Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2016

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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Lyfers (The Fandom Collection #2) by Rebekah N. Bryan. Read February 2-3. 3 stars.

Lyfers was a fun, quick read. I loved the idea for the story – an old boy band has reunited and goes on a theme cruise as part of their reunion tour. The story follows one of the boy banders and three groups of fans – two life time fans who are now in their forties, a trio of 30-something stay-at-home moms, and a couple of friends in their twenties. I really enjoyed getting the different perspectives and it really kept the story moving along at a good pace. My favorite character was probably Cody (one of the twenty-somethings). He agreed to go on the cruise with his friend because he wants to be more than friends with her and their storyline was cute and was my favorite to follow.

I did find most of the characters kind of hard to like at times, though. They all acted a little crazy and there were lots of times I was like, “Get a hold of yourself! You’re a mother!” But overall, I found the story fun and it made me nostalgic for the days of Boy Bands past.

New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay, #2)

New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay #2) by Beth Kendrick. Read February 15-16. 4 stars.

I really enjoyed this book. I had just read something pretty heavy and this light, quick, read was just what I needed. I liked the main character and her new friends, and her romantic interest. Her mother drove me insane for most of the book, but she did grow a lot by the end, so I can appreciate the character arc. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Kendrick, but I’m definitely going to check out some of her other books.

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The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1) by Ashley Elston. Read February 16-17. 3.5 stars.

I was really enjoying this, but the last several chapters made me drop the rating from the 4 I was planning to give it. I find Witness Protection really interesting so I thought the concept was really good. I thought the characters were pretty well developed for the most part and likable most of the time, too. However, while I overall liked Meg there were many times she drove me insane. She thinks she’s mature and smart and really she just acts like a bratty, stupid kid and ruins things. Her big trip with Ethan is the main reason I lowered the rating. I also thought all the “twists” were incredibly predictable. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable, easy read and I plan on checking out the sequel.

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The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2) by Ashley Elston. Read February 21-22. 3 stars.

I felt like a large part of this book was basically filler and then the end happened really fast. I did enjoy seeing more of Anna and Ethan (and Teeny) and I mostly liked how things got resolved. There were a couple things that seemed a little open-ended enough for another book, but as far as I can tell this is the last book in the series.

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Wife for the Weekend (Sugar City #3) by Ophelia London. Read February 22-24. 4 stars.

This book was so cute! I am always on the look out for good Fake Relationship stories and Wife for the Weekend is one of the best I’ve read in awhile. Full review to come closer to release date.

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RE-READS

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This was one of my favorite reads from last year and I loved it just as much the second time around. I also got my dad to read it and he enjoyed it, as well.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. One of my other favorite reads from 2015. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like it as much the second time, but I think I actually liked it more. The first time all I wanted was more chapters from Kaz and I thought there was way too much Nina and Mathias. But knowing what I was getting this time, I didn’t mind the Nina/Mathias chapters at all, nor did I think there was too much of them.

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BACK ON THE TBR

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Signal (Sam Dryden #2) by Patrick Lee and Chalk lines and Lipstick by Ophelia London. Both are books I’ve been wanting to read, but I couldn’t get into either of them more than a few chapters. I do plan to try again sometime, though.

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2015 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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Number Of Books You Read: 123 (as of 12/27/15 – this will probably go up a book or two by year end)
Number of Re-Reads: 24 (not counted in the above answer)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t think I can pick one book, but I have narrowed it down to my three favorite (which were also the ones I got for Christmas):

  1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (This book will be referenced a lot from here on out, BTW)

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

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, and The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

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

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – in a Good way!

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

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West. I’ve had a few different people tell me they read it because I kept talking about it.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Started – Six of Crows (Six of Crows) by Leigh Bardugo

Sequel – First Frost (Waverly Family) by Sarah Addison Allen

Ender – Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I don’t read a lot of books that have LGBT romance.

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

Six of Crows!

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Big Little Lies

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

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The book only got 2 stars from me, but I adore the cover of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s everything.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

This year I read for pure enjoyment purposes. I can’t say I read anything that was life-changing.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Missing You by Harlan Coben. Not necessarily that book, but the author. I have never read him before and I know I’ll definitely be reading more of him.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t keep track of quotes. It’s not my thing.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest – Ten Rules for a Call Girl by Allison Leotta

Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

You know, there were several books that had some small twists or surprises, but there is not anything that stands out to me as being really shocking.

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

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

Cinder & Kai from Winter

Kaz & Inej from Six of Crows

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Six of Crows gang as a whole, Cinder & Thorne

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Six of Crows – previously read The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – because ALL THE HYPE

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Kaz Brekker. Obviously.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

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Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

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

The Wrath and the Dawn

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

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

While it definitely wasn’t the sob fest that was Me Before You, After You by Jojo Moyes had me a little teary at the beginning.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London was pretty cute.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I didn’t read a lot of heavy hitting reads this year. I’m not actually upset by this.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

You by Caroline Kepnes. This book was just Messed Up.

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

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Vendetta by Catherine Doyle because it was RIDICULOUS!

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I’m not entirely sure if it was this year or last year, but I’m pretty sure it was this year that I discovered Brandie is a Book Junkie. We don’t share the same tastes in everything, but we both love Suspense novels and if she gives a Suspense a favorable rating, it’s automatically going on my TBR. She is also the reason I read my first Harlan Coben book this year. And we also figured out that we live in the same county, which is pretty cool!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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

If My Life were Like Chick Lit…The Wedding Date and All the Ways in which I am not a Proper Book Nerd/Blogger.

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

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I went to a book signing/talk by Linda Castillo (of the Kate Burkholder series).

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I had my first publisher provided giveaway – for a copy of Black-Eyed Susans.

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

I’ve had several book slumps throughout the year and that bled over into not having anything to post on the blog. I’ve also had lots of Low-Blog-Self-Esteem moments where I kind of hate everything about my blog/blogging.

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

My review of The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne has the most views of the year. I don’t have any idea how to search by comments or likes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t really know. I wish every post got more likes/comments/views. But what can you do?

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

Many new blogs

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

For the Good Reads Reading Challenge I wanted to read 115 books and I surpassed it.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I bought it when it was on sale, but haven’t read it yet. It’s first up after I get some library books and ARCs out of the way.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

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The Raven King!!!! How many times has this been pushed back?!?

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. I’m not super attuned to those yet, I guess.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King, obviously, and Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Request less ARCs unless it’s a book that I know I REALLY want to read. I hate DNF-ing ARCs, but I also hate forcing myself to finish books I don’t like and then try to write coherent reviews about them.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

So far I’ve only read one and a half 2016 books and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to everyone.

 

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag 2015

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The 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag was created last year by Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole  and it’s quite possible I did this last year (but I don’t feel like looking it up). But this year I was tagged by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse. Thanks Deanna! So just in case I did this before, I’ll try to make these answers come from books I only read this year.


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?

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There are several excellent stand alones that I read this year, but I think I’ll go with Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

 


On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

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I really love Cinder and Kai. I loved every single thing about their relationship in Winter.

 


On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

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There is only one trilogy that I completed this year and that was the Paper Gods trilogy by Amanda Sun.

 


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

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I’m going to have to go with The Lunar Chronicles. Again, Winter was a great end to the series!

 


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

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The Dane Twins from A Darker Shade of Magic. They were deliciously creepy and crazy.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favourite world/world-building?

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I’m going to go with The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favourite animal sidekick?

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I don’t remember it’s name, but there was one particular dragon in The Great Zoo of China that was pretty awesome.

 


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level? 

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. A magical apple tree.


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing.

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favourite kickass female lead?

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Inej from Six of Crows.


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping.

How about your favourite leading lad?

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Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Of course.

 


On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping. 

What is your favourite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

Missing You by Harlan Coben. The title is a reference to a song which is also mentioned in the book.

 


On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming. 

Drum roll please…what is your favourite read of this year?

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I’ve narrowed it down to three. Big Little Lies by Liane Morirarty, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate!

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read In 2015

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015.

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1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I loved pretty much everything about this book. The relationships, the humor, the drama.

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2. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I looooved this book! The characters are amazing. Kaz Brekker FOREVER.

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3. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. Probably the best suspense I’ve read all year – or ever, really. Read this book!

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4. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year. I really didn’t expect much from it and ended up really loving it!

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5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. West continues to be my favorite YA Contemporary author. Her books are always so adorable and this was no exception.

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6. A Good Killing (Anna Curtis #4) by Allison Leotta. Though this is the 4th book in the series, it introduced me to the wonderful writing of Allison Leotta and this series has quickly become one of my all time favorites.

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7. First & Then by Emma Mills. Another book that surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. It was one of those books that I just wanted to keep reading forever.

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8. I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga. Jasper Dent is such an interesting, compelling character and he really made this book.

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9. Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer Armentrout. I love the Lux series and I love Daemon Black and this is a wonderful addition to the series that I never expected, but always wanted.

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10. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. This was a fantastic end to the series and I just loved it so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Duos I’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together.

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1 & 2. Rainbow Rowell and Linwood Barclay.

Two of my very favorite authors from two different genres. Pretty much everything they do is amazing and putting them together would probably be the best book of all time.

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3 & 4. Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo

They both write really intricate worlds with complex characters.

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5 & 6. Linda Castillo and Allison Leotta

Two of my favorite mystery/crime authors. Kate Burkholder and Anna Curtis could team up and it would be amazing.

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7 & 8. Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty

They both can break your heart and put it back together again.

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9 & 10. Gillian Flynn and Abigail Haas

Their book would have the potential to be the biggest MindF*** you ever read.

What author duos do you wish would pair up?

Review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

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I went so back and forth on this book. There were times I really quite adored it and others that I was a little bored and others yet where I wanted to throw my Nook at the wall.

Ellen is a hypnotherapist. I have to say after reading this book I kind of want to go see a hypnotherapist. Which is odd to say because I was raised to believe that being hypnotized was some crazy witchcraft that opened you up to being possessed by demons. But here it really sounded quite relaxing and not at all evil. Anyways, Ellen is 35 and single and has started dating a man she met online. She thinks he’s about to break up with her when instead he tells her he has a stalker, Saskia, his ex-girlfriend from several years ago. The rest of the story focuses on Ellen and Patrick’s growing relationship and Saskia watching it from a distance (and sometimes up close).

This is definitely a character-driven novel and Moriarty really excels at that. While I really got to know the characters, I never really connected with them. I didn’t feel like there was really any growth until the final chapters and a lot of the in between seemed a little repetitive and like “filler.” That’s not to say I didn’t like it, though. There were lots of humorous moments that helped to get through the more tedious parts.

The story is mostly told in 3rd Person POV through Ellen, but we also get Saskia’s 1st Person POV. For awhile I was really enjoying Saskia’s POV. She’s completely crazy, and on some level she knows she’s gone a little overboard, but mostly she thinks her behavior is completely rationale. It was kind of fascinating. However, after awhile I just wanted to shake her and say “Enough already!” I also wanted Patrick to get a restraining order already! And for Ellen to take it seriously. And for Ellen to just tell Patrick the truth about what she was thinking or feeling. There were just so many times I was yelling at her to “just say it already!” that it drove me a little crazy. Everything does eventually get out in the open, though. And I think I liked Saskia’s development the most.

Overall, I did mostly enjoy The Hypnotist’s Love Story. I do love a good character-driven novel and as I said, Moriarty is excellent at that. However, the character development, while quite in depth, was just a little too slow and a little repetitive for me to really love this book as much as I wanted to. Still, I think fans of character-driven novels and Moriarty will enjoy this.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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Well we are half way through the year and in accordance this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. (In converse, I posted my most disappointing booksnof 2015 so far yesterday.) In no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read so far are:

Big Little Lies

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Ok, so this one is in particular order, as I gave this book 4.5 stars and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far.

The Singles

2. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. This has been on my TBR forever and I was so excited when I found it for $1 at a library sale.

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

3. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. A great thriller/mystery.

Missing You

4. Missing You by Harlan Coben. My first Harlan Coben and it won’t be my last!

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. Another adorable book that reminds me why Kasie West is my favorite YA Contemporary author.

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

6. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. Garden Spells was one of my favorite books last year and it’s sequel did not disappoint.

The Start of Me and You

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. Another cute contemporary.

Unbecoming

8. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A very well done character-driven novel.

The Beautiful Daughters

9. The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Beautifully written, another character-driven piece.

Black-Eyed Susans

10. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. This one isn’t out yet, but is easily one of my favorites. A great suspense story.

Law of Attraction  Discretion  Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)  A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

11. Ok, so I’m adding another one and making it a series because these books are amazing and is my favorite new series of the year – The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta – Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you agree with any of my choices?