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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.

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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)

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Throwdown Thursdays: Vampire Diaries Books vs Vampire Diaries TV Show

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Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
twiVSvam*I am only including the first 4 books of the original Vampire Diaries Series in my review; AND I only watched the first 4 seasons of the TV show
Book Series Review Here

I compare movies to their books all the time so why not try a TV show?

Round 1: Story

90s Cheerleader with Vampires & Witches vs Modern Teen with Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, Hybrids…did I miss any?

I think we already know who is going to win this one…

When you compare the book series to the TV series, it seems so basic in its execution and that’s because it is; and there is nothing wrong with that. You can do a lot more with TV/visual media than you can with literature because you have more time and have an easier way to present material without endless amounts of description. I’m not saying that it can’t be done in literature–because it can!–I’m just saying it’s a hell of a lot easier for TV shows and movies.

I find that the TV show expands upon the basic concepts of witch-craft and gets wayyyyyy deeper into the Catherine-Elena history. I also loved the darker edge the TV show has to it because I found the books to be a little cheesy at times (but that is probably because they were written in the 1990s). They aren’t afraid to kill off people on the show and I like the idea that no one is safe–it keeps things exciting!

One thing I really don’t like about the show is all the supernatural creatures they have going on. It got a little too crazy for me and because I was watching it sporadically it was hard to keep up. I plan to catch-up this summer though 🙂

Winner: The TV Show. I just prefer the darker storylines and the action. Never a dull moment!

Vampire Diaries Books: 0 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 1

Round 2: The Characters

Golden Cheerleader with Sister vs Doppelgangers Galore with Brother

These little verses are hard to come up with!

In the book series, I found things to be pretty stereotypical. Sure, Elena didn’t live with her parents but she followed every other high school cheerleader stereotype. Cute boyfriend? Check. Rival Cheerleader? Check. Everyone loves her? Check. It was a little cliche to say the least but she did have some good character development, allowing her to break out of these molds at times. Stefan is your typical brooding heartthrob and Damon is evil. Add a BFF witch and a darling little sister and you have the original cast of characters. Nothing surprising but nothing all that exciting either.

The TV Show really revamped (no pun intended) these characters. gone is the childhood sister of Elena and in her place is the I-got-better-looking-as-the-series-progressed teenaged brother Jeremy. I really liked Jeremy’s character, his looks aside, because he added another perspective to the storyline and was another male character–and one who didn’t immediately fall in love with Elena. Elena herself is a much strong, independent heroine in the TV show. She doesn’t do anything rebellious for the sake of attention and has a good head on her shoulders. Bonnie became a lot more interesting and integral to the plot with her witch-craft. But really, it’s Caroline who stole the show for me. I really didn’t like her character in the books and it took me awhile to like her on the show, but she really grew on me!

As I said before, there are so many characters on the show that it is hard to follow them. And the doppelganger situation was starting to get a little out of control when I stopped watching. I LOVED the addition of the Originals (yet I haven’t started to watch the show yet!) and that whole storyline.

As for the brothers–they’re pretty much the same on the show except you realize Damon has a soul and isn’t as evil as you expected 😛

Winner: The Show. While they rotate them through quickly at times, I find they have a lot more substance to them.

Vampire Diaries Books: 0 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 2

Round 3: Romance

One Sided Love Triangle vs Full Blown Love Triangle

In the books, the main focus is Elena and Stefan; in the show their love is important but so is the rest of the casts’

I always felt like the romance in the books was really a one-sided love triangle. I mean, I think we all knew which brother Elena was going to end up with from the start. One of her BFF’s gets a love interest but past that, it really is the Elena-Salvatore Brother love triangle.

With the show, who knows who will really win Elena’s heart? That’s part of the reason why I stopped watching because I hate back and forth love triangles in my TV shows. They are exhausting to watch! But what kept me around was everyone else’s romantic encounters. Jeremy, Bonnie, Caroline and Tyler, even Klaus and Rebecka all had me totally onboard with their relationships and provided a fresh storyline I was interested in watching.

Winner: The Show–in the sense that there is more romance going on. However, I prefer the love triangle of the books so both get a point!

Vampire Diaries Books: 1 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 3

Ultimate Winner: the TV Show

Final Comments: The show really amplified the basis of the Vampire Diary stories and brought them to the next generation. And because I am from that “next generation”, the show appeals to me a lot more. It’s faster, darker and has a whole lot more drama–basically everything I like in a good TV show!

What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read? Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy vs Crossfire Series

Series Review: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

FUN FACT: This is my blog’s 100th post! Thanks for reading everyone!

Series: Gossip Girl
Author: Cecily von Ziegesar
# of Books: 12 — See the Full list here!

There is also a prequel novella, #0.5 It Had to be You and a serial killer retelling of Gossip Girl, #13 Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Romance
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

NOTE: I only read the first 5 books of the series (last read book was I Like it Like That). At this time I have no plans to finish the series–find out below:

I started reading Gossip Girl just before the TV show debuted in 2007. I mostly read them because I knew the show was coming and I wanted to see if it would be worth checking out. Funny thing is, I stuck with the show and dropped the books soon after.

The books started off great; especially book 1, Gossip Girl. They were interesting and edgy. The characters were intriguing and dramatic so it caught my attention and kept it. Around this time The O.C. had ended so I was looking for that dash of the over-the-top antics of the rich and famous and I found that in the Gossip Girl Series.

So all was good in the Gossip Girl world until 1) the characters started to go a little crazy and 2) I discovered the TV show was 20x better.

Now one can argue that the characters had always been crazy. Part of their charm was that they were over-the-top, extremely selfish and super dramatic and that’s what made the books and plots so interesting and worth reading. But I just couldn’t get past Chuck Bass with his pet monkey or Dan and his tormented poet life. They just freaked me out and bored me to tears.

It especially got worse once the TV show started and they revamped that characters. Gone was the monkey toting Chuck Bass and here was a suave, manipulative and cunning young man who still had a love of bizarre suits but now played a more crucial role in the plot. I love the Chuck Bass of the TV version–I even like Dan in the TV show. I also find that when you watch the show, you see another side to the characters. They aren’t always selfish–though most of the time they are–but sometimes you see that they do have a heart and you don’t really get that with the books. Once I became hooked to the TV show, I forgot about the books.

I’m not sure how the rest of the series goes, but based on the synopsises I read, it looks like it might get a bit better. I do know that by book 9, Only in Your Dreams, a ghost writer replaces Cecily von Ziegesar to continue the story. I’m not sure what affect that has on the rest of the books, but I would love to hear your comments!

Conclusion:

This is a series I would skip. Watch the TV show if you are looking for a dramatic insight into the lives of the Upper East Side. The TV show has better characters, stories and is just so much more interesting than what we get here.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: none come to mind at this moment

Synopsis for Gossip Girl (from Goodreads):
Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep–sometimes with each other.

S is back from boarding school, and if we aren’t careful, she’s going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, steal our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I’ll be watching closely…

You know you love me,
gossip girl