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Single Sundays: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Single Sundays: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

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 The Shadows Between Us (from Goodreads):
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?


Author: Tricia Levenseller
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I noticed that my library had this book, it didn’t immediately click for me that Tricia Levenseller wrote The Daughter of the Pirate King. A novel I really enjoyed for its wit and kickass heroine. So when I read the description of this novel and realized she was the author, I was pretty excited to dive in.

The Concept / The World:

Alessandra hooks you in from the start with her devious plans. Her drive for power and to obtain it at any costs is usually something we only see in male characters so I appreciated it here immensely. Watching her execute her plan is delicious fun.

I worried that the magic elements here would be too much but I found it was balanced well. It isn’t an overly complicated world or system by any means. So much so that you almost forget it’s a factor until it pops up again.

The Plot:

I was hooked into this book from the start as I watched the schemes begin. But then things got a little dry for me as we approached the first half. The latter half of the novel picks up as all the plot lines start to converge.

I did want a little more from the plot though. I thought that all the big “WOW” moments felt subdued, particularly around the long running mysteries. They didn’t pack as much punch as they should have in my opinion.

The Characters:

Like I said earlier, I really liked Alessandra’s character. Her rebellion isn’t unique per say but I found her character to be unique how she carries herself and thinks 5 steps ahead. I always appreciate cunning heroines and she certainly is.

The Romance:

I thought Alessandra had great chemistry with the King…when they actually shared a scene together. I think their relationship could have been more in focus for the first half. It falls to the wayside a bit and that’s a real shame. I didn’t see this big life changing bond forming between them, though I could see how it would one day. I just craved more scenes of them together.

My Audiobook Experience:

A very entertaining listen. I usually listen to audiobooks while in the car or while doing something else but this one made me want to stop and just listen.

My Rating: 3.5/5


Whilst entertaining, it didn’t WOW me like I wanted it to.

Read if You Like: kickass heroines, magic
Avoid if You: dislike morally questionable leads


  • Keturah & Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Daughter of the Pirate King Series #1)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm #1)

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Single Sundays: The Trophy Wife

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 The Trophy Wife (from Goodreads):

“I’ve done something terrible.”

On a foggy Palm Beach morning, Cate Cabot waits at a local cafe to meet her best friend for coffee—and a confession. At least that’s what Cate assumes based on the frantic voicemail Odessa left her earlier that morning.

Only Odessa never shows.

And when Cate drives to her home she finds no trace of her. In fact, Odessa isn’t just missing—it’s suddenly as if she never existed in the first place. Even the staff who run her palatial home in the gated Paradise Cove community are claiming Cate must be mistaken, confused.

As Cate searches high and low for her friend who vanished into thin air on the cusp of a mysterious admission, the only thing she finds … is that the truth might be more terrible than she ever could have imagined.

Liking Odessa was easy. Admiring her perfect life, easier so. But finding her? It’s going to be downright impossible without untangling the cryptic web of lies the missing trophy wife left in her wake.


Author: Sunday Tomassetti (aka Winter Renshaw aka Minka Kent)
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 5, 2020
Source & Format: Author–eARC


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge Winter Renshaw fan so when she provided her ARC Team with a copy of her thriller pen name, I signed up right away. I’m always on the lookout for exciting contemporary-thrillers and in her contemporary romances, Winter throws in some great twists that never fail to surprise me. So this seemed like a no-brainer to pick up.

The Concept:

I don’t like when things that are mentioned in the synopsis don’t happen until the halfway point. It just makes the exposition seem overly long and lacklustre. I feel like the first half could have been condensed a bit more and still have gotten the necessary points across.

The Plot:

Because I thought Odessa’s disappearance would happen earlier in the book, I struggled to get into this as quickly as I wanted. Which is a shame because the latter half of the novel is exciting to read. I had figured out most of the solution but there were still some interesting tidbits that took me by surprise.

The Characters:

Cate in someways is a bit of an somber lead to follow. I’m sure part of that is intentional given the circumstances of the story. And in some ways, the idea that this everyday woman could find herself in this extraordinary situation is appealing as a reader.

The Romance:

There really isn’t a romance here. Cate has a boyfriend but their relationship is used more as a way to emphasis her “settling” personality.

My Rating: 3/5


If you are looking for a quick thriller read with no romance, this would be a great pick!

Read if You Like: no romance in mystery novels
Avoid if You: want something more “thrilling”


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Series Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

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 99 Days (from Goodreads):
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.


Author: Katie Cotugno
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Coming of Age, Drama, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 21, 2015 – May 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (9 Days)


**This post was originally posted as a Standalone 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:

Normally, I would stay FAR FAR away from any YA/NA/Adult contemporary romance that primarily deals with a love triangle. I don’t like reading about someone who is torn between two people she loves equally simultaneously. And I LOVE romance stories. There is just something about love triangles that gets on my last nerve and frustrate me to no end. Especially if there is cheating involved.

So it’s still a little shocking to me that I even picked up 99 Days because it is the very definition of an annoying love triangle. One girl. Two brothers. Cheating. Need I say more?

However, the concept of the story being told as “days” instead of chapters interested me and I loved the cover. The reviews I had read were so-so but I was willing to give it a shot and entered into it with an open mind and unsure expectations.

The Concept:

I really loved the execution of using each day as a chapter. I found it cut of the unnecessary prattle and got to the gritty part of each day. It made things seem so much faster as I was reading because I wasn’t getting bored by mundane details.

The Plot:

You know, I got really into the plot of this book! I won’t lie: I really wanted to know what happened that caused Molly to sleep with Patrick’s brother when it seems like she really, truly loved him. Patrick and Molly’s past relationship was shown bit by bit and I found myself addicted to those presented moments. I could have easily read this book in a sitting if I had the time because it flows really nicely.

I would say that the book is split 50/50 between the romance and the coming of age aspect. Molly (and the rest of the characters) have a lot of growing up to do (understatement) and that focus was split equally on which brother she would end up with.

This book was also more realistic than I expected. A lot of the situations Molly finds herself in I could easily say happen at most high schools to a certain degree. I think as teens a lot of us struggled finding the direction we wanted our life to go in; had a hard time balancing our romantic and social lives; and maintaining our relationship with our parents. I also thought the talks about sex and drinking were really realistic as well. And the whole “slut-shaming” bit was super frustrating to read because HELLO, it takes two to tango and Gabe is just as much at fault! Ugh, I hate double standards and I’m glad it’s addressed (though not as much as I would have liked personally) in this book.

The Characters:

Molly is really a make-or-break character. If you don’t like cheating protagonists or characters who aren’t strong in their convictions–stay AWAY from this one! You will really find Molly to be a frustrating character and not enjoy this novel whatsoever.

Which is a shame because I think Molly gets a bad rap in both the book and with readers. She is a young and a confused girl–watching her work out these issues is the whole point of a coming of age story! You can’t expected her to be flawless and selfless or else you wouldn’t have a story!

Does that mean I support the decisions she makes throughout this book? HELL NO! But at the same time I cut her some slack (at least with the stuff in the past) because that’s some tough shit to go through emotionally and I can’t entirely blame her for thinking that she only had those options. And again, DOUBLE STANDARD! It takes two people to do what she did and I wish everyone else would remember that!

So is Molly my favourite heroine ever? Definitely not. Was she selfish? To a certain extent regarding certain things, yes. Did I find her frustrating to read about? Sometimes. But I tried my best to reserve judgement as I watched her try to work on her issues. She’s in a tough spot and doing the best she can, even if I don’t agree with how she handles things.

The rest of the characters were your typical contemporary fodder. I wouldn’t say that I loved any characters in particular but they suited the story.

The Romance:

If I put the cheating aside, I really didn’t mind how the romance was done in this book. If I put the cheating back in, I feel a little icky but I’ll live.

One of the reasons I find love triangles to be so frustrating is that sometimes my “team” (aka the guy I am rooting for) doesn’t have a shot in hell at being with the girl in the end when I really want him to be. But with this one, I flopped between who I wanted to see with Molly at the end.

So I guess that I can’t entirely blame Molly for being stuck between the two brothers because they sure don’t make it easy! They both know how to manipulate her by saying and doing the right thing at the right time. However, I really didn’t fall for any of their charms and by the end, I was just hoping she would kick both of them to the curb–girl power!

But like I said earlier in my review, I thought the romance balanced nicely with Molly coming to grips about who she is as a person and how much she needs to grow up.


–September 8, 2018– Book #2: 9 Days and 9 Nights

I never thought this story would get a sequel–and I’ll admit that I was ok with how things wrapped up at the end of 99 Days. But of course, my curiosity would not be sated until I found out what was next for Molly.

I enjoyed the one a lot when I listened to the audio. I think listening to the audio version and hearing Molly’s conflict and emotions through her voice helped me understand her dilemmas a lot and perhaps be more patient or empathetic to her situation.

I’m not sure if the character development was good or bad. I feel like we did see Molly grow up a bit by the end so I suppose that means it is there. But I thought the content in the middle seemed overly repetitive.

Overall: for a sequel I never thought I needed, I enjoyed this little bit of closure on Molly’s life for what it was.

My Rating: 3.5/5

99 Days 3.5/5 | 9 Days and 9 Nights 3.5/5


I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It had a great reading flow to it and I found myself hooked into the simple story. However, if you don’t think you can read this book with an open mind (especially with cheating) or really can’t stand indecisive heroines, stay away!

Read if You Like: love triangles, coming of age romances, teenaged drama
Avoid if You: don’t like cheating characters, love triangles




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Single Sundays: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

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 Ugly Love (from Goodreads):
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating
: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m at the point now where Colleen Hoover writes a book and I automatically read it. It could be a love triangle infested, alpha male overload book (two automatic book passes for me) and I would still pick it up. So me reading Ugly Love wasn’t a huge surprise.

I really didn’t know what to expect once I started reading. As with all Colleen Hoover (CoHo) books I knew that there was definitely going to be something more to this story than a simple “no-strings-attached” sex plot-line but I had no idea what and that made me excited. I have yet to be disappointed in CoHo’s delivery so I don’t feel guilty putting so much anticipation on this book.

The Plot:

I just love how CoHo writes her books. The plot can be so simple, like it is in this case, but she makes you feel like you are reading a brand new story every time. So while we might not have had music (Maybe Someday)–though there is a special song written for this book, it’s just not featured within the book–or art (Confess) or slam poetry (Slammed) as a primary element in this story, it was still as beautifully crafted as her other novels.

With this book we get the present day told from Tate and the alternating chapters are Miles from his past. While I enjoyed watching Miles and Tate together, I have to admit that reading Miles past was really addicting to me. I was immediately captivated by his story and loved how is character is presented. It just added a depth to his character that made me like him more because I’m not sure if I would have liked him if his story was kept hidden and he told his POV in the present…

The Characters:

Compared to previous CoHo books I felt like the character development wasn’t completely on point when it came to Tate. She really takes a backseat in this story. I’m not sure if it’s because I found Miles to be a much more interesting character given his past but Tate wasn’t all that impressive of a character to me. Of course I liked her and I loved her interaction with Miles (they had great sexual tension together!)–she is a solid character in her own right and I think that is the “problem”.

Miles is the one who has to overcome this issues and grow into the man he was always meant to be. Tate just has a much better grasp on her life so you really don’t see her growth as a character since she already has found herself by the time we are introduced to her.

I know that there aren’t any plans for immediate sequels for these books but I would love to read Corbin (Tate’s brother) and Ian’s (Miles’ BFF) stories *sigh*

The Romance:

I thought Miles and Tate had great chemistry together. I could see their connection despite not having these long, emotional talks together. I think their relationship in this book is more about finding that person you feel you can be completely comfortable with and the work it takes to let the past go and  embrace that. So what I mean is that I didn’t see this great connection between them like I have in other books but I did see it coming to light and that was enough for me in this book.


This is going to be an indie movie! You can watch the official teaser trailer here!

My Rating: 4.5/5


It’s definitely not my favourite Colleen Hoover book but it is definitely worth a read! I shed some MASSIVE tears reading this because the story is so heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. CoHo fans will love this and those new to her works will definitely enjoy!

Read if You Like: no-strings-attached romances, emotional drama, tragic pasts
Avoid if You: want equal character development in your leads, don’t like emotional baggage, want a more erotica based novel


Single Sundays: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

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 Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator (from Goodreads):
Guy Langman can’t be bothered with much. But when his friend Anoop wants Guy to join the forensics club with him in the (possibly misguided) hopes of impressing some girls, Guy thinks why not.

They certainly aren’t expecting to find a real dead body on the simulated crime scene they’re assigned to collect evidence from. But after some girlish, undignified screaming, the two realize it is indeed a body. Which means they have stumbled across a real, dead murder victim.

Meanwhile, Guy has been looking into the past of his father—a larger-than-life character who recently passed away. He was much older than Guy’s mom, and had a whole past Guy never even knew about. Could his father’s past and the dead body be linked? Does Guy want to know? He’s going to need all his newfound forensics skills to find out . . .


As you may or may not know, I am taking part in Books and Iced Coffee’s Everything YA Challenge this year. This month’s (March) mini-challenge is to read a book someone ELSE has picked for you. Sad truth is I didn’t really know who to ask but then I got a great idea to “ask” my local library. First, I decided that I would see what books the library recommended for me based on my eBook check-outs but because I have been taking out more adult romances lately, it wasn’t really suggesting YA novels or ones that I haven’t already read. So I browsed their recommended reads list and came across one that was called “What’s So Funny? Hilarious Books for Teens”. I wanted to read a standalone because I was long overdue for one and I recognized this title as one I came across years ago put never picked up. And luck was on my side when I saw that the eBook version was available for check-out.

What drew me to this book was the Crime Scene Investigation portion. Back when CSI was big, I was a fan and because I am a science student (plus a huge Sherlock Holmes fan!) I love the forensic science aspect of it all.

So I felt like I was a little mislead by the synopsis because we really don’t get the mystery aspect of the “crime” until well over halfway through the novel. Instead, the focus is on Guy dealing with his father death–which is fine and dandy, just not what I was expecting. This book definitely had a more “coming of age” vibe to it than it did mystery.

When we do get to the murder (which is just a little over halfway through), I thought the book picked up in its pace. Despite the clues, I really didn’t put everything together until it was revealed so I appreciated the twists we got.

As for the humour, the primary reason why I picked up this novel, it wasn’t as great as I was expecting. I found a lot of the lines were odd or a little on the rude side; some were funny though, especially near the end–I thought his mom had some good lines 🙂 To be fair, I had just finished reading the 4th Tangled book, Tied, by Emma Chase which was freakin’ hilarious so I had higher humour standards going into this one. As I said, I though the humour got better near the end and I did laugh a few times after that.


Nevertheless, I was entertained reading this book. I wish there was more focus on the crime aspect of the synopsis and if I had known that it wasn’t going to be the main focus of the novel, I probably wouldn’t have felt as let down by it as I was. But if you are looking for a coming of age novel told by a boy with a dash of forensics, this is a great one for you!

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

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Teen, Coming of Age, Mystery, Crime, Grief
Recommended for: 15+ (boys will like this one!)
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Similar Reads: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler; Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Trust Me Series #1) and Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein (Cold Fury Trilogy #1)


Single Sundays: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

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 + my choice for my standalone novel for my Everything YA Mini-Reading Challenge for January:

Synopsis for On the Edge (from Goodreads):
From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen’s other novels.


What drew me to this book was the cover and the tagline “Love is a Dangerous Thing”. I enjoy thriller movies but I haven’t really found any good thriller books–especially in the Young Adult department. So when I saw that this book was going to deal with gangs (another plot elements I haven’t had too much exposure too) my interest to read this book grew.

This book started pretty slow–as in the second part of the synopsis doesn’t kick in until a solid quarter of the book has passed. And while a lot didn’t happen up until that point plot-wise, I still found myself easily reading the story and not loosing interest. Maybe it was because Maddie’s world is a foreign one to me so I found it interesting in that sense or maybe it was simply the anticipation for what was to come.

However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to call this book a “thriller”. It was suspenseful for sure in the last little bit but nothing that had me gripping to the edge of my seat (see what I did there ;)). I actually found certain parts of the plot to be predictable so it lost some of the excitement for me. I kept waiting for a good twist to come and while there were a few good spins here and there, it wasn’t enough to make me gasp and go “wow!” or “no way!”.

I also could have done without the somewhat petty friend drama Maddie has going on. I suppose it was there to add to the “growing up” plot of the book since Maddie is leaving for college and while it did add some realism to the story (which seemed fairly realistic to me), it just didn’t do anything for me. I guess part of the reason I felt that way was because Maddie seemed like she was five years older than she was so it didn’t seem appropriate. She actually reminded me a lot of Zoe Barnes from House of Cards because of her passion for journalism (minus the sleeping with politicians bit). But she and the rest of the cast were nothing special or anything I haven’t really read before.


I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Nothing “wowed” me about it and as such it wasn’t all that memorable but I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time. If you want to read a tame (and by tame I mean not overly suspenseful because there are some heavier subjects like murder, sex trafficking and drug usage mentioned) and grounded gang-related story, this is the one for you!

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: No

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic, Suspense, Gangs
Recommended for: 16+ *does deal with mature subject matter like sex trafficking, drugs, sex and murder
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Similar Reads: Crossing Stars by Nicole Williams


Single Sundays: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.


Ever since I read Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill this past summer, I’ve been keeping an eye on her subsequent works. I enjoyed Meant to Be for a variety of reasons but two things I really liked were Ms Morrill’s writing style and the humour. After reading the synopsis for this book, Being Sloane Jacobs, I was excited to get these two things again.

While this book didn’t have me laughing out loud like Meant to Be did, I did smile at a few of the lines and events in this book. I was expecting a bit more hijinks considering that two girls who are polar-opposite in nearly every way were switching places but this book had a more serious tone to it which in the end turned out to be an OK thing.

This book is really about finding your own person and going for what you want in life–even if it isn’t necessarily what your parents want for you. Therefore, it has a bit of serious tone to it. BUT don’t assume that this is some sort of heavy-read: it is actually very light-hearted and charming, just don’t expect laugh-out-loud comedy situations. There isn’t a lot of drama and it’s straightforward in its delivery–and again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While the situations are a little stereotypical, they are general enough that I think a majority of young teen girls can relate to and enjoy reading about. It’s nice every once and awhile to read a book that isn’t trying too hard to be something its not. It’s a feel-good-book plain and simple.

My only peeve about this book is how easily the girls are able to switch into the opposite sport. As a girl who played ringette (basically hockey but using a ring) myself for 3 years, I couldn’t imagine figure skating let alone trying to do it for a camp. Yes, I’m a pretty decent skater but there is no way I would have been able to pull off jumps and lifts. The skates are completely different and require you to skate in a different way–but I digress. If my only peeve is about skating then this book must have delivered on everything else 😉

Book Bonus: It takes place in Montreal, Canada!

As a bit of a side note: When I was reading this book I was having the darnedest time trying to figure out what this book reminded me of. I think the first thing everyone thinks is the Parent Trap but that’s a movie and has a bit of a different plot to it. It wasn’t until I looked up the similar reads on Kobo that I remembered an old goodie I read called Will Grayson, Will Grayson where essentially two boys with the same name meet and undergo the same process of these girls. I highly recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson as well because it is unlike anything I have read previously.


If you need a feel good read about two girls who are learning to become their own persons, then grab this book!

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Sports
Recommended for: 16+
Point of View: First Person, alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Feel Good Book 2014
Similar Reads: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Single Sundays: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.


I initially read the synopsis for this story based on the striking cover. The title also gave a hint that this was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast so that also grabbed by attention. It wasn’t until I noticed that author’s name that I realized I had read her series Juliet Immortal and had enjoyed the retelling she did there. So with so many things seeming to align, I decided to put my name on the hold list.

Truth be told, I almost stopped reading this book. The first 20 pages or so were really tough to get through. I think most of it had to do with the setting and the descriptions of the characters. I had a hard time visualizing the world that was being described and that always turns me off a book. I always like to have a firm grasp of what the world and characters look like when I am reading and I wasn’t getting that here. So I decided to act on my 50 page rule–if I didn’t like what I was reading or didn’t care about what was happening after 50 pages, I was dropping this book.

I couldn’t even tell you what page I was at when I realized I was starting to like this book. It just snuck up on me and before I knew it I was 100 pages in and excited to see what was happening next.

I think what happened was that the focus of the book shifted from appearances and instead focused on character and plot development. I think it is important not to go into this book expecting an exact retelling of Beauty and the Beast because that isn’t what this book is. Sure there are elements of the story present here but it isn’t what is driving this story. This story focuses on finding yourself in a world of restrictions and learning to love others–which you will argue is the point of Beauty and the Beast, especially the Disney version but that is where the similarities between the two end. I find the Disney version focuses more on the romance between Belle and the Beast while this book focuses more on independent growth and breaking the curse.

Also, the story can get very depressing at times and is set in a world of desperation and no hope. It’s very dystopian in its approach and often sad but I think it really works here.

Irsa and Gem really mature as the book progresses so while they aren’t my favourite literary heroes of all time, I can respect their characters.

What I really liked about this book was the mystery Irsa uncovers about the curse. The curse development really helps push this book and gives it something more than character development. Learning more about what the curse is, how it was created and how you can break it was really interesting to me and I think that is what kept me reading.


This book starts off a little slow but once the characters get invested in saving their respective people the story starts to pick up. Those who don’t mind a bit of fantasy mixed with dystopian settings will really enjoy this. Not for everyone but if you like trying something new or like different takes on fairy-tales, you will like this!

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Fairy-Tale Retelling
Recommended for: 17+

Similar Reads:

  • Beastly by Alex Flinn (Kendra Chronicles #1)
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1)
  • Devoured by Amanda Marrone

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Single Sundays: Addicted to Him by Lauren Dodd

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 Addicted to Him (from Goodreads):
I never knew you could get addicted to people….until I met Seth.

I just wanted to escape. I had a huge secret and I was trying to run away from it as fast as I could. I managed to get myself shipped a thousand miles away for the summer to my estranged father and perky new stepmother’s house. Nobody knew me there and that’s the way I liked it. I didn’t have to be the screwed-up girl with the terrible secret anymore; I could be anybody I wanted to be.

Being sequestered at Dad’s house turned out to be amazing. I started wondering if somehow I could convince him to keep me forever and then I might have a shot at a normal life for a change. Enter hot, mysterious, moody Seth and my desire to become a permanent resident of Colorado just quadrupled.

I had never met anyone like Seth. I trusted him more than I had ever trusted anyone. I craved his lips, his body, and his touch. It didn’t take long for me to become totally addicted to him. The way he could get my body to respond was incredible. Before long I was spilling every dark secret I had to him never dreaming that he would someday use that knowledge against me.

I should have known my fairy tale wouldn’t last forever. Secrets that I prayed would never see the light of day were soon exposed, changing my life forever. I couldn’t run anymore. I had to decide if I wanted to stay the same girl who never fights for herself, or try to find the strength inside myself to live the life I knew I had always deserved.


I got this book as a freebie from Amazon this past summer. I actually read it right away because I really love New Adult stories that have heroines with secretive pasts and this seemed right up that alley. And while it did meet this expectation, it also surprised me as well.

This book has everything that I feel define New Adult reads. It has a cute romance with flawed characters that somehow find and complete each other. Add a dash of heat and the bad boy hero and there you have it in one neat package.

Except that this book went down a path I think this genre often neglects: which is when the relationship passes the border of unhealthy and how the characters deal with it. As much as I love the New Adult genre (and I’ve said this before) I sometimes worry about readers getting the impression that these dramatic relationships are the everyday norm and it is completely healthy–because it really isn’t. Which is why I liked this book because it actually tackled the issue about what a healthy relationship is and I really appreciated that it went in that direction. Not a lot of books do or would in this genre so I thought it was very refreshing that it did this in a realistic way.

As for the characters I liked them enough. I found Cassidy to be a little confusing at times and this would annoy me–especially at the start–but I felt like she really matured over the course of the book. Besides the insta-love, I also liked Seth and the rest of the characters. I really like how this book ended and I think it wrapped the plots of the book really well.


While it is not the strongest or greatest book I have ever read, I found Addicted to Him to be very refreshing. It’s not for everyone as it deals with some more mature situations and not everyone will like the insta-love connection BUT there is more to this book than just a love-connection and that is what I want to highlight with this review.

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre:New Adult, Romance, Drama
Recommended for: 17+
Similar Reads:

  • Find You in the Dark by A Meredith Walters (Find you in the Dark #1)
  • Be Here Now by Andrea Wolfe

Single Sundays: Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets…
Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.
It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been: even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone.
Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one: the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.
When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.


Because I have a slight obsession with Downton Abbey (who doesn’t really :P), I was very excited to read this book as it is set in a similar setting. Although it wasn’t up to Downton Abbey‘s level, I did enjoy it (just not as much as I had hoped) but it would be easy to see why some wouldn’t.

The book reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl but the 1912 edition. It has an anonymous newspaper writer sharing all the gossip of the Darlingtons while the reader tries to sort out the truth about this mysterious family. The plot itself is more Downton Abbey in its approach and if you have watched the show, you will probably be able to see the parallels between characters and plots. It also reminded me of The Flappers Trilogy in the sense that it is told from multiple character POVs so you get to learn more about the characters and their thoughts.

I think the biggest disappointment I had with this book was the plot. It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it was going to be (though for the time period the plot is rather “scandalous”) and having seen most of the plot on Downton Abbey and similar time-oriented pieces, nothing screamed originality to me.

The book ends with most of the plots being resolved (from what I remember) but I wish it was a series or had a sequel. I felt like there was a lot of potential to make this into a series with a lot more drama and twists but overall I was satisfied with the ending.


Truth be told, I can’t remember a lot of what happened as I read it in the summer of June 2012 but I do remember that there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming until I got farther into the story and more was revealed. Perhaps the fact that I can’t remember what else happened is an indication of some sort that this book isn’t overly memorable. However it was a good way to get a quick Upstairs Downstairs fix as you pass the time waiting for the next season of Downton Abbey. Those who do not enjoy petty gossip of the upper classes probably want to avoid this book as a whole.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Upstairs Downstairs, Romance, Drama
Recommended for: 16-21
Similar Reads: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl #1) and Vixen by Jillian Larkin (The Flappers #1)