Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

I’ve seen this tag floating around over the last month or so and I have done it the past couple of years, as well, so thought I would keep the tradition going. One thing I have noticed about my reading year so far is that I have not read a lot of books that are really that memorable. I do have several 4 star reads, but even most of them don’t really stand out in my mind. I want to try and make some better choices for the remainder of the year.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

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I haven’t given any books above 4 stars (if you know me, you know I haven’t given out a 5 star rating yet since starting this blog, but I usually have a few 4.5 stars every year, but none so far in 2018), but Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and The Promise by Katerina Diamond stand out to me.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2) by A.V. Geiger. I’m still waiting for this one to come to the library.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Biggest Disappointment

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My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. It took me forever to finish this book and the humor felt so forced.

Biggest Surprise

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Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter. I mean, come one, does this look like a book I would like? I really enjoyed it, though!

Favorite New Author

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Jar of Hearts was the first Jennifer Hillier book I’ve read and it definitely made me want to read more from her.

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Newest Favorite Character

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Ivan from From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Book That Made You Cry

None!!

Book That Made You Happy

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Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West. Kasie West books always make me happy.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I haven’t seen any.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

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

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The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout. A lot of her books have been been hit or miss for me lately (mostly miss), but this is the spin-off to the Lux series which I had a lot of love for when I was first getting back into reading, so I’m feeling optimistic about it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (This can also serve as your summer TBR). I’m very much a mood reader so I find it hard to stick to a set TBR list, but these are all books I’m hoping to read soon.

36301023My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows). My Lady Jane was such a surprise hit for me and has become one of my favorite books and I have been looking forward to this one ever since reading it.36347470Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey. This is the last book in this series and I’m really excited for it.35924499Our House by Louise Candlish. I got approved for this on NetGalley, but I also won a physical copy from a Goodreads Giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it.36502041Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter is one of my favorite authors and I’m sure I will enjoy this just as much as I have her other books. I’m over 100 people on the wait list for this at the library, though, so I don’t know if I’ll even get it this summer, but fingers crossed!36620943Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins. I FINALLY got approved for a Kristan Higgins book on NetGalley, but I still haven’t read this yet. I’m really looking forward to starting it soon, though.35410511Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and I’m a little concerned it’s been over-hyped for me, but I’m still looking forward to it. It sounds super creepy – in a fun way.37793086Girl’s Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. I’ve never read anything by these authors and this one sounds really interesting. Plus, I love that cover!36461789A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay. Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited for this one. I am also planning on seeing him when he’s in the area in July with my book buddy, Amanda!33413128Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman. I hear such amazing things about Backman, but I was never really sure of his books. However, Brandie from Running on Words and Wine recently read and loved this one and she let me borrow it, so I’m looking forward to finally giving him a try!36547961Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. I’ve seen some really great reviews on this one and I am next in line for it at the library!

What books are on your Summer TBR? Do we have any in common?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 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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Always My Girl (The Shaughnessy Brothers #3) by Samantha Chase. Read May 6-7. 3 Stars.

There were some cute moments in this book, but I spent a good deal of time being frustrated at either Anna or Quinn. It was a pretty well done Friends-to-Lovers story, though. I might check out some of the other books in the series.

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Read May 5-10. 2 Stars.

I applaud the ambitiousness of the many, many narrators in this book, but unfortunately it really didn’t work for me. Some of the POVs were 1st person POV and some were 3rd person. The perspective changed so quickly that I never really felt a connection to any of the characters. However, the quick chapters were also the only thing that really kept me reading. I felt like the story dragged on for much too long. Information was given about each character one little piece at a time and by the time things were actually explained I had already guessed it so it felt really anti-climactic. There was absolutely zero shocks or surprises in the whole thing. This isn’t one I would recommend.

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The Party by Robyn Harding. Read May 11-13. 3 Stars.

Even though I hated all the characters in this, I still wanted to find out what happened, so this is getting 3 stars instead of 2. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 21-25. 2 Stars.

Well, this was disappointing! Good concept, but really lacking in execution. I thought a great deal of the book was really boring. There’s a ton of inner monologues where the characters just go back and forth and back and forth on any and everything they’re thinking about. I’ve read all these reviews about how Mariko is this bad-ass warrior, but, like, am I reading the same book?? I thought she was immature and kind of self-centered. She went on and on about having honor, but didn’t really do anything very honorable. There’s a part where she talks about how she outsmarted some people several times over and it made me laugh. The romance was ok, but not as good as I was hoping it would be after loving Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. Overall, I was just really disappointed in this. But, obviously, I am the black sheep of hype, so I’m sure may others will love it.

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

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My Lady Jane. I loved this book just as much as I did the first time around. I still really recommend it if you haven’t read it yet!

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

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I admit I requested this from the library based on the cover and hype alone. I didn’t even really know what it was about. I read the prologue and knew that I was definitely not in the mood to try it, so I decided to put it off for some other time. I actually just found out yesterday I won a giveaway of this book, so it’s definitely one I will be reading in the future.  The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I got this from the library, but it’s going to expire before I get to it. Plus, I really think I need to read the first two books again before I try to continue with the series.

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

What a delightful surprise this book was! I have to admit that I was originally not the least bit interested in this title. I am not a fan when fiction focuses on real historical figures. I’m not a history buff by any stretch of the imagination (I could not tell you one single thing about the real lives of the inspiration for these characters), but it just always bugs me when fake words and situations are given to real people. I also thought the whole fantasy element of people turning into animals (Eðians) was just weird to have in historical fiction. But then I kept seeing glowing review after glowing review and decided to finally see what the fuss was about. And now I understand!

I have never read anything by any of these authors before, but if the rest of their writing is as clever as this I am definitely checking them out. I laughed so much during this book! Out loud even, which almost never happens. Each chapter is given to Edward’s, Jane’s, and Gifford’s point of view and the narrators of the story would occasionally interrupt with some (often humorous) insight, explanation, or random comment. Though I did enjoy the Edward and Gifford’s chapters a little more than Jane’s for the most part, I was never sad when it came time to shift POVs.

I loved the friendships and the romances. Gifford and Jane were so easy to ship and their interactions were always so humorous and/or sweet. I liked the friendship between Jane and Edward and how much they cared about each other. I also liked the growing relationship between Edward and Gracie, who Edward meets when he’s forced to flee the castle.

The only thing that kind of brought the book down for me was that the pacing got a little slow at times. Though I enjoyed the characters so much that it didn’t really matter what they were doing, I did wish the plot would advance a little more quickly on several occasions.

Overall, I really loved this book. I absolutely loved the humor and the banter between characters. Though I was initially hesitant of the historical components and the Eðians, both ended up really working for me. I definitely plan on checking out more from these authors (I did see on Good Reads that though this book is a standalone, they are planning on collaborating on more books about other famous Janes). I think My Lady Jane is one of my favorite books of the year and definitely recommend it!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

4.5 stars