My rating: 5 of 5 stars
LOVED IT! Funny, sassy, smartassy, quirky, light, smart, sexy, heartbreaking & intriguing. This sums up book 1 in H.M. Ward's newest series of serials (novellas), Secrets & Lies. This book sets up the tone, the characters and their backstories and I can't wait to see where it goes from here. I'm not sure how many books will be in the series but her serials (except for The Arrangement) tend to be 5 book series.
I am drawn to H.M. Ward's writting style. In just few simple sentences, using so little words, you feel like you KNOW her characters and she can make you love or hate them and she can have you all teary eyed one moment and laughing out loud the next. Which was the case for me while reading Secrets & Lies. I loved the vibrant feel to this story. Set in a college setting, this book has a much younger and lighter feel to it than some of her other darker and somber series. There are tons of amazing secondary characters and the dialog between them had me stitches. The use of modern day urban vernacular is hysterical, as always. I like that her main female characters are not stick figures. It's not only the hot skinny model type women that get the hot guy! Men love curves! :-)
A new adult contemporary romance with sexual content, it's supposedly a Ferro family series yet it is still unclear from volume 1 as to when and where this series fits in the timeline and lineage of the existing Ferro books. H.M. Ward is not one to give away information freely in her books. By the time you finish an H.M. Ward book, you usually end up having more questions than answers, as is the case with Secrets & Lies. Each Ferro family series can be read seperately as stand alone series and in any order you choose but if you are really looking for a reading order, see below.
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About the Ferro family books:
Secrets and Lies is a Ferro Family story about... well, that's the big secret isn't it? After volume 1, we still don't know which Ferro this is about. Other Ferro Family titles are The Arrangement (Sean Ferro), Damaged (Peter Ferro Granz), Stripped (Jonathan Ferro), The Proposition (Bryan Ferro) and The Wedding Contract (Nick Ferro). You don't have to read the other Ferro Family books in order to understand Secrets and Lies but if you like H.M. Ward's books, you may want to read all of them (see note on suggested reading order below). The Ferro Family books are contemporary "new adult" romance stories involving characters mostly in their 20's (college aged women & the men span the ages of 21 to 30).
But who is Trystan Scott and how does he fit in???
Although Trystan Scott is not a Ferro, he is linked into the storyline multiple times. The Secret Life of Trystan Scott is a 5 book series of novellas more in the Young Adult genre about an 18 year old Trystan on the verge of becoming a huge rock star. When his story intersects with the Ferro's, he is 21 years old and already a huge success. Broken Promises, a novel based on the older, 21 year old character is due to come out shortly.
H.M. Ward's serials:
Serials are shorter books (approximately 120 to 130 pages in print: 1/4 to 1/3 of a full-length novel) that come out more frequently than full-length novels (about 1 per month). They start off abruptly from where the previous book ended and end with a cliffhanger, often leaving the reader begging for the next volume. Being shorter books, serials don't recap events that occur in previous volumes, so it's best to start off with book 1. I read at an average speed and each volume takes me about 1 to 2 hours to read.
Each series is stand alone & can be read in any order. However, if you are planning on reading all of the Ferro Family books, I recommend reading them in the order they were published (see below) to avoid any spoilers from one series to the next since they cross-over at multiple points in the timeline and seem to follow the chronological order of the story so far.
Books in order of publication date:
The Arrangement 1-4
The Arrangement 5-7
The Arrangement 8-9
The Arrangement 10-11
The Proposition 1
The Arrangement 12
The Proposition 2
The Arrangement 13-14
The Proposition 3-4
The Wedding Contract
The Arrangement 15
Secrets and Lies 1
The Wedding Contract
The Arrangement 15
Secrets and Lies 1
Alternate reading order:
If your afraid of confusing characters and plots by constantly switching from one series to the next, you may want to read the series in this order:
The Arrangement (unfinished)
The Proposition (unfinished)
As for The Wedding Contract (finished) & Secrets and Lies (unfinished), since they don't contain any spoilers (yet) from other series, they can be read whenever. Oh, and I'd add The Secret Life of Trystan Scott in there so that you can get a better of feel for Trystan's character before going into The Arrangement (he comes in around The Arrangement 10-ish) and Stripped.
Screen adaptation update:
H.M. Ward is working hard on bringing the Ferro Family story to the screen. It's looking like it may be a web series. Here are some current updates, as per H.M. Ward herself on her Facebook page:
"A sneak peek at what's to come. :-) Full details will be released in the next week or so. In the mean time I will tease you. Bwuahahah. And since you're going to ask AR 15 is next." - May 16th 2014
"HUGE things are going on with the Ferro clan. A TV/ Web series is coming. Im helping with it to make sure the characters are awesome, & to give more insight into their lives. it'll b awesome!!! Plus more, that I can't say yet.!" - May 9th 2014
"There's a script being written about the FERRO guys right now. It's pretty good too. Im impressed and nothing impresses me. Damn good script writer. Can't wait for that." - May 2nd 2014
"Calling all actors and singers - here's your big chance! I'm looking for new faces. Make a demo reel, upload it to your site. youtube or whatever, and get ready. Casting calls will start soon for THE ARRANGEMENT. BE READY!" - April 2nd 2014
Ferro Videos from H.M. Ward's YouTube channel:
THE WEDDING CONTRACT:
SEXY NEW ADULT VIDEO TEASER BY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER HM WARD:
THE ARRANGEMENT VOL 1 - READ BY THE AUTHOR!:
Songs in Ferro teaser videos:
If you want to purchase the songs featured in the Ferro teaser videos, here are the links:
Hungry, by Saints of Silence (on iTunes):
A Girl Like Me, by Dream Valley Music (on CD Baby):