Tag «companion novels»

Series Review: Madison Sisters by Lynsay Sands

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 Countess (from Goodreads):

THE FAIRY TALE COURTSHIP DID NOT TURN INTO A HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER …

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened …

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title … only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited wife — certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new husband … and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts.

breakdown

Series: The Madison Sisters Trilogy
Author: Lynsay Sands
# of Books: 3 (The Countess, The Heiress, The Husband Hunt)
Book Order: Companion (The Heiress), Connected (The Husband Hunt)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Humour
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: public library–eBooks

thoughts

I first came across Lynsay Sands during my Highlander novel phase when I read her Devil of the Highlands Series. After my Highlander phase Regency/Historical Romances were my thing (perhaps it was more concurrent than I remember) and I came across the synopsis for The Countess and immediately had to read it. Her husband dies and she tries to hide it? Plus it turns out her husband was posing as his twin? It has all the makings of a great comedy so I was totally there.

I really enjoyed The Countess. It was a lot of fun to read and the characters were entertaining. I find Lynsay Sands writes really light-hearted stories that lean more towards “cheesy” romance than “erotica”. So of course you get your assumptive communication scenes and a lot of back and forth, but I was highly entertained when reading The Countess.

The Heiress is a true companion novel as most of its events take place congruently with The Countess. The problem with this is that if you The Heiress immediately read after reading The Countess, the first half of the book seems redundant. The first half is a rehash of what happens in The Countess but with a different perspective. I didn’t mind that much because I always forget what happens in previous books but I think it would bother some people. The last half or so is completely new scenes and those are fantastic!

I read these books years ago so I don’t remember my exact feelings but I do know I was disappointed in The Husband Hunt. The characters just weren’t what I was expecting and I didn’t love the romance because of it. I liked getting that closure but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you want a light-hearted Regency read, this is a great series for you! It’s light on the sex scenes but is very entertaining. The concept of the first book, The Countess, is one I have never encountered and that made it a refreshing read.

Read if You Like: fun regency reads, light romance, humour
Avoid if You: like more erotica in your regency reads

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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: College of Charleston by Kate L. Mary

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

College of Charleston

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The List (from Goodreads):
The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . .

Body piercing
Get drunk
First kiss

But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .

Fake ID
Skinny dipping
Road trip!!!

Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.

But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .

Lose it
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love

breakdown

Series: College of Charleston
Author: Kate L. Mary
# of Books: 4 (The List, No Regrets, Moving On, Letting Go)
Book Order: Companion (No Regrets); Connected (Moving On, Letting Go)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Toasty; warm (No RegretsMoving On)
Point of View: First Person, Single; First Person Alternating (Moving On)
Publication Date: May 26 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley & Author–eBook  Thank you Kensington Books & Kate L Mary for the opportunity!

thoughts

Note: This was originally published as a Fresh Friday Post on May 29, 2015 where only The List was reviewed. As of March 18, 2016 it is now the Series Review Post.

Why I Picked Up The List / My Expectations:

I love making lists–I make them for everything! Whether it’s books to read to tasks I need to do in a day, I constantly make them. So when I saw this book was about a girl making a list of things to do for college–yeah, I was so there!

My only hesitation was the promise of a love triangle–I really hate those! But, the synopsis lead me to believe that it really was going to be one sided so I went in hoping for the best!

The Plot (The List):

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much going on besides Annie flip-flopping between the two guys–more on that particular situation later. It’s a shame because I think if the focus was on Annie finding herself as a person WITHOUT a man, it would have been a great story. More of a coming of age instead of a “why doesn’t he love me” type of situation.

There is also the mystery of Annie’s mother’s death and why it had such a huge impact on her upbringing. Again, I wish it was elaborated more because it really would have helped develop Annie’s character and maybe garner some sympathy from me as a reader because Annie sure wasn’t getting any from me!

The Characters (The List):

I didn’t really like Annie; she irritated me for a few reasons. One is that I didn’t understand her. I’ll touch on it in a bit in my romance section, but I really didn’t like how she treated one of the guys. It was like he would say one thing honestly and she would just snap at him; but if the other guy said it to her she was like “oh, ok”. It just rubbed me the wrong way as did some of her other actions. She is a very selfish, reckless character who really didn’t think about the consequences of her actions and did things simply because she could. Which, I get given her home life and all but these were just poor decisions.

The two love interests, Ryan and Chris, weren’t anything special either. They were your typical love interests: the super nice guy and the off-limits sensitive boy. And I really didn’t understand why they instantly loved Annie besides her looks because she wasn’t any prize in my eyes and they really didn’t talk to each other much either.

As for the rest of the cast, I was far more interested in Annie’s BFFs situation than Annie’s which isn’t really a good sign…

The Romance (The List):

My only hesitation picking this book up was the vibe of a love triangle in the synopsis. But I also got the impression that this wasn’t going to be a full blown love triangle; rather, it was more of a situation where two love interests are present but really only one is in contention. And this story definitely leaned more that way well sorta kinda maybe…

Because you knew that she really didn’t like the other guy and the worst part is that SHE knew she didn’t like him the same way but she kept toying with his emotions anyways and didn’t truly feel guilty about it! UGH! So FrUsTrAtInG! (Thus why I dislike Annie so much!)

And so begins the saga of Annie flopping like a fish between the two guys (the worst part of a love triangle ever!). Whining that the guy she likes, and who likes her back, is too “honourable”/weak to tell his BFF that he likes the same girl he likes because he is sexually attracted to her.

The whole situation I found to be extremely immature and annoying. I also didn’t know why the boys liked her so much because they really didn’t interact all that much or really spend that much time together to warrant such strong feelings. It just didn’t add up for me which is very disappointing.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite not liking this book, I do want to read No Regrets. I really liked these characters and want to know their story. I’m undecided about Moving On–I’ll have to read the full synopsis when it’s released to make a decision though I feel like the unresolved events in The List will cause me to read it anyways.

updates

disclaimer

–March 18, 2016– Book #2: No Regrets

I was looking forward to reading this story because I’m a sucker for the “forbidden” romance trope. Not that this romance was forbidden, more like it was “off-limits”.

It took me awhile to like Cami. She’s a bit of a rambling person and it makes her come across as an airhead (and I think she is to a certain degree) but I knew that she was going to have some strong character development as the story progressed.

Unfortunately, I wanted to read about her falling in love. I wanted to actually see it happen and not have it neatly summarized as “we talked everyday for the next week and I couldn’t stop thinking about him”. So I had a hard time understanding the connection between these two beside physical attraction. Their relationship seemed like a side plot which is fine, just not what I was expecting.

If I had to give an overview of the whole novel, I would say it was all about Cami growing up. Which is why I would label this story as a coming of age story more so than a romance. Cami is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and I did like that her character grew up a bit as you read. It took a while for me to get comfortable with that idea because I wanted it to be a romance. But once I realized the direction it was taking, I enjoyed the latter half of the book.

I also didn’t realize that this novel would be a companion novel (ie. taking place simultaneously with The List). I actually liked that a lot because it helped me keep the pacing of everything and answered some of the questions you have while reading The List when it comes to Cami and Liam’s relationship.

–March 20, 2016– Book #3: Moving On

Having just finished No Regrets the day before, I was better prepared for the type of story I was going to get with Moving On. I knew it was going to be more of a slow burn romance story, with the romantic passion coming on in the end. And that was exactly what we got.

What I enjoyed about this novel was the alternating perspectives and their character development. I liked watching these two form their bond of friendship first and getting to know each other. I understood why they liked each other and how their feelings developed. Again, the story is more about them growing as people and coincidentally finding love along the way. It’s a quick, cute read and by far the best of the series.

(Fun Fact: This book has the two lead characters from Diana Gardin’s Falling Deep [Nelson Island #2] in it!)

–February 1, 2017– Book #4: Letting Go

I will not be picking up the 4th book in the series.

My Rating: 3/5

The List 3/5 | No Regrets 2.5/5 | Moving On 4/5 | Letting Go N/A

overall

The List was too much love triangle for me and not enough character development. Whereas the opposite was true for No Regrets. Moving On had a great slow burn romance but if you are looking for loads of passion and sexual tension, there are other New Adult Series that would suit you better.

Read if You Like: slower stories, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, don’t like reckless rebellious characters, want a hotter romance

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Series Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav New Adult 2015; Must Read Author
Series: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
# of Books: 2 (Hopeless, Losing Hope)

There is a FREE standalone novella after book 2 called, Finding Cinderella

Book Order: Alternate POV Sequel; The novella is Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

When I first got into New Adult novels, Hopeless graced every recommended read list I encountered. So I purchased it for my Kobo but didn’t end up reading it until much, much later. And truth be told I probably wouldn’t have picked up for a little while longer if I hadn’t read–and loved–Hoover’s other YA novel, Slammed. Once I read Slammed and saw what Hoover was capable of, I made sure I had the entire Hopeless series in my grasp before I moved them to the top of my to-read pile.

I loved Sky from the moment we met her. I just loved her attitude about things and I loved her interactions with Holder. Their chemistry together was awesome throughout the entire book. One thing I love about these YA/New Adult crossover books is that the leads don’t usually jump right into bed together. You actually get to see them form a relationship that is more than physical chemistry and that is what we had here.

But the best part about this series is the many layers to this story. I really wasn’t sure what the underlying plot was going to be based on the synopsis of Hopeless but once I started reading I thought I had it all figured out based on the little tidbits we get here and there. Well, I was completely wrong! Eventually all these clues add up to be the BIG secret reveal and once it was revealed, all my expectations for the plot were out the door. These big twists are something I commend Colleen Hoover for because I never see them coming in her works and I love how she blows away my preconceived notions so easily. Rarely am I surprised when I read a novel, so when I do get surprised it quickly elevates the book from a 4 star review to a 5. And Hopeless is definitely a book worthy of 5 stars and endless praise. This book is a must read for New Adult fans!

Losing Hope is the alternate POV sequel to Hopeless. This time we get Holder’s take on things and it really does add to the story you get in Hopeless because if fills in some of the blanks about Holder’s actions (not that they weren’t complete in the original story, they are just further elaborated on). It starts a little before Hopeless and ends a little after as well. Like its predecessor, its simply well done. Not only to we get to see some added events but all the events that you want to see from Holder’s POV are included. I know that sometimes it is tempting to read alternate POV sequels congruently with the first book but I highly discourage it because it has major spoilers and will absolutely ruin Hopeless for you!

Finding Cinderella is a novella (FREE on most major eBook sites) about two characters we meet separately in Hopeless and Losing Hope. You could definitely read this book before you read Hopeless because these characters don’t have major roles and Hoover did a great job of not revealing anything about Holder & Sky’s story in the novella. It was super cute, the perfect length and had an unexpected twist (well, it was an expected twist but what the twist actually was was unpredictable). And because it’s FREE you can’t really go wrong with reading it!

Conclusion:

From the two books straight to the novella, this series blew me away. Definitely a favourite series for me and has officially moved Colleen Hoover into must-read author series. For those who like books with lots of layers and don’t mind more mature subject matter, this is an EXCELLENT series for you to grab.

Rating: 5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: HELL YES!!!

Similar Reads: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1) and Wait for You by J. Lynn (Wait for You Series #1)

Synopsis for Hopeless (from Goodreads):
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

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Series Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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 Just One Day (from Goodreads):
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

breakdown

Series: Just One Day Series
Author: Gayle Forman
# of Books: 2 (Just One Day, Just One Year)

There is a followup novella to the previous books called: Just One Night

Book Order: Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Coming of Age, Travel, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adventure, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Just One Day); Alternating (Just One Year)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

What I Expected / Why I Picked It Up:

While Gayle Forman’s most well known novel, If I Stay, isn’t my particular cup of tea, I’ve heard good things and decided to read this series instead.

The Concept:

I went into Just One Day thinking it was going to be a book that focused on “just one day”. So I was braced to emerge myself into a novel filled with love-at-first sight moments and the many sights in Paris. But that isn’t what I got.

Instead, Just One Day–and its sequel/companion novel, Just One Year–focuses on the growth of the respective characters (Allyson in Just One Day and Willem in Just One Year). Which is fine and dandy–just not what I was expecting.

The Plot:

This series is really about finding yourself–and what I really like is that each character works independently to accomplish this (ie they don’t become co-dependent “I can’t live without him/her” type of people). It gets a little dull at times because the journey it takes to reach this growth isn’t always a happy one. (I found it was a little blah during the middle of Just One Day because of this–it was a little too long for my tastes whereas Just One Year was the perfect length by being 50 pages shorter).

It’s a good blend of “fantasy” vs realistic fiction.  “Fantasy” isn’t really the right word–what I’m trying to say is that this series takes an unrealistic situation (I don’t know too many people who would go off to Paris with a random stranger for the day) and makes it realistic by having two characters learn from that situation in a truly real way. Perhaps that is the message of the series: seize every opportunity and don’t be afraid to make that leap that may seem like “fantasy” to the real world because you may grow from it. (Enough philosophical thoughts for this review).

The Characters:

These books are essentially about that one life defining moment many young 20-somethings will find themselves in and I think a lot of readers can identify to this and with these characters. I think the vast majority of us have been in Allyson’s shoes trying to bridge that gap between our teens and adulthood and managing our relationships with our parents as we do so. The same can be said for Willem’s book.

Anyone who has been to the places that are described in the book will have a lot of fun reading about them. I found that the tours around each place were just as interesting as the actual story. I liked Just One Year a bit more because I’ve never been to any of the places described in the book and I found Willem’s personal story more interesting.

The Novella–Just One Night:

All I can say is thank goodness for the enovella, Just One Night. I was a little peeved at the abrupt ending of Just One Year (though I understand why it ended the way it did) so I’m glad to get some closure with the novella. Make sure you have it on hand right away when you finish Just One Year 😉

Series Rating: 4/5

Just One Day 4/5 | Just One Year 4/5| [Just One Night 5/5]

overall

If Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill and Finding It by Cora Carmack had a child together, it would be this series. While the romance plays a big role in the grand scheme of things, this series is really about finding the true you given the circumstances life deals you and the journey to take to get there. Fans of coming of age novels and/or travel novels will love this.

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Series Review: Grayson Siblings by Faith Andrews

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 Keep Me (from Goodreads):

Sexy, tatted up, underwear model Marcus Grayson is every girl’s dream—or more likely worst nightmare. He’s a player, a self-proclaimed bachelor for life, and he’s got no problem living up to his man-whore status. But when his older sister’s friend comes back from the past, he may just have the chance to turn some of his adolescent fantasies into reality.

Tessa Bradley is a self-sufficient, take-no-bull, single mother—well, now she is. Finally rid of her abusive, alcoholic ex, she’s making a new life for herself and catching up with old friends; the ones she was forced to break ties with because of her controlling husband. When she runs into Marcus, her friend Riley’s once-adorable turned smoking-hot little brother, she has no idea how he’s about to rock her world.

breakdown

Series: Grayson Siblings
Author: Faith Andrews
# of Books: 2 (Keep Me, Keep Her)
Book Order: Companion, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Family
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

thoughts

Why I Picked This Up / My Expectations:

After reading a particularly slow young adult novel, I needed a lighter book to read  and decided to read Keep Me. Ever since I bought it, the plot synopsis had been stuck in the back of my mind so it was the first book that I thought to read.

My Review:

It was just what I needed when all was said and done. It was a cute romance with an interesting spin on what I have seen in the past. Instead of a younger sister crushing on her BFF’s older brother we get a reversal with the younger brother falling for his older sister’s BFF. It was a lot of fun to watch and I love the subplot romance we get introduced to (and later becomes the focus of the companion novel Keep Her).

I really enjoyed reading Keep Me. It kept my attention and I had fun reading it. There is a lot going on in their lives so I found that helped keep things moving. However, I wish the romance was elaborated more. It seemed like there was a lot of talking saying how Marcus always wanted her but all they seemed to do was have sex constantly with each other. I wanted to see more banter and sexual tension leading up to them sleeping together because I truly liked the two of them together. It was just lacking that something to make me give it that full 4 stars.

That’s where Keep Her succeeds more in my opinion. It’s a companion novel in the sense that a majority of the book takes place during the events of Keep Me but instead focuses on Marcus’ sister instead. But I liked that we got more interaction between her and her love interest: you get to see the connection between them forming more than in Keep Me and their relationship isn’t just based on sex. I also felt like their characters were better developed overall.

Until about 75% through Keep Her, I was fully going to give it a 4/5 and mark it off as my favourite of the series. But within the last quarter of the book, it got a little too soap-opera-ry for me. I understand why it was added–there were a few loose ends to tie up–but it was just a little too much for me; especially when it felt like we were getting our resolution to everything. A little over the top if you ask me but not as elaborate as I have read in some books.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Keep Me 3.5/5 | Keep Her 3.5/5

overall

These books reminded me of a New Adult version of the Darcy and Rachel Series (aka Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin). Similar setup in the sense that it revolves around a group of four friends and the romantic drama in their lives but with a young set of leads. Overall, these books are a sexier light read that fans of New Adult romances will enjoy.

Read if You Like: “off-limits” romance, new adult, drama
Avoid if You: want less sex

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Series Review: Misjudged by Sarah Elizabeth

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

Misjudged Series

book2 book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Misjudged (from Goodreads):
It was one night.

One night of pure intimacy, with a guy she knew nothing about, that couldn’t have prepared her for the next chapter in her life.

But will it be for better, or for worse?

Eighteen year old Alexis Harper is a smart, attractive and ambitious young woman with great friends, a doting father and a scholarship at one of Washington State’s most prestigious Performing Arts Colleges.

When the mysterious stranger makes his arrival in her life, she’s captivated by him. She’s intrigued by his past and more so by what the future could possibly hold for them.

Meet Brandon Taylor.

A damaged and confused twenty year old who is grieving for the life he once had.

He didn’t think for one moment that he could ever find happiness, and he didn’t want to. He was happy living within the high walls he’d barricaded around himself. It felt safe.

When Alexis and Brandon’s worlds collide, nobody could have prepared them for the emotional rollercoaster they were about to board together.

With love, loss, deceit and betrayal abound, it’s pretty hard to trust even those closest to you, as both Brandon and Alexis are soon to find out.

breakdown

Series: Misjudged
Author: Sarah Elizabeth
# of Books: 3 (Misjudged, Misplaced Trust, Misguided Truths (Pt 1 & 2), Mistaken Hope)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2013 – October 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Toonie Tuesday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I grabbed this book for free on Amazon one day and I’m glad that I got it for free–not that $1 is a lot to spend on a book though (and I wouldn’t have been super upset if I had paid the $1)–I’m just glad I didn’t pay a lot of money for this book.

My Review:

This book had all the right makings to be an awesome book. A crazy one night stand, a mysterious bad boy and some danger thrown in for the fun of it: lots of potential that is just thrown away on an annoying heroine.

Boy, was Alexis whinny. I really couldn’t stand her and that just taints my impression of the book overall. I just didn’t connect with her and found her to be very immature. Frankly, Brandon deserves better.

I also didn’t know that this book had a sequel so I was completely thrown for a loop when it ended on a cliff-hanger. I will read the sequel because I really want to know what the hell is going on; I just don’t plan on reading it right away. And depending on how Misplaced Trust ends, I will probably grab Misguided Truths since I do like Brandon’s character and want to get his POV on things.

Update (February 13, 2017):

I honestly just don’t care to see what happens next. I’ve totally forgotten about this series!

Series Rating: DNF

Misguided 3/5

overall

If you can get past annoying heroines, then this book is worth a read if you grab it for free. It has a lot of potential, but fails to deliver. Hopefully Misplaced Trust takes the series in the direct it needs to go.

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Series Review: Fixed by Laurelin Paige

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 Fixed on You (from Goodreads):
Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.

But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it.

Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #1 Top Contemporary Read of 2013
Series: Fixed Trilogy

There is a spinoff series called The Found Duet.

Author: Laurelin Paige
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a companion novel to the series called Hudson that must be read AFTER the trilogy. Chandler is a spin-off with another character. Forever Fixed is a continuation after Forever With You.

Book Order: Chronological, Companion (Hudson), Connected (Chandler)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: hot (BDSM in Chandler: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2013 – June 2018
Source & Format: Own–eBook; Candi Kane PR–Fixed Forever (ARC)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was hesitant when I picked up Fixed on You. It came across as a knock-off of the Fifty Shades Trend so while I like that type of contemporary romance novel, I find they become very repetitive and follow a similar series of events which can be boring.

My Review:

I have to say that I was very impressed with both books and while there were some similarities with other books in the genre, I found this book stood out to me in a few ways:

1) I loved how they handle mental illness. I give mad props to Laurelin Paige for her writing style. While other books in this genre have characters with mental illness and most do handle it in a healthy way, I found these characters weren’t overly dramatic about it. I guess what I mean to say is that their illnesses are a main part of the book and didn’t feel like something that was brought up just to be a convenient way to add some extra drama now and then.

2) I really liked Alayna. Having a great heroine makes a book and I was a little iffy about Alayna going into it and reading the first few chapters. Despite her mental illness, she is still very independent in everything she does and I never felt like she was losing herself in Hudson. She also was great about communicating with Hudson (that did change a bit in the second book) but what really impressed me was if she had an issue, she made sure she told Hudson and wouldn’t let it drop until they resolved it.

3) Hudson is another winner. He is an alpha male without all the kinky sexual preferences and I never got the impression that he had to “own” Alayna. Yes he wanted to sleep with her but he never viewed her as a possession which I appreciate–the “total alpha” thing just disturbs me to no end. He and Alayna are a great match overall and I feel like over time they do connect in more than just a physical way.

As for the books as whole, I devoured them. They were fast paced in both romance and drama and I really loved that. Fixed on You was great and easily my favourite of the two. That isn’t to say Found in You isn’t great–because it is–it was just the typical second book in the series. BUT it did have a great little twist along the way and I’m excited for the final book in the series to get the whole truth of everything going on.

updates

–January 25, 2014– Book #3: Forever With You

I just finished Forever with You and all I have to say is WOW–what a great way to end the series! It had everything I love and more. I didn’t get annoyed with the characters, loved the romance and was left flabbergasted with the plot. Just an absolute pleasure to read and I am so sorry that this series is over–BUT super stoked to read the spin-off series, Free Me!

–December 26, 2014– Book #4: Hudson

I’ve had Hudson on my Kobo since its publication but only managed to read it on my Christmas break this year. I wish I read it sooner and I wish I was able to read it right after I read the trilogy because it was a fantastic way to wrap everything up. The novel is a companion novel–and that is a really important thing to remember because it needs to be read after all three books have been read or else you will spoil the entire series.

I thought Laurelin Paige did a great job of executing this book. I didn’t feel like I was forced to reread scenes all the time. Things were either summarized or shortened and scenes that I wanted more of were elaborated; so I never got bored. The flashbacks to the past also added a great depth to Hudson’s character. However, it did make the book a little on the  longer side BUT I really enjoyed every moment of it and fans of the trilogy will LOVE this!

–May 3, 2017– Book #5: Chandler

I was really excited to read Chandler’s story. He is such an entertaining character and was one of my favourites in the original series.

I do wish I read this after I read the Found Duet just because that spin-off series fills in some of the time between the original Fixed Trilogy and Chandler. There was one particular aspect that I had no clue had happened regarding Chandler’s character development (though it wasn’t a huge deal really and it didn’t ruin my experience at all).

Because this is a standalone novel, it moves quick in all aspects. However that didn’t bother me because I could see the chemistry these two had right from the start. That being said, this one lacked the secrecy aspect. Yes, it was there but the big twist isn’t anything like the original series (though I will say I didn’t see it coming).

In short: it’s cute and the perfect way to wrap up this entire universe.

–July 10, 2018– Book #6: Fixed Forever

I didn’t know I needed this book until I read it–and I’m so glad it exists!

It’s hard to return to a world that has been seemingly wrapped up without things feelings forced. I wasn’t sure where this story would go when I heard about its conception but I shouldn’t have doubted Laurelin Paige. Once again, she has recreated that sparkle I love so much about this series.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Fixed in You 5/5  |  Found in You  4/5  |  Forever with You 5/5  |  [Hudson] 4/5  |  [Chandler] 4/5 | Fixed Forever 5/5

overall

A quick contemporary read for those who don’t like the kinkiness of Fifty Shades of Gray but like the drama. One of my favourite reads of 2013! Overall a FANTASTIC contemporary romance and one that I recommend to everyone!

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Series Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #13
Series: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
# of Books: 5 (Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity, Radiant Shadows, Darkest Mercy)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

This is one of my favourite series for a lot of reasons.

One is the whole concept of the world Melissa Marr creates. I have read a lot of faerie stories and there is always a little spin to each and every one. With this series, it takes the faery world and makes it a dark, modern tale. The characters aren’t your standard goody-two shoe faeries or humans thrown into a world of chaos. These characters can be twisted and evil whenever it suits them and that works for me!

Two is the relationships. There are a lot of characters in these books–not so much that it is hard to keep track of, but enough to keep you interested–but I loved watching the relationships develop between them all. I had a hard time with some of the love triangles deciding who’s team I was on so that was great! Surprisingly, I actually didn’t mind the love triangles in this one as much as in other books–so win! Even the bromances grabbed my attention 😛

Three is the ever twisting plot. Again, this goes back to the world Marr creates, but I never could totally predict what was going to happen. All the characters had their own agendas and weren’t afraid to get dirty to achieve it. I think it also helps that books 2 (Ink Exchange) and 4 (Radiant Shadows) focus on a different set of characters that we have been introduced to in other books instead of (Aislin and Co. who are the stars of Wicked Lovely). The characters in these “companion” novels go through events that help shape the rest of the series. It is very important to read these books in the order I have listed (or as you see on Goodreads) because the events occur in chronological order. I remember picking up Fragile Eternity and reading it first because it was tag-lined “sequel to Wicked Lovely“. I was completely thrown off and confused reading Fragile Eternity because there are some events in Ink Exchange that influence what happens in Fragile Eternity (ex. the roles some Faeries have) and make no sense whatsoever unless you read Ink Exchange first.

I read Radiant Shadows and Darkest Mercy a year of so after I Darkest Mercy was published. It took me a while to get into the swing of things so I recommend that you read these books as close together as possible! Regardless of when I read them, Darkest Mercy  is the perfect conclusion for a series! Although I didn’t like the very short epilogue (mostly because it only focused on two characters but I understand why it was done that way) I was very satisfied with the conclusion of everything in the end–it was my favourite book of the series.

Conclusion:

One of the most captivating and darkly beautiful books series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series about faeries who aren’t afraid to manipulate and follow their darker natures, read this series! It is definitely an older younger adult read so just be aware! Also, did I mention how beautiful the covers are? They look great on a bookshelf 😉

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange, #1) and Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker, #1)

Synopsis for Wicked Lovely (from Goodreads):
Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale

Series Review: Beautiful by Jamie McGuire

Series: Beautiful

There is a spin-off series called the Maddox Brothers

Author: Jamie McGuire
# of Books: 2 (Beautiful Disaster, Walking Disaster)

There are 2 novellas: Mrs. Maddox (#1.5) & A Beautiful Wedding (#2.5)

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm

Thoughts:

NOTE: As of July 19th, I have not read Walking Disaster. Once I have, I will update this posting.

I read Beautiful Disaster immediately after finishing Taking Chances by Molly McAdams and I think that affected my review of this series. The books are very similar in some initial plot points–especially with a hero in the underground fight world and a heroine with a poor relationship with her father (but I mean “Daddy-issues” are nothing new in these types of books)–and in how the “sequel” is a retelling from the hero’s POV of the first book’s events. And because I didn’t overly enjoy Taking Chances and because they were similar, I think I enjoyed this book more than I would usually because I wasn’t as annoyed with the characters as I was in the similar Taking Chances story.

Where Beautiful Disaster differs is that the characters are a little stronger and less annoying. There also isn’t a love triangle where a girl is torn between two boys that she loves–though there is a bit of a “love triangle” in this book but I feel it is mostly one-sided. I liked Abby as a character though sometimes I didn’t get her thoughts/actions. She is very stubborn and I found that to be frustrating. But if she wasn’t so stubborn, we probably wouldn’t have a novel at all so c’est la vie 😛 I was also expecting a bigger and darker “secret past” based on the synopsis but it didn’t really meet those expectations. Travis was a little over the top for me, but I don’t have to date him so that’s A-ok with me 😛 but his alpha male ways could really put off a reader if they don’t like the possessive alpha hero.

I liked the relationship between Abby and Travis. What I really respected were the times when Abby could recognize when the relationship wasn’t going in a healthy direction and she wanted to take it slower because everything does happen so fast at the start. But for the most part, I could see why they liked each other and I appreciate the fact that they got to know each other on a personal level before they jumped into bed together (though Travis moved really fast!).

Overall, I really liked this book. There were a few times a chuckled to myself from the wit and there were some extremely adorable moments between Abby and Travis.

I read on the author’s site that they are planning on making this into a movie. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I will probably end up watching it anyway for curiosity’s sake. I think it will be hard to do based on the possessiveness of the relationship (because it isn’t that healthy) but if they can make Fifty Shades a movie, then you can definitely do this one!

I’m looking forward to reading Walking Disaster. I’m starting to notice the trend of having the follow-up novel as the alternate POV for the main characters but as I haven’t really read any, I can’t comment any further on it. I think it is a great idea because I do like having alternate POVs in my New Adult reads–it just helps getting the perspective of the character and better understand their actions/reactions.

I will update this post once I get my hands on Walking Disaster!

Conclusion:

A really cute and fast read. I had a hard time putting this book down! I could definitely see why some people might not like it because Travis is very alpha male and Abby can be extremely stubborn. The writing is nothing fabulous but the story is very addicting for some reason. I’m looking forward to Walking Disaster and whatever spin-off novels come our way.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Taking Chances by Molly McAdams (Taking Chances, #1), Broken at Love by Lyla Payne (Whitman University, #1) and If You Stay by Courtney Cole (Beautifully Broken, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Disaster (from Goodreads):
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match