Why so SERIESous?

I am an avid reader (who writes a book blog and isn’t really?) but I recently realized that I tend to read book series. Some series are awesome; some start awesome and fizzle; and some are just plain bad. But how is one to know what series are the ones to read when people only review one book at a time?

Which is why I decided to create my own book blog and review the whole book series (without spoilers!) on the basis of whether or not you should pick up the first book of the series.

My reading tastes vary from young adult to mature romances to suspense so this site will feature a variety of book series reviews to meet the needs of everyone. I will also review some stand-alone novels from time to time!

The other feature of my site is book recaps. If you are like me, you probably read the first book of a series within the first week of release and have forgotten some plot points while waiting for the next book a year later. My hope is to jog your memory by posting some key plot points (warning, there will be spoilers!) in a separate area of my blog.

I wish you all SERIESously happy reading!

Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

There is also a prequel adult erotica series called Captive: the Forbidden Side of Nightshade

There is also a spin-off series called the Nightshade Legacy

Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose)

There are 3 novellas: #0.5 Shadow Days, #2.5 Treachery, and #3.5 Aftermath

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm (but pretty steamy for a Young Adult read)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I actually read Nightshade 3 years ago and Wolfsbane 2 years ago but decided to reread both before I finally read the grande finale, Bloodrose this fall. Part of the reason was that the year between reading the first two novels really caused me some hardships as I couldn’t remember some of the finer details of the plot which in turn altered my reading experience. So I knew the two years between Wolfbane and Bloodrose wouldn’t be any better and subsequently put in my holds at the library to get my hands on these books.

When I first read Nightshade, I really enjoyed it though I did have my negatives about it. Rereading reaffirmed my initial impression: I like this series and the concept of it but dislike the heroine. I really don’t enjoy werewolf novels; they just don’t do anything for me other than piss me off with overprotective alpha males and silly (often nonexistent in the adult genre) plot-lines. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me. And while this series does have some of those moments, I find it’s a lot more toned down (in some things) and it has a more intricate plot that peaks my interest.

That’s the best way to describe this series: an adult werewolf read for young adults. Because the sexual tension is there (Calla is probably one, if not the, horniest young adult heroine I have ever come across) complete with the love triangle and the alpha males that are supposed to get your heart racing; it just isn’t as descriptive as an adult paranormal read would be (though you get a pretty good idea of what is going down if you catch my drift). I guess that’s why the Captive: Forbidden Side of Nightshade series was created because this trilogy often bordered on adult content so I could definitely see Cremer doing a more adult series like she has.

One of the negatives with this series is Calla. Man, I really want to like her because she has everything she needs to be a strong, independent heroine and for the most part I would say she is independent. But her ultimate flaw is her flare for over-dramatics. She just flips like a switch in her moods at times and it doesn’t help that she is torn between two love interests for the entire series. One minute she wants to smack Ren then the next she is shivering in lust to be with him; same with Shay. This love triangle is one of the sole reasons why I hate love triangles in novels. It also doesn’t help that I am totally Team Ren through and through so I really can’t stand anything Shay does and in turn, anything Calla does with Shay. Calla actually reminds me a lot of Zoey from the House of Night Series, and not in a good way. Although Calla doesn’t have multiple love interests per book (she thankfully just has the two) she still is extremely self-absorbed about her romantic relationships and is constantly making out with them then subsequently feeling quilt for doing so.

It gets tiring–this back and forth between Calla and the two boys and by Bloodrose it was driving me nuts! I found Wolfsbane didn’t have much of a plot: it was mostly just Calla worrying about who she would choose between Ren and Shay. That got even worse in Bloodrose. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to read the synopsis for the Aftermath novella in the hopes it would tell me who she picked. It didn’t but I accidentally read a spoiler so that made things go a little smoother.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Bloodrose. Having read the entire series in a week I honestly was getting kind of bored with it (mostly because of the love triangle thing) and I think I just wanted it to end. I understand why some people hate the ending given the two twists we get near the end, I do a little bit too. But it honestly ended how I thought it would so in the end, no biggie.

I didn’t read any of the other novellas in the series (Shadow Days and Treachery) with the exception of Aftermath. I didn’t read the first two because I really could care less about Shay and Treachery just didn’t interest me. I don’t feel like I lost any reading experience by not reading them. Aftermath is a good one to read if you are interested in reading the spin-off series, Nightshade Legacy. But it doesn’t really wrap up everything if you are expecting an epilogue type of novella.

Despite not totally loving this series, I think I am going to give Nightshade Legacy a shot because I really like one of the characters it focuses on and I’m interested to see where the plot will go next.

Conclusion:

This series really lost momentum for me after the first book. Cool concept, interesting plot and awesome secondary characters but Calla as a heroine really disappointed me. If you enjoy werewolf reads and/or love triangle obsessed novels, this is the series for you. However, if you are like me and wanted to tear your hair out reading Twilight because of Bella’s love triangle, this is NOT the series for you.

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

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1); Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Trilogy #1) and Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night Series #1)

Synopsis for Nightshade (from Goodreads):
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy
Author: Laini Taylor
# of Books: 3 (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

There is a novella listed as Book 2.5 called Night of Cake and Puppets

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Angels, Urban Fantasy, Demons
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That as of the publication of this review, I have only read the first book in the series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Find out why I haven’t read the next two below…

I’ve wanted to read this series ever since I saw the cover for Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it was first published. It has been at the top of my to-read list ever since and I’ve been anxiously waiting for the eBooks to become available at my library.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone starts off slow but intriguing. It really starts to build up as you continue reading and you get a little hooked into the story’s mystery. It isn’t overly exciting in the sense that there is a lot of action or fighting but it is exciting in the sense that as you learn more about Karou, the faster the plot seems to go.

While the writing is well done, I find because it is told in third person I sometimes have a hard time following what is going on. This isn’t a book you read when you are a little sleepy because you will probably miss something important. One thing I didn’t like about the writing was the flow of the story. One chapter would be in the present but the next would be in the past and sometimes I would get a little lost trying to piece together the timeline. By the end of the book, I was into the story but nothing really wowed me about the book. It wasn’t really what I thought it was going to be as I found it to be slower than expected.

The end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone promises that the sequel will be a bit faster plot-wise but the mere size of the book is daunting. Most books are approximately 250 pages as an epub file for my Kobo and I can read that in 5 hours. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was in the 300s which is only an hour or so more. But Days of Blood and Starlight was over 400 pages and Gods and Monsters was even longer. Not that I have an issue with longer books–sometimes I prefer them–but the problem was I had multiple books out from the library (never fails that all your holds become available at the same time) and not a whole lot of time that I had to make the executive decision to return the last 2 books in the series and try again later.

That was 5 months ago and I haven’t thought about this series since. I would like to finish the series because I do find it interesting but with the hectic life I lead, I probably won’t be able to even contemplate finishing this series until Christmas break.

Conclusion:

A unique series for sure but one that moves slower than most. If you don’t like really long books, avoid! But if you like books that focus on demons and the paranormal/supernatural elements associated with them, this is a good one for you to pick up.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Synopsis for Daughter of Smoke and Bone (from Goodreads):
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Series Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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: Just One Day Series
Author: Gayle Forman
# of Books: 2 (Just One Day, Just One Year)

There is a followup novella to the previous books called: Just One Night

Book Order: Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Coming of Age, Travel, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adventure, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

While Gayle Forman’s most well known novel, If I Stay, isn’t my particular cup of tea, I’ve heard good things and decided to read this series instead.

I went into Just One Day thinking it was going to be a book that focused on “just one day”. So I was braced to emerge myself into a novel filled with love-at-first sight moments and the many sights in Paris. But that isn’t what I got.

Instead, Just One Day–and its sequel/companion novel, Just One Year–focuses on the growth of the respective characters (Allyson in Just One Day and Willem in Just One Year). Which is fine and dandy–just not what I was expecting.

This series is really about finding yourself–and what I really like is that each character works independently to accomplish this (ie they don’t become co-dependent “I can’t live without him/her” type of people). It gets a little dull at times because the journey it takes to reach this growth isn’t always a happy one. (I found it was a little blah during the middle of Just One Day because of this–it was a little too long for my tastes whereas Just One Year was the perfect length by being 50 pages shorter).

It’s a good blend of “fantasy” vs realistic fiction.  “Fantasy” isn’t really the right word–what I’m trying to say is that this series takes an unrealistic situation (I don’t know too many people who would go off to Paris with a random stranger for the day) and makes it realistic by having two characters learn from that situation in a truly real way. Perhaps that is the message of the series: seize every opportunity and don’t be afraid to make that leap that may seem like “fantasy” to the real world because you may grow from it. (Enough philosophical thoughts for this review).

These books are essentially about that one life defining moment many young 20-somethings will find themselves in and I think a lot of readers can identify to this and with these characters. I think the vast majority of us have been in Allyson’s shoes trying to bridge that gap between our teens and adulthood and managing our relationships with our parents as we do so. The same can be said for Willem’s book.

Anyone who has been to the places that are described in the book will have a lot of fun reading about them. I found that the tours around each place were just as interesting as the actual story. I liked Just One Year a bit more because I’ve never been to any of the places described in the book and I found Willem’s personal story more interesting.

All I can say is thank goodness for the enovella, Just One Night. I was a little peeved at the abrupt ending of Just One Year (though I understand why it ended the way it did) so I’m glad to get some closure with the novella. Make sure you have it on hand right away when you finish Just One Year ;)

Conclusion:

If Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill and Finding It by Cora Cormack had a child together, it would be this series. While the romance plays a big role in the grand scheme of things, this series is really about finding the true you given the circumstances life deals you and the journey to take to get there. Fans of coming of age novels and/or travel novels will love this.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill and Finding It by Cora Cormack (Losing It Trilogy #3)

Synopsis for Just One Day (from Goodreads):
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

Movie Mondays: I am Number Four

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore | Movie: I am Number Four (2011)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Lorien Legacies or I am Number Four Series
Author: Pittacus Lore (Fun Fact: This is actually the name of a character in the book!)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Aliens, Romance
Point of View: First Person (this book is just one character’s POV, the rest of the series has multiple)

Thoughts:

When I am Number Four was about to hit theatres, I decided to read the book before I went to see it (I don’t like having my books spoiled). But I wasn’t able to finish the book before my library loan was due and thus, I never got to see it in theatres. However, I did eventually finish the book.

My feelings on I am Number Four are mixed. Since reading the other books in the series, this one is a definite oddball in terms of its delivery and plot line. As I said in my review of the series, I am Number Four follows the typical Young Adult Science Fiction plot line formula: main hero is in hiding, discovers his special powers, falls in love with a human girl and has to save the world. It wasn’t anything overly new to me and that made it a tad boring to read. John/Four isn’t my favourite character in the series and because this first book focuses solely on him, it gets a little tiring putting up with his teenaged angst all the time.

So I could understand why people would drop the whole series based on their experience reading this book. It’s really a shame the rest of the series truly blows this book out of the water in terms of everything. It has better characters, more plots, great twists and reveals as well as a lot more action and suspense.

But the fact of the matter is, you have to read this book to get on with the rest of the series so if you want to read this series, you have to just tough it out a bit.

Conclusion:

Don’t judge the series by I am Number Four. I like to think of I am Number Four as one big prequel novella for the rest of the series. Those who love science fiction and stories with lots of kickass action, you will enjoy the rest of the faster paced books in the series! So while it is important to read I am Number Four, don’t let it dissuade you from reading The Power of Six. But if you don’t enjoy The Power of Six, then you won’t like the rest of the series because that is what the rest of the series is like.

Rating: 3/5 for I am Number Four, but 4.5/5 for the series as a whole
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

The Movie:

I finally managed to watch this movie a little more than 3 years after its theatrical release when I was traveling home from school this fall.

While it has been 3 years since I read the book, I knew that they had made dramatic changes to the plot despite not remembering every little detail of the book. I’m not one of those book fans who can’t fathom why book-to-movie adaptions make plot changes–because I completely understand why–so it didn’t necessarily bother me that they changed the main events of the book a bit. With the exception of one MAJOR plot aspect, what they did in the movie got across what the book was trying to achieve.

However, what I don’t appreciate is the little details they forgot to mention. Like the importance of the “kill order” and all the fine print associated with it. Or what John’s powers actually do. I just felt like the key aspects of the book, which make the series so much fun to read and add so much depth to it, weren’t utilized as much as they should be. It just felt like the writers went “meh” that shit isn’t important–WHEN IT IS!

Though I think it is important to note that the second novel in the series, The Power of Six, hadn’t been published when the movie was released. Maybe not completely know what happens in the sequel attributed to some of the dismal plot changes but at the same time, I’m sure they must have consulted with the author so really, I don’t see any legitimate excuse for why things were done as they were.

In terms of casting, I think it was very well done. I have a little bit of a crush on Alex Pettyfer so I have a little bit of a biased when it comes to him. However, he played John very well–I disliked watching that character as much as I disliked reading about him so I consider that a win :P All joking aside, he does angsty well (which is why he was my ideal pick for Jace Wayland in the City of Bones movie adaption even though he turned the role down) but he can also pull off the action scenes well so I think he was cast very well. I loved Teresa Palmer as Six and I loved Callan McAuliffe as Sam (both Six and Sam are two of my favourite characters in the series) as well as Timothy Olyphant as Henry, though I wish that role was expanded upon more.

Overall, the movie was ok. Nothing really wowed me about it but I enjoyed watching these characters come to life on the big (well, my tablet) screen. While plans for the sequel were shelved after the disappointing box office reception of this movie, there may be hope yet for a sequel. Apparently, the director of the movie still gets asked if a sequel will be arriving and I think the fact that the books continue to sell well gives the impression that a sequel might not be a complete waste of money. I personally think this would be an option worth exploring because the rest of the series is on a whole other level than the inaugural book and would be much more appealing to audiences.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While it isn’t my favourite book in the series, I did enjoy the more complex plot we get in the novel. The movie took out too much of what makes this whole series so interesting to read and it missed the mark with me.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I am Number Four (from Goodreads):
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

Trailer:

Single Sundays: Third Degree by Julie Cross

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 Third Degree (from Goodreads):
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

Review:

I really wanted to read this book–I’m not sure why because I’ve never read anything by Julie Cross (though Tempest has been sitting on my eReader for quite a while now…). When I give it a good thought I think it’s because the heroine is actually an intelligent girl with an interest in science–not a liberal arts degree. I want to be clear that I have no issue with people pursuing liberal arts degrees (I myself have a minor in English Literature) but my first love is Science (specifically health care) and as a reader, it’s a rare opportunity for me to read about a heroine who is interested in the same subject I am within the New Adult genre :)

However, I was a little disappointed when I met Izzy; though I think that is the point. The best way I can describe her is as the female Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory: extremely book smart but socially awkward. And that is the whole reason why we get the plot we do–because she can’t relate to people (and therefore has an awful bedside manner) she can’t continue with her medical practice.

So it took me a while to get used to her character but she really did grow on me as I read. I loved seeing her grow as a person throughout the whole novel. This story was just as much a romance as it was a coming of age novel but the balance between the two is perfect.

I also loved the tone this book took regarding mental illness. There is so much stigma about it when there really shouldn’t be. (FYI: World Mental Health Day is this coming Friday, October 10th! Make sure you wear purple to support mental health!). I loved the respectful way Julie Cross handled it in her writing as well as the physical medical conditions discussed in this book.

Conclusion:

This book has a more serious tone to it, but it was a lot of fun to read. Very well done. If you enjoy coming of age stories with a dash of romance, this is a good one for you to get!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Probably

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Medical Conditions
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person
Similar Reads: One & Only by Viv Daniels (Canton Series #1); Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken (Ruin Trilogy #1) and Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Just One Day Series #1)

Fresh Fridays: Rusk University by Cora Cormack

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

All Lined Up by Cora Cormack | Rusk University Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Rusk University Trilogy
Author: Cora Cormack
# of Books: 3 (All Lined Up, All Broke Down, All Played Up)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, All Broke Down will be published at the end of October
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Football, Coming of Age, University Life, The South
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I loved Cora Cormack’s Losing It Trilogy and when I read the synopsis for All Lined Up, I knew I had to read it!

All Lined Up really reminded me of Losing It. Both follow a similar set up but I think All Lined Up improves upon my complaint that we didn’t get to see much of the relationship develop between the two leads. It definitely gets more of a focus here but it isn’t the only thing the book is about. What I really love about Cormack’s New Adult reads is that each lead character develops independently throughout the novel. They don’t become this person who relies so much on their significant other that it gets to the point of becoming nauseating to me. This book is just as much a coming of age novel as it is a romance.

I found All Lined Up to be a super quick and fun read. I loved the chemistry between Dallas and Carson–it was there from beginning to end. Dallas was a smart heroine who also had her funny moments as well. I really loved that she didn’t create senseless drama by jumping to conclusions (which is a very rare find in New Adult novels that are set in The South and/or deal with football players). They were both also very real characters and I think that most readers can identify in some capacity to each other them one way or another.

The only thing really lacking for me was a dramatic plot line–and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I was just expecting more drama based on the assumptions I drew from the synopsis. Instead, this book focuses on the growth of the characters instead of petty drama which is rather refreshing when I look back on it.

I’m surprised at who the hero is in the next novel, All Broke Down, but nevertheless I am super excited to read it! I hope that the third book, All Played Out focuses on two characters introduced in All Lined Up. Regardless, I will be picking both of these books up.

Conclusion:

Cora Cormack fans will love this new series as will fans of football themed New Adult novels. A quick, fun and romantic series that has that dash of reality that is often rare in this genre. For those who like New Adult novels that focus more on the coming of age aspect of the genre, this is a great one to pick up.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Crash by Nicole Williams (Crash Trilogy #1) and Losing It by Cora Cormack (Losing It Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for All Lined Up (from Goodreads):
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

book book

Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 5 (On Dublin Street, Down London Road, Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Echoes of Scotland Street)

There are novellas: #1.5 Until Fountain Bridge and #2.5 Castle Hill

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Echoes of Scotland Street will be published in October 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

This series has been on my to-read list for a really long time so I pounced when they were available at my library. After a blah start with Samantha Young’s Into the Deep series, I was really excited to see where these books would go because I have heard very good things.

First up is On Dublin Street. I didn’t know what to expect with this book but I was hoping for a cute read with a dash of excitement and sexual tension. Unfortunately I feel like this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t LOVE it.

I’m not sure where things went wrong because I did enjoy the first few chapters. The initial chemistry between Braden and Jocelyn was great but I found it wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. Part of the reason is their character personalities. I had a hard time liking Jocelyn despite her having characteristics I usually love in a heroine like wit and independence. I think she was just too extreme in her independence and that drove me a little nuts. Also, given her past her outlook on life is a little bleak and seeing as that the POV given is only hers, it makes it a sad place to be. As for Braden, I did like him but he was just on that cusp of being too alpha male for my personal tastes. (Read my full review of the novel here)

The plot was also a little lackluster in my opinion. It didn’t really get exciting until the last 50 or so pages. It just seemed to go through the motions and even the little petty drama things weren’t that exciting. It also didn’t help that I liked the relationship between Ellie and Adam a lot more than these two (which is thankfully the focus of the novella Until Fountain Bridge). (Bit of a side note: I have to hand it to Samantha Young for leaving the little tidbits about the next couple in each of the books. It always makes me super eager to get my hands on the next book.)

But I decided not to give up on the series because I really wanted to read Until Fountain Bridge and Down London Road because I liked those characters from On Dublin Street a lot more than I liked Jocelyn. And in the end I’m really glad I stuck with the series.

Until Fountain Bridge is listed as a novella and it’s about half the page length as On Dublin Street. Before reading it I was upset that Ellie and Adam’s story wasn’t going to be longer but once I read it, I realized it was the perfect length. I really liked its delivery which is a series of flashbacks as Ellie reads her diary–you basically get all the great romantic highlights but without all the angsty whining about the partner. It was super cute and super quick so I really liked that.

Down London Road started slow like On Dublin Street. But unlike its predecessor, I felt like the plot got a lot more exciting a lot quicker and didn’t really stop. It was a good blend of romance, drama and we get just enough of a taste of the next two leads that I was really excited to read the next two books. I also liked the tension between the two leads a lot more as well and loved their interaction and connection to each other. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more though I wish the first 100 pages or so were cut down to make things move a little faster.

Before Jamaica Lane was the perfect length and had a great execution. It wasn’t as “dark” (and by dark I mean depressing) as the previous two novels. It definitely had a serious side to it but I found it a lot more fun to read. I LOVED the male lead in this one and it was everything I expected it to be and a little bit more. I devoured it and it only made me more excited to read Fall from India Place and Echoes of Scotland Street.

In fact, I was so excited to read Fall from India Place that I immediately read it after Before Jamaica Lane despite having other books to read. It was sweet and not what I was totally expecting but I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped but, I would take it over On Dublin Street any day.

I’m super excited for what I think is the last book the series. This one has been building since Down London Road and I can’t wait to see what is in store!

Conclusion:

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. It feels more like an older New Adult series that borders the line to Adult Contemporary. If you don’t like On Dublin Street, I encourage you not to give up on the series until you read another novel in the series. They get shorter but also better because you get more involved in all the characters lives. Each character is different and I find all their respective stories are different as well. A great contemporary romance series that I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes, though I would give a warning about On Dublin Street being a bit dry.

Similar Reads: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1); Choosing You by Allie Everhart (Jade Series #1) and Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1)

Synopsis for On Dublin Stree (from Goodreads):
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.