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Spin-off Saturdays: The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten by Julie Kagawa

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:

 The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Series is a spin-off of the Iron Fey Series

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series (The Iron Fey), Sad to See Go Series (2015)
Series: Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Trilogy; The Iron Fey (#5, #6, #7)

This is a spinoff of the Iron Fey Series. This series can be read on it’s own as it follows a different set of characters but it will definitely help to read the Iron Fey Series prior to reading this series because it is linked to the events of the previous series.

Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 3 (The Lost Prince, The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior)

I think it is helpful to read the novella Iron’s Prophecy prior to starting this series.

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

thoughts


WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED The Iron Fey SERIES THE FOLLOWING REVIEW and SYNOPSIS MAY HAVE SPOILERS!

I LOVED the Iron Fey Series! It was so unique in its plotline and delivery but had everything I love in a great Young Adult series like romance and action. Meghan is on of my favourite heroines of all time and while I was sad that her story initially ended in the Iron Fey series, I was excited to read this new subset series that focused on her brother many years later.

The Lost Prince started off really slow for me. I found the beginning had too much detail, like Kagawa’s other series The Blood of Eden does, so that made me get a little bored at times. It’s been a few years since I read an actual Iron Fey novel and not a novella, so I don’t recall if the original series was as detail orientated and slow–I don’t think it was because I was completely captivated by all 4 novels in the inaugural series. The book really starts to pick up though around the halfway point and stays pretty fast paced until the end so I liked that.

Ethan was a little angsty but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I think it helps that I know what Ethan went through in the previous series: I didn’t get annoyed by his attitude because I felt like he had legitimate reasons for why he thinks and acts like he does. Nevertheless, I really don’t think it will turn off readers regardless of what your previous experience is with the series.

You really don’t have to read the Iron Fey series to know what is going on here. While past characters make brief appearances–that is what they are: brief. Fans of the original series will smile and laugh at the inside jokes but I don’t think people who haven’t read the Iron Fey Series will be completely lost in what is going on. Kagawa does a good job of having little refreshers about past events and Ethan does a good job of explaining how the Fey world works to Kenzie as they journey forward.

The Iron Traitor is definitely better than its predecessor in terms of pace, detail and overall Iron Fey vibe. As I was reading it, I felt like I was back reading about the original set of characters:  it definitely had all the charm of the first series but with a new group of people. I didn’t find myself getting bored and the pace remained consistent from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to the 3rd book and am counting down the days until its release 🙂

updates

–November 27, 2015– Book #3: The Iron Warrior

With the ending we get in The Iron Traitor, The Iron Warrior was one of my must read books of this fall. I will admit that I was a little unimpressed by it’s slower start but I understand why it had to start that way. But I did love the way it built up to everything and the climax was everything I wanted it to be: slightly unpredictable and action packed. It was a solid way to end this series as a whole. I can only hope that we will get more Iron Fey stuff in the future because it is one of my all time favourite book worlds but as a fan, I’m very satisfied with this ending and I think other fans will be too 🙂

Series Rating: 4/5

The Lost Prince 4/5 | The Iron Traitor 4/5 | The Iron Warrior 4/5

overall

Fans of the original Iron Fey series will enjoy this new adventure set in Nevernever. It has everything you loved in the original series plus it has all your favourite characters making appearances and adding to the story. Just don’t expect to see a lot of your favourites. Those who have never read the Iron Fey series will also enjoy this series for its romance, action and faery elements–but be warned, once you read this series you WILL be reading the original 4 books 😉

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate dimensions, faeries
Avoid if You: dislike adventure stories, want more romance

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Synopsis for The Lost Prince (from Goodreads):
Don’t look at Them.
Never let Them know
you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase.
And I may not live to see my
eighteenth birthday.

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Series Review: Trapped by Beverley Kendall

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

Trapped by Beverley Kendall | Trapped Series

The Trap (Trapped, #0.5) 

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Synopsis for Trapped (from Goodreads):
My life has turned out to be such a cliché. And not in a good way.

It’s not exactly Sixteen and Pregnant, but at eighteen my only advantage is a high school diploma. And if that’s not enough, the father—and I use that term loosely—couldn’t have hightailed it out of my life fast enough.

I thought I really knew him. Unfortunately, my boyfriend of three years transformed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde once he realized his carefree, childless days would be coming to an end.

I’m over him now though. The real love of my life is chubby, has more gum than teeth, and stands a little over two feet tall. She may not have been planned, but I’ve never regretted having her. She is the center of my world.

A world that’s been turned upside down when Mitch returns ready to earn the love and trust of the child he abandoned before birth.

Letting him into my daughter’s life is one thing but letting him back into mine isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Now if only I can get my heart to heed the lessons of the past.

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite new New Adult Series 2014
Series: Trapped

This series intersects with Kendall’s other series, Unforgettable You, just before book 2 in the series, Always for You. However, you do not need to read that series to read this series.

Author: Beverley Kendall
# of Books: 3 (Trapped, Tamed, Played)

There is a prequel novella for Trapped called The Trap (it’s FREE) that I recommend you read before you read Trapped.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 20142018
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up:

Every since I saw the synopsis for Trapped, I’ve been counting down the days to read it. Though I didn’t love Beverley Kendall’s other full New Adult novel, Only for You, I did love its novella that took place after with a different set of characters (All Over You). So I wasn’t going to give up on her yet!

The Prequel, The Trap:

I started by reading the prequel novella, The Trap, which is FREE on all major eRetailers. I highly recommend that you read this novella before you read Trapped because it really sets the context for everything and does so better than the full novel did. I think reading the novella helped give me some sympathy (or at the very least understanding) towards the characters that I wouldn’t necessarily have had if I had just read the novel. Because let’s face it, Mitch is a bit of a jerk for doing what he did regardless; but getting the full story thanks to the novella helped me grow to like him in Trapped.

The Plot:

Trapped was great! Normally I’m not a huge fan of second chance romances because I find them very predictable but this one wasn’t entirely predictable in the sense that there are a few other plotlines going on that add interesting twists to everything. I found that very refreshing. It was a slower plot but I always found that it kept my attention

The Characters:

As for the characters, I thought everyone was great. Mitch and Paige were much more mature than Kendall’s other leads in Only for You despite being the same age and friends with them. They were also super cute together and weren’t over the top in anything that they did. The hotter scenes between them aren’t numerous but I’m glad that was the case because I think it would have taken away from the story. The other supporting characters were just as interesting as Mitch and Paige but they didn’t overshadow them in anyway which was super nice.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m very excited to get some of the secondary casts stories!

Series Rating: 4/5

[The Trap 4/5] | Trapped 4/5 | Played TBD

overall

I really enjoyed The Trap and Trapped. They were refreshing in the sense that they were realistic with a dash of dramatics that one expects in a New Adult fiction read. Those who like second chance romances (especially with unexpected pregnancies) will really enjoy this one!

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Series Review: The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout | The Dark Elements Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Most Read Author
Series: The Dark Elements Trilogy
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (Pennames include J. Lynn)
# of Books: 3 (White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch, Every Last Breath)

There is a prequel novella called Bitter Sweet Love that can be read before the series

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm – spicy for a young adult novel
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

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

I pretty much read anything Jennifer L. Armentrout because I have always enjoyed her works but this was one series I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy. After reading the plot synopsis for White Hot Kiss it seemed obvious to me that there was going to be a love triangle and that kind-of turned me off of this new series (love triangles are my least favourite literary device). However, when I was browsing the Kindle Free Bestsellers, I came across Bitter Sweet Love and decided to give this series a shot.

I’m glad I read Bitter Sweet Love first–and I highly recommend that you read it first if you plan on reading this series (though it isn’t necessary). It does a great job of setting up the world–which is pretty unique in that it features gargoyles–so that you are familiar with it when you read the first full length novel, White Hot Kiss. It also introduces you to the main character Layla years earlier as well as some other characters that make an appearance later on. Again, you don’t have to read this book but I found that it helped set the scene for the rest of the series and it made me really excited to read White Hot Kiss.

White Hot Kiss reminded me of Firelight by Sophie Jordan but with gargoyles instead of dragons and a more mature (read: less annoying) heroine. The storyline is also completely different but I found the stories had a lot of parallels in its delivery. The love triangle wasn’t as bad as it could have been–it was pretty mild compared to other love triangle based stories. However, the sexual content (like most of Armentrout’s work) is higher than most Young Adult reads. Personally, it’s right on that Young Adult-New Adult border for me like Sweet Evil was.

I did like Layla as a character and I could understand her choices; however I just didn’t love her. I find Armentrout’s heroines all have the same general makeup to them so at times I felt like I was reading about Kat from Lux or Alex from Covenant (more so Kat in this case). I loved Roth though 😛

I’m interested to see where the series is going to go and I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

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–December 7, 2014– Book 2: Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch really just an amped up version of White Hot Kiss. The plot is darker and more twisty; the love triangle is at full force (and totally swoon-worthy); and the characters become more defined. I really enjoyed reading it and it sucked me into the story much faster than the first novel did. While I had a pretty good idea of how things were going to unfold, I often found myself second-guessing myself so I loved that uncertainty and it kept me reading.

I have to hand it to Armentrout–she honestly writes the best male leads. I normally hate love triangles but with this one I had such a hard time picking a side! I probably have one I leaned to more (Roth if I’m going to be honest) but I liked that the love triangle wasn’t the whole focus of the book or annoyed the shit out of me by having Layla going back and forth between the two of them. While I still don’t love Layla (what I said earlier still stands) I liked her a lot more in this book. Overall, it’s a solid second novel (my favourite of the series so far) and I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in Summer 2015.

–August 29, 2015– Book 3: Every Last Breath

I was really excited to read this last book, especially after the previous one which was fantastic. But I think I just read this book at the wrong time. When I was reading it, I was in the middle of moving and preparing for my new school year so I really didn’t have a lot of time to just sit around and read.

And because of that, the book just felt slow to me. I was expecting the action to start right from the get-go but instead, it focused on wrapping up the love triangle. Which, I appreciated don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t looking forward to waiting until the very end to see how that would all go down so it was nice to get it out of the way. I just wanted all that action I had anticipated given the ending of the second book.

The last 100 pages or so (the eBook was ~280) really picked things up and overall it was a solid ending. I just wanted a bit more and because I really enjoyed the second book SO MUCH, I think this finale had a lot to live up to.

Series Rating: 4/5

White Hot Kiss 3.5/5 | Stone Cold Touch 5/5 | Every Last Breath 3/5

overall

Fans of Armentrout will enjoy this series as it has her fingerprints all over it and delivers like you expect her works to. For people unfamiliar with Armentrout’s work, you will also enjoy it if you want a more mature Young Adult read with paranormal/supernatural creatures not often talked about in Young Adult fiction (gargoyles).

Read if You Like: more New Adult-esque YA, paranormal shapeshifter stories, good vs evil
Avoid if You: want less romance, don’t like paranormal YA

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Synopsis for White Hot Kiss (from Goodreads):

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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Series Review: Fighting Fate by Maree Green

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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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014 (Muse)
Series: Fighting Fate
Author: Maree Green
# of Books: 3 (Muse, Hush, Fade)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Fade is set to be published
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Music, Suspense (Hush)
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts on Muse:

This post was orginally posted as a Toonie Tuesday Feature Post

Muse was a freebie read from Amazon that I decided to read immediately after downloading it. It seemed to combine aspects of New Adult reads that I love: girl falling for her brother’s BFF, rock stars and no-strings attached relationships that lead to more. But it also was set in high school which was a setting I hadn’t encountered all of these aspects in before. And so I dove right and … and then had a hard time putting it down.

We immediately get pushed into the thick of things within the first two chapters and things just go from there. I really liked Jace and Mia together and I felt like their relationship was developed well though I wished they would have talked more to each other. Everything happens so quickly and I felt like their emotional connection could have been brought up to par with their physical connection. It was a little to “insta-connection” for my personal tastes but to be fair, I saw more interaction between them later in the book so I didn’t mind too much.

Muse was definitely a guilty pleasure read. It was fun and over the top at times but I enjoyed every second of it. Because the characters are all still in high school I sometimes felt like they were playing grown-up with all the swearing and sex that they were having. Maybe this is how high school is now (or what some authors perceive it to be) but I know my high school wasn’t as dramatic as this one! I think if they were in college it might make it a little easier to take but considering they were only a few months from graduating high school I really didn’t let it get to me. Again, this was a total guilty pleasure read for me.

As for the writing itself, it was nothing overly fantastic. As I said before, I felt like I was reading a story about what an adult perceived high school to be like for teenagers. The drama is what you would expect in a TV show and not what you actually get in real life (but then again, I’ve been out of high school for some time). But, I really liked the flow of the story and I found it super easy to read and get lost in it.

I’m surprised that Hush, book 2, is about Mia’s friend Kaeli and not another member of the band. Considering the band is named “Fighting Fate” and the series is titled that I just assumed that the book would be about another member of the band and I was hoping it would be about the lead singer in particular or Mia’s brother. I’ll be picking it up I think because the synopsis is intriguing but I have some other books I want to read before I get to Hush.

updates

–March 5, 2016– Book #2: Hush

When I said I had a lot of other books to read before Hush, I wasn’t lying. This one got to the top of my TBR list thanks to my Rock The TBR Challenge when I randomly drew it from my jar.

This book had a different type of plot line than Muse but a lot of the same feels. The idea of finding someone who makes you feel safe, comfortable and gets who you are as a person remains the theme for this series. However, the plot line here was more suspenseful than your average contemporary romance read. There are elements of danger that make the story seem way more dramatic than it needs to be but I knew that going into the story. The dangerous storyline did keep me interested though because it was very unpredictable. I’m not a huge suspense fan but I liked the way it progressed.

It lost me a little near the end but I liked the majority of the book. I liked the romance, not as much as in the previous but that one is hard to beat I think. Definitely another guilty pleasure read for me though I am very excited for Fade.

Series Rating: 4/5

Muse 4/5 | Hush 3.5/5 | Fade TBR

overall

I really enjoyed Muse because it was fun to read. I liked watching Mia and Jace falling in love and seeing how they dealt with all the drama thrown at them. For a free read, it was really great but I would have been satisfied even if I had paid for it. If you like stories about up and coming musicians and/or finding that person who makes you feel safe, you’ll enjoy this series.

Read if You Like: high school new adult, dramas, over-the-top situations
Avoid if You: dislike new adult, dislike drama

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Muse (from Goodreads):
After a life altering tragedy during her childhood, Mia Campbell is left with an incapacitating fear of crowds – especially angry ones. Now at eighteen, with her final months of high school before her, she only has one goal: To remain unseen…
Jace Wallace is about to start living a rock star’s life. As lead guitarist for the newest internet sensation, Fighting Fate, he’s rocking the stage – and a different girl – every weekend, and that’s the way he prefers it. With the band’s popularity about to explode to new heights, he doesn’t have time for complications. Or commitments. He only has one goal: To succeed…
The only thing standing in the way of achieving their goals? Each other.
When unusual circumstances bring the two of them together, and one thing quickly leads to another, Mia finds herself proposing an arrangement she never thought she’d ever consider. A no-strings-attached relationship. But when feelings start creeping in, and their one goal blurs to include another, they’re both forced to make a decision.
Sit back and take what Fate hands you, or fight for what you want.

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Series Review: Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (Other pen names: J. Lynn)
# of Books: 5 (Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Origin, Opposition)

There is a prequel novella called Shadows.

There is also a New Adult novel set in the same world that slightly crosses-over into the series in Origin but is completely unrelated to this series called Obsession.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: warm for a Young Adult read (some may not find it appropriate for younger teens)
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I discovered Ms. Armentrout after finding her Covenant Series but at the time it was not available for purchase in Canada. However, these books were at my library so I decided to read them instead.

A Young Adult series that deals with aliens wasn’t something I had come across at the time I started to read these books (I later read the Lorien Legacies but they are two completely different types of series). It was a change from the vampire and fallen angel romance stories I had been reading so I found it was super refreshing in that sense.

One of the reasons I really found it refreshing is because of Katy. I really liked her as a heroine. She was funny and quirky in a non-irritating way. She was also independent and didn’t need a man to define her–which in and of itself is a nice break from the usual Young Adult paranormal heroines. I also really liked Daemon–he is definitely swoon-worthy in every way. After reading Ms. Armentrout’s other works I have to give her props because she writes great heroes <3 Overall I felt like they were a good pair for each other.

Obsidian to me followed the typical Young Adult story in terms of the romance but the plot had an interesting spin to it. This science fiction spin carries on through the rest of the books and I really enjoy that aspect of it. And the characters really make the story as well. Onyx was a good follow up to its predecessor.

Opal was a rocky read for me. Having loved Katy in the first two books, she really grated my nerves in this book. I felt like the strong, independent girl we were introduced to lost a bit of herself because of Daemon and I really didn’t like that. I also found the plot slow and not overly interesting. This book read much more like the second book in a trilogy where it was needed to bridge the plot for the final climax of the series. It ended on a good note so I was really excited to read Origin.

Origin to me picked back up on the charm of the first two books and I enjoyed reading it much more than Opal. Katy redeemed herself in my eyes and I like where this series is heading into its last book Opposition.

I just have two important notes:

1) It’s important to note that Armentrout is an adult writer so the sexual content in this book is spicier than most young adult novels. I wouldn’t recommend younger teens reading it because of the content. This isn’t to say we get full out descriptions like in adult novels but it is more descriptive than the occasional make out session in other novels. From my understanding, Obsessions, a New Adult spin-off, has much more spice to it (though I have yet to read it).

2) Shadows is a prequel novella in the sense that it takes place before the first book in the series. However, it isn’t necessary to read and I would actually recommend that you read it after you read the first novel, Obsidian. I think it gives away too much about the mystery we get in Obsidian and it’s a nice way to wrap everything you learn in the first book together.

UPDATED (October 21/14): Opposition was everything I wanted for a finale for this series. I thought we would get a little more physical action scenes but we didn’t; and that isn’t a bad thing either. Everything was well done and fans of the series will like how everything wraps up.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a young adult paranormal romance but are tired of fallen angels and vampires, this is the series for you. It is geared for older young adults in terms of the romance but has action, humour and swoon-worthy heroes. The characters are always entertaining and the plot follows some interesting twists along the way. Overall, a great read.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer (Elemental Series #1) and Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Obsidian (from Goodreads):

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Series Review: Hollywood Heat by Laurelin Paige

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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Synopsis for Sex Symbol (aka Take Two) (from Goodreads):

He’s ready for his close up, but she’s the one calling the shots.

On the night of her graduation from film school, straight-laced Maddie Bauers fell completely out of character for an oh-my-god make-out session with a perfect stranger. Complete with the big O.

Seven years later, that romantic interlude is still fresh in her mind. That stranger is now a rich and famous actor. And she’s one very distracted camera assistant working on his latest production. She might consider another tryst…if he even remembers her.

Micah Preston does indeed remember Maddie. Too bad he’s sworn off Hollywood relationships. He allows himself as much sex as he likes—and oh, he does like—but anything more is asking for trouble. For the woman, not for him. Yet knowing Maddie could want more than a movie-set fling doesn’t stop him from pursuing her like a moth drawn to hot stage lights.

But as the shoot nears its end, it’s decision time. Is it time to call, “Cut!” on their affair, or is there enough material for a sequel?

Warning: Contains a dreamy movie star hero, a focus-pulling heroine, off-the-charts instant chemistry, steamy sex in near-public locations, and a new use for lip gloss.

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Hollywood Heat (Originally: Lights, Camera)
Author: Laurelin Paige
# of Books: 3 (Take Two, Star Struck, one More Time)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Celebrity
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternate; First Person, Alternating (One More Time)
Publication Dates: February 2014 – May 2018
Source & Format: Own–eBook; eARC (One More Time)

thoughts

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

My Expectations:

I’ve been patiently waiting to read Take Two since I finished Paige’s Fixed Trilogy in January. I absolutely loved that series and I was excited to see what she would do next.

My Review of Take Two (later republished as Sex Symbol):

This series is vastly different from the Fixed Trilogy. Yes, it has it’s sexier moments like Fixed on You did complete with great character chemistry–but it is much more light-hearted and easy going than the Fixed Series. The characters don’t have tragedy filled pasts and they don’t consume every aspect of their lives. Instead, we get two characters who are focusing on their careers and trying to see where a relationship fits in.

This book was just what I needed when I read it. I had a lot of fun reading about the characters and I loved their sexual chemistry right from the start. I normally don’t like insta-connection romances but it really didn’t feel like that to me. To me, it felt like I was reading a romance between two people who have a strong attraction to each other but want to develop it more. It wasn’t overly nauseating which I appreciated.

Another thing I really found refreshing about Take Two was that both Micah and Maddie worked in the movie industry. I think that’s why I liked their connection to each other so much because they had a lot in common. In other books I have read with actor or celebrity leads, the hero is always the celebrity and the heroine is an everyday girl who struggles with dating a celebrity. I think by having Maddie as someone behind the scenes but who understands the business made things seem more plausible and added a bit of a spin to things.

One thing that surprised me was that there wasn’t too much drama or any plot twists to the story. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I really liked how the story progressed on its own as a straight-forward romance but after reading the Fixed Trilogy where there was always something going on in the background I guess you can say I was expecting something to pop up along the way 😛

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I will probably read Star Struck just because I really like Laurelin Paige’s works but the warning at the bottom of the synopsis is slightly deterring me from picking it up as it isn’t my usual cup of tea. Overall though, the plot sounds interesting and could be a lot of fun like Take Two was so I’m not writing it off completely.

updates

–May 6, 2018– Book #3: One More Time

So I actually read Book 3 before I read Book 2–but because these novels are all individual standalones set in the same universe, you can totally do that without any consequences.

Check out my full review of One More Time on my Blog Tour Stop post.

Series Rating: 4/5

Sex Symbol (Take Two)  4/5 | Star Struck TBA| One More Time 4/5

overall

If you are looking for a fun, celebrity romance that will make you smile grab this series!

Read if You Like: great sexual chemistry, solid characters, second chance romance
Avoid if You: dislike Hollywood drama

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Series Review: Kylie Ryans by Caisey Quinn

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

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Kylie Ryans Trilogy
Author: Caisey Quinn
# of Books: 3 (Girl with Guitar, Girl on Tour, Girl in Love)

There will be a spinoff series called Second Chances

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Music, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm, gets warmer in later books
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Girl With Guitar:

I’ve been dying to get my hands on Caisey Quinn’s Kylie Ryan series ever since I devoured her Keep Me Still Series. I just loved the heartfelt story in that series so I was looking forward to a similar experience with her other works.

I bought Girl with Guitar (and then it was free the next week on Amazon :P); but I honestly didn’t mind paying the $1 it cost me because I knew I was going to get a good read. And I did! This book was just what I wanted–a romance with great sexual tension and a strong heroine. I easily finished the book in a day because it was so easy to get caught up in everything. To me the romance wasn’t as well developed as in her other series but it wasn’t like it came out of nowhere so I really didn’t mind.

Kylie is a strong and stubborn character and I think some readers might find it a little irritating at times. She has no problems speaking her mind and while I agreed with her observations most of the time, a few times she should have just kept her mouth shut because she came across as a little rude. But I would rather have a slightly overbearing heroine than a timid, whinny little girl any day so I really didn’t mind too much about Kylie’s attitude. I really liked Trace though–and every other character we meet along the way. Overall, it was a good cast of characters.

Girl on Tour differs from Girl with Guitar because this time we get to see more from Trace’s perspective. It alternates between Kylie and Trace though it is still third person narration. I’m glad we get this delivery because I found that there really wasn’t much going on in Kylie’s life to warrant a whole novel dedicated to it alone. We get the same approach in Girl in Love but it doesn’t necessarily alternate on a regular basis.

These books aren’t fast moving plot-wise though they are shorter so you can breeze through them quickly. However, I never felt like there was anything missing from the story because of the books’ page length. They were the perfect length without dragging everything on too much or unnecessarily. Each book blended well with each other and I love the journey we take from start to finish. Overall, I’m very satisfied with this series.

I just want to say that you don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy these books! I don’t listen to country music in any capacity but I never felt like I was at a disadvantage while reading this book. I also normally don’t enjoy New Adult books that are set in the South because they are overdramatic and tend to lack a bit of maturity but that really isn’t the case here. Kylie is exceptionally mature for her age and I never found any drama to be over the top.

There will be a spinoff series called Second Chances though it isn’t immediately about any of the characters featured in these novels that I can see. I’m really interested to see where it will go so I will definitely be checking it out!

Conclusion:

While I didn’t love these books as much as her other series, Caisey Quinn wrote a great New Adult romance for fans who like stories about musician celebrities, life and family. I enjoyed every minute of these books and am sad to see these characters go but the series as a whole is great. It’s realistic, has some interesting drama and a great cast of characters! Check it out!

Rating: 4/5

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Synopsis for Girl with Guitar (from Goodreads):
After Kylie’s dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy stepmother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true.

Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he’s pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.

Series Review: Waking Up by Mira Lyn Kelly

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 Waking Up Married (from Goodreads):

Her first thought: “Who are you?”
It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well – a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible – been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

breakdown

Author: Mira Lynn Kelly
# of Books: 2 (Waking Up Married, Waking Up Pregnant)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: December 2012 – March 2014
Source & Format: Own (Kindle)–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a 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 got this book for free for my Kindle and read it right away.

My Review:

Although I don’t enjoy reading love at first sight novels, this one didn’t bother me too much despite being a one. I actually felt like there was a good connection between Megan and Connor–not enough to get married within 24 hours of meeting each other but, hey, it’s fiction after all (and set in Vegas)!

It was a good, light-hearted read that had me smiling by the end of it. It was funny and charming and the characters were likeable.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Fans of contemporary romance will really enjoy this book! Just be sure to go into it looking for a light-hearted read and have some fun!

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  • The Secret Wedding Dress by Ally Blake

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Series Review: Flight & Glory by Rebecca Yarros

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 Full Measures (from Goodreads):
Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare

breakdown

Series: Flight & Glory
Author: Rebecca Yarros
# of Books: 4 (Full Measures, Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, Hallowed Ground)
Book Order: Connected, Direct Sequel (Full Measures + Hallowed Ground)
Genre: New Adult, Army, Realistic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Eyes Turned Skyward onwards)
Publication Dates: February 2014 – January 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Toonie Tuesday 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:

I picked up this book because of the cover and the price; but I was also interested in the hockey player aspect. I find books dealing with the army are a little hit or miss for me. I absolutely loved the Out of Line series by Jen McLaughlin, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Something Like Normal. But I went into this book hoping it would be like Out of Line and that I would enjoy it.

The Plot:

Overall, I really liked this book but it wasn’t what I was really expecting. The first half of the book is really about Ember finding herself after her father’s death. I would almost describe it like she is undergoing a midlife crisis at the age of 22–and being the same age I could totally see why she is given everything that happens to her. But once she gets a grip on her life, that is when the romance begins to take center focus. This isn’t to say that there isn’t sexual tension for the first half of the book, because there is, I just felt the focus was on Ember trying to navigate her life.

The book I feel is really grounded and realistic. It’s not over the top and you can tell that Ms Yarros has experience with the military life as it is shown in the writing. I felt like I was actually experiencing all of that with my family and I shed a few tears while reading.

The Characters:

The only thing that stopped me from giving this book a 4/5 was Ember. I’m not sure why I didn’t like her as much as I should have. It’s weird because I totally got her character and her thought process but I just didn’t have that connection with her I usually develop with the heroines. She basically had everything I like about a female lead but I guess she came across as a little cold at the start which rubbed me the wrong way. Given everything that happens I totally understood why but I wonder if my first impression of her just never left my mind.

I really hope that there will be a spin-off book with some of the characters we meet here–especially Sam or Jagger. From what I can see nothing it planned but I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

updates

–February 11, 2017– Book #2: Eyes Turned Skyward

It has almost been 3 years since I read the inaugural novel but I had no problem getting back into this world.

This was just a really enjoyable romance novel. The story was so heart-felt from start to finish. Both leads are trying to navigate their complicated lives and it was great watching them grow.

The romance is more of a slow burn but definitely on point. Yes, it is a little cheesy at times but it just worked so well when you looked past the cheesiness. It’s such a sweet story that the cheese is worth it.

Series Rating: 4/5

Full Measures 3.5/5  |  Eyes Turned Skyward 4/5  | Beyond What is Given TBR | Hallowed Ground TBR

overall

For those new adult fans who enjoy military reads and watching love & acceptance heal, this is a read for you. It’s got enough awe moments mixed with hot moments to make a reader happy. But just be aware that it is a little darker (ie not so happy-go-lucky) at times so just be prepared.

Read if You Like: military romances, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: want a lighter story
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Series Review: Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Reads of 2014, Must Watch For Author
Series: Ruin Trilogy
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
# of Books: 3 (Ruin, Toxic, Shame)

There is a novella that is a continuation of Ruin BUT takes place after Toxic called Fearless.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, College
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Ruin was one of those books that was everywhere for me. Kobo had been recommending it for months and my friends on Goodreads had all given it super high ratings (I’m talking 5/5). Rachel Van Dyken is also an author that pops on numerous New Adult lists so I figured it was about time I read one of her books.

So I picked up Ruin on one of my mass Kobo book-runs and got to reading it a few days later. And finished it in a day–it was that fantastic!

What makes it fantastic is the great blend of romance, characters and plot. Nothing was overdone or underdone, it was just well done. I was worried that the romance between Wes and Kiersten would be rushed or happen too quickly but it wasn’t. Both seemed to understand what was happening but took their time and had good heads about them. It was hard not to like them really and they suited each other beautifully. I also really liked the rest of the characters so added bonus!

The plot wasn’t totally original to me as it reminded me a lot of A Walk to Remember (though I’ve only ever seen the movie) BUT the characters really do make a big distinction between the two novels so it didn’t bother me that much. It was super cute and I totally cried reading it 😛

As soon as I finished Ruin, I needed to read Toxic and get Gabe’s story. From the bits and pieces we get of Gabe in Toxic I wanted to know more about him and I thought I had a good idea of where the story was going to go. BUT, I was completely wrong. Toxic was different from Ruin in a lot of way but it still had that great blend of romance, plot and feelings its predecessor had. One thing that really separated the two was the mysterious and twisting plotRuin was a lot more straight forward in its delivery but I really had no idea where Toxic was going and when I thought I did, something else would happen. Simply a great follow up novel.

Fearless is basically an extended epilogue of Ruin but has little hints about what to expect in Shame. It was a little over the top for me at times but I enjoyed it and I would say it is worth the time to read.

updates

–January 16, 2016– Book #3: Shame

This book definitely got shafted to the back-burner for me. I totally forgot about it until I pulled it for my Rock my TBR challenge this year. I think reading it closer to the other books would have helped me enjoy it more but I can’t say that for sure.

I just couldn’t stay into this book and found myself getting bored with it. It started promising but things just happened too fast and I didn’t like its flow. It was predictable and slightly over the top; not what I was expecting for Lisa’s story. The logic and rational for the plot escaped me and took me away from enjoying the story. Even the romance was lacklustre and one that I had a hard time seeing besides physical attraction. For me, it just wasn’t a great way to end the series.

Series Rating: 4/5

Ruin 5/5 | Toxic 4/5 | Shame 3/5

overall

Overall, these novels are great! The romance is swoon-worthy but also realistic (even in Shame  to a certain extent) and grounding. This series makes you appreciate life and your loved ones and these characters will probably make you cry. Highly recommended for New Adult fans!

Read if You Like: romances, New Adult, tragic backstories
Avoid if You: dislike somewhat over the top drama

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Synopsis for Ruin (from Goodreads):
I’m not your typical girl. I’ve been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness…until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn’t know that time wasn’t my ally — that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer–each moment as it came–but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it’s the end, it’s only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn’t–I wouldn’t ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.

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