Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 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.


My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel. Read November 30 – December 1. 3 Stars. 

So, I kind of don’t get the hype with this one? I was expecting a lot of twists and craziness, but it was kind of a boring story about a manipulative person that we know is manipulative and the people she’s manipulating figures it out pretty quickly. At least this was a novella and not a book I wasted several days on. I’m giving it three stars because there wasn’t really anything wrong with the writing and the characters were kind of interesting. I think I just had higher expectations than I should have.


A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan. Read December 2-3. 3.5 Stars. 

Another over-hyped story I have been waiting a long time to read. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely had some fun elements and some nice, little twists. I kind of enjoyed how messed up everything/everyone was. But I expected something a little more explosive. The ending was really anti-climatic. 


Day 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan. Read December 6-8. 3 Stars. 

Not a whole lot actually happened in this book, but I think I enjoyed it a little more than the first. Bellarke becomes official, so that’s enough to make me happy.


Verity by Colleen Hoover. Read December 8-10. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely a different type of book than CoHo’s usual thing and I was into it. It has one of my favorite narrative devices – a book within a book. The characters were really interesting, if not always likable. I didn’t like that there was a cheating storyline. While I thought there was a definite creep factor, the suspense felt a little cheap and I wasn’t surprised by the “twist” at the end. I did, however, like that it left things kind of open-ended. I don’t usually appreciate that, but I thought it worked really well here. I’ve been struggling with what to rate this, but I think I’m going to knock it up to 4 stars because I did have a good time reading it.


Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse by Shannon Thomas. Read December 10-11. 4 Stars. 

My father was never the easiest person to live with. Objectively, there were good times and he could be helpful and kind. But, those times were not the norm. Still, it was not until the events that led to my mother filing for divorce last year that we recognized his behavior over the years was narcissistic and abusive. This book had a lot of good information and there are many passages I highlighted that I will need to write down as reminders (I’ll probably update this review with them eventually). However, I feel like while I did face that psychological abuse, I was also kind of a step removed from it. I felt the focus of things discussed in this book would definitely be more applicable to my mother. I’m glad I read it, though, and would recommend it to people who are struggling with toxic people in their life.


From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. Read December 4-16. 3.5 Stars. 

First of all, I want to say I think everyone today that goes around calling people “nazis” when they don’t agree with them should read this book (or one like it…or even an actual History textbook…). The atrocities that were done to the Jewish people during this time are just disgusting and heartbreaking. 

In terms of the book itself, the writing is as beautiful as you would expect from Amy Harmon. The characters were real and likable. I did take a big issue with a main theme in the book, though, which is making me give it a lower rating than pretty much everyone else I know. Most of the time I feel Amy Harmon treats religion and faith very thoughtfully in her books. I am neither Catholic nor Jewish, but I honestly felt a little offended in how disrespectful both main characters were in regards to their faiths. Angelo is a priest, even though he should have never become one because he was already in love with someone. And then he sleeps with her while he’s a priest. And then he basically denounces his Catholic faith for one of Universalism instead. It wasn’t really a message I could get behind. One of the main reasons I put this book off for so long is because I was a little concerned about a priest being the love interest and while the book was still worth the read, I know I was right to be a little hesitant about it. 

Obviously, this is an unpopular opinion that didn’t really seem to bother anyone else. And I still definitely recommend Amy Harmon’s books, but this is not one I would pick up again.


Can’t Text This (Text #3) by Teagan Hunter. Read December 16. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely not one of my usual type of books. However, just like the first book in this series, I read this in one evening. Basically in one sitting. I love the texting so much. Robbie and Monty’s banter just cracked me up. I didn’t love how sex-centered the plot was, but I kind of feel like the humor and characters made up for it. I also loved how much we got to see of Zach from the previous books. While this book would not be for everyone, it was exactly the light-hearted read I needed right now and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And that’s why I’m bumping my rating up to 4 stars.


The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise. Read December 17-19. 3.5 Stars. 

I really loved the slow burn in this. It was so cute and romantic and funny. I was really ready to give this 4 stars, but it went a little off the rails for me in the last third or so of the book. Once Dylan and Zoe actually got together, it was all sex scenes and miscommunication drama, and cheesiness. I just did not enjoy the ending as much as I did the beginning, even though I was happy with how it all turned out. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author, though.


Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata. Read December 19-22. 4 Stars. 

Like every other book I’ve read by this author, it could’ve used way more editing and been about 200 pages shorter than it was. There is so much repetition and so many pages where nothing in the story moved forward whatsoever. However, the characters were still compelling enough to make me want to keep reading. Though Luna annoyed me sometimes, I liked her and her optimism. I enjoyed the slow burn romance with Rip, too. While there were plenty of sweet and romantic moments between them, there were some things that didn’t sit super well with me either. There’s about a 15 year age difference between them that isn’t really ever addressed. And there were times he came across a little controlling and jerky. I’m still giving this book 4 stars, though, because despite my problems with it, I still really enjoyed reading it.


All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. Read December 26-28. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but I had some issues with it that kept me from giving it 4 stars. First what I enjoyed – I liked the writing. I loved the multiple POVs and timelines. I thought they were really well done. The mystery was pretty well done, too. No shocking twists or any real surprises, but it worked. 

Now, my issues. I thought the whole A’s thing was ridiculous. It’s supposed to be a super exclusive club that will help you succeed in adulthood, but really all we see of it is horrible kids doing horrible things for really petty reasons. Every single thing they did was just stupid. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, either. Charlie was interesting, but I never really liked her. And I really didn’t like how her main confidant/love interest is a college graduate when she’s a junior in high school. I also didn’t really like how it ended. It kind of skipped over all the fall-out for her and her “friends” and I would’ve liked more details about what happened to them.


The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. Read December 25-28. 4 Stars. 

I tried bullet journaling earlier this year and pretty much crashed and burned with it. I’ve been wanting to try it again, though, and I think after reading this book I have a much better chance at being successful. I know that as I get started with it in 2019 I will be referring back to this often as a manual and it will decrease my frustration. I also liked that Ryder really stressed that your BuJo does not have to be super creative and beautiful like so many you see online. The most important thing is that it works for you and that you are tracking and logging meaningful things. If making things really pretty helps inspire you, that’s great, but if you aren’t artistic, it’s ok. I thought it got a little too “self-help” now and then, but overall I definitely recommend this one for people who are thinking about bullet journaling, but not quite sure where to start.


Diced by Ginger Scott. Read December 28. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. I think the biggest problem is that I’m just not a big fan of novellas. I mostly decided to read this because I wanted to hit a certain number of books read for the year and this would help me get there. It did have some cute moments, but everything just felt so rushed and things weren’t really explained to my satisfaction. And then instead of the characters really having a good conversation about the future in the end, they just say some cliched things in an extended sex scene and I was kind of over it. However, if you are a big Romance and novella fan, you will probably enjoy it more than I did.



To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise. DNF at 28%. I tried. I really tried with this one, but I just can’t take anymore. I can’t stand any of the characters and I really don’t like the “little one” nickname. It makes me cringe every time Jason says it – which is a lot. I have heard from people that it gets better, but I just don’t care enough to make myself move forward with it.

*****Book with Future Review Scheduled*****


The Temp by Michelle Frances – 2 Stars

19 thoughts on “Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2018

  1. I think Manipulated Lives could work as a full novel, where there’s a part where we get to the part that is the novella.

    I liked All These Beautiful Strangers, mostly the chapters told by the mum from the past.

  2. I think this a great idea to do for unreviewed books. I often find myself not reviewing books either because of lack of time or interest. I’ve been wanting to read:” Healing from Hidden Abuse” and someone came into my store yesterday and raved about the bullet journal, so I will definitely have to check both of those out.

  3. Great honest reviews, Stephanie. When I read a book that is over the top, I wonder whether other people like that. Personally, I prefer more realistic stories. That said, sometimes the totally crazy finish is fun! I guess it depends on my mood!

  4. Get ready…I have a lot of comments!
    1. I loved your review for Verity! I am happy you enjoyed it even if it wasn’t a 5 star.
    2. I haven’t read that Amy Harmon book yet. Is it weird that I’m more curious about it now after your review? I have it, so I should hurry up and read it!
    3. I knew you probably wouldn’t be a fan of how sex centered Teagan’s book was, but at least it was still cute! 😉
    4. I’m sad you didn’t love the entire book of The Hardest Fall, but I can understand where you’re coming from.
    5. Yay for Luna! I get what you mean about the editing. You’re not the first person who has pointed this out in a review. I think she was so hurried to get it out.
    6. I admit I loved Diced. I know what you’re talking about novella wise. Sometimes we need more.
    7. I am laughing at your Jason Thorne review! I had a hard time getting into it. I know I ended up liking it, but that little one thing drove me nuts, too. You might check out To Hate Adam Connor. I think I liked that one even more maybe.

    Can I just say that I think you need KU all the time? I love reading your reviews after you have it because you try out some books you wouldn’t normally read. Even if you don’t like them all, I enjoy knowing your perception of them. It helps me know what books I’ve read to send your way. 🙂

    • 🙂 I’m interested in hearing what you think of that Harmon book. I’m apparently the only person who isn’t absolutely in love with it. Novellas just aren’t really my thing. There’s been very few that I actually really liked. Though they were helpful to help me reach my book count 🙂 I do have KU through the end of February, so if you have other book recs for me, let me know! I’m reading another Amy Harmon book now and I got a couple of RS Grey books, as well. Happy New Year!

  5. Really interesting mix of books! 🙂 I really-really liked My Sweet Friend and Woman Scorned… maybe because I don’t often read in those genres so they do tend to blow me away a bit more!? 🙂

  6. You definitely didn’t miss much with Jason Thorne. I should have DNF’d that one early on but pushed through…and it so wasn’t worth it. I’m with you when it comes to the “little one” nickname! I listened to it as an audiobook and it gave me the creeps everytime he said it. Ick!

    • I’m glad to hear you say that about Jason Thorn. Everyone else has said it gets better, but I just really wasn’t enjoying it all. And that was probably the worst nickname I’ve encountered in a Contemporary in a long time.

  7. Pingback: December 2018 Recap | Stephanie's Book Reviews

  8. Isn’t it weird how a certain phrase/nickname/word that gets overused in a book can just make the whole book SO aggravating?! I’ve never been a fan of the nickname “babe” (it somehow seems so weirdly derogatory to me, and I can’t even explain why haha) and there have been times where that is THE nickname in a book and then it feels like the people literally can’t talk with the person without saying it! “Babe, what do you want for lunch?” “I don’t know, babe, what are you feeling?” “Oh, wow, babe, maybe a burger or something?” “Babe, we just had burgers yesterday.” “Sorry, babe, I forgot.” I MEAN SERIOUSLY. Anyway, got a little ranty there, but you know what I mean!!

    • Did you watch The Office? Because this comment totally reminded me of the Dinner Party episode where Michael Jan call eachother Babe the whole time and it’s sooo annoying haha. I agree nicknames should be used sparingly!

      • haha I still haven’t gotten around to watching the Office, but I’m sincerely glad that someone else out there is making fun of Babe!

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