Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2018

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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#Nerd (Hashtag#1) by Cambria Hebert. Read January 2-3. 3 Stars. 

I couldn’t decide what to read and decided to go with something I wouldn’t normally pick. I had just recently gotten this for free, so I decided to give it a try. For the most part, this just reminded me why I don’t read much New Adult. It was ridiculously dramatic and clichéd. I didn’t particularly like either Romeo or Rimmel. However, I liked how the story was told in alternating first person POV. I thought their voices were really distinct and I actually liked the chapter’s from Romeo’s POV a little more. Because of that, it occasionally making me chuckle, and it’s the beginning of the year and I’m feeling generous, I’m bumping my rating up to 3 stars, even though I won’t be continuing the series (I just looked and there are several books in this series and they all look increasingly overdramatic and I just don’t have the patience for that).

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. Read January 6-7. 4 Stars. 

This is my second book by Jenn Bennett and I found it just as addicting as I did Alex, Approximately. It was a quick, easy read that kept me glued to the pages. Full review to come closer to release date.

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A Million Junes by Emily Henry. Read January 7-9. 3.5 Stars. 

If you ask me what this book is about, I don’t think I’ll be able to tell you. There were a number of things I liked – the characters, the banter, the romance. I loved the first half of this book and couldn’t put it down. But, it’s weird. It’s really weird and I didn’t entirely understand what happened towards the end. That’s the reason I can’t quite give it 4 stars. It was still a good read, though.

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An Ex for Christmas (Unexpectedly Yours #5) by Lauren Layne. Read January 14-15. 4 Stars. 

This book was so fricking cute! Likable characters and a cute dog. I loved the friendship between Mark and Kelly. This story was incredibly predictable, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed pretty much every moment of this (though, as always, there were a few scenes a little more graphic than I like). Lauren Layne has really become one of my favorites of this genre.

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Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Read January 15-17. 4 Stars. 

My favorite thing about this book was still the non-traditional formatting, but I must say I enjoyed the actual story more than I did the first book. I found both main characters to be likable. The plot wasn’t quite as clichéd. However, I still think the surveillance video summaries take away from the non-traditional style and were used too often. And I still really dislike having Aidan narrate anything (thankfully it didn’t appear until later in the book). This is probably closer to a 3.5 for me, but since that’s what I rated Illuminae and I thought this was better, I’m bumping my rating up to 4. I’m looking forward to see how it all plays out in Obsidio!

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Tarnished Crown (The Royals #3.5) by Erin Watt. Read January 16-18. 3 Stars. 

I don’t think I really had an opinion about Gideon one way or the other before, but I liked him after this. The story was fine, addictive writing like Erin Watt books are known to be. I’m just a little disappointed that I don’t feel like I really got the full story on Gideon and Savannah. I would’ve liked more flashback scenes to the beginning and then the end of their relationship. I felt like things were just kind of referenced and not explored and felt a little lacking. I did enjoy the “Present” timeline, though and I am looking forward to Cracked Kingdom!

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More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer. Read January 19-20. 4 Stars. 

My favorite thing about Letters to the Lost was the friendship between Declan and Rev and I was very excited to hear that Rev was going to get his own book. I’m happy to report that I enjoyed More Than We Can Tell even more than I did Letters to the Lost. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic. Read January 21-24. 2.5 Stars.

I found The New Neighbors to be a pretty standard psychological thriller (and I’m using the word “thriller” loosely). The writing wasn’t bad, but I just found myself pretty underwhelmed with the plot and the characters. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1) by Julie Cross. Read January 24-26. 3.5 Stars.

This was cute and I thought it handled a lot of the heavier topics pretty well. I really liked the characters – not just Tate and Claire, but their friends and most of their families, too. I especially loved Tate’s stepfather, Roger. While I did think the heavier topics were handled well, I thought things were a little too rushed at the end and would’ve liked to have seen a little more resolution – especially with Tate’s anger issues. I also thought there were a couple scenes that were a little too graphic for YA. Overall, though, I enjoyed this.

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Review: Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

After two intense, dead-end relationships, serial monogamist Alison finds herself confused, lonely, and drastically out of touch with the world of modern dating. Refusing to wallow, she signs up for a popular dating app and resolves to remain open-minded and optimistic as she explores the New York City singles’ scene. With the click of a button, her adventures begin: On one date, she’s dumped before the first kiss; on another, she dons full HAZMAT gear; she meets a tattooed folk singer turned investment banker, an undercover agent who tracks illegal exotic animals, and dozens of other colorful, captivating personalities.

Giving them each her signature “pants speech”–her pants aren’t coming off unless she has a real connection with someone–she desperately wants to push past the awkward small-talk phase to find true love, but finding “the one” is starting to feel impossible. That is, until she meets Luke, who is sophisticated, funny, and not to mention, hot. Alison finds herself falling for Luke harder than any guy she’s dated and finally letting her walls down, but will he stick around or move on to his next match?

Match Made in Manhattan is a fast-paced, contemporary story about the struggles of dating in the digital age. Replete with online profiles, witty dialogue, and a super-supportive group of female friends, this all-too-real and relatable debut novel will have readers laughing, crying, and rooting for Alison all the way to the end.

I received a copy of this title via the author/publisher. This does not impact my review.

Match Made in Manhattan will be available January 23, 2018. 

A fun and quirky story full of the ups and downs of online dating. Match Made in Manhattan was an entertaining and often addicting read.

The story follows Allison, a newly single twenty-something New Yorker, over the course of a year as she gives online dating a try. Though I thought she sometimes came across a little shallow, I did find her to be a likable character. She was really open to new things and treated everyone kindly. I also liked her “pants speech.” The plot of the book could have easily transitioned into erotica, but Allison’s belief that physical intimacy should be saved for committed relationships was one I appreciated, even though it was a deal breaker for some of the guys she met on Match.

The book almost read as an anthology. The chapters were divided by who Allison’s date was. Depending on the length of the relationship some chapters were very short and some were very long (and some of the men got more than one chapter). I did have a bit of trouble keeping some of the guys straight if Allison referenced them later, but for the most part I thought this format worked.

There are a few reasons why I can’t quite give this book 4 stars, though. As I mentioned above, it often read more of an anthology than a standard Contemporary and I felt there was just something missing to tie everything together. But Stephanie, THE DATING ties everything together! Well, yes, but other than an on-going storyline with Allison’s job that lasted the length of the novel, almost everything else in the chapters felt pretty self-contained. It felt just a little bit choppy to me at times and I would’ve liked to have seen another side plot or two to run throughout the story. Also, one of my pet peeves is when things mentioned in the synopsis are not included in the book (though I know this is not the author’s fault) and I do not recall there every being a date in a HAZMAT suit.

Overall, I did really enjoy reading Match Made in Manhattan. The writing was humorous and I found myself laughing often. I also found the writing to often be addictive and there were many parts where I did not want to put it down. Though I’ve never online dated myself, I think this is definitely a must read for anyone who has. I’m looking forward to reading more from Stauffer in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Review: Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

Several years ago there was a popular mockumentary on tv about mermaids. They weren’t The Little Mermaid type of mermaids, either. And there were people who didn’t understand that it wasn’t a real documentary and got really upset over it. When I heard of this book, it reminded me of that tv show and I knew I wanted to read it. This is not the kind of book I normally read and while there were many parts I really enjoyed, there were many I didn’t care for either. My thoughts are kind of all over the place on this book and my review will be, as well.

Science, Science Everywhere! I knew from reviews I read before starting this book that there was going to be a good amount of science involved. This isn’t something I generally appreciate in novels, but I thought I could skim through those parts if I needed to. The thing is, though, that the majority of characters were scientists and scientific thoughts was just part of their POV. There is no getting away from the science in this book. I was thankful I read this on an e-reader that I could easily look things up, as terms were thrown around without any explanation. Even though I didn’t exactly like this part of the book, I thought it was incorporated in a way that made sense and there wasn’t a lot of over the top description.

It was super preachy on environmental issues. If you’re someone who use the terms “Climate Alarmists” or “tree-huggers”, this book might be a little too much for you. It’s kind of one long, never-ending lecture on how humans are bad and ruin the planet. However, the book is about scientists, so you should expect those kinds of conversations.

Lots of great character development, but not very likable characters. The book bounces around many different POVs. While I don’t always like that technique, I thought it worked really well here. We even get the POV of the mermaids a few times, which I really enjoyed. I felt like we got a good deal of character development from all the POVs we got and even though that made the book a little long, it was worth it. Unfortunately, I found almost all of the characters pretty unlikable. And the ones I did like are the ones I probably shouldn’t have (i.e. Michi and Jacques. They were crazy and awful, but fun to read).

There is gore, but not as much as I expected. For being a horror novel, I expected a lot more death and gore than what was involved. There was a lot more time spent on scientific explanations than on horror. There were some really well-written scenes of suspense and fear, but for the most part I didn’t really feel the urgency for survival from the characters that I wanted. While there were many deaths, there were very few that actually made an impact.

Overall, I liked Into the Drowning Deep, but not as much as I was hoping to. The chapters were long and the pace was pretty slow most of the time. I felt like I spent all of my free time reading and it still took me several days more to finish it than I was expecting. I felt like the character development and the moments of suspense were enough to save it from the slower paced science information for the most part, but then I found the ending really anticlimactic. This book is listed as #1 in a series, but I’m not sure if there will be more books coming or just because there was a prequel novella. I do plan on reading the novella and I might consider reading a sequel if there is one. If you’re someone who like a little horror and a lot of science, this book might be for you.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Didn’t Get to In 2017

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Books You Didn’t Get to In 2017These are books you didn’t end up getting to in 2017, but really want to prioritize in 2018.

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1. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.

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2. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.

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3. Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda.

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4. Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

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5. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine.

What 2017 books do you still need to read?