Just a Few First In Series I Loved

Posted May 10, 2021 by Berls in Just a Few Books I Read, Review / 4 Comments

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This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books are first in series that I loved but for some reason (probably time), I haven’t gotten around to reading any more of the series. Hopefully this post will help me remember them and return sooner than later. These were all 5 star reads so I can’t believe I forgot about them!

Note: These are the reviews I wrote when I finished the books and I never got around to publishing them on the blog. Clearly I was in different moods when writing my reviews. Some are more complete than others!

Just a Few First In Series I LovedSay You're Sorry by Karen Rose
Narrator: Joel Froomkin
Series: Sacramento #1
Published by Books on Tape on February 12, 2019
Genres: Romance
Length: 24 hours 6 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

Introducing the first novel in the pulse-pounding Sacramento series from New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose.
There is a serial killer on the loose, preying on vulnerable women. The only identifiable mark the killer leaves are letters—sometimes one, sometimes two—all carved into the torsos of his victims. Together they spell “Sydney.”
When he grabs Daisy Dawson, he believes he has found his next victim. But despite her small stature, she fights back with an expertise that quickly frees her. Before fleeing the scene, Daisy also manages to grab what proves to be crucial evidence: a necklace from around the killer’s neck.
The necklace is more than a trivial item—it is a link to a cold case that Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has been tracking for seventeen years. With Daisy’s help, Gideon finally has the opportunity to get closer to the truth than ever before.
But they might not get the chance, as the serial killer has a new target: Gideon and Daisy.

I LOVED this book and will be hunting down more Karen Rose for sure! First off, it’s long – the audiobook was 24 hours and 6 minutes – and that is typically a turn off for me. Thankfully I can read at 2x speed, so that cut it to 12 hours, but still… super long! But look, I read it in 4 days while living my busy life. BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD!

What Worked for Me:

  • The characters! they are so complex and full. She used every bit of that length to make characters that really come off the page and to life. They have complicated backgrounds that truly inform their present decisions. Their relationships are beautiful and again, complex. There isn’t a character that I wouldn’t like to see their entire story – even the serial killers. This isn’t one of those books where you like the villain, but man, you do feel SOMETHING for him and you understand how he got so fucked up, even if you still hate him.
  • The plot! It was non-stop. I hated every time I had to hit pause to go live my life. There are several story threads and they are all pretty intertwined, but not in a confusing way. Instead, each thread adds to each other and just makes the story more robust.
  • The suspense! I know this is like a sub-point for the plot, but I need to emphasize what a page-turner this is. You are seeing the story from multiple points of view and each one only escalates the tension and anticipation.
  • The dogs! There are two pretty important dogs in this story and as a dog lover, that really does add a lot to the story for me. And, as a dog lover, any book where a dog is killed does not work for me, so don’t worry!
  • The romance! So I won’t lie, this was kind of background for me and not super important – but it did play into why I liked the characters so much. It was a sweet romance – one that a character had tried to bring together in the past and now is happening because of this awful situation and it was cute seeing them have to admit that person had been right all along. And there’s even a really good scene where safe sex is addressed, which is really important to me in my romance books!

What didn’t work:

  • um, can I have a sequel please? Now?

Okay – so I know why I didn’t continue this series… there wasn’t anymore when I read it back in February 2019. But now there are 2 more books, so yay!!

– I have to add that this book was made all the better by Joel Froomkin’s narration. You ever finish an audiobook and have to stop and think, “was that 1 narrator or 2?” because you were so oblivious to the narration? That was Joel’s narration for me. I just felt like I was watching a movie with a full cast of actors, I think. I wasn’t really aware of him – which to me says his narration was fantastic. I didn’t ever stop to think something he said or some accent he used was good or bad, it just was there. At one point I actually considered speeding the story up from 2x because I had a book club deadline I wasn’t sure I would meet – I decided not to because I didn’t want to miss ANYTHING in the book – but his narration was good enough I think I could have.

So basically, if you like romantic suspense I INSIST you put this on your TBR. Like yesterday!

Just a Few First In Series I LovedMore or Less a Marchioness by Anna Bradley
Narrator: Heather Wilds
Series: The Somerset Sisters #1
Published by Tantor Media on October 16, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

The Somerset sisters, three beautiful, headstrong debutantes in Regency London, are discovering that a bit of scandal is a delightful thing...
For the sake of propriety, and her younger sisters’ reputations, Iris Somerset has kept her rebellious streak locked away. But though she receives a proposal from Phineas Knight, Lord of Huntington, Iris can’t marry a man she knows isn’t truly enamored with her. In fact, Iris no longer wants to be chosen—she wants to choose. Under the clandestine tutelage of “wicked widow” Lady Annabel Tallant, she’ll learn how to steer her own marriage prospects—and discover her secret appetites.
What kind of debutante refuses a marquess? Finn is surprised, a little chastened—and thoroughly intrigued. This new, independent version of Iris is far more alluring than the polished socialite she used to be. Finn believed he needed a safe, quiet wife to curb his wilder impulses. But the more Iris surprises him, the more impossible it becomes to resist their deepest desires.

I enjoyed this so much! The characters are what pulled me in I think. Iris and Phin remind me a bit of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy – she’s a young woman who wants love and to not lose herself in marriage, he’s a wealthy proper gentleman who doesn’t know how to present himself very charmingly. And there’s even a Wickham like character. That being said, this goes places Pride and Prejudice never went and I wouldn’t want to over emphasize the comparisons. It’s very different and much more scandalous 😉

A fun read and I can’t wait for book 2 to be available on audio. I look forward to her sisters’ stories! (which were also not yet out when I read this book! I’m sensing a theme for why I don’t finish series!)

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Just a Few First In Series I LovedBurning Bright by Melissa McShane
Narrator: Cat Gould
Series: The Extraordinaries #1
Published by Tantor Audio on November 15, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Length: 12 hours 49 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

Elinor is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years. As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy. Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England's enemies, French privateers, and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena's crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor's ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly-but could it be at the cost of her own life?

Loved this so much! This is the second book I’ve read that has a historical fantasy feel to it taking place mainly on the ocean and I have to say it’s a setting I LOVE. I think the element of the ocean, so unpredictable and all the challenges that come with life on a ship just adds such an interesting element – particularly in the historical (although, now that I think of it, I read a modern one and that setting was pretty great too).

Burning Bright was particularly good because of the characters, though. I love Elinor! She’s got some guts! I don’t want to give anything away… so, all I’ll say is that when she doesn’t like what the two paths laid out for her offer, she CREATES a third, completely unheard of path and then commits to it, all in. I loved the way she didn’t back down and the power of character… even before we get to her magical ability. She grows a lot over the course of the story which is always exciting to watch.

The Hero – Miles Ramsey – is also pretty great. He takes some warming up to, but I never disliked him. He’s got all the necessary hero qualities – strong, charming, honorable, etc. He also makes you laugh.

The magic and the way these extraordinary abilities changes the landscape of sea life and battle was pretty cool and really well woven into the story. I know I will read more in this series, though the reviews for book 2 aren’t nearly as good so I’m not in a huge hurry. (Clearly, 2 years later still haven’t read it) If it was more with Elinor and Ramsey I’d probably already be reading it.

The narration was also great. Cat Gould is not a narrator I’ve listened to before, but I will not hesitate to listen to her again. Great voices and pacing!

5 stars Flipping Fantastic

Berls is sharing Just a Few 5 star 1st in Series she never got around to finishing. Have you read them? Click To Tweet

About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, mom to the cutest, happiest, best 1 year old and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 20 year old on the planet. My family mean everything to me and they appear frequently in the Sunday Post with Berls. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!



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4 responses to “Just a Few First In Series I Loved

  1. I have read all the Karen Rose books but almost all as ebooks. I started with Cincinnati book #1, which is actually book 16 in Romantic Suspense. Sacramento is even newer I’m up to date except the the eARC I have for the one not yet released. It’s an amazing series, not a bad book in the bunch.

    Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: 🎧 Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
  2. I have so many series that I started and loved, but never got the time to read more and now am so far behind. I like this post.