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DNF Series Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

DNF Series Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

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


Synopsis for Born of Illusion (from Goodreads):

Anna Van Housen has a secret.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.


Series: Born of Illusion
Author: Teri Brown
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a novella: #1.5 Born of Corruption

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2013 – June 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**Disclaimer: I stopped reading Born of Illusion at 41% (start of Chapter 14) and have opted not to pick up the sequels. Find out why below…**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I kinda forgot I had this series on my TBR to be honest. It wasn’t listed on my Goodreads one but I had marked it for my library Wishlist and when I needed another 2013 pick for my 2018 5 Year 5 Book Reading Challenge, this seemed like the perfect fit.

I’ve been dying for another great Flapper read since I read The Flappers. And add to this the idea of magic and Houdini? I’m so there!

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

There is just something so addicting to me about the 1920s era of history. You’ve got the clash of mystisicim and industry/science; the lavish lifestyles and the hidden ones. It’s just a rich setting that immediately draws me in.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Basic Approach–

There isn’t anything WOW about this book. Yes, Anna’s powers and situation with her mother are interesting but if you strip that away it isn’t anything new. I was 41% of the way in and we had repeated the same stuff over and over and it just frankly wasn’t interesting.

–Recycling the Same Sentiments–

And if we weren’t redoing the same plot, we were rehashing the same feelings.

This mostly has to do with the romance and the setup for a love triangle. While I understand why she might be drawn to the two boys, I didn’t need to be reminded of the same three things again and again.

The same thing goes with her relationship with her mother. I get that it’s a tough one (her mom is certainly no peach), but like move on? Or shift the focus slightly because I get the idea that things are rough between them already.

Will I Finish It?


My Rating: DNF

Born of Illusion DNF | [Born of Corruption N/A] | Born of Deception N/A


Even the Great Houdini couldn’t make me enjoy this one!

Read if You Like: 1920s setting, magic
Avoid if You: want a more complex plot



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

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Series Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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


Synopsis for Anna and the French Kiss (from Goodreads):
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?


Series: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2010 – August 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw Anna and the French Kiss years ago at my local library but I never got around to picking it up (I think it was the hint at a love triangle). I actually thought it was related to Lauren Henderson’s Flirting in Italian Series (which I put on my TBR YEARS ago!). I never gave this book a second thought until I started following more blogs and noticed everyone seemed to love this book. So call me intrigued…I put this book on hold and waited to dig in.

I’m not a huge fan of stories where the object of affection is in another relationship. In general, I don’t enjoy books with cheating or love triangles; and while I didn’t think Anna and the French Kiss was going to be a book dripping in cheating escapades, it didn’t appeal to me too much. (Nor did its sequel that had a similar situation). But who can refuse a literary trip to Paris?

The Plot:

These books are your typical contemporary Young Adult fare. When I was just a few chapters into Anna and the French Kiss I already had a good idea of what one major plot twist was going to be; however, there definitely was one I never saw coming. It wasn’t that way with the sequels though. I had the story figured out for the most part and so that dulled my enjoyment moving forward.

Also, perhaps it is just due to the age of the characters but somethings just seemed needless overdramatic. This was especially the case in Lola and the Boy Next Door. Maybe I’m just used to reading older contemporary romances now but I kept thinking “that’s all that drove you two apart?”–I guess I was anticipating a larger falling out considering how reactive Lola was to his return.

I ended up DNFing Isla and the Happily Ever After around the 21% mark because the pacing was just off. It also didn’t seem to have a plot either other than Isla obsessing after the object of her affection.

The Characters:

I was a little hit or miss with the characters here and I think that has to do with everyone’s quirkiness. Every one has their own larger than life personality (especially Lola) and that may clash you with you. I know that was the case in Book #2 (Lola) where I wasn’t a fan of Lola but I enjoyed Cricket’s character.

One thing I will say is that even if you don’t directly relate to the character, you likely have experienced a similar situation when it comes to relationships with family and friends. We’ve all had those strained times between others and I think that is especially true when you are a teenager and are trying to find yourself.

The Romance:

I’m really torn over the romance of the novels. In all of the novels, I really loved the pairings. I thought everyone was a great match and the whole “find someone who loves you for you” motto really rings true.

However, I don’t really enjoy love triangles–especially ones where someone is already in a relationship. Emotional cheating (having romantic feelings for someone else) isn’t something I like to read about. I don’t like the revelations that the “perfect” partner isn’t so perfect anymore because you can find flaws in anyone.

Why both Books #1 (Anna) and #2 (Lola) needed that angle is beyond me because I think both stories would have been great without that particular trope.

My Audiobook Experience (Lola and Isla):

I enjoyed the audio productions. Most of my dissatisfaction comes from the actual story and not the audiobook. Perhaps if I had read the novel (which would have taken me a fraction of the time the audiobook did) may have allowed me to enjoy the story itself but I’m not entirely sure that would have been the case.

My Rating: DNF

Anna and the French Kiss 4/5  |  Lola and the Boy Next Door 2/5 |  Isla and the Happily Ever After DNF


Perfect for YA contemporary fans who enjoy quirky characters and don’t need an overly complicated plot.

Read if You Like: YA contemporaries; lighter stories
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike love triangles



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Series Review: Cruel by K A Linde

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

Synopsis for Cruel Money (from Goodreads):

She was supposed to be a one night stand.

A way to sate my sexual appetite.

I let her glimpse the man I am. The face that I hide behind my carefully cultivated life. But she ripped open that divide—and there’s no going back.

Now, she’s here. In my city.

I don’t care that I’m Manhattan royalty and she’s the help.

Only that she’s living in my summer home. With me.

And I want more.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Cruel, The Seasons (#4-#7)

This crosses over with the Wright Love Duet Series.

Author: K A Linde
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order Here)

There multiple bonus novellas (Full Reading Order Here)

Book Order: Chronological (#1-3); Connected (#4-7)
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 22, 2019 – ongoing
Source & Format: Inkslinger PR–eARC (#1-3); Library–eBook (#4-6)

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon


**This post was originally published as a Blog Tour Stop review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I want a romance with a wicked twist along the way, K A Linde is my go-to author. She never fails to surprise me when it comes to the drama of her romances. The romance is steamy and the drama is high–just what I like!

I was excited for this new series because it seemed like something I would love. Forbidden romance. NYC. Paris. I couldn’t wait to dive in!

What I Liked:


I’ll be the first to say that I had to slowly warm up to Natalie a bit. I think her anger at the start made her seem abrupt and perhaps a little rude? But as the story progressed I really loved how she grew a backbone and become confident in herself. She doesn’t become this dependent heroine, rather she really does achieve independence so I was definitely on board with that!

–The Side Characters–

As I often am with these types of stories, I immediately got sucked into the lives of the side characters. I really hope we can elaborate more on their romances and shared histories in future novels.

Cruel Intentions meets Gossip Girl

Without a doubt, Cruel Intentions has one of my all time favourite romance tropes at the heart of it (playboy falls hard for his target) but I also adore (weird I know) the manipulation of the characters. Which is where the Gossip Girl comparisons come in. I associate the Upper East Side with high drama and backstabbing frenemies and a whole lot of angst. That’s all definitely here.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Wish-Washy Penn–

Don’t get me wrong, I had a major crush on Penn. He’s charming and everything I like in my playboy heroes so I was a fan. But I had the hardest time getting a read on him. Just when I think I had him figured out, he’d do something that just seemed out of character for me. I suppose part of that is the point of the story (you don’t really know his true intentions) but it just made his character lack some stability as a character (if you get what I’m saying).

–It Seemed a Little Tame?–

I came in expecting a lot of drama and I don’t think I got as much as I wanted. Sure, the story is super angsty and there is lots of Upper East Side Drama like you expect. But everything just seemed a little more toned down than I’m used to. But I could definitely sense that things were building by the end of the novel so I’m thinking bigger things are to come!

When to Read #0.5 One Cruel Night:

I would highly recommend that you read the novella before you read #1 Cruel Money. I found that novella really highlighted Natalie and Penn’s relationship and gave me a foundation that was lacking at the start of the novel for me when it comes to the romance. It gives you their history but doesn’t give any of the big secrets away either. Plus, the novella is super great; I wish it was longer!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Things are ramping up and I can’t wait to see how all this will unfold!

How it Crosses Over with the Wright Brothers Series:

My understanding since that is one of the few K A Linde series I haven’t read (yet), that Penn and Katherine are featured as the friends of the leads in that series. You can definitely read one series without the other.


–May 1, 2019– Book #2: Cruel Fortune

You can read my full review of book 2 here!

–June 14, 2019– Book #3: Cruel Legacy

You can read my full review of book 3 here!


–March 12, 2022– Book #3.5: Cruel Promise & Book #4: Cruel Truth

Originally, Books #4 to #7 were going to be their own spinoff series (The Seasons) but now they are lumped together under the Cruel Series. Which works for me and makes sense: all these characters have their lives intertwined with each other.
I read Cruel Promise before I read Cruel Truth and that is definitely the way to do it. It provides much more background between our leads in the full novel–information that I felt was lacking in the actual novel. It provides a lot of context and I think the novella does a much better job of showing how these two work romantically.

–March 27, 2022– Book #5: Cruel Desire

I really loved watching these two move from hate to love as they slowly peeled back each other’s layers. It was sweet to watch them slowly realize their misconceptions of the other were wrong and slowly fall in love, not just lust. I got a little bored by the end though with the back and forth drama that just seemed to be a little too much.

–April 7, 2022– Book #5: Cruel Marriage

I feel like this book has been building since the very first Cruel story–and I think it was my most anticipated. I really enjoyed the many layers to this novel. From the hate-to-admit-I-love-you moments to the complex leads, I was captivated by the journey these two take. Would I have liked to have had more flashbacks to key events in the past? Yes — and I think readers who pick this up as a standalone will miss out by not knowing those past moments because they are mentioned as if you should already know. Overall though, I enjoyed this!

My Rating: 3.5/5

[One Cruel Night 4/5] | Cruel Money 3.5/5 | Cruel Fortune 3.5/5 | Cruel Legacy 3/5 | [Cruel Promise 4/5] | Cruel Truth 3/5 | Cruel Desire 3.5/5 | Cruel Marriage 5/5 | [Cruel Kiss TBA] | Cruel King TBA

This is perfect for fans of Cruel Intentions and angsty romance reads!

Read if You Like: Cruel Intentions, the Upper East Side
Avoid if You: dislike angsty, billionaire romances


K A Linde

K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of the Avoiding Series, Wrights, and more than thirty other novels. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, binge-watching Supernatural, traveling, and dancing in her spare time.

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super-adorable puppies.

Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

Book Tour Organised by:

Inkslinger PR

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DNF Series Review: City Love by Susane Colasanti

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

Synopsis for City Love (from Goodreads):
Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.


Series: City Love Trilogy
Author: Susane Colasanti
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 21, 2015 – July 11, 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had read Susan Colansanti’s Something Like Fate years ago and while I didn’t like the love triangle, I did enjoy the cute story. City Love seemed like a New Adult version of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants–the book that inspired my love of YA fiction. I also love books with multiple POVs because even if I don’t connect with one character, there is usually someone’s story I become obsessed with.

Why I stopped:

To be fair to this book, I was in a major reading slump when I picked this book up (June 30). June wasn’t a stellar month for reading. Not only did I read less than I normally do, I just hadn’t been wowed by anything (ie no 5 star books). I was really looking for a book to lift up my spirits and I thought this one might do it…but it didn’t. And so I enacted my 50-Page Rule for one simple reason:

I didn’t like any of the main characters!

I find with contemporary YA romances I really have to mesh well with the characters personality-wise to enjoy the story. I think “would I be friends with this person in real life?” and if I say no, then I usually have a problem with their story. Sometimes I have the tolerance/patience to put up with a character I don’t really like but when I’m in a reading slump, that isn’t going to happen.

I just found that these girls were all extreme in their personalities. They all rubbed me the wrong way because they seemed so over the top to me and I think it is because I consider this to be a YA Contemporary and not a New Adult Contemporary.

It’s weird, I really enjoy New Adult novels–they’re my favourite genre–but YA Contemporaries drive me nuts (there are exceptions of course)! I just prefer the darker, more mature and realistic edges NA novels have. And that isn’t to say YA contemporary novels can’t have this–because there are quite a few that do–I just find the problems are what I consider to be “petty” and “high school-focused” whereas NA focuses more on being an adult. I also think I identify more with NA characters because I am in that age group.

So with these three, I just didn’t have that instant bond and I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking “this girl can’t be real”. But I get it! They are young, on their own for the first time in a tempting and energetic city and trying to find out who they are. The shame is that I just didn’t care.

Will I finish it?

Possibly. I feel like I tried to read this book at the wrong time. I needed a book to wow me and this book wasn’t the one to did it. I also was feeling the pressure to read some other books I had out from the library and had to make a decision. Thankfully, it was definitely the right one to pick up a different book instead. So because I enacted my 50 page rule (I got to page 43/230 on my Kobo), I feel like I didn’t give it a fair shot and wouldn’t mind restarting this book to see if it gets any better.

My Rating: DNF


I think if you enjoy YA Contemporaries with multiple character POVs, this is a great one. If you want the more mature/darker edge of contemporary romances,pick up a true New Adult Romance instead.

Read if You Like: multiple POV, contemporary romances
Avoid if You: want layered characters


Reading Rendezvous: What is That? + New York City [1]

Reading Rendezvous: is a weekly feature created by the Fern Team for the Book Blogger Creativity Project that acts as a travel guide, highlighting places we would like to visit and recommending books that take place there.

In August, I joined Nori @ ReadWriteLove28’s Book Blogger Creativity Project. The idea was to put together groups of new and “seasoned” bloggers and have them come up with a new weekly feature that people could use on their blogs.

My team was Team Fern (why Fern, I still do not know/don’t remember) but it’s a great group that I’ve had a lot of fun planning this out with! We decided to do a travel theme, picking locations from various books and highlighting them.


For our first post, we decided to pick an author from our home “state” (I’m a proud Canadian and we have provinces, not states) as a way to get to know everyone else on the team! My author is the AMAZING Canadian Author Lesley Livingston (hailing from Toronto, Ontario) and I picked her Wondrous Strange Trilogy‘s (as well as its spin-off series: Starling Trilogy) setting of New York City.


Places to Visit:

–Central Park–

Not only is this a HUGE part of the Wondrous Strange universe (it holds the gate to the faerie world), it is one of the best things about NYC! When you are there, you forget that you are even in one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world!

Highlights: Shakespeare’s Statue 😉


I’m a major theatre buff, though I have no desire to be an actress like Kelley from Wondrous Strange! I couldn’t act my way out of a paper bag if I tried. But NYC has SO MANY great shows!

Highlights: Phantom of the Opera

–The Metropolitan Museum of Art–

I’ve been to quite a few of the museum’s in NYC, but the Met is my favourite! I still have rooms I have to explore there despite going twice! They have a little bit of everything for everyone!

Highlights: Monet, rooftop Terrance

Other Books Set in the Big Apple:

(Click for my reviews)

Beastly The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1) Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2)

Travel Elsewhere:

Check out where else the Fern Team travelled this week!

Katherine @ Neon Yeti Reads  |  Ashley @ Books 4 Review  |  Lizzie @ Big Books and Grande Lattes  |  Cyra @ Rattle The Pages  |  Sheridan @ I Turn the Pages  |  Tamara @ Tamaraniac  |  Shayna @ Bibliophilials  |  Nori @ Read Write Love 28

Don’t forget to check back to see where I’ll be going in October in my next Reading Rendezvous!

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Series Review: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Series: Queen of Babble
Author: Meg Cabot
# of Books: 3 (Queen of Babble; Queen of Babble in the Big City; Queen of Babble Gets Hitched)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: warm


I was a huge Meg Cabot fan as a teen and once I read her teen series, I migrated up to her adult series. Some were hits with me and others were misses. This is one of those misses.

I loved the first book, Queen of Babble. It was a typical Meg Cabot book–funny moments, entertaining heroine and a cute romance–and I really enjoyed reading it. It put a smile on my face and I couldn’t put it down.

I really didn’t see a need for a sequel but because I enjoyed the first book, I was looking forward to reading Queen of Babble in the Big City. But once I read it, I went back to wishing it was only a standalone novel. I just didn’t enjoy the story or where the plot went in the next two books.

Again, I think I didn’t enjoy these books because I read them as a teenager. I wasn’t the target audience and that showed. I think if I read these books when I was older, I would have liked the realistic edge to these books a lot more.


A classic Meg Cabot adult series that fans will probably enjoy but younger audience will not.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis for Queen of Babble (from Goodreads):
What’s an American girl with a big mouth, but an equally big heart, to do?

Lizzie Nichols has a problem, and it isn’t that she doesn’t have the slightest idea what she’s going to do with her life, or that she’s blowing what should be her down payment on a cute little Manhattan apartment on a trip to London to visit her long-distance boyfriend, Andrew. But what’s the point of planning for the future when she’s done it again? See, Lizzie can’t keep her mouth shut. And it’s not just that she can’t keep her own secrets, she can’t keep anything to herself.

This time when she opens her big mouth, her good intentions get Andrew in major hot water. So now Lizzie’s stuck in London with no boyfriend and no place to stay until the departure date written on her non-refundable airline ticket.

Fortunately, there’s Shari, Lizzie’s best friend and college roommate, who’s spending her summer in southern France, catering weddings with her boyfriend, Chaz, in a sixteenth-century château. One call and Lizzie’s on a train to Souillac. Who cares if she’s never traveled alone in her life and only speaks rudimentary French? One glimpse of gorgeous Château Mirac – not to mention gorgeous Luke, the son of Château Mirac’s owner – and she’s smitten.

But while most caterers can be trusted to keep a secret, Lizzie’s the exception. And no sooner has the first cork been popped than Luke hates her, the bride is in tears, and it looks like Château Mirac is in danger of becoming a lipo-recovery spa. As if things aren’t bad enough, her ex-boyfriend Andrew shows up looking for “closure” (or at least a loan), threatening to ruin everything, especially Lizzie’s chance at ever finding real love…

Unless she can figure out a way to use that big mouth of hers to save the day.

Series Review: Kiwi Brides by Alexia Praks

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

His Hired Girlfriend by Alexia Praks | Kiwi Brides Series

Other books in the series:

Series: Kiwi Brides
Author: Alexia Praks
# of Books: 2 (His Hired Girlfriend, Highland Kiss, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, A Secret Admirer has yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated as a DNF series review.**

I got His Hired Girlfriend for free on Amazon and decided to read it right away because it sounded like a lot of fun. While I’m used to reading books about rich men hiring average girls to be their girlfriends I’ve never read one where the guy pretends to be gay so that really interested me.

I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that it is told in the present tense BUT in third person. I’ve never read a book like that before so it really took some getting used to. Unfortunately, I think the book suffered from it because it just gave me the impression that the writing was scattered. One minute we would be getting Alex’s thoughts and then in the next two lines it would be Jay’s. It just confused me more than anything so I couldn’t get into the story as much as I wanted.

When we first met Alex, I really liked her. Same with Jay. But I just felt like their character development wasn’t the smoothest and they got a little irritating. For example, Alex just seemed really dim-witted about certain things and that frustrated me at times. She also never seemed consistent in her convictions. In one minute she was shy to be around Jay with clothes on and in the next she has no problem with him seeing her in her underwear. It just didn’t make sense to me.

The plot itself is cliché but I think that is pretty much expected so that didn’t bother me too much. This book reminded me of watching a soap opera because things are a little over the top at times and it follows a predictable path. I found with the way that this book was written it made for following the plot a little confusing at times. I’m also really confused as to why Jay (who is American) was in Sydney, Australia with his girlfriend and best friend at the start of the novel for him and his girlfriend’s anniversary–like to me that screams warning bells in my head.

Unlike other books, we don’t really get introduced to the character(s) in the next books. Briefly we meet Ruby, heroine of Highland Kiss, who discusses her impending trip abroad but not enough for me to really want to read her story. So I will be passing on the rest of the series.



This book was disappointing in the sense that it could have been a lot more entertaining if the writing style was different and the characters were better developed. For a free read, I didn’t mind so much but I would have been very disappointed if I paid for it and this is what I got.

Rating: 2/5

Similar Reads: Faking it to Making It by Ally Blake and Break by Vanessa Waltz

Synopsis for His Hired Girlfriend (from Goodreads):
Family oriented Alexandra Stewart is in desperate need of money for her dad’s heart surgery. She is stoked when Jayden McCartney unexpectedly barges in to her life and offers to help. On ONE condition. She must pretend to be his girlfriend. One look at Jay tells her to run in the opposite direction. He is too good looking, too successful, and too rich for her liking. When she is told Jay is gay; however, she feels sorry for him and, thinking that she’d kill two birds with one stone, agrees to the proposal. Now the only problem is how does she prevent herself from falling madly in love with Jay? When the way he looks at her makes her heart tremble and his touches set her body on fire?

Hot, recently single Jayden McCartney has to bring his girlfriend to his sister’s wedding in order to stop the matchmaking his grandmother has planned for him. Not in the mood for dating or a new woman after the discovery of his cheating ex, he hires a perfect candidate as his girlfriend in Alexandra Stewart. Alex, however, thinks he’s crazy and only when he commits a sinful lie that would damned his manhood forever does she agree to help. He convinces her that he is gay and that the possibility of his family finding out would ruin them financially and socially. Now Jay has to pretend to be batting for the other team. This is no easy task where the geeky turn sexy Alex is concerned because he wants her in his bed, and what Jay wants, he gets.

Series Review: Tangled by Emma Chase

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

Tangled by Emma Chase  | Tangled Series

book3 book3


Synopsis for Tangled (from Goodreads):

Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious.  She refuses to let anything – or anyone – derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all.  Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel.  It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows.  As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.


SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Series 2013; Fav Couple (Drew & Kate)
Series: Tangled Trilogy
Author: Emma Chase
# of Books: 4 (Tangled, Twisted, Tamed, Tied)

There is a novella: #1.5 Holy Frigging Matrimony (should be read after Tamed though)

However, the chronological reading order in terms of events is: Tangled/Tamed, Holy Frigging Matrimony, Twisted, Tied

Book Order: Chronological & One Connected/Overlapping (Tamed) — see quick note below
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humour, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**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 Review of Tangled:

It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud during a book. Truthfully, the last book I remember reading where I chuckled throughout the narrative was Losing It by Cora Cormack. I love witty, sarcastic narrators and they are hard to find. Not everyone can speak sarcasm (it is actually the first language I ever learned 😉 ) so when I hear of a book that promises to be filled with witty one-liners, you can guarantee that I will be reading it.

I put Tangled on my to-read list after seeing its nomination for the annual Goodreads Awards for 2013. With contemporary romance novels, I shouldn’t have to tell you how rare it is to have a novel told entirely from the POV of the male lead. Sure, we get mixed POV but most of the time it’s the female and then there is a “sequel” book with the male’s perspective. But this promised to a witty and funny read and when in my exam slump, I decided to read it.

I’m glad I did! I probably drove my roommates nuts laughing as hard and loud as I did during the early hours of the morning that I spent reading this. There were some great lines in this book and Drew’s perception of things is so funny and most-likely right (I’m a female so I can only assume that is how the male brain operates). Sometimes I think the jokes (I can think of 2 that)  bordered on crossing the line, but for the most part (read: majority) were funny.

Besides the humour, this book follows the typical contemporary romance path–so it’s the humour that really sets this book apart from the otherwise stereotypical romance novel. What is nice to see though is that Drew isn’t some top alpha dog who feels the need to “own” everything. READ: no kinky sex going on here! It’s refreshing because most of the books lately that have come out follow the Fifty Shades Trend where one, if not both, of the leads suffers from a tragic past and the male is alpha to extreme. Both Kate and Drew are business people and Drew does come from money, but I felt like they were pretty grounded overall. I also loved the rest of the characters–they were so blunt and funny that it was really refreshing.


–February 16, 2015– Books #2 & 3:

I almost forgot about this series until I noticed the new additions at my local library. And because I couldn’t remember exactly what happened in Tangled, I decided to reread it and I loved it just as much as the first time I did. I forgot how much I loved Kate and Drew together and that their relationship was more than sex–that they actually talked to each other and got to know each other instead of just jumping into bed together.

Book 2: Twisted

Next, I read Twisted and it was what I was expecting the sequel to be.  As I said when I finished Tangled:

As much as I loved this book, I would have been happy without a sequel. The novella (though I haven’t read it yet) seems like a good idea but I don’t know where else this story can really go. There isn’t too much outside drama besides their relationship so I’m curious to see what Ms. Chase has in store for these characters.

Even after reading it I don’t feel like it was necessary to have their story continue but I did enjoy reading it. This time we get Kate’s perspective and I have to say that while I enjoyed getting to know Kate more, I really missed Drew’s observations of the world. It didn’t help that I got annoyed by Kate a bit in some of her actions. I think it is obvious to everyone except the two leads what is really happening and that makes it frustrating to read. And while I understand Kate’s need to become more independent (and I love that she wants to) it just seemed a little silly considering the book is two years later–but I guess better late than never and I can appreciate that it is a touch realistic in the sense that they work on their relationship.

Book #3: Tamed

Tamed was the story I’ve been looking forward to since I first read Tangled and it didn’t disappoint. While I found it wasn’t as funny as Tangled, it did have its moments and I loved watching Matt and Dee Dee together. It was everything I like in a contemporary romance.

–March 22, 2015– Books #4: Tied

When I saw what the premise was for Tied I was excited albeit a little worried. I wasn’t looking forward to another communication assumption like we get in Twisted BUT when I see that Drew is going to be in Las Vegas–I know hilarity is going to ensue. And boy did it ever! This book was so much fun to read and I thought it was just as funny as Tangled. Plus, we didn’t get any stupid plot-lines! In short: a great way to end the series! I’m sad that we won’t be seeing any more of these characters in the near future but I am hopeful that one day Emma Chase will return to this awesome cast of characters!

Quick Note on Series Reading Order:

The reading order for this series is a little bit scattered due to the publishing order. If you want to read the books in chronological order of events I would suggest you read them in this order: Tangled, Tamed, Holy Frigging Matrimony, Twisted, and then Tied. If just keeps all the side plot lines in order and prevents some minor spoilers if you read them in this order.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Tangled 5/5 | Twisted 4/5 | Tamed 4/5 | Tied 5/5


I will definitely be picking up more books from this author in the future! Emma Chase has nailed the sarcastic hero who can easily win over a female reader who would otherwise slap him in real life. If you want to try a humorous contemporary romance, pick up this book NOW!

Read if You Like: rom-coms, charming assholes, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike humour, dislike sexy times


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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


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!


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

Spin-off Saturdays: Starling Series by Lesley Livingston

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:

Starling Trilogy is a spin-off of the Wondrous Strange Trilogy

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Authors
Series: Starling Trilogy
Author: Lesley Livingston
# of Books: 3 (Starling, Descendant, Transcendent)

This is a spinoff of the Wondrous Strange Series.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Norse Legends, Action, Romance, Mythology
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person


Lesley Livingston is one of my must-read authors: I love her work. Her stories always have a fabulous blend of action, romance and awesome background stories of legends or older stories. When I heard that she was writing a spin-off from the Wondrous Strange Series (an all time favourite series of mine), I grabbed a copy as soon as I was able.

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. Mason was a kick-ass heroine and her family story was super interesting. Fennrys wasn’t one of my favourite characters from the Wondrous Strange series but he really grew on me in this one. Like most characters who are in the original series, you often judge them through the eyes of another character. But when the perspective shifts to them in a new series (or even a later book) you really appreciate them as a character.

There was a lot going on in this book so it was never a dull moment! There are a few twists here and there so it wasn’t predictable (BONUS!). I also loved the Norse god mythology in this. It’s something that isn’t as popular in young adult books so it was a nice change from faeries and vampires.

I recommend that you make note of details in this book as it will pay off in seeing why things are happening and they will no doubt influence the rest of the books in the series.

Updated (Dec 7/13): Descendant was absolutely fantastic! What I love about it most is that it doesn’t fall into clichés and I really like Mason. While she may be love sick for Fennrys, it doesn’t weaken her in any way. This book had great plot twists and really builds up for the climax. Super excited to see how this all ends!

Updated (Jan 6/15): I won’t lie, I was a little lost when I started reading Transcendent. Despite my pretty thorough synopsis notes, I still had a hard time grasping everything initially–that`s what happens when you read a sequel book one year later! However, I quickly got into the swing of the things to get enough of the major plot points. But I do know that I would haven enjoyed this final book a lot more if I read it right after Descendant just because all the little things would have been fresh in my mind. All and all, a solid way to end the series and exactly what I was expecting and hoping for! A great series from beginning to end!


Starling is quite different from Wondrous Strange because of the use of Norse legends instead of the Shakespearian faeries. It is still written in similar style but the characters and plots are completely different. It’s a nice change but fans of the first series will like this one I’m sure. You also don’t have to read the Wondrous Strange Series first, but it will help set some context for this series.

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange Trilogy); Stork by Wendy Delsol (Stork Trilogy)


Synopsis for Starling (from Goodreads):
Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name–the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason’s world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn’s identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason’s family–with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods–is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston’s epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.


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