Path Forward (Celebrities #4) – Nicole Pyland

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Whilst I enjoyed the third instalment of the celebrities series – Midnight Tradition – I felt this was back to the best of the series we experienced with the first two books. The last two books of this series were published after the sports series and they are quite different. I found this to be more lighthearted than the sports series, but I did appreciate what felt like a little more depth in this one than Midnight Tradition.

Jessica is a model turned actress who is experiencing the first time a movie is going big for her. She made mistakes in her previously relationship that caused her to lose both her girlfriend and her friends. This books serves as Jessica’s attempt at redemption.

Venice Valentine – Val to her friends – isn’t famous like the rest of the group she has somehow found herself amongst. She works at a pack and ship store and strives to own her own business one day.

A chance meeting at Val’s work brings them both together. I loved how the relationship built organically but didn’t feel like a traditional slow burn either. There’s a lot of depth in how Jessica attempts to make amends with their friends, and her honesty in why her relationship didn’t work. At the same time Val exploring her feelings as to why she feels it wouldn’t work with Jessica and what she wants to do with her life is also done really well.

We previously met both Jessica and Val briefly in Midnight Tradition but you don’t technically need to have read it to read Path Forward. I’d suggest reading the whole series as the characters flow through the instalments, but it does still work as a standalone.

It was nice to have lots of involvement from all of the characters in the previous books. I especially liked that we got to see more growth from Maddox and more of her relationship with Avery. With Midnight Tradition only being set over a few days it was hard to have that growth so the follow up here made me very happy, especially in how it related to Jessica. The scenes with all of the friends made me smile and it was nice to think of them all in family situations.

If you’re a Pyland fan you’ll enjoy this – and if you’ve not read Pyland but are a fan of wlw romances you’ll definitely find this an enjoyable read.

I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Midnight Tradition (Celebrities #3) – Nicole Pyland

Rating: 4 out of 5.
3.75 stars.

I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the other Celebrity series books – but it was still an enjoyable read. I liked both main characters. Maddox is a photographer who appeared in the previous part of the series – No After You. She’s still recovering from previous break ups and ends up at Peyton & Dani’s New Years party after lots of international travel – meaning she doesn’t really want to be there.

Avery ends up at the party after being dragged along by her brother – she doesn’t know anyone there and would rather be at home, working on her app. I enjoyed Avery as a character, and I think that might be because of how her introduction as a non famous person into a series about celebrities forces you to look at the rest of the characters slightly differently.

I actually enjoyed that the majority of the book takes place over a few days. It does create a bit of an instalove feel to the romance, but I liked how the setting forced the characters to get to know each other in a different way.

My disappointment came in the way that things were kept interesting – which normally meant adding another character that wanted to date one or the other MCs. This really worked in the first instance, but felt a little contrived when it kept happening.

It was nice to return to the rest of the characters in the series and learn how their relationships have moved on, which in itself probably adds half a star. If you like Pyland you’ll enjoy this one, but if you’re new to this you should definitely start with the first part of the series – All the Love Songs.

The Kaleidoscope Album Box Set – Bryce Oakley

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I read all of the Kaleidoscope series (so far) in about 36 hours and thought it was probably easier to review as a series rather than individual books, however I have rated them individually:

Undone – 5 stars
Bewilder – 4 stars
Midnight – 5 stars
Bloom – 4 stars

All of the books in the series are written from an alternating point of view between the two MCs in that particular book. I thought this worked really well and gives the opportunity to get to know the thoughts and feelings of the characters quickly.

Each of the books had moments that genuinely had me laughing out loud and the banter between the bandmates, and their extended group of partners and friends really made the series for me. As is typical each book contains some angst, but in general each story is centred around the getting together of the MCs.

Billie and Vero’s story in Undone got me hooked. It served as a really good introduction to The Shrikes, whilst still managing to keep the book focussed on the main relationship. I enjoyed the do they like each other or hate each other, will they/won’t they, push pull throughout the book. The introduction of the ex-girlfriend felt a little old, but it did serve to deepen the understanding of Vero.

Domino and Sabrina are pulled together to clean Domino’s messy house. It’s an interesting concept as from the way you meet Domino in Undone you wouldn’t think these characters could work together. I enjoyed their story but Bewilder didn’t grab me in quite the same way as Undone, which I thought was a shame as I really like Domino. However, both characters popping up in subsequent books helped me see the relationship a bit more and I’ve grown to enjoy this pairing.

Zoey serves as the odd one out in the band in many different ways and the story of her falling for Pia stands out for me. A toaster situation is nearly always a good read for me, I enjoy a well written book that explores new found sexuality, so I’m probably a little biased, but the opening scenes of Midnight are the standout scenes in the series. The MCs are well suited for each other and by this point the group dynamics play really well.

I loved that Meg fell for Collins. I enjoyed how both characters were written – Meg as the ‘glue’ to the band, passionate but often in the background. The hardness of Collins when you are first introduced to her in the series versus the softness that Meg brings out in her is really well done and makes Collins one of my favourite characters. I also really liked how the passion both have for their work is written about.

The sex scenes in all four books are generally short but steamy. I also really appreciated the world building that goes on throughout the series, tying each storyline together nicely and ensuring that in each book you got a glimpse of all of the featured characters.

All in all the series won’t necessarily give you something shiny and new, but it’s full of well-written strong diverse women, funny banter and good storylines. If you’re looking for easy, relatively quick reads this series will do you right.

Pas de Deux – MJ Duncan

Rating: 5 out of 5.
I wasn’t going to read this book, I really didn’t like Mallory in Symphony in Blue, but I gave in and I’m really glad I did. Mallory went from being aloof and appearing heartless in the first book, to a much more relatable character in Pas de Deux.

I love an age gap romance and I really enjoyed seeing Mallory’s perspective on the things that happened in the previous book and how they impact any possible new relationship she enters into. I appreciated the fact that Duncan didn’t sweep things under the carpet and didn’t attempt to suddenly make Mallory into a “perfect” character.

London was the perfect setting for this story and I seem to have a thing for books with characters that meet at coffee shops. I liked the character of Addison and really enjoyed the descriptions of the ballet, along with the realism of the writing regarding the sacrifices that must be made for a creative career.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you can take advantage of the KU.