Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2016

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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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Read November 4-6. 4 Stars.

Most of this book was around a 3 star read for me, but I’m upping it up to 4 stars for a couple reasons. The writing is very good. It was clever and I liked the style. The last third or so of the book is when it started to get trippy and I really started to enjoy it.

So what about up until then? The book, while unique, reminds me of bits and pieces of several other things (primarily the tv show, Fringe), so I wasn’t surprised by things I think I was supposed to be surprised by. The whole middle section of the book I found redundant and just wanted to get through. The science was really beyond me at times and I think it could have been a little more simplified. So overall, it was a good book, but it did not come close to living up to the hype for me. It does have great writing, though, and ended well, so I think it’s still probably worth the read.

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The Honeymoon Prize (The Honeymoon Series #3) by Melissa McClone. Read November 6-7. 3 Stars.

Nothing was holding my interest and I wanted something cute and quick and this was just what I needed. It was a good fake relationship story with likable characters and no graphic scenes. The ending got a little too cheesy, but overall I enjoyed it.

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The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell. Read November 11-12. 4 Stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Young Wives Club (and it’s gorgeous cover!). It’s a well-written, character-driven story that I could hardly put down. Though the characters weren’t always very likable, I really appreciated how much growth all of them showed throughout the book. I also really liked that things didn’t just magically work out for all of them, but they had to work at it and learn to be ok if things in their life turned out a little differently than they expected. I definitely recommend this to fans of character-driven novels. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Read November 13-16. 3.5 Stars.

I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s writing and the whimsy. I shipped the romance (even though we all know it was destined to shipwreck). I enjoyed the book, but I don’t really feel like anything HAPPENED until the last quarter or so of the book and then it happened too quickly. I wanted a little more time spent with Catherine growing into the “Off with his head!” persona. The story, for the most part, was an insta-love romance interspersed with the characters having some random fun in a Wonderland setting. Because of that, even though I enjoyed it, I just can’t quite give it a 4 star rating. I think Wonderland fans will enjoy it, as will fans of Marissa Meyer’s other work.

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For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne Read November 26-27. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the banter and how Josh and Heather’s relationship progressed throughout the story. The whole commitment-phobe/player and friends with benefits plotlines are overdone and not really my cup of tea, but I could overlook it for how cute everything else was. I’m reading this series backwards and while the books do work as standalones, I do feel like I have a lot more insight into Logan and Alexis who star in the third book and may have to go back and re-read that one to better appreciate it.

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The Christmas Cottage (The Christmas Cottage #1) by Samantha Chase. Read November 27-28. 3 Stars.

I really liked Ean and Lacey. They really complemented each other well and I shipped the romance, though I did think things happened too fast. While Ava being a crazy bridezilla worked for the story, I thought it was a little too overdone and she came across as just a really unbalanced person. It makes me not want to read the next book in the series because she’s the main character in it. Overall, though, this was a cute, quick holiday-themed romance that I enjoyed.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. I still have this from the library for a few more days, but I don’t think that I’ll get back to it before it expires. I was really optimistic about this book, but I got two chapters into and it’s just awful! I want to give it another try, though, to see if it gets any better.

****************RE-READS****************

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Aimee and the Heartthrob and Mia and the Bad Boy. I got the complete series from NetGalley. I’ve read the first two books in the series before and decided to re-read them since it had been awhile. I feel pretty much the same about them as I did the first time, though I think I liked Mia and the bad Boy a little more than I did last time.

Review: Backstage Pass: The Complete Series

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Five irresistible guys…five unforgettable romances

Step backstage with the guys of Seconds to Juliet—the hottest boy band to hit the scene in years—and the girls who capture their hearts. Superstardom has never been so sexy…

Join the fandom.

Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London
Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein
Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy
Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner
Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler

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

Backstage Pass: The Complete Series will be available December 5, 2016

I’ve read the first couple books in this series awhile ago and enjoyed them and always wanted to read the rest of the series. When I saw the whole series was being released as a set, I knew I had to request it. In my youth I was such a boy band fan (*N Sync was life) and I absolutely loved the idea of books about a boy band. I also thought it was really cool that each book was by a different author. I found that there were a few inconsistencies between authors, but for the most part I thought they did a really great job with it.

*Click on the book titles for the synopsis of each book*

Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London – 3.5 Stars

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This book was all kinds of adorable. I liked both Aimee and Miles. The romance was a little fast, but very sweet. There was some eye-rolling drama, of course. And some of the dialogue and Aimee’s internal monologues bothered me – I think it was supposed to be “teenage slang”, but it sounded silly to me. But maybe that’s how kids talk these days? I don’t know. I wished that the rest of the boy band members were a little more developed, but I can forgive it since each of them will get their own book. One thing I loved is that Aimee is a book reviewer and there is a part of the story where Miles wants to do something for her so he thinks about reading the books she’s going to review so they can discuss them. I think that is the swooniest moment of the whole book for me.

Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein – 3 Stars

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This book wasn’t as cute as the first one in the series, but there was still enough cuteness that I enjoyed it. The romance happened really fast and I didn’t buy into it as much as I would’ve liked to, but as I said, there was still cuteness. It read a little more like a less graphic NA than a YA read. I enjoyed the banter between Ryder and Mia and between Ryder and Miles. I enjoyed Ryder’s sarcastic sense of humor a lot and that we got a little more insight into the rest of the band.

Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy – 3 Stars

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This was probably closer to 2.5 stars, but I’m rounding it up to 3 because I thought it ended well. I really liked Trevin in the first two books and was looking forward to his POV, but I actually liked him a lot less in this one. I also thought both Miles and Ryder were portrayed as big jerks for most of the book, even though they were both supposed to be nicer after the events of the previous books. Daisy drove me crazy almost the whole time. She was way, way too overdramatic and very petty. There was a big thing with her mom that is revealed towards the end of the story and I thought the mom got off way too easily. I did like Daisy’s developing relationship with her father and there were a few cute moments throughout to make me smile. This was my least favorite book of the series.

Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner – 3.5 Stars

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Though it took me a bit to get into this, I ended up really liking Matt and Anya. Though it happened a little fast, their romance was cute. I also liked that it had a little more serious subjects – homelessness, drug addiction – but still stayed a cute contemporary. I thought the other band members were represented well, which I appreciated. One thing that bugged me, though, was that there seemed to be some consistency issues. We never find out exactly when Will and Matt switched places. There were comments made in two of the three preceding books that made it seem like it’s been going on for awhile, but I thought this book made it out that it was more recent.

Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler – 3.5 Stars

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This one was So Cute! Though it was a little instalove-y, I really shipped Nathan and Abby. Nathan was so sweet and he’s probably my new favorite boy bander. I thought the rest of the band was really well represented and loved all the scenes of them together. There is a big thing to happen with the whole LJ (band manager) as a villain arc that has been going on through the whole series that I wish we would’ve gotten to see, but overall it was a good ending to the series.

Overall

Overall, the Backstage Pass series was so cute. Though the characters were a little uneven at time between the books, I thought all the authors worked together pretty well to make a cohesive series. I liked that there was a central theme throughout of the band working together to write their own music and be the kind of band they wanted to be, as well as learning that they could be in charge of their own personal lives, despite what the villainous manager, LJ, told them. I think fans of YA contemporaries and Boy Band lovers would really enjoy this series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

Review: Wrong Brother, Right Match (Anyone But You #3) by Jennifer Shirk

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except…when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.

Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed “right match” might just be the wrong brother.

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

Wrong Brother, Right Match will be available December 5, 2016.

Wrong Brother, Right Match is basically a Hallmark Christmas Movie in book form and I love it!

Kennedy owns a matchmaking business and has recently developed specialized software to help match people up. She even used it on herself and found her fiancé. However, her relationship with Justin isn’t quite living up to her expectations. He’s a workaholic and often treats Kennedy as an afterthought. She’s determined to make it work, though, since their engagement seems to be a major selling point to possible investors in her company. To further complicate matters, she finds out that the man she once kissed in an elevator (and has never been able to forget) is Justin’s brother, Matt. When Justin abandons Kennedy with his family during their Christmas vacation to go back to work for a few days, Kennedy finds herself spending an awful lot of time with Matt and questioning her relationship with Justin even more.

One thing that I always hate in books is cheating so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get on board the Kennedy-Matt Ship. Thankfully the characters had some integrity. Kennedy told Justin about the elevator kiss (though at the time she didn’t know it was his brother). And while Matt and Kennedy definitely were developing feelings for each other, they never really crossed the line. I ended up really rooting for them.

I really liked both Kennedy and Matt. I thought they were both pretty well-developed and relatable characters. I loved Matt’s relationship with his family, as well. I also enjoyed seeing a couple cameos from the couples from the previous books in the Anyone But You series.

Overall, I really enjoyed Wrong Brother, Right Match. I liked the sweet romance and the Christmas setting. It reminded me so much of watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, which I love. I definitely recommend it to those looking for a romantic holiday themed read.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Review: Size Matters (A Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss

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The rules of (fake) engagement . . .
Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancée! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

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

**My response to this book did not warrant a full review, so behold my unorganized rant.**

A fake relationship story with a cover model that isn’t a size two. I thought this was going to be sweet and relatable and very body positive. I was wrong on all counts. I just disliked this book so much. The characters were awful and really unlikable. Leah was not that overweight, but she was really insecure about it and lashed out a lot because of it. Every time a skinnier person was mentioned (by her or Sam) they were referred to as anorexic. Sam acted like a huge jerk for the majority of the book. Even when he was supposed to be swoony, I despised his behavior. He also bordered on crude a good deal of the time and maybe some readers will be into that, but I’m not. It took way too long for Leah to grow a backbone and stand up to Sam’s treatment of her and her mother who was constantly putting her down, and when it finally happened things were resolved much to easily. The one positive thing I can say about this book is that it was occasionally humorous. I really should have just stopped reading this, but I kept hoping it would get better. Instead, I just disliked it more and more.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I want to Re-Read

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Books I want to Re-Read. I have always been a big re-reader of books I love. I’ve decided to list some of my favorite books that I have only read once and am in desperate need to revisit.

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1. The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star). I started this series shortly before the last book came out and could not believe that I waited so long! It’s beautifully written, brutal, thought-provoking, suspenseful, action-packed, twisty, surprising…I could go on and on.

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2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A very different kind of serial killer story. Very character-driven and suspenseful. Every time I see someone new reading/reviewing it I want to re-read it.

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3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I have great love for Rainbow Rowell books and I gave this one a really high rating, but I have only ever read it once. I think I definitely need to remedy that.

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4. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I’ve heard from people that this isn’t as good the second time around since you know the ending, but I still want to give it a try and see if there are clues I missed the first time around. Plus, it was just really good and I want to read it again.

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5. Defending Jacob by William Landay. I read this long before I started blogging, when I was just getting back into reading again, and gave it 5 stars on Good Reads (if you follow me now, you know that never happens anymore). I’d like to see if it’s as good as I thought it was back then.

What books do you want to re-read?