Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2021

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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Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey. Read December 31-January 1. 4 Stars.

This was a fun little book. It was humorous and I liked the characters. I didn’t love that the romance between Jack and Meredith started while she was still technically married, though, even if she had left her abusive husband and was definitely planning on divorcing. I did like that they went slow, though, and Jack was really sweet. I never really felt like the title fit the book.

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The Swap by Robyn Harding. Read January 1. 4 Stars.

Well, this was an entertaining and twisted read. It’s a story of obsession and manipulation and pretty awful people, but it was incredibly addicting. Even though almost every twist could be seen from a mile away, I didn’t want to put it down.

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All the Rage (DI Adam Fawley #4) by Cara Hunter. Read January 3-6. 4 Stars.

Another great installment of the series. Loved the development of all the beloved characters, as well as the new mystery. There were lots of threads to bring together and Hunter did a great job with it.

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The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1) by Julia Quinn. Read January 12-16. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed Bridgerton on Netflix, so I thought I should try the book and I really enjoyed this, too. I realized the show made quite a bit of changes, which probably would’ve annoyed me if I read the book first, but since I watched the show first, I find I’m ok with it.

I loved the banter between Simon and Daphne. The book was much funnier than I expected it to be and I had a fun time reading it. I plan to continue with the series.

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A Temporary Marriage (Fake Love #1) by Summer Dowell. Read January 17-18. 3 Stars.

I love a good Fake Relationship / Marriage of Convenience story and this was pretty cute. It did drag a little in the middle and I considered DNF-ing, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I’ll probably try more from this author.

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The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons #2) by Julia Quinn. Read January 21-23. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this! I think even more than the first book. I didn’t like that Anthony was a little too mean in some parts, but I did like him overall, which I didn’t expect since he was not my favorite in the first book (or the tv show). I also really liked Kate and her family. There was so much fun banter, too.

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An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgerton #3) by Julia Quinn. Read January 23-25. 3.5 Stars

I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two books, but I still enjoyed it. The fun banter that I’ve come to expect from these books was present and I loved it. I liked Sophie and Benedict together. I wanted a little more character development from Benedict, though.

*****Re-Read*****

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The Stand-In Boyfriend (Grove Valley High #1) by Emma Doherty.

I started the sequel to this book and after a couple chapters it just made me really want to read this one again. So I did. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Livy still managed to annoy me a good deal of the time, but Chase was just as sweet as I remembered.

*****DNF*****

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The Relationship Pact (Kings of Football #3) by Adriana Locke. DNF @ 16%. I wanted to like this, but I jut couldn’t get into it.

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The Backup Girlfriend (Grove Valley High #2) by Emma Doherty. DNF @ 17%. I wanted to like this, but I didn’t. At all. I’m not forcing myself to read any more of it.

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Varsity Rulebreaker (Varsity #3) by Ginger Scott. DNF @ 49%. I hated Cannon half the time. I hated Hollis all of the time. I have lots of other thoughts on why this didn’t work for me, but they all come back to the characters and their behavior, so I’m just going to leave it at this.

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The Class Reunion by N.L. Hinkens. DNF @ 17%. Just couldn’t get into this. I never really connected with the main character and the writing left a little to be desired.

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Marrying Mr. Darcy (Love Manor #2) by Kate O’Keeffe. DNF @ 20%. I enjoyed the first book in this series well enough and was looking forward to this one, but it just never captured my interest. Maybe if I could have read them back-to-back I would still feel invested in the characters, but I don’t now, so I’m going to call it.

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You Have a Match by Emma Lord. DNF @ 16%. I hate stories where the biggest source of drama is miscommunications. I also really didn’t care for the main character. I can’t make myself read anymore of this.

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The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson. DNF @ 50%. I really wanted to like this, but I never got invested. The main character was pretty unlikable and I found it hard to root for her.

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

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The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: January 6, 2021

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

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry. This book surprised me in the best possible way. I read it in a day. My review will post next month.

What are you currently reading?

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All the Rage (DI Adam Fawley #4) by Cara Hunter. I love this series so much. I am continually in awe of Hunter and how well crafted her mysteries always are.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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My hold finally came in for Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis, so maybe that? I’ve been seeing pretty mixed reviews on it since I originally requested it, though, so I might put it off a bit longer.

What are you reading?

2020 End of Year Survey

This survey was originally developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. I maybe got rid of over half the questions – the original is long!

**2020 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 143*
*As of 12/29/20, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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Best Books You Read In 2020?

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Beach Read by Emily Henry and The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

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

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I just have to give up on reading horror novels. I never appreciate them.

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

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The F List by Alessandra Torre. I went into this with no expectations and it became one of my favorite books of the year.

 Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

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I loved The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler.

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

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I don’t read much historical fiction anymore, but I loved Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

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Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan. I think this cover is just so cute and romantic.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

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Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer (originally released in 2015).

Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter

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

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. I know a lot of people didn’t love this, but I really enjoyed it!

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I thought A Path to Redeeming Love was a very good devotional and recommend it if you’re looking for one!

Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be A Priority in 2021?

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I bought a hard copy of this when it first came out and still haven’t read it.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021?

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Beach Read was one of my favorites of 2020 so I have high expectations for Henry’s next book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books I Loved but Never Reviewed.

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1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. This is a pre-blogging favorite and one of a handful of books I marked as 5 stars on Goodreads.

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2. A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers. Another pre-blogging/5 Star Goodreads book.

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3.  Defending Jacob by William Landay. I just remember being really surprised by the direction this story took. This has been made into a tv show, but I don’t have the whatever platform it’s on. If someone has watched it, I’d love to hear what you think of it!

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4. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. What stands out about this series for me is how everyone in my family read it – and loved it.

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5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I think this is Austen’s most underrated book. I absolutely love it.

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6. Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman. I rated this one just as highly as Beartown, but didn’t do a full, formal review of it.

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7. In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter. I reviewed the book before and after this one, but never did this one for some reason, even though I liked it just as much.

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8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Like everyone else, I was obsessed with this book. It was from my pre-blogging days, though.

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9. On the Fence by Kasie West. One of my favorite West books and I only wrote one sentence about it on Goodreads.

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10.  Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker. I seemed to be in the minority that enjoyed this more than the first one, but never did a review to explain why.

What books have you liked that you never reviewed?

Streaming Saturday

We all love books here, but I thought I might start dedicating some posts on Saturdays to highlight one of my other loves – TV!

What I’m watching

Bosch (2014)

Right now I’m streaming Bosch on Amazon Prime. There are currently six seasons (with one final season to come) and I just started season 5. The series follows Detective Harry Bosch, who has a reputation of getting things done, but not always by the rules. He’s a single father with an amicable, if complicated, relationship with his ex-wife. He had a rough childhood and is haunted by the unsolved murder of his mother. There’s a lovable cast of supporting character, my favorite of which is Bosch’s partner, Jerry Edgar. 

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The show is based on the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. I haven’t read the books yet, so I can’t say how faithful an adaption the show is, but I do plan on starting this series soon. 

Why I’m Watching

Police Officer Badge. Shiny metallic police officer badge. CLIPPING PATH include , #AFF, #Shiny, #metallic, #Badge, #Police, #Officer #ad

Any time I have a conversation with my brother involving entertainment options, he tells me I have to watch Bosch. We often have the same taste in tv and movies, so I decided to finally give it a try. My brother is also a police officer and tends to gravitate towards stories involving law enforcement. We are firmly here for positive representation of police. 

Watch If You Like…

Watch if you like procedurals without gimmicks, such as:

The DI Adam Fawley book series by Cara Hunter

The Will Trent book series by Karin Slaughter

Broadchurch TV Series (FYI: This is also based on a book I haven’t read yet)

What are you streaming right now?

Review: No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley #3) by Cara Hunter

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

No Way Out was the first book I read in 2020 and it was the perfect choice to start my year out right. There’s not a whole lot I feel I can say about this book without spoilers, so I’m going to list some of the reasons why I loved it and the series in general.

-Cara Hunter is a terrific writer. I sometimes find police procedurals to be a little on the slow and dull side, but not this series. It’s so well plotted with lots of small twists and turns. The mystery here was really well done and much more intriguing than I expected it to be.

-I love the formatting of the book, as well. There are not standard chapters, which is something I thought I would hate when I read Hunter’s first book, but I was quickly proven wrong. I feel like the way it’s formatted keeps the pace from ever lagging and it also makes it so hard to put the book down. You decide it’s finally time to go to bed, but the next section is only two pages. Then the next section is just right there. And before you know it, you’ve read another twenty pages. I also enjoyed the excerpts from news articles, along with online comments, and reports.

-I love the cast of characters. One thing that I have always appreciated in this series is that even though Adam Fawley has had some tragic things happen to him, he is still well adjusted and good at his job. Far too often the lead in these type of books are some kind of functioning alcoholic or something. Though Fawley was a little off his game in this book, he still was a really likable and capable character. There are several other members of his team we get to follow as they investigate the case, as well as see bits and pieces of their personal lives.  It was the perfect balance of personal and professional for me and I loved seeing the dynamic of the group, as well.

Overall, I loved No Way Out. I love the characters and the mystery and the writing. I really can’t recommend this series highly enough. The one thing I wish, though, is that there was a US release date for this book and the next in the series. While the first two books in the series are available here, I had to get a UK version of the paperback for this one and I know I’m going to be going that route for book four, as well. It’s totally worth it, though!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: December 18, 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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Inside Out by Demi Moore. Even though I’ve never been a big fan or anything of Moore, I have been looking forward to reading this and I’m enjoying it so far. Out of all of the entertainment industry memoirs I’ve read (which have admittedly been few) hers feels the most transparent. She’s just laying it all out there and does not tiptoe around calling people out.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Girl in Luv by Jay Crownover and Rebecca Yarros. I enjoyed this one more than I honestly thought I would, but it doesn’t really stand out as a story I’ll remember in the future. I haven’t been in the mood to read the sequel yet, but I’m hoping to get to it before my KU subscription ends.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley #3) by Cara Hunter. This is one of my favorite series and for some reason, there is STILL not a US release date for this third book in the series. I have been waiting not so patiently for it and I noticed that you could get the UK version paperback on Amazon and I got a copy of it for Christmas from my brother and sister-in-law last weekend and am looking forward to finally getting to read it!

What are you reading?

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

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 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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Shadow Me (Shatter Me #4.5) by Tahereh Mafi. Read March 5. 2 Stars. 

Honestly, I thought this was kind of pointless. It doesn’t really add anything to the series, other than that Kenji is a sad little bird who wants loooooove. I wanted to buy him ice cream and sign him up for a dating app. Warner is once again the only saving grace.

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Read March 5-7. 2.5 Stars. 

This was one I was really looking forward to, but I found it pretty disappointing. I really liked the beginning and appreciated the short chapter lengths, but as the story went on I felt it dragged and the twist wasn’t exactly surprising. I felt the end was really anti-climactic, as well.

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. Read March 8-9. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. Calla took me a little while to start to like, but I eventually did. I liked the slow burn romance between her and Jonah. I liked her new relationship with her father – even though I felt like their reconnection was just a little too easy. I really liked Calla’s stepfather, Simon, and I found myself pretty annoyed with the way her mother treated him. This was a good, character-driven story and I definitely want to check out more from K.A. Tucker.

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The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren. Read March 9-10. 3 Stars.

This was pretty depressing. I was kind of in the mood for something sad and depressing, though, so it was ok for me. I can see where this would be helpful for people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. For the average reader, though, I thought it focused on the sadness for longer than it should have. It’s not until the very end that the characters really start to feel any hope and then it’s only because the romance is finally working out. I definitely enjoyed Biren’s Cold Day in the Sun much more than this one.

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In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter. Read March 17-20. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. If you have not been reading this series, you are really missing out. Cara Hunter is a fantastic writer. There are so many twists and turns and I just never knew what to expect. The main characters are really likable and I thought their development was balanced perfectly with the mystery. This is probably my favorite book of the year so far.

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Run Away by Harlan Coben. Read March 25-29. 3.5 Stars.

Well written and good character development. I loved the little cameo of Nap from Don’t Let Go. I thought it was a little too slow-paced, though. It wasn’t until the end that I felt any suspense. The twist at the end was good, but it wasn’t mind-blowing like I was expecting. I had guessed most of it long before it was revealed. The ending honestly just kind of pissed me off. I wished I would have liked this one a little more since this is the book I got from his book tour.

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

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Homecoming (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan. I got about 20% of this and just couldn’t get into it. I’ll try it again, though.

One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase. This is an ARC I was excited for, but I am definitely NOT in the mood for it right now. I’ll still give it another go since it’s an ARC and I think if I am in the right mood, I will probably enjoy it.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I was towards the top of the list for library holds, but it ended up expiring before I got to it. I just haven’t been in the mood for Fantasy lately. And while Nikolai will always hold a special place in my heart, I’m not thrilled with the other POVs I’ve heard this book includes. I’ll get to it eventually, though.

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

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Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter – 4 Stars

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda – 4 Stars

Trust Me When I Lie by Benjamin Stevenson – 3 Stars

The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman – 1 Star

Review: Close to Home (DI Adam Fawley #1) by Cara Hunter

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

They know who did it. Perhaps not consciously. Perhaps not yet. But they know. 

When eight-year-old Daisy Mason vanishes from her family’s Oxford home during a costume party, Detective Inspector Adam Fawley knows that nine times out of ten, the offender is someone close to home. And Daisy’s family is certainly strange—her mother is obsessed with keeping up appearances, while her father is cold and defensive under questioning. And then there’s Daisy’s little brother, so withdrawn and uncommunicative . . .

DI Fawley works against the clock to find any trace of the little girl, but it’s as if she disappeared into thin air—no one saw anything; no one knows anything. But everyone has an opinion, and everyone, it seems, has a secret to conceal.

This book, guys! It’s SO GOOD! Why has no one told me how good this is? In any case, I am here to tell you to go read this book!

Close to Home kept me guessing the whole time. Did one of my guesses end up being right? Sure, but I had about 9 theories going at the same time and I really didn’t commit to the real conclusion until only a few pages before it was revealed. Hunter did an incredible job of making numerous red herrings seem not just plausible, but likely.

The characterization was really great, as well. I really hated the Masons and I just wanted to find out what the deal was with this crazy family. I also really liked all of the police officers. It’s not often in these type of books that the members of the police force are so likable, but they were here. I can’t wait to read more about them. Adam Fawley was a great main character. Even though he had a tragic backstory, he was not some cliched, half-way functioning alcoholic. He was a good detective and he was also a good person.

I thought I would hate the non-traditional formatting with it’s lack of proper chapters, but it actually ended up working for me. It kept the pace very steady and it made it so much easier for me to keep reading right past my bedtime. I loved the multiple POVs and timelines utilized, as well as the tweets. I feel this book helps prove my theory that Twitter is the worst thing to ever happen to society (and yes, I say that knowing that I will tweet a link to this review). The whole Trial by Twitter thing is so relevant to our world today and I thought it was really smart to include it here.

The only tiny thing I didn’t like about the book was that I wanted more details for the conclusion. We’re given enough answers to know what happens, but I would have liked to have known all the little details on how we got there. It was just a little too vague to fully satisfy me, but this is me just being nit-picky.

Overall, I just loved Close to Home. I loved the characters and the writing and the mystery. I am blown away that this is Cara Hunter’s debut book. It was so cleverly written and I never wanted to put it down. This is my favorite book of the year so far and Hunter has made her way onto my favorite authors list. I can’t wait to read the next book!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars