Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2020

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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Moment of Truth by Kasie West. Read March 3-5. 3 Stars

It makes me a little sad to say this, but I found this book really dull. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until about the last 25%. I expect a slow burn romance in West’s books, but it felt almost non-existent until close to the end. I also thought the big drama between Hadley and her parents was resolved WAY too easily. I almost gave this book 2 stars instead of 3, but I did really like Hadley and Jackson in the last few chapters.

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Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker. Read March 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. I think I enjoyed it more than the first book, actually. It’s extremely character-driven and not a lot really happens and if I was in a different mood, I could see where this might not have worked for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing Calla and Jonah work on starting a life together. There were lots of sweet moments between them and Jonah could be far more romantic than I remember him being. However, he still did lots of stupid things that made me frustrated with him, too. I liked the new location and the new characters, especially Toby and Roy. One negative thing, though, I thought there were a few too many sex scenes. None of them were that detailed and some were even more “fade to black”, but it just seemed a little excessive.

I would love a third Calla and Jonah book. I think I’m going to go back and re-read the first book now just because I don’t feel like being done with them quite yet.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Read March 8-10. 2.5 Stars. 

I think I was way too hyped for this. Everyone I know that read this gave it 4 or 5 stars and I had really high expectations. I found it really lackluster, though. I didn’t really like the main character, I didn’t buy the romance, and wasn’t really impressed with the writing. There were a couple of cute or funny moments, but I just didn’t enjoy this one.

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Bennett Mafia by Tijan. Read March 22-24. 3.5 Stars

When I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, this one kept my attention. It was crazy and sometimes ridiculous, but addicting, which is what I expect from a Tijan book. It was just a little too long, though. Just when I felt like the story was coming to an end, the plot completely shifted. I almost felt like this could have been broken into two different books.

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. Read March 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I don’t know what all these lukewarm reviews are about because I really enjoyed this! I liked the home renovation show vibes and the slow burn romance. The two main characters were likable (except when James did a couple of super dumb things) and the “villains” were more of the love-to-hate variety. I could’ve used an epilogue, but this was a cute, fast read and I’m kind of sad that I finished it so quickly.

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The Assist (Smart Jocks #1) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read March 26-27. 3.5 Stars.

A little cliched, but after a rough start I started to enjoy this. I liked Blaire and Wes (Bless) and I liked that we got both of their POVs. I’ll probably give the rest of this series a try before my KU subscription ends.

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Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy. Read March 28-29. 3.5 Stars

This was one of those crazy Romances where high school kids act like adults and everything is 100x more dramatic than it needs to be, but I was into it. I liked both Nico and Demi and I shipped them. I will probably check out some of this author’s other books while I still have KU.

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

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. I liked this just as much the second time around – maybe even more.

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

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I didn’t make it past the prologue. Just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction. I’ll try it again, though.

*****DNF*****

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet. DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on a book, but I couldn’t even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I’m also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more.

Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen. DNF @ 7%. Whenever I sign up for Kindle Unlimted, I try a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever read and this book definitely fell into that category. I’ve seen so many great reviews of LJ Shen books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I think it’s safe to say this author isn’t for me.

Doughn’t Let Me Go by Teagan Hunter. DNF @ 21%. Nope. Just can’t do this. I don’t really like either of the characters. Porter is way more skeezy than I can appreciate and I’m just rolling my eyes at Dory and her whole Pretty Woman “sex is fine, but no kissing” thing. I also am not a fan of the Single Dad / Nanny trope. I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author, but this one just isn’t for me.

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

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What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – 2 Stars

The First Date by Zara Stoneley – 3.5 Stars

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – 2.5 Stars

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett – 3.5 Stars

Admission by Julie Buxbaum – 2 Stars

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell – 3.5 Stars

My COVID-19 ARC TBR

How is everyone doing? I personally think the world is overreacting right now, but I’ll still stay home and follow the guidelines the government and health officials put forth. I mean, I’ve been practicing social distancing all my life, so it’s not really a big deal. I am on administrative leave / working remotely for at least the next three weeks so that means plenty of time for reading! I plan on working through my ARCs:

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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Admission by Julie Buxbaum

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

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The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

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The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Bright Lands by John Fram

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The Vacation by T.M. Logan

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Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell

What’s on your COVID-19 TBR?

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2019

I’ve seen this floating around lately and thought it was about time I did it, too.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2019

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In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. I actually just had this from the library, but didn’t get to it before it expired.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

Biggest Disappointment

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. After The Hating Game, I just expected so much more from Thorne’s next book.

Biggest Surprise

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This was not at all what I thought it was going to be, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Favorite New Author

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Beth O’Leary. I loved The Flatshare and can’t wait to read more form this author.

Newest Fictional Crush

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Tucker from Just one of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen.

Newest Favorite Character

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Rob from Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Book That Made You Cry

I don’t think any book has so far.

Book That Made You Happy

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Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne. I wanted this story since reading the first book in the series.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

If I’ve seen any, I haven’t remembered them.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

My 2018 Recap post

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I think In the Dark is the only book I’ve bought myself this year, thus it’s the most beautiful.

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

Basically everything on this post

End of the Year Survey: 2017

This End of the Year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 134
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Suspense

best-YA-books-20141. Best Book You Read In 2017?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton, Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, Making Faces by Amy Harmon and Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I gave all these books 4.5 stars and I can’t pick between them.

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

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I thought this looked adorable and had so much potential, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

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

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I can’t think of a book that I really pushed on people this year. I recommended Sharon Bolton to just about everyone, but I’m not sure if anyone actually read anything of hers because of me. 

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Sequel: The Secret by Katerina Diamond

Ender: The Song of David by Amy Harmon

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Sharon Bolton, Amy Harmon, and Elizabeth Eulberg

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

I’m going to go with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue again. I don’t read a lot of Historical Fiction these days or LGBT+ books.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read a lot of thrilling and unputdownable books this year, but I think the most action-packed/fast paced would be Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton bc I just got it for Christmas and am itching to read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. She always has the best covers.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

David Drucker from What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Nothing really stands out, but probably anything by Amy Harmon.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

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Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. My first book by Eulberg and I discovered a new favorite author.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

From Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren:

I try to ignore the pressure to be coupled up, but it’s everywhere…There’s my own biological clock, quietly yet persistently ticking away…But of course there’s that niggling voice suggesting I not care about any of it, that maybe I should give in and buy the cats instead. The problem is that I don’t like them. I may be a terrible married person someday, but I know for sure I would be an even worse cat lady.

“Evie?”

“Sorry…I was just trying to figure out whether I could still be a crazy cat lady without the actual animals.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: Winging It by Cate Cameron

Longest: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lark and Tiras from The Bird and the Sword, Evie and Carter from Dating You/Hating You, and Lacey and Josebury from the Lacey Flint series.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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Declan and Rev from Letters to the Lost

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA Sharon Bolton). It wasn’t really a personal recommendation, but I saw a review on The Misstery. Many books I’ve read and loved this year came from Annie.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

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I loved Matt from Always You by Denise Grover Swank.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Ragdoll from Daniel Cole

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Did not like the book, but she really knows how to set a scene!

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

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The DS Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond. More people need to read this!!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Lying Game

book-blogging1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I can never answer this question. There’s been so many.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Sometimes the worst books make for the most fun reviews.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Convince me to buy a Kindle (I think it’s also the only discussion post I wrote)

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to three author events: Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Scottoline.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Linda Castillo remembered my name at her book signing from previous book signings. Also, I’m counting this as blogging life, I finally got to meet Brandie from Running on Words and Wine!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Going through long periods of time where I had no patience for romance or contemporary novels. Also, personal life issues put reading on hold a lot of the time.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Most viewed of the year was the review for Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo that I wrote a couple years ago, but the most viewed from 2017 content was the review for Fallen Heir by Erin Watt.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

All of them 🙂

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Not really a discovery, but I finally bit the bullet and got a Kindle Paperwhite.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads Challenge and surpassed my goal of 100 books.

looking-ahead-books-20151. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

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Maybe not number 1 priority, but I still need to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

There’s not really one on my radar right now.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – the continuation of the Shatter Me series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Be more consistent on writing reviews for non-ARCs.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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The Wife Between Us

Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

Last year I loved Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things and I was really hoping to love What to Say Next just as much. At first, I didn’t think I would. I even put this one down to read something out before coming back to it. I’m so glad I kept reading, though, because I did end up really enjoying it.

I LOVE DAVID DRUCKER. I love him! While I wasn’t sold on the story from the very beginning, I was sold on David pretty much instantly. He’s such a different character than I’ve read before. He’s on the Autism spectrum and while I’m not exactly qualified to comment on how realistic a portrayal it was, it did seem pretty realistic to me. There were several times he reminded me a little of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He was sweet and funny and so, so honest. I just adored him. He went through some heartbreaking moments in this book and I loved seeing him end up stronger because of it. I also really loved his relationship with his sister.

It took a little longer to warm up to Kit. She’s grieving the recent death of her father and while I think it could be cathartic for readers who are going through similar circumstances, it was a little redundant. I kind of feel awful saying that because I know there are stages of grief that everybody goes through at different rates and if it was me I would probably be much the same, but at the same time it made her kind of unlikable for awhile. (I also thought this particular storyline was a little too similar to one in Buxbaum’s last book.) However, as she learned to deal with things in a more emotionally healthy way she became a lot more likable. And her friendship with David made me like her even more. My biggest problem with her storyline has to deal with her father’s accident. I felt like there was supposed to be a bit of a mystery surrounding it, but I thought it was obvious and was a little annoyed that it wasn’t “revealed” until close to the end. It brought with it an extra bit of drama I didn’t feel was really necessary.

The story is told in dual 1st person POVs. At first I didn’t think it worked and wished we only had David’s POV. I felt like David and Kit’s stories didn’t really go together. It almost felt like reading two different books with a couple of shared scenes. Once David and Kit started to spend more time together and be a bigger part of each other’s lives, though, I started to really appreciate the style. Also, Buxbaum nailed their individual voices. There was never a time when I didn’t know which character I was reading. I also absolutely loved being in David’s head.

Overall, What to Say Next started out a little rough for me, but I ended up really loving it. I loved the growing relationship between David and Kit and watching David learn how to better interact with those around him. David Drucker has become one of my favorite characters of all time. I definitely recommend this one.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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?

The Olympic Book Tag: Take 2

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I love the Olympics and I love Olympic Book Tags! Yes, I have already done one, but there are 2 Olympic Book Tags floating around the blogosphere and Deanna from A Novel Glimpse, tagged me for this one.

The Opening Ceremony — What book did you think had an incredible opening?

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Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. I was hooked on this book from the start


The Games — What is your favorite fictional competition?

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The Hunger Games is literally the only book I can think of with a competition. I feel kind of bad for saying it’s my favorite competition, though, haha.


The Original — The modern games are based on the original Greek competition – what is your favorite book based on a classic?

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Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London. A cute re-telling of Pride and Prejudice


The Eternal Flame  — What is one ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen?

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I usually end up shipping the ship we’re supposed to ship, so the only one I can really think of is *Ruin and Rising Spoilers* Nikolai and Alina. While I was ok with her ending up with Mal, Nikolai was always my favorite.


Gymnastics — What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

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Golden Son. I was trying really hard not to repeat books, but what is a tag without a Red Rising mention?!


The Controversial Judge  — What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people?

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I just don’t get it. I really did not like this book at all, but the blogosphere loves it.


Beach Volleyball  — What is your favorite fictional duo?

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I’m going to go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. I thought they were a great example of a romantic pairing also working together for the greater good.


Weightlifting — What is the most massive book on your shelf?

A collection of Jane Austen’s novels. I love it.


Track & Field — What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?

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I read P.S. I Like You by Kasie West in a day.


Synchronized Swimming — What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why?

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Pretty Little Liars. I made it to book 10 before I couldn’t take anymore.


The Tortured Fan — What fictional family, group, nation, or organization do you irrationally root for no matter how many times they break your heart?

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Joe from the You series. He is a sociopath, but I always root for him.


Closing Ceremony — What book had an ending that just blew your mind?

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Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas