Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2017

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.

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Always My Girl (The Shaughnessy Brothers #3) by Samantha Chase. Read May 6-7. 3 Stars.

There were some cute moments in this book, but I spent a good deal of time being frustrated at either Anna or Quinn. It was a pretty well done Friends-to-Lovers story, though. I might check out some of the other books in the series.

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Read May 5-10. 2 Stars.

I applaud the ambitiousness of the many, many narrators in this book, but unfortunately it really didn’t work for me. Some of the POVs were 1st person POV and some were 3rd person. The perspective changed so quickly that I never really felt a connection to any of the characters. However, the quick chapters were also the only thing that really kept me reading. I felt like the story dragged on for much too long. Information was given about each character one little piece at a time and by the time things were actually explained I had already guessed it so it felt really anti-climactic. There was absolutely zero shocks or surprises in the whole thing. This isn’t one I would recommend.

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The Party by Robyn Harding. Read May 11-13. 3 Stars.

Even though I hated all the characters in this, I still wanted to find out what happened, so this is getting 3 stars instead of 2. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 21-25. 2 Stars.

Well, this was disappointing! Good concept, but really lacking in execution. I thought a great deal of the book was really boring. There’s a ton of inner monologues where the characters just go back and forth and back and forth on any and everything they’re thinking about. I’ve read all these reviews about how Mariko is this bad-ass warrior, but, like, am I reading the same book?? I thought she was immature and kind of self-centered. She went on and on about having honor, but didn’t really do anything very honorable. There’s a part where she talks about how she outsmarted some people several times over and it made me laugh. The romance was ok, but not as good as I was hoping it would be after loving Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. Overall, I was just really disappointed in this. But, obviously, I am the black sheep of hype, so I’m sure may others will love it.

****************RE-READ****************

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My Lady Jane. I loved this book just as much as I did the first time around. I still really recommend it if you haven’t read it yet!

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

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I admit I requested this from the library based on the cover and hype alone. I didn’t even really know what it was about. I read the prologue and knew that I was definitely not in the mood to try it, so I decided to put it off for some other time. I actually just found out yesterday I won a giveaway of this book, so it’s definitely one I will be reading in the future.  The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I got this from the library, but it’s going to expire before I get to it. Plus, I really think I need to read the first two books again before I try to continue with the series.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017.

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1.  Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. Publication Date: 12/26/17

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2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Publication Date: 11/7/17

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3. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Publication Date: 10/10/17.

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4. Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey. Publication Date: 10/3/17.

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5. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Publication Date: 9/26/17.

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6. Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. Publication Date: 9/5/17.

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7. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Publication Date 8/29/17.

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8. Ready to Run by Laren Layne. Publication Date 8/22/17.

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9. Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Publication Date 7/25/17.

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10. Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder #9) by Linda Castillo. Publication Date 7/11/17.

What books are you looking forward to?

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

I’ve never been a super fan of this series, but I’ve liked it well enough to want to continue with each book and see what happens. It’s kind of hard to review books that I don’t feel strongly about one way or the other, so this will be a little abbreviated and list-like.

*BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS*

-I had thought that I read this was supposed to be told in dual POV between Feyre and Rhys and I was pretty excited to get more Rhys. However, he gets the prologue and one chapter towards the end and the rest is Feyre. I don’t really see what the point of that was. I don’t feel like Rhys’ chapters added anything to the story. I was definitely let down by this.

-This book was WAY TOO LONG. Towards the end of the book there was a lot more happening, but a great deal of it just seemed a little pointless. I think there are several storylines that could have been cut, or at least edited down some, and the book would have felt much better paced. But this has always been a problem I’ve had with Maas’ writing.

-The romance isn’t as big a part of the plot as the last book was, so this one being marketed as YA is not quite as horrifying to me as the last one was. I liked seeing Rhys and Feyre together and working as a unit. I’m glad that there wasn’t really any relationship drama between them.

-We finally get an explanation from Mor on how she feels about Azriel and why she’s been basically stringing him (and Cassian) along for 500 years or so. I thought it was really selfish. There is also romantic tension between Nesta and Cassian, but it’s not resolved by the end of the book. Nor is anything resolved between Lucian and Elain and their mating bond. I felt a little bit that there could be something between Az and Elain, actually.

-I was happy to see Tamlin get some redemption. I’ve always felt a little bad for how Maas turned on this character after the first book (well before the first book was even over, really), so even though he still wasn’t represented that well here, he still turned out better than I thought he would.

Overall, I felt like this was a pretty good end to Feyre’s story. The series doesn’t end with this book, but from what I understand the next books will focus on other characters in this world with Feyre and Rhys and company as cameos maybe? As I mentioned above, there are some romantic cliffhangers left that I hope get resolved in the future, even if it’s just mentioned in passing. There is a lot of work that will need to be done with the fall out after the war that is still left pretty open-ended, as well. I don’t really feel a need to continue on with this story since Feyre and Rhys won’t be a big part of it, but it might be something I decide to read. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Maas and the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Convince me to buy a Kindle


I bought a Nook a few years ago and I have loved it. It’s basically my favorite thing in life. However, sometimes the things we love hurt us.

Because I have an older version of the Nook that doesn’t connect to the internet (other than the Nook store), I have to download library books on my computer and transfer them to my Nook via Adobe Digital Editions. When it works, it’s easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. On several occasions I get error messages for no apparent reason. I discovered a fix for it in the past, but after trying it several times last night, it still wasn’t working. After much tears and prayer, I decided to try it one last time and it fixed it. I am feeling pretty fed up with the whole thing, though.

Only poor bookworms can understand how important it is to have access to library books. And only poor bookworms with major anxiety can understand how important e-library books are. I don’t want to go through this experience again, so I am really thinking it’s time for a new e-reader. I thought about a newer version of the Nook, but I have read that some of them have had lots of problems with getting books from Overdrive so it might be time for a Kindle.

I don’t want anything fancy, so I’m not interested in the Kindle Fire. I prefer it not to be backlit either, as it kind of hurts my eyes. So, my questions to you, that I really hope I get some responses on, are:

  1. What model of Kindle do you have?
  2. Do you get library books on it? If so, have you had any problems with it?
  3. Do you pay for Kindle Unlimited? If so, have you found it to be worth the money? And if you are familiar with the type of books I like, do you think it would be worth my money?
  4. Have you used any other brand of e-reader? How do they compare?

I’m very hesitant about switching from Nook to Kindle, so if you love your Kindle, please convince me why I would too.

Review: Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

I read a couple of outstanding reviews for Ragdoll that gave me very high expectations and I am very happy to say that the book definitely lived up to them! I loved pretty much every second of reading this book.

The concept was definitely interesting and twisted. A corpse comprised of body parts from six different people is found. Then a letter is delivered with a list of six more future victims – and the date on which they will die. It was really fascinating to watch the case unfold and figure out who the body parts belonged to and how they all connect to each other and to the possible future victims. They reason behind it all was a great development, too.

I loved the characters. They weren’t always lovable, sometimes they were more love-to-hate, but I enjoyed reading about all of them. William Oliver Layton-Fawkes (Wolf) was such a wonderfully complicated character. I loved his determination and stubbornness and his sense of humor. Baxter was mostly of the love-to-hate variety for me, but she was also kind of complicated and interesting. I loved, loved, loved Edmunds! He was really smart and kind and had a bit of the wide-eyed innocent thing going on so it was even more interesting to see how he evolves as the case goes on. I adored him.

I thought the writing was really great, too. I was surprised this is Cole’s debut book. The writing is smart and surprising and it did not rely on big twists for shock value (nothing against big twists – I love them – but it’s nice to see a mystery not have to need them). It had a few smaller, clever twists and turns, but none of them felt out of left field. There was also a lot of humor in this book that I was not expecting at all. I felt like it was a little more prominent in the beginning of the book than the end, but it was kind of wry and irreverent and I loved it.

Overall, I just loved Ragdoll. I loved the story, characters, and writing. The only thing that I didn’t love quite as much as the rest of it was the ending. I would have liked an epilogue. However, this is going to be a series so I can forgive it for not having one. It ended in such a way that I have no idea how the next book will go, but I can’t wait to find out! Daniel Cole has definitely made his way on to my favorite authors list and I really recommend this to mystery lovers.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

 

Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

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

When It’s Real will be available May 30, 2017.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but I don’t think I was expecting to love it as much as I did. But, I loved it! It was so cute and fun and was a well done Fake-Relationship story (which we all know are my favorite kind).

I thought both Vaughn and Oakley were likable characters. Oakley definitely had his egotistical jerk moments, but we see way more of him being sweet and funny and sometimes vulnerable. I liked Vaughn, but had to remind myself a few times when she did something or reacted to something in a way that annoyed me that she’s only 17. But, seriously, as far as YA heroines go, she was a pretty level headed one. I also really liked Vaughn’s family and Oak’s bodyguard.

This book had all the things I love in a good Fake-Relationship story. I loved the awkwardness of hammering out the terms of the contract and the initial antagonism between Vaugh and Oakley. I loved their fake date outings and how they slowly started to become friends and then more. I thought they were so sweet together (even though things did almost get a little too sappy at times) and I shipped them hard. After reading The Royals series, which I thought was far too explicit for YA, I was a little concerned about how graphic the sexual content would be in this one. And though there was still a little more than I prefer for YA, it wasn’t very graphic and I liked that the their feelings for each other were highlighted over the physicality. There was also some underage drinking and casual drug use, but it was also much less than The Royals series and more YA appropriate (if those things are ever appropriate for YA).

Overall, I really enjoyed When It’s Real. The writing was addictive and I never wanted to put it down. It was funny and sweet and I just had so much fun reading about Vaughn and Oakley. There was one thing, though, that kind of brought my reading experience down and it’s not the book’s fault. The e-ARC I received had some major issues on my Nook with missing text – often paragraphs at a time. I hate to even mention that because it obviously won’t be an issue with the finished copy (and I did find a solution by downloading a copy for the Kindle app for my phone so I could find the text missing from my Nook), but it kind of cast a shadow over the whole thing for me.  However, as you can tell, I still loved the story. I definitely recommend it to YA Contemporary fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars