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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Top Ten Tuesday: REWIND: Books I’d love to see as a tv show or movie

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a Rewind where we can pick from previous topics that we want to do again or may have missed. I’ve decided to go with the topic from 9/10/13 – Books I’d love to see as a tv show or movie.

1. Mind Games by Kiersten White.

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)

How fun would this be? Mystery, supernatural, family, romance. And my favorite crazy, Fia!

2. Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer.

Storm (Elemental, #1)

The four Merrick brothers on my tv screen every week? Yes, please.

3.  Runner by Patrick Lee

Runner

A Sam Dryden series? It could help fill the void in my life Jack Bauer left when 24 ended. (Though that’s coming back as a mini series!!!!)

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Who wouldn’t love to see these great characters come to life? This could be one cultish hit on the Sci-Fi network.

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Thorne, Kai, Wolf, Levana. Enough said.

6. The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson

The Negotiator (O'Malley, #1)

A faith-based crime show with great characters.

7. A Lifetime movie series of Kristan Higgins books. So fun.

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)

8. Basically any book by Linwood Barclay.

Fear the Worst

9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)

Lots of great characters, sweet romance, political intrigue.

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Bringing anything by Rainbow Rowell to life would be amazing.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Covers I Wish I could Redesign. This has no bearing on the actual story – some of these are books I actually really love, but the covers are just bad.

 Elemental (Elemental, #0.5)1. Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer. He kind of looks like creepy EuroTrash.

Runner

2. Runner by Patrick Lee. It’s such a clichéd cover. And it doesn’t really fit with the book.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)  The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

3 & 4. The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves and by Maggie Stiefvater. I really enjoyed these books, but the covers are horrible.

Gone Girl

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s such a simple cover for such a dynamic book.

6-10 belong to my 2 least favorite types of covers: Extreme Close-ups and Couples Coupling

  Requiem (Delirium, #3)  Before I Fall  Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)  Frigid (Frigid, #1)  Opal (Lux, #3)

6. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (does she NOT have a book cover that isn’t an extreme close-up?)

8. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

9. Frigid by J. Lynn

10. Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Runner by Patrick Lee – 4 stars (out of 5)

Runner

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

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Sam Dryden, retired special forces, lives a quiet life in a small town on the coast of Southern California. While out on a run in the middle of the night, a young girl runs into him on the seaside boardwalk. Barefoot and terrified, she’s running from a group of heavily armed men with one clear goal—to kill the fleeing child. After Dryden helps her evade her pursuers, he learns that the eleven year old, for as long as she can remember, has been kept in a secret prison by forces within the government. But she doesn’t know much beyond her own name, Rachel. She only remembers the past two months of her life—and that she has a skill that makes her very dangerous to these men and the hidden men in charge.

Dryden, who lost his wife and young daughter in an accident five years ago, agrees to help her try to unravel her own past and make sense of it, to protect her from the people who are moving heaven and earth to find them both. Although Dryden is only one man, he’s a man with the extraordinary skills and experience—as a Ranger, a Delta, and five years doing off-the-book black ops with an elite team. But, as he slowly begins to discover, the highly trained paramilitary forces on their heels is the only part of the danger they must face. Will Rachel’s own unremembered past be the most deadly of them all?

I really enjoyed this book. The pace is fast and there’s a lot of action. I don’t usually like a lot of action, but Lee really made it work in Runner. Too often I feel like the author details it to death, to the point where it’s almost impossible to follow what’s actually happening. Here it was detailed without going overboard and it was all plausible. I also felt the pace was pretty perfect. It wasn’t just Go, Go, Go, but more like Go, Go, Go, Pause, Go, Go, Go, Pause, etc. The story moved along quickly, with lots of action, but it took time with quieter moments where there was character development and plot reveals.

The main character, Sam Dryden, is very likable. He’s a smart, caring, stand-up guy that always does the right thing. His experience in Special Forces makes him uniquely qualified to help Rachel escape her attackers and try to figure out the secrets that live in her head. Rachel was an intriguing character with lots of sides to her. My only complaint with her is that she almost always seemed much older than her eleven years.  Martin Gaul, the man leading the hunt for Rachel and Dryden, is another  interesting character – mostly despicable, but still a little sympathetic.

There were a lot of twists and turns in this book, perhaps the most surprising to me was that there is a large sci-fi element to the story. It’s not a bad surprise, I just didn’t expect it. Despite that, the story still seemed realistic in all its other aspects and contained enough surprises to keep me guessing the whole way.

While most chapters focused on Dryden, Rachel, or Gaul, there were other chapters that focused on Gaul’s competitor, Hager, and those he was training. While those chapters were interesting and informative, they also contained perhaps the only thing I didn’t care for in the book – the slightly graphic use of sex as motivation. Maybe it’s just a guy thing, but I didn’t quite see the need and it made me a little uncomfortable. However, since there were only a few examples of that, it didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the rest of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed Runner. It was suspenseful, fast paced, and action packed, but also smart and sweet. This looks to be the first book in a series based on Sam Dryden and I look forward to the next. I would recommend Runner to those who enjoy mystery, suspense, action, and a little dose of sci-fi.

*Runner will be available on February 18, 2014*

Monday’s Minutes

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Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Runner

Runner by Patrick Lee. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s intriguing and fast paced.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

An Untamed Heart

An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling. This is an ARC I’ve had for a little while and I keep getting distracted by other books, but I’m determined to read it next.

What are you reading?