Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2019

I’ve seen this floating around lately and thought it was about time I did it, too.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2019

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In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. I actually just had this from the library, but didn’t get to it before it expired.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

Biggest Disappointment

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. After The Hating Game, I just expected so much more from Thorne’s next book.

Biggest Surprise

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This was not at all what I thought it was going to be, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Favorite New Author

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Beth O’Leary. I loved The Flatshare and can’t wait to read more form this author.

Newest Fictional Crush

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Tucker from Just one of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen.

Newest Favorite Character

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Rob from Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Book That Made You Cry

I don’t think any book has so far.

Book That Made You Happy

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Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne. I wanted this story since reading the first book in the series.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

If I’ve seen any, I haven’t remembered them.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

My 2018 Recap post

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I think In the Dark is the only book I’ve bought myself this year, thus it’s the most beautiful.

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

Basically everything on this post

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. Read February 1-2. 3 Stars. 

After reading a lot of mixed reviews, I went into this one cautiously and I think that helped. I mostly enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with it. I felt like Thorne tried just a little too hard to make Darcy the complete opposite of nice, people-pleasing Lucy from The Hating Game. She was a little too much sometimes. I did like the general storyline of the romance between childhood friends and Darcy’s relationship with her twin brother. I just felt like so much of the story was overtaken with Darcy’s pervy thoughts about Tom. I thought it really cheapened the love story. Overall, I liked the beginning and the end, but most of the middle I just kind of got through. I have to say, though, my favorite part of the whole thing was that there was bonus content that included an epilogue for The Hating Game. This may not be one I would want to read again, but I’d still be interested in more from Thorne in the future.

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The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey. Read January 31 – February 4. 3 Stars

This one was just ok for me. I thought it was going to be a fake relationship story, but that plot line only lasts about a chapter, which was disappointing to me. I liked the characters and the dog and there were some funny moments, but overall I don’t think this is one that will leave any kind of lasting impression for me.

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Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West. Read February 5-6. 4 Stars. 

Another enjoyable Kasie West book. I liked the movie set atmosphere and the characters and the romance was cute. The movie scenes left a little to be desired for me, though. If you like West’s other books, you’ll like this one, too.

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Text Me Baby One More Time (Text #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read February 10-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Another enjoyable book in the Text series. Hunter’s writing is really addictive which makes these pretty fast reads. When the main characters of this book appeared in previous books I didn’t really care for either of them at all, so I was happy that I did like them here. I liked their texting past and the whole hate-to-love thing. This series is a little more full-on Romance Novel then I usually read and I feel like as the series goes on they keep getting more explicit, which I don’t love, but it was still a fun read overall.

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King of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by Sheralyn Pratt. Read February 17-20. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. Esme kind of infuriated me about half the time. I liked Hunter a little more, but he was a bit of a hothead, so I didn’t love him as much I had hoped for. The whole magic cookie lady thing was a bit odd. This book has been on my TBR for quite a while, so I’m glad I read it, but it’s not one I would be interested in reading again.

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Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry. Read February 20-23. 3 Stars.

Parts of this were cute, but for the most part a whole lot of nothing happened. I also found the whole plot surrounding the couple getting married odd. They’re in college (sophomores or juniors, I can’t remember) and get engaged and then decide to take a semester off to plan the wedding and get married. And all the parents are just fine with it. And there’s no talk about where they’ll live or how they’ll support themselves – although the guy’s family is super rich, so I guess he has a trust fund to take care of them? It just seemed really irresponsible to me. I think it would have made more sense if they had just graduated college. Anyways, this was another book that’s been on my TBR for a long time and I’m glad to get it off the list. 

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely (A Curse so Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer. Read February 25-27. 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this one. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, so I’m always up for a good re-telling and I thought this did a decent job of that. There were times it felt really reminiscent of A court of Thorns and Roses, but I ultimately thought this one was better written. I liked Rhen and Grey a lot. I completely despised Harper for about the first half of the book, though. I really have a hard time connecting with characters that are so antagonistic and needlessly reckless. She eventually got a little better for me. I did like the romance, though it wasn’t as prevalent as I would have expected. I also didn’t realize this is a series and am kind of disappointed by that. With just a couple of small changes, this could have very easily been a standalone and I would have been happy with it. I’ll read the next book, but it’s not going to make my “most anticipated” list or anything.

*****Re-Reads*****

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. I could not concentrate on anything, so I decided to re-read something so I could skim through it, but then I got invested and there was no skimming and I basically read this book in one sitting. Loved it just as much as the first time around.

*****DNF*****

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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. DNF-ed at 47%. Though I have definitely enjoyed both from time to time, I’m not currently much of a fan of Historical Fiction or Fantasy. I have never really cared for time-traveling plots in particular. However, I’m a big fan of Amy Harmon and that’s why I picked up this book. Unfortunately, it was not enough for me to love it. I had a really hard time getting into the story and I decided to set it down for awhile and I read a couple of other books. I finally tried picking this up again and still couldn’t get into it. It was at 47% that I decided to stop reading and then I just kind of skimmed to the end. I didn’t really find the end very satisfying (mostly due to my time-traveling plotline feelings) so I’m glad I decided to call it when I did. However, everyone else I know has loved it and I wish Harmon nothing but the best. I’ll still definitely be picking up more books from her in the future.

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Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner. DNF at 23%. I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I think it will have a very specific audience that will love it, but I am not that audience. I found it kind of depressing and quirky and other than the very pretty cover, I don’t really have anything positive to say about it and I really couldn’t make myself read anymore. I found Sam incredibly off-putting. I found the writing in her chapters especially were just not my style.

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

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Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne – 3 Stars

Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin – 4 Stars

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin – 3 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019.

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1. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. January 8, 2019.

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2. Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills. January 15, 2019.

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3. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne, January 29, 2019.

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4. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. January 29, 2019.

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5. Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West. February 5, 2019.

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6. Huge Deal by Lauren Layne. February 12, 2019.

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7. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. March 1, 2019.

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8. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett. April 16, 2019.

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9. The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. April 23, 2019.

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10. Fumbled my Alexa Martin. April 23, 2019.

What books are you looking forward to this year?

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

I wasn’t really interested in today’s Top 5 Wednesday prompt, so I decided to borrow a topic I missed from when I was on hiatus. So for me, today’s topic is: Favorite Romance Novels. Straight up romance novels aren’t usually ones I reach for very often, but there are a few that I love.

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1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I love almost everything about this book. It’s so funny and cute.

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2. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. Can you tell I like Hate-to-Love stories?

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3. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. Honestly, I could list pretty much every Lauren Layne book I’ve read. They’re always so cute.

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4. Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk. This book reminded me so much a Hallmark Christmas movie.

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5. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins is my definite go-to for romance novels and this is just one of my many favorites by her. She appears to be shifting her focus over to Women’s Fiction, which at first really annoyed me, even though they’re just as good as her romances. I’m coming around to it, though.

What are some of your favorite romance novels?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love Ships

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Goodreads Group page) is : Hate to Love Ships.

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1. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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2. Lucy and Josh – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

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3. Evie and Carter – Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren.

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4. Jane and G – My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies.

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5. Vaugh and Oakley – When It’s Real by Erin Watt.

What are some of your favorite Hate to Love ships?

Review: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

I had so much fun reading this book! It was so cute and funny. I was smiling my way throughout almost the whole thing.

Ok, first I need to talk about the part I found really relatable. Evie is 33, single, child-less, does not own her own home, and feels like she’s behind on life. Other than the fact that she has an actual career and not a dead-end job she hates, ahem, it was like she was describing all of my inner life panic. I loved this passage, which is basically all things I have thought at one point or another:

I try to ignore the pressure to be coupled up, but it’s everywhere…There’s my own biological clock, quietly yet persistently ticking away…But of course there’s that niggling voice suggesting I not care about any of it, that maybe I should give in and buy the cats instead. The problem is that I don’t like them. I may be a terrible married person someday, but I know for sure I would be an even worse cat lady.

“Evie?”

“Sorry…I was just trying to figure out whether I could still be a crazy cat lady without the actual animals.”

I loved all the characters in this book. Evie and Carter were great main characters and I really enjoyed all of their friends and family, as well.  I loved that the story was told in alternating 1st Person POV between Evie and Carter. I thought each voice was well done and really felt a connection to both of them. I thought they had great chemistry and I shipped them right away. This wasn’t really the Hate-to-Love story I was expecting. It was more Insta-Love-to-Hate-to-Love and I have to say it worked for me. While I loved Carter – Loved him – he did have several moments of great dickdom, so I was able to hate him when Evie did. But he was also so sweet and charming that I could easily fall back in love with him later.

As anyone who reads many of my reviews knows, I am not a fan of lots of graphic sexual content. I’ve only read one other book by this author duo before and based on that I knew going in that there was going to be some scenes like that. I think because I anticipated it (and was enjoying all the other aspects of the book), I found I didn’t mind it as much. There was actually less than I thought there was going to be.

The one thing (besides the graphic stuff) that kind of bothered me, though, is that I was expecting more behind-the-scenes information on Hollywood and working as an agent. Other than the mention of some actors and making big deals, there wasn’t really a lot of details. I felt like this could have been set in any other type of industry and the story would have come out the same. There is one scandalous work thing with Carter that happens towards the end of the book and I did not understand why it was such a big deal. I felt like it was something that only people in that business would understand and by that point in the book I should’ve been able to understand it, but I didn’t. I think my favorite thing when it came to the work atmosphere, though, is how Evie deals with sexism. It’s a real problem that many of us face and I thought for the most part Evie handled it with strength and class.

Overall, I really loved Hating You / Dating You. I loved the characters and the romance, and the relatability of being 33 and behind on life. Even though there are quite a bit of differences, it reminded me a lot of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which I adored, and I think if you liked that one, you will like this one as well. I had pretty high expectations going into this and I’m really happy to say that they were met. I can see myself re-reading this a lot in the future. I definitely recommend this one to Romance fans!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars