Tag «Music»

Spin-off Saturdays: A Song for Liars (Rivals #1) by Piper Lawson

Spin-off Saturdays: A Song for Liars (Rivals #1) by Piper Lawson

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

Rivals Series is a spin-off of the Wicked Series

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Canadian Author
Series: Rivals

This is a spinoff of the Wicked Series.

Author: Piper Lawson
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a prequel novella: #0.5 Love Notes

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, A Love Song for Rebels, will be released May 2020
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music
Heat Rating: warm *Spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 29, 2020 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

warning
WARNING: If you have not finished the original series, this review may have spoilers!

thoughts

My Expectations?

I’m a sucker for Rockstar romances and Piper Lawson’s Wicked Series was one I have never really encountered before. It was like the perfect mashup of other series yet entirely unique in its own way. And two of the characters that stood out to me the most were Annie and Tyler…and I prayed we would get to see their story one day!

How Does It Compare To The Original?

Wicked was more of a New Adult read while this new series straddles the line between YA and NA — which gives it its own unique flare.

But all the angst from the original series is here and perhaps it is present more so. These two have a lot of things going on in their personal and romantic lives and it shows. I loved the drama it brought around.

And I think the romance is stronger here. These two have a past friendship and connection to build up. Plus they have so much in common–even if they don’t always think so. You can’t help but root for them!

Anything I Didn’t Like?

–I Didn’t Understand All the Angst–

I’m also not entirely sure why Annie was so angry at Tyler at the start of the book. I think it’s explained a little better in the prequel novella from what I remember but I wanted that fleshed out a little more. Maybe some insight into why Tyler did what he did.

–Tyler As the “Prince of the School” Is a Bit of a Stretch–

I think Annie was the only one who really thought that. Yes, people like him (and Annie has some rivals for interest) but he wasn’t really in the popular crowd.

When to Read the Novella, #0.5 Love Notes:

I read this first and I think that’s probably the best way to do it. If you read the original series, it serves as a good appetizer for what’s to come. And for those who haven’t read the series, it fills in some of the little gaps about their history.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

OH what an ending!!! I’m super duper excited to see where things go from here!

updates

–May 16, 2020– Book #2: A Love Song for Rebels

This book was a step up for me from the last one. Gone are their high school days and it shows. Annie and Tyler have grown and matured so they start to talk more about their feelings and wants instead of just holding a silent, angsty grudge against each other. And I liked the conversations and developments that happened as a result. They’re coming into themselves, figuring out what is important and what they want. And most important of all: they are fighting for those dreams and wants.

Piper has a great knack for writing dramatics that are entertaining but grounded in some realism and I find as a reader, you really get sucked into the characters’ lives and their emotions. I really appreciated the struggles and the successes all the more because I feel like I know these characters so well.

Series Rating: 4/5

[Love Notes 4/5] | A Love Song for Liars 4/5 | A Love Song for Rebels 5/5 | A Love Song for Dreamers

overall

If you love angsty romances that straddle the line between YA and NA — this is the series you need to start now!

Read if You Like: angst, music, first loves
Avoid if You: dislike romances spread out over multiple books

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Love Song for Liars (from Goodreads):

I fell for Tyler Adams when he had nothing but a guitar.
He was my rebel prince, my handsome muse, my twisted friend.
We were worlds apart in every way that mattered:
He was poor, I was rich.
He was beautiful, I was plain.
He honed his talent in private, while I ached for the spotlight.
When Tyler moved in with us, Oakwood Prep fell on its knees to worship at his altar.
He traded my friendship for their crown.
I will never forgive his betrayal.
But some nights…
He makes me want to.

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Series Review: Songs and Sonatas by Jerica MacMillan

Series Review: Songs and Sonatas by Jerica MacMillan

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Double Exposition (from Goodreads):

A former boyband star gets a little musical education from a sexy violinist. Will they stay in different keys or find a way to play in tune?

The first time I saw her I knew I wanted her. And when she talked music with me? I didn’t stand a chance.

When she found out my secret past—that I used to be a famous pop star—I expected her to fangirl all over me. Because even though it’s been years since people cared about us, a ton of girls who grew up with our music still go nuts when they find out who I am.

Not Gabby. She was more interested in our future than my past.

I tried to stay away at first. She’s so young, eighteen to my twenty-two. Just starting out in college while I’m getting ready to leave.

But I couldn’t leave her alone. Her passion, her drive, her intoxicating combination of innocence and audacity. And that sexy little Texas twang. Damn. I was sunk from the start.

With her help, I started writing better songs than ever. And when a video of me playing a new song landed on YouTube and went viral, my life exploded in a return to fame I never thought I wanted.

How can I pass up this chance now that it’s being offered to me again? But if I take it, will Gabby and I be able to survive?

breakdown

Series: Songs and Sonatas Trilogy
Author: Jerica MacMillan
# of Books: 3 (Double Exposition, Development, Recapitulation)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: November 2017 – January 2018
Source & Format: Read It and Review It–eARC

thoughts

Disclaimer: I finished Book #1 Double Exposition but have opted not to continue with its sequels. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to this story for the premise. The idea of a former boy band heart-throb finding love and muse in a girl he meets at school? Adorable.

What I Liked:

–The Composing of Music–

I think musicians would love this novel without a doubt. It’s a beautiful story about two people who connect through music and how that connection betters their music.

But there is also a lot of discussion about the creation of music. We get quite a few scenes of Gabby and Jonathan writing and composing songs and quite a few technical terms are thrown out. I think someone who knows what a E-flat sounds would get a great feel for the type of music they are making. As someone who knows nothing about music, it completely blew past me but I still loved the idea of it all.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Pacing–

While I enjoyed the novel and the characters, there was just something about the pacing that stopped me from being fully invested. It had me at the start but it lost me in the middle when the sexy times seemed to take up most of the scenes. And they are great scenes, but I just needed something else to happen to keep me engaged. A subplot of sorts.

I know that had it in my head that most of the story would be about Jonathan dealing with his re-emergence into the music scenes. And while a decent portion is dedicated to that, it seems to be something that will be further developed in the other novels.

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. While I liked these characters, I just need a more engaging plot for me.

Series Rating: DNF

Double Exposition 3/5 | Development N/A | Recapitulation N/A

overall

I just needed a little more flare to love this series. It’s a sweet and simple romance that I think fans of music and/or musicians will enjoy.

Read if You Like: little drama, first loves, musicians
Avoid if You: want more dramatics
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Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

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Series Review: Fenbrook Academy by Helena Newbury

Series Review: Fenbrook Academy by Helena Newbury

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 Dance for Me (from Goodreads):

Natasha is one of the most promising ballet dancers at the prestigious Fenbrook Academy of Performing Arts and she’s just landed a life-changing audition. But no one knows the guilt she carries…or the damage it makes her inflict on herself when she’s alone.

Darrell is a multi-millionaire designer at 25. But past traumas have pushed him into isolation and the intense pressure of his work has brought him to the edge of burnout. Seeking inspiration, he sees Natasha dance and hires her as his muse.

As she dances for him, the two become entwined in a passionate but troubled relationship. He starts to see the pain inside her and helps her gradually lower her defenses…but Darrell has demons of his own. Can two broken people save each other? Or will the darkness they’re hiding consume them both?

This New Adult Romance is recommended for 17+ due to mature themes, sexual situations and language.

breakdown

Series: Fenbrook Academy
Author: Helena Newbury
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order)

There is a novella: #1.5 Losing My Balance

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty (Kink: mild in Losing my Balance)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2013 – January 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook; Kindle Unlimited (Acting Brave)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not entirely certain how this series crossed my radar; probably when I browsing NA reads that were a little darker. I know that I liked the idea of the series taking place at an academy for performing arts. It’s very Fame-esque (the old TV show that they rebooted in a so-so movie a few years ago).

The Concept / The World:

Each novel focuses on a girl who attends the school but for a different art. One’s a dancer, one’s a musician and the other is an actress. They also have different familiar situations and pasts so I found each story had its own unique spin and plot. There isn’t a linear overall plot but you get a taste of what is going to happen in the sequels in the previous novel; and you still see the previous leads in the sequel novels as well. However, you could read each one as a standalone if you desired.

The Plot:

Because our three heroines differ, the plots for their respective novels are also very different.

Dance for Me (#1) definitely has a darker, twisted edge to it; one I wasn’t entirely expecting so in that respect it was refreshing. But because of those vibes, everything seemed rushed to me and I wasn’t a huge fan of that.

Whereas In Harmony (#2) was lighter and more of a coming of age type of story. Unfortunately, it suffered from some logic holes with the plot near the end but I really enjoyed it! It was definitely my favorite of the series.

And the final novel, Acting Brave had its own feel to it. There was a dash of suspense but it seemed to focus more on a slow burn romance. Or maybe it only felt slow because it is such a long novel! The pacing was a little off for me on this one and while it was my most anticipated of the stories, I ended up a touch disappointed.

The Characters:

There are many layers to these characters and I liked how this book explored them. A good new adult romance novel should have a fantastic romance but it should also have strong character growth and I felt like these books had that latter aspect. Of course, not every reader can relate to all the situations the characters face but I think we can all identity with the need to find your own identity and fight the possible demons from our past.

The Romance:

With the exception of In Harmony (#2), I thought all of the romances happened really fast. What I mean by that, it that they get very intense really quickly (like “I love you” is thrown out pretty early within the couples even meeting each other). I’m ok with that but a lot of the times, I felt like the characters were more in love with the idea of their partner than the partner themselves. My opinion did change further into the stories when we learn more about the characters but it was a little off-putting how quickly these people were falling in love with each other.

When to Read the Novella, #1.5 Losing My Balance:

I read this after I had finished the novels in the series but you can safely read this following book #1. And I would actually recommend that you do read this right after Book #1 when you still remember the tension and how the scenes from it are integrated in the first novel.

Series Rating: 3/5

Dance for Me 3/5 | [Losing my Balance 3/5] | In Harmony 4/5 | Acting Brave 3/5

overall

If you are looking for a different type of New Adult Series–and don’t mind a copious amount of pages–this will be a great series for you to pick up.

Read if You Like: darker new adult stories; long novels
Avoid if You: want better pacing; dislike long novels

similarreads

  • The Mad Tatter by J M Darhower
  • Chasing River by K A Tucker (Burying Water #3)
  • She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla (Sheridan Hall Series #1)

 

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Series Review: Blocked by Jennifer Lane

Series Review: Blocked by Jennifer Lane

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 Blocked (from Goodreads):

College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. ¡Híjole! Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.

Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.

When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?

breakdown

Series: Blocked
Author: Jennifer Lane
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2014 – October 2016
Source & Format: Own–Kindle (Blocked); Kindle Unlimited

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ll be honest, I think I got this series mixed up for another when I was selecting my 2019 5 Year 5 Book Challenge Titles. I blame the very similar covers. (The book I’m thinking of is Love Garage by Liz Crowe). Regardless, I thought  the premise for Blocked was very interesting; especially in the politically charged environment we find ourselves in today.

The Concept:

While the political system is quite different where I live in Canada, I know enough about the American system to understand why the “hate to love you trope” is quite the obstacle for our leads to overcome. I’ve read books in the past where modern politics are a theme but never to the levels that are displayed here. By no means are the characters preachy to the reader; but various views are expressed throughout the novels and they are used well as plot devices.

Another major theme in these novels is sports and how athletes balance sports and their everyday lives. There is a big emphasis on therapy and counselling–which I loved. Mental health is often something shied away from in novels and I liked how these books broke down the stereotypes and included the sessions in the scenes.

The Plot:

For me, all of these books had a weird pacing to them. We spend so much of these novels focusing on the individual characters and their stories that the romance gets a little lost in the shuffle. It all felt a little repetitive to me at times; and more often than not, it felt like we were trapped in the mundane of everyday life. I’m not sure how else to describe it other than it could have used a little polish to fine-tune everything.

The Characters:

First, hats off for diverse characters! It was awesome to read about Latino and Black leads and get that layer to our characters.

What I didn’t like about the leads was the maturity level…or the lack of a higher one. I get that they are freshman in college but I don’t think anyone talks like that as freshmen (or maybe I’m just getting old). I wasn’t a fan of how we would go from serious conversation about therapy to wanting to “bonk” the girl. Nope. It was almost like a parent was trying to be “hip” with the kids but used all the wrong slang…

The Romance:

While I could see the draw to all the romantic pairings (they had a lot of common interests with the exception of politics), I wasn’t entirely sold on them either. They all seemed to be based on lust and some unspoken connection that never gets built upon. For the majority of the story we get their individual stories and then in one instance they are a couple and declaring everlasting love. And perhaps the romance is just a small piece of the story the author wants to tell but I went into this series thinking it was the main one…thus my disappointment.

Series Rating: 3/5

Blocked 3/5 | Aced 3/5 | Spiked 3/5

overall

I think I had the wrong set of expectations for this series. The premise is refreshing and if you want more politics in your contemporary reads, pick this up! But I think it needed a little polish to get the pacing just right.

Read if You Like: modern politics, sports
Avoid if You: like more romance
similarreads

  • Dirty English by Isla Madden Mills (English Series #1)
  • Unbreakable by Rebecca Shea (Unbreakable Series #1)
  • Pretty Smart Girls by Shea Ross (Pretty Smart Girls Series #1)

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Series Review: Stage Dive by Kylie Scott

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 Lick (from Goodreads):

Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.

breakdown

Series: Stage Dive

There is a spin-off series called Dive Bar

Author: Kylie Scott
# of Books: 4 (Lick, Play, Lead, Deep)

There is a novella, #4.5 Strong

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rockstar, Music
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2013 – March 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (Lick); Audiobook; eARC (Strong)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

We all know that rockstars are my kryptonite so of course I would pick this up! I’ve heard great things about Kylie Scott’s works as well so I was excited to start this series.

The Plot:

There isn’t too much else to the plot besides these budding romances and the obstacles in the way, which worked for me. You get your typical drama but I never felt like things were overly dramatic.

I will say that because these are faster reads, some of the plot issues are resolved quicker than I like to see. But I was always entertained when reading to I can let that slide.

The Characters:

One of my biggest complaints about Lick (Book #1) was that the characters didn’t seemed as developed as I wanted them to be. They go through the motions of evolving as characters but we don’t get below the surface with them. But I didn’t feel that way with Lead (Book #3). I thought we had some great insight into the characters and their pasts. Unfortunately, Deep (Book #4) had the same problems as Lick did so that was disappointing, especially after I loved Lead as much as I did.

I also have to say that I did not like our hero at all in Play (Book #2). He was wayyyy too much for me to handle and I found him to be super annoying.

The Romance:

It was the lack of chemistry between the leads in Play (Book #2) that had me DNFing this book just after the first quarter mark. I just didn’t see how those two meshed at all and so watching their scenes together was just painful for me. It felt forced and a dash overly dramatic as well. Even watching their interactions in later books had me feeling good about my decision to not finish their story.

I also struggled with the romance a bit in Book #4, Deep. I just felt like our leads interacted for very little of the book and so I missed seeing that deeper connection form. And that’s a shame because I really loved the chemistry and slow burn romances that Lick (#1) and Lead (#3) had and I wished that transferred through.

When to read the novella, #4.5 Strong:

I would read this after you read Deep (#4) just because the romance is alluded too more in that book than any others (though our heroine is introduced in Lick [#1]).

>> You can read my full review of Strong here as a part of the release Blog Tour!

My Audiobook Experience:

I managed to read the eBook copy from my “big city” library before my card expired and then had to rely on my local library for copies. But they only had the audiobooks–which worked for me because I am becoming a huge audiobook listening. Andi Arndt does the narration for the entire series and she is fabulous! Definitely one of my favourite female narrators for audiobooks. She managed to have unique voices for all the girls from book to book.

Series Rating: 3/5

Lick 4/5 | Play DNF | Lead 5/5 | Deep 2/5 | [Strong 3/5]

overall

I was really all over the place with this series but those looking for cute, quick romances featuring rockstars and strong heroines will likely find themselves entertained.

Read if You Like: quick romances, rockstars
Avoid if You: want deeper characters
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Fresh Fridays: The Songs in Our Hearts by Chantal Gadoury

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:

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Songs in Our Hearts (from Goodreads):

High school junior Charlie Blake has never seen anyone quite like Micah Jacobs in her small town of Grand Lakes. With his carefree spirit, rough-around-the-edges personality, and handsome grin, Charlie is transfixed.

But Charlie’s been burned before with her first crush, at the hands of an ex-friend and a cruel joke. Because of those scars, Charlie keeps her guard up when it comes to boys. But a class project – that may or may not involve kissing for the camera! – forces her to not only confront Micah, but her true feelings.

While prepping for the assignment, Charlie finds herself in Micah’s car accompanied by the music of Journey, Elvis, The Cars, and Peter Gabriel. Between slushies, burning rafts, pizza, and great music, Charlie and Micah bond as she learns the importance of letting go of the past and opening herself to new people.

When their project comes to an end, Charlie wonders if she should finally confess everything she’s been denying before she loses the chance. When words fail, will the songs in her heart be enough?

breakdown

Series: Songs
Author: Chantal Gadoury
# of Books: 2 (The Songs in Our Hearts, The Songs We Remember)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Songs We Remember is to be released October 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Chantal Gadoury!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge music fan of the 70s and 80s so when I saw Journey and the Cars listed in the synopsis for this book, I was totally on board! I love when books incorporate something else and music especially. After all, most songs are a story of some sorts so they just seem to go hand and hand to me.

But I also love when school partners fall in love and the coming of age vibes in the synopsis had be curious to see what would happen between Charlie and Mica.

What I Liked:

–The Music Soundtrack–

What drew me to this book was the music. I loved the way that music was incorporated in the chapter headings to parallel what was happening within them. You could definitely make this a super interactive experience by listening to each song before the start of the chapter just to get that little bit more from it. (I recognized most of the songs by heart so I immediately got the connections which was awesome)

Truthfully, I thought the bond over them listening to music would play a bigger role than it does but that’s ok. They bond in other ways which works well for the story and strengthens their relationship. The music does play a substantial role though just know that it isn’t only about the music between these two.

–Charlie’s Family–

One of the biggest highlights for me was Charlie’s family. It was so nice to have such a positive, real family in a YA read. She has a super close relationship with her older brother that I found to be charming and realistic. I also liked that her parents were supportive but stern when they needed to be. It was just refreshing to me to see a family actually get along and support the lead.

–I Got The DUFF Vibes When Reading–

The relationship dynamic between Charlie and Micah reminded me of the relationship between Bianca and Wesley in The DUFF. It’s slightly antagonistic and full of banter at the start but evolves into something more as they get to know each other. They take their time getting to know the other on a deeper level just by listening or doing everyday things together and I loved that.

Charlie and Bianca have similar stories too in the sense that they are working on becoming confident in themselves and learning to not care what others think.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Wanted More Development from Micah–

For me, I just wanted a little more character growth. This is a story about the characters since there isn’t too much going on in terms of the dramatic plot as it is a coming of age story. In particular I would have liked Micah’s character to develop a bit more than he does. I know the focus is on Charlie and her getting over her fears but I think it would have added some depth to their relationship if we learned a little more about Micah. We get little tidbits that maybe there is more to his character and I wish those were elaborated on a little more.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

What I’m really looking forward to is the character growth of these two moving forward. Navigating their feelings, friends and everyday with the change in their relationship has me intrigued to see what will happen next.

My Rating: 3/5

The Songs in Our Hearts 3/5 | The Songs We Remember TBP

overall

This is a charming and cute read that YA fans will enjoy. In particular, if you enjoy books that incorporate music or have a soundtrack to them, this is definitely the perfect read for you!

Read if You Like: music, YA contemporary, girls getting their confidence
Avoid if You: want soap-opera like drama

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Series Review: White Trash by Teresa Mummert

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 White Trash Beautiful (from Goodreads):
A word-of-mouth bestseller that’s captivating readers with its honesty, grit, and headstrong heroine, White Trash Beautiful is a story for anyone who has ever felt trapped in life, cheated by love—and longed for something more . . .

Cass Daniels isn’t waiting for her knight in shining armor. She knows that girls like her don’t get a happily ever after. Not if you live in a trailer with your mom, work at a greasy spoon diner, and get leered at by old men. Maybe that’s why she puts up with Jackson—her poor excuse for a boyfriend, who treats her like dirt. Cass has learned to accept her lot in life. That is, until he walks into her diner. . . .

His name is Tucker White, and he’s different from any man Cass has ever known. Tall, tattooed, and bad-ass gorgeous, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Damaged. From the moment they meet, Tucker sees something in Cass he just can’t shake. Something beautiful. Something haunted. Something special. And he’s determined to find out what it is—if only he can get her to open up and let him in. . . .

breakdown

Series: White Trash Trilogy
Author: Teresa Mummert
# of Books: 3 (White Trash Beautiful, White Trash Damaged, White Trash Love Song)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (Love Song)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Rockstar, Music
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2013 – April 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Damaged & Song)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember how this series crossed my radar. It might have been because my library added the eBook version but I’m not sure. I read a lot of rockstar NA reads so I’m sure I saw it on a list somewhere.

Anyways, I love rockstar romances and I was really interested to see what would happen with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

What I Liked:

–Made me Believe in Soul Mates–

While their romance is a little “insta-love” connection, it was obvious to why these two were drawn to each other. They compliment each other so well even if that isn’t always elaborated on.

–Cass’ Character Development–

I find the romance takes a bit of a back seat here at times to focus on Cass and her growth.

Through her romance with Tucker, she is able to become independent. I hate when girls get caught up in their romantic interest and become dependent upon their man. It happens a lot in rock-star based romances because the girl gets caught up in the celebrity of it all. But here, I loved how Tucker lets Cass grow on her own. He is the catalyst for change but he doesn’t force her to be anything and she doesn’t rely on him to do that. She learns on her own that she is worth something on her own and not to let anyone else define her.

–Wasn’t too Focused on the “Rockstar”–

Like I said, Cass is really the star of this and I liked how the story kept her as the focus. It didn’t feel like every other rockstar romance novel out there.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Lopsidedness to the Plot–

The exposition here was a little too long. While I appreciated the time taken to explore this relationship and the characters, it did need that touch of drama to give the story some oomph.

And we do get that oomph, just near the end of the story. That’s when all the dramatic twists come about; which makes the story feel rushed and underdeveloped. I would have liked to have seen those issues fleshed out a little more earlier on and watch the characters grow from that.

Will I Finish It?

Honestly, the only reason I didn’t pick up the sequels was because I’m too cheap to spend the money on them. If my library gets the sequels, I’ll pick them up!

updates

–October 19, 2018– Book #2 & #3: White Trash Damaged & White Trash Love Song

I randomly stumbled upon these sequels as audiobooks through one of the additional services my library provides so I was happy to finally give this series a proper closure.

And…maybe I should have just left this series at book one.

I had two chief complaints about both sequels. 1) They spend the vast majority of the first half rehashing the same sentiments again and again. Seriously, it was like it was on repeat. 2) Nothing worthwhile gets expanded upon. I have so many unanswered questions from some of the plot developments that were thrown out there but never mentioned again.

It’s a shame because the last 25% of these books were great. We get some solid character development (even with the various plot holes we simply glaze over) and if that was brought out a littler earlier, my ratings for both novels would be higher.

Series Rating: 2/5

White Trash Beautiful 4/5 | White Trash Damaged 2/5 | White Trash Love Song 2/5

overall

Despite a strong start, this sequels to this series lacked the strengths of the first novel and get caught up in the cliches and petty drama.

Read if You Like: rockstar romances, character development
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romances

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Series Review: VIP by Kristen Callihan

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

VIP Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Idol (from Goodreads):

Libby
I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian
As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.

breakdown

Series: VIP
Author: Kristen Callihan
# of Books: 3 (Idol, Managed, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Book 3, is to be released
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library & Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I adore rockstar romances…I don’t think I need to say anything else.

I will say, this is my first Kristen Callihan book. I do have her Game On Series purchased but unread on my Kobo. She’s one of those authors I consistently hear great things about so I was excited to see that she wrote a rockstar romance and that my library had it.

What I Liked:

–The Band–

One of my favourite aspects of rockstar romances is the band. I usually find myself attached to the side characters of a story and bands provide the perfect opportunity for that. You get a taste of who they are as characters and you just want to know what happens to them next.

I’m excited to learn more about the band and the management team as the series progresses!

–The Romance-

I liked how well Libby and Killian complimented each other. It was so obvious to me why these two would fall in love with each other. I know lots of people struggle with the idea of a major celebrity falling for an everyday person but I think this story would challenge that notation because it is so obvious why it could happen with these two.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Maybe a Little More Drama?–

When I first started reading, I thought to myself that Idol could be a 5 star read. But as I approached the halfway mark, it lost that 5 start quality for me. And I’m not particularly sure why.

I really loved watching these two fall for each other away from the music scene (the first half of the book or so). It just seemed natural to me, even if the circumstances of them meeting is over the top. But when we get to the music world, the execution lacks something. My best guess is the lack of resistance to the conflicts presented to these characters. Things just seemed subdued and perhaps cliche–which sucks because the beginning had that great spark of life to it.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I was a little surprised the next book is about the band’s manager but I’m really excited to see that story unravel. I can’t wait to see what happens to the rest of the band as well!

updates

–July 4, 2017– Book #2: Managed

I was really excited for Scottie’s book and I immediately loved his story from the start. These two had fantastic chemistry from the start and we’re just great partners in everything. I love that in my romances.

My only complaint (like with Idol) is that I wanted a little more conflict in the middle. This is by definition a slow burn romance and when that is the case, I need something else to happen to keep things fresh. I found that there wasn’t too much happening besides these two fighting their feelings and it got a little monotonous near the middle of the story. They do have some great character growth moments in that time but needed just a little more to keep things exciting.

My Rating: 4/5

Idol 4/5 | Managed 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

A very refreshing rockstar romance series that focuses on genuine romantic connections, refreshing characters and keeps the drama light.

Read if You Like: rockstar romances, slow burn
Avoid if You: dislike celebrity romance stories

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Series Review: Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

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 Incarnate (from Goodreads):
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2016
Series: Incarnate Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite)

There is a novella #2.5 Phoenix Overture

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I started Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen Series and it was one of my favourites of 2015. Her Incarnate Trilogy had been on my radar thanks to their beautiful, eye-catching covers but I didn’t get inspired to pick them up until after I finished The Mirror King, the finale to The Orphan Queen Series. I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a book-hangover and thought another Jodi Meadows series could be the cure.

So I went to check what the waitlist was like at my library and saw that all the eBooks were available for checkout simultaneously–it was just a sign I had to listen to and so I picked these novels up!

The Concept / The World:

Reincarnation is a concept I haven’t really read about in a long time. The last series that really focused on this was the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel for me. Instead, I’ve been reading more novels focusing on alternate dimensions.

It’s an interesting concept that meets a cool fantasy twist with the appearance of dragons, centaurs and sylphs. Unfortunately, not much is done with these elements until the 3rd book (and by then I wasn’t really a fan of its execution), but it gives the world a unique flare that intrigued me.

The Plot:

Incarnate felt like it had no plot whatsoever–I literally just think time passed as Ana explored the new city and her relationship with Sam. But even then, I felt like nothing happened. The romance is subdued and predictable–your typical young adult fodder. The plot is so slow, I contemplated DNFing the book multiple times. Sure, there is a little bit of world-building to the story as the pages go by but I just wanted it to GO somewhere.  And it does get more interesting near the end when a major event happens, paving the way for Asunder.

Asunder has more of a mystery feel to it and starts much stronger than its inaugural novel. Now, Ana actually does something about the problems of her situation and the world. I started to get drawn into the world and the plot. Because there actually was a plot! But it started to lose me near the end; I felt like it was waiting to long to make its move. However, I much preferred Asunder to Incarnate.

Infinite gets some more physical action but didn’t impress me any more than the rest of the series. I actually would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t the last book–and by this point I just wanted to see how everything would wrap up. Even the use of the fantasy elements didn’t keep my attention. It was just too late to make me a fan of this series.

The Characters:

Ana is duller than an unsharpened pencil if you ask me. Even being an outcast didn’t help give her much of a personality. Part of the issue is that I understand why she is on the boring side: she is an outcast and has been raised her entire life to believe she is nothing. So it is fitting that she has a subdued personality. She does start to grow as the series does but she isn’t anything new nor anyone who inspires me to follow her story closely.

It’s the same sort of situation with the other characters. Given the state of their world (which is more apparent in the 2nd and 3rd books) it makes sense that these characters fit molds and see no issue with breaking out of them. I felt like everyone was subdued–even though I knew why–and I just didn’t “connect” with anyone.

The Romance:

Nothing new or exciting here. It actually got a little bit nauseating as I pressed on through the series. Though it was refreshing not having everyone in love with the heroine for once.

The Novella:

Definitely read the Phoenix Overture AFTER book 2, Asunder. It will spoil most of Asunder for you as it elaborates on the “big reveal”. The novella is well done and I does a good job of building upon the momentum of Book 2. It isn’t necessary to read but I highly recommend it if you are able to get your hands on a copy.

Series Rating: 3/5

Incarnate 3/5 | Asunder 3/5 | Infinite 2/5

overall

If you don’t enjoy Incarnate, I highly recommend that you do not pick up the rest of the series. All the books have the same slow plot mixed with some cheesy romance and dull characters. I’m glad I picked up Orphan Queen before I read this series because it would have made me super hesitant to pick it up.

Read if You Like: slow stories, fantasy
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike slow stories

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Series Review: The Rockers of Steel by M J Fields

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

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Memphis Black (from Goodreads):
From bedroom performances to center stage, Memphis Black’s dreams have come true.

Together with his band mates—Finn, River, and Billy B—he takes some time for fun in the sun in Miami while gathering inspiration to finish their first full-length album. Some down time before hitting the road to tour the country, spreading their kind of rock like an STD.

Tallia Priest, a preacher’s daughter grew up next door to Madison Black, her polar opposite and very best friend. Tallia has harbored a crush on Madison’s older brother Memphis for a lifetime.

A boy like him would never notice a girl like her, yet he did … once.

After a tough freshman year of college, Madison invites Tallia to join her in Miami for a much needed break. Madison fails to mention they will be staying with ‘Steel Total Destruction.’

When Tallia arrives, there is no way for a stunned Memphis to miss the transformation of the once awkward, innocent girl next door.

Forbidden desires must be hidden, lines cannot be blurred, and no one can ever know.

Will the heat in Miami tempt them even further? Will buried secrets destroy lives? Can a broken heart ever be mended?

It’s all fun and games until someone gets rocked.

breakdown

Series: The Rockers of Steel

Set in the same universe as the Men of Steel Series

Author: M J Fields
# of Books: 3 (Memphis Black, Finn Beckett, River James)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author (Read It, Review It Program)–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In 2015, I fell in love with rockstar New Adult novels. They just have that great blend of drama, an interesting subplot, hot romance and more often than not, confident boys who get put in their place by a strong female character. So when the opportunity came to read Memphis Black via my New Adult reading group on Goodreads, I jumped on the chance.

What I Liked about Memphis Black:

–The Forbidden romance concept–

I’m a sucker for a forbidden romance and this one fit the bill to a T. You’ve got Tallia who is Memphis’ little sister’s best friend AND a preacher’s daughter. Then you’ve got Memphis who is everything you don’t want your daughter to date let alone look at. It’s the perfect set-up…unfortunately the execution failed for me (I’ll elaborate later).

–The boys are BAD

If you think rockstars do it, these boys probably do it at some point. They are bad boys and hold nothing back when it comes to embracing the rockstar lifestyle. I found that to be refreshing because most books I read are rockstars with hearts of gold or are misunderstood bad boys. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it made this book have a spin I wasn’t used to.

I thought I was pretty hip with the lingo people use nowadays but I liberally used Urban Dictionary while reading this and let’s just say I learned a LOT of new words and their meaning. Where do people come up with these terms?!

What I Didn’t Like ABOUT MEMPHIS BLACK:

–The Development of the Romance–

I felt like a lot of Memphis and Tallia’s relationship was implied given their past history. I wanted to see it develop more. I just didn’t see why they liked each other “now” besides physical attraction and that was really disappointing.

–The Character’s thought process–

While I get the need for dramatics (and love it), I felt like some of the drama here was unwarranted. I didn’t understand why the characters would act this way or that because I felt like I didn’t know who they were as characters. Everything seemed like a hot mess that  resulted in a roundabout manner and I just didn’t enjoy that.

Will I Finish The rest of the series?

Unfortunately I will not be finishing the rest of the series. Surprisingly, I didn’t really latch on to any of the characters enough to want to read their stories in the subsequent novels.

Book Rating: 2/5

overall

This book just missed the mark for me. It was a little all over the place and I just couldn’t get invested in the story.

Read if You Like: bad boy rockstars, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: want further character and romantic development

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