Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2017

I’ve seen this tag around a lot recently and was thinking about doing it and then I was tagged by Raven over at Dreamy Addictions (go check her out!). Thanks Raven! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017.

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I can’t pick just one, but the 3 books I have rated the highest are: Daisy in ChainsMaking Faces, and Ragdoll

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017.

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I thought this was a good ending to the series and I liked it MUCH more than the previous book.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

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Strange the Dreamer. I got it once at the library, but wasn’t in the mood for it. I then won it in a giveaway so I definitely need to read it.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills.

Biggest Disappointment.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Biggest Surprise.

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Now You See Me. I had never read anything by this author before and when I read this it pulled me out of a book slump and completely consumed me.

Favorite New Author.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton (aka: S. J. Bolton)

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Carter Aaron from Dating You / Hating You

Newest Favorite Character.

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Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Book That Made You Happy.

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

I am wracking my brain and I don’t think that I’ve watched any. I saw the first episode of the Big Little Lies tv series (and then my free HBO expired) and thought it was ok, but it did not live up to my expectations.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

Convince me to Buy a Kindle because you all did, in fact, convince me to buy a Kindle.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

I’ve only actually bought three books this year and I am honestly not a fan of any of their covers.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

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

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love Ships

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Goodreads Group page) is : Hate to Love Ships.

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1. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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2. Lucy and Josh – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

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3. Evie and Carter – Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren.

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4. Jane and G – My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies.

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5. Vaugh and Oakley – When It’s Real by Erin Watt.

What are some of your favorite Hate to Love ships?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. Books 1-3 are the ones I’ve given 4.5 Stars to and all the rest have 4. It was hard to narrow down which 4 star reads would make the list, but I went for the ones that are the most likely to be re-reads in the future.

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1. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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2. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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5. Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

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6. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (aka SJ Bolton)

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7. I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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8. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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9. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are your best books of 2017?

Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

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

When It’s Real will be available May 30, 2017.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but I don’t think I was expecting to love it as much as I did. But, I loved it! It was so cute and fun and was a well done Fake-Relationship story (which we all know are my favorite kind).

I thought both Vaughn and Oakley were likable characters. Oakley definitely had his egotistical jerk moments, but we see way more of him being sweet and funny and sometimes vulnerable. I liked Vaughn, but had to remind myself a few times when she did something or reacted to something in a way that annoyed me that she’s only 17. But, seriously, as far as YA heroines go, she was a pretty level headed one. I also really liked Vaughn’s family and Oak’s bodyguard.

This book had all the things I love in a good Fake-Relationship story. I loved the awkwardness of hammering out the terms of the contract and the initial antagonism between Vaugh and Oakley. I loved their fake date outings and how they slowly started to become friends and then more. I thought they were so sweet together (even though things did almost get a little too sappy at times) and I shipped them hard. After reading The Royals series, which I thought was far too explicit for YA, I was a little concerned about how graphic the sexual content would be in this one. And though there was still a little more than I prefer for YA, it wasn’t very graphic and I liked that the their feelings for each other were highlighted over the physicality. There was also some underage drinking and casual drug use, but it was also much less than The Royals series and more YA appropriate (if those things are ever appropriate for YA).

Overall, I really enjoyed When It’s Real. The writing was addictive and I never wanted to put it down. It was funny and sweet and I just had so much fun reading about Vaughn and Oakley. There was one thing, though, that kind of brought my reading experience down and it’s not the book’s fault. The e-ARC I received had some major issues on my Nook with missing text – often paragraphs at a time. I hate to even mention that because it obviously won’t be an issue with the finished copy (and I did find a solution by downloading a copy for the Kindle app for my phone so I could find the text missing from my Nook), but it kind of cast a shadow over the whole thing for me.  However, as you can tell, I still loved the story. I definitely recommend it to YA Contemporary fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

The Sims Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog!). I’m going to stick with only books I’ve read in 2017, which may be a little challenging since it’s only March.

The Original Sims –  the best author debut

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson is the only 2017 debut I’ve read so far this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a YA re-telling of Mansfield Park. It comes out May 16th and I think  you should read it!

The Grim Reaper – the saddest character death

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*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER

There are a lot of people that die in Making Faces by Amy Harmon, but Bailey’s hit me the hardest.

*END OF SPOILER*

Sims Getting Stuck – a character that just got in the way

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Luke in Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley. Without him there would have been basically no conflict in the story, but I still think his character made no sense.

Simlish – a book with amazing writing

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell (Out on April 25th). This is only my second Lisa Jewell book, but her writing is always so impressive.

Expansion Packs – a series where the books keep getting better

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The Lacey Flint series by SJ/Sharon Bolton. Though I must admit the 4th book in the series (while still good) was my least favorite, but this series is fantastic.

Sim Romance – the worst case of insta-love

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I haven’t really read any books with insta-love so far this year (hooray for smarter book choices in 2017!). The closest is probably Candice and Ian in Mackenzie Fire by Elle Casey and they were supposed to be more of the hate-to-love trope than insta-love. But since the transition happened pretty fast, it kind of fits the bill. I still shipped them, though.

Cheats – a book that was entirely unrealistic 

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By Your Side by Kasie West. I really don’t think there is any way that every single phone in the library was behind a locked door. And I think Dax was probably savvy enough to pick a lock if need be. Still a pretty cute book, though.

Needs Fulfillment – a character that made all the wrong decisions

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How about Everyone in Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. Seriously these characters (while entertaining) did the stupidest things throughout this whole series.

Error Code 12 – a series that started off well but went downhill from there

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The Law of Moses series by Amy Harmon. Now I haven’t read a lot of series this year to choose from and this one is only two books. I just didn’t like The Song of David as much as I liked the first book, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The Sims Vortex- a series that completely engrossed you

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I’m going to have to go with the Lacey Flint series again. It’s become one of my favorite mystery/suspense series out there.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. 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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Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery. Read December 27-31 (yes, last month, but it didn’t make it into last month’s post). 4 Stars.

I expected this to be a really light and fluffy read, but it ended up being a lot more serious than I thought it would be. I mean, it’s not super serious, there’s still cute and fluffy moments, but it’s not really as “Chick Lit” as I thought it would be. This is not a bad thing at all, though. I really enjoyed this book and thought the character development was really well done. I loved how each of the sisters were affected differently by the events of their childhood and how it still impacted their lives decades later. I really liked Courtney and Rachel right off the bat. I really didn’t care for Sienna for the longest time, but by the end of the book I was rooting for her. I shipped all the romances. I loved the humor. I definitely recommend this one to Contemporary fans!

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The Wedding Season by Samantha Chase. Read January 3-4. 3 Stars.

This was a quick, ok read. I liked the relationship between Ryan and Tricia, but the “fake relationship” aspect of it was very, very short and that kind of frustrated me because it was the main reason I decided to read this one. Ryan’s mother drove me insane and I wasn’t a big fan of Ryan’s brother (and Tricia’s best friend) Sean. If you’re looking for a quick read with lots of romance then you might enjoy this.

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Mackenzie Fire (Shine Not Burn #2) by Elle Casey. Read January 2-7. 2.5 Stars.

The latter half of this book was definitely better than the beginning, but it wasn’t quite enough to make up for it. Candice really rubbed me the wrong way for most of the book. I don’t particularly like the phrase “too stupid to live”, but that’s what kept coming to mind in pretty much every scene I read. However, she did grow on me by the end of the book and I liked her and Ian together (even though the romance happened super fast). If you don’t mind a ditzy protagonist, though, you might like this.

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Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt. Read January 4-7. 2 Stars.

Well, that was disappointing. I don’t expect great literary things out of this series, but after how addicting the first book was, I except to at least be entertained. I had to force myself to finish this. My early prediction about the “mystery” ended up being right. All the high school drama seemed really unimportant since Reed is facing a murder charge, but it still got most of the plot focus. Disappointing end to a series that started out so fun.

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The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young. Read January 7-8. 3 Stars.

This has been on my TBR forever and when nothing at all was sounding interesting to me I decided to finally give it a try. It kept my interest and I liked it, but I didn’t feel like it was really anything special. Some of the descriptions of depression I thought were really well done, but this is not a “mental health awareness” book by any means (this isn’t a bad thing – but if you’re looking for that be forewarned). I liked the characters well enough, but didn’t really love any of them. I shipped the wrong couple, even though I knew that they wouldn’t end up together and was really suspicious of the guy from the start. I did really like the epilogue, though. It had a few surprises that I appreciated. I liked this enough to read the next book, but this book didn’t blow me away like it has so many others.

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson. Read January 8-10. 4 Stars.

Overall, I really enjoying Seeking Mansfield. I liked the characters and the romance and the message of self-worth and standing up for yourself. It was an easy and addicting read. Though I thought the middle of the story dragged a little bit with too much teen angst, it did pick back up and I really enjoyed it. I think fans of Mansfield Park would be happy to read this re-telling. Full Review to come.

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell. Read January 14-15. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed I Found You. It’s emotional and intriguing and I could hardly put it down. I thought Jewell did an excellent job of juggling the characters and timelines. I definitely recommend this book and really look forward to reading more from this author. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Dead Scared (Lacey Flint #2) by Sharon Bolton. Read January 15-17. 4 Stars.

What!? Why is there no epilogue? This book needed an epilogue! I am pretty unsatisfied with how it ended.

Other than that, I liked this book. One thing I really liked was getting Joesbury’s perspective. Though I wish we got more from him, pretty much everything we got just made me love him even more. The first 3/4 or so or the book lacked the urgency that I enjoyed about the first in the series, but the writing was still engaging enough that I didn’t want to stop reading. As the ending approached it got a lot more suspenseful. Though we find out the answer to the mystery, there is no resolution to how it all pans out and I’m really annoyed about that. Definitely still reading the next book, though.

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Lost (Lacey Flint #3) by Sharon Bolton. Read January 17-18. 4 Stars.

This was so good! A mix of psychological and urgent/action-y suspense. Also very character driven. While I was a little upset that we didn’t get Joesbury’s POV again, I liked getting Tulloch’s (though it made me not like her as much) and Lacey’s young neighbor, Barney. We get very little of Lacey’s POV for the first half of the book which I found a little odd, but still worked. The mystery was well done. I had it all completely figured out a couple of times before being proved wrong. While I did eventually guess the murderer before the reveal, it was probably my 4th or 5th guess. This is really one of the best mystery series I’ve read in a long time.

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The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. Read January 19-21. 3 Stars.

Maybe it’s because I just finished several books in the same genre that were exceptionally well done, but I found all the mystery and thriller aspects of this book very disappointing. Though there were a lot of reveals thrown in every few chapters, the pace seemed incredibly slow to me. Until the last quarter or so I was just really bored and trying to get through it. The action and suspense did increase towards the end, but it wasn’t really enough to save the book for me. I feel like if you don’t read a lot of this genre then you might like this, but I could predict pretty much every development from the beginning and there just weren’t any surprises until the very, very end. I did very much like how it ended (and I’m talking the last few sentences), but I wish there would’ve been an epilogue to wrap things up. Overall, not a bad book, but not a great one.

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett. Read January 21-22. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I did enjoy Alex, Approximately. Even though there wasn’t a lot that was happening, I didn’t really want to put it down. Though I think some of the side plots and character development could have used a little more work, the romance was cute and the characters were likable. I would recommend it to YA Contemporary fans. Full review to come.

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Waste of Space by Gina Damico. Read January 26-28. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I found Waste of Space pretty enjoyable. I loved the satirical view of reality television. Though it did occasionally go a little far into cheesy territory, I thought it was really well done overall. If you’re looking for a humorous, different kind of YA book, I definitely recommend this one. Catchphrase forever! Full review to come.

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To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne. Read January 28-29. 3.5 Stars.

This book had some really cute, if sometimes frustrating, romance. I liked both Brooke and Seth. I dropped the rating half a star though because there was one major theme that kind of infuriated me. Seth doesn’t trust his sister’s new fiancé and wants to check into his background because he loves his sister and doesn’t want her to get hurt. I think this is totally reasonable. I can understand where the sister might get mad about it, but in the big picture wouldn’t she be happy to know if something shady was going on before it’s too late? But Brooke and Seth’s best friend are horrified by it and tell him he doesn’t know what love is…um, NO! Seth was maybe a little stunted in expressing his emotions, but his heart was 1,000% in the right place. Other than that and some slightly too graphic sex scenes, I enjoyed this book a lot.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon. Read January 29-30. 4.5 Stars.

Overall, I just loved Making Faces. It’s not a light book. It hurt to read at times. But it was beautifully written and included some amazing characters and really important messages. I really don’t think I can recommend this book enough. I’m definitely going to be looking up other books by this author in the future. Full Review to come.

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

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Tell Me Three Things and Red Rising. I loved both of these just as much as the first time around. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like Red Rising as much because one of my favorite things were all the surprises in it (and I have hyped it to death, so how embarrassing would it be if it didn’t hold up), but even though I knew some things were coming, I still just found myself smiling at the twists and turns. If you have not read this series yet – WHY NOT?

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

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book to become available at the library FOREVER. But it came at one of those times where I just wasn’t feeling it. Lately I find myself sick to death of celebrities. And even though I want to be best friends with Anna Kendrick every time I watch Pitch Perfect, I just couldn’t make myself pick up this book right now.

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

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Someone Like You by Susan Mallery. Officially DNF-ing at 33%. I thought it would be nice symmetry to have the first book I read of 2017 be by the same author as the last book I read in 2016. I’ve enjoyed the other books I read by her, but I just couldn’t get into this one at all. I just don’t care about the characters or the story so far, so I’m calling it.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 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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Kill Shot (Mitch Rapp #2) by Vince Flynn. Read August 26-31 (Yes this was last month, but it was too late for my August post) 4 Stars.

While I liked the first book in this series, I enjoyed this one a lot more. There was loads more character development and the storyline was really intriguing. I found the large cast of supporting characters a little hard to keep straight at times, but that was really my only complaint. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

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Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn. Read September 1-3. 4 Stars.

What a weird, clever little book! Wishes and moonshine, murder and romance. The main character, Lennie, was a kind of unlikable most of the time, but I still rooted for her throughout the whole book. I liked her uncles and her friend Larry and the evolution of her relationship with Smith. I thought the end was really cleverly written.

I’ve read this author’s previous books and really didn’t like one and really liked the other, so this book was the tie-breaker that has made me decide I like this author’s work.

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Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watt. Read September 3-4. 3 Stars.

It took me a little longer to get into this book than it did the first one. Not a lot happened until it got towards the end of the book and then it was mostly just setting up the third book. But I am quite interested in reading the third book now, so I guess that worked.

Getting Reed’s POV was kind of letdown. I thought he was an interesting character in Paper Princess, but every time we get his POV he’s basically just whiny and pining. I actually enjoyed his character much more from Ella’s POV, so I’m glad this book shared POV with her.

I’ve had about a billion problems with Callum since the first book, but he finally redeemed himself (partly anyways) for me in this book. He’s not as clueless or as big of a jerk as I thought he was, so that made me happy.

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Chance of a Lifetime (Anderson Brothers #3) by Marissa Clarke. Read September 4-5. 2 Stars.

I liked seeing a blind lead character. I thought the story did a good job of showing that someone with a disability can be independent and capable. I wished the character had been a little more likable, though. I did like Chance, though. The bucket list plot didn’t take up very much of the story like I thought it would. There was a ton more graphic sexual content than I was expecting, as well. I would’ve enjoyed some more character development or actual plot in place of at least a couple of those scenes, but I guess that’s the genre. Overall, just an ok book for me, though may be worth the read if you’re a fan of romance novels and looking for more diverse characters.

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The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy. Read September 5-7. 3 Stars.

I’ve seen people rave about this series and I decided to finally give it a try, even though New Adult is not really my genre. I was pretty surprised that I actually ended up liking this. The story is super familiar (and a little overdone) and there wasn’t anything really surprising in it, but the character development was well done and both the main characters were likable. There was some good bantering, as well. Being New Adult, of course there were the requisite graphic scenes, but I was actually kind of surprised that it didn’t take up half the book. There was actually more story than sex scenes, so kudos to Kennedy for that (especially since I’m pretty sure she writes full-on erotica with her other books). It did go on a little too long, but overall I enjoyed it – especially the development of Garret and Hannah’s relationship – and will read the next book in the series.

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The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy. Read September 7-9. 2.5 Stars.

The extra half star for all the scenes between Logan and his roommates because those were often pretty comical. This book could have used a lot more of that. I didn’t like this book as much as the last one, but it did have a few cute moments. It was definitely more the type of NA book I’m used to (and try to avoid), so I was a little disappointed. Might still try the next book, though.

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The Twenty-Three (Promise Falls #3) by Linwood Barclay. Read September 11-13. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed The Twenty-Three. I loved how all the mysteries came to a head and were resolved, with just enough twists thrown in to keep me on my toes. The writing, as always, was wonderful and suspenseful. I really had a hard time putting this one down and the few times I had to, I was still thinking about it. I definitely recommend this series to fans of mystery/suspense. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. Read September 7-24. 3 Stars.

I feel kind of bad for saying I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would because it wasn’t as funny as I was expecting. Schumer really lays a lot of her life out there and a lot of it is really heavy stuff. I wasn’t expecting how serious so much of this book was, but I appreciate her willingness to go there and also the positive reinforcement to women to accept themselves and not settle for things like the abusive relationships she lived through. There were several funny and light-hearted moments, just not as many as I would have liked.

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DNF

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Could not get into this at all. I tried to keep going, but finally decided to DNF when it started mocking religion. If the writing and the story had been interesting enough I could look past that, but since I wasn’t impressed up to that point, it was the last nail in the coffin.

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RE-READS

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Fiancé by Fate by Jennifer Shirk. I was just in the mood for something cute and I read the sequel to this book last month which made me want to read this one again.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Had to re-read it to prepare for Crooked Kingdom. I love it just as much every time I read it.