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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:


Other books in the series:
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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Beautifully Broken
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 4 (If You Stay, If You Leave, Before We Fall, Until We Fly)

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.

Series Rating: 5/5

If You Stay 5/5 | If You Leave 4.5/5 | Before We Fall 3/5 | Until We Fly TBD

overall

One of the best new adult reads I have read this year. 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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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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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:

book3 book book5

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.

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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.

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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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