September 2015 Recap

Cute and Crafty 2015 Printable Calendar:

So this month my blog should’ve been named Stephanie’s Tags and Memes instead of Stephanie’s Book Reviews. I’ve been incredibly distracted and have not read many books and reviewed even less. Though I will give myself a little bit of slack since this month also included my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece visiting for about a week and my little brother’s wedding. It was also the end of our fiscal year at work which is a crazy time. AND I started watching Parenthood on Netflix which took a lot of my time (can I also just say how MAD I am that season 6 didn’t start streaming on the 25th like it was supposed to!)

Books Read: 5

Genres Read:
Adult: 3
Young Adult: 2

Books Read in 2015 Overall:

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Books Reviewed: 2

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty – 3/5 Stars
After You (You Before Me #2) by Jojo Moyes – 3/5 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesdays:

Characters I Just Didn’t Click With

Finished Series I have YET to Finish

Movies/TV Shows I Wish were Books

Books on My Fall TBR

Funny Fridays:

September 4

this is pretty cool i mean id love this to happen to my local library XD: this is pretty cool i mean id love this to happen to my local library XD

September 11

Happens to me all the time. I am so glad that most of my favorite authors have stopped killing off characters.:

September 18

24 funny wedding signs: 'By the end, you wish you had a club and spade':

September 25

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Other Posts:

Find Me Book Tag

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

Bath & Body Works Tag

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2015

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2015

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

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

Pop Goes the Weasel: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller

Pop Goes the Weasel (Helen Grace #2) by M.J. Arlidge. Read August 29-September 1. 3.5 stars.

My review for this will actually come out in a couple weeks, closer to it’s release date. While I didn’t find it quite as good as the first book in the series, I still found it compulsively readable.

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Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson. Read September 21-23. 4 stars.

This book was pretty adorable. I liked the main character and her friends and her relationship with her parents. I liked that she was from a small town and liked it. I liked how her relationship with Adam developed. I even liked some of the star metaphors, though some of them seem a little contrived. It dealt with some heavier topics, but I felt it was balanced well the adorableness.

Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy, #4)

Sweet Temptation (Sweet Triology #4) by Wending Higgins. Read September 9-27. 3 stars.

Unless you’re a super fan of this series, I would highly suggest re-reading the trilogy before giving this book a go. The narrative relies on the reader already knowing what is going on and it skims over big explanations and a lot of details. Since it’s been awhile since I read the series – especially the first two books – I didn’t remember a lot of details. Because of this it took me a little while to get into the book, but I eventually did and really enjoyed getting Kaiden’s point of view. Some of it was a little repetitive at times, but his inner voice was pretty different than Anna’s and it added to the overall series experience. I would recommend this to fans of the series, especially to those Super Fans.

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RE-READS

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)  Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)  Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I decided to do a re-read of the series before Winter comes out in a couple months. It pretty much reinforced all my original feelings on the series. Each book gets better. I love the characters and the romance and the action. Meyer does a phenomenal job of juggling multiple perspectives. This is probably one of the best done YA series out there and if you haven’t started it, I highly recommend it. (And I love those covers! Especially Cress!)

 

Review: After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

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

After You will be available September 29, 2015.

**This review will include spoilers from Me Before You, the first book in the series.**

Though I’m a big fan of a good standalone, there’s often times I finish a book and just want MORE of those characters and that world. I usually do not get my wish, but every once in awhile an author answers the plea of the fans, and maybe even the calling of the characters themselves, and gives us all what we want. This is the case with After You.

It’s been a little while since I read Me Before You and I didn’t remember a lot of details. I was going to re-read it before starting this book, but honestly I just do not have the emotional fortitude to put myself through that again. However, I still remember the overall arc of the story and the feelings (oh the feelings!) of it. Though Will ending his life through assisted suicide was obviously heart wrenching, we were left with hope for Lou’s future, as she puts into practice all that she learned through her time with Will.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Assisted Suicide was glorified in the first book, the Pros of it were definitely highlighted. In this book, the other side of suicide is greater explored – the grief and pain it imparts on those left behind. When we meet up with Louisa again she is not living life to the fullest nor going on grand adventures as Will had hoped for her. She lives in a sparsely furnished apartment, working in a dead end job, has no friends, and is pretty deeply depressed coping with the loss of Will. After a drunken, life-threatening accident lands her back home, her parents insist she start attending a support group to help her cope. The support group wasn’t as big a part of the book as I expected it to be. Though they did provide some insight for Lou and many eccentric, humorous characters, I think one of the biggest roles it plays is re-introducing Lou to a possible love interest.

The turning point for Lou begins when the “figure from Will’s past arrives”. It’s really hard to talk about this without going into spoilers, so I will just say that this figure’s name is Lily. If I gave you three guesses as to how she’s related to Will’s past, you would probably get it right on the first try. I didn’t really mind that it’s kind of an obvious plot development, but what I did mind was how much I completely HATED Lily. I could empathize with her some, but I really have very little tolerance for such bad behavior. I hated her for walking all over Lou and the fact that Lou just let her made me start to hate Lou a little bit, too.

I enjoyed seeing Lou’s family again and some strife between her parents adds some humor to the story. I liked Sam, the new love interest, but I was never as invested in their relationship as I was with Lou and Will. That said, I think he plays an important role in Lou’s life and I like how their relationship arc goes.

Overall, I was a little disappointed in After You. Though I’m glad I didn’t end up an emotional wreck after this book like I was after the first, I would’ve liked to have felt a little more connected to the characters. I felt it was good to show the other side of assisted suicide in this book, but I wish Lou would have had a better support system. Though she did eventually join Moving On, she never really fully participated in it. She tried to use helping Lily as her salvation, instead. She did eventually learn to cope and move on and her relationship with Lily stabilized, though. I really, really hated Lily and I think that colored a big portion of the book for me in a negative light. Even though I was a little disappointed with it, I am very happy that Moyes answered her readers and gave us this follow-up to Me Before You and I think the fans will enjoy it – especially those who can tolerate Lily more than I could.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR.

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)

1. Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter. Published September 22.

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2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Published September 29.

Pretty Girls

3. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Published September 29.

Zeroes

4. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. Published September 29.

A Madness So Discreet

5. A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. Published October 6.

Carry On

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Published October 6.

These Shallow Graves

7. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. Published October 27.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

8. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. Published November 10.

Oblivion (Lux, #1.5)

9. Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer Armentrout. Published December 1.

10. Backstage (Boy Band #2) by Jacqueline E. Smith. Published December 8.

What books are you looking forward to this fall? Are you looking forward to any of the above?

Bath and Body Works Tag

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September is a crappy month for my blog. I’ve decided to just accept it. I actually have written two reviews, but they’re both for ARCs that can’t be posted yet. To keep the blog from being completely unpublished, I thought it was time for another tag. I saw this over on Inspired by the Page and thought it looked fun. Enjoy.

1. Pure Paradise: A book that was simply perfection.

Attachments

If you’ve followed my blog at all you know that I’m generally a pretty harsh rater and I haven’t really found book perfection yet. The book that probably comes closest – and is probably the most often mentioned on lists like this – is Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I gave it 5 stars before I started book blogging and it’s one of my favorites of all time.

2. Sweet Pea: A romance/contemporary novel that you really enjoyed.

If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins. This could be any Kristan Higgins book, honestly, but I’m going to go with her most recent.

3. Fresh Strawberries: A book you really enjoyed that came out this year.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I didn’t expect much from this book, but I ended up really, really enjoying it. I definitely recommend it if you haven’t checked it out yet.

4. Warm Vanilla Sugar: A character and/or book that made you feel all warm and smiley.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. I was smiling the majority of the time as I read this.

5. Paris Amour: A couple you majorly ship together.

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. They’re perfect together.

6. Dancing Waters: A book that takes place on a beach/perfect beach read.

Truly, Madly, Greekly

Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot. The beautiful setting in this book made me really, really want to go to Greece.

7. I  Cake Books: Favorite book/character.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

We should all know this answer by now, too: The Raven Boys and Blue. I love them so, so much.

8. Winter Candy Apple: A book set around Christmas or during winter.

Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Georgie decides to stay home and work as her family goes home to Omaha to see family for Christmas.

9. Beautiful Day: A book with an unusual/interesting/appealing setting.

Fairytale Beginnings

Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin. It’s set in a castle.

10. Dazzling Diamonds: Gorgeous cover(s).

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Love the cover, not as impressed with the book.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate!