March 2018 Recap

Every year I feel that March = Spring and the weather should improve and the sun should shine. Then every year March decides to remind me that it is mostly still winter and it’s still snowy and dark and cold. I’m really hoping that April will decide to act like Spring, but you never know with Ohio. In books news, I read a decent number this month. There was a deal on Kindle Unlimited to get 2 months for $0.99, so I signed up. So far I’ve read 4 books and am part way through two others, so I’ve definitely got my money-worth. I’ll do a little review post on the whole experience once the two months is up. In life news, work is very anxiety-producing. I try to remind myself that I’m still learning things and it’s ok not to know what I’m doing all the time, but it doesn’t always work. I do like the extra $$$ in my paycheck, though!

Books Read: 13

Adult: 8
YA: 5

Favorite Books I Read This Month:

33516729

Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay.

  Books Reviewed: 5

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer – 4/5 Stars

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh – 4/5 Stars

Starry Eyes by Jen Bennett – 4/5 Stars

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata – 4/5 Stars

My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris – 3/5 Stars

Books Read in 2018 Overall: 36

Funny Fridays:

You've been warned...

March 9

March 16

March 23

Other Posts:

Back from Hiatus

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2018

How I Read Book Tag

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2018

How was your March?

Advertisements

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 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.

34705684

Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt. Read March 1-3. 3 Stars. 

***BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS***
This had all the guilty pleasure drama I expect from a Royal book. It was a decent end to the series, but I didn’t LOVE it. I wish the whole head trauma issues were written with a little more care. Though it’s never explicitly said that Sebastian has a TBI, that’s what it sounded like. TBI’s are no joke and I thought they could’ve talked a little more about it than the page or so towards the end of the book. I liked that there was resolution in regards to Steve and with Hartley’s dad and with the bomb he dropped regarding Easton at the end of the previous book – though, again, I wish there was a little more about that. As fans of the series know, the authors really rushed to get this put out by their self-imposed deadline, but I would’ve been ok with waiting just a little longer so some of the typos and few continuity issues were edited out beforehand. Overall, though, I liked Easton and Hartley together and I liked that Ella and Reed were included in the ending.

33516729

Parting Shot (Promise Falls #4) by Linwood Barclay. Read March 1-4. 4 Stars. 

I thought The Twenty-Three was the end to the Promise Falls series, but was quite pleased to find out there was another one! After the end of this one I thought for sure there would have to be even more, but I did some research and it looks like this will be the last book set in Promise Falls (at least for a good long while). I wished we got some more of David Harwood in this book. Poor, often stupid David Harwood makes so many awful decisions, but I have always enjoyed reading about him and the previous book left his storyline kind of on a major cliffhanger. There was a cameo mention that tied things up with him, but I still feel like I wanted more. However, there was enough going on in this book without him. The book centers around Cal Weaver and Barry Duckworth and their cases. I’m always amazed by how Barclay can tie all of his many threads together and I loved how it all turned out in this one. This book reminded me why he is one of my favorite authors. The ending was more open-ended than I would’ve liked, but I still really enjoyed this book.

31145064

Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeybourn. Read March 5-7. 3 Stars. 

I liked the premise of this book, but it fell a little flat for me. I expected Wesley to have done something horrific to Quinn in the past, but what he did to make her “hate” him wasn’t really that big of a deal. It reminded me a little bit of Lola and the Boy Next Door in that regard. Quinn just way overreacted. I thought she was kind of psycho when it came to her vendetta against him. And while I wanted to ship their romance, I just didn’t get it. There weren’t even really any cute moments between the two of them until the end. I didn’t feel like Quinn fell for him. It felt like she just had a childhood crush on him that never ended, but she tried to deny it for awhile. I didn’t really understand why Wesley was so interested in her, either. I did like the medieval restaurant setting, though, and there were a couple funny moments. Not one I would pick up again, though.

6609714

The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club #1) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 7-8. 3.5 Stars.

Last year I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg and have really enjoyed several of her books. I find her writing pretty addictive. There’s lots of character development and plenty of cute moments. I did have some issues with this book, though. Penny really frustrated me sometimes. Whenever she “stood up for herself” it included tearing someone else down. She said a lot of really rude, unnecessary things to people and it was almost always praised by those around her. I also thought she and all her friends were really shallow about 95% of the time. That said, I did still like Penny at the end of the day and am going to go on to read the next book.

18801694

We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 9-10. 3 Stars. 

A quick, addicting read, even though it didn’t feel like a lot actually happened. I felt like all the drama Penny dealt with she brought upon herself and it wasn’t really necessary. I liked the cute moments between her and Ryan, though. I’m glad I finally got to this series, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll want to read again.

33128934

Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) by Rachel Caine. Read March 11-12. 3 Stars. 

I think this fell victim to being over-hyped. I had such high expectations for it and it did not come close to meeting them. It was sloooooow, the chapters were long (and we all know how much I hate that), and I felt about zero suspense until about the last quarter or so of the book. I guessed who the bad guy was very early on. However, the writing wasn’t that bad, if a little too repetitive and I did enjoy that last quarter of the book. I’ll still check out the sequel since I’m trying out Kindle Unlimited right now.

38326753

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. Read March 17-18. 4 Stars. 

Just before this book I read Dear Aaron and I thought nothing could melt my cold heart like that did. I was wrong. I absolutely adored the relationship in this. It started out rough and Jasmine was VERY hard to like, but as it went on and their friendship grew and Ivan was So. Freaking. Sweet., I just fell in love with it. That’s not to say it was a perfect book because I did have a few issues with it, but I don’t even really care enough about the faults to write about them. The one thing I’ll say is that I wish we got to see more of Ruby and Aaron in this one, but I did like the little bit we got.

20613920

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. Reach March 18-22. 1 Star.

I’m going to preface this by saying I really should have just DNF-ed this book and moved on with my life. I feel like this type of book is for a very specific audience and I am not at all that audience. I do not really like the Alpha-Male-You-Belong-To-Me-I’ll-Kill-Anyone-Who-Looks-At-You thing. I didn’t really find the relationship between Dex and Iris romantic. I felt like most of the big “romantic” moments were #MeToo movement scenarios. I just couldn’t get behind it. No means no, not “keep going until I finally give in”.

I also just didn’t find the story that interesting. The conclusion to the situation with Iris’ father was really anti-climatic. I think this book just goes to show that liking one book by an author does not mean you will like all books by him/her.

31933423

Wish You Were Mine by Tara Sivec. Read March 27-29. 3.5 Stars

I loved the way this started out with the past and present timelines and the dual 1st person POVs. I felt like when the past timeline ended, though, it went a little bit downhill for me. I felt like the main characters just kept repeating themselves over and over. The main issue in the story is based on a miscommunication, as well, which always kind of bugs me. I also didn’t love Cameron and her short temper all the time. However, there were lots of good moments in the book and I did like Everett and his brother, Jason (wish we would’ve seen a little more of him, though). I would probably recommend this one to Romance fans.

********Re-Reads********

11979900

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I loved this book just as much the second time around. Once again, I read it in a day. I just adore pretty much everything about this.

********Removed from the TBR********

33503607

Meet Cute by various authors. I got this from the library, but I only ended up reading one story out of it. Most of the reviews I read said the JLA story was the best and I, unfortunately, was not really impressed by it so I decided not to read anymore.

********Back on the TBR********

  34275231

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I made it about 17% through this and just couldn’t get into it. I don’t see me finishing it before it’s due back at the library.

Review: My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

36295452

Synopsis from Good Reads:

This scandalous chooseable-path romance novel demands you determine your own romantic adventure-and satisfy all your earthly desires along the way!

Endless scenarios of high romance, deep desire, and quivering…comedy await your tender caress in this chooseable path romance novel. You are the plucky but penniless heroine in the center of 19th-century society, the courtship season has begun, and your future is at hand…

*  Will you flip forward fetchingly to find love with the bantering baronet, Sir Benedict Granville?
*  Or turn the page to true love with the hardworking, handsome, horse-loving highlander, Captain Angus McTaggart?
*  Or perhaps you will chase through the chapters a good man gone mad, bad, and scandalous to know, in the arousing form of Lord Garraway Craven?
*  Or read recklessly on to take to the continent as the “traveling companion” of the spirited and adventuresome Lady Evangeline?
*  …or yet another intriguing fate?

Whether it’s forlorn orphans and fearsome werewolves, mistaken identities and swashbuckling swordfights, or long-lost lovers and pilfered Egyptian artifacts, every delightful twist and turn of the romance genre unfolds at your behest! Prepare to open your heart, open your mind, and open-this book.

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

My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel will be available 4/3/18. 

I love the concept of this book so much. I have very fond memories of the Choose Your Own Adventure books from childhood and I love the idea of it for adults.

If you are unfamiliar with the choose your own adventure concept, it is set up so that at the end of every scene you are given a choice of how you would like to proceed (which potential suitor you’d like to meet, whether to continue a conversation or walk away, whether to stay in a situation or leave it for a new adventure, etc.) and the corresponding page number to turn to.  I read through the book several times choosing different scenarios to follow and I feel like I only scratched the surface on the different possibilities.

While the concept was really fun, the plots were all pretty “trashy romance novel”-ish, which isn’t really my cup of tea. The tone was pretty tongue-in-cheek, though, which I enjoyed. I didn’t particularly like the main character, which is kind of ironic because it’s supposed to be me. Even though I got to always choose “my” path, I didn’t always like how she handled the choices.

Overall, I did enjoy My Lady’s Choosing. While the plot lines left a little to be desired, I loved the concept. I feel like I only read a few of the many possible scenarios and plan on picking it up again to try some of the other untraveled paths.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

 

35404657

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

What I Liked

*This book gave me ALL THE FEELS. It has been quite awhile since a book made my little black heart feel like this. I just loved all the sweet scenes between Ruby and Aaron. For a good portion of the book I didn’t always understand why they fell for each other like they did, but once they got to interact in person I definitely believed it and was 100% Team Ruron.

*I’ve always been a fan of non-traditional formatting and the use of e-mails/texts/IMs. The first 40% or so is told that way and I was beginning to think that it was maybe a little too much when it changed instead to Ruby’s POV. It was actually a little jarring and first and I started to miss the texts and IMs when it changed again. While it did go back to primarily normal narrative style in the latter half, it still had some of the texts and I felt it was balanced well.

*The Slooooow burn. I’ve read one other book by this author – who is known for her slow burn romance – and thought people kind of confused slow paced for slow burn. This one, though, while not at all fast paced, did not feel like a slow story. With the way the story was told in the first half there was no room for the extraneous text that can bog a story down. It was all character development and relationship building and banter.

What I Didn’t Like

*Where the first half or so of the book had a steady pace, once it switched away from the e-mails/texts/IMs I felt it was a little repetitive. I felt like Ruby would kind of spiral and she would just repeat the same things over and over again and it really started to get on my nerves. I think that Zapata could edit things down just a bit and it would still have all the emotional impact with a few (hundred) less pages.

*If this book had a soundtrack, then “Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift would play on repeat. Ruby spent SO. MUCH. TIME. thinking about how beautiful Aaron was and how she had trouble looking at him, etc., etc. It got old really fast.

*While I liked Ruby, I found her kind of annoying. She was very sensitive and cried pretty much all the time. She also came across really immature a good amount of the time.

*I didn’t like how Aaron was so insistent that Ruby shouldn’t get a full time job just because it wasn’t something she would love. I appreciate the fact that he wanted to encourage her to follow her dreams and do what would make her happy, but it just feels so impractical to not have steady income. She could’ve gotten a job and still done her business on the side until she figured things out.

Overall

Overall, I did really enjoy Dear Aaron. Though there were obviously some things I took issue with, there were many funny moments and some great character development, and I totally shipped the romance. Aaron was just so, so sweet with Ruby and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m looking forward to reading some more by this author.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: Starry Eyes by Jen Bennett

35297469

Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

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

Starry Eyes will be available April 3, 2018. 

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.

Ok, so let me get the things that didn’t sit great with me out of the way. There was some mocking of religion, which I never appreciate. There was much more adult content than I appreciate in a young adult novel. I found Zorie and Lennon to both be a little more on the immature side, so the adult stuff made me feel just that much more uncomfortable. BUT, there wasn’t really anything graphic, so there’s that. Lennon is described as kind of a goth, but other than wearing some black and being into some horror stuff he didn’t really fit the bill. It almost felt like Bennett was trying a little hard to make the characters “diverse” in a way that didn’t really impact the character or story that much.

I did end up really liking Zorie and Lennon. Their miscommunication for a good portion of the book drove me insane, but they finally got over that and I shipped it. They had some good banter, which I enjoyed – Lennon, especially. I identified with Zorie’s anxiety and her need to plan things and appreciated her growth throughout the story. Another thing I related to were the things Zorie finds out about her father. Whether you’re a teenager or in your 30s, finding out those things about a parent has many of the same emotions and thoughts. Several books I’ve read lately have had this particular theme and I am finding them so cathartic right now.

The events in the synopsis do not happen until almost half-way through the book. Usually that really annoys me, but I found I didn’t mind it here. I thought the character development leading up to that was really well done and was essential for what would happen next. I also really enjoyed the setting, which is another unusual thing for me. I normally don’t care much about description or anything outdoors, but I really enjoyed the imagery of the wilderness and the stars. It never felt over the top or too much. It really set the scene well and I enjoyed it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Starry Eyes. I loved the setting, the character growth, and how relatable I found many things about Zorie to be. I found the writing to be really addicting, too. Even though it wasn’t really fast paced at all, I didn’t want to put it down. I definitely recommend this one to YA Contemporary fans. I know it’s one that I will re-read in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars