May 2020 Recap

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So, May was kind of a cluster, huh? Reading and blogging have been a good escape from the ugliness.  I managed to read a decent number of books, despite a couple of book slumps. I also introduced a new feature on my blog, Streaming Saturday, where I’ll be talking about the tv series I’m binging.

Books Read: 14

Adult: 10
New Adult: 1
Young Adult: 3

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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The F List by Alessandra Torre

  Books Reviewed: 6

The Brightlands by John Fram – 2.5/5 Stars

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – 2.5/5 Stars

The F List by Alessandra Torre – 4/5 Stars

Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4/5 Stars

Always a Bridesmaid (Getting Hitched in Dixie #2) by Cindi Madsen – 4/5 Stars

The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – 4/5 Stars

Books Read in 2020 Overall: 80

Funny Fridays:

May 8

May 15

May 22

May 29

Other Posts:

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2020

April 2020 Recap

WWW Wednesday: May 6, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I DNF-ed

WWW Wednesday: May 13, 2020

Top 5 Tuesday: Cute Romances I’ve Read in 2020

WWW Wednesday: May 20, 2020

Streaming Saturday

Memorial Day Reading Recommendation

Top 5 Tuesday: Summer Reads

WWW Wednesday: May 27, 2020

Streaming Saturday: The Stranger

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2020

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 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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The Ex Effect (Washington Wolves #2) by Karla Sorensen. Read April 30-May 1. 3.5 Stars

This was cute, but not my favorite by this author. I thought Ava and Matthew got together a little too quickly, but I did ship them. I wish there was a little more resolution with Ava’s family, though.

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Wait For It by Mariana Zapata. Read April 27-May 2. 4 Stars.

It took me awhile to get into this (as much as I enjoy Zapata, I always think her books could be a good 200 pages shorter than they are), but once I did, I loved it. I loved the growing relationship between Diana and Dallas and I loved Josh and Louie. I put off reading this one for so long because I didn’t like Diana in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and I don’t always like reading books when there’s kids involved. But I found Diana way more likable in this and the kids were two of the best things about the book. I think Dallas might be my new favorite Zapata man, too.

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The Bombshell Effect (Washington Wolves #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 3-5. 3 Stars. 

This was cute, but not my favorite book of the series. I liked Allie and Luke together and the big romantic gesture at the end had some “Never Been Kissed” vibes that I enjoyed.

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The Split by Sharon Bolton. Read May 5-8. 2.5 Stars.

I am so disappointed! I love Sharon Bolton, but I found this book so boring. It started off really interesting and the end was alright, but I just didn’t care about anything in the middle. I didn’t care about most of the characters and I guessed the twist long before it was revealed. I love so many of Bolton’s books, but this one just wasn’t for me.

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The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Read May 13-14. 3.5 Stars. 

The writing sucked me in and kept me reading, but this definitely wasn’t my favorite Coben book. I found myself super annoyed with Adam’s wife, Corrine. When he confronts her about the lie and asks for an explanation she basically says “I’m not ready to tell you right now. I’ll do it later.” And then she disappears. What annoyed me was the manipulative “I don’t feel like talking about this” response. And as the book goes on, you expect there to be some huge conspiracy she was caught up in and it would all make sense why she couldn’t tell him anything…but that’s not the case. It was just annoying. It made it kind of hard to care about what happened to her. I’m still interested in checking out the show on Netflix, though. I know they made some significant changes from the book, so maybe it will be a little better.

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Life and Death (Twilight #1.75) by Stephenie Meyer. Read May 10-20. 3 Stars. 

So with all the hype about Midnight Sun coming out soon, I decided it was time to revisit Twilight and realized I never read the gender swap book. It did take me quite a bit of time to get through, only reading a couple chapters at a time in between other books. I know that Meyer did the gender swap to show that if Bella was a guy, she still would’ve needed to be rescued because she’s human, but it didn’t really work for me. Maybe I’m part of the problem in society, but there were so many times where I just wanted Beau to “act like a man.” A couple things were changed here and there, but mostly it was just pronouns and it didn’t work. I often caught myself reading it as if was regular Twilight. One thing that did surprise me was the ending! I thought it was a straight re-telling, but it’s not and I did find that interesting.

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From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read May 19-24. 2 Stars. 

*Sigh* This reminded me a lot of Armentrout’s Covenant series. Mixed in with a little Twilight and Shadow and Bone. And it was just ok for me. Actually, large parts of it were ridiculous. Poppy was so whiny, I found her really unlikable most of the time. Most of the book is her complaining about how unfair it is that she can’t sleep around like everyone else has the right to. Despite the whole cult-like religious system being pretty shady, she believes in it, which makes her choosing to ditch her Maiden status to have sex pretty selfish.

The romance between Poppy and Hawke played out very similarly to every other JLA couple, to the point where the names could’ve been switched out with any other JLA characters and you wouldn’t be able to tell which book you were reading. I though Hawke’s true identity was super obvious long before Poppy figures it out, too.

So, obviously this wasn’t my favorite JLA book, but all of her other fans seem to love it, so it’s probably just me.

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A Slice of Love (Slice #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read May 24. 3.5 Stars.

This was cute and I definitely shipped Frankie and Jonas. I thought there was a little too much focus on the physical relationship, though, and would’ve liked a little more emotional/romantic development.

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Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris. Read May 24-25. 3 Stars. 

This was pretty cute and was a lot less angsty than I anticipated, which was nice. I liked the dual POVs and shipped Lily and Stone.

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

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The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy and Love the One You Hate by R.S. Grey. I just couldn’t get into either one of these, but I think it was my mood, so I do plan to try them again in the future. 

*****DNF*****

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You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. DNF @ 27%. I really wanted to like this one. I love the cover and the comparison to Jane the Virgin definitely intrigued me. There were just too many little things adding up that didn’t work for me. My biggest problem was how the scenes from the tv show were written. It starts out with just a bit of script direction to set the scene, but instead of staying in script format, it goes back to the normal narrative style. And instead of describing things from Jasmine’s POV as she acts the scene, it described them as if Carmen, the character she’s playing, was experiencing them. And we would get Carmen’s feelings and internal monologue, but then there would be some thoughts from Jasmine interspersed with those and it was just weird. I know I’m not explaining it well, but it just really threw me off. There were a few other little things, too, that just ended up making this book a chore for me to get through. While both the main characters and their families were likable enough, I just didn’t really connect with them and I don’t really care enough to keep reading this. That said, I have seen some really good reviews for this book, so I’m sure many others will love it.

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Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. DNF @ 16%. I think it might be time to just admit that YA Fantasy just isn’t really for me anymore. I couldn’t really get into this and I set it down to read some other books. After more than a week, I still have no desire to pick this one back up and I don’t think I ever will.

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

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Head Over Heels by Hannah Orensten – 2 Stars

Cheesy on the Eyes (Slice #5) by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 2 Stars

Streaming Saturday: The Stranger

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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The Stranger on Netflix. 

Follows the lives of suburban families whose secrets and lies are made public by the appearance of a stranger.

Why I’m Watching

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The show is based on the book by Harlan Coben. Though I’m generally a fan of Coben, the book was just ok for me. When I saw him on book tour last year, he talked about working on the show and that made me want to watch it. He said that there would be some big differences from the book and he was fine with the changes as he thinks the watching experience should be different than the reading experience. I kind of disagree with that idea, but that’s ok. I’m only two episodes into the show so far and have noticed several differences. The stranger on the show is a woman instead of a man. The show is set in England rather than the US. And there’s a whole new sideplot introduced featuring the kids. 

Watch If You Like…

Lies by T.M. Logan

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

What are you streaming right now?

Memorial Day Reading Recommendation

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you take a moment during your reasonably sized, social distancing appropriate cook outs to remember the men and women who are the reason for this holiday.  If your plans have had to shift due to the current state of the world, it’s always a good time to pick up a book! Allow me to suggest one of my favorite books that highlights a military man who returns home after losing several of his friends in the line of duty:

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon. You can see my review HERE.

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have . . . until he wasn’t beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

Streaming Saturday

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

Bosch (2014)

Right now I’m streaming Bosch on Amazon Prime. There are currently six seasons (with one final season to come) and I just started season 5. The series follows Detective Harry Bosch, who has a reputation of getting things done, but not always by the rules. He’s a single father with an amicable, if complicated, relationship with his ex-wife. He had a rough childhood and is haunted by the unsolved murder of his mother. There’s a lovable cast of supporting character, my favorite of which is Bosch’s partner, Jerry Edgar. 

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The show is based on the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. I haven’t read the books yet, so I can’t say how faithful an adaption the show is, but I do plan on starting this series soon. 

Why I’m Watching

Police Officer Badge. Shiny metallic police officer badge. CLIPPING PATH include , #AFF, #Shiny, #metallic, #Badge, #Police, #Officer #ad

Any time I have a conversation with my brother involving entertainment options, he tells me I have to watch Bosch. We often have the same taste in tv and movies, so I decided to finally give it a try. My brother is also a police officer and tends to gravitate towards stories involving law enforcement. We are firmly here for positive representation of police. 

Watch If You Like…

Watch if you like procedurals without gimmicks, such as:

The DI Adam Fawley book series by Cara Hunter

The Will Trent book series by Karin Slaughter

Broadchurch TV Series (FYI: This is also based on a book I haven’t read yet)

What are you streaming right now?