Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 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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Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi. Read April 7-8. 3 Stars. 

This was SO MUCH BETTER than the previous book in this series. It still didn’t really do much to advance the plot, but there was a lot of background information revealed that I found interesting. I am a little annoyed that it makes pretty much everything that happened in the original trilogy obsolete, but I’m rolling with it.

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. Read April 9-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Addictive writing and an intriguing premise kept me turning the pages on this. I found Matthew kind of fascinating. There was one big twist that I suspected awhile before it was revealed, but then Swanson still managed to surprise me by something after that, which I liked. However, I found the ending pretty underwhelming.

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. Read April 23-25. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t a bad read, but it never quite lived up to it’s potential. I wanted it to get really crazy and fun, and while there was some definite crazy behavior, it never really felt fun. I actually wished some of Juliette’s plans actually panned out the way she thought they would because that would have made it a little more entertaining. But mostly I just ended up feeling sorry for her and wishing she would get some help. I thought it was a little too open-ended, too. This isn’t one I would discourage you from reading, but I’m not going to recommend it either.

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Royally Screwed (Royally #2) by Emma Chase. Read April 20-25. 3 Stars. 

It took me quite awhile to get into this, but I eventually started to enjoy it. There were some funny parts. It was just a lot cruder at times than I prefer so that took a lot of the enjoyment out of the book for me, overall.

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Read April 25-26. 4 Stars. 

This wasn’t really anything like I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it. The writing was super addictive and I had a hard time putting it down. The character development was well done and while I wasn’t shocked by who the murderer turned out to be, it wasn’t my first guess, either.

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

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Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I read several chapters of Keep Her Safe and one chapter of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but couldn’t really get into either of them. I’ll give them both another try again, though.

*****DNF*****

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How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. DNF-ed at 29%. I thought the concept for this was really intriguing, but I ended up just not being able to connect with the story. There were times where I found it relatable and funny and other times where I thought the humor fell pretty flat. I read 29% before it started to lose my attention. I decided to set it down to read something else and planned to come back to it, but after reading several other books I couldn’t make myself pick this one back up. While I’m sure that there people who will enjoy this book, it’s just not for me. 

*I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.

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

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Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen – 4 Stars

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker – 3.5 Stars

Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg – 4 Stars

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen  Hoang – 3 Stars

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WWW Wednesday: April 10, 2019

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I’ve been looking for more consistent weekly posts to do (Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday more often than not have prompts that don’t really inspire me – though I do still like reading the posts of others that participate in them) and several blogs I follow do WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words. When I first started blogging I had my only little feature called Monday Minutes that basically accomplished the same thing, but instead of bringing that back, I’m going to go with this WWW Wednesday.

What are you currently reading?

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I started Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker last week, but because I was also pretty sick last week I haven’t gotten very far in it. I’m also trying to decide if I want to finish it or not. I like the main male character, but the main female character is rubbing me the wrong way so far. I’ve also become distracted by other books.

I just got Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson from the library and am enjoying it so far. I’ve seen lots of favorable reviews on it, so my hopes are pretty high.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi. The Shatter Me series is one of those series I loved when I first read them and then it doesn’t really hold up when I go back and revisit them. However, when the author announced 3 more books in the series (that was originally a trilogy), I knew I’d read them anyways. I absolutely hated the 4th book in the series, but thought this one was much better. I am super annoyed that it kind of makes everything from the original 3 books obsolete, but at least something happened in this book besides relationship drama, so I’m ok with it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure yet, but I think I need to get back to my NetGalley books and might go with How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper.

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: May 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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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Read May 4-6. 3.5 Stars.

I recently read All the Beautiful Lies and liked it, but everyone else seemed to think it wasn’t as good as Swanson’s previous books and The Kind Worth Killing was mentioned to me several times. I think that gave me really high expectations for this that weren’t quite met.

I liked the multiple POVs. The characters were all awful, but often fascinating. I thought the first twist was really good, but after that my guard was up and I didn’t really find anything else that surprising. Overall I thought this was good, but it didn’t really grip me like I was hoping it would.

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Operation Prom Date (Tactics in Flirting #1) by Cindi Madsen. Read May 12-13. 4 Stars.

I was in the mood for something cute and light and decided to give this one a try when I saw there was no wait for it at the library and I am so glad I did! It was so freaking cute! I loved Kate and Cooper and shipped them pretty hard. I also loved all Kate’s talk about the characters she shipped (“I used to be all about Damon and Elena, but there toward the end, I shipped her and a coffin.” Lolol). I loved how kind of nerdy Kate was and she made me laugh several times. If you’re looking for a sweet YA I definitely recommend this one.

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Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. Read May 14-15. 4 Stars. 

I did really like this, but I also really had some issues with it. I was rooting for Macy and Elliot, but I felt the further we got into the book the less impressed I was with their relationship. When it starts out we just keep being told how they were each other’s first/best “everything” and they were so close and special and then something awful happened where they didn’t speak for eleven years. Every other chapter is told in flashback to when they first met until the big event that drove them apart. As they grew older in the flashbacks, their conversations primarily seemed to revolve around sexual topics and while they’re young and hormonal and I get that, it felt like it was at the expense of finding out real things about each other. Macy realized on several different occasions that their relationship is very insulated and she knows very little about Elliot’s outside life. While I didn’t doubt that they cared about each other, I just never really bought their relationship being as real and close as we’re told it was.

I also thought it got way too long to get to what happened. I pretty much guessed what happened within the first chapter or two and it was kind of annoying that they waited roughly 400 pages to reveal it. And while I’m sure it was a traumatic time for Macy, it also felt like a big overreaction that didn’t warrant eleven years of the silent treatment.

Ok, so I know it sounds like I didn’t like this, but I did. I liked the Present chapters a lot more than I liked the flashbacks. Even though Macy still frustrated me, I did like adult Macy and Elliot together. I liked adult Elliot a lot more than teenage Elliot. The writing was very addictive and once I started this book I only put it down for sleep and work. I did think the first half was better than the second half, though. However, it’s still a book that I think I would read again.

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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. Read May 13-19. 3 Stars. 

The Book of M is certainly an ambitious debut. Covering multiple characters, countries, and time in painstaking detail, it explores a new dystopian world where the loss of memories results in dangerous magic. Full Review to come.

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Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering. Read May 19-20. 4 Stars. 

Tell Me Lies is an addicting tale of a toxic relationship and the dysfunctional people involved in it. Full review to come.

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A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) by Linda Castillo. Read May 21-22. 4 Stars.

Sometimes when a series has been around for awhile, the characters and the stories seem to get a little stale. That is not the case with the Kate Burkholder series. We are ten books in and I still enjoy it just as much as I did the beginning of the series. Full review to come.

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Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley. Read May 23-26. 2.5 Stars. 

Comparisons to Dexter and to Joe made me pretty excited to read Find You in the Dark, but as with such other comparisons, I was left a little disappointed. Full review to come.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas. Read May 26-27. 2.5 Stars.

Well. That was kind of pointless. You know there are groups of characters that you say you would read about them doing ANYTHING? The ACOTAR group has never been that for me, but if they are that for you, you’ll enjoy this. Like all other Maas books it was weighed down with too much pointless detail and very little plot. It was occasionally funny, though, and I will always have a certain level of love for Rhys. I’m not really feeling that inspired to continue the series, but I probably will.

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

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I finally got this from the library, but I just was not in the mood for fantasy at the time. I will try it again some day.

********DNF********

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Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey. DNF-ed at 58%. I almost never DNF a book this far into it, but I just really couldn’t make myself care about it. The concept is interesting, but I don’t think it was executed that well. And the main character was really annoying. I put it down for a few days to read something else and was not at all interested in picking it back up again.

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Jane and Austen by Stephanie Fowers. DNF-ed at 9%. I really liked the concept of this and that it has characters based off of all of Jane Austen’s books, but I just couldn’t get into it. 

Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

 

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Harry Ackerson has always considered his step-mother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “other worldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, he returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help one another pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.

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

All the Beautiful Lies will be available April 3, 2018. 

This is one of those books where I feel like the synopsis doesn’t really describe the book that accurately. It didn’t bother me much, though, in this case because I found the book to be much better than what the synopsis makes it sound like.

All the Beautiful Lies is not a book with shocking twists, but many small reveals. There is one big reveal that might shock some readers that missed the clues early on about the identity of the killer, but I first suspected it at about 30%. I didn’t mind not being shocked by it, though, because I enjoyed everything leading up to it. The use of multiple timelines and POVs were really used effectively to build suspense and reveal things at the most impactful moments. I really never wanted to put the book down. I read the first half in pretty much one sitting.

None of the characters were very likable, but I did feel pretty invested in all of them. Poor, stupid Harry was probably my favorite. I felt so bad for what he was going through, but some of his decisions just frustrated me. I wish we would’ve gotten more of Alice’s POV in the present timeline. Her past timeline POVs were kind of fascinating as we learn how she became the person she is, but I would’ve liked to have heard what was going through her head during some of her interactions with Harry.

Overall, I really enjoyed All the Beautiful Lies. I loved the use of multiple timelines and POVs. The writing was really addictive and the book was hard to put down. This is my first book by Swanson and I’m planning on reading more from him in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars