WWW Wednesday: January 13, 2021

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

What did you recently DNF?

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It feels like it’s been awhile since I finished a book. I’ve DNF-ed The Backup Girlfriend (Grove Valley High #2) by Emma Doherty and Varsity Rulebreaker (Varsity #3) by Ginger Scott this week.

What are you currently reading?

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The Class Reunion by N.L. Hinkens and Marrying Mr. Darcy (Love Manor #2) by Kate O’Keeffe. This section can probably be renamed “What I will be DNF-ing Next.” I’m not terribly impressed with the writing for either of these so far. I plan to give each of them another chapter to see if they improve before I give up.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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My library hold for The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1) by Julia Quinn just came in, so I will probably give it a try next!

What are you reading?

Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

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

Shipped publishes January 19, 2021. 

Shipped started off pretty strongly for me. It had some fun banter and reminded me a lot The Hating Game. The characters were likable enough and the cruise setting was a nice change of pace. However, I felt like the story shifted focus towards the end and I started to lose interest. It ended up being just ok for me.

I did ship Henley and Graeme. The Hate-to-Love trope was more one-sided, with Henley not liking Graeme, but at least there’s a valid – if misguided – reason for it. I thought Graeme was really sweet and I liked watching how Henley’s view of him started to change.

Where the book started to lose me was when it shifted away from the romance and got kind of preachy about environmental issues. There’s even a kind of lengthy note from the author about it, along with a call for donations. There were also a few other blink-and-you’ll-miss-it social issues brought up that nothing really happens with. Homophobia. Immigration. Domestic abuse. It felt like halfway through the cute romance, the author suddenly remembered she wanted to write something with a little more substance. The things that happened with Henley’s work situation also played out in a really unrealistic and kind of cheesy manner.

Overall, Shipped started off strongly for me, but I started to lose interest by the end. While I don’t have a problem with Hocking trying to draw attention to environmental and social issues, they weren’t included as seamlessly as they needed to be and it made the latter half of the book a little jarring. However, if you like a dose of environmental activism with your Romance, Shipped might be for you.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel–about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

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

The Perfect Guests publishes January 12, 2021. 

The Perfect Guests is a steadily paced, twisty story. Unfortunately, I found the twists predictable and I think that impacted how enjoyable I found the overall story.

The story is told in two timelines, one following Beth as she arrives at Raven Hall as a young teenager in the 80s, the other following Sadie in 2019 as she arrives at Raven Hall to play a role in a murder mystery party. There was also a third, anonymous POV that speaks up every few chapters. I thought the multiple POVs and timelines were well done. Though I did think Beth’s chapters were a little more interesting, I was never that upset when it was time to shift over to Sadie.

There are many twists and turns revealed throughout the story. I thought they were placed effectively, but there was exactly only one twist that I didn’t guess far before it was revealed. I thought they were all really predictable to anyone paying attention and so I never really felt any tension or suspense. It made this feel more like a Women’s Fiction story to me than a Mystery/Thriller.

Overall, The Perfect Guests was just ok for me. I thought the multiple POVs and timelines were well done, but was a little disappointed in how predictable I found the mystery. If you’re able to just enjoy a story as it goes without trying to predict anything about the mystery, you will probably enjoy this one a little bit more than I did.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: January 6, 2021

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

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry. This book surprised me in the best possible way. I read it in a day. My review will post next month.

What are you currently reading?

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All the Rage (DI Adam Fawley #4) by Cara Hunter. I love this series so much. I am continually in awe of Hunter and how well crafted her mysteries always are.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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My hold finally came in for Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis, so maybe that? I’ve been seeing pretty mixed reviews on it since I originally requested it, though, so I might put it off a bit longer.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021.

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1. The Song Book of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon. Publishes March 16, 2021.

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2. Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson. Publishes March 23, 2021.

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3.  Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne. Publishes April 13, 2021.

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4. Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson. Publishes April 20, 2021.

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5. Sunkissed by Kasies West. Publishes May 4, 2021.

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6. Find You First by Linwood Barclay. Publishes May 4, 2021.

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7. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Publishes May 11, 2021.

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8. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. Publishes May 18, 2021.

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9. The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary. Publishes June 1, 2021.

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10. Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler. Publishes June 1, 2021.

What new releases are you looking forward to in the first half of 2021?

2020 Recap

We did it! We made it through 2020. While there’s plenty I’m sure we’d all like to forget about the year, one thing I do want to look back on is my reading and blogging.

Books Read: 146
Adult: 99
NA: 9
YA: 38

Books DNF-ed: 21

Here are some fun charts of my 2020 reading stats!

 

Thanks to the long Fallen Crest series, plus a large backlist, Tijan was my most read author of the year. The others are mostly thanks to multiple Kindle Unlimited subscriptions throughout the year.

You can see my whole Year in Books HERE

Blog Stats

Reviews Written: 57

I received 20% more views than in 2019

Most Viewed 2020 Reviews:

The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2)

The Patient by Jasper DeWitt

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I Hate You, Fuller James by Kelly Anne Blount

Beach Read by Emily Henry

So that’s a condensed version of my 2020. How was yours?

Streaming Saturday: Bridgerton

We all love books here, but I thought I might start dedicating some posts on Saturdays to highlight one of my other loves – TV!

What I’m watching

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Bridgerton on Netflix. There is one season of 8 episodes currently available. It’s based on the book The Duke and I by Julia Quinn.
Wealth, lust, and betrayal set in the backdrop of Regency era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

Why I’m Watching

It seemed like everywhere I looked, I was seeing an advertisement for Bridgerton. I’ve liked a few Shondaland shows, so I thought I’d give it a try, even though I really didn’t have any high expectations for it. I’ve never read the book, nor am I super interested in regency romance stories these days. However, I really ended up loving it! It’s such a fun show with some absolutely stunning settings and costumes. It does get a little (or a lot) risque at times, so make sure your kids aren’t watching it with you if you give it a go. 

There’s romance, humor, mystery and a large and lovable cast of characters. The chemistry between the two leads really makes the show. 

Watch If You Like…

The Duke and I

Pride and Prejudice 

Scandal 

Gossip Girl

What are you streaming right now?