Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 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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The Mirror and the Maze (The Wrath and the Dawn 1.5) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 1. 2.5 stars.

Nothing special. Glad it was free.      

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Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles 4.5) by Marissa Meyer. Read April 30-May 3. 3 stars.

I think I probably would have enjoyed this more if I read it sooner after finishing Winter. I’m not a big fan of short stories, generally. As soon as I get into one, it’s over. The last story, which works as the epilogue to Winter, was my favorite and is enough reason to read this book, even if you don’t care much about the other stories, though most of the others were enjoyable, too.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Read May 3-5. 3.5 Stars.

A good deal of this book felt like a slightly less pretentious John Green novel.

Travis was my favorite character. At first he just kind of made me laugh because he’s a huge fantasy nerd that goes to renaissance fairs and carries a staff around and he reminded me SO MUCH of some people I knew in my youth. Then his huge, sweet heart and resiliency to the awful things in his life made me just love him. ***SPOILER*** I felt like something was going to happen to him, but I really didn’t think he was going to die and when he did I cried my eyes out. That and the several chapters of Dill and Lydia’s grief after that made me cry continuously. ***END OF SPOILER***
I liked Lydia about half the time. Sometimes she came across as kind of a bully, which I didn’t appreciate. I absolutely LOVED her father, though. He was smart, funny, insightful, caring…he was basically perfect.

Dill. You know that phrase, “I love you, but I don’t like you right now”? That’s how I felt about Dill for many parts of the book. I didn’t always like his behavior, but I did love his character. I felt bad for him and his situation and I understood why he was feeling the way he felt about a lot of things. His character development throughout the novel was pretty great.

The religious aspects in this story…I’m not sure what to think. Just once I would like to see Christianity in fiction portrayed in a normal way. But it wasn’t exactly Christianity portrayed here. It shows how you can take something and twist it and pervert it into something unrecognizable.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid debut. The character development was superb and the emotional impact was pretty strong, but only for the middle-ish of the book. Before and for several chapter After the Big Event, I felt for the characters, but wasn’t really invested in them that much. And at times I think it tried too hard to be meaningful and came off a bit pretentious to me. However, I did enjoy it (even when I was ugly crying) and think it’s worth the read. And this was long enough I totally should have made it it’s own regular review…

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The Perfect Neighbors by SarahPekkanen. Read May 22-25. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, The Perfect Neighbors was an enjoyable read. Though it lacked a little in terms of plot for me, the character development really makes up for it. I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters, who feel like friends. I would recommend this to fans of really character-driven novels. Full review to come closer to release date.

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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas. Read May 25-28. 3.5 Stars.

I liked this better than the first one, but I still don’t think it quite deserves all the 5 star ratings I see. My biggest problem with it is that the book could have been about half the length. There was an abundance of needless description about EVERY THING. There were also numerous stretches where nothing was really happening. Even though I did quite often enjoy the banter between Rhys and Feyre and I enjoyed spending time with Rhys’s inner circle, I was also kind of bored a lot of the time.

What I did really like about this book was how much more Rhys we got. He was by far my favorite character in the first novel and I liked getting to know him better. While I shipped Tamlin and Feyre in ACOTAR it took awhile and then once they got Under The Mountain I didn’t like it as much. I’m glad that the love triangle I was expecting to follow wasn’t quite as angsty as I anticipated. And now I totally ship Rhys and Feyre. I will say, though, that there are quite a few graphic sex scenes that I could have done without. It makes me cringe to think this is basically marketed as YA.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, but I liked it. I look forward to seeing what will happen next (in hopefully a few hundred less pages).

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke . Read May 28-29. 3 stars.

What an odd little book! The writing was really interesting – definitely a unique style and for the most part I liked it. The chapters were really short which made this book easy to breeze right through. The characters were intriguing, but only one was that likable.  I was disappointed that the story wasn’t as twisty and shocking as I was expecting. I had my suspicions and expected them to be wrong, but they weren’t. The ending was pretty lame, to be honest. I’m giving this 3 stars instead of 2 just because the writing was so unique and the story kept my attention throughout.

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The Accidental Bride (A Big Sky Romance #2) by Denise Hunter. Read May 29-30. 3 stars.

A pretty cute read. I liked both the main characters, though Shay did annoy me with her stubbornness sometimes. I thought that it took a little too long for the relationship to grow, though. They’d have a small “moment” and then before the scene was even over Shay would take 3 steps back. Overall, though, it was quick, cute read and I’ll probably read some of the other books in this series.

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RE-READS

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Until there was You by Kristan Higgins. I had a pretty big reading slump this month and Kristan Higgins always helps me out.

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins. As you all know by know, I have read basically all of her books MULTIPLE times, but I had only read this one once and I didn’t think it was one of her best. I decided to give it another a go and this time I just loved it! I don’t know what my problem with it before was, honestly. I love Harper and Nick. I love the story and how the whole plot plays out. I upgraded my original rating from 3 stars to 4!

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One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I count this as one of my favorite books, but I’ve only read it once. When I had a coupon I decided to buy the paperback. While I still enjoyed it and recommend it, I didn’t love it quite as much as I did the first time around. But it was also during my book slump, so that could have effected my enjoyment?

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The Emoji Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Alina @ Radiant Reads and I love emojis so I had to do it! You’re supposed to use the 5 Most Used or 5 Most Recently Used emojis. Apparently it’s up to you to interpret them however you want in relation to a book. I decided to go with my 5 Most Used.

    One Plus One

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. A book that is so good, my words of praise just don’t do it justice. A big thumbs up!

   Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)

Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke. A book that I didn’t really like and don’t care enough to discuss why.

  Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. A book with witty banter.

   Game (Jasper Dent, #2)

Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga.  A book with a character so annoying it made me want to shoot something:  Connie. She started out such a great character and the girl was just SO STUPID in this book.

  Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A book I loved reading and want to celebrate. FYI – my review will post on Monday and will include a GIVEAWAY of this book.

Do you love Emojis? Feel free to tag yourself and  link your post in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME Favorite Authors

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors.

Rainbow Rowell

1. Rainbow Rowell. Her writing is beautiful, her characters are amazing. Everything she writes is pure magic.
Favorite book: Attachments

Linwood Barclay

2. Linwood Barclay. My Go-To author for great mysteries.
Favorite book: No Time for Goodbye

Maggie Stiefvater

3. Maggie Stiefvater. She writes some of the most amazing characters I’ve ever read.
Favorite book: The Raven Boys

Jojo Moyes

4. Jojo Moyes. Another writer with beautiful writing and amazing characters.
Favorite book: One Plus One

Kasie West

5. Kasie West. She writes really adorable YA that’s always fun to read.
Favorite Book: On the Fence

Jennifer L. Armentrout

6. Jennifer Armentrout. She writes characters with funny, snarky dialogue that I love. Plus, Daemon Black.
Favorite Book: Obsidian

Marissa Meyer

7. Marissa Myer. Every book she writes just gets better!
Favorite Book: Cress

Gillian Flynn

8. Gillian Flynn. She writes really compulsive reads with amazingly psychopathic characters. Now can she please write a new book!?
Favorite Book: Gone Girl

Erin Morgenstern

9. Erin Morgenstern. She wrote one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Can she write a new book already, too?!
Favorite Book: The Night Circus

Kristan Higgins

10. Kristan Higgins. My favorite of all romance writers. Her books are full of fun and family and love.
Favorite Book: The Best Man

What are some of your favorite authors? Have you read any of mine?

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. In no particular order, they are:

The Night Circus

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

2. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Illusions of Fate

3. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

One Plus One

4. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

5. The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

6. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

I've Got Your Number

7. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella

Defending Jacob

8. Defending Jacob by William Landay

Gone Girl

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.) I don’t have a book club and honestly I go back and forth on trying to find one in my area. I love books, obviously, and sharing my thoughts on them, but I don’t generally do well in group discussions. I’m usually far to quiet to be heard when I try to speak up and often just don’t want to. So for this exercise, I’m going to pick books I feel would have good discussion in my fictional book club where everyone is polite and no one talks over other people and everyone has their turn to speak, if they so choose.

Pride and Prejudice

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Of course there would need to be a classic book and there would need to be an Austen book! This is well known and there are many themes and character progressions to discuss! And of course we could then watch the mini series with Colin Firth afterwards.

Definitely, Maybe in Love (Definitely Maybe, #1)

2. Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London. After reading Pride and Prejudice, we would then read a modern retelling of it! We could discuss how faithful to the source material it was, what was different, what we expect in retellings.

Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths

3. Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths by Allison K. Flexer. We would need a non-fiction, reflective book. My fictional book club is comprised of both the chronically single and some in various states of marriage. We would discuss the myths, how they relate to us, what we believe.

Dangerous Girls

4. Dangerous Girls by Abigial Haas. We would definitely need some twisty, mind-screwing mystery that would have us discussing our suspects and our reactions to finding out the truth.

One Plus One

5. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. As contemporary women, we would of course need some Contemporary Women’s Fiction. This book provides many POVs to discuss.

Me Before You

6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. We would also need something with a controversial topic that will make us question our own moral beliefs.

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)

7. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. We would need a good old romance to swoon over and give us a break from the heartache of the previous book!

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

8. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. We would need a great YA series to fangirl over. This series has so many wonderful and complex characters to discuss and deconstruct! And love the crap out of!

The Night Circus

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. We need something with just beautiful writing.

Attachments

10. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. We would each get to pick one of our all-time favorite books and make everyone else read it!

Would this be a book club you’d want to be part of? What books would you want to read in your perfect book club?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases).

I decided to go with all of my highest rated reviewed books. It’s interesting to me that looking back, some of the ones that I rated so high aren’t necessarily my favorite books of the year. I still love them, obviously, but my usual rating system (a star rating averaged from Plot, Characters, Readability, and Enjoyability) skews more towards best written, rather than most enjoyed. I’m doing a top 12 since these are all the books I’ve read so far this year that got above a 4 Star rating. Still no books this year got 5 stars from me.

Landline

1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. 4.5 Stars

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

2. Cress by Marissa Meyer. 4.44 Stars

The Last Letter from Your Lover

3. The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. 4.375 Stars

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 4.375 Stars

Criminal (Will Trent, #6)

5. Criminal by Karin Slaughter. 4.375 Stars

Me Before You

6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. 4.375 Stars

Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)

7. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White. 4.25 Stars

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

8. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi 4.25 Stars

Illusions of Fate

9. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. 4.125 Stars

One Plus One

10. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes 4.125 Stars

Dangerous Girls

11. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. 4.125 Stars

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder, #6)

12. The Dead will Tell by Linda Castillo. 4.125 Stars

What are your top books of the year? Agree or Disagree with any of my choices?

12 Days of Book Tags

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Falling Down the Book Hole made up this fun tag. Feel free to tag yourself if you want to participate!

To try and give myself some different answers than I usually give, I’m only going to respond with books that I read in 2014.

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?

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves : Love Is In The Air, Who Is You OTP (One True Pair)?

Juliette & Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

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?

The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

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 Favorite Series?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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?

The Darkling from The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying : Creation Is A Beautiful Thing! What is Your Favorite World/World-Building?

I’m going to go with The Grisha series again – Bardugo is amazing!

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 To Make A Hero Rock! Who Is Your Favorite Animal Sidekick?

Douglas the duck from Jackaby by William Ritter

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?

All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

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 Favorite Kickass Female Lead?

Fi from The Mind Games duology by Kiersten White and Kami Glass from the Lynburn Legacy

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping: Leaping Lords? How About Who Is Your Favorite Leading Lad?

The Raven Boys. Alllllll of them

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping: Where Would We Be Without Music? What Is Your Favorite Book or Bookish Thing That Deals With Music? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

While I wasn’t in love with the book or the music, I thought it was cool that all the songs from Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover was recorded.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming: Drum Roll Please…………………….What Is Your Favorite Read of This Year?

Either Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan or Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White or One Plus One by Jojo Moyes