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

36315374   37810913

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

35902056

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

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

35355027

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.

35887251

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Biggest Disappointment

36301023

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

36197404

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

36315374

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.

35750273

Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Newest Favorite Character

38326753

Ivan from From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Book That Made You Cry

None!!

Book That Made You Happy

36127456

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

36599415

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

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

34221193

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.

Advertisements

Kindle Unlimited Review

A couple of months ago I received an e-mail with a deal to try Kindle Unlimited for 2 months for $0.99. I’ve been wanting to try out KU and decided that deal was too good to pass up. I read many books that are not available at my library that I’m sure I would have never picked up otherwise and really loved a few of them. I definitely got my monies worth, but would I subscribe again? And should you? Maybe.

If you are a Romance fan – especially of the New Adult variety – than there are a TON of options. There were many books that had been on my radar from fellow bloggers that I was happy to finally be able to try. There were also many that I knew would not be for me, but if Romance is your genre of choice, then I definitely think it would be worth you to spend a little money for a month of books.

I had a harder time finding books that interested me in other genres. Most of the Mystery/Suspense titles I looked into I ended up not even reading because when I looked them up on Good Reads they had pretty bad reviews. The one book I was looking forward to the most (and the only book I’ve almost bought on multiple occasions, but never pulled the trigger) was Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine and I was so let down by the hype that I never even picked up the sequel during that two month period.

While I was able to read plenty of books, I also had library books come in off the Holds list and some ARCs that I had to get to, as well. If I were to pay for KU again I would try to make it a month where I didn’t have books I was waiting on from the library or any ARCs that are publishing during that time. I would suggest being able to devote all your reading time to it if you’re going to be paying money for it.

So what did I read? I’m glad you asked.

33128934  35404657  38326753  20613920  27872890  34096037  22328515  25309550 29366849 34732613  30043233  39337231  36197404  38316557

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – 3 Stars

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata – 4 Stars

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata – 4 Stars

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata – 1 Star

Moonshot by Alessandra Torre – 3.5 Stars

Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn – 3 Stars

Infinity + One by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow – 3 Stars

The Dreamcatcher by E.J. Mellow – 3 Stars

Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman – 3.5 Stars

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson – 3 Stars

Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter – 3.5 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 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.

34705684

Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt. Read March 1-3. 3 Stars. 

***BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS***
This had all the guilty pleasure drama I expect from a Royal book. It was a decent end to the series, but I didn’t LOVE it. I wish the whole head trauma issues were written with a little more care. Though it’s never explicitly said that Sebastian has a TBI, that’s what it sounded like. TBI’s are no joke and I thought they could’ve talked a little more about it than the page or so towards the end of the book. I liked that there was resolution in regards to Steve and with Hartley’s dad and with the bomb he dropped regarding Easton at the end of the previous book – though, again, I wish there was a little more about that. As fans of the series know, the authors really rushed to get this put out by their self-imposed deadline, but I would’ve been ok with waiting just a little longer so some of the typos and few continuity issues were edited out beforehand. Overall, though, I liked Easton and Hartley together and I liked that Ella and Reed were included in the ending.

33516729

Parting Shot (Promise Falls #4) by Linwood Barclay. Read March 1-4. 4 Stars. 

I thought The Twenty-Three was the end to the Promise Falls series, but was quite pleased to find out there was another one! After the end of this one I thought for sure there would have to be even more, but I did some research and it looks like this will be the last book set in Promise Falls (at least for a good long while). I wished we got some more of David Harwood in this book. Poor, often stupid David Harwood makes so many awful decisions, but I have always enjoyed reading about him and the previous book left his storyline kind of on a major cliffhanger. There was a cameo mention that tied things up with him, but I still feel like I wanted more. However, there was enough going on in this book without him. The book centers around Cal Weaver and Barry Duckworth and their cases. I’m always amazed by how Barclay can tie all of his many threads together and I loved how it all turned out in this one. This book reminded me why he is one of my favorite authors. The ending was more open-ended than I would’ve liked, but I still really enjoyed this book.

31145064

Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeybourn. Read March 5-7. 3 Stars. 

I liked the premise of this book, but it fell a little flat for me. I expected Wesley to have done something horrific to Quinn in the past, but what he did to make her “hate” him wasn’t really that big of a deal. It reminded me a little bit of Lola and the Boy Next Door in that regard. Quinn just way overreacted. I thought she was kind of psycho when it came to her vendetta against him. And while I wanted to ship their romance, I just didn’t get it. There weren’t even really any cute moments between the two of them until the end. I didn’t feel like Quinn fell for him. It felt like she just had a childhood crush on him that never ended, but she tried to deny it for awhile. I didn’t really understand why Wesley was so interested in her, either. I did like the medieval restaurant setting, though, and there were a couple funny moments. Not one I would pick up again, though.

6609714

The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club #1) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 7-8. 3.5 Stars.

Last year I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg and have really enjoyed several of her books. I find her writing pretty addictive. There’s lots of character development and plenty of cute moments. I did have some issues with this book, though. Penny really frustrated me sometimes. Whenever she “stood up for herself” it included tearing someone else down. She said a lot of really rude, unnecessary things to people and it was almost always praised by those around her. I also thought she and all her friends were really shallow about 95% of the time. That said, I did still like Penny at the end of the day and am going to go on to read the next book.

18801694

We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 9-10. 3 Stars. 

A quick, addicting read, even though it didn’t feel like a lot actually happened. I felt like all the drama Penny dealt with she brought upon herself and it wasn’t really necessary. I liked the cute moments between her and Ryan, though. I’m glad I finally got to this series, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll want to read again.

33128934

Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) by Rachel Caine. Read March 11-12. 3 Stars. 

I think this fell victim to being over-hyped. I had such high expectations for it and it did not come close to meeting them. It was sloooooow, the chapters were long (and we all know how much I hate that), and I felt about zero suspense until about the last quarter or so of the book. I guessed who the bad guy was very early on. However, the writing wasn’t that bad, if a little too repetitive and I did enjoy that last quarter of the book. I’ll still check out the sequel since I’m trying out Kindle Unlimited right now.

38326753

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. Read March 17-18. 4 Stars. 

Just before this book I read Dear Aaron and I thought nothing could melt my cold heart like that did. I was wrong. I absolutely adored the relationship in this. It started out rough and Jasmine was VERY hard to like, but as it went on and their friendship grew and Ivan was So. Freaking. Sweet., I just fell in love with it. That’s not to say it was a perfect book because I did have a few issues with it, but I don’t even really care enough about the faults to write about them. The one thing I’ll say is that I wish we got to see more of Ruby and Aaron in this one, but I did like the little bit we got.

20613920

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. Reach March 18-22. 1 Star.

I’m going to preface this by saying I really should have just DNF-ed this book and moved on with my life. I feel like this type of book is for a very specific audience and I am not at all that audience. I do not really like the Alpha-Male-You-Belong-To-Me-I’ll-Kill-Anyone-Who-Looks-At-You thing. I didn’t really find the relationship between Dex and Iris romantic. I felt like most of the big “romantic” moments were #MeToo movement scenarios. I just couldn’t get behind it. No means no, not “keep going until I finally give in”.

I also just didn’t find the story that interesting. The conclusion to the situation with Iris’ father was really anti-climatic. I think this book just goes to show that liking one book by an author does not mean you will like all books by him/her.

31933423

Wish You Were Mine by Tara Sivec. Read March 27-29. 3.5 Stars

I loved the way this started out with the past and present timelines and the dual 1st person POVs. I felt like when the past timeline ended, though, it went a little bit downhill for me. I felt like the main characters just kept repeating themselves over and over. The main issue in the story is based on a miscommunication, as well, which always kind of bugs me. I also didn’t love Cameron and her short temper all the time. However, there were lots of good moments in the book and I did like Everett and his brother, Jason (wish we would’ve seen a little more of him, though). I would probably recommend this one to Romance fans.

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

11979900

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I loved this book just as much the second time around. Once again, I read it in a day. I just adore pretty much everything about this.

********Removed from the TBR********

33503607

Meet Cute by various authors. I got this from the library, but I only ended up reading one story out of it. Most of the reviews I read said the JLA story was the best and I, unfortunately, was not really impressed by it so I decided not to read anymore.

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

  34275231

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I made it about 17% through this and just couldn’t get into it. I don’t see me finishing it before it’s due back at the library.

Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

 

35404657

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

What I Liked

*This book gave me ALL THE FEELS. It has been quite awhile since a book made my little black heart feel like this. I just loved all the sweet scenes between Ruby and Aaron. For a good portion of the book I didn’t always understand why they fell for each other like they did, but once they got to interact in person I definitely believed it and was 100% Team Ruron.

*I’ve always been a fan of non-traditional formatting and the use of e-mails/texts/IMs. The first 40% or so is told that way and I was beginning to think that it was maybe a little too much when it changed instead to Ruby’s POV. It was actually a little jarring and first and I started to miss the texts and IMs when it changed again. While it did go back to primarily normal narrative style in the latter half, it still had some of the texts and I felt it was balanced well.

*The Slooooow burn. I’ve read one other book by this author – who is known for her slow burn romance – and thought people kind of confused slow paced for slow burn. This one, though, while not at all fast paced, did not feel like a slow story. With the way the story was told in the first half there was no room for the extraneous text that can bog a story down. It was all character development and relationship building and banter.

What I Didn’t Like

*Where the first half or so of the book had a steady pace, once it switched away from the e-mails/texts/IMs I felt it was a little repetitive. I felt like Ruby would kind of spiral and she would just repeat the same things over and over again and it really started to get on my nerves. I think that Zapata could edit things down just a bit and it would still have all the emotional impact with a few (hundred) less pages.

*If this book had a soundtrack, then “Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift would play on repeat. Ruby spent SO. MUCH. TIME. thinking about how beautiful Aaron was and how she had trouble looking at him, etc., etc. It got old really fast.

*While I liked Ruby, I found her kind of annoying. She was very sensitive and cried pretty much all the time. She also came across really immature a good amount of the time.

*I didn’t like how Aaron was so insistent that Ruby shouldn’t get a full time job just because it wasn’t something she would love. I appreciate the fact that he wanted to encourage her to follow her dreams and do what would make her happy, but it just feels so impractical to not have steady income. She could’ve gotten a job and still done her business on the side until she figured things out.

Overall

Overall, I did really enjoy Dear Aaron. Though there were obviously some things I took issue with, there were many funny moments and some great character development, and I totally shipped the romance. Aaron was just so, so sweet with Ruby and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m looking forward to reading some more by this author.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Marianna Zapata

29367958

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

The hype was strong with this one. So strong that I finally broke down and spent some money (well, gift card credit, let’s not get crazy) to buy it. While I did end up enjoying it, it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me.

I’m a fan of a good slow burn romance and that’s what The Wall of Winnipeg and Me seems to be known for. However, I was not quite prepared for how sloooooow paced the whole story was. The chapters were pretty long, as well. I thought that it was really over-written for the most part. I think a little more editing could have cut the length of the book and the repetitiveness, as well as improved the pace. Despite those issues, though, the writing did drag me into the story pretty quickly and I felt like I really got to know the characters.

I went back and forth on how I felt about Vanessa. Sometimes I just didn’t understand how she reacted to things and she frustrated me. She was a little overdramatic at times, but she was pretty likable overall. Aiden also frustrated me for a big portion of the book. I am not a talkative or well-spoken person by any means, but he barely had any dialogue for about the first 20% of the story and I had no idea how I would end up getting to know him at all, let alone like him. Thankfully, he opens up as the story goes on and I did end up really liking him.

Overall, I enjoyed The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, though the long chapters and very slow pace were a struggle for me at times. I liked the fake relationship/marriage of convenience angle, even if it was missing a lot of the elements I expect to see with those. I ended up loving it once it got to about the last third or so of the book (minus the graphic scene it saved for the end) and that is why I’m bumping my rating up from what I was originally going to give it. While I wasn’t completely blown away by this like so many others were, I think it’s one that I will probably read again in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars