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Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Series Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

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 The Vincent Boys (from Goodreads):

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist…

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Fav Author
Series: The Vincent Boys
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 2 (The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers)

On Goodreads there is a book 3 listed called My Vincent Boys. According to Abbi Glines blog she would like to write a prequel novel for the series but she has no immediate plans to write/publish it.

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Technically Yes — but see note above
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm + spicy YA
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2011 – June 2012

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I feel like on this blog I have made it no secret that I detest love triangles in romance novels. If they are done right, they are great–I love sexual tension as much as the next girl–but most of the time they are taken to an extreme that does nothing for me except piss me off (ex Bella Swan in Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer). Just make up your mind! I read to escape from my stressful school life: I don’t want to be stressed waiting for the heroine to pick between the two most perfect men on earth that just happen to admit their undying love for her simultaneously–because that happens to me all the time in real life. I digress…

It is because of this frustration from love triangles that when I see a book cover with three people on it and/or read a synopsis that gives me the impression that the heroine is going to be spending the entire book torn between two guys, it’s an immediate pass. There are two exceptions: one is when it is obvious that there is really one guy the girl is truly in love with (you know those YA novels where there is one mysterious dark love interest who is evil and then the good guy); and two is when one of my favourite authors writes a novel with a love triangle. When my favourite author writes a love triangle novel, I’ll consider reading it, though my expectations might not be overly high going into it.

And this is the case here with Abbi Gline’s Vincent Boys series. Before I read my first Abbi Glines novel, I marked these books as a pass. But now that I have read two series by her and love her writing style and characters, I decided I should give this series a shot.

My Review:

But even Abbi Glines couldn’t sell me on this one. I simply don’t enjoy reading stories where one partner cheats on another and that is what happens in The Vincent Boys. I get there there is more to the situation here then simply stepping out on your partner with some random person; all three have been friends since they were kids so of course there are unrequited feelings lingering. But that almost makes the whole thing worse for me. It also didn’t help that I didn’t like Ash at all–I just didn’t understand her one bit and some of the things she did made me raise an eyebrow:

Questionable Action

Really Ash? You give your virginity to your boyfriend’s cousin and still plan to go back to said boyfriend after all is said and done? How are you going to explain that one?

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If you took Sawyer away from the equation (the “boyfriend”), I would enjoy this book a lot more and would think it was a cute, quick childhood sweetheart read.

And while I enjoyed The Vincent Brothers a lot more, a “lot more” is a bit of a stretch. I mostly enjoyed it because none of the characters cheated on each other. I found the characters to be petty, vain and selfish–and far too angsty for my tastes. Granted, the characters are 17 so I expect immaturity and teenage rebellion but wow, the angst was palpable. I just didn’t like the blend of it an the sexy times we get.

A Comment About Sexual Content:

Just a note about the sexy times: I read the uncut and extended version so I am assuming the original version isn’t as sex-orientation (please correct me if I am wrong!). This isn’t a young adult series where sex is simply alluded to–it is described in a fair amount of detail–more of what you would see in a New Adult series.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Vincent Boys 3/5 | The Vincent Brothers 3/5

overall

This is one of those series that isn’t my personal cup of tea. It’s everything that I expect of Abbi Glines so in that sense I wasn’t disappointed; it’s just that it is too angst driven for me and I didn’t enjoy the love triangle aspect. However, if you like love triangles and don’t mind vain characters: this is a great, albeit spicy, young adult series for you to read.

Read if You Like: teenage angst, love triangles
Avoid if You: dislike cheating in your novels

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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.

Review:

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.

Conclusion:

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

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

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

updates

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

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

Series Rating: 4/5

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

overall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Series Review: The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

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

Other books in the series:

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

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

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series Rating: 4/5

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

overall

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

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

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Synopsis for White Hot Kiss (from Goodreads):

One kiss could be the last.

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

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

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

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

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Series Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

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

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Uninvited Series

 

Series: Uninvited
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 2 (Uninvited, Unleashed)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian
Heat Rating: luke warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

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

I’ve read a few books by Sophie Jordan in the past (Firelight Series and Foreplay) but I haven’t totally loved her work. I often find it dull and not as action packed as I anticipated; so I was hoping Uninvited would change that.

The concept of the book is really cool and I love her author’s note at the end of the book. The message Ms. Jordan is trying to convey is a good one and I really respect that. And with the way it is written, it’s easy to see how our world could become the book’s one day. (I study some molecular diagnostics like genetics testing so I really do see how this could all happen). I especially like the little info blurbs we get before each chapter–it reminded me of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium which had a similar idea before each chapter. It helps add context to the story without adding additional, dry dialogue to the characters.

This book was a little slower and doesn’t have a lot of action to it, though it picks up near the end. I think the paced worked well in hindsight but I felt like parts dragged on a bit. There isn’t a huge focus on the romance of the novel which I think it probably for the best but I would have liked some more sexual tension between the two of them.

Unlike previous Sophie Jordan novels, I didn’t totally hate Davy as a lead. She grew on me a bit as the story progressed because she becomes a stronger character as the story goes on. She definitely isn’t my favourite character ever but I didn’t mind her and I can justify her angst based on her situation.

I’m glad this series is only two books long because I don’t know how it could drag on for three books. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story concludes in the next book but I’m not going to count down the days in excitement.

UPDATED (April 18/15): Unleashed was a huge disappointment! Given the ending of Uninvited, I was expecting a faster paced novel with more action and the emergence of Davy as a heroine with a mission. Yeah…that never happened. Actually, nothing really happened in this book! It was a lot of Davy sitting around moaning about how she missed her “normal” life. She did absolutely nothing to resolve the world she lives in which was super disappointing. I guess I can appreciate the idea that it takes more than just on person to elicit change (not everyone can be Tris Prior and I get that) but at least with those novels something happens! Honestly, NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS NOVEL! Throw in a too-fast and out of nowhere romance, a silly love triangle and you have the boring novel that is Uninvited. Very disappointed.

Conclusion:

People who enjoy slower, not high action science fiction novels will like this one. Fans of Sophie Jordan’s work and the Delirium series will also enjoy this. But if you want a faster plot, I would read Divergent. A good read that isn’t a waste of time for those who like Young Adult Science Fiction. Uninvited it worth a read but Unleashed was a huge let down.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Uninvited (from Goodreads):
When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

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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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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.

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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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Series Review: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen

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

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen | Scarlet Series

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Series: Scarlet Trilogy
Author: A.C. Gaughen
# of Books: 3 (Scarlet, Lady Thief, Lion Heart)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Action, Retelling, Romance
Heat Rating: cool; warm in later books
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2012 – May 2015
Source & Format: Own & 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:

I bought this book around Christmas because I love stories about Robin Hood and his merry men–always have since I was a kid. I used to watch the Disney Robin Hood movie with the animals all the time when I was young and one of my all-time favourite movie comedies is Robin Hood: Men in Tights. So, I think you can understand my excitement when I read the synopsis for Scarlet. It had all the promises that make a book 5 stars for me: a tough heroine, action, romance and the added bonus was Robin Hood of course.

My Review of Scarlet:

However, when I finished the book, I couldn’t quite give it that 5/5 rating. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book! It had great action, a bit of mystery and suspense thrown in so that was fantastic. I also liked all of the characters and the plot line overall was exciting and kept my attention.

Where this book failed to deliver was in two ways: 1) the romance and 2) it was way too short.

Let’s tackle #1–the romance. While there was some chemistry and sexual tension between Robin and Scarlet it never reached the level I wanted it to go in the book. Maybe I just read too much into the synopsis (sometimes I fear I pick up on one section of the synopsis and twist it in my mind to be what I want it to be) because now that I look back on it, it doesn’t particularly scream romance story. And to be clear, I wasn’t expecting a full out romance novel–I knew going in it would be more action than anything; but I would have appreciated more romance when all is said and done.

Which leads me into #2–it is way too short! I would have loved another 50 or so pages. It felt like right when we were getting to the good parts it ended. Also, part of the reason for my disappointment was that at the time I read the book, the sequel novels hadn’t been slated for publication so I felt like I was left at the start of a tunnel waiting to see where it would go. For the most part the story wraps up nicely but I just felt like there was so much more to expand upon so I am super glad that there will be two more books!

updates

–July 23, 2015– Book 2: Lady Thief

Well I definitely got my wish for more romance fulfilled with this one! Perhaps a little too much romance? Now don’t think that means it is only romance by that statement; I just mean that there didn’t seem to be too much going on besides the romantic developments. There definitely was plot development but this book didn’t seem as fast paced in terms of action and I missed that a little. However, at the same time, it’s been nearly 3 years since I read this and I felt very out of touch with the series. I highly recommend you read this right after Scarlet to keep the momentum going. Overall, it was a solid sequel and I’m excited for the finale!

–October 22, 2017– Book 3: Lion Heart

This book was slower than I anticipated. I thought there would be more action and heist-like plans but it was more politics and waiting to make a move. I also felt like the romance was the main focus for a solid chunk of the novel. Which is totally fine–there is a lot of this that has to be resolved–I just found it wasn’t keeping my attention all that much. Also, the writing style seemed different than the other novels; not as old fashioned English as Scarlet.

Series Rating: 4/5

Scarlet 4/5 | Lady Thief 3.5/5 | Lion Heart 3/5

overall

The writing style may not be for everyone so be warned (though I felt it improved as the books progressed). It took me a few chapters to get past that. Great for those who want a strong heroine, like Robin Hood stories and love action! Just don’t going into Scarlet hoping for some great love story because that really doesn’t happen until later in the series (ie book 2)!

Read if You Like: Robin Hood, medieval stories, kick ass heroines
Avoid if You: dislike stories with old English, want more romance (at least in book 1)

similarreads

  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin #1)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Trilogy #1)
  • Ransom my Heart by Meg Cabot

Synopsis for Scarlet (from Goodreads):
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

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Series Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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

book3 book4 book5 book6 book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Throne of Glass (from Goodreads):

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined

breakdown

Series: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
# of Books: 7 (Full Reading Order Here)

There are five prequel novellas in the series. Find out more here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Action, Romance, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: August 2012 – October 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up:

I find that it is really hard to find a book with a strong female lead nowadays. And by strong, I mean a girl who doesn’t need a man to complete her, who can fight for herself and it helps if she can kick some literal butt. After completing the Vampire Academy Series, I have been on the search to find said leading lady. So when I read the promise of a female assassin in these books, I jumped at the chance and I am happy to say I think I found the girl for the job (or should I say “hit”? ;)).

Initial Impressions:

These books aren’t just straight action though. There is also a dangerous game of politics afoot as well as romance, mystery and drama so there is rarely a dull moment. There were also some plot twists along the way but I think a few were a little predictable (at least in Throne of Glass) so that is disappointing.

I only have two “peeves” about Throne of Glass. One “peeve” would be the lack of a particular character from the novellas in the novel–I just felt like said character played such an important role that they should have been mentioned more than they were in the book. My second “peeve” is the love triangle. I am not a fan of this “plot twist” so I would rather do without it; though I didn’t find it as “consuming” like it is in some novels. Basically, it isn’t the main focus of the book so bonus points there. I also want to say that Throne of Glass started a little slow and it did take me a while to get into it. Unlike the novellas that jump right into the action, this one takes a while to build so just be prepared.

I’m not sure where the next 5 books are planning on going, but I am excited to have another long-running, action packed series on my to-read list now. If only they could be released sooner!

updates

–December 7, 2013– Book #2: Crown of Midnight

I finished Crown of Midnight about a week ago and it’s taken me that whole week to grasp what just happened. When I said I wasn’t sure where the next few books were going I wasn’t lying. I didn’t see what happens coming and I am SUPER excited for the next book!

First, I have to say that the two peeves I commented on before are no longer an issue. Said character is mentioned more than enough to satisfy my requests and the love triangle is “resolved” for a lack of a better term. Unlike Throne of Glass that focuses on Celaena becoming the champion and kicking butt, this book focuses on the magic present in the kingdom and what is happening in their world. While there is still plenty of action, we learn a lot about all the major players and learn what game is truly afoot in this kingdom. Celaena especially has some great character development but still retains her kick-ass heroine status.

This book also hits the ground running. Lots of plot twists and developments that kept me guessing and putting off other aspects of my life just to read the next chapter. Definitely a strong sequel and the best book of the series so far!

–May 23, 2015– Book #3: Heir of Fire

I’ve never anticipated a book as much as I had Heir of Fire. So you can imagine my disappointment when Heir of Fire turned out to be…well…a slight disappointment. After waiting forever on my library’s waiting list, I tried to read this book in November 2014 and just couldn’t get into it. I got halfway through before I gave up in defeat and had to return it, vowing to try again later.

Well, the 2nd time was the charm! Despite getting halfway through the last time, I started Heir of Fire right from the start. This one starts slow and it’s been so long since I read Crown of Midnight that despite my killer book summary (I write down what happens in each book), it took me a while to get back into the groove of things.

I guess I expected it to be like Crown of Midnight which had me from the first word. This one was just a lot of wallowing and it was a tough time for Celaena, so it was a little depressing to read. The critic/analyst in me understands the need to slow things down and let things develop in this book but it just bored me; especially when I was expecting high action given the ending of the last book. But once I got past the halfway mark, it really was non-stop and I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, I liked how things developed and I am SUPER SUPER excited to see what happens next. I feel like this book was the little speed bump that usually happens in book 2 of trilogies and I don’t discount the need for it in the grand scheme of things: it just wasn’t what I was expecting initially but it definitely improved as I read!

Catch my spoiler filled rant on Heir of Fire Here!

–October 9, 2015– Book #4: Queen of Shadows

I was terrified the hype monster was going to kill this one for me so I dutifully ignored all reviews of this book before I read it. I’m glad I did because I went in with a fresh mind and was really able to enjoy it.

Queen of Shadows has much better pacing than its predecessor, though the page length really got to me. I was in it right from the start, felt a little drag in the middle but really felt like it pulled it socks up at the end. It still doesn’t beat Crown of Midnight for me in terms of a favourite, but it’s pretty close.

I really liked the plot twists and LOVED the character development. I also really liked that characters who were prominent in the novellas finally were brought in. More so than in the previous novels, the plot was really tied to the prequel novellas. It almost makes me wish I had read them more recently than when they were first published because all these characters would have been fresher in my mind.

Can’t wait to see where this story goes next! My faith has been officially restored in this series!

–October 25, 2016– Book #5: Empire of Storms

So I went from having my faith restored to being more than a little bored with this instalment…

I felt like the first 60% was filler–which makes for a slightly dull read when this book is 576 eBook pages long. While the plot does move forward in that time, it definitely dragged while doing so. It’s been a long time since I read the previous instalment so trying to get all those details page in my head (despite the killer notes I took when reading Queen of Shadows), specially the family trees (I swear everyone’s name starts with a G or an A or an E), didn’t make this enjoyable for me.

The last 30% was great! We get more action; the greater plot schemes get revealed and we finally get some drama! And I’m glad to see how the prequel novellas tie into this novel! Made me glad I read them all those years ago.

I’m excited to see how everything wraps up!

–March 23, 2019– Book #6: Tower of Dawn

It wasn’t that this book was bad per say: I just wonder about the necessity of it. I think we can all agree that the lead needed some major redemption after the last few books so it was nice to get that. However, could we have achieved that in half the amount of pages? You betcha! This could have been condensed considerably and still made an impact in the series.

I skimmed most of it, especially in the first half when it was so repetitive. Maas does have a beautiful flow to her writing (it’s not a hard book to read by any means) but she adds far to much detail and monotony to her work. Honestly, if I hadn’t invested so much time in this series over the years, I would have just skipped this.

–May 16, 2020– Book #7: Kingdom of Ash

I have never had a book take me this long to read. I think I took it out 4 separate times over the last 8 months and finally pushed my way through to finish it over the last 3 months.

I think I just outgrew this series. As the books got longer, I stopped caring about the characters. This story has come so far from what the inaugural title was and I’m not sure I really loved its progression in the end (I think its points for originality waned when you look at the similarities to Court of Thorns and Roses).

Maybe if I read the books closer together I would have enjoyed the last few better. But as more characters got introduced, I found it harder and harder to keep up. And the writing just felt repetitive at times (if I never see the word “mate” again it’ll be too soon).

I can appreciate the world and vision but at the end of the day, I think I outgrew this series and that was why I struggled to get through this final novel.

When to Read the Novellas:

I am of the camp that recommends you read the novellas before you pick up the first book in the series. By doing so, I feel like you get a get a better understanding of the world and why Celaena acts and thinks the way she does. I think if you don’t, you might think her character is a little too jaded (which can be irksome) and you won’t understand why she does the things she does. Sometimes that little bit of a background story makes all the difference in your impression of a character.

But I most definitely recommend you read the novellas prior to Queen of Shadows–because there are a lot of allusions there that you won’t understand until you read the novellas.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Throne of Glass 5/5 | Crown of Midnight 5/5 | Heir of Fire 3/5 | Queen of Shadows 4.5/5 | Empire of Storms 3/5 | Tower of Dawn 2/5 | Kingdom of Ash 2/5

overall

If you enjoy convoluted worlds with lots of characters and even longer novels, try this series out!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, ruthless characters, fantasy
Avoid if You: don’t like long series or long books

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