Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 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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Moonshot by Alessandra Torre. Read March 30-31. (Yes this was in March, but my Reviewing the Unreviewed: March posted before I finished this). 3.5 Stars. 

Short chapters for the win! I really liked how this book was written. I liked how it was told mostly through Ty’s 1st person, but occasionally shifted to Chase and also some other little snippets. I loved that the chapters were so short. It made reading this kind of lengthy book not seem long at all. I did start out liking Ty and Chase, even though the age difference was a bit uncomfortable. She was 17 when they first met, but turned 18 not too soon after and he was 5 years older. However, as the book goes on there is So. Much. Cheating. It really took my enjoyment of the book way down. I liked that there was kind of a twist in who the murderer was, but the reasoning behind it I didn’t feel made much sense. Overall, I enjoyed the writing and did mostly like the characters, but I dropped my rating down from 4 stars because there is never an excuse for cheating.

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Awaken: 90Days with the God Who Speaks by Priscilla Shirer. Read January 1-March 31. (Yes this was in March, but my Reviewing the Unreviewed: March posted before I finished this). 4 Stars. 

There are a lot of things I decide to do on January 1st that I give up on later that month. Thankfully, that didn’t happen with this devotional. I committed to reading it daily and I actually did it. My spiritual life and relationship with God has been lacking a lot over the last couple of years and I feel this book definitely helped. I still have a long ways to go, but I feel on the right track. As for the book itself, I thought it started out a little run-of-the-mill, but as we got further into it, I found the lessons went a little deeper and I learned more. I would definitely check out other books by Priscilla Shirer.

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Co-Wrecker (Binghamton #1) by Meghan Quinn. Read March 25-April 1. 3 Stars. 

I always think Meghan Quinn books sound funny, but wasn’t sure they would be for me since they also sounded pretty sex-centered. Having finally read one, I think I can safely say that I won’t be reading any more from her. While I thought the story was ok and did kind of like the characters, there was way too much graphic content for me to be able to take the book seriously. I also thought Andrew started out so awkward and sweet and quickly turned into someone really crude and was kind of hard to like at times because of it. I almost DNF-ed the book a couple of times, but I was far enough into it that I figured I might as well finish it. So why is this getting 3 stars? I’m giving it an extra star because it did make me LOL several times.

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Infinity + One by Amy Harmon Read April 1-3. 4 Stars. 

Amy Harmon always writes such beautiful books, but I think she needs to work on the blurbs. For some reason, I never think that any of her books sound good, based on the synopsis, but I’ve really liked everything I’ve read by her and this was no exception. I loved the characters and the romance and the writing. It did drag a little bit towards the middle, but for the most part the character development made up for the slower pace. I also got a little frustrated with Bonnie’s refusal to be responsible and have a conversation with anyone (namely the authorities) about the legal issues. I felt it was really selfish, especially considering Finn’s past, when the whole thing could have been cleared up so easily. Other than those couple of things I really enjoyed this one and definitely recommend it.

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. Read April 5-8. 3 Stars. 

I thought this started and ended well, but dragged a lot in the middle. I was underwhelmed with the underwater scenes and description (in one there’s talk about wiping away someone’s tears and I just don’t understand how that could happen underwater…). I kind of liked how awful both of the main characters could be. This was not nearly as romance heavy as I thought it would be, so it was kind of a nice change of pace from most of the YA Fantasy I’ve read. I liked it enough that I would probably check out more from this author, but I don’t think this is one that I would want to re-read.

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The Dreamer (Dreamland #1) by E.J. Mellow. Read April 8-9. 3 Stars. 

I think if I had read this a couple years ago I probably would’ve really liked it, but I think now my tastes have kind of changed and I have a little higher standards, so I thought this was good, but not great. I thought it took too long for things to get explained and when they were, they were still kind of confusing. It’s kind of a different love triangle that the norm, but I still didn’t care for it. The characters were ok, but I never fell in love with any of them. I am interested to see what happens, so I’m going to try to get to the other books before my Kindle Unlimited subscription is cancelled.

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The Dreamcatcher (Dreamland #1.5) by E.J. Mellow. Read April 10. 3 Stars. 

This didn’t really give me much more insight into Dev or his world than I got from the first book. It wasn’t bad, though.

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Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman. Read April 12-14. 3.5 Stars. 

This was pretty cute. I liked how Snow was the one doing the saving/protecting, even if I thought hiring a teenage girl to be a bodyguard was a little unbelievable. I liked Snow and Ash and their relationship. I thought the rest of the characters were a little underdeveloped, though. And just like in Adorkable, the best friend character brought the story down a bit. Min-Lee was supportive of Snow for the most part, but I thought her not only staying friends with the mean girl that constantly made fun of Snow, but insisting Snow hang out with her as well was pretty awful friend behavior.

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Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon. Read April 14-15. 4 Stars. 

Since this was Amy Harmon’s first book, I kind of expected it not to be as good as all of her others. Of course I was wrong. It was beautiful and emotional and thought-provoking and I loved it. I loved the characters and all they went through. Even though it starts out with an uncomfortable age difference, there weren’t any lines crossed. I also love the way that Harmon can weave faith into the story so effortlessly that even people who often say “religion ruins a book” for them don’t mind it.

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Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin. Read April 15-18. 2 Stars. 

It pains me to say this, but I found Paper Ghosts to be a big waste of time. Full review to come next month.

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. Read April 20-21. 4 Stars. 

Wow. I hardly know where to even begin with this. Jar of Hearts is the kind of book that you’re almost afraid to say you enjoyed because of how dark and twisted it is. But it’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. Full review to come next month.

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My Sister’s Intended (Serendipity #1) by Rachael Anderson. Read April 19-22. 3 Stars. 

A sweet and clean romance. Though the characters were likable, I had a little bit of trouble becoming invested in the story and almost decided to DNF it. I’m glad I decided to finish it, though, since the last couple chapters were pretty enjoyable. I also really love the cover of this one.

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I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter. Read April 23-24. 3.5 Stars. 

While I liked Let’s Get Textual a little better, I enjoyed this one, as well. I really didn’t care for Zoe in the previous book, so I was a little hesitant going into this one, but she did eventually grow on me. I liked Caleb, as well. I didn’t like that they were into each other so immediately. I wish there was a little more build up – especially since Caleb is the ex-boyfriend of Zoe’s best friend. (Speaking of best friend, I loved that we got to see a little more of Zach and Delia! I would’ve loved even more of them.) Overall, this was a fun and quick read and I might need to check out more from this author.

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Hangman (Detective William Fawkes #2) by Daniel Cole. Read April 25-28. 4 Stars. 

Ragdoll was my favorite book of 2017 and I have been anxiously waiting for the follow-up ever since. Though the American release date is not for a couple more months, I won a giveaway for a book of my choice and was very excited to see I could get a UK edition of Hangman. While it didn’t quite live up to all my expectations, it was a well-written, engrossing mystery. Full review to come.

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Review: Honeysuckle Dreams (Blue Ridge Romance #2) by Denise Hunter

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancé.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

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

Honeysuckle Dreams will be available 5/1/18. 

What I Enjoyed

-For most of the book I really liked both Brady and Hope. I thought they made a good team and I enjoyed their blossoming romance. I liked how they interacted with Sam and their friends.

-This is more of a Marriage-of-Convenience story than the Fake Relationship I thought it was, but I still liked that aspect of it. It’s one of my favorite tropes and I thought it was well done. I liked that they went into the marriage with the intent of having a real relationship, but that they didn’t rush it.

-I thought the storyline regarding Sam’s custody case was well done, if perhaps a little easy. I thought it had great potential for drama, but it was kept in check and I liked that.

What Didn’t Work for Me

-As I mentioned above, there wasn’t a lot of drama for most of the book, but I felt like it saved it all for the end. Once the custody case was wrapped up I felt like all of a sudden Hope went kind of crazy. While there were a few things said about Hope’s past and fears throughout the book, it felt like it escalated out of nowhere and it really brought down my enjoyment. It felt tacked on and I just didn’t think it was necessary. My biggest complaint with books by this author is that I often find the female lead unlikable and I thought that wasn’t happening in this book, but by the end Hope was really frustrating me.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed Honeysuckle Dreams, though the added drama at the end did bring it down a bit for me. I liked the characters for the most part and the Marriage-of-Convenience theme. I look forward to continuing the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

 

Review: Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From Teagan Hunter, author of the Here’s To series, comes a fun, witty STANDALONE romcom!

A wrong number is supposed to be just that–a wrong number.

Delete. Done.

Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.

A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.

Because that would be weird.

When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.

I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.

But maybe…

Maybe he’s the right guy.

So I know what you’re thinking. The innuendo book title. The cover picture. You must have stumbled upon the wrong blog. This could not be a “Stephanie” book, right? Well, while I do hate that cover, I loved this book! I read it in one evening (staying up way past my bedtime) because I could not put it down.

This book was so funny! With a title like Let’s Get Textual you know it either has to be funny or stupid and I’m so glad it was the former. The banter between Delia and Zach had me smiling throughout the whole book. Yes, there was some definite innuendo – and a couple of scenes that were a little more than I generally appreciate reading about – but for the most part, their oddball sense of humor really resonated with me.

I’m a sucker for the mystery texter/pen-pal trope and I loved it here. Delia and Zach text for quite awhile before they decide to meet and even after they begin a relationship the texting is still a large part of the book. I loved how their relationship progressed and shipped them pretty hard. I didn’t love the requisite Big Misunderstanding toward the end of the book, though.  I thought the situation itself was kind of stupid, but also Delia did not handle it well At All. It seemed a little out of character for her because with Zach she was painfully honest all the rest of the time.

Overall, I really enjoyed Let’s Get Textual. I loved the main characters (and their goat) and could not get enough of their fun banter. This is definitely a book I’m glad I didn’t judge by it’s cover.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

My Blog’s Name in Books

I saw this tag over on Fictionophile not too long ago and thought it looked fun. The basic rules are to use your current TBR list (no cheating!) to spell out your blog’s name. This might take awhile, folks.

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

T

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Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

E

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Exposed (Rosato & DiNunzio #5) by Lisa Scottoline

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

H

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Hangman (Detective Williams Fawkes #2) by Daniel Cole

A

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After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

N

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Nearlyweds by Beth Kendrick

I

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It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

E

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The Echo Killing (Harper McClain #1) by Christi Daugherty

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Silent Scream (D. I. Kim Stone # 1) by Angela Marsons

B

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Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

O

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One Small Thing by Erin Watt

O

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Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

K

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King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

R

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Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep #0.5) by Mira Grant

E

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Each Little Lie by Tom Bale

V

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Visions (Cainsville #2) by Kelley Armstrong

I

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It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

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The Ever After by Sarah Pekkanen

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Watching You by Lisa Jewell

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Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes

Do we have similar books on our TBRs? Did you find anything you wanted to add to yours?

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to play.

Review: What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

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Read the synopsis on Good Reads:

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

What You Want to See will be available 5/1/18. 

I really enjoyed Kristen Lepionka’s debut book of the Roxane Weary series, The Last Place You Look, and I think I liked this one even better.

I’m not going to share the synopsis here because I think it gives way too much of the plot away. While I think it would be best to start with the first book in the series to have a better handle on Roxane’s relationships, romantic and otherwise, the mystery is self-contained to this book and could be read as a standalone. Roxane is a private investigator who recently closed a very high profile case. She’s taken a much more low-key job – trailing a possible cheating fiancé. The case spirals into something much more dangerous and Roxane finds herself caught up in the middle of it.

I really enjoyed the twisty mystery in this. There were just so many layers that kept being revealed. It had the potential to get really out of hand, but Lepionka juggled it all really well. In a lot of mysteries I read these days I have everything all figured out pretty early on, but this one kept me guessing. While there were a few things I might have predicted, there were lots of other things I didn’t. I kind of liked just reading it and being surprised, instead of trying to figure out every little thing. I thought the pacing was well done and there was never a time I felt like something drug on too long. I did think the ending was jut a tiny bit rushed, though, and thought there were a couple of loose ends that weren’t tied up quite as neatly as I would’ve liked them to have been.

I thought Roxane was a little more likable in this book, as well. She seems to be working on her alcohol issues (most of the time, anyways) and she appears a little more self-aware. She had some good character growth, which I appreciated. I’m still not thrilled with her romantic interests, though (yes, there’s two). I really, really disliked Catherine in the previous book. She just seemed like an awful person who was no good at all for Roxane. She was a little better and a little more self-aware, too, this time around, but I think she’s still technically married and I’m just not on that ship. I do like Tom, as a character, but he also is in a relationship with someone else. To be fair, there were not any real romantic moments between he and Roxane in this book, but there’s still obvious chemistry that seems a little inappropriate given his relationship status. If he breaks up with his girlfriend, though, I think I could really root for him to be with Roxane.

Overall, I really enjoyed What You Want to See. It was well-paced and well-written, with a really interesting mystery. I also love that this book is set in Columbus, OH and I recognized a lot of the areas mentioned. I definitely recommend this series to Mystery fans and am looking forward to reading more from Lepionka in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars