Review: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

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

Sweet Briar Cottage will be available June 13, 2017.

I’ve had my up and downs with Denise Hunter books, but I have to say I loved this one. It’s my favorite one of hers I’ve read so far.

Noah decided to propose to Josephine after only a few months of dating, despite the warnings of his family and friends. When his marriage ends not too long after it started, it seems the warnings were right. After being apart for over a year Noah finds out the divorce was never finalized and he is, in fact, still married. Since Josephine feels responsible for the mix up she decides to speed things along to fix it by taking the new paperwork up the mountain to Noah’s new ranch. A broken down car and freak spring snowstorm later and they’re stuck together, all alone.

A problem I have with a lot of books by this author is that I find the female lead really unlikable. Thankfully this was not the case with Josephine. While she did make some decisions that frustrated me at times, I feel like her behavior made sense due to her background. I liked that she had reached the point in her life where she was dealing with her past and trying to understand why she did the things she did and become a better person, even though she still lived with a lot of doubts. I thought she was really realistically portrayed. I really liked Noah, as well. Though he had been really hurt by Josephine, he still cared about her and looked out for her when it counted.

I really liked how the romance played out in the story. It wasn’t the typical Contemporary read with lots of “cute” moments (though, of course, there were a couple). It was a more serious love that faced a lot of struggles. We go back and forth between the present and the past. Interspersed with the main story we see Josephine’s childhood and when she and Noah met and started dating. We see Noah’s absolute certainty and Josephine’s tenuous hope at the beginning of their relationship. I liked watching as their hard feelings and fears began to fade while they were stuck together. While I think it’s pretty obvious what broke up their marriage, the details don’t actually come out until late in the story and I kind of wish it would’ve happened a little earlier. I did really like the whole conversation they eventually had surrounding it, though. The one thing I didn’t really like about the romance was that Noah is very strong in his faith and pursued Josephine really hard even though she wasn’t. I’m not a fan of the whole “Evangelism Dating” thing and I don’t think it’s realistic that Noah would rush into marriage with someone who barely seemed to share his faith.

There is also a message of unconditional love woven into the story. Though Josephine had wanted to test Noah to see if he could love her no matter what, it’s really the promise of God’s unconditional love that she needed to accept. I felt that the message was written well into the story and didn’t come across as “preachy.”

Overall, I really enjoyed Sweetbriar Cottage. I liked the characters, the story, the romance, and the message of God’s love. I’ve read a lot of Denise Hunter’s books and this one is definitely my new favorite and I would recommend it to fans of Contemporary Romance and Inspirational Romance.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2016

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Marry Me at Christmas (Fool’s Gold #19) by Susan Mallery. Read November 28-December 1. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute. I liked both Madeline and Johnny – especially Johnny. He had such a great sense of humor. Definitely a good addition to my holiday romance book binge.

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Mistletoe Between Friends / The Snowflake Inn by Samantha Chase. Read December 3-5. 3.5 Stars.

4 stars for Mistletoe Between Friends and 3 Stars for The Snowflake Inn so 3.5 Stars overall.

I liked Lily and Cameron a lot in Mistletoe Between Friends. It was a friendship-to-love / Fake Relationship story so of course I enjoyed it.

The Snowflake Inn had it’s cute and sweet moments, but I thought Grace and Riley’s relationship happened WAY too fast. I was more interested in the relationship between Corrine (Riley’s mom) and Ben.

Overall, though, both were cute holiday romances.

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What Light by Jay Asher. Read December 11-12. 3 Stars.

I’ve been really into holiday themed reads this year and I was really excited when my hold for this came in at the library in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, What Light did not come close to living up to the hype for me. It was ok. There were some good things – mostly Caleb and how he’s grown up and learned from past mistakes. And how sweet he was. And how he went to church and wasn’t portrayed as a religious nutcase. But I never really became invested in the romance between him and Sierra. I really disliked all of Sierra’s friends and while I felt like her relationship with her parents was better than in a lot of YA books, there was something about it that just seemed a little off. I was bored for big portions of the book. But the writing wasn’t bad and there were some cute moments, so I can justify giving it 3 stars and not something a little lower.

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Summer of Sloane by Erin. L Schneider. Read December 13-14. 2.5 Stars.

This is one of those trainwrecks that you can’t look away from. It was drama, drama, drama and after the initial shock value (Sloane’s best friend is pregnant – by Sloane’s boyfriend! *Not a spoiler because you find this out within the first 2 pages of the book*) and the broken nose/hand incident it stopped being fun. There’s a wealth of cheaters and poor communication. There are completely absent parents except for the very occasional times they had some life lesson to impart to Sloane. I think this would have made more sense as an NA novel than YA, like if Sloane was a junior in college instead of a junior in high school then things would have seemed a little less desperate? It’s mentioned repeatedly how Sloane needs to make decisions for herself and not let other people control her moods, but the whole book is about whatever relationship she’s in or who she’s fighting with.

I will say the one thing I really liked about it was how Sloane’s relationships with Mick (the best friend) and Tyler (the boyfriend) turned out. ****THIS IS SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH**** I thought that by the end they’d be all best friends again, but that doesn’t happen. She makes peace with one and has an even bigger fall out with the other – for reasons that go beyond the cheating/pregnancy incident. I liked that there was a focus on the need for forgiveness, but also that just because you can forgive somebody, that doesn’t mean things can go back to the way they used to be.

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Just a Kiss (Summer Harbor #3) by Denise Hunter. Read December 15-18. 3 Stars.

After really hating the previous book in this series, I am so glad I went back to enjoying this author in this book. My biggest complaint with Hunter’s writing is that the female lead is almost always awful, but I actually liked Paige in this one. She was a little oblivious at times, but overall she was kind and thoughtful and was there for Riley even when he didn’t appreciate it. I liked Riley and thought the struggles he went through were probably pretty accurate to someone living through the changes he was. Though I thought the end was almost a little abrupt and would have really appreciated an epilogue, I did think this was an overall good ending to the series.

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Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2) by Dani Pettrey. Read December 18-19. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this one! I think Pettrey gets better with each new book. I really liked the characters, the mystery, the message, and definitely shipped the romance. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. Read December 20-23. 3.5 Stars.

I think I went into The Perfect Stranger with the wrong expectations. I thought it was going to be really suspenseful and have a big twist. I spent my time trying to figure out what the big twist would be and I think in the process the smaller twists and turns of the story were not fully appreciated. This was a good mystery, but I still find myself slightly disappointed at the lack of thrill and suspense. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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

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My True Love Gave to Me. I think that I will probably never finish this. This is the third time I got this from the library and the first ever at the right time of year. This time I read the first two stories. I just don’t think short stories are my thing. Each one is like one really long chapter and we all know how much I hate long chapters.

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

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Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen. Officially DNF-ed at about 23%. I really didn’t like either of the characters and I was not remotely invested in how the story was going. I’ve read and liked several other books by this author, but this one is just not for me. (And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate that cover).

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2016

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016. To make this a little more difficult I am not including authors who had debut books in 2016 – because they’re new to everyone, not just to me.

Pierce Brown

1. Pierce Brown Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star. You all know my love for him and the Red Rising series by now. I can’t wait to read what he writes next!

Julie Buxbaum

2. Julie Buxbaum – Read: Tell Me Three Things. So far this is the only book I’ve read by her, but I definitely want to read more.

Beth Kendrick

3. Beth Kendirck – Read: Cure for the Common Breakup, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, Put a Ring on It. I found a new fun chick lit series this year. I will be reading a lot more from her.

Holly Black

4. Holly Black – Read: The Curse Workers trilogy, The Darkest Part of the Forest. I ended up really enjoying The Curse Workers series and while The Darkest Part of the Forest wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I still absolutely love her writing.

Blake Crouch

5. Black Crouch – Read: Dark Matter. Though I didn’t think Dark Matter really lived up to the hype, I was very impressed with his writing. I watched most of the first season of Wayward Pines and really liked it until it got really weird, but it did make me really want to try the book series.

Vince Flynn

6. Vince Flynn – Read: American Assassin, Kill Shot. My brother, who is not a big reader, became obsessed with the Mitch Rapp series and gave me the first couple of books to read and I enjoyed them. I definitely plan on continuing to read the rest of the series. Sadly, Vince Flynn has passed away. A new author has taken over the series, though, so there should still me more Mitch Rapp stories to come.

Tamara Ireland Stone

7. Tamara Ireland Stone – Read: Every Last Word. I’m not really sure if I’m interested in her other books, but Every Last Word will always be a very important book to me. I have never related to a character as much as I did with the MC in that book.

Lisa Jewell

8. Lisa Jewell – Read: The Girls in the Garden. I really liked The Girls in the Garden and already have I Found You from NetGalley.

Denise Hunter

9. Denise Hunter – Read: Many, many of her books! So I’ve probably read more books by Denise Hunter this year than any other author and I don’t feel like listing them all. There have been several that I really, really enjoyed and a couple that I really hated or even DNF-ed. Despite the bad ones, I still have more books from her on my TBR.

Ruth Ware

10. Ruth Ware – Read: The Woman in Cabin 10. The Woman in Cabin 10 definitely had some creepy, hard-to-put-down moments and I want to check out more from her.

What new-to-you authors did you discover this year?

Birthstone as Books Book Tag

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I saw this tag over at Bookish Things and Tea and thought it looked like a fun one. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

GARNET (JANUARY)- Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies, name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Most of the books I think of are YA fantasy/paranormal books, but the villains almost always have some type of redeeming quality/tragic backstory that makes us feel sorry for them. I can’t think of one that’s just straight up evil. So instead I’m going to go with adult mystery and go with about any killer/bad guy in a Karin Slaughter book. Her books usually have some really dark material and the things the bad guy does often makes me sick to my stomach.

AMETHYST (FEBRUARY)- Purple is associated with royalty, name a book with regal qualities…You can base your choice on characters or choose the king (or queen) of all books.

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I think I’ll take this one literally and go with The Royal We.

AQUAMARINE (MARCH)- Washed out, name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

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Shay from An Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. When it came to the relationship with Travis she is always one step forward, three steps back. It drove me crazy.

DIAMOND (APRIL)- A diamond in the rough, name a book that you loved but is not well known.

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I’m going to go with the whole Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I do not see nearly enough of her and she is amazing!

EMERALD (MAY)- Said to balance energy, name two characters who balance each other well.

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I’m going to go with McKenzie’s answer and go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. The strongest thing for me in the series was their relationship and I felt like they’re one of the few YA couples that really are a pretty evenly matched team.

PEARL (JUNE)- Associated with loyalty, name a character who is loyal to the end.

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Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. Even when things looked really bad for Cinder, he was always trying to look out for her.

RUBY (JULY)- Blood red, name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and it took until the very end of the book for her to admit to any blame whatsoever.

PERIDOT (AUGUST)- It pales in comparison to other gems, name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

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Bianca and Leo from The Art of Lainey. I would have much rather read a book about them than about Lainey and Micah.

SAPPHIRE (SEPTEMBER)- Blue like the ocean which is calming, name a book that had a calming affect on you.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. Her books just make me so happy,

OPAL (OCTOBER)- Iridescent, name an iridescent book; this can be with a beautiful cover (shiny, colorful) or you can base it off a character (quirky? unique?).

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I will never stop hyping this book.

TOPAZ (NOVEMBER)- Associated with resilience, name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

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Emma from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She has so much to deal with and she works her way through it.

BLUE ZIRCON (DECEMBER)- Associated with friendship, name a book with a friendship you want to be a part of.

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The crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want to pull off a heist with these guys.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2016

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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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A.G. Howard. Read July 30-31. 3 Stars.

(Ok, so technically I finished this in July, but I didn’t get it done before last month’s Reviewing the Unreviewed.) I think this is probably my favorite book of the trilogy. While it wasn’t necessarily fast paced, the plot didn’t drag like in the first two books. Though Jeb annoyed me for about half the book, he redeemed himself. I loved that he and Morpheus found a way to co-exist and their fun bantering (how much better would this whole series have been if they could’ve been good-naturedly bantering with each other the whole time?). The resolution to the love triangle was unique, though it kind of weirded me out a bit. Overall, this was a pretty original series. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but I did enjoy it.

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The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes. Read August 3-4. 2 Stars.

I started out really hating this book and the horrible main character, Lainey, but I thought the fake relationship portions were done pretty well and even found myself enjoying certain scenes. While the latter half is definitely better than the beginning, it doesn’t quite make up for it and is why this is getting 2 stars from me instead of 3.

Lainey is completely shallow and spoiled and awful and she is completely unaware of that for much of the book. She was just so unlikable! She did eventually become a little self-aware and start to make some changes for the better. She became a slightly better person. But only slightly. While I liked Micah, I didn’t LOVE him. He had many good characteristics, but he also had a few pretty flawed ones and there wasn’t really anything he did to change those things.

What I really liked were the secondary characters Bianca and Leo who were both really smart, funny, kind people (I would have rather read a book about them). I also did like how the fake relationship played out. It had the right mixture of fake dates and awkward moments, and it didn’t rush into the falling for each other portion.

I know a lot of people really loved this story, but I found it a little disappointing.

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The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti. Read August 5-6. 3 Stars.

Overall, The Vanishing Year, was a decent read. The character development of Zoe was good and I also really liked her new reporter friend, Cash. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the suspenseful tale that I was hoping for. However, if you are looking for a good character-driven story with a little mystery (and some slightly campy plot twists), I think you would enjoy it. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Wedding Date for Hire (Anyone But You #2) by Jennifer Shirk. Read August 6-7. 3.5 Stars.

I am usually extremely stingy when it comes to buying books, but when I see a fake relationship story on sale for $0.99 I can’t help myself. Wedding Date for Hire was a super cute, fast read and I have no regrets.

This had all the elements that I enjoy in fake relationship books. I wish the book would have been a little bit longer, though, just so it could expand on some of the secondary storylines a bit more. I felt like there were a lot of things brought up and then quickly resolved and brushed off. Overall, though, this was a very cute, fairly clean story that I think fans of the fake relationship trope will enjoy.

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The Goodbye Bride (Summer Harbor #2) by Denise Hunter. Read August 7-10. 1.5 Stars.

I thought about giving it 2 stars because the writing wasn’t bad and I think a lot of people would like the story, but at the end of the day, I jut had soooo many issues with this book! Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and had no self awareness of it at all for much of the book. No one ever called her on it, either, which drove me crazy. It really rubbed me the wrong way that she never really took responsibility for what she did to Zac, just because she couldn’t remember doing it. It took until the second to last chapter for Lucy to finally understand what she was doing and while I appreciated that growth and the message behind it – it was almost the very end of the book. There was not enough time after that for me to like her.

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Finding Perfect (Finding Perfect #1) by Kendra C. Highley. Read August 13. 3 Stars.

Kind of an average YA Contemporary, but it was cute and a quick read. Ben was super sweet.

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American Assassin (Mitch Rapp #1) by Vince Flynn. Read August 15-19. 3.5 Stars.

It took me a little bit to get into this and get used to the writing style, but around half way through I was hooked. There were definitely some intense moments and even some funny ones. I’m looking forward to reading more about Mitch Rapp.

This is also getting made into a movie and (as of right now at least) Dylan O’Brien and Taylor Kitsch are attached to it. So, yeah. Read it first and get excited!            

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BACK ON THE TBR

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When We Collided by Emery Lord. I didn’t even make it through the first chapter before I realized I was so not in the mood for this book. Despite the very mixed reviews I’ve read on it, I do want to give it a try some other time.

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RE-READS

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. So this is the second time I’ve read this book and it isn’t even published yet. I didn’t write a proper review of it after the first time I read it, so I wanted to re-read it so I could write a semi-coherent review on it (publishing closer to release date). I enjoyed it just as much as the second time around.

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DNF

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. Again, it just may be my reading mood when I tried this, but I wasn’t even a little bit interested in it. I didn’t like either of the characters and there wasn’t really anything special about the writing or the story. I stopped in the middle of a chapter, if that gives you any idea how much I was not invested in this book.

 

Olympic Book Tag

Olympic Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Brandie is a Book Junkie and since I am a little obsessed with the Olympics, I knew I had to do it.

01 - Olympics

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I read this book in one sitting.

02 - Olympics

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins.

03 - Olympics

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. There are not many books that can pull off a good love triangle, but this one definitely does.

04- Olympics

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a re-telling and I think maybe I should’ve read the source material to really appreciate it.

05 - Olympics

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Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot. I don’t actually remember if this takes place in the summer, but it’s definitely a beach read, so I’m counting it.

06 - Olympics

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Golden Son by Pierce Brown. And I loved every second of it!

07 - Olympics

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

08 - Olympics

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

09 - Olympics

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen. Not a lot of plot, but loads of character development.

10 - Olympics

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The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. I read so, so many of these books as a kid.

11 - Olympics

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White Cat by Holly Black. This isn’t necessarily about animals, but the white “cat” plays an important role.

12 - Olympics

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. While I liked many other books by this author, this one just drove me completely insane.

13 - Olympics

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I just loved the group of friends in this series.

14 - Olympics

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Ok, this one isn’t actually about the Olympics, but it does have a side character that’s an ice skater trying to get into the Olympics.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 2016

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben. Read May 30-June 1. 3 stars.

Well, I did not see that end coming! If the whole book was as surprising and emotional as the last couple chapters this book would have been amazing. However, I felt really disconnected from Maya for most of the book and there weren’t as much suspense or big surprises along the way that I was expecting. Overall, a good book, though.

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The Convenient Groom (Nantucket #2) by Denise Hunter. Read June 1-2. 3 stars.

A cute concept, but could have been executed a little better. As with most of Hunter’s books, I found myself really disliking the female lead for most of the book and loving the male lead. I wish we would’ve seen more of their relationship before the marriage because I never really understood why Lucas loved Kate already. I didn’t like how she treated him for pretty much the whole book. But, I did like the Happily Ever After.

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The Trouble with Cowboys (A Big Sky Romance #3) by Denise Hunter. Read June 3-4. 3 stars.

This book was pretty cute. I liked the slow burn romance a lot, though Annie did frustrate me at times. I did like her, though. Who I really couldn’t stand was her sister, Sierra. Sierra almost ruined the book for me. She’s so selfish and childish and I just wanted to smack her for most of the book. Besides that, though, I liked watching Annie and Dylan’s relationship and it was a pretty enjoyable book.

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Falling Like Snowflakes (Summer Harbor #1) by Denise Hunter. Read June 7-10. 3 stars.

I really like the Callahan brothers. I wish there was more time spent with all three of them together, though. I was a fan of the romance and overall story, but I think this was supposed to slightly dip into the Romantic Suspense territory and the suspense fell a little flat for me. Not my favorite Hunter book, but I’ll definitely continue with the series.

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Imposter (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker. Read June 12. 3.5 stars

I bought this on a whim from the Dollar Tree and I’m pretty pleased with my purchase. I was a little wary in the beginning because I thought Tessa was kind of whiny and there was a lot of boy drama, but once we really got into the story I became a lot more invested. I thought Winnacker did a good job of keeping me guessing about who the serial killer was and I liked everything that had to do with the variant skills – it’s not an original idea, but I always enjoy it. I’m really looking forward to the next book, even though I’m pretty sure there’s a love triangle coming.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. Read June 11-12. 3 stars

Bumping my rating up to 3 stars, just because I like Holly Black’s writing. The story wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was a little confusing at times and overall strange. I did like the relationships, though – between siblings, friends, and romantic interests – they were all pretty well done and I think if it would have focused more on those aspects, I would have enjoyed the story more.

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Defector (Variants #2) by Susanne Winnacker. Read June 13. 3 stars

A quick, easy read. There was a little more relationship drama than I wanted, but the love triangle wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did like that we got to see more Devon, though. I thought the intrigue surrounding the truth about FEA and Abel’s Army was good, but I am not at all satisfied with the conclusion. I did like the ending, but it’s definitely a middle of a trilogy ending and not a series ending and apparently the author has decided not to finish the series. According to a post on her Facebook, she’s over YA and writing Adult Romance under a different name…Very disappointing.

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The Regulars by Georgia Clark. Read June 15-16. 2.5 stars

Overall a quick read with some addictive writing, but the unlikable characters made it hard to read at times. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder. Read June 18-20. 2.5 stars

The characters were likable enough and I liked the romance, but the fantasy elements left a little to be desired for me. I also thought that a lot of the plot twists were predictable. I’ll probably try the next book to see if it starts to live up to the great reviews I’ve seen of this series.

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Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig. Read June 20-23. 2.5 Stars

This was just an ok read for me. The pacing was pretty slow and the mystery and suspense aspects were not as well done as I would have liked. We figure out Flynn’s big “secret” in chapter 2 and it really doesn’t have anything to do with January’s disappearance. I was afraid this was going to end up being a Coming Out book – which is a fine book to be, but not the book I was planning on reading – but it didn’t end up overwhelming the overall plot and that aspect was pretty well done. I just wish the mystery was as thoughtfully written. Full review to come closer to release date.

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A December Bride (A Year of Weddings #1) by Denise Hunter. Read June 23-24. 3.5 stars

A quick, cute story with likable characters.

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Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman. Read June 24-25. 3.5 stars.

A pretty cute fake relationship story. I really liked both Sally and Becks and their relationship. There was one big thing that kept me from giving it a higher rating, though, and that was Sally’s supposed best friend, Hooker, who felt it was her mission in life to set Sally up with a boy and how completely focused both Hooker and Sally’s mother were on how Sally NEEDED a boyfriend. I thought it was a little degrading, actually.

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating. Read June 25-26. 3 stars.

This was a cute idea, but I don’t feel like it ever lived up to it’s potential. It reminded me a little of Kami and Jared’s connection in the Lynburn Legacy, but was not done nearly as well. I did, however, really like the characters and thought the romance was cute, but the plot was really lacking.

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Put a Ring On It (Black Dog Bay #3) by Beth Kendrick. Read June 26-27. 4 stars.

Chick Lit at it’s finest! I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters a lot and the development of the romance. It was definitely a different take on the fake relationship/marriage of convenience trope. It doesn’t exactly fit either of those, but it’s similar and I loved it.

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Make-Believe Wedding (The Great Wedding Giveaway #9) by Sarah Mayberry. Read June 28-29. 3.5 stars.

A very cute Fake Relationship/Friends to Lovers story. This was free from B&N and most of the free ebooks I get I never end up reading, but I’m glad I gave this one a try. The only thing I have to complain about is that it had a few graphic scenes I could’ve done without.  

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BACK ON THE TBR

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Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel. Honestly the only reason I wanted to read this is because Pierce Brown said really good things about. I got it from the library and read a chapter or two and just wasn’t into it. I think I do want to try it again sometime, though. I didn’t realize at first that it’s a series, so maybe I’ll wait until the next one is published before I try it again.

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DNF

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The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks. I usually try to get to 25% before I decide to DNF something, but I got distracted by other books and just never had the desire to pick this one up again. I only got to about 13%, so I can’t really say much about it, just that it was a little funny, a lot awkward, and didn’t keep my interest.

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The Seaside Letters (Nantucket #3) by Denise Hunter. I have read several Denise Hunter books over the last few months and I really liked some while I found others a little ho-hum. I liked the idea of this book, but not how it was executed. We find out almost right away that both characters know who they are writing to, but Sabrina doesn’t know that Tucker knows. I just can not take a whole book of it – It’s too much obvious lying. Sabrina (like most of Hunter’s leading female characters) is super unlikable. I also read a review that spoiled what her “big secret” is and it really turned me off from wanting to finish the book. It should honestly be a deal breaker in my opinion. I’ll still read other Hunter books, but this one was just not for me.