Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2015

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

I don’t know why, but I completely sucked at writing full reviews this month!

 

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. Read April 1-4. 3 stars.

Overall, this book was ok for me. While the start was hard to get into, it definitely got better as the story went on. (*A full review will be coming next month, closer to release date.)

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Texts from Jane Eyre And other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg. Read April 7. 2 stars.

I don’t think I’m cultured enough for this book. I skimmed a lot because I’m unfamiliar with most of the stories. I did enjoy The Baby-Sitters Club, Jane Eyre, and The Fight Club parts, though.  

Solitaire

Solitaire by Alice Oseman.  Read April 8-10. 2.5 stars.

There were times where I just so identified with Tori. In a lot of ways I was like her when I was a sad 16-year-old. But then there were other times where I just didn’t get her at all. I didn’t always follow the thought processes of her or those around her. None of the characters were really likable. The whole Solitaire plot line didn’t even make a lot of sense.

The Singles

The Singles by Meredith Goldsten. Read April 10-11. 4 stars.

This book has been on my radar for awhile, but I always thought the ebook cost too much. At a recent sale at my local library I found it for a $1.00. It was well worth the money!

A book about singles at a wedding seemed right up my alley, especially with my little brother’s upcoming wedding looming on the horizon…However, this book wasn’t really what I thought it would be. Despite that, it was a well-developed character-driven novel with mostly likable characters. It was an easy and quick read that I enjoyed.

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Read April 13-16. 3 stars.

This book was well written and for the most part I liked the style. I wasn’t surprised at the part that was probably supposed to be surprising, as I guessed it much earlier on. The characters were unlikable, but with Anna I eventually liked unliking her. While this book was pretty good, I don’t feel like it lived up to the hype.

A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

A Good Killing by Allison Leotta.  Read April 16-20. 4 stars.

Where has this series been all my life? A well-written, well paced, well done mystery. Full review to come closer to release date.

Made for You

Made for You by Melissa Marr. Read April 20-23. 3 stars.

I was expecting to be more creeped out by this book than I was. The killer was pretty crazy so that was kind of fun and disturbing to read, though I felt like his parts were really repetitive for awhile. I liked that the supernatural aspect didn’t take over the whole story, but I don’t like that we never find out why or how Eva started to have the visions. While I supported the romance, it was a little fast for me.

Missing You

Missing You by Harlan Coben. Read April 23-25. 4 stars.

This was my first Harlan Coben book and it certainly won’t be my last. The multiple mysteries were handled well. Even if there were a few things that I thought were obvious, there were other things that surprised me. The characters were well-developed and I even felt myself feeling bad for one of the bad guys, despite how awful he was. While it took a little bit to get into the story, when it picked up it was hard to put down.

Boy Band

Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. Read April 25-26. 3.5 stars.

This was a cute, fun read. It took me a bit to be able to tell all the boy banders apart, but once I did I enjoyed them. I liked that the guys were nice and responsible and not big partiers. I was also amused by all their banter.

My only real complaint is that I think it could have used a bit more editing and formatting. About half way through the book (I bought a Nook copy) the formatting started to change so there was only one paragraph per page (and when it was dialogue, it was often only one line) and it really hindered my reading enjoyment, though that’s not the book’s fault. (*Note: The Author is aware of this and is working on getting it fixed.) There was also a lot of repetition that could have been phased out a bit.

Not a whole lot happened in terms of plot development and I would have liked more detailed info about their interviews and behind the scenes things, but it was still a fun read! I’ll definitely have to read book #2. Even though I didn’t realize this was going to be a series and was initially a little upset (because of the ending!), I am excited to get to spend more time with The Kind of September and Mel.

*************************************************************************

RE-READ

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Still love it! Definitely recommend this series to YA lovers!

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. I was in the mood for a light, contemporary and there wasn’t a wait for this at the library. I think I enjoyed it more this second time around.

2015 Reading Goal Update

I’ve been saving Wednesdays to re-blog my posts from The Bookish People, which was a collaboration blog I joined. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time from the moderator and many of the contributors not contributing on time, it only lasted three weeks. I decided to try and use Wednesdays to do my own Discussion/Random Topic posts.

This week’s topic from The Bookish People was a reading goal update and since I already had it drafted, I decided that’s what I’ll go with today.

My reading goal for 2015 is 115 books. I decided on this number because it’s an increase from last year’s goal (100) and I thought it was a doable number taking into account my new job which has longer hours, a shorter lunch break, and really cuts into my reading time.

I’ve debated on whether or not to include re-reads in my count, but ultimately decided to only count new books. I’m currently at 42 books, which is 5 books ahead of schedule, according to Good Reads.

Capture

Do you have a reading goal? What is it? How are you doing?

There’s Still time to enter my Tax Refund Share the Wealth (Ha Ha) Giveaway! It’s open until May 9th!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Feature Characters Who Have Cool Jobs

This week’s Top Ten Top Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ . I’m filling in the blank with: Characters Who Have Cool Jobs.

Pear Shaped

1. Sophie from Pear Shaped by Stella Newman. She works in dessert development at a grocery chain.

Landline

2. Georgie from Landline by Rainbow Rowell. She’s a sitcom writer and is developing her own show.

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)

3, 4, 5, 6. All the women from the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts. They run a wedding event business – One is a wedding planner, one is a photographer, one is a florist, and one is a baker.

The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)

7. Honor from The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. She runs a vineyard.

Until There Was You

8. Posey from Until There was You by Kristan Higgins. She own an architectural salvaging company.

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

9. Martin Rilke from The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. He’s a journalist.

Attachments

10. Beth from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. She writes movie reviews for the newspaper.

What books do you think features characters with cool jobs?

——————————————————————————————————————–

*Giveaway – Win a copy of any book I have reviewed HERE (open until May 9, 2015)*

Review: The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

The Beautiful Daughters

Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the author of Sleeping in Eden, described as “intense and absorbing from the very first page” (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence), comes a gripping new novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape.

Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.

Nicole Baart’s lush and lyrical writing has been called “sparkling” (Publishers Weekly), “taut and engrossing” (Booklist), and “evocative and beautiful” (Romantic Times). The Beautiful Daughters is another exquisitely rendered, haunting story that will stay with readers long after the last page.

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

The Beautiful Daughters will be available April 28, 2015.

I’ve never read anything by Nicole Baart before, but I think I’ll definitely be giving her other books a try after reading The Beautiful Daughters. Her writing was beautiful, even when it was heartbreaking. I was drawn in, straight from the Prologue.

“She felt sometimes that she had loved him before she even knew him…Heart and soul, up until the moment her loathing matched her love and she found herself trading places with a woman she didn’t recognize…He was the beginning. And his death was what felt like the end.”

Adri Vogt grew up on a small farm in nowhere Iowa with her twin brother, Will, and father, Sam. She dreamed from afar of the neighboring Piperhall estate and especially of it’s heir, David Galloway. When she enrolls into college and is almost instantly befriended by the beautiful, alluring, and vibrant Harper, Adri counts herself as lucky. She’s even luckier when Harper tracks down David and brings her into their inner circle with Will and his best friend Jackson, naming themselves The Five. They spent all their time together, often at David’s home in Piperhall, where they relaxed with just The Five of them or throwing large parties, either way always, always orchestrated by Harper.

It’s a surprise to Adri when David picks her over Harper, and they become engaged. But not all the relationships that make up The Five are what they seem and when their last hurrah after graduation ends in David’s death, Adri and Harper both vow to leave and never return. The Beautiful Daughters tells the stories of their unexpected return home, the guilt they’ve lived with in the intervening years, and the journey and relationships that brought them to their escape in the first place.

I really enjoyed Baart’s writing style. She weaves present and past together into one cohesive story very well. She employs a lot of imagery, though at times it was a little too much description for me. I found myself skimming at parts, but quickly found out that I couldn’t do that because in the midst of the descriptions of the present were brief clues to the past that slowly built up to the truth.

The characters were very well-developed. I loved Adri’s dad and brother. Jackson and Caleb, Adri’s partner in Africa, weren’t quite as developed as the rest, but I still loved them, too. But the real story is Adri and Harper and their relationship. I hated Harper almost instantly and while she ended up being a pretty sympathetic and often tragic character, I still disliked her, even as I rooted for her to have a happy ending. The relationship between the two women reminded me a lot of the two main characters in Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – though a more adult, less psychotic version.  They were two people that loved each other more than anyone else, but their relationship was often dangerously co-dependent and toxic. Ultimately, the story of their friendship and estrangement comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, I really enjoyed Beautiful Daughters. It’s a story of family, love, abuse, regret, guilt, and forgiveness that I think anyone could relate to. I would definitely recommend it to fans of character-driven novels.

Overall rating (out of 5):

4 stars

*Please note the quotes used are from an ARC and may not match the final copy*

——————————————————————————————————————————————

*Win a copy of any book I’ve reviewed in my Tax Refund Share The Wealth (Ha ha) Giveaway (open though May 9, 2015*

Tax Refund Share the Wealth (Ha Ha) Giveaway!

I think we've all faced "intaxication" in one way or another!

I received my first tax refund check in the mail yesterday! I decided to share the vast wealth (haha) and host a giveaway! You can win any book I’ve reviewed (see them listed by rating or by author) in your choice of a couple different kind of formats, up to $15.00. You can choose a book from The Book Depository, as long as they ship free to you, or you can be “gifted” a Kindle or Nook copy.

*I believe the Rafflecopter will take you to a new page, so before you get to it, you may want to look at my sidebar to follow the blog by WordPress, e-mail, or Bloglovin’ and leave a comment (about what book you may want to win) for entries!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stephanie: My Personal Opinion on E-Reader’s

Head on over to The Bookish People to read my opinion on E-Readers

When I got back into reading several years ago, I discovered all the free e-books that are available at sites like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I downloaded the Nook app and devoured all the free books I could find. While I enjoyed that, I couldn’t imagine actually buying an e-book when I could only read it on the tiny screen of my iPod. I also couldn’t imagine buying an actual e-reader and not having a physical copy of a book in my hands.

However, after some research, I decided to buy a Nook Simple Touch, which has no frills or whistles like apps or video or color, with the main purpose being able to download library books. I ended up really liking the Nook and how easy it is to carry around with me everywhere and all the book choices available at my fingertips at any given moment. Now…

View original post 73 more words