Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Read Because of Blogging

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. I’m going to try to keep this to books I’ve read this year.

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1. Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton). As with many books in this genre, I read this book because of Annie @ The Misstery.

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2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. There is so much love for Amy Harmon in the blogging community that I had to finally check her out and now I understand. I’m pretty sure I first heard of her through Brandie @ Running on Words and Wine and it was Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse who let me know when this book was up for request on NetGalley.

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3. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. Again, it was Annie’s review that made me read this one and I loved it.

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4. The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. I kept seeing this book all over the book blogs so I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I did like that ending, though!

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5. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. Another book that was everywhere that didn’t quite live up to the hype for me.

What books have you read because of the blogging community?

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Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all…

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

Dead Woman Walking will be available September 5, 2017.

I discovered Sharon Bolton earlier this year with the fabulous Lacey Flint series and have been eagerly devouring every book of hers I could get my hands on since then. Dead Woman Walking had become one of my most anticipated books of the year and I ended up really enjoying it.

The official synopsis is kept pretty vague and I am hesitant to really go further into it because I do think that it enhances the experience to go into it without a lot of information. I will say that the crime that is witnessed from the hot air balloon is just part of a much bigger mystery that is explored. The perspective shifts between the lone survivor, the murderer, the detective working the case, and flashback chapters. I’m a big fan of multiple timelines when done well and Bolton does it excellently here. Bolton also does an amazing job creating suspense, especially in the early chapters in the hot air balloon.

There are many little twists and surprises throughout the book. I’m the type of person that NEEDS to figure things out before they’re revealed and because of this I am not often surprised by the twists. There is one kind of major twist that I suspected very early and it took most of the book for it to be confirmed. I feel like anybody really paying attention would be able to figure it out because there are lots of clues, so I thought it took a little too long to reveal it. However, if you’re not the type of person that has to analyze every little thing then it might be a great surprise for you. There are a couple of other twists that I did figure out before they were revealed, but Bolton still managed to sneak in one surprise that literally made me go “What!?”.

Overall, even though I figured out most of the twists, I thought Dead Woman Walking was a really well-constructed mystery and I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it. I am impressed by Bolton’s writing in every book I read by her and this year she has become one of my favorite authors. I definitely recommend this one to mystery/suspense fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. Books 1-3 are the ones I’ve given 4.5 Stars to and all the rest have 4. It was hard to narrow down which 4 star reads would make the list, but I went for the ones that are the most likely to be re-reads in the future.

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1. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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2. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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5. Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

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6. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (aka SJ Bolton)

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7. I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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8. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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9. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are your best books of 2017?

Disney Princess Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Check out her blog, it’s awesome! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it.

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite princesses are Belle and Jasmine.

2. I don’t really care that much for Sleeping Beauty because the movie used to scare me when the villain turned into that dragon thing.

3. I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, but I really want to!


Snow White
Name your favorite classic.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen


Cinderella
Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime.

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Most recently was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.


Aurora
Name your favorite classic romance.

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Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Ariel
Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Belle
Name a book with a smart and independent female character.

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Lacey Flint in Now You See Me by Sharon (SJ) Bolton


Jasmine
Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world.

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Moses in The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon


Pocahontas
Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.


Mulan
Name a book with a kick-ass female character.

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Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Tiana
Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character.

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Alexis from The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne


Rapunzel
Name a book that features an artist.

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Blue from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon


Merida
Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship.

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Till Death by JLA.


Anna & Elsa
Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings.

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On the Fence by Kasie West.

The Sims Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog!). I’m going to stick with only books I’ve read in 2017, which may be a little challenging since it’s only March.

The Original Sims –  the best author debut

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson is the only 2017 debut I’ve read so far this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a YA re-telling of Mansfield Park. It comes out May 16th and I think  you should read it!

The Grim Reaper – the saddest character death

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*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER

There are a lot of people that die in Making Faces by Amy Harmon, but Bailey’s hit me the hardest.

*END OF SPOILER*

Sims Getting Stuck – a character that just got in the way

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Luke in Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley. Without him there would have been basically no conflict in the story, but I still think his character made no sense.

Simlish – a book with amazing writing

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell (Out on April 25th). This is only my second Lisa Jewell book, but her writing is always so impressive.

Expansion Packs – a series where the books keep getting better

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The Lacey Flint series by SJ/Sharon Bolton. Though I must admit the 4th book in the series (while still good) was my least favorite, but this series is fantastic.

Sim Romance – the worst case of insta-love

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I haven’t really read any books with insta-love so far this year (hooray for smarter book choices in 2017!). The closest is probably Candice and Ian in Mackenzie Fire by Elle Casey and they were supposed to be more of the hate-to-love trope than insta-love. But since the transition happened pretty fast, it kind of fits the bill. I still shipped them, though.

Cheats – a book that was entirely unrealistic 

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By Your Side by Kasie West. I really don’t think there is any way that every single phone in the library was behind a locked door. And I think Dax was probably savvy enough to pick a lock if need be. Still a pretty cute book, though.

Needs Fulfillment – a character that made all the wrong decisions

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How about Everyone in Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. Seriously these characters (while entertaining) did the stupidest things throughout this whole series.

Error Code 12 – a series that started off well but went downhill from there

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The Law of Moses series by Amy Harmon. Now I haven’t read a lot of series this year to choose from and this one is only two books. I just didn’t like The Song of David as much as I liked the first book, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The Sims Vortex- a series that completely engrossed you

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I’m going to have to go with the Lacey Flint series again. It’s become one of my favorite mystery/suspense series out there.

Revewing the Unreviewed: February 2017

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

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By Your Side by Kasie West. Read January 31-Feb 1. 3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed the second half of this book much more than the first half. I thought I would be disappointed when the story shifted from being trapped in the library into the real world, but it actually got a lot better.

I appreciated the main character having anxiety, but didn’t really feel like it was that great of a representation. There were a few times that I thought were kind of spot on, though. I did like how it showed how anxiety can make you appear to other people. However, once all of Autumn’s friends knew she had anxiety they were perfectly understanding and I don’t think that’s very realistic (at least not in my own experience).

I liked Dax and his sarcasm and how he looked out for Autumn. I thought he was really sweet. It did take about half the book until I felt the romance was cute and I wish it would’ve happened sooner, but it did eventually get super cute and I shipped it.

Overall, I liked this, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book by this author. While I really enjoyed the second half of the book, I have to admit the first half was only ok. That’s why I’m giving it 3.5 stars instead of 4.

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A Dark and Twisted Tide (Lacey Flint #4) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 2-5. 4 Stars.

This was probably my least favorite of the series, but still good. The plot felt a little convoluted at times, but it all came together by the end. I really like all of these characters and enjoy reading about them. I wish there were more Joesbury, but next up there’s a novella that I believe is from his POV, so that should make up for it.

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Here Be Dragons (Lacey Flint 4.5) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 5. 4 stars.

A pretty short, well-paced story told from entirely Joesbury’s POV. We get the whole story of what he was doing during the events of “A Dark and Twisted Tide”, plus a little more action. The ending included some major Joesbury-Lacey Feels and I can not believe that the author hasn’t even announced yet when the next book in this series will be. I need more!

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The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon. Read February 1-6. 4 Stars.

Beautiful. Clever. A little on the weird side. This is my second Amy Harmon book and she is quickly on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved Moses and his POVs were the best parts of the book for me. I liked Georgia, but not quite as much as Moses. I also really liked Tag and am looking forward to reading his book. Definitely recommend this one.

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The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon. Read February 7-9. 3 Stars.

I loved that this story was told from both Tag’s and Moses’ POVs. I liked the style of getting Tag’s POV through tapes he recorded and Moses’ POV in the present. I loved Moses just as much, but didn’t quite love Tag as much as I did in the previous book. His behavior just made me really angry sometimes. I liked both Millie and Henry and thought their disabilities were portrayed well. The reason this book isn’t getting 4 stars from me, though, is that I don’t like open-ended books and I didn’t feel satisfied with the conclusion of this one. Though Harmon did an admirable job of trying to convey that the black and white answer wasn’t needed, it just wasn’t enough for me. Overall, though, it was a good book that I would still recommend you read if you’ve read The Law of Moses.

A big thank you to Deanna  for loaning me a copy of the book!!

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Defying Gravity (Finding Perfect #2) by Kendra C. Highley. Read February 9-11. 2.5 Stars.

Zoey was a pretty unlikable character. I hated how wishy-washy and shallow she was – while we were supposed to think she was the opposite of shallow. Luke’s character make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I liked Parker, he was the saving grace of the book.

I read a lot of YA, even though I am around twice the age of the main characters. Usually I can still really appreciate them, but this is one of those books that makes me think I’m getting too old for YA.

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Read February 11-12. 4 Stars.

I liked this. This is my second Megan Miranda book and I’m still not sure I’m entirely sold on her writing style, but she is pretty great at character development. I don’t think the “backwards” storytelling was done as effectively as it could have been (I’ve seen it done better). There were only really two somewhat surprising reveals until it got close to the end of the book, so it seemed to drag a bit to me. However, I think that I will definitely re-read this sometime and read it in chronological order instead and see if things make sense. I did like the mystery, though, and I even liked the characters, even though they aren’t really the type of people you want to be rooting for. I found this one much more compelling than “The Perfect Stranger” and I’m sure I’ll give this author’s other future books a try.

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Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton. Read February 13-16. 3 Stars.

Good writing, good character development, steady pacing. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really care for the story. The characters were all unlikable, but I think they were supposed to be. I guessed who was behind the missing children long before the end and I didn’t really like the lack of impact the reveal had. There was also a lot of historical information about the Falklands that I felt took away focus a bit from the actual plot. Not a bad book at all (I don’t think Bolton can write a bad book), but pretty different from her Lacey Flint series that I love.

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Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay #3) by Jill Shalvis. Read February 17-19. 3.5 Stars.

A very cute romance. I think maybe I would have appreciated it just a bit more if I read the other books in the series first and knew the side characters better, but it still worked as a standalone. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual plot, but Archer and Elle’s relationship was fun enough to read that it didn’t really matter.

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On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins. Read February 17-21. 3 Stars.

It took me quite a long time to get into this book. If it wasn’t Kristan Higgins then I probably would have put it down to try another time. However, I am glad I kept reading. The character development was very good and I did like both Kate and Ainsley and their new romantic interests. Where Higgins writing really shines is with the romance and I wish this book would have focused a little more on that. I found myself skimming a lot of the rest of it. I know this is another foray into the “Women’s Fiction” world for this author instead of just a light and fluffy contemporary, but Higgins is my go-to when I want light and fluffy and I found myself just slightly disappointed that this wasn’t like the other books from her that I love.

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The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan. Read February 25-26. 3 Stars.

I liked the writing in this a lot and thought the multiple 1st Person POVs were done exceptionally well. Though I found the story kind of boring for the most part, it was written in such a way that I didn’t really want to put it down. I think one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is when the main conflict in a story comes from poor communication and that’s what much of this book felt like to me. While I did feel sorry for things that happened to Zoe, I also was super annoyed by her behavior almost the whole time. Overall a bit of a disappointing story, but the writing really saved it for me.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Silent Scream by Anglea Marsons. I got this from the library and read just a couple chapters before it became a victim of too many books in too little time. I will definitely give it another try, though.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2017

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

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Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery. Read December 27-31 (yes, last month, but it didn’t make it into last month’s post). 4 Stars.

I expected this to be a really light and fluffy read, but it ended up being a lot more serious than I thought it would be. I mean, it’s not super serious, there’s still cute and fluffy moments, but it’s not really as “Chick Lit” as I thought it would be. This is not a bad thing at all, though. I really enjoyed this book and thought the character development was really well done. I loved how each of the sisters were affected differently by the events of their childhood and how it still impacted their lives decades later. I really liked Courtney and Rachel right off the bat. I really didn’t care for Sienna for the longest time, but by the end of the book I was rooting for her. I shipped all the romances. I loved the humor. I definitely recommend this one to Contemporary fans!

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The Wedding Season by Samantha Chase. Read January 3-4. 3 Stars.

This was a quick, ok read. I liked the relationship between Ryan and Tricia, but the “fake relationship” aspect of it was very, very short and that kind of frustrated me because it was the main reason I decided to read this one. Ryan’s mother drove me insane and I wasn’t a big fan of Ryan’s brother (and Tricia’s best friend) Sean. If you’re looking for a quick read with lots of romance then you might enjoy this.

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Mackenzie Fire (Shine Not Burn #2) by Elle Casey. Read January 2-7. 2.5 Stars.

The latter half of this book was definitely better than the beginning, but it wasn’t quite enough to make up for it. Candice really rubbed me the wrong way for most of the book. I don’t particularly like the phrase “too stupid to live”, but that’s what kept coming to mind in pretty much every scene I read. However, she did grow on me by the end of the book and I liked her and Ian together (even though the romance happened super fast). If you don’t mind a ditzy protagonist, though, you might like this.

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Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt. Read January 4-7. 2 Stars.

Well, that was disappointing. I don’t expect great literary things out of this series, but after how addicting the first book was, I except to at least be entertained. I had to force myself to finish this. My early prediction about the “mystery” ended up being right. All the high school drama seemed really unimportant since Reed is facing a murder charge, but it still got most of the plot focus. Disappointing end to a series that started out so fun.

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The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young. Read January 7-8. 3 Stars.

This has been on my TBR forever and when nothing at all was sounding interesting to me I decided to finally give it a try. It kept my interest and I liked it, but I didn’t feel like it was really anything special. Some of the descriptions of depression I thought were really well done, but this is not a “mental health awareness” book by any means (this isn’t a bad thing – but if you’re looking for that be forewarned). I liked the characters well enough, but didn’t really love any of them. I shipped the wrong couple, even though I knew that they wouldn’t end up together and was really suspicious of the guy from the start. I did really like the epilogue, though. It had a few surprises that I appreciated. I liked this enough to read the next book, but this book didn’t blow me away like it has so many others.

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Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson. Read January 8-10. 4 Stars.

Overall, I really enjoying Seeking Mansfield. I liked the characters and the romance and the message of self-worth and standing up for yourself. It was an easy and addicting read. Though I thought the middle of the story dragged a little bit with too much teen angst, it did pick back up and I really enjoyed it. I think fans of Mansfield Park would be happy to read this re-telling. Full Review to come.

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I Found You by Lisa Jewell. Read January 14-15. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed I Found You. It’s emotional and intriguing and I could hardly put it down. I thought Jewell did an excellent job of juggling the characters and timelines. I definitely recommend this book and really look forward to reading more from this author. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Dead Scared (Lacey Flint #2) by Sharon Bolton. Read January 15-17. 4 Stars.

What!? Why is there no epilogue? This book needed an epilogue! I am pretty unsatisfied with how it ended.

Other than that, I liked this book. One thing I really liked was getting Joesbury’s perspective. Though I wish we got more from him, pretty much everything we got just made me love him even more. The first 3/4 or so or the book lacked the urgency that I enjoyed about the first in the series, but the writing was still engaging enough that I didn’t want to stop reading. As the ending approached it got a lot more suspenseful. Though we find out the answer to the mystery, there is no resolution to how it all pans out and I’m really annoyed about that. Definitely still reading the next book, though.

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Lost (Lacey Flint #3) by Sharon Bolton. Read January 17-18. 4 Stars.

This was so good! A mix of psychological and urgent/action-y suspense. Also very character driven. While I was a little upset that we didn’t get Joesbury’s POV again, I liked getting Tulloch’s (though it made me not like her as much) and Lacey’s young neighbor, Barney. We get very little of Lacey’s POV for the first half of the book which I found a little odd, but still worked. The mystery was well done. I had it all completely figured out a couple of times before being proved wrong. While I did eventually guess the murderer before the reveal, it was probably my 4th or 5th guess. This is really one of the best mystery series I’ve read in a long time.

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The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. Read January 19-21. 3 Stars.

Maybe it’s because I just finished several books in the same genre that were exceptionally well done, but I found all the mystery and thriller aspects of this book very disappointing. Though there were a lot of reveals thrown in every few chapters, the pace seemed incredibly slow to me. Until the last quarter or so I was just really bored and trying to get through it. The action and suspense did increase towards the end, but it wasn’t really enough to save the book for me. I feel like if you don’t read a lot of this genre then you might like this, but I could predict pretty much every development from the beginning and there just weren’t any surprises until the very, very end. I did very much like how it ended (and I’m talking the last few sentences), but I wish there would’ve been an epilogue to wrap things up. Overall, not a bad book, but not a great one.

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett. Read January 21-22. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I did enjoy Alex, Approximately. Even though there wasn’t a lot that was happening, I didn’t really want to put it down. Though I think some of the side plots and character development could have used a little more work, the romance was cute and the characters were likable. I would recommend it to YA Contemporary fans. Full review to come.

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Waste of Space by Gina Damico. Read January 26-28. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I found Waste of Space pretty enjoyable. I loved the satirical view of reality television. Though it did occasionally go a little far into cheesy territory, I thought it was really well done overall. If you’re looking for a humorous, different kind of YA book, I definitely recommend this one. Catchphrase forever! Full review to come.

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To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne. Read January 28-29. 3.5 Stars.

This book had some really cute, if sometimes frustrating, romance. I liked both Brooke and Seth. I dropped the rating half a star though because there was one major theme that kind of infuriated me. Seth doesn’t trust his sister’s new fiancé and wants to check into his background because he loves his sister and doesn’t want her to get hurt. I think this is totally reasonable. I can understand where the sister might get mad about it, but in the big picture wouldn’t she be happy to know if something shady was going on before it’s too late? But Brooke and Seth’s best friend are horrified by it and tell him he doesn’t know what love is…um, NO! Seth was maybe a little stunted in expressing his emotions, but his heart was 1,000% in the right place. Other than that and some slightly too graphic sex scenes, I enjoyed this book a lot.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon. Read January 29-30. 4.5 Stars.

Overall, I just loved Making Faces. It’s not a light book. It hurt to read at times. But it was beautifully written and included some amazing characters and really important messages. I really don’t think I can recommend this book enough. I’m definitely going to be looking up other books by this author in the future. Full Review to come.

****************RE-READ****************

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Tell Me Three Things and Red Rising. I loved both of these just as much as the first time around. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like Red Rising as much because one of my favorite things were all the surprises in it (and I have hyped it to death, so how embarrassing would it be if it didn’t hold up), but even though I knew some things were coming, I still just found myself smiling at the twists and turns. If you have not read this series yet – WHY NOT?

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book to become available at the library FOREVER. But it came at one of those times where I just wasn’t feeling it. Lately I find myself sick to death of celebrities. And even though I want to be best friends with Anna Kendrick every time I watch Pitch Perfect, I just couldn’t make myself pick up this book right now.

****************DNF****************

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Someone Like You by Susan Mallery. Officially DNF-ing at 33%. I thought it would be nice symmetry to have the first book I read of 2017 be by the same author as the last book I read in 2016. I’ve enjoyed the other books I read by her, but I just couldn’t get into this one at all. I just don’t care about the characters or the story so far, so I’m calling it.