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: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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 We Were Liars (from Goodreads):A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review:

If you haven’t heard of We Were Liars, you were probably living under a rock for most of 2014. But in all honesty, it’s ok if you haven’t–I actually stumbled upon it by accident and then discovered that people have been raving about it for the last 7 months. So I put it on hold and had to wait a very long time to get it and by the time I did, it had won the 2014 Goodreads Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. So when I finally picked it up, I was excited to read it to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s hard to describe what my feelings are about this book. It’s really good and really well done but it didn’t overly impress me and here’s why:

After reading the synopsis, I really didn’t know what to expect. And when I started reading it, I felt a little lost and a little overwhelmed  with all the character names and their family relationships. But, there is a very handy family tree at the start of the book that quickly sorted that all out for me.

However, I still felt a little lost as I was reading due to Candace’s way of describing things. At times I found it hard to know when she was being literal and when she was using metaphors. I suppose that is part of the charm of a book title “We Were Liars”: is Candace really telling the truth or is she lying? And it was fun trying to figure out what was really going on the island and that was when I really got into the book.

Why I have mixed feelings is because I read a very similar book to this called Unravel by Calia Read earlier this year. That book blew my socks off and has a very similar premise to We Were Liars in that you are trying to find out the truth about the lead’s life. I think that if I read We Were Liars first, I would have been much more impressed with it than I actually was. Unravel was much more enjoyable to me because I think its execution is a tad more put together (meaning, I never felt lost in the prose of Unravel as I did in We Were Liars).

Conclusion:

BUT that doesn’t mean that We Were Liars isn’t a great read–because it is! And it you have never read a mystery or rebuilding the past type of book, this is a great one to read!

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

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Coming of Age, Family
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Unravel by Caila Read

Series Review: Sea Breeze 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:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author, Favourite New Adult Series 2014 (Honourable Mention)
Series: Sea Breeze Series
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books:9 (See full list here)
Book Order: Connected*

While each book focuses on a new pair of leads, the exception is Books 3 (While It Lasts) and 5 (Sometimes It Lasts) that focus on the same leads.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm (books 1-3); getting hot (books 4-9)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

Ever done something when you know you shouldn’t? I sure have and this series is one of them. When I was planning my Christmas Holiday reads following my exams, I had planned to only read the Kobo purchases that have been sitting on my Kobo for ages and froze all my holds at the library to do so. But, when I checked the latest additions to my library’s eBook section and saw that all of the books in this series were newly added AND available to check out, I seized the opportunity and snagged them while I could! What was a couple of days spending on this series really in the grand scheme of things :P

I’m glad I did! I basically read a book a day with this series. I really enjoyed reading this series and it was addicting in the sense that I really became attached to all the characters. Without reading the synopsis for each book, I cheated and found out what character would be the star of each book so that when I read one book I would pay attention to that character and that made me super excited to see what was in store next for this great cast of characters.

This series is one that straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult. I’ve read posts where Abbi Glines herself classifies it as Young Adult as it is less steamier that her New Adult reads; but I myself would say it is more New Adult than Young Adult. While it is less steamier than her other New Adult series, Rosemary Beach, it is definitely steamier than any Young Adult read I have ever read. Sex is more than eluded to in this series but it isn’t as descriptive as Glines’ other works. But I found it got a little more descriptive as the series progressed.

Speaking of Rosemary Beach, this series is very similar. It reminds me of the teenage/younger version of Rosemary Beach in that the characters are all jaded in their own ways but everything is toned down compared to the Rosemary Beach series. The male leads aren’t full out alpha males, the sexual content is quite tame and most of the characters are quite a bit younger (though they do get older as the series progresses). This series also isn’t as drama heavy as Rosemary Beach and the character relationships and events don’t overlap as much as Rosemary Beach. So I think it goes without saying that if you enjoy one, you will enjoy the other!

My only “peeve” about this series is that some of the romances were of the “insta-connection” variety. Not all of them were like that (4 come to mind that weren’t) but it can be a little bit of a turn off if that isn’t your cup of tea. I find that they do expand upon the initial physical attraction so you warm up to the relationship by the end but I think it is important to mention just in case.

FUN FACT: While it Lasts is going to be made into a movie! Details can be found here!

Conclusion:

Another great New Adult series by Abbi Glines! If you love the Rosemary Beach series or just New Adult reads in general, this is a great one to pick up!

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

Similar Reads: Fallen too Far by Abbi Glines (Rosemary Beach Series #1); Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola (Crush Series #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Breathe (from Goodreads):
Sadie White’s summer job isn’t going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother’s increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother’s job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationships never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can’t breathe without Sadie.

Series Review: Rosemary Beach 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:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Series, Favourite Author
Series: Rosemary Beach + Too Far; Perfection; Chances Series
Author: Abbi Glines
# of Books: 14 (See All Books + Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological but connected
Complete?: No, there are 4 more books to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person (later books are alternating)

Thoughts:

I decided to create one homepage for this series because I realized that there are quite a few more books that are going to be published (yay!) in this series that are technically classified as “Rosemary Beach” and not by a spin-off series title.
That being said…

warning

This review post will begin to review books 9+ in the Rosemary Beach Series (so anything after You Were Mine). If you have not read books 1-8 this page may have some spoilers.

Read reviews for books 1-4 (Too Far Series) here

Read reviews for books 5-6 (Perfection Series) here

Read reviews for books 7-8 (Chances Series) here

Alrighty, now that that is all out of the way…

You Were Mine is probably a novel that readers of the series have been waiting for since Fallen too Far–I know I have. And my anticipation for this book increased incrementally after Simple Perfection and the CRAZY twist we get. And after reading it, I have to say that it is the perfect answer to all fans’ wants. Thankfully, the story isn’t dragged out into two books and sticks to the one. It’s heart-breaking, sweet and just a great addition to the series.

Conclusion:

One the best and one of my personal favourite New Adult Series. Full of swoon-worthy guys, drama and great heroines–a must read for any New Adult fan!

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Hell YES

Similar Reads: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young (On Dublin Street Series #1); Rule by Jay Crownover (Marked Men Series #1) and One Week Girlfriend (One Week Girlfriend Series #1)

Synopsis of Fallen too Far(from Goodreads.com):
To want what you’re not supposed to have…

She is only nineteen.

She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.

Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…

Blaire just may have fallen too far.

Single Sunday: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

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 No One Needs to Know (from Goodreads):
Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

Review:

Yet again, this was a random pick from my library after browsing the new books. Normally, when I see books with 3 people on the cover, tangled in some sort of embrace, I avoid them at all costs because they tend to only mean one thing: love triangles–my least favourite plot device in the history of romance novels. But what grabbed my attention with No One Needs to Know is that instead of the guy holding both girls hands, the two girls are holding hands behind the guy’s back. Interesting.

I think it is fairly obvious what this book is about after you read the synopsis and despite the promise of a love triangle, I decided to give it a shot because this isn’t your everyday love triangle in a novel–which is a whole other topic for a whole other time.

This book was a really cute and quick read. The love triangle part never really bothered me because I knew how it was going to end within the first few chapters. But that really wasn’t a bad thing because I liked watching the characters develop to reach that ending together.

And while the main focus on the novel might be on the girls’ relationship with each other, it also focuses on growing up to be your own person and sibling relationships as you grow up. I think anyone with a sibling of the opposite gender who is close to their age can agree that your relationship dynamic changes when your in high school and this book deals with that.

What stopped me from giving this book a higher rating was that it was a little too simple for me. Coming of Age novels aren’t my favourite genre because I find they lack alternate plotlines besides character development and I like my books to have a good mix of both. Overall, I think this book is realistic but I wish it delved into some of the more thought-provoking topics that it could have given its subject matter. However, I love the message that it sends: be yourself no matter who you are, how much money you have or who you love because people will love you regardless.

Conclusion:

Although the book didn’t wow me per say, it did manage to keep my attention. It’s a cute quick read that fans of Young Adult coming of age novels will enjoy!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Perhaps

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Coming Out, Romance,
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Similar Reads: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Fresh Fridays: Talon (#1) by Julie Kagawa

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:

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Talon Series

Other books in the series:
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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Talon Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 5 (Talon, Rogue, book 3, book 4, book 5)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Rogue, will be published April 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

I’m basically at that point where Julie Kagawa publishes a book, I’ll be reading it. The Iron Fey Series is one of my all time favourite series and while I didn’t love the Blood of Eden Trilogy, I didn’t dislike it enough to give up on her writing yet. Also, the fact that this series is about dragons? Um yes please!

This series is basically the love child of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan and the Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. Honestly, that is the best way to describe it.But if you haven’t read those two series: take the dragons and their hierarchy from Firelight minus the unbearable heroine and add the slower pace plus assassin questions his ability to kill his target lead from Angel Burn and you have this series. I like to think it is the best parts of both those series wrapped up into one.

I didn’t fall in love with Talon immediately. It starts off slow–like the first 75% of the book is just building up to the last 25% of the book. And the last 25% of the book is great–it really had me on edge and I was excited to see where it would go! But that first 75% is nothing remarkable–it’s actually almost a bit of a cliché for those who have read numerous shapeshifting Young Adult novels. I can’t help but to compare it to the Iron King where I felt like we dove head first into the action and I feel like Kagawa’s subsequent novels fail to have this faster start. Yet I still found myself drawn into the story.

I think it helps that you get multiple perspectives throughout the book. It helps you see the larger picture and keeps the slower pace moving. Another thing I liked was Ember. I was surprised that I didn’t mind her character because at first glance she is everything I dislike: an angsty, rebel teenager torn between two guys. However, she never got on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I had other POVs so I didn’t get overwhelmed by her or maybe it’s simply Kagawa creating a tolerable heroine or maybe it’s both.

When I started Talon, I thought it was going to be a trilogy (because most things are nowadays) but the fact that it is 5 books long gives me mixed feelings. For one it makes me happy as it explains why this book started off so slow–because it has to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it also makes me hesitant because I really don’t know what to expect out of the next four books and I don’t want to be stuck committed to a series that could possibly be dragged out. Regardless, at this moment I am going to have faith in Ms. Kagawa and eagerly await the next novel in this series, Rogue.

Conclusion:

Readings about dragons is a nice change from vampires and werewolves. While it starts slow, the series is heading into the right direction (from what I can see) and promises faster paced times ahead. A great pick for Kagawa fans or for those who enjoy shapeshifter series.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Perhaps, it’s too soon to tell

Similar Reads: Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Firelight Trilogy #1) and Angel Burn by (Angel Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Talon (from Goodreads):
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Series Review: Ethan Frost by Tracy Wolff

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: Ethan Frost
Author: Tracy Wolff
# of Books: 2 (Ruined, Addicted)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, New Adult, Abuse
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I randomly stumbled upon Ruined one day and decided to give it a shot when I read the blurb:

Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point—and beyond.

Considering I read all three series and enjoyed them (for the most part, read my reviews on each for my full thoughts on each series), I was willing to give this series a shot. Especially when I saw that there was no BDSM–do you know how hard that is when it comes to an erotica novel about a billionaire? I mean I get that in fiction, and especially in the erotica genre, that there are some “fantasy” elements but I really don’t think every billionaire male in the world is some Dom waiting for his perfect Sub…

Anyways, I actually really liked Ethan Frost’s character. He was charming and funny and I enjoyed the scenes he was in throughout the novel. He was just a genuinely nice guy who wasn’t all alpha male when it came to pursuing Chloe. I really wish part of the novel was told from his POV because I liked him so much but also because I needed a break from Chloe. Chloe was kind of “meh” to me. I just felt like her character wasn’t anything I haven’t read in this genre before. She often got trapped in her head and often times her logic for things escaped me. I’m sure part of the reason why she would think certain things was due to her past but because you don’t know her past until over the halfway point in Ruined, I just felt like I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped. Also, she used the word “Churlish” at least three times–who uses that word to describe anything? I didn’t even know that was a word until I saw it in this book!

Ruined didn’t have much of a plot–but that doesn’t mean that they were just banging like bunnies the entire time either. It was actually cute to watch the whole pursuit between the two of them but I really wished there was more going on. To be fair, pretty much every book like this follows the same first-book pattern by focusing more on the developing relationship and sexual chemistry so I shouldn’t be surprised. I was just hoping that in a series that is only 2 books long that there was a more suspenseful plot line going on.

Because Ruined ends on a massive cliffhanger, I was looking forward to see where Addicted would go. Unfortunately, it too followed the generic second-in-the-series romance novel formula and I was getting tired of all the back-and-forth between them. Again, I struggled to connect to Chloe and even Ethan (who I loved in the last book) was beginning to irritate me. There was a bit more plot to this one but again, I wished there was more to it. There is really only so long you can read about the same plot line before it gets boring. The nice thing about this series is that it is only two books long so the plot isn’t dragged out more than it really needs to be **coughcoughCrossfirecoughcough**. This book was also pretty short so I didn’t feel like I wasted my time completely.

Conclusion:

For those who want a contemporary erotica series that doesn’t feature an over-the-top alpha male or if you don’t like overly complicated plot lines, this is a great one to grab. To me, it just didn’t have enough going on to really “wow” me and the second book bored me at times. But, they are both quick reads AND the series is only two books long!

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

Similar Reads: Release Me by J Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1) and Bared to You by Sylvia Cross (Crossfire Series #1)

Synopsis for Ruined (from Goodreads):
He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.

Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.

He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.

But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.

Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

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 Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

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

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes