Monday, February 15, 2016

Series Review - Chasing the Dream by Elizabeth Briggs


Title: More Than Exes (Chasing the Dream #0.5)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 26, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
He wants to win. She wants to win him back.

Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.

Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be al little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Kyle and his band are competing in a Battle of the Bands that could lead to their band getting their big break. It would all be great. Except their bassist doesn't show and Kyle only has a few hours to track her down before the band goes onstage. And the person who helps him? Alexis, the girl who broke his heart before leaving town. But maybe while looking for the band's bassist, Kyle and Alexis will find their second chance at being together.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

So I actually read More Than Exes after I read More Than Music, so I kinda already knew that Kyle and Alexis had gotten together. But that didn't stop me from enjoying More Than Exes. I still really liked seeing how it all happened. How these two people found their way back to one another over the course of one crazy night. And it was great finding out more about two people that had been around in More Than Music but weren't the focus of the story. While reading More Than Music, I was curious about Kyle. It just felt like there was a lot more to him than what I got from Maddie's perspective. So getting to see his story was great. And, honestly, I would have even read a full length book about Kyle and Alexis. Or maybe just another novella to check in on how they're doing. Yeah, I would totally read another novella about them. 



Title: More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They can’t resist each other, but their secret romance might tear their band apart…

Classical musician Maddie Taylor secretly dreams of a louder life, but geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition. 

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

 WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Maddie Taylor is ready to spend her summer interning for the LA Philharmonic and preparing her applications for grad school. But when Jared Cross walks in on her playing his guitar he doesn't yell at her. Instead, he shows up the next day and offers her a spot on the band as they audition for a slot on The Sound, a reality TV competition. Before Maddie knows what's happening, she's a full-fledged member of Villain Complex and things are heating up between her and Jared. Jared is willing to do whatever it takes to help the band win the competition, but is Maddie willing to sacrifice her heart to help him get there? 

WHAT I THOUGHT

I'll be honest and say straight off the bat that More Than Music had sat unread on my Kindle for a lot longer than I care to admit. And honestly? I don't really know why I didn't read it sooner. Because once I started reading More Than Music, I didn't stop. And then I spent the rest of that week reading the other books in the series. I was hooked. I absolutely loved reading Maddie's story. I got sucked into and I wanted to spend all my time with these characters. Based on that, it should go without saying that I loved Maddie. I loved her passion for music, the way she put her all into it. Though sometimes I questioned why she kept going back to Jared, but that had more to do with Jared than with Maddie herself. Because while I loved Jared, there were plenty of times when I wanted to slap some sense into him. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one and that his bandmates felt the same way at times. But I can't really speak for them. At the end of the day, I loved how it all came together and if nothing else, More Than Music made me want to pick up the rest of Elizabeth Briggs's books.



Title: More Than Comics (Chasing the Dream #2)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They’re friends online—but can they be more in real life?

Writer Tara McFadden has been friends with artist and drummer Hector Fernandez for years, long before his band became famous on reality TV—yet they’ve never met in person. They finally have a chance to connect offline when they’re both sent to Comic-Con to promote the graphic novel they collaborated on.

Hector’s secret been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember, and once they meet, she sees him in a new light. All the years of longing lead to an incredible night of passion after one of his concerts, but neither is sure if their online relationship can translate into a real life romance—or if this will ruin their friendship forever.

Over four crazy days at Comic-Con, Hector and Tara must decide if they want a future together. But when their story seems to be over, it’s up to Hector’s entire band to make sure he and Tara get their happy ending.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Hector and Tara have known each other for years, but in all that time working together, they've never met in person. But when their publisher sends them both to Comic-Con, neither one knows what's going to happen when they take their relationship offline. Though he's never told anyone, Hector has been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember. Before seeing him in person, Tara had never thought of Hector in a romantic way. But over the course of fours crazy days, Hector and Tara are going to have to decide whether or not they can get their happily ever after.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am a sucker for books where relationships start online before being taken offline. There's just something about them that does it for me. I don't really know how else to say it or explain it. So Tara and Hector's story in More Than Comics? I totally loved it. I loved that even though the two of them had never met in person, they had all this history, they knew so much about each other without necessarily realizing it. Well, Hector totally knew how he felt about Tara. Tara, on the other, took a little longer to figure things out. And I loved seeing her work her way through her feelings, both about Hector and about her own life after college. Though he may have been pretty sure about his feelings, there were still plenty of times when I wanted to tell Hector to get over himself. Because, at times, he seriously needed to do that. Outside of Hector and Tara, I loved getting to see the other members of Villain Complex again, and I loved learning more about Maddie's two best friends. Because it all just made me even more excited about the books to come in this series. 



Title: More Than Fashion (Chasing the Dream #3)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
They’re enemies who will do anything to win…including each other.

When Julie Hong wins a spot on a fashion design reality TV show, she celebrates by picking up a hot English guy in a hotel bar. But too many drinks leads to a night of embarrassment and a major hangover, and wow is she glad she’ll never see him again. Until the show starts, and he’s on it too.

Julie quickly realizes she’s out of her league among the other designers, and Gavin Bennett, with his cocky grin and sexy accent, is her biggest competition. Julie can’t decide if she wants to kiss him or kill him. Or both.

After she’s almost kicked off, Julie convinces Gavin to pretend they’re sleeping together for the camera. They ploy works, but as they get closer to the show’s finale their fake relationship starts to become too real. But only one of them can win the show—and they might both end up heartbroken.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Julie has always loved fashion, but she never thought she could make it her career. When she gets invited to be on a fashion design reality TV show, she puts her life on hold to try her hand at her dream. Julie is determined to win and she's not going to let anything stand in her way. She's not there to make friends, or fall in love. But a near-elimination forces her to reconsider her strategy and ask help from Gavin: her biggest competition and the guy she made a fool of herself with before the competition started. But how much of what is happening between them is for the cameras and how much is real?

WHAT I THOUGHT 

Like the first book in the series, More Than Fashion was set in the world of reality television. Where the first one focused on music, this one, as the title suggests, was all about fashion. As someone who doesn't watch much reality TV, much less reality TV that revolves around fashion, it was definitely interesting to read a story set in that world. Add in a good dose of romance, and I was completely hooked. In fact, out of all the books in the Chasing the Dream series, I think More Than Fashion may be my favourite. I loved reading Julie's story and I loved seeing her relationship with Gavin develop. Even when Julie didn't want anything to do with Gavin, I was rooting for them. I couldn't help myself. I just wanted them to be together and to be happy. And can I just take a moment to talk about Gavin? Because I need to do that. Actually, I could probably talk about Gavin all day long, but I won't put you through that. All that to say that I loved Gavin. I loved how much he cared, how he was a genuinely good guy despite what Julie was determined to believe. I just loved him. Plain and simple. And Julie, too, obviously. Now go read More Than Fashion so you can fall in love with them, too.



Title: More Than Once (Chasing the Dream #4)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 30, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
She’s trying to be good. He loves it when she’s bad.

Andrew West is done being the nice guy. After a marriage proposal gone wrong, he’s started over in a new city and he’s never risking his heart again.

Becca Collins is done being the bad girl. After quitting the band she played bass for, she’s going to prove to her family that she’s really changed.

When Becca’s dumped by her boyfriend and fired from her job on Christmas Eve, all seems lost, until she runs into a former one night stand—Andrew. To impress her parents, Becca convinces him to pretend to be her perfect boyfriend for their holiday dinner.

After Andrew shows Becca he’s all bad boy in the bedroom, neither wants to pretend anymore. But when Becca’s invited to rejoin her band for a show and Andrew’s forced to face his ex, they both wonder if they’re ready to take a leap again—or if they’re doomed to fail in life and love a second time.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Andrew and Becca spent one night together months ago before going their separate ways. Both said they would call the other but neither one did. That is until a chance meeting on Christmas Eve where Becca asks Andrew to join her family for dinner and pretend to be her boyfriend. Though hesitant, Andrew agrees. But as the night goes on, and he realizes he wants more than just another night with Becca, Andrew wonders how they can do that with all the lies they'e been telling. But even once the lies are cleared up, both Andrew and Becca have things in their past they have to deal with before they can take a chance on love with each other.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

One of my favourite tropes in romance is second chances. And to me, More Than Once felt like a second chance romance, just not in the way you might think. Before the events of this book, Andrew and Becca have only spent one night together, so it's not like they're each other's great lost love or anything. But they're both looking for second chances, in life and in romance. So it was interesting to read their story, to see them both try to figure out their lives while trying to maybe build a relationship with each other at the same time. And let me just say that it didn't take long at all for me to start rooting for Becca and Andrew. Even though I didn't quite approve of the lies Becca was forcing on Andrew at first. But once they got over that, I was all about Becca and Andrew and I wanted them to be together because they deserved it. And I loved seeing the process they went through to get there. With Becca in particular, it was really interesting to see her growth from More Than Exes to this point. Even though, at heart, she was still the same person, by the end of More Than Once she was most definitely a better version of that person. And Andrew was just all kinds of adorable and made me smile a lot. So like Becca, I had a lot of trouble resisting him. I mean, you can always use one more book boyfriend, right?


VERDICT ON THE SERIES?

I am completely hooked on Elizabeth Briggs's Chasing the Dream series. I mean, I read all the books in the span of a week, so that should clearly tell you something. I loved these books and these characters and I loved the way all these stories are connected to one another. And I can't wait for the next instalment because, well, I really need Carla's story in my life. If you love romance and haven't picked up any of these books yet, you should really consider doing so.


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