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?

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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.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2017

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

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017.

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

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017.

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

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

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

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills.

Biggest Disappointment.

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

Biggest Surprise.

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

Favorite New Author.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton (aka: S. J. Bolton)

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Carter Aaron from Dating You / Hating You

Newest Favorite Character.

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Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Book That Made You Happy.

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

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

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

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

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

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

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

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

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

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 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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Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare. Read May 28-June 1. 3 Stars. 

Once again, this book was much, much longer than it needed to be. There was just so much that felt unnecessary to the story in any way. I’ve been thinking how to describe the writing and it’s kind of like this: You know when you watch a tv show and someone is in their house doing something random (watching tv, reading, cooking, going online, etc.) and then someone else walks in and the scene begins? Well in this book, instead of the scene starting there, you spend a few pages on the person sitting there watching tv. And then some time with the other person as they drove there. And let’s not forget to check in with the neighbor who doesn’t really have anything to do with what is going to happen between the first two people. Ok, now we can finally start the scene and see where the story is going. But only for a few minutes before we abruptly leave to go see what someone across town is doing. There’s just too many perspectives and we get WAY more of them all than makes sense.

But, ok, other than the ridiculous length of this book, and wading through all the mundane (haha) things that happened, the actual plot of the story isn’t bad. I liked the characters. I liked that the supposed love triangle didn’t really take up much time like I thought it would. I was surprised by the ending, but I’m not sure how I actually feel about it. It was kind of abrupt and there was a couple of deaths that I’m not really sure made sense, but it does make me want to see what happens next.

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Ready to Run (I Do, I Don’t #1) by Lauren Layne. Read June 5-6. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed Ready to Run! It was exactly the sweet, lighthearted book I needed right now. Full review to come.

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Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. Read June 16-19. 4 Stars. 

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. Full review to come closer to release date.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Read June 23-25. 3 Stars.

This was one of my most anticipated YA books this year and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. The romance was super cute and I liked how Dimple and Rishi’s personalities really complemented each other. I liked both of them, but they both did things that frustrated me at times – especially Dimple. I liked that I got to learn a little more of Indian culture and I thought it was interesting the different feelings towards it that Dimple and Rishi had. I thought that it was kind of strange that Dimple went on and on about how important Insomnia Con was to her, but pretty much all her free time was spent being cutesy with Rishi. I mean, I don’t particularly mind because I’m not really into coding and all that, but the app development was supposed to be a big part of the story and we saw very, very little of it.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Soulmated by Shaila Patel. I got a copy of this from the author and thought it looked pretty interesting. I started it, but found myself not in the mood for it and I didn’t want that mood to color my feelings of the book, so I set it down and I will try it again soon.

****************DNF****************

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Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shavlis. DNF at 30%. This isn’t a bad book. It seems pretty standard Shalvis . I just can’t make myself get into it or care about the characters. And just like in the other book I read in this series I do not understand why the chapters titles are all hashtags? I thought it would be explained in this book, but this far in and no one has gone on Twitter. It’s a little thing, but it annoys me.