Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2019

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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Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory #1) by Amy Harmon. Read December 29 – January 2. 3 Stars.

This was not my favorite Harmon book. I liked the characters and the premise was interesting enough, I just couldn’t really get into it. I’ll read the next book, but I’m not in a bug hurry to do so.

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Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie. Read January 3-5. 4 Stars. 

My first Agatha Christie novel and I will definitely need to read more from her. I really enjoyed the writing style. The mystery was good, the characters were fun, and I was not expecting at all how funny it was. It did drag a little bit here and there for me, but I love how all the mundane details ended up being important as everything was revealed at the end.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Read January 6-10. 3 Stars. 

I think I am just not really a fan of these type of books anymore. I really enjoyed reading about the characters in this, but everything else was so “meh” for me. I didn’t really care that much about the magic or the Wood or the fighting or the ENDLESS description. I was going to give this a lower rating, but I’m bumping it up to three stars because I think this is mostly a case of “it’s me, not you.”

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. Read January 10-12. 4 Stars. 

Though I didn’t like this one quite as much as McManus’ previous book, I still really enjoyed it. I liked the characters and the small town setting. While the very first person I suspected did end up being the killer, I did suspect a couple other options throughout the story and there was one unrelated twist that I hadn’t suspected, so I liked that. This was definitely a fun book and I look forward to whatever this author writes next.

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A Killer’s Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery #1) by Mike Omer. Read January 12-14. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. I thought it was well-plotted, had likable characters, and was sometimes funny. The writing was pretty good, but there were a few parts here and there where the dialogue felt a little off. However, I enjoyed it all enough to give this four stars and would definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series.

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House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel. Read January 14-19. 3 Stars.

This was definitely a hard book to read. I’ve heard mention of the Sexton family a lot over the years, as this all happened close to where I live, but I never really knew the details. It is a horrifying story of abuse, incest, murder, and paranoia. I just felt so awful for the poor kids of this family and everything they were subjected to. As for the book itself, it felt a little disjointed and a lot of the details, especially earlier on, didn’t seem necessary. I don’t actually read a lot of true crime, so I’m not sure if the way a lot of this just seemed like conjecture is normal of the genre.

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Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey. Read January 21-22. 4 Stars.

Despite a few too graphic scenes, I really enjoyed this book. I had kind of decided this author wasn’t for me, but since I currently have Kindle Unlimited I decided to give her another try. I started one book and took a hard pass after the first chapter and decided I would just try out this one before returning them, but then I couldn’t put it down. I really liked both the main characters and how their relationship developed. I also really loved Bailey’s sister, Josie. I thought the end was a little too rushed, but overall it was cute and addictive and really fed my Contemporary craving.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross – 4 Stars

Romancing His Rival (Accidentally Yours #3) by Jennifer Shirk – 3.5 Stars

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – 4 Stars

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Recently Removed from my TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Goodreads group, is a freebie. I decided to share some of the book I’ve recently removed from my TBR.

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1. Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

First of all, I am not a Shadowhunters fangirl. I have had many problems with the multiple series, but I have also enjoyed several of them, as well. So why am I quitting this series at it’s finale? First of all, it’s 900+ pages. Just no. I’ve also happened to read a couple reviews that involved some spoilers and it has made me not at all interested enough to invest my time in this. Maybe if it was around 300 pages I would still give it a try, but not for 900 pages. The only thing I really care about in this series is Julian and Emma and their resolution sounds kind of stupid. I also refuse to ship polyamorous relationships. If that’s how you want to live your life, then ok, that has nothing to do with me, live your life. But I’m not going to choose to read and ship it.

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2. Kiss Collector by Wendy Higgins

It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by Wendy Higgins and I was excited for her new book. I did actually get this one from the library and I read the first chapter and knew I was just way too old for this book. I never marked it as reading and I didn’t really give it a chance past the first chapter, so I’m not marking it as DNF, I’m just removing it from the TBR.

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3. I Like You, I Love Her by J.R. Rogue

I did get this off of Kindle Unlimited and read a few chapters before I knew I wasn’t in the right mood for it. I put it back on the TBR because I did plan on trying it again, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I will never pick it up again.

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4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Ok, don’t hate. I’ve read pretty much nothing but wonderful things about this book and I have no doubt the author is very talented. However, lately I just CANNOT get into fantasy novels. Add that to the whole thing on Twitter where Adeyemi accused Nora Fricking Roberts of copying her and I just can’t. She did end up apologizing for jumping to conclusions and did eventually delete the tweet, I believe, but how full of yourself do you have to be -as a debut author, no less – to think an author as popular as Nora Roberts would need to copy you to sell books…

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5. Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is another book I have actually read several chapters of before deciding I wasn’t in the mood for it. I used to want to read all of JLA’s book, but a good deal of them end up just not being for me and this series falls into that category.

Have you read any of these books? Should I reconsider any of them?

Review: The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth really will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we really know the people we love most?

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

The Winter Sister will be available February 5, 2019. 

I’m sorry to say that this one did not live up to my expectations. I’ve seen some great reviews for The Winter Sister mentioning the beautiful writing and shocking secrets and both fell a little flat for me.

The story is not really anything new. Nothing at all about the mystery plot line surprised me in any way. However, where the book shined was in the interpersonal relationships. Even though Sylvie and her mother, Annie, drove me crazy, their dysfunctional relationship was kind of fascinating. Annie’s story of toxic love and the emotional and psychological impact of it to not just her, but her children was compelling and frustrating. The only character that I really liked was Ben and I mostly just felt sorry for him, too.

Overall, The Winter Sister was just not for me. I was looking for a mystery and surprising twists, but it ended up being much more domestic drama. The writing wasn’t bad, but it didn’t blow me away, either. I also found the ending a little more open-ended then I prefer. Most people have seemed to enjoy this one much more than I did, though, so it still might be worth your time to check out, especially if you are interested in more domestic driven stories.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: ARCs on the Top of My TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Goodreads group, is: Top of Your TBR. I’ve adapted it a little bit to ARCs on the Top of my TBR.

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1. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. After trying to catch up on all of Harmon’s backlist, I’ve discovered a couple of her books are ones that I don’t really care for, so I’m just a little nervous about this since historical fiction isn’t really my thing anymore. But I do have faith that even if it’s not my favorite Harmon book, it will still be good.

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2. Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin. Intercepted was a surprise hit for me, so even though this book has some tropes that are not my favorite, I’m still very excited to read it.

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3. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. This book just very recently got on my radar and it sounds right up my alley. I love stories that involve notes/texts/e-mails.

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4. Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne. I am always excited to read a Lauren Layne book and I have high hopes for this one. I actually read a review that was complaining that the love scenes were not as graphic as other Layne books have been, but that’s a really big plus in my book and made me even more interested in it.

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5. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I’ve seen a lot of hype for this one and I’m really hoping it lives up to expectations.

What books are on the top of your TBR?

Review: The Temp by Michelle Frances

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Wanted: Assistant to provide maternity cover for high-powered TV producer. Must be bright, creative, with killer instincts.

Emma would do anything to work for the woman who has the job she wants. Carrie is at the top of her game, with a dream career, a baby on the way, and a handsome screenwriter husband. For Emma, with parents who don’t understand her ambition and a serious misstep behind her, this temp position might be her last chance.

Carrie has given up more than anyone knows to get to the top of a ruthless business. She won’t give up this baby too. But with Emma filling in for her at the office, her perfect life starts to unravel. Her bank account is inexplicably overdrawn, her husband seems strangely distant and colleagues are all too happy to take Emma’s creative direction. Carrie finds herself dying to get back to work . . . until a letter left at her door changes everything.

Trust and fear trade places in a love triangle that defies readers’ expectations at every turn.

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

The Temp will be available January 29, 2019.

I have seen several glowing review for The Temp and was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it near as much as others have seemed to.

First, I want to say that I think the synopsis is a little misleading. Nothing it says is wrong, exactly, it just makes things sound like they happen much more suspensefully or creepily than they actually do. Anyways, I have recently read several light and fluffy Romances in a row and I was really craving something with a little more substance when I picked this book up. I really wanted the suspense and thrills and The Temp just didn’t give it to me. I didn’t think any of the twists were surprising. There is one that is saved until almost the end of the book that I suspected within the first 20% of the story.

Which leads me to my next point. This book was far longer than it needed to be. I felt like there was a lot of repetition and the pace was pretty slow. The chapters became a little quicker towards the end, but I still felt like things were dragged out for too long. I also thought it was structured kind of oddly. The book is broken into four parts, each under a different character’s name, but the story is told in third person and the POV changes almost every chapter, despite which part it’s in. I didn’t understand the purpose of the different parts named after a character if that section didn’t focus entirely on that character’s POV?

Overall, The Temp just wasn’t for me. It had an intriguing premise and the writing wasn’t that bad, it just lacked the suspense and creep factor I was expecting. I wasn’t surprised by any of the twists and I didn’t find the characters very likable or relatable. However, I have seen other people who have really enjoyed this book, so it still might be worth the read.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars