Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda. Read July 30-August 2. 3 Stars. 

I liked this for awhile, but it kind of got old fast. It was really repetitive with not a lot really happening. You can tell right away that Jane is a sociopath, but she was still fun to read. It either says something about the writing or just how much I hate cheaters that I felt a little sorry for her when it came to her husband. But for real, he also wasn’t a good person. I had high hopes for a good twist at the end, but I guessed every single reveal well in advance. I also thought the last chapter was kind of lame and the book ended on a bit of a sour note for me. It might still be worth the read for fans of unreliable narrators.

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The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata. Read August 23-26. 3.5 Stars

A sweet story, but a little too long (like all of Zapata’s books). It involves my least favorite trope, but it didn’t end up being as frustrating as I thought it would be. I liked the characters and the romance.

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Mine by Courtney Cole. Read August 27-28. 4 Stars. 

Super addictive writing made this one hard to put down. I loved the alternating POVs and timelines. Both Tessa and Lindsey were pretty crazy and I was having a fun, if slightly horrified, time reading about them, but the last few chapters were kind of a let down. I expected a crazy twist or explosive ending, but it didn’t go that route. 

***SPOILERS***SPOILERS***SPOILERS***I don’t like that there’s no definitive answer to what Tessa decides to do with her marriage. It kind of sounds like she decides to stay with her husband and that’s frustrating to me. It’s one thing to try to work things out if someone makes a mistake and are sincerely sorry about it, but that is not the type of person Ethan is. He’s a serial cheater and liar and only apologizes if he’s caught. I also read that the author decided to write this book after finding out about her own husband cheating. I don’t know what the current status of her marriage is, but in the About the Author section it mentions that she lives with “her husband and kids”, so I’m assuming she decided to stay with him. I just hope he’s a much better person than fictional Ethan is.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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29 Seconds by T.M. Logan – 2 Stars

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars

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WWW Wednesday: August 28, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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Mine by Courtney Cole. This isn’t quite what I was expecting, but the writing is addictive. I’m very interested to see where it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata. I actually won this in a giveaway on Amy Harmon’s Facebook page (it was for an ebook of my choice up to $5), which was very exciting. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite Zapata book.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay. I was denied for this on NetGalley, which made me super sad. I randomly decided to go on Edelweiss the other day, which I only do every couple months or so, and discovered that I had been approved for this one quite awhile ago! I never got an e-mail notification or anything. This is only the second book I’ve ever been approved for on Edelweiss in my 6 years of blogging (I for real don’t understand Edelweiss, but that’s a whole other blog post), but I’m definitely excited to get the chance to read this sooner than I  thought I would!

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I’m going to break this up by established authors and 2018 debut authors.

Established Authors

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1. Fredrik Backman. Read: Bear Town, Us Against You

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2. Mariana Zapata. Read: Dear Aaron, From Lukov with Love, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Under Locke, Luna and the Lie

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3. Peter Swanson. Read: All the Beautiful Lies 

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4. Jennifer Hillier. Read: Jar of Hearts

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5. Teagan Hunter. Read: Let’s Get Textual, I Wanna Text You Up, Can’t Text This

2018 Debut Authors

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6. Cara Hunter. Read: Close to Home

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7. Carola Lovering. Read: Tell Me Lies

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8. Joseph Knox. Read: SirensThe Smiling Man

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9. T.M. Logan. Read: Lies

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10. Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel. Read November 30 – December 1. 3 Stars. 

So, I kind of don’t get the hype with this one? I was expecting a lot of twists and craziness, but it was kind of a boring story about a manipulative person that we know is manipulative and the people she’s manipulating figures it out pretty quickly. At least this was a novella and not a book I wasted several days on. I’m giving it three stars because there wasn’t really anything wrong with the writing and the characters were kind of interesting. I think I just had higher expectations than I should have.

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A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan. Read December 2-3. 3.5 Stars. 

Another over-hyped story I have been waiting a long time to read. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely had some fun elements and some nice, little twists. I kind of enjoyed how messed up everything/everyone was. But I expected something a little more explosive. The ending was really anti-climatic. 

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Day 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan. Read December 6-8. 3 Stars. 

Not a whole lot actually happened in this book, but I think I enjoyed it a little more than the first. Bellarke becomes official, so that’s enough to make me happy.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover. Read December 8-10. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely a different type of book than CoHo’s usual thing and I was into it. It has one of my favorite narrative devices – a book within a book. The characters were really interesting, if not always likable. I didn’t like that there was a cheating storyline. While I thought there was a definite creep factor, the suspense felt a little cheap and I wasn’t surprised by the “twist” at the end. I did, however, like that it left things kind of open-ended. I don’t usually appreciate that, but I thought it worked really well here. I’ve been struggling with what to rate this, but I think I’m going to knock it up to 4 stars because I did have a good time reading it.

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Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse by Shannon Thomas. Read December 10-11. 4 Stars. 

My father was never the easiest person to live with. Objectively, there were good times and he could be helpful and kind. But, those times were not the norm. Still, it was not until the events that led to my mother filing for divorce last year that we recognized his behavior over the years was narcissistic and abusive. This book had a lot of good information and there are many passages I highlighted that I will need to write down as reminders (I’ll probably update this review with them eventually). However, I feel like while I did face that psychological abuse, I was also kind of a step removed from it. I felt the focus of things discussed in this book would definitely be more applicable to my mother. I’m glad I read it, though, and would recommend it to people who are struggling with toxic people in their life.

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From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. Read December 4-16. 3.5 Stars. 

First of all, I want to say I think everyone today that goes around calling people “nazis” when they don’t agree with them should read this book (or one like it…or even an actual History textbook…). The atrocities that were done to the Jewish people during this time are just disgusting and heartbreaking. 

In terms of the book itself, the writing is as beautiful as you would expect from Amy Harmon. The characters were real and likable. I did take a big issue with a main theme in the book, though, which is making me give it a lower rating than pretty much everyone else I know. Most of the time I feel Amy Harmon treats religion and faith very thoughtfully in her books. I am neither Catholic nor Jewish, but I honestly felt a little offended in how disrespectful both main characters were in regards to their faiths. Angelo is a priest, even though he should have never become one because he was already in love with someone. And then he sleeps with her while he’s a priest. And then he basically denounces his Catholic faith for one of Universalism instead. It wasn’t really a message I could get behind. One of the main reasons I put this book off for so long is because I was a little concerned about a priest being the love interest and while the book was still worth the read, I know I was right to be a little hesitant about it. 

Obviously, this is an unpopular opinion that didn’t really seem to bother anyone else. And I still definitely recommend Amy Harmon’s books, but this is not one I would pick up again.

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Can’t Text This (Text #3) by Teagan Hunter. Read December 16. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely not one of my usual type of books. However, just like the first book in this series, I read this in one evening. Basically in one sitting. I love the texting so much. Robbie and Monty’s banter just cracked me up. I didn’t love how sex-centered the plot was, but I kind of feel like the humor and characters made up for it. I also loved how much we got to see of Zach from the previous books. While this book would not be for everyone, it was exactly the light-hearted read I needed right now and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And that’s why I’m bumping my rating up to 4 stars.

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The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise. Read December 17-19. 3.5 Stars. 

I really loved the slow burn in this. It was so cute and romantic and funny. I was really ready to give this 4 stars, but it went a little off the rails for me in the last third or so of the book. Once Dylan and Zoe actually got together, it was all sex scenes and miscommunication drama, and cheesiness. I just did not enjoy the ending as much as I did the beginning, even though I was happy with how it all turned out. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author, though.

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Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata. Read December 19-22. 4 Stars. 

Like every other book I’ve read by this author, it could’ve used way more editing and been about 200 pages shorter than it was. There is so much repetition and so many pages where nothing in the story moved forward whatsoever. However, the characters were still compelling enough to make me want to keep reading. Though Luna annoyed me sometimes, I liked her and her optimism. I enjoyed the slow burn romance with Rip, too. While there were plenty of sweet and romantic moments between them, there were some things that didn’t sit super well with me either. There’s about a 15 year age difference between them that isn’t really ever addressed. And there were times he came across a little controlling and jerky. I’m still giving this book 4 stars, though, because despite my problems with it, I still really enjoyed reading it.

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All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. Read December 26-28. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but I had some issues with it that kept me from giving it 4 stars. First what I enjoyed – I liked the writing. I loved the multiple POVs and timelines. I thought they were really well done. The mystery was pretty well done, too. No shocking twists or any real surprises, but it worked. 

Now, my issues. I thought the whole A’s thing was ridiculous. It’s supposed to be a super exclusive club that will help you succeed in adulthood, but really all we see of it is horrible kids doing horrible things for really petty reasons. Every single thing they did was just stupid. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, either. Charlie was interesting, but I never really liked her. And I really didn’t like how her main confidant/love interest is a college graduate when she’s a junior in high school. I also didn’t really like how it ended. It kind of skipped over all the fall-out for her and her “friends” and I would’ve liked more details about what happened to them.

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The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. Read December 25-28. 4 Stars. 

I tried bullet journaling earlier this year and pretty much crashed and burned with it. I’ve been wanting to try it again, though, and I think after reading this book I have a much better chance at being successful. I know that as I get started with it in 2019 I will be referring back to this often as a manual and it will decrease my frustration. I also liked that Ryder really stressed that your BuJo does not have to be super creative and beautiful like so many you see online. The most important thing is that it works for you and that you are tracking and logging meaningful things. If making things really pretty helps inspire you, that’s great, but if you aren’t artistic, it’s ok. I thought it got a little too “self-help” now and then, but overall I definitely recommend this one for people who are thinking about bullet journaling, but not quite sure where to start.

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Diced by Ginger Scott. Read December 28. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. I think the biggest problem is that I’m just not a big fan of novellas. I mostly decided to read this because I wanted to hit a certain number of books read for the year and this would help me get there. It did have some cute moments, but everything just felt so rushed and things weren’t really explained to my satisfaction. And then instead of the characters really having a good conversation about the future in the end, they just say some cliched things in an extended sex scene and I was kind of over it. However, if you are a big Romance and novella fan, you will probably enjoy it more than I did.

*****DNF*****

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To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise. DNF at 28%. I tried. I really tried with this one, but I just can’t take anymore. I can’t stand any of the characters and I really don’t like the “little one” nickname. It makes me cringe every time Jason says it – which is a lot. I have heard from people that it gets better, but I just don’t care enough to make myself move forward with it.

*****Book with Future Review Scheduled*****

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The Temp by Michelle Frances – 2 Stars

The Jingle Bell Book Tag – 2018

 

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I’ve seen this tag going around and thought it looked familiar. Turns out I did in 2016. But a big thanks to Alyssa at Reading, Reading, Reading for tagging me this year! I’m going to try and not repeat any of my answers.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” – What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

So I know this sounds crazy, but I only asked for one book for Christmas. And only when it was on on sale for Black Friday and when I found out the person I asked for it didn’t buy it then, I told her don’t worry about it because in all honestly I will probably never use it. Anyways, the book was The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.

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Elf – What book unleashes your inner child?

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Better off Friends was one of my few re-reads this year. While I’m not really sure it “unleashes my inner child”, the book starts out with the main characters in middle school (or maybe even earlier? I can’t quite remember now, even though I’ve read this twice) so relating to them is kind of inner child-esque?

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” – Which book has most festive look to it?

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Hot Winter Nights is actually the only Christmasy book I’ve read this year.

The Holiday – Name your favourite TWO couples…

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Ruby and Aaron from Dear Aaron and Jasmine and Ivan in From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. While I do have several issues with Zapata’s books, I can’t deny that the couples in these two books melted my cold, black heart like nothing else.

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Beartown by Fredrik BackmanThis is one of my very favorite books of the year and I think everyone should read it.

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

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2018

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

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

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

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Biggest Disappointment

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

Biggest Surprise

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

Favorite New Author

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

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Newest Favorite Character

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Ivan from From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Book That Made You Cry

None!!

Book That Made You Happy

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

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I haven’t seen any.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

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

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

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.

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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