Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 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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Marriage for One by Ella Maise. Read May 31 – June 2. 3.5 Stars. 

This had a great slow burn romance that I loved. However, like the other book I’ve read by this author, once the slow burn developed into the actual relationship, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. There were several explicit scenes and the end was a cheesefest. It was also a lot longer than it needed to be. However, if you’re a Romance fan and like slow burn, I still definitely recommend this one.

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Trashy Romance Novel by Jacqueline E. Smith. Read June 2-4. 3 Stars. 

Interesting idea, but a little underwhelming. I thought the big conflicts in the story were a little unbelievable. The main character published several books under a pen name and she keeps it a secret from her real life friends. But, she still does book signings and takes pictures and gives interviews and no one is supposed to figure it out? I thought what happened to her in high school that makes her refuse to tell people her real name was going to be something really intense, but it was just some poor decisions and a little bullying. I felt like the characters should have been aged down a lot for that to still have such an impact. 

I also thought it was odd that she was on set of the tv show for the whole shoot. She was a co-writer on the script, but she’s never consulted or has to do any actual work on the script while she’s there. She basically just stands around and watches them film. And the actors seem to get a whole lot of time off? I also HATED her best friend, Gemma. However, the romance was cute and there was some good banter here and there. It wasn’t bad for a Kindle Unlimited selection.

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Wild Reckless (Harper Boys #1) by Ginger Scott. Read June 8-10. 3.5 Stars. 

Cute, but super angsty – sometimes a little too over-dramatic. I shipped the romance, though there were times it didn’t seem all that healthy of a relationship. I thought the characters were well developed, though. Also, I found parts of Kensi’s relationship with her father relatable – I’m always up for seeing cheating, emotionally-abusive men get kicked to the curb.

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When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington. Read June 12-14. 3 Stars. 

A cute, summertime read. I liked the romance and the characters – though Olivia did annoy me sometimes. One thing that kind of seemed odd to me was that the story was told in alternating 1st person POV and it would sometimes change several times in one chapter. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but sometimes it would only be for a couple paragraphs at a time before switching back. I just didn’t really see the purpose in it. And since both voices sounded exactly the same, maybe this would have been better told in 3rd person? Anyways, it was still an enjoyable read, but the last quarter or so of the book could have been a little better for me. The ending felt really abrupt and I felt there could have been a little more detail and that’s why I’m dropping my rating down to 3 stars instead of 4.

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Coldhearted Boss by R. S. Grey. Read June 15-16. 3 Stars.

This was cute. I shipped the romance, but there were still plenty of things about it that I was kind of annoyed by. I thought they both acted really childish for way too long and I guess I expected a little more from all the hate-to-love antics.

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No Exit by Taylor Adams. Read June 17-21. 3 Stars.

This didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, but it wasn’t bad. I was hoping for a few more twists and surprises, though. I really loved to hate the main villain. I thought that characterization was pretty well done and made the book worth the read.

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A Pizza My Heart (Slice Series #1) by Teagan Hunter. Read June 21. 3.5 Stars.

As with all Hunter’s books, the addictive writing made this a fast read. I really loved about the first half. I’m all about the slow burn. I also loved the banter. I just felt like once they started to get together it became all about the physical relationship, which kind of cheapened the actual love story. I also wish the secondary characters were developed a little bit more. However, it was a quick fun read and I definitely shipped Wren and Foster.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis. Read June 22-24. 4 Stars. 

I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I was going on a little trip and decided to browse through Hoopla to see what was available to listen to while I drove. I’m not that familiar with Rachel Hollis, but I have heard a lot of good things about her from other bloggers and decided to give this one a try. I’m glad I did. I am not really an ambitious person at all, but this made me feel inspired to start setting some small goals for myself – and then maybe some bigger goals. And while audio isn’t my favorite format because I can’t easily go back and look up passages I wanted to revisit, I think it really added to the experience to hear it narrated by Rachel herself. Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for something a little motivational.

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The Stand-In Boyfriend (Grove Valley High #1) by Emma Doherty. Read June 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. There were many ridiculous things and Livy kind of drove me crazy about 90% of the time, but I still loved it. Chase was so, so sweet and made up for everything else. A fun fake relationship story I recommend if you can deal with the angst.

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Four Doors Down (Becca McKenzie #1) by Emma Doherty. Read June 26-27. 3 Stars. 

Easy, quick read that was kind of addicting, but I did not like this one as much as the other book I have read by this author. The plot was different, but it felt really similar. Both books are about a completely oblivious girl who doesn’t realize the hot, popular guy is SUPER into her. Becca was a really unlikable character and I wish more than just the epilogue was told through Ryan’s POV. Becca was always going on about how other people were stuck up and thought they were too cool for her, but she was a complete jerk to everyone. I don’t even really want to read the next book because I don’t think I can handle any more of her. If you’re interested in this author, I would recommend The Stand-in Boyfriend, instead.

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

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The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman.

This is for people who already know their passion and need to figure out how to achieve it, which is definitely not me yet, so this goes back on the shelf for another day.

*****DNF*****

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Rule #1: You Can’t Date the Coach’s Daughter by Ann-Marie Meyer.

DNF @ 30%. Found this on Kindle Unlimited and thought it might be cute. However, the writing isn’t great and the main character is a bit of a psycho.

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Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein.

DNF at 33%. I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn’t for me. The writing wasn’t bad, but the story was far-fetched and the main character was AWFUL. She was so shallow and selfish and she had zero self-awareness. I think that there will probably be a lot of people that can overlook those things and enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.

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Chasing Clouds by Kathryn Andrews.

DNF @ 14%. This seems a little unbelievable, but it has potential. However, I put this down because it hadn’t really grabbed me and I just don’t feel interested in picking it back up again.

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

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Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: June 26, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

I am between books at the moment, actually.

What did you recently finish reading?

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No Exit by Taylor Adams, Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham, and The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty. No Exit and Good Girl, Bad Girl were not as enjoyable as I was hoping, but I was pleasantly surprised by both Girl, Stop Apologizing and The Stand-In Boyfriend.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure yet, but I think I’m either going to go with Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgans or Chasing Clouds by Kathryn Andrews.

What are you reading?

Review: Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.

But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?

An exciting new direction for acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg, Past Perfect Life is a tense and tender read about secrets and lies, reality and identity, and the ways we put ourselves back together when everything is broken.

Perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, this is the story of one teen’s search for herself amid the confusion of a shattered past and a future far from all she planned.

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

Past Perfect Life will be available July 9, 2019. 

I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg a couple years ago and she quickly became one of my favorite YA Contemporary authors. I really can’t believe that more people aren’t talking about her books. Past Perfect Life was another of her books that I finished in one day.

Ally lives in a small town with her father and her biggest problem is coming up with a decent topic for her college application/scholarship application essay questions. She has a tight-knit group of friends and a great relationship with her father. That is, until her college applications are kicked back for having an invalid social security number. I feel like you can probably already guess what happens based off of the clues in the synopsis, but I kind of find it impossible to review this book without disclosing what happens, so if you really don’t want to know, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***. Turns out, Ally Smith is not her real name and her mother didn’t really die when she was three. When her father was afraid of losing partial custody of her, he fled with her and they have been living under false identities ever since.

This isn’t the first YA book I’ve read with this topic, but I thought it was well done. A lot of time is dedicated to Ally’s mental and emotional state around the discovery and then as she tries to adjust to her new life. We also see how it effects the friends she’s forced to leave behind and the new family she never knew existed who have been mourning her loss for the past fifteen years. I really loved Ally’s friends, the extended Gleason family, especially adorable Neil. I also really liked Ally’s step-father. I thought he handled the situation better than anyone else and was overall pretty amazing. I have to say I really didn’t care for Ally’s mother. I know that she’s been through a lot, but I thought she handled everything really poorly, right up until the end, which I thought was just a tad too easy and abrupt. I really could have used an epilogue.

I definitely need to mention Eulberg’s writing. She has such an addictive writing style that compels me to keep reading, even when I had decided I was going to set the book down to do something else. I certainly didn’t mean to finish this book in one day, but that’s exactly what happened because I just had to keep reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed Past Perfect Life. Though it was a heavier read than Eulberg’s other books I’ve read, I thought it was well done. The topic was interesting and Ally’s character development was really well done. I liked the cute romance with Neil and the really addictive writing. I definitely recommend that Contemporary fans check this out, as well as some of Eulberg’s other books.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: The Doctor by Lisa Stone

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘I was gripped immediately’ Katerina Diamond, Sunday Timesbestseller

How much do you know about the couple next door?

When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Anita, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Anita is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone.

When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger?

A gripping, sinister thriller with a twist you won’t see coming from the international bestseller Lisa Stone.

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

The Doctor will be available June 24, 2019. 

To be perfectly honest, the reason I decided to read this book was because of that little blurb from Katerina Diamond, who is one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately, I was not gripped immediately by The Doctor – or at all, really.

First of all, I need to point out a little pet peeve I have with the synopsis, which is that the name of the doctor’s wife was not the same as in the book. In the book, her name was Alisha, not Anita, so either the synopsis is wrong, or it was changed after the ARC was done. Also, Emily doesn’t go “missing” until the latter half of the book and the reader knows where she is the whole time. I expected it to be more of a mystery, but while Ben doesn’t know where she is, we know everything that happens and I felt it took away a lot of the tension.

Alisha has a chronic disease and her husband, Amit, is obsessed with the idea of cryonics, which involves freezing her body when she dies until medicine has advanced enough to cure the disease, when she can then be brought back to life. Alisha won’t consent to signing up with the agency that does this, so he decides to teach himself the process and will do it to her himself. In the mean time, he’s emotionally and physically abusive to Alisha to make sure she’s too scared to leave the house or accept the friendly advances of their neighbors, Emily.

I thought the book was much, much longer than it needed to be. The plot advanced very slowly and I never really felt the characters were developed that fully, either. The quality of the writing left a little to be desired for me, as well. It felt like a first or second draft and could have used a lot more editing and polishing. I was also really disappointed with the “twist” that was promised. It was barely a twist at all and left no real impact.

Overall, The Doctor just wasn’t for me. While it had an interesting angle with the cryonics plotline, it never really lived up to it’s potential. I never connected with the characters and thought Amit was a pretty weak villain. I was originally going to give this two stars, but once I actually started to write this review, I realized I don’t really have anything positive to say about it, so it’s only getting 1 star from me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

WWW Wednesday: June 19, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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No Exit by Taylor Adams. This is one I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. It’s started off pretty slow, but I’m starting to get into it more now.

What did you recently finish reading?

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When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington and Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey. Both were ok, but kind of forgettable.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham. I need to get back on track with my ARCs.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019.

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1. Shamed (Kate Burkholder #11) by Linda Castillo. Publishing July 16, 2019.

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2. Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown. Publishing July 30, 2019.

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3. Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins. Publishing August 6, 2019.

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4. The Killing Tide (Coastal Guardians #1) by Dani Pettrey. Publishing August 6, 2019.

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5. The Last Widow (Will Trent #9) by Karin Slaughter. Publishing August 20, 2019.

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6. Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay. Publishing September 17, 2019.

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7. Where Do I Begin? by Elvis Duran. Publishing October 1, 2019.

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8. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Publishing October 1, 2019.

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9. The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Publishing October 8, 2019.

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10. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Publishing November 5, 2019.

What are your most anticipated releases?