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Series Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

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 Beautiful Bastard (from Goodreads):

An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release

breakdown

Series: Beautiful Bastard

This series crosses over with the Wild Seasons Series in book 4, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are 5 novellas.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Drama
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (Kink: mild, BSDM: light in Book #2)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2013 – October 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Audiobook

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Series Review of the first few of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked Up This Series / It’s FanFiction Origins:

This series peaked my interest for three reasons: 1) the title (it isn’t every day you see “bastard” in a title); 2) the enemy to lovers plotline (I’m a sucker for this type of romance plotline) and 3) the fact that it was fan-fiction before being republished.

Now, the fact that it was fanfiction, specifically Twilight fanfiction, would rightfully deter people away from picking up Beautiful Bastard. I mean, Twilight fanfiction brought us Fifty Shades of Grey and I think that correlation creates a bias for all other fanfiction that orignated from Twilight. So, needless to say I was a bit skeptical about this book, but I did like Fifty Shades when all is said and done so I decided to give this a shot.

I have to say, this book wasn’t very “Twilight-y” in its delivery. Unlike Fifty Shades where you can pick up the obvious parallels between its story and Twilight, I really didn’t get that here. After I finished the book and read the authors’ biographies, I realized that this published version was different than the original fanfiction they created. So if you are worried that this is just a reworking of Twilight, it isn’t so go into it with a fresh mind.

My Review of Beautiful Bastard (#1):

As for the book, Beautiful Bastard, it was a quick and cute read. Nothing wholly original but I was entertained nonetheless. I wish there was a bit more tension between the characters before they started sleeping together. I kind-of wanted more of a buildup to the eventual “moment” but they do give some flashback and insight to their past relationship so that helps. But I still don’t really understand why they are drawn to each other besides the sex (which happens a LOT, nearly every chapter). I suppose it is expanded upon a bit later on but I could have used a little more details.

The book also ends rather abruptly I think. I like a nice little epilogue or wrap-up at the end of my books; especially when the next full length novel in the series doesn’t deal directly with those two characters. So the way it ended was a bit of a disappointment but the nice thing is the Beautiful Bitch novella picks up from the end of Beautiful Bastard and closes up some of those gaps. However, it also ended abruptly (it is a novella after all) but I did feel like I got some closure. I was lucky to borrow a copy but if I had paid the $6 to buy the book from Kobo, I would have been severely disappointed in this novella. But when all is said and done, I enjoyed it and it did get me excited to read Beautiful Stranger.

My Review of Beautiful Strangers (#2):

Unfortunately, Beautiful Stranger was a bit of a disappointment. It is really a shame because I really did like the characters and wanted to really like this book. There were two issues that caused me not to enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. One was the same problem I have with Beautiful Bastard: I don’t understand why these characters fall in love with each other. Sure, they have amazing sexually chemistry but again, I would have appreciate an expansion on the things they have in common and their connection because I do think it was there, it was just tucked behind the scenes. The other issue would be the “kink” factor these two share. By no means is it as kinky as some erotica novels out there but I really don’t understand the fascination with taking photos of yourself–especially when you know the risks involved. Just doesn’t float my boat and it took me a long time to get over that. Overall, I liked Beautiful Stranger, but not as much Beautiful Bastard and I wish there was an epilogue!

updates

–January 9, 2015– Book #2.5: Beautiful Bombshell

I won’t lie–this series slipped to the back of my mind in 2014 and that only reason I remember I read it was because of my library adding the last few works to the online catalogue in December. So I put my holds on them and waited.

I actually read Beautiful Player before I read Beautiful Bombshell just because of how my holds at the library worked out. I don’t feel like I missed out on much because it really had nothing to do with the leads in Beautiful Player (maybe two little facts about the hero) and everything to do with the leads in the previous two books. Beautiful Bombshell is basically just reading sex scenes involving the last two couples in various places in Vegas. I actually skimmed a lot of it because it was almost a sex overload — though I thought the last chapter was really cute.

–January 9, 2015– Book #3: Beautiful Player

As for Beautiful Player–hands down my favourite book in the series! I loved loved the two leads, loved their relationship and loved the plot line. Hanna reminded me so much of myself in her everyday life and she had my laughing throughout the book. Of course she had her little dumb moments but nothing that stopped me from loving her. And Will was just plain swoon-worthy. I never had to question why these two liked each other because their chemistry and connection was apparent from the start. They didn’t jump into bed together but actually had a relationship before all the sexual stuff came into the equation. But the sexual tension was there from the start and it made that moment when they actually crossed that line that much sweeter. I just thought it was really well done even if there wasn’t much else going on plot-wise other than their relationship growing.

–March 28, 2015– Book #3.6: Beautiful Beloved

Updated (March 28/15): I read Beautiful Beloved and really enjoyed it. Unlike Beautiful Bombshell, I didn’t feel like I was reading extended sex scenes of all the characters–it actually had a plot and an intriguing one at that! It raises good questions for the modern woman: how do you balance your work life with your obligations as a mother? And while I may not necessarily be in that place in my life at the moment, I think a lot of older women (and guys too!) will relate in some capacity to the couple here.

But perhaps the best part of Beautiful Beloved was the brief introduction to the hero in Beautiful Secret! I cannot wait for this book–I already have my name on the hold list at my library and am counting down the days!

–April 1, 2015– Book #3.5: Beautiful Beginning

I will admit that I didn’t give Beautiful Beginning the time it deserved because I had to return it to the library and read another book before it expired on me too. Like Beautiful Beloved, I thought it was a great way to wrap up these characters’ stories and it would have been a great way to end the series had they not decided to write Beautiful Secret (the crossover with their other series). It’s not sex scenes every two pages and it made me appreciate these two characters and their relationship a lot more. It was fun, touching and overall a great novella!

–May 6, 2015– Book #4: Beautiful Secret

Despite getting Beautiful Secret on its release day, I didn’t get a chance to read it until now. While this book didn’t blow my away like Beautiful Player, I simply adored it! I was worried it was going to be a British regurgitation of Beautiful Bastard (the premise is slightly similar with a young intern as the female lead) but they are drastically different. It was fun and sweet and sexy–everything I want (and have come to expect) in a Christina Lauren novel! I loved that instead of a naive young girl, we get a male lead who isn’t too sure of his sexual prowess and who hasn’t been sleeping his way through London. It made their connection more realistic to me than this “magical” connection that makes him change his ways after a mind-blowing “shag” (you know the stories I’m talking about?).

–July 6, 2020– Book #4.5: Beautiful Boss

These two are my favourite couple from this universe so I was excited to spend some extra time with them. This was a cute story and I think it answered some of those lingering questions I had about their future. Plus, it serves as a great segway to the finale!

–July 6, 2020– Book #5: Beautiful

I would have been happy ending the series at Book #4 but I’m so glad they wrote Beautiful. With a new couple to fall for and extended epilogues with everyone in the series: this is how you should wrap up an interconnected series like this!

Series Rating: 4/5

This series has come a long way since its humble beginnings as fanfiction. As they released more books, Christina Lauren’s writing vastly improved to show why they are a formidable romance writing duo!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike sex scenes

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Series Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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 Throne of Glass (from Goodreads):

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined

breakdown

Series: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are five prequel novellas in the series. Find out more here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Action, Romance, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: August 2012 – October 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover

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Why I Picked it Up:

I find that it is really hard to find a book with a strong female lead nowadays. And by strong, I mean a girl who doesn’t need a man to complete her, who can fight for herself and it helps if she can kick some literal butt. After completing the Vampire Academy Series, I have been on the search to find said leading lady. So when I read the promise of a female assassin in these books, I jumped at the chance and I am happy to say I think I found the girl for the job (or should I say “hit”? ;)).

Initial Impressions:

These books aren’t just straight action though. There is also a dangerous game of politics afoot as well as romance, mystery and drama so there is rarely a dull moment. There were also some plot twists along the way but I think a few were a little predictable (at least in Throne of Glass) so that is disappointing.

I only have two “peeves” about Throne of Glass. One “peeve” would be the lack of a particular character from the novellas in the novel–I just felt like said character played such an important role that they should have been mentioned more than they were in the book. My second “peeve” is the love triangle. I am not a fan of this “plot twist” so I would rather do without it; though I didn’t find it as “consuming” like it is in some novels. Basically, it isn’t the main focus of the book so bonus points there. I also want to say that Throne of Glass started a little slow and it did take me a while to get into it. Unlike the novellas that jump right into the action, this one takes a while to build so just be prepared.

I’m not sure where the next 5 books are planning on going, but I am excited to have another long-running, action packed series on my to-read list now. If only they could be released sooner!

updates

–December 7, 2013– Book #2: Crown of Midnight

I finished Crown of Midnight about a week ago and it’s taken me that whole week to grasp what just happened. When I said I wasn’t sure where the next few books were going I wasn’t lying. I didn’t see what happens coming and I am SUPER excited for the next book!

First, I have to say that the two peeves I commented on before are no longer an issue. Said character is mentioned more than enough to satisfy my requests and the love triangle is “resolved” for a lack of a better term. Unlike Throne of Glass that focuses on Celaena becoming the champion and kicking butt, this book focuses on the magic present in the kingdom and what is happening in their world. While there is still plenty of action, we learn a lot about all the major players and learn what game is truly afoot in this kingdom. Celaena especially has some great character development but still retains her kick-ass heroine status.

This book also hits the ground running. Lots of plot twists and developments that kept me guessing and putting off other aspects of my life just to read the next chapter. Definitely a strong sequel and the best book of the series so far!

–May 23, 2015– Book #3: Heir of Fire

I’ve never anticipated a book as much as I had Heir of Fire. So you can imagine my disappointment when Heir of Fire turned out to be…well…a slight disappointment. After waiting forever on my library’s waiting list, I tried to read this book in November 2014 and just couldn’t get into it. I got halfway through before I gave up in defeat and had to return it, vowing to try again later.

Well, the 2nd time was the charm! Despite getting halfway through the last time, I started Heir of Fire right from the start. This one starts slow and it’s been so long since I read Crown of Midnight that despite my killer book summary (I write down what happens in each book), it took me a while to get back into the groove of things.

I guess I expected it to be like Crown of Midnight which had me from the first word. This one was just a lot of wallowing and it was a tough time for Celaena, so it was a little depressing to read. The critic/analyst in me understands the need to slow things down and let things develop in this book but it just bored me; especially when I was expecting high action given the ending of the last book. But once I got past the halfway mark, it really was non-stop and I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, I liked how things developed and I am SUPER SUPER excited to see what happens next. I feel like this book was the little speed bump that usually happens in book 2 of trilogies and I don’t discount the need for it in the grand scheme of things: it just wasn’t what I was expecting initially but it definitely improved as I read!

Catch my spoiler filled rant on Heir of Fire Here!

–October 9, 2015– Book #4: Queen of Shadows

I was terrified the hype monster was going to kill this one for me so I dutifully ignored all reviews of this book before I read it. I’m glad I did because I went in with a fresh mind and was really able to enjoy it.

Queen of Shadows has much better pacing than its predecessor, though the page length really got to me. I was in it right from the start, felt a little drag in the middle but really felt like it pulled it socks up at the end. It still doesn’t beat Crown of Midnight for me in terms of a favourite, but it’s pretty close.

I really liked the plot twists and LOVED the character development. I also really liked that characters who were prominent in the novellas finally were brought in. More so than in the previous novels, the plot was really tied to the prequel novellas. It almost makes me wish I had read them more recently than when they were first published because all these characters would have been fresher in my mind.

Can’t wait to see where this story goes next! My faith has been officially restored in this series!

–October 25, 2016– Book #5: Empire of Storms

So I went from having my faith restored to being more than a little bored with this instalment…

I felt like the first 60% was filler–which makes for a slightly dull read when this book is 576 eBook pages long. While the plot does move forward in that time, it definitely dragged while doing so. It’s been a long time since I read the previous instalment so trying to get all those details page in my head (despite the killer notes I took when reading Queen of Shadows), specially the family trees (I swear everyone’s name starts with a G or an A or an E), didn’t make this enjoyable for me.

The last 30% was great! We get more action; the greater plot schemes get revealed and we finally get some drama! And I’m glad to see how the prequel novellas tie into this novel! Made me glad I read them all those years ago.

I’m excited to see how everything wraps up!

–March 23, 2019– Book #6: Tower of Dawn

It wasn’t that this book was bad per say: I just wonder about the necessity of it. I think we can all agree that the lead needed some major redemption after the last few books so it was nice to get that. However, could we have achieved that in half the amount of pages? You betcha! This could have been condensed considerably and still made an impact in the series.

I skimmed most of it, especially in the first half when it was so repetitive. Maas does have a beautiful flow to her writing (it’s not a hard book to read by any means) but she adds far to much detail and monotony to her work. Honestly, if I hadn’t invested so much time in this series over the years, I would have just skipped this.

–May 16, 2020– Book #7: Kingdom of Ash

I have never had a book take me this long to read. I think I took it out 4 separate times over the last 8 months and finally pushed my way through to finish it over the last 3 months.

I think I just outgrew this series. As the books got longer, I stopped caring about the characters. This story has come so far from what the inaugural title was and I’m not sure I really loved its progression in the end (I think its points for originality waned when you look at the similarities to Court of Thorns and Roses).

Maybe if I read the books closer together I would have enjoyed the last few better. But as more characters got introduced, I found it harder and harder to keep up. And the writing just felt repetitive at times (if I never see the word “mate” again it’ll be too soon).

I can appreciate the world and vision but at the end of the day, I think I outgrew this series and that was why I struggled to get through this final novel.

When to Read the Novellas:

I am of the camp that recommends you read the novellas before you pick up the first book in the series. By doing so, I feel like you get a get a better understanding of the world and why Celaena acts and thinks the way she does. I think if you don’t, you might think her character is a little too jaded (which can be irksome) and you won’t understand why she does the things she does. Sometimes that little bit of a background story makes all the difference in your impression of a character.

But I most definitely recommend you read the novellas prior to Queen of Shadows–because there are a lot of allusions there that you won’t understand until you read the novellas.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Throne of Glass 5/5 | Crown of Midnight 5/5 | Heir of Fire 3/5 | Queen of Shadows 4.5/5 | Empire of Storms 3/5 | Tower of Dawn 2/5 | Kingdom of Ash 2/5

overall

If you enjoy convoluted worlds with lots of characters and even longer novels, try this series out!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, ruthless characters, fantasy
Avoid if You: don’t like long series or long books

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Series Review: Beautifully Broken by Courtney Cole

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 If You Stay (from Goodreads):
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
Seriously.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.

But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
Wrong.

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he’s working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Beautifully Broken
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 5 (Full Series Reading Order Here)

There is a novella: #2.5 Until We Burn

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drugs, Abuse, Tragedy
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild [Before We Fall])
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2013 – July 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.**

Wow, I LOVED this book! It was everything I wanted in a New Adult read and it was such a great read!

I will admit, I was skeptical before reading this. I find with New Adult reads, some hit the mark perfectly by blending tragedy+romance+drama+maturity all into one. That is why I enjoy New Adult reads because they are more mature than most young adult books that have characters in high school. I’m in university myself so I find I relate better to characters my own age & their problems than the often petty high school drama. However, not all books hit the maturity level quite so well and I got worried this one wouldn’t.

I’m happy to say I was proven wrong. This book was extremely mature and handled the issues within it perfectly. The characters didn’t run from their past or just jump into bed together. They actively worked on their issues (and did so in the right way) and I found that extremely refreshing. (FYI, I had just finished the first book in Kelly Elliot’s Wanted Series which I found to be an extremely immature series so I might be a little skewed in my opinion when it comes to this one ;))

For some reason, I love the jerk/player character in romance novels. I guess it’s the hopeless romantic in me that likes to think love can heal people. Regardless, I really liked Pax as a character. He is charming, sweet and troubled but willing to make the right changes. Mila is also fantastic. She is strong and mature and I really respect her as a character.

The book is a really quick read–or maybe you just get sucked into it and lose all sense of time. There isn’t too much else to the plot other than their relationship and dealing with their personal problems (score for no unnecessary drama!) but there is enough to keep you interested.

I’m really looking forward to book 2, If You Stay and I refused to read the little 1 chapter preview in my book because I don’t want to get hung up on it 😛

updates

–January 28, 2016– Book #2: If You Leave

It is just a TAD ridiculous that it took me nearly 3 years to read a book I was super excited to read–and I want to be clear that it in no way reflects my opinion on the series. I was faithful and continued to buy each book as they were released–I just never got around to them thanks to the countless other books that fell into my hands.

But let’s just start by saying that this book was worth the wait! I loved this story for so many different reasons! I thought the relationship and characters were extremely realistic, even if things between them happened fast or some of the events were more dramatic than necessary. I felt so many emotions when reading this book–from joy to sadness to anger to frightfulness–you name an emotion and this book probably has it. It was just plain addicting to read and I easily became absorbed in the story.

–February, 2016– Book #3: Before We Fall

I was really curious to see where this book was going to go given the heroine–but it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting nor one that I loved.

I really didn’t enjoy the relationship between these two at the start and even contemplated not finishing the novel. But I really wanted to find out the backstory of our hero and so I stuck around. I do feel like the story and relationship improved as the story progressed but it could have simply been me  becoming accustomed to these characters and their story.

While the tragedy of the past novels is here, the dynamic of this story is so different from the previous books I think. I didn’t love the heroine’s progression, especially given the events of the past book and I felt like the focus was more on our hero. Which is fine, just not what I really expected. I also felt like their romantic relationship was very unhealthy and I didn’t immediately see why they would like each other besides physical attraction. I supposed I just wanted–and expected more from these characters.

Loads of sexual tension (though it did make me uncomfortable at times) and buckets of drama, this book combines elements I’ve read in other books in a way that is unique but I think will be really hit of miss with its readers.

–March 1, 2016– Book #4: Until We Fly

This one was a definite improvement over Until We Break. The romantic connection was more sound; there was a better (albeit tough to read) story line; and the characters had a better progression. My only hesitation in giving this a 5 was how fast the romance side of things developed.

This one was more of what I’ve come to expect from Cole’s work: a strong, passionate romance with great plot twists along the way. It was a solid way to end the series and I think fans will appreciate that.

–February 13, 2020– Book #5: My Peace

I was quite satisfied with the ending of this series but I was curious to see what this return would be all about. This was a touch more dramatic than I wanted it to be. While I adore the overall aspects Cole extracts from Pax’s character, I think we could have accomplished the same without the over the top dramatics.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

If You Stay 5/5 | If You Leave 4.5/5 | Before We Fall 3/5 | Until We Fly 4/5 | My Peace 3/5

overall

One of the best new adult reads I have read. Great story, great characters and it is mature in its delivery. You can’t go wrong!

Read if You Like: mature stories, passionate romance, tragedy filled stories
Avoid if You: dislike tragedy

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Series Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

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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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #2 Annoying Heroine of all time (America)
Series: The Selection

The Selection, The Elite and The One are all America’s story. The Heir and The Crown are Eadlyn’s.

Author: Kiera Cass
# of Books: 5 (The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, The Crown)

There is also a prequel novella, The Prince and another called The Queen. There are also two novellas that takes place after book 2 called The Guard and The Favourite.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Dystopian,
Heat Rating: warm
POV: First Person, Single
Source: Borrowed–Paperback (The Selection); Public Library

thoughts

When I read The Selection, two of my friends who have similar reading tastes to me, had just finished reading it. My one friend really enjoyed it while the other didn’t care too much for it. This left me with mixed expectations so I tried to read the book as objectively as possible.

After reading the first book, I could understand why the views were so mixed. This book is clearly marketed for a younger teen audience. The writing is nothing fabulous (it’s like Twilight where it is not the best writing in the world) but as my friend who liked the story said to me, it’s the story’s concept that makes it interesting and enjoyable. It’s very Hunger Games meets The Bachelor which is cool in my opinion. (More emphasis on The Bachelor aspect though) I liked the idea of the competition and I feel like the concept is well conceived mostly because it is so simple.

America isn’t my favourite book heroine ever. I don’t understand her logic sometimes and I find that she is very strong in some convictions but not others (which seems contradictory to me). Everyone claims she is funny but I fail to see her comedic skills in either of the two books. While I was reading The Elite I reached the conclusion that she is very immature in her thoughts and actions.

Be warned, there is a love triangle in this series and it is a full blown “Who I love today isn’t who I love tomorrow or who I loved yesterday”. She flops like a fish in both books and then she gets angry when the prince spends time with other girls who he might have feelings for. I definitely have a “team” when it comes to the love triangle but to be honest, I’m not really “sold” on any of the choices yet either. The guy I was rooting for kind-of pissed me off in The Elite with his immaturity and actions but I’m hoping he can win me back in The One.

Besides the love triangle and the immature heroine, I feel like this book is missing that little something that makes it noteworthy. I wish more was done with the rebel attacks but so far they are just little blurbs here and there. The series in the first two books really only focuses on the Selection and America’s struggles with the competition and the possibility that she may be princess one day and not on the conflict against the monarchy.

updates

–July 19/14– Book Three: The One

My wish for my rebel fighting was finally granted with The One. The focus definitely shifts more to the rebellion but not enough for my tastes. There are a few unexpected twists that I felt were added to keep up with some of the “darker” young adult dystopian novels but it really has nothing on the Hunger Games in terms of grittiness. America is still a brat to me and I had to roll my eyes a few times at her. However, I felt like all the characters had a decent amount of growth to them. Bonus points for how everything at the end unfolded–I really had no clue what was going to happen which made me happy. Overall, The One was a good conclusion for the series.

On another note, I’m really excited to read The Queen novella. Queen Amberly is one of my favourite characters and I can’t wait to read her story!

–December 13/14– Novella: The Queen

 The Queen was finally published and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I almost wish we got a full story with Queen Amberly because she is a much more fascinating and tolerable heroine than America ever was. It is a nice tie in to the series and I was very happy with it. I’m not sure if I would read it before I read the series; I think it is almost best to read it after The One because it justifies some of the events you see.

I was shocked to discover that there are going to be at least two more books in this series! These books seem to be about the next generation so that boosts my spirits a bit. If I had to endure another two books of America as the lead I think I would pass for sure. But, my curiosity is peaked and I will probably pick up The Heir to see what is next in this world. Hopefully, it will improve upon its predecessor.

–June 21/15– Book Four: The Heir

I found The Heir to be surprisingly addicting! I got really absorbed into the story. I think it’s because Eadlyn is the one picking the boys this time around and not a competitor herself. There’s just an unpredictability to it that makes it exciting.

As for Eadlyn, I didn’t find her as annoying as America but she was definitely just as bratty if not worse sometimes. It was frustrating because I liked her desire to be independent and to be Queen without a man beside her; I just didn’t like how she treated people. She was rude, abrupt and just plain mean sometimes. Worst part was, when people called her out on it she would get upset and defensive and basically be all of the things she was called out on to that person while claiming she wasn’t. Hypocritical to say the least. She does have some self awareness near the end and I hope that continues in the sequel (the final novel).

–June 10/16– Book Five: The Heir

My rating might have more to do with the end result of who gets “selected” than anything else. I really didn’t like how everything wrapped up and that really disappointed me.

Eadlyn was all over the place in terms of her character. She seemed to grow a bit but man, she wasn’t winning me over in her attempts to win over her people. She comes across as selfish and conceited. Even when her mind was made up about the guys, she’d be upset that they weren’t in love with her and that just irritated me.

The romance was zilch for me. Perhaps if I had read [book:The Heir|22918050] closer to this one, I might have seen more or appreciated it more but this did nothing for me. I didn’t like how the relationships progressed at all and when it became apparent to me how this was all going to end, I really didn’t like it. That dampened my entire experience.

I did like the political aspect but it felt rushed at the end and a little too late for me to truly appreciate it.

Overall, a disappointing end to a series I considered to be a guilty pleasure read. Sigh.

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Selection 4/5 | The Elite 3.5/5 | The One 3/5 | The Heir 3.5/5 | The Crown 2.5/5

overall

Definitely recommended for a younger reader crowd (14+). It’s not the greatest dystopian young adult read and so far it mostly focuses on the romance: so if you want a romance story with a minimal dystopian background, check it out! This series is a guilty pleasure for me but I know that lots of people wouldn’t enjoy it.

Read if You Like: mostly romance novel, enjoy The Bachelor/Bachelorette
Avoid if You: don’t like love triangles, don’t like bratty heroines, want more dystiopian elements

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Synopsis for The Selection (from Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

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Series Review: One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy

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

One Week Girlfriend

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for One Week Girlfriend (from Goodreads):

Temporary. That one single word best describes my life these last few years. I’m working at a temporary job until I can finally break free. I’m my little brother’s temporary mother since our mom doesn’t give a crap about either of us. And I’m that temporary girl all the guys want to get with because I give it up so easily. According to the rumors, at least.

But now I’m the temporary girlfriend of Drew Callahan, college football legend and all around golden guy. He’s beautiful, sweet—and he’s hiding way more secrets than I am. He’s brought me into this fake life where everyone seems to hate me. And everyone seems to want something from him. The only thing he seems to want though is…

Me.

I don’t know what to believe anymore. All I know is, I think Drew needs me. And I want to be there for him.

Forever.

breakdown

Series: Drew + Fable; One Week Girlfriend Quartet
Author: Monica Murphy
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are two novellas. See Reading Order for more info.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Toasty to Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2013 – April 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kobo)

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a review of the first two books of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Review of One Week Girlfriend & Second Chance Boyfriend:

I really went into this book thinking it was going to be a typical, New Adult Romance where the girl from the wrong side of the tracks catches the eye of the Golden Boy and I was ok with that. But boy, was I wrong–and I am so glad that I was!

I really enjoyed this book! I really don’t think it has anything to do with the price (you know sometimes things seem infinitely better when you don’t pay much for them?) I just realy enjoyed what happened in this first novel. There is a lot more going on here than what the summary eludes to and the great thing was that it didn’t play out the exact way I thought it was as a little bit of the mystery is revealed a little bit at a time.

I also loved Fable and Drew. Fable is everything I like in a heroine–strong, likeable, smart and witty.  So I didn’t find her annoying and I loved how independent she is. Drew is great too–he captures your heart. I really liked their relationship dynamic and could see how they connected besides a physical attraction–despite the fact that they are essentially together for a week.

Another thing I love is the set-up of the series. Two books is the perfect length for their story. It wasn’t dragged out in Second Chance Boyfriend and as a reader I appreciate that. Both books are also super quick to read page-number wise (but you will probably devour it anyways regardless of page numbers) but again, I didn’t feel like anything was missing from the story by having it shorter than some books.

updates

–February 4, 2014– Book #3: Three Broken Promises

I had always hoped that we would get this book after Drew and Fable’s story was done in Second Chance Boyfriend because we get so many insights into Colin and Jen’s story. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It was cute, charming and swoon-worthy. While I did get a little irritated with the lack of communication between the two at times, I let it go pretty quickly because it was hard to dislike the two of them.

–February 4, 2014– Book #3.5: Drew + Fable Forever

Drew + Fable Forever should be read after Three Broken Promises because it does take place shortly after it (I know it’s tempting to read it before but I promise it is worth it to wait). I like that this wasn’t a full blown novel, rather an extended epilogue and it gave me that little bit more of closure about both sets of leads. It also made me excited to read Owen’s story in Four Years Later.

–March 17, 2014– Book #4: Four Years Later

I really enjoyed Four Years Later. While I didn’t find it as strong as the previous books, I burned through it quickly and loved every minute of it. Overall, I felt like this book was more about Chelsea and Owen growing as individuals as a result of them meeting and then falling in love with each other. I didn’t feel like their connection to each other was as strong as the other two relationships in the previous books but I liked both of them a lot and as I read I saw their connection develop. The ending felt a little rushed but I was very satisfied with how this series wrapped up.

–June 18, 2019– Book #4.5: Five Days Until You

I always felt like their story was a little unfinished, but I’m not sure if this is the way I wanted it to end? Extended epilogues are tricky because you need to find the right balance with romance moments and wrapping up any loose storylines. Here, because it is 11 chapters long, I think I want a little more substantial development. I thought there were too many sex scenes to the ratio of the plot. The last 2 chapters were great since that’s when we got some drama and development but otherwise, I lost interest about halfway through.

Series Rating: 4/5

One Week Girlfriend 5/5 | Second Chance Boyfriend 4/5 | Three Broken Promises 4/5 | [Drew + Fable Forever 5/5] | Four Years Later 4/5 | [Five Days Until You 3/5]

overall

One of my favourite New Adult reads ever: great characters, great stories, and great romance.

Read if You Like: damaged characters finding love
Avoid if You: dislike drama

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Series Review: Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner

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 Release Me (from Goodreads):
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

breakdown

Series: Stark Trilogy, Stark
Author: J. Kenner
# of Books: 4 (Release Me, Claim Me, Complete Me, Anchor Me)

There are also novellas that takes place after the final book. Full list here.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Steamy (BDSM: mild)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2013 – April 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I will admit I enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey–not for the kinky sex but for the plot. Yes, there was a plot to the series but that is beside the point. So I can say I was excited to read this series because it is recommended for fans of Fifty Shades and it promised to have more of a plot.

The Plot:

I really liked this series (at this point I had only read the first two books). If you compare Fifty Shades of Grey and the first book, Release Me, they both have similar plot progression and delivery; however there are some differences that make this series its own.

Where this differs really differs from Fifty Shades is in book 2, Claim Me. There are major plot developments that separate this book completely from Fifty Shades and does so in a way that has me counting down the days to the final book.

The Characters:

For one the characters are their own. Nikki is a more driven and academically intelligent than Anastasia. Nikki also has her own issues to work out emotionally and mentally. She is a very heavy character but is very likable at the same time. Damien is also complex emotionally and mentally, much like Christian, but not so BSDM driven (though he does have control issues and likes his toys & ties and this becomes stronger as the books progress). While he is always sexually charged, you can see that he does care for Nikki–whereas it wasn’t always obvious with Christian.

The Romance:

These two are cute together and it was obvious to me why they would fall for each other. They do become a little too consumed with each other but that is also the nature of what people expect in this Erotica genre.

updates

–January 21, 2014– Book #3: Complete Me

I FINALLY got around to reading the final book, Complete Me, and I have to say that it was a major disappointment 🙁

I think my main problem is that it is has been so long since I read Claim Me and I let myself build up this last book, Complete Me, so much. But I also feel let down by the characters. Damien seemed much more into BDSM that I previously remembered and Nikki (who used to be one of my favourite heroines in contemporary romance) really got on my nerves in this book. I was also expecting one aspect of the plot to be longer but it wasn’t. BUT I did like where the rest of the book went and I am happy with the way things ended (though I am glad there is a follow-up novella)!

I see that there is a spin-off series in the works with Jamie (Stark International Series) and the novella, Take Me, introduces us to Ms. Jenner’s next trilogy series, Most Wanted, with the first book called Wanted.

–January 20, 2014– Book #3.5: Take Me

The first few chapters of this novella are basically an extended sex epilogue of the trilogy but eventually we get a plot. While I enjoyed this extended epilogue and it made me excited to read the other series, I still feel like I’m lacking some closure with these two. Hopefully we see more of them in the spinoff series but I think fans will enjoy this novella. Also, don’t expect a huge introduction to Evan. He’s there for like two seconds and gone. If I didn’t know that the next series was a about him, I wouldn’t have given him a second thought.

–February 8, 2014– Book #3.6: Have Me

As with the previous novella, Have Me is just an excuse to read about Nikki and Damien have sex with each other. Plus, they are in that honeymoon phase where every line is about how much they love each other–which gets nauseating. I won’t lie, I really skimmed most of this novella because the first 50 pages are just smut and when the plot comes I just couldn’t bring myself to care. I won’t be picking up the 3rd novella anytime soon. I would have preferred a separate novel to combine all of this together instead of 3 separate novellas though I appreciate the fact that in theory these novellas provide the closure I was missing from the conclusion of the series.

Why I Won’t be Reading Anchor Me:

I’m kind of over these characters. I hate dragged out stories–they just seem like ploys for money and fanservice. I just don’t see the point of another full length novel.

Series Rating: 4/5

overall

In the end, I did enjoy this series. It has a solid blend of sexy and plot that fans of E.L. James and Sylvia Day will gobble up right away. It’s not as BDSM focused as Fifty Shades but has characters and situations similar to Bared to You.

Read if You Like: Contemporary Erotica, flawed leads
Avoid if You: dislike erotica, dislike long series

similarreads
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)
Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire Series #1)

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