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 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!

Monthly Inventory: February 2015

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February 2015

It’s a little late I suppose–but it took me a long time to decide if I wanted to do a monthly blog recap. As per my blog resolutions for 2015 I’ve been taking a look at other blogs in the community (which are all great by the way! There are some awesome blogs out there for sure!) and liked that some people did monthly recaps. Not that I think many people will read it, but it’s a good reflection tool for myself (we studied that last week in my inter-professional course at school and it’s kinda stuck on me :P) to keep a positive attitude and maintain good blogging habits.

Like most readers, real-life gets in the way and you end up not reading as many books as you planned (guilty) or you never got around to reading a particular book (guilty) or you bought more books (guilty x2) or put more books on hold at the library (guilty x3) or… the list can go on and on. Yet as I was composing this post, I realized that I accomplished a lot! And that I should be proud of that fact! In everything I do I focus wayyyyy too much on the negative and not the positive. Sure I had to return a few books to the library unread (the horror I know!) BUT I read some really awesome books last month and put a really, really good dent in some of my reading challenges for the year.

Who knew you could do so much in such a short month!?

Books Inventoried

  • 16 Books Read + 3 novellas
    • 1 nonfiction novel (Death of a King)
    • 3 standalones (Whatever Life Throws, DUFF, Forget You)
    • Started 4 new series (Trust Me, Waterfire Saga, Alienated, Worldwalker Trilogy)
    • Finished 1 series from start to end (Hopeless)
    • Read sequels for 4 previously started series (Wild Seasons, Tangled, Falling Away, Welcome to the Point)
 Favourite Read  Least Favourite
 Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)

★★★★★

 Forget You

★★

*Note: just because I read a series/book this month doesn’t mean that the review was also published. Due to the nature of my blog (ie I review whole series) it often takes me a few weeks to publish a full review (pending book availability) so look forward to seeing some of these reviews in the upcoming months!

Posted Reviews

Updated Stocks

Reading Challenge Updates

I also created my own personal challenges: A Classics Challenge & a Nonfiction Challenge!

 Books

43/150 books!

43/150 books!

View Progress

 Books
✔ Two YA books
✖ Mini Challenge
View Progress
 

86/100 points!

86/100 points!
View Progress

 Books

0/5 books!

0/5 books!
View Progress

Books

1/5 books!

1/5 books!
View Progress

 View:

YA Challenge Reviews

Sequel Challenge Reviews

Classic Challenge Reviews

Nonfiction Challenge Reviews

Site Updates

On Order for March

  • I have some new features coming!
    • Memeful Moments – a NEW monthly feature where I write my thoughts about an internet meme
    • Throwdown Thursdays – a NEW ORIGINAL monthly feature where I compare two books/series/etc against each other
    • Top Ten Tuesdays – I plan to follow the weekly meme but on a monthly basis
  • Update the following:
    • review directories
    • Series Recaps for G-L
  • a TBR jar — honestly I’m embarrassed it took me so long to find this awesome idea!

Music in the Aisles

Just for fun I thought I would talk about what music I’ve been listening to lately. I’ve really been loving Nick Jonas’ latest album! His songs have been stuck in my head all week!

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month? Did you accomplish more or less because of the shorter month? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading this if you read it all the way through!

I wish you all SERIESously happy reading!

Movie Mondays: The DUFF

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

Book: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger | Movie: The Duff (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I will admit that I only heard of this book because of the movie being released; but as soon as I read the synopsis, I wanted to read it regardless of the movie.

I thought this book was very cute and funny but touching at the same time and I had a hard time putting it down (and I would have felt that way even if I wasn’t reading it during a road trip). I think a lot of teens can relate to some of the scenarios that happen in this book even if the circumstances aren’t the same as in the book. The situations never seemed petty or overly dramatic and I really appreciated that. I could see these things happening in high school and I loved that realism in this story. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the author was 17 when she wrote it so she could draw from personal experience but I didn’t know that author was so young until I read the biography after I finished the book because it was so well written.

I could see why some people might not enjoy this book because Bianca is quite cynical. I can be quite cynical so I didn’t mind but I could easily see how she would rub people the wrong way. I thought she was a lot of fun to read about and I loved the interactions between her and Wesley. They made me laugh and melted my heart because I could see their relationship developing even when they didn’t. I’m a sucker for the reformed playboy and the independent heroine relationship (Ten Things I Hate About You anyone?) and it was done very well in this book. Wesley was the right blend of charming and caring and even I got a bit of a crush on him.

This book more than anything focuses on Bianca trying to navigate her troubled family and school life. Her relationship with Wesley, while a main plot-line of the novel, isn’t the main focus of the book but everything was in the right balance which made the book so addicting to read.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book! It straddled the line perfectly between being fun and serious and I easily powered through it. Fans of YA will love this one!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott (He’s So/She’s So Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I knew before reading the book and before seeing the movie that both were going to be extremely different. Where the book focuses on Bianca navigating her messy family life, the movie focuses more on what it means to label someone and the consequences it can have. The book didn’t really worry about changing how people labelled other people in high school but it did focus on Bianca becoming confident in herself and that is also the underlying theme of the movie.

This movie was like Mean Girls meets a 90’s rom-com. While I didn’t find it as memorable funny as Mean Girls (my friends and I still use lines from Mean Girls today) I definitely laughed because some of the lines were so witty and fun. (It could have been because I saw it in a nearly empty theatre during a school day afternoon so I felt like I was the only one laughing) But, I felt like the movie did what Mean Girls did and showed the realistic side of high school and how teens can be just plain awful to each other–and it especially showed how social media plays a role today in belittling other people. I thought it was really well written and I think a lot of teens can relate to it. I really hope that teens watch this and realize how their actions/words can impact other people–even if it is as something simple as a nickname said behind someone’s back.

In the book, Bianca didn’t really focus on what it means to be the Duff as much as she did in the movie. So in the movie, instead of sleeping with Wesley to escape from her everyday life, she asks Wesley to make her over so she isn’t the Duff anymore–this is where it reminded me of the good ole’ 90s rom-com (She’s All That anyone?). But what stayed the same as the book was the great chemistry between Bianca and Wesley.

First, I think casting contributed whole-heartedly to this. I’ve only seen Mae Whitman (Bianca) the occasional time I would find my roommates watching Parenthood so I’m not too familiar with her or her acting. However, I thought she played Bianca perfectly! She had the cynical humour down pat and she was everything I expected Bianca to be. Now I might be biased about Robbie Amell because he is related to my TV crush Steven Amell’s (The Arrow) AND a Canadian hottie but I thought he did a great job as Wesley! He nailed the charming but slightly douchey jock role of Wesley. If you didn’t have a crush on him before this movie, you will after!

But their chemistry together really blew me away! I know that they had a lot of freedom with the script so they ad-libbed a few lines and when you see the character’s reaction, you know that it is the actor’s genuine reaction to that scene. Nothing beats a true smile or laugh in my books when it comes to movies. You can tell that they had a lot of fun making this movie and as a viewer it makes it all that more enjoyable to watch.

Long story short: I would definitely watch this movie again! It might not be the most accurate book-to-movie adaption ever but the message of the book is clearly reflected in the movie. It was a lot of fun and I’m sure if I watched it again there would be lines I missed the first time that would have me laughing out loud.

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

In this case, the winner is a TIE! Because the book and movie focus on different things it’s really hard to compare them to each other. I love the book because of the family issues Bianca has to deal with since they were very realistic to me. But I also love the message of the movie regarding school life and labels because they too are very realistic. Both are very well done and I think YA fans and teens will love both!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The DUFF (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Trailer:

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Fresh Fridays: Illusion (Swept Away #1) by J.S. Cooper

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:

Illusion by J.S. Cooper | Swept Away Series

Other books in the series:

Series: Swept Away Trilogy
Author: J.S. Cooper
# of Books: 3 (Illusion, Disillusioned, Resolution)

There are 2 novellas: #1.5 Charade & #2.5 Masquerade

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Disillusioned ,will be published in March 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, Dark
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

J.S. Cooper is one of those authors that I have a few freebie reads for on my Kobo & Kindle yet haven’t had a chance to read any. But when I saw this series, I had to read it right away. One, it reminded me a lot of Stolen by Lucy Christoper, one of my all-time favourite books where a girl is captured and tells her story through a letter to her captor, and two, it was a contemporary romance with a “dark” tag on Goodreads. So I figured it would have all the elements that I loved in Stolen but will older leads and the cool spin of being trapped on an island (which seems to be a popular plot device lately…).

After reading Illusion, I’m not sure what I am feeling. One word that comes to mind is awkward and I use that word for a few reasons. One is the delivery of the mystery elements. It seemed choppy to me and not smooth in its execution. I mean, I get that in mystery novels, truths are revealed a little bit at a time, but in this case it felt like they were dropping things like they were hot and that you were supposed to know. I find it really hard to explain what I am trying to say without giving away any plot points. I guess to sum it up, I did a lot of flipping back in pages to make sure I had the right idea about things because it just seemed like the planning was messy. Maybe it’s just been a long time since I read a mystery/suspense novel and that’s why I struggled a bit.

That messy planning did have a positive aspect: while I had suspicions about what was going to happen, I never totally predicted what would occur. So being fuzzy in all the details did keep me in suspense and made me want to finish the book faster.

Another reason why it is awkward is the “romance”. I know if I was stranded on an island with a strange, handsome man, my first instinct would not be to jump his bones. I guess you have a lot of free time on your since you are stranded on an island so you theoretically could focus your time on sleeping with the hot guy you don’t entirely trust but I’ll just say that isn’t my first priority. I know it is a romantic suspense novel, hence the romance focus but I just found it personally awkward and I think it ruined my impression of Bianca. Because of how she is so wish-washy on the romance and how she interacts with Jakob, it made her seem like a complete idiot to me and she never recovered in my books.

Another awkward thing is that the synopsis on the back of the book kinda gives away part of the plot line. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but once you are two chapters or so in, you kinda figure it out and I am thoroughly confused as to why you would let your publisher do that in your synopsis as it kinda ruins the whole “mystery” of the story.

I will be reading the prequel novella, Charade (which is to be read after Illusion despite being a prequel novella as it has spoilers) and the sequel Disillusioned just because I really want to know what the full mystery is and I didn’t feel like I wasted my time with Illusion just because it wasn’t executed the way I would have wanted.

Conclusion:

Interesting premise and mystery but it just seems a little sloppy to me. Because it is a series, I feel a little trapped into reading the next one because I want to know how it all ends. So I’m not completely giving up on this series; however, I won’t be going out of my way to recommend this to people.

Rating: 3.25/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Not at this time.

Similar Reads: Facade by Nyrae Dawn (Games Series #2)

Synopsis for Illusion (from Goodreads):
The day started like every other day…

Bianca London finds herself kidnapped and locked up in a van with a strange man. Ten hours later, they’re dumped on a deserted island. Bianca has no idea what’s going on and her attraction to this stranger is the only thing keeping her fear at bay.

Jakob Bradley wants only to figure out why they’ve been left on the island and how they can get off. But as the days go by, he can’t ignore his growing fascination with Bianca.

In order to survive, Bianca and Jakob must figure out how they’re connected, but as they grow closer, secrets are revealed that may destroy everything they thought they knew about each other.

Series Review: Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly

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

book3 book4

Series: Waterfire Saga
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
# of Books: 4 (Deep Blue, Rogue Wave, Dark Tide, book 4)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Dark Tide, will be published in 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple

Thoughts:

Jennifer Donnelly is one of those critically acclaimed authors that I haven’t read too many books by. I only read her standalone, Revolution, which was fantastic, but since reading that years ago, I haven’t read anything else by her. I randomly stumbled upon this series, and when I read the synopsis I wanted to read it. It seems to me mermaids are a new trend in YA fiction but I’ve only read a few books about them so I was willing to give this series a shot. But the biggest reason I wanted to read this was this line in the synopsis “Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas” — to me that means girl power. For once the heroine isn’t relying on a man or just herself but a group of other girls to accomplish something. Sure, most paranormal novels have the BFF female sidekick but there is something about having a whole troop of girls working together that is refreshing to me.

Deep Blue is a bit of a subdued novel and part of that reason, I think, is that it is building up the world. When I started reading Deep Blue, I easily got sucked into the world. I love how Donnelly changed common, everyday idioms and modified them for a “water world”–it really added to the world that she was building. The world itself if pretty straightforward but I found the various Latin names/terms were hard to keep track of. I found out when I had 50 pages left in the book that there is a glossary with people and terms so that helped keep everything fresh when I was reading. When an author adds a glossary, you can tell that they have really thought everything out for their story and Donnelly is no exception because the world of Deep Blue features a rich history for these characters and their kingdoms.

Which is why I say the plot was subdued: because it consisted of smaller dramatic moments and not the epic events I expected. I thought finding the other heroines would have been a major affair, taking up most of the book but it isn’t. This book is more about setting everything up for the sequel novels, allowing the reader to get their bearings with respect to what is actually going on in the grand scheme of things.

And that sets the scene beautifully for Rogue Wave to sweep every expectation away. While Rogue Wave keeps with this smaller plot event scale, it throws in massive twists that I never saw coming. I also think it helps that we have more than Serafina’s POV to read. Serafina is an alright heroine, and her character growth is great, but she follows your typical “thrust into greatness” heroine role so it isn’t anything new. She never annoyed me but she definitely isn’t my favourite of the heroines we get in this series. She really has grown on me though after two books.

These books kinda took all my expectations and whirled them all around so that I didn’t know where this series was going. It doesn’t seem to follow any basic series formula (like who know how trilogies all build up but the second book is almost always a sleeper) and I find that refreshingly exciting.

One thing that really surprised me about this series is the lack of romance. As a romance fan by trade, it’s weird for me to not read about a romance but I think it goes back to what I said earlier about “girl power” and watching 6 heroines do a quest on their own. Still, I expected a dash of romance here and there but that really didn’t happen—though there is one dash for sure. In the end, its A-OK but just be warned that it isn’t very strong or a major plot point in this series.

Conclusion:

Deep Blue is a slow but necessary book as everything really picks up in Rogue Wave because everything was set up beautifully in Deep Blue. So don’t be discouraged when you aren’t immediately sucked into this series. If you like adventure stories rich with mythology/ancient history featuring an all-girl cast this is a great series for you to pick up.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Depends on what the 3rd book is like. So far, it’s a maybe.

Similar Reads: The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova (The Vicious Deep Trilogy #1) and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Deep Blue (from Goodreads):
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

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Single Sundays: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

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

Synopsis for Whatever Life Throws at You (from Goodreads):
Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

Review:

I was actually drawn to the cover of this book before I realized it was written by Julie Cross. Cross’ Third Degree was a novel that actually surprised me in how much I liked it and I’ve heard really awesome things about her Tempest Series (but I haven’t gotten around to reading it). So when I read the synopsis for this one, I immediately put it on hold at the library.

It took me a while to get into this book because the romance is slow to come to fruition. Of course there is some sexual tension before the “big moment” but it was more downplayed than it would be in a New Adult novel (where it would be there from the get-go). In the end I appreciated this because it was nice to get some good character development but at the same time I was slightly disappointed. Another reason it took me a while to get into the book was Annie.

It was weird because I liked Annie enough as the narrator but some of the things she would post on Facebook (most chapters start with a status update from some of the characters) seemed rude to me and that really threw me off. I suppose it’s just for the fact that we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life so I just didn’t connect with her all that well. She’s a jaded character and I understand why, so that wasn’t really the issue (I didn’t mind the angst), I think it’s just more of a personal thing with her and me not having meshing personalities.

I did warm up to her though as the story progressed and her character developed. Despite the book being focused on the NBL, I found a lot of the story lines and situations to be realistic–it wasn’t over the top drama like some New Adult novels would have.

And while this book straddles the line between New Adult and Young Adult, I would say it leans more towards the Young Adult. There are a few sexual situations that are more descriptive than your typical Young Adult novel but for the most part it’s a pretty clean YA read. It actually reminded me a lot of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oak Series in how it is delivered. If you wanted something with more drama and heat, I would suggest The Perfect Game by J. Sterling instead.

Conclusion:

It took a while to get to the good stuff (ie the romance) but it was a cute story and I liked watching everything unfold as we approached that place. Another great standalone by Julie Cross!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: if they wanted a cute read

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Recommended for: 17+
Heat Rating: warm *spicy Young Adult
Point of View: First Person, Single

Similar Reads: All Lined Up by Cora Cormack (Rusk University Trilogy #1); The Perfect Game by J. Sterling (The Perfect Game Trilogy #1) and Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks Series #1)

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Series Review: Wild Seasons by Christina Lauren

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: Fav Reads 2015, Favourite New Adult Series 2015
Series: Wild Seasons Series

This series crosses over with the Beautiful Bastard Series in book 4 of the Beautiful Bastard Series, Beautiful Secret.

Author: Christina Lauren
# of Books: 4 (Sweet Filthy Boy, Dirty Rowdy Thing, Dark Wild Night, Wicked Sexy Liar)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Dark Wild Night, will be published September 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: hot, Kink: minor
Point of View: First Person, Single (Sweet Filthy Boy), Alternate (Dirty Rowdy Thing)

Thoughts:

When I first saw that Christina Lauren had a new New Adult series, I didn’t put it to the top of my to-read list. Despite the fact that I did enjoy the Beautiful Bastard Series (by this point I had only read the first two novels in the series) and that I like that they write strong independent female heroines, I just wasn’t sold on reading another series by them. But then two things happened: 1) was that I read Beautiful Player, the 3rd novel of the Beautiful Bastard Series an LOVED it! and 2) I actually read the synopsis for Sweet Filthy Boy and I just had to know what happened.

And I am so glad that I did!

If I didn’t have a midterm test the next day, I would have stayed up all night reading Sweet Filthy Boy. It hooked me in the second I started reading and I couldn’t put it down. I laughed, I teared-up and most importantly, I fell in love with Mia and Ansel. Sure, the romance was a bit of a love-at-first-sight situation but it never felt like that. They really had a strong connection and I loved watching their relationship develop. Seeing them connect emotionally and not just physically was such a blast to read about. This is what I wanted Gayle Forman’s Just One Day Series to be: a cute, albeit it slightly unrealistic, soul-mate finding romance set in Paris. Sweet Filthy Boy was the perfect blend of character growth, romance and fun (including humour!).

Ansel was swoon-worthy–definitely a new book boyfriend for me–and I really connected to Mia more than I thought I would. Mia was really the best part of the book for me. Certain traits of hers reminded me a lot of myself but I loved watching her grow during this book. She also wasn’t a stupid and irrational character–which was quite the bonus because I was reading another book at the time with a super annoying heroine so Mia made for a nice break–and actually thought about things before she acted. I loved how she handled everything that was thrown at her and did it in a smart way. And I know from reading an interview with Christina and Lauren that they were worried that having only a single POV wouldn’t go over well with fans but I think it worked out perfectly and Mia was awesome to read about.

The rest of the characters are also great–which made me super excited to read the rest of the series.

While I didn’t love love Dirty Rowdy Thing like I loved Sweet Filthy Boy it was still a great read! Again, the focus wasn’t just on sex and instead you get to see a relationship actually build; plus the signature sexy times Christina Lauren is known for thrown in for good measure. It too was a great blend of realism (in terms of relationships), romance and humour and it lead me to the conclusion that Christina Lauren might be one of my new favourite authors because this series is everything I want in a contemporary, New Adult romance series. The little quirks that irked me in the first two Beautiful Bastard Series novels are gone like they were in Beautiful Player and the result is just a really great read.

Words cannot describe how excited I am for Dark Wild Night: I hate the fact that I have to wait until September to wait for this couple’s story. At least I will have the crossover novel until them, Beautiful Secret…sigh

Conclusion:

Maybe I loved these first two books so much because I was supposed to be studying for midterms both times I picked them up, but I really don’t think that is the case. This series is everything I like in a contemporary romance–strong heroines, swoon-worthy heros, humour, an actual emotional connection–and lacks what I hate about contemporary romance–over the top relationship drama. Christina Lauren have written winners with this series!

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

Similar Reads: Just One Day by Gayle Foreman (Just One Day Series #1); Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly; Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young (On Dublin Street Series #3) and Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1)

Synopsis for Sweet Filthy Boy (from Goodreads):
One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

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Movie Mondays: Fifty Shades of Grey

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

Book: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James | Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK(s)

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy Author: E.L. James Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Adult, Contemporary Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High) Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

As I said in my series review, I did enjoy the series of Fifty Shades of Grey because I can recognize that it is fiction and it is supposed to be a fantasy. Does that mean I agree with the message? No. Do I think they are the greatest books ever written? Of course not. But I can say I was thoroughly entertained when I read them and I found them to be highly addicting (I read them all in a weekend–not that they are very complex books in the first place). Part of that reason is the pursuit of Ana by Christian. To me, it does border on the obsessive (which is something I really struggle with when reading BDSM novels; they sometimes straddle that line between abusive and consensual and I have a hard time digesting that), but it was entertaining and I loved the sexual tension. I’m sure I’m not the only girl in the world who wouldn’t mind if a handsome (minus the BDSM fetish) billionaire pursuing regular old me–and the book sales alone prove that this is the case because that is what this series provides: a fantasy. Christian isn’t really my type of guy but I really loved him with Ana in the later books (once we move away from the sex-only chapters). And I really liked Ana. Sure, some of her narration is a little silly and she is naive early on, but I didn’t find her annoying. I liked that she challenged him and I  thought she complimented Christian well and to me that is the most important thing in a romance novel. Once we move away from the sex scenes (ie mainly book 1) and actually get some plot, that’s when I started to enjoy the novels. I loved the family drama and trying to figure out Christian’s dark past–which I think that helped to initiate my love for New Adult novels where that those plot-lines are present in spades.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, what matters to me is that I read a book that entertained me and kept my attention; and Fifty Shades did that for me. The writing isn’t that great–it is often repetitive–and I could have done without the piles and piles of sex but I enjoyed reading these books. They are definitely not for everyone: but if you want to try a BDSM novel and enjoy over the top drama, this is a good series for you to pick up!

Rating: 4/5 Series Review: Full series review here! Similar Reads: Claim Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1) and Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire Series #1)

The Movie:

I will admit: I am one of those people who followed any movie news about this movie (not that it was a particularly hard thing to do because it was everywhere) so it isn’t a huge surprise I went to see Fifty Shades opening weekend.

I’ll start with the casting, because I think that is the most important thing about this movie. When Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Christian, I wasn’t all that excited. I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy but I could see why they would cast him in the role. But when he dropped out, I was eagerly awaiting to see who would be cast. So when Jamie Dornan was cast, that’s when I got excited for the movie. I loved Jamie when he was on Once Upon a Time so I was happy with the pick. (Though for the record, Ian Somerhalder was my pick for Christian as soon as I read the books.) As for Ana, I wasn’t sure who I wanted in that role–but there were some names tossed out that I knew I didn’t want. Dakota Johnson was an unknown to me but once I saw the promo pics she had the look of Ana so I was fine with that.

When it came to the first trailer, I was actually really disappointed with Jamie and impressed with Dakota. Jamie seemed awkward and not as confident as what I pictured Christian to be; but Dakota acted exactly like I thought Ana would. So when it came to the actual movie, I had no idea what to expect. And I kept it that way by avoiding reviews (which is hard with trending social media) before I went to go see it.

And in the end, I thought both of the actors did very well considering the source material’s awful dialogue. Dakota acted exactly like Ana did in the novels and she did a great job. Jamie took me a while to get used to, but I really warmed up to him as Christian as the movie progressed. I really think his role was hindered because of the dialogue because his mannerisms were perfect. He didn’t have as much intensity as I was expecting (which was the impression I got from the trailer) but I think that was a good thing because it might have come across as creepy. When it comes to their chemistry, I could see why some people might not think it’s there; but to be honest, I never really saw that much chemistry between the two of them at the start of the book either (especially their initial meeting). I thought it got better as the movie progressed–but again, I think the dialogue is what really hurts the chemistry that could be there.

As for the adaptation itself: I think it was pretty true to the books. I’m not sure, it’s been 3 years since I read them but from what I can remember plot-wise it follows pretty close (I often get the first two books mixed up so feel free to correct me). The sex scenes definitely had more nudity than your regular old movie but they weren’t tacky and didn’t show much other than the occasional butt and chest shots.

But I still wouldn’t go see this with your mother ;)

Also, the soundtrack is amazing! The songs were probably the best part of this movie!

(Just a last little tidbit: This movie is only the FIRST book of the series. I thought it was going to be all three so I’m waiting to see if there will be sequels. I know that the director and actors are contracted to do a sequel but I’m not sure if it will happen–it looks possible considering domestic and international box office numbers–and rumours have been swirling that the sequel could be out by next year!)

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

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. I like how the movie focused more on Christian and Ana trying to establish a relationship than it did on all their sex scenes (ie. it felt more plot focused than sex). It also lacked Ana’s awkward inner monologue. I think book fans will be happy to see the book come to life in this adaptation–and I really didn’t think it was as bad as people were saying. Cheesy at times, yes, but I think that just reflects the cheesiness as the book. But I don’t think it hurt that I went into this movie with low expectations…

Do you agree? Did you go out and see it; or are you going to avoid it at all costs? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Fifty Shades of Grey (from Goodreads): When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Trailer: