Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

30731416

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

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

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

32713479

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

27237358

*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

30837266

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

30753651

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

9783200

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

25943218

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 

30256248

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

29519517

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

25542940

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

9783200

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.

27877466

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!

25793507

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.

25943218

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.

29519517

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.

11366397

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.

32713479

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.

30753651

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.

13120860

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.

16045136

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.

29095401

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.

30312700

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.

28473381

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.

27271035

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.

27237358

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****************

25893582   15839976

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****************

29868610

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****************

283339

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.

14335609

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.

25647300

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.

29519514

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.

26136108

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.

24920901

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.

25564665

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.

29429982

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.

29405093

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.

*************************************************************************

DNF

28962906

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.

*************************************************************************

RE-READS

21531395

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.

23437156

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

TTT Header

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Books On My Fall TBR List.

22299763

1. Yes, it’s on every list today, but I’m so excited for Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo! It’s out today, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to buy it when I go to a book signing!!

28818314

2. Roseblood by A.G. Howard. I’ve had this on my TBR forever and I got approved for an ARC of it yesterday and I’m so excited! It’s a Phantom and the Opera re-telling and I don’t think I’ve ever read one of those before.

19245811

3. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle. This is going to be the show that will fill the Pretty Little Liars void this spring on Freeform, so I thought I’d read it before then to see if I want to watch the show.

28374062

4. The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8) by Karin Slaughter. I have been waiting for a new Will Trent book for-ev-er! And I have to wait a little while longer until my library hold comes in.

26125281

5. The Power (Titan #2) by Jennifer Armentrout. This book has FINALLY came to the library so hopefully my hold will come in soon.

28684704

6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This book is getting amazing reviews.

31176886

7. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. No, I do not expect this to be great, but I’m really excited to read it.

29519517

8. Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt. This series is the definition of Guilty Pleasure Read.

30253864

9. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham. I love Lauren Graham (and Gilmore Girls).

25883848

10. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Every friend I have on Good Reads that’s read this adores it. Yet another library wait list I’m crossing my fingers will come in soon.

WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS FALL?

Pokémon Go Book Tag

 pokemon-go-book-tag

I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check her out, she’s awesome!). I’ve never played Pokémon or Pokémon Go (I don’t really get it, to be honest), but I love book tags!


Pokemon-Tag-01Starters

233722

I’m going to go with The Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin.

Pokemon-Tag02Pikachu

2156

Persuasion by Jane Austen. Every time I re-read this I love it just as much. The Letter!.

Pokemon-Tag-03-Zubat

20983362

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. While I did see this everywhere, it’s not why I lost interest. I just didn’t find it to be an interesting book. Even though I was so excited to get an eArc of it, I DNF-ed it.

Pokemon-Tag-04-Ditto

28668330

Wife for the Weekend by Ophelia London. I absolutely love fake relationship stories and this is my favorite one I’ve read this year.

Pokemon-Tag-05-Snorlax

13496

The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I was just talking to someone at work about them and how she’s re-reading them and loves them, but the size of it just intimidates me so much!

Pokemon-Tag06-Gengar

18966819

Golden Son by Pierce Brown. What is a book tag without a Red Rising mention? I could not stop thinking about this book when I was reading it (or after I finished).

Pokemon-Tag07-NidokingQueen

18309803

I’m going to go with Kami and Jared from The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. I love them soooo much!

Pokemon-Tag08-Rapidash

28678119

I read Paper Princess by Erin Watt in a day…and thought it was a little too “fire-hot” for YA…

Pokemon-Tag09-Eevee

15839976

We are getting a Red Rising spin-off series AND a pre-quell comic book!!!

Pokemon-Tag14-Magikarp

8288246

The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Even though the first book in the series didn’t quite live up to the hype, I fell in love with the series in the second book.

Pokemon-Tag12-Legendary

25309550

The Dreamland series by E.J. Mellow. I’ve seen soooo many glowing reviews on it. I want to go to there.

Pokemon-Tag15Mew-MewTwo

I would love to have a first edition of a Jane Austen book!

Pokemon-Tag10-Egg

24921954

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is getting a lot of hype lately.

Pokemon-Tag11-Lure-Module

Pierce Brown. I will read anything he ever writes. This Adventure Ends also convinced me to make Emma Mills an auto-buy.

Pokemon-Tag13-Server-Down

22299763

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo!!! This month!!!

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 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.

23197623

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei. Read June 28-July 1. 2 stars.

This book was full of interesting ideas that were never really fully developed. It left a lot of loose ends open – so much so I thought it was series, but according to the author it’s a standalone “with potential for more.” Which honestly just makes the lame cliffhanger even more frustrating. I think the book would have been better if it focused on less perspectives and cut out a couple of the extraneous storylines and just really focused in on Addie and Cerberus.

28678119

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt. Read July 1. 3 Stars.

Um, this is supposed to be YA? It definitely reads way more adult, even though the main characters are in high school. I’ve been seeing such great reviews for this book that I finally decided I had to read it, even though I knew it wasn’t the type of book I usually go for. And it’s definitely not the kind of book I generally like, but once I started it, I couldn’t stop. It was a very quick, easy read with interesting, if often clichéd, characters. I hated them half the time and rooted for them the other half. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to YA readers, even though it’s supposed to be YA, but I think usual Romance readers will like it.

27779275

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. Read July 4. 4.5 Stars

I loved this book so hard! I read it basically in one sitting. The characters, the family, the friendships, the humor, the emotion. This book just made my heart happy. I think Emma Mills has made her way onto my auto-buy list. Full review to come closer to release date.

26721568

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read July 2-4. 3 stars.

I think this book tried too hard to teach me something and in doing so came off a little cheesy. I liked the main characters and I liked the romance enough – even though there was an “Anna and the French Kiss” inspired love triangle that took WAY too long to be resolved. In some ways I could really identify with Mallory, but there was just something missing where I didn’t feel at all connected with her. There were definitely some sad moments, but I didn’t feel that much about them either. Not a bad book, but kind of a disappointment, given my love for JLA.

26114257

Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8) by Linda Castillo. Read July 12-16. 4 Stars.

This is the eighth book in the Kate Burkholder series and I think it’s my new favorite. I really liked the story – the undercover aspect and how genuinely creepy some of the characters were. There was a surprise towards the end that I definitely didn’t see coming. I was a little concerned about Kate being in a different state and not having the usual cast of characters around, especially Tomasetti, but it worked. And while I am always wanting more Tomasetti, he still had a presence in the book. I wish there was just a bit more interaction with Bishop Schrock since he was such an interesting, creepy character. Overall, though, a very good read.

26067503

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein. Read July 17. 3.5 stars.

There was a great deal of cuteness in this book, but there were several things that kind of annoyed me, too. Lately I seem to be reading a lot of books where the main characters hide behind sarcasm and a generally bad attitude to avoid having feelings about things. And while I completely and totally relate to that, it’s made me start to wonder how annoying other people must find me. I mean, about 99% of the drama June goes through in this book is manufactured by herself. I felt like a lot of it could have been avoided. But, overall, while I did have some issues with this book, it did have so many cute moments. I loved, loved Oliver and I really liked June’s friendship/relationship with him (when she wasn’t screwing everything up). A cute, fast read that I think a lot of YA lovers will enjoy.

26721599

Best of My Love (Fool’s Gold #20) by Susan Mallery. Read July 16-17. 3.5 Stars.

I was a little iffy about this in the beginning. The premise that you need to set up some “experiment” to be friends with a member of the opposite sex was kind of silly to me. I also thought setting up a time limit for that friendship was odd. But once I got past that, I did really end up liking the relationship between Aiden and Shelby. I wish there would have been a little more Just Friends time before they started to fall for each other, though. However, I did really like that they became such good friends and I shipped them hard. The message of opening yourself up to love got a little heavy handed towards the end and a part of me wish they would have only been just friends. It kind of took away from the point that men and women can be just friends by having them fall in love. But, I guess you can’t really expect anything else to happen in this type of book. And I did really like their relationship. Overall, it was a cute, quick read that fans of romance and the Friends to Lovers trope would enjoy.

25494343

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare, Read July 18-22. 3 Stars.

This book was ridiculously too long. It could have been a couple hundred pages shorter and if it was I think it would’ve been much better. It was still a solid 3-star book, but I do have to admit I got bored for long stretches of it.

I liked pretty much all the characters. I liked that one of them is on the Spectrum and how he was written. I was a big fan of the romance, but found the ending regarding it completely annoying (though not as annoying as supposed incest like in some of other Clare’s books…). Julian was my favorite. It was often repeated that he kept a lot of secrets, but I thought they were completely obvious. When he pulls Mark and Emma aside to tell them about one of the secrets, I was expecting something really shocking, but what he told them was something I thought we already knew? And did Emma really not figure it out before that?

While the book was almost completely predictable, I was surprised by who the Guardian was, so that was a good twist, even though it made me sad. I think the rabid Clare fans will really enjoy this book and the cameos from characters from the other series. For me, it was kind of average, but I’ll still plan on reading the next book in the series.

12558285

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard. Read July 23-24. 3 Stars.

I’ve had this on my TBR shelf forever (mostly because I adore the covers for the books in this series) and when nothing else was keeping my attention, I decided it was finally time to try it. I think I *wanted* to like it a little more than I actually liked it. I liked the premise and for the most part I liked Alyssa. I liked Jeb to an extent, but his super-protectiveness often veered into controlling, which is not cool. Morpheus had SO MUCH potential to be this really awesome character, but he fell a little flat for me. Though there were several chapters I kind of skimmed, I did overall like the book enough to continue the series.

18602075

The Moth in the Mirror (Splintered #1.5) by A.G. Howard. Read July 24. 3 Stars.

I liked the idea of getting to see some of Jeb’s POV from the first book, while getting new scenes with Morpheus. Unfortunately, most of Jeb’s scenes were him finding things out we already knew, with little insight into anything else. I did like the scenes with Morpheus, though. I have high hopes that he’ll live up to his potential in the next book.

17449197

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard. Read July 24-26. 3 Stars.

There was a bunch of nothing happening for most of the book and it would have benefited from being shorter. However, there were some good things that happened, too. I liked Morpheus a lot more in this installment, though I still don’t LOVE him yet (but I’m definitely not Team Jeb, either). I’m glad that we got to find out more about his and Ally’s mom’s past. I liked where things ended and am looking forward to the next book.

26247008

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. Read July 26-29. 3 Stars.

Once again Moriarty writes some amazingly well-developed characters. While they weren’t always likeable (in fact they were almost all unlikable a good deal of the time), they did really start to feel like people I knew and cared about. Poor, sweet Oliver was my favorite.

While the character development was spot on, the story, unfortunately, underwhelmed me. It took over half way through the book to find out what the big incident at the barbecue was and it wasn’t as shocking as I thought it was going to be. I felt myself just wanting to kind of get through it, instead of enjoying it or being entertained by it. So while it definitely wasn’t my favorite Moriarty book, I think fans of really character-driven stories would enjoy it.

*************************************************************************

BACK ON THE TBR

18053051

Blitzing Emily (Love and Football #1) by Julie Brannagh. I got a copy of this for free awhile ago and we all know how much I love fake relationship stories. But this one just wasn’t keeping my interest. I do plan on trying it again sometime, though.

27190613

And I Darken by Kiersten White. I was really looking forward to his book since I love some of White’s other books, but it just didn’t really keep my attention. I’m not sure it’s my type of book, to be honest. However, it might have just been my mood and I will definitely try it again someday.

*************************************************************************

DNF

25518205

Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle #3) by Rachel Hawkins. I just could not get into this book. After reading some reviews I decided it didn’t look like it was going to be something that would suddenly catch my interest. I ended up skipping ahead and reading the last couple chapters and I’m glad with my decision to not continue reading.

27272262

Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker. DNF at about 44%. Since I got this from NetGalley, I really wanted to finish it, but I just couldn’t take any more. The characters are completely unlikable, the plot is unbelievable. While Christian is slightly more likable than Lexi, his POV included basically caricatures of Mexican culture and was honestly a little offensive and uncomfortable to read sometimes. I think heist books need to have a certain level of Fun, but I was completely unentertained. I just felt sad for the characters.