). But I find her storylines to be boring and her romance forced.

Which is maybe why I leaned more towards Amari. Again, her character arc of rebellion isn’t anything new but I appreciated how her eyes were opened to the real world. If you go back to the metaphor of what this novel stands for (violence based on race), Amari is that person who doesn’t think it’s their “problem” until they are directly impacted by the situation. However, do I think she could have had some more character development? Absolutely.

My favourite POV was Inan. I appreciated reading his struggles. Yes, he is all over the place with his feelings and actions, but who wouldn’t be when you become the thing you’ve been taught to hate? I just thought his whole character arc was fascinating and I found myself looking forward to his POV chapters.

The Romance:

So, I adore forbidden romances and the synopsis made me think we were going to get a good one with the line:

Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.”

I guess it isn’t a good sign when you start shipping a relationship that isn’t really isn’t there. I can appreciate that the romance was subtle but I’d almost argue that it is insta-love at its worst because it appears out of nowhere. Growing attraction or lust? Sure, I’d see that but I struggled to see why these two characters fall for each other in Children of Blood and Bone (#1).

So the romantic in me was disappointed by the somewhat forced romances that appear throughout the series.

My Audiobook Experience:

Bahni Turpin narrates the audiobooks and if you haven’t read an audiobook by Bahni Turpin, you’ve been living under a rock and are seriously missing out. She is a fantastic narrator (read the audio version of The Hate U Give and you’ll understand) and she does do a great job here as well. I could have used a little more distinction between Zélie and Amari’s chapters but she did a great job overall.

There are a lot of terms to know in this book because of the magic elements (like the different skills maji have) and all of those are thrown out at the start of the audiobook. Reading an audiobook isn’t like a physical book where you can turn back to the glossary to refresh yourself on the terms. So, I did struggle with that a bit and perhaps that was why it took me a long time to get into it.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Much like the inaugural book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance (#2) ends with a bang and I’m really curious to see where it will go! I’m not counting down the days by any means but I am interested in finding out how this ends.

Series Rating: 3/5

Children of Blood and Bone 3/5 | Children of Virtue and Vengeance 3/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

I can see why people adore these books. The world and its focus on Nigerian culture is great as is the metaphor of racial injustice in current society. However, for me, I find I lose interest in the middle of the books due to their long page length (I feel like you could cut some stuff out but still get the same idea) and I start to get bored repeating the same sentiments with the characters. I’m curious to see where the third book will go.

Read if You Like: high fantasy, magic
Avoid if You: dislike long novels, dislike magic

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