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Series Review: Beau Rivage by Sarah Cross

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: Beau Rivage
Author: Sarah Cross
# of Books: 2 (Kill Me Softly, Tear Me Apart)

There are two novellas: After the Ball and Twin Roses

Book Order: Connected but follow chronological events
Complete?: So far–but more books could be published
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retellings, Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I read Kill Me Softly a long time ago (before a sequel was ever announced) and I really don’t remember all that much about it. I know I didn’t love it but I enjoyed the world Sarah Cross created and was open to the idea of read its sequels.

I think it should be a big disclaimer that these fairy-tale retellings are true to the original tales: meaning they are gory and not always that happy as they primarily focus on the curses. Don’t go into these books thinking you are reading some light-hearted, Disney-esque fairy tale retellings (like any of Alex Finn’s novels) because you will be sorely disappointed! The best way to describe it is like a darker Into the Woods (the movie/play) as a book featuring teenaged characters.

So I went into Tear You Apart not really remembering anything about Kill Me Softly.You really definitely don’t have to read Kill Me Softly to enjoy Tear You Apart but it does help you to be more familiar with the world of Beau Rivage. but I found that Tear me Apart brought me up to speed quickly enough…it just wasn’t enough to keep my attention for long.

I actually read Tear You Apart in two installments. The first time I read it I was away on vacation and I found that the book couldn’t keep my attention. To be fair, I was reading it when I was tired and had found a spare moment to pick it up. However, I really did feel like the story moved too slowly for me to actually enjoy it. I loved the premise and I really didn’t mind all the angst but it just took too long to get somewhere. So I stopped reading it when I was about a third of the way through and decided to try it again later when I could give it a fair shot.

When I picked it up the second time, I found it much easier to read and I think that was the case because the plot actually starts to move somewhere. Instead of focusing on one girl’s curse we get multiple curses at play and that just made things much more interesting to me. It gets a little darker as well and I really had no idea how it was all going to end.

While there are no immediate plans for more novels in this series I would be open to reading them if they ever do get published. The biggest reason I rate this series on the lower end of the spectrum is because I haven’t found any characters that I truly like. I love the world and I love the incorporation of multiple fairy tales but I just have a hard time finding characters I want to root for. And perhaps that is part of the charm or goal for this series–who knows?–but I just haven’t made that strong enough connection to bump up my rating.

I do want to read the novellas since I think I might like those characters more and they sound interesting. My library has yet to get them so I have no immediate plans to read them. But if given the chance, I would read them.

Conclusion:

For those who like darker stories, especially fairy tales, this is a great series for you!

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

Similar Reads: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Synopsis for Kill Me Softly (from Goodreads):
Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

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Series Review: Welcome to the Point by Jay Crownover

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

Better When He’s Bad by Jay Crownover | Welcome to the Point Series

 

Series: Welcome to the Point Series

The last 3 books to be published will be under the The Breaking Point series title.

Author: Jay Crownover
# of Books: 3 (Better When He’s Bad, Better When He’s Bold, Better When He’s Brave)
Book Order: Connected but chronological
Complete?: Yes — the next 3 books are with a different set of characters
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Bad Boys, Crime, Suspense
Heat Rating: Getting Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

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.**

So, I jumped on the Marked Men bandwagon a little late–and now that I have read them, I agree that they are not to be missed. From just that series alone, I have easily decided that Jay Crownover is an author to watch because I love her writing, her characters & their stories plus I absolutely love that she writes introductions where she explains why she wrote plots/characters/etc the way she did. That is something I truly appreciate in an author and something that not a lot of authors do–so kudos!

Take for example the author’s introduction to Better When He’s Bad: I love how she explains the “difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad.” When you see it written like that you go, “well duh,” but I think it is something that readers often overlook. I know I certainly do because I totally have the tag “bad boys” for my Marked Men review when they aren’t really “bad boys” other than the fact that they are a tad rebellious and have tattoos. Maybe I’m just blowing something out of proportion but I thought it was pretty insightful when all was said and done 😛

Better When He’s Bad is more of a light crime novel with a dash of romance than it is a romance novel with suspenseful elements. While the romance gets adequate screen time, the plot (especially the first third of the book) focuses on finding out the truth of the situation the two find themselves in. So if you are hoping for a steamy romance novel with little plot, I would look elsewhere; because there is lots of steam but it isn’t a book with only steam and a small plot line. The balance is really well done I think and it made the romance have more substance to it.

This series isn’t a super dark one like some crime/criminal focused novels are which is rather refreshing to me. If you want the really dark side of criminal activity I suggest the Gypsy Brother Serial instead. But if you like reading about boys who aren’t afraid to throw punches and get their knuckles a little dirty yet still have chivalry, this is looks like the series for you!

I’m really excited to read the next two books based on this one. I think we have an interesting set of characters at play and I can’t wait to see what trouble they get into next!

updates

–February 21, 2015– Book #2: Better When He’s Bold

Because I put my hold on Better When He’s Bold ASAP at my library, I got the brand new copy in my hands a few days after it’s release date–and I’m so glad I did!

It was a great sequel and was everything I thought it would be. I would say the romance happens a lot more quickly than in “Bad” because the characters have met before. However, I still felt like the romance balanced well with the suspenseful plot-lines.

I think I enjoyed the story more in the first book because it was more mysterious to me and had a few more twists. But this story was just as exciting and I really didn’t figure everything out until I was supposed to so I really didn’t mind. It set up everything perfectly for the next book and I can’t wait until I can read Better When He’s Brave!

–October 15, 2015– Book #3: Better When He’s Brave

I was really excited to read this one and it didn’t disappoint. I found myself absorbed in this story because I enjoyed these two leads as characters. They were a good match and I really wanted them to succeed. This book reminded me a lot of Sin City–in the sense that it’s a darker, true grit feel to it. I think Jay Crownover does a good job with her introduction to get you to understand what she wants you to get out of this book. It’s a bit of a fantasy in the sense that things are over the top but it is still highly entertaining and somewhat realistic. It works the stereotypes and expectations really well.

Overall, a great way to wrap up this triplet of stories. I’m SUPER excited for the next 3 books that will be published under The Breaking Point Trilogy title.

Series Rating: 4/5

Better When He’s Bad 3.5/5 | Better When He’s Bold 4/5 | Better When He’s Brave 4/5

overall

As I said before, if you like true bad boys that are chivalrous towards women, this is probably the series for you. A great blend of suspense, crime and romance. It’s darker and more “fantasy” based than the Marked Men series but it has all the aspects of a great Jay Crownover novel.

Read if You Like: bad boys, romantic suspense
Avoid if You: don’t like books with crime/drugs; don’t like books with killing

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Synopsis for Better When He’s Bad (from Goodreads):
Welcome to the Point

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.

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Series Review: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

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

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | The Perfectionists Series

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Synopsis for The Perfectionists (from Goodreads):
In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke…until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes another story of dark secrets, shocking twists, and what happens when five beautiful girls will do anything to hide the ugly truth.

breakdown

Series: The Perfectionists
Author: Sara Shepard
# of Books: 2 (The Perfectionists, The Good Girls)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: October 2014 – June 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

My only exposure to Sara Shepard’s work prior to this series was the TV shows for Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. I gave up on Pretty Little Liars a few seasons ago because (and I think we can all admit this) it is just dragging on far too long; and I refuse to read the book series because it is 14+ books long and I just don’t have the time (even though they are smaller books). The Lying Game though, I LOVED and when it got cancelled I was super disappointed. I will probably pick up that series at a later date because I really want to know what happens and how it all wraps up.

So, I decided to give this new series a shot because it was new and I’m always open to try new genres. I don’t normally read Young Adult mystery-thrillers but I loved Rosebush by Michele Jaffe and I was willing to give this series a go.

My Review:

The Perfectionists started a little slow but I think that was because the you are kind of thrown into everything when you know nothing about the characters. But once the characters started to develop, it was hard to put this book down. I love books where there are a lot of things going on and when you have 5 leads like this series does, there is never a dull moment as you read. I found all the girls were interesting in their own little ways and I was drawn to their stories. As can be expected, they all have secrets and that just added to the drama and plot of this book. But what I was really impressed with was the depth of some of these characters’ stories and their everyday struggles that were very realistic and relatable to readers.

As for the plot–it’s a good one! There were great twists and I never really knew what was going to happen next so it made for an exciting read at times. I’m looking forward to seeing how things all wrap up in the next and final installment, The Good Girls.

updates

–February 13, 2017– Book #2: The Good Girls

It was easier to pick this novel up than I thought it would be considering it has been two years since I read the first novel. But I had good summary notes and Shepard does a good job of getting you back into everything with her writing.

I wanted the first half of the novel to be a little more suspenseful. Instead, it focuses on the girls reorienting their lives following the previous book. It’s necessary but a little on the duller side for someone who wanted the suspense.

The latter half of the novel is by far more suspenseful. Unfortunately, the big twist I was able to guess pretty early on but I enjoyed the novel nonetheless.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Perfectionists 3/5 | The Good Girls 3/5

overall

While this book didn’t knock my socks off or make me gasp in shock, it was thoroughly entertaining. Fans of Shepard’s work (or at least of the TV show variety) will enjoy this one. If you want a fun (well, as much “fun” as a murder mystery novel can be), quick thriller novel to read this is a good one to grab!

Read if You Like: YA suspense, Pretty Little Liars
Avoid if You: dislike YA contemporaries, books set in high school

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  • Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars Series #1)
  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (The Lying Game #1)

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Fresh Fridays: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin (Low Red Moon Series)

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:

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin | Low Red Moon Series


Other books in the series:

Series: Low Red Moon
Author: Ivy Devlin
# of Books: 2 (Low Red Moon, Moonrise)
Complete?: No, Moonrise will be released January 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Heat Rating: warm

Thoughts:

This is one of those books that gets my special “judged by cover” tag on my Goodreads account because truthfully, the only reason I randomly grabbed this book off the shelf was the shiny red cover. Of course, I then read the plot and it seemed interesting enough for me to pick up.

I’m glad I did because I really liked this book. It was part mystery and part romance and I think Devlin does a great job of blending the two together. When it comes to the mystery, I was sucked in. It was suspenseful and I liked trying to figure it all out as I went along. It was a darker read but nothing that would scare you to stay up all night; it just felt like it wasn’t afraid to get nitty-gritty in the details which I really liked.

And when it wasn’t the mystery of Avery’s parents, it was the mystery of Ben and the excitement of their romance that drove me further into the book. I have to say that their romantic moments were steamier than most young adult scenes and that added another depth to the story. I think it is pretty obvious that this book never really seemed to have a dull moment and that is what really impressed me.

As for the werewolf aspect to the story, it wasn’t anything overbearing which I appreciated. Werewolves aren’t really my thing so I tend not to enjoy books about them. But I find you have enough to think about with the murder and the romance that it isn’t a book that focuses specifically on werewolves–it takes a bit of a backseat but it definitely adds to the story in a good way.

When I first read the book (back when it was first published in 2010) there hadn’t been a plan or announcement for a sequel so I was left really disappointed in how the book ended. While we do learn the truth behind Avery’s parents’ murder, I just felt like so many things were left unanswered between Avery and Ben and the town as a whole and I would have liked more closure if Low Red Moon was going to be a stand-alone novel. But luckily for me, it isn’t and I’m really excited to see where this sequel, Moonrise, will go because it has been long overdue!

Conclusion:

A refreshing read for those who enjoy Young Adult novels. It has a great blend of mystery, romance and paranormal activities so there is never a dull moment! Plus, it makes for a very quick read!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade, #1)

Synopsis for Low Red Moon (from Goodreads):
The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can’t, and there’s nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she’s ever experienced. When Ben reveals he’s a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she’s not the only one who can’t remember the night her parents died. Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans.