Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2018

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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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Read May 4-6. 3.5 Stars.

I recently read All the Beautiful Lies and liked it, but everyone else seemed to think it wasn’t as good as Swanson’s previous books and The Kind Worth Killing was mentioned to me several times. I think that gave me really high expectations for this that weren’t quite met.

I liked the multiple POVs. The characters were all awful, but often fascinating. I thought the first twist was really good, but after that my guard was up and I didn’t really find anything else that surprising. Overall I thought this was good, but it didn’t really grip me like I was hoping it would.

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Operation Prom Date (Tactics in Flirting #1) by Cindi Madsen. Read May 12-13. 4 Stars.

I was in the mood for something cute and light and decided to give this one a try when I saw there was no wait for it at the library and I am so glad I did! It was so freaking cute! I loved Kate and Cooper and shipped them pretty hard. I also loved all Kate’s talk about the characters she shipped (“I used to be all about Damon and Elena, but there toward the end, I shipped her and a coffin.” Lolol). I loved how kind of nerdy Kate was and she made me laugh several times. If you’re looking for a sweet YA I definitely recommend this one.

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Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. Read May 14-15. 4 Stars. 

I did really like this, but I also really had some issues with it. I was rooting for Macy and Elliot, but I felt the further we got into the book the less impressed I was with their relationship. When it starts out we just keep being told how they were each other’s first/best “everything” and they were so close and special and then something awful happened where they didn’t speak for eleven years. Every other chapter is told in flashback to when they first met until the big event that drove them apart. As they grew older in the flashbacks, their conversations primarily seemed to revolve around sexual topics and while they’re young and hormonal and I get that, it felt like it was at the expense of finding out real things about each other. Macy realized on several different occasions that their relationship is very insulated and she knows very little about Elliot’s outside life. While I didn’t doubt that they cared about each other, I just never really bought their relationship being as real and close as we’re told it was.

I also thought it got way too long to get to what happened. I pretty much guessed what happened within the first chapter or two and it was kind of annoying that they waited roughly 400 pages to reveal it. And while I’m sure it was a traumatic time for Macy, it also felt like a big overreaction that didn’t warrant eleven years of the silent treatment.

Ok, so I know it sounds like I didn’t like this, but I did. I liked the Present chapters a lot more than I liked the flashbacks. Even though Macy still frustrated me, I did like adult Macy and Elliot together. I liked adult Elliot a lot more than teenage Elliot. The writing was very addictive and once I started this book I only put it down for sleep and work. I did think the first half was better than the second half, though. However, it’s still a book that I think I would read again.

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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. Read May 13-19. 3 Stars. 

The Book of M is certainly an ambitious debut. Covering multiple characters, countries, and time in painstaking detail, it explores a new dystopian world where the loss of memories results in dangerous magic. Full Review to come.

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Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering. Read May 19-20. 4 Stars. 

Tell Me Lies is an addicting tale of a toxic relationship and the dysfunctional people involved in it. Full review to come.

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A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) by Linda Castillo. Read May 21-22. 4 Stars.

Sometimes when a series has been around for awhile, the characters and the stories seem to get a little stale. That is not the case with the Kate Burkholder series. We are ten books in and I still enjoy it just as much as I did the beginning of the series. Full review to come.

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Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley. Read May 23-26. 2.5 Stars. 

Comparisons to Dexter and to Joe made me pretty excited to read Find You in the Dark, but as with such other comparisons, I was left a little disappointed. Full review to come.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas. Read May 26-27. 2.5 Stars.

Well. That was kind of pointless. You know there are groups of characters that you say you would read about them doing ANYTHING? The ACOTAR group has never been that for me, but if they are that for you, you’ll enjoy this. Like all other Maas books it was weighed down with too much pointless detail and very little plot. It was occasionally funny, though, and I will always have a certain level of love for Rhys. I’m not really feeling that inspired to continue the series, but I probably will.

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

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I finally got this from the library, but I just was not in the mood for fantasy at the time. I will try it again some day.

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

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Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey. DNF-ed at 58%. I almost never DNF a book this far into it, but I just really couldn’t make myself care about it. The concept is interesting, but I don’t think it was executed that well. And the main character was really annoying. I put it down for a few days to read something else and was not at all interested in picking it back up again.

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Jane and Austen by Stephanie Fowers. DNF-ed at 9%. I really liked the concept of this and that it has characters based off of all of Jane Austen’s books, but I just couldn’t get into it. 

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

I wasn’t really interested in today’s Top 5 Wednesday prompt, so I decided to borrow a topic I missed from when I was on hiatus. So for me, today’s topic is: Favorite Romance Novels. Straight up romance novels aren’t usually ones I reach for very often, but there are a few that I love.

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1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I love almost everything about this book. It’s so funny and cute.

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2. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. Can you tell I like Hate-to-Love stories?

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3. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. Honestly, I could list pretty much every Lauren Layne book I’ve read. They’re always so cute.

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4. Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk. This book reminded me so much a Hallmark Christmas movie.

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5. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins is my definite go-to for romance novels and this is just one of my many favorites by her. She appears to be shifting her focus over to Women’s Fiction, which at first really annoyed me, even though they’re just as good as her romances. I’m coming around to it, though.

What are some of your favorite romance novels?

End of the Year Survey: 2017

This End of the Year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 134
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Suspense

best-YA-books-20141. Best Book You Read In 2017?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton, Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, Making Faces by Amy Harmon and Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I gave all these books 4.5 stars and I can’t pick between them.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I thought this looked adorable and had so much potential, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I can’t think of a book that I really pushed on people this year. I recommended Sharon Bolton to just about everyone, but I’m not sure if anyone actually read anything of hers because of me. 

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Sequel: The Secret by Katerina Diamond

Ender: The Song of David by Amy Harmon

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Sharon Bolton, Amy Harmon, and Elizabeth Eulberg

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m going to go with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue again. I don’t read a lot of Historical Fiction these days or LGBT+ books.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read a lot of thrilling and unputdownable books this year, but I think the most action-packed/fast paced would be Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton bc I just got it for Christmas and am itching to read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. She always has the best covers.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

David Drucker from What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Nothing really stands out, but probably anything by Amy Harmon.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

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Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. My first book by Eulberg and I discovered a new favorite author.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

From Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren:

I try to ignore the pressure to be coupled up, but it’s everywhere…There’s my own biological clock, quietly yet persistently ticking away…But of course there’s that niggling voice suggesting I not care about any of it, that maybe I should give in and buy the cats instead. The problem is that I don’t like them. I may be a terrible married person someday, but I know for sure I would be an even worse cat lady.

“Evie?”

“Sorry…I was just trying to figure out whether I could still be a crazy cat lady without the actual animals.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: Winging It by Cate Cameron

Longest: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lark and Tiras from The Bird and the Sword, Evie and Carter from Dating You/Hating You, and Lacey and Josebury from the Lacey Flint series.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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Declan and Rev from Letters to the Lost

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA Sharon Bolton). It wasn’t really a personal recommendation, but I saw a review on The Misstery. Many books I’ve read and loved this year came from Annie.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

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I loved Matt from Always You by Denise Grover Swank.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Ragdoll from Daniel Cole

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Did not like the book, but she really knows how to set a scene!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The DS Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond. More people need to read this!!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Lying Game

book-blogging1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I can never answer this question. There’s been so many.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Sometimes the worst books make for the most fun reviews.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Convince me to buy a Kindle (I think it’s also the only discussion post I wrote)

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to three author events: Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Scottoline.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Linda Castillo remembered my name at her book signing from previous book signings. Also, I’m counting this as blogging life, I finally got to meet Brandie from Running on Words and Wine!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Going through long periods of time where I had no patience for romance or contemporary novels. Also, personal life issues put reading on hold a lot of the time.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Most viewed of the year was the review for Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo that I wrote a couple years ago, but the most viewed from 2017 content was the review for Fallen Heir by Erin Watt.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

All of them 🙂

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Not really a discovery, but I finally bit the bullet and got a Kindle Paperwhite.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads Challenge and surpassed my goal of 100 books.

looking-ahead-books-20151. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

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Maybe not number 1 priority, but I still need to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

There’s not really one on my radar right now.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – the continuation of the Shatter Me series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Be more consistent on writing reviews for non-ARCs.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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The Wife Between Us

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 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. 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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The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1) by Amy Harmon. Read December 2-3. 4 Stars. 

This started out a little confusing. And I have to admit that I was still a little confused throughout the novel. However, I still loved it! I loved Lark and Tiras so much. I loved their banter and their romance. I also really enjoyed Boojohni. This was a much different book than the other ones by Amy Harmon I’ve read, but it was still beautifully written, just like what I expect from her. I borrowed this book from a friend (Thanks Brandie!!!), but I think I’m going to have to get a copy of my own because I know I will want to read it again. I’m really looking forward to the next book, though I am a little sad that Lark and Tiras aren’t the focus of it.

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The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon. Read December 3-7. 3 Stars. 

Well, there is obviously something wrong with me. Almost every review I’ve read have said how this book was even better than the first in the series, but I didn’t think that at all. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good. I just liked The Bird and the Sword better. I never really fell in love with Kjell and Sasha the way I did with Tiras and Lark. Still, if Harmon writes more in this series I will read it.

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Roomies by Christian Lauren. Read December 8-10. 3.5 Stars.

This started out a little slow for me, but then when I got further into it I found it pretty addicting. That’s the thing about the Christina Lauren books I’ve read – even if I’m not loving the story, I still find it compulsively readable.

I liked both Holland and Calvin. I liked the fake relationship/marriage of convenience idea. There were lots of cute and/or funny moments. But I also feel like parts dragged on a little too long. There were large sections where I felt like I was waiting a long time for something to actually happen. I also did not like how open the ending was. Overall, though, it was a fun book.

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Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer. Read December 13-17. 3.5 Stars. 

A fun and quirky story full of the ups and downs of online dating. Match Made in Manhattan was an entertaining and often addicting read. Full review to come in January.

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By The Book by Julia Sonneborn. Read December 20-23. 2.5 Stars.

Persuasion is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and I am always ready to jump on board a re-telling. Unfortunately, By the Book did not really live up to my expectations. Full review to come in January.

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Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh. Read December 24-28. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed Let Me Lie. I loved the way the multiple narrators were utilized and thought the twists were very well done. The pacing did feel a little slow in the beginning, but it definitely picked up as the book went on. I also really empathized with some of the emotions Anna tried to work through. I’m really looking forward to whatever Mackintosh does next. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West. Read December 29-30. 4 Stars. 

I’m very stingy when it comes to spending my money on books, but if there’s one author I don’t hesitate to buy a book from it’s Kasie West. I know her books will always be super cute and make happy and Love, Life, and the List did not let me down. Full review to post next week.

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

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Friend Request by Laura Marshall, Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, Holiday Spice (The Shaugnnessy Brothers #6) by Samantha Chase. I just wasn’t in the mood for any of those, despite being super excited that a Sarah Morgan book was actually at the library. I will give them all another try, though!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017. Here are mine, in no particular order (all links go to my review – Yes, I actually wrote proper reviews on all of these books!):

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1. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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2. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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5. Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA: Sharon Bolton)

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6. Dating You/Hating You by Christian Lauren

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7. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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8. The Secret by Katerina Diamond

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9. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are some of your favorite books you read this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?

Chocolate Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (she’s awesome, check her out). Thanks Deanna! I’m going to try and keep my answers to only books I have read this year.

Dark Chocolate: A book with a dark theme/content

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. There are definitely some parts that are hard to read in this book. But it’s so good!

 

White Chocolate: A light-hearted/humorous read

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Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. I smiled my way through this whole book.

 

Milk Chocolate: A book with a lot of hype that you are dying to read

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Honestly, I don’t really care that much about the whole super hero thing that’s so popular these days, but since Leigh Bardugo wrote it, I want to read it!

A Wafer-Free KitKat: A book that surprised you lately

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. Even though I didn’t really enjoy most of the book and figured a lot of stuff out, the very final twist definitely surprised me and I loved it!

Chocolate With a Caramel Centre: A book that makes you feel gooey on the inside

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Only You by Denise Grover Swank. I was shipping Kevin and Holly so hard during this whole book.

Snickers: A book you are going nuts about

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Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. This is one of my favorite books of the year and I tell everyone to read it. READ IT!!!

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Marshmallows: A comfort read that you turn to again and again

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My Lady JaneSince I’m trying to stick with books I’ve only read this year, this is one of the few re-reads I’ve done. It’s so funny and cute and I love it.

 

Box of Chocolates: A series that has something for everyone

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What’s a tag without mentioning Red Rising? This is another re-read this year. It has actions, twists, romance, space, politics, romance, and terrific writing.