REVIEW- After Series (book #1-#5) by Anna Todd

Collective Review

After ( After #1 )
After We Collided ( After #2 )
After We Fell ( After #3 )
After Ever Happy ( After #4 )
Before ( After #5 )

 

It´s taken me years to come up with reasonable words that sum up my feelings towards the `After` series by Anna Todd. Because, the ugly truth is – I couldn´t come up with anything better than swear words to describe my emotions.

Now, before I begin with my actual review I´d like to mention that before I started this series I was oblivious to everything that was associated with this story. All I knew was that the story was originally published on the online writing platform, Wattpad.

That was it. I never heard of Anna Todd nor have I heard of the sensation this story was supposed to be. It was by accident that I found the „After“ series.

Later on ( after finishing the fourth book ) I was informed that `After` is a fan fiction romance and that Harry Styles, from the band 1 Direction, was the inspiration for the male protagonist.

I didn´t know who Harry Style was and I had absolutely no clue who 1 Direction ( or 1D) were. After a quick google check I wasn´t any smarter. I figured it didn´t matter. Nothing could have changed my opinion towards the story, or should I say – nothing could have made me think better or worse of what I forced myself to finish.

 

Staring with book #1, After… I have to admit that I liked it alot. I´m not a huge fan of college romances but I liked how the story started and how it ended.

A well protected wallflower falls for rude, mysterious bad boy. after

What´s unique about this story is that the main characters, Tessa and Hardin, are polar opposites who shouldn´t even be near each other. Two extreme youngsters who can´t seem to stay away from one another. The story has mean – as – shit college students, lots of pre-adult drama and a bet that could break whatever the hell these 2 characters have for each other. The key word is: could. There wouldn´t be more books if the bet had ripped the characters apart for good. There´s alot going on and there´s tension. An entertaining story with so much potential.

Like I said- I liked book #1. I just wish I could say the same for the rest of the books.

 

With `After We Collided`, book #2, Tessa and Hardins story continues. After a relationship hiccup the couple tries to sort themselves and have a steady relationship. Little do they know how hard it is to be together, especially when one is a complete harm to society.

I self diagnosed the Hero, Hardin, in this book. In book one I truly bought the bad boy act but since his behavior didn´t really improve I began to think he had more than just a few screws missing.After 2

A few things come to my mind when I think of Hardin: alcoholic, abusive, antisocial personality disorder and bastard. Because he is all those things covered by a pretty face of a college student. It´s plain to see that he has / had issues. In book #1 a reader gets to accompany the main characters and live the ups and downs, back and forth with them. In book #2…. nothing changes. Tessa and Hardin are two „kids“ stuck in an awkward nightmare relationship where both have no bloody clue as to how things work. A reader does get to meet the sub characters a little more, which is good. But the rest? Screw ups after screw ups, heartbreak and tears…. it was time to see some happiness happen for these characters. 671 pages full of „Why the hell isn´t she leaving him??“

My final thoughts on `After We Collided`: After reading such an intense story with such intense characters in book #1 I hoped there would be some character development in book #2. There was none. But… there was more emotional abuse. So much that I felt the need to open a bottle of wine afterwards just so I could digest the catastrophe I read.

`After We Fell`, book #3. An 834 page long book. The book is just as thick as the bricks we used to build our house with. 834 pages of repetitive emotional abuse. After 3 Tessa and Hardin continue their abusive / back and forth relationship. But this time it´s painful for a reader to witness the mind fucking going on between the main characters and how they pulled other family members into their world of fuck ups. Family and friends of Tessa and Hardin also suffer under the hands of Hardin. He´s a ticking time bomb. He has anger issues. He´s afraid of losing the one thing he can emotionally torture. Hardin claims he loves Tessa but still breaks a piece of her every time he fucks up.

I couldn´t believe I sat through another book that had NO character development, what-so-ever. I got the picture: Hardin wasn´t healthy in any way, on any level. Hardin´s behavior took it´s toll on Tessa and I was so waiting for her to wake up and smell the roses. She needed to get rid of him. Actually, that needed to happen during book #1. After I finished book #3 I opened another bottle of wine.

The new relationship status from Hardin and Tessa: An apocalyptic catastrophe.

`After Ever Happy`, book #4, was the book that finally cracked my calm. I was fuming. I shook my head through 512 pages because there was nothing else I was able to do. Tessa and Hardin- they had ANOTHER life/relationship challenge. Another one. Or, let´s say… they had a few more and those challenges were such a waste of my time because 80% of those challenges were recaps of the ones from the previous books. After 4

My hopes for a character development were shot to the moon after book #3 but I still had a tiny bit of hope that there would be some sort of a happy ever after ( because the title does hint it ). A reader does get a sloppy version of a happy ever after. You get approximately 450 pages of emotional disaster with the main characters and then it´s fast forward from then on.

BAM –  you see the characters do this.

BAM – you see the characters do that.

BAM – BAM – BAM – BAM – BAM.

There´s no time for a reader to process all the info shoved in our faces.

The pace of the ending can be compared to the recent season 7 of Game of Thrones. We got 6 seasons of drawn out info and a super speedy season 7.

(NOTE: I love Game of Thrones and would normally never compare the genius of a story to the After series, except when referring to the pace. I´m probably going to go to hell for even mentioning GoT in this review. )

Anyways- the finale ending of the After series… A full-blown disappointment. So disappointed that I returned book #4. I don´t want to have a book like that on my kindle.

My overall feelings towards this series: A big fat NOPE.

It´s unnecessarily complicated, the Hero is abusive, the relationship Hardin and Tessa have is over the top unhealthy. What they have is a twisted sense of reality. There´s nothing remotely romantic about 2 young adults acting the way they did. The story was a train wreck I should have looked away from.

 

But wait… there´s one more. Yupp. I kid you not. There´s a 5th book in the series.

`Before` ( After #5 ) and it´s the story of Hardin´s life before he permanently ruined Tessa´s life.After 5

I didn´t even try to read it. Why would I? A reader can make their own picture of Hardin´s past and readers definitely find out the true reason behind his abusive behavior in book 3 & 4. I´m really not interested in further details. My guess is that the author wrote this book for her dedicated fans, which is fine. Only I´m not interested in spending another dime on this story and I´m not interested in spending more hours on reading about a glorified prick.

 

So, there we have it. Not everything with the words `sensation`printed on it is actually a sensation. The only thing sensational about the After series is that so many people loved it.

 

Would I reread this series? Nope. Not now. Not ever again.

Would I recommend this series? No.

The Covers – 4 stars ( The covers have nothing to do with the story. They´re all actually pretty to look at )

The Story – 1 star ( No. Either I´m too old to appreciate the kind of twisted romance After is or I´m a different kind of romance reader. Either way- No. )

The Characters – 1 star ( The world doesn´t have enough wine to help me get over these kids)

My emotional state after finishing this read – I feel like I need to upgrade from wine to vodka.

 

I´m giving the whole `After`series by Anna Todd 1 out of 5 stars. 

Review: Her Twisted Pleasures ( The Twisted Mosaic #1) by Amelia James

Book Description

His hand came off my neck, and he wrapped his arms around me, crushing me against him. I grabbed his hair and forced his mouth to mine, feeding the darkness possessing us…. Submission, yes! Not giving up control but having it taken from me. This… this was why I needed Alex. Will was too nice; he would never abuse me like this. But Alex…mmm…Alex had no such qualms. “What have you done to me?”

Talia indulges her sexual pleasures, turning her life into a twisted mess. Sleeping with Alex is dangerous and reckless. She craves that excitement. Loving Will is comforting and safe. She needs that stability. Why can’t she get everything she wants from one man? 

Will has everything under control. Watching his girlfriend flirt with his best friend fuels his lust for her. He loves Talia; he trusts Alex. It’s all good as long as he makes the rules. 

Alex doesn’t give a damn about rules. He knows how to play with fire without getting burned. It’s just sex with Talia. No emotions means no attachments. That’s one rule he won’t break.

Sometimes dirty little secrets are more dirty than secret…

My Thoughts

The book description was tempting and when I started reading `Her Twisted Pleasures` ( The Twisted Mosaic #1 ) by Amelia James, I thought I was reading the wrong book. Sex here….sex there….sex EVERYWHERE! * dramatically falling backwards on sofa * A little less sex and a lot more story would have done this book wonders.

 

I think it´s safe to say that this book wasn´t for me. Like- at all.

Don´t get me wrong- I really appreciate sex scenes in romance novels. Only the sex in this book was too much for me. I needed more depth, more story, more everything in order to not view this read as a porn. I knew damn well what I was getting myself into. I knew there would be sex. I knew about the BDSM, the dom / sub that was in this book. But I didn´t know there was no actually story behind the sex.

It seemed like the balance between dialogue, narrative and action in this book was completely out of proportion, making it difficult to pick out the actual story.

`Her Twisted Pleasures` was supposed to be a love triangle. I didn´t notice one. For me it looked like nothing of the sort happened. It was just sex between 3 people who knew each other.

I was confused, 2 from the 3 main characters were emotionally confused… Everything was just an uncontrolled mess that never should have happened.

And then, after countless screwings without a wink of emotions, the moment of truth happened. All three characters were gathered in the same room! Sadly, that one scene where something monumental should have happened didn´t do much for me either because.. nothing happened.

This book ends on a cliffhanger. One I didn´t care much for because I was not interested in dealing with more sex.

Let´s just put it this way- I didn´t like this one. It was complicated, confusing, twisted and even dull.

I expected more, especially after reading the tons of supportive reviews left on Goodreads and Amazon.com.

Would I reread this book?  Nope.

Would I recommend this book? Not really. Anyone looking for a book with depth and purpose will not find what they´re looking for in this book. If anyone is looking for sex from start to finish then this might be a book for them.

The Cover – 3 stars ( It´s okay. I´m not going crazy over it nor do I hate it.)

The Characters – 1 star ( A generous star, mind you. All 3 main characters were not to my liking, especially the Heroine. )

The Story – 1 stars ( Nope. As much as I enjoy reading about sex, it was too much for my taste. The sex overshadowed everything else.)

My emotional state after finishing this read– Disappointed, to say the least.

I´m giving `Her Twisted Pleasures` ( The Twisted Mosaic #1 ) by Amelia James 1 out of 5 stars.

Menace ( Scarlet Scars, Book 1 ) – J. M. Darhower

Book Description

Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.

Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So fucking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.

Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.

You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.

** ARC Kindly Provided by The Author In Exchange For An Honest Review **

My Thoughts

Dear readers, I´m in story heaven!

Bless J. M. Darhower, for that woman is one hell of a storyteller. I went through 346 pages of brilliant holy shitballs! Damn, what a story. `Menace` ( Scarlet Scars, Book 1 ) by J. M. Darhower has definitely earned a place on my sacred „Fuck Yeah!“ bookshelf.

This story is even more nail-bite-worthy than the `Monster In His Eyes` series was ( and I LOVED that story / series to bits ). `Menace` is brutal, unforgiving, captivating, unpredictable, dark, sexy as hell and filled with action. Exactly what I want in a book.

Still- I´d like to remind that this story comes with a small warning.

Scarlet Scars contains dark elements that some readers may find disturbing“

The warning is there for a reason. Although none of the dark elements disturbed me, I´m sure they could bother other readers.

Lorenzo „Scar“ Gambini, a twisted, ruthless killer / mafia boss gets bored out of his wits until he finds someone who brings the spark back into his boring world ( That, alone, screams „READ ME“ because which mafia boss ever gets bored?).

We meet Lorenzo in `Targets On Our Backs`, and even then I was 100% convinced that the passionate nutcase needed his own book. Lorenzo was so bat shit crazy and unpredictable, even I was terrified for the other characters lives.

There´s no doubt Lorenzo is one of the most mental Heros I´ve ever come across. He´s impulsive and completely disturbed and he can be scary as hell. On the flip side- Lorenzo is a clever guy with a heart hidden somewhere beneath the many layers of crazyness. He always has a good explanation for his actions ( and the explanations make sense * face palm * ). He´s just a super complex character you have to love ( no matter what crime he commits ) That character is so full of surprises.

Morgan / Scar ( Heroine )was just as out of this world cool. She has her own package to carry but she´s still a wonderful character. I fell in love with her from the start and loved her even more at the end.

I´m in love. There isn´t a thing I can complain about because this book has the whole package.

The writing is as brilliant as I expected it to be. The dialogue is fantastic. Have I forgotten to mention how in love I am? I have? Tough shit. I´ll say it over and over again just so you won´t forget it.

If you´re looking for something dark, something twisted and so full of everything then I highly recommend this intense read.

Totally re-read worthy. 

The Cover – 3 stars ( Yeah, I´m not a huge fan of the cover. )

The Story – 5 stars ( Scratch the 5 stars. I´m going for 20 stars!)

The Characters -5 stars ( * Way cool. Like- out of this world screwed up but still cool )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Still recovering. But I desperately want to become apart of Lorenzo´s gang. ( That sounds weird, I know. )

stars15

I´m giving `Menace` ( Scarlet Scars, Book 1 ) by J. M. Darhower 5 out of 5 stars.

Release date: January 16. 2017.

Make sure to get your copy on Amazon.com menace