Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Good Reads group) is: Second Book is BestWe’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

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1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown. The first book was great, but this second book in the Red Rising series just blew me away. One of my all time favorite books.

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2. Scarlet & Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #2 & #3) by Marissa Meyer. (Since there are 4 books in this series I’m counting the middle two books as one.) I remember not being all that impressed with Cinder, but the books just kept getting better after that.

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3. Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black. With all the 5 star reviews I saw of the first book I ended up being a little disappointed. But then I read Red Glove and it was everything I expected the first book to be. I loved it.

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4. For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne. Even though I ended up reading this series in reverse order, it was still the second book I read and my favorite of the whole series.

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5. New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay #2) by Beth Kendrick. This was actually the first book in the series I read, but I thought it (and the following books in the series) was a big improvement over the first book.

What are some of your picks for Second Book is Best?

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Underrated Books

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Favorite Underrated Books–Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.     

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1. My newest obsession is the Lacey Flint series by S.J. Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton) and I never even heard of it until very recently. More people need to read this – especially if you’re a fan of the mystery/suspense genre.

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2. The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. If you like YA, great banter, cute (yet sometimes frustrating) romance, and a little bit of magic – this book series is for you! Definitely one of my favorite series I wish more people would read.

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3. The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. Another great mystery/suspense series that I don’t see enough people reading.

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4. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Another great magical YA series. If for no other reason, read this series for the treasure that is charming, sarcastic Cassel.

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5. The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. It’s been so long since I read this (and it was before the blog and before I started writing any type of review on Good Reads) that I don’t remember a lot of details, but I remember being obsessed with this book. Great character development, some great (and not so great) romances, and the heartbreak of war.

What underrated books do you wish more people read? Have you read any of mine? And if you haven’t – You should!

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

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

Pierce Brown

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

Julie Buxbaum

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

Beth Kendrick

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

Holly Black

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

Blake Crouch

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

Vince Flynn

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

Tamara Ireland Stone

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

Lisa Jewell

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

Denise Hunter

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

Ruth Ware

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

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

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to See as TV Shows

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Welcome to my first Top 5 Wednesday! You can find more info about it over at their Good Reads page. This week’s topic combines two of my favorite things: Books you want to see as TV shows. I have done this topic once before for a Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m going to try to come up with all new answers.

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1. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. This book spans several years, has lots of characters, and a great central romance to root for that goes through lots of up and downs.

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2. Curse Workers by Holly Black. I could totally see this on the CW.

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3. You by Caroline Kepnes. I could see this as a Dexter-ish series with anti-hero Joe.

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4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Yes, we are (eventually) getting a movie, but there’s definitely enough story there for a tv series.

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5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Action, humor, romance, magic. What more can you ask for?

What books would you like to see as tv shows?

Pokémon Go Book Tag

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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!


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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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).

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

Olympic Book Tag

Olympic Book Tag

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

01 - Olympics

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

02 - Olympics

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins.

03 - Olympics

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

04- Olympics

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

05 - Olympics

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

06 - Olympics

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

07 - Olympics

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

08 - Olympics

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

09 - Olympics

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

10 - Olympics

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

11 - Olympics

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

12 - Olympics

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

13 - Olympics

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

14 - Olympics

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

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A quick, cute story with likable characters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BACK ON THE TBR

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

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DNF

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

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