Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2017

I’ve seen this tag around a lot recently and was thinking about doing it and then I was tagged by Raven over at Dreamy Addictions (go check her out!). Thanks Raven! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017.

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I can’t pick just one, but the 3 books I have rated the highest are: Daisy in ChainsMaking Faces, and Ragdoll

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017.

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I thought this was a good ending to the series and I liked it MUCH more than the previous book.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

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Strange the Dreamer. I got it once at the library, but wasn’t in the mood for it. I then won it in a giveaway so I definitely need to read it.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills.

Biggest Disappointment.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Biggest Surprise.

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Now You See Me. I had never read anything by this author before and when I read this it pulled me out of a book slump and completely consumed me.

Favorite New Author.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton (aka: S. J. Bolton)

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Carter Aaron from Dating You / Hating You

Newest Favorite Character.

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Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Book That Made You Happy.

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

I am wracking my brain and I don’t think that I’ve watched any. I saw the first episode of the Big Little Lies tv series (and then my free HBO expired) and thought it was ok, but it did not live up to my expectations.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

Convince me to Buy a Kindle because you all did, in fact, convince me to buy a Kindle.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

I’ve only actually bought three books this year and I am honestly not a fan of any of their covers.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

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

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2017

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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Always My Girl (The Shaughnessy Brothers #3) by Samantha Chase. Read May 6-7. 3 Stars.

There were some cute moments in this book, but I spent a good deal of time being frustrated at either Anna or Quinn. It was a pretty well done Friends-to-Lovers story, though. I might check out some of the other books in the series.

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Read May 5-10. 2 Stars.

I applaud the ambitiousness of the many, many narrators in this book, but unfortunately it really didn’t work for me. Some of the POVs were 1st person POV and some were 3rd person. The perspective changed so quickly that I never really felt a connection to any of the characters. However, the quick chapters were also the only thing that really kept me reading. I felt like the story dragged on for much too long. Information was given about each character one little piece at a time and by the time things were actually explained I had already guessed it so it felt really anti-climactic. There was absolutely zero shocks or surprises in the whole thing. This isn’t one I would recommend.

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The Party by Robyn Harding. Read May 11-13. 3 Stars.

Even though I hated all the characters in this, I still wanted to find out what happened, so this is getting 3 stars instead of 2. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 21-25. 2 Stars.

Well, this was disappointing! Good concept, but really lacking in execution. I thought a great deal of the book was really boring. There’s a ton of inner monologues where the characters just go back and forth and back and forth on any and everything they’re thinking about. I’ve read all these reviews about how Mariko is this bad-ass warrior, but, like, am I reading the same book?? I thought she was immature and kind of self-centered. She went on and on about having honor, but didn’t really do anything very honorable. There’s a part where she talks about how she outsmarted some people several times over and it made me laugh. The romance was ok, but not as good as I was hoping it would be after loving Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. Overall, I was just really disappointed in this. But, obviously, I am the black sheep of hype, so I’m sure may others will love it.

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My Lady Jane. I loved this book just as much as I did the first time around. I still really recommend it if you haven’t read it yet!

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I admit I requested this from the library based on the cover and hype alone. I didn’t even really know what it was about. I read the prologue and knew that I was definitely not in the mood to try it, so I decided to put it off for some other time. I actually just found out yesterday I won a giveaway of this book, so it’s definitely one I will be reading in the future.  The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I got this from the library, but it’s going to expire before I get to it. Plus, I really think I need to read the first two books again before I try to continue with the series.

Birthstone as Books Book Tag

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I saw this tag over at Bookish Things and Tea and thought it looked like a fun one. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

GARNET (JANUARY)- Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies, name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Most of the books I think of are YA fantasy/paranormal books, but the villains almost always have some type of redeeming quality/tragic backstory that makes us feel sorry for them. I can’t think of one that’s just straight up evil. So instead I’m going to go with adult mystery and go with about any killer/bad guy in a Karin Slaughter book. Her books usually have some really dark material and the things the bad guy does often makes me sick to my stomach.

AMETHYST (FEBRUARY)- Purple is associated with royalty, name a book with regal qualities…You can base your choice on characters or choose the king (or queen) of all books.

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I think I’ll take this one literally and go with The Royal We.

AQUAMARINE (MARCH)- Washed out, name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

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Shay from An Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. When it came to the relationship with Travis she is always one step forward, three steps back. It drove me crazy.

DIAMOND (APRIL)- A diamond in the rough, name a book that you loved but is not well known.

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I’m going to go with the whole Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I do not see nearly enough of her and she is amazing!

EMERALD (MAY)- Said to balance energy, name two characters who balance each other well.

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I’m going to go with McKenzie’s answer and go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. The strongest thing for me in the series was their relationship and I felt like they’re one of the few YA couples that really are a pretty evenly matched team.

PEARL (JUNE)- Associated with loyalty, name a character who is loyal to the end.

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Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. Even when things looked really bad for Cinder, he was always trying to look out for her.

RUBY (JULY)- Blood red, name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and it took until the very end of the book for her to admit to any blame whatsoever.

PERIDOT (AUGUST)- It pales in comparison to other gems, name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

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Bianca and Leo from The Art of Lainey. I would have much rather read a book about them than about Lainey and Micah.

SAPPHIRE (SEPTEMBER)- Blue like the ocean which is calming, name a book that had a calming affect on you.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. Her books just make me so happy,

OPAL (OCTOBER)- Iridescent, name an iridescent book; this can be with a beautiful cover (shiny, colorful) or you can base it off a character (quirky? unique?).

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I will never stop hyping this book.

TOPAZ (NOVEMBER)- Associated with resilience, name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

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Emma from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She has so much to deal with and she works her way through it.

BLUE ZIRCON (DECEMBER)- Associated with friendship, name a book with a friendship you want to be a part of.

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The crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want to pull off a heist with these guys.

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?

Top Ten Tuesday: Time Passes and so does my Love

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Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday of the year! This week’s topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.).  This is a topic that I’ve actually been thinking about writing a post about on my own, so it seemed like the perfect time to jump back in to TTT.

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1. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

I think that a lot of people identify with this one. After hearing so much about this I decided to give it a try and I ended up reading the whole series in a week. It was also the first time in a very long time that I had read for pleasure. The series reminded me what it was like to have fun reading, to fall in love with characters, to HAVE TO KNOW what happens next. It also had a super romantic lead and cute romance. I loved it. Then…I started reading a lot more. When I went back much later to re-read Twilight, I found myself not being able to get through it. I realized that the super cute romance wasn’t exactly a healthy relationship and the plot and writing left a lot to be desired. This series will always hold a special place in my heart, but it’s one that I no longer love or highly recommend.

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2. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

Ok, this is probably the most controversial one on the list. I remember being a little confused by the story, but loving the characters so much that I didn’t care. I raved about this series all the time. Then I decided to re-read it before the last book came out and I was a little underwhelmed by it. While I still adore the characters, I’ve found the confusing plot makes it unbearable at times. And the further away from The Raven King I get, the more dissatisfied I am with it as a series ender.

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3. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Another series I absolutely loved the first time around and didn’t quite enjoy as much the second time around. My biggest issue is on the last book. Adam’s complete change in personality was such an easy way out of the love triangle and I think it did a great injustice to the character. It bothered me a little when I first read it, but after going back later it really bothered me a lot.

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4. The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout

Ok, probably another unpopular opinion. I recommend this series ALL. THE TIME. I’ve said again and again it’s one of the best YA series around. But the last time I re-read it…I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I mean, I still like it and I’ll still recommend it, but with a little less fervor than before.

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5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This book really surprised me when I first read it by how much I loved it. However, when I went back to re-read it before the sequel came out, there were many parts of it that I wanted to skip through. It’s still a good book, but I think going from no expectations to really high expectations kind of ruined it for me. And I was pretty underwhelmed with The Rose and the Dagger which has soured me just a bit on the series as a whole.

Ok, so just 5 books this time. I need to work my way back into it. What books have you had a change in heart about over time? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Review: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn. Unfortunately, The Rose and the Dagger surprised me by how underwhelming I found it.

For a long time it felt like NOTHING was happening. There was really nothing going on that was advancing the plot in any way. This wouldn’t be so bad if we were diving into deep character development, but there wasn’t much of that either. We kept jumping perspectives between Shahrzad, Khalid, Irsa, Tariq, Jahander, and Omar and we never spent a lot of time with any of them at any given time.

Things finally began to pick up when Shahrzad figured out how to use her magic carpet and met a new character, Artan, who knows about magic and curses. I did like Artan, but we did not get enough of him for me to really grow to love him. There was much hinted at in regards to his family and his aunt’s abilities, but barely anything is really done with it. We don’t find out any more of Artan’s history or why his aunt want’s Jahander’s book destroyed so badly. It feels like a big loose end that was never tied up and thus a little pointless?

Where the book shines is when Khalid and Shahrzad are together. They are a great example of a romantic pairing being a real team. I enjoy their banter and I enjoy their romance and I can’t say there was really a scene that I didn’t like when it involved both of them. While there is more to this book than a romance story, I felt like it floundered just a bit when the romance wasn’t involved.

While I felt like nothing was happening for much of the beginning of the book, the plot did really pick up towards the end. The talk of war becomes a little more than talk and there’s kidnapping and double-crossing, and a few deaths – one of which was pretty emotionally impactful (**VERY MINOR POTENTIAL SPOILER** and I think it was a real missed opportunity that none of the children mentioned in the epilogue was named after this person).

Overall, The Rose and the Dagger was just ok. After how much I enjoyed the first book in the series, I was disappointed that the follow up did not live up to my expectations. However, I really enjoy the relationship between Khalid and Shahrzad and that enough is reason for me recommend this series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 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 Crown and the Arrow (The Wrath and the Dawn 0.5) by Renee Ahdieh. Read March 3. 3 Stars.

This works as a nice deleted scene to The Wrath and the Dawn. I wish it was a little longer, though.

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Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik. Read March 6. 3.5 Stars

A pretty decent Pride and Prejudice re-telling with likable main characters. Super cute and a quick read.

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Chasing Jane by Noelle Adams. Read March 5-6. 3 Stars.

A cute, fast, romantic read. I liked the premise of the Jane Austen/Jane Eyre tour of England and wish the book would’ve been long enough to really explore that, though.

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Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes. Read March 3-6. 4 stars.

It’s probably wrong how much I love Joe. He is one crazy, messed up, scary guy. But I couldn’t stop rooting for him. Kepnes writes him in such a way that I am SO in his head that his craziness almost makes sense. I thought the book was a little too drawn out and the ending was left a little too open to be completely satisfying, but it was overall a compulsively readable, enjoyable book.

Last First Kiss (Brightwater, #1)

Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by Lila Riley. Read March 9-11. 3 Stars.

This was a pretty average romance, but mostly enjoyable. I liked Sawyer. He was very sweet. Occasionally I thought he was a little TOO into Annie too fast (a couple times I almost found him creepy), but overall he was likable.

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The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright. Read March 17-19. 3 Stars.

A solid mix of adorable and cheesy. It’s a shame the synopsis basically gives everything away, though (not the author’s fault, though). We know Edmund is a prince so it’s not as fun as it should’ve been waiting for Evie to figure it out. We know who Evie’s mother was well before the 100+ pages it took for Evie to confirm it.

It’s also a bit of a mix of Princess Diaries and Anna and the French Kiss, but doesn’t quite live up to either. (Evie even says once, “I’d felt like I was in a bad remake of The Princess Diaries.”) The “quest” letters from her mother didn’t play as big a role as I thought it would.

Overall, though, it was pretty cute. I liked Evie, though she did have some moments where she “stuck up for herself” which just made her sound bratty and immature. And Edmund was SO SWEET. I just loved him. He did a few dumb things, of course, but he’s definitely book boyfriend material.

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Married ’til Monday (Chapel Springs #4) by Denise Hunter. Read March 20-21. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. My hold came in at the library and I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to read it, but decided to give it a try and couldn’t put it down. I really liked the characters, Ryan especially. I liked that it involved two of my favorite romance tropes: The Fake Relationship and The Second-Chance Romance. I liked that Abby finally realized she had some issues and worked on them instead of just jumping back into a relationship and let a guy “fix” her. I thought it did run just a tad long, though. Overall, I really liked it and I’ll be going back to read the first books in the series.

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Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) by Denise Hunter. Read March 26-27. 3 stars.

This book brought me out of a book slump, but it ended up being just ok for me. I liked it to start with, but I thought it just dragged on a little too long. A lot of repetition. And this is the first book in a series and I’ve already read the last book in the series and there are some continuity issues with the character who the last book focuses on which annoyed me a little.
Overall, though, it was a sweet romance with likable characters and a good message woven in.

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RE-READS

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The Lynburn Legacy: Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. I completely adore this series and I love it just as much every time I read it. I really thought I was finally going to get a review written for Unmade, but it still didn’t happen. Maybe next time.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh. I wanted to re-read this before the next book comes out. I enjoyed it, but I found myself skimming parts of it, too.