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Series Review: The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo

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 Shadow and Bone (from Goodreads):
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

breakdown

Series: The Grisha Trilogy

There is a spin-off series set in the same word: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo
# of Books: 3 (Shadow and Bone, Seige and Storm, Ruin and Rising)

There are numerous short stories. See Goodreads for full list and order.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2012 – June 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Truth be told, The Grisha Trilogy has been on my TBR list before I ever joined Goodreads. I mean, just look at that cover! But the blogosphere has serious love for this trilogy and I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Like all books that are endlessly pumped by my fellow bloggers, I tried to keep an open mind and keep my expectations at the level they would have been at before I started blogging/heard all these awesome things. Still, I was really excited to read this!

The Concept / The World:

The Grisha world is so cool! It’s a great blend of science and magic so it’s not very “witchy”, which (no pun intended) always worries me when I pick up a magic novel (for some reason I don’t like witch series).

What I didn’t like about the world is that I felt like it was never fully explained to me. Sure, the hierarchy breakdown on the page at the start of the novel is helpful in classifying warriors, but I felt lost throughout Shadow and Bone trying to keep all the colours, abilities and roles each Grisha group has straight. Maybe it was explained and I just missed it–it is possible, I do read fast–but I don’t think it truly was. Personally, I like books that take those few pages early on to explain how the world works and that disappointed me with this first book.

The Plot:

Shadow and Bone is your typical first book. I think I was expecting more action given the world but a lot of that first book is watching Alina discovering her powers. Which is fine and great for character development, it just wasn’t very thrilling. The last 100 pages are where things get really interesting. That’s when the plot twists, politics and action happen.

Unfortunately, Siege and Storm wasn’t able keep this momentum going for me. And that is a shame because the 2nd book started off so promising! It’s faster paced, has new exciting characters and we get these great mini twists that propel you forward. But then suddenly we get a lull again–and I get why we do, truly I do. It’s needed to build up the rest of the plot for the end of the series. I just wish it didn’t have to be so boring and dry to do that. Perhaps my low tolerance was a result of my reading slump but I think this book would have been slower to me even if I was in the right mood.

I felt like most of this series was just waiting for something big to happen in order for the characters to react; especially in Ruin and Rising (when a conclusion book should be wrapping everything up if you ask me) . Which means great character development and world-building but very little action. And to me that is a waste of potential because these Grisha ARE SO COOL and could do so many other things that would keep my interest!

**My next statement might be a little spoiler-y regarding the last book**

I also have to say this: I feel like Ruin and Rising wrapped up too neatly. It was oddly reminiscent of my reading experience with Breaking Dawn; where everything fans want to see happens and I don’t really feel resolved with these characters. But I was also at the point where I didn’t really care what happened to Alina so it didn’t break my heart.

**End spoiler-y statement**

The Characters:

This is one of those series where I love the secondary characters (and the villain) more than the heroine. Everyone seemed 20x more interesting than Alina to me. She was just dull and I suppose that is part of the point. Like most heroines in a high fantasy, she is suddenly thrust into a world she never expected and discovers she isn’t who she truly expected. But unlike those other heroines, she doesn’t have anything that makes her stand out. Same goes for Mal. I mean I liked them and wanted to root for them but I found myself drawn to these other characters who have much more interesting lives, relationships and attitudes.

The Romance:

The romance is pretty typical. There is a love triangle/square and it’s executed fairly well in terms of driving the plot forward. Around the second book it gets a little tedious to read about  because it’s just jealousy-invoking situations. I also think it doesn’t help that Alina and Mal bore me so that potential pairing doesn’t have me jumping for joy whereas the other one (possibly the other two) suitors peak my interest a lot more.

The Short Stories:

I only read the one story, The Tailor, after Shadow and Bone because of the character it focuses on. I enjoyed it as an extended scene though it isn’t necessary to read. I didn’t pick up the other short stories but I may one day.

I did pick up The Demon in the Woods and The Witch of Duva when the eBooks became available at my library. Both are ~25 pages and give you a little insight into some characters and the world. I actually didn’t finish The Witch of Duva because I couldn’t get into it but The Demon in the Woods was an interesting and informative story. Again, not necessary but for fans of the series, I’m sure they will gobble these up!

Will I pick up the spin-off series?

Actually, I’m really looking forward to the spin-off series! Like I said earlier, I really loved the Grisha world and I think with a new cast of characters, I could easily become obsessed with this universe.

See my review of the spin-off series here!

Series Rating: 3/5

Shadow and Bone 3.5/5  |  Siege and Storm 3/5  |  Ruin and Rising 3/5

overall

This series just didn’t work for me. The pacing was off, the lead characters were typical and the romance was lacklustre. I loved the world but it wasn’t enough to keep my interest. I also think this book suffered from over-hyped syndrome and my expectations for something mind-blowing were at a maximum for this one and I feel like it didn`t live up to that expectation.

Read if You Like: multi-layered worlds, high fantasy, magic based on science
Avoid if You: don’t like slower starts, don’t like adventure paced novels

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  • Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Arcane Chronicles #1)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorn Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Finding Fate by Chelsea Fine

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 Best Kind of Broken (from Goodreads):

Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore ashower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

breakdown

Series: Finding Fate
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Best Kind of Broken, Perfect Kind of Trouble, Right Kind of Wrong)
Book Order: Connected (but the stories overlap very, very briefly)
Complete?: Yes — from what I can tell
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I put Best Kind of Broken on my TBR list before I realized that it was by Chelsea Fine, who I had read before. I enjoyed the romance in her Archers of Avalon YA series so when I put two and two together, I decided to bump this series up in my TBR list.

What I was expecting for these books was a lot of sexual tension and a sweet romance and I couldn’t wait to start them.

The Plot:

In all the books, the characters’ pasts are slowly revealed to us. The reason for Levi and Pixie’s separation, for example, is left a mystery for a good percentage of the book but you get little clues along the way. I would say that trying to figure out what happened is really what pushed me to continue reading this book. It really is a great story and I loved the character growth from it–and that’s all I’ll say without spoilers. Overall, I did enjoy reading Best Kind of Broken, I just felt underwhelmed by it.

Best Kind of Trouble had a more light-hearted approach though it dealt with grief. I thought the scenario the couple finds themselves in was a lot of fun to read about and overall I enjoyed it a lot more than Best Kind of Broken.

I was disappointed in the plot for the Right Kind of Wrong. I thought it was going to focus more on the road trip and not the destination. I also felt like the plot was a little over-dramatic–it just came out of left field and I didn’t really enjoy it.

Where all the books (except Right Kind of Wrong because it is the last) truly succeeded was in giving the reader little tastes of the next set of leads. It really built up the anticipation of what is in store for the next book and made me want to read them even more.

The Characters:

These books were a lot more humourous than I was expecting. It doesn’t mean that they are flat out comedy books but they definitely have some witty lines that made me chuckle. These books were just as much about character development as they were romance–perhaps even more so. The banter is great between the leads and the supporting characters are a lot of fun albeit stereotypical. But all in all, there is a great community set up in these books that makes you want to stay in this small town and know everyone else’s stories.

The Romance:

Best Kind of Broken was a sweet, often slow, romance. There was sexual tension but not enough to keep me happy. I personally prefer a little more spice to my New Adult novels but it wasn’t like the relationship was dull without the higher amounts of tension I was expecting. Pixie and Levi have enough of a connection that it was great to just watch them work out their relationship. I really saw how great of a match they were for each other throughout the novel–it wasn’t some physical lust between them but years of memories and feelings.

The same can be said about the other couples in the rest of the series. It was nice to read books that weren’t drenched in sex scenes and instead focused on the emotional connection between two people. I loved the banter between all the couples and I loved the dash of humour to all the stories. I just wished for a few more “close” encounters to help develop that romantic connection because all the relationships felt like they were developed prior to the start of the novel.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This series just didn’t wow me. I wanted more passion and relationship development. And while I appreciate the individual character growth, I just needed more to make this series seriously memorable.

Read if You Like: slower romances, character development
Avoid if You: want more heat

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Series Review: Stripped by Jasinda Wild

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 Stripped (from Goodreads):
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated.

breakdown

Series: Stripped
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 2 (Stripped, Trashed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes? I think so.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Celebrity
Heat Rating: hot (closer to the end in Stripped; from the start and throughout Trashed)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Stripped); Alternating (Trashed)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Jasinda Wilder first came across my radar with her Falling Series. I have most of the books from that series waiting to be read on my Kobo (and some other freebies from her) but I haven’t managed to read them yet. When I came across these two books at my library and read the concept for Stripped, I decided to pick them up as quick romance reads.

I like unconventional romances–they are nice breaks from the everyday love story. Plus, I like the fictional element to it. Lots of girls like the fantasy that a rich, handsome actor/celebrity will notice regular-old them and I am no exception. Do I let it consume my every thought?–of course not, but I like that fiction let’s me imagine it could be me one day.

Unfortunately, Stripped was just plain boring. Grey was one of the dullest heroines I have ever encountered. I truly think that she was crying every three pages about something–which is fine considering her life hasn’t been all that easy–but it just got so exhausting to read about. I really felt indifferent to her as I read through the book.

The romance was also dull, and if it wasn’t dull, it was cheesy. I knew it was going to be a love at first sight story as soon as I picked it up but I was hoping for some good sexual tension between the two of them but that never happened! First, it is nearly 50 pages (eBook) before Dawson is even introduced–which is just too long when nothing else is really happening plot-wise and especially in a book slated as a romance. Then they speak together twice before he is undeniably in love with her and decides to chase her. I just didn’t see the connection whatsoever between them.

What also really bothered me was that there was no fallout/consequences from her career as a stripper. Every little problem that was introduced is neatly tied up inexplicably and I guess I just wanted something to happen that would capture my attention.

Trashed on the other hand was more solid to me. It wasn’t the greatest romance novel ever but at least it had more substance to it than Stripped did. The characters just seemed better developed to me and so did the romance. Despite its “deep-connection” roots I could actually see why these two characters liked each other. Overall it was an improvement over Stripped.

I’m not sure if there will be any more books in this series but if there were, I’m not sure if I would read them. I suppose it depends on the premise and what my experience is with Ms Wilder’s other novels. These novels haven’t turned me off of her other works but perhaps have changed my expectations for them.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

These books could have been really great but they just felt underdeveloped. They weren’t dramatic and they weren’t overly realistic either so they just come across as underwhelming. But if you want quick, cheesy romances these are great summer reads!

Read if You Like: cheesy romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: like more drama, want stronger character development
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Single Sundays: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

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 Princess of Thorns (from Goodreads):
Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

breakdown

Author: Stacey Jay
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve enjoyed Stacey Jay’s novels in the past for their original retellings of classic stories, like Romeo & Juliet and Beauty and the Beast. So when I saw the Princess of Thorns novel as an upcoming novel from her, I immediately went to see what it was about. Three things immediately sold me on this book:

  1. “Game of Thrones” meets (I love watching Game of Thrones, I have yet to tackle the books)
  2. “Grimm’s fairy tales” (I love fairy tale retelling stories)
  3. Sleeping Beauty (my favourite Disney princess is Aurora)

This book just seemed to have been made for me and I wasn’t going to do it the disservice of not reading it.

The Concept / The World:

Considering I was reading this book solely for the concept, I was expecting great things and I really did like the setting of Princess of Thorns. It was gritty and intricate which made reading about Aurora’s and Niklaas’ adventure very interesting.

I don’t recommend starting this book when you are tired like I did or else you might be a little lost at the start. It took me a lot longer to understand what was going on because I wasn’t in the right mindset and that dampened my reading experience. But once I understood the elements of the curses I really liked them.

The Plot:

I would say this book is more of an adventure/quest novel than a strict fairy tale retelling. Yes, the fairy tale element is a huge part of the plot but I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of Sleeping Beauty. When you read it, you clearly understand why they say it is like “Game of Thrones meets Grimm’s fairy tales” because that is the best way to describe it. However, don’t be expecting the politics of Game of Thrones when you read. Rather, expect Aurora to be more like Daenerys Targaryen in the second season (second book) where she struggles to find an army to get back her throne: which means it can be a little boring at times.

I did feel like the book was slow to start and I felt my mind wandering as I was reading. Again, I wasn’t in the right mindset when I was reading it (I had to read it ASAP to return it to the library on time) so I kept waiting for it to get really exciting and it never really did. I found the last half was a lot more interesting to read but it didn’t wow me in any way. I also think Stacey Jay’s writing isn’t totally for me. This is the fourth book by her that I have read and I find her writing style confusing. I’m often rereading lines to make sure I have things clear and I’ve found that to be the case with all her books so far.

The Characters:

I really liked Aurora. She reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling in the sense that she could kick some serious ass when needed but was a more reserved heroine (ie not in your face). I liked that she was strong and independent and had some passion for her cause. While she may not be my favourite heroine ever, I did like her and never got annoyed with her.

Niklaas on the other hand took me a while to like. It’s weird because I normally like the suave, charming male heroes but I didn’t instantly love Niklaas like I was expecting. And I think a part of that is the romance…

The Romance:

*sigh* I really have mixed feelings on this romance: the critic in me is battling with the reader in me.

The critical me can appreciate the “friends to lovers” approach this book takes. It’s a classic Shakespeare scenario where the girl disguised as a boy falls in love with the boy she is helping. It even reminds me of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty where Aurora and Philip meet for the first time and find that connection that saves them later on. I can appreciate the approach, it just doesn’t mean that I liked it.

I wish the romance had a little more of a spark to it. Because once it was there, it was great. I loved the relationship between these two, I just wish it was elaborated on earlier in the book.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really, really wanted to love this book but it fell flat. To me, it was Princess Aurora’s shot to prove that she isn’t the perfect case of Damsel in Distress and for the most part I truly think she did. I just wish the other elements were up to snuff and the book was 50 pages shorter.

Read if You Like: quest based stories, fairy tale retellings
Avoid if You: want more passionate romance, dislike slower starts

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Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Vincent Boys (from Goodreads):

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav Author
Series: The Vincent Boys
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 2 (The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers)

On Goodreads there is a book 3 listed called My Vincent Boys. According to Abbi Glines blog she would like to write a prequel novel for the series but she has no immediate plans to write/publish it.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Technically Yes — but see note above
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm + spicy YA
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2011 – June 2012

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I feel like on this blog I have made it no secret that I detest love triangles in romance novels. If they are done right, they are great–I love sexual tension as much as the next girl–but most of the time they are taken to an extreme that does nothing for me except piss me off (ex Bella Swan in Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer). Just make up your mind! I read to escape from my stressful school life: I don’t want to be stressed waiting for the heroine to pick between the two most perfect men on earth that just happen to admit their undying love for her simultaneously–because that happens to me all the time in real life. I digress…

It is because of this frustration from love triangles that when I see a book cover with three people on it and/or read a synopsis that gives me the impression that the heroine is going to be spending the entire book torn between two guys, it’s an immediate pass. There are two exceptions: one is when it is obvious that there is really one guy the girl is truly in love with (you know those YA novels where there is one mysterious dark love interest who is evil and then the good guy); and two is when one of my favourite authors writes a novel with a love triangle. When my favourite author writes a love triangle novel, I’ll consider reading it, though my expectations might not be overly high going into it.

And this is the case here with Abbi Gline’s Vincent Boys series. Before I read my first Abbi Glines novel, I marked these books as a pass. But now that I have read two series by her and love her writing style and characters, I decided I should give this series a shot.

My Review:

But even Abbi Glines couldn’t sell me on this one. I simply don’t enjoy reading stories where one partner cheats on another and that is what happens in The Vincent Boys. I get there there is more to the situation here then simply stepping out on your partner with some random person; all three have been friends since they were kids so of course there are unrequited feelings lingering. But that almost makes the whole thing worse for me. It also didn’t help that I didn’t like Ash at all–I just didn’t understand her one bit and some of the things she did made me raise an eyebrow:

Questionable Action

Really Ash? You give your virginity to your boyfriend’s cousin and still plan to go back to said boyfriend after all is said and done? How are you going to explain that one?

[collapse]

If you took Sawyer away from the equation (the “boyfriend”), I would enjoy this book a lot more and would think it was a cute, quick childhood sweetheart read.

And while I enjoyed The Vincent Brothers a lot more, a “lot more” is a bit of a stretch. I mostly enjoyed it because none of the characters cheated on each other. I found the characters to be petty, vain and selfish–and far too angsty for my tastes. Granted, the characters are 17 so I expect immaturity and teenage rebellion but wow, the angst was palpable. I just didn’t like the blend of it an the sexy times we get.

A Comment About Sexual Content:

Just a note about the sexy times: I read the uncut and extended version so I am assuming the original version isn’t as sex-orientation (please correct me if I am wrong!). This isn’t a young adult series where sex is simply alluded to–it is described in a fair amount of detail–more of what you would see in a New Adult series.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Vincent Boys 3/5 | The Vincent Brothers 3/5

overall

This is one of those series that isn’t my personal cup of tea. It’s everything that I expect of Abbi Glines so in that sense I wasn’t disappointed; it’s just that it is too angst driven for me and I didn’t enjoy the love triangle aspect. However, if you like love triangles and don’t mind vain characters: this is a great, albeit spicy, young adult series for you to read.

Read if You Like: teenage angst, love triangles
Avoid if You: dislike cheating in your novels

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Single Sundays: Dangerous to Know and Love by Jane Harvey-Berrick

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 Dangerous to Know and Love (from Goodreads):
Silence is only skin deep.

Nineteen year old Daniel Colton is the guy all the girls want to date, and the man all the guys want to be. Moody, with an explosive temper, closed off and sullen, he’s also beautiful, tatted in delicious ways, with a pierced eyebrow and spiky black hair. It’s rumoured he has piercings in other places, too. Is he really mad, bad and dangerous to know?

Daniel lives with his older brother, Zef, and their home is party central. You want drugs, a good time, liquor, no questions asked? Colton’s is the place to go.

When Daniel and good girl Lisanne Maclaine have to work together on an assignment, Lisanne finds there’s a lot more to the college’s bad boy than his reputation. He’s intelligent and funny and good company. And then she discovers his secret, why he’s so closed off to everyone, and determined to keep people at arms’ length. But being his secret-keeper is harder than she ever dreamed.

breakdown

Author: Jane Harvey-Berrick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 13, 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book had been on my Kindle Wish List for a very long time and one day I randomly decided to check and see if any of the books I “wished” for had dropped in price. Turns out, this one had by quite a bit and I still had a gift card to use so I immediately grabbed it.

The Concept:

This book was really refreshing to read in terms of its concept. Unlike a majority of New Adult reads, this book focused on the current struggles in the protagonists lives–and by that I mean that there isn’t some mysterious event that happened in the past that explains why the character acts like they do. Well, there is…but it’s really hard to explain what exactly is happening (I try to write spoiler free reviews in every sense of the theory!). I guess what I’m trying to say is, I haven’t come across Daniel’s secret in any other book so I really liked that.

The Plot:

I really got sucked into this book; though I think the fact that I should have been studying / reading another slower book at the same time contributed to my slight addiction to this one. But I think the biggest reason was that I wasn’t sure where it was going to go and I wanted to know.

But I felt like it never really went anywhere. It really was a day by day thing with these characters in the sense that it was mostly about them trying to find out where their relationship fit in with their lives. Nothing really exciting happens and it got a little tedious to read; especially when they started acting childish about certain things.

The Romance:

Pair that with the fact that the exposition was wayyyyy to long. It took a good number of pages to get to some character interaction and with romances I really like the sexual tension ASAP. And then when we finally got some sexual tension, it felt like everything accelerated very quickly. I’m not a fan of love at first sight books and in that bracket I include books where the L-word is dropped within two weeks of dating. Just sours what was a nice romance to me–but that is more of a personal preference.

The Narration:

My last comment about the writing is that the third person narration isn’t my favourite. I don’t mind third person, though I prefer alternating first person, but I don’t like when the thoughts of the two characters aren’t separated by page breaks. When I read third person, I like that each character has their own section and for that section you only follow that character from their perspective. With this book, it was jumbled a bit so I really had to focus to make sure that I was getting everything straight.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really liked the concept of this book, but not so much its execution. It just needs some polishing and some fine-tuning and it would be a great read. If you want a new adult read with a bit of a different spin on it and don’t mind longer books, this one might be worth your time. However, don’t be expecting a some super dangerous bad boy. Daniel definitely has his bad boy touches but he isn’t super “dangerous” per say.

Read if You Like: unique stories, longer reads
Avoid if You: want a true bad boy
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Series Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Immortals (from Goodreads):
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.

Evie’s only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie’s feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

breakdown

Series: Immortal Series
Author: Gillian Shields
# of Books: 4 (Immortal, Betrayal, Eternal, Destiny)
Book Order: Chronological, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Paranormal, Witches, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2009 – July 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read book 4, Destiny, in the series prior to this review. I will probably never read it either.

My Review:

I read Immortals because it was recommended to me by my recent book purchases a few years ago. It had all the makings of a series I would love but it just fell flat for me and here’s why:

1) I didn’t like Evie–at all. She bored me to tears and was a selfish idiot at times. I didn’t like her relationship with Sebastian either. And because the first two books focus mostly on her, I just couldn’t get into them.

2) The plot is dull. Witch stories aren’t my favourite books ever and this is no exception. I just didn’t like the plot as it didn’t grab my attention.

3) I slowly started to dislike characters I had once liked. Sarah was my favourite character in the first two books, so I was excited when she was the focus of the third book, Eternal. But I didn’t enjoy her character development in it and I didn’t enjoy the plot so it was really blah to me.

4) Teenage angst. ‘nough said

Perhaps I was just too old for these books but I think if I read them when I was 16 I would be bored and sad that this is how girls act.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

Those who like slower plots with a dash of mystery to them and can tolerate selfish characters will like this supernatural series. But it can be boring so if you don’t enjoy the first book, Immortal, don’t bother with the rest.

similarreads
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

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Series Review: Revenants by Amy Plum

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 Die for Me (from Goodreads):

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

breakdown

Series: Revenants Trilogy
Author: Amy Plum
# of Books: 3 (Die for Me, Until I Die, If I Should Die)

There is a novella, #2.5 Die For Her

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover

thoughts

I first read Die for Me in the autumn of 2011. It was one of the first eBooks I read and I decided to read it because I thought the cover was really pretty (props to the cover designer on all the books!). While the cover did draw me to the book, I decided to read it because the concept sounded very interesting–quite the spin on an immortal lover I thought.

Die for Me overall didn’t really impress me all that much. Kate irritated me to pieces–while I can understand why she is depressed and a little down about life, I really didn’t see the draw Vincent had to her at all. Actually, Die to Me was so unmemorable to me that I decided to reread it before I started Until I Die. The only thing rereading it did was reaffirm my annoyance with Kate and give me a refresher of what happened–which isn’t a whole lot. These books do get more intricate plots as you continue in the series but overall, Die for Me was the dullest of them all. Not a great start to a series.

I’m a sucker for punishment and it takes a lot for me to stop reading a book. Most of the time I stop a book because of bad grammar, offensive content or just plain stupidity–and because I didn’t run into any of these issues, I picked up Until I Die.

Until I Die was a much better read than Die for Me. The plot begins to pick up, Kate becomes a little less annoying and there’s some more action. There were quite a few twists along the away and I did enjoy learning more about the Revenant world Ms. Plum creates. Easily my favourite book of the series.

I read the novella, Die For Her, before I read If I Should Die. I thought it was a great review of the events that had happened in the books and I enjoyed getting Jule’s perspective. Overall, it helped me understand a bit more about the events in the first book but not enough to make me appreciate or like Die for Me any more than I already did. It also helps explain an event that happens in the last book, but reading it isn’t complete necessary as anyone reading the books can easily put two and two together to understand what happened and why.

Despite the ending of Until I Die, it took me three times to get into this book. If someone from the library looked at my loan history, they would probably think that this was my favourite book of all time based on the amount of times I took it out and extended my loan. And that thought couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think my biggest problem starting this book was my busy schedule and higher interest in other series. It is a long novel (~300 kobo pages which takes me 6 or so hours to read) as well so that doesn’t help its case either. Regardless, this book was a bit of a disappointment. I found it predictable and cliché and I quickly began to dislike Vincent and Kate. I can forgive Vincent for his old fashioned dialect–though no boy in his teens, regardless of how many years he has been “alive,” should call a girl “my love” at the end of every sentence–but Kate talks like she is 10 years older than she actually is and that irritated me. I also thought the ending was a little lackluster–I was falling asleep reading it and then before I knew it I was reading the Acknowledgement page–and truthfully I was expecting more at the end. Also an epilogue would have been awesome.

Series Rating: 4/5

Die For Me 3/5 | Until I Die 4/5 | If I Should Die 3/5

overall

Overall, it was an OK series. If you like books set in Paris, feature “immortal loves” and move at a slower pace, you would probably enjoy this book. But if you are like me and enjoy books with lots of twists, action and swoon-worthy romance, skip this series!

similarreads

  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday (The Hollow Trilogy #1)
  • A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (A Touch Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Pretty by M. Leighton

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

Pretty Series

book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for All the Pretty Lies (from Goodreads):
“Live, no regrets”

Her…
Sloane Locke has led a sheltered life. However, with a history like hers, she can understand why her brothers and her father want so much to protect her. She has gone along with it for twenty long years, but those days are over. For the girl who never makes promises, Sloane has made a pact with herself that things will change on her twenty-first birthday. So when the clock strikes midnight, Sloane strikes out to spread her wings and break a few rules.

Him…
In addition to inking skin, Hemi Spencer possesses many talents. Controlling himself has never been one of them. It’s never had to be. He’s lived a life of indulgence for as long as he can remember. Right up until tragedy struck. Now, he’s nothing but controlled. He’s a man on a mission, one who will let nothing and no one stand in his way.

Them…
Nothing in their lives could’ve prepared Sloane and Hemi for what they’d find in each other—distraction and obsession, love and possession. But the one thing they can’t find is a future. Neither one has been totally honest. And they’ll soon learn that the devil is in the details. In the details and in the lies.
How far will two people go to live in the now when the now is all they’ve got?

breakdown

Series: Pretty Trilogy
Author: M. Leighton
# of Books: 3 (All the Pretty Lies, All the Pretty Poses, All Things Pretty)

All Things Pretty was published in two parts but can be found as a full novel.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Second Chances (book 2), Suspense (book 3)
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: November 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

I’ve read M. Leighton’s Bad Boy Series and while I found that series to be a disappointment overall, I really liked the first book in the series. I felt that it had a lot of potential and I truly did enjoy reading it–I just felt like the series fell apart. So I decided to give this new series a try as it promised to be enjoyable and seemed right up my alley.

The Plot:

Even though I’ve only read one series by Ms. Leighton, I can definitely see that she has a formula when it comes to her New Adult reads. Cue a bad-boy with a heart of gold, an innocent heroine and the heroine’s BFF who is more “experienced” than her in every way. As I read All the Pretty Lies, I definitely saw the parallels to Down to You (Bad Boys #1) but overall, the plots are very different so I didn’t feel like I was reading a complete regurgitation of another book.

When it comes to the plot, I thought it was very predictable. I was hoping for some great twists but I found the book was pretty linear in its progression (no pun intended). Which was fine because I did find it enjoyable despite knowing what would happen next.

The Characters:

Unlike the Bad Boy Series, I liked Sloane as a character (unlike Olivia who would irritate me with her need to rebel for really no reason). It was easy to get a handle on Sloane’s character so I understood why she did what she did throughout the book. Hemi is sweet but he’s nothing new to write home about. I found them to be super cute together and that they had a connection emotionally–which I think is sometimes lacking in this genre–as well as physically.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I find it interesting that the next book is about Reese and not one of Sloane’s brothers. I think I would have preferred that path instead but I’m interested to see what is going to happen next. What I am happy about it is the conclusion of Hemi and Sloane’s story within this novel and not seeing it dragged out in another book.

updates

–June 22/15– Book 2: All the Pretty Poses

It’s been a year since I read the first book so I didn’t remember much about Reese’s character when I picked this one up. Not that he is a complicated character by any means–he’s your typical rich boy under daddy’s thumb–so I got into the groove of things quickly.

These two characters have a mysterious past and that’s what kept me reading. Because most of this book is just about how much these two want each other, Reese verbalizing how much he wants her and both of them trying not to be the first to fall. It got a little tiring to be honest. And when the drama was introduced, it was much too rushed (and tied up much too neatly) for my personal tastes. Some things surprised me but I felt like they were out of nowhere sometimes; I wish more was done with them.

–June 28/15– Book 3: All Things Pretty Parts 1&2

I was excited to read this hero’s story after being introduced to him the in the first two novels but this one just didn’t WOW me. It is more of a suspense romance novel (which I don’t usually read) similar to Leighton’s Bad Boy Series and it just hit that over the top mark for me. I liked uncovering what the secretive past of the heroine was, and I did like the twists, I just couldn’t get into this story.

I think it was far too long for one thing. Too much exposition and not enough climax…well climax of the plot that is 😉 Leighton split up the final book because the publisher wouldn’t approve the length she really wanted for this story and I kinda see why the publisher wanted a shorter novel. So in the end, not my cup of tea but it wraps up the series nicely.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

These books are great if you want a cute, passionate romance story to pass a couple of hours. They are high in dramatics and have your stereotypical romance characters. However, they are enjoyable reads–they just aren’t overly memorable.

Read if You Like: soap-opera like drama, erotica
Avoid if You: want more twists (at least in the first two novels), want more focus on the drama

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Series Review: Unforgettable You by Beverley Kendall

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

Only for You by Beverley Kendall | Unforgettable You Series

  book3 book3

Series: Unforgettable You
Author: Beverley Kendall
# of Books: 4 (Only for You, All Over You, Always Been You, Forever With You)

Technically, All Over You is a novella and #1.5 of the series but is to be read like a sequel

Complete?: More novels planned
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

My Expectations:

I discovered this series after finding All Over You as a free Kobo eBook and decided to buy Only for You to get the full story. I was really excited to read Only for You because I normally love these type of stories. Much like Mad for You, it promised the meeting of unrequited loves in college and that always provides some reading entertainment. Now you will noticed that I said “normally” because lately I seem to be out of luck with these unrequited high school love stories and this is one I can add to the pile.

Thoughts on Only For You:

It never helps a story when you don’t like one of the main characters and I just didn’t like Olivia. I’m not sure why when I look back at it, but I think it’s because I get the impression that we would never be friends in real life. I just didn’t like her thought process and she seemed really immature. Her problems seemed really petty and while I know that they just left high school, I felt like I was still there with them based on the way they handled things.

Josh was alright. I liked that he was a decent guy and seemed to genuinely like Olivia but again, not the sharpest tool in the shed. His reasoning for not acting on his true feelings felt a little far-fetched and overly dramatic when it didn’t need to be. There is also one scene where I sincerely doubt his intelligence because how did he NOT know that about her?! I have a feeling it would be noticeable and he should be able to put two and two together.

Based on the synopsis you would think that they spend most of the story in Paris, but they actually don’t. So don’t expect to see a lot of action from Paris as most of it takes place in the States. If you want a novel about two people falling in love abroad, read Meant to Be by Lauren Morril instead.

One thing Only for You succeeds in doing is getting me acquainted and excited for the other character’s stories. Truth be told by the end of the book I was mostly reading for updates about Scott, April, Troy and Becca.

Thoughts on All Over You:

After reading Only for You I couldn’t wait to start All Over You because there was just so much buildup. It didn’t disappoint and I really enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one. I just liked the characters more and their past actually made sense and was a lot more realistic which made it more enjoyable. I wish this book was longer and not as rushed near the end as it was.

I’m looking forward to Always Been You and hoping that it will be as enjoyable as All Over You when it comes out.

updates

–February 29, 2016– Book #3: Always Been You

I was really excited to read this one after the little hints we got in the previous book. I’m not usually a fan of romances between BFFs–I hate when they go unrequited and the usually lead to love triangles–but I do enjoy romances where two BFFs are unknowingly in love with each other…such is the case here.

Unfortunately, the “angst” went on a little too long in this one. I wanted more plot besides “he/she doesn’t know” and sabotaged new relationships. I found the synopsis to be very misleading as well. The whole thing about Playboy doesn’t become an issue until 60+% through the book which is when we start to get some drama not of the romantic variety. Just seemed a little late for something that was featured in the synopsis and I wanted to spend more time on the other drama aspects introduced later.

I am, however, very curious for the next novel. Seems like some juicy stuff is about to be revealed and I can’t wait!

–September 13, 2017– Book #4: Forever With You

I was really excited to see how the events would unfold in this novel. We are left in a lot of suspense for Emily’s story at the end of Always Been You and I was eager to uncover the secrets.

It’s an interesting choice to reveal the past right at the start. It begins with a bang and watching the aftermath is intriguing. However, you lose some of the mystery and suspense as the story progresses. I found the middle of the novel to be a little stale since it was them simply rehashing their hurt feelings again and again.

I wanted more interaction and moments where it was reaffirmed to me that they belonged together–not just arguing pack and forth. Yes, they have fabulous physical chemistry together but I needed more “talking” time to prove to me that they were a good fit.

It’s a cute second chance romance and it builds up perfectly for sequels with the introduction of new and interesting characters.

Series Rating: 3/5

Only Been You 3/5 | All Over You 4/5 | Always Been You 3/5 | Forever With You 3/5

overall

These are cute stories but there are a lot better books out there that have a similar plot line. But if you enjoy series that interweave character stories together, try this one out!

Read if You Like: stories about true love, more romance focused
Avoid if You: want more steamy romance scenes

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Synopsis for Only for You (from Goodreads):
College freshman Olivia Montgomery is thrilled at the chance to start over, escape the rumors that plagued her in high school. And she can finally put her juvenile crush, Zachary Pearson, where he belongs–in her past. Then her unrequited love strolls into her French class, shattering Olivia’s newfound peace, and the feelings she’d thought buried for good come rushing back. Now she can’t shake her unwanted attraction to the one guy who can twist her stomach into knots with just a smile…but has never given her the time of day.

Zach’s good looks may have always gotten him his pick of girls, but it’s the star quarterback’s skill on the football field that gives him his pick of the Big Ten colleges. To escape the crushing demands of his win-at-all-costs father, Zach opts for a private university in upstate New York where…his present and past collide. And the one girl he’s always wanted but can’t have–and a class trip to Paris–turn out to be the ultimate game changer that has him breaking every one of his rules.

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