Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 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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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Read November 4-6. 4 Stars.

Most of this book was around a 3 star read for me, but I’m upping it up to 4 stars for a couple reasons. The writing is very good. It was clever and I liked the style. The last third or so of the book is when it started to get trippy and I really started to enjoy it.

So what about up until then? The book, while unique, reminds me of bits and pieces of several other things (primarily the tv show, Fringe), so I wasn’t surprised by things I think I was supposed to be surprised by. The whole middle section of the book I found redundant and just wanted to get through. The science was really beyond me at times and I think it could have been a little more simplified. So overall, it was a good book, but it did not come close to living up to the hype for me. It does have great writing, though, and ended well, so I think it’s still probably worth the read.

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The Honeymoon Prize (The Honeymoon Series #3) by Melissa McClone. Read November 6-7. 3 Stars.

Nothing was holding my interest and I wanted something cute and quick and this was just what I needed. It was a good fake relationship story with likable characters and no graphic scenes. The ending got a little too cheesy, but overall I enjoyed it.

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The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell. Read November 11-12. 4 Stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Young Wives Club (and it’s gorgeous cover!). It’s a well-written, character-driven story that I could hardly put down. Though the characters weren’t always very likable, I really appreciated how much growth all of them showed throughout the book. I also really liked that things didn’t just magically work out for all of them, but they had to work at it and learn to be ok if things in their life turned out a little differently than they expected. I definitely recommend this to fans of character-driven novels. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Read November 13-16. 3.5 Stars.

I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s writing and the whimsy. I shipped the romance (even though we all know it was destined to shipwreck). I enjoyed the book, but I don’t really feel like anything HAPPENED until the last quarter or so of the book and then it happened too quickly. I wanted a little more time spent with Catherine growing into the “Off with his head!” persona. The story, for the most part, was an insta-love romance interspersed with the characters having some random fun in a Wonderland setting. Because of that, even though I enjoyed it, I just can’t quite give it a 4 star rating. I think Wonderland fans will enjoy it, as will fans of Marissa Meyer’s other work.

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For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne Read November 26-27. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the banter and how Josh and Heather’s relationship progressed throughout the story. The whole commitment-phobe/player and friends with benefits plotlines are overdone and not really my cup of tea, but I could overlook it for how cute everything else was. I’m reading this series backwards and while the books do work as standalones, I do feel like I have a lot more insight into Logan and Alexis who star in the third book and may have to go back and re-read that one to better appreciate it.

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The Christmas Cottage (The Christmas Cottage #1) by Samantha Chase. Read November 27-28. 3 Stars.

I really liked Ean and Lacey. They really complemented each other well and I shipped the romance, though I did think things happened too fast. While Ava being a crazy bridezilla worked for the story, I thought it was a little too overdone and she came across as just a really unbalanced person. It makes me not want to read the next book in the series because she’s the main character in it. Overall, though, this was a cute, quick holiday-themed romance that I enjoyed.

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

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The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. I still have this from the library for a few more days, but I don’t think that I’ll get back to it before it expires. I was really optimistic about this book, but I got two chapters into and it’s just awful! I want to give it another try, though, to see if it gets any better.

****************RE-READS****************

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Aimee and the Heartthrob and Mia and the Bad Boy. I got the complete series from NetGalley. I’ve read the first two books in the series before and decided to re-read them since it had been awhile. I feel pretty much the same about them as I did the first time, though I think I liked Mia and the bad Boy a little more than I did last time.

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Review: Backstage Pass: The Complete Series

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Five irresistible guys…five unforgettable romances

Step backstage with the guys of Seconds to Juliet—the hottest boy band to hit the scene in years—and the girls who capture their hearts. Superstardom has never been so sexy…

Join the fandom.

Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London
Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein
Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy
Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner
Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler

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

Backstage Pass: The Complete Series will be available December 5, 2016

I’ve read the first couple books in this series awhile ago and enjoyed them and always wanted to read the rest of the series. When I saw the whole series was being released as a set, I knew I had to request it. In my youth I was such a boy band fan (*N Sync was life) and I absolutely loved the idea of books about a boy band. I also thought it was really cool that each book was by a different author. I found that there were a few inconsistencies between authors, but for the most part I thought they did a really great job with it.

*Click on the book titles for the synopsis of each book*

Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London – 3.5 Stars

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This book was all kinds of adorable. I liked both Aimee and Miles. The romance was a little fast, but very sweet. There was some eye-rolling drama, of course. And some of the dialogue and Aimee’s internal monologues bothered me – I think it was supposed to be “teenage slang”, but it sounded silly to me. But maybe that’s how kids talk these days? I don’t know. I wished that the rest of the boy band members were a little more developed, but I can forgive it since each of them will get their own book. One thing I loved is that Aimee is a book reviewer and there is a part of the story where Miles wants to do something for her so he thinks about reading the books she’s going to review so they can discuss them. I think that is the swooniest moment of the whole book for me.

Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein – 3 Stars

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This book wasn’t as cute as the first one in the series, but there was still enough cuteness that I enjoyed it. The romance happened really fast and I didn’t buy into it as much as I would’ve liked to, but as I said, there was still cuteness. It read a little more like a less graphic NA than a YA read. I enjoyed the banter between Ryder and Mia and between Ryder and Miles. I enjoyed Ryder’s sarcastic sense of humor a lot and that we got a little more insight into the rest of the band.

Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy – 3 Stars

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This was probably closer to 2.5 stars, but I’m rounding it up to 3 because I thought it ended well. I really liked Trevin in the first two books and was looking forward to his POV, but I actually liked him a lot less in this one. I also thought both Miles and Ryder were portrayed as big jerks for most of the book, even though they were both supposed to be nicer after the events of the previous books. Daisy drove me crazy almost the whole time. She was way, way too overdramatic and very petty. There was a big thing with her mom that is revealed towards the end of the story and I thought the mom got off way too easily. I did like Daisy’s developing relationship with her father and there were a few cute moments throughout to make me smile. This was my least favorite book of the series.

Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner – 3.5 Stars

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Though it took me a bit to get into this, I ended up really liking Matt and Anya. Though it happened a little fast, their romance was cute. I also liked that it had a little more serious subjects – homelessness, drug addiction – but still stayed a cute contemporary. I thought the other band members were represented well, which I appreciated. One thing that bugged me, though, was that there seemed to be some consistency issues. We never find out exactly when Will and Matt switched places. There were comments made in two of the three preceding books that made it seem like it’s been going on for awhile, but I thought this book made it out that it was more recent.

Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler – 3.5 Stars

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This one was So Cute! Though it was a little instalove-y, I really shipped Nathan and Abby. Nathan was so sweet and he’s probably my new favorite boy bander. I thought the rest of the band was really well represented and loved all the scenes of them together. There is a big thing to happen with the whole LJ (band manager) as a villain arc that has been going on through the whole series that I wish we would’ve gotten to see, but overall it was a good ending to the series.

Overall

Overall, the Backstage Pass series was so cute. Though the characters were a little uneven at time between the books, I thought all the authors worked together pretty well to make a cohesive series. I liked that there was a central theme throughout of the band working together to write their own music and be the kind of band they wanted to be, as well as learning that they could be in charge of their own personal lives, despite what the villainous manager, LJ, told them. I think fans of YA contemporaries and Boy Band lovers would really enjoy this series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2015

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

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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Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer Armentrout. Read July 30-August 1. 3 Stars.

If I’m being completely honest, despite being from JLA, I never really fell in love with this series. If it wasn’t from this author I probably wouldn’t have continued it after the first book. That said, Every Last Breath was a pretty decent ending to the series. We find out around 20% in Layla’s choice of guys – the result of fan voting – and I’m glad it wasn’t dragged out. However, SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER* I never once thought that Zayne had any chance of “winning.” I liked the idea that fans got to vote after book 2, but I don’t think it was written in a way that it would be an actual contest. Roth was always obviously the author’s top pick and thus was written in a way to be ours, as well. *END OF SPOILER* There was one “mystery” that was brought up and then left hanging in this installment that kind of annoyed me. The answer was kind of implied, but still left open. While Layla’s story ended conclusively, I think it left enough side plot ideas open enough that there could be more from this world in the future.

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Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga. Read August 1-4. 3 stars.

The Good:
-We get more POVs, including Howie and Connie
-I love Howie even more this time around. He’s still funny, but getting his POV we get to know the serious side of him, too.
-Once all the pieces came together, the Game was pretty clever.
-The New York setting

The Bad:
-Throughout the book I steadily grew to dislike Connie more and more. Girl is STUPID. All of her decisions were poor and she kind of deserves to be where she ended up by the end of this book. Her drama queen moments with her parents were very annoying, as were her parents’ reactions.
-The plot was pretty convoluted. Like it was hard to understand at times until it was all laid out. Even then, not everything is explained.
-Bringing a minor across state lines without adult supervision/consent to consult on police business? Really?
-Jasper’s discovery at the end of the book was very, very predictable.
-Cliffhangers in every plotline!

Overall:
I know it looks like there’s more bad then good, but the good things really did outweigh the bad. This series does have a pretty unique concept and Jasper is still a great character. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book, it was still good and I look forward to the conclusion of the series.

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Blood of my Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga. Read August 4-7. 3.5 Stars

This book was a little longer than it had to be. There were several moments I hated Connie and the phrase “too stupid to live” came to mind. There was a big reveal that I think was supposed to be shocking, but I suspected it since book two. I think it ended well, though, overall. I’m glad I read this series. Maybe a more in depth review to come after I’ve thought about it a bit.

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Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot. Read August 8-9. 3.5 Stars.

This book was pretty cute. I was a big fan of the romance between Ellen and Yan. Even though it happens quickly (the book takes place over a week), it felt like a slow burn romance and not insta-love. I thought both of the characters were well-developed and they were really well suited together, despite their differences.

I thought the side-plots were a little ridiculous. Ellen’s ex-boyfriend really betrayed her and she got her revenge on him, but she spends the majority of the book waiting for it to come back to bite her. In the end, I thought it was all resolved a little too easily. Yan has a more troubled past, but other than him leaving Bulgaria and needing to make a new start, there wasn’t really any long-lasting consequences. He had a more personal problem that was skirted around for most of the book, but I thought was obvious pretty early on. However, it was still a little heartbreaking to see how it affected him so much and I was glad to see it resolved in the end.

I hated Lacey. HATED HER. She was a spoiled, selfish brat and even though she had a few nicer moments throughout the book, it wasn’t really enough to redeem her for me. In a literary sense, she worked as a nice counterpoint to Ellen’s personality, but I still hated her.

Overall, I thought this was a cute, quick, summertime read that I enjoyed. At times it seemed to drag a little, but I really enjoyed the setting and the romance. I’ll definitely be checking out more from Baggot in the future.

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Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London. Read August 9-10. 3.5 Stars.

I’m a complete sucker for boy band books because I looooved boy bands back in the day. This book was all kinds of adorable. I liked both Aimee and Miles. The romance was a little fast, but very sweet. There was some eye-rolling drama, of course. And some of the dialogue and Aimee’s internal monologues annoyed me – I think it was supposed to be “teenage slang”, but it sounded silly to me. But maybe that’s how kids talk these days? I don’t know. I didn’t like that the rest of the boy band members weren’t really well-developed characters at all. But then I found out that this is a series where each book – about a different band member – is written by a different author, so I can forgive the story for not developing the other guys too much. Overall, it was very cute and I’m sure I’ll re-read it any time I need a cute little pick-me-up.

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Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein. August 10-11. 3 stars.

This book wasn’t as cute as the first one in the series, but there was still enough cuteness that I enjoyed it. The romance happened really fast and I didn’t buy into it as much as I would’ve liked to, but as I said, there was still cuteness. It read a little more like a less graphic NA than a YA read. I enjoyed the banter between Ryder and Mia and between Ryder and Miles. I do want to continue the series, but I’ll probably wait and see if the next one goes on sale before trying to buy it.

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The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar. Read August 17-20. 3 Stars.

This book has been on my radar for awhile, but it was never at the library. Then I won it in a giveaway! It was an enjoyable book. I think it started out good and then went downhill a bit, but overall it was still good. The main character was mostly likable and I really liked Oliver. The end is a major cliffhanger and I must now buy the second book to see what happens.

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Fiancé by Fate (Anyone but You #1) by Jennifer Shirk. Read August 22-23. 3.5 stars.

A quick, sweet read. It’s your typical Fake Relationship story, which is exactly what I was looking for and I enjoyed it.

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The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1) by Ali Novak. Read August 23-25. 2 stars.

A couple of funny/cute moments is why I’m giving this book 2 stars instead of 1. I’ve been on a boy band book kick lately – I don’t know why. This has been my least favorite of the bunch.

Stella was such a brat and she drove me crazy almost constantly. I liked the other three band members much more than the love interest. I was rooting for Alec to become the love interest instead, but he’s too good for Stella, so I guess I’m glad it didn’t happen.

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RE-READS

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Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. As I said, I’ve been on a boy band book kick. This book has the most well-behaved members of all the books I’ve read, as well as the most likable main character. I’m looking forward to the sequel of this one!

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BACK ON THE TBR

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Play On (Lewis Creek #1) by Michelle Smith. I read some good reviews on this one and was looking forward to it, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably try it again some day, though.

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DNF

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton. To be fair, I only gave this book a few chapters before giving up, so it might get better? I’m just not interested enough to care, though.