Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

I’ve seen this tag floating around over the last month or so and I have done it the past couple of years, as well, so thought I would keep the tradition going. One thing I have noticed about my reading year so far is that I have not read a lot of books that are really that memorable. I do have several 4 star reads, but even most of them don’t really stand out in my mind. I want to try and make some better choices for the remainder of the year.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

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I haven’t given any books above 4 stars (if you know me, you know I haven’t given out a 5 star rating yet since starting this blog, but I usually have a few 4.5 stars every year, but none so far in 2018), but Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and The Promise by Katerina Diamond stand out to me.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Tell Me No Lies (Follow Me Back #2) by A.V. Geiger. I’m still waiting for this one to come to the library.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Biggest Disappointment

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My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. It took me forever to finish this book and the humor felt so forced.

Biggest Surprise

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Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter. I mean, come one, does this look like a book I would like? I really enjoyed it, though!

Favorite New Author

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Jar of Hearts was the first Jennifer Hillier book I’ve read and it definitely made me want to read more from her.

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Newest Favorite Character

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Ivan from From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Book That Made You Cry

None!!

Book That Made You Happy

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Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West. Kasie West books always make me happy.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I haven’t seen any.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

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

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The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout. A lot of her books have been been hit or miss for me lately (mostly miss), but this is the spin-off to the Lux series which I had a lot of love for when I was first getting back into reading, so I’m feeling optimistic about it.

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Review: What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

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Read the synopsis on Good Reads:

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

What You Want to See will be available 5/1/18. 

I really enjoyed Kristen Lepionka’s debut book of the Roxane Weary series, The Last Place You Look, and I think I liked this one even better.

I’m not going to share the synopsis here because I think it gives way too much of the plot away. While I think it would be best to start with the first book in the series to have a better handle on Roxane’s relationships, romantic and otherwise, the mystery is self-contained to this book and could be read as a standalone. Roxane is a private investigator who recently closed a very high profile case. She’s taken a much more low-key job – trailing a possible cheating fiancé. The case spirals into something much more dangerous and Roxane finds herself caught up in the middle of it.

I really enjoyed the twisty mystery in this. There were just so many layers that kept being revealed. It had the potential to get really out of hand, but Lepionka juggled it all really well. In a lot of mysteries I read these days I have everything all figured out pretty early on, but this one kept me guessing. While there were a few things I might have predicted, there were lots of other things I didn’t. I kind of liked just reading it and being surprised, instead of trying to figure out every little thing. I thought the pacing was well done and there was never a time I felt like something drug on too long. I did think the ending was jut a tiny bit rushed, though, and thought there were a couple of loose ends that weren’t tied up quite as neatly as I would’ve liked them to have been.

I thought Roxane was a little more likable in this book, as well. She seems to be working on her alcohol issues (most of the time, anyways) and she appears a little more self-aware. She had some good character growth, which I appreciated. I’m still not thrilled with her romantic interests, though (yes, there’s two). I really, really disliked Catherine in the previous book. She just seemed like an awful person who was no good at all for Roxane. She was a little better and a little more self-aware, too, this time around, but I think she’s still technically married and I’m just not on that ship. I do like Tom, as a character, but he also is in a relationship with someone else. To be fair, there were not any real romantic moments between he and Roxane in this book, but there’s still obvious chemistry that seems a little inappropriate given his relationship status. If he breaks up with his girlfriend, though, I think I could really root for him to be with Roxane.

Overall, I really enjoyed What You Want to See. It was well-paced and well-written, with a really interesting mystery. I also love that this book is set in Columbus, OH and I recognized a lot of the areas mentioned. I definitely recommend this series to Mystery fans and am looking forward to reading more from Lepionka in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unrevewied: February 2018

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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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon. February 16-17. 4 Stars. 

Love. Love. Love.  Amy Harmon writes beautiful books.

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My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris. Read February 17-18. 3 Stars. 

love this concept! I read through the book several times choosing different scenarios and feel like I only scratched the surface on the possibilities. Full review to come.

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Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell. Read February 18-19. 4 Stars. 

Lisa Jewell does it again. I was so consumed by this story that I finished it in under 24 hours. Full review to come.

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Honeysuckle Dreams (Blue Ridge Romance #2) by Denise Hunter. Read February 19-21. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, though the added drama at the end did bring it down a bit for me. I liked the characters for the most part and the Marriage-of-Convenience theme. I look forward to continuing the series. Full review to come.

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Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne. Read February 21-23. 4 Stars. 

Such a fun book. I really liked both Ellie and Gage. I enjoyed the “The Bachelor” type setting, too, though I thought it could have been played up a bit more. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

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What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka. Read February 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was well-paced and well-written, with a really interesting mystery. I also love that this book is set in Columbus, OH and I recognized a lot of the areas mentioned. I definitely recommend this series to Mystery fans and am looking forward to reading more from Lepionka in the future. Full review to come.

********Re-Reads********

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After finishing Iron Gold I fell into a book slump and decided to re-read the original trilogy, which I failed to do prior to reading Iron Gold. I still loved them all the second time around (third time for Red Rising). I had forgotten how completely epic Morning Star really is.

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Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally. This was recently free on Kindle. I pretty much have all the same issues with this book as I did the first time I read it. However, I think I may have enjoyed it slightly more this time around. It’s a pretty quick read.

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

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Books from the library that I never started before they expiredFragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda, A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

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Books from the library that I started and couldn’t get into: Fake Wife by Stacey Lynn, Moonlight Sins by Jennifer Armentrout, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. I usually love a good fake relationship story, but I read several chapters of Fake Wife and just couldn’t get into it. I think I want to try it again someday, though. I read about a chapter and a half of Moonlight Sins and again, just couldn’t get into it. I used to love everything by JLA, but all but one of her last several books have been ones I didn’t like or didn’t finish. I’m not sure if I’ll ever give this one a chance again. Truly Devious seems promising, but I was in a mood when I started it and then I realized it was the first book in a series and not a standalone, so I think I’ll wait until more books are published before I read it.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. 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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How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst. Read August 1-5. 2.5 Stars.

I really wanted to like this book. It definitely looks like it would be just my type. Unfortunately, it just didn’t really work for me. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Only You (Bachelor Brotherhood #1) by Denise Grover Swank. Read August 5-6. 4 Stars. 

I loved this! Holly and Kevin were such likable characters and I absolutely loved them together. Though everything happened very fast, I really enjoyed watching their relationship progress. With a large focus on family and a few zany characters this reminded me a lot of a Kristan Higgins book, who is my favorite Romance author. I realized that I have a couple of this author’s books that I’ve never read before and I am remedying that right away.

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The Substitute (The Wedding Pact #1) by Denise Grover Swank. Read August 6-8. 3 Stars. 

I really enjoyed the fake relationship aspects to this story. There were lots of humorous and slightly uncomfortable moments. I thought the book was a little too long, though, and while I liked Megan and Josh I never really fell in love with them. I didn’t like this as much as the other book I’ve read by this author, but I’m still going to try out some of her other books.

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The Player (The Wedding Pact #2) by Denise Grover Swank. Read August 8-13. 2.5 Stars.

I really enjoyed parts of this. I like the 2nd chance romance trope and thought it was done pretty well here. I liked Garrett. Blair was just so, SO unlikable, though! I hated her in the first book of the series and thought being in her head this time around would make me understand her behavior, but it didn’t. Sure, she was hurt in the past, but I don’t think that can completely excuse how bitchy she was to everyone, including her best friends who were always there for her. I was going to give this 3 stars, but the more I think about Blair, the more it brings the whole story down for me, so I’m going with 2.5.

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Blue Ridge Sunrise (Blue Ridge Romance #1) by Denise HunterRead August 13-15. 3 Stars.

This was just a little uneven for me. While I did really enjoy Zoe and Cruz’s relationship, some romance tropes that I don’t really like were employed and kind of dampened my experience. I know that some people really love those type of storylines though, so I can see many readers eating the whole thing up with a smile. I also thought that for being Christian Fiction it was really light on the Christian. Again, not something that will bother everybody. This wasn’t my favorite Denise Hunter book, but it wasn’t my least favorite either. I liked it enough that I want to continue the series. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Textrovert by Lindsey Summers. Read August 18-19. 3 Stars. 

I originally got this from NetGalley, but the ARC didn’t format well on my Nook and all the texts were missing. Since the texts are obviously an important part of the story, I didn’t end up reading it then. It finally came to my library, though, and I was excited . Keely was mostly likable, but was kind of frustrating a lot of times. There were several very cute moments between her and Talon, but I thought Talon was a little too much of a jerk to really ever love him. I felt like the ending was a little abrupt and left a several storylines kind of open-ended. Overall, it was a cute quick and easy read, but it’s not one I plan on ever picking up again.

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Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read August 20. 3.5 Stars. 

This book ended up being much different than I thought it would be. It wasn’t quite the cute read I was expecting, but I still ended up really appreciating it. I loved the style it was written in. The POV switched between Hope and her biggest rival Parker and we even got one POV chapter from Brady, the guy in the middle. It was a little jarring at first because from Hope’s POV we are to hate Parker and even though I thought Hope was way over-dramatic and too boy-crazy, I did kind of hate Parker. But then we get Parker’s POV and realize she’s nothing like Hope thinks. I thought it was a great way to show how we judge people very easily without really knowing what’s happening behind closed doors. There is one thing I really liked that I’m giving it the extra half star for and it’s a spoiler.

***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT***

While I am a sucker for a cute romance, sometimes I think it would be nice to see the girl NOT get the guy (or vice versa) once in awhile. And that’s what happens here! Hope is hopelessly infatuated with Brady and convinces herself that he likes her too, even though he’s dating Parker. But as the book goes on we find out that Brady does care about Hope, but only as a best friend and nothing more. She realizes unrequited love is not the worst thing in the world and they remain friends. He and Parker also break up and the book ends with both of our leading ladies single and doing fine. This is definitely a rare occurrence in YA Contemporary and I loved it.

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Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read August 20-22. 4 Stars. 

Super cute YA Pride and Prejudice re-telling. I really liked the main characters and all the “big moments” from Pride and Prejudice that I expect to see in a re-telling were represented. The only thing I didn’t really like was the reason behind Elizabeth being bullied at school. It was so shallow and not very realistic. If you like YA and Jane Austen re-tellings I think you will definitely enjoy this one.

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A Charmed Little Lie (Charmed in Texas #1) by Sharla Lovelace. Read August 22-24. 3 Stars. 

There were lots of cute things about this book and lots of humorous moments. I liked Laine and Nick together. There was just something missing for me, though. I thought some of the things Laine did were unrealistic – and I’m not even talking about the fake relationship part – and cringe-worthy. I liked it enough, though, that I would read more from this author.

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Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly #4) by Lauren Layne. Read August 24-26. 4 Stars. 

Ridiculously cute. I loved Georgie and Andrew’s relationship and their banter and how darn cute they were together. I did get frustrated with Georgie, though. This is not the first book by Lauren Layne I’ve read where the female lead acts like everything she does is perfectly justified and gives the male lead crap for acting differently. It really annoyed me that Georgie would provoke him and then get mad when he didn’t respond the way she wanted. Other than that, though, and the few slightly too graphic scenes, I really enjoyed this book.

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Everywhere that Mary Went (Rosato & Associates #1) by Lisa Scottoline. Read August 26-27. 3.5 Stars.

It started out a little slow for me and got a little slow in the middle so that’s why I couldn’t quite give it 4 stars. I did enjoy it, though. Mary frustrated me some, but I liked her. I think after hearing Lisa Scottoline speak in person, I was better able to appreciate Mary. I thought the conclusion of the mystery was pretty good. I hadn’t suspected it at all, but it made sense. I’m seriously considering spending money and buying the next book in the series because there’s a really long wait for it at the library.

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The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary #1) by Kristen Lepionka. Read August 27-29. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this book. There were several clichéd things about it that I thought would kind of ruin it for me, but it didn’t. The main character is an abrasive, alcoholic detective with daddy issues. She is set apart a little from this character cliché by being a PI instead of with the police and is bisexual. The resolution of the mystery was very similar to at least two books I’ve read this year. Despite those things, I did not want to put the book down. It was pretty perfectly paced in regards to both the mystery aspect and to Roxane’s personal relationships and character development. Even though there was plenty about her I didn’t like, she still somehow ended up being a likable character. I also really liked that this was set in Ohio. I am definitely looking forward to reading more Roxane Weary books.