Tag «Third Person POV: multiple»

Series Review: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine

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

Series: Archers of Avalon Trilogy
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Anew, Awry, Avow)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

This trilogy was one of the first series I bought for my Kobo but I never got a chance to read it until now.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the series given the synopsis for Anew. The synopsis hints at a love triangle but I didn’t write it off because I knew that there was more to the story than that given of the amnesia aspect of the plot. I love the mystery of stories that have amnesia elements so I decided to grab this series and solve the mystery.

The amnesia element is by far the best thing about this series. Just when I would think that I had solved the mystery, another clue would be thrown at me and I would have to re-evaluate my thoughts and I loved that. I quickly read through Anew because of this.

However, I just felt like the series was missing that little umph to make it that much more exciting. I think part of the problem is that it is told from a third person POV and for me that always causes a big disconnect between me and the characters. However, I really don’t think you could tell this story any other way besides a third person narration. But perhaps the biggest thing missing was a secondary plot line. Anew really only focuses on Scarlet trying to learn about her past and relationship with the boys and nothing else is really happening. Everything focuses on one plot element and I tend to prefer stories that multiple things happening–especially when they get significantly longer like they did in Awry.

Holy crap was Awry long! It had to be at least twice the size of Anew and I felt that I was just getting a little tired of reading it by the end. Which is a shame because I enjoyed it a lot more than Anew. Everything just seemed amplified: the romance, the plot-line and I loved the flashbacks to the past. Through the flashbacks I felt like I connected more to the characters and everything started coming together. But, there were still enough twists to throw my theories out the door. Basically, it was just the sheer length that killed me.

Avow was smaller than Awry so that made it more manageable to read. I thought it was a great way to wrap up the series and all my questions were answered leaving me very satisfied with everything.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed reading this series. While it isn’t my favourite series ever, I thought it was well done and I loved getting down to the nitty-gritty of what actually happened to Scarlet. If you like stories with lots of flashbacks and an amnesia element, this is a great one for you to pick up!

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

Similar Reads: Evermore by Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series #1); Immortal by Gillian Shields (Immortal Series #1)  and The Awakening by L. J. Smith (Vampire Diaries Series #1)

Synopsis for Anew (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.

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Series Review: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

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

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | The Perfectionists Series

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

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

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

thoughts

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

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

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

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

My Review:

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

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

updates

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

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

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

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

Series Rating: 3/5

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

overall

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

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

similarreads

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

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Single Sundays: Cold Calls by Charles Benoit

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 Cold Calls (from Goodreads):
In the vein of the teen suspense classics I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Face on the Milk Carton, Cold Calls is a chilling thriller, an unsettling mystery, and a provocative exploration of bullying, culpability, and the cost of keeping secrets.

Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common: “I know your secret.”
Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

This suspenseful, pitch-perfect mystery-thriller raises timely questions about privacy, bullying, and culpability.

Review:

When this book was first published, it seemed to be everywhere for me. I read the synopsis and it managed to grab my attention. It sounded like a realistic Pretty Little Liars mixed with messages about bullying and social media to teach a lesson and it promised to be a suspenseful thriller so I was looking forward to reading it.

Unfortunately, this book missed the mark for me in many ways. It wasn’t suspenseful–in fact it was very tame–and while it did raise some questions about social media, bullying and privacy I didn’t feel like it did anything useful with those questions.

This book is slow–it’s only saving grace is that it isn’t super long. I wouldn’t have continued to read it if it had been longer than what it actually was. It wasn’t suspenseful in any way to me; maybe I had the wrong expectations going into it. But to be fair, you can’t claim that it is similar to the movie I Know What You did Last Summer and not expect some stalker killer following the group around. So don’t get your hopes up that it’s going to be that type of thriller. It’s more a mystery than anything with the 3 teens trying to figure out why they are the targets and who is the one targeting them. However, I found most of the novel focused on each teen struggling with their secret and the possible consequences of its unveiling and to me that was boring.

The three characters, Eric, Shelly and Fatima, are your everyday people so I found that this book was very realistic in that respect. Their secrets were secrets any teen could have and I liked that it wasn’t some elaborate, over the top secret. To be honest though, I found them kind of boring so that dampened my reading experience. I like realism in stories like this but I wish there was more development. I also wish that the 3 of them took ownership of their secrets and did something about them instead of just trying to bury them.

One thing that I really disliked about this novel was that nothing felt resumed to me. Sure, the mystery is solved but I felt like the bigger issues, like bullying, social media privacy and “culpability” (who is to blame), where barely touched upon. Perhaps the purpose of the novel was to simply bring them to the reader’s attention but I would have liked more elaboration or some more discussion about them. I just felt like there were no serious consequences for any of the characters actions–but maybe that was the point: to highlight the fact that society thinks nothing of these issues on a regular basis. If that was the mission, it succeeded but I wish there was more to it.

Conclusion:

This read was meh to me. I can appreciate what it was attempting to do, I just wish it did it in a different, more exciting way. It’s a quick, pretty realistic read but I think readers will get bored with it pretty quickly.

Rating: 2/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: No. I think it might make for an interesting read for a school class because I think there is a lot of potential for discussion but for the everyday reader it isn’t that exciting.

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Teen, Mystery, Thriller, Realistic
Recommended for15+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Boring Reads of 2014
Similar Reads: Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Series Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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 Dangerous Creatures (from Goodreads):
Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley “Link” Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2014 (Dangerous Creatures)
Series: Dangerous Creatures

This is a spinoff of the Beautiful Creatures Series.

Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
# of Books: 2 (Dangerous Creatures, Dangerous Deception)

There is a prequel novella called Dangerous Dream.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magic, Supernatural, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: May 2014 – May 2015
Source & Format: Public Library—eBook & Hardcover

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WARNING: If you have not finished the original series, Beautiful Creatures, this review may have spoilers!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that the Beautiful Creatures Series is one of my favourite young adult series I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s a great blend of romance, mystery, suspense and magic with superb characters and great writing. And while the movie may have flopped and failed, the book series is fantastic and is the standard I uphold all magic-based books to. So it’s no surprise that I was ecstatic to learn that there would be a spin-off series with two of my favourite characters that I was dying to see more of: Link and Ridley.

The Concept / The World:

Dangerous Creatures has an entirely different feel to it than Beautiful Creatures–which makes sense because Link and Ridley are no Ethan and Lena. It’s traded the slower, gothic feel for the upbeat, modern feel of New York–but I’m not sure how I feel about that. It definitely took some getting used to but I eventually got into the swing of things. Just don’t go in expecting a carbon copy of Beautiful Creatures when you read this book.

The Plot:

Unlike Beautiful Creatures, Dangerous Creatures lacks a mystery from the past. I suppose that there is a bit of one but I find it isn’t as powerful as it was in Beautiful Creatures. And because it isn’t as powerful, I felt like the plot was the bare minimum needed to move the novel along.

The Characters:

I kinda wanted more from Link and Ridley to be honest. Neither one grabbed my attention like they did in the previous series. I wasn’t as in love with them as I expected to be and that was a disappointment.

The Romance:

For fans of Link and Ridley, you honestly just want them to get their happy ending. So it was frustrating to watch them go back and forth for the duration of the novel.

This aspect could have used some work in my opinion. It was probably my biggest upset with this novel.

The Prequel, Dangerous Dream:

For a while I felt pretty lost while reading Dangerous Creatures and I blame myself for not reading Dangerous Dream, the prequel, before Dangerous Creatures. I felt like I was missing something the entire first half of the book.

Dangerous Dream does bridge the two series together nicely while refreshing you mind on everything that happened at the end of the previous series.

It isn’t necessary though, and honestly, it isn’t worth the $3-5 dollars you will spend on it. If you library has the digital copy, borrow it; otherwise, don’t waste your money!

updates

–November 8, 2016– Book #2: Dangerous Deception

After the disappointment that was Dangerous Creatures, I was hesitant to get into this one.

But I enjoyed this one immensely!

This story had a thrilling aspect to it that kept my attention. It moved fast and just kept building and building. Unlike the previous novel, there actually felt like there was a true plot to this story.

A great sequel (and conclusion?) to this story arc. I’m glad this one was entertaining; it was nice to return to this Caster world once again.

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Series Rating: 3.5/5

Dangerous Creatures 3/5 | Dangerous Deception 4/5

overall

Fans of Beautiful Creatures will love that Link and Ridley finally get their own story. However, it has a completely different plot line and feel that may take some getting used to.

Read if You Like: magic based stories, good vs evil plots
Avoid if You: want more romance
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Book Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Standalone Review: Catch my thoughts on this book!

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Series: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
# of Books: 1 2 (The Ring and the Crown, The Lily and the Cross)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: YES

This was originally going to be a trilogy but Melissa announced on her blog in March 2016 that it would be a standalone novel. The sequel was written as a draft and it is available for purchase though no further work will be done on the series.

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Magic, Romance, Drama, Alternate History
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I’ve read most of Cruz’s Blue Bloods saga (one book to go!) and enjoyed it for the most part. It was a cool spin on vampires and angels and I loved the more mature young adult feel to it. While the series went on longer than I would have liked (it felt like it dragged at times), I really liked her writing style and her ability to write interesting characters and plots. So when I saw this book, my interest was peaked.

What really sucks is that the Goodreads synopsis (read it here) really gives the reader the wrong first impression about this book. When you read the synopsis, you think this book will focus on two best friends stuck in political and royal turmoil–but that is only half of the case. If you get the actual physical copy of the book like I did and read the synopsis there, you get a completely different plot summary–and one that is much more accurate to what the novel is about. That synopsis is the one I have decided to use for my review and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

Long story short: if you are expecting a novel about two girls fighting for the crown complete with lots of offensive magic spells and evil politics abounds–you will be severely disappointed. This book is mostly about 4 girls trying to find their place in a world where they are restricted by society, politics and simply for being females.

Once I figured out what the plot actually was, I started to enjoy the novel. Like her other series, this book focuses on multiple main characters that all interweave in the plot–which makes it that much more interesting if you ask me because there was a lot going on plot-wise. It’s fun to see how everything links together and it keeps the pace of the book on the faster side because multiple things are happening at once.

I was a little lost trying to keep everyone’s lineages straight but once I got more into the story, things started making more sense and I really started to get wrapped up in everything. The plot synopsis is really deceiving again because you think the story will mostly focus on Aelywn and Marie but Aelywn really doesn’t do much for the entire book. I found the book mostly focused on Ronan and Marie with little spurts of Aelywn and Isabelle thrown in. I actually didn’t mind so much because I was really interested in Ronan’s story but I really think Aelywn really could have been developed more and made a really awesome character.

When I was reading, it was really unclear to me if this book was a part of a series because it ended really suddenly yet it seemed to wrap everything up–and I really disliked the ending because of that. Suddenly things that happened “off-stage” are brought to light and it ruined what would have been an awesome ending if they had been more developed instead of simply stated as fact. Looking back at the novel as a whole, it took too long to reach its climax but I still enjoyed reading it.

So if there is a sequel, I’m really interested to see where it is going–because up until the last chapter I was totally on board with what was going to happen in the sequel but the ending really threw me for a loop. Turns out that there is a sequel and based on the synopsis I read it sounds like it is the same cast of characters but with new games afoot. I will probably check it out just for curiosities’ sake but I won’t be counting down the days.

**NOTE: This was going to be a series but the author has decided to keep it as a standalone!

Conclusion:

I think if you go in to this book understanding what is really going to happen with the plot, people would enjoy it more. But frankly the plot descriptions provided to the reader don’t fully explain what is happening. If you are looking for a young adult read filled with magically and politically suspense–look elsewhere because this isn’t it. There is no other way to describe this book other than “chick lit” because the book mostly focuses on the romances of the girls and them trying to find their place in the world. There is a dash of suspense, but it really isn’t present until the last 40 pages. I enjoyed it once I got a grasp of what was happening, but I wish the ending was better. I think de la Cruz missed the mark a bit with this book which is a shame because it would have been really great.

Rating: 3.5/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for The Ring and the Crown (from Chapters/Indigo):
Magic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a formidable castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.

As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth.

But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires.

Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn”t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry.

When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

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Series Review: Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series as a Teen
Series: Sisterhood; Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
# of Books: 5
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Coming of Age, Chick Lit, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool but gets a little warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating (though each book starts with a First Person prologue)
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movies here!

Thoughts:

I credit this series with starting my reading addiction. I was still in elementary school when this series came out and reading was something I did every once and awhile (basically whenever I got a book as a gift). But I devoured Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants in one weekend–literally all I did was sit on the couch and read this book. It was like nothing I had ever read before (again, keep in mind my book reading was minimal at the time) and I got absorbed in it.

I enjoyed reading these books because there was always a lot going on. The plot never seemed to drag because you are essentially reading 4 separate stories that are linked together: so there is always something you are dying to read. Of course, I had my favourite character plotlines and the ones I didn’t enjoy as much. For example Tibby was a character I didn’t particularly enjoy in the first book but really grew on me as the series progressed. Lena was actually the opposite–I really loved her story and then got a little annoyed with her as time progressed. Bridget was always a favourite and Carmen had her ups and downs. But the truth of the matter is that I loved watching these girls grow up and make their way in the world.

One thing I didn’t really like about the books was that because they were set one year apart, I felt like I never got closure about the last summer’s flings. I like knowing what happens and having everything wrapped in a nice little bow and I found with some plotlines I never got that. It was frustrating initially but I eventually moved past it.

The best book in the series was definitely the first one I think–but the rest were also really good. I didn’t totally love the ending of the series, which when I initially read the books was Forever in Blue, if I can recall correctly. I like nice closed endings and I felt like too much was left open. But, for the most part I did like how everything wrapped up.

So when Sisterhood Everlasting, the eventual true ending to the series, was announced and then published, I was a little nervous. It had been 10 years since the first book had been released (4 years since the last book, Forever in Blue) and I just wasn’t sure where it was going to go. But, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by this book. Not only did it take a completely different plot than expected, it was so heartfelt and touching–I definitely shed a few tears while reading it! Ms. Brashares did a fantastic job of maturing the characters enough for fans who started reading the series 10 years prior but still making it something a teenager would still want to read if they were just starting the series. It was very well done and a much better ending to the series than the 4th book was so for that I am grateful.

Conclusion:

For readers who like stories featuring drama, romance and emphasize friendship, this is a great series to read. Definitely more for the younger set (teens) but still an enjoyable series nonetheless. Also, totally a chick series!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (from Goodreads):
Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.

Series Review: Keegan’s Chronicles by Julia Crane

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

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: Keegan’s Chronicles
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Coexist, Conflicted, Consumed)

There are 4 spinoff series to read. Find the full list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Fantasy, Elves, Romance, Action, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Coexist:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel Conflicted. Find out why below…

Coexist has been on my to-buy and read list for a good amount of time. The main reason is because it focuses on elves and I haven’t been able to find many stories about elves–most books deal with faeries so that intrigued me. I also hoped it would be what the Laurel series wasn’t to me. At a price of $0.99 (CAD) I had no problem picking it up BUT it was free on Amazon one day so I grabbed it for my Kindle.

In the end, I’m glad I didn’t pay for this book: it was such a huge disappointment for me.

I’ll start with the writing: it’s very choppy and almost mechanical in its execution. It just didn’t flow very well and seemed to be mostly dialogue and thoughts. The third person narration makes things very confusing. I found it hard to differentiate between who was thinking what and when because I thought we were following one character and then it would jump to another. Simple line breaks between a change in character focus would have helped a lot with this but the writing in general is nothing fantastic.

Keegan was another let down. I had hoped for a strong female lead that wouldn’t annoy me like Laurel from the Laurel Series did. Laurel was annoying, but I didn’t find her overly annoying until book 2; but with Keegan, I disliked her immediately. She is just so petty and immature that I had a hard time liking her. She is extremely spoiled and selfish and that just grated on my nerves. My biggest problem with her was how she handled her chosen mate situation and her thought process regarding her dating life. Too be fair, she is 16–but man, it was painful to roll my eyes by the end of it and painful to endure her thoughts.

As for the plot, it wasn’t overly excited. It does pick up and have some interesting elements to it but nothing I haven’t seen before or anything that made me want to keep reading nonstop.

Conclusion:

While I am intrigued by how the book ended, I won’t be picking up book 2 anytime soon–or ever. I have read a lot better–freebies or not–and I want to spend my limited time on something a little more exciting and at my age level (and to be fair I wouldn’t have enjoyed this at the age of 16 either).

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Wings by Aprilyne Pike (Laurel Series #1)

Synopsis for Keegan’s Chronicles (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends–she’s an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan’s brother Thaddeus told her Rourk’s name because his visions warned him she’d need Rourk’s protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan’s side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan’s family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle…without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

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Series Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

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 Heist Society (from Goodreads):
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 3 (Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, Perfect Scoundrels)

There is a novella that is a cross-over with the Gallagher Girl series that takes place before Perfect Scoundrels

Book Order: Chronological (but they could be read in any order)
Complete?: Technically YES, but Carter has expressed interest in writing more in the future
Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Suspense, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: February 2010 – November 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love stories that feature intricate plots that build to a bigger picture. Most of the time, you see it in movies like Ocean’s Eleven or the Italian Job so I was excited to come across it in a Young Adult novel and that was why I decided to pick up Heist Society. (FYI: Heist Society has been optioned for a film which would be really awesome!)

My Review:

I wasn’t disappointed in Heist Society. I will admit I was a little thrown with the third person narration (most of the time young adult novels are first person) and it did confuse me at times, but there really isn’t another way to do this type of story. It has a brilliant setup and execution and I enjoyed reading it very much.

I was let down by Uncommon Criminals. It just wasn’t as exciting as Heist Society and I went in with high expectations considering it had nearly been 2 years and I really enjoyed Heist Society. It was good, but not as good as I was hoping.

Because I didn’t like Uncommon Criminals as much, I lowered my expectations for Perfect Scoundrels and I think that worked in my favour. I enjoyed Perfect Scoundrels a lot more than Uncommon Criminals and I think it’s because there was a bit more character development.

When I was reading Ally Carter’s FAQ on her website, she stated that part of her goal in creating this series was to write a series that has books that can be read in any order (ie has no overarching plot for the entire series). Which is why all of these books can be read independently. While I can understand the goal, I feel like these books lack character development because of this and that harms the series at times. Perfect Scoundrels reveals a bit more about the characters and I hope to see that more in future books (if they get published).

If Perfect Scoundrels was the last book, I think I would be happy with how the series ends but I’m looking forward to reading more about Kat and co. in the future.

Series Rating: 4/5

Heist Society 4/5 | Uncommon Criminals 3/5 | Perfect Scoundrels 4/5

overall

If you are looking for a strong female lead who kicks some serious butt, this is a great series for young adults. It features a great cast of characters, unpredictable twists and crazy hijinks. Overall, very enjoyable for young adult fans and Ally Carter fans!

Read if You Like: heist novels, love suspense, like con artists
Avoid if You: want more character focused stories, want more romance

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Series Review: London Steampunk by Bec McMaster

Series Review: London Steampunk by Bec McMaster

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 Kiss of Steel (from Goodreads):

When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Steampunk Series
Series: London Steampunk

There is a spinoff series: London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy Series.

Author: Bec McMaster
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are many novellas. See the series full reading order here.

Book Order: Connected by Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Steampunk, Action, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: September 2012 – March 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (#1-4); Audiobook (#5)

thoughts

**This post was originally published as a Series Review of the first few of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for a good Steampunk novel. I adore this genre thanks to its mashup of science fiction, action and swoon-worthy romance.

The Concept / The World:

What sets this series apart from it other books in this genre is the paranormal aspect of it–vampires. Twilight aside, I do like vampire novels (Vampire Academy anyone?) and this series is not Twilight by any means!

What I love about this series is that it isn’t overly complicated despite the many layers. I know it must sound daunting that there is steampunk elements AND vampire elements but Ms. McMaster does a great job in each book with refreshing you on what the Blue Blood world is so you always know what is going on. I found in Kiss of Steel (#1)that I quickly got used to the new terms regarding vampires and how their “vampirism” worked (let’s get real, every vampire novel has its own twist on the vampire and this is no exception).

The Romance:

I won’t lie–I admit that I read this book because I was hoping for a steamier steampunk read (no pun is intended). When I picked up Kiss of Steel (#1), I had been reading more young adult steampunk novels and while I absolutely loved them, I wanted a dash more of the maturity and romance that comes with an “adult” steampunk/romance novel.

However, if you are expecting a book where the characters get it on within the first 50 pages, you will be severely disappointed! These books are BRIMING with sexual tension–great sexual tension that makes the wait worth it!

The Characters:

Which brings me to the characters–there wasn’t a single lead that I didn’t like (ok, perhaps Lena for a bit at the start of Heart of Iron(#2) but she really grew on me by the halfway point). All the female leads are strong, independent woman who don’t suffer from clinginess or lose themselves to their male counterpart. They kick some serious ass–especially Rosalind in My Lady Quicksilver (#3). The males are definitely alpha but not in an overly unhealthy way that would turn you off (unless you like that–I don’t so this series gets bonus marks from me).

The Plot/Reading Order:

Each book changes who the two lead characters are; however, they all follow a series of chronological events. I just loved how this series built everything thing up from one book to the next. The story and characters are constantly evolving which keeps you hooked to the story. And the great thing is that you never really say goodbye to the leads from the previous books. With the evolving plot, we still get the occasional visit from past characters which is always awesome. I am so upset that I have to wait for Forged by Desire (#4) because the little slice we get in My Lady Quicksilver (#3) has me dying to read it!

As I said above, the sexual tension it brimming in these books and because the future book leads have been introduced in other books, the romantic pairs have been introduced to each other prior to their novels. It just adds to the slow burn even more because you can’t wait to see if they will give in to those lingering feelings.

updates

–November 25, 2014– Book #4: Forged by Desire

I finally got my hands on Forged by Desire (#4) and it was worth the wait! I absolutely loved it but I think the only reason why I liked it so much was because I read the novella that is listed between My Lady Quicksilver (#3) and Forged by Desire. Technically, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (#3.5) takes place 3 years before Forged by Desire and the other novels so it is a prequel of sorts; however, you should read it after My Lady Quicksilver but before Forged by Desire. Because the romantic leads in Forged by Desire are two people who have known each other for years and not leads that meet within their starring novel, there is a lot of assumed knowledge about their relationship. By reading the novella first, I felt like I better understood the sexual tension in the novel and enjoyed it all that more. Otherwise, I think I would have been frustrated with how their relationship progresses in the novel and felt like I was missing something.

As for the actual plot of Forged by Desire (#4), I loved the detective fiction spin to it. It made it a lot of fun to read and gave the book a different vibe than the other three novels. While not my favourite of the series, I still think it is a solid novel and fans shouldn’t be disappointed in it.

Of Silk and Steam (#5) is probably the novel I have been anticipating the most. Not only will the overarching plot line reach its own crazy climax, but I’ve been dying to see more of the male lead since his introduction in the first novel. March can’t get here quick enough!

–March 18, 2022– Book #5: Of Silk and Steam

For a book I couldn’t wait to read, I sure did wait a long time! I honestly think I held off for so long because I really didn’t want this series to end.

I actually read this as an audiobook and loved that I did. This story was action-packed and brimming with sexual tension. And while it was easy enough to dive back into this world, I honestly think if I had read this back when it was released and I could remember more of the finer details, it would have been a 5-star read.

Series Rating: 4/5

[Blade’s Escape N/A] | Kiss of Steel 4/5 | [Tarnished Knight N/A] | [Lena’s Decision N/A] | Heart of Iron | My Lady Quicksilver 4/5 | [The Clockwork Menace 4/5] | Forged by Desire 4/5 | Of Silk and Steam 3.5/5

overall

If you asked me to pick a favourite from the series, I would be hard pressed! I’ve enjoyed all the books so far in the series and they always meet my expectations. If you love romance, action, strong characters, steampunk and don’t mind a dash of the paranormal, GRAB THESE BOOKS! You will not be disappointed!

Read if You Like: steampunk, historical romance
Avoid if You: want full blown erotica, dislike paranormal

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Series Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

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

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray | Spellcaster Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Spellcaster (from Goodreads):
When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed – and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Surprise Reads of 2013
Series: Spellcaster Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (Spellcaster, Steadfast, Sorceress)

There is also a prequel novella, The First Midnight Spell — see note below

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: March 2013 – March 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

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

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

Witches are not normally my “thing” when it comes to reading. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never enjoyed witch books as much as I should. The only exception being Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, one of my all time favourite series. However, I did like the CW TV Series “The Secret Circle” (based on books of the same name) and this book was pitched for fans of that so I decided to give it a shot. I also enjoyed Gray’s Evernight Series and like her style so I decided to pick this book up.

My Review:

I’m glad I did. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a young adult book (but that could also be because of my hectic school schedule cutting out my reading time and/or only reading short, freebies from Kindle ;)) and once I got into this one, it was hard to put it down.

I think one thing that I liked about this book was the writing style Gray uses. One is that it was very mature. Nadia and group are very grown-up for high school students and I really appreciated it. They weren’t focused on who was dating who (though it does come up of course) but the main point is that it wasn’t the ONLY plot of the book–more on that later. They were all very smart and I really liked all the characters we meet. Another thing I really liked was the third person POV and how it switched between multiple people. I like books like this because you get more plot development and you get a better understanding of the characters. I think it worked really well for this book and I’m glad this was the route Claudia Gray took when writing it.

The plot development in this was great. I like how it unfolded as you read it but there were still a few twists that really add to the story. As I said before, it isn’t primarily a romance novel but there is that element. It is more a mystery/suspense plot that keeps you hooked. I don’t want to dive into it, but the plot really builds as you read.

The series reminded me a lot of Beautiful Creatures in it’s delivery (they have similar starts I think with the main characters) but there is enough in this book to make it unique and different. It will do a good job of filling the void Beautiful Creatures left after the final book was published 🙁

The Novella:

Although The First Midnight Spell is listed as a “prequel” novella, I wouldn’t read it until after you read Spellcaster because it will have some spoilers. While it isn’t necessary to read it for the rest of the series, it does shed some light on a particular character and helps explain why things are the way they are in Captive Sound.

updates

–May 12, 2014– Book #2: Steadfast

When my eReader died in March, the book I was reading was Steadfast and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish it just as I really got into the story. So after a few months of waiting, I finally got my hands on a copy.

Steadfast was a great follow-up to Spellcaster. It has the exact same formula that made the first book so enjoyable and addicting. Again, lots of twists and turns throughout the plot so I never found it to be predictable. One thing I really enjoyed was that we got to see more about Verlaine and to be honest it was her story that really drew me in this time around. I’m really excited to see how everything wraps up in the next and final novel of the series.

–March 25, 2015– Book #3: Sorceress

I was first on my library’s list to get Sorceress when it was released but because of school, I wasn’t able to read it for a few weeks. I’m not sure if it was because I was in a rush to finish it before my download expired or if it is because its been a year since I read Steadfast but I just didn’t get into it. I think I was expecting more instant drama/action based on how Steadfast ends so I felt like Sorceress took a long time to build up to what should have been there from the start (in my opinion). Just past the halfway point was where things started to pick up but by then I was a little bored. Overall though I thought it was a solid way to end the series and I liked the way things progressed eventually. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that my current mood really influenced my reading. (So while I gave it a 3/5 on GoodReads, it’s more of a 3.5/5 because I think fans of the series will be satisfied).

Series Rating: 4/5

Spellcaster 4/5 | Steadfast 4/5 | Sorceress 3/5

overall

If you like witches and magic with a dash of romance, pick this up!

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