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: Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Addison Murphy is the funny friend, the girl you grab a beer with—the girl voted most likely to start her own sweatshirt line. And now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. She’ll get through this wedding if it’s the last thing she does. Just don’t ask her to dive for any bouquet.

When Tucker Crawford returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see the nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Certainly doesn’t expect to feel his heart beat faster when he realizes they belong to one of his best friends.

If he convinces Addie to give him a chance, they could be electric…or their break-up could split their tight-knit group in two.

Hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him—he was just too stupid to realize it—now she’s leaving to follow her own dreams. He’s going to need to do a lot of compromising if he’s going to convince her to take a shot at forever with him—on her terms this time.

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

Just One of the Groomsmen will be available May 28, 2019. 

I loved this book so much! It was such a fun, sweet Friends-to-More story and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I don’t really like to use words like “swoony” or “feels”, but Addie and Tucker made my cold, black heart feel all the feelings. I loved their friendship and I loved how it turned into more. The friendship lines aren’t really crossed until about halfway through the book and the slow burn was everything. I actually maybe enjoyed the first half of the book a teensy bit more because of it.

I also really loved their group of friends. It made me nostalgic for my high school days where I had a great group of guy friends and I was often the only girl hanging out and they definitely sometimes forgot I was, in fact, a girl. I really enjoyed when they were all together  and how they joked around with each other. I could have used a lot more of that, actually. I don’t feel like we got to know all of the guys as much as I liked to. I would love for this to be a series so that could be rectified.

The only thing I didn’t really like was that there were a few too many sex scenes once Addie and Tucker got together. I could’ve done with a few less of the graphic scenes, with more focus on the relationship instead.

Overall, I loved Just One of the Groomsmen. It was fun and romantic and everything I hope for when I pick up a Contemporary Romance. I definitely recommend this one to fans of the genre.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 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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Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi. Read April 7-8. 3 Stars. 

This was SO MUCH BETTER than the previous book in this series. It still didn’t really do much to advance the plot, but there was a lot of background information revealed that I found interesting. I am a little annoyed that it makes pretty much everything that happened in the original trilogy obsolete, but I’m rolling with it.

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. Read April 9-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Addictive writing and an intriguing premise kept me turning the pages on this. I found Matthew kind of fascinating. There was one big twist that I suspected awhile before it was revealed, but then Swanson still managed to surprise me by something after that, which I liked. However, I found the ending pretty underwhelming.

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. Read April 23-25. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t a bad read, but it never quite lived up to it’s potential. I wanted it to get really crazy and fun, and while there was some definite crazy behavior, it never really felt fun. I actually wished some of Juliette’s plans actually panned out the way she thought they would because that would have made it a little more entertaining. But mostly I just ended up feeling sorry for her and wishing she would get some help. I thought it was a little too open-ended, too. This isn’t one I would discourage you from reading, but I’m not going to recommend it either.

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Royally Screwed (Royally #2) by Emma Chase. Read April 20-25. 3 Stars. 

It took me quite awhile to get into this, but I eventually started to enjoy it. There were some funny parts. It was just a lot cruder at times than I prefer so that took a lot of the enjoyment out of the book for me, overall.

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Read April 25-26. 4 Stars. 

This wasn’t really anything like I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it. The writing was super addictive and I had a hard time putting it down. The character development was well done and while I wasn’t shocked by who the murderer turned out to be, it wasn’t my first guess, either.

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

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Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I read several chapters of Keep Her Safe and one chapter of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but couldn’t really get into either of them. I’ll give them both another try again, though.

*****DNF*****

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How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. DNF-ed at 29%. I thought the concept for this was really intriguing, but I ended up just not being able to connect with the story. There were times where I found it relatable and funny and other times where I thought the humor fell pretty flat. I read 29% before it started to lose my attention. I decided to set it down to read something else and planned to come back to it, but after reading several other books I couldn’t make myself pick this one back up. While I’m sure that there people who will enjoy this book, it’s just not for me. 

*I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.

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

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Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen – 4 Stars

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker – 3.5 Stars

Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg – 4 Stars

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen  Hoang – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: April 17, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. I’m not really into this and I’m trying to decide if I want to finish it. It’s an ARC from NetGalley I requested, so I hate to DNF it, but if I don’t want to pick it up again after a couple of other books then I’ll probably call it.

Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen. This author is sometimes hit or miss for me, but I am absolutely loving this so far. So cute and romantic.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley. Though I had some issues, I did really enjoy this one. Look for my review on it next week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure yet, but I’ve really been in a Contemporary/Romance mood lately, so it will probably be something in that genre.

What are you reading?

Review: The Wedding Deal (Heart in the Game #1) by Cindi Madsen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Former quarterback Lance Quaid just inherited the most losing team in the NFL. He’s got only a few weeks until draft day to turn things around, and after firing more than half his staff, he can’t do it alone. Thankfully, his HR manager is more than capable, if only she’d stop focusing on “due diligence” and stop looking so sexy while she’s yelling at him.

Charlotte James has made a life out of following the rules. But nothing could have prepared her for Lance Quaid––he’s a human resources nightmare. The man is brash, has no filter, and, as her new boss, is constantly relying on her to cover his ass. Which is admittedly quite nice.

When Lance begs her to join him on a trip down the coast for his brother’s wedding so they can finalize details––on a strictly business basis––she agrees…after they fill out the necessary forms, of course. Away from the office, though, sparks start flying as the team starts coming together. But both of them know anything more than the weekend would be a colossally bad idea––after all, the extra paperwork would be a nightmare.

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

The Wedding Deal will be available March 25, 2019. 

I’ve enjoyed several Cindi Madsen books and thought The Wedding Deal looked like the perfect book to feed my Contemporary craving. While I did like it, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

I felt the book was much longer than it needed to be. I thought there was too much repetition and the story dragged a little bit. There’s only so many times I need to hear how distracted a character is by their attractive co-worker’s [insert body part here]. I also really dislike long chapters and the majority of the chapters were much longer than I prefer.

That said, I did really enjoy the romance. I thought Lance and Charlotte complemented each other so well, professionally and personally. While there was a little too much of the whole “he/she is so attractive” rhetoric, there was also a lot of discussion about how smart, caring, funny, and hard-working each other were. They helped make each other better, too. I really appreciated that the romance was based on so much more than the physical and I definitely shipped them.

Overall, I enjoyed The Wedding Deal. While it was a little too long for my taste, I did really like the romance and the sweet relationship Charlotte and Lance developed. I also thought the story was set apart a little bit from the normal Sports Romance by focusing on the owner of a team instead of a player. I would recommend it to someone looking for a light romance and doesn’t mind long chapters.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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. 

To Not To Read Book Tag

I was tagged for this To Not To Read tag by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Thanks Deanna! All the answers have to be books you DNF-ed. I used to never DNF anything (book OR series), but over the last few years I’ve learned how to put down books I don’t think will be worth my time. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

What book would you be willing to finish?

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Tiny Pretty Things. I only read a couple chapters before I gave up and I’ve read many positive reviews on it, so it might have just been my mood when I tried it. And I still love the cover.

A dystopian book that you put down.

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Landry Park. I didn’t make any notes on this on to how far I got or why I stopped, so I don’t quite remember what made me put it down. I think I didn’t like the main character, though, and by the time this came out I was pretty over dystopian.

A book that you just didn’t want to finish at all.

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Passenger. I read a little more than half and I just didn’t care.

A sequel.

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The Queen of Zombie Hearts. While I originally shipped the main romance, by this book I simply could not take the two of them anymore. And I didn’t like the supporting characters.

A book you’ll never again pick up.

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Anatomy of a Player. New Adult is not at all my genre, but I liked the first book in this series so I decided to give this one a try and it was just a big NOPE for me.

A book with too much hype.

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A Study in Charlotte. I saw some rave reviews on this, but I just didn’t care about it at all. I stopped reading in the middle of a chapter.

A haunting read.

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The City, maybe? None of the books on my DNF list really fall under this category, but this might be the closest.

A contemporary.

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The Replacement Crush. I had no patience at all for the main character.

A book you were unsure of.

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The Flood Girls. At the beginning of the e-ARC I had for this there was a letter from both the author AND the publisher. The fact that I needed a letter explaining the book and then another letter about how great the book is before I even started really turned me off.