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DNF Series Review: Phantom Knights by Amalie Vantana

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

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Phantoms in Philadelphia (from Goodreads):
When you live a life of secrets, you trust no one and question everything

Nineteen-year-old Bess Martin has many secrets. She can outride, outshoot, and outsmart most people, but her greatest secret…she is the leader of the Phantoms, a spy organization.

After spending three years fighting in a war, eighteen-year-old Jack Martin returns home to Philadelphia with his sister Bess, ready to live a life of ease, but what is waiting for them is a task more difficult than any other battle they have fought.

When people start disappearing and the weather turns unusually cold, the city is in a panic. They believe the war angered a deity and that the disappearances are the sacrifices, but who will be next? When presidential hopeful James Monroe is targeted, all clues lead to the mysterious secret society known as Levitas. It is up to Bess, Jack, and their team of Phantoms to uncover a dark and winding plot that reaches further than they could have ever imagined. As their journey draws them deep into secrets of the past, Bess and Jack may come to find that a normal life is not possible when you are a spy.

breakdown

Series: The Phantom Knights
Author: Amalie Vantana
# of Books: 4 (Phantoms in Philadelphia, The Charleston Chase, Secrets in Savannah, Deceit in Delaware )
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Spies, Mystery, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2013 – July 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Note: I only read 20% of Phantoms in Philadelphia. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found Phantoms in Philadelphia for free for my Kobo a long time ago. Don’t ask me why, but every-time I glanced the title over the years, I thought it was about vampires. I think it’s the mask on the cover? But when I saw it was about spies, I was also super excited–I needed a new espionage novel in my life!

I was also really curious about the sibling dynamic. It has been wayyy too long since I read a story that focused on two siblings as the protagonists.

What I Liked:

–The Focus on the Siblings–

I’m so use to reading alternating POV from romantic partners so I thought it was super cool that this story used two siblings to tell the story. Bess and Jack seem to have their own individual plot lines happening so I liked the promise that there would be a lot happening.

What I Didn’t Like / Why I Dnf’d it:

–The Setting was Unexpected–

What I didn’t realize is that this series takes place in the 1800s. I honestly don’t know why I thought it was a modern day/1900s story so that threw me for a loop. It surprised me that I didn’t enjoy this setting more because I LOVE Victorian/Georgian era stories but I just couldn’t get into the time period.

–Not As Exciting as I Thought–

Given that the two leads have essentially their own plot lines and–you know–the fact that they are spies, I thought things would move at an accelerated pace…and that wasn’t necessarily the case.

I found the writing to be dry and my mind would wander thinking about other things so I would miss what I assume are going to be important details. I also feel like nothing really happened in the first 20% of the book–just a lot of exposition which is fine but I still really didn’t know where the plot was going to go when I decided to call it quits.

Will I Finish It?

I first DNF’d this at 15% (so end of Chapter 4) but then the reviews on Goodreads made me want to keep going. I also read the synopsis for the rest of the series and was mildly curious about the events that come later. Add to the fact that I had this as a Rock my TBR selection and it has sat on my Kobo forever and I really wanted to push forward.

So I tried to read a chapter or two a day and got through a whomping one more than before when I realized I just couldn’t do it. Yes, it sucks but it isn’t fair to this book nor myself to keep on trying to make something work that just isn’t going to no matter how hard I try.

Series Rating: N/A

overall

I think if I had read this as a young teen, I would have really enjoyed it. Fact of the matter is, as someone approaching her mid-20s and who has a lot of experience with faster paced YA reads, this one doesn’t keep up. I need insta-excitement and intrigue from the start and this one just didn’t have it.

Read if You Like: tween/younger YA reads, Victorian era spies but set in America
Avoid if You: want faster plots, want more romance

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  • A Spy in the House by Y S Lee (The Agency Series #1)

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Series Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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 Alienated (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

breakdown

Series: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a FREE bridging e-novella #1.5: Until Midnight

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Aliens, Humour
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcopy; Audiobook (United)

thoughts

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this series; I think I was doing my 6 degrees of book recommendations on Goodreads–you know, where you look up one book and in the corner you see this other cover that captures your attention and so on and so forth… Regardless, I found this book and saw that my local library had copies so I said why not? The only YA alien romance novel/series that I have read to date is Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux Series which I enjoyed quite a bit. So when she says “with the right mix of sizzling romance, action, and suspense, ALIENATED is easily my favorite alien book to date” well, I was going to pay attention and pick it up–so mission accomplished marketing department 😉

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read Alienated. I suppose I expected the cliches of an antagonistic love affair and high school drama–and that is there for sure but it also had a splash of humour which was what I loved the most!

I loved Aelyx’s cynical attitude about things and how he would describe everyday Earth things as if they were the craziest thing he had ever seen. Cara was also really funny and sensible–which I find rare in a YA heroine these days. Together they had a really great connection and their banter back and forth was a lot of fun to read!

And while there was some high school drama, it balanced well with the romance and the larger-scheme plot lines that were happening. Like Armentrout said in her review, it really was the perfect mix of everything you like in a YA novel which makes it such a treat to read!

I read the novella, Until Midnight, right before Invaded. It definitely isn’t necessary but it bridges the physical time gap between the two books. Plus, it’s a FREE eBook so really it’s almost silly not to read the 5 chapters of the short story!

Invaded took me longer to get into. I think part of the reason is the circumstances of the plot (which is hard to elaborate on when you write spoiler-free reviews!) but suffice it to say, given the situations Aelyx and Cara find themselves in, I expected it to begin on the slower side of things. So while I appreciated the character development in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the faster pace of the last half a lot more.

This series is listed as completed–Landers is writing a new book for 2016–but she said on her website page that more books are contingent upon book sales of Invaded. While I am completely satisfied with the way things ended, I would be open to reading more books in this series–or at the very least a follow-up novella.

updates

–January 3, 2019– Book #3: United

I was really excited to return to the world of Alienated but I ended up slightly disappointed in this instalment. I like a lot of things happening in my novels at once but the plot here was almost too overwhelming to fully enjoy. I missed the banter between our two leads the most. I felt like we just rehashed the same things between them over and over without any concrete resolution. It has been a long time since I read the previous novels so perhaps I wasn’t a up-to-date with the world as I should have been…but I did find the recaps we got were sufficient in the book though.

Finally, I wasn’t a fan of the audiobook production. She was a very stiff narrator: which works for the L’eihr dialogue but not very well for a 3rd person POV of both humans and L’eihr.

My Rating: 4/5

Alienated 4/5 | Invaded 4/5 | United 3/5

overall

This series was a fun, light-hearted read that I found to be refreshing! While it won’t be gracing the top of any of my favourites list, I enjoyed reading it a lot. It was a great blend of everything I like in a YA romance read: great chemistry, funny leads and interesting plot situations.

Read if You Like: hate-to-love romances, aliens, humour
Avoid if You: dislike “forbidden” romances, are expecting a true Science Fiction focus, dislike “fluffier” YA

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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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Top Ten Tuesdays: Recently Added TBR Books (Freebie Edition) [2]

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally wear my David Letterman Hat and create my own Top 10 List as specified!


This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Recently Added TBR Books

Freebie Edition

I probably add 10 books a day to my TBR pile (no joke!) but I decided to put a freebie spin on this weeks’ Top Ten Post by picking books that I recently picked up as Freebies from Amazon.ca and Kobo.com.

*Note: These reads might not be listed as free on these sites any more or in your country but I encourage you to check anyways just in case!

Here are the FREE reads I recently added to my TBR (in no particular order):

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Maybe This Time has been on my TBR forever but I never got around to buying it–so when I saw it for free on Amazon, I thought I was dreaming. I quickly checked to see if I could get it for my Kobo (my preferred eReading device) and there it was for FREE! Super happy!

Have you picked up any good freebie reads lately? Is there one you are dying to read?

Novella Serial Review: Gypsy Brothers by Lili St. Germain

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Seven Brothers (from Goodreads):

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

Including my innocence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

breakdown

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

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

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

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up?

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

The Concept:

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

The Plot:

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

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

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

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

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

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DNF Review: Until I Met You by Jaimie Roberts

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 Until I Met You (from Goodreads):
What happens when the worlds of two tortured souls collide?

Angelina Bradshaw has always believed that she does not need a man in her life. That’s what she has been telling herself her entire adult life. She feels worlds apart from her family’s dreams for her to meet a man, settle down, and have babies. She certainly can’t be doing that because love just gets in the way. She has a ‘go to’ guy and that’s enough for her.

Living in rural Cornwall, she is bored and in desperate need of adventure, so when a family friend offers her a job in London, there’s no hesitation. She expected adventure, she expected a new start, but what she didn’t expect was to meet a man who would turn her life upside-down. Seth Jacobs is hot, sexy, and can’t understand why Angelina doesn’t want him. No one has ever said no to Seth Jacobs—in fact—they all fall at his feet.

Seth pursues her relentlessly and Angelina fights him at every corner. He is the only man who has ever affected her, and the need to run from him is immense. However, Seth is not one to give up so easily. He soon finds himself on a mission, determined to win her heart.

Unfortunately for Angelina, all is not well when her past and present collide after receiving some unwelcoming and frightening news from home. She feels desperate and alone, but most of all, she feels she has to push Seth away before it’s too late.

To make matters worse, a catastrophic secret from the past is revealed, threatening to destroy the one thing, Angelina finally holds dear to her heart.

Review:

PLEASE NOTE: That I only read until the end of Chapter 6 (page 91) for this book and did not finish it prior to publishing this review. Find out why below…

I got this book as an Amazon Freebie one day and decided to read it right away because of the positive reviews on Goodreads and the synopsis captured my attention (also, I needed a standalone novel for my blog post this week). But once I was 50 pages in I started to wonder if I was reading the same thing as everyone else…

I can get past the slightly sloppy writing and editing errors when reading a book, especially ones that I get for free on Amazon because they are mostly self-published. And that was my plan going into this book after reading the reviews. However, I can’t get past slow plot lines and annoying heroines. I almost enacted my 50 page rule but decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt because we hadn’t met Seth yet (yes, that’s how slow the book is) and I had hoped he was going to save the book.

He didn’t…

And the reason is Angelina. Of course every man in the world is attracted to her and I have no idea why. For a 26 year old woman she acts like she’s 15 at times. Perhaps I expected her to be more mature considering “her secret from the past” but I was very disappointed in her as a character. I just didn’t like her at all and because the book is told solely from her POV it irritated me beyond belief. Lots of other reviews said she was “funny”–again, I fail to see how. I laugh at everything and I never laughed at anything she said/did. I just didn’t like her.

As I mentioned before, the book was slow. Certain plot points weren’t needed. For example the first chapter could have been greatly reduced to get the same message across and get into the thick of things. Because from what I’ve read from others’ reviews, there were some great twists along the way. I just wish we got that momentum earlier in the book because I probably would have stuck it out if we did.

Conclusion:

As of this moment, I don’t have any plans to finish this book. I was 1/3 of the way through when I stopped reading and I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything as I write this review. Just poor execution and nothing original (from what I read) in terms of contemporary romance. Pass.

Rating: 1/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Hell no.

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Contemporary, Romances, Drama, Chick Lit
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads 2014
Similar Reads: Reflect Me by K. B. Webb (Reflect Me Series #1) and Chosen Heart by Ann Stewart (Hart Series #1)

Series Review: Trapped 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:

Trapped by Beverley Kendall | Trapped Series

The Trap (Trapped, #0.5) 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Trapped (from Goodreads):
My life has turned out to be such a cliché. And not in a good way.

It’s not exactly Sixteen and Pregnant, but at eighteen my only advantage is a high school diploma. And if that’s not enough, the father—and I use that term loosely—couldn’t have hightailed it out of my life fast enough.

I thought I really knew him. Unfortunately, my boyfriend of three years transformed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde once he realized his carefree, childless days would be coming to an end.

I’m over him now though. The real love of my life is chubby, has more gum than teeth, and stands a little over two feet tall. She may not have been planned, but I’ve never regretted having her. She is the center of my world.

A world that’s been turned upside down when Mitch returns ready to earn the love and trust of the child he abandoned before birth.

Letting him into my daughter’s life is one thing but letting him back into mine isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Now if only I can get my heart to heed the lessons of the past.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite new New Adult Series 2014
Series: Trapped

This series intersects with Kendall’s other series, Unforgettable You, just before book 2 in the series, Always for You. However, you do not need to read that series to read this series.

Author: Beverley Kendall
# of Books: 3 (Trapped, Tamed, Played)

There is a prequel novella for Trapped called The Trap (it’s FREE) that I recommend you read before you read Trapped.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 20142018
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up:

Every since I saw the synopsis for Trapped, I’ve been counting down the days to read it. Though I didn’t love Beverley Kendall’s other full New Adult novel, Only for You, I did love its novella that took place after with a different set of characters (All Over You). So I wasn’t going to give up on her yet!

The Prequel, The Trap:

I started by reading the prequel novella, The Trap, which is FREE on all major eRetailers. I highly recommend that you read this novella before you read Trapped because it really sets the context for everything and does so better than the full novel did. I think reading the novella helped give me some sympathy (or at the very least understanding) towards the characters that I wouldn’t necessarily have had if I had just read the novel. Because let’s face it, Mitch is a bit of a jerk for doing what he did regardless; but getting the full story thanks to the novella helped me grow to like him in Trapped.

The Plot:

Trapped was great! Normally I’m not a huge fan of second chance romances because I find them very predictable but this one wasn’t entirely predictable in the sense that there are a few other plotlines going on that add interesting twists to everything. I found that very refreshing. It was a slower plot but I always found that it kept my attention

The Characters:

As for the characters, I thought everyone was great. Mitch and Paige were much more mature than Kendall’s other leads in Only for You despite being the same age and friends with them. They were also super cute together and weren’t over the top in anything that they did. The hotter scenes between them aren’t numerous but I’m glad that was the case because I think it would have taken away from the story. The other supporting characters were just as interesting as Mitch and Paige but they didn’t overshadow them in anyway which was super nice.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m very excited to get some of the secondary casts stories!

Series Rating: 4/5

[The Trap 4/5] | Trapped 4/5 | Played TBD

overall

I really enjoyed The Trap and Trapped. They were refreshing in the sense that they were realistic with a dash of dramatics that one expects in a New Adult fiction read. Those who like second chance romances (especially with unexpected pregnancies) will really enjoy this one!

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Single Sundays: Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore

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 Evanescent (from Goodreads):
“Then it is settled,” Felix declared. “Come hell or high water, when this is all over, at least one of us here will not make it out alive.”

When Bronwen Snow is pulled from her cottage in the middle of the night, she finds herself seeking the help of three mysterious boys who reside in an abandoned castle deep in the hillside. With only a hasty handwritten note and a vague sense of dread to guide her, Bronwen is forced to put her trust in the eccentric and willful Felix Cavara and his eternal curse – immortality.

Review:

This was another freebie from Amazon that I randomly decided to read one day between library books. I grabbed it because it was free, of course, but because it sounded interesting and had a shorter page count.

This book is pretty quirky if you ask me–which made it fun to read. There where quite a few times that I smiled or chuckled to myself because I really loved Felix’s wit. It really made the book a light, easy read that was just what I needed between my heavier, darker themed books.

Despite a plot that felt slower to me, I went through the pages pretty quickly. Don’t expect some high action novel with tons of fighting and high levels of suspense. There were definitely moments of action but it was pretty minor and it was suspenseful at times. I didn’t find it predictable (I never would have guessed the ending) though it was easy to follow. It was fun to read and to try and figure out what was going to happen to Bronwen and company.

Conclusion:

This book was like reading a modern faery tale with more supernatural elements to it. If you go in expecting a more light hearted novel with paranormal and supernatural elements, you will like this book for what it is.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural
Recommended for: 15+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: third person
Similar Reads: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

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DNF Series Review: Hart by Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash

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

The Hart Series

 book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014
Series: The Hart Series
Author: Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash
# of Books: 3 (Chosen Heart, Shattered Heart, Destined Heart)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Soap Opera, Workplace Romance
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts on Chosen Heart:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel, Shattered Heart. Find out why below…

When I read the synopsis for this book when browsing Kindle’s Bestseller Freebie lists, I was really excited to read it. Never mind the other 100 books that I had previously acquired for my Kindle or the books I had out from the library–I had to read this one. The whole “you don’t marry your dirty little secret” line of the synopsis is what really drew me in. In my mind, that meant I was in for some good drama and a dash of mystery so I was there.

My initial impression of Chosen Heart was that is was very Fifty Shades of Grey-esque. A younger, just starting out in the real world (in this case a new job) girl meets a mysterious rich, slightly older man; has a best friend who is in love with her and features the classic “I’ll save you” at the bar scene. But to be fair to this book, it isn’t a regurgitation of Fifty Shades. Yes it has similar elements but I didn’t feel as though I was rereading Fifty Shades. Another key difference is that this book features an alpha male but one who isn’t super rich or into BDSM–so score there on that last point (unless you like that kind of thing)! So while this book starts as your typical contemporary, business setting romance it moves in a completely different direction.

The best way to describe this book is as a soap opera in a novel. There is a lot of back and forth between Alex and Elyssa in terms of their relationship and there are plenty of rivals for their affections at every turn. The last quarter of the book is the very definition of a soap opera to me when everything starts to come together and the drama unfolds. I felt like I was watching an episode of Dallas because it got very soapy near the end 😛

Truth be told, I probably would have stopped reading it because it felt like it was dragging at times. It’s weird to say that things were dragging considering everything really happens in a matter of days but it just seemed like it was the same regurgitation of things: he likes me, he ignores me, we reunite, we stop talking, ex-boyfriend shows up, etc. But this book kind-of became a guilty pleasure to me because I really wanted to know what all the secrets were. And I have to say that while I had my suspicions about what they would be and I was correct, there were a few good spins that I didn’t see coming that really added to the over-the-top drama.

I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the characters of Alex and Elyssa. Sometimes I would like them and other times I just wanted to smack them on the head. I never really liked Elyssa to be honest though there were a few moments I thought I might get on her side. She just rubbed me the wrong way with how she handled things and I felt like she was expecting too much from something that happened so quickly. She makes a lot of assumptions about things and sometimes the assumptions seemed so out of left field. Though to be fair, Alex was just as bad with his assumptions as well.

Alex was a very alpha male character and I didn’t feel that it was totally warranted at times considering they just met. I also felt like he was just going through the motions of the stereotypical alpha male but was missing a few things along the way. I didn’t always get how he got from point A to B–I just felt like he was missing a piece to his character here and there. Most of the time I think it was used to create drama for the reader but all it did for me was irritate me because it seemed to be so senseless. But I did like him when he expressed his views about the “big freshman secret” because he was completely right in my opinion–even if I didn’t like his physical reaction to it.

As I was finishing this book, I sort-of came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be reading the sequel. I didn’t love Chosen Hart as much as I thought and I really didn’t see what could happen in a sequel–so I wasn’t about to subject myself to more “he loves me, he loves me not” chapters. But once I got to the final few chapters, I found myself curious to see what would happen next. I think if my reading list permits it, I will check out the sequel but as of this moment, I am going to leave the series as is and finish it at a later time.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a good soap opera book, this is it. I felt like I was watching an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful unfold before my eyes as I read. A definite guilty pleasure read!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Chosen Heart (from Goodreads):
Elyssa Hart has tried to forget that frightful night during her freshman year of college. Since then it’s been hard to let anyone close, which is why she only has one friend near and dear to her heart. Forsaking all others, she lives a silent, lonely existence. That was until she jumped into the next chapter of her life; Sales Executive at the prestigious Salerno Health, Inc.

The moment she met the always calm and collected Alexander James, her life was set on a new path. One moment she’s slowly falling in love and the next she’s plummeting painfully to the ground with the realization that you don’t marry your dirty little secret; you keep her in the closet. That was, until she found out she was not his only kept secret.

Will the enigma of Mr. James be more than Elyssa can handle? Or will she choose him, like she promised she always would.

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Series Review: L A Girls by Julia Derek

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

Series: L A Girls
Author: Julia Derek
# of Books: 4 (Trigger, Love Cursed, Undercover Lovers, Lovely Revenge)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2014 – November 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kindle)

thoughts

Once again, this was a Kindle Freebie that I just had to read as soon as I “purchased” it. There was something about the synopsis that really grabbed my attention. To me, it promised a juicy secret past that was once again coming to light as this relationship starts to blossom–and I couldn’t wait to find out what it was. I also thought the online dating bit was super interesting; I always see the ads on TV for various online dating websites but I’ve never read about it in a book. So while I wasn’t expecting the online dating to be a huge part of the story, I thought it was a refreshing new way to see two people meet instead of at some party.

Which is highlighted a bit more in Dylan’s part of the synopsis. I actually liked that we get this awkward tension right at the start because it keeps things interesting. But this is where things get messy, because even after an awkward first date, each of them thinks they have found the love of their life.

Um, what?!

So right when I thought we were escaping the insta-love connection aspect of the story, we get tossed into it. Along the way I got hints of why they would be good for each other but I just wished their relationship was more developed or happened over a longer period of time when all is said and done.

From there the story went in a completely different direction than I ever anticipated. It gets more suspenseful because a murder occurs. That may be a bit of a spoiler but I think it is important to know so you aren’t expecting this book to be something other than what it is.

And this aspect of the plot really makes or breaks the characters: and in my opinion it breaks them. Nina is a hot mess and Dylan is just as bad. I felt like they were a little all over the place throughout the book. Part of the problem was the insta-love connection but another part of the problem was how they worked out things logistically. They just seemed a little odd to me and I had a hard time liking them.

This book will be the first of 4 and from what I can see each book features a different set of characters. Although I am curious about what will happen in the next book I won’t be reading it unless I get it for free again.

Series Rating: DNF

Trigger 2/5 | Love Cursed N/A | Lovers Undercover N/A | Lovely Revenge N/A

overall

It’s a shame because I think this book had a lot of good things to it in theory: it just needed that final polish to make it a good read. The execution was sloppy to me and that caused me to be disappointed in my reading experience. I won’t be continuing on with this series.

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Trigger (from Goodreads):
Sparks fly when struggling actress Nina Tyler meets hot lawyer Dylan Whitman. The chemistry between them is so intense Nina even rethinks her staunch position on relationships. Maybe they’re not a waste of time after all. But there’s something about Dylan that scares her—and she knows it has nothing to do with fear of getting close to a man, like her best friend thinks. It’s something far worse.
Preppy Dylan has had his heart broken and his uncle challenges him to move on by going on five online dates. Dylan ends up on a date with Nina. While her unabashed attitude unsettles him at first, he soon realizes that he really likes her. But as they get closer, she pulls back. It’s as if she’s convinced he’d physically hurt her, which he’d never do. Still, if he doesn’t figure out what’s triggering her fear, she’ll never be his. Little does he know her fear is directly tied to him.

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