Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2020

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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Boys of Brayshaw High (Brayshaw High #1) by Meagan Brandy. Read March 30-31. 2 Stars

So this is kind of the definition of Trashy Romance and Toxic Relationship. It was quite ridiculous and over the top. It’s getting two stars instead of one just because it kept my attention enough that I actually finished it. I might even try the next book to see where this crazy story goes. 

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The Marriage Effect (Washington Wolves #3) by Karla Sorensen. Read April 1-3. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this. Super cute with likable characters. I liked that we got both POVs. I loved Logan and Paige’s relationship with his sisters. I’m definitely going to read more from this author.

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Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey. Read April 8-9. 3.5 Stars. 

I was really frustrated by how childish Daisy acted for most of this book, but I did really like how it ended. And there were some funny and cute moments. Not my favorite Grey book, but definitely enjoyable.

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Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Read April 9-10. 3 Stars. 

I really enjoyed parts of this. I liked the romance between Ava and Knox. I loved the relationship between Knox and his twin brother, Dane. I liked how Knox’s family finally got their act together. There were some things that didn’t work for me, though. The whole secret admirer love letter portion of the book was very short. There’s one letter, then some texts and you know who it is pretty much right away, even if it takes several chapters for Ava to confirm it (she also figured it out long before then, though). I was expecting that to be a much bigger part of the plot, so I was a little disappointed. I also didn’t think the sexual assault storyline was handled very well. It was used more for a “whodunit” type of plotline and didn’t deal too much with the physical, emotional, or psychological aspects that such a serious subject deserves.

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Doctor Dearest by R.S. Grey. Read April 12-13. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. Both the characters had trouble with communicating and that frustrated me. This book also utilized one of my least favorite tropes. Had a couple of cute moments, but overall a pretty average Romance.

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Boyfriend Bargain (Hawthorne University #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Read April 11-15. 2.5 Stars

This one wasn’t really my cup of tea. The angst was the only thing I really liked about it, which tells you how much I didn’t like the rest of it. But, I finished it and there were some funny or cute moments, too. 

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Fake Fiance by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Read April 15-21. 3 Stars. 

I got this for free awhile ago and finally decided to give it a try. It was just ok for me. It followed the basic formula every other book I’ve read by this author follows: Damaged protagonist falls for damaged athlete who has a complicated relationship with his father, a dead mother, and one close friend who provides comic relief.

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The Gambler (The Wedding Pact #3) by Denise Grover Swank. Read April 21-22. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this. I totally shipped Noah and Libby and I had a fun time reading about all their crazy adventures. One particular scene involving a big wedding dress and a public restroom made me laugh out loud. I did struggle with Libby a bit, though. Since it’s been so long since I read the previous books, I can’t remember if she was always so frustrating, but she really got on my nerves here. She did a ridiculous and crazy thing, after a history of doing ridiculous and crazy things, and then she got mad when her friends called her out on it. I also wish Swank wouldn’t have waited until almost the end of the book to reveal the root of Libby’s issues. I think I would have been less frustrated with her if we found out about it earlier. However, the rest of the book was so cute that these things didn’t really lessen my enjoyment at all.

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Focused by Karla Sorensen. Read April 21-23. 3.5 Stars

It took me a while to get into this, but about a third of the way in I really started to enjoy it. I was a little annoyed with Molly towards the end, but everything worked out in a cute way. I did like seeing Paige and Logan again. I’m definitely going to check out more books by this author.

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Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram. Read April 26. 4 Stars.

This was both really sad and really sweet. Ella is in a car accident that kills her mother and leaves her with scars on 70% of her body and mobility issues. She moves across the country to stay with her father who she hasn’t seen in ten years when he basically abandoned her. She has to deal with a lot of cruel people who make fun of her because of her scars, as well as new dysfunctional family dynamics. I really didn’t like her dad. I thought what he did and the reasons he did it were spineless and I think he should have been a little sorrier than he was. I also didn’t really like his new wife and I wish they would have handled the wicked stepsisters a little better than they did. Though, by the end of the book they have a lot of therapy and things do start to get better between them all and I liked that.

It took me a long time to get on board the romance. I found Brian (aka “Cinder”) really unlikable for awhile. Pretty much any time he wasn’t interacting with Ella, he was a dick. He did grow on me, though, and I shipped him and Ella. I’m a little nervous to read the next book because I feel like Ella’s already had to go through so much and I don’t want to see more bad things happen to her, which you know there has to be if a Romance/Family Drama gets a sequel. I still plan on reading it, though. I did really enjoy this, even if I had some issues with it.

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Fallen Crest Campout by Tijan. Read April 28. 3.5 Stars.

This was a quick, fun foray back into the Fallen Crest universe. There was still some immature drama, but for the most part it was a more grown up look at the Kades and I liked that. There was also the inclusion of characters from the Crew series, which spun off from Fallen Crest, and even though I haven’t read those yet, I didn’t feel too lost on the new characters. If you’re a fan of Fallen Crest, you should definitely check this one out.


Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier. Read April 27-29. 2 Stars. 

I am so disappointed! I loved Jar of Hearts and have been waiting for Hillier’s next book ever since. I found this really underwhelming, though. It was super predictable with really unlikable characters. It read a lot more like a Women’s Fiction book than a mystery/thriller. The majority of the book revolved around a cheating plotline, which annoyed me. I kept waiting for all these great, twisty reveals and found absolutely none of them surprising. Just another hyped book that let me down.



The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I absolutely loved this just as much the second time around. I had forgotten how it really puts you through the emotional wringer. It was still a bit too long. I still wanted to punch Nick right in the face a few times. But I loved it so much. I loved Bex and Nick and watching their relationship unfold. I will say, though, that if Lacey meets an untimely demise in the sequel, I will not be sad.

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. I still liked this a lot the second time around, but not quite as much as I was expecting. I forgot how unlikable Jasmine was about 90% of the time. For some reason I had less patience for her behavior this time around. I still loved Ivan, though, and the romance.



Teardrop Shot by Tijan. DNF @ 10%. I just couldn’t get into this. I found the main character really off-putting and couldn’t take any more of her.

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The Best Mistake by Cookie O’Gorman. DNF @ 26%. I wanted to like this, but it’s just not for me. The dialogue made me cringe and everything the main character did just made me roll my eyes. I’ve seen some really good reviews on it, though, so it could just be me.

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

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The Heir Affair (Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – 4 Stars

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda – 3.5 Stars

The Vacation by T.M. Logan – 4 Stars

The Bright Lands by John Fram – 2.5 Stars

Always A Bridesmaid by Cindi Madsen – 4 Stars

Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4 Stars

14 thoughts on “Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2020

  1. It’s my favorite post of the month, my favorite post of the month… (Can you tell I’m singing this?)
    Meghan Brandy totally set you up in a drama trap to keep you reading. If you want NUTS keep going all the way!
    Yay for The Marriage Effect! I’m sad it took you longer to get into Focused, but at least you ended up liking it for the most part.
    I totally get what you’re saying about Grey’s book.
    Also get what you’re saying about Dear Ava. You should give one of her other books a try!… Oh, wait! You did… More than once. Did you know her Dirty English is inspired by Pride & Prejudice? Maybe that one?
    I haven’t read that doctor book by Grey because your review is what I’ve heard from a lot of people.
    Do you think I would enjoy The Gambler? It’s been a while since I read one of her books.
    I still haven’t read the Cinder & Ella sequel. Maybe I will after you report back on it. 😉
    I’m sorry Little Secrets let you down.
    You re-read Lukov. Have you ever read Dear Aaron? I can’t remember.
    I’m sorry you had to DNF both of those. 😦
    I can’t wait for your reviews for Beach Read and Always a Bridemaid.

    There. I think I got it all out.

    • Lol, I like your song 🙂
      I started the second book in that Brayshaw book, but didn’t get very far because I wasn’t in the right mood for it. I did read some spoilers for the series, so I’m not sure if I’ll continue it. It’s certainly crazy, though.
      I started the second book in the Washington Wolves series yesterday and am enjoying it so far. Thanks for the recommendation of this author!
      I do remember seeing Dirty English around year ago. I didn’t know it was a P&P retelling. I might have to try it.
      You might enjoy The Gambler. It had some really fun and cute moments. It’s the third book in a series, but the series bundle is on KU right now if you want to check it out. I will tell you I didn’t like book 2 because I hate the character it focuses on, but books 1 and 3 were pretty good.
      I was disappointed when I was looking on Goodreads and saw you hadn’t read the Cinder & Ella sequel yet. I was looking to see if it was worth it haha. I will bite the bullet for us, though, as I plan on reading it before my KU ends.
      I have read Dear Aaron already. I was thinking of maybe re-reading that, too, sometime. I’m reading Wait for It right now, which is the only one of her books left in KU I haven’t read (except for the porn star book, because I don’t see me reading that).

      • LOL. I’m sorry I didn’t read the sequel yet. Maybe I can soon. It’s hard because the first book is not fresh in my mind at all.
        I don’t see you reading the porn star book at all. Actually, I recommend you don’t. Not that it’s super porny or anything. I just don’t see you appreciating it. So, you will want to watch around Mother’s Day. There are usually KU deals around then. Not as good as $.99 for a month or anything, but they usually have like $6.99/month instead of $9.99. Might be worth it. Or I can just continue to tell you when see deals for like $.99 and such. 😉

      • Lol, it’s ok. I’ll try the sequel and can let you know this time 🙂 My KU is good through the middle of May, I think. I probably wouldn’t pay $6.99/month for it, but if you see more free or $0.99 sales, I’m all over that!

  2. Oh boy, Boys of Brayshaw High was my guilty pleasure, sometimes all I need is a little OTT teenage drama, but I must admit I enjoyed the first book the most, and felt it only got more OTT with each book.

    I’m so sorry Teardrop Shot didn’t work out for you. It took me a bit to get into the story, but the heroine’s devolvement was fantastic, she was such a klutz at the beginning. It’s rare that you can see such a drastic change in characters.

    Lukov is one of my last favorite Mariana Zapata books, I thought about re-reading it, because who knows, it’s been years, but I don’t think I could.

    I have the audiobook for Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier on my schedule for this week, I’m excited and will see how it goes, sorry it was a disappointment for you.

    The Bombshell Effect is still my favorite Karla Sorensen book to date, her last few I enjoyed but couldn’t tell you what they were about, I already have trouble remembering the couple from the last one, Focused 🙈

    • Boys of Brayshaw are definitely over the top! If I get in the mood for that again, I may try the second book. The Lukov and Dear Aaron books have been my favorite Zapata books. Although I did just finish Wait for It and ended up really liking it, after a slow start. I hope you enjoy Little Secrets much more than I did. The Bombshell Effect is my next Sorensen read. I did the series backwards for some reason?

  3. Pingback: May 2020 Recap | Stephanie's Book Reviews

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