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!

Single Sundays: Until I Met You by Jaimie Roberts

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Until I Met You (from Goodreads):
What happens when the worlds of two tortured souls collide?

Angelina Bradshaw has always believed that she does not need a man in her life. That’s what she has been telling herself her entire adult life. She feels worlds apart from her family’s dreams for her to meet a man, settle down, and have babies. She certainly can’t be doing that because love just gets in the way. She has a ‘go to’ guy and that’s enough for her.

Living in rural Cornwall, she is bored and in desperate need of adventure, so when a family friend offers her a job in London, there’s no hesitation. She expected adventure, she expected a new start, but what she didn’t expect was to meet a man who would turn her life upside-down. Seth Jacobs is hot, sexy, and can’t understand why Angelina doesn’t want him. No one has ever said no to Seth Jacobs—in fact—they all fall at his feet.

Seth pursues her relentlessly and Angelina fights him at every corner. He is the only man who has ever affected her, and the need to run from him is immense. However, Seth is not one to give up so easily. He soon finds himself on a mission, determined to win her heart.

Unfortunately for Angelina, all is not well when her past and present collide after receiving some unwelcoming and frightening news from home. She feels desperate and alone, but most of all, she feels she has to push Seth away before it’s too late.

To make matters worse, a catastrophic secret from the past is revealed, threatening to destroy the one thing, Angelina finally holds dear to her heart.

Review:

PLEASE NOTE: That I only read until the end of Chapter 6 (page 91) for this book and did not finish it prior to publishing this review. Find out why below…

I got this book as an Amazon Freebie one day and decided to read it right away because of the positive reviews on Goodreads and the synopsis captured my attention (also, I needed a standalone novel for my blog post this week). But once I was 50 pages in I started to wonder if I was reading the same thing as everyone else…

I can get past the slightly sloppy writing and editing errors when reading a book, especially ones that I get for free on Amazon because they are mostly self-published. And that was my plan going into this book after reading the reviews. However, I can’t get past slow plot lines and annoying heroines. I almost enacted my 50 page rule but decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt because we hadn’t met Seth yet (yes, that’s how slow the book is) and I had hoped he was going to save the book.

He didn’t…

And the reason is Angelina. Of course every man in the world is attracted to her and I have no idea why. For a 26 year old woman she acts like she’s 15 at times. Perhaps I expected her to be more mature considering “her secret from the past” but I was very disappointed in her as a character. I just didn’t like her at all and because the book is told solely from her POV it irritated me beyond belief. Lots of other reviews said she was “funny”–again, I fail to see how. I laugh at everything and I never laughed at anything she said/did. I just didn’t like her.

As I mentioned before, the book was slow. Certain plot points weren’t needed. For example the first chapter could have been greatly reduced to get the same message across and get into the thick of things. Because from what I’ve read from others’ reviews, there were some great twists along the way. I just wish we got that momentum earlier in the book because I probably would have stuck it out if we did.

Conclusion:

As of this moment, I don’t have any plans to finish this book. I was 1/3 of the way through when I stopped reading and I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything as I write this review. Just poor execution and nothing original (from what I read) in terms of contemporary romance. Pass.

Rating: 1/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Hell no.

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Contemporary, Romances, Drama, Chick Lit
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Worst Reads 2014
Similar Reads: Reflect Me by K. B. Webb (Reflect Me Series #1) and Chosen Heart by Ann Stewart (Hart Series #1)

Fresh Fridays: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (Age of Legends #1)

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:

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong | Age of Legends Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: Age of Legends
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 2+ (Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Empire of Night will be published in April 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Suspense, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

If you ever read the biography bit on Kelley Armstrong, you will see that she “lives in rural Ontario”. I am from that same part of Ontario (just a town over) so I always make an effort to read her works. I’ve loved her other two teen series, The Darkest Powers and the Darkness Rising, so I  was excited to see where this series was going to go–and where it does is nowhere near her previous works.

When I was reading Sea of Shadows I kept thinking about the Red Riding Hood (2011) movie with Amanda Seyfried. The world that the book is set in reminded me so much about that world in the movie: a dark, fantasy-creature-driven place. It really has no other connections to the movie in anyway except maybe the really good twist at the end.

I haven’t read anything like Sea of Shadows in a really long time (maybe ever). Perhaps it’s because I read a lot of dystopian and New Adult reads and not a lot of high fantasy novels; but I really enjoy fantasy novels and I think this book helped me remember that.

However, I didn’t love the book; and I would say that until the last 5 chapters or so I was going to give this book a flat 3. The book kind of goes through high and low points. Some parts where really interesting, but then things would get a little slow. Part of the reason was that the POV would switch to the other sister right when something exciting was happening and wouldn’t go back until 3-5 chapters later. And when you did finally get back there, the scene you expect to unfold is neatly summarized into two sentences (very disappointing). The other problem is what the reader expects to read about after they have read the synopsis for the book. The girls spend more time in the village than they do on the journey to find each other. So if you are expecting a mostly adventure novel in that sense you will be disappointed.

You will also be disappointed if you are expecting a great love story. Romance is really not the focus of this book at all. Instead the focus is on the girls becoming confident in their own individual abilities and trying to figure out what the hell happened to their village. I personally didn’t have a problem with the leads as they are what I expected when I read that there were two twin girls (one is super confident, the other is not, etc). But, I do think some people might find them a tad dull in that respect (though I have to say they really grow throughout the novel as characters).

The way it ends has really captured my attention and I’m looking forward to what is in-store next for the twins.

Conclusion:

I think for those who want a taste of a high fantasy but without the highly complicated world that often accompanies it, this is a good pick. For fans of Armstrong’s other works (Adult or Young Adult) this is completely different though it definite has all the same writing touches you expect.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Not at this moment

Similar Reads: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Remnant Chronicles #1)

Synopsis for Sea of Shadows (from Goodreads):
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Series Review: Off the Subject by Denise Grover Swank

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Honourable Mention – Top New Adult Series 2013
Series: Off the Subject
Author: Denise Grover Swank
# of Books: 3 (After Math, Redesigned, Business as Usual)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single (Business as Usual is First Person, Alternate)

Thoughts:

I’m a sucker for New Adult romances between geeky girls and handsome athletes. I don’t know why; though it might be because I am a geeky girl myself. But when Kobo recommend that I read After Math based on my recent purchases, I read the synopsis, bought it that day and then proceeded to immediately read it.

And I’m glad I did because I really loved After Math (which is currently FREE on Amazon!)! It wasn’t super steamy but I loved the tension between Tucker and Scarlett. I really felt like they made a connection to each other than physical attraction and I really appreciated that. I breezed through the book because it was a lot of fun to read. It was the perfect blend of drama and romance along with interesting characters. Although it was set in the South (and I tend to dislike New Adult books set in Southern USA) I found that the drama wasn’t over the top or petty. We also get to see enough of Caroline, the heroine of book 2, Redesigned, to make you excited to read about her story.

Redesigned was just as great (maybe better than) After Math. Part of why I loved it so much (and why I liked After Math) was that the book focuses on characters growth just as much as it does on the romance. One of my favourite aspects about New Adult romances is seeing how relationships can change a person’s life for the better and these books do just that.

One thing that I didn’t like about After Math and Redesigned is that we only got one POV, the heroines. Which is fine because I liked the heroines and I think it worked with the “mysterious hero” thing they both had going on; but I’m just so used to reading both POVs that it surprised me a bit. However, with Business as Usual, we get both heroine and hero’s POV and that makes things more interesting because you get to watch both characters grow.

I was really looking forward to Business as Usual–and it was really good don’t get me wrong. But it just seemed so over the top at times (and by that I mean that it didn’t seem realistic to me because for the most part, these books were fairly realistic) with its plotline and that bothered me. Otherwise I loved the characters, I just wish that the hero and heroine interacted more together instead of focusing on their individual growth. Definitely not my favourite of the series but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Conclusion:

If you want a sweet romance story that focuses more on the growth of the characters and their relationship with each other and not just endless amounts of sex, I recommend that you grab these books! I really enjoyed them! Also, After Math is available for FREE on Amazon.

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

Similar Reads: Easy by Tamara Webber (Contours of the Heart Series #1); Four Years Later by Monica Murphy (Drew + Fable Series #4) and Choosing You by Allie Everhart (Jade Series #1)

Synopsis for After Math (from Goodreads):
Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker Price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him. Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

Fresh Friday: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles #1)

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:

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | The Remnant Chronicles

Other books in the series:

Series: The Remnant Chronicles
Author: Mary B. Pearson
# of Books: 2+ (The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, book 3?)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Heart of Betrayal will be published in 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

When I grabbed this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Normally, I don’t like books that hint at a love triangle in its plot but I’ve been looking for an awesome Young Adult Historical Fiction novel with a strong heroine and this one looked like it was worth a shot.

The Kiss of Deception starts supers slow. The focus (and wrongly so in my opinion) is mostly on Lia settling in town, doing menial tasks and talking about how free she is. It’s a lot of talking with really no plot whatsoever. It makes for a dull start and things really don’t get interesting until the halfway point when we learn that there might be another plot going on.

The book reminded me a lot of The Girl of Fire and Thorns but whereas I really loved the character development of that heroine, I just felt like it was lacking for Lia in this book. Lia isn’t super interesting, she’s rather dull and while I appreciate her independent spirit I wish she would think about the consequences of her actions a bit more. She does improve within the last third of the book but for the first half, she wasn’t anything to write home about.

What did keep me reading was the mystery of the two strangers. The way that Mary E. Pearson writes the two boys characters is great! You really don’t know who is the assassin and who is the prince until the last third of the book; and by then the plot actually starts to become interesting and worth while. The “love triangle” isn’t really that much of a love triangle in the sense that she is torn between two boys and can’t make a decision. Maybe it will progress into something more in the next book, but it was well done in this book.

Conclusion:

A very slow start but things definitely pick in the last half and I think/hope things will be at a faster pace for the next book like they were near the end of this one. For Young Adult fans who enjoy Historical Fiction with a dash of magic (and a small dash at that) that move at a slower pace will enjoy the start of this new series.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Not at this moment

Similar Reads: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns Series #1); The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (The Ring and the Crown Series #1) and the Hedgewitch Queen by Lilith Saintcrow (Romances of Arquitaine #1)

Synopsis for The Kiss of Deception (from Goodreads):

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Series Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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: Across the Universe Trilogy
Author: Beth Revis
# of Books: 3 (Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Shades of Earth)

There are a few short stories published about various characters. See the list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Dystopian, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I almost didn’t read this series. I had never heard a lick about it and when I saw the title and cover for Across the Universe, I thought it was a book about the 2007 movie of the same name. But, my curiosity got the better of me (thanks to that colourful cover) and I clicked on it, read the synopsis and borrowed the eBook.

And I am so ever thankful that I did!

This series really blew my mind away. Just when I’d think I had an idea of what was going on, something else was thrown into the loop–something that had been carefully hidden all along–and would change everything. In each and every book I got sucked into the story and simply devoured them. They were very unique and unlike anything I have read before and I applaud Beth Revis for crafting such a creative, plot-twisting, fun series.

However, Across the Universe did start a little slow. Part of the reason is trying to navigate exactly what the situation/setting is for these characters. There are a lot new “terms” because the series is set so many years in the future (and language and humans evolve over this time). Another reason is that Amy is a harder character to like at first. She’s a little annoying and vain so that grated on my nerves a bit. But when I let myself think about it, I really came to understand why she acted that way. How would you feel if you woke up on a ship, 100s of years in the future because someone tried to kill you and then found yourself surrounded by 1000s of strangers? Probably a little defensive I would say :p So While Amy isn’t my favourite literary heroine of all time, I did grow to like her as the series continued. Elder, the male protagonist I loved from the get-go so no issue there.

The series, like most recent dystopian Young Adult reads, doesn’t focus on the romance rather on what is really going on inside Godspeed. There was a lot going on and as I said before, the plot twisted constantly so it made for a very exciting read. The romance element is there, but if you are planning on reading this because of a “love out of time” maybe find something else or stay for the mystery of Godspeed because it’s so worth it!

Conclusion:

If you love plot twists and Science Fiction reads–this is a Young Adult Series you should read. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this impressed with a trilogy!

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

Similar Reads: Legend by Marie Lu (Legend Trilogy #1) and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Across the Universe (from Goodreads):
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Site Updates: eReading + Updating Reviews

 

Greetings readers!

You may have noticed that I haven’t had a lot of new blog postings lately. Part of the reason is that I have a full-time job for the summer that drastically reduces my reading time. But the other reason is that I have been hard at work updating previous series reviews (those Fresh Friday posts from last summer have fresh new sequels!) AND updating various pages of the site!

Updating Older Reviews

You may have noticed a new sticky post on the homepage, just below the intro post to the site. I’ve hid the rest of the post just for the sake of scrolling but when you click the “more” button you can see what previously posted reviews have new updates. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of series that I have already started because they have recently published new books and have decided to update my reviews accordingly. Most of these updates are simply a little blurb at the end of the existing blog post with my thoughts on the way the series is progressing or how it ended. It may also include updates on stats such as books in the series, etc.

eReading Page

My previous eReading Page on my site was originally a guide on purchasing an eReader but I have decided to expand it and add new sections for the sake of not having one long, continuous page of text. Now, in addition to my guide on purchasing an eReader, you can read about my experience with various reading apps for phones and tablets as well as a guide for reducing your costs on books for your eReader. Check it all out under the eReading link at the very top of the page.

I hope these additions are helpful and if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear about them below! Over the next few weeks I hope to update the book summaries pages but time will tell!

For those like me who had a long weekend this past weekend, I hope you had an awesome time (and got some good reading in!)! For those who didn’t I hope you had a nice weekend anyways :P

I wish you all SERIESously happy reading!

 

 

Fresh Friday: Trapped (#1) by Beverley Kendall

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:

Trapped by Beverley Kendall | Trapped Series

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite new New Adult Series 2014
Series: Trapped

This series intersects with Kendall’s other series, Unforgettable You, just before book 2 in the series, Always for You. However, you do not need to read that series to read this series.

Author: Beverley Kendall
# of Books: 2+ (Trapped, Tamed)

There is a prequel novella for Trapped called The Trap (it’s FREE) that I recommend you read before you read Trapped.

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Tamed, will be published in 2015
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Every since I saw the synopsis for Trapped, I’ve been counting down the days to read it. Though I didn’t love Beverley Kendall’s other full New Adult novel, Only for You, I did love its novella that took place after with a different set of characters (All Over You). So I wasn’t going to give up on her yet!

I started by reading the prequel novella, The Trap, which is FREE on all major eRetailers. I highly recommend that you read this novella before you read Trapped because it really sets the context for everything and does so better than the full novel did. I think reading the novella helped give me some sympathy (or at the very least understanding) towards the characters that I wouldn’t necessarily have had if I had just read the novel. Because let’s face it, Mitch is a bit of a jerk for doing what he did regardless; but getting the full story thanks to the novella helped me grow to like him in Trapped.

Trapped was great! Normally I’m not a huge fan of second chance romances because I find them very predictable but this one wasn’t entirely predictable in the sense that there are a few other plotlines going on that add interesting twists to everything. I found that very refreshing. It was a slower plot but I always found that it kept my attention

As for the characters, I thought everyone was great. Mitch and Paige were much more mature than Kendall’s other leads in Only for You despite being the same age and friends with them. They were also super cute together and weren’t over the top in anything that they did. The hotter scenes between them aren’t numerous but I’m glad that was the case because I think it would have taken away from the story. The other supporting characters were just as interesting as Mitch and Paige but they didn’t overshadow them in anyway which was super nice. But, I am excited to read book 2, Tamed, when it comes out next year!

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed The Trap and Trapped. They were refreshing in the sense that they were realistic with a dash of dramatics that one expects in a New Adult fiction read. Those who like second chance romances (especially with unexpected pregnancies) will really enjoy this one!

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

Similar Reads: Forever Innocent by Deanna Roy (The Forever Series #1); Only for You by Beverley Kendall (Unforgettable You Series #1) and Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Too Far/Rosemary Beach Series #1)

Synopsis for Trapped (from Goodreads):
My life has turned out to be such a cliché. And not in a good way.

It’s not exactly Sixteen and Pregnant, but at eighteen my only advantage is a high school diploma. And if that’s not enough, the father—and I use that term loosely—couldn’t have hightailed it out of my life fast enough.

I thought I really knew him. Unfortunately, my boyfriend of three years transformed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde once he realized his carefree, childless days would be coming to an end.

I’m over him now though. The real love of my life is chubby, has more gum than teeth, and stands a little over two feet tall. She may not have been planned, but I’ve never regretted having her. She is the center of my world.

A world that’s been turned upside down when Mitch returns ready to earn the love and trust of the child he abandoned before birth.

Letting him into my daughter’s life is one thing but letting him back into mine isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Now if only I can get my heart to heed the lessons of the past.