Tag «love triangle»

Series Review: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine

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

Series: Archers of Avalon Trilogy
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Anew, Awry, Avow)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

This trilogy was one of the first series I bought for my Kobo but I never got a chance to read it until now.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the series given the synopsis for Anew. The synopsis hints at a love triangle but I didn’t write it off because I knew that there was more to the story than that given of the amnesia aspect of the plot. I love the mystery of stories that have amnesia elements so I decided to grab this series and solve the mystery.

The amnesia element is by far the best thing about this series. Just when I would think that I had solved the mystery, another clue would be thrown at me and I would have to re-evaluate my thoughts and I loved that. I quickly read through Anew because of this.

However, I just felt like the series was missing that little umph to make it that much more exciting. I think part of the problem is that it is told from a third person POV and for me that always causes a big disconnect between me and the characters. However, I really don’t think you could tell this story any other way besides a third person narration. But perhaps the biggest thing missing was a secondary plot line. Anew really only focuses on Scarlet trying to learn about her past and relationship with the boys and nothing else is really happening. Everything focuses on one plot element and I tend to prefer stories that multiple things happening–especially when they get significantly longer like they did in Awry.

Holy crap was Awry long! It had to be at least twice the size of Anew and I felt that I was just getting a little tired of reading it by the end. Which is a shame because I enjoyed it a lot more than Anew. Everything just seemed amplified: the romance, the plot-line and I loved the flashbacks to the past. Through the flashbacks I felt like I connected more to the characters and everything started coming together. But, there were still enough twists to throw my theories out the door. Basically, it was just the sheer length that killed me.

Avow was smaller than Awry so that made it more manageable to read. I thought it was a great way to wrap up the series and all my questions were answered leaving me very satisfied with everything.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed reading this series. While it isn’t my favourite series ever, I thought it was well done and I loved getting down to the nitty-gritty of what actually happened to Scarlet. If you like stories with lots of flashbacks and an amnesia element, this is a great one for you to pick up!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Evermore by Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series #1); Immortal by Gillian Shields (Immortal Series #1)  and The Awakening by L. J. Smith (Vampire Diaries Series #1)

Synopsis for Anew (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.

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Single Sundays: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

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 No One Needs to Know (from Goodreads):
Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

Review:

Yet again, this was a random pick from my library after browsing the new books. Normally, when I see books with 3 people on the cover, tangled in some sort of embrace, I avoid them at all costs because they tend to only mean one thing: love triangles–my least favourite plot device in the history of romance novels. But what grabbed my attention with No One Needs to Know is that instead of the guy holding both girls hands, the two girls are holding hands behind the guy’s back. Interesting.

I think it is fairly obvious what this book is about after you read the synopsis and despite the promise of a love triangle, I decided to give it a shot because this isn’t your everyday love triangle in a novel–which is a whole other topic for a whole other time.

This book was a really cute and quick read. The love triangle part never really bothered me because I knew how it was going to end within the first few chapters. But that really wasn’t a bad thing because I liked watching the characters develop to reach that ending together.

And while the main focus on the novel might be on the girls’ relationship with each other, it also focuses on growing up to be your own person and sibling relationships as you grow up. I think anyone with a sibling of the opposite gender who is close to their age can agree that your relationship dynamic changes when your in high school and this book deals with that.

What stopped me from giving this book a higher rating was that it was a little too simple for me. Coming of Age novels aren’t my favourite genre because I find they lack alternate plotlines besides character development and I like my books to have a good mix of both. Overall, I think this book is realistic but I wish it delved into some of the more thought-provoking topics that it could have given its subject matter. However, I love the message that it sends: be yourself no matter who you are, how much money you have or who you love because people will love you regardless.

Conclusion:

Although the book didn’t wow me per say, it did manage to keep my attention. It’s a cute quick read that fans of Young Adult coming of age novels will enjoy!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Perhaps

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Coming Out, Romance,
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Similar Reads:

  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
  • Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

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Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

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

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Talon Series

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Synopsis for Talon (from Goodreads):
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Talon Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: October 2014 – April 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (#5)

thoughts

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

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’m basically at that point where Julie Kagawa publishes a book, I’ll be reading it. The Iron Fey Series is one of my all time favourite series and while I didn’t love the Blood of Eden Trilogy, I didn’t dislike it enough to give up on her writing yet. Also, the fact that this series is about dragons? Um yes please!

My Thoughts on Talon (Book #1):

This series is basically the love child of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan and the Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. Honestly, that is the best way to describe it. But if you haven’t read those two series, here’s the breakdown: take the dragons and their hierarchy from Firelight minus the unbearable heroine; and add the slower pace plot-line and an assassin who questions his ability to kill his target from Angel Burn and you have this series. I like to think it is the best parts of both those series wrapped up into one.

I didn’t fall in love with Talon immediately. It starts off slow–like the first 75% of the book is just building up to the last 25% of the book. And the last 25% of the book is great–it really had me on edge and I was excited to see where it would go! But that first 75% is nothing remarkable–it’s actually almost a bit of a cliché for those who have read numerous shapeshifting Young Adult novels. I can’t help but to compare it to the Iron King where I felt like we dove head first into the action and I feel like Kagawa’s subsequent novels fail to have this faster start. Yet I still found myself drawn into the story.

I think it helps that you get multiple perspectives throughout the book. It helps you see the larger picture and keeps the slower pace moving. Another thing I liked was Ember. I was surprised that I didn’t mind her character because at first glance she is everything I dislike: an angsty, rebel teenager torn between two guys. However, she never got on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I had other POVs so I didn’t get overwhelmed by her or maybe it’s simply Kagawa creating a tolerable heroine or maybe it’s a bit of both.

When I started Talon, I thought it was going to be a trilogy (because most things are nowadays) but the fact that it is 5 books long gives me mixed feelings. For one it makes me happy as it explains why this book started off so slow–because it has to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it also makes me hesitant because I really don’t know what to expect out of the next four books and I don’t want to be stuck committed to a series that could possibly be dragged out. Regardless, at this moment I am going to have faith in Ms. Kagawa and eagerly await the next novel in this series, Rogue.

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–May 22, 2015– Book #2: Rogue

I was really excited to read Rogue. When I saw that my library had added it, I immediately grabbed it despite the bazillion other books I had out. I’m glad I did (though I’m going to have to wait forever for the next book!)! Rogue was more of what I thought Talon was going to be. It was faster paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I moved through it much quicker than I expected–which was great! Rogue had a great blend of character development, plot development, action and romance.

As for the love triangle, it didn’t get on my nerves. It’s really underplayed in this novel (as in it isn’t the entire focus). While I definitely have a “team” that I am cheering for, I truly have no idea how it is going to develop. It’s just one of the many plot developments I’m looking forward to in the third book, Solider.

–September 20, 2016– Book #3: Solider

Unlike the inaugural novel, this one moved at a terrific pace. Even while the story was building to its HUGE (and I mean HUGE) climax, the action was still there pushing you forward. Meaning it didn’t feel like just a bridging novel–like most book 3s do in a 5 book series–it actually had its own plot while building the rest of the series. It did lag a bit for me near the end but it still held my attention…hard not to after that cliffhanger!

Everything had a great flow to. The romance was just right; the action was consistent; and the characters became more dimensional to me. Easily my favourite of the series so far.

–October 9, 2017– Book #4: Legion

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in this one. I found it to be a very slow start–more talking than action–but I had high expectations. I think if the cliffhanger had turned out a different way, I would have felt differently.

The last third of the novel really picked up and kept my full attention. I’m excited to see how this wraps up!

–March 22, 2020– Book #5: Inferno

I took a chance on the audiobook for this final book since it had been so long since I read the previous novels–and it was a great production. I highly recommend you listen to them if that’s your thing!

Overall, a solid finale. It was gradually building and moving to the climax so it always had my full attention. It was great to get so many different POV to really give you the all round perspective of what was happening and why. I also liked how extended the epilogue felt and how it wrapped everything up.

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Series Rating: 4/5

Talon 3.5/5 | Rogue 4/5 | Solider 4/5 | Legion  3/5 | Inferno 4/5

overall

Readings about dragons is a nice change from vampires and werewolves. While it starts slow, the series is heading into the right direction (from what I can see) and promises faster paced times ahead. A great pick for Kagawa fans or for those who enjoy shapeshifter series.

Read if You Like: stories about dragons, forbidden romance, rebellious characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slower starting series, reading mulitple POVs

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Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

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 Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes

Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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

Series:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

There is also a prequel adult erotica series called Captive: the Forbidden Side of Nightshade

There is also a spin-off series called the Nightshade Legacy

Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose)

There are 3 novellas: #0.5 Shadow Days, #2.5 Treachery, and #3.5 Aftermath

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm (but pretty steamy for a Young Adult read)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I actually read Nightshade 3 years ago and Wolfsbane 2 years ago but decided to reread both before I finally read the grande finale, Bloodrose this fall. Part of the reason was that the year between reading the first two novels really caused me some hardships as I couldn’t remember some of the finer details of the plot which in turn altered my reading experience. So I knew the two years between Wolfbane and Bloodrose wouldn’t be any better and subsequently put in my holds at the library to get my hands on these books.

When I first read Nightshade, I really enjoyed it though I did have my negatives about it. Rereading reaffirmed my initial impression: I like this series and the concept of it but dislike the heroine. I really don’t enjoy werewolf novels; they just don’t do anything for me other than piss me off with overprotective alpha males and silly (often nonexistent in the adult genre) plot-lines. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me. And while this series does have some of those moments, I find it’s a lot more toned down (in some things) and it has a more intricate plot that peaks my interest.

That’s the best way to describe this series: an adult werewolf read for young adults. Because the sexual tension is there (Calla is probably one, if not the, horniest young adult heroine I have ever come across) complete with the love triangle and the alpha males that are supposed to get your heart racing; it just isn’t as descriptive as an adult paranormal read would be (though you get a pretty good idea of what is going down if you catch my drift). I guess that’s why the Captive: Forbidden Side of Nightshade series was created because this trilogy often bordered on adult content so I could definitely see Cremer doing a more adult series like she has.

One of the negatives with this series is Calla. Man, I really want to like her because she has everything she needs to be a strong, independent heroine and for the most part I would say she is independent. But her ultimate flaw is her flare for over-dramatics. She just flips like a switch in her moods at times and it doesn’t help that she is torn between two love interests for the entire series. One minute she wants to smack Ren then the next she is shivering in lust to be with him; same with Shay. This love triangle is one of the sole reasons why I hate love triangles in novels. It also doesn’t help that I am totally Team Ren through and through so I really can’t stand anything Shay does and in turn, anything Calla does with Shay. Calla actually reminds me a lot of Zoey from the House of Night Series, and not in a good way. Although Calla doesn’t have multiple love interests per book (she thankfully just has the two) she still is extremely self-absorbed about her romantic relationships and is constantly making out with them then subsequently feeling quilt for doing so.

It gets tiring–this back and forth between Calla and the two boys and by Bloodrose it was driving me nuts! I found Wolfsbane didn’t have much of a plot: it was mostly just Calla worrying about who she would choose between Ren and Shay. That got even worse in Bloodrose. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to read the synopsis for the Aftermath novella in the hopes it would tell me who she picked. It didn’t but I accidentally read a spoiler so that made things go a little smoother.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Bloodrose. Having read the entire series in a week I honestly was getting kind of bored with it (mostly because of the love triangle thing) and I think I just wanted it to end. I understand why some people hate the ending given the two twists we get near the end, I do a little bit too. But it honestly ended how I thought it would so in the end, no biggie.

I didn’t read any of the other novellas in the series (Shadow Days and Treachery) with the exception of Aftermath. I didn’t read the first two because I really could care less about Shay and Treachery just didn’t interest me. I don’t feel like I lost any reading experience by not reading them. Aftermath is a good one to read if you are interested in reading the spin-off series, Nightshade Legacy. But it doesn’t really wrap up everything if you are expecting an epilogue type of novella.

Despite not totally loving this series, I think I am going to give Nightshade Legacy a shot because I really like one of the characters it focuses on and I’m interested to see where the plot will go next.

Conclusion:

This series really lost momentum for me after the first book. Cool concept, interesting plot and awesome secondary characters but Calla as a heroine really disappointed me. If you enjoy werewolf reads and/or love triangle obsessed novels, this is the series for you. However, if you are like me and wanted to tear your hair out reading Twilight because of Bella’s love triangle, this is NOT the series for you.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1); Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Trilogy #1) and Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night Series #1)

Synopsis for Nightshade (from Goodreads):
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Series Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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

Series: Everneath Trilogy
Author: Brodi Ashton
# of Books: 3 (Everneath, Everbound, Evertrue)

There is a novella that is listed after book one called Neverfall.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Urban Fantasy, Underworld, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Everneath was one of those series that I just never got fully into. If I really think about it there are probably two reasons why that is: 1) I didn’t like the heroine and 2) reading the books so far apart from each other.

I’ll start with the publication gap; it isn’t anything new really, books take forever to get released nowadays. But with this series I read each book as soon as they came out (the exception being the final book) so each book had at least a year between them. The Everneath world isn’t overly complicated but there is a way that the world operates and certain terms used and I would forget that between each book (or get them confused with a similar book). So I always felt a little lost when I started on the sequel books; but I eventually did get back into the swing of things once i got further into the novel. I recommend reading these books as close together as possible to make sure you keep everything straight.

The main reason I didn’t get into these books was because of Nikki, the heroine of the novel. She and I just didn’t connect and that caused her to irritate the crap out of me. She was slightly more tolerable once I got to Evertrue (book 3) but I still didn’t like her. She was unnecessarily angsty to me which always irritates me. Her romance with Jack is one of those overly sweet high-school first loves that really did nothing for me (and I’m a romantic at heart). I much preferred Cole over Jack (so I loved the novella Neverfall which focused on Cole). Cole was a much more complex character than Jack and a lot more fun to read about. And because I liked him so much I really didn’t want him to be stuck with Nikki in the Everneath for eternity (’cause I wouldn’t want her stuck with me for eternity); nevertheless, I was still rooting for him all the way.

As for the books themselves, they moved at a slower pace for me and were often singlular in their plots. I find that as I read more books, I tend to enjoy series that have multiple plot lines going on and as a result I can’t seem to put them down. Reading Evertrue was definitely a chore for me to get through. I would often zone out reading it because it just couldn’t keep my attention. I think Everbound (book 2) was the best for keeping my attention because it actually had some interesting, unpredictable plot twists.

Conclusion:

I’ve read better Young Adult underworld/immortal-focused series than this one. I think if the Revenants Trilogy and the Goddess Test Trilogy had a book offspring together, this would be the result. If you enjoy slower paranormal stories about true loves and immortality, this is probably a good one for you to read. It just didn’t do it for me, though I love the covers.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Die for Me by Amy Plum (Revenants Trilogy #1) and The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Everneath (from Goodreads):
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Series Review: The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Series Review: The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

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 Kiss of Deception (from Goodreads):

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

breakdown

Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Author: Mary E Pearson
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: July 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover; Audiobook (#2 & #3)

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.**

My Expectations:

When I grabbed this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Normally, I don’t like books that hint at a love triangle in its plot but I’ve been looking for an awesome Young Adult Historical Fiction novel with a strong heroine and this one looked like it was worth a shot.

My Review of Kiss of Deception:

The Kiss of Deception starts supers slow. The focus (and wrongly so in my opinion) is mostly on Lia settling in town, doing menial tasks and talking about how free she is. It’s a lot of talking with really no plot whatsoever. It makes for a dull start and things really don’t get interesting until the halfway point when we learn that there might be another plot going on.

The book reminded me a lot of The Girl of Fire and Thorns but whereas I really loved the character development of that heroine, I just felt like it was lacking for Lia in this book. Lia isn’t super interesting, she’s rather dull and while I appreciate her independent spirit, I wish she would think about the consequences of her actions a bit more. She does improve within the last third of the book but for the first half, she wasn’t anything to write home about.

What did keep me reading was the mystery of the two strangers. The way that Mary E. Pearson writes the two boys characters is great! You really don’t know who is the assassin and who is the prince until the last third of the book; and by then the plot actually starts to become interesting and worth while. The “love triangle” isn’t really that much of a love triangle in the sense that she is torn between two boys and can’t make a decision. Maybe it will progress into something more in the next book, but it was well done in this book.

updates

–February 27, 2019– Book #2: The Heart of Betrayal

It’s been YEARS since I read the first book but I had some pretty great notes about what happened so it didn’t take me long to get back into this world.

I really, truly enjoyed this book. I didn’t have the best experience with the first book–it was a rough start–but by the end I could see that bigger things were coming. And they most certainly did!

Lia was much more interesting as a heroine in this addition. I found her to be terribly dull and rash with her actions in the first novel; but I was pleasantly surprised with her here. She’s starting to get a backbone and gets a little more cunning with her actions and motives. It was interesting to watch her navigate this new world she finds herself in.

Also, the audiobook was FANTASTIC! I love when there are multiple cast members and it really just brought this novel to life for me.

–March 21, 2019– Book #3: The Beauty of Darkness

This series has come a long way from the start and it’s reflected in this finale. While I thought there were some pacing issues in the middle (parts seemed redundant and mundane), it still kept my full attention. Again, I listened to the audio version and I have no regrets there.

 

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

The Kiss of Deception 3.5/5 | The Heart of Betrayal  4/5| The Beauty of Darkness 4/5

overall

A very slow start but things definitely pick in the last half and I think/hope things will be at a faster pace for the next book like they were near the end of this one. For Young Adult fans who enjoy Historical Fiction with a dash of magic (and a small dash at that) that move at a slower pace will enjoy the start of this new series.

Read if You Like: historical fantasy novels, suspense/mystery, politics
Avoid if You: dislike action novels, dislike monarchies

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Series Review: Matched by Ally Condie

 

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 Matched (from Goodreads):
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

breakdown

Series: Matched Trilogy
Author: Ally Condie
# of Books: 3 (Matched, Crossed, Reached)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Matched), Multiple
Publication Dates: November 2010 – November 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: That I have not fully read the final novel, Reached. I was approximately 25% through when I decided to stop. Find out why below.

My Review:

I read Matched right when it came out–right when Young Adult dystopian novels were just coming into popularity. However, compared to its peers it just didn’t stand up quite on par to them. It had everything else they had: a love triangle, tyrannical government, mysterious human history, rebels–but it just uses it all in a lackluster way and does that for the whole series.

Part of the problem is Cassia. It doesn’t get much duller than her folks. Nothing about her excited me and because the first two books are told solely from her perspective I just couldn’t get into them.I can’t even say that I hate her: I’m just indifferent.

What I did hate was her love triangle. While this is probably one of the only series where the love triangle is actually necessary to the plot, I would have appreciated better components than Cassia, Ky (who I never liked at all) and Xander (who I actually liked). Ky always seemed to be paranoid about his relationship with Cassia (especially in the final novel Reached) and I didn’t like that. Xander is the proverbial best friend of Cassia but who doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in my opinion–I think its obvious whose team I was on for this one.

Matched and Crossed mostly focus on Cassia coming to terms about the world around her and where she fits in with it all. The only reason I gave Crossed a 4/5 is because of the awesome twist we get at the end. A twist that made me super excited to read Reached…

But then I actually read Reached and nearly cried because of the boredom. It took me 7 months to finally come to terms that this was a series I was probably never going to finish. I’m sure part of the problem is that it’s been nearly 2 years since I read Crossed and I’ve just lost my interest in a series that I was indifferent to. But part of the other problem is the length and the details. I can appreciate the fact that Ally Condie wanted to give the 3 main characters adequate screen time in the big finale but I just felt like everything dragged because of it. The worst part is that I didn’t even care how the series ended–I just read the last two chapters to read get a conclusion to the love triangle, how sad is that?

Reached reminded me a lot of Requiem, the last book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series (another slow, poorly executed dystopian series). It’s the final climax of the series so you expect a lot of action but instead you get a lot of vague dialogue, zero action and a blah conclusion. It makes for a slow read and in turn becomes a let down to readers who watched as the series built up to this final piece. And the actual ending is not something that all fans of the books agree with or like. From other reviews I’ve gathered that the ending of the Matched Trilogy is a little dismal with only a few people actually liking it.

However, if you have read Reached, I wouldn’t mind a brief synopsis of what happens 😛

Series Rating: DNF

overall

For me, this series is one where I loved the concept but not the execution. For those who like slower, more character development focused stories, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass!

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  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)
  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano (Fever Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout | The Dark Elements Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: The Dark Elements Trilogy
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (Pennames include J. Lynn)
# of Books: 3 (White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch, Every Last Breath)

There is a prequel novella called Bitter Sweet Love that can be read before the series

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm – spicy for a young adult novel
Point of View: First Person, Single

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.**

I pretty much read anything Jennifer L. Armentrout because I have always enjoyed her works but this was one series I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy. After reading the plot synopsis for White Hot Kiss it seemed obvious to me that there was going to be a love triangle and that kind-of turned me off of this new series (love triangles are my least favourite literary device). However, when I was browsing the Kindle Free Bestsellers, I came across Bitter Sweet Love and decided to give this series a shot.

I’m glad I read Bitter Sweet Love first–and I highly recommend that you read it first if you plan on reading this series (though it isn’t necessary). It does a great job of setting up the world–which is pretty unique in that it features gargoyles–so that you are familiar with it when you read the first full length novel, White Hot Kiss. It also introduces you to the main character Layla years earlier as well as some other characters that make an appearance later on. Again, you don’t have to read this book but I found that it helped set the scene for the rest of the series and it made me really excited to read White Hot Kiss.

White Hot Kiss reminded me of Firelight by Sophie Jordan but with gargoyles instead of dragons and a more mature (read: less annoying) heroine. The storyline is also completely different but I found the stories had a lot of parallels in its delivery. The love triangle wasn’t as bad as it could have been–it was pretty mild compared to other love triangle based stories. However, the sexual content (like most of Armentrout’s work) is higher than most Young Adult reads. Personally, it’s right on that Young Adult-New Adult border for me like Sweet Evil was.

I did like Layla as a character and I could understand her choices; however I just didn’t love her. I find Armentrout’s heroines all have the same general makeup to them so at times I felt like I was reading about Kat from Lux or Alex from Covenant (more so Kat in this case). I loved Roth though 😛

I’m interested to see where the series is going to go and I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

updates

–December 7, 2014– Book 2: Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch really just an amped up version of White Hot Kiss. The plot is darker and more twisty; the love triangle is at full force (and totally swoon-worthy); and the characters become more defined. I really enjoyed reading it and it sucked me into the story much faster than the first novel did. While I had a pretty good idea of how things were going to unfold, I often found myself second-guessing myself so I loved that uncertainty and it kept me reading.

I have to hand it to Armentrout–she honestly writes the best male leads. I normally hate love triangles but with this one I had such a hard time picking a side! I probably have one I leaned to more (Roth if I’m going to be honest) but I liked that the love triangle wasn’t the whole focus of the book or annoyed the shit out of me by having Layla going back and forth between the two of them. While I still don’t love Layla (what I said earlier still stands) I liked her a lot more in this book. Overall, it’s a solid second novel (my favourite of the series so far) and I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in Summer 2015.

–August 29, 2015– Book 3: Every Last Breath

I was really excited to read this last book, especially after the previous one which was fantastic. But I think I just read this book at the wrong time. When I was reading it, I was in the middle of moving and preparing for my new school year so I really didn’t have a lot of time to just sit around and read.

And because of that, the book just felt slow to me. I was expecting the action to start right from the get-go but instead, it focused on wrapping up the love triangle. Which, I appreciated don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t looking forward to waiting until the very end to see how that would all go down so it was nice to get it out of the way. I just wanted all that action I had anticipated given the ending of the second book.

The last 100 pages or so (the eBook was ~280) really picked things up and overall it was a solid ending. I just wanted a bit more and because I really enjoyed the second book SO MUCH, I think this finale had a lot to live up to.

Series Rating: 4/5

White Hot Kiss 3.5/5 | Stone Cold Touch 5/5 | Every Last Breath 3/5

overall

Fans of Armentrout will enjoy this series as it has her fingerprints all over it and delivers like you expect her works to. For people unfamiliar with Armentrout’s work, you will also enjoy it if you want a more mature Young Adult read with paranormal/supernatural creatures not often talked about in Young Adult fiction (gargoyles).

Read if You Like: more New Adult-esque YA, paranormal shapeshifter stories, good vs evil
Avoid if You: want less romance, don’t like paranormal YA

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Synopsis for White Hot Kiss (from Goodreads):

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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Series Review: Unbreakable Trilogy by Rebecca Shea

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

Series: Unbreakable Trilogy
Author: Rebecca Shea
# of Books: 3 (Unbreakable, Undone, Unforgiven)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Drama, Contemporary, Mature Subject Matter
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2013 – September 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts:

I decided to read Unbreakable as a lighter, more upbeat read after reading a particularly dry novel: so you can guess that I was in for a bit of a surprise when I realized that Unbreakable wasn’t that upbeat book I was looking for. I guess I missed that bit about the tragedy or assumed it would be something else when I read the synopsis because this book, while charming and fun at times, is more often than not a sadder, more serious read than I previously assumed.

I think a more plausible explanation is that I expected the book to be more about Gabe and Jessica falling in love and then dealing with a tragedy than what actually happens. The romance between Gabe and Jessica (the path of falling in love) mostly takes place “off-screen”, years before the story begins which was disappointing as I was really looking forward to the sexual tension as they succumbed to their feelings for each other. Instead, we get plunked right into the beginning of their relationship, then the tragedy and the events that unfold afterwards. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

This story is more about Jessica and Gabe dealing with the tragedy after it happens and trying to navigate their relationship accordingly. It was well done, especially in regards to what the “tragedy” is, so I didn’t mind reading the story. I could have done without a particular character introduced later in the story–I think it was unnecessary to this story (though I won’t lie and say that I am not excited to read about their story in the next book; so I guess it wasn’t the worst thing in the world :P).

While I loved the moments shared between Jessica and Gabe (for a while they were going to get the tag “fav couple”) I found I quickly got tired of them–Jessica in particular. This is one of those books about First Love so it can get a little sugary and “all-consuming” at times. Some of the things Jessica did made me think she was a little dim and I wish she had a bit more independence–I hate couples that are overly “couplely” if you know what I mean and Gabe and Jess were like that to me.

When all was said and done, I did enjoy Unbreakable–I think if I knew exactly I was getting into before I read it, I would have given it a higher rating.

Because I had an idea of what to expected with the second book, Undone, I think I enjoyed it a lot more. This time, I got to watch the couple fall in love and I enjoyed watching them do so because I loved the sexual chemistry between the two of them. They were a great pair that balanced each other out well. At first, I was worried that things were going to happen too fast between them but I was glad when things progressed at a slower pace than I anticipated. I also feel it is important to note that this novel reads more as adult contemporary romance with a New Adult feel to it because the characters are much older than the previous leads.

Although I knew what to expect, there were a few interesting twists along the way that I liked and were interesting to watch unfold. I didn’t feel like I was getting dragged through the motions as much as I did with Unbreakable. I think it’s clear that I much preferred this book to Unbreakable; however, this is one aspect that I felt like Unbreakable did better and that was how they handled the tragedy/secret. It isn’t a huge deal but it was something I personally didn’t particularly like in Undone when I think about it.

I’m really excited to read Unforgiven–I’ve been thinking about this particular pairing since Unbreakable and I’m excited to see where it will go!

updates

–February 11, 2016– Book #3: Unforgiven

*Sigh* This was NOT the story I was expecting when I finally picked up Unforgiven. Like Unbreakable, it’s more of a story about individual character development with a dash (and I mean a small dash) of romance on the side. I wanted to see these two characters fall in love and that really wasn’t what we got. It was very disappointing in that respect.

I did like the plot to a certain degree. I haven’t really read a book that deals with the topics this one does and I really liked the approach it takes. However, I was frustrated with how our male lead handles everything and that really turned me off of this story in the end.

Series Rating: 3/5

Unbreakable 3/5 | Undone 4/5 | Unforgiven 2.5/5

overall

This series has a more serious, darker feel to it than some other New Adult reads. It focuses more on the tragedies than the drama of relationships; instead, it focuses on each lead finding themselves and then finding out where they belong in a relationship. All the novels (so far) deal with mature subject matter that may make some people uncomfortable but for the most part the material is handled well in a realistic and mature manner that readers will respect.

Read if You Like: character development, tragedy, realistic stories
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike love triangles

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Synopsis for Unbreakable (from Goodreads):
Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together.

Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her.

But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal.

Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

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