Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 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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My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff. Read September 5-7. 3 Stars. 

This book was light and cute and I enjoyed it. It will definitely get you into the holiday mood. Full review to come closer to release date.

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With a Twist (Bad Habits #1) by Staci Hart. Read September 7-9. 2 Stars. 

I’m kind of surprised that I decided to finish this one, to be honest. The characters were ok and I did want to see West and Lily get together, but most of it was pretty boring. It wasn’t that graphic compared to most books in this genre, but the characters were just constantly talking about sex and anatomy and it was sometimes kind of crude. There were a couple of nice moments between West and Lily and it was kind of interesting that Lily was a ballerina, but those are the only good things I can really say about it. I’m sure that people who are big fans of New Adult romance would enjoy this a lot more than I did.

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A Family for Christmas (Willow Park #3) by Noelle Adams. Read September 9-10. 3 Stars. 

A cute, quick read featuring a marriage of convenience. I read the first book in this series a while ago and liked it and have had this one on my e-reader for awhile and decided to give it a try. I didn’t like it quite as much as I did the first one, but it was cute and I liked the relationship between Lydia and Gabe. What I really like about this series is that the characters are Christians, but it’s not Christian Fiction. It has all the elements (including the love scenes) you would get in regular mainstream Romance, but the characters stand apart a bit from the norm. I like this bit of diversity that you don’t often see in mainstream fiction.

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13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough. Read September 9-11. 3.5 Stars.

I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for this. Look for my review on October 2nd. 

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Always You (Bachelor Brotherhood #3) by Denise Grover Swank. Read September 12-16. 3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed this. Matt is definitely one of the sweetest male leads I have read and I wish he was real. While it did take me a little bit to get into the romance and to like the kids, I did eventually get on board with all of it. There were several humorous parts, including a scene in Chuck E. Cheese that made me laugh out loud. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio #1) by Lisa Scottoline. Read September 16-18. 3.5 Stars. 

I really needed a good mystery and Accused delivered for me. I thought it was just a tiny bit drawn out, though, and did not find the conclusion surprising. I was really frustrated with a lot of Mary’s behavior for most of the book, but she was much better by the end. I’m looking forward to reading more of this series.

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Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz. Read September 23-25. 3 Stars.

I love a good holiday romance and I love Pride and Prejudice re-tellings, so Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe looked like it would be perfect for me. While it was a fun read, it ended up falling short of my (pretty high) expectations. Full review to come.

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Killing Kate by Alex Lake. Read September 25-27. 3.5 Stars

Short chapters just make books so much more readable and I must say that they served this book really well. Even though the pace was actually pretty slow, the short chapters kept the suspense up and made it so much easier to say “just one more chapter” long after I should’ve stopped reading. As for the story itself…it was ok. It was kind of a different angle of a serial killer book and I liked that. Kate was not a very likable character. I preferred the chapters from her ex-boyfriend’s POV, Phil. A little over half way through I guessed who the serial killer was and what the slight “twist” with it was. It wasn’t too long after that that everything was revealed, but then it just drug on and on and on. I was not at all satisfied with the ending. However, the fact that I found it addicting for a while is bumping my rating up the extra half star.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Read Because of Blogging

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. I’m going to try to keep this to books I’ve read this year.

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1. Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton). As with many books in this genre, I read this book because of Annie @ The Misstery.

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2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. There is so much love for Amy Harmon in the blogging community that I had to finally check her out and now I understand. I’m pretty sure I first heard of her through Brandie @ Running on Words and Wine and it was Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse who let me know when this book was up for request on NetGalley.

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3. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. Again, it was Annie’s review that made me read this one and I loved it.

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4. The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. I kept seeing this book all over the book blogs so I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I did like that ending, though!

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5. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. Another book that was everywhere that didn’t quite live up to the hype for me.

What books have you read because of the blogging community?

Review: Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

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

Blind Spot will be available October 3, 2017.

I’m a fan of Dani Pettrey and have really enjoyed the Chesapeake Valor series. I’m disappointed to say that this installment, while still a good read, did not live up to my expectations.

It took me a really long time to get into the story. In the previous book, Still Life, there is a subplot with Declan and a potential terrorist attack that I didn’t really like. That subplot becomes the main focus of this book, along with Declan and his romantic interest Tanner, so I think I started off the book a little biased. It took me until over half way through to really start enjoying it. There were a few well done suspenseful moments thrown in, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the book that I really felt the urgency.

It also took me a little while to get on board the Declan and Tanner ship. I did like Declan pretty early on, but I thought Tanner could be a little condescending. There’s also a reveal about Tanner’s big secret, shameful past that greatly annoyed me. There was absolutely nothing for her to be ashamed of and I thought it was kind of disrespectful to the real life people in that position. Tanner did eventually grow on me, though, and I was happy when her relationship with Declan finally progressed. I also liked how their faith was effortlessly written into the story. I didn’t think there was any “big lesson” they had to learn, but their Christian faith was evident in who they were and I liked that.

We also get Griffin’s POV with the second major storyline, the murder of a friend/mentor of the group. I have to say that I was incredibly bored with this storyline. With the terrorism plot, this one just didn’t really seem to matter. I thought that the answers came way too easily, too. And as with the previous book, I don’t understand how all these people are able to share details of official investigations. And how does Griffin have any jurisdiction to pursue someone out of the country? I also thought it was odd that Tanner, who is a crisis counselor, gets to be Declan’s partner once they’re done with her connection to a potential witness. I feel like you have to overlook a lot when it comes to the crime solving in this series.

We get one other person’s POV and it was the one I most enjoyed. We finally get some answers (though vague) on the missing Luke. I had some issues with the way different members of the group reacted to his reappearance, but I guess I can kind of see where they’re coming from. I just hope they get over it quickly in the next book.

Overall, I thought Blind Spot was Pettrey’s most ambitious book yet. I can appreciate the effort to elevate the central mystery to a national threat and not just something that affects someone in the group of friends, but it just fell a little short for me. I had a hard time getting into the story and while I did like Declan and Tanner eventually, I did not enjoy them as much as I did the central couples of the previous books. I did really like the appearance of Luke, though, and am really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next book.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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 List.

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1.  There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

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2. Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey

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3. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

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4. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe my Melissa De La Cruz

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5. If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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6. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

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7. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

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8. Killing Kate by Alex Lake

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9. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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10. Shoot the Moon (Seeking Mansfield #2) by Kate Watson

What books are on your Fall TBR?

Review: Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

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I received a copy of this title via Penguin’s First to Read and NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

I’ve read a lot of Suspense this year and Don’t Let Go has definitely made it’s way onto my Favorites list. It was fast paced and highly entertaining.

I loved Nap. He was sarcastic, morally gray, and totally unapologetic. The story is mostly told through his 1st Person POV and I loved being in his head. He narrated events to his dead twin brother, which is not my favorite type of narrative style, but it worked ok. I thought the story was pretty fast paced, with something happening every chapter. We get the necessary background information and character development, but it wasn’t an over the top amount of detail that slows things down like in so many other books. Coben seamlessly worked it all in to the current timeline and the mystery Nap was trying to solve.

I liked the supporting characters a lot, too. I loved Nap’s relationship with his best friend, Ellie, and how it was completely platonic. I also really liked Augie, Nap’s mentor. The two grew close after the death of Nap’s brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana, who was also Augie’s daughter. The plot revolves around the unanswered questions surrounding Leo and Diana’s deaths fifteen years ago, the recent deaths of a couple of Nap’s old classmates, and the conspiracy theories of the old missile base in their small town. I thought there were some things that seemed a little too unrealistic at times, but they made a little more sense by the end and it was all pretty entertaining, so I can let it go.

Overall,  I really enjoyed Don’t Let Go. I loved Nap and his humor. I loved how fast paced the story was and that each scene seemed important. I have only read a couple of books by Coben, but this one convinces me that I definitely need to read more from him. I highly recommend this one to Suspense fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars