Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 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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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond. Read April 1-2. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed The Marriage Pact. Though it started out a little slow for me and did get bogged down in the details a bit, for the most part it was well-paced and seriously creepy. I had fallen into a book slump before I started this and it definitely pulled me out. This is my first Michelle Richmond book and I’ll definitely be reading more from her. Full review to come.

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.  Read April 8-10. 3 Stars.

After all the glowing reviews and everyone saying this book was better than Mackintosh’s I See You (which I read first and really enjoyed), I had very high expectations going into this. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite met. Part One of this book was sooooo slow. If it wasn’t for all the good reviews, I may have given up on it. I didn’t really care for Jenna’s POV until closer to the end of Part One and while I liked Ray’s POV, he started to really make me angry. However, it definitely got more interesting in Part Two. I liked the reveal right before Part Two. I knew a twist was coming and I had a few guesses and one of my them was about half right. I knew there was another twist coming and I did figure it out before the reveal, but that’s ok. Overall this was a good book, but it did not live up to my expectations.

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Marrying His Best Friend (The McKinnon Brothers #3) by Jennifer Gracen. Read April 9-11. 3 Stars.

A very cute Friends-to-More/Marriage of Convenience story. I loved, loved Aiden. He was so sweet. This was well on it’s way to being a 4 star read for me, but then Maura started acting like an idiot and I couldn’t stand her for awhile so it definitely brought my overall feelings about the book down. It was still, cute, though. This was a free Nookbook (and is probably on Kindle too?) and I’m glad I actually read it instead of letting it sit for years untouched on my Nook, like most other free downloads do.

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The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski. Read April 13-14. 3 Stars.

I reject the premise of this book. Emma basically decides to catfish Eli with the end goal being Eli asking her out. Ummm, ok. There was also a kind of random love triangle thrown in towards the end of the book that was kind of pointless. All of Eli and Emma’s friends existed for the sole purpose of advancing the Eli/Emma relationship. Despite all those problems, though, there were still several cute moments and I did like Emma and Eli together once they stopped being stupid. I liked their friendship, as well. I appreciated that this was a pretty clean YA Contemporary. Overall, this was a quick, easy read that provided the distraction I was looking for.

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Driven to Date (Better Date than Never #7) by Susan Hatler. Read April 15. 3 Stars.

I’ve had this book on my Nook forever and finally decided to read it today when nothing else was working for me. It was a workplace romance with a bit of a mix of fake-relationship, insta-love, and enemies-to-lovers. It was short and sweet with likable characters and I’ll be reading some of the other books from this series that have also been sitting on my Nook for awhile.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. Read April 16-17. 3.5 Stars.

It took me a little while to get into this. I didn’t really care for either Juliet or Declan in the beginning. I’m an avoidant people pleaser, so I can’t really relate to angry, confrontational characters. However, as the story went on I became more invested in the characters and the story. The chapters alternate between Declan and Juliet’s POVs and I have to say that I enjoyed Declan’s chapters a lot more. While I liked the relationship between Declan and Juliet, it was the friendship between Declan and Rev that really made this book for me. I loved their interactions and how supportive of each other they were. I also really liked Frank, Declan’s “supervisor”, and a couple of the teachers. This was not as emotional as I was expecting it to be (that isn’t really a bad thing, though). Overall, a good book, but not my favorite of Kemmerer’s.

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The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham. Listened to April 19-24. 4 Stars.

I listened to this on audio and even though the book would be good on it’s own, Kristen Bell’s narration just made it amazing. I loved the show and listening to this book was almost like watching an episode. I thought the mystery was well done and it definitely kept me guessing. A must-read (or listen) for all Veronica Mars fans.

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Arrowood by Laura McHugh. Read April 25-27. 2.5 Stars.

I feel a little bad for rating this under 3 stars because the writing wasn’t bad (though much too descriptive for me), but when I finished the book my first thought was, “That was a waste of time.” The chapters were long and the pace was slow and it took well over half way through for me to really get interested in the story. The solution to the mystery wasn’t really a surprise at all and I thought the reveal wasn’t very well done. The characters could have used a little more development, but I didn’t mind Arden and I liked Josh. If you’re really into description and some light history you would probably enjoy this more than I did, but if you’re looking for a good mystery or suspense I would say to look somewhere else.

****************RE-READ****************

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Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder #3) by Linda Castillo. I listened to most of this on audio on the drive home from vacation and I couldn’t remember all the details of the conclusion, so I had to read the rest as soon as I could. This was a good mystery. I really like this series.

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

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs. I got almost half way through this and just don’t care about it. It might just be my mood, though, so I’m putting it back on the TBR to read another day.

****************DNF****************

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. DNF at 38%. When I first saw this book I didn’t think it looked like my cup of tea. But then I saw it was Taylor Jenkins Reid and I thought, “yes, please.” Sadly, I should’ve gone with my first instinct. I pretty much hated Evelyn – both in the present and the past. I felt a little sorry for her as a young girl, but then she grew up into an awful person who did awful things and was not the least bit sorry about it. Now, I can read and enjoy books that have unlikable characters. But I either have to love to hate them or they have to have some type of redeeming quality and I felt like both of those aspects were missing here. I also didn’t really find Monique developed enough to care about one way or the other, but by the time I stopped reading I was growing to dislike her a bit. I’m sure there will be many people who like this book, but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

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The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts. DNF at 12%. I have absolutely no patience whatsoever for Vivian.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Felt Betrayed By

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You Felt Betrayed By: Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small.

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1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. First of all, I kind of have the Twilight Effect with this series- I really loved Divergent (and even Insurgent) when I first read it, but going back and re-reading I find it really underwhelming. Anyways, I was so excited for Allegiant and it ended up being probably the worst series ender I’ve ever read. Not just the controversial death, but it made me really dislike Four and the plot was just so convoluted and didn’t make any sense!

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2. Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer. I loved the Elemental series and was excited to finally get Michael’s POV. And I was really enjoying this book – right up until the very abrupt end! Part of the problem was my sneaky ARC, but I felt like there were just SO MANY loose ends and this was supposed to be the series finale. Since then, Kemmerer has said she is continuing the series, but no date has been announced as to when that will happen.

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3. The Rose Society by Marie Lu. Every review I read for this series raved about how “dark” it was supposed to be and how the main character was supposed to be so villainous. However, I did not feel that way at all about it. There were maybe a couple of darker moments, but I felt way more sorry for the main character than scared of her, which was a major disappointment. I still haven’t read the final book in the series yet.

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4. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. So I gave this a pretty favorable review when I first read it, but the more I got away from it, the more disappointing I found not just this final book, but the whole series. Though I will always love the characters, the story just doesn’t make a lot of sense! I especially find the conclusion of the Glendower plotline to be particularly ridiculous and unsatisfying. I’m not even very interested in the upcoming Ronan spin-off.

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5. Kate in Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. She kind of ruined everything between her and her husband, who I loved, with one stupid choice. The fact that it seemed so abrupt and not anything that the story had been “leading up to” made it even worse.

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

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

Thicker Than Water will be available December 29, 2015.

I was a big fan of Kemmerer’s Elemental series (On a side note, I just saw that there is going to be another book in the Elemental series and I am sooooooo happy! I knew that series couldn’t be over!) so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. First, though, I need to get this off my chest – the synopsis says a prior murder victim was Charlotte’s best friend, but she wasn’t. It was a girl she just barely knew. Though that murder does play a large role in Charlotte’s life later in the book.

Kemmerer really knows how to write guy characters that I’ll fall in love with. Thomas made my heart break, but he could also make me smile, laugh, get frustrated, and – for lack of a better word – swoon. I just felt so awful for him as he was trying to come to terms with his mother’s death and living with the step-father he barely knows, all while the police have named him their number one suspect.

Charlotte is the youngest child – and only daughter – in a family of cops. She meets Thomas at his mother’s funeral and basically every thing she does after that just puts Thomas in more trouble. While she is capable of defending herself and I admired her for not automatically condemning Thomas like everyone else was doing, she drove me insane most of the time. She just kept doing stupid things and often Thomas had to pay the price for them, which infuriated me.

I really liked the supporting cast of characters in this book. I liked Stan, Thomas’ step-father, even though he didn’t always believe Thomas. Charlotte’s best friend provided a lot of comic relief and I really liked Charlotte’s brothers (I’ll mention again – Kemmerer writes guys I love) and wish we would’ve gotten even more from them. While they could all make me angry at times, they all had a good sense of humor and they were very protective of their family. And then there is JB who was a very interesting character that I really loved reading about, but I fear anything I say about him will go into spoiler-town, so I’m going to restrain myself.

I did like the romance between Thomas and Charlotte for the most part. Though it happened a little fast, I think that’s explained later on in the book in  a way that makes sense. This book is a little more graphic than Kemmerer’s previous books, so younger readers should watch out for that. I generally don’t appreciate that in YA, but it was only a couple scenes, so I can overlook it.

While it’s hinted at in the first chapter – and several times throughout- it takes over 200 pages for the supernatural element of the story to come into play. I think I would’ve liked it to be explained a little earlier in the story. Once we get to that point, it felt a little rushed and I’m still a tad confused about how it all works. It plays a huge part in the murder mystery aspect of the book and I wish the pace would have slowed down a little instead of speeding toward the conclusion.

Overall, I did really enjoy Thicker Than Water. I really loved the characters (even though Charlotte made me angry most of the time) and I just really love Kemmerer’s writing. The story is told in alternating 1st person POV and I thought it was done really well here. While I felt the ending was resolved enough to be a standalone, there was enough left open that I thought this could be the start of a series. I ended up asking Kemmerer on Twitter and she said, “Right now it’s a standalone…” so I have some hope there will one day be more books on the way, as this would be a series I’d definitely continue.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

 

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2015

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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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Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon. Read November 6-7. 1 Star.

I am always on the look out for fake relationship books and when I saw this I thought it would be another cute story. It was not.

Hayley was one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read. She was super immature, bratty, delusional, and kind of a psycho. The way she treated Bryce, her blackmailed fake boyfriend, was crazy. And I think if roles would have been reversed and he treated her that way everyone would consider him a creepy, possessive, abusive stalker.

There’s a lot more ranting I could do about this book, but I really don’t want to waste any more time on it.

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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Read November 8-11. 4 Stars.

I admit I have been severely disappointed when I first found out that Karin Slaughter’s most recent two books have not been a continuation of the Will Trent series. However, just like with Cop Town before it, Pretty Girls definitely makes up for any disappointment I had. It’s a smart, suspenseful mystery with very well-developed characters. Twists are given away subtly so they sneak up on you and pack a punch. Even when I suspected something, Slaughter still wrote it in a way that surprised me when it happened and there were several other moments where I honestly did not see things coming. Even though the subject matter was often dark and heartbreaking, I really enjoyed this book.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. Read November 16-19. 2 Stars.

I did not care for this book anywhere near as much as I thought I would. I feel like 2 stars is being generous. The main character is extremely unlikable. She was selfish, not very nice, hypocritical, and I hated how she treated Mitch and even how she treated Bo much of the time (though I liked Mitch much, much more, even though it’s supposed to be Bo we fall in love with). I felt that Willowdean’s path to self-acceptance was disconnected and a little unrelatable, especially when I really thought her story would resonate with me. It did not. I also thought the end was very poorly done.

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Thicker than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. Read November 24-27. 3.5 Stars

The review for this will post closer to it’s release date next month. Like all of Kemmerer’s books, I hate the cover, but love the majority of the characters.

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RE-READS

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To get ready for Oblivion coming out, I re-read Obsidian by JLA. I believe it’s still free through the end of the month, btw, so go get it if you haven’t yet!

The Fall Time Cozy Book Tag

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It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for a new Book Tag. In searching for tags I came across The Fall Time Cozy Book Tag on A Novel Glimpse. Fall is my favorite season – even if Ohio only likes to give us a couple of weeks of it before starting Winter early.

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of color. Choose a book that has reds, oranges and yellows on the cover.

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This cover just screams fall to me. Despite the couple kissing, I like this cover. And this book was adorable.

Cozy Sweater: It’s finally cold enough to don warm cozy clothing. What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

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Pretty much anything by Kristan Higgins!

Fall Storm: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose your favourite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.

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I don’t necessarily pick out a genre based on the weather, but when I think of the elements, I think of the Elementals series. (Again another cover you shouldn’t judge the book by!)

Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

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Jessamin from Illusions of Fate

Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

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I love the Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I think Leotta is such a great author and one of my favorites of her genre.

Coat, Scarves and Mittens: The weather has turned cold and it’s time to cover up. What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

I avoid this by mostly reading on my Nook. But I would probably say almost any Romance book. Those covers are just awful!

Pumpkin Spice: What’s your favourite fall time comfort food/foods?

Hmm this doesn’t have anything to do with books? But I’ll go with Pumpkin flavored coffee drinks and Pumpkin pie!

I tag whoever loves Fall

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From. So there was probably a way better way to do this, but I exported my books from Good Reads, sorted them by the author, and ran a formula to count how many times the author appeared.

Beginnings: Obsidian & Onyx (Lux, #1-2)

1. Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn = 27 books.
I’ve read almost every JLA book. Obsidian was the first book I’ve ever read from her and I’ve been hooked since.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

2. Charlaine Harris = 15 books
The Sookie Stackhouse series. I stopped enjoying them maybe around half way through, but I was determined to finish the series.

The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)

3. Kristan Higgins = 13 books
I’ve read all of her published books to date. I adore her writing style.

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

4. Richelle Mead = 12 books
The Vampire Academy and Bloodlines

The Protector (O'Malley #4)

5. Dee Henderson = 11 books
Mostly the O’Malley series, which I really liked, and a few standalone/part of other series which I didn’t enjoy as much.

Unseen (Will Trent, #7)

6. Karin Slaughter = 10
Mostly the Will Trent series. I am sooo ready for the next book in the series to come out already! She’s written two standalones since the last installment instead.

Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)

7. Sara Shepard = 9 books
Most of the PLL series before I just had to stop.

I've Got Your Number

8.Sophie Kinsella = 9 books
Mostly the Shopaholic series until I couldn’t take anymore. I’ve Got Your Number is by far my favorite, though.

Storm (Elemental, #1)

9. Brigid Kemmerer = 8 books
The Elemental series

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder, #6)

10. Linda Castillo = 8 books
The Kate Burkholder series.

Which authors have you read the most from?

Discussion: Harsh Review or Rose Colored Glasses?

9 Ways Hanger is Messing Up Your Marriage

It’s no secret that I’m pretty stingy with my ratings. Since I started blogging almost 2 years ago, I haven’t given any books 5 stars. I’ve become a little more generous with my 4 star reads, but probably the majority of my reviews are 3 – 3.5 stars. I’ve realized that some of the books and series I routinely call my Favorites are books I only gave 3 stars to. Did I review the book too harshly when I initially read it? Or am I looking back on it as better than it is – through rose colored glasses, if you will?

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Book Examples

Kristan Higgins novels

In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)

I often share my love of her novels, but I’ve given every book 3 stars. Is it because I can’t bring myself to rate a straight up romance highly? Despite the fact it can be silly and predictable, the character development, writing style, and humor are all pretty clever. I think some of these probably deserve higher ratings.

Verdict: Too Harsh

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Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins 

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

I gave every book 3 stars, despite really enjoying the first two (I tolerated the last book – and still gave it 3 stars). The Paris setting was fun, the romance was cute. However, the cheating aspect really turned me off. Also, I found that Anna was a little too melodramatic at times and don’t even get me started on Lola. So yeah, I like these books, but they’re really not the best contemporaries I’ve read.

Verdict: Rose Colored Glasses

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

I adore this series and the cast of characters, but I only gave the fist two books 3 stars. Obviously now I think this series deserves All The Stars, but my original complaint was that it was awesome characters, but a weirdo story. It’s still a weirdo story, but I think that I love the characters so much that I don’t care about the rest.

Verdict: Too Harsh (with maybe just a tiny tint of rose)

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Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm (Elemental, #1)

I claim this as one of my favorite YA series, but all except for the fist book I’ve given 3 stars (and a couple of the novellas 2 stars). Sure I had some issues with each of these books, I didn’t always love the side characters or love interests, and I really did not like how it ended, but I adore the Merrick brothers and there was a good mix of family, friends, love, humor, and supernatural.

Verdict: Too Harsh

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In light of this, should I go back and re-rate some of these? Do you ever have this problem? Do you ever change your book ratings on Good Reads or blog reviews?