Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 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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Bred by Ginger Scott. Read July 6-8. 3.5 Stars.

I mostly enjoyed this book, though not a lot really seemed to happen. I thought Lily was a likable main character and I shipped the romance. There were several characters, though, that I wished we got more development on. Henry and Elena, particularly. I expected Elena to be a little more horrible than what she has. She has a reason for her behavior, but she was never much more than a caricature of a villain. I also would have liked to see Lily’s relationship with her guardians explored a little more. I also didn’t really love the end. It felt kind of anticlimactic and I expected a bigger payout. Maybe if the epilogue was set several years in the future instead? I must admit that I am a bad book worm and have never read Great Expectations, the story this book is inspired by, so I can’t say how close it is to the source material. I’m giving it an extra half star, though, because it was a pretty addictive read, even if slow paced.

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The Friend Zone by Sariah Wilson. Read June 30 – July 13. 3 Stars. 

Kind of cheesy, but sweet and cute. The characters were likable enough. Another book that was decent for a KU pick, but one I’m glad I didn’t spend money on.

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The Stories You Tell (Roxane Weary #3) by Kristen Lepionka. Read July 12-13. 4 Stars. 

I can always count on this series to deliver some addictive entertainment. I enjoyed this a lot, but after reading a few 5-star rave reviews, I hyped myself up for it a lot and was left a tiny bit disappointed. It was still very enjoyable, just not quite as amazing as I was hoping for. Anyways, the mystery was well done, even if the story telling felt a little unfocused at times. I didn’t really guess the ending, so that’s always fun. Some of the characters that were involved in the mystery of the last book show up, but since it’s been a long time since I read it, I couldn’t really remember who they were and there wasn’t really any recap info to remind me. Catherine is still the literal worst and I am Team Tom all the way. The romance aspect definitely took a backseat in this installment, though, and that was fine with me. I also always have to mention that this series is set in Columbus, which makes it extra fun, since I’m from Ohio.

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Maybe This Time by Kasie West. Read July 14. 4 Stars. 

This was probably more like 3.5 stars, but I’m bumping it up to 4 because it was a fast, easy read I finished in a day and it got a lot better for me towards the end. Sophie was really rude for the majority of the book and I had a hard time always liking her. I wish she would’ve become a little more self aware sooner. I liked how the story was broken up by major events throughout the year, but I don’t think it was always used very effectively. I felt like it was kind of just the same thing over and over again each time with Sophie and Andrew sniping at each other to hide their attraction and very little forward motion. I feel like their relationship should have progressed a little more each time, but it took about halfway through the book for the plot to advance at all. I felt like a lot more should’ve happened in the story for how long it was. However, once things started to develop a little more in their relationship and Sophie started to become more aware of herself and those around her, I really enjoyed it. I just wish more of the book was like that. I also could’ve used an epilogue. But, overall, it was another enjoyable Kasie West book and I look forward to her next one.

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The Prenup by Lauren Layne. Read July 19-20. 4 Stars.

I loved this. It did take me a little while to get into it, though. The story is told completely from Charlotte’s first person POV and I was expecting (hoping) to also get Colin’s point of view. However, once the story hooked me, I didn’t want to put it down and I completely got on board the sole POV. Both Charlotte and Colin were likable and I shipped them hard. A big thanks to Deanna for lending me her copy to read!

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The First Mistake by Sandie Jones. Read July 25-27. 3 Stars.

Pretty entertaining at times, but a little underwhelming overall. The twists and turns weren’t hard to figure out and it was a little frustrating how long it took Alice to put things together. Speaking of Alice, she reminded me a lot of the main character from this author’s previous book and that is not a favorable comparison. I was so annoyed by how she reacted to things. I didn’t care for the other characters, either. Part 2 of the book, from Beth’s POV, was very slow and I skimmed a lot. However, the first part and then towards the end was faster paced and much more entertaining. I think people who don’t read a lot of this genre might enjoy this, but it will be a little ho-hum for those that are more familiar with this type of story.

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Shamed (Kate Burkholder #11) by Linda Castillo. Read July 27-28. 4 Stars. 

Another great installment in the Kate Burkholder series. I thought the mystery was well done and the story was really well paced. I liked seeing Tomasetti play a bigger part in the case than he has been in the last few books, though I will always want to see more of him. I love this series and can’t wait for the next book!

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen. Read July 28-30. 3.5 Stars. 

This was my first Dessen book. I wasn’t exactly blown away like I expected, but I did enjoy it. I thought the character development was really well done. I liked pretty much all the characters, with the exception of Jilly who never really lived up to the Great Friend raving Louna often said about her. Some of Ambrose’s actions annoyed me, but overall I liked him and I shipped him with Louna. I liked the wedding planning backdrop, as well. 

Where the book really didn’t work for me was with Ethan. SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS* So it doesn’t take long to figure out that Ethan died and how he died. Because of that, I never got that invested his and Louna’s story. I also thought their relationship was ridiculous. They have “one epic night” together and then the rest of their short relationship is phone calls and texts. On the night that they meet Louna loses her virginity and before they say goodbye they declare their love for each other. *Insert eye roll emoji here* What made this even more ridiculous is that Jilly ends up having “one epic night” of her own with a new guy and while Louna is happy for her, she mentions several times that it happened really fast. You think, Louna?

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

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Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter. I enjoyed this just as much the second time around.

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

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Where Do I Begin? by Elvia Duran – 4 Stars

Love on Lexington Avenue (Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne – 4 Stars

The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: July 17, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

Nothing at the moment. I just finished a book late last night and will start a new one during my lunch break today.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Maybe This Time by Kasie West and The Arrangement by Robyn Harding.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I just got The First Mistake by Sandie Jones from the library. I was also thinking about re-reading Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter (don’t judge it by it’s cover!!) while I still have Kindle Unlimited.

What are you reading?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 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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Marriage for One by Ella Maise. Read May 31 – June 2. 3.5 Stars. 

This had a great slow burn romance that I loved. However, like the other book I’ve read by this author, once the slow burn developed into the actual relationship, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. There were several explicit scenes and the end was a cheesefest. It was also a lot longer than it needed to be. However, if you’re a Romance fan and like slow burn, I still definitely recommend this one.

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Trashy Romance Novel by Jacqueline E. Smith. Read June 2-4. 3 Stars. 

Interesting idea, but a little underwhelming. I thought the big conflicts in the story were a little unbelievable. The main character published several books under a pen name and she keeps it a secret from her real life friends. But, she still does book signings and takes pictures and gives interviews and no one is supposed to figure it out? I thought what happened to her in high school that makes her refuse to tell people her real name was going to be something really intense, but it was just some poor decisions and a little bullying. I felt like the characters should have been aged down a lot for that to still have such an impact. 

I also thought it was odd that she was on set of the tv show for the whole shoot. She was a co-writer on the script, but she’s never consulted or has to do any actual work on the script while she’s there. She basically just stands around and watches them film. And the actors seem to get a whole lot of time off? I also HATED her best friend, Gemma. However, the romance was cute and there was some good banter here and there. It wasn’t bad for a Kindle Unlimited selection.

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Wild Reckless (Harper Boys #1) by Ginger Scott. Read June 8-10. 3.5 Stars. 

Cute, but super angsty – sometimes a little too over-dramatic. I shipped the romance, though there were times it didn’t seem all that healthy of a relationship. I thought the characters were well developed, though. Also, I found parts of Kensi’s relationship with her father relatable – I’m always up for seeing cheating, emotionally-abusive men get kicked to the curb.

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When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington. Read June 12-14. 3 Stars. 

A cute, summertime read. I liked the romance and the characters – though Olivia did annoy me sometimes. One thing that kind of seemed odd to me was that the story was told in alternating 1st person POV and it would sometimes change several times in one chapter. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but sometimes it would only be for a couple paragraphs at a time before switching back. I just didn’t really see the purpose in it. And since both voices sounded exactly the same, maybe this would have been better told in 3rd person? Anyways, it was still an enjoyable read, but the last quarter or so of the book could have been a little better for me. The ending felt really abrupt and I felt there could have been a little more detail and that’s why I’m dropping my rating down to 3 stars instead of 4.

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Coldhearted Boss by R. S. Grey. Read June 15-16. 3 Stars.

This was cute. I shipped the romance, but there were still plenty of things about it that I was kind of annoyed by. I thought they both acted really childish for way too long and I guess I expected a little more from all the hate-to-love antics.

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No Exit by Taylor Adams. Read June 17-21. 3 Stars.

This didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, but it wasn’t bad. I was hoping for a few more twists and surprises, though. I really loved to hate the main villain. I thought that characterization was pretty well done and made the book worth the read.

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A Pizza My Heart (Slice Series #1) by Teagan Hunter. Read June 21. 3.5 Stars.

As with all Hunter’s books, the addictive writing made this a fast read. I really loved about the first half. I’m all about the slow burn. I also loved the banter. I just felt like once they started to get together it became all about the physical relationship, which kind of cheapened the actual love story. I also wish the secondary characters were developed a little bit more. However, it was a quick fun read and I definitely shipped Wren and Foster.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis. Read June 22-24. 4 Stars. 

I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I was going on a little trip and decided to browse through Hoopla to see what was available to listen to while I drove. I’m not that familiar with Rachel Hollis, but I have heard a lot of good things about her from other bloggers and decided to give this one a try. I’m glad I did. I am not really an ambitious person at all, but this made me feel inspired to start setting some small goals for myself – and then maybe some bigger goals. And while audio isn’t my favorite format because I can’t easily go back and look up passages I wanted to revisit, I think it really added to the experience to hear it narrated by Rachel herself. Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for something a little motivational.

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The Stand-In Boyfriend (Grove Valley High #1) by Emma Doherty. Read June 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. There were many ridiculous things and Livy kind of drove me crazy about 90% of the time, but I still loved it. Chase was so, so sweet and made up for everything else. A fun fake relationship story I recommend if you can deal with the angst.

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Four Doors Down (Becca McKenzie #1) by Emma Doherty. Read June 26-27. 3 Stars. 

Easy, quick read that was kind of addicting, but I did not like this one as much as the other book I have read by this author. The plot was different, but it felt really similar. Both books are about a completely oblivious girl who doesn’t realize the hot, popular guy is SUPER into her. Becca was a really unlikable character and I wish more than just the epilogue was told through Ryan’s POV. Becca was always going on about how other people were stuck up and thought they were too cool for her, but she was a complete jerk to everyone. I don’t even really want to read the next book because I don’t think I can handle any more of her. If you’re interested in this author, I would recommend The Stand-in Boyfriend, instead.

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

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The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman.

This is for people who already know their passion and need to figure out how to achieve it, which is definitely not me yet, so this goes back on the shelf for another day.

*****DNF*****

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Rule #1: You Can’t Date the Coach’s Daughter by Ann-Marie Meyer.

DNF @ 30%. Found this on Kindle Unlimited and thought it might be cute. However, the writing isn’t great and the main character is a bit of a psycho.

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Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein.

DNF at 33%. I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn’t for me. The writing wasn’t bad, but the story was far-fetched and the main character was AWFUL. She was so shallow and selfish and she had zero self-awareness. I think that there will probably be a lot of people that can overlook those things and enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.

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Chasing Clouds by Kathryn Andrews.

DNF @ 14%. This seems a little unbelievable, but it has potential. However, I put this down because it hadn’t really grabbed me and I just don’t feel interested in picking it back up again.

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

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Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham – 3 Stars

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: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I’m going to break this up by established authors and 2018 debut authors.

Established Authors

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1. Fredrik Backman. Read: Bear Town, Us Against You

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2. Mariana Zapata. Read: Dear Aaron, From Lukov with Love, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Under Locke, Luna and the Lie

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3. Peter Swanson. Read: All the Beautiful Lies 

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4. Jennifer Hillier. Read: Jar of Hearts

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5. Teagan Hunter. Read: Let’s Get Textual, I Wanna Text You Up, Can’t Text This

2018 Debut Authors

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6. Cara Hunter. Read: Close to Home

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7. Carola Lovering. Read: Tell Me Lies

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8. Joseph Knox. Read: SirensThe Smiling Man

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9. T.M. Logan. Read: Lies

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10. Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 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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My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel. Read November 30 – December 1. 3 Stars. 

So, I kind of don’t get the hype with this one? I was expecting a lot of twists and craziness, but it was kind of a boring story about a manipulative person that we know is manipulative and the people she’s manipulating figures it out pretty quickly. At least this was a novella and not a book I wasted several days on. I’m giving it three stars because there wasn’t really anything wrong with the writing and the characters were kind of interesting. I think I just had higher expectations than I should have.

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A Woman Scorned by Jack Jordan. Read December 2-3. 3.5 Stars. 

Another over-hyped story I have been waiting a long time to read. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely had some fun elements and some nice, little twists. I kind of enjoyed how messed up everything/everyone was. But I expected something a little more explosive. The ending was really anti-climatic. 

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Day 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan. Read December 6-8. 3 Stars. 

Not a whole lot actually happened in this book, but I think I enjoyed it a little more than the first. Bellarke becomes official, so that’s enough to make me happy.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover. Read December 8-10. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely a different type of book than CoHo’s usual thing and I was into it. It has one of my favorite narrative devices – a book within a book. The characters were really interesting, if not always likable. I didn’t like that there was a cheating storyline. While I thought there was a definite creep factor, the suspense felt a little cheap and I wasn’t surprised by the “twist” at the end. I did, however, like that it left things kind of open-ended. I don’t usually appreciate that, but I thought it worked really well here. I’ve been struggling with what to rate this, but I think I’m going to knock it up to 4 stars because I did have a good time reading it.

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Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse by Shannon Thomas. Read December 10-11. 4 Stars. 

My father was never the easiest person to live with. Objectively, there were good times and he could be helpful and kind. But, those times were not the norm. Still, it was not until the events that led to my mother filing for divorce last year that we recognized his behavior over the years was narcissistic and abusive. This book had a lot of good information and there are many passages I highlighted that I will need to write down as reminders (I’ll probably update this review with them eventually). However, I feel like while I did face that psychological abuse, I was also kind of a step removed from it. I felt the focus of things discussed in this book would definitely be more applicable to my mother. I’m glad I read it, though, and would recommend it to people who are struggling with toxic people in their life.

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From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. Read December 4-16. 3.5 Stars. 

First of all, I want to say I think everyone today that goes around calling people “nazis” when they don’t agree with them should read this book (or one like it…or even an actual History textbook…). The atrocities that were done to the Jewish people during this time are just disgusting and heartbreaking. 

In terms of the book itself, the writing is as beautiful as you would expect from Amy Harmon. The characters were real and likable. I did take a big issue with a main theme in the book, though, which is making me give it a lower rating than pretty much everyone else I know. Most of the time I feel Amy Harmon treats religion and faith very thoughtfully in her books. I am neither Catholic nor Jewish, but I honestly felt a little offended in how disrespectful both main characters were in regards to their faiths. Angelo is a priest, even though he should have never become one because he was already in love with someone. And then he sleeps with her while he’s a priest. And then he basically denounces his Catholic faith for one of Universalism instead. It wasn’t really a message I could get behind. One of the main reasons I put this book off for so long is because I was a little concerned about a priest being the love interest and while the book was still worth the read, I know I was right to be a little hesitant about it. 

Obviously, this is an unpopular opinion that didn’t really seem to bother anyone else. And I still definitely recommend Amy Harmon’s books, but this is not one I would pick up again.

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Can’t Text This (Text #3) by Teagan Hunter. Read December 16. 4 Stars. 

This is definitely not one of my usual type of books. However, just like the first book in this series, I read this in one evening. Basically in one sitting. I love the texting so much. Robbie and Monty’s banter just cracked me up. I didn’t love how sex-centered the plot was, but I kind of feel like the humor and characters made up for it. I also loved how much we got to see of Zach from the previous books. While this book would not be for everyone, it was exactly the light-hearted read I needed right now and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And that’s why I’m bumping my rating up to 4 stars.

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The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise. Read December 17-19. 3.5 Stars. 

I really loved the slow burn in this. It was so cute and romantic and funny. I was really ready to give this 4 stars, but it went a little off the rails for me in the last third or so of the book. Once Dylan and Zoe actually got together, it was all sex scenes and miscommunication drama, and cheesiness. I just did not enjoy the ending as much as I did the beginning, even though I was happy with how it all turned out. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author, though.

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Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata. Read December 19-22. 4 Stars. 

Like every other book I’ve read by this author, it could’ve used way more editing and been about 200 pages shorter than it was. There is so much repetition and so many pages where nothing in the story moved forward whatsoever. However, the characters were still compelling enough to make me want to keep reading. Though Luna annoyed me sometimes, I liked her and her optimism. I enjoyed the slow burn romance with Rip, too. While there were plenty of sweet and romantic moments between them, there were some things that didn’t sit super well with me either. There’s about a 15 year age difference between them that isn’t really ever addressed. And there were times he came across a little controlling and jerky. I’m still giving this book 4 stars, though, because despite my problems with it, I still really enjoyed reading it.

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All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. Read December 26-28. 3.5 Stars. 

I enjoyed this, but I had some issues with it that kept me from giving it 4 stars. First what I enjoyed – I liked the writing. I loved the multiple POVs and timelines. I thought they were really well done. The mystery was pretty well done, too. No shocking twists or any real surprises, but it worked. 

Now, my issues. I thought the whole A’s thing was ridiculous. It’s supposed to be a super exclusive club that will help you succeed in adulthood, but really all we see of it is horrible kids doing horrible things for really petty reasons. Every single thing they did was just stupid. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, either. Charlie was interesting, but I never really liked her. And I really didn’t like how her main confidant/love interest is a college graduate when she’s a junior in high school. I also didn’t really like how it ended. It kind of skipped over all the fall-out for her and her “friends” and I would’ve liked more details about what happened to them.

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The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. Read December 25-28. 4 Stars. 

I tried bullet journaling earlier this year and pretty much crashed and burned with it. I’ve been wanting to try it again, though, and I think after reading this book I have a much better chance at being successful. I know that as I get started with it in 2019 I will be referring back to this often as a manual and it will decrease my frustration. I also liked that Ryder really stressed that your BuJo does not have to be super creative and beautiful like so many you see online. The most important thing is that it works for you and that you are tracking and logging meaningful things. If making things really pretty helps inspire you, that’s great, but if you aren’t artistic, it’s ok. I thought it got a little too “self-help” now and then, but overall I definitely recommend this one for people who are thinking about bullet journaling, but not quite sure where to start.

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Diced by Ginger Scott. Read December 28. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. I think the biggest problem is that I’m just not a big fan of novellas. I mostly decided to read this because I wanted to hit a certain number of books read for the year and this would help me get there. It did have some cute moments, but everything just felt so rushed and things weren’t really explained to my satisfaction. And then instead of the characters really having a good conversation about the future in the end, they just say some cliched things in an extended sex scene and I was kind of over it. However, if you are a big Romance and novella fan, you will probably enjoy it more than I did.

*****DNF*****

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To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise. DNF at 28%. I tried. I really tried with this one, but I just can’t take anymore. I can’t stand any of the characters and I really don’t like the “little one” nickname. It makes me cringe every time Jason says it – which is a lot. I have heard from people that it gets better, but I just don’t care enough to make myself move forward with it.

*****Book with Future Review Scheduled*****

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The Temp by Michelle Frances – 2 Stars

2018 End of Year Survey

This annual survey was developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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**2018 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 147
Number of Re-Reads: 8
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Thriller and Romance/Contemporary
**These are the stats as of 12/26/18, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

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I can’t pick one, so here are the three that I gave 4.5 Stars in 2018: Close to Home by Cara Hunter, Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

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

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My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies. I absolutely adored My Lady Jane and I expected to love this one just as much, but it was probably my biggest disappointment of the year.

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

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I mean come on, does Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter look like a book I would enjoy? But I totally did enjoy it. I read it in a day and laughed all the way through it.

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

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So I don’t actually feel like I pushed many books on people this year. I will say that I told my mother about Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas and then when I started sharing some quotes with her she said she wanted to read it so I bought it for her for Christmas.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

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Started: Beartown by Fredrik Backman, Sequel:  What You want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka, Ender On Magnolia Lane (Blue Ridge #3) by Denise Hunter.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Cara Hunter and Fredrik Backman

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

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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. I don’t read a lot of horror and while I had my issues with this one, I mostly enjoyed it.

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

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I can’t really think of any books that were really action-packed, so I’m going with one of my re-reads for this year, Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown.

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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Beartown

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

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The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4) by Katerina Diamond

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Benji from Beartown

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I mean, not to sound like a broken record, but Beartown. 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

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There were a lot of good lessons in the The Faithful devotional.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. Brandie bought me a copy for my birthday in 2017 and it was almost a year later before I read it and I really enjoyed it.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“When we decide that boundaries are needed, they can be hard to set – and maintain – if we doubt ourselves and our assessment of the situation. Survivors often wonder if they are overreacting or being too sensitive…Another reason setting boundaries is difficult to do? We internally worry that we are withholding forgiveness and staying resentful. Boundaries have nothing to do with forgiveness or resentment. They have everything to do with the quality of our interactions with the people in our lives.” – Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

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Shortest: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

Longest: Oblivion by JLA (this was a re-read!)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

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

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The subtle twist at the end of Our House by Louise Candlish is probably my favorite shock of the year.

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

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Bellarke forever!!! This is more about the show than the book, but I’m counting it.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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The group of friends in My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Have to go with Beartown again. I wouldn’t have ever picked it up if Brandie hadn’t lent it to me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Close to Home by Cara Hunter.

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

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Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

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

Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Beartown and Us Against You

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

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

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi. I was so excited for this series to continue, but the majority of this book was just the characters taking major steps back and rehashing old drama. It seemed like really lazy writing and it made me mad because I expect more from this author.

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1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I always feel too bad to answer these questions. Add to that I always forget how long I’ve been following someone, so I’m going to skip this question. I love you all, though!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

This beautiful book-themed cake my former co-worker made me for my goodbye party.

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

This year I went to events for Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Linwood Barclay and they were all fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I hit over 1,000 blog posts and reached over 1,000 followers.

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

Due to real life, I ended up taking two month-long (or almost month-long) hiatuses.

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

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My review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I mean, honestly, all of them.

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

I don’t really feel like I made a bookish discovery this year?

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 reading challenge with a goal of 105 books and I surpassed that (147 at the time of writing this, but it will probably go up before the end of the year).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

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I don’t think it will be my number one priority, but I really wanted to read Archenemies by Marissa Meyer. I got it from the library, but my hold came in at a bad time and it expired before I got to it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

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Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Review more books. It feels like I only properly review ARCS and a few select other books and I want to get back into reviewing the majority of what I read again.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing and I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella