Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2021

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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Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson. Read April 3-5. 2.5 Stars.

This book was bonkers. The writing had that addictive quality I expect from Swanson, which I’m giving the extra half star for, but the story itself was like a campy Lifetime movie. I had some theories about what would happen that I thought couldn’t be right because it was too crazy, but then it went down an even crazier path. You definitely have to suspend your grip on reality to enjoy this, which I wasn’t entirely able to do.

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All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata. Read April 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this! Such a sweet, slow-burn romance. I might have some issues with Zapata’s writing sometimes, but she definitely knows how to write a romantic hero that will make my cold, black heart have some feelings.

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When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons #6) by Julia Quinn. Read April 8-10. 3.5 Stars. 

Another enjoyable book in the Bridgertons series, but not one of my favorites. I wish there was a little more of the Bridgertons present, but I did like both Francesca and Michael.

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Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne. Read April 16-18. 3.5 Stars.

The first several chapters were a bit of a chore to get through, but I was eventually able to get into the story. I didn’t like that the main character, Ruthie, keeps being referred to as old at 25, mostly by her 22 year-old assistant, Melanie. I didn’t really like Melanie at all. She’s supposed to be funny and supportive, but I found her a little grating. I also thought the two elderly ladies hiring young men to exploit and humiliate was a little tone deaf in today’s environment. There also wasn’t really much of a plot. But, despite all that, I did enjoy watching Ruthie and Teddy fall in love. There were several cute moments and I liked how they helped each other grow. If you’re looking for another The Hating Game, you’re not going to find it here, but it was definitely a solid effort from Thorne and I’ll try whatever she writes next.

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The Beach by R.S. Grey. Read April 25. 2.5 Stars. 

This was very short and didn’t have much of a plot. The characters are from Doctor Dearest (which wasn’t my favorite R.S. Grey book) and the story is basically the female lead internal monologuing about her crush on the guy, them hooking up a lot, and then deciding it’s not just an island fling. I would have liked a little more banter and romance thrown in to round out the story a bit.

*****DNF*****

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The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. DNF @ 47%. I saw so many glowing reviews of this book and was very excited to read it, but it just didn’t work for me. The beginning was so slow and felt like a chore to get through. I found myself really annoyed about how often this super amazing plot is mentioned, without actually finding out what it is. I also guessed right away who the internet “troll” who accuses the main character of plagiarism was. I stopped reading properly at around 47%, but then skimmed through towards the end so I could see if my prediction was correct. It was. And that plot that kept being mentioned as revolutionary? VERY disappointing. Honestly, I thought it sounded similar to an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…

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

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The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars

Falling by T.J. Newman – 3.5 Stars

Shutter by Melissa Larsen – 1 Star

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2021

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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To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons #2) by Julia Quinn. Read March 8-11. 4 Stars.

I have been eagerly anticipating Eloise’s book and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I expected to. It took me awhile to figure out what wasn’t working for me, and it was half way through when her brothers show up that I realized I was missing the other Bridgertons. The banter that I love wasn’t as present in this installment of the series due to the Bridgertons not being around for most of the book and also that Phillip is on the quieter side. I also was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see much of the initial letters that led up to their meeting and their wedding was glossed over. Though we did get to see more of it in the previous book, I wanted to see it from Eloise and Phillip’s point of view. And I know this sounds like a lot of complaints, but they’re small nitpicky things and I did end up enjoying this. I will be eagerly waiting the next book in the series to become available at the library.

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Too Good to be True by Carola Lovering. Read March 5-12. 2 Stars. 

I found this really disappointing. I kept hearing about great twists, but there was absolutely nothing in this book that was surprising. Maybe if you’ve read very few books in this genre? Still, though, at least one of the “twists” was super obvious from very early on and wasn’t “revealed” until after half way through the book. I was waiting for a really explosive ending, but everything that happened just made me roll my eyes.

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Love at First by Kate Clayborn. Read March 4-13. 4 Stars. 

Quirky, romantic, a little sad, and sweet. I really ended up enjoying this book. I loved Will and Nora and all their neighbors. Though it took me just a bit to get into the story (I think that probably had more to do with my mood at the time I started it than the book itself), once I did, I was hooked and didn’t want to put it down. While it was just a little longer than I thought it needed to be, it was such a sweet story and I’m really looking forward to checking out more by this author.

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Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. Read March 17-18. 4 Stars. 

I struggled a little with how to rate this. There wasn’t really much to the plot for most of the book, it could get pretty cheesy, and the big dramatic turn it takes in the last quarter or so of the book seemed a little out of nowhere – and in how it impacted Meg a little on the unrealistic side. However, the romance was cute and sweet, there was some good humorous moments, it made me want to learn calligraphy, and I did overall enjoy the reading experience, so I’m going to boost my rating up to 4 stars.

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To Have and to Hate by R.S. Grey. Read March 18-19. 4 Stars. 

This was a cute marriage of convenience story. I got a little frustrated with the lack of communication and would have liked Elizabeth’s relationship with her family a little more explored. Overall, though, it was a quick read that I enjoyed.

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

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A Simple Murder (Kate Burkholder series novellas) by Linda Castillo. I was in a big book slump for the last week and a half or so and by the time I finally felt like reading again, I only got through one of the stories before my library book expired. I will definitely try this again later, though. 

*****DNF*****

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A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J. Maas. DNF @ 4%. Yes, I only read a couple chapters of this, but I couldn’t really force myself to read anything more. I looked at a lot of other reviews and there was nothing in them that made me think it would be worth it to me to finish the book.

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Take it Off the Menu by Christina Hovland. DNF @ 36%. I thought this sounded cute, but I never really connected with it. I didn’t think the main character was very likable and I hate when poor communication is a major plot point.

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

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Where Secrets Lie by Eva V. Gibson – 2 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2021

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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Nate by Tijan. Read February 18-21. 3 Stars.

I liked this, but I didn’t love it. Usually I hate the “Surprise! You’re a father!” trope, but there was kind of a twist on it here, so I didn’t mind it as much. I loved all the times we got to see Nate interacting with Logan and Mason. I was never fully on board the romance, though. It felt a little icky to me since Nate had previously been with Quincy’s sister.

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Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgertons #4) by Julia Quinn. Read 21-24. 4 Stars. 

I have really been enjoying this series so much more than I ever expected to and I think this book has become my new favorite so far. Collin has been one of my favorite characters in the last couple of books – he always has the best lines. His banter with Penelope (and so many others) definitely did not disappoint. Since I watched the show before I started the books, I already knew who Lady Whistledown was, so that reveal felt a little drawn out to me, but I didn’t mind it too much. I loved the relationship between Penelope and Collin and I had a lot of fun reading this one.

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Wrong For Me by Meagan Brandy. Read February 24-26. 2 Stars. 

After reading a couple Tijan books recently, I was kind of in the mood to continue with that type of crazy, angsty read and I came upon this while browsing KU. This book was ridiculous. Like every single crazy thing that happened was more ridiculous than the thing before it. I honestly don’t know why I kept reading it, but I did and that’s why it’s getting 2 stars instead of 1. It’s definitely not one I would ever recommend to anyone, though.

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

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Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3) by Sarah Morgenthaler. I’m a little concerned that this series might be a one hit wonder for me. I loved the first book in this series, but I couldn’t get into the second book despite trying it several times and I couldn’t get into this one either. I’m hoping it’s just my mood and I will try this again sometime. 

*****DNF*****

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An Unexpected Love Story by Ellie Hall. DNF @ 10%. I was browsing Kindle Unlimited and thought this could be cute, but two chapters in and it was way too sappy for me.

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If It’s Perfect by Summer Dowell. DNF @ 26%. I just wasn’t very impressed with this. I didn’t really like the characters or the writing. It was around the time the main character called someone a “scoundrel” that it really lost me.

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

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – 4 Stars

The Insiders by Tijan – 3 Stars

The Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2021

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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Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey. Read December 31-January 1. 4 Stars.

This was a fun little book. It was humorous and I liked the characters. I didn’t love that the romance between Jack and Meredith started while she was still technically married, though, even if she had left her abusive husband and was definitely planning on divorcing. I did like that they went slow, though, and Jack was really sweet. I never really felt like the title fit the book.

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The Swap by Robyn Harding. Read January 1. 4 Stars.

Well, this was an entertaining and twisted read. It’s a story of obsession and manipulation and pretty awful people, but it was incredibly addicting. Even though almost every twist could be seen from a mile away, I didn’t want to put it down.

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All the Rage (DI Adam Fawley #4) by Cara Hunter. Read January 3-6. 4 Stars.

Another great installment of the series. Loved the development of all the beloved characters, as well as the new mystery. There were lots of threads to bring together and Hunter did a great job with it.

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The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1) by Julia Quinn. Read January 12-16. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed Bridgerton on Netflix, so I thought I should try the book and I really enjoyed this, too. I realized the show made quite a bit of changes, which probably would’ve annoyed me if I read the book first, but since I watched the show first, I find I’m ok with it.

I loved the banter between Simon and Daphne. The book was much funnier than I expected it to be and I had a fun time reading it. I plan to continue with the series.

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A Temporary Marriage (Fake Love #1) by Summer Dowell. Read January 17-18. 3 Stars.

I love a good Fake Relationship / Marriage of Convenience story and this was pretty cute. It did drag a little in the middle and I considered DNF-ing, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I’ll probably try more from this author.

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The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons #2) by Julia Quinn. Read January 21-23. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this! I think even more than the first book. I didn’t like that Anthony was a little too mean in some parts, but I did like him overall, which I didn’t expect since he was not my favorite in the first book (or the tv show). I also really liked Kate and her family. There was so much fun banter, too.

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An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgerton #3) by Julia Quinn. Read January 23-25. 3.5 Stars

I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two books, but I still enjoyed it. The fun banter that I’ve come to expect from these books was present and I loved it. I liked Sophie and Benedict together. I wanted a little more character development from Benedict, though.

*****Re-Read*****

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The Stand-In Boyfriend (Grove Valley High #1) by Emma Doherty.

I started the sequel to this book and after a couple chapters it just made me really want to read this one again. So I did. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Livy still managed to annoy me a good deal of the time, but Chase was just as sweet as I remembered.

*****DNF*****

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The Relationship Pact (Kings of Football #3) by Adriana Locke. DNF @ 16%. I wanted to like this, but I jut couldn’t get into it.

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The Backup Girlfriend (Grove Valley High #2) by Emma Doherty. DNF @ 17%. I wanted to like this, but I didn’t. At all. I’m not forcing myself to read any more of it.

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Varsity Rulebreaker (Varsity #3) by Ginger Scott. DNF @ 49%. I hated Cannon half the time. I hated Hollis all of the time. I have lots of other thoughts on why this didn’t work for me, but they all come back to the characters and their behavior, so I’m just going to leave it at this.

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The Class Reunion by N.L. Hinkens. DNF @ 17%. Just couldn’t get into this. I never really connected with the main character and the writing left a little to be desired.

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Marrying Mr. Darcy (Love Manor #2) by Kate O’Keeffe. DNF @ 20%. I enjoyed the first book in this series well enough and was looking forward to this one, but it just never captured my interest. Maybe if I could have read them back-to-back I would still feel invested in the characters, but I don’t now, so I’m going to call it.

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You Have a Match by Emma Lord. DNF @ 16%. I hate stories where the biggest source of drama is miscommunications. I also really didn’t care for the main character. I can’t make myself read anymore of this.

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The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson. DNF @ 50%. I really wanted to like this, but I never got invested. The main character was pretty unlikable and I found it hard to root for her.

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

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The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry – 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2020

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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Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5) by K.A. Tucker. Read December 1. 4 Stars. 

It took me a couple chapters to really get into this, but of course I enjoyed it. I love Calla and Jonah and the rest of the quirky cast of characters. And I’m really glad ***SPOILER*** we got to see their wedding. I did think it left a few things too open, but hopefully they’ll be address in the spin-off book (about Marie, which I’m not thrilled about, but will still read).

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Play with Me (Grover Beach Team #1) by Piper Shelly. Read November 30 – December 2. 2.5 Stars. 

This has been on my TBR a long time. It was a pretty classic YA Contemporary for the time period it was published in. I didn’t love the characters, but I didn’t hate them. I would’ve given this 3 stars, except I found the love interest kind of skeevy in the epilogue. I won’t be reading any other books in this series.

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The Not-Outcast by Tijan. Read December 2-6. 2 Stars. 

Sometimes I am completely here for all the angsty, over-the-top drama in Tijan books. I wasn’t for this one. I did like how the story shone a light on someone living with severe mental health issues and I ended up liking the romance between Cut and Cheyenne, even though the whole alpha-possessive thing put me off at first. That was about all I liked, though.

I really didn’t care for Cheyenne’s friends. Sure, they were there for each other and were loyal and that’s nice. But I hated how they handled things. They either got drunk or did dumb pranks and just came off as really immature to me. A lot is talked about Cheyenne’s mental health issues, but I think her friends really could’ve used some intensive therapy, too, to be honest.

And while I liked the inclusion of the mental health issues, I didn’t think they were handled that well. Cheyenne kind of acts like no one except for people “like her” could possibly understand anything she goes through. While she did have a more extreme reaction to things, I think I lot of the ways she thought and had anxiety is normal for a lot of people.

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The Cousins by Karen M. McManus. Read December 6-9. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but thought it started better than it ended. There were a decent amount of twists and while I wouldn’t say that I was super surprised by any of them, I didn’t see all of them coming from miles away, either. I liked the characters and the multiple POVs. I thought it started to feel a little long, though, and the end was pretty underwhelming. What was supposed to be a shock at the end came off as kind of lame to me. Overall, though, it entertained me for a good few days and I look forward to McManus’ next book.

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The Clause in Christmas (Poppy Creek #2) by Rachael Bloome. Read December 10-12. 3.5 Stars.

I’ve been looking for a cute Christmas Romance and this one hit the spot. The romance was sweet and I liked the characters and small town setting. I did think that Cassie could be a little overdramatic, though, and then everything would work out a little too easily after. Overall, it was a cute story that reminded me a lot of a Hallmark Christmas movie and I might give the next book in the series a try.

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Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey. Read December 13. 4 Stars. 

It’s been a long time since I managed to read a proper-sized book in a day, but that’s what happened with this book. I enjoyed Maddie and Aiden and definitely shipped them together. I do have to say that I enjoyed the first half of the book a little more than the last half, though. Thankfully, the last couple chapters brought the overall story back to a 4 star read for me. I also want to say that the tone of the book felt a lot different than the synopsis suggests and I think that’s a good thing. If you’re a fan of R.S. Grey, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, too.

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Best Friends Don’t Kiss by Max Monroe. Read December 13-16. 3.5 Stars

This was cute. I loved the best friendship between Ava and Luke and I liked when it turned into more. I thought the pacing seemed a little odd, though. I expected the majority of the book to be in the fake relationship stage, but it’s about half way through the book before they join Ava’s family. There was so much time spent on Ava going on bad dates that seemed a little pointless because we already know that Luke is going to agree to be the fake boyfriend. There were also a number of cameos of characters from other books by this author duo that I’m sure long time fans love, but I found really confusing trying to keep track of. All that said, though, this was an enjoyable read and I might even try some other books by these authors. If it wasn’t for the SUPER sappy last couple chapters that I found a little hard to stomach, I probably would’ve bumped my rating up to 4 stars.

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The Prince and the Troll (Faraway #1) by Rainbow Rowell. Read December 16. 1 Star. 

It hurts my heart to rate a Rainbow Rowell book so low, but what even was this? 25 pages of allegorical climate change and socioeconomic status commentary? This was a big NOPE for me.

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The Office Party by Whitney G. Read December 18-20. 3 Stars. 

The whole concept of this story was kind of ridiculous and the romantic lead seemed a little stalkerish, but it had some funny moments that I enjoyed.

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The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. Read December 22-23. 3 Stars. 

Usually I’m not a fan of novellas, but I thought this one could actually have benefitted by being a little shorter. There were some cute and funny moments and I did like Riley and Kennedy together, but I thought the story dragged a lot at times. There were also mentions of pretty heavy emotional topics that are brought up at random times and then quickly shoved aside. I also thought it was eye-rollingly sappy at times. That said, it was a quick, enjoyable little book that fit in with my holiday reading binge and I might give these authors another try.

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Scrooged by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. Read December 24. 4 Stars. 

I didn’t realize this was 3 stories instead of 1 when I picked it up, but it worked for me. They maybe weren’t the best quality books I’ve ever read, but I enjoyed them and I read them on Christmas Eve, so I gave it 4 stars.

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Floored by Karla Sorensen. Read December 18-26. 2 Stars. 

Knowing that unplanned pregnancy is one of my least favorite tropes, I probably should’ve skipped this book. It was definitely my least favorite Sorensen book. It took me a very long time to get on board with Lia and Jude. In the beginning I did not feel their chemistry at all. It felt really forced to me. It wasn’t until the last few chapters that I actually bought into their feelings for each other. I also didn’t like how they handled things for the majority of the book. However, I DID like that Lia didn’t waste too much time in telling Jude about the pregnancy because the only think I hate more than the unplanned pregnancy trope is the “surprise, you’re a father!” trope – where the mother tells the fathers years after the kid is born. While this book wasn’t for me, I am looking forward to Isabel’s book next.

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The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss. Read December 27-29. 2.5 Stars. 

This had a lot of potential, but it didn’t live up to it for me. It was way longer than it needed to be with far too much description about meaningless things. And after spending most of the book shipping Kate and Matt, I thought the big reconciliation moment fell flat.

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Searching for Coach Taylor by Mindy Kaling. Read December 29. 3 Stars.

A little funny, but not really anything special. I will probably skip the rest of these essays.

*****Re-Read*****

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Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd. I loved this just as much the second time around. I think this book is going to be one of my holiday traditions that I read every year.

*****DNF*****

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New Year’s Steve by Sara Ney and M.E. Carter. DNF @ 38%. I don’t really have any legitimate complaints about this book, except that I don’t think the humor was for me and I just couldn’t get into it. After a couple chapters I also realized that the side characters were from a book I read last Christmas by the same authors that I didn’t really enjoy, either, so I decided it probably wouldn’t be worth it to finish this one. I do love the colors in that cover, though!

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2020

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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Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards. Read November 12-15. 3 Stars. 

This sounded a lot more intriguing than it actually ended up being. I thought that the identity of the “bad guy” was so obvious from the beginning that it couldn’t possibly be that person because it was so obvious. So that made me suspect some of the other characters briefly, but it ended up being the super obvious person, which was kind of disappointing. I’m giving this three stars, just because this is the first book I finished in a couple weeks.

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

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The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous – 3 Stars

Shipped by Angie Hockman – 3 Stars

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon – 3 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: October 2020

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 Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler. Read September 28 – October 4. 4 Stars. 

This book is the absolute cutest! The romance was adorable, Graham was adorable, his dog was adorable. While I thought the book could’ve maybe been a little bit shorter, I really enjoyed it.

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The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn. Read October 11-12. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. It had a few funny moments, but a lot of things just made me roll my eyes. I do appreciate that it handled the whole Hate-to-Love trope much better than a lot of other books I’ve read recently.

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I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp. Read October 25-27. 4 Stars. 

I recently watched the I Still Believe movie and it has reignited my interest in Jeremy Camp and his music. Before picking this up, I was really struggling with reading anything, but this one broke through. I have to say that I’ve always had Jeremy Camp on a bit of pedestal – if you know his story you can probably understand why – and it was almost a little shocking to see just how not perfect he is. But that’s another great part of this story. It was very realistic and relatable to see that he has had his fair share of doubts and spiritual struggles and needs to continually recommit himself to living out his faith. I’m definitely glad I decided to pick this one up.

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

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The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci. I read a couple chapters and discovered I wasn’t in the mood for this. The main character was annoying me. I do plan to try it again someday, though.

*****DNF*****

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Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. DNF @ 44%. I just can’t with this. The whole “Annie loves rom-coms” schtick was just too much. I think it could’ve worked and been cute if she wasn’t quite so obsessed/unrealistic. She just came off as insufferable. And can I say how completely over I am of the “hate-to-love” trope being twisted into the female lead being completely petty and a little crazy in her reactions to a guy that has literally done nothing wrong to her? I know I’m in the minority with this, but this book just didn’t work for me at all.

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Spoiler Alert and  40-Love by Olivia Dade. DNF @ 11% and 19%. Both books become available from the library at once and I ended up only reading a few chapters of each. This author just isn’t for me.

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Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan. I stopped properly reading at the 39% mark, but did kind of skim through the end because even though I lost interest in the details, I still wanted to find out what happened. For what this book was, I think it did it well. This is more a case of me not being the right reader for the book (which is happening to me a lot lately). With the way the world is right now, I just can’t make myself read a book that is all about people misjudging each other and being generally awful to one another. Reading is my escape and we get enough of this hatefulness in real life.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2020

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 Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan. Read August 29 – September 1. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this. I thought Hilarie’s journey from teen drama star to small-town farmer\occasional actress was really interesting. Though I definitely respect all of the work she and her husband have put into their relationship, I have to say it came across as pretty dysfunctional most of the time. He mostly came across as self-centered and controlling to me, following all of his hollywood dreams while she either took care of things at home or just followed him around. I did think she downplayed a lot of the acting jobs she took, though. And she seemed happy with her life, so I’ll try not to judge.

While I think the tone of the book was supposed to be kind of inspirational about how you can do anything you put your mind to, there wasn’t much said about how everything they did was possible because of how wealthy they are. Overall, though, I thought she came across as likable and relatable and this was an enjoyable read.

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Yours to Keep (Man of the Year #2) by Lauren Layne. Read September 3-6. 4 Stars. 

I am always happy when a new Lauren Layne book comes out. This was cute and bantery and fun. I really liked both Carter and Olive and loved watching as their friendship evolved into more. I also liked that it was set mostly in a cute, small town. Most of Layne’s books these days are set in NYC with super rich, polished characters and it was a nice change to see a quirky high school teacher as the lead.

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Dating Mr. Darcy (Love Manor #1) by Kate O’Keeffee. Read September 8-9. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute. I liked the dating reality show concept. I liked the romance, but thought it could have been developed a little more. It felt like they only had a couple real interactions before they were “in love.” I’d be interested in reading more from this, author.

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Steal Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods. Read September 8-11. 3 Stars.

I wanted to read this ever since watching the Netflix show. I enjoyed it for the most part. I liked watching Maddie navigate her divorce and becoming a single parent and her new relationship with Cal. I liked the romance, even if it was a little fast. I kind of skimmed through a lot of the rest of it, though. In the show, I really liked the friendship between Maddie and her two best friends, but they kind of annoyed me here. They weren’t really given much to do besides encourage Maddie to go into business with them and pursue a relationship with Cal (though, the next couple of books in the series shifts the focus to them, so I’m sure the character development will improve).

Since I’ve already watched the show, I have to point out some of the differences. The show made Noreen a much more sympathetic character than the book did. There were several plotlines on the show with Maddie’s kids and I have to say I’m not mad that most of them didn’t exist in the book. I thought Book Cal was a lot sweeter than Show Cal, but I thought Show Maddie was more likable than Book Maddie.

I’m looking forward to watching season two, but I don’t see myself reading more of this series, even though I mostly enjoyed this one.

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Not My Romeo (The Game Changers #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Read September 12-13. 3.5 Stars.

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. The characters were likable and I loved the small town atmosphere. I thought Jack was really sweet, if a little unbelievable. There were several more graphic scenes than I generally appreciate, but that was one of the only things that brought it down for me.

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Loathe Thy Neighbor (Roommate Romps #1) by Teagan Hunter. Read September 17-27. 2 Stars. 

This wasn’t for me. There were some funny parts, which Hunter always does well, but the story itself was pretty ‘meh’. I didn’t like the main character and I didn’t even really ship the romance.

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

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The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell – 2.5 Stars

Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella – 3 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2020

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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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. Read August 1-3. 3 Stars.

This was cute, but I thought it drug on for a little too long. Right when I thought things were winding down, I realized I hadn’t even hit the halfway mark yet. I kind of hated Pepper’s mom right up until the last couple chapters when her motivation is finally explained. Even then, she just came across as petty. It also made me like Jack’s dad less, after he finally did something fatherly that I approved of. I also expected a lot more from the Twitter war. I didn’t really think most of the tweets were that funny. That said, I liked the relationship between Pepper and Jack. I thought they were sweet and this was one of the cleaner YA books I’ve read lately, which I appreciate. I’ll be interested in reading more from this author.

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The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10) by Karin Slaughter. Read August 10-13. 4 Stars.

A new Will Trent book is always amongst my most anticipated books of the year and The Silent Wife did not disappoint. I enjoyed the mystery, solid, procedural police work, and – as always – Will. The subject matter of the mystery is pretty intense and was often hard to read, but if you’ve read a Slaughter book before, you know to expect that. I enjoyed many aspects of the multiple timelines, but I have to say I wasn’t thrilled to be in Grant County. I still haven’t read that series, but there’s been several visits there during this series and I am always wary of having to deal with Lena again. This was my first look at Sarah’s former husband, Jeffrey, though. I have to say I wasn’t impressed with him. And I also wasn’t impressed with Sarah in this installment. Like, I’ve had issues with her here and there throughout the series, but I straight up disliked her until the final pages of the story. That said, I did like the ending and I’m looking forward to the next Will Trent book.

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The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey. Read August 10-15. 3 Stars. 

This one was just ok for me. The main character was pretty quirky. While I did like her, I also found her kind of annoying. I didn’t find Logan’s character very consistent. He vacillated between being really sweet and being alpha/controlling. I preferred when he was sweet. Definitely not my favorite book by this author.

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Varsity Tiebreaker (Varsity #2) by Ginger Scott. Read August 10-16. 3 Stars. 

Tory was my favorite thing about the previous book in this series, so I was excited to read more about him. While I still liked him, I was disappointed in him for most of the book. You would think that with how upset he was with his mother for cheating, he would do a little better than cheating with his brother’s girlfriend. I hate cheating and it really brought down my enjoyment of the book. I liked the family storylines a lot more than the romance and I wish there was more focus on that. I did like how Tory and Hayden’s relationship got back on track, though.

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Office Mate (Milford College #2) by Noelle Adams. Read August 17-18. 3 Stars. 

Ok, but not my favorite by this author. I thought the couple jumped into a physical relationship too fast. The dialogue during those scenes made me roll my eyes a lot, too. The ending was cute, though.

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Treasure (Hush Collection) by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read August 18. 3 Stars. 

I was a big fan of My Sister, the Serial Killer, so I was excited to see that Braithwaite had another book out. The downside is that it’s not actually a full length book, but a 30 page short story. Even though I’m not really a fan of short stories/novellas, I found this interesting. I wish it had been a little longer so I could really get to know the characters better and the ending was a little too open for my liking, but no other books have been working for me lately, so maybe this is what I needed to get me out of my slump.

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Thicker Than Blood (Zoe Bentley #3) by Mike Omer. Read August 15-23. 4 Stars. 

It took me a little while to get into this, but eventually it hooked me. The mystery was interesting and it definitely took some turns I hadn’t expected, which I enjoyed. While the mystery was good, I could’ve used a little more character development with Zoe and Tatum. And there wasn’t enough Marvin. However, it broke me out of my book slump and I’ll look forward to the next book in this series.

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

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Once You Go This Far (Roxane Weary #3) by Kristen Lepionka. I was really looking forward to this, but I got about 10% in then didn’t pick it up again for over a week and just couldn’t get into it. It’s a physical library book and I’ve already renewed it once, so it’s going back to the library and I’ll try it again some other time.

*****DNF*****

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Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score. DNF @ 28%. I’ve heard such great things about this book, but it’s just not for me. I picked this up because I thought it was supposed to be a fake relationship story, but that hasn’t been mentioned at all so far. I also thought the love interest was horrible. He comes across so smug, he just makes my skin crawl. I couldn’t make myself read any more of this.

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

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A Path to Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Karin Stock Buursma – 4 Stars

The Switch by Beth O’Leary – 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2020

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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Hands Down by Mariana Zapata. Read July 3-5. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed this! It was a terrific slow burn romance with really likable characters. I do have my usual complaint with this author that the writing was a little too repetitive and a little more editing would really help the pace, but I know to expect those things going in, so it didn’t hinder my enjoyment too much. It was a sweet story of friendship, family, and love. I liked the cameos of characters from some of the author’s other books, too. I was sad when it ended and I had to say goodbye to the characters. This is definitely one I’ll read again.

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Melt My Heart by A.R. Perry. Read July 5-6. 3 Stars. 

A cute, short read. The characters were likable and the romance was cute, if a little too cheesy there at the end.

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The Crushing Depths (Coastal Guardians #2) by Dani Pettrey. Read July 9-11. 4 Stars. 

I was really disappointed in the first book of this series, so I was a little nervous about starting this one. Fortunately, The Crushing Depths was back to the quality I have come to expect from Pettrey. I liked the main characters much more in this installment and enjoyed the mysteries. While I did like the romance between Rissi and Mason, it was another case of there being a past relationship and they were basically in love right away when they saw each other again. I wanted to see their relationship develop a little more organically. However, the B plot involved the beginnings of a romance between Noah and Brooke and I felt much more invested in them. I look forward to reading their book in the future. I also feel pretty invested in the inevitable relationship between Emmy and Landon. After the first book I didn’t really care about any of the characters and I’m really happy I got to know them better this time around.

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The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys #1) by Emma. Scott. Read July 11-12. 4 Stars. 

Very angsty and a little too long, but enjoyable. I wish there was a little more time spent in the post-high school years and a little less in the teenage angst. However, I liked the characters and Miller and Violet’s relationship. It was a sweet, emotional story and I’m going to check out more by this author.

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One of the Guys by A.R. Perry. Read July 7-13. 3 Stars. 

This was ok. I didn’t find Rylee a very likable character. I hated the antagonistic relationship she had with her siblings and mother. I thought Spencer was sweet, though – most of the time. While this was ok, it’s probably going to be the last book I read by this author.

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The Fadeaway (Smart Jocks #2) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read June 29-July 16. 2.5 Stars

This was just ok for me. I did like Katrina and how she handled being a young, single mother. I didn’t really remember having a favorable impression of Joel in the first book and I didn’t care much for him here, either. It also took me a couple of weeks to finish this because it couldn’t hold my attention long enough to read more than a couple chapters at a time.

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Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read July 19-25. 3 Stars. 

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I liked the friendship between Levi and Joss. I liked the positive disability representation, the humor, and how incredibly sweet Levi was. Joss’ reactions to things really brought the book down for me, though. There are two instances where Levi has big news or a confession to share with her and she basically attacks him both times, refused to talk about it, and then disappears on him/gives him the cold shoulder while she processes. Both times she realizes she overreacts and she doesn’t really own up to it, she just shows back up and he is instantly fine with her again. It made me really dislike her at times. Especially when she thought Levi couldn’t possibly want to live with her disability – girl, he already had his family renovate their house to make it accommodating for you! That’s the reason this book is getting 3 stars instead of 4.

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Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. Read July  21-26. 4 Stars. 

Another enjoyable installment of the Kate Burkholder series. This one is a bit of a departure from the other books in the series, as it’s more Suspense/Thriller than Mystery. The story almost entirely takes place at a snowed in farm and we don’t get to see much of the beloved side characters as we usually do. I liked getting to know a little more about Kate’s backstory, though, and I loved new character, Adam. I hope he shows up again in future books.

I do have to say that the plot of the book centered around corruption in a police force and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be reading during these times. Castillo does include a note about how she embellished things for her story and that the (real) police department she uses in the book is a good one and the mischaracterizations are for the sake of the plot. It just feels like unfortunate timing for a book with this topic to be out. Or the perfect time, I suppose, depending on your political bent. However, the corrupt cops get their comeuppance and justice is served, so it is positive to see a police force taking action to reform their force.

All that said, it was still a good book and I will eagerly await the next installment.

*****DNF*****

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Rage & Ruin (The Harbinger #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. DNF @ 10%. I don’t know if I’m just in a mood or if my reading tastes have changed over the years and JLA books just don’t do it for me anymore, but I can’t make myself read another page of this.

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Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins. DNF @ 25%. I really tried with this one, but I just couldn’t get into it. The main character was really frustrating, though her mental health issues were completely understandable with her upbringing. There was some anti-religious stuff I found offensive and that kind of killed most of my desire to keep reading. I also thought the mystery of what happened to Astrid all those years ago was really obvious. While I stopped reading at about the 25% mark, I did skip to the last few chapters, just to confirm my suspicion and I was right. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time with all the chapters in between.

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The Dating Dare by A.R. Perry. DNF @ 17%. I recently read another book by this author that was cute, so I thought I’d give another one of her books a try. I only got through a couple chapters of this, but I don’t like it at all. I think the kids are crass and the whole dare scenario just doesn’t work for me.

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan. DNF @ 24%. I really wanted to like this one, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was expecting a thriller, but it was much more Women’s Fiction. The writing wasn’t bad, I think it was just an instance of me being the wrong reader for the book.