Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017. Here are mine, in no particular order (all links go to my review – Yes, I actually wrote proper reviews on all of these books!):

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1. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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2. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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5. Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA: Sharon Bolton)

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6. Dating You/Hating You by Christian Lauren

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7. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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8. The Secret by Katerina Diamond

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9. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are some of your favorite books you read this year?

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The Nope Book Tag

The Nope Book Tag

I saw this a little while ago over on Read by Chris and thought it looked fun. In an effort to not repeat the same old answers I always use, I’m going to try and stick with books I’ve read this year. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like!

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy. 

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I actually do not remember the ending to Six Stories by Matt Weslowski, but I put in my short review that I found the ending really unsatisfying. In fact, this whole books was a big, fat “NOPE” for me.

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy. 

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Isa from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I can not even believe the crap she put her baby and her boyfriend through. She’s the worst!

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore. 

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Ok, this one is kind of hard because I haven’t really discontinued any series this year. I’m going to go with Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh even though it’s the first book in a series because I don’t really have any interest in continuing in.

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

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I don’t really think this is a “popular” pairing, but I’m going to go with Rose and Archie in Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini. I thought Archie was way, way too good for self-absorbed, immature Rose.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like. 

Lacey’s Wedding by Sharon Bolton. I love Sharon Bolton, but I thought this short story was a bit of a cruel twist for Lacey Flint fans. There just better be more books coming in this series!!!

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE. 

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Georgie in Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. While I really enjoyed this book and did like Georgie, there were many times her actions really frustrated me.

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

This is always my answer, but Dinosaur Erotica. Yes, it’s a real thing.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I honestly can’t think of anything. I mostly buy e-books so I guess anything that has lots of illustrations (like Illuminae) I would have to get in an actual physical format.

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE. 

Surprise pregnancy or surprise-you’re-a-father!

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read. 

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Harry Potter. Sorry, I’m just never going to read this.

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

The “graceful neck” description. I have never once looked at someone’s neck and thought to myself, “Wow, that’s graceful. *Swoon*”.

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

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Kieran in Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. He’s kind of a love interest for two people (who are also love interests to each other – Please, please, please don’t make threesomes the new “thing” we all have to champion in YA), but I just don’t like him. Like, at all.

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE. 

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. This book was awful and can not be considered horror. It’s Romance, with a little bit of murder thrown in.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

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The bad guys in Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton. No spoilers, though!

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

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I’m not going to spoil who it is, but the major death in Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I ugly cried hard.

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

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While there were books I definitely didn’t care for, there weren’t any I read this year that really made me say, “I’m never reading this author again.” I think the closest I came to that was Staci Hart when I read With a Twist. I just don’t think her writing is for me, but if she puts something out that I think looks really interesting, I still might give it a try.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’m Thankful For

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Good Reads group, is: Books You’re Thankful For. I’m going to stick with books that I’ve read this year only.

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1.  Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins. Some books you read at the perfect moment and this was one of them. This was exactly what I needed at the time I read it.

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2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. This is the book that introduced me to Amy Harmon, so I will always be thankful for it. It’s beautiful and emotional and I loved it. It also is a mainstream book that did not portray people of faith as hypocrites or psychos.

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3. Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton (aka: Sharon Bolton). This is the book that introduced me to Sharon Bolton who has become one of my favorite authors and the Lacey Flint series has become one of my favorite series of all time.

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4. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. This is the book that brought Karin Slaughter to town so I could finally meet her! She is another of my favorites.

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5. The Secret (DS Imogen Grey #2) by Katerina Diamond. Another new favorite series discovered this year. This book was just so entertaining and I didn’t want to stop reading it.

What books are you thankful for?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: October 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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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. Read September 30 – October 1. 4 Stars. 

Witty, fun, and well-written. I am usually a naysayer of hype, but it seems everyone was right about this one! I know it’s a very unpopular opinion, but books featuring LGBT+ romances are not really my cup of tea. Because of that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book as much as everyone else seemed to (plus sometimes I feel people give extra stars to books just for having that extra bit of “diversity” despite how good the story is), but I ended up quite enjoying the whole thing. I really liked all the characters, though Monty did frustrate me often. I didn’t entirely understand the whole alchemy thing and thought there were parts that dragged on far too long (it probably could have been at least 100 pages less than it was) and I almost gave it a slightly lower rating because of that, but it was bantery and fun and cute and I didn’t want to put it down. I am really looking forward to reading more of Monty, Percy, and Felicity.

There is one thing that is not the story’s fault, but still really rubs me the wrong way that I wanted to mention because it’s a pet peeve of mine. I hate when there are Author Notes that need to explain things or tell me how important things in their book are. In this case it was a history lesson (the author was a history major, btw). I just think that books should stand on their own and if I want to know more, I can certainly do my own research into the topic or time period. *Steps down from soapbox*

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The Wife Between Us  by Greer Hendircks and Sarah Pekkanen. Read October 7-9. 4 Stars. 

The Wife Between Us is a very cleverly written novel of psychological suspense that managed to do what few books seem able to do these days – genuinely surprise me. Not just once, but multiple times. Full review to come in December.

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The Teacher (Imogen Grey #1) by Katerina Diamond. Read October 9-11. 4 Stars. 

This is the first book in a series, but I actually read the second book before this one. I am not sure if I would’ve liked this as much if I read it first. While I expected multiple POVs, I thought Imogen Grey would be the main focus, but I felt like her part in the story was pretty small until closer to the end. We don’t even get her POV until chapter 19. I think this normally would’ve annoyed me, however, since I already know her from the second book – and found out the answers to her past that are only referenced in this book – it didn’t really bother me. While I could’ve done with maybe a few less POVs, it did work for me. I still love Adrian and was glad we got a good deal of the story from his viewpoint. The story is DARK and definitely won’t be for everyone. Katerina Diamond definitely does not shy away from tough or graphic subject matter. If you can handle it, though, I think this series is really great so far and I am really excited to read the third book next.

Lacey’s Wedding (a Lacey Flint short story) by Sharon Bolton. Read October 12. 3 Stars.

Well then. That was not really like I expected it to be. As a self-contained short story and Lacey Flint suspense it worked. However, if this is truly the last Lacey Flint story we get, I’m going to be super pissed.

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Until You (Bachelor Brotherhood #2) by Denise Grover Swank. Read October 15-17. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute and I enjoyed it. I liked both Tyler and Laine, but never really fell in love with them. I thought the whole non-disclosure stuff with Laine’s job was kind of odd and that whole storyline just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. My favorite part was probably Tyler hanging out with his younger brother again. This was probably my least favorite book in this series, but it was still worth the read.

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Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins. Read October 21-23. 4 Stars. 

I have been a fan of Kristan Higgins for years now and have read all of her books – most of them multiple times. Whenever I need a pick-me-up her books do the trick. I don’t read a lot of straight up Romance books so she has become my go-to when that’s what I’m in the mood for. Her last few books, though, have moved out of the Romance category and more into Women’s Fiction. While the books have obviously still been up to the standard I expect out of Higgins, they weren’t quite the light and fluffy feel good stories I was used to getting and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Even though Now That You Mention It feels a lot more serious than most her other books, it still ended up being exactly the book I needed right now. Higgins still made me happy and made me feel and I quite loved this book. Full review to come.

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The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor. Read October 18-25. 3 Stars. 

For me, The Chalk Man, is a perfect example of how hype can ruin your reading experience. I have seen several absolutely glowing reviews of this book and I was prepared for it to be one of my new favorite books of the year. Unfortunately, it fell far short of my expectations. Full review to come.

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

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and The Force by Don Winslow. I was an incredibly moody reader this month. These are all books I’ve really been wanting to read and my library holds for them came in around the same time. I think I read the first chapter of each of them, but never got any further. They are back on the TBR for another day.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I’ve Read Because of Blogging

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. I’m going to try to keep this to books I’ve read this year.

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1. Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton). As with many books in this genre, I read this book because of Annie @ The Misstery.

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2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. There is so much love for Amy Harmon in the blogging community that I had to finally check her out and now I understand. I’m pretty sure I first heard of her through Brandie @ Running on Words and Wine and it was Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse who let me know when this book was up for request on NetGalley.

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3. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole. Again, it was Annie’s review that made me read this one and I loved it.

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4. The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. I kept seeing this book all over the book blogs so I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I did like that ending, though!

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5. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. Another book that was everywhere that didn’t quite live up to the hype for me.

What books have you read because of the blogging community?

Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all…

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Dead Woman Walking will be available September 5, 2017.

I discovered Sharon Bolton earlier this year with the fabulous Lacey Flint series and have been eagerly devouring every book of hers I could get my hands on since then. Dead Woman Walking had become one of my most anticipated books of the year and I ended up really enjoying it.

The official synopsis is kept pretty vague and I am hesitant to really go further into it because I do think that it enhances the experience to go into it without a lot of information. I will say that the crime that is witnessed from the hot air balloon is just part of a much bigger mystery that is explored. The perspective shifts between the lone survivor, the murderer, the detective working the case, and flashback chapters. I’m a big fan of multiple timelines when done well and Bolton does it excellently here. Bolton also does an amazing job creating suspense, especially in the early chapters in the hot air balloon.

There are many little twists and surprises throughout the book. I’m the type of person that NEEDS to figure things out before they’re revealed and because of this I am not often surprised by the twists. There is one kind of major twist that I suspected very early and it took most of the book for it to be confirmed. I feel like anybody really paying attention would be able to figure it out because there are lots of clues, so I thought it took a little too long to reveal it. However, if you’re not the type of person that has to analyze every little thing then it might be a great surprise for you. There are a couple of other twists that I did figure out before they were revealed, but Bolton still managed to sneak in one surprise that literally made me go “What!?”.

Overall, even though I figured out most of the twists, I thought Dead Woman Walking was a really well-constructed mystery and I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it. I am impressed by Bolton’s writing in every book I read by her and this year she has become one of my favorite authors. I definitely recommend this one to mystery/suspense fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Chocolate Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (she’s awesome, check her out). Thanks Deanna! I’m going to try and keep my answers to only books I have read this year.

Dark Chocolate: A book with a dark theme/content

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. There are definitely some parts that are hard to read in this book. But it’s so good!

 

White Chocolate: A light-hearted/humorous read

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Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. I smiled my way through this whole book.

 

Milk Chocolate: A book with a lot of hype that you are dying to read

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Honestly, I don’t really care that much about the whole super hero thing that’s so popular these days, but since Leigh Bardugo wrote it, I want to read it!

A Wafer-Free KitKat: A book that surprised you lately

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. Even though I didn’t really enjoy most of the book and figured a lot of stuff out, the very final twist definitely surprised me and I loved it!

Chocolate With a Caramel Centre: A book that makes you feel gooey on the inside

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Only You by Denise Grover Swank. I was shipping Kevin and Holly so hard during this whole book.

Snickers: A book you are going nuts about

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Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. This is one of my favorite books of the year and I tell everyone to read it. READ IT!!!

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Marshmallows: A comfort read that you turn to again and again

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My Lady JaneSince I’m trying to stick with books I’ve only read this year, this is one of the few re-reads I’ve done. It’s so funny and cute and I love it.

 

Box of Chocolates: A series that has something for everyone

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What’s a tag without mentioning Red Rising? This is another re-read this year. It has actions, twists, romance, space, politics, romance, and terrific writing.