Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 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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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. Read September 9-13. 2 Stars.

Um, did I read a different book from everyone else? It was not nearly as creepy as I expected it to be and the two big twists before the ending shouldn’t even be called twists. There were SO MANY hints that they seemed super obvious from very early on in the story. I can’t believe there are many people that would be surprised by them. The ending was not at all surprising either. The excruciatingly slow pace almost made me DNF this several times and I kind of wish I did.

Obviously I am in the minority here, though. 🤷‍♀️

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Part-Time Husband (Trophy Husbands #1) by Noelle Adams. Read September 13-14. 4 Stars.

I’ve been having a lot of book-ADD lately and have been struggling to get through anything. I knew I needed something quick and cute and Part-Time Husband was just right. I love a good marriage of convenience story and Noelle Adams always does them well. Though there were a few too many graphic scenes, it was sweet and romantic and Melissa and Trevor had some good banter.

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The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley. Read September 15-16. 3 Stars.

This was cute, had some sweet and funny moments, and quirky characters. The main character wasn’t always likable, though, and there were lots of communication issues that drove me a little crazy.

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

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. I decided to re-read this before starting the long awaited sequel. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. There was bonus content in the version I read this time that had all of Paige and Max’s e-mails from their summer apart which were pretty cute. It made me excited to read the next book.

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I got into a book slump and couldn’t decide what sounded good, so I decided to re-read Take a Bow, which is one of my favorites. I loved it just as much the third time around.

*****DNF*****

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The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. DNF-ed at 21%. This was occasionally humorous, but the main character was really unlikable and I was not invested at all.

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

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Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin – 3 Stars

The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You #2) by Emery Lord – 3 Stars

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters – 4 Stars

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – 4 Stars

Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne – 4 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel.

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1. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I love the friend group in this so much and would love to see more of them.

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2. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I felt the ending to this was kind of abrupt and left things open for a sequel, but I haven’t heard anything about there being one.

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon. I would love to check in with Ambrose and Fern.

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4. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. I would love sequels to most of West’s books, but this one is probably my favorite of hers.

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5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This is one of my all-time favorite books and I could definitely see there being more stories for these characters.

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6. Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. I really felt the ending left things open enough for a sequel. I even felt like Kemmerer hinted there could be more books, but nothing ever happened.

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7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this book and would love to see more of Levi and Cath. The small cameo in Landline was not enough.

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8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I was trying to stick to only one book per author on here, but old school Rainbow Rowell wrote some of my favorite books. I absolutely adore Attachments and have been hoping for years that there would be a sequel.

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9. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I love this book and these characters so much and would love to see Ethan and Emme all grown up. I will never understand how this book doesn’t have a bigger following.

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10. My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies. Technically, this is the first book in a series about famous Janes, but I would love to see another book with the characters from this story instead.

What standalones would you like a sequel to?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2018

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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Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt. Read March 1-3. 3 Stars. 

***BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS***
This had all the guilty pleasure drama I expect from a Royal book. It was a decent end to the series, but I didn’t LOVE it. I wish the whole head trauma issues were written with a little more care. Though it’s never explicitly said that Sebastian has a TBI, that’s what it sounded like. TBI’s are no joke and I thought they could’ve talked a little more about it than the page or so towards the end of the book. I liked that there was resolution in regards to Steve and with Hartley’s dad and with the bomb he dropped regarding Easton at the end of the previous book – though, again, I wish there was a little more about that. As fans of the series know, the authors really rushed to get this put out by their self-imposed deadline, but I would’ve been ok with waiting just a little longer so some of the typos and few continuity issues were edited out beforehand. Overall, though, I liked Easton and Hartley together and I liked that Ella and Reed were included in the ending.

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Parting Shot (Promise Falls #4) by Linwood Barclay. Read March 1-4. 4 Stars. 

I thought The Twenty-Three was the end to the Promise Falls series, but was quite pleased to find out there was another one! After the end of this one I thought for sure there would have to be even more, but I did some research and it looks like this will be the last book set in Promise Falls (at least for a good long while). I wished we got some more of David Harwood in this book. Poor, often stupid David Harwood makes so many awful decisions, but I have always enjoyed reading about him and the previous book left his storyline kind of on a major cliffhanger. There was a cameo mention that tied things up with him, but I still feel like I wanted more. However, there was enough going on in this book without him. The book centers around Cal Weaver and Barry Duckworth and their cases. I’m always amazed by how Barclay can tie all of his many threads together and I loved how it all turned out in this one. This book reminded me why he is one of my favorite authors. The ending was more open-ended than I would’ve liked, but I still really enjoyed this book.

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Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeybourn. Read March 5-7. 3 Stars. 

I liked the premise of this book, but it fell a little flat for me. I expected Wesley to have done something horrific to Quinn in the past, but what he did to make her “hate” him wasn’t really that big of a deal. It reminded me a little bit of Lola and the Boy Next Door in that regard. Quinn just way overreacted. I thought she was kind of psycho when it came to her vendetta against him. And while I wanted to ship their romance, I just didn’t get it. There weren’t even really any cute moments between the two of them until the end. I didn’t feel like Quinn fell for him. It felt like she just had a childhood crush on him that never ended, but she tried to deny it for awhile. I didn’t really understand why Wesley was so interested in her, either. I did like the medieval restaurant setting, though, and there were a couple funny moments. Not one I would pick up again, though.

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The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club #1) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 7-8. 3.5 Stars.

Last year I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg and have really enjoyed several of her books. I find her writing pretty addictive. There’s lots of character development and plenty of cute moments. I did have some issues with this book, though. Penny really frustrated me sometimes. Whenever she “stood up for herself” it included tearing someone else down. She said a lot of really rude, unnecessary things to people and it was almost always praised by those around her. I also thought she and all her friends were really shallow about 95% of the time. That said, I did still like Penny at the end of the day and am going to go on to read the next book.

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We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 9-10. 3 Stars. 

A quick, addicting read, even though it didn’t feel like a lot actually happened. I felt like all the drama Penny dealt with she brought upon herself and it wasn’t really necessary. I liked the cute moments between her and Ryan, though. I’m glad I finally got to this series, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll want to read again.

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Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) by Rachel Caine. Read March 11-12. 3 Stars. 

I think this fell victim to being over-hyped. I had such high expectations for it and it did not come close to meeting them. It was sloooooow, the chapters were long (and we all know how much I hate that), and I felt about zero suspense until about the last quarter or so of the book. I guessed who the bad guy was very early on. However, the writing wasn’t that bad, if a little too repetitive and I did enjoy that last quarter of the book. I’ll still check out the sequel since I’m trying out Kindle Unlimited right now.

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. Read March 17-18. 4 Stars. 

Just before this book I read Dear Aaron and I thought nothing could melt my cold heart like that did. I was wrong. I absolutely adored the relationship in this. It started out rough and Jasmine was VERY hard to like, but as it went on and their friendship grew and Ivan was So. Freaking. Sweet., I just fell in love with it. That’s not to say it was a perfect book because I did have a few issues with it, but I don’t even really care enough about the faults to write about them. The one thing I’ll say is that I wish we got to see more of Ruby and Aaron in this one, but I did like the little bit we got.

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Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. Reach March 18-22. 1 Star.

I’m going to preface this by saying I really should have just DNF-ed this book and moved on with my life. I feel like this type of book is for a very specific audience and I am not at all that audience. I do not really like the Alpha-Male-You-Belong-To-Me-I’ll-Kill-Anyone-Who-Looks-At-You thing. I didn’t really find the relationship between Dex and Iris romantic. I felt like most of the big “romantic” moments were #MeToo movement scenarios. I just couldn’t get behind it. No means no, not “keep going until I finally give in”.

I also just didn’t find the story that interesting. The conclusion to the situation with Iris’ father was really anti-climatic. I think this book just goes to show that liking one book by an author does not mean you will like all books by him/her.

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Wish You Were Mine by Tara Sivec. Read March 27-29. 3.5 Stars

I loved the way this started out with the past and present timelines and the dual 1st person POVs. I felt like when the past timeline ended, though, it went a little bit downhill for me. I felt like the main characters just kept repeating themselves over and over. The main issue in the story is based on a miscommunication, as well, which always kind of bugs me. I also didn’t love Cameron and her short temper all the time. However, there were lots of good moments in the book and I did like Everett and his brother, Jason (wish we would’ve seen a little more of him, though). I would probably recommend this one to Romance fans.

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

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Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I loved this book just as much the second time around. Once again, I read it in a day. I just adore pretty much everything about this.

********Removed from the TBR********

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Meet Cute by various authors. I got this from the library, but I only ended up reading one story out of it. Most of the reviews I read said the JLA story was the best and I, unfortunately, was not really impressed by it so I decided not to read anymore.

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

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I made it about 17% through this and just couldn’t get into it. I don’t see me finishing it before it’s due back at the library.

End of the Year Survey: 2017

This End of the Year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 134
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Suspense

best-YA-books-20141. Best Book You Read In 2017?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton, Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, Making Faces by Amy Harmon and Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I gave all these books 4.5 stars and I can’t pick between them.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I thought this looked adorable and had so much potential, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I can’t think of a book that I really pushed on people this year. I recommended Sharon Bolton to just about everyone, but I’m not sure if anyone actually read anything of hers because of me. 

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Sequel: The Secret by Katerina Diamond

Ender: The Song of David by Amy Harmon

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Sharon Bolton, Amy Harmon, and Elizabeth Eulberg

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m going to go with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue again. I don’t read a lot of Historical Fiction these days or LGBT+ books.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read a lot of thrilling and unputdownable books this year, but I think the most action-packed/fast paced would be Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton bc I just got it for Christmas and am itching to read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. She always has the best covers.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

David Drucker from What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Nothing really stands out, but probably anything by Amy Harmon.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

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Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. My first book by Eulberg and I discovered a new favorite author.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

From Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren:

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.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: Winging It by Cate Cameron

Longest: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lark and Tiras from The Bird and the Sword, Evie and Carter from Dating You/Hating You, and Lacey and Josebury from the Lacey Flint series.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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Declan and Rev from Letters to the Lost

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA Sharon Bolton). It wasn’t really a personal recommendation, but I saw a review on The Misstery. Many books I’ve read and loved this year came from Annie.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

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I loved Matt from Always You by Denise Grover Swank.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Ragdoll from Daniel Cole

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Did not like the book, but she really knows how to set a scene!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The DS Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond. More people need to read this!!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Lying Game

book-blogging1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I can never answer this question. There’s been so many.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Sometimes the worst books make for the most fun reviews.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Convince me to buy a Kindle (I think it’s also the only discussion post I wrote)

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to three author events: Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Scottoline.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Linda Castillo remembered my name at her book signing from previous book signings. Also, I’m counting this as blogging life, I finally got to meet Brandie from Running on Words and Wine!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Going through long periods of time where I had no patience for romance or contemporary novels. Also, personal life issues put reading on hold a lot of the time.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Most viewed of the year was the review for Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo that I wrote a couple years ago, but the most viewed from 2017 content was the review for Fallen Heir by Erin Watt.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

All of them 🙂

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Not really a discovery, but I finally bit the bullet and got a Kindle Paperwhite.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads Challenge and surpassed my goal of 100 books.

looking-ahead-books-20151. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

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Maybe not number 1 priority, but I still need to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

There’s not really one on my radar right now.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – the continuation of the Shatter Me series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Be more consistent on writing reviews for non-ARCs.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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The Wife Between Us

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?

Review: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Chasing fame.

Chasing love.

Chasing a future.

Emme has long lived in her best friend Sophie’s shadow. She writes songs, and Sophie sings them. It’s always been like this, and feels like it always will be.

Sophie will stop at nothing to be a star. Even if it means using her best friend and picking up a trophy boyfriend, Carter.

Carter is a victim of a particular Hollywood curse: He’s a former child star. Now all he wants is a normal life. But being normal is about as hard for him as being famous.

Ethan has his own issues – a darkness in his head that he just can’t shake. He’s managed to sabotage every relationship he’s ever been in. Emme’s the only girl he’s ever really respected… but he’s not sure what to do about that.

Emme, Sophie, Carter, and Ethan are all students at a performing arts school, where talent is the norm and fame is the goal. But sometimes, being in the spotlight isn’t as important as the people you’re sharing it with – as the four of them are going to find out in Elizabeth Eulberg’s excellent new novel, which is about the auditions life puts us through every day, both big and small.

I very recently discovered Elizabeth Eulberg and have been working my way through her books. While I’ve enjoyed all of the ones I have read so far (especially Better off Friends), Take a Bow has become not just my favorite Eulberg book, but one of my favorite books of the year.

I loved the characters. The story is told from the 1st person POV of four students at a prestigious arts school: Emme, Ethan, Sophie, and Carter. I really enjoyed each of their perspectives. I loved Emme and how kind she was. I loved her relationship with her band members, Ben, Jack, and Ethan. Ethan came the closest to the “tortured artist” persona I was expecting for the setting, but it was never over the top. While he messed up plenty, he did really try and I loved him. Carter was the former child star who just wanted to have a normal life. He was so nice and I loved the friendship he developed with Emme. His part of the story is really focused on finding himself and while I appreciated it and did like him, he came across a little pretentious at times. I pretty much straight up hated Sophie at first, but as the book went on I started to kind of love to hate her. She could not be more different than sweet Emme and I couldn’t wait to see this mean girls get what was coming to her.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been binging on Eulberg books lately and I think the thing that keeps making me come back is the character development. All of her characters are really well developed and I become deeply invested in them. I almost start to feel like they’re real people and I wish I was part of their friendships. This year I have been really into mysteries/suspense and have not had a lot of patience for anything else. These books have made me really start to appreciate a good character-driven story again.

The only thing I didn’t really like about the book was how Carter’s chapters were formatted. Every time there was dialogue it had the character name and then a colon and then what was said. It took me a little while to figure out that’s it’s supposed to mimic a script. It didn’t work for me, though, because the rest of the text wasn’t like that. If the whole POV could have been written out like a script I think it could’ve been a really interesting narrative choice, but as it was it was just kind of distracting.

Overall, I really loved Take a Bow. I read it in a day. I loved the characters and the friendship and even the catty egomaniac. I know this review does not do justice to how much I enjoyed this book. I can’t believe how long it has taken me to discover Elizabeth Eulberg. If you are a fan of YA Contemporaries, you definitely need to check her out.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars