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 more than anything else. 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 in the first place!

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!

Fresh Fridays: Trust Me, I’m Lying (Trust Me #1) by Mary Elizabeth Summer

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:

Trust Me I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer | Trust Me Series

Other books in the series:

Series: Trust Me
Author: Mary Elizabeth Summer
# of Books: 2 (Trust Me, I’m Lying; Trust Me, I’m Trouble)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Trust Me, I’m Trouble, will be published October 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I’m a sucker for book synopses that say “fans of ___” because I almost always pick them up (so mission accomplished marketing peeps). With this book, it’s targeted for fans of Ally Carter’s Heist Society Series and Ocean’s Eleven. Now, I didn’t love the Heist Society novels but I still love Ally Carter’s work; and I loved Ocean’s Eleven (but not so much its sequels). Basically, I like heist/crime-thriller books/movies but haven’t had too much luck finding that perfect book series that meets all my expectations. Maybe this series was the elusive mark (see what I did there :P) I had been waiting for…

As I was reading this book I kept thinking it was more of a Cold Fury-esque (by T.M. Goeglin) novel than it is a Heist Society-esque novel: though it does share some similarities to Heist Society (like the heroine going to a private school; trying to get into college like a normal girl her age; and being aware of the “family business”). Ally Carter’s Heist Society focuses on a group thieves actually completing a heist, much like the Italian Job or Ocean’s Eleven. Trust Me, I’m Lying doesn’t really focus on Julep completing a big heist but instead focuses on her trying to solve the mystery behind her father’s disappearance–which is why I say it is more similar plot-wise to Cold Fury where the heroine is trying to find her kidnapped family than to Heist Society or even Ocean’s Eleven. (Even at one point in the book Julep makes the comment that she is acting more like a sleuth than a con artists which is so true!) However, it does read a lot like an Ally Carter novel so fans of one will like the other.

Julep is one of those characters I could easily see people disliking; I myself struggled deciding if I actually liked her or not. I think I’ve reached the conclusion that I appreciate her independence but we would never be friends in real life. I admire that she works for what she wants but she does is it in such a brash manner that it just rubbed me the wrong way at times. She puts on a tough girl act and that gets more apparent as you read the novel; I warmed up to her as I read the novel for sure but it was a rocky relationship to start. If anyone has watched/read Veronica Mars, Julep is a similar character to Veronica in her personality I think.

Once I reached the halfway point I would say that I was getting addicted to the story. I had a hard time putting it down because I really wanted to get to the solution for her father’s disappearance. I never found that part of the book to be predictable; but I found Julep’s personal life was so predictable it was almost cliché at times–until it wasn’t.

The last few chapters of the book really surprised me because I really enjoyed them. They were faster paced, we actually get a heist-esque plot and there were a few twists I wasn’t expecting to happen. It made me excited to see where this is going to go next.

Conclusion:

While Ally Carter fans will more than likely enjoy this book, I think fans of Veronica Mars will also enjoy this novel. It’s not really a heist novel but it does have that slow build to it that Ocean’s Eleven has (even if it isn’t all that apparent as you read). This novel surprised me with how much I actually enjoyed it because for a good while I was giving it a bare pass–but the ending was great!

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

Similar Reads: Heist Society by Ally Carter (Heist Society Series #1) and The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars Series #1)

Synopsis for Trust Me, I’m Lying (from Goodreads):
Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

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Series Review: Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

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: The Vampire Diaries

There are a number of spin-off series; some written by L.J. Smith, others by a ghost writer. See all here. The Wikipedia page for the series has some interesting statements about how this series and the spin-offs are published.

Author: L.J. Smith
# of Books: 4 (The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, Dark Reunion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Technically, Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural, Vampires, Magic, Witches
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: First and foremost, I read these books a looooonnnngggg time ago. Also, I want to be clear that I am only rating the original 4 Vampire Diaries novels. There are a number of spin-offs that I have never read…find out why below…

I can’t remember if I read these books before or after Twilight; I’m pretty sure it was after but definitely before the show first aired. I had the combined volumes I used for the covers for this post so I really have a hard time differentiating the plot of each book because it just seems like one big story–which is what a series is really–but what I’m trying to say is that it is all one big blur so don’t ask me about individual books!

One thing I really loved about Vampire Diaries is that it is a darker series where evil is always lurking. I know that there is lots of disagreements over how vampires are portrayed in books/popular culture but I’ve never really minded these alterations to what I call “modern vampires”. Yet Vampire Diaries features your blood drinking, bat-changing vampires who are up to no-good. It makes things creepy and darker than some of the other vampire series out there. I like how there is a villain and I like that actual dangerous things happen and sometimes they have disastrous consequences. It wasn’t always happy-go-lucky in this series and I liked that.

What I didn’t really like about the series was the romance. I’m not sure how many of you have read old romance novels from the late 80s/90s but they are drastically different from the romance novels you get today. Elena and Stefan’s romance was super cheesy to me and I think it was a product of it’s time (the first Vampire Diaries novel was published in 1991). I also wasn’t annoyed with the love triangle because, to me, it wasn’t truly a love triangle; it was more a by-product of what was going on plot-wise.

As for the characters, they weren’t anything that exciting or unique to me. They didn’t seem all that complex to me–even brooding, fighting-against-his-nature Stefan. I remember liking one of Elena’s friends more than I liked Elena.

I know a lot of people probably watch the TV or watched it (I stopped after season 3) and want to know how close it is to the books. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t anything close to the books. Sure, the basic ideas are there but things are drastically different. Things as simple as Elena’s list of friends and family are changed and the TV series definitely has a sexier feel. Some of the basic backbones are there but characters have radically different purposes in each. I LOVED the first two seasons of the show; but Season 3 just started to get too complicated for me and with school it was hard to keep up with it all. I plan to catch up on Netflix this summer.

The TV show is the reason I stopped following the book series. I enjoyed the TV series way more than I ever did the books so I never felt the need to pick them up. And I probably won’t ever pick up the books. I don’t like dragged out things and I feel like these spin-off series are just the by-product of the TV show. (Which is great because anything that encourages reading is fantastic but I feel like it takes away from the original spirit of the series).

Conclusion:

Simply put: I’ve read better vampire romances. But I can appreciate the fact that I can probably thank this series for spawning all of the “better vampire romances” out there. Unlike the TV show, it’s cheesy and basic in its delivery. If you want a sexier, danger-filled vampire romance, watch the TV show instead!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No, I’d recommend the TV show first!

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)

Synopsis for The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (from Goodreads):
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he’d kill to possess her.

Series Review: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

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 2015, New Must Read Author, Favourite Series
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
# of Books: 3 (The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss)
Book Order: Chronological

There is a prequel novella: Bridge of Snow

Complete?: No, The Winner’s Kiss, will be published in 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, High Fantasy, Alternate History
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I won’t lie: the covers are what drew me to pick up this series (it wasn’t until after I read it that this book seemed to be on a lot of blogs that I follow). Both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime were new additions to my library’ eCatalogue and after I read the synopsis, I decided I really wanted to read these books. I honestly didn’t know what to expect plot-wise from these novels but I knew that I was expecting awesome things and I eagerly dug in.

I didn’t get right into The Winner’s Curse because I felt like it was assumed that I knew the history of the world. Not that the world is overly complicated (I got the gist of it pretty quick); I just felt like it was expected that I knew why these two cultures were clashing and why there was conflict in Kestrel’s world on a deeper level without being told why. Perhaps I just missed that one key line that explains everything earlier in the book. Regardless: the truth of the matter is that the conflicts present in this book are no different than the conflicts we see in our modern world despite its historical edge. And once I was a few chapters in, I was sold (no pun intended) on everything this book was bringing.

If you take the intelligent, strategic heroine of June from the Legend Trilogy, minus her physical ability to kick ass and add the historical vibes of For the Darkness Shows the Stars, you get The Winner’s Curse.

Which means it’s pretty awesome!

Despite my personal distaste for slower novels, I really loved The Winner’s Curse! I loved how everything built up slowly and was intricately linked together. There was a plot-line I wasn’t expecting and I thought it made the story 20x more interesting. This book was never afraid to take risks and that makes it vastly different from the other dystopian YA novels out there. (Though it isn’t really that much of a dystopian novel, rather a high fantasy with some dystopian elements present.)

It also differs from other YA with its AMAZING heroine! I adored Kestrel as a heroine. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a dystopian-esque heroine that didn’t drive me up the wall in some way or another. She was smart, always thought about her actions and was never irrational in her decisions. She’s a strategist and I find that so refreshing in a heroine. Don’t get me wrong, I love heroines who can physically kick ass but it was so AWESOME to read about a heroine who uses her intelligence to outwit her opponents instead of her fists or sword.

I also really liked Arin and her relationship with him. It’s slow building but has so many interesting layers to it that it was a lot of fun to read about. It reminded me a lot of June and Day’s relationship (from Legend) in the sense that they balanced each other out. They were a great pair when they were together but just as amazing when they were on their own and I loved that! Being “on their own” is an important thing to highlight because if you are expecting some grand romance–think again! I found that the romance played a very minimal part in the story as it focuses more on the politics of the countries wayyyy more than it does on the relationship between Arin and Kestrel. It is definitely there but it takes more of a backseat throughout the story.

The Winner’s Crime doesn’t slow down from where its predecessor left off; in fact, it builds on it. Though I thought it started on the slow side, it quickly amped up its pace as you read. The Winner’s Crime definitely has more political intrigue to it which I have been craving to read about for such a long time and that made me really happy. So many great twists and turns! I really didn’t know what was going to happen despite all the clues along the way–which is probably why I would say it is my favourite of the two so far (but it was a really close and hard choice to make!).

I simply cannot wait to read The Winner’s Kiss!!! I just want to see a cover or a synopsis or even a specific release date so I can satisfy some part of my excitement!

Just a quick note on the novella (well, it’s really just a very short story). It takes place when Arin was a child, therefore it is technically a prequel. However, I think you will get more out of it if you read it after The Winner’s Curse or even The Winner’s Crime. I read it after The Winner’s Crime and I feel like that was a good time to read it because I could make the connections it inspires. However, it really doesn’t contribute to the story in any way other than to provide a taste of Arin’s life before The Winner’s Curse and isn’t necessary to read if you can’t find it (or don’t want to pay the $1 to read 20 pages).

Conclusion:

One of my favourite YA reads this year and a new favourite series for me! Loved every minute of these books! (I may even break my buying physical books pact to own these novels!) If you want to read a dystopian-esque novel with a FANTASTICALLY intelligent heroine, her complimentary male counterpart and lots of political intrigue–this is the read for you!

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

Similar Reads: For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund (For the Darkness Shows the Stars Series #1); The Hedgewitch Queen by Lilith Saintcrow (The Romances of Aquitaine #1); Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass Series #1) and Legend by Marie Lu (Legend Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Winner’s Curse (from Goodreads):
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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Awards: Versatile Blogger Award

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Thank you to Andrea @ Mountain Rhinestones for the The Versatile Bloggers Award nomination. After browsing your blog I feel like we have very similar reading tastes and I can’t wait to read more of your future posts!

10 Random Facts About Myself:

1) I haven’t purchased a physical book in over two years! I’ve only been buying eBooks!
2) In addition to my Bachelors of Science, I have a minor in English Literature (plus one in Biology)!
3) I rarely reread books–even books I really loved!
4) My favourite new TV show is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix–so funny!
5) I procrastinate all the time–mostly by reading books when I shouldn’t (like exam times)
6) Movies I can’t wait for: Insurgent and Avengers 2
7) I have to go to the movie theatre at least once a month
8) I live in Canada!
9) I bring my Kobo with me everywhere
10) I have a massive crush on Matthew Gray Gubler (aka Dr. Spencer Reid) from Criminal Minds

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My Nominees:

To come soon! I’m really busy with school right now so I want to take the time to explore some of the new blogs I have recently subscribed to. But I didn’t want to ignore this lovely nomination! Thank you again!

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Rules:

1.) Nominate 15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging.
2.) Let the bloggers know that you’ve nominated them.
3.) Share 10 random facts about yourself.
4.) Thank the blogger who nominated you, it’s common courtesy, and link back to their blog.
5.) Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.

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Series Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

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: New Favourite Author 2015
Series: Slammed Trilogy
Author: Colleen Hoover
# of Books: 3 (Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl)
Book Order: Chronological but This Girl is a companion of Slammed
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Despite finishing Hoover’s other series Hopeless before this one, Slammed was the first book I read by Hoover. When I first picked up Slammed from my library, Hopeless had been sitting on my Kobo for probably 2 years unread. I think it’s vague synopsis and all the hype made me hesitant to read it. But I have always heard really good things about Slammed so when they added new eBooks at my library and this series was one, I made sure I was near the top of that holds list. (Afterwards, it encouraged me to pick up Hopeless and I am so thankful that I did!)

Slammed started out like any other Young Adult/New Adult where the lead moves to a new town after the death of a parent. Enter the angst-driven heroine and the cute boy who notices her right away and you’ve got the basis of many New Adult novels out there. But this book is nothing like those other books and it quickly sets itself apart through its characters, plot lines and poetry.

Layken is angsty–but not in annoying way. Obviously she is upset about what has happened to her family and it shows. I don’t think anyone can blame her for feeling and thinking the way she does. So this is well-done (read: valid reasons for) angst and I wish all authors did angst like this. However, she isn’t my favourite heroine ever. Her stubbornness bothered me a bit and because I didn’t love her, it stopped me from giving Slammed a 5/5. Will is a great character though: he had me smiling and charmed from the minute we meet him. And I loved watching them together because it was more than a physical attraction that drew them together and I could see why they liked each other. Despite not loving Layken, I really did feel like they were a good pair.

Then comes the “shocking revelation” and it really was shocking! I had no idea what was going to happen and when it did, my attention was grabbed. It’s not often that I get surprised by a plot line: so when I do, the book gets major points and this one does for sure!

As for the poetry aspect, like most people (in my classes at least) it was my least favourite subject in English. That definitely changed when I got to university and studied English and read a variety of poems. I don’t like writing poems but I don’t mind reading them. However, Slam Poetry is something that I have no experience with–just those clichéd bits on sitcoms and I watched a YouTube video one time of a Dad’s message “To the Boys Who One Day May Date My Daughter” (it’s really well done!). Reading this book almost made me wish that I was listening to the audio books because it would really add to the reading experience–though it really isn’t necessary as Hoover bolds/italicizes words so you get the gist of how it would be performed. So while poetry really isn’t my thing, it was refreshing to read (I find most people choose music lyrics instead of poetry) and added to the story in a way I didn’t expect.

I didn’t really think Point of Retreat was a necessary sequel per say, but it sure was icing on top of an already awesome cake. I really felt like Point of Retreat tied up some loose ends from Slammed that weren’t necessarily left dangling but it was nice to have them neatly wrapped up nonetheless. Of course there was a great twist along the way that I didn’t see coming (I should honestly know better by now).

What I love about Hoover’s work is that she doesn’t stretch out her character’s stories by publishing more books than necessary. Two, plus an alternate retelling is the perfect amount for this series. It might be tempting to read This Girl right after Point of Retreat or even congruently with Slammed but I wouldn’t. It actually chronologically follows the events of Point of Retreat and is told like as flashbacks to the past (ie Slammed). So read it as if it were a Book 3 or else you read major spoilers :)

(Though I enjoyed reading This Girl and appreciated how it told a different side of the story and provided some insight into Slammed‘s events, it was a little nauseating to read. You know, like that couple that is overly in love and always shows it? It was kinda like reading that at times. BUT, I enjoyed reading it and thought it was a great way to wrap up the series).

Conclusion:

It may not be my favourite YA to New Adult series ever but I loved every minute I spent reading these books! They are just so well done with touching characters, amazing plot twists, poetry and great messages about family and love. I laughed, I cried and I smiled throughout the entire series. I will definitely be picking up anything and everything by Colleen Hoover in the future!

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

Similar Reads: Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Game Series #1); Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1) and On Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #2)

Synopsis for Slammed (from Goodreads):
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

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Series Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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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Series: Shopaholic Series
Author: Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham)
# of Books: 7 (See Full List Here)

There is a novella after book 3: Shopaholic on Honeymoon

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes…I think
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humour, Romance, British Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I have only read the first 4 books in the series (up to and including Shopaholic and Sister). Find out why I stopped reading the rest of the series below…

I was in my mid-teens when I started reading this series and I loved Confessions of a Shopaholic. These were my Meg Cabot days (I think we all have those) and I really loved the fun scenarios of “chick lit” and the dash of romance in them. They were fun, light-hearted reads that had me chuckling and captured my attention. I revisited the series again when I started university but it was hard for me to get back into them and I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 2 books (Shopaholic to the Stars hadn’t been published yet).

Part of the issue is that I grew out of “chick lit”. I tended to gravitate away from the light-hearted, often predictable plot-lines of chick lit and more towards the “darker”, twisty plot lines of young adult fiction and adult romances. I just got tired of reading about the same situations all the time and that included the heroine.

It also doesn’t help that I read some of Madeleine Wickham’s standalone novels that were published afterwards and I felt like she just writes the same type of heroine all the time. I guess you write what you know best but I had a hard time liking them and I think that might have influenced how I felt about Becky in her later novels.

I’m not a huge fan of “air-headed” heroines so it’s kind of a surprise that I would enjoy Becky’s character. But when I didn’t take her too seriously, I just found her to be so funny and a lot of fun…until she wasn’t. I just felt like Becky’s character never grew in the way I expected. I wanted her to learn from her mistakes and mature and it just got tiring waiting for that to happen. At times, it made her hard to read about and I could see how her character would rub people the wrong way.

After a while, each book just seemed like a regurgitation of the past and formulaic and that isn’t fun for me to read. I just wanted something to surprise me and I didn’t want to be annoyed by Becky so I made the decision to stop reading the series (and other Madeleine Wickham novels).

Conclusion:

If you chick lit, this is a great series for you: it’s light and funny and British. But it can get a little tiring if you like unpredictable reads and heroines that have more substance to them.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: If they loved chick lit, yes!

Similar Reads: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot (Queen of Babble Series #1)

Synopsis for Confessions of a Shopaholic (from Goodreads):
MEET BECKY BLOOMWOOD, AN IRRESISTIBLE HEROINE WITH A BIG HEART, BIG DREAMS — AND JUST ONE LITTLE WEAKNESS …

Becky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something …

Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.

Fresh Fridays: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

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:

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Firebird Trilogy

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Firebird Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (A Thousand Pieces of You, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, will be published November 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate Dimensions, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I’ve read two other Claudia Gray series and have enjoyed both very much. I love her writing style, her plot twists and how she creates her worlds. She made me enjoy a witch-based Young Adult series (Spellcaster Trilogy) so that means I’m willing to give anything she writes a shot. So when I saw the premise for this series, I was SUPER excited. It sounded like it was going to be what I thought Alternity by Mari Mancusi was going to be mixed with the Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier so I was sold.

This book was a lot of fun to read and it quickly had me hooked (which was good because I had to return it to the library the next day!). I was worried that the alternate dimensions aspect would be confusing but it was explained perfectly at the start of the novel, making the rest of the novel easy to follow.

Like in most of Gray’s books, there are little twists and turns along the way that keep the plot moving and unpredictable. Part of the charm of a book like this is the mystery aspect that you put together as you read and while I definitely had a good inkling of how things were all connected, I really didn’t know if I was right or not given the little surprises here and there. I liked that it kept my full attention and the last half of the book is really non-stop which was great. I never felt like plot dragged and it easily could have if Marguerite and Theo spent too long in a certain dimension but it was executed perfectly.

Even the love triangle was well done–rare words from me indeed. I think it helps that the focus of this book isn’t really the romance aspect–rather Marguerite spends her time trying to figure out what exactly is at play and I liked that a lot. There was enough romantic moments to keep the romance reader in me satisfied but it really was the plot of this book that I loved so much.

I can’t wait to see where this series is going to go! November can’t be here soon enough!

Conclusion:

I feel like it has been a long time since I read a good YA novel and this novel helped fill in that void. Everything is just well executed and it was so refreshing to read about Alternate Dimensions. I loved how it built and that there were constantly little plot twists along the way. If you plan to read it, make sure you set aside a lot of time because you won’t likely be putting it down anytime soon!

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

Similar Reads: Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston (Never Trilogy #1) and Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for A Thousand Pieces (from Goodreads):
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

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