WWW Wednesday: June 2, 2021

IMG_1384-0

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

What did you recently finish reading?

56383038

Never Saw me Coming by Vera Kurian. I actually really enjoyed this one. Finally a book with a good concept that lived up to it’s potential. My review for this will post later this month.

What are you currently reading?

56024277

How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott. I’m about a third of the way through and am so far pretty bored with this. I’ve browsed reviews on Goodreads and a lot of them say it picks up towards the end and there’s some twists, so I’m going to power through.

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, my current book is my last ARC on my TBR shelf and I don’t have any library books at the moment. So I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but it will be WHATEVER I WANT! I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a break and mood reading.

What are you reading?

May 2021 Recap

2021 is just continuing to speed on by. I actually had a pretty good month in regards to how much reading I got done. I DNF-ed a few, but ended up reading 15 books, which is the most yet I’ve done this year. I’m pushing myself to get all my ARCs done so I can focus on mood reading without guilt. I also took a few days off work and was able to knock out several books.

Books Read: 15

Adult: 13

YA: 2

  Books Reviewed: 3

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren – 3/5 Stars

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 3/5 Stars

Shutter by Melissa Larsen – 1/5 Stars

Favorite Book of the Month:

56383038

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Books Read in 2021 Overall: 49

Funny Fridays:

May 7

May 14

May 21

May 28

Other Posts:

April 2021 Recap

WWW Wednesday: May 5, 2021

WWW Wednesday: May 12, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles that are Complete Sentences

WWW Wednesday: May 19, 2021

WWW Wednesday: May 26, 2021

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2021

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2021

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.

44804802. sy475

Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry. Read May 1-2. 3.5 Stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I feel like lately it’s been taking me a really long time to finish books, but I did not want to put this one down once I started it. I really enjoyed Eleanor and Grey’s love story, but there were a few things that made me not quite able to give it 4 stars.

The story is told in two parts – the first with the characters in high school in 2003-2004 and then the next in 2019. It felt like reading two different stories. I really enjoyed the first part and thought they were absolutely adorable together, but felt the time jump to be really jarring. Grey didn’t seem like the same character at all for a long time once the second part began. And I get it that they’ve grown up and he’s gone through a lot, but he seemed too different. I think maybe interweaving the timelines instead of keeping them in separate parts of the book might have helped.

Also, it’s never really mentioned, but based on the age of his oldest daughter, it means she would have been born his Sophomore year of college. It made me a little sad that he would’ve moved on with someone so quickly after leaving Eleanor. Which brings me to another point – I wish we would’ve seen some of his relationship with his wife before she passed. Without getting to see their love story, it made me just feel a little resentful towards him that he was with someone else and I wasn’t as patient with his grieving because I wanted him back together with Eleanor.

There were also a few things with the writing that threw me off. There’s a lot of the same words and phrases repeated a lot. I get what Cherry was going for, but it didn’t always work for me. I also didn’t like that the characters prayed to their dead relatives. And the last few chapters were way, way too sappy for my liking.

And I know this sounds like I didn’t like a lot about the book, but I did really enjoy it! It was sweet and funny and I loved what a booknerd Eleanor was and her introvertism. I loved that Grey read her favorite book so they could talk about it and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

56282839. sy475

Badly Behaved by Meagan Brandy. Read April 30-May 4. 3 Stars. 

I’m not really sure if this book is a little less crazy than the last couple books I tried by this author, or if my threshold for the ridiculous has changed, but this one was ok for me. It was over the top, but not all the time and I liked the friendship between the characters.

25322248. sy475

It’s In His Kiss (Bridgertons #7) by Julia Quinn. Read May 2-4. 4 Stars. 

I loved this one! Hyacinth and Gareth’s banter was so much fun. While I did miss seeing some of the other Bridgertons, their absence wasn’t as noticeable as it has been in previous books since I loved Hyacinth and Gareth so much.

54456763

Sunkissed by Kasie West. Read May 4-6. 3 Stars. 

This had some cute and funny moments, but ended up being just ok for me. It felt like there were a lot of things recycled from some of West’s other books – the songwriting from “PS I Like you“, the making a list of things to do to expand your horizons like “Life, Love, and the List“, the outdoorsy setting like “Listen to your Heart.” It was just kind of odd. I liked the main character well enough, but felt pretty ambivalent about everyone else, including the love interest. I also felt like she spent the whole book trying to become a better version of herself and then it happened all at once at the end. This probably isn’t one I would read again, but I’ll still look forward to the next Kasie West book.

56628286

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. Read May 8-10. 3 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but not as much as I had hoped to. I recently read another book about a plane hijacking and couldn’t help myself from comparing the two. While this one did a much better job on character development and a giving a fresher take on who the hijackers were, it was not nearly as fast paced or suspenseful as the other one. Being a fan of Mackintosh, I knew to be on the look out for a great twist at the end – and we got it. However, there was a big clue into at least part of that twist throughout the book and I guessed it from a mile away. The epilogue was pretty great, though. I might have increased my rating by half a star due to those final few pages, but then my whole reading experience was brought down a bit by the condescending climate change lecture given in the Author’s Note.

*I received a copy of this title via a giveaway on Goodreads.*

25322246. sy475

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8) by Julia Quinn. Read May 13-16. 4 Stars.

I’ve seen some rather mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed it! The last couple of chapters were a little on the ridiculous side, but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to make up for it. I really liked Gregory and Lucy. I liked that there were some more Bridgertons around than the last couple of books had, but I wanted at least one scene where they were altogether since this was the last book in the series and was sad we didn’t get that. Still, though, this has been such a fun series that is outside the genre I usually read and I’m glad I gave them a try.

56129955. sy475

Forbidden (Ward Sisters #4) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 22-23. 4 Stars. 

I’ve been waiting for Isabel’s story and while I found her much more frustrating than I expected to, I liked her and Aiden together. I wish we got a little more of Aiden’s POV and I wish there was more relationship development and less focus on physical fantasies. Still, though, it was a good end to the series that I sped right through. I liked that we got to see a good deal of the rest of the Ward family and that there was some closure with their estranged mother.

11867860

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgertons #1.5-8.5; 8.6) by Julia Quinn. Read May 23. 4 Stars.

I was able to read the 2nd epilogues for all of the previous books when I read them, so I got this just for Violet’s story. It didn’t go the way I was expecting it to, but I did like it. I really liked that we got to see some of her relationship with her husband, who never got to make an appearance in the series. And while I wish she would have found love again, I liked that she was still happy with her life without it.

55517838. sy475

In the Now by Jennifer Ann Shore. Read May 23-24. 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars. I picked this one up randomly browsing KU and it’s one of the better books I’ve found in that way. I liked the characters, but I wanted a little more from the romance. Noah bullied Olivia pretty hard in high school. Like, really mean things and I thought it was all just brushed past way too easily. Adult Noah was like a completely different character. There’s also a lot said about his family that I thought could have been explored a little more. Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read and I might check out more from this author.

52480250. sy475

Find You First by Linwood Barclay. Read May 25-27. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this one. When it comes to character driven thrillers, Linwood Barclay is one of the best. The plot veered into the unbelievable a bit more than his books usually do, but it was entertaining.

*****DNF*****

55654504. sy475

The Engagement Arrangement (Boots and Bouquets #2) by Jaci Burton. DNF @ 4%. I usually try to give books a little more of a chance before I decide to DNF it, but this is the second time I’ve tried to read this one and I still can’t make myself get past the first chapter. I thought the main character was kind of creepy and found myself saying, “that escalated quickly” several times – and it was only the first chapter! I think it’s safe to say that this book won’t be for me.

56808508

Match Made in Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #1) by Barbara Dunlop. DNF @ 58%. I thought this had a lot of potential in the beginning, but I pretty quickly became bored with it. I didn’t think the “hate-to-love” was that well done – they had bad first impressions of each other and then lots of inner-monologues about how attractive they found each other. I never really felt any real chemistry or friendship between them. I didn’t like the main character and her “poor me for being so beautiful and rich” behavior. Since I was so far into the book I thought I should finish it, but once I got to the part where the main character and her cousin discuss shipping in models from LA to date the local Alaskan men, I just couldn’t take any more.

54326407

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron. DNF @ 14%. I don’t have anything bad to say about the writing, but after just a few chapters I felt like I had already read this story several times before and I was just not in the mood for it. I did skim through to the end just to see if there was anything new or surprising. There wasn’t. I have seen some very positive reviews on the book, though, so I’m sure it will still be an entertaining read for many.

53886621. sy475

The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting (The Bookworm’s Guide #3) by Emma Hart. DNF @ 6%. I thought this looked funny and cute, but it only took one chapter to know it’s not for me. That’s not to say that it won’t be funny and cute. There was some banter that made me smile, but I know that I can’t take a whole book in the main character’s head. I really did not care for her and the general tone of the writing.

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

54013227. sy475

Win by Harlan Coben. I think I was in a weird mood when I started this and I only read one chapter that didn’t grab me. I put it down to try some other books and was never inspired to pick it back up. I do plan on requesting it from the library again in the future, though.

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

55711642 55711742 56383038

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda – 2 Stars

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish – 3.5 Stars

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: May 26, 2021

IMG_1384-0

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

What did you recently finish reading?

55517838. sy475

In the Now by Jennifer Ann Shore. I came upon this one randomly when browsing KU and found it pretty enjoyable. I’ll probably try out more from this author in the future.

What are you currently reading?

52480250. sy475

Find You First by Linwood Barclay. I always look forward to a Linwood Barclay book and I’m liking this one so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

56024318

I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to get back to my ARCs with The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng.

What are you reading?

Review: Shutter by Melissa Larsen

45154220

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker’s latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.

In the wake of her father’s death, Betty Roux doesn’t allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to run.

When she’s offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino’s new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.

Anthony gives her a new identity–Lola–and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she’s been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.

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

Shutter publishes June 15, 2021. 

Oh boy, this books was absolutely not for me. I’ve tried really hard to think of positive things to say about it and the only thing I can think of is that I actually felt the need to finish it, instead of DNF-ing it. I wish I would have DNF-ed it, though.

The characters were all awful. Every last one of them. There was no one to root for. No one to connect with. I could not for the life of me understand why everyone was so drawn to narcissistic Anthony. Or why Betty just rolled over every time he said “trust me,” even though he had done absolutely nothing to prove himself worthy of trust. And Betty. The story is told through her first person POV and it was a trial to be stuck in her head. I think we’re supposed to give her a pass because she’s still grieving over the loss of a parent, but that does not make up for the never ending parade of stupid decisions she made.

While the plot of making a mysterious movie on a secluded island sounded like it would be creepy and entertaining, I ended up just rolling my eyes at the whole thing. Anthony’s motivation was childish and psychopathic, as was Sammy’s character. The whole thing was just ridiculous and then the ending was super anti-climactic.

Overall, I did not enjoy Shutter at all. I kept waiting for some great twist to be revealed that would make everything worth it, but it never came. The awful characters and ridiculous plot made this a chore to get through. While this book is obviously not for me, I have seen some much better reviews on it, so it might be worth the read for others.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

WWW Wednesday: May 19, 2021

IMG_1384-0

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

What did you recently finish reading?

25322246. sy475

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8) by Julia Quinn. I am so sad to be done with this series! However, I guess I still do have one more short story to read. All the copies of the books I read contained the 2nd epilogues, but those were also all put together in one book and that book also has a story about the mother, Violet, so I’m on hold for that at the library.  Then I’ll truly be done with the series. Until I do a binge re-read, which I am absolutely planning on.

What are you currently reading?

56808508

Match Made in Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #1) by Barbara Dunlop. I thought this sounded cute (and similar to the The Simple Wild) and I did enjoy it at first, but then I got pretty bored with it and am struggling with the characters. I’m a little over half way through, but I might just call it.

55711742

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish. I am not too far into this yet, but it grabbed me right away. I have high hopes it will continue to entertain.

What do you think you’ll read next?

56129955. sy475

Forbidden by Karla Sorensen comes out tomorrow, so it will probably be my last book I read from KU before my subscription ends next week. I hate the title and the cover, but I’ve been waiting for Isabel’s story to wrap up this series.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

This week’s top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences.

33288638. sy475

1. Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

51373979

2. He Started It by Samantha Downing

44283910. sy475

3. Where Do I Begin? by Elivs Duran

55849279. sy475

4. Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey

36127456

5. Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

31306110. sy475

6. I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

31145064

7. Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeyburn

40702156

8. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

32735369. sy475

9. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

32571395. sy475

10. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

55404546

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six . . . Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

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

Malibu Rising publishes June 1, 2021.

It’s been awhile since I read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book. While I have really enjoyed some of her titles, the last couple weren’t for me (I DNF-ed one and had no interest in reading the other). There was something about Malibu Rising, though, that made me want to pick it up.

The heart of the story are the 4 Riva siblings – Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit – and this is where it really excelled. Pretty much any scene that involved sibling interaction, I enjoyed. On their own, I could take or leave, but I loved seeing them together, how much they cared about each other and were there for each other. They’ve been through a lot in their young lives and I was glad to see them stick together.

What I didn’t like, however, was pretty much everything else. I did not like the backstory of their parents, June and Mick. I can’t stand cheating and there was a lot of it in this book. I also get extremely frustrated with women who just continually take back cheaters and abusers. In addition to those characters, there are a lot of minor characters introduced as guests of the big party and I did not care about any of them. I’m not always a big fan of books about the rich and famous and there was a lot of time spent on these awful people. It was a lot of getting drunk and high and trashing the place and it just annoyed me.

Overall, Malibu Rising was just ok for me. I loved the sibling interaction and there’s no denying that TJR is a talented writer. However, I didn’t care for the drunken, drugged up party goers or the awful Mick Riva, and thought the story ended up being a lot less anti-climactic than the synopsis made it sound like.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars