Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2021

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.

44804802. sy475

Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry. Read May 1-2. 3.5 Stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I feel like lately it’s been taking me a really long time to finish books, but I did not want to put this one down once I started it. I really enjoyed Eleanor and Grey’s love story, but there were a few things that made me not quite able to give it 4 stars.

The story is told in two parts – the first with the characters in high school in 2003-2004 and then the next in 2019. It felt like reading two different stories. I really enjoyed the first part and thought they were absolutely adorable together, but felt the time jump to be really jarring. Grey didn’t seem like the same character at all for a long time once the second part began. And I get it that they’ve grown up and he’s gone through a lot, but he seemed too different. I think maybe interweaving the timelines instead of keeping them in separate parts of the book might have helped.

Also, it’s never really mentioned, but based on the age of his oldest daughter, it means she would have been born his Sophomore year of college. It made me a little sad that he would’ve moved on with someone so quickly after leaving Eleanor. Which brings me to another point – I wish we would’ve seen some of his relationship with his wife before she passed. Without getting to see their love story, it made me just feel a little resentful towards him that he was with someone else and I wasn’t as patient with his grieving because I wanted him back together with Eleanor.

There were also a few things with the writing that threw me off. There’s a lot of the same words and phrases repeated a lot. I get what Cherry was going for, but it didn’t always work for me. I also didn’t like that the characters prayed to their dead relatives. And the last few chapters were way, way too sappy for my liking.

And I know this sounds like I didn’t like a lot about the book, but I did really enjoy it! It was sweet and funny and I loved what a booknerd Eleanor was and her introvertism. I loved that Grey read her favorite book so they could talk about it and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

56282839. sy475

Badly Behaved by Meagan Brandy. Read April 30-May 4. 3 Stars. 

I’m not really sure if this book is a little less crazy than the last couple books I tried by this author, or if my threshold for the ridiculous has changed, but this one was ok for me. It was over the top, but not all the time and I liked the friendship between the characters.

25322248. sy475

It’s In His Kiss (Bridgertons #7) by Julia Quinn. Read May 2-4. 4 Stars. 

I loved this one! Hyacinth and Gareth’s banter was so much fun. While I did miss seeing some of the other Bridgertons, their absence wasn’t as noticeable as it has been in previous books since I loved Hyacinth and Gareth so much.

54456763

Sunkissed by Kasie West. Read May 4-6. 3 Stars. 

This had some cute and funny moments, but ended up being just ok for me. It felt like there were a lot of things recycled from some of West’s other books – the songwriting from “PS I Like you“, the making a list of things to do to expand your horizons like “Life, Love, and the List“, the outdoorsy setting like “Listen to your Heart.” It was just kind of odd. I liked the main character well enough, but felt pretty ambivalent about everyone else, including the love interest. I also felt like she spent the whole book trying to become a better version of herself and then it happened all at once at the end. This probably isn’t one I would read again, but I’ll still look forward to the next Kasie West book.

56628286

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. Read May 8-10. 3 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but not as much as I had hoped to. I recently read another book about a plane hijacking and couldn’t help myself from comparing the two. While this one did a much better job on character development and a giving a fresher take on who the hijackers were, it was not nearly as fast paced or suspenseful as the other one. Being a fan of Mackintosh, I knew to be on the look out for a great twist at the end – and we got it. However, there was a big clue into at least part of that twist throughout the book and I guessed it from a mile away. The epilogue was pretty great, though. I might have increased my rating by half a star due to those final few pages, but then my whole reading experience was brought down a bit by the condescending climate change lecture given in the Author’s Note.

*I received a copy of this title via a giveaway on Goodreads.*

25322246. sy475

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8) by Julia Quinn. Read May 13-16. 4 Stars.

I’ve seen some rather mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed it! The last couple of chapters were a little on the ridiculous side, but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to make up for it. I really liked Gregory and Lucy. I liked that there were some more Bridgertons around than the last couple of books had, but I wanted at least one scene where they were altogether since this was the last book in the series and was sad we didn’t get that. Still, though, this has been such a fun series that is outside the genre I usually read and I’m glad I gave them a try.

56129955. sy475

Forbidden (Ward Sisters #4) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 22-23. 4 Stars. 

I’ve been waiting for Isabel’s story and while I found her much more frustrating than I expected to, I liked her and Aiden together. I wish we got a little more of Aiden’s POV and I wish there was more relationship development and less focus on physical fantasies. Still, though, it was a good end to the series that I sped right through. I liked that we got to see a good deal of the rest of the Ward family and that there was some closure with their estranged mother.

11867860

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgertons #1.5-8.5; 8.6) by Julia Quinn. Read May 23. 4 Stars.

I was able to read the 2nd epilogues for all of the previous books when I read them, so I got this just for Violet’s story. It didn’t go the way I was expecting it to, but I did like it. I really liked that we got to see some of her relationship with her husband, who never got to make an appearance in the series. And while I wish she would have found love again, I liked that she was still happy with her life without it.

55517838. sy475

In the Now by Jennifer Ann Shore. Read May 23-24. 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars. I picked this one up randomly browsing KU and it’s one of the better books I’ve found in that way. I liked the characters, but I wanted a little more from the romance. Noah bullied Olivia pretty hard in high school. Like, really mean things and I thought it was all just brushed past way too easily. Adult Noah was like a completely different character. There’s also a lot said about his family that I thought could have been explored a little more. Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read and I might check out more from this author.

52480250. sy475

Find You First by Linwood Barclay. Read May 25-27. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this one. When it comes to character driven thrillers, Linwood Barclay is one of the best. The plot veered into the unbelievable a bit more than his books usually do, but it was entertaining.

*****DNF*****

55654504. sy475

The Engagement Arrangement (Boots and Bouquets #2) by Jaci Burton. DNF @ 4%. I usually try to give books a little more of a chance before I decide to DNF it, but this is the second time I’ve tried to read this one and I still can’t make myself get past the first chapter. I thought the main character was kind of creepy and found myself saying, “that escalated quickly” several times – and it was only the first chapter! I think it’s safe to say that this book won’t be for me.

56808508

Match Made in Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #1) by Barbara Dunlop. DNF @ 58%. I thought this had a lot of potential in the beginning, but I pretty quickly became bored with it. I didn’t think the “hate-to-love” was that well done – they had bad first impressions of each other and then lots of inner-monologues about how attractive they found each other. I never really felt any real chemistry or friendship between them. I didn’t like the main character and her “poor me for being so beautiful and rich” behavior. Since I was so far into the book I thought I should finish it, but once I got to the part where the main character and her cousin discuss shipping in models from LA to date the local Alaskan men, I just couldn’t take any more.

54326407

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron. DNF @ 14%. I don’t have anything bad to say about the writing, but after just a few chapters I felt like I had already read this story several times before and I was just not in the mood for it. I did skim through to the end just to see if there was anything new or surprising. There wasn’t. I have seen some very positive reviews on the book, though, so I’m sure it will still be an entertaining read for many.

53886621. sy475

The Bookworm’s Guide to Flirting (The Bookworm’s Guide #3) by Emma Hart. DNF @ 6%. I thought this looked funny and cute, but it only took one chapter to know it’s not for me. That’s not to say that it won’t be funny and cute. There was some banter that made me smile, but I know that I can’t take a whole book in the main character’s head. I really did not care for her and the general tone of the writing.

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

54013227. sy475

Win by Harlan Coben. I think I was in a weird mood when I started this and I only read one chapter that didn’t grab me. I put it down to try some other books and was never inspired to pick it back up. I do plan on requesting it from the library again in the future, though.

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

55711642 55711742 56383038

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda – 2 Stars

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish – 3.5 Stars

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: May 19, 2021

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

25322246. sy475

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons #8) by Julia Quinn. I am so sad to be done with this series! However, I guess I still do have one more short story to read. All the copies of the books I read contained the 2nd epilogues, but those were also all put together in one book and that book also has a story about the mother, Violet, so I’m on hold for that at the library.  Then I’ll truly be done with the series. Until I do a binge re-read, which I am absolutely planning on.

What are you currently reading?

56808508

Match Made in Paradise (Paradise, Alaska #1) by Barbara Dunlop. I thought this sounded cute (and similar to the The Simple Wild) and I did enjoy it at first, but then I got pretty bored with it and am struggling with the characters. I’m a little over half way through, but I might just call it.

55711742

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish. I am not too far into this yet, but it grabbed me right away. I have high hopes it will continue to entertain.

What do you think you’ll read next?

56129955. sy475

Forbidden by Karla Sorensen comes out tomorrow, so it will probably be my last book I read from KU before my subscription ends next week. I hate the title and the cover, but I’ve been waiting for Isabel’s story to wrap up this series.

What are you reading?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 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.

53887270. sy475

Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5) by K.A. Tucker. Read December 1. 4 Stars. 

It took me a couple chapters to really get into this, but of course I enjoyed it. I love Calla and Jonah and the rest of the quirky cast of characters. And I’m really glad ***SPOILER*** we got to see their wedding. I did think it left a few things too open, but hopefully they’ll be address in the spin-off book (about Marie, which I’m not thrilled about, but will still read).

19263293

Play with Me (Grover Beach Team #1) by Piper Shelly. Read November 30 – December 2. 2.5 Stars. 

This has been on my TBR a long time. It was a pretty classic YA Contemporary for the time period it was published in. I didn’t love the characters, but I didn’t hate them. I would’ve given this 3 stars, except I found the love interest kind of skeevy in the epilogue. I won’t be reading any other books in this series.

56074484. sy475

The Not-Outcast by Tijan. Read December 2-6. 2 Stars. 

Sometimes I am completely here for all the angsty, over-the-top drama in Tijan books. I wasn’t for this one. I did like how the story shone a light on someone living with severe mental health issues and I ended up liking the romance between Cut and Cheyenne, even though the whole alpha-possessive thing put me off at first. That was about all I liked, though.

I really didn’t care for Cheyenne’s friends. Sure, they were there for each other and were loyal and that’s nice. But I hated how they handled things. They either got drunk or did dumb pranks and just came off as really immature to me. A lot is talked about Cheyenne’s mental health issues, but I think her friends really could’ve used some intensive therapy, too, to be honest.

And while I liked the inclusion of the mental health issues, I didn’t think they were handled that well. Cheyenne kind of acts like no one except for people “like her” could possibly understand anything she goes through. While she did have a more extreme reaction to things, I think I lot of the ways she thought and had anxiety is normal for a lot of people.

49757149

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Read December 6-9. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but thought it started better than it ended. There were a decent amount of twists and while I wouldn’t say that I was super surprised by any of them, I didn’t see all of them coming from miles away, either. I liked the characters and the multiple POVs. I thought it started to feel a little long, though, and the end was pretty underwhelming. What was supposed to be a shock at the end came off as kind of lame to me. Overall, though, it entertained me for a good few days and I look forward to McManus’ next book.

52132019. sx318 sy475

The Clause in Christmas (Poppy Creek #2) by Rachael Bloome. Read December 10-12. 3.5 Stars.

I’ve been looking for a cute Christmas Romance and this one hit the spot. The romance was sweet and I liked the characters and small town setting. I did think that Cassie could be a little overdramatic, though, and then everything would work out a little too easily after. Overall, it was a cute story that reminded me a lot of a Hallmark Christmas movie and I might give the next book in the series a try.

55849279. sy475

Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey. Read December 13. 4 Stars. 

It’s been a long time since I managed to read a proper-sized book in a day, but that’s what happened with this book. I enjoyed Maddie and Aiden and definitely shipped them together. I do have to say that I enjoyed the first half of the book a little more than the last half, though. Thankfully, the last couple chapters brought the overall story back to a 4 star read for me. I also want to say that the tone of the book felt a lot different than the synopsis suggests and I think that’s a good thing. If you’re a fan of R.S. Grey, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, too.

55125520. sy475

Best Friends Don’t Kiss by Max Monroe. Read December 13-16. 3.5 Stars

This was cute. I loved the best friendship between Ava and Luke and I liked when it turned into more. I thought the pacing seemed a little odd, though. I expected the majority of the book to be in the fake relationship stage, but it’s about half way through the book before they join Ava’s family. There was so much time spent on Ava going on bad dates that seemed a little pointless because we already know that Luke is going to agree to be the fake boyfriend. There were also a number of cameos of characters from other books by this author duo that I’m sure long time fans love, but I found really confusing trying to keep track of. All that said, though, this was an enjoyable read and I might even try some other books by these authors. If it wasn’t for the SUPER sappy last couple chapters that I found a little hard to stomach, I probably would’ve bumped my rating up to 4 stars.

55817016. sy475

The Prince and the Troll (Faraway #1) by Rainbow Rowell. Read December 16. 1 Star. 

It hurts my heart to rate a Rainbow Rowell book so low, but what even was this? 25 pages of allegorical climate change and socioeconomic status commentary? This was a big NOPE for me.

55999181. sy475

The Office Party by Whitney G. Read December 18-20. 3 Stars. 

The whole concept of this story was kind of ridiculous and the romantic lead seemed a little stalkerish, but it had some funny moments that I enjoyed.

54165443. sy475

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. Read December 22-23. 3 Stars. 

Usually I’m not a fan of novellas, but I thought this one could actually have benefitted by being a little shorter. There were some cute and funny moments and I did like Riley and Kennedy together, but I thought the story dragged a lot at times. There were also mentions of pretty heavy emotional topics that are brought up at random times and then quickly shoved aside. I also thought it was eye-rollingly sappy at times. That said, it was a quick, enjoyable little book that fit in with my holiday reading binge and I might give these authors another try.

54435275. sy475

Scrooged by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. Read December 24. 4 Stars. 

I didn’t realize this was 3 stories instead of 1 when I picked it up, but it worked for me. They maybe weren’t the best quality books I’ve ever read, but I enjoyed them and I read them on Christmas Eve, so I gave it 4 stars.

53863442

Floored by Karla Sorensen. Read December 18-26. 2 Stars. 

Knowing that unplanned pregnancy is one of my least favorite tropes, I probably should’ve skipped this book. It was definitely my least favorite Sorensen book. It took me a very long time to get on board with Lia and Jude. In the beginning I did not feel their chemistry at all. It felt really forced to me. It wasn’t until the last few chapters that I actually bought into their feelings for each other. I also didn’t like how they handled things for the majority of the book. However, I DID like that Lia didn’t waste too much time in telling Jude about the pregnancy because the only think I hate more than the unplanned pregnancy trope is the “surprise, you’re a father!” trope – where the mother tells the fathers years after the kid is born. While this book wasn’t for me, I am looking forward to Isabel’s book next.

50608051. sy475

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss. Read December 27-29. 2.5 Stars. 

This had a lot of potential, but it didn’t live up to it for me. It was way longer than it needed to be with far too much description about meaningless things. And after spending most of the book shipping Kate and Matt, I thought the big reconciliation moment fell flat.

55054890. sy475

Searching for Coach Taylor by Mindy Kaling. Read December 29. 3 Stars.

A little funny, but not really anything special. I will probably skip the rest of these essays.

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

50776910. sx318 sy475

Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd. I loved this just as much the second time around. I think this book is going to be one of my holiday traditions that I read every year.

*****DNF*****

55941587. sy475

New Year’s Steve by Sara Ney and M.E. Carter. DNF @ 38%. I don’t really have any legitimate complaints about this book, except that I don’t think the humor was for me and I just couldn’t get into it. After a couple chapters I also realized that the side characters were from a book I read last Christmas by the same authors that I didn’t really enjoy, either, so I decided it probably wouldn’t be worth it to finish this one. I do love the colors in that cover, though!

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 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.

54370827. sy475

Hands Down by Mariana Zapata. Read July 3-5. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this! It was a terrific slow burn romance with really likable characters. I do have my usual complaint with this author that the writing was a little too repetitive and a little more editing would really help the pace, but I know to expect those things going in, so it didn’t hinder my enjoyment too much. It was a sweet story of friendship, family, and love. I liked the cameos of characters from some of the author’s other books, too. I was sad when it ended and I had to say goodbye to the characters. This is definitely one I’ll read again.

49045854. sy475

Melt My Heart by A.R. Perry. Read July 5-6. 3 Stars. 

A cute, short read. The characters were likable and the romance was cute, if a little too cheesy there at the end.

49148847. sy475

The Crushing Depths (Coastal Guardians #2) by Dani Pettrey. Read July 9-11. 4 Stars. 

I was really disappointed in the first book of this series, so I was a little nervous about starting this one. Fortunately, The Crushing Depths was back to the quality I have come to expect from Pettrey. I liked the main characters much more in this installment and enjoyed the mysteries. While I did like the romance between Rissi and Mason, it was another case of there being a past relationship and they were basically in love right away when they saw each other again. I wanted to see their relationship develop a little more organically. However, the B plot involved the beginnings of a romance between Noah and Brooke and I felt much more invested in them. I look forward to reading their book in the future. I also feel pretty invested in the inevitable relationship between Emmy and Landon. After the first book I didn’t really care about any of the characters and I’m really happy I got to know them better this time around.

50235819. sy475

The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys #1) by Emma. Scott. Read July 11-12. 4 Stars. 

Very angsty and a little too long, but enjoyable. I wish there was a little more time spent in the post-high school years and a little less in the teenage angst. However, I liked the characters and Miller and Violet’s relationship. It was a sweet, emotional story and I’m going to check out more by this author.

46128252. sy475

One of the Guys by A.R. Perry. Read July 7-13. 3 Stars. 

This was ok. I didn’t find Rylee a very likable character. I hated the antagonistic relationship she had with her siblings and mother. I thought Spencer was sweet, though – most of the time. While this was ok, it’s probably going to be the last book I read by this author.

44305143. sy475

The Fadeaway (Smart Jocks #2) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read June 29-July 16. 2.5 Stars

This was just ok for me. I did like Katrina and how she handled being a young, single mother. I didn’t really remember having a favorable impression of Joel in the first book and I didn’t care much for him here, either. It also took me a couple of weeks to finish this because it couldn’t hold my attention long enough to read more than a couple chapters at a time.

50931374. sx318 sy475

Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read July 19-25. 3 Stars. 

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I liked the friendship between Levi and Joss. I liked the positive disability representation, the humor, and how incredibly sweet Levi was. Joss’ reactions to things really brought the book down for me, though. There are two instances where Levi has big news or a confession to share with her and she basically attacks him both times, refused to talk about it, and then disappears on him/gives him the cold shoulder while she processes. Both times she realizes she overreacts and she doesn’t really own up to it, she just shows back up and he is instantly fine with her again. It made me really dislike her at times. Especially when she thought Levi couldn’t possibly want to live with her disability – girl, he already had his family renovate their house to make it accommodating for you! That’s the reason this book is getting 3 stars instead of 4.

51172016. sx318 sy475

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. Read July  21-26. 4 Stars. 

Another enjoyable installment of the Kate Burkholder series. This one is a bit of a departure from the other books in the series, as it’s more Suspense/Thriller than Mystery. The story almost entirely takes place at a snowed in farm and we don’t get to see much of the beloved side characters as we usually do. I liked getting to know a little more about Kate’s backstory, though, and I loved new character, Adam. I hope he shows up again in future books.

I do have to say that the plot of the book centered around corruption in a police force and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be reading during these times. Castillo does include a note about how she embellished things for her story and that the (real) police department she uses in the book is a good one and the mischaracterizations are for the sake of the plot. It just feels like unfortunate timing for a book with this topic to be out. Or the perfect time, I suppose, depending on your political bent. However, the corrupt cops get their comeuppance and justice is served, so it is positive to see a police force taking action to reform their force.

All that said, it was still a good book and I will eagerly await the next installment.

*****DNF*****

51852191. sx318 sy475

Rage & Ruin (The Harbinger #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. DNF @ 10%. I don’t know if I’m just in a mood or if my reading tastes have changed over the years and JLA books just don’t do it for me anymore, but I can’t make myself read another page of this.

52763592. sy475

Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins. DNF @ 25%. I really tried with this one, but I just couldn’t get into it. The main character was really frustrating, though her mental health issues were completely understandable with her upbringing. There was some anti-religious stuff I found offensive and that kind of killed most of my desire to keep reading. I also thought the mystery of what happened to Astrid all those years ago was really obvious. While I stopped reading at about the 25% mark, I did skip to the last few chapters, just to confirm my suspicion and I was right. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time with all the chapters in between.

41998719. sy475

The Dating Dare by A.R. Perry. DNF @ 17%. I recently read another book by this author that was cute, so I thought I’d give another one of her books a try. I only got through a couple chapters of this, but I don’t like it at all. I think the kids are crass and the whole dare scenario just doesn’t work for me.

50396013

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan. DNF @ 24%. I really wanted to like this one, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was expecting a thriller, but it was much more Women’s Fiction. The writing wasn’t bad, I think it was just an instance of me being the wrong reader for the book.

WWW Wednesday: July 29, 2020

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

50931374. sx318 sy475 51172016. sx318 sy475

Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. This ended up being 3 stars for me. There were many things I liked about it, but the way the main character reacted to things really rubbed me the wrong way.

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. This was another solid installment of the series. I’m looking forward to the next one!

What are you currently reading?

49127718

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I haven’t had a lot of time to read over the past couple days so I’m not very far in yet, but so far I’m loving it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

52509078. sx318 sy475

I just got This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf from the library.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: July 22, 2020

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing recently. Preparing for my move took up all of my brain space.

What are you currently reading?

50931374. sx318 sy475

Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. The concept is a little cheesy, but this is cute so far. I also like the disability rep.

What do you think you’ll read next?

51172016. sx318 sy475

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. I decided to treat myself for making it through my move and bought a hardcover copy of this. I usually get to see Castillo on book tour every year and get my copy signed, but this year was just a virtual event. I’m holding out hope she’ll be back next summer and I can get this signed then.

What are you reading?

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2020

44132049. sy475 52867387. sy475

The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan and Beach Read by Emily Henry.

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020

53024322. sx318 sy475

Since I already mentioned The Heir Affair, I’ll go with Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

50794839. sx318 sy475

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I actually bought this just after it came out, but still haven’t read it.

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

53065750

The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10) by Karin Slaughter

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

45046683

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier. I’m in the minority here, but it didn’t come close to living up to my expectations. It read a lot more like Women’s Fiction than Mystery/Thriller to me.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

52304892. sy475

The F List by Alessandra Torree. I expected nothing from this, but LOVED it.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR

50402531

Karla Sorensen

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

33288638. sy475

Dallas from Wait For It by Mariana Zapata.

NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER

30253700. sy475

Caden from Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

I don’t think I’ve cried at any books yet this year. My cold, black heart remains intact.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

51086670

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren.

FAVORITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

156608

So I haven’t actually read these books, but I did enjoy the Netflix show that’s based on the books by Sherryl Woods- The Sweet Magnolias

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

36373564. sy475

I actually do not buy a lot of books. I did pick up The Simple Wild ebook when it was on sale, though.

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Midnight Sun (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo

Yours to Keep (Man of the Year #2) by Lauren Layne

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 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.

52481990. sy475

Varsity Heartbreaker (Varsity #1) by Ginger Scott. Read. May 29-31 (yes, this was from May, but it was after last month’s feature posted). 3.5 Stars

This started out really slow for me, but after about the first 25%, it did pick up. I spent the first half or so of the book shipping June with Tory, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I felt frustrated by how obsessed June was with Lucas when he had treated her so poorly. It is explained why he pushed her away, but I didn’t think it was necessary for him to be such a douche to her. That said, I did end up liking them together and he could be really sweet. There were a couple scenes I thought were a little too graphic for a YA book. I’m really looking forward to getting to know Tory more in the next book.

51787873. sx318 sy475

Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally. Read May 31-June 11. 2 Stars. 

This was kind of disappointing. I thought Lulu and Alex’s relationship was toxic for half the time and a little too co-dependent the other half. They didn’t treat other people they dated in between very well, either. The execution of the concept was done kind of oddly, too. You expect the story to focus on four separate days, but it felt like it spent more time on flashbacks than on the actual days. All of the characters were also extremely immature and it made me cringe with how much sexual content there was.

51933429

The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Read June 7-11. 3 Stars. 

This started out really well for me, but I didn’t think it ended very strong. I loved the use of multiple POVs and timelines. I thought they were well done and Foley did a good job of making me suspect multiple people. Some of the twists and connections felt just a little too convenient, though. I also didn’t love the end. I wanted more closure on what happened to the characters afterwards, especially one couple that really needs either massive couples therapy or a divorce. I also thought the pace was a little slow and even though this book wasn’t very long, it felt like it was.

49197789. sx318

The House Guest by Mark Edwards. Read June 15-16. 4 Stars. 

This was my first book by Mark Edwards and it definitely won’t be my last. I enjoyed the characters and the mystery. There were several twists I guessed before they were revealed, but there were several others that managed to surprise me. I’m looking forward to checking out some of his other books.

50402531

Faked by Karla Sorensen. Read June 16-18. 4 Stars. 

This was cute. It took a different direction than I thought it would, but it didn’t take me long to get on board. I thought Bauer’s feelings were a little too insta-lovey at first, but I definitely shipped him and Claire together. I thought they worked together really well. This might be my favorite book by this author so far.

53441968. sy475

Rich Prick by Tijan. Read June 18-20. 3.5 Stars. 

This was ridiculous, but in that enjoyable Tijan sort of way. It took me awhile to get into, but I eventually became invested in Blaise and Aspen and I liked how they helped each other grow. I thought Aspen was more likable than most Tijan heroines. I liked seeing a different side of Nate in this, too. It made me excited for his forthcoming book, when I was kind of ambivalent about the prospect before.

This is marketed as a standalone, but I would consider it more of a companion novel to the Fallen Crest and Crew series. People who haven’t read those before would miss out on a lot.

53926718. sy475

The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker. Read June 22-25. 3 Stars. 

I enjoyed this for the most part, but did have some issues with it. I didn’t like that Shane wasn’t really apologetic at all about what he did to Scarlet in the past. He kind of just excused himself for being a dumb teenager and didn’t own up to how much he hurt her. I felt like she was justified in not trusting him right away. I also thought there was way too much focus on the physical relationship. It made the relationship seem a little cheap. However, as the story went on, I did start to ship Shane and Scarlet and there were some cute and funny moments.

53350148. sy475

Something New by Amanda Abram. Read June 25-27. 3 Stars.

This had some cute moments, but the book was far longer than it needed to be. I was pretty bored with it most of the time, but decided to push through. I did like Dylan and Cassie together, though.

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

31284532. sy475

My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by The Lady Janies. I was so excited when my library hold came in for this, but I found myself really bored after the first couple chapters. I read several other books and just never felt the desire to come back to this before the library hold expired. I would like to try it again some day, though.

*****DNF*****

42832402. sy475

Drummer Girl by Ginger Scott. DNF @ 38%. I wasn’t in the right mood to read something so angsty. I also found the characters pretty unlikable. I just don’t see myself caring enough to finish this.

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

50892287. sy475 50373287. sy475  51169341

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – 4 Stars

Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell – 4 Stars

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: June 17, 2020

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

50892287. sy475 50373287. sy475 49197789. sx318

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren, Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell, and The House Guest by Mark Edwards. Three 4 star books in a row. Book slump, what?

What are you currently reading?

50402531

Faked by Karla Sorensen. I’ve been looking forward to this one and hoping it lives up to expectations.

What do you think you’ll read next?

53441968. sy475 53926718. sy475

My free Kindle Unlimited subscription ends after Saturday (fingers crossed I can find another deal to keep it going) and I’m going to try to squeeze in Rich Prick by Tijan and The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker.

What are you reading?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 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.

43093208. sy475

The Ex Effect (Washington Wolves #2) by Karla Sorensen. Read April 30-May 1. 3.5 Stars

This was cute, but not my favorite by this author. I thought Ava and Matthew got together a little too quickly, but I did ship them. I wish there was a little more resolution with Ava’s family, though.

33288638. sy475

Wait For It by Mariana Zapata. Read April 27-May 2. 4 Stars.

It took me awhile to get into this (as much as I enjoy Zapata, I always think her books could be a good 200 pages shorter than they are), but once I did, I loved it. I loved the growing relationship between Diana and Dallas and I loved Josh and Louie. I put off reading this one for so long because I didn’t like Diana in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and I don’t always like reading books when there’s kids involved. But I found Diana way more likable in this and the kids were two of the best things about the book. I think Dallas might be my new favorite Zapata man, too.

40506144. sy475

The Bombshell Effect (Washington Wolves #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 3-5. 3 Stars. 

This was cute, but not my favorite book of the series. I liked Allie and Luke together and the big romantic gesture at the end had some “Never Been Kissed” vibes that I enjoyed.

45046750

The Split by Sharon Bolton. Read May 5-8. 2.5 Stars.

I am so disappointed! I love Sharon Bolton, but I found this book so boring. It started off really interesting and the end was alright, but I just didn’t care about anything in the middle. I didn’t care about most of the characters and I guessed the twist long before it was revealed. I love so many of Bolton’s books, but this one just wasn’t for me.

22571540

The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Read May 13-14. 3.5 Stars. 

The writing sucked me in and kept me reading, but this definitely wasn’t my favorite Coben book. I found myself super annoyed with Adam’s wife, Corrine. When he confronts her about the lie and asks for an explanation she basically says “I’m not ready to tell you right now. I’ll do it later.” And then she disappears. What annoyed me was the manipulative “I don’t feel like talking about this” response. And as the book goes on, you expect there to be some huge conspiracy she was caught up in and it would all make sense why she couldn’t tell him anything…but that’s not the case. It was just annoying. It made it kind of hard to care about what happened to her. I’m still interested in checking out the show on Netflix, though. I know they made some significant changes from the book, so maybe it will be a little better.

26877697. sx318

Life and Death (Twilight #1.75) by Stephenie Meyer. Read May 10-20. 3 Stars. 

So with all the hype about Midnight Sun coming out soon, I decided it was time to revisit Twilight and realized I never read the gender swap book. It did take me quite a bit of time to get through, only reading a couple chapters at a time in between other books. I know that Meyer did the gender swap to show that if Bella was a guy, she still would’ve needed to be rescued because she’s human, but it didn’t really work for me. Maybe I’m part of the problem in society, but there were so many times where I just wanted Beau to “act like a man.” A couple things were changed here and there, but mostly it was just pronouns and it didn’t work. I often caught myself reading it as if was regular Twilight. One thing that did surprise me was the ending! I thought it was a straight re-telling, but it’s not and I did find that interesting.

52831200. sy475

From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read May 19-24. 2 Stars. 

*Sigh* This reminded me a lot of Armentrout’s Covenant series. Mixed in with a little Twilight and Shadow and Bone. And it was just ok for me. Actually, large parts of it were ridiculous. Poppy was so whiny, I found her really unlikable most of the time. Most of the book is her complaining about how unfair it is that she can’t sleep around like everyone else has the right to. Despite the whole cult-like religious system being pretty shady, she believes in it, which makes her choosing to ditch her Maiden status to have sex pretty selfish.

The romance between Poppy and Hawke played out very similarly to every other JLA couple, to the point where the names could’ve been switched out with any other JLA characters and you wouldn’t be able to tell which book you were reading. I though Hawke’s true identity was super obvious long before Poppy figures it out, too.

So, obviously this wasn’t my favorite JLA book, but all of her other fans seem to love it, so it’s probably just me.

53094629. sy475

A Slice of Love (Slice #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read May 24. 3.5 Stars.

This was cute and I definitely shipped Frankie and Jonas. I thought there was a little too much focus on the physical relationship, though, and would’ve liked a little more emotional/romantic development.

39863541

Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris. Read May 24-25. 3 Stars. 

This was pretty cute and was a lot less angsty than I anticipated, which was nice. I liked the dual POVs and shipped Lily and Stone.

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

34851664. sy475 53003715. sy475

The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy and Love the One You Hate by R.S. Grey. I just couldn’t get into either one of these, but I think it was my mood, so I do plan to try them again in the future. 

*****DNF*****

52585101. sy475

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. DNF @ 27%. I really wanted to like this one. I love the cover and the comparison to Jane the Virgin definitely intrigued me. There were just too many little things adding up that didn’t work for me. My biggest problem was how the scenes from the tv show were written. It starts out with just a bit of script direction to set the scene, but instead of staying in script format, it goes back to the normal narrative style. And instead of describing things from Jasmine’s POV as she acts the scene, it described them as if Carmen, the character she’s playing, was experiencing them. And we would get Carmen’s feelings and internal monologue, but then there would be some thoughts from Jasmine interspersed with those and it was just weird. I know I’m not explaining it well, but it just really threw me off. There were a few other little things, too, that just ended up making this book a chore for me to get through. While both the main characters and their families were likable enough, I just didn’t really connect with them and I don’t really care enough to keep reading this. That said, I have seen some really good reviews for this book, so I’m sure many others will love it.

40024139

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. DNF @ 16%. I think it might be time to just admit that YA Fantasy just isn’t really for me anymore. I couldn’t really get into this and I set it down to read some other books. After more than a week, I still have no desire to pick this one back up and I don’t think I ever will.

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

52765013. sx318 sy475 53450638. sy475 53152636. sx318 sy475

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orensten – 2 Stars

Cheesy on the Eyes (Slice #5) by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 2 Stars