Review: Losing It Trilogy

Losing It Trilogy by Cora Carmack
William Morrow ~ HarperCollins
Losing It received from HarperCollins Canada (signed) 
Faking It & Finding It personally purchased

*Note that this review does not include my thoughts on the novellas (Keeping Her & Seeking Her). 

Losing It #1 ~ Released October 15, 2012
Goodreads Description:
Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier

Confession: I had no intention of reading Losing It, and it just so happened that fate stepped in. And by fate, I mean I was gifted a copy from HCC at their Fall Preview Event for bloggers, when they surprised us with a guest appearance from Cora Carmack to sign copies of Losing It for all of us! And after meeting Cora (I should also add here that I've talked to her before through blogging!) I decided I'd give my first New Adult book a whirl.

And you know what? I liked it.

Losing It is my favourite of the series, because I love the sense of humour that Cora writes so well. I can absolutely relate to Bliss and her many awkward moments, and her confusion and fear associated with growing up and taking on more responsibility. This is the kind of NA book I'm happy to read - yes, there's romance and a strong emphasis on it. But the romance isn't overpowering nor does it detract from the rest of the story. There are messy, crazy moments that Bliss has to learn to navigate and it doesn't always work out ideally.

Faking It #2 ~ Released June 4, 2013
Goodreads Description:
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.
Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

I picked up Faking It immediately after finishing Losing It. There's definitely a similar vibe to Losing It, but I thought that Max and Cade were different enough characters to control their own story and make it work. Max has plenty of sass, so there's still that humorous style of writing, but in a different way from Bliss' awkward moments. This one's more sarcastic than anything.

Faking It is my least favourite of the three books here, likely because it just didn't wow me the way that Losing It did. It just kind of fell in between what I was hoping for, although I thought it was interesting that there were a few more serious issues included in this one for the characters to handle.

Finding It #3 ~ Released October 15, 2013
Goodreads Description:
Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...
Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.
It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

Now Finding It really stood out to me from the other books in the series. It was less funny and far more serious, mostly for including a number of (what I consider) very serious issues that really had to be worked on by Kelsey and Jackson.

But I really appreciated that. I think this book is the one where we can really see that NA doesn't have to be light and fluffy - it can be a bit darker and still work. I would have liked to have seen the solutions to these issues worked out a little bit more because they felt too heavy for a convenient ending. You also get the bonus of hearing about some fantastic vacation spots that I desperately want to check out now!

Thoughts on the Series:
I'd really love to see NA branch out to include books that don't predominantly feature romance, and I think this is a series that proved to me that it can be done. Romance is absolutely the main aspect of these books, but there was enough depth and reflection on the life of young 20-somethings to convince me to give NA a chance. And yet the books are still fun, enjoyable, and easy to read.


Blog Tour: A Fool's Errand

A Fool's Errand (The Gypsy King #2) by Maureen Fergus
Release Date ~ October 8, 2013
RazOrbill ~ Penguin Canada
ISBN13: 9780670067657
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis: 
More action. More romance. More intrigue. Get ready to dive into the exciting follow-up to The Gypsy King!
In the final moments of The Gypsy King, a truth was revealed to Persephone and Azriel - one that could change everything forever. For her. For him. For them. For the entire kingdom. 
But trapped in a windowless castle chamber with soldiers battering at the door, it seems impossible to believe that they'll even survive. Indeed, they are a heartbeat from death when Azriel boldly bargains with the Regent Mordecai: release them and they will seek out the mythical healing Pool of Genezing. Mordecai agrees but warns that if they do not return with proof that the pool exists, he'll make those dearest to them suffer - and he'll start with King Finnius.
Persephone has never needed Azriel's teasing warmth as much as she needs it now, but she is finding out there is a price to pay for having broken past promises. Together, they set off on a journey that will take them into the farthest corners of the kingdom.Danger will ever lie ahead and behind them; they will battle men and beasts alike. Will Persephone and Azriel survive these perils? And will this quest see their romance grow cold - or will it burn hotter than ever?

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Maureen Fergus' YA debut The Gypsy King earlier this year through Penguin Canada, and it's no surprise to people that know my taste in books that I love a good, fun YA fantasy.

I'm thrilled today to be a part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Maureen's sequel to The Gypsy King, A Fool's Errand. Maureen is also kind enough to be sharing five of her favourite books with us here today!

*Note: This review is spoiler-free for the series! (Although the synopsis is not completely.)

  1. A sequel that starts off with a bang:

    The Gypsy King ended in the midst of a very exciting scene and a bit of a cliffhanger - I loved that A Fool's Errand picked up right where the first book left off! It really made the story feel continuous and flowed nicely, rather than feeling jolted. Sometimes reading the sequel to a book feels like you missed something in between the first book and the second book, because the sequel picks up leaving a lengthy period of time between it and the first book.
  2. A developed fantasy world:

    To me, this is a must-have in a good fantasy book: well-crafted and devoted world-building. I definitely expect this in my fantasy reads, and I think this is where A Fool's Errand really shined. We were introduced to parts of Glyndoria in The Gypsy King, but A Fool's Errand takes Persephone on an adventure to surrounding areas and introduces us to different groups of people.
  3. Riveting storytelling:

    I'm a big of Maureen's writing style. She has this great sense of humour in real life that carries over so well in her writing - I always find that so tricky to get across, but she does it flawlessly. And she weaves it into this amazing story with a very dark underbelly, which makes it an engrossing read.
And the best part is that we still have this great bantering and romance, strong friendships being showcased, and plenty of fight scenes! It's all there still, which is great because those are things I loved about The Gypsy King.

I did find that some parts of the story felt a bit over-done to me. I'm still hoping to get a bit more reason behind the main villain, besides his evil posturing. So there were a few parts of the book that still felt under-developed for the second book of a series. 

This is a series I highly recommend to fans of YA, both those who enjoy fantasy books and those who may not read much fantasy. I think this is better described as an adventure story, rather than pure fantasy. 

And now we get to hear from Maureen Fergus about five of her top favourite books!

My 5 Favourite Books

By Maureen Fergus

1.     Roots (Alex Haley) – this story traces the lives of a slave family from the patriarch, who was kidnapped as boy in Africa, through to his descendants who finally gained their freedom generations later. Harrowing, heartbreaking and inspiring, it left me with a visceral appreciation for what a horror slavery really was.

2.     Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) – I absolutely loved them all but if I had to pick my favourite it would have to be The Deathly Hallows (#7) because the author did such a phenomenal job of bringing the whole story to such a satisfying conclusion.

3.     A Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – richly layered, thought provoking and immensely readable, this book is about one woman’s struggle to survive in a dystopian society where she is valued only for her ability to reproduce.

4.     The French Executioner’s Sword (C.C. Humphreys) – A lively adventure story with great characters. Set in the time of Henry VIII, this book reminded me that there is always another perspective from which to tell the same fascinating story  

5.     Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) – Also set in the time of Henry VIII, this book is a favourite because I was captivated by her use of language and her unique interpretation of Henry’s advisor Thomas Cromwell

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