Tag «Heat: Toasty»

Heat Rating – this is rating the sexual content of the book
Cold / Cool – maybe a chaste kiss; no descriptions
Warm – sexual references; a little description
Really Warm / Toastysexual references; described; no more than 3 scenes
Hot – a sexual scene is mentioned and described fully (4+)
Steamy/Smokin’ – sex scenes in all their glory and in numerous quantities
*Spicy YA* – the sexual content is more descriptive than your usual YA fare

Series Review: Pretend by Ella Miles

Series Review: Pretend by Ella Miles

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 Pretend I’m Yours (from Goodreads):

I’m a twenty-two-year-old virgin. Tonight that changes.

I thought my first time had to be magical. The perfect date. The perfect place. The perfect guy. I thought I wanted to be in love.
But now, I’m desperate.
I’ll take any guy as long as he’s decent looking and treats me well, at least for the night.
Turns out Mr. Perfect isn’t so hard to find. He’s hot, dreamy, and filthy rich. And he wants me.
Sex with him is going to be better than I ever imagined. He’s going to ruin me for all other guys. I know that it is just for one night, but it doesn’t matter. I’m happy to get my perfect night.
One night isn’t enough, for either of us.
Because Mr. Perfect just fake proposed to me. And he wants this proposal to last a lot longer than one night.

Will you pretend to be my wife?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Pretend
Author: Ella Miles
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: May 2018 – June  2022
Source & Format: Author–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Originally pitched as a standalone novel with Pretend I’m Yours, Ella Miles created two spin off novels featuring some characters we meet along the way. I reviewed Pretend I’m Yours, and Pretend We’re Over separately but the last book in the series, Pretend I’m Her, is only available in the boxset. Hence, this series review.

I consider Ella Miles to be a must read author for me, but I do have a hit and miss relationship with her titles. I often love the concept but not always the execution.

The Concept / The World:

Each novel features a “fake” relationship plot – a favourite romance trope of mine! Some are executed better than others but it is the common theme amongst the novels.

The Plot:

One thing I really enjoy about Ella Miles’ novels is that I never really know how they will end or how we will get there. She keeps me on her toes with her twists and intricate plotlines.

However, one thing I can struggle with Ella Miles’ novels is that sometimes the logic doesn’t always add up. Or the characters run hot and cold in their convictions for no reason. That was something very noticeable to me in Pretend We’re Over (#2).

The Characters:

In a nutshell, I really loved the leads in Pretend I’m Yours (#1); not so much in Pretend We’re Over (#2); and felt they were alright in Pretend I’m Her (#3).

The Romance:

Part of the reason I held the rest of this series to such a high standard was the explosive chemistry our two leads had in the first book. I loved the banter and the tension between them. We still got that in the rest of the series but perhaps not always to the same extent.

Series Rating: 3/5

Pretend I’m Yours 5/5 | Pretend We’re Over 3/5 | Pretend I’m Her 3/5

overall

As a series, not my favourite. But if you want quick, angsty reads, they fit the bill. However, I do consider Pretend I’m Yours to be one of my favourite Ella Miles novels in her catalogue.

Read if You Like: angst, fake relationships
Avoid if You: dislike drama
similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Serial Saturday: Hush by Amanda Maxlyn

Serial Saturday: Hush by Amanda Maxlyn

Serial Saturdays: On the occasional Saturday, I review a 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 or worth buying all its parts. Here is this week’s offering:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Hush (from Goodreads):

I never expected to get fired on my birthday of all days. But that was the start of many unexpected things.
With him.
It was one night masked in desire and pleasure that changed everything. He’s all I think about- all I want. And he’s everything I can’t possibly have.
My sisters ex. My swim coach.
Now, all I’m left with are stolen glances, brief touches, and a burning desire for more as I drown in my need for him- the man who’s off limits, totally forbidden.
Unless …
We keep it completely hushed.

breakdown

Series: Hush
Author: Amanda Maxlyn
# of Parts: 4
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: January 2017
Source & Format: Own–eBook (Kindle)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

So I discovered this series one day when I was browsing through a Book Bub newsletter and saw it was on sale for $1. I LOVE forbidden romances and this sounded like a quick read with lots of sexual tension.

Fast forward nearly 5 year later and I finally picked this one up when I had a craving for a quick, easy to read romance.

The Plot:

I actually didn’t reread the synopsis before I started reading and I think that was for the better. I think the fact that Trey dated Emma’s sister was enough of a forbidden factor but I liked that the fact that he was Emma’s new swim coach was a mystery to me until it was revealed in the book. That was a nice spin and I think the synopsis ruins that.

After that particular twist, there isn’t too much else to up the ante. It’s just watching these two navigate their complicated, budding romance.

The Characters:

Trey’s decision to throw away everything for Emma after 3 encounters was a little much for me. Because we don’t get his POV I felt like I missed why he really felt like it was worth the risk. He has a good backstory, it would have been nice if that was built up a little more.

Emma is alright. I can appreciate how she tries to navigate things with her sister (who is a bit of a narcissistic diva to say the least). But she wasn’t anything groundbreaking or memorable.

The Romance:

Classic instalove at its finest.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

If you want something quick with a dash of taboo, this is a great read to finish in one sitting. But if you want a more complex forbidden romance, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: quick reads
Avoid if You: dislike instalove
similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

DNF Series Review: Kings of Football by Ilsa Madden-Mills

DNF Series Review: Kings of Football by Ilsa Madden-Mills

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 4: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Revenge Pact (from Goodreads):
River Tate is a god on campus.
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you.
The only chink in his armor is her, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair.

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody.
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin.
The only chink in her armor is him, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her.

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and picks up the pieces.
Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is, sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

breakdown

Series: Kings of Football
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills, Meghan Quinn, Adriana Locke
# of Books: 3 (View Full Reading Order here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Football
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2020
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Note: I stopped reading Book 1, The Revenge Pact, at 44% (start of Chapter 14) and marked the series as DNF. Find out why…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Admittedly, I was in a bit of a reading funk when I picked up the Revenge Pact but I really thought that book would cure it for me. I enjoy a good college sports romance; Ilsa Madden-Mills is pretty consistent for me; and I’m a sucker for a romance where the male hero is completely in love with the heroine before she does. Plus, I liked that the sequels were written by different authors–particularly authors I hadn’t read before and I always like to explore new reads.

What I Liked:

Honestly, I was nearly halfway through and I can’t tell you a thing I liked (or remembered about this one as I write this review a month later…). I didn’t even gravitate towards the future leads like I usually do in this series.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Lack of Chemistry–

These two had as much spark as a wet piece of paper. I was seriously underwhelmed by the tension. Sell me on this undeniable connection between them would you?!

–Boring Plot–

When “revenge” is in the title, I really wanted something with a little more drama. I’m not even sure if I had reached the “revenge” aspect of their plan by the time I decided to call it quits. All I know, I was bored and it was becoming a chore to read this.

–Because the Plot Didn’t Have to Exist at All–

I think part of the reason I struggled with the plot was that everything was so obvious and stereotypical. Anastasia’s boyfriend is obviously a dud so it was obvious very early on she needed to drop him ASAP. But even River’s “infatuation” with Anastasia could have been sorted out earlier. Like I really don’t understand his hesitation because he really isn’t that close to her boyfriend in any way that would make it “forbidden” or out-of-line.

Will I Finish the Series?:

Nope. I read the synopsis for the other books but they didn’t really appeal to me.

Series Rating: DNF

The Revenge Pact DNF | The Romantic Pact N/A | The Relationship Pact N/A

overall

I’m probably in the minority for this one. But I couldn’t get into this plot and I found the characters to be uninspiring.

Read if You Like: sports romances
Avoid if You: dislike college romances

similarreads

Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

DNF Series Review: The Five Syndicates by Parker S Huntington

DNF Series Review: The Five Syndicates by Parker S Huntington

DNF December Review Blitz — Day #2: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel(s) in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Asher Black (from Goodreads):

It started with my bladder.

I didn’t mean to witness a shady deal in the restroom hallway.
I didn’t think twice when I called the cops.
And I certainly didn’t know who the club belonged to.

Asher Black.
Former mafia hitman.
Billionaire CEO.
New York’s most eligible bachelor.

When he shows up at my college, looking for the girl who called the cops on his business, I know I’m as good as dead.
What I don’t expect is his offer–he’ll pay my tuition and set me up with a cushy job after I graduate.
All I have to do is… be his fake fiancée.

breakdown

Series: The Five Syndicates Series
Author: Parker S Huntington
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are novellas as well.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mafia, Dark, Suspense
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2017 – July 2019
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) at 19% (start of Chapter 8). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I read the synopsis for Asher Black (#1) on an ARC Galley website, I really wanted to read it. I love darker romances and the synopsis seemed like it would be a darker, perhaps quirky romance that was right up my alley.

Eventually, I did get a copy when I resubscribed to Kindle Unlimited and really enjoyed it. But, my subscription was ending and decided to leave the series at just that first book. A little over a year later, I picked up Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) when I got Kindle Unlimited again…but things didn’t go so well this time around.

What I Liked:

–Not Super Dark–

While there are mafia mobsters involved, nothing is particularly violent or gruesome. It just as a slightly darker tone to the romances and an edge of danger to the story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Unlikeable Characters–

This is more for Niccolaio Andretti (Book #2) than it was for the first book in the series, Asher Black. Perhaps if I read them closer together I would remember Minka as a character from Asher Black. But I didn’t find her a likeable character in the slightest. She has a backstory that conveys why she is the way she is but she still treated people like crap.

Will I Finish It?

Not the series. I enjoyed Asher Black (#1) as a standalone and I was happy to leave it there when I finished it…should have stayed that way.

My Series Rating: DNF

Asher Black 4/5 | Niccolaio Andretti DNF | [Ranieri Andretti N/A] | Bastiano Romano N/A | [Renata Vitali N/A] | Damiano De Luca N/A

overall

If you like the edge of danger that comes from mafia romances and don’t mind a slower pace, these might work for you. But if you want something fast and hard, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: darker romances, slow burns
Avoid if You: want faster pacing

similarreads

Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Fresh Fridays: King of Wrath (Kings of Sin #1) by Ana Huang

Fresh Fridays: King of Wrath (Kings of Sin #1) by Ana Huang

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Kings of Sin Series

Other books planned to be in the series:
book3book4book5book6book7

booksynopsis

Synopsis for King of Wrath (from Goodreads):

She’s the wife he never wanted…and the weakness he never saw coming.

Ruthless. Meticulous. Arrogant.

Dante Russo thrives on control, both personally and professionally.

The billionaire CEO never planned to marry—
until the threat of blackmail forces him into an engagement with a woman he barely knows.

Vivian Lau, jewelry heiress and daughter of his newest enemy.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful or charming she is. He’ll do everything in his power to destroy the evidence and their betrothal.

There’s only one problem: now that he has her…he can’t bring himself to let her go.

***
Elegant. Ambitious. Well-mannered.

Vivian Lau is the perfect daughter and her family’s ticket into the highest echelons of high society.

Marrying a blue-blooded Russo means opening doors that would otherwise remain closed to her new-money family.

While the rude, elusive Dante isn’t her idea of a dream partner, she agrees to their arranged marriage out of duty.

Craving his touch was never part of the plan.

Neither was the worst thing she could possibly do: fall in love with her future husband.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Kings of Sin

Crosses over with Twisted Lies (Twisted #4)

Author: Ana Huang
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Dark
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 20, 2022 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had been looking forward to Vivian and Dante’s story since the Twisted Series. I love a good fake marriage trope! And while you definitely don’t need to read that series to dive into this one, fans will be excited to see how the plot here weaves together with the plot in.

What I Liked:

–Slow Burn Romance–

Vivian and Dante are a perfect match in every way–though they definitely don’t see it! Their slow burn romance had plenty of sparks along the way and I easily fell in love with their story. I love when couples slowly break down their walls and get to know (and subsequently fall for) each other.

–Vivian–

While the billionaire arranged marriage trope is one that is tried and true, I found Vivian to be a refreshing heroine for this story. Her cultural influences when it comes to her relationship with her parents is a dynamic that you don’t often see in romance novels. I also liked that she could put Dante in his place with a quick witty retort.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Underutilization of the Valhalla Club–

I am slightly disappointed that the Valhalla Club wasn’t a bigger aspect to the plot. When I first read about this series, it seemed like the club would be the centralizing factor of this series. While we definitely met some future series leads in this one, I would have liked to have seen it utilized a little more as this is the series opener.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

We got little inklings of what is to come and I can’t wait! Especially when Ana has said that some future couples aren’t exactly what they seem!

My Rating: 4/5

King of Wrath 4/5 | King of Pride TBP | Book 3 TBP | Book 4 TBP | Book 5 TBP | Book 6 TBP | Book 7 TBP

overall

This isn’t your everyday “billionaire contemporary romance” novel. No one weaves tropes together like Ana Huang and I love the diversity she brings to her characters.

Read if You Like: slow burn romances, character driven stories
Avoid if You: dislike romance

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Single Sundays: High Society by Charlotte Casey

Single Sundays: High Society by Charlotte Casey

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 High Society (from Goodreads):
She’s not who he thinks she is.

It wasn’t Rayne’s fault, Cameron just assumed she was one of his rich friends and not one of the waitresses who served them. But he’s nice and sweet and genuinely seems like he wants to get to know her. Giving in to her desires, Rayne goes against her better judgment and continues the charade. He’s the forever kind of guy, that once in a lifetime love. Now that she’s had a taste of it, of him and his world, she doesn’t want to give it up.

That choice isn’t hers to make, though.

breakdown

Author: Charlotte Casey
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Novella
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Source & Format: Amazon Kindle–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I discovered this book through another author’s (Ella Miles) email newsletter where she had listed a whole bunch of free books. I had marked it as high anticipation when I picked it up probably because it seemed to have some forbidden love vibes going on.

The Plot:

We spend most of this book watching Rayne worry about hiding her true financial situation from Cameron — when the man doesn’t give any inkling that he cares about that stuff.

This is a novella so its shorter page shows when it comes to the plot. Not a lot is going on and it would have been interesting to see how these characters would have developed with another 100 pages. However at the time I picked this up, I didn’t want a book with a lot going on either so I didn’t mind.

The Characters:

One thing I really appreciated was that Cameron was just a nice, genuine guy. Not every “rich” book hero has to be an asshole (though trust me, I enjoy those reads) and Cameron is a great example of that. He just wants to foster this connection he made with this girl and I think that is so sweet.

Could both of the leads have had a little more depth? Sure, but again, with the page count their development is sufficient.

The Romance:

I got a lot of love-at-first-sight vibes where there was this unspoken pull. Again, it suffers from a shorter page count but they do have a solid chemistry between them.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

If you go in knowing this is a shorter romance read that just delivers the necessities to keep the story going, you’ll enjoy this for what it is. If you like more developed romances with complex characters and lots of drama, look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: romance novellas
Avoid if You: want more complex stories

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReadsBloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: The Rite of the Vampire Saga by Juliana Haygert

Series Review: The Rite of the Vampire Saga by Juliana Haygert

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Vampire Heir (from Goodreads):

A young woman with a secret. A man with a death sentence. And a terrible fate that threatens to destroy them both …
When I was invited to the secretive castle DuMoir, I knew I’d end up dead. The guests might be excited by the exclusive tour around the estate, and the ending ball that concludes it, but I know better.

The castle’s inhabitants are vampires. And they want our blood.

I must find a way to survive their feast, because I’m not here as a clueless visitor. I’m here for a reason. Undercover work can be hard, but I’ve been through worse. That is until I unwillingly become a blood slave to Drake, a mysterious, brooding vampire prince.

Tragedy strikes the castle and chaos arise. Despite the new dangers surrounding us, I soon find out there’s more to Drake than he lets on, and feelings I’m not supposed to have stir in my chest.

But I can’t afford any distractions or everything will be lost. After all, I’m hiding a secret-a dark secret that might save us all … or doom us forever.

breakdown

Series: Rite of the Vampire Saga

Part of the Rite World collection

Author: Juliana Haygert
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Non-Contemporary
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: March – May 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Non-contemporary New Adult reads are hard to find — or maybe I just look for them in the wrong places? Regardless, ever since I binged Blood Type and Vampire Royals last year, I’ve kept my eye out for anything remotely similar. That’s how I stumbled upon Rite of the Vampire when browsing my library’s audiobook collection.

I had read Haygert’s Playing Pretend years ago and enjoyed the straightforward story. The synopsis for The Vampire Heir was intriguing and the audiobook time was just over 5 hours so it seemed like it would be worth a shot!

The Concept / The World:

At first I thought this story was going to be strictly vampires but we meet Drake, our hero, after he returns from a battle with a werewolf pact. I thought the world here was a cool blend of all paranormal creatures. It kind of reminded my of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Series for its blending of modern and paranormal.

The series itself is set in a universe that has other books published within it. So each series follows a specific set of leads but they all intermingle and crossover since it is set in the same world. That’s always fun, especially if you like to read series like I do. It’s nice to return sometimes to a familiar world and after completing this series, I’m really interested in the next one, The Rite of the Warlock!

The Plot:

Given the many paranormal creatures and the various hierarchies within their groups, I thought this story would be harder to follow but it wasn’t. However, I think it’s important for readers to know that it isn’t going to be a straightforward, only vampires story. Look elsewhere if you only want to read about vampires.

The Rite of the Vampire (#1) is pretty mellow, focusing more on the suspense for the first 3/4 of the book and then things change. It has a very different vibe than the rest of the series which is more action packed and lots of twists and turns. The overarching series plot is simple to follow but nevertheless entertaining.

The Characters:

I found both Thea and Drake to be super dry at the start of the series. They just seemed like cookie-cutter molds of lead characters but I think that was intentional given the setup of the first book and it’s suspenseful, mystery approach. As the series progresses, their characters evolve a bit more and break away from those stiff shells.

I also enjoyed the rest of the cast as well. Despite the many characters we meet, it was easy to remember everyone and get attached to some and hate others.

The Romance:

So I didn’t really like the romance in the first book; well, I should say that I didn’t like the way it materialized. It would have liked a little more tension, more “I hate you but I’m attracted to you” chemistry between Drake and Thea. It just seemed like they never interacted and then BAM, love. I just craved a little more from it especially when it’s a “I shouldn’t love you” type of relationship.

However, I did enjoy the romance as the series progressed. I thought there was a good balance between it, the plot and the character development we get from it.

My Audiobook Experience:

The audiobooks were a lot of fun. I liked that the annoying characters that you weren’t supposed to like had nasally voices and tones that suited their delivery. It was an easy series to listen to and I think I finished them super quickly because they weren’t very long. I felt like I was listening to a TV show which is always fun.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Vampire Heir 3/5 | The Witch Queen 3/5 | The Immortal Vow 3/5

overall

If you are looking for a quick but satisfying non-contemporary romance in the new adult genre, this is a great one for you to pick up!

Read if You Like: blending of paranormal creatures, non-contemporary new adult
Avoid if You: dislike paranormal
similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: All-Stars by Katie McCoy

Series Review: All-Stars by Katie McCoy

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 Royal Player (from Goodreads):

Charlie Davenport is the bad boy of British sports – and third in line to the throne. He’s a beast on the courts, and a wild animal in bed (according to all the tabloids). Girls are lining up for chance at his crown jewels, and when I stumble into the wrong Wimbledon dressing room and catch a glimpse of his game, set, AND match, I can see why.

So what’s a little good luck kiss between f̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶s̶ strangers?

I know better than to get involved with a bad boy like Charlie. But now he’s on a winning streak, he thinks I’m his lucky charm – and you know what’s luckier than a kiss?

Everything.

Suddenly, I’ve got paparazzi on my trail, exes coming out of the woodwork — and you don’t know ‘cutthroat’ until you’ve seen a pack of hungry socialites set loose near the Royal Family.

I’m in way over my head, and even worse – I’m falling in love. Can this American girl win her Prince Charming? Or will we both crash out of the championships in flames?

breakdown

Series: All-Stars
Author: Katie McCoy
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2017 – February 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I read a few of Katie’s earlier novels and really enjoyed them. I did start her Rascals Series but the first book didn’t do much for me. So when I saw that my library had the audiobook version of her All-Stars Series, I thought I would given them a try.

The Plot:

If you like romances that read like Romantic-Comedy movies or you love the trope of an every-day girl falling for a hottie celebrity, this is the series for you! These books are simple in their execution, where we don’t delve too deep into the characters’ pasts but instead focus on the chemistry between the leads. It read like a Hallmark movie: fast romance and soapy drama.

The Characters:

Like I said, we don’t delve too deep into the character pasts. We just get enough surface to keep the story moving and to prove that even celebrity heroes have some baggage.

The Romance:

I liked all the pairings. You could see the chemistry even if the romances occurred only over a couple of weeks.

My Audiobook Experience:

I did NOT enough the male narrator for Royal Player at all. He just made everything Uber cheesy. I think they were going for a Westley from Princess Bride approach with his style but it didn’t work for me.
The rest of the series had great audio productions though.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

Royal Player 3/5 | Hot Bachelor 4/5 | Heartthrob 3/5 | Sex God 4/5

overall

If you want quick, rom-com reads, this is a great series to pick up!

Read if You Like: rom-coms, contemporary romance, celebrity romances
Avoid if You: want deeper character development

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

Series Review: The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Duke and I (from Goodreads):

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

breakdown

Series: The Bridgertons

There is a prequel Series: The Rokesbys & a series of Lady Whistledown Stories

Author: Julia Quinn
# of Books: 8 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are also 2nd epilogue novellas for each novel.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Regency, Historical Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2000 – June 2006
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Although I am a huge regency romance fan, I had never read the Bridgerton Series. Truthfully, like many people, it never crossed my radar until Netflix made the TV series. I nearly binged all the episodes in one sitting but controlled myself (and finished it within a reasonable 2 days). I loved watching these siblings on the TV series and just couldn’t get enough! And thanks to its massive popularity, my library soon got all the audiobooks and I quickly found my next audio series to read. Plus, I was impatient to see where these character stories would go.

How it Compares to the TV Series:

I’m sure most people who will be reading this series are doing so because of the Netflix TV Series. Since the first season is based on the first book, The Duke and I, I was a little worried the book would be a regurgitation of the TV show.

And while some scenes are very similar, they’ve also added a lot more plotlines to the TV show (like the whole meeting the Queen bit and anything to do with the Queen really) to make it, well, a show. But I’d say the TV series has captured the essence of the books and that’s all you can ask for really. Time will tell what the second season will be like but I think they did a great job with the adaption so far.

The Plot:

The first 3 books are your classic Regency reads, with a few loose retellings of some classic tales like The Taming of the Shrew (Book #2) and Cinderella (Book #3), thrown in for inspiration. They’re a little lighter and have a few laughs along the way. Lady Whistledown’s character (and her anonymity) helps to keep that dramatic flare of the ton alive while also maintaining an overarching plot line to thread the individual books together. I just thought they were a lot of fun to read.

I think Book #4, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, is the book that the entire series has been leading up to. We’re on the cusp of revealing who Lady Whistledown is and I think the romance that everyone (or maybe just me) has been anticipating since the first novel/episode is the focus. It’s probably my favourite of the series.

But once the identity of Lady Whistledown is revealed, I find the remaining books in the series lose that lighter side to them. To Sir Philip, With Love (#5) has a darker, somber edge to it. And while it is a touching book to read, I missed the rest of the meddling Bridgerton Brood and the always watching Lady Whistledown. I also think this was the book where my experience with the TV show dampened my reading experience. I find Eloise’s character to be very different between the two mediums, so I think I was expecting a different type of story here.

That somber tone continues on in When He Was Wicked (#6) and I felt like that was when my interest in the series started to wane. I really struggled with this story for a few reason. One: is that timeline jumps around a bit between books #4 and #5 so I got a little lost there. Two: is that the lead is a Bridgerton we don’t really know much about other than a few key pieces (so I didn’t really know what to expect). Three–and perhaps the biggest reason–is that I really struggled with the romance. I just found it to be a little off-putting because it is a complicated situation and I didn’t really enjoy that aspect (more below). It also has that somber tone to it that I don’t enjoy but on Goodreads, people seem to adore this book so maybe I’m just a minority here.

The last two books in the series I enjoyed a little more, but again, I think I wanted slightly different stories. I actually think the plots should be switched for the last two novels in some ways.

The Characters:

I love all the Bridgertons. I just think they are so much fun and I love how much they love their family. It’s touching to see. You really get invested in all their lives.

The Romance:

I would say most of these books have a slow burn romance. These characters really take their time to fall in love and fight the inevitable. But I thought all the pairs were great matches.

However, I did struggle with the romance in When He was Wicked (#5). For those who don’t know who the lead is in this book I’ve put my thoughts in as spoilers:

When He was Wicked (Book #5) Spoilers

I honestly was excited for Francesca’s story because she is the enigma of the Bridgertons. All we know is that she was a young widow. I’m not one of those people who believes you can’t find love after the death of a beloved spouse/partner so I was looking forward to her finding love again. However, while I liked Michael objectively as a character, I didn’t like the idea that he has always been in love with Frannie. And I felt like Frannie was having an emotional affair with Michael while she was married to John by asking him about all his wicked encounters with women–I dunno, the whole thing just felt icky to me. Maybe if they both fell in love after John’s death I wouldn’t have struggled with that as much.

[collapse]

The Second Epilogues:

What a fun treat these were! They were great ways to wrap up each character arc and gives a glimpse into the very far future in some instances. I love a good, wrapped up conclusion!

My Audiobook Experience:

We have the same narrator throughout the series and I thought she did a great job. She has a great way of injecting humour and emotion into her reading. She really brought the characters to life for me.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Duke and I 4/5 | The Viscount Who Loved Me 5/5 | An Offer from a Gentleman 5/5  | Romancing Mr. Bridgerton 5/5  | To Sir Philip, With Love 4/5  | When He Was Wicked 2/5  | It’s in His Kiss 3/5  | On the Way to the Wedding 3/5 

overall

Fans of the show will like spending extra time with their favourite family. Fans of regency reads will enjoy this classic delivery. I do think the series loses some of its original charm as it concludes but all the stories are entertaining nonetheless.

Read if You Like: historical romances, books featuring siblings
Avoid if You: dislike historical romances

similarreads

  • The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (Girl Meets Duke Series #1)
  • Slightly Married by Mary Balogh (Bedwyn Saga #1)
  • A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen (The Devils of Dover Series #1)
  • Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks (The Montgomerys and The Armstrongs Series #1)

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: Off-Limits by Piper Lawson

Fresh Fridays: Crave (Off-Limits #1) by Piper Lawson

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

Off-Limits Series

book3book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Crave (from Amazon.ca):

Turns out the beautiful man from the club is my new professor… But he wasn’t when he kissed me.

Ex-ballet dancer Olivia would never set foot in a club like Velvet, not to mention seize the stage. But when she learns her ‘perfect’ boyfriend has been cheating, she indulges in a wild fantasy for the first time.

From the moment Sawyer rescues her in the parking lot at the club, Olivia realizes he’s what she’s been missing. The way he touches her sets her on fire.

But one mistake becomes two when she learns Sawyer isn’t only the passionate, mysterious man she stayed up all night with…

He’s her new professor.

CRAVE is an illicit, forbidden full-length novel and book 1 in the OFF-LIMITS trilogy. An addictive, enthralling romance from WSJ and USA Today bestselling author Piper Lawson.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author; Canadian Author
Series: Off-Limits
Author: Piper Lawson
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological (#1-3); Connected (#4)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Forbidden Love
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 26, 2021 – October 25, 2022
Source & Format: Author–eARC

thoughts

**This post was originally published 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.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve spent most of 2021 in a reading funk, but Piper Lawson’s new releases this year seem to be the balm that soothe it. I’ve read all of Piper’s books–except the short story anthology starring our two leads here–and I always know that I am going to get a great romance story. And I was so excited to see her return to the genre of New Adult romance!

What I Liked:

–Fantastic Chemistry–

The chemistry between Olivia and Sawyer is so strong right from the start that it’s easy to get sucked into their relationship. And forget that they shouldn’t be together — because they seem so perfect for each other!

–The Mysterious Sawyer–

Sawyer had made a brief appearance in the Enemies Series but he was still an enigma to me. I liked that we only got a few chapters from his POV because it helped to build up his mysterious side but still provided insight into his mind.

–Rebellious Olivia–

Olivia is a girl trying to find her independence and I liked how her character was evolving. She’s breaking free of that box people put her in but no so much that it feels forced or that her pursuit of Sawyer is simply for the forbidden thrill of it

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Forbidden Element Loses its Shine As the Novel Progresses–

This is a trilogy about the same couple, so not every obstacle to their relationship will be revealed in book #1 and I can appreciate that. However, as much as I loved the forbidden element of their relationship, I found that as the novel progressed, the thrill of their relationship dimmed. Nothing seemed to challenge the romance’s “forbidden” element; those that found out about it treated it as something mundane and there were only a few handful of moments where they were at risk of being caught. But I’m optimistic that this will evolve as the series continues.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

It ends on a bang though and I can’t wait to see where this will go next!

updates

–January 12, 2022– Book #2: Collide

I’ve never read a student-professor romance like this! But that’s what I’ve come to expect from Piper Lawson: the unexpected.

These two are stubborn and I feel like they make things purposely difficult for each other–but that’s part of their charm. They don’t know how to love or let someone in because they’ve never felt seen by another person. So it’s a beautiful thing to watch these two surrender to their connection as their relationship evolves.

I also love that these two have their own dramatic plot lines. Yes, those storyline overlap at times but I like that they both have their own things going on to help evolve that personal character growth.

Can’t wait to see how this all wraps up!

–March 21, 2022– Book #3: Claim

What a great way to wrap up this one of a kind series! Honestly, I’ve never read a student-professor romance story with as much depth as this series and I am all for it!

Everything that has been pushing and pulling Sawyer and Oliva together and apart comes together here and I loved watching it unfold. One thing I truly loved about this two is that they really evolved as people throughout this series and I think it really shows in this book as they reflect and navigate their relationship.

–October 26, 2022– Book #4: Tempt

I am SO glad Piper decided to write Daniel’s story! He didn’t have a huge role to play in the first 3 books of the Off-Limits Series, but he managed to capture my attention nonetheless. I couldn’t wait to learn more about his past and to see him find happiness after the loss of his beloved wife.

There is just something so incredibly charming about romances with single parents. I’m a huge romantic so I just adore the idea of people finding love again after loss. And the kids are always so stinking cute too!

I found this book to be a great, feel-good novel and its guaranteed to put a smile on your face! With plenty of steamy moments along the way, I just enjoyed reading this book with its lighter approach to the plot and character stories.

For me, some scenes were a lot more telling than showing, which isn’t my usual preference for a romance. I understand why though as this is a standalone novel and things need to be wrapped up within a certain amount of time. But I just found it made the plot points seem jagged and not as smooth as they could be.

My Rating: 4/5

Crave 4/5 | Collide 4/5 | Book 3 4/5

overall

Overall, this was a great series that kept things fresh with original characters and plots!

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, new adult romance, STEM heroines
Avoid if You: want erotica, dislike new adult romance

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact