Review: Starry Eyes by Jen Bennett


Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Starry Eyes will be available April 3, 2018. 

This is my second book by Jenn Bennett and I found it just as addicting as I did Alex, Approximately. It was a quick, easy read that kept me glued to the pages.

Ok, so let me get the things that didn’t sit great with me out of the way. There was some mocking of religion, which I never appreciate. There was much more adult content than I appreciate in a young adult novel. I found Zorie and Lennon to both be a little more on the immature side, so the adult stuff made me feel just that much more uncomfortable. BUT, there wasn’t really anything graphic, so there’s that. Lennon is described as kind of a goth, but other than wearing some black and being into some horror stuff he didn’t really fit the bill. It almost felt like Bennett was trying a little hard to make the characters “diverse” in a way that didn’t really impact the character or story that much.

I did end up really liking Zorie and Lennon. Their miscommunication for a good portion of the book drove me insane, but they finally got over that and I shipped it. They had some good banter, which I enjoyed – Lennon, especially. I identified with Zorie’s anxiety and her need to plan things and appreciated her growth throughout the story. Another thing I related to were the things Zorie finds out about her father. Whether you’re a teenager or in your 30s, finding out those things about a parent has many of the same emotions and thoughts. Several books I’ve read lately have had this particular theme and I am finding them so cathartic right now.

The events in the synopsis do not happen until almost half-way through the book. Usually that really annoys me, but I found I didn’t mind it here. I thought the character development leading up to that was really well done and was essential for what would happen next. I also really enjoyed the setting, which is another unusual thing for me. I normally don’t care much about description or anything outdoors, but I really enjoyed the imagery of the wilderness and the stars. It never felt over the top or too much. It really set the scene well and I enjoyed it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Starry Eyes. I loved the setting, the character growth, and how relatable I found many things about Zorie to be. I found the writing to be really addicting, too. Even though it wasn’t really fast paced at all, I didn’t want to put it down. I definitely recommend this one to YA Contemporary fans. I know it’s one that I will re-read in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars


Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

I wasn’t really interested in today’s Top 5 Wednesday prompt, so I decided to borrow a topic I missed from when I was on hiatus. So for me, today’s topic is: Favorite Romance Novels. Straight up romance novels aren’t usually ones I reach for very often, but there are a few that I love.


1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I love almost everything about this book. It’s so funny and cute.


2. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. Can you tell I like Hate-to-Love stories?


3. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. Honestly, I could list pretty much every Lauren Layne book I’ve read. They’re always so cute.


4. Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk. This book reminded me so much a Hallmark Christmas movie.


5. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins is my definite go-to for romance novels and this is just one of my many favorites by her. She appears to be shifting her focus over to Women’s Fiction, which at first really annoyed me, even though they’re just as good as her romances. I’m coming around to it, though.

What are some of your favorite romance novels?

How I Read Book Tag


I was tagged for this awhile ago by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. I don’t think I ever did it and I am in the mood for a book tag, so I thought I would do it now. Thanks for the tag, Deanna!

How do you find out about new books to read?

Mostly by blog hopping or Good Reads. Book bloggers are the best source for recommendations I think. Also, by browsing NetGalley.

How has your taste in books changed since you got older?

I’ve always enjoyed mysteries and I think that has just intensified as I got older. Over just the last year or so I’m finding that I’m having less interest in YA titles. Not all, of course. There are still plenty of YA authors I love and YA books I’m looking forward to, I just used to pretty much read anything and everything YA and I have a little less patience with some of them now.

How often do you buy books?

A couple times a year. I’m super stingy when it comes to buying things. I’ve actually bought way more books so far this year than I normally do (I think I’ve bought 5), but they’ve almost all been on the cheaper e-book side.

How did you get into book reviewing?

When I first started to get really back into reading a lot I joined Good Reads. It was when I was reading someone’s review that said there was an early copy of a book I really wanted to read available at NetGalley that I started researching what that was and I wanted to have a place to be able to review so I could request it.


How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

I don’t usually have a super strong reaction. I’ll just feel disappointed.

How often do you sneak peak at the ending to see if there is a happy ending?

Never! The only time I will ever peak at the ending is if I have decided to stop reading the book. Usually if I decide to DNF I don’t even care what happens, but sometimes I want to know.

How do you read books? Do you agree/disagree with any of my answers?

Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to do this!

Reviewing the Unrevewied: February 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.


The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon. February 16-17. 4 Stars. 

Love. Love. Love.  Amy Harmon writes beautiful books.


My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris. Read February 17-18. 3 Stars. 

love this concept! I read through the book several times choosing different scenarios and feel like I only scratched the surface on the possibilities. Full review to come.


Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell. Read February 18-19. 4 Stars. 

Lisa Jewell does it again. I was so consumed by this story that I finished it in under 24 hours. Full review to come.


Honeysuckle Dreams (Blue Ridge Romance #2) by Denise Hunter. Read February 19-21. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, though the added drama at the end did bring it down a bit for me. I liked the characters for the most part and the Marriage-of-Convenience theme. I look forward to continuing the series. Full review to come.


Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne. Read February 21-23. 4 Stars. 

Such a fun book. I really liked both Ellie and Gage. I enjoyed the “The Bachelor” type setting, too, though I thought it could have been played up a bit more. I’m really looking forward to the next one.


What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka. Read February 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was well-paced and well-written, with a really interesting mystery. I also love that this book is set in Columbus, OH and I recognized a lot of the areas mentioned. I definitely recommend this series to Mystery fans and am looking forward to reading more from Lepionka in the future. Full review to come.


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After finishing Iron Gold I fell into a book slump and decided to re-read the original trilogy, which I failed to do prior to reading Iron Gold. I still loved them all the second time around (third time for Red Rising). I had forgotten how completely epic Morning Star really is.


Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally. This was recently free on Kindle. I pretty much have all the same issues with this book as I did the first time I read it. However, I think I may have enjoyed it slightly more this time around. It’s a pretty quick read.

********Back on the TBR********

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Books from the library that I never started before they expiredFragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda, A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

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Books from the library that I started and couldn’t get into: Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn, Moonlight Sins by Jennifer Armentrout, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. I usually love a good fake relationship story, but I read several chapters of Fake Wife and just couldn’t get into it. I think I want to try it again someday, though. I read about a chapter and a half of Moonlight Sins and again, just couldn’t get into it. I used to love everything by JLA, but all but one of her last several books have been ones I didn’t like or didn’t finish. I’m not sure if I’ll ever give this one a chance again. Truly Devious seems promising, but I was in a mood when I started it and then I realized it was the first book in a series and not a standalone, so I think I’ll wait until more books are published before I read it.

Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh


Synopsis from Good Reads:

Two years ago, Tom and Caroline Johnson committed suicide, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their adult daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unable to comprehend why they chose to end their lives. Now with a young baby herself, she feels her mother’s presence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as Anna digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her. She soon learns that nothing is as it seemed.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Let Me Lie will be available March 13, 2018

Let Me Lie is a cleverly written mystery/suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is Mackintosh’s third book and I am continuously impressed with her writing. Her use of multiple narrators was so well done here. It’s so hard to get into details without spoilers, but I feel like she pulled off her signature twists well. Even though I strongly suspected what was going to happen, I still really enjoyed the moment.

I thought Anna was a pretty likable, though she frustrated me at times. I wish she would’ve communicated a little bit better, but I found her an empathetic character. I also really loved getting Murray’s POV. He’s a retired detective that now works the front desk as a civilian. When Anna comes in and reports that she believes her parents were murdered, he decides to start investigating it himself. I loved all of his chapters. I think it’s a testament to Mackintosh’s writing that she made me care as much about the secondary storyline of what was going on in his life as I did the main mystery.

Sometimes you read a book at the exact right time and I feel that happened for me with Let Me Lie. Anna discovered that she really did not know some of the people closest to her. As someone who has recently discovered this about a parent, I found some of the emotions she went through really relatable. I highlighted a lot of passages that perfectly expressed how I’ve felt as I’ve tried to process everything going on. I found reading this pretty cathartic and it made the book just that much better for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed Let Me Lie. I loved the way the multiple narrators were utilized and thought the twists were very well done. The pacing did feel a little slow in the beginning, but it definitely picked up as the book went on. I also really empathized with some of the emotions Anna tried to work through. I’m really looking forward to whatever Mackintosh does next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars