Blogger Stats Book Tag

I saw this tag awhile back over at Cover to Cover (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

The last three books you read?

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The Party by Robyn Harding, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, Always My Girl by Samantha Chase

Spoilers or spoiler free?

I usually try to write my reviews spoiler free, but sometimes I can’t help myself and need to talk about something specific and spoilery. I always put up a spoiler warning, though. When it comes to reading other people’s reviews I’m fine with spoilers as long as there’s a warning. There are some books I go looking for spoilers for and others that I don’t want to know anything about.

How long have you been book blogging?

Almost 4 years. Crazy!

A book you read in one sitting?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Your favorite genre?

This year has been mostly mysteries and suspense. I’m finally getting back into contemporaries, though, too.

Preferred book size? (novella, tome, etc)

I read most books on my Nook and the page count is always way off from what Good Reads says. But in Nook world, I would say I like around 250-350 pages.

Amount of books on your TBR?

473.

A book you have DNF’d?

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I hated the main character and just couldn’t get into the story at all.

Recent awards or milestones?

Nothing I can really think of.

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?

Meeting Leigh Bardugo was pretty cool.

Average number of books you read per month?

Around 10 or so

Top three publishers?

I don’t really have favorite publishers. I just read what looks interesting.

Social media sites your blog uses?

Twitter.

Average amount of time you spend on networking?

Um, about zero. I know, I suck.

Most comfortable blogging position?

I do all my blogging while sitting on my couch.

Music or quiet when writing reviews?

Tv on in background, but if I’m having trouble writing one I need quiet.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?

When I Feel Like It.

A blog you looked up to starting out?

There isn’t really one in particular. I didn’t really look at blogs before I started mine. But probably all the ones I followed in the beginning helped shape mine.

The best book you have reviewed so far?

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So far this year the best ones have been Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Best piece of blogging advice?

Don’t force content. I know everyone says you should post every day, but if you’re not feeling it or just throwing something together so you have a post, it shows. Some people can come up with great stuff and post every day and that’s great for them. But I started having much more fun with my blog when I stopped trying to keep up.

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Read More From

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (visit the Good Reads group here) is: Authors You Want to Read More From –Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

Lisa Jewell

1. Lisa Jewell. I’ve read The Girls in the Garden and I Found You and really liked both of them. I love Jewell’s writing and I really need to read more from her.

Lisa Scottoline

2. Lisa Scottoline. I recently read One Perfect Lie and I really want to go back and read some of her others.

Michelle Richmond

3. Michelle Richmond. I’ve only read The Marriage Pact by her so far and I really want to see what else she’s done.

Amy Harmon

4. Amy Harmon. I’ve read Making Faces, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, and A Different Blue. Making Faces was by far my favorite and the other ones didn’t quite live up to that one for me, but I do really enjoy her writing and need to read the rest of her books.
Sarah Addison Allen
5. Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read Garden Spells and First Frost and they were both 4 star reads for me. I really need to get to some of her other titles.

What authors do you want to read more from?

 

Review: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The Spencer Hill Press release will have bonus content never before available.

Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard, and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible.

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

This version of A Different Blue with bonus material will be available May 30, 2017.

This book started out a little rough for me. I found Blue incredibly unlikable and mostly unrelatable. I was super bored with the history lessons and legends. And, most of all, I was uncomfortable with Blue’s growing relationship with her teacher. There were no big lines crossed or anything, but their friendship was still inappropriate for being teacher/student. Even though Wilson is only 22 (only a couple years older than Blue), he just seemed so much older and more mature. Thankfully, the book did become a lot better for me as it went on.

Once Blue graduated, I was much more able to get on board the Wilson-Blue ship. I started to really enjoy their friendship and slow burn romance. Wilson was so smart and sweet and protective. I loved him. He did seem just so much older than his age, though. I also really liked his sister, Tiffa, and her friendship with Blue.

I did really like the overall message of redemption and Blue’s journey. She became so much more likable as the book went on, even though there were still several moments where she frustrated me. I liked how she came to respect herself a little bit more and made conscious decisions to help her become a better person.

Overall, I liked A Different Blue, but I didn’t love it. While the overall message and the relationship between Wilson and Blue were good, it started out really rough for me. It also employed a couple of my least favorite romance tropes (teacher/student relationship and another one that I’m not going to share because it’s too spoilery). I was actually not a big fan of the bonus material – an epilogue featuring Blue and Wilson’s physical relationship and a chapter from Wilson’s POV from the first day of school. I liked getting Wilson’s POV, but hearing his initial reaction to Blue falls under the uncomfortable, inappropriate teacher/student thing. However, I am a fan of Harmon and her writing and am definitely planning on reading more from her.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Disney Princess Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Check out her blog, it’s awesome! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it.

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite princesses are Belle and Jasmine.

2. I don’t really care that much for Sleeping Beauty because the movie used to scare me when the villain turned into that dragon thing.

3. I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, but I really want to!


Snow White
Name your favorite classic.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen


Cinderella
Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime.

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Most recently was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.


Aurora
Name your favorite classic romance.

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Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Ariel
Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Belle
Name a book with a smart and independent female character.

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Lacey Flint in Now You See Me by Sharon (SJ) Bolton


Jasmine
Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world.

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Moses in The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon


Pocahontas
Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.


Mulan
Name a book with a kick-ass female character.

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Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Tiana
Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character.

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Alexis from The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne


Rapunzel
Name a book that features an artist.

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Blue from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon


Merida
Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship.

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Till Death by JLA.


Anna & Elsa
Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings.

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On the Fence by Kasie West.

The Sims Book Tag

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog!). I’m going to stick with only books I’ve read in 2017, which may be a little challenging since it’s only March.

The Original Sims –  the best author debut

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson is the only 2017 debut I’ve read so far this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a YA re-telling of Mansfield Park. It comes out May 16th and I think  you should read it!

The Grim Reaper – the saddest character death

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*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER

There are a lot of people that die in Making Faces by Amy Harmon, but Bailey’s hit me the hardest.

*END OF SPOILER*

Sims Getting Stuck – a character that just got in the way

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Luke in Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley. Without him there would have been basically no conflict in the story, but I still think his character made no sense.

Simlish – a book with amazing writing

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell (Out on April 25th). This is only my second Lisa Jewell book, but her writing is always so impressive.

Expansion Packs – a series where the books keep getting better

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The Lacey Flint series by SJ/Sharon Bolton. Though I must admit the 4th book in the series (while still good) was my least favorite, but this series is fantastic.

Sim Romance – the worst case of insta-love

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I haven’t really read any books with insta-love so far this year (hooray for smarter book choices in 2017!). The closest is probably Candice and Ian in Mackenzie Fire by Elle Casey and they were supposed to be more of the hate-to-love trope than insta-love. But since the transition happened pretty fast, it kind of fits the bill. I still shipped them, though.

Cheats – a book that was entirely unrealistic 

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By Your Side by Kasie West. I really don’t think there is any way that every single phone in the library was behind a locked door. And I think Dax was probably savvy enough to pick a lock if need be. Still a pretty cute book, though.

Needs Fulfillment – a character that made all the wrong decisions

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How about Everyone in Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. Seriously these characters (while entertaining) did the stupidest things throughout this whole series.

Error Code 12 – a series that started off well but went downhill from there

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The Law of Moses series by Amy Harmon. Now I haven’t read a lot of series this year to choose from and this one is only two books. I just didn’t like The Song of David as much as I liked the first book, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The Sims Vortex- a series that completely engrossed you

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I’m going to have to go with the Lacey Flint series again. It’s become one of my favorite mystery/suspense series out there.

Revewing the Unreviewed: February 2017

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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By Your Side by Kasie West. Read January 31-Feb 1. 3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed the second half of this book much more than the first half. I thought I would be disappointed when the story shifted from being trapped in the library into the real world, but it actually got a lot better.

I appreciated the main character having anxiety, but didn’t really feel like it was that great of a representation. There were a few times that I thought were kind of spot on, though. I did like how it showed how anxiety can make you appear to other people. However, once all of Autumn’s friends knew she had anxiety they were perfectly understanding and I don’t think that’s very realistic (at least not in my own experience).

I liked Dax and his sarcasm and how he looked out for Autumn. I thought he was really sweet. It did take about half the book until I felt the romance was cute and I wish it would’ve happened sooner, but it did eventually get super cute and I shipped it.

Overall, I liked this, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book by this author. While I really enjoyed the second half of the book, I have to admit the first half was only ok. That’s why I’m giving it 3.5 stars instead of 4.

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A Dark and Twisted Tide (Lacey Flint #4) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 2-5. 4 Stars.

This was probably my least favorite of the series, but still good. The plot felt a little convoluted at times, but it all came together by the end. I really like all of these characters and enjoy reading about them. I wish there were more Joesbury, but next up there’s a novella that I believe is from his POV, so that should make up for it.

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Here Be Dragons (Lacey Flint 4.5) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 5. 4 stars.

A pretty short, well-paced story told from entirely Joesbury’s POV. We get the whole story of what he was doing during the events of “A Dark and Twisted Tide”, plus a little more action. The ending included some major Joesbury-Lacey Feels and I can not believe that the author hasn’t even announced yet when the next book in this series will be. I need more!

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The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon. Read February 1-6. 4 Stars.

Beautiful. Clever. A little on the weird side. This is my second Amy Harmon book and she is quickly on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved Moses and his POVs were the best parts of the book for me. I liked Georgia, but not quite as much as Moses. I also really liked Tag and am looking forward to reading his book. Definitely recommend this one.

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The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon. Read February 7-9. 3 Stars.

I loved that this story was told from both Tag’s and Moses’ POVs. I liked the style of getting Tag’s POV through tapes he recorded and Moses’ POV in the present. I loved Moses just as much, but didn’t quite love Tag as much as I did in the previous book. His behavior just made me really angry sometimes. I liked both Millie and Henry and thought their disabilities were portrayed well. The reason this book isn’t getting 4 stars from me, though, is that I don’t like open-ended books and I didn’t feel satisfied with the conclusion of this one. Though Harmon did an admirable job of trying to convey that the black and white answer wasn’t needed, it just wasn’t enough for me. Overall, though, it was a good book that I would still recommend you read if you’ve read The Law of Moses.

A big thank you to Deanna  for loaning me a copy of the book!!

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Defying Gravity (Finding Perfect #2) by Kendra C. Highley. Read February 9-11. 2.5 Stars.

Zoey was a pretty unlikable character. I hated how wishy-washy and shallow she was – while we were supposed to think she was the opposite of shallow. Luke’s character make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I liked Parker, he was the saving grace of the book.

I read a lot of YA, even though I am around twice the age of the main characters. Usually I can still really appreciate them, but this is one of those books that makes me think I’m getting too old for YA.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Read February 11-12. 4 Stars.

I liked this. This is my second Megan Miranda book and I’m still not sure I’m entirely sold on her writing style, but she is pretty great at character development. I don’t think the “backwards” storytelling was done as effectively as it could have been (I’ve seen it done better). There were only really two somewhat surprising reveals until it got close to the end of the book, so it seemed to drag a bit to me. However, I think that I will definitely re-read this sometime and read it in chronological order instead and see if things make sense. I did like the mystery, though, and I even liked the characters, even though they aren’t really the type of people you want to be rooting for. I found this one much more compelling than “The Perfect Stranger” and I’m sure I’ll give this author’s other future books a try.

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Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton. Read February 13-16. 3 Stars.

Good writing, good character development, steady pacing. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really care for the story. The characters were all unlikable, but I think they were supposed to be. I guessed who was behind the missing children long before the end and I didn’t really like the lack of impact the reveal had. There was also a lot of historical information about the Falklands that I felt took away focus a bit from the actual plot. Not a bad book at all (I don’t think Bolton can write a bad book), but pretty different from her Lacey Flint series that I love.

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Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay #3) by Jill Shalvis. Read February 17-19. 3.5 Stars.

A very cute romance. I think maybe I would have appreciated it just a bit more if I read the other books in the series first and knew the side characters better, but it still worked as a standalone. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual plot, but Archer and Elle’s relationship was fun enough to read that it didn’t really matter.

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On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins. Read February 17-21. 3 Stars.

It took me quite a long time to get into this book. If it wasn’t Kristan Higgins then I probably would have put it down to try another time. However, I am glad I kept reading. The character development was very good and I did like both Kate and Ainsley and their new romantic interests. Where Higgins writing really shines is with the romance and I wish this book would have focused a little more on that. I found myself skimming a lot of the rest of it. I know this is another foray into the “Women’s Fiction” world for this author instead of just a light and fluffy contemporary, but Higgins is my go-to when I want light and fluffy and I found myself just slightly disappointed that this wasn’t like the other books from her that I love.

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The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan. Read February 25-26. 3 Stars.

I liked the writing in this a lot and thought the multiple 1st Person POVs were done exceptionally well. Though I found the story kind of boring for the most part, it was written in such a way that I didn’t really want to put it down. I think one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is when the main conflict in a story comes from poor communication and that’s what much of this book felt like to me. While I did feel sorry for things that happened to Zoe, I also was super annoyed by her behavior almost the whole time. Overall a bit of a disappointing story, but the writing really saved it for me.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Silent Scream by Anglea Marsons. I got this from the library and read just a couple chapters before it became a victim of too many books in too little time. I will definitely give it another try, though.

Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

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 little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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

The paperback edition with be available 2/21/17.

I don’t really know what I was expected from Making Faces, but the emotional tornado I lived through while reading it definitely wasn’t it. This book is incredibly heartbreaking. But, it is also incredibly hopeful. Incredibly beautiful.

I found so much of this book really relatable. Like the characters, I was a senior in high school when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. I remember sitting in Physics class watching as one of the towers collapsed. I also really related to Fern’s awkwardness and insecurity issues. And how, as a child of a pastor, you know that when the phone rings at an odd hour something bad has happened.

I think my very favorite thing about this book is that it positively portrayed Christian characters and the Christian faith. So often in mainstream fiction Christian characters are portrayed as wackos or extreme hypocrites. That is not the case here. Fern is kind and loving and not at all judgmental. Scripture is shared and not mocked. There is also a great message of having faith in God’s timing and His plan, even when you can’t possibly understand them. This all worked really organically within the story and never felt like you were being “preached” at, if that’s something that bothers you. I can’t even begin to explain how much I appreciate this aspect of the book.

I obviously shipped Ambrose and Fern. I really liked how their relationship developed and how they also grew as characters – and felt like there was so much more to them than just a romance. One major character that’s really central to the story and isn’t mentioned in the synopsis is Bailey. Bailey is Fern’s cousin and best friend and the son of Ambrose’s wrestling coach. He has muscular dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. People with muscular dystrophy do not have very long life expectancies, but Bailey has such an amazing attitude. He tries to live life to the fullest every day and do as much as he can. He has a great sense of humor. He loves his family and friends and Fern and wrestling. He was such an amazing character and one that turned me into a blubbering mess while reading.

There were only a couple of things I didn’t like. There were several times the flashbacks seemed to come out of the blue. While in most cases there was a definite separation between present and past, there were a couple other times where it just randomly switched from one paragraph to the next and it was a little jarring. Perhaps this is just a formatting issue with the ARC, though? I also did not really like the character Rita. I felt like she was so selfish and that she wasn’t so much developed as her own character, but as more of a catalyst for storylines involving Fern and Bailey.

The  paperback copy includes bonus content, which is two interviews between Ambrose and ESPN – one during his senior year in high school and one that takes place sometime between the final chapter and the epilogue. I really liked both of them and the extra bit of insight it gives into Ambrose.

Overall, I just loved Making Faces. It’s not a light book. It hurt to read at times. But it was beautifully written and included some amazing characters and really important messages. I really don’t think I can recommend this book enough. I’m definitely going to be looking up other books by this author in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

4.5 stars