Tag «6 book series»

Series Review: Made Men by Sarah Brianne

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 Nero (from Goodreads):
Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

I just want to be a fu**ing made man.
I’m just a fu**ing waitress.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Guilty Pleasure 2015
Series: Made Men
Author: Sarah Brianne
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Bad Boys, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2014 – December 2018
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t remember how I found this series. I think it was recommended to me by Kobo from my previous purchases OR I found them when I was buying other books. Regardless, the synopsis sounded intriguing. I love reading about player bad boys who get turned around by a girl they never expected and that’s what Nero looked like it was going to be given what I read.

Also, those covers! I’m not just talking about the attractive models, there is just something so visual striking about both of them. So I picked both Nero and Vincent up for under $5 and put them on my TBR.

The Concept:

I always really enjoy Mob/Mafia Family stories. While I’m normally not a fan of romantic suspense stories, I enjoy the complex nature of mafia-orientated stories. You have family loyalty tested and the perfect setup for forbidden love.

The mafia in this story is pretty stereotypical but that’s exactly what I expected. I also like how there is an ongoing plot regarding the family that links all the books together despite their focus on a different set of lead characters.

The Plot:

Hmmm…where to start…When I first started Nero, I almost put it down. You know when teenagers attempt to act like adults and it just makes everything a little awkward? That’s what the plot is in this story. I had to remind myself numerous times that these characters were 17 and in high school–not 24 and in college. Everything was really melodramatic and over the top. Some of the things Nero and his crew do blew my mind and had me shaking my head to make sure I was reading everything correctly. The plot in this series is definitely over the top…but the weird thing was that I kinda grew to like it.

Reading Nero reminded me of watching Secret Life of the American Teenager for the first time. You watch one episode to see what it is about and then you find yourself 5 episodes in because it is so cheesy and ridiculous you can’t wait to see what crazy stunt they are going to make the characters undergo next.

This series reads like a soap opera but with a lot of suggested violence and descriptive sex scenes. It really isn’t unlike anything you might see on your typical teen TV soap nowadays but everything was just taken to that little bit too far for me.

Basically, this series was so bad it was good–in a total guilty pleasure kind of way. I feel like if I hadn’t bought these books (thus feeling a compelling need to read and finish them), I would have DNF’d Nero and never picked up Vincent. And now that I am two books in, I feel the need to read Chloe when it comes out because I need to know what happens next…damn.

The Characters:

I like a confident guy but, as you can already guess, Nero was a little too much for me. He did have some really sweet moments but for the most part, I wasn’t a huge fan. He seemed too wish-washy in his personality (sometimes he would act like a teenager and other times he acted like a 40 Christian Grey) and that made it hard for me to get a solid grasp on his character. Elle was the same way. I liked her desire to protect her friend but I didn’t like her character development too much. In Vincent, I didn’t really care for either of the leads for the exact same reasons.

The girls in both Vincent and Nero really bothered me and I explain why in the Romance section.

The Romance:

This is where my mixed feelings about Nero come in. Near the end of the story, I really started to root for Elle and Nero. Like I said before, I have a soft spot for forbidden love and stories where the bad boy falls for the nice girl.

However, at the same time, their relationship really disturbed me. Again, part of the problem is their young age and how I felt like they were playing pretend adults throughout the story. I thought their relationship dynamic had its moments where it just wasn’t healthy. It really upset me how easily Elle fell into a submissive role and it worries me that young girls will read this and find Nero’s possessive and dominating attitude “sexy”. Some moments boarded on abusive, making it hard for me to love their relationship.

It was the exact same situation in Vincent, even if the heroine of that one did seem to be aware of the situation. And given the potential characters in Chloe, I know it is going to be the exact same. My hope is that people will read this romance and see that it is FICTION--not realistic or reflects romance in the real world.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Chloe is going to focus on a love triangle–normally a huge turn off for me and to be honest it still is here. However, I’m curious to see how it will play out. I’m not dying to get my hands on it, but I will consider picking it up if I come across it after its release and the price is reasonable.

updates

–February 7, 2017–

I have opted not to continue with this series. I don’t even remember anything about the characters so I think now is a good time to let this series go.

Series Rating: DNF

Nero 2/5 | Vincent 2/5 | Chloe N/A | Lucca N/A | Angel N/A

overall

If you like over-the-top, melodramatic books where teens try to be adults, you will really like this series! For me, it was just too much and I had a hard time taking it seriously. In the past, I’ve read a lot strong YA/NA series that have a similar tone but a better execution.

Read if You Like: melodramatic series, high school new adult
Avoid if You: dislike alpha males, dislike soap operas

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Series Review: The Field Party by Abbi Glines

Series Review: The Field Party by Abbi Glines

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

The Field Party Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Until Friday Night (from Goodreads):
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author; Most Read Author 2015
Series: The Field Party
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 6 (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Game Changer, is to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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:

Abbi Glines is my most read author according to Goodreads–so I think it is apparent that any books she publishes, I’ll probably be reading it even if I’m skeptical.

You see, I don’t tend to enjoy books set in the Southern part of the USA. I find the drama is a little too…dramatic for me. It’s a little over the top and seems to bring out the worst in some characters. Of course, there are exceptions. Beautiful Creatures is one of my all time favourite series and it is a TOTAL Southern novel–but oh so good. Oh, and anything Abbi Glines writes seems to work for me…though maybe not The Vincent Boys.

From reading her various posts on her blog, I know that Abbi was really excited to start this series and it is something that is really close to her heart. Needless to say, I was excited to see what Abbi Glines would bring with this series…

What I Liked:

–The Romance–

Lately, I’ve been droning on and on about characters lacking an emotional connection when it comes to romance. This one did NOT have that problem!

I really loved watching West and Maggie develop that friendship first. I love romances where the characters support each other and work as partners to move through a difficult time. Sure, everything happens really fast in this novel but that is just part of the circumstances. It didn’t bother me that their relationship was fast-tracked because I could see why it was forming and how well they worked together.

OMG, you do not know how happy I was when Maggie clearly stated that their relationship was starting to become unhealthy! I’m all for the idea that love heals but I’m also a firm believer that it isn’t the only thing that can save a person. So I really appreciated the maturity Maggie showed by looking at their relationship and stating that it was heading into a place she didn’t like. She scored major points with me after that!

–The Plot–

I thought there was a great balance between the romance and the main plot line which is dealing with grief/family tragedy. The romance wasn’t all consuming but always had that underlying tension to keep it developing. It complimented the character progression well I think.

And if you’re worried this book is only going to focus on football, rest assured that it plays a very minor role in this story. It’s more of a connecting factor for West and the rest of the characters.

We also get introduced enough to the other characters who I assume are going to get their own books later. Not a ton to make me wish I was reading their book instead of West’s and Maggie’s but enough to get me excited for their stories once they are released.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Maggie’s Character Development–

I really feel like it was lacking for Maggie in this book. Looking back at the synopsis, I can see why the novel focused more on West because he really has the main, ongoing story unfolding. However, Maggie is a full POV character and I wish her situation was addressed more than it was. If the story was only told from West’s POV I would have been satisfied with her growth but I felt like more could have been done with her.

–Rushed Ending–

I know that some things were left dangling for the rest of the series but I felt like West and Maggie’s story could have used an extra 30 pages or so. Some things were wrapped up wayyyy to easily for my liking and others were just left out in the open. This was really the only time I felt like the plot focus was on the wrong aspect the entire time I was reading. I’m sure some of those things are going to be addressed in the next book but I kinda wanted a resolution to their story within their story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I’m curious to learn more about the rest of the characters and get some of my questions answered about those dangling bits.

updates

–March 19, 2017– Book #2: Under the Lights

Ok, I was really scared to read this when I read the synopsis. I detest love triangles in my stories; particularly in my YA because I can’t take all the petty back and forth drama. And I didn’t really enjoy The Vincent Boys which focuses on a girl torn between two BFFs…the same concept here.

But I should know better! Abbi’s writing over the years just gets stronger and stronger.

While the love triangle is an element here, it is never the sole focus. Instead, we get great character development which in turn leads to a strong romance.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than its predecessor for a variety of reasons. One is that all the leads had solid character development and it never felt lopsided or like one character was the focus more than the other. I also liked the dramatic plot a lot. It constantly surprised me with its development and I liked that it kept me on edge trying to figure it all out..

And of course, it sets up beautifully for the next installment.

–September 17, 2017– Book #3: After the Game

This was super cute! Their story was really heartfelt and mature in a way you don’t always see in YA contemporary romances. Watching these two learn to forgive and forget about what people think was fabulous. They’re just so likeable as characters and super sweet that you want to see them succeed.

I do wish the romance was a little more though. I just wanted to see that connection emphasized a little more at the start but they do make a great pair when all is said and done. I was thoroughly addicted to this story!

It was like the perfect hybrid between the first and second novel but with a new set of unique leads.

–October 8, 2018– Book #4: Losing the Field

To say I’m disappointed in this book would be an understatement. Honestly, this book was a 2/5 star read for me until the last three chapters when I really got angry with the direction it took.

Overall, the best way to describe this novel is underdeveloped. I can appreciate the attempted drama Glines tried to instill in this story. It’s soap opera-esque and melodramatic–exactly that I expect when I pick up this series. But I think there was too much thrown in here and it took away from the characters and romance. (Where was that plot for revenge anyways?)

As for their love? Where did it even come from? Tallulah’s worship of him over the years and her shedding a few pounds? Compared to other couples in this series I feel like we didn’t see much of them together and I failed to see the deeper connection they shared. I also think they spend more time apart then together…

But the moment that took this book from a “meh” read to an “oh wow, that’s awful”?

Why I Rated This 1/5 Stars:

When Tallulah decides not to press charges against the teacher that tried to seduce her–KNOWING he did the same thing to two other girls–that irked me to no end! In this time of assault awareness (#metoo movement) I’m so upset that her response was simply “It’s OK. It’s over now.” No, it’s not and you should be doing everything in your power to prevent it from happening again if you can; especially when there is a child involved.

[collapse]

I hated that response and how it comes across to readers, especially younger readers. I’m all for fiction being fiction but I think there was a great opportunity for a strong lesson and it just didn’t happen.

–July 4, 2020– Book #5: Making a Play

While this was a definite improvement over the last novel in the series it was still just an “okay” read for me.

The subject matter of race is a timely one and so I appreciated that the romance explored the difficulties multiracial couples can face, particularly in smaller traditional towns. And having a heroine who is deaf was also a great way to explore prejudices as well.

However, while I am a romantic at heart, I struggled with the love at first sight we get here. These two make some very important life decisions based on a 5 day interaction. But fast and dramatic romances are Abbi’s style so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

My Rating: 4/5

Until Friday Night 4/5 | Under the Lights 4/5 | After the Game 4/5 | Losing the Field 1/5 | Making a Play 3/5

overall

It isn’t my favourite Abbi Glines series, but it was exactly what I was expecting. I cried and swooned so mission accomplished. This is perfect for those who want to try an Abbi Glines’ novel but don’t like New Adult.

Read if You Like: high school drama, stories about grief, books set in the South
Avoid if You:  don’t like football players, high school drama

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Series Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy

book3 book4 book5 book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Court of Thorns & Roses (from Goodreads):
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy; ACOTR
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological (Books 4-6 are a different story arc)
Complete?: No, Book 4, will be published in 2020
Genre: New Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Faeries, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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 was a huge fan of Throne of Glass before it became mainstream. I loved the world Sarah J. Maas created but before I could move her from a “must-read” author to a “favourite author” I needed to read another series/book by her. So when I saw that she was releasing a 2nd series my reactions were this: 1) WHAT?! Write Throne of Glass faster! Not start a new series!; and 2) Yes please!

I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is a very popular one. So I really was expecting something out of the box with this book; especially because it focused on actual Fae, my favourite fantasy species. I also was expecting some fantastic world building, a strong heroine (or at least one who becomes strong) and a great romance. Some tall shoes to fill but I knew Sarah J. Maas could do it.

This book was everywhere before and after its release! ARC reviews were posted months in advance and there was so much hype that I was a little terrified to read this. I avoided all reviews (sorry everyone!) so I could go into it with a fresh mind and give it a fair shot.

The Concept / The World:

I loved the world Feyre lives in because I LOVE faerie stories! Doesn’t matter how many faerie books I read, each one has its own unique flare that sucks me in and this book is no exception. Maas does a great job building up the world and devotes the first half of the book really explaining how the faerie world works. And this could have been really dry but I felt like things moved along at a decent pace for the first half of the book so it didn’t bore me.

As for the Beauty and the Beast element, I liked that it didn’t follow the traditional conventions. The parallels are obvious but I felt like each had its own little spin on it. I thought it worked really well and I would have to say it is one of the best (if not the best) Beauty and the Beast retellings I have had the pleasure of reading.

The Plot:

So, don’t hate me, BUT, I felt like the first half of the book was really slow. It could easily just be due to the fact that I was reading it really early in the morning or late at night so I was more than a little tired. However, I feel like there really wasn’t much happening in the first half of the book besides building up the world–which is fine and all but not my personal cup of tea. I like action in my books and when it comes to faeries, I love their games.

Which is why I adored the second half of the book. It focused more on the faerie world’s political games, had more romance and had better character growth. I couldn’t put down the book once I reached the halfway point. And I knew that going into this book because Throne of Glass was written in the exact same way: slow and building.  So while I was expecting it, that doesn’t mean I was happy that that was the case.

The Characters:

What I loved about this series is that these characters made you work to like them. Feyre is jaded and initially hard to like because she really isn’t in a good place in her life. You really sympathize with her and I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the novel.

Tamlin–yeah, I wasn’t completely sold on him. I really didn’t feel like he was present much in this book enough for me to develop a crush on him. Sure, in theory he is everything a swoon-worthy hero needs to be: mysterious, charming and caring. It just didn’t work for me.–I’ll explain more in my romance section. I feel like he’ll have some great development in the sequel (that seems to be the trend in the Throne of Glass Series) so I’m hoping that will convince me of his “amazingness”.

All the other characters were great. Love ’em or hate ’em, they were all well developed and evolving as the story progressed which was great.

The Romance:

For a majority of the book, I wasn’t really sold on the romance between Feyre and Tamlin. A lot of their interaction isn’t narrated verbatim, rather it is just summarized by Feyre after it happens. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great scenes between them–because they’re are–I’m just saying it didn’t totally convince me their feelings were at that higher level. I could see why they would suit each other, I just wanted more scenes together that showed that.

For me, I couldn’t see why Tamlin had such deep feelings for Feyre when they really hadn’t talked all that much. They ignored each other at the start of time together (or at least is seemed like that because a lot of their interaction happens “off-stage”) and then BAM! His primal instincts are calling for her. It was a little too alpha male for me and I don’t like alpha male heroes.

Eventually, I warmed up to their romance and was totally rooting for them–it’s hard not to really given what happens in the last third of the book. It’s just that they won’t be gracing the top of my favourite couples list anytime soon.

I know that some people’s concerns with the Beauty and the Beast romance is the Stockholm Syndrome  situation. I definitely had those thoughts when I started reading and I could see why people would label it as that (I mean Feyre can’t really leave) BUT, I felt like these two would have connected even if they weren’t kept to his estate for the majority of their relationship.

Now, I feel like I have to say that is book is more like a New Adult Fantasy than it is a Young Adult Fantasy. While the sex scenes aren’t fully described (and there really isn’t a lot of them either)–they are sex scenes that don’t leave much to the imagination which isn’t really a YA characteristic. I found that refreshing because I don’t understand why sex should be so taboo in YA (I’m not saying full out, descriptive endless pages here)–it happens people so why should we ignore it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really don’t know what to expect for the next book! While not everything is wrapped up in this book, I felt very satisfied in how everything is left at the end of the book. I’m not dying for a sequel though I really do want to read it. I have some worries because I fear that one of my least favourite romantic tropes is on the way BUT I’m putting my faith in Maas to deliver and totally shock me like she did with Crown of Midnight–no pressure though!

updates

–July 3, 2016– Book #2: A Court of Mist and Fury


I was really impressed with this book!

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses but somethings just weren’t on point for me, so it wasn’t an automatic 5 star read.

But what Maas does here is genius! The manipulation of the Beauty and the Beast story; the richness of the faery world; to Feyre’s character development–everything hits its peak here, making this one hell of a read.

While I still struggled to like Feyre, she definitely grew on me; as did the romance. The way everything interweaves and builds really helped with that.

I can’t wait to see what is in store for this cast of characters next!

–July 21, 2017– Book #3: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Oh dear, I’m in the minority for this one!

My rating hovers somewhere between 2-3/5 but considering the fact that I would have DNF’d this book at the 30% if it wasn’t the finale of the series (which it isn’t [ugh], but it is the end of the arc), I’m going to leave it at a 2.

Admittedly, I had high expectations. ACOMAF blew me away in every respect so it would be a hard book to top regardless. And the hype around any Maas book is so UNREAL lately. So I was a little scared to start this one.

This one just seemed painfully slow. Which sucked because it started so strong! Yet once I reached the 30% mark, it totally lost me. It just seemed slightly repetitive and monotonous to me. This book could have easily been 200 pages shorter and it would have delivered successfully. I needed more intrigue and action to keep my full attention.

So maybe seek an alternative opinion! Because others seem to enjoy it, but for me, this one fell flat and it has me thinking the next 3 books aren’t going to be for me.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses 4/5 | A Court of Mist and Fury 5/5 | A Court of Wings and Ruin 2/5

overall

This series starts slow, peaks in the middle and has a slower end. But if you want a series that keeps you guessing; is rich in characters and the world; and has a heroine who truly transforms from start to finish, you might consider investing your time in this one!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, don’t like jaded heroines, don’t like fairy tale retellings

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Series Review: Real by Katy Evans

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

book book book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Real (from Goodreads):
A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…
He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.
I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.
If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

breakdown

Series: Real
Author: Katy Evans
# of Books: 6 (Real, Mine, Remy, Rogue, Ripped, Book 6)
Book Order: Real and Mine are Chronological, Remy is the alternate POV sequel to Real the rest of the series is Connected
Complete?: No, Book 6, will be published Fall 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single (Real, Mine, Remy); Alternate (Rogue, Ripped)Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Real is one of those books that has been haunting me on my Kobo account’s recommendation list since it was published. And while I was intrigued by it and all the positive reviews my Goodreads’ friends had given it, I simply can’t afford to shell out $10 a book to read the series. So when my library got copies of the book, I immediately added my name to the hold list.

I knew that the males were going to be top alpha dogs before I even started and while that usually doesn’t appeal to me, I was going to keep an open mind. I also figured these books were going to be more erotica than contemporary romance so I didn’t expect thrilling, complex plot lines either.

How to Phrase this…

My feelings on Real (both as a book and as a series) are mixed and I can understand why some people might give it an extremely low rating after reading it while others love it. In all honesty, I was enjoying it until I started to write this review (because I was writing this as I was reading it) and after I creeped some of the reviews on Goodreads to see what others thought of it. Reading this book after I did that was like when you notice someone’s bad habit for the first time and then that is all you can notice in the future.

I found that all the books in this series were kinda like that: the more I thought about them, the more I disliked them. It was weird because when I started to read the book, I was really enjoying it. But when I returned to reading it later, I didn’t like it that much and the same can be said for the subsequent times I picked up these books. There are two reasons I think this happened to me: 1) is the development of the heroines; and 2) the repetitiveness of the writing. And they both go hand in hand at times.

The Plot:

So, the plot isn’t really anything stellar, especially in Real. They definitely improve in the subsequent novels where we get some more “suspense” romance plot lines but for the most part, these books are just the heroines describing the virility of their men.

Yup, you read that right: virility.

The entire first half of Real is literally Brooke describing how the primal instincts in her are attracted to the “virile” man Remy is (It’s the same situation in the other books as well, though the page count is a little less). Honestly: there is a paragraph describing how the “female” in her wants to “mate” with Remy because she wants his genetics for her babies–I kid you not. And while the scientist in me appreciates that fact that this is a true human reaction, it just seemed a little over the top to me.

Personally, I could have done without all the redundant descriptions of how Remy turns her on–I got it after the first two times thank you. Brooke uses the worst words possible to describe their sexual encounters and often repeats them numerous times within a paragraph. Some are just hilarious to me and even now I have a silly grin on my face because I can’t believe that anyone would refer to their private parts like that.

But it also seems to dampen the flow of the book because you will be getting narration about where they are and then suddenly, BAM–Brooke’s describing how hot Remy makes her for two pages before BAM–you get shoved back into the actual scene narration. This gets better in the sequel books but they definitely have the same vibe.

It’s a shame because Remy’s story is actually interesting and it kinda takes a backseat to Brooke’s descriptions of his eight-pack. Same in the other books with the other leads. And when we do get the drama, it is over the top and a tad ridiculous but I guess that is the consequence of fiction.

The Characters:

I really struggled with these heroines. Heroines really make or break a series for me. I think it’s because I am a female so I can easily put myself in their shoes as opposed to a male character. And I’ll be honest: the primal alpha male heroes we get in this series really do nothing for me but I came into this series knowing that I wouldn’t particularly love them so it didn’t necessarily bother me.

What bothered me was that Brooke has the maturity of a 16 year old fangirl–which means she has very little. Even when we switch narrators in the other books in the series, I found that the delivery was much the same. The heroines become those immature girls who don’t see their self-worth without a man in their lives. And as soon as they do find their partner, they get immediately clingy. Basically, it’s the grown woman’s condition of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome and it is just plain annoying. (Though to be fair, Pandora’s story, Ripped, doesn’t completely fall into this scenario.)

The Romance:

As I said before, these are basically books about acting on your lust. Two of the three couples have an insta-connection type of romance; the exception is Ripped where it is a second chance romance. I appreciated that one a lot more than the other two in that respect.

What I did love was the chemistry and the sexual tension. That is definitely one nice thing about insta-love stories because there is always so much frustration and close encounters before the big consummation.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea who the next story in the series is about though I have a pretty good guess. I’ll read it just for the sake of finishing this series but it’s not high on my “have to read it now!” list.

Fun Fact:

Before I read Real I never knew that “scent” could be used as a verb–and after reading it 10 times as a verb I understand why: it’s annoying and awkward!

My Rating: 3/5

overall

I’m not sure what everyone else was reading but I don’t think I read the same thing. If you don’t mind clingy heroines, alpha males and over the top dramatics with lots of sex scenes, this is a good series for you! It just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in place and I found that I felt more frustrated than happy when reading these books.

Read if You Like: alpha males, over dramatics, lots of sex
Avoid if You: can’t tolerate petty heroines, crude language

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Series Review: Marked Men by Jay Crownover

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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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Sad to See Go (2015), Best New Adult
Series: Marked Men Series

There is going to be a spin-off series called the Saints of Denver to be published October 2015. This is a series set in the same world as the Marked Men series but not a direct spin-off with a specific main character from this series. More info on Jay Crownover’s Website. Though please be warned that there is a spoiler on that page regarding Rule’s book in the question following the reading order!

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 6  (Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Rowdy, Asa)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological

Note: You can read each book as a standalone but they all follow a chronological order of events that may spoil an earlier story if you choose to read a later book first.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Bad Boys, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

The Marked Men series is a review blog fan-favourite. Whenever I browse a New Adult fan list, some character or book from this series graces the list. So, I decided to bite the bullet and take a chance with this series despite my hesitation after reading the synopsis for Rule.

I was hesitant to read Rule for two reasons: one was that the synopsis gave me the impression Shaw was going to be an airhead (not sure why when I reread it) and two was the fact that Shaw was Rule’s “dead twin brother’s girl”. I’m not a fan of reading stories where one person is unfaithful or there are love triangles; so when I read this line and the line that Shaw has “loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him” I winkled my nose in distaste thinking if she was his twin’s girlfriend, why did she love Rule?

I should have known that there was more to this book than the synopsis. Because the truth of the matter is: this book wasn’t what my first assumptions were–AT ALL! I actually really enjoyed Ruleone of the best New Adult stories I have read in a while in all honesty!

Shaw was a great, strong character and nothing like I assumed she would be; Rule was just plain awesome and together I really could see how they worked. The plot was also unexpected and a lot more suspenseful than I anticipated despite the fact that certain aspects were rather predictable. Regardless of its predictability, I still had a lot of fun reading it and it managed to capture my attention from start to finish.

I was super excited to read Jet simply based on the small taste we get of the leads in Rule. However, when I finally did read it, I felt like something was missing. I felt like there was more focus on their personal individual lives than there was with them as a couple; which was totally fine but not what I was really expecting when I picked up the book. I guess their relationship wasn’t as apparent to me as it was with Rule and Shaw and I just needed that little bit more.  I also felt like this book was acting as a bridge for the rest of the books in the series because we learn more about each of the Marked Men and their histories so it made me really excited to read the rest of the series. So while Jet was a good follow-up, it just wasn’t entirely what I was expecting so I gave it a lower individual rating than I thought I would.

Rome was more on par with what Rule was to me. I laughed, I cried and smiled to myself throughout the whole book. I really felt the relationship with this couple more so than in Jet. There was a good balance between them working on their relationship as a couple and them working on their individual lives. I would say it is my favourite of the series. It also served as the perfect segue to Nash which I immediately picked up after finishing Rome despite exams and a mountain of library books.

Nash was super cute and everything I thought it would be. It was a great blend of character growth and romance and also has a awesome message/theme about self-esteem which I really appreciate. And, no surprise, it made me super excited to read Rowdy.

Rowdy was everything I thought it was going to be though I didn’t find it as addicting as I expected it to be (though I did read it really fast!). I think it was because this couple has a strong history between them so everything felt like it was already established between them. But I still thought it was super cute and I liked the more dramatic/suspenseful elements featured in this novel.

Asa is going to be the last novel of the Marked Men series which makes me sad despite being super, super excited for this novel. I feel like this story has been building since Jet so I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

My understanding from reading Jay Crownover’s website is that she is planning a similar spin-off series that is set in the Marked Men universe but doesn’t directly involve the cast we see here. One character who makes a very brief appearance in this series is already slated to get a book. I’m hoping that two characters that I would love to see get a book but I guess we will have to wait and see what is in store!

UPDATED (June 2/15): I finally grabbed a copy of Asa and while I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped, it was still a very solid novel. As I said earlier, Asa’s story has been building since Book 2 and it was nice to finally have it all wrapped up. It definitely picked up near the end in terms of plotline and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Asa was a great way to wrap up this series but also get you excited for the spin-off series. I already have a few ideas about who the next set of leads will be but I definitely expect to be surprised with some things!

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

I’ve really enjoyed reading this series because it is so addicting and fun and just really well done! If you like tattooed swoon-worthy heroes and strong independent heroines this is a great series to read!

Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes!!!

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Synopsis for Rule (from Goodreads):

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

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Series Review: Gallagher Girls 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:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: A Favourite Young Adult Series
Series: Gallagher Girls Series
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 6

There is a crossover novella with the Heist Society novels called Double Crossed. There are also two other novellas: Classified Material (#4.5) and a Gallagher Wedding (#6.5).

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Espionage, Action, Adventure, Romance, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

The first thing that capture my attention with this series was the witty titles. I love punny things so I counted that as a sign that I should read these books. I also love stories about kick-ass female heroines and the whole espionage thing was an added bonus. When I really started getting into my reading addiction, this series came up all the time but I didn’t read the first book until 5 years after it had been published (so my first year of university). I was probably a little too old to be reading it but I couldn’t resist.

This series reminds me a lot of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series--but if Georgia and crew were spies. Gallagher Girls definite has more suspense and focuses on the action part of the plot, but the friendship between Cammie and her friends really reminds me of Georgia and her crew which I really liked. It was a lot of fun reading about this group of girls and joining them on all their adventures from finding first love to saving the world.

These books continued to be a lot of fun even when the plot line got to be more serious after book 3, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover. The first three books have a story arc that starts and concludes within the same novel (for the most part). There are some hints here and there about the eventual over-arching plot line that takes place in the later books but I found they focused mostly on a single plot line. Book 4, Only the Good Spy Young, is where the final story arc of the series begins but I found that the plot never dragged despite spanning 3 books. I think it helps that the characters are all solid in their personalities and by this point in the series you are attached to every single one of them.

I really enjoyed reading these books! They were always what I expected them to be (and a little bit more) and I’m sad to see Cammie and co. go.

Conclusion:

A very well executed and written Young Adult series. If you like tough but fun and lovable girls as your YA heroines, this is a great series for you to read. Definitely geared more towards the younger set of readers but older YA fans will no doubt enjoy.

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)

Synopsis for I’d Tell You I Love You, But I’d Have to Kill You (from Goodreads):
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Movie Mondays: I am Number Four

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore | Movie: I am Number Four (2011)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Lorien Legacies or I am Number Four Series
Author: Pittacus Lore (Fun Fact: This is actually the name of a character in the book!)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Aliens, Romance
Point of View: First Person (this book is just one character’s POV, the rest of the series has multiple)

Thoughts:

When I am Number Four was about to hit theatres, I decided to read the book before I went to see it (I don’t like having my books spoiled). But I wasn’t able to finish the book before my library loan was due and thus, I never got to see it in theatres. However, I did eventually finish the book.

My feelings on I am Number Four are mixed. Since reading the other books in the series, this one is a definite oddball in terms of its delivery and plot line. As I said in my review of the series, I am Number Four follows the typical Young Adult Science Fiction plot line formula: main hero is in hiding, discovers his special powers, falls in love with a human girl and has to save the world. It wasn’t anything overly new to me and that made it a tad boring to read. John/Four isn’t my favourite character in the series and because this first book focuses solely on him, it gets a little tiring putting up with his teenaged angst all the time.

So I could understand why people would drop the whole series based on their experience reading this book. It’s really a shame the rest of the series truly blows this book out of the water in terms of everything. It has better characters, more plots, great twists and reveals as well as a lot more action and suspense.

But the fact of the matter is, you have to read this book to get on with the rest of the series so if you want to read this series, you have to just tough it out a bit.

Conclusion:

Don’t judge the series by I am Number Four. I like to think of I am Number Four as one big prequel novella for the rest of the series. Those who love science fiction and stories with lots of kickass action, you will enjoy the rest of the faster paced books in the series! So while it is important to read I am Number Four, don’t let it dissuade you from reading The Power of Six. But if you don’t enjoy The Power of Six, then you won’t like the rest of the series because that is what the rest of the series is like.

Rating: 3/5 for I am Number Four, but 4.5/5 for the series as a whole
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

The Movie:

I finally managed to watch this movie a little more than 3 years after its theatrical release when I was traveling home from school this fall.

While it has been 3 years since I read the book, I knew that they had made dramatic changes to the plot despite not remembering every little detail of the book. I’m not one of those book fans who can’t fathom why book-to-movie adaptions make plot changes–because I completely understand why–so it didn’t necessarily bother me that they changed the main events of the book a bit. With the exception of one MAJOR plot aspect, what they did in the movie got across what the book was trying to achieve.

However, what I don’t appreciate is the little details they forgot to mention. Like the importance of the “kill order” and all the fine print associated with it. Or what John’s powers actually do. I just felt like the key aspects of the book, which make the series so much fun to read and add so much depth to it, weren’t utilized as much as they should be. It just felt like the writers went “meh” that shit isn’t important–WHEN IT IS!

Though I think it is important to note that the second novel in the series, The Power of Six, hadn’t been published when the movie was released. Maybe not completely know what happens in the sequel attributed to some of the dismal plot changes but at the same time, I’m sure they must have consulted with the author so really, I don’t see any legitimate excuse for why things were done as they were.

In terms of casting, I think it was very well done. I have a little bit of a crush on Alex Pettyfer so I have a little bit of a biased when it comes to him. However, he played John very well–I disliked watching that character as much as I disliked reading about him so I consider that a win 😛 All joking aside, he does angsty well (which is why he was my ideal pick for Jace Wayland in the City of Bones movie adaption even though he turned the role down) but he can also pull off the action scenes well so I think he was cast very well. I loved Teresa Palmer as Six and I loved Callan McAuliffe as Sam (both Six and Sam are two of my favourite characters in the series) as well as Timothy Olyphant as Henry, though I wish that role was expanded upon more.

Overall, the movie was ok. Nothing really wowed me about it but I enjoyed watching these characters come to life on the big (well, my tablet) screen. While plans for the sequel were shelved after the disappointing box office reception of this movie, there may be hope yet for a sequel. Apparently, the director of the movie still gets asked if a sequel will be arriving and I think the fact that the books continue to sell well gives the impression that a sequel might not be a complete waste of money. I personally think this would be an option worth exploring because the rest of the series is on a whole other level than the inaugural book and would be much more appealing to audiences.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While it isn’t my favourite book in the series, I did enjoy the more complex plot we get in the novel. The movie took out too much of what makes this whole series so interesting to read and it missed the mark with me.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I am Number Four (from Goodreads):
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

Trailer:

Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

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 On Dublin Street (from Goodreads):

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

breakdown

Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are a number of novellas (See Here)

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Family, Tragedy, Abuse
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2012 – June 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

My Expectations:

This series has been on my to-read list for a really long time so I pounced when they were available at my library. After a blah start with Samantha Young’s Into the Deep series, I was really excited to see where these books would go because I have heard very good things.

Book 1: On Dublin Street

First up is On Dublin Street. I didn’t know what to expect with this book but I was hoping for a cute read with a dash of excitement and sexual tension. Unfortunately I feel like this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t LOVE it.

I’m not sure where things went wrong because I did enjoy the first few chapters. The initial chemistry between Braden and Jocelyn was great but I found it wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. Part of the reason is their character personalities. I had a hard time liking Jocelyn despite her having characteristics I usually love in a heroine like wit and independence. I think she was just too extreme in her independence and that drove me a little nuts. Also, given her past her outlook on life is a little bleak and seeing as that the POV given is only hers, it makes it a sad place to be. As for Braden, I did like him but he was just on that cusp of being too alpha male for my personal tastes. (Read my full review of the novel here)

The plot was also a little lackluster in my opinion. It didn’t really get exciting until the last 50 or so pages. It just seemed to go through the motions and even the little petty drama things weren’t that exciting. It also didn’t help that I liked the relationship between Ellie and Adam a lot more than these two (which is thankfully the focus of the novella Until Fountain Bridge). (Bit of a side note: I have to hand it to Samantha Young for leaving the little tidbits about the next couple in each of the books. It always makes me super eager to get my hands on the next book.)

But I decided not to give up on the series because I really wanted to read Until Fountain Bridge and Down London Road because I liked those characters from On Dublin Street a lot more than I liked Jocelyn. And in the end I’m really glad I stuck with the series.

Books #1.5 to #4:

Until Fountain Bridge is listed as a novella and it’s about half the page length as On Dublin Street. Before reading it I was upset that Ellie and Adam’s story wasn’t going to be longer but once I read it, I realized it was the perfect length. I really liked its delivery which is a series of flashbacks as Ellie reads her diary–you basically get all the great romantic highlights but without all the angsty whining about the partner. It was super cute and super quick so I really liked that.

Down London Road started slow like On Dublin Street. But unlike its predecessor, I felt like the plot got a lot more exciting a lot quicker and didn’t really stop. It was a good blend of romance, drama and we get just enough of a taste of the next two leads that I was really excited to read the next two books. I also liked the tension between the two leads a lot more as well and loved their interaction and connection to each other. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more though I wish the first 100 pages or so were cut down to make things move a little faster.

Before Jamaica Lane was the perfect length and had a great execution. It wasn’t as “dark” (and by dark I mean depressing) as the previous two novels. It definitely had a serious side to it but I found it a lot more fun to read. I LOVED the male lead in this one and it was everything I expected it to be and a little bit more. I devoured it and it only made me more excited to read Fall from India Place and Echoes of Scotland Street.

In fact, I was so excited to read Fall from India Place that I immediately read it after Before Jamaica Lane despite having other books to read. It was sweet and not what I was totally expecting but I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped but, I would take it over On Dublin Street any day.

updates

–November 9, 2017– Book #5: Echoes of Scotland Street

I was super excited to read Echoes of Scotland Street. I think I’ve been anticipating this book since On Dublin Street, even more so since Before Jamaica Lane since we first met Cole. It was great! The story was interesting, the leads were great and it was the perfect length. Those who have been waiting for this book won’t be disappointed. 

Turns out, it isn’t the last in the series! I’m actually really excited that we will be getting at least one more book in this series. Although the next lead is someone we were just introduced to in Echoes of Scotland, I’m intrigued to read about his story and will be looking forward to its release this coming summer.

–February 5, 2018– Book #6: Moonlight on Nightingale Way

I was very excited to read this book but clearly time got away from me!

I had very high expectations for this book and it did not disappoint!  I had high anticipation for Logan’s story and I loved it. The slow burning tension kept me hooked. I loved the plot too! It was so sweet! But I really loved the character development. Both our leads are so complex and they have a lot of growth to do independently.

Not only was this a great book (I literally couldn’t put it down!), it was a fantastic way to wrap up the series. Seeing everyone again was just awesome.

Series Rating: 4/5

On Dublin Street  3/5| [Until Fountain Bridge 4/5] | Down London Road 4/5 | Before Jamaica Lane 5/5 | [On Castle Hill 4/5] | Fall from India Place 4/5 | Echoes of Scotland Street 5/5 | Moonlight on Nightingale Way 5/5

overall

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. If you don’t like On Dublin Street, I encourage you not to give up on the series until you read another novel in the series. They get shorter but also better because you get more involved in all the characters lives. Each character is different and I find all their respective stories are different as well. A great contemporary romance series that I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Read if You Like: adult contemporary, complicated characters, Scotland
Avoid if You: dislike longer romance novels

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Series Review: The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author, Favourite Series #14
Series: The Drake Chronicles
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
# of Books: 6 (Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud, Out for Blood, Bleeding Hearts, Blood Moon, Blood Prophecy )

There are a lot of novella side stories and prequels: Full List Here

Book Order: Connected Chronologically
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Action, Vampires, Humour
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I’ve read a lot of vampire novels so I was excited to see that this series appeared to be a fresh take on vampires and by a Canadian author to boot!

And this series is a fresh take! It reminds me of a more up-beat Vampire Academy because we have different types of vampire species at play here with a lot of kick-ass action but it is done in a much more fun way. Lucy is witty and her parents are a little crazy and the Drake family is highly entertaining.

The first 4 books in the series focus on a different Drake sibling and their respective love interest. I like this setup because we get to learn more about the different Drakes, get to watch a new couple fall in love and get a fresh take on the overarching plot. You see, although the first 4 books focus on different characters, they each contribute to the plot that starts in the first novel and concludes in the last. This has its pros and cons in my opinion but it is a setup we don’t commonly see in other young adult series and it makes this series unique.

A pro about this series setup is that there is never really a lull in the plot progression (or at least there isn’t one that is as noticeable as in other series). It also gets you more familiar with the characters and helps your understanding with the world the Drakes are apart of. And at the same time, you don’t get annoyed or bored reading the same characters’ perspectives for an entire 6 book series.

A con about this series is that the last 2 books focus on Solange, Nicholas and Lucy who are the stars of the first book. Now the con isn’t that it follows these characters–because Nicholas and Lucy are my two favourite in this series–rather I was under the impression that when I started this series that each book was going to focus on a different Drake sibling and their love interest. I was expecting to see the oldest Drake brothers fall in love and unfortunately, I don’t get to (though a novella follows one of their love stories).

It would be easy to get past this I think if I enjoyed where the plot ended up going; but unfortunately, I didn’t love the path we take for the final climax. Solange was never my favourite character but I really didn’t like her storyline in Blood Moon and Blood Prophecy and because she is a main focus, I felt like it really dragged.

It took me a really long time to finish Blood Prophecy–I just couldn’t get into it. Although I loved the fact that the characters we were previously introduced to get adequate screen time I just felt like the book was way too long. The plot dragged and I got bored with the plot. I warmed up by the end but it was too little too late.

Part of the problem is that it had been 1.5 years since I finished book 5, Blood Moon–which I didn’t totally love either so that also changed my expectations for the final book. Regardless, I just found it hard to keep everything straight because there are multiple vampire species that have different abilities and the like; and they all have odd names so I found it hard to keep them straight. If I had read all books in a row within a month, I probably wouldn’t have been as lost and enjoyed the final two books a lot more.

A note on the novellas: I’ve only read some of the novellas. They aren’t necessary for the story but they do give some context and are entertaining, purely fan-service reads.

Conclusion:

If you want a vampire series that focuses equally on romance and action–this is a series for you. It’s a lot of fun, has strong heroines and lots of kickass action! But be sure to read them close together to keep everything straight and keep within the Drake-mindset!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #1)

Synopsis for Hearts at Stake (or My Love Lies Bleeding) (from Goodreads):
On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

Series Review: Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #9
Series: Mythos Academy
Author: Jennifer Estep
# of Books: 6 (Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost, Midnight Frost, Killer Frost)

There are three novellas: #0.5 First Frost, #1.5 Halloween Frost and #4.5 Spartan Frost

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Killer Frost will be published in February 2014 Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Action, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

When I first saw Touch of Frost at my library, I didn’t know that it was about mythology: I just liked the cover. I love mythology so whenever I come across a book that features some elements of myths, I’m there–especially if it is a young adult novel.

Coincidently, I got both First Frost and Touch of Frost from my library at the same time. Knowing that First Frost is the “prequel” novella, I read it first. I would say that this isn’t necessary before you read Touch of Frost but it does help explain why Gwen is a touch rebellious and depressed at times. First Frost isn’t the best novella ever, but it does help create the scene for the rest of the series so if you can get a copy of it, it is worth a read.

I really loved Touch of Frost for a few reasons. One is the romance between Logan and Gwen. Calling it a romance is generous because it is really just sexual tension for the entire book–so if you are expecting a romance filled with minor action elements, you aren’t going to enjoy this series because it is the reverse (ie. lots of action with a dash of romance). Reason two builds on the action part: this novel has some great suspense with the mystery surrounding the death at the Academy–and this can be said about the other books as well. I easily got sucked into these books’ plots because they were exciting and always building. Obviously the mythology is another reason I liked Touch of Frost and the rest of the series. It’s a cool blend of all mythology out there but done in a way that isn’t overly complicated and easy to follow.

But the main reason I loved this series is because of Gwen. When I started this series, I had been reading books with heroines that weren’t always my favourite. Gwen was a breeze of fresh air with her wit, independence and fighting skills. She is a lot of fun and I always like characters that can make me laugh. I find she doesn’t lose herself in her love interest and gets stronger with every book.

I always knew that this series was going to be 6 books in length and at first I was excited to get so much awesomeness. I loved Kiss of Frost (book 2) and it is definitely my favourite of the series–which I think this caused a problem for me with the rest of the series. I simply call it The Curse of Book Two: whenever I like a book early on in the series–usually it is the second book–I get disappointed in the rest of the series because I go into the next book expecting it to be book 2 all over again. There are only two series where this hasn’t been the case: Vampire Academy and Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead. Those two series are what I compare all 6-book series to and let me tell you, other books have a lot to measure up to!

With this series, I actually did like Dark Frost (book 3) a lot. While not as good as Kiss of Frost, it has a great plot to set up the rest of the series and I wasn’t disappointed in it overall. So I was hoping the Curse of Book 2 was beyond me until I picked up Crimson Frost. I was really disappointed in this book because it seemed to me that it fell into the Book Two Slump of a Trilogy: where we don’t get a huge amount of plot progression but just enough to pump you up for the final installment. It definitely succeeded in making me excited for Midnight Frost (which I have yet to read) but I just felt let down after reading it. Also, Gwen started to irritate me a bit with her Lead-Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome moments but not enough for me to outright dislike her.

I did read Spartan Frost (novella #4.5), but to be truthful I just skimmed it. It wasn’t anything impressive but it does give some insight into the events that happen in Crimson Frost. I have yet to read Midnight Frost but I am excited to see where this series will go and how it will finish.

UPDATED (Mar 8/14):After one failed attempted to read Midnight Frost, I finally was able to read it. This book wasn’t anything overly exciting. It definitely had a few interesting pieces but again, it really felt like the Book Two Slump of a Trilogy where a mild plot was used to build up the final book of the series. It’s really disappointing because I really loved the start of the series and have felt that the last two books have not delivered as much as the first two (possibly the third). I think if I had all these books in my hand and didn’t have to wait 6-8 months for the next book, I wouldn’t feel as “let down” as I have been feeling about this series.

Conclusion:

Overall, the series is a refreshing read in the Young Adult genre with its use of mythology and magic. There are great characters to get absorbed in and dashes of romance along the way. One of my favourite Young Adult series so I highly recommend it!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1), Starling by Lesley Livingston (Starling Trilogy #1) and Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout (Covenant Series #1)

Synopsis for Touch of Frost (from Goodreads):
My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died…