Tag «adult»

Single Sundays: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Girl on the Train (from Goodreads):
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

breakdown

Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Heat Rating
: cold
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

There was no escaping this book this past winter. It was everywhere I looked–the library, online, GoodReads–thanks to the “Gone Girl phenomenon”. You know, the trend in popular culture when one book seems to be the next best thing and so every other book remotely similar is compared and/or you get a surge in published books that follow a similar style. It happened with Twilight, it happened with Fifty Shades of Grey and now it’s Gone Girl‘s turn. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing–it’s nice that a well crafted book is getting the spotlight for once, though I have yet to read Gone Girl. Truth be told, I probably won’t after seeing the movie now that I know what happens–it loses its mystery.

Anyways…back to The Girl on the Train. One of my good friends read this before me and said she had a hard time putting it down. And the comparisons to Gone Girl made me excited to read this one because I do love TV/movie thrillers yet haven’t really touched any literary thrillers that are of the adult variety.

The Concept / The World:

Like Rachel, I take a commuter train home from school and I totally people watch when I do. Without sounding completely creepy, I find it fascinating to watch people as they go about their business. Especially when you are on a commuter train because most of these people know each other since they travel together everyday or every week.

So, my point is, I found this book to be rooted in some deep realism because I’ve totally taken that train and thought, “hmm, I wonder what their lives are like” 😛

The Plot:

This book was exciting to read and I did find myself immersed in the story despite the fact that I had a pretty good idea how it was going to end early in the book. What I did like was that the book did have me second guessing my hypothesis until the big reveal which kept my attention on the story. I do feel like the book was 30 pages too long; however it wasn’t like I was bored reading it.

The mystery is interesting and I loved how interconnected everything was. Getting the three perspectives added an interesting dynamic to the story and kept the plot moving at its faster pace.

The Characters:

These characters were very well developed and always consistent. And I think consistency is super important in thrillers. There is nothing worse than having a character make a radical change to their approach/presentation halfway through the story for no reason. So while I might not list these characters as all time favourites, they definitely served their purpose even if they were a little stereotypical at times.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. For a book that has a lot of hype I thought it lived up to it for the most part. I wish it was a little less predictable but it did keep my attention and have me second guessing my thoughts.

Read if You Like: psychological thrillers, fast paced books
Avoid if You: want more romance to your reads
similarreads

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Movie Mondays: Fifty Shades of Grey

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: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James | Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK(s)

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy
Author: E.L. James
Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Adult, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

As I said in my series review, I did enjoy the series of Fifty Shades of Grey because I can recognize that it is fiction and it is supposed to be a fantasy.

Does that mean I agree with the message? No.

Do I think they are the greatest books ever written? Of course not.

But I can say I was thoroughly entertained when I read them and I found them to be highly addicting (I read them all in a weekend–not that they are very complex books in the first place).

Part of that reason is the pursuit of Ana by Christian. To me, it does border on the obsessive (which is something I really struggle with when reading BDSM novels; they sometimes straddle that line between abusive and consensual and I have a hard time digesting that), but it was entertaining and I loved the sexual tension. I’m sure I’m not the only girl in the world who wouldn’t mind if a handsome (minus the BDSM fetish) billionaire pursuing regular old me–and the book sales alone prove that this is the case because that is what this series provides: a fantasy.

Christian isn’t really my type of guy but I really loved him with Ana in the later books (once we move away from the sex-only chapters). And I really liked Ana. Sure, some of her narration is a little silly and she is naive early on, but I didn’t find her annoying. I liked that she challenged him and I thought she complimented Christian well and to me that is the most important thing in a romance novel.

Once we move away from the sex scenes (ie mainly book 1) and actually get some plot, that’s when I started to enjoy the novels. I loved the family drama and trying to figure out Christian’s dark past–which I think that helped to initiate my love for New Adult novels where those plot-lines are present in spades.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, what matters to me is that I read a book that entertained me and kept my attention; and Fifty Shades did that for me. The writing isn’t that great–it is often repetitive–and I could have done without the piles and piles of sex but I enjoyed reading these books. They are definitely not for everyone: but if you want to try a BDSM novel and enjoy over the top drama, this is a good series for you to pick up!

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads:


The Movie:

I will admit: I am one of those people who followed any movie news about this movie (not that it was a particularly hard thing to do because it was everywhere) so it isn’t a huge surprise I went to see Fifty Shades opening weekend.

I’ll start with the casting, because I think that is the most important thing about this movie. When Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Christian, I wasn’t all that excited. I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy but I could see why they would cast him in the role. But when he dropped out, I was eagerly awaiting to see who would be cast. So when Jamie Dornan was cast, that’s when I got excited for the movie. I loved Jamie when he was on Once Upon a Time so I was happy with the pick. (Though for the record, Ian Somerhalder was my pick for Christian as soon as I read the books.) As for Ana, I wasn’t sure who I wanted in that role–but there were some names tossed out that I knew I didn’t want. Dakota Johnson was an unknown to me but once I saw the promo pics she had the look of Ana so I was fine with that.

When it came to the first trailer, I was actually really disappointed with Jamie and impressed with Dakota. Jamie seemed awkward and not as confident as what I pictured Christian to be; but Dakota acted exactly like I thought Ana would. So when it came to the actual movie, I had no idea what to expect. And I kept it that way by avoiding reviews (which is hard with trending social media) before I went to go see it.

And in the end, I thought both of the actors did very well considering the source material’s awful dialogue. Dakota acted exactly like Ana did in the novels and she did a great job. Jamie took me a while to get used to, but I really warmed up to him as Christian as the movie progressed. I really think his role was hindered because of the dialogue because his mannerisms were perfect. He didn’t have as much intensity as I was expecting (which was the impression I got from the trailer) but I think that was a good thing because it might have come across as creepy. When it comes to their chemistry, I could see why some people might not think it’s there; but to be honest, I never really saw that much chemistry between the two of them at the start of the book either (especially their initial meeting). I thought it got better as the movie progressed–but again, I think the dialogue is what really hurts the chemistry that could be there.

As for the adaptation itself: I think it was pretty true to the books. I’m not sure, it’s been 3 years since I read them but from what I can remember plot-wise it follows pretty close (I often get the first two books mixed up so feel free to correct me). The sex scenes definitely had more nudity than your regular old movie but they weren’t tacky and didn’t show much other than the occasional butt and chest shots.

But I still wouldn’t go see this with your mother 😉

Also, the soundtrack is amazing! The songs were probably the best part of this movie!

(Just a last little tidbit: This movie is only the FIRST book of the series. I thought it was going to be all three so I’m waiting to see if there will be sequels. I know that the director and actors are contracted to do a sequel but I’m not sure if it will happen–it looks possible considering domestic and international box office numbers–and rumours have been swirling that the sequel could be out by next year!)

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

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. I like how the movie focused more on Christian and Ana trying to establish a relationship than it did on all their sex scenes (ie. it felt more plot focused than sex). It also lacked Ana’s awkward inner monologue. I think book fans will be happy to see the book come to life in this adaptation–and I really didn’t think it was as bad as people were saying. Cheesy at times, yes, but I think that just reflects the cheesiness as the book. But I don’t think it hurt that I went into this movie with low expectations…

Do you agree? Did you go out and see it; or are you going to avoid it at all costs? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Fifty Shades of Grey (from Goodreads): When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Trailer:

Novella Serial Review: Gypsy Brothers by Lili St. Germain

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review 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. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Seven Brothers (from Goodreads):

My father was most certainly NOT an innocent man. As the leader of the Gypsy Brothers MC, he was guilty of many things. But he died for a crime that he didn’t commit, framed by an enemy within who then stole his club and everything he had ever worked to protect.

Including my innocence.

When Dornan Ross framed my father, he set into motion a series of events that could never be undone. My father was murdered by Dornan Ross and his sons when I was fifteen years old.

Before my father died, Dornan Ross and his seven sons stole my innocence, branded my skin and in doing so, ensured that their lives would be prematurely cut short. That they would suffer.

I’ve just turned twenty-one, and I’m out for blood. I’m out for revenge.

But I didn’t expect to fall for Jase, the youngest brother in the club.

I didn’t expect that he would turn my world upside down, yank my heart out of my chest and ride away into the sunset with it.

Now, I’m faced with an impossible choice – Jase, or avenging my fathers death?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #2 Favourite Serialized Series 2014
Series: Gypsy Brothers

There will be a prequel trilogy spin-off that is set 16 years before this series called Cartel to be published in February 2015

Author: Lili St. Germain
# of Parts: 7 (Seven Sons, Six Brothers, Five Miles, Four Score, Three Years, Two Years, One Love)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Dark, Romance, Motorcycle Club, Erotica, Suspense
Heat Rating: getting hot + *mature subject matter*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up?

Seven Sons was a freebie on Kobo and Amazon and as soon as I saw it I had to read it. It hits all my favourite marks: a revenge story, romance and featured a motor cycle club (a plot element I always wanted to read but haven’t read it yet). However, the series had just started and I knew I would be addicted so I waited until the series was finished before I started reading it.

The Concept:

I feel like I should emphasize that this series isn’t for everyone because it is very, very dark. Probably the darkest series I have read so far. What I mean by dark is that it features situations that not everyone would be comfortable reading (for example rape and murder). I would say that if watching Criminal Minds makes you squeamish, avoid this series because you won’t like that element.

The Plot:

Despite that darker element, I was hooked into this series. The whole story, even if it made my heartbreak and was harder to read because of the subject matter, was captivating and really refreshing to me. If other MC (motorcycle club) books have this much suspense and tension, I understand why they are so popular.

I find that the synopsis for Seven Sons is slightly misleading in terms of Jase’s role because the impression it gives is not what actually happens and there is more to their connection when you actually read the series. Because of that, the first book wasn’t what I was expecting but I loved what we got instead and I find the rest of the series builds on that. I also loved how the series ended and I appreciate why St. Germain did it.

Each part is fast pace (there is one exception but it is needed) and I would devour them super quickly. I was expecting to read one a day but I found myself reading 2 or 3 just to find out what happens next! So make sure you have all parts on hand when reading (though I recommend you just get the first book for free first to make sure you like it before you buy the rest!)!

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

I found this series to be very refreshing and highly addicting. However, I think some people won’t like the darker elements to it because they are quite strong. I recommend grabbing Seven Sons for free and reading it before buying the rest of the series if you are interested in reading it 🙂

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Series Review: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Series: Queen of Babble
Author: Meg Cabot
# of Books: 3 (Queen of Babble; Queen of Babble in the Big City; Queen of Babble Gets Hitched)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

I was a huge Meg Cabot fan as a teen and once I read her teen series, I migrated up to her adult series. Some were hits with me and others were misses. This is one of those misses.

I loved the first book, Queen of Babble. It was a typical Meg Cabot book–funny moments, entertaining heroine and a cute romance–and I really enjoyed reading it. It put a smile on my face and I couldn’t put it down.

I really didn’t see a need for a sequel but because I enjoyed the first book, I was looking forward to reading Queen of Babble in the Big City. But once I read it, I went back to wishing it was only a standalone novel. I just didn’t enjoy the story or where the plot went in the next two books.

Again, I think I didn’t enjoy these books because I read them as a teenager. I wasn’t the target audience and that showed. I think if I read these books when I was older, I would have liked the realistic edge to these books a lot more.

Conclusion:

A classic Meg Cabot adult series that fans will probably enjoy but younger audience will not.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis for Queen of Babble (from Goodreads):
What’s an American girl with a big mouth, but an equally big heart, to do?

Lizzie Nichols has a problem, and it isn’t that she doesn’t have the slightest idea what she’s going to do with her life, or that she’s blowing what should be her down payment on a cute little Manhattan apartment on a trip to London to visit her long-distance boyfriend, Andrew. But what’s the point of planning for the future when she’s done it again? See, Lizzie can’t keep her mouth shut. And it’s not just that she can’t keep her own secrets, she can’t keep anything to herself.

This time when she opens her big mouth, her good intentions get Andrew in major hot water. So now Lizzie’s stuck in London with no boyfriend and no place to stay until the departure date written on her non-refundable airline ticket.

Fortunately, there’s Shari, Lizzie’s best friend and college roommate, who’s spending her summer in southern France, catering weddings with her boyfriend, Chaz, in a sixteenth-century château. One call and Lizzie’s on a train to Souillac. Who cares if she’s never traveled alone in her life and only speaks rudimentary French? One glimpse of gorgeous Château Mirac – not to mention gorgeous Luke, the son of Château Mirac’s owner – and she’s smitten.

But while most caterers can be trusted to keep a secret, Lizzie’s the exception. And no sooner has the first cork been popped than Luke hates her, the bride is in tears, and it looks like Château Mirac is in danger of becoming a lipo-recovery spa. As if things aren’t bad enough, her ex-boyfriend Andrew shows up looking for “closure” (or at least a loan), threatening to ruin everything, especially Lizzie’s chance at ever finding real love…

Unless she can figure out a way to use that big mouth of hers to save the day.

DNF Series Review: Peaches Monroe by Mimi Strong

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

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads of 2014
Series: Peaches Monroe Trilogy
Author: Mimi Strong
# of Books: 3 (Stardust, Starlight, Starfire)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica, Humour (?), Romance
Heat Rating: pretty warm – almost hot (at least I think it gets hotter)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts on Stardust:

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Stardust at Chapter 5. Find out why below…

Stardust was next on my to-buy list when it popped up for free on Kindle. I always love when books I want to buy pop up for free but it also worries me because why is it now free? That is the question I should have asked myself when I started to read this book.

What was I hoping for when I read this book: a Bridget Jones-esque novel. The synopsis hints that this book is going to be a lot of fun, star a hot male lead and a funny heroine. But instead we just get a weird concoction of everything–and not in a good way like Worst Week Ever was.

First, Peaches was about as mature as a child in grade school. I never want to listen to a grown woman call her body-parts what Peaches does in this book–in real life or in fiction. I didn’t find it quirky or funny–I found it disturbing and I am a girl who laughs at everything. Sure it’s a nice change from the often anatomy-driven descriptions we get in some erotica novels but I also like to keep my brain cells as I read a book–not subject them to apoptosis by reading immature drivel. It felt like a pre-teen girl wrote this and was trying to come up with 50 different ways to not say the word penis or vagina

Dalton isn’t any better. I felt indifferent to him and the lure of his big dark secret wasn’t enough to keep me reading. There romance is fast, superficial and based on absolutely nothing other than the fact that they were in each other’s personal spaces longer than 5 minutes.

This book is praised for its wittiness and quirkiness but I think people are using the wrong words for stupidity and juvenile. There isn’t really a plot, there is very little wit and the writing is confusing at times. It’s awkward and not in that good way either. It’s just plain weird and I’m going to have to stop because I am running out of adjectives to describe how bad this book was…

Series Rating: DNF

Stardust 1/5 | Starlight N/A | Starfire N/A

overall

I’m baffled by the “great” reviews this book has on Goodreads. I think I bowed out of this book around chapter 5–I didn’t even enact my 50 page rule so that should be a good sign of how much I disliked this book. I’m glad I didn’t pay the $1 that this book is usually worth because it is just that bad and stupid. It’s easily one of the worst books I have ever read–and I’ve read some stinkers. I won’t be picking up the sequels anytime soon (i.e.: NEVER!)

Read if You Like: odd heroines, celebrity love stories
Avoid if You: like good romance novels

similarreads
(and by this I mean actual good books that have a similar plot concept that are actually worth your time!):

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary #1)
  • Rumour Has It by Elizabeth Grace (Limelight #1)

Synopsis for Stardust (from Goodreads):
There I was, minding my own business at Peachtree Books when this lunatic comes racing in the door and knocks me into his arms. I would have ripped him a new one, but he was kinda familiar, and hot. Like I-want-to-have-your-sexy-babies-now hot.

Turns out he looks familiar because I stare at his gorgeous face on TV every week. Yup, Dalton Deangelo. In the oh-so-firm flesh.

I let him hide out from the press for a while, then I thought he’d be on his way, and I could breathe normally again. But no. He found me interesting. He wanted to tag along to my cousin’s wedding with me. I couldn’t say no to that face … or THOSE EYES. Before the night was through, he was saying sweet things, then dirty things. Very dirty things.

I try to keep my eyes wide open. I’ve made terrible, stupid mistakes in the past. But Dalton Deangelo’s touch turns me to Jell-O.

I’m just a regular girl, and he’s rich and famous with no body fat. The guy has a butler! So, why is he chasing me? And why can’t I say no? And what is this sordid secret of his the reporters are trying to uncover?

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Book Review: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire

NOTE: I feel it is important to clarify that this book is actually part of the “Wicked Years” series. However, I have never read, nor do I plan to read, the rest of the books in this series. As such, I have decided to review Wicked as a stand-alone novel.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
In Baum’s land of Oz, animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. Green-skinned Elphaba, future Wicked Witch of the West, is smart, prickly and misunderstood; she challenges our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Review:

I have never watched the musical Wicked; however, it is on my bucket list and has been on my “MUST SEE” play list for YEARS. It just never fails that when it comes to my area that I can’t make it to the show and I won’t be going to Broadway anytime soon so I decided to read the book in the hopes it would satisfy my craving.

Yeah, that was my first mistake.

I really feel like I should have read the book reviews about this book before I decided to read this book. If I had, I probably would have saved myself the hours it took me to drag myself through this book :S

I just didn’t enjoy this book. It was boring, and just plain weird at times. I also feel like it didn’t answer any of my questions about why the Wicked Witch becomes “Wicked” in the first place. I can see why the events Elphaba has gone through in life would make her “wicked” but it wasn’t enough to convince me. I felt like I should finish the book and sympathize with her character but when I finished, I was indifferent to her. I think the recent Disney movie, Oz, does a WAY better job at explaining the pre-story to the Wizard of Oz than this does.

I only finished this book for the sake of my pride and in the hopes that it would get better. I think for the most part it got a little more interesting for Elphaba once she reaches university but it still wasn’t enough to make me happy that I continued to read the book. I really should have put it down.

From what I have learned, this book is nothing like the musical and thank goodness or else I would be very concerned and curious about how it is so successful!

Conclusion:

This book is definitely more for adults, but I still wouldn’t recommend it for anyone unless they enjoy reading bizarre stories. If you want an interesting prequel for the Wizard of Oz, I highly recommend watching Oz: The Great and Powerful recently released by Disney–much more enjoyable and makes much more sense!

Rating: 1/5
Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Adult, Prequel, Fantasy,
Recommended for: no one, but it is geared more for the 18+ crowd

Series Review: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Dark Lover (from Goodreads):
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams

breakdown

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
Author: J.R. Ward
# of Books: 18 (View a full list here)
Complete?: No
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Adult
Heat Rating: Hot

thoughts

NOTE: As of October 8, 2018, I have only read the first four books in the series (up to and including Lover Revealed). The following review is based on the trends and commonalities I had seen after reading the first two novels. I will not be continuing with the other sequels in the series.

Why I Picked It Up:

This was one of those series that appeared everywhere I looked for books. Every time I logged onto Kobo to find see what was new, the Lover at Last cover stared back at me. For about two weeks, I looked away until my curiosity got the better of me and I had to search the book on Goodreads. I then learned that Lover at Last was book 11 of a romance series and one that was consistently rated as 4 out of 5 by 80,000 readers. Typically, that means it’s a good read because so many people can’t be wrong, right? I was also intrigued that a few of the authors I follow on Goodreads had also rated the series with high reviews. So, I decided to put the book on hold from my local library and soon Dark Lover was in my grasp.

The Concept / The World:

I will admit that the glossary of terms that graced the first couple of pages of my Kobo freaked me out. I like when authors have a glossary of terms about the world they have created–it helps me to remember what things are and provides a reference point that is easy to find later on in the book. But I was expecting this to be a typical romantic vampire read–ie nothing complex and a light read (kind of like Lynsay Sands Argeneau vampire series)–yet that is not what we get here.

This is definitely a vampire book for adults and not just because of the sex scenes. The world is dark, the characters are older and mature and the vampires are how people expect vampires to be (no glitter here folks!), blood drinking (though not human blood but other vampire blood), incredibly strong and good-looking creatures who can’t walk in the sun. Also, the vampires of the brotherhood are all alpha males–and by alpha I mean ALPHA. They are typical I-protect-what-is-mine men that apparently women readers love. I personally, find it a little creepy and annoying to some degree but I guess it works for a majority of the target audience. It isn’t enough to turn me off of the books completely though, it just makes me raise an eyebrow or roll my eyes at times.

The Characters:

What does turn me off is how the heroines act sometimes because of the males’ personalities. I am a feminist–I am all for gender equality and the like–I’m just not a zealous feminist so don’t think I have some supreme biased about this or am approaching it from only a single viewpoint. I just find that the women start off strong and then become a little idiotic in their actions. Like they know they should be afraid of this random stranger who suddenly wants to jump their pants and is everywhere they go and they are–at first. Then they end up giving into the sexy stranger less than 48 hours later. From what I understand of the world (based on the two books I have read so far) is that the males exude a chemical that gets both parties “excited” so the scientist in me goes, “ok, it’s basically a hormone reaction” but I still find it a little worrisome that these strong females swoon within two days. But, I digress, this is fiction and NOT real so I shouldn’t get too hung up on it 😉

The Romance:

Though I will say, I like how the relationships progress once they get passed that initial lust. I like stories where love heals and that seems to be the trend in these books. The redeeming thing is that these relationships progress enough to be something more than just physically chemistry which I appreciate.

The Plot:

As for the plot, I both love and hate the setup. The POVs alter between the heroine, the hero, other characters and the Lessers (who are the “bad guys”). I like the alternating POVs though it can get annoying when a particular storyline is cut up into pieces by a random Lesser POV–but it forces me to read ahead and before I know it, it is an hour later and I am no closer to putting it down ;). The “hate” part of this setup is the Lesser POVs. While I do enjoy seeing how the “evil side” works, I find that the pieces are a little dry and too long to hold my interest at times; especially when something exciting is happening with the main characters. I mostly skim those sections just to get on with the story though in some books they are more interesting than others. Overall, with these alternating POV we get a lot of insight into the multiple plot lines that are occurring simultaneously so there is rarely a dull moment in these books which is great.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Another bonus of these alternating POV is when they focus on the “secondary” characters in the novels. Particularly with book 2, Lover Eternal we get a bit of interaction between the hero and heroine (as well as a few other matches that will happen in the later books) who are set to take centre stage in book 3, Lover Awakened. I am so excited to read this next book that I think it is safe to say I am addicted to this series 😛

Do you Have to Read them in Order?

I feel it is important to note that this series is one that you could probably get away reading the books in any order, but I recommend that you try to read them in order to get the full experience. I think it just adds to the characters’ stories and understanding and it makes you excited to read what is going to happen your favourite characters in the later books.

overall

Based on the first two books, this series is starting to get really addicting and showing a lot of promise. Those who enjoy romance; dark, sexy and often tormented heroes; and want a “real” vampire world will enjoy this series immensely.

Read if You Like: alpha males, paranormal romances, vampires
Avoid if You: dislike erotica, paranormal fiction

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A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau Series, #1)

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Series Review: The Sullivans by Bella Andre

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 Look of Love (from Goodreads):
Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is—until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love—and protect—her, but will she let him?

Chloe vows never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Only, with every loving look Chase gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—as the attraction between them sparks and sizzles, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the only exception. And although Chase didn’t realize his life was going to change forever in an instant, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether…for Chloe’s heart.

breakdown
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Top Family Series
Series: The Sullivans; The San Francisco Sullivans

There are spin-off series: Seattle Sullivans & New York Sullivans & Summer Lake

Author: Bella Andre
# of Books: 10 (Full Reading Order Here)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Families, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

thoughts

Please Note: This is an ongoing series review as I have not read all the books in the series.

I decided to read this series after I got the 3rd one, Can’t Help Falling in Love for free from a Kobo promotion last year. Because it was the 3rd one, I decided to read the first two in order to not lose out on the history (though you can totally read these books in any order without it taking anything away from the current story).

I nearly stopped reading The Look of Love because it was everything I hate in a romance: instant love-at-first-sight romance and that irks me to no end. I love fiction because it isn’t real life but I don’t like love at first sight–to me it’s just lust and physical attraction and I like my romances to be slightly realistic. It also didn’t help that I didn’t care for Chase or Chloe so it was a battle to read. The only reason I finished was because it was extremely short so it wasn’t a huge waste of my time.

Within the last few chapters of book 1, I decided I wasn’t going to continue with the series. I had the free book 3 but it was just going to sit on my Kobo at no loss to me. But then, I finished the 1st book and guess what? It ends in a pretty steep cliff-hanger about a character I actually enjoyed so I decided to pick up From This Moment On because I really wanted to see where it went. Damn.

Luckily, From This Moment On was significantly better in my opinion than The Look of Love. I liked the relationship that develops between Marcus and his lady. Unlike Chloe and Chase, they realise that their relationship was more physical initially but I feel like they actually got to know each other on a deeper level than just sex. It was a cute, quick read and you meet more of the Sullivan family so I decided to stick with it.

From then on, the rest of the books get better! I think part of it has to do with the fact that you are slowly introduced to the rest of the Sullivan clan as you read along and you get attached to the secondary characters and want to see what happens to them. The other reason is that the next book picks up directly where the previous book left off so it’s like you are reading one long, continuous story.

My favourites of the series so far have been Book 2 (From This Moment On); Book 3 (Can’t Help Falling in Love); Book 4 (I Only Have Eyes for You); and Book 6 (Let me be the One).

One thing I find with Bella Andre’s writing is that she tends to have subplots (by this I mean storylines that aren’t the romantic relationship) that build throughout the story and then end suddenly (conclude within 5 pages). I find it can be a bit of a let down because as I am reading I think more is going to happen with this plot and then it doesn’t. Not all the books in the series have this but some do.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I still have to read the last 3 in the series. From what I have read, The Way you Look Tonight is about a Sullivan cousin and not any of the siblings we see throughout the first 7 books. The last book is about the sibling’s parents so I am really excited to read that this fall!

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

If you want a super quick romantic read that is heavy on the romance and not much on anything else, pick these books up. If you didn’t enjoy The Look of Love give From This Moment On a chance because the rest of the series is much better in its delivery.

Read if You Like: quick reads, family stories
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love, want more depth

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