Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I’m going to break this up by established authors and 2018 debut authors.

Established Authors

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1. Fredrik Backman. Read: Bear Town, Us Against You

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2. Mariana Zapata. Read: Dear Aaron, From Lukov with Love, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Under Locke, Luna and the Lie

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3. Peter Swanson. Read: All the Beautiful Lies 

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4. Jennifer Hillier. Read: Jar of Hearts

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5. Teagan Hunter. Read: Let’s Get Textual, I Wanna Text You Up, Can’t Text This

2018 Debut Authors

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6. Cara Hunter. Read: Close to Home

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7. Carola Lovering. Read: Tell Me Lies

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8. Joseph Knox. Read: SirensThe Smiling Man

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9. T.M. Logan. Read: Lies

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10. Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read: My Sister, the Serial Killer

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The Jingle Bell Book Tag – 2018

 

Silver Sleigh Bells

I’ve seen this tag going around and thought it looked familiar. Turns out I did in 2016. But a big thanks to Alyssa at Reading, Reading, Reading for tagging me this year! I’m going to try and not repeat any of my answers.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” – What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

So I know this sounds crazy, but I only asked for one book for Christmas. And only when it was on on sale for Black Friday and when I found out the person I asked for it didn’t buy it then, I told her don’t worry about it because in all honestly I will probably never use it. Anyways, the book was The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.

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Elf – What book unleashes your inner child?

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Better off Friends was one of my few re-reads this year. While I’m not really sure it “unleashes my inner child”, the book starts out with the main characters in middle school (or maybe even earlier? I can’t quite remember now, even though I’ve read this twice) so relating to them is kind of inner child-esque?

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” – Which book has most festive look to it?

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Hot Winter Nights is actually the only Christmasy book I’ve read this year.

The Holiday – Name your favourite TWO couples…

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Ruby and Aaron from Dear Aaron and Jasmine and Ivan in From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. While I do have several issues with Zapata’s books, I can’t deny that the couples in these two books melted my cold, black heart like nothing else.

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Beartown by Fredrik BackmanThis is one of my very favorite books of the year and I think everyone should read it.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate

Kindle Unlimited Review

A couple of months ago I received an e-mail with a deal to try Kindle Unlimited for 2 months for $0.99. I’ve been wanting to try out KU and decided that deal was too good to pass up. I read many books that are not available at my library that I’m sure I would have never picked up otherwise and really loved a few of them. I definitely got my monies worth, but would I subscribe again? And should you? Maybe.

If you are a Romance fan – especially of the New Adult variety – than there are a TON of options. There were many books that had been on my radar from fellow bloggers that I was happy to finally be able to try. There were also many that I knew would not be for me, but if Romance is your genre of choice, then I definitely think it would be worth you to spend a little money for a month of books.

I had a harder time finding books that interested me in other genres. Most of the Mystery/Suspense titles I looked into I ended up not even reading because when I looked them up on Good Reads they had pretty bad reviews. The one book I was looking forward to the most (and the only book I’ve almost bought on multiple occasions, but never pulled the trigger) was Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine and I was so let down by the hype that I never even picked up the sequel during that two month period.

While I was able to read plenty of books, I also had library books come in off the Holds list and some ARCs that I had to get to, as well. If I were to pay for KU again I would try to make it a month where I didn’t have books I was waiting on from the library or any ARCs that are publishing during that time. I would suggest being able to devote all your reading time to it if you’re going to be paying money for it.

So what did I read? I’m glad you asked.

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – 3 Stars

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata – 4 Stars

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata – 4 Stars

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata – 1 Star

Moonshot by Alessandra Torre – 3.5 Stars

Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn – 3 Stars

Infinity + One by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow – 3 Stars

The Dreamcatcher by E.J. Mellow – 3 Stars

Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman – 3.5 Stars

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson – 3 Stars

Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter – 3.5 Stars

Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

 

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

What I Liked

*This book gave me ALL THE FEELS. It has been quite awhile since a book made my little black heart feel like this. I just loved all the sweet scenes between Ruby and Aaron. For a good portion of the book I didn’t always understand why they fell for each other like they did, but once they got to interact in person I definitely believed it and was 100% Team Ruron.

*I’ve always been a fan of non-traditional formatting and the use of e-mails/texts/IMs. The first 40% or so is told that way and I was beginning to think that it was maybe a little too much when it changed instead to Ruby’s POV. It was actually a little jarring and first and I started to miss the texts and IMs when it changed again. While it did go back to primarily normal narrative style in the latter half, it still had some of the texts and I felt it was balanced well.

*The Slooooow burn. I’ve read one other book by this author – who is known for her slow burn romance – and thought people kind of confused slow paced for slow burn. This one, though, while not at all fast paced, did not feel like a slow story. With the way the story was told in the first half there was no room for the extraneous text that can bog a story down. It was all character development and relationship building and banter.

What I Didn’t Like

*Where the first half or so of the book had a steady pace, once it switched away from the e-mails/texts/IMs I felt it was a little repetitive. I felt like Ruby would kind of spiral and she would just repeat the same things over and over again and it really started to get on my nerves. I think that Zapata could edit things down just a bit and it would still have all the emotional impact with a few (hundred) less pages.

*If this book had a soundtrack, then “Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift would play on repeat. Ruby spent SO. MUCH. TIME. thinking about how beautiful Aaron was and how she had trouble looking at him, etc., etc. It got old really fast.

*While I liked Ruby, I found her kind of annoying. She was very sensitive and cried pretty much all the time. She also came across really immature a good amount of the time.

*I didn’t like how Aaron was so insistent that Ruby shouldn’t get a full time job just because it wasn’t something she would love. I appreciate the fact that he wanted to encourage her to follow her dreams and do what would make her happy, but it just feels so impractical to not have steady income. She could’ve gotten a job and still done her business on the side until she figured things out.

Overall

Overall, I did really enjoy Dear Aaron. Though there were obviously some things I took issue with, there were many funny moments and some great character development, and I totally shipped the romance. Aaron was just so, so sweet with Ruby and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m looking forward to reading some more by this author.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars