Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2019

I’ve seen this floating around lately and thought it was about time I did it, too.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2019

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In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. I actually just had this from the library, but didn’t get to it before it expired.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

Biggest Disappointment

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. After The Hating Game, I just expected so much more from Thorne’s next book.

Biggest Surprise

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This was not at all what I thought it was going to be, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Favorite New Author

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Beth O’Leary. I loved The Flatshare and can’t wait to read more form this author.

Newest Fictional Crush

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Tucker from Just one of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen.

Newest Favorite Character

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Rob from Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Book That Made You Cry

I don’t think any book has so far.

Book That Made You Happy

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Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne. I wanted this story since reading the first book in the series.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

If I’ve seen any, I haven’t remembered them.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

My 2018 Recap post

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I think In the Dark is the only book I’ve bought myself this year, thus it’s the most beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

Basically everything on this post

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Review: Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

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

Call it What You Want will be available June 25, 2019. 

When it comes to Brigid Kemmerer books there are two things I’ve come to expect: Male characters I will love and lots of Angst. Call it What You Want delivered on both fronts and I was here for it.

This book had angst for days! I’m not always into that, but it worked for me here. Maegan, who has always been the good girl, is dealing with the fallout from getting caught cheating on the SATs. On top of that, her sister comes home one weekend from college and doesn’t go back – she’s pregnant and refuses to name the father or discuss what she plans to do about it. Rob’s father got caught stealing from his clients and is left as basically a vegetable after a failed suicide attempt. Rob and his mother are left with pretty much nothing but the house and take care of him there.

Both Rob and Maegan are left as social outcasts and end up getting teamed up on a class project. As you might guess, they get to know and then start to fall for each other. I really loved watching their relationship develop. Maegan was really judgey at first, but as she gets to know Rob she realizes how wrong she has been about him. Rob was wonderful. I mean, he was depressed and struggling with a lot, but Kemmerer knows how to write sensitive, sweet, lovable, tortured guys that I will love. I just wanted to reach into the pages and hug him. His emotion was just so real and relatable and while I did like Maegan, Rob is what made this book so special.

I also really enjoyed Rob’s new friend, Owen. He was exactly the friend Rob needed. I liked watching their friendship develop and seeing them both grow as people as they learned things from each other. I also loved the school librarian and how he became such an important person in Rob’s life. One character I didn’t like in the book, though, was Samantha, Maegan’s sister. She was so selfish and acted so immature and she just drove me crazy. She did redeem herself a bit by the end, but it was a bit too little, too late for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed Call it What You Want. I loved, loved, loved Rob. I also enjoyed the romance and the lessons the characters learned along the way. I definitely recommend this one to fans of YA Contemporary.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Her Pretend Billionaire Boyfriend (Clean Billionaire Romance #1) by Bree Livingston. Read April 26-May 1. 3 Stars. 

This was suuuuuuuper cheesy, but it had some good moments, too. I got this as a free e-book because I am a sucker for fake relationship stories. I probably would never have read it otherwise, but despite the cringeworthy title and cover it was overall entertaining. Belle drove me crazy for most of the book. I’m definitely not someone who often stands up for myself, but even I wouldn’t have let myself be walked over as much as she did. It was a little much. I liked Tristan much better, though.

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

(I read mostly NetGalley books that aren’t published until June or July this month)

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Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 Stars

Those People by Louise Candlish – 4 Stars

In the Darkness (Zoe Bentley Mystery #2) by Mike Omer – 4 Stars

Truth or Die (DS Imogen Grey #5) by Katerina Diamond – 4 Stars

One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase – 2 Stars

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan – 3 Stars

A Stranger on the Beach – 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel.

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1. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I love the friend group in this so much and would love to see more of them.

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2. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I felt the ending to this was kind of abrupt and left things open for a sequel, but I haven’t heard anything about there being one.

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I would love to check in with Ambrose and Fern.

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4. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. I would love sequels to most of West’s books, but this one is probably my favorite of hers.

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5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This is one of my all-time favorite books and I could definitely see there being more stories for these characters.

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6. Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. I really felt the ending left things open enough for a sequel. I even felt like Kemmerer hinted there could be more books, but nothing ever happened.

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7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this book and would love to see more of Levi and Cath. The small cameo in Landline was not enough.

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8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I was trying to stick to only one book per author on here, but old school Rainbow Rowell wrote some of my favorite books. I absolutely adore Attachments and have been hoping for years that there would be a sequel.

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9. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I love this book and these characters so much and would love to see Ethan and Emme all grown up. I will never understand how this book doesn’t have a bigger following.

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10. My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies. Technically, this is the first book in a series about famous Janes, but I would love to see another book with the characters from this story instead.

What standalones would you like a sequel to?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. Read February 1-2. 3 Stars. 

After reading a lot of mixed reviews, I went into this one cautiously and I think that helped. I mostly enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with it. I felt like Thorne tried just a little too hard to make Darcy the complete opposite of nice, people-pleasing Lucy from The Hating Game. She was a little too much sometimes. I did like the general storyline of the romance between childhood friends and Darcy’s relationship with her twin brother. I just felt like so much of the story was overtaken with Darcy’s pervy thoughts about Tom. I thought it really cheapened the love story. Overall, I liked the beginning and the end, but most of the middle I just kind of got through. I have to say, though, my favorite part of the whole thing was that there was bonus content that included an epilogue for The Hating Game. This may not be one I would want to read again, but I’d still be interested in more from Thorne in the future.

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The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey. Read January 31 – February 4. 3 Stars

This one was just ok for me. I thought it was going to be a fake relationship story, but that plot line only lasts about a chapter, which was disappointing to me. I liked the characters and the dog and there were some funny moments, but overall I don’t think this is one that will leave any kind of lasting impression for me.

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Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West. Read February 5-6. 4 Stars. 

Another enjoyable Kasie West book. I liked the movie set atmosphere and the characters and the romance was cute. The movie scenes left a little to be desired for me, though. If you like West’s other books, you’ll like this one, too.

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Text Me Baby One More Time (Text #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read February 10-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Another enjoyable book in the Text series. Hunter’s writing is really addictive which makes these pretty fast reads. When the main characters of this book appeared in previous books I didn’t really care for either of them at all, so I was happy that I did like them here. I liked their texting past and the whole hate-to-love thing. This series is a little more full-on Romance Novel then I usually read and I feel like as the series goes on they keep getting more explicit, which I don’t love, but it was still a fun read overall.

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King of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by Sheralyn Pratt. Read February 17-20. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. Esme kind of infuriated me about half the time. I liked Hunter a little more, but he was a bit of a hothead, so I didn’t love him as much I had hoped for. The whole magic cookie lady thing was a bit odd. This book has been on my TBR for quite a while, so I’m glad I read it, but it’s not one I would be interested in reading again.

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Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry. Read February 20-23. 3 Stars.

Parts of this were cute, but for the most part a whole lot of nothing happened. I also found the whole plot surrounding the couple getting married odd. They’re in college (sophomores or juniors, I can’t remember) and get engaged and then decide to take a semester off to plan the wedding and get married. And all the parents are just fine with it. And there’s no talk about where they’ll live or how they’ll support themselves – although the guy’s family is super rich, so I guess he has a trust fund to take care of them? It just seemed really irresponsible to me. I think it would have made more sense if they had just graduated college. Anyways, this was another book that’s been on my TBR for a long time and I’m glad to get it off the list. 

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely (A Curse so Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer. Read February 25-27. 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this one. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, so I’m always up for a good re-telling and I thought this did a decent job of that. There were times it felt really reminiscent of A court of Thorns and Roses, but I ultimately thought this one was better written. I liked Rhen and Grey a lot. I completely despised Harper for about the first half of the book, though. I really have a hard time connecting with characters that are so antagonistic and needlessly reckless. She eventually got a little better for me. I did like the romance, though it wasn’t as prevalent as I would have expected. I also didn’t realize this is a series and am kind of disappointed by that. With just a couple of small changes, this could have very easily been a standalone and I would have been happy with it. I’ll read the next book, but it’s not going to make my “most anticipated” list or anything.

*****Re-Reads*****

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. I could not concentrate on anything, so I decided to re-read something so I could skim through it, but then I got invested and there was no skimming and I basically read this book in one sitting. Loved it just as much as the first time around.

*****DNF*****

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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. DNF-ed at 47%. Though I have definitely enjoyed both from time to time, I’m not currently much of a fan of Historical Fiction or Fantasy. I have never really cared for time-traveling plots in particular. However, I’m a big fan of Amy Harmon and that’s why I picked up this book. Unfortunately, it was not enough for me to love it. I had a really hard time getting into the story and I decided to set it down for awhile and I read a couple of other books. I finally tried picking this up again and still couldn’t get into it. It was at 47% that I decided to stop reading and then I just kind of skimmed to the end. I didn’t really find the end very satisfying (mostly due to my time-traveling plotline feelings) so I’m glad I decided to call it when I did. However, everyone else I know has loved it and I wish Harmon nothing but the best. I’ll still definitely be picking up more books from her in the future.

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Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner. DNF at 23%. I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I think it will have a very specific audience that will love it, but I am not that audience. I found it kind of depressing and quirky and other than the very pretty cover, I don’t really have anything positive to say about it and I really couldn’t make myself read anymore. I found Sam incredibly off-putting. I found the writing in her chapters especially were just not my style.

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

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Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne – 3 Stars

Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin – 4 Stars

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin – 3 Stars

Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

*While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

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

More Than We Can Tell will be available March 6, 2018. 

My favorite thing about Letters to the Lost was the friendship between Declan and Rev and I was very excited to hear that Rev was going to get his own book. I’m happy to report that I enjoyed More Than We Can Tell even more than I did Letters to the Lost.

As I said, I love Rev and Declan’s friendship. No matter what happens they are always there for each other. Even when they don’t agree or have an argument, they work through it and I love it. While I would’ve really liked for the whole book to be filled with the two of them, I was satisfied with the amount of page time we got. I liked that there was some follow up with some of the things Declan dealt with in his book, as well.

This book was Drama, Drama, Drama right from the start. Sexual harassment, divorcing parents, abuse, feeling alone, bullying. I thought it was dealt with very well for the most part, but there was just so much. I felt like Emma especially made a lot of small things much more dramatic than she had to. She was hard to like at times because she was such a little brat to her parents and her best friend and even to Rev at times and the things she said were so uncalled for. She did show some growth by the end of the book, but I feel like she still has a ways to go.

While I adore Rev, he did frustrate me several times in the book. If he would’ve just talked to his parents or to Declan sooner then he would’ve had a little less turmoil. However, I tried to remember that he is just a teenager and he was doing the best he could and he did eventually talk to them. (Plus, I’m not really one who can judge somebody for their lack of ability to communicate.) I loved the relationship between Rev and his parents, as well. So often in YA the parents are either missing or awful (and there was some of that in this book, too), but Rev’s adoptive parents were wonderful.

Though I thought the immediate intensity of Rev and Emma’s relationship was a little unrealistic, I did like them together. There were several super cute moments between them that I enjoyed, but I also really enjoyed how they helped each other emotionally. Their romance didn’t “fix” each other, but offered support to each other and I liked that.

Overall, I enjoyed More Than We Can Tell. I’m a fan of Kemmerer’s writing and I flew through this book. I loved getting to see Rev and Declan again. Even though I thought the drama was a little over the top at times, I thought there were some good, relatable lessons. I think fans of Letters to the Lost will not want to miss this one, though you don’t have to have read it to enjoy this.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Taking a Break

Books

As I’ve recently mentioned, 2018 has not gotten off to a great start for me. Lots of family stuff. Lots of work stuff. Life is just kind of hacking away at my mental health. Other than reading, there is just not really anything that I’ve felt like doing lately. I’ve been working on this little blog of mine for almost 5 years and while I have never been the most consistent of posters, I’ve never taken any planned time away. Since I have no more ARC reviews scheduled until March, I feel like now is a good time to take a hiatus from blogging.

I will probably still check my blog feed occasionally and you can connect with me on Good Reads, if you are so inclined, as I will still be tracking what I read, but I’m going to plan on taking the rest of February off from posting anything. Hopefully in March I will be feeling a little more stable and come back with some great content. Right now I have reviews for the following books scheduled:

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I hope you all have a great month. See you in March!