Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2016

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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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Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor #1) by Dani Pettrey. Read December 30-January 1. 4 stars.

I think this is Pettrey’s best book yet. Review to come closer to release date.

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Jesse’s Girl (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally. Read January 2. 3 stars.

I liked the first half of this book that focused on Maya’s and Jesse’s first day together more than I did the rest of the book. There were several cute moments and I did like their relationship overall, but I have the same issues I have with pretty much every other book I’ve read in this series. I think the casual view on sex is irresponsible for the YA demographic and I don’t like the way Christians are portrayed. They are always hypocritical clichés and nothing more and it’s kind of offensive.

Overall, though, the book was a fast easy read and since I’m trying to be more generous with ratings, it gets 3 stars.

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Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. Read January 2-3. 3 stars.

This was pretty interesting. Scientology has always kind of interested me (not in a “hey, I want to join” way, but in a “Tom Cruise is kind of weird” way). One thing that I really wanted was a big section on Remini’s role on Saved by the Bell (she will ALWAYS be Stacy Carosi to me), but it was only briefly mentioned in like two sentences. I also wish there was more of her time on The King of Queens, which was a show I enjoyed. Overall, though, interesting and informative on Scientology. I’m glad she found her way out from under it.

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The Widow by Fiona Barton. Read January 5-9. 3.5 Stars

The Widow is not really what I expected it to be. That’s always the problem when a book is compared to Gone Girl. I expected gleefully crazy psychopaths and shocking twists, but there is none of that to be found in this book. That’s not a bad thing, of course, on it’s own. But since my expectations were not met, I feel just a bit let down by it. So let my reading experience inform yours. This book is not like Gone Girl. But it is an intriguing, thoughtful, character-driven mystery that’s worth the read. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. Read January 9. 4 stars.

This short story was a quick, easy read and was pretty much everything I expect from Flynn. Part of me wishes she would’ve made this into a full-length novel, but I think the slightly unsatisfying ending would have been much harder to swallow if it were a full length book (like Gone Girl). It creeped me out a bit and left my head spinning and just made me want MORE from Flynn. Seriously, I’m ready for the next book!

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Hired Bride (Beaufort Brides #1) by Noelle Adams. Read January 10-11. 3 Stars.

This wasn’t quite as cute as I wanted it to be. I love a good fake-relationship story, but I thought this focused too much on them trying to fool themselves instead of other people. And it skipped over a lot of the getting-to-know-you parts and focused a lot more on the, ahem, intimate moments, which were kind of graphic. Still, though, it was an overall cute book.

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Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter. Read January 14-15. 3 stars.

A little Twilight, a little The Mortal Instruments, a touch of Mean Girls. I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would after I read a few of really great reviews on it. I thought the pace was a little too slow and it was a lot more high school drama than I thought it would be. There were a few cute moments between Cole and Ali, though.
In the dedication in the beginning, the author talks about how when she was writing this she was sick and she started seeking the Lord so I was kind of expecting this to be a little more Christian fiction and it wasn’t. There was definitely way more teenage sex than I expected.
I got this from the library in a bundle, so I’ll probably read the next books to see if they pick up a little more.

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Anything for You (Blue Heron #5) by Kristan Higgins. Read January 15-17. 3.5 Stars

Another cute story by Kristan Higgins. I liked the inclusion of a character with developmental disabilities. I liked Connor and Jess grew on me. I wish there was a little more of some of the characters from the other books. Some of the themes were a little reminiscent of some of Higgan’s other books – most notably The Next Best Thing, but since that’s one of my favorites, I was ok with it.

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Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles #2) by Gena Showalter. Read January 17. 3 stars.

This book could have been about 100 pages shorter. There wasn’t much happening until about the last quarter or so of the book. There were love triangles (squares?) hinted at in the beginning, but I’m thankful that they didn’t become a main plot point. I still have one more book in the bundle from the library, so I’m going to continue with the series.

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Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce. Read January 18-19. 3.5 stars.

Pretty cute with a great concept, but the characters were often hard to like. Full review to come closer to release date.

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RE-READS

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All I Ever Wanted and The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. Higgins can always help me get through book slumps.

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DNF

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The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter. I tried. Really I did. When they’re fighting zombies or trying to figure out what Anima is up to, I was interested, but every time it focused on Cole and Ali’s relationship or Ali’s friends (who got on my very last nerve) I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. I’ve read enough reviews that I can kind of piece together the big events of how the story resolves so I think it’s time to give this series up.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Seven Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015.

After the Storm (Kate Burkholder #7)

1. After the Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo Release Date: 7/14/15

Pretending to Be Erica

2. Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud. Release Date: 7/21/15

If You Only Knew

3. If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins. Release Date: 6/30/15

Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy, #4)

4. Sweet Temptation (Sweet Evil #4) by Wendy Higgins. Release Date: 9/8/15

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

5. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. Release Date: 11/10/15

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6. Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer Armentrout. Release Date: 12/2015

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7. Anything for You (Blue Heron #5) by Kristan Higgins. Release Date: 12/29/15

What books are you looking forward to releasing this year? Are you looking forward to any of these?

The Courtship Book Tag

So when all else fails for a post, it’s book tag time! I saw this over on Thoughts and Afterthoughts and decided to give it a go.  The Courtship Tag plays on the phases of relationships.

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover

Alienated (Alienated, #1)

Alienated by Melissa Landers. I do admit to reading a lot of books because of their covers, but this is one I actually bought because of it. I was so intrigued by the cover of this book and I decided to buy it before I even really know what it was about. It was a good enough read, but wasn’t as good as I wanted it to  be. I still haven’t read the second book yet. I’m actually REALLY stingy when it comes to buying books these days and this book helped me learn my lesson.

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you read because of the summary

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. I’m a sucker for the fake relationship trope and I will read almost any book with it that I come across.

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book is just beautiful.

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pursue the rest of the series

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read this book in one day and went out the next day to buy the second book.

Phase 5 – Late night phone calls: A book that kept you up all night long

Dangerous Girls

Nothing really keeps me up all night long these days – not intentionally anyways – but I was up quite late reading Dangerous Girls.

Phase 6 – Always on my mind: A book that you could not stop thinking about

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book was horribly depressing and it really stuck with me for awhile.

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book in which you love the way it feels

I know this probably doesn’t make me a proper book nerd, but I don’t get weird about feeling or smelling books. I love a good hard copy, but I can read a book on my Nook and not feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book in which you would recommend to your friends and family

Attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. It’s not a list of books without Rainbow Rowell being mentioned! This is one of my all time favorites and within the last year I finally convinced both my sister and my mom to read it.

Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series that you know you’ll re-read many times in the future

The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)

The Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. I recently just finished my second full series re-read and I often re-read individual books in the series as well.

Phase 10 – Share the love!!! Who would you like to tag?

I find that I don’t often do tags I’m actually tagged in, but ones I see randomly. So if you want to do the tag, consider yourself tagged! Feel free to leave a link so I can see your answers!

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2015

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.

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins. Read May 5-7. 3.5 stars.

All the reviews I’ve read have said this book wasn’t as good as the first, but I liked it at least just as much. I think I may have liked it even more than the first. Perhaps because the first book was so raved about and I thought it was just ok.

I found Harper much less annoying this time around. I liked David, though I think we could have gotten a little more of him. I didn’t mind Ryan in this book and the love triangle I was expecting wasn’t quite what we got. I didn’t like Bee, in fact I forgot her character even existed. Oops. I thought Bee’s trajectory was very predictable, as well.

Overall, the book was enjoyable and ended in such a way that I’ll definitely be reading the next book.

Summer in the City

Summer in the City by Elizabeth Chandler. Read May 9-10. 3 stars.

I’ve been on a YA Contemporary kick lately and was really craving something sweet and light and this completely fit the bill. (A big thanks to my generous blogger friend Diana that bought me a copy!!!!) The main character was likable and so were most of the supporting cast. I loved Josh, especially in the last couple chapters! Overall a cute read!

Secret Girlfriend

Secret Girlfriend by Bria Quinlan. Read May 10-11. 2 stars.

I loved Luke Parker! He’s so sweet! But he didn’t quite make up for all the ridiculous going on in this book. Amy drove me crazy for about the first half of this book. Chris was completely awful during the whole thing and there was no reason for Amy to be so misguided about him. I think the melodrama went on just a little too long, but I did like the ending. And I loved the whole Parker family.

Getting Lucky Number Seven

Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen. Read May 11-12. 3 stars.

I’ve liked some of this author’s other books so I thought I’d give this one try. It was a little more graphic than the others I’ve read which is a downside and very similar to a bunch of other NA books out there, but I liked the main characters and it was an easy read and fit in with my contemporary kick I’m on.

The Dare (The Bet, #3)

The Dare (The Bet #3) by Rachel Van Dyken. Read May 12-15. 1 star.

I started the first book in this series once and couldn’t get through it. I got this one for free so I thought I would give it a try. While there were some humorous moments, the characters weren’t all that likable – I HATED the Grandmother character. I’m glad it was free 🙂   

Cinderella Screwed Me Over

Cinderella Screwed me Over by Cindi Madsen. Read May 13-15. 3.5 stars.

Cute Chick Lit. I liked the “case studies”, though they didn’t really resemble the fairy tale characters they were compared to. I loved Jake and the main character was likable.

The Dead List

The Dead List by Jennifer Armentrout. Read May 24-26. 3.5 Stars.

This book reminded me that I really enjoy JLA’s YA books and it’s a cool idea that she released a whole book for free. This is a draft that wasn’t fully edited and really there weren’t many typos and only one glaring continuity error that I could tell.

I liked the characters. Ella was a good main character and Jensen was a pretty good book boyfriend, though I thought he was a little too domineering at times. The mystery was well done. While there were some parts that I thought were predictable, there were other things that surprised me. I would have liked a little more background from when they were younger and I think it took too long to find out what happened with Penn, but overall it was a good, enjoyable read.

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RE-READS

On the Fence

On The Fence by Kasie West. I’ve really been on a contemporary kick this month and with the anticipation of The Fill-In Boyfriend coming out, I was craving some Kasie West.

The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)

The Best Man, The Perfect Match, Waiting on You, and In Your Dreams (The Blue Heron series) by Kristan Higgins. What can I say? I love Kristan Higgins. I re-read The Best Man and then I just wanted the rest of the series.

Somebody to Love (Gideon's Cove, #3)

Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins. This is kind of a sequel to both The Next Best Thing and Catch of the Day. The first time I read this I hadn’t read either of the other novels and I have to say that I enjoyed it much more this second time around, recognizing all of Parker’s friends now.

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3)

End of Days (Angelfall #3) by Susan Ee. I think I may need a re-read before I go into this last book. I really didn’t remember much of what happened before and there wasn’t much recap.

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DNF

Taken

Taken by Dee Henderson

I got about a quarter of the way through this book before I decided I needed a break from it. After a couple of weeks I just can’t make myself pick it up again.

I’ve liked many of Henderson’s other novels, but Taken just didn’t do it for me. While I liked Matthew well enough, I just couldn’t stand Shannon. I found her attitude extremely off-putting. I was just really annoyed about how she had a plan in her head of what to do and even though she went to Matthew for help, she refused to listen to any of his input. For the life of me I can’t understand why he catered to her so completely and trusted her so easily.

And while what I read didn’t get very far into romance at all, I can’t really get behind Matthew and Shannon being romantically involved. His first impression of her was how she reminded him of his daughter and that just puts an ick factor to it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Re-reads

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie, so I’ve decided to go with my Favorite Re-reads. Those books that I can go back to again and again. The ones that save me from my reading ruts.

The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)    The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)    Waiting On You (Blue Heron #3)    In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)

1-4. The Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins books always make me happy. They’re enjoyable and addictive and I love re-visiting the characters again and again.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

5. Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is my favorite book of the series and just one of my favorite books period. Kami’s humor never gets old.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. This books is just adorable and fun and yes I MIGHT skip over some of the more drama-filled moments, but I love the rest.

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

7. Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer Armentrout. This was my first JLA book and it’s my favorite. I love re-reading about Daemon and Katy: the early years.

I've Got Your Number

8. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. Probably my favorite chick-lit book.

Fangirl

9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Levi are one of my favorite book couples and I love reading about them.

Northanger Abbey

10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I love this book so much! I love reading the banter between Catherine and Henry.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE RE-READS?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: October + Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday! I have nothing book related to say about that, but I just wanted to share it 🙂  Yesterday at work my coworkers made me a candy bouquet!

candy 1  candy 2

Before I get to my reviews, I want to say that you probably won’t see a lot from me in November, as I am attempting to participate in NaNoWriMo. If I’m successful at this, it means way less time for reading, so we’ll see how it goes. Now, onto the book stuff…

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.

In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)

In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4) by Kristan Higgins. Read September 30 – October 2. 3 stars.

Another adorable book by Kristan Higgins. I liked that there was a pretty decent presence of the whole Holland clan in this one.        

Always On My Mind (Lucky Harbor, #8)           

Always on My Mind (Lucky Harbor #8) by Jill Shalvis. Read October 13-14. 3 stars.

I’ve read one other book by Shalvis and didn’t love it, but was encouraged to give her another shot, so I picked this one because of my love for the Fake Relationship trope. However, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. There weren’t really any cute moments where they were a fake couple out and about. It was just kind of announced they were couple to the town and the only times they were together really were in private where some slightly-more-graphic-than-I-would-like things happened. I felt like their background could have been expanded on and the side-plot was a little too predictable. But overall, it was an ok read.

Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally. Read October 20-21. 3 stars.

While the premise of this book was interesting and had some unique aspects, I had a lot of issues with this book. Mostly in the relationships between the characters and how the guys viewed it. One example, a girl really liked one of the guys and slept with him and when Jordan asks him about how he feels about the girl his answer is that “she’s a good lay” and it’s a nice stress reliever. The whole book highlights all the reasons why these characters are too immature to be having sex, yet it is never addressed as being emotionally harmful, but completely normal and casual.

There were times that I was ready to give this book 1 star, but because of it’s interesting premise and the fact that I liked how it ended, I’m giving it three. I’m going to try the next book in the series only because I got the 3 book bundle from the library.

Stealing Parker

Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally. Read October 21-21. 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars. I liked this book better than the previous one in the series. While it had it’s own set of issues, it made up for all the issues I had with the previous book (which was not showing any of the possible emotional effects all the casual sex could bring). I also thought it was interesting that it involved God and a relationship with Him and church, without being preachy. It had the full spectrum of “church people” which is unusual to see in a non-Christian-fiction book.

Perhaps my biggest problem was that Parker’s mom’s big life lesson to her daughter was to do whatever makes you happy and to forget everyone else. That may work sometimes for a seventeen-year-old, but as a mother of 2, it kind of makes you horrible.

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) by Jennifer Armentrout. Read October 22-24. 2 stars.

This book didn’t really keep my attention. I think it was a bit longer than it had to be. An interesting twist in this series is that readers get the chance to vote for which guy in the love triangle we want Layla to end up with in the next book. However, I didn’t feel like it was written in a way for there to be any real contest. I think it’s obvious who it’s supposed to be, even though I’m totally voting for the other guy!     

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. Read October 24-25. 3 stars.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for awhile and ended up being a little underwhelmed. While it was overall cute, it didn’t have a lot of the things I love about the fake relationship trope.

Racing Savannah

Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally. Read October 25-26. 3 stars.

When book 3 in this series didn’t keep my attention, I skipped to this one. It was ok, but I think it’s the last in this series that I’ll read.

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)  The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)  Visions (Cainsville, #2)

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Visions (Cainsville #2) by Kelley Armstrong. These are all books I barely started and  just couldn’t get into. I was in a pretty big reading slump, so I put them back on the TBR shelf.

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RE-READS

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I wanted to read this again before I watched the movie. While I prefer the book to the movie, I thought the movie was very well done. And I forgot just how much I loved the book!

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September

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.

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1)

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks. Read September 3-11. 2.5 stars.

Not as good as I was expecting. Much of it was clichéd and predictable, but I’ll still probably check out the next book. 

This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Read September 11-13. 3 stars.

This book was ok. It was cute, but not as cute as I was expecting it to be. The characters weren’t always likable and I really disliked Ellie’s mother. Surprisingly, I was ok with the open ending (I usually despise them), it was probably the most well done part of the book.

Ten

Ten by Gretchen McNeil. Read September 19-20. 2.5 stars.

2.5 stars, I think. For awhile I thought this was a 2 star read. All but the three central characters were forgettable and it seemed really predictable. While I entertained the possibility of others being the killer, I was pretty sure who it was. However, I was wrong. So I was going to give it 3 stars, just because it surprised me. But then the end… *SPOILER* *SPOILER* *SPOILER* In the end Meg lives and TJ survived being shot (which was so very clichéd) and Meg is like, “My best friend and 9 other people died, but at the end of the day it’s ok because I got the guy.” Ugh.

Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Read September 19-21. 3 stars.

This book was both cute and frustrating. The main character was not very likable and I think too much time was spent on her trying to draw deep, emotional conclusions about life that really weren’t that deep. I wish Dee was a little more developed because she was likable yet lacked substance. I, of course, loved Matt Finch, though he had a few moments that annoyed me. Overall, a cute book, but I think it would’ve been better if it focused on being cute instead of trying too hard to be something more serious.

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read September 23-24. 3-ish stars.

One day a full review will be coming for this book. While I wouldn’t say it was disappointing, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I think I’m going to re-read it before I try and review it.

Rule (Marked Men, #1)

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover. Read September 26-27. 2 stars.

2 stars is being generous. The characters were mostly unlikable. The plot was often ridiculous. I don’t know why I continue to try and read New Adult books. It’s obviously not my cup of tea. 

Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)

Stay With Me (Wait for You #3) by J Lynn. Read September 25-28. 2 stars.

I love JLA and that’s the only reason I’m giving this book 2 stars and not 1. The story of Jax and Calla were pretty similar to Cam and Avery (Calla even calls Jax “Cam 2.0” at one point) and the rest of it was pretty ridiculous. I seriously need to just stop with the New Adult genre. It’s all the same and this series, that I started out liking with the first book, just seems like repeat with slightly different characters and slightly different “big horrible problems”. 

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

Resisting the Hero (Accidentally in Love, #3)

Resisting the Hero (Accidentally in Love #3) by Cindi Madsen. I really liked the first book in this series, but the second wasn’t quite as good and I couldn’t really get into this one. I’ll probably go back and try again later, though.

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RE-READS

Storm (Elemental, #1)  Spark (Elemental, #2)  The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)  The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)

Storm (Elemental #1), Spark (Elemental #2), The Best Man (Blue Heron #1), The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2). In honor of Sacrifice (Elemental #5) and In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4), I started a re-read of the first couple books of each series.