Tag «Ri&Ri»

Single Sundays: Sexy Bits by Remi Wild

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 Sexy Bits (from Goodreads):
Imagine a twenty-three year old virgin in this century…then imagine that virgin stranded at an adult nude sex resort. Thanks to my best friend, Jess, I am forced to participate in the vacation of her dreams, while trying desperately to hold onto my v-card–okay, so I’m not trying that hard. It’s pretty difficult to hold onto something when your host for the week could melt butter with his gaze…

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Author: Remi Wild
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: Read It & Review It–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw this in the review program I’m a part of, it seemed like it could be a fun book. The whole premise is exciting and different; so I was curious how it would all play out.

Plus, it’s a novella which means it isn’t a huge time commitment.

The Concept:

This premise is something I’ve never really encountered before. Do adult sex resorts even exist? I’m too scared to search that in Google…

The Plot:

There isn’t a whole lot to this plot besides the obvious. Claire (the lead) arrives, freaks out and then promptly makes the best of an odd situation. It’s pretty straight-forward with some minor surprises along the way.

The Characters:

Claire started off a little all over the place. I couldn’t figure out if she wanted to keep her virginity or lose it. Her attitude about the resort also seemed to be flipping on a dime. All of that made it hard for me to like her or her journey. I did warm up to her by the mid-way point though when her development seemed to be steady.

The Romance:

This novella has more heat packed into than your average contemporary read but it isn’t full blown erotica either. It’s definitely more open about the sex than other novels as well.

The romance is pretty basic but enjoyable.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This started shaky for me, but once I got comfortable with it, I enjoyed it. I think the whole sex resort aspect though might be awkward for some readers.

Read if You Like: unique premises, novellas
Avoid if You: dislike the idea of a “sex resort”
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Series Review: Sheridan Hall by Jessica Calla

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

Sheridan Hall Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for She Laughs in Pink (from Goodreads):

Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

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Series: Sheridan Hall
Author: Jessica Calla
# of Books: 3 (She Laughs in Pink, She Runs Away, She Wants it All)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Love Triangles, College, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read It Review It–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

She Laughs in Pink was the Read It Review It book for the month of June in my New Adult Book Club on Goodreads. While the hint of a love triangle in the synopsis frightened me, I thought it would go the way of Juliet realizing Ben is better as a friend and never really initiating anything. Juliet’s backstory was also really intriguing and I wanted to delve into that deeper.

So I prepared myself for a love triangle but had hope for the best before I picked up this book.

What I Liked:

–The Chemistry–

I felt like Chase and Juliet had great chemistry, right from the start. While their romance is definitely insta-love on the part of Chase, they had this passion to their relationship that made you swoon in romantic appreciation. Unfortunately, I feel like their chemistry only got them so far, but initially I really enjoyed it.

–Sense of Community–

I really liked the idea of a close knit residence floor that is presented here. I find a lot of college New Adult romances take place in the last year when people are in their own apartments or they only have that shitty, assigned roommate in their first year residence (who promptly gets ignored as the romance develops elsewhere). It was a neat approach that really added to this story in an unexpectedly cool way.

–Ben Knows About Juliet’s Feelings; And Acknowledges Them!?!–

What really surprised me was that early on, Ben tells Juliet “no” when it comes to becoming more. Sure, he isn’t tactful about it; but it definitely was refreshing to have a male BFF who isn’t totally oblivious to the feelings his “gorgeous” female BFF has for him. I get tired of the ignorant BFF role after awhile.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Misleading Synopsis–

Perhaps it was simply a matter of me reading too much into things (something I do often) or maybe it was me just misreading the synopsis (a regular occurrence) but the plot wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I’ll give you some examples:

“Four years after her twin is murdered”

This doesn’t get revealed until later on so it felt a little spoilery. All you know is Juliet’s twin died in high school and she feels responsible for it at the start of the novel. I feel like I would have had more sympathy not knowing she was murdered before I started the novel.

“Juliet will win Ben’s heart.”

I thought there would be more effort on Juliet’s part to get this set in motion besides her stating it numerous times.

” in love with his seemingly perfect”

That word “seemingly” implies that Ben isn’t perfect–and sure, Chase doesn’t know his new roommate before he insta-loves Juliet, but I think that statement gave me hope that Ben would be a total douche of a person and Chase would set Juliet right…and that wasn’t really the case.

–The “Seeing” Colours–

People with synesthesia often see letters or numbers as colours. I was aware of this phenomenon before I started reading but didn’t expect Chase to have something similar. The idea that he sees colours around people makes sense, he is an artist after all and he gets inspired by those around him. But I’m not sure I like how it was presented as an almost “psychic” ability. It was cool but I’m not sure I like it in my contemporary romances…

–Too Many Plots/Storylines–

I didn’t love the execution of the novel. I feel like the attempt to give these characters depth overwhelmed their development. Things definitely felt rushed at the end as all this somewhat random bits were thrown at these characters when nothing really happened in the earlier part of the novel. I like a lot going on in my novel but this was overwhelming and definitely delivered too late into the story for me to really care.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I hummed and hawed over whether or not I would pick up the next book. I read the synopsis and wasn’t immediately sucked in. Perhaps it if was another couple, I would have considered it but I’m just not feeling these characters at all.

My Rating: 2.5/5

She Laughs in Pink 2.5/5 | She Runs Away N/A  | She Wants it All N/A

overall

While I liked the concept for the rest of the series, the execution was just too much, too late. Perhaps if this series started with a different couple, I would feel differently but these two did not win me over.

Read if You Like: slower stories, love triangles, drama
Avoid if You: dislike love triangles, stubborn heroines, cheating

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Single Sundays: Until We Break by Jamie Howard

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 Until We Break (from Goodreads):
When Sloane Avery stops to help a stranded driver, she finds more than a broken down car on the side of the road. Luke Evans is faster and sexier than her Maserati, but with her heart still on the mend, she’s not interested in taking him for a test drive. Despite their initial disdain for each other, emotion and passion simmer, complicating their fragile friendship. But when a tragic loss and devastating betrayal send them spiraling, their growing love isn’t enough to save them.

That was five years ago, practically a different lifetime and definitely a different Sloane. Before she’s been hardened by booze, sex, and as much distance as she could get from the past. Now, called home on a family emergency, she’s determined to hold onto her heart the next time she sees Luke.

Except Sloane’s not the only one who’s changed. Luke’s turned his life around. Only the reappearance of Sloane and the reminder of his biggest mistake can put a dent in his plans. Luke is set on fixing what he’s broken. But with her emotions boiling to the surface, Sloane needs to decide if falling in love is life’s greatest gift or its cruelest joke.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Must Watch Author
Author: Jamie Howard
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Read It Review It (Author)–eBook  |  Thank you Jamie Howard!

Note: This book has a follow-up titled Until It’s Right. Read my review of it here.

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I did things a little out of order and actually read the follow-up novel, Until It’s Right, before I read this one. By doing that, I was really intrigued to see what exactly happened with this cast of characters and why.

Until It’s Right has a fun plot line so I knew Until We Break was going to be a little “darker” and have more jaded characters. I was looking forward to a second chance romance and figuring out what on earth happened to Sloane to make her into the character we see in Until It’s Right.

The Plot:

I really liked that the book is split into two parts: before and present. By having everything laid out for you in terms of what happened 5 years ago, you are able to bond with the characters and get the full story before you jump ahead. At first, I thought I wanted alternating flashback chapters but having a clear divide was the best execution for this story.

There is a lot of drama and secrets so it really pushes you to read forward. Even though you get both Luke and Sloane’s POV, you still are kept in the dark about a few things and I appreciated that. These secrets make the story darker than Until It’s Right so don’t expect a fully light-hearted read with this one.

That being said, I thought there could have been a lot more drama than there was. A few minor things seemed unresolved to me when I finished the book but not enough to dampen my reading experience. It’s more of me being picky as a reader 😛

The Characters:

Because I read the previous book, I already had a preconceived idea of Sloane and Luke–but Sloane specifically. Given how she is presented there, I wasn’t sure if I could be empathetic to her story while I read Until It Breaks. But I think having the full backstory (the 5 years before part), I was able to see why she acts the way she does later on.

I thought the character development was adequate, I just wanted it to go that little bit further. Again, comparing it to Until It’s Right, I know that Howard can deliver great characters and I wanted to see more of that here.

The Romance:

Normally, I don’t enjoy second chance romances that much but this one had enough secrets that I didn’t feel like I knew how everything was going to go down from day 1. I thought these two had a great match but, again, I think I wanted it elaborated a little more. But given the concept of the story, how the romance is executed is very well done and all readers will be satisfied.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

While I didn’t enjoy this one as much as its follow-up, this is a solid New Adult debut! It has intriguing characters, the foundation for great character development and enough secrets and drama to keep you reading! I’m definitely keeping my eye out for future Jamie Howard releases!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, drama, secrets
Avoid if You: dislike drama, jaded characters

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Series Review: What Love Is by Bry Foster

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

What Love Is Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Love Is an Action (from Goodreads):

Khloe Hudson is all out of everything.

All out of patience for her alcoholic father. All out of money from her summer job savings. All out of scholarship essay ideas. And all out of room in her heart for people who don’t care to see her for who she really is.

But even she has to admit that the French jerk attending her academy is starting to worm his way in just a bit.

Cash Castille couldn’t care less about what Khloe thinks she knows. None of her advanced classes have taught her that love isn’t something that can be measured or figured out using scientific methods. Actions often speak louder than words. And although he gets a rise out of driving her crazy, he can’t help but wonder when her brain will stop arguing with what their hearts already know.

When Cash drops a bomb and asks for the favor of a lifetime, Khloe reluctantly agrees because despite the terms, she needs the benefits of their arrangement. However, as Cash and Khloe navigate through their new found relationship, she can’t help but wonder if the cost of this ploy will be another expense she can’t afford to give. Her heart.

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Series: What Love Is
Author: Bry Foster
# of Books: 1+ (Love is an Action, book 2)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, there will be more books in this series
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eBook (Read It Review It Program)

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Love is an Action was a title available for the Read It, Review It program for the group I am a part of on Goodreads. Some of my favourite New Adult titles see couples that seemingly hate each other come to love each other through some twisted act of fate and that’s what I was hoping for when I read the synopsis for this one.

What I Liked:

–Cash–

Though Cash doesn’t get too much air time during this book, the moments he was there for were great. I thought he was very swoon worthy, especially near the end of the book.

–That it was a High School New Adult–

I read so many NA books that take place in college that I forget that they can take place in the last year of high school as well. However, this aspect was definitely a double edged sword.

What I Didn’t Like:

–That it was a High School New Adult–

Because these two leads are SO YOUNG, the situation they find themselves in seemed completely ridiculous to me! It just made everything so over the top and dramatic and I will admit that I nearly stopped reading because my tolerance was being tested. I really don’t enjoy soap opera-esque dramatics in my novels and that was what we had here. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me.

–The Romance–

For the first 50% of the book, I feel like the romance was non-existent. Cash and Khloe rarely seemed to interact to me and so it took me a while to see why they would even like each other. I felt like a lot was implied when I wanted it to be shown to me. It did get better as the book progressed though and the focused shifted away form Khloe’s home life and inner monologue.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea where this series is going. I dunno if it is going to be another set of characters as the leads or if it is a continuation of Cash and Khloe’s story. Regardless:

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This was just too much petty drama for my liking. And it is a shame because it has everything that you want in a good NA novel. I’m sure others will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Read if You Like: soap operas, single POV stories, high school New Adult
Avoid if You: dislike petty drama, dislike high school drama, want more mature characters

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Fresh Fridays: Touch Me Not (Manwhore #1) by Apryl Baker

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Manwhore Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Touch Me Not (from Goodreads):
A past tragedy has left Lily Holmes burdened with a devastating secret…

Since the death of her twin sister, Lily can’t bear to be touched. Not accidentally, not casually…and certainly not intimately. This makes it impossible for her to confess to her best friend Adam Roberts that she’s in love with him. She can’t give him the sort of relationship he needs, so she watches in silence while he plans his wedding with someone else.

Enter Nikoli Kinkaid, the campus manwhore…

Nikoli is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of women, and he wants to add Lily to his list of conquests, but she wants nothing to do with him—until he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He’ll teach her to enjoy human contact again, giving her a chance to win over Adam, while Nikoli uses all his considerable charm to seduce her.

But Lily raises the stakes…

Lily loves cars. Her late father was a racer, and she grew up under the hood of a car and on the racetrack. Nikoli has a limited edition 1970 Plymouth Barracuda she covets, so she informs him the terms of their deal also require he not sleep with anyone for six months. If he does, she’ll win the car. If she surrenders and ends up in his bed, his beloved ’Cuda is his to keep.

In an intricate dance of control and surrender, a reluctant friendship becomes something more. Lily begins to crave things she never believed she could, and Nikoli realizes there is more at stake than his reputation.

If Lily overcomes her phobia, will she crave Adam’s touch as she’s starting to crave Nikoli’s? Or will she only find pleasure from the touch of a semi-reformed manwhore?

breakdown

Series: Manwhore
Author: Apryl Baker
# of Books: 1+ (Touch Me Not)
Book Order: Unsure
Complete?: No, this is the first of a series
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC (Read It, Review It Program)

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I told myself I wasn’t going to pick up anymore review copies for the month of January but I couldn’t resist the temptation of reading this one when I read the synopsis for Touch Me Not. It has some of my favourite New Adult tropes like:

  • Taming a playboy
  • A dating/learning to love arrangement
  • A bet
  • An interesting character tick

Needless to say, I was SO IN!

What I Liked:

–The Characters–

I was worried that Lily would be some goody-two-shoes virgin who would be nothing but an airhead (ie lacks personality or substance). Harsh, but a combination that is A) boring and B) slightly over-done. So I was SO HAPPY when Lily turned out to be nothing like I had worried she would be. She had a great back story and seemed to have a solid head on her shoulders. It was great to watch her develop as a character and person as the novel progressed.

The same can be said for Nikoli. He too had a lot of substance to his character. I liked their complexity as people and it added to the story in a fantastic way.

–The Romance–

It’s been a long time (ok, only a few books ago) since I’ve found a couple that I truly felt were a fantastic match for each other. Not only do Lily and Nikoli have a lot in common in terms of interests and hobbies but even their personalities complimented each other so well. In other words: their emotional connection to each other was just as strong as their physical, if not stronger. It was so easy to fall in love with them as they fell in love with each other–an absolute pleasure to watch!

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Inevitable “Communication Assumption”–

Perhaps a bit of a spoiler but one that is definitely expected with this type of story. I had hoped that these two would escape that inevitable plot device–and for a while it looked promising–but alas, they too were susceptible.

–Trying too Hard to have a more Complex plotline–

I have a feeling that one of the particular plot lines is going to be the focus of a sequel book, so I can understand why it was added and I can overlook it.

However, at times, I felt like things were randomly thrown in for more drama. They seemed to come from nowhere and it really threw me off. I was THIS CLOSE to giving this book a 5/5 but the random bits deterred me from that. I’m sure that those devices worked for most readers but for me, I just wanted that little bit of polish or even some insinuation earlier in the story about what was to come. I’m all for a good surprise but I feel like some of these “twists” should have been alluded to earlier.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really have no idea who the next book with be about though I have my suspicions. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for it regardless!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Touch Me Not 4/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

I was really impressed with Touch Me Not. It had great characters and a solid story! If you enjoy New Adult romances, this is a great new series to get into!

Read if You Like: New Adult romances, stories about playboys,
Avoid if You: dislike arrangement/bet storylines, want more spice

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Series Review: Nocte by Courtney Cole

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 Nocte (from Goodreads):
My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole. My other half—my twin brother, my Finn—is crazy. I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me. I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. Dare DuBray. He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. He has the power to destroy me. Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. Why? Because of a secret. A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. You won’t either.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Adult Fav 2015
Series: Nocte Trilogy
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 3 (Nocte, Verum, Lux)

There is a novella published between Verum and Lux called Initium.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Dark, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: really warm (Noctum); warm (Verum & Lux)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating (Noctum); Single (Verum & Lux)
Publication Dates: November 2014 – October 2015
Source & Format: Provided by Author –eBook  |  Thank you Courtney Cole!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I really enjoyed Cole’s If I Stay and so I jumped on the chance to review this series. It promised lots of twists, a passionate romance and strong characters. I couldn’t wait to see what was happening to these characters and so I dove right in…

The Plot:

“A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. You won’t either.”

That synopsis is so true. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was happening but I was proven completely wrong. It positively floored me when everything was revealed. And the best part was that I could have figured it out if I had known what to look for in hindsight. Especially Nocte; I felt like it was executed flawlessly with respect to the mystery and that is what makes it a 5 star read.

Verum also had a great twist but I found it didn’t captivate me as much. I found it hard to be constantly told “I just can’t tell you, you have to figure it out yourself”. I don’t like when I am purposefully kept in the dark. It’s kinda like lying by omission: if I don’t know you aren’t hiding something, I’m cool with it because I don’t know better. But when I know that I could know and it simply isn’t being told to me, I get frustrated. I like where it went, I just didn’t like how I got there.

Lux was a book that left me with mixed feelings. I spent so much time confused out of my mind trying to figure out what was past/present/future/real and it was a little exhausting. In her author’s note, Courtney Cole writes that that was her purpose in her writting. She wants the reader to experience what Calla is reading and in that respect she succeeds. Once everything starts to get revealed though, I was totally on board and it was nice to see how everything came together.

Note on the Novella–Initium:

I read the novella, Initium, between Verum and Lux which is the order the books were given to me. That is probably the right order regardless and it isn’t too spoilery. It does a good job of getting your mind going and trying to link up everything you’ve learned in the previous books for the big reveal. But at the same time, but I almost wonder if it is better to read it after you finish Lux. There are a few things I think would have a bigger impact in Lux if you didn’t get that backstory you do in the novella. But even with my knowledge of what happened in Initium, I was still surprised by what happened in Lux so I think whenever you read it would be fine.

The Characters:

All these characters play their roles perfectly. They develop at a great pace but they all still have their secrets that make you want to get to know them more.

I liked Calla as a character. Her love for her brother really made me like her (as a sister myself, I understand that drive to protect your sibling). I didn’t love how she referred to Finn as “crazy” when she knows full well (and even understands) his illness but that is more of a personal issue for me (I don’t like the terms some people associate with mental illness). And at the same time, I understand how it worked for the story and the need for it. In short: Calla was an easy character to get to like and that made reading her story so addicting.

The Romance:

I really liked the romance. It compliments the story in a great way that you appreciate the more you read. I think it is more of a focus in Noctum than the other novels. The final two novels focus more on Calla trying to understand what is happening, including her romantic life but it definitely takes to the background.

Series Rating: 4/5

Nocte  5/5 | Verum 4/5 | (Initium 4/5)  |  Lux 3.5/5

overall

If you enjoy books that make you think and distort reality, this is a great one for you to read! It keeps you on your toes and constantly has you guessing what is going to happen. But if you don’t enjoyed being toyed with, then I wouldn’t pick this one up. Overall, it is one of the most intriguing New Adult reads I’ve read in a while and I liked the suspense and mystery it brought to the genre.

Read if You Like: mindfucks, psychological thrillers, rebuilding the past
Avoid if You: don’t like mysteries, don’t enjoy distored realities, want a romance driven story

similarreads

  • Unravel by Caila Reed
  • We Were Liars by E Lockhart
  • Fight Club by Chuck  Palahniuk
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzman
  • Black Iris by Leah Raeder
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (Hopeless Series #1)

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Series Review: The Rockers of Steel by M J Fields

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

book3

booksynopsis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Series: The Rockers of Steel

Set in the same universe as the Men of Steel Series

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

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

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

What I Liked about Memphis Black:

–The Forbidden romance concept–

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

–The boys are BAD

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

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

What I Didn’t Like ABOUT MEMPHIS BLACK:

–The Development of the Romance–

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

–The Character’s thought process–

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

Will I Finish The rest of the series?

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

Book Rating: 2/5

overall

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

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

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Single Sundays: Blind Trust by Peiri Ann

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 Blind Trust (from Goodreads):
*For mature readers 18+*
Loving someone has never been so deadly.

Valerie Harper has one assignment, one mission. Assassinate her mark and everyone he loves. But what happens when she finds that she loves him too?

Her instructions are simple; do not fraternize with your target, observe at a distance, and never engage with the enemy. However, as things take an unexpected turn in Val’s world, these simple instructions begin to change.

Refusing to be a puppet, Kyle Shultz walks away from his old life and settles into the college routine. But the life of a student is more difficult than he imagined. Making friends and attending parties are as foreign a concept as showing a target mercy.

The lines between the state of the job and the affairs of the heart are blurred as Valerie and Kyle’s worlds collide.
With a maze of enemies and hit lists to navigate, will these two young adversaries proceed wide-eyed and alone into the fray? Or will they blindly trust the feelings they can no longer ignore?

breakdown

Author: Peiri Ann
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Source & Format: New Adult Book Club RIRI provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you Peiri Ann!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I like reading romances that don’t follow the traditional path. Sure, it’s great to read about a boy and girl who fall in love while away at university but what if their situation was a little more...extreme? And I’m not talking crazy ex-partners who just can’t seem to let go. I mean, what if one of these people has been sent to kill the other?

Intriguing right? Though definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

I love stories where enemies fall in love and having an assassin fall in love with her mark is a perfect example of this. Sure, it’s a tad cliché but it is entertaining. So, I when presented the opportunity to read this book I snatched it up! I couldn’t wait for the fun and danger to begin.

The Concept:

If you are expecting some light hearted novel, I would look elsewhere. These are assassins who don’t mind killing people for money or for a purpose. If anyone has watched Kingsmen (or read the graphic novel) I find the tone is similar (in terms that it is normal for these characters to pursue this path) in the sense that these people are pretty nonchalant about killing other people. However, it isn’t at all espionage based or witty in its humour.

The Plot:

This book didn’t start off where I thought it was going to. When I first started, I had assumed it would be told solely from Val’s POV and Kyle’s past would be a bit of a mystery. I also thought we would be joining Val at the start of her mission. Turns out, we get both Kyle and Val’s POV which is A-ok and honestly, removes the predictability of the book regarding Kyle’s past.

We are also thrust into the end of Val’s mission when everything starts to fall apart. Which kind-of sucks because it takes away from the character and plot development I was expecting to see. Val’s opinion of Kyle has been well established before the reader even enters the scene, taking away from the romantic development that I wanted to see unfold.

The shit has also hit the fan and that accelerates everything at a pace that doesn’t really work for me. I like books that hit the ground running but I just felt lost trying to understand these characters AND what was happening plot wise. I still really don’t understand what did actually happen even after finishing the book…

That does have its positives though. What I thought was going to be a predictable novel turned out to be rather unpredictable, keeping me glued to my Kobo to find out what was going to happen next. So even if I didn’t understand what happened, it kept my attention in the hopes that I would eventually understand.

The Characters:

Regardless of what these characters may or may not do for a living, I had a hard time totally connecting with them. Part of the issue was simply trying to understand their thought process and coming up empty every time.

I’ll start with Kyle. I personally have a soft-spot for the suave jackass character but he was just a little too much for me. He seemed to be two extremes. One minute he would be a nice guy and then in the next he was a complete ass who was crude and heartless. And I suppose to a certain extent it worked for his character and made sense the more I read but my initial impression of him didn’t really seem to improve as I read.

As for Val, I wanted a little more from her. I feel like a lot more could have been done with her character but she just felt very underdeveloped to me–especially given all that happens to her. It felt all over the place to me and I didn’t like that. And when we did get some of that vulnerability, it arrived way past the point of me really caring.

The Romance:

I really struggled to see how these romance worked.  I understood why these two were drawn together in theory but in practice, there was more to be desired. Part of the issue is that Val’s feelings are already developed before the book starts. I just didn’t see what she saw in Kyle and that caused me not to see how their relationship would evolve. Kyle’s feelings were a little more obvious because the reader gets to see him establish a relationship with Val. But then again, my jackass impression of him stopped me from totally getting on board with the romance and he was all over the place emotionally as well. So overall, the romance fell flat for me.

The Spin-off:

There is going to be a spin-off with one of the side characters but that is going to be a pass for me. I didn’t particularly like him and I’m really not sure what to expect from his story.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This book just needed some polish because I think all the right ideas were there. It just flopped all over the place and never seemed to be consistent. Cool premise but poor execution (and that pun was totally intended).

Read if You Like: unconventional romances, unconventional characters
Avoid if You: don’t like assassins, want a more straight-forward read

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Series Review: Devious Minds by K F Germaine

Series Review: Devious Minds by K F Germaine

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Devious Minds Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Devious Minds (from Goodreads):
When Sydney Porter transfers to Northern University, she’s ready to put her past behind her. Landing a job on campus as an irreverent radio personality, she uses the anonymity to air all the campus dirty laundry—earning the infamous Sunday Lane more than a few enemies. But her true passion is spinning records, even if Drunk Earl is her biggest fan.

Sydney’s junior year kicks off with the promise to be amazing. Or at least it does until Gray Peters, hotshot quarterback, unexpectedly reenters the scene. His presence threatens to destroy everything she has going, as well as resurrecting a night Sydney never wants to remember or repeat. She’d run away like a coward, but this time she’s determined to stay and fight.

A twisted battle of wit and trickery ensues, with one common goal—vengeance. Sydney and Gray set out to make each other miserable. But misery loves company, and soon, walls are destroyed and truths are revealed that could change their future forever.

*** Contains mature situations and language ***

breakdown

Series: Devious Minds
Author: K F Germaine
# of Books: 1+ (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, a sequel book will be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chance, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 2015 – ??
Source & Format: Read2Review provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you K F Germaine!

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book on NetGalley and was about to request it but when I went back it was gone 🙁 Lucky for me, the New Adult reading group on Goodreads that I am a part of had made arrangements with K F Germaine to offer this book for anyone who wanted to review it. I pounced on the chance!

The key word for me in the synopsis was “vengeance”. I’m a sucker for books where people fall in love with their “mortal enemy” and the use of that word “vengeance” filled me with promise. Promise of lots of sexual tension, a mysterious past encounter and lots of drama.

Needless to say, I was stoked to read this one!

What I Liked:

–The Drama–

This book had more going on than just a romance.

All the back and forth hi-jinks kept me entertained even if I didn’t totally like what was done (which I will comment on later). And even moving away from the conflict between the two leads, the subplots were also really interesting! They linked up perfectly with the main story and never took away from the real focus of the book which is essentially the romance and the subsequent character growth. I felt like everything was really balanced when it came to the delivery which made it really easy–and addicting to read.

–Their Past–

Normally, second chance romances aren’t really my thing but this really isn’t your typical second chance romance. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I loved learning bits and pieces about their previous encounters and seeing how those interactions shaped them into the people we get today. Which leads me to:

–The Character Development–

I will admit, I didn’t like Gray or Sydney when I first met them. They were mean, mean people and they weren’t afraid to show it. But all of that changed the more I read about them.

As you learn more about their individual pasts, their characters start to make more sense to you. You see why Sydney has the attitude she does and why she acts a certain way when it comes to her brother. With Gray, it wasn’t until I learned about their past together that made me understand his character. And once that got revealed, I easily found myself rooting for these characters.

I love a book that can make me change my impression of a character (or two) simply by reading more. I think it shows the strength of the character development in this book.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Some of the Antics–

I thought a lot of the things these two do to each other–in terms of vengeance–were a little extreme. It made them seem cruel, thus enticing my dislike of them. It took me a while to get past that but as I said before, that changed the more I read.

Some were just over the top dramatic which made things very entertaining to read. They were exactly the type of things I expected, it’s just that these crueller ones did some minor damage to my reading entertainment.

–The quickness of the romance–

This is definitely more of a personal quip than anything because I truly did enjoy the romance! It wasn’t apparent to me at the start why these two would like each other because they seemed like polar opposites. However, once again, the more I read the more I saw why these two would work together.

I just thought things escalated rather quickly in terms of their feelings. There was a lot of sexual tension there so I understood why things happened the way that they did, I just personally wanted more. (ie I really enjoyed watching these two and wanted more…so I guess that really isn’t something to complain about)

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I thought this was going to be a standalone but I read on Germaine’s blog that there will be a sequel with a different set of leads. I am super excited to see who these new leads will be and can’t wait to read the next one!

updates

–October 8, 2019– Book #2: Untitled

As it has been a few years since the inaugural book release and there are currently no updates on when the sequel will be released, I have opted to mark this series as incomplete and pass on future sequels.

My Rating: DNF

Devious Minds 4/5 | Book 2 N/A

overall

I really, really enjoyed this one! Devious Minds was a great New Adult book that had me chuckling and swooning as I read. It started a little rocky with this characters but I quickly got absorbed into their world. Very, very entertaining and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next!

Read if You Like: New Adult romance, character development, second chances
Avoid if You: don’t like revenge game premises

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Series Review: Sixth Street Bands by Jayne Frost

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

Sixth Street Bands

book3 book4 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Gone for You (from Goodreads):

As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em smiling when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

Note: You won’t need to turn up the heat—Sixth Street Bands Romances have plenty of steamy fun. This story can be read as a stand-alone but is part of the Sixth Street Bands music scene.

breakdown

Series: Sixth Street Bands
Author: Jayne Frost
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Rockstars, Music, Drama
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single (Male POV), Alternating (Book 2 onwards)
Publication Date: April 2015 – September 2018
Source & Format: Author/Read It & Review It–eARC   Thank you so much for the opportunity!

disclaimer

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.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I actually saw a review for Gone for You on another blog and planned to add it to my TBR. It wasn’t very long after that that I was contacted to read a copy and so I eagerly accepted!

Rockstars are my new Highlanders–meaning they are my latest reading obsession. I’ve read a lot of musician based stories spanning Young Adult to New Adult to Adult recently so I was more than ready to add another to the mix!

What I Liked:

-The Male POV-

I totally went into this book thinking I was going to get alternating POVs but I was very happy to see that it was just a straight POV–and a male one at that! Not very many authors attempt this and for Jayne Frost’s first novel, I applaud her for the risk and effort. It was an interesting place to be inside a male rockstar’s head and I actually didn’t mind not having Lily’s POV as much as I expected and I think it was because Cameron was so refreshing to read as a character!

It gets a little tiring reading about rockstars who are really normal guys or who have hearts of gold beneath their bad boy personas. I mean, I like those guys but it was nice to read about a rockstar who lives up to the name. Cameron is a bit of a jerk but that’s what makes the story so great–you get to watch him grow as a character and mature. I really appreciated that aspect.

-The Flow-

I actually read this book in a day. Partly because it is on the shorter side but more accurately, I just loved the flow the plot had. It moves at a great pace, keeps your attention and has a few little twists along the way. It truly is a great summer read when you have a few hours to spend on your patio reading (like I did!).

What I Didn’t Like:

-The Insta-Relationship-

I’m a little mixed on this. This relationship definitely started as insta-lust and I loved that. They have a connection, they act on it and they establish the base of a relationship: that all works for me. That is exactly what I expected.

And I even expected the fast connection and the insta-relationship but I wanted to see more! I really wanted to root for this couple but was just short of rooting for them. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of who they are and I wanted to see them learn more about each other. Because I really liked them as a couple, I could see how they would work, I just wanted strong character growth–something that I think will be present more in the sequels because we have been introduced to the characters I assume will be the next set of leads.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really curious to see who the next set of leads will be. I have my suspicions but I could be completely wrong. I’m excited to delve deeper into this rockstar world!

updates

–April 24, 2017– Book #2: Fall With Me

I was so happy that Fall With Me built upon the potential I saw when reading the first book in the series. While Gone for You seemed rushed in its delivery, this one had perfect pacing.

It definitely helped that the Mel and Christian had great chemistry from the start. It was easy for me to see why they would be drawn to each other. They are both geeky in their own ways and that served as a nice foundation for their romance. They actually talked instead of just exploring their physical chemistry.

I also liked Mel’s story. Her situation is so realistic and one that doesn’t get highlighted in novels let alone romantic ones and I really appreciated that. It added to the story in a strong way.

I’m excited to see if the momentum will keep up in the next book!

–October 13, 2017– Book #3: Missing From Me

This novel is the classic second chance romance that you always get in a rockstar series–but this story easily stands out on its own.

The plot never felt stale to me when it easily could have. The bumps along the way are ones that are super common to the second chance trope but they just worked so well for this unique story that I didn’t mind. It had my full attention from the start.

The journey these two have to take to find each other again is fascinating to read. Sean in particular has a lot of growth he needs to accomplish and it was such a joy to watch him transform before your eyes. He makes quite a few mistakes on the way but they help to ground the story and provide a backbone for the plot to move forward. The lesson of learning from the past to make a better, healthier future is always a winning attribute in my books.

While I loved these two as a pair and could see their obvious love for each other, I wish we saw more of them “back in the day”. I’m a reader who likes to be shown how two people fall in love, not necessarily told so that was a slightly “disappointing” aspect. Then again, this story isn’t about their past but how they are going to start the rest of their lives and I will say, it was rather refreshing to have this as the focus.

–January 14, 2018– Book #4: Lost for You

I really loved the journey of these two characters. For me, this was a story about two people finding themselves with a little dash of romance thrown in and I couldn’t get enough!

Both characters have their everyday struggles and that made them so real to me. Their struggles are so human and humbling that you truly connected with them. They have a lot of stuff to work through as people and they show that the path isn’t always straightforward or simple. I was so invested in the outcome, whatever it might be, and I had a hard time putting this book down.

I’m a huge romance fan and I like to see my relationships spelled out for me. I find this series has plenty of steam and the characters have great chemistry but the development of said romance takes a bit of a back seat to the character development. I knew to expect that with this book as well though I would have loved to see them establish that connection a little more for the romantic in me.

However, I appreciated the obstacles they had to overcome and realized that is the whole point of this story. It isn’t necessarily about finding love but overcoming your past to build a better present so you can embrace the future.

It’s a beautiful story.

This series just gets better and better the further we delve into it and I can’t wait for the next book!

–September 10, 2018– Book #5: Down to You

I think it’s safe to say that this entire series has been leading up to Logan’s story. I know I’ve spent the better part of this series wondering who would be the perfect match for Logan–and what secrets he holds–so I was eager to read his story.

I will be the first to admit that this book did take me awhile to get into it. The main reason is that it takes a long time for these two to even come within the same orbit of daily routine. We spend a good portion of the first quarter getting glimpses into their individual everyday lives and problems. So in that respect, it was great for the character development because I had a great understanding of the characters’s backstories and all their layers.

Jayne Frost has this great ability to write uniquely complex characters in each of her stories and she succeeds once again with these two. Logan is an absolute charmer and unlike any rockstar lead I’ve encountered in my many reads. He’s complex and layered and I dare you not to fall in love with him.

This romance is the definition of “slow burn”. It takes a good amount of time for them to start scratching beneath the surface of who the other person is. But that works to the story’s advantage because you know how perfect these two are for each other and the anticipation of waiting for them to discover it is wonderful.

As a whole, this is a great finale to the Caged Saga of this series. When I think back to that first novel in the series, it’s crazy how well this series as developed. In a way, everything has come full circle and we get this great closure on this one chapter of this universe while building up future sagas. I know I can’t wait for more stories and to see what Jayne Frost will come up with next!

Series Rating: 4/5

Gone for You 3/5 | Fall With Me 4/5 | Missing From Me 4/5 | Lost for You 4.5/5 | Down to You 4/5

overall

This series just gets better and better! The greatest strength of this series is the unique character stories we get. Each book focuses on character growth and development. You truly get invested in the characters and their stories. Plus, there are plenty of steamy moments between characters with fantastic chemistry!

Read if You Like: rockstar leads, character centered stories
Avoid if You: want a longer story, don’t enjoy instalove romances

similarreads

  • Mayhem by Jamie Shaw (Mayhem Series #1)
  • All Access by Karolyn James (Brothers of Rock Series #1)
  • Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine (Wicked White Series #1)

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