Tag «Author: Ward»

Novella Serial Review: Secrets by Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Secrets (from Goodreads):
Sex is supposed to be sexy, tantalizing, and completely erotic, but Anna never seems to find the right guy. This one seems to be a germ-a-phobe, and the previous boyfriend wasn’t much better. Anna just wants to be wanted. Is that too much to ask?

As Anna tries to wiggle out of one relationship, a new one surfaces, but it’s forbidden. Cole Stevens is twice her age, arrogant, rich, sexy as hell, and her boss. When Anna’s internship plans derail, she ends up interning at Cole’s elite New York City studio. Close proximity leads Anna to discover that the billionaire bachelor is emotionally scarred. Everyone has secrets, but Cole’s run deeper, cutting him to his core. Cole is trouble in a sexy shell. He’s nothing Anna needs and everything she wants.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Serial Author
Series: Secrets
Author: Ella Steele (aka H M Ward)
# of Parts: 5
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm to hot (Kink: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2012 – December 2012
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Despite not finishing them, I’ve really enjoyed H M Wards previous serialized stories, like the Ferro Family ones and Trystan Scott and while I was enjoying them, I picked up her 5 part series Secrets. This was YEARS ago and I only managed to read this series now thanks to my Rock myTBR challenge. This was one of the lucky ones to be pulled for the month of January.

I liked the forbidden teacher-student romance that Damaged had and I knew that Ward would write another strong one with this series. I was excited to delve into it–especially when it was only 5 complete parts and no more than that…

The Concept:

In Part 1, I was really confused as to why Anna felt like she had to botch the interview with Cole when it seemed like she had a sure thing at the other agency that she wanted. I’m sure I just missed that one key line that explained the internship process but it threw me for a loop and prevented me from getting into the story initially.

The Plot:

I felt like the story was very predictable. While I couldn’t predict all the events of the book specifically, I had the general gist very early on in the series so I was never really surprised by anything.

The Characters:

I admit that I wasn’t completely sold on Anna as a character when we first met her. Her whole reason for botching the interview with Cole seemed bizarre to me. Perhaps I missed something in the book, but I didn’t understand why she had to sabotage her interview with him if she was for sure going to get the job at the place she wanted. It just seemed to contradict who she was as a strong intelligent woman. And I don’t think she ever recovered from that for me either though I appreciated that she didn’t become some buffoon who couldn’t live without Cole.

Cole was alright as a hero. I liked that he wasn’t overbearing or too much of an alpha. He seemed like a genuine guy so I appreciate that.

The Romance:

What I initially enjoyed about the Part 1 was that it wasn’t an insta-love connection between Cole and Anna. Oh, there were buckets of sexual tension which was great but I liked that nothing happens too fast. Unfortunately, the nature of a serial means that it can’t last forever at that pace. While I liked the two together, I just wanted to see a little more of why they liked each other besides physical attraction. It becomes a little more apparent later on to a certain extent but I didn’t like the first jump.

Series Rating: 3/5

Part 1 3/5 | Part 2 3.5/5 | Part 3 3/5 | Part 4 3/5 | Part 5 3/5

overall

This book reminded me of a subdued version of Fifty Shades of Grey but much more predictable. I was really let down by this one but if you enjoy soap opera-esque drama, you will probably like this one!

Read if You Like: soap operas, forbidden love
Avoid if You: don’t like predictable plots

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Spin-off Saturdays: Damaged by H. M. Ward (Ferro Family #2)

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

Damaged Series is a spin-off of the The Arrangement Series

Series: Damaged, Part of the Ferro Family (Full List Here)
Author: H.M. Ward
# of Books: 2 (Damaged, Damaged 2)

This is a spinoff of the The Arrangement and Ferro Family Series. It intersects The Arrangement Series at Part 7

Book Order: Chronological; Connected to the Ferro Family, specifically the Arrangement Series
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Serial, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot (Damaged), Really Warm (Damaged 2)
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

My previous exposure to H.M. Ward’s work when I picked up Damaged was Collide, the first part of the Secret Life of Trystan Scott Series. While I had enjoyed that book, I found it riddled with typos and it significantly lowered my expectations for all future books by this author. I mean, the book boasts that the author is a New York Times Bestseller and yet the writing was very unprofessional! For example: the POV would shift from first person to third person within a paragraph when it was in a particular characters POV section. Because I was on a kick to read a majority of my books on my Kobo over Christmas break, I decided to get Damaged over with.

I’m glad that I did because this book was much more than I expected. First off, the typos and the shifty POVs didn’t exist so that immediately restored my hope in these books. I also liked the maturity of the characters and how they handled the situations. I didn’t find Sydney annoying when she easily could have been given the type of story that this is. What really won me over was the fact that Sydney could get a laugh out of me every once and a while. While not as much as a humor book as Losing It (which features a similar plot line), I enjoyed Sydney’s wit and spunk while I was reading.

I also liked the relationship between Peter and Sydney. It wasn’t just an attraction thing between them. They had a lot in common and they built the emotional side of their relationship very well–so it didn’t seem like a shallow relationship.

I didn’t know that this was a part of the Ferro Family until the 2nd book. If I had known that going in, I probably would have read it after reading the Arrangement but I don’t think it gives too much–if anything–away about what happens with those characters in that series. It actually made me really excited to read that series and its follow-up. I am actually going to rescind that previous statement. I originally wrote this review before I started The Arrangement series. After reading the Arrangement, I think I should have read these two books after–it did reveal a few major plot details that I would have enjoyed more if I didn’t know about going into the first story. In other words, they give some spoilers about the series (though to be fair a good chunk I had already assumed would happen in the series) as specific character pasts were ruined by reading this series first.

Overall, Damaged 2 was more drama based than romance. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any romance, I just felt like Peter and Sydney’s relationship takes a back seat to the events that unfold around them. I felt like it was a good place to end their story but I’m hoping that they will appear in the other series as well.

Conclusion:

If you like strong characters who find themselves in a bit of a forbidden love situation that is more on the dramatic side, these two books are for you! A great way to get introduced to the Ferro Family, but I have a feeling it would be more worthwhile if you have read the previous series prior to this. You should definitely read the Arrangement prior to reading this series!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Losing It by Cora Carmack (Losing It #1)

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED The Arrangement SERIES THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS MAY HAVE SPOILERS!

Synopsis for Damaged (from Goodreads):
Life sucks. And, as soon as Sidney picks up the pieces something always knocks her back onto her butt. It’s never pretty, but this time is different. This time pretty isn’t even the right word.

Peter is the personification of perfection. It’s like he fell off his angel perch in purgatory, because let’s face it–any guy that hot has got to be naughty. He was probably sent here to ruin her life.

Peter is beyond beautiful with his sexy blue eyes, dark hair, and toned body. Add in his charming wit and Peter is everything Sidney ever wanted in a man, but when things get hot and heavy Peter shows her the door. Sidney takes the walk of shame and leaves. It’s the end of the worst blind date ever. Her life couldn’t possibly reach higher levels of suckage, but it does.

The next morning everything comes crashing down. The insanely hot guy from last night, the one that saw her half naked, is teaching at the front of the class room.

Novella Serial Review: The Arrangement by H.M. Ward (Ferro Family #1)

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 The Arrangement (from Goodreads):
FML is becoming Avery’s motto. Just when she doesn’t think things could get any worse, they do. When her car stalls out at a busy intersection and she gets out to check under the hood, a guy steals her car. Armed with a dress and a pair of Chucks, Avery runs after the thief. When a hot stranger offers to help, she can’t say no. That’s how Avery meets Sean Ferro, the totally sexy, totally damaged guy with more secrets than she has time for.

Avery doesn’t have time for anything anymore. Her is life falling apart and it’s not just the car. It’s everything, and it doesn’t matter how tightly she tries to hold on, there’s nothing left to hold on to. With the sudden death of her parents, it’s only a matter of months until Avery’s shot at college is gone, and she’s living in a cardboard box. Other students have their families to rely on when things get bad. Avery has no one.

But there’s one option, one incredibly sexy, morally devoid, option. If Avery takes a job as a call girl, one guy could save her. One client. One time. She just has to say yes.

breakdown

Series: The Arrangement, Part of the Ferro Family Series
Author: H.M. Ward
# of Parts: 23

As a part of the Ferro Family, this series intersects with 3 other series: Damaged, Stripped, and Proposition

Complete?: No, The Arrangement 23 is set to be published in March 2017
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Mature
Heat Rating: starts really warm and gets to be steamy
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: January 2013 – March 2017
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading The Arrangement at Part 12. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually read the Damaged series before I read this one not knowing that they were connected. In hindsight, I wish I read Damaged after because it ruined a bit of the plot for this one (since it crosses over with The Arrangement in Part 7 which is later in the series). But, reading Damaged did get me to pick up the Arrangement sooner rather than later.

This series seems to be everywhere. Every time I log into Kobo, it’s in the Bestseller’s list and I glance over it, noting that I should read it soon. I decided to hold off on it because I HATE serialized series and I thought that Part 12 was the last novel so everything was finished. Turns out it isn’t and that left me a little peeved because I went into The Arrangement 12 thinking I was going to get a conclusion.

The Plot:

One thing with serialized series is that they ALWAYS end on a cliff-hanger. This works because it makes you excited for the next book and anxious to read it; but it also frustrates the reader because sometimes the next part isn’t available. I was lucky because 12 parts had been released by the time I got around to them.

This series moves fast because it is a serialized series. This both strengthens and harms the series for me. Why I think it is awesome is because it keeps the pace of the books a lot quicker than other series out there. I read all 12 parts in 2 days because they are significantly shorter than other novels AND I needed to know what happened next. These books have a lot of drama and suspense–plus a romance that draws you in so they are hard to put down.

The plot, as I said before, moves fast and isn’t overly predictable. There have been a few times that my theories about what is going to happen next have been proven wrong which I always love about a series.

The Characters:

Why I say that it harms the series has to do with the character development. I felt like there was a major shift in characters between Parts 1 & 2. While each part picks up directly where the last one left, I felt like I was missing something that would cause the change in characters. Because the books move so fast, I think that the characters get a little left behind at times. By Part 3 I felt better about the characters, but it threw me for a bit at the start how these characters would reveal their “dark-sides” so quickly and almost seemingly out of nowhere. As more gets revealed during the series, things start making more sense and I feel like the character development improves and we don’t get these crazy shifts anymore.

(Though to be fair: I think part of my problem was that I was introduced to Sean in the Damaged series and in that story, we see a different side of Sean than what we get at the start of The Arrangement which might be why I find the character development hard to swallow at times).

As for the actual characters–I really enjoy them both. Avery and Sean are awesome together! I love their connection and their interaction with each other. It’s just plain fun to watch them fall for each other. Avery is a strong heroine and I was worried I was going to dislike her as the series progressed but I still like her 12 parts in as much as I did in Part 1.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m looking forward to The Arrangement 13; however, I hope the end is in sight. On her website, Ms. Ward has indicated that this series is driven entirely by fans and she will write as many books as people want and continue to vote for. I personally hope that 15 parts is the max this series sees. Approximately 2.5 parts equals one novel so at 15, we would essentially have 6 books which is more than enough for any series–especially a romance based one. I just don’t want the series to become stretched like so many other contemporary romances **coughcough Crossfire cough** out there. And when you take into consideration that there are 3 other full length novels that revolve around the same universe AND a full length novel about the Ferro Family in the near future, I don’t think fans will feel gipped in anyway with the ending of this series in the near future.

Will I Finish It? (Updated January 21, 2017)

Truthfully, I haven’t thought about this series much in that last 2 years. And when I was updating this review and saw that this series had 23 total parts, I was over it. I’m ready to move on from this series.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

Overall, I’ve enjoyed each part of the series. If you enjoy fast-paced novels, these books are great! The romance is extremely cute, there is lots of drama to be had and the characters are all entertaining. If you enjoy reading book series involving different members of the same family, this is a series you should get into!

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