Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 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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Mistakenly Married (Married #3) by Victorine E. Lieske. Read July 7-8. 3.5 Stars. 

I felt like I needed a little break from the Mystery/Suspense genre and this was just the cute story I was looking for. I loved the mistaken identity bit in the beginning. I thought this was a really well done fake relationship story and I appreciated that it could still portray lots of sexual tension while remaining very clean. I definitely want to check out some of the other books in this series.

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Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. Read July 15-16. 1 Star. 

I think the only good thing I can say about this book is that I bought it when it was on sale so I only wasted $0.99. It was slow, repetitive, and drawn out for way too long. The “twist” was not surprising. The end was completely unsatisfying. Just another story of dumb kids behaving badly. For the life of me I can’t understand the 5 star reviews. I am obviously in the minority as everyone else seems to love it. Maybe if I had listened to the Serial podcast I would have appreciated this more? I did actually like the format, though, so I don’t think that’s it.

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Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. Read July 16-18. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed Lies She Told. I loved the writing style and the alternating chapters made me never want to stop reading. I definitely recommend this one to fans of psychological suspense. This is my first book by Cate Holahan and I am now anxious to try out what else she’s done. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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The Summer I Became a Nerd (Nerd #1) by Leah Rae Miller. Read July 18. 3 Stars. 

Though I had several problems with this, it was overall pretty cute. I didn’t quite understand the main premise of Maddie needing to hide her love of comic books, especially since they’re kind of mainstream now (though this is a couple years old) and her whole need-to-be-popular-at-all-costs thing was pretty off-putting. However, I did like that she grew a lot from the beginning to the end. And I LOVED Logan. He is exactly the kind of guy I would’ve been friends with in high school.

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. Read July 19-20. 3 Stars.

The twist got me!

This book had some elements I wasn’t expecting and quite honestly found pretty annoying. However, it wasn’t until close to the end that I figured out what “the twist” would be. Then it happened and I was kind of disappointed because I figured it out and wasn’t surprised. But then the last chapter came and I realized what I thought was the twist wasn’t the twist and I was so happy! That is the reason I’m giving this 3 stars. The book dragged on for way, way too long and really wasn’t all that interesting to me. I was very set to give it 2 stars, but then that last chapter surprised me. I just wish everything leading up to it had been a little more compelling.

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Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. Read July 23-26. 3.5 Stars. 

I decided to think of this as more a family drama than a psychological suspense and I think that made me enjoy it more. I picked out my number 1 suspect pretty early in the book and while Stevens did do a good job of making me second guess myself, I ended up being right and felt kind of disappointed. However, I thought the relationship arc between Lindsey and Sophie was well done (even though Sophie was one of the dumbest teenagers ever and I hated her most of the time) and the flashback chapters to Lindsey and Andrew’s marriage were compelling. I was ready to give this 4 stars, but I felt the last few chapters played out like a cheesy Lifetime movie and brought my overall enjoyment of the book way down.

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Read July 27-28. 4 Stars. 

Kasie West books just make me happy. They are always so cute and such quick reads. The short chapters make the story seem to just fly by. I liked Maddie, but found myself frustrated with her for most of the book – the way she didn’t realize when she was being used for her money and how irresponsible she was being with it at first. I kept telling myself that without those things there wouldn’t be much of a story, though. And she does learn a lot by the end of the story, which I appreciated. I loved her relationship with Seth. He was adorable and just might be my new favorite West male lead. I loved every single scene of the two of them together. West’s last book left me just slightly disappointed, but Lucky in Love has definitely restored my faith.

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The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Read July 27-30. 2 Stars. 

What a disappointment! I pretty much disliked every second of reading this book and I really don’t know why I even decided to finish it. The story was very, very slow moving, the “mystery” was obvious and not very well done, and the characters were awful. I just hated Isa. I couldn’t believe all the stuff she dragged her baby through and she was so incredibly awful to her partner, Owen, who was sweet and completely justified in his few moments of anger. Those few chapters where Isa is home with him just made me hate her. I feel like the ending was supposed to have a great message about love and sacrifice, but it did not come across at all. So why am I giving this 2 stars instead of 1? Much like The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware does do a good job of setting up a creepy atmosphere. Though it was more detailed than I appreciate, there is no denying that she is a talented writer. I just wish she would have given the plot the same care as she did the setting

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2016

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016. To make this a little more difficult I am not including authors who had debut books in 2016 – because they’re new to everyone, not just to me.

Pierce Brown

1. Pierce Brown Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star. You all know my love for him and the Red Rising series by now. I can’t wait to read what he writes next!

Julie Buxbaum

2. Julie Buxbaum – Read: Tell Me Three Things. So far this is the only book I’ve read by her, but I definitely want to read more.

Beth Kendrick

3. Beth Kendirck – Read: Cure for the Common Breakup, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, Put a Ring on It. I found a new fun chick lit series this year. I will be reading a lot more from her.

Holly Black

4. Holly Black – Read: The Curse Workers trilogy, The Darkest Part of the Forest. I ended up really enjoying The Curse Workers series and while The Darkest Part of the Forest wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I still absolutely love her writing.

Blake Crouch

5. Black Crouch – Read: Dark Matter. Though I didn’t think Dark Matter really lived up to the hype, I was very impressed with his writing. I watched most of the first season of Wayward Pines and really liked it until it got really weird, but it did make me really want to try the book series.

Vince Flynn

6. Vince Flynn – Read: American Assassin, Kill Shot. My brother, who is not a big reader, became obsessed with the Mitch Rapp series and gave me the first couple of books to read and I enjoyed them. I definitely plan on continuing to read the rest of the series. Sadly, Vince Flynn has passed away. A new author has taken over the series, though, so there should still me more Mitch Rapp stories to come.

Tamara Ireland Stone

7. Tamara Ireland Stone – Read: Every Last Word. I’m not really sure if I’m interested in her other books, but Every Last Word will always be a very important book to me. I have never related to a character as much as I did with the MC in that book.

Lisa Jewell

8. Lisa Jewell – Read: The Girls in the Garden. I really liked The Girls in the Garden and already have I Found You from NetGalley.

Denise Hunter

9. Denise Hunter – Read: Many, many of her books! So I’ve probably read more books by Denise Hunter this year than any other author and I don’t feel like listing them all. There have been several that I really, really enjoyed and a couple that I really hated or even DNF-ed. Despite the bad ones, I still have more books from her on my TBR.

Ruth Ware

10. Ruth Ware – Read: The Woman in Cabin 10. The Woman in Cabin 10 definitely had some creepy, hard-to-put-down moments and I want to check out more from her.

What new-to-you authors did you discover this year?

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

I won a copy of this title from the publisher via a giveaway on Good Reads. This does not impact my review.

This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for awhile and I was very excited to win a copy. It seemed to take forever to finally receive it, but once it did I read it in a weekend.

The Woman in Cabin 10 started out a little slow. The main character, Lo, was pretty unlikable. She seems to be kind of an alcoholic and mixes alcohol with anxiety medication and isn’t really the most reliable witness. She’s kind of belligerent with people, as well. Throw in some PTSD from a recent break-in at her apartment and very few people believe her when she insists the woman in the cabin next to hers on a cruise ship has been thrown overboard. Of course, there’s also no record of a woman staying in that cabin to begin with.

Once we reach the part in the book where Lo tries to investigate what really happens is where the story really picks up and I had a hard time putting it down. The setting was kind of creepy and Lo’s paranoia was really well written. I suspected many different people, including Lo and her questionable mental state. While this part of the book seemed to fly by for me, we reach a part where it’s basically just a lot of Lo conjecturing with very little plot advancement and the book slowed way down again. The final chapters leading up to the end picks up a little again, but overall the pacing of the novel was just a little too uneven.

Overall, I did enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10. Though the pacing was a little off for me, there were definitely big parts of the story where I couldn’t put it down. Though Lo was a pretty unlikable character for the most part, I did feel a connection to her by the end. I felt the conclusion was a little bit rushed and I think maybe an epilogue from a different POV could have really added something to the story. Overall, though, I think this is a book that I will read again and recommend to mystery/thriller fans who don’t mind unlikable MCs.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

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