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Series Review: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

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

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | The Perfectionists Series

booksynopsis

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

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

breakdown

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

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

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

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

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

My Review:

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

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

updates

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

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

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

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

Series Rating: 3/5

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

overall

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

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

similarreads

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

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Single Sundays: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

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

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

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

Review:

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Similar Reads:

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

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Series Review: Ethan Frost by Tracy Wolff

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 Ruined (from Goodreads):
He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.

breakdown

Series: Ethan Frost
Author: Tracy Wolff
# of Books: 4 (Ruined, Addicted, Exposed, Flawed)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (Flawed)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, New Adult, Abuse
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2014 – January 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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Disclaimer: I never picked up Exposed or Flawed. Find out why below…

Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon Ruined one day and decided to give it a shot when I read the blurb:

Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point—and beyond.

Considering I read all three series and enjoyed them (for the most part, read my reviews on each for my full thoughts on each series), I was willing to give this series a shot. Especially when I saw that there was no BDSM–do you know how hard that is when it comes to an erotica novel about a billionaire? I mean I get that in fiction, and especially in the erotica genre, that there are some “fantasy” elements but I really don’t think every billionaire male in the world is some Dom waiting for his perfect Sub…

Characters:

I actually really liked Ethan Frost’s character. He was charming and funny and I enjoyed the scenes he was in throughout the novel. He was just a genuinely nice guy who wasn’t all alpha male when it came to pursuing Chloe. I really wish part of the novel was told from his POV because I liked him so much but also because I needed a break from Chloe.

Chloe was kind of “meh” to me. I just felt like her character wasn’t anything I haven’t read in this genre before. She often got trapped in her head and often times her logic for things escaped me. I’m sure part of the reason why she would think certain things was due to her past but because you don’t know her past until over the halfway point in Ruined, I just felt like I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped. Also, she used the word “Churlish” at least three times–who uses that word to describe anything? I didn’t even know that was a word until I saw it in this book!

Plot:

Ruined didn’t have much of a plot–but that doesn’t mean that they were just banging like bunnies the entire time either. It was actually cute to watch the whole pursuit between the two of them but I really wished there was more going on. To be fair, pretty much every book like this follows the same first-book pattern by focusing more on the developing relationship and sexual chemistry so I shouldn’t be surprised. I was just hoping that in a series that is only 2 books long that there was a more suspenseful plot line going on.

Because Ruined ends on a massive cliffhanger, I was looking forward to see where Addicted would go.

Unfortunately, it too followed the generic second-in-the-series romance novel formula and I was getting tired of all the back-and-forth between them. Again, I struggled to connect to Chloe and even Ethan (who I loved in the last book) was beginning to irritate me.

There was a bit more plot to this one but again, I wished there was more to it. There is really only so long you can read about the same plot line before it gets boring.

The nice thing about this series is that it is only two books long so the plot isn’t dragged out more than it really needs to be **coughcoughCrossfirecoughcough**. This book was also pretty short so I didn’t feel like I wasted my time completely.

Why am I not Continuing?

I really don’t see a point for a 3rd book is what it comes down to. And, by the time I realized there was a third book, it was a couple years later. I’ve moved on from this series and I have no interested in the spin-off 4th novel; even if it uses two new characters as the leads.

Series Rating: DNF

Ruined 3/5 | Addicted 3/5 | Exposed N/A | Flawed N/A

overall

For those who want a contemporary erotica series that doesn’t feature an over-the-top alpha male or if you don’t like overly complicated plot lines, this is a great one to grab. To me, it just didn’t have enough going on to really “wow” me and the second book bored me at times. But, they are both quick reads AND the series is only two books long!

similarreads
Release Me by J Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1)
Bared to You by Sylvia Cross (Crossfire Series #1)

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Novella Serial Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield

Serial Saturdays: On Saturdays, I review serialized series (a series that is released in parts that would normally make up a whole novel) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Series: The Inheritance
Author: Olivia Mayfield
# of Parts: 6
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Chick Lit, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm (not a lot of sexual content but it is rather descriptive)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I randomly stumbled across this serial at my public library when browsing the newly added eBooks. I think at one point, I came across this book as a freebie on Amazon because the plot sounded extremely familiar to me when I read it  (but I opted not to download it because it was a serial series). However, my library had the complete novel available to borrow so I decided that I might as well grab it.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary mystery novels. In theory I should because I love puzzles, Clue is my all-time favourite board game and I just love the movies that require you to piece together clues to understand what is happening. But when it comes to reading, I prefer my suspense to come from drama and family secrets. This book has a mixture of both because the mystery focuses on family drama that is the result of a crime so I liked that it blended together. It managed to keep my attention and even when I wasn’t reading it I was trying to put the clues together.

I think like most serialized series, this series suffers from lack of character development. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters and I didn’t love Maggie. I think part of the reason is the third person narration but from a technical aspect I understand why mystery novels are written in third person. But most of the characters are your cookie-cutter mystery characters so nothing felt wholly original to me.

As for the mystery, I was expecting something a little more complicated as the solution to be honesty. However, I didn’t fully figure out the solution until shortly before the big reveals so I liked that.

Conclusion:

It was a cute read and it made for a good way to pass the time. Not the greatest story ever told but it was interesting and managed to keep my attention throughout. Don’t expect the romance aspect to be the main focus here; this book is primarily a contemporary mystery with a dash of romance on the side.

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

Similar Reads: His Wicked Games by Ember Casey (His Wicked Games Series #1) and Juliet by Anne Fortier

Synopsis for The Inheritance: The Complete Novel (from Goodreads):

Olivia Mayfield’s thrilling and sexy novel about seductive money, deadly secrets, and fatal attractions—available in one complete edition!

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. It turns out her grandfather named four people beneficiaries to his vast estate—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany. But only one of them will win his millions: whoever finds out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago.

As her grandfather’s strange challenge pits Maggie against those nearest to her, she’s reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister and distracted by a lingering attraction to Andrew. But as she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious vanishing, she begins to discover that each of the contestants has dangerous secrets to hide—and with ten million dollars on the line, no one, not even those she loves most, can be trusted…

Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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

Series:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

Series Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series Review: Sinners on Tour by Olivia Cunning

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 Backstage Pass (from Goodreads):
Five stunning guys, one hot woman, and a feverish romance…

For him, life is all music and no play…

When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius…

She’s the one to call the tune…

When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on…

Then the two lovers’ wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory… and sin…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read
Series: Sinners on Tour
Author: Olivia Cunning
# of Books: 5 (Backstage Pass, Rock Hard, Hot Ticket, Wicked Beat, Double Time, [Sinners at the Altar, Sinners in Paradise, Sinners Rock the Cradle])

Sinners at the Altar/in Paradise/Rock the Cradle are anthology books that are extended epilogues of the previous novels.

Book Order: Connected

The order of the events in the books doesn’t follow the publishing order for the first 5 books. The books’ order according to timeline: Backstage Pass, Rock Hard, Hot Ticket, Wicked Beat, Double Time. I read them in order of events, not publication.

Complete?: No, Sinners in Paradise and Sinners Rock the Cradle have yet to be published.
Genre: Erotica, Contemporary, Rock stars, Kinky, Music, Drama, BDSM
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2010 – March 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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PLEASE NOTE: That as of publishing this review, I have only read the first 3 novels in this series (Backstage Pass, Rock Hard and Hot Ticket). I have opted not to read the rest of this series.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I honestly have no idea why I decided to read these books. I guess I wanted to try a new “erotica” series and I’ve been enjoying reading New Adult books about rock stars and musicians so it seemed like this series was an obvious choice.

My Review:

As you can expect, these books are basically about having sex with rock stars. And unsurprisingly there is a lot of sex. I think in Backstage Pass, you could probably go about 5 pages (max) before the couple was having sex or fondling each other. And it isn’t necessarily your everyday vanilla sex either: it’s got a bit of a kink to it and that kinkiness gets more elaborate as the series wares on. This series is pretty much every female fantasy about rock stars coming to life: so if your fantasy rock star does it in your dreams, he probably does it in this book.

I like a bit of spice to my books as much as the next person but I don’t need copious amounts of it in my novels. I also don’t enjoy BDSM or “heavier” sex novels and these books bordered on that line at times. However, I did enjoy the story underneath all the sex (though there really wasn’t much there). It was a definitely guilty pleasure read and I think readers who need a mindless romance novel to read after reading a darker, more serious story (like I do) will enjoy it.

The books are quite long as well: which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about erotica novels. I personally wished they were condensed a bit more so that I got more plot but they are easy reads to get through for sure.

updates

–November 2, 2014– Book #3: Hot Ticket

I just finished Hot Ticket (book 3) and I think this book is my favourite out of the series so far. I really liked the two leads and I found I didn’t get annoyed by them like I did in Rock Hard. I also liked that they built more of an emotional connection other than just their physical chemistry. I had planned to just read this book here and there while I read another book but I actually got pretty hooked into this one and finished it in a weekend.

Series Rating: DNF

Backstage Pass 3/5 | Rock Hard 3.5/5 | Hot Ticket 4/5

overall

If you are looking for a hot, mindless read with lots of sex (and not of the vanilla kind)–this is a series for you!

similarreads

  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks (Sweet Series #1)

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Series Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
# of Books: 3 (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)

There is a prequel novel called The Kill Order and novella that is listed between books 2 and 3 called Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

I had heard about the Maze Runner series before I heard about the plans for the movie and had put it on my to-read list. But with the movie approaching, I decided to read it before the movie was released in September.

The first book in the series, The Maze Runner, was very slow and dry. I was expecting the action to happen right away and I found that the plot really didn’t pick up until the last third of the book–which is quite far into the novel as it is a longer novel. I just felt like the little pieces of the mystery took too long to be revealed; because once more pieces were revealed, it got really interesting. But until you know more it is quite dull. Part of the issue is that it is very descriptive–which isn’t bad because I have a good idea of what the world looks like–when it doesn’t really need to be.

I could see why a lot of people didn’t enjoy the novel as it isn’t as intense or action packed as, say, the Hunger Games were. I think the movie will do well though because they will speed through the exposition quicker and focus more on the few action scenes we do get in the first half of the book and expand upon them.

Up until the halfway point or so of The Maze Runner I wasn’t entirely sure if I would be reading the second novel, The Scorch Trials. I didn’t want to have to put myself through another round of dry, overly descriptive chapters.But when everything is finally revealed, I really got into the story and was excited to read book 2.

The Scorch Trials does what I wish The Maze Runner did, and that’s hitting the ground and running (no pun intended). There isn’t an inflated exposition to sift your way through. Instead we dive right into the next scene and watch the mystery unravel around us. I did find that some chapters were slower than others but overall, The Scorch Trials is a vast improvement over its predecessor and I understand why people love these/this books/series because it is quite the ride when it wants to be. It makes the task of reading The Maze Runner almost worth it.

Unfortunately though, The Death Cure, the third and final book of the series, drops the ball. It was more “death” than “cure”. Like the inaugural book of the series, it was super slow. It got to a point where I was just skimming the text because I really didn’t need to read every detail to get an idea of what was happening–because there wasn’t really anything happening! That was why it was more like “death” because it was a chore to read it–though the last 40 pages really picked up. However, I missed the “cure” part. I really didn’t feel like any of my questions about the entire series were answered and the ending leaves a little to be desired. As a concluding book in a series, it was a fail.

I’m undecided about reading the prequel novel (it is a full fledged novel, not a novella), The Kill Order. It is very important that you don’t read this novel until after you read the trilogy because it will have spoilers about the world that is unveiled as you progress through the trilogy. However, the characters in the Maze Runner do not appear in the Kill Order (from what I understand). I might read it in the future, but after finishing the Death Cure, I need a bit of a break from this series.

Conclusion:

A cool concept for a series but not the best execution. It’s a slower series that does have its higher points but overall drags out throughout the novels and the entire series. I was very disappointed but I am looking forward to the movie–I think if it is executed well, it will be what I expected the series to be. If you like slower, longer stories told from the third person, this is a young adult series for you!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No – unless I know that they love overly descriptive books. I would actually recommend that they watch the movie instead…find out why here!

Similar Reads: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe Trilogy #1) and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Series Review: All that Glows by Ryan Graudin

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 All that Glows (from Goodreads):

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

breakdown

Series: All that Glows
Author: Ryan Graudin
# of Books: 2 (All that Glows, All that Burns)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Faeries, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2014 – 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Single Sunday standalone review of the first book of the series. I have opted not to pick up the sequel.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was really excited to read this novel because it has been a long time since I read a faery based novel and this one had a very interesting premise that hooked me in.

The Plot:

I think if you are expecting this book to be an action-packed young adult novel–you will be disappointed. While Emrys is powerful in the Guard, she isn’t a hands-on fighter as she mostly uses magic to disarm her enemies: so there are no big action scenes. I also found that the scenes where she confronts enemies are few and far between so that was disappointing though the end of the novel has a bit more action.

The Romance:

This book mostly focuses on the romance between Emrys and the prince (Richard) which was really fine by me because I wasn’t expecting a high action novel (though I would have enjoyed it!). I wish there was more interaction between the two (though it does improve later in the book) so that their relationship with each other isn’t simply based on the “connection” they have. Because this is a world of magic, I understand that something more is happening between them and it did improve as the novel progressed so that made me happy. I just wish that Richard was a few years older than 17 because I felt like he was older based on the events that unfold.

As for the plot of the “ancient force” I enjoyed the premise and how it unfolded. I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to end so I enjoyed that aspect of it. I just wish it was a little more suspenseful along the way because it felt a little dull at times: I think it was a little bit too long and could have been a few pages shorter as a result.

updates

–January 31, 2015– Book #2: All That Burns

I coincidentally found out that this book now has a sequel when I was browsing my “New February Books” list on Goodreads today. I’m undecided about whether or not I will read this sequel. At this time, I have opted not to read it but if becomes available at my library, I might randomly grab a copy on day just to see what happens next–but I’m not dying to do so.

Series Rating: 3/5

overall

Nothing really wowed me about this book. I liked it but I wish it just had that little umph to it to make it that touch more memorable. If you want a slower paced faery-magic novel with a dash of romance, you will probably enjoy this!

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Series Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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 Tantalize (from Goodreads):

Are you predator or prey?
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SANGUINI’S: A VERY RARE RESTAURANT IS HIRING A CHEF DE CUISINE. DINNERS ONLY.
APPLY IN PERSON BETWEEN 2:00 AND 4:00 PM.
Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?

breakdownSeries: Tantalize
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
# of Books: 4 (Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, Diabolical)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Werewolves, Angels, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read the fourth and final book in the series, Diabolical, and I don’t plan to.

I was really excited to read Tantalize and when I saw my library had it, I dashed to go get it. It sounded unlike anything I had ever read before and I was interested to see where it was going to go.

And it was unlike anything I read before. It was darker but also slightly disturbing in terms of a certain relationship Quincie develops with an older man. It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and not in a good way. It was cliché and not at the same time–which is hard to describe but it you ever read it you would understand. It was like a mash of teen stereotypes in one book topped with some teenage angst. It wasn’t as much fun as I hoped it would be.

I probably wouldn’t have read the next book, Eternal, if it wasn’t for the sample we got at the end of the book. Somehow it sucked me in and I wanted to read it. I enjoyed it more than Tantalize but I also didn’t love it. It was dark and if I recall correctly I didn’t love the direction it ended up going. But, it was different from other books out there so I enjoyed it in that respect.

I honestly don’t remember what happened in Blessed but I know that it left me with no desire to see what happens in the fourth book, Diabolical.

Series Rating: 3/5

Tantalize 3/5 | Eternal 3/5 | Blessed 3/5 | Diabolic N/A

overall

I think some people will like the unconventional aspects of this series. In theory, it’s a cool mashup of paranormal trends but poorly executed. Although it’s a different spin on the young adult paranormal genre, it still has a lot of what people expect of the genre and what they probably don’t like about young adult series (aka teenage angst). But it definitely isn’t for everyone and I think most people will not enjoy it as a series.

similarreads

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy Trilogy #1)

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