Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 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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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. Read September 9-13. 2 Stars.

Um, did I read a different book from everyone else? It was not nearly as creepy as I expected it to be and the two big twists before the ending shouldn’t even be called twists. There were SO MANY hints that they seemed super obvious from very early on in the story. I can’t believe there are many people that would be surprised by them. The ending was not at all surprising either. The excruciatingly slow pace almost made me DNF this several times and I kind of wish I did.

Obviously I am in the minority here, though. 🤷‍♀️

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Part-Time Husband (Trophy Husbands #1) by Noelle Adams. Read September 13-14. 4 Stars.

I’ve been having a lot of book-ADD lately and have been struggling to get through anything. I knew I needed something quick and cute and Part-Time Husband was just right. I love a good marriage of convenience story and Noelle Adams always does them well. Though there were a few too many graphic scenes, it was sweet and romantic and Melissa and Trevor had some good banter.

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The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley. Read September 15-16. 3 Stars.

This was cute, had some sweet and funny moments, and quirky characters. The main character wasn’t always likable, though, and there were lots of communication issues that drove me a little crazy.

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

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. I decided to re-read this before starting the long awaited sequel. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. There was bonus content in the version I read this time that had all of Paige and Max’s e-mails from their summer apart which were pretty cute. It made me excited to read the next book.

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I got into a book slump and couldn’t decide what sounded good, so I decided to re-read Take a Bow, which is one of my favorites. I loved it just as much the third time around.

*****DNF*****

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The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. DNF-ed at 21%. This was occasionally humorous, but the main character was really unlikable and I was not invested at all.

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

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Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin – 3 Stars

The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You #2) by Emery Lord – 3 Stars

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters – 4 Stars

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – 4 Stars

Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne – 4 Stars

Review: Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.

But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?

An exciting new direction for acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg, Past Perfect Life is a tense and tender read about secrets and lies, reality and identity, and the ways we put ourselves back together when everything is broken.

Perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, this is the story of one teen’s search for herself amid the confusion of a shattered past and a future far from all she planned.

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

Past Perfect Life will be available July 9, 2019. 

I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg a couple years ago and she quickly became one of my favorite YA Contemporary authors. I really can’t believe that more people aren’t talking about her books. Past Perfect Life was another of her books that I finished in one day.

Ally lives in a small town with her father and her biggest problem is coming up with a decent topic for her college application/scholarship application essay questions. She has a tight-knit group of friends and a great relationship with her father. That is, until her college applications are kicked back for having an invalid social security number. I feel like you can probably already guess what happens based off of the clues in the synopsis, but I kind of find it impossible to review this book without disclosing what happens, so if you really don’t want to know, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***. Turns out, Ally Smith is not her real name and her mother didn’t really die when she was three. When her father was afraid of losing partial custody of her, he fled with her and they have been living under false identities ever since.

This isn’t the first YA book I’ve read with this topic, but I thought it was well done. A lot of time is dedicated to Ally’s mental and emotional state around the discovery and then as she tries to adjust to her new life. We also see how it effects the friends she’s forced to leave behind and the new family she never knew existed who have been mourning her loss for the past fifteen years. I really loved Ally’s friends, the extended Gleason family, especially adorable Neil. I also really liked Ally’s step-father. I thought he handled the situation better than anyone else and was overall pretty amazing. I have to say I really didn’t care for Ally’s mother. I know that she’s been through a lot, but I thought she handled everything really poorly, right up until the end, which I thought was just a tad too easy and abrupt. I really could have used an epilogue.

I definitely need to mention Eulberg’s writing. She has such an addictive writing style that compels me to keep reading, even when I had decided I was going to set the book down to do something else. I certainly didn’t mean to finish this book in one day, but that’s exactly what happened because I just had to keep reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed Past Perfect Life. Though it was a heavier read than Eulberg’s other books I’ve read, I thought it was well done. The topic was interesting and Ally’s character development was really well done. I liked the cute romance with Neil and the really addictive writing. I definitely recommend that Contemporary fans check this out, as well as some of Eulberg’s other books.

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 24, 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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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. Despite the main character being the Mayor of Crazy Town, I’m still waiting for this to get really crazy like I’m hoping it will.

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase. When this book first came out I remember seeing it everywhere and everyone seemed to love it. It was recently an e-book freebie, so I snatched it up. And let me say I’m glad it was free. It’s been a little cruder than I like so far, but it’s sometimes funny and it has potential, so we’ll see.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg. Eulberg is one of my favorite YA authors and I really enjoyed this. Read it in a day. My review will post a little closer to it’s release date.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth. I just got this from the library and am looking forward to it.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel.

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1. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I love the friend group in this so much and would love to see more of them.

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2. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I felt the ending to this was kind of abrupt and left things open for a sequel, but I haven’t heard anything about there being one.

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I would love to check in with Ambrose and Fern.

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4. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. I would love sequels to most of West’s books, but this one is probably my favorite of hers.

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5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This is one of my all-time favorite books and I could definitely see there being more stories for these characters.

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6. Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. I really felt the ending left things open enough for a sequel. I even felt like Kemmerer hinted there could be more books, but nothing ever happened.

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7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this book and would love to see more of Levi and Cath. The small cameo in Landline was not enough.

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8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I was trying to stick to only one book per author on here, but old school Rainbow Rowell wrote some of my favorite books. I absolutely adore Attachments and have been hoping for years that there would be a sequel.

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9. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I love this book and these characters so much and would love to see Ethan and Emme all grown up. I will never understand how this book doesn’t have a bigger following.

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10. My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies. Technically, this is the first book in a series about famous Janes, but I would love to see another book with the characters from this story instead.

What standalones would you like a sequel to?

The Jingle Bell Book Tag – 2018

 

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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

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 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.

*I’ve traditionally included every book I’ve read in a month that hasn’t been reviewed, but I have decided that I am no longer going to include books that will have full reviews posted at a future date.*

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Us Against You (Beartown #2) by FredrikBackman. Read September 3-8. 4.5 Stars.

Beautifully written. I was just as invested in all these characters as I was during the first book. I was really expecting this book to be more uplifting and focus on the recovery from the events that took place in the first book. And it still has those elements of hope and inspiration, but this story was probably even heavier than the first one. Backman portrays really well how much hate there is in the world today. I liked how he showed it’s easy to blame one person or one side, but it’s really everyone’s fault. 

I love the characters. Benji will always be my favorite, though. There were a few that played bigger roles in the first book that I would’ve liked to have seen more from in this one (David, Amat), but I liked getting to know others (Teemu, Richard Theo – who is either a genius or a sociopath (probably both)). While we do hear about a few far in the future endings, things were still left a little too open for me. This book was probably more of a 4 than a 4.5 for me, but I’m giving it that extra half star for all the emotion Backman managed to wrench out of me.

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The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips. Read September 9-11. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute and humorous at times. I thought it was going to focus more on the Bachelor-like reality show, but it’s more about what happened after. I thought the big conflict was kind of unrealistic, though. Hanna was nicknamed Holy Hanna because of her Christian values, but then Will insinuated that they slept together (when they hadn’t) and it completely ruined her life. While I do believe that the internet likes nothing more than someone’s supposed fall from grace, I don’t think the extensive tabloid coverage and all the hate mail would really be as extreme as it was. And while I liked that it portrayed a Christian going through a phase of questioning God and her faith, I thought the “come-to-Jesus” moments could’ve been a little better written. I thought the book was a little too long, but I was looking for something fun and light that I didn’t have to think too much about and this definitely entertained me. Would recommend to Christian Contemporary/Romance fans.

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Just One of the Boys (The Chicago Falcons #1) by Leah & Kate Rooper. Read September 11-12. 3 Stars. 

This was a little uneven for me. Both the lead characters were really unlikable for long stretches at a time. But then there would be chapters here and there where I really enjoyed them. The story is pretty much the hockey version of the She’s the Man movie. I don’t really have too much to say about this one. I read the second book before this book. I might give the third one a shot whenever it comes out.

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

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Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. This was just as cute as I remembered it.

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Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I just read The Darkest Star (the first book in the spin-off series) and it made me feel so nostalgic for this book that I decided I should re-read this series. I love Daemon and Katy so much. I love the banter and the humor. It’s not going to win any great literary awards or anything, but it’s definitely a fun read.

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Oblivion (Lux) by Jennifer L Armentrout. I decided to re-read this whole series and decided I would read Oblivion after each of the first three books. So I read Obsidian and then I read Daemon’s POV of Obsidian and then I was going to read Onyx, but I decided just to stick with Daemon’s POV for books 2 and 3. I enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time. It really reminded me that Daemon is one of my favorite characters. The only thing that kind of bothered me was the bonus chapter with Luc. After reading the spin-off book, I feel like this scene doesn’t make sense with the book. Maybe I still need to read the remaining books in this series to remember the timeline exactly, but I’m thinking this scene contradicts how things played out in The Darkest Star.

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

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Fight or Flight by Samantha Young. DNF @ 11%. I just can not get into this book and I am really not in the mood to make myself try. I really dislike both the lead characters so far and the male lead’s Scottish accent is driving me insane. A couple of main words (like “to” and “didn’t”) are spelled out differently to show the accent and I’m just not feeling it. I think you need to do most of the dialogue like that or none at all.