Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2016

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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.

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Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A.G. Howard. Read July 30-31. 3 Stars.

(Ok, so technically I finished this in July, but I didn’t get it done before last month’s Reviewing the Unreviewed.) I think this is probably my favorite book of the trilogy. While it wasn’t necessarily fast paced, the plot didn’t drag like in the first two books. Though Jeb annoyed me for about half the book, he redeemed himself. I loved that he and Morpheus found a way to co-exist and their fun bantering (how much better would this whole series have been if they could’ve been good-naturedly bantering with each other the whole time?). The resolution to the love triangle was unique, though it kind of weirded me out a bit. Overall, this was a pretty original series. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but I did enjoy it.

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The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes. Read August 3-4. 2 Stars.

I started out really hating this book and the horrible main character, Lainey, but I thought the fake relationship portions were done pretty well and even found myself enjoying certain scenes. While the latter half is definitely better than the beginning, it doesn’t quite make up for it and is why this is getting 2 stars from me instead of 3.

Lainey is completely shallow and spoiled and awful and she is completely unaware of that for much of the book. She was just so unlikable! She did eventually become a little self-aware and start to make some changes for the better. She became a slightly better person. But only slightly. While I liked Micah, I didn’t LOVE him. He had many good characteristics, but he also had a few pretty flawed ones and there wasn’t really anything he did to change those things.

What I really liked were the secondary characters Bianca and Leo who were both really smart, funny, kind people (I would have rather read a book about them). I also did like how the fake relationship played out. It had the right mixture of fake dates and awkward moments, and it didn’t rush into the falling for each other portion.

I know a lot of people really loved this story, but I found it a little disappointing.

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The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti. Read August 5-6. 3 Stars.

Overall, The Vanishing Year, was a decent read. The character development of Zoe was good and I also really liked her new reporter friend, Cash. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the suspenseful tale that I was hoping for. However, if you are looking for a good character-driven story with a little mystery (and some slightly campy plot twists), I think you would enjoy it. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Wedding Date for Hire (Anyone But You #2) by Jennifer Shirk. Read August 6-7. 3.5 Stars.

I am usually extremely stingy when it comes to buying books, but when I see a fake relationship story on sale for $0.99 I can’t help myself. Wedding Date for Hire was a super cute, fast read and I have no regrets.

This had all the elements that I enjoy in fake relationship books. I wish the book would have been a little bit longer, though, just so it could expand on some of the secondary storylines a bit more. I felt like there were a lot of things brought up and then quickly resolved and brushed off. Overall, though, this was a very cute, fairly clean story that I think fans of the fake relationship trope will enjoy.

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The Goodbye Bride (Summer Harbor #2) by Denise Hunter. Read August 7-10. 1.5 Stars.

I thought about giving it 2 stars because the writing wasn’t bad and I think a lot of people would like the story, but at the end of the day, I jut had soooo many issues with this book! Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and had no self awareness of it at all for much of the book. No one ever called her on it, either, which drove me crazy. It really rubbed me the wrong way that she never really took responsibility for what she did to Zac, just because she couldn’t remember doing it. It took until the second to last chapter for Lucy to finally understand what she was doing and while I appreciated that growth and the message behind it – it was almost the very end of the book. There was not enough time after that for me to like her.

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Finding Perfect (Finding Perfect #1) by Kendra C. Highley. Read August 13. 3 Stars.

Kind of an average YA Contemporary, but it was cute and a quick read. Ben was super sweet.

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American Assassin (Mitch Rapp #1) by Vince Flynn. Read August 15-19. 3.5 Stars.

It took me a little bit to get into this and get used to the writing style, but around half way through I was hooked. There were definitely some intense moments and even some funny ones. I’m looking forward to reading more about Mitch Rapp.

This is also getting made into a movie and (as of right now at least) Dylan O’Brien and Taylor Kitsch are attached to it. So, yeah. Read it first and get excited!            

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BACK ON THE TBR

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When We Collided by Emery Lord. I didn’t even make it through the first chapter before I realized I was so not in the mood for this book. Despite the very mixed reviews I’ve read on it, I do want to give it a try some other time.

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RE-READS

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. So this is the second time I’ve read this book and it isn’t even published yet. I didn’t write a proper review of it after the first time I read it, so I wanted to re-read it so I could write a semi-coherent review on it (publishing closer to release date). I enjoyed it just as much as the second time around.

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DNF

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. Again, it just may be my reading mood when I tried this, but I wasn’t even a little bit interested in it. I didn’t like either of the characters and there wasn’t really anything special about the writing or the story. I stopped in the middle of a chapter, if that gives you any idea how much I was not invested in this book.

 

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

I won a copy of this title from the publisher via a giveaway on Good Reads. This does not impact my review.

This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for awhile and I was very excited to win a copy. It seemed to take forever to finally receive it, but once it did I read it in a weekend.

The Woman in Cabin 10 started out a little slow. The main character, Lo, was pretty unlikable. She seems to be kind of an alcoholic and mixes alcohol with anxiety medication and isn’t really the most reliable witness. She’s kind of belligerent with people, as well. Throw in some PTSD from a recent break-in at her apartment and very few people believe her when she insists the woman in the cabin next to hers on a cruise ship has been thrown overboard. Of course, there’s also no record of a woman staying in that cabin to begin with.

Once we reach the part in the book where Lo tries to investigate what really happens is where the story really picks up and I had a hard time putting it down. The setting was kind of creepy and Lo’s paranoia was really well written. I suspected many different people, including Lo and her questionable mental state. While this part of the book seemed to fly by for me, we reach a part where it’s basically just a lot of Lo conjecturing with very little plot advancement and the book slowed way down again. The final chapters leading up to the end picks up a little again, but overall the pacing of the novel was just a little too uneven.

Overall, I did enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10. Though the pacing was a little off for me, there were definitely big parts of the story where I couldn’t put it down. Though Lo was a pretty unlikable character for the most part, I did feel a connection to her by the end. I felt the conclusion was a little bit rushed and I think maybe an epilogue from a different POV could have really added something to the story. Overall, though, I think this is a book that I will read again and recommend to mystery/thriller fans who don’t mind unlikable MCs.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

The Olympic Book Tag: Take 2

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I love the Olympics and I love Olympic Book Tags! Yes, I have already done one, but there are 2 Olympic Book Tags floating around the blogosphere and Deanna from A Novel Glimpse, tagged me for this one.

The Opening Ceremony — What book did you think had an incredible opening?

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Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. I was hooked on this book from the start


The Games — What is your favorite fictional competition?

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The Hunger Games is literally the only book I can think of with a competition. I feel kind of bad for saying it’s my favorite competition, though, haha.


The Original — The modern games are based on the original Greek competition – what is your favorite book based on a classic?

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Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London. A cute re-telling of Pride and Prejudice


The Eternal Flame  — What is one ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen?

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I usually end up shipping the ship we’re supposed to ship, so the only one I can really think of is *Ruin and Rising Spoilers* Nikolai and Alina. While I was ok with her ending up with Mal, Nikolai was always my favorite.


Gymnastics — What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

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Golden Son. I was trying really hard not to repeat books, but what is a tag without a Red Rising mention?!


The Controversial Judge  — What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people?

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I just don’t get it. I really did not like this book at all, but the blogosphere loves it.


Beach Volleyball  — What is your favorite fictional duo?

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I’m going to go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. I thought they were a great example of a romantic pairing also working together for the greater good.


Weightlifting — What is the most massive book on your shelf?

A collection of Jane Austen’s novels. I love it.


Track & Field — What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?

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I read P.S. I Like You by Kasie West in a day.


Synchronized Swimming — What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why?

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Pretty Little Liars. I made it to book 10 before I couldn’t take anymore.


The Tortured Fan — What fictional family, group, nation, or organization do you irrationally root for no matter how many times they break your heart?

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Joe from the You series. He is a sociopath, but I always root for him.


Closing Ceremony — What book had an ending that just blew your mind?

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Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Olympic Book Tag

Olympic Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Brandie is a Book Junkie and since I am a little obsessed with the Olympics, I knew I had to do it.

01 - Olympics

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I read this book in one sitting.

02 - Olympics

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins.

03 - Olympics

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. There are not many books that can pull off a good love triangle, but this one definitely does.

04- Olympics

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a re-telling and I think maybe I should’ve read the source material to really appreciate it.

05 - Olympics

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Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot. I don’t actually remember if this takes place in the summer, but it’s definitely a beach read, so I’m counting it.

06 - Olympics

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Golden Son by Pierce Brown. And I loved every second of it!

07 - Olympics

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

08 - Olympics

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

09 - Olympics

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen. Not a lot of plot, but loads of character development.

10 - Olympics

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The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I read so, so many of these books as a kid.

11 - Olympics

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White Cat by Holly Black. This isn’t necessarily about animals, but the white “cat” plays an important role.

12 - Olympics

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. While I liked many other books by this author, this one just drove me completely insane.

13 - Olympics

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I just loved the group of friends in this series.

14 - Olympics

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Ok, this one isn’t actually about the Olympics, but it does have a side character that’s an ice skater trying to get into the Olympics.