Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?

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The Nope Book Tag

The Nope Book Tag

I saw this a little while ago over on Read by Chris and thought it looked fun. In an effort to not repeat the same old answers I always use, I’m going to try and stick with books I’ve read this year. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like!

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy. 

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I actually do not remember the ending to Six Stories by Matt Weslowski, but I put in my short review that I found the ending really unsatisfying. In fact, this whole books was a big, fat “NOPE” for me.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy. 

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Isa from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I can not even believe the crap she put her baby and her boyfriend through. She’s the worst!

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore. 

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Ok, this one is kind of hard because I haven’t really discontinued any series this year. I’m going to go with Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh even though it’s the first book in a series because I don’t really have any interest in continuing in.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

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I don’t really think this is a “popular” pairing, but I’m going to go with Rose and Archie in Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini. I thought Archie was way, way too good for self-absorbed, immature Rose.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like. 

Lacey’s Wedding by Sharon Bolton. I love Sharon Bolton, but I thought this short story was a bit of a cruel twist for Lacey Flint fans. There just better be more books coming in this series!!!

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE. 

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Georgie in Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. While I really enjoyed this book and did like Georgie, there were many times her actions really frustrated me.

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

This is always my answer, but Dinosaur Erotica. Yes, it’s a real thing.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I honestly can’t think of anything. I mostly buy e-books so I guess anything that has lots of illustrations (like Illuminae) I would have to get in an actual physical format.

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE. 

Surprise pregnancy or surprise-you’re-a-father!

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read. 

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Harry Potter. Sorry, I’m just never going to read this.

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

The “graceful neck” description. I have never once looked at someone’s neck and thought to myself, “Wow, that’s graceful. *Swoon*”.

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

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Kieran in Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. He’s kind of a love interest for two people (who are also love interests to each other – Please, please, please don’t make threesomes the new “thing” we all have to champion in YA), but I just don’t like him. Like, at all.

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE. 

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. This book was awful and can not be considered horror. It’s Romance, with a little bit of murder thrown in.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

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The bad guys in Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton. No spoilers, though!

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

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I’m not going to spoil who it is, but the major death in Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I ugly cried hard.

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

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While there were books I definitely didn’t care for, there weren’t any I read this year that really made me say, “I’m never reading this author again.” I think the closest I came to that was Staci Hart when I read With a Twist. I just don’t think her writing is for me, but if she puts something out that I think looks really interesting, I still might give it a try.

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.

Review: Ready to Run (I Do, I Don’t #1) by Lauren Layne

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

I received a copy of Ready to Run via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Ready to Run will be available August 22, 2017.

I really enjoyed Ready to Run! It was exactly the sweet, lighthearted book I needed right now.

Jordan and Luke were both really likable main characters. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and how their relationship progressed throughout the book. It was a little bit of hate-to-love, which I always think is fun. They had several funny and sweet moments between them and I shipped it. I also really liked Jordan’s co-worker/BFF, Simon, and all the townspeople of Lucky Hollow. I’m originally from a small town myself, so I always enjoy reading about them.

I loved the concept of the Bachelor-esque reality show. I’m not really a fan of that type of show myself, but I do like other kinds of reality tv and I love behind-the-scenes type stories. I was slightly disappointed that this book didn’t really have much in terms of behind-the-scenes, though. It was more early pre-production. It didn’t take me long to get over the disappointment, though, once I got into the book and invested in Jordan and Luke.

Maybe it’s because I’ve recently read a couple of mammoth-sized books, but I kind of felt like this one was too short. I thought that there was more that could have been explored – more quirky townsfolk, more funny/cute moments between Jordan and Luke before the romance progressed, more information about the show, more information on Luke’s jilted brides,  more time spent on the heavier emotional topics (but not too much! I appreciated the lighthearted feel). I just enjoyed the story so much I wanted to spend more time with it. The only other thing I didn’t really like were the sex scenes. There’s only so much graphic detail I can take and still be able to take a book seriously and Layne’s writing usually comes close to that line. I thought it was funny that in the “About the Author” section it says that “she writes romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush.” Just think of me as your more conservative mother.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ready to Run. I loved the concept and the characters and never wanted the story to end. I’m very anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 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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Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare. Read May 28-June 1. 3 Stars. 

Once again, this book was much, much longer than it needed to be. There was just so much that felt unnecessary to the story in any way. I’ve been thinking how to describe the writing and it’s kind of like this: You know when you watch a tv show and someone is in their house doing something random (watching tv, reading, cooking, going online, etc.) and then someone else walks in and the scene begins? Well in this book, instead of the scene starting there, you spend a few pages on the person sitting there watching tv. And then some time with the other person as they drove there. And let’s not forget to check in with the neighbor who doesn’t really have anything to do with what is going to happen between the first two people. Ok, now we can finally start the scene and see where the story is going. But only for a few minutes before we abruptly leave to go see what someone across town is doing. There’s just too many perspectives and we get WAY more of them all than makes sense.

But, ok, other than the ridiculous length of this book, and wading through all the mundane (haha) things that happened, the actual plot of the story isn’t bad. I liked the characters. I liked that the supposed love triangle didn’t really take up much time like I thought it would. I was surprised by the ending, but I’m not sure how I actually feel about it. It was kind of abrupt and there was a couple of deaths that I’m not really sure made sense, but it does make me want to see what happens next.

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Ready to Run (I Do, I Don’t #1) by Lauren Layne. Read June 5-6. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed Ready to Run! It was exactly the sweet, lighthearted book I needed right now. Full review to come.

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Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. Read June 16-19. 4 Stars. 

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. Full review to come closer to release date.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Read June 23-25. 3 Stars.

This was one of my most anticipated YA books this year and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. The romance was super cute and I liked how Dimple and Rishi’s personalities really complemented each other. I liked both of them, but they both did things that frustrated me at times – especially Dimple. I liked that I got to learn a little more of Indian culture and I thought it was interesting the different feelings towards it that Dimple and Rishi had. I thought that it was kind of strange that Dimple went on and on about how important Insomnia Con was to her, but pretty much all her free time was spent being cutesy with Rishi. I mean, I don’t particularly mind because I’m not really into coding and all that, but the app development was supposed to be a big part of the story and we saw very, very little of it.

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

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Soulmated by Shaila Patel. I got a copy of this from the author and thought it looked pretty interesting. I started it, but found myself not in the mood for it and I didn’t want that mood to color my feelings of the book, so I set it down and I will try it again soon.

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

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Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shavlis. DNF at 30%. This isn’t a bad book. It seems pretty standard Shalvis . I just can’t make myself get into it or care about the characters. And just like in the other book I read in this series I do not understand why the chapters titles are all hashtags? I thought it would be explained in this book, but this far in and no one has gone on Twitter. It’s a little thing, but it annoys me.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017.

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1.  Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. Publication Date: 12/26/17

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2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Publication Date: 11/7/17

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3. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Publication Date: 10/10/17.

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4. Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3) by Dani Pettrey. Publication Date: 10/3/17.

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5. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Publication Date: 9/26/17.

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6. Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. Publication Date: 9/5/17.

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7. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Publication Date 8/29/17.

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8. Ready to Run by Laren Layne. Publication Date 8/22/17.

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9. Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Publication Date 7/25/17.

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10. Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder #9) by Linda Castillo. Publication Date 7/11/17.

What books are you looking forward to?