Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2020

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 Ex Effect (Washington Wolves #2) by Karla Sorensen. Read April 30-May 1. 3.5 Stars

This was cute, but not my favorite by this author. I thought Ava and Matthew got together a little too quickly, but I did ship them. I wish there was a little more resolution with Ava’s family, though.

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Wait For It by Mariana Zapata. Read April 27-May 2. 4 Stars.

It took me awhile to get into this (as much as I enjoy Zapata, I always think her books could be a good 200 pages shorter than they are), but once I did, I loved it. I loved the growing relationship between Diana and Dallas and I loved Josh and Louie. I put off reading this one for so long because I didn’t like Diana in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and I don’t always like reading books when there’s kids involved. But I found Diana way more likable in this and the kids were two of the best things about the book. I think Dallas might be my new favorite Zapata man, too.

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The Bombshell Effect (Washington Wolves #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 3-5. 3 Stars. 

This was cute, but not my favorite book of the series. I liked Allie and Luke together and the big romantic gesture at the end had some “Never Been Kissed” vibes that I enjoyed.

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The Split by Sharon Bolton. Read May 5-8. 2.5 Stars.

I am so disappointed! I love Sharon Bolton, but I found this book so boring. It started off really interesting and the end was alright, but I just didn’t care about anything in the middle. I didn’t care about most of the characters and I guessed the twist long before it was revealed. I love so many of Bolton’s books, but this one just wasn’t for me.

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The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Read May 13-14. 3.5 Stars. 

The writing sucked me in and kept me reading, but this definitely wasn’t my favorite Coben book. I found myself super annoyed with Adam’s wife, Corrine. When he confronts her about the lie and asks for an explanation she basically says “I’m not ready to tell you right now. I’ll do it later.” And then she disappears. What annoyed me was the manipulative “I don’t feel like talking about this” response. And as the book goes on, you expect there to be some huge conspiracy she was caught up in and it would all make sense why she couldn’t tell him anything…but that’s not the case. It was just annoying. It made it kind of hard to care about what happened to her. I’m still interested in checking out the show on Netflix, though. I know they made some significant changes from the book, so maybe it will be a little better.

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Life and Death (Twilight #1.75) by Stephenie Meyer. Read May 10-20. 3 Stars. 

So with all the hype about Midnight Sun coming out soon, I decided it was time to revisit Twilight and realized I never read the gender swap book. It did take me quite a bit of time to get through, only reading a couple chapters at a time in between other books. I know that Meyer did the gender swap to show that if Bella was a guy, she still would’ve needed to be rescued because she’s human, but it didn’t really work for me. Maybe I’m part of the problem in society, but there were so many times where I just wanted Beau to “act like a man.” A couple things were changed here and there, but mostly it was just pronouns and it didn’t work. I often caught myself reading it as if was regular Twilight. One thing that did surprise me was the ending! I thought it was a straight re-telling, but it’s not and I did find that interesting.

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From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read May 19-24. 2 Stars. 

*Sigh* This reminded me a lot of Armentrout’s Covenant series. Mixed in with a little Twilight and Shadow and Bone. And it was just ok for me. Actually, large parts of it were ridiculous. Poppy was so whiny, I found her really unlikable most of the time. Most of the book is her complaining about how unfair it is that she can’t sleep around like everyone else has the right to. Despite the whole cult-like religious system being pretty shady, she believes in it, which makes her choosing to ditch her Maiden status to have sex pretty selfish.

The romance between Poppy and Hawke played out very similarly to every other JLA couple, to the point where the names could’ve been switched out with any other JLA characters and you wouldn’t be able to tell which book you were reading. I though Hawke’s true identity was super obvious long before Poppy figures it out, too.

So, obviously this wasn’t my favorite JLA book, but all of her other fans seem to love it, so it’s probably just me.

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A Slice of Love (Slice #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read May 24. 3.5 Stars.

This was cute and I definitely shipped Frankie and Jonas. I thought there was a little too much focus on the physical relationship, though, and would’ve liked a little more emotional/romantic development.

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Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris. Read May 24-25. 3 Stars. 

This was pretty cute and was a lot less angsty than I anticipated, which was nice. I liked the dual POVs and shipped Lily and Stone.

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

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The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy and Love the One You Hate by R.S. Grey. I just couldn’t get into either one of these, but I think it was my mood, so I do plan to try them again in the future. 

*****DNF*****

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You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. DNF @ 27%. I really wanted to like this one. I love the cover and the comparison to Jane the Virgin definitely intrigued me. There were just too many little things adding up that didn’t work for me. My biggest problem was how the scenes from the tv show were written. It starts out with just a bit of script direction to set the scene, but instead of staying in script format, it goes back to the normal narrative style. And instead of describing things from Jasmine’s POV as she acts the scene, it described them as if Carmen, the character she’s playing, was experiencing them. And we would get Carmen’s feelings and internal monologue, but then there would be some thoughts from Jasmine interspersed with those and it was just weird. I know I’m not explaining it well, but it just really threw me off. There were a few other little things, too, that just ended up making this book a chore for me to get through. While both the main characters and their families were likable enough, I just didn’t really connect with them and I don’t really care enough to keep reading this. That said, I have seen some really good reviews for this book, so I’m sure many others will love it.

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Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. DNF @ 16%. I think it might be time to just admit that YA Fantasy just isn’t really for me anymore. I couldn’t really get into this and I set it down to read some other books. After more than a week, I still have no desire to pick this one back up and I don’t think I ever will.

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

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Head Over Heels by Hannah Orensten – 2 Stars

Cheesy on the Eyes (Slice #5) by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 2 Stars

WWW Wednesday: May 27, 2020

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

What did you recently finish reading?

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Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris. This was cute, if pretty average.

What are you currently reading?

Cheesy on the Eyes: Fake Dating Romcom (Slice Book 5) by [Teagan Hunter]

Cheesy on the Eyes by Teagan Hunter. This is pretty enjoyable so far. My review for this one will be up next week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins. I broke down and bought a hard copy of this to go with the rest of my collection. I haven’t seen too many reviews on it yet, so I’m going to be cautiously optimistic going in.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I DNF-ed

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned. I decided to go with The Last Ten Books I DNF-ed. 

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1.  The Best Mistake by Cookie O’Gorman. DNF @ 26%. I wanted to like this, but it just wasn’t for me. The dialogue made me cringe and everything the main character did just made me roll my eyes. I’ve seen some really good reviews on it, though, so it could just be me.

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2. Teardrop Shot by Tijan. DNF @ 10%. I just couldn’t get into this. I found the main character really off-putting and couldn’t take any more of her.

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3. Doughn’t Let Me Go by Teagan Hunter. DNF @ 21%.  I didn’t really like either of the characters. Porter was way more skeezy than I can appreciate and I was just rolling my eyes at Dory and her whole Pretty Woman “sex is fine, but no kissing” thing. I also am not a fan of the Single Dad / Nanny trope. I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author, but this one just isn’t for me.

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4. Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen. DNF @ 7%. Whenever I sign up for Kindle Unlimted, I try a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever read and this book definitely fell into that category. I’ve seen so many great reviews of LJ Shen books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I think it’s safe to say this author isn’t for me.

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5. By the Book by Amanda Sellet. DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on an ARC, but I couldn’t even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I’m also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more.

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6. My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding by Romy Summer. DNF @ 15%. I just couldn’t get into it and didn’t like any of the characters.

Hate Notes

7.  Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. DNF @ 19%. I thought this sounded cute and I have heard good things about it, but the main character just drove me absolutely nuts.

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8. A Billion Times No by Kenzie Reed. DNF @ 33%. I thought this sounded kind of cute, but it’s just really not for me. I didn’t really care for any of the characters and there was some major cheesiness going on.

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9.  The Allure of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey. DNF @ 14%. A couple chapters in Dean goes on and on about how he only hires attractive people to work in his restaurants and even says it goes looks first and then experience when it comes to the hiring process. It just came off as so disgusting to me. And then there’s Lily. I thought I was going to have problems with her based on the previous book and I was right. Anybody who has ever worked in the service industry knows that you are going to have to deal with a lot of horrible customers and that you have to suck it up and do your job, no matter how much of a jerk they are. And while Dean was deliberately trying to fluster her, I think he was 100% in his right to fire her for her behavior and it REALLY annoyed me that he came off as the bad guy in that scenario (and it was just before that that I decided he was disgusting and didn’t like him, so that really says something that I feel the need to defend him).

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10.  Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. DNF @ 8%. I read one chapter and kind of hated everything about it. I was going to try to read at least one more chapter, but my library loan expired and I know I’m never going to request this one again.

What books have you recently DNF-ed?

Top 5 Tuesday: Books that Made Me Laugh

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is: Top 5 Books that Made Me Laugh 

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My Lady Jane by the Lady Janies.

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Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

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Let’s Get Textual (Texting #1) by Teagan Hunter

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Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

What are some books that made you laugh?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2020

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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Moment of Truth by Kasie West. Read March 3-5. 3 Stars

It makes me a little sad to say this, but I found this book really dull. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until about the last 25%. I expect a slow burn romance in West’s books, but it felt almost non-existent until close to the end. I also thought the big drama between Hadley and her parents was resolved WAY too easily. I almost gave this book 2 stars instead of 3, but I did really like Hadley and Jackson in the last few chapters.

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Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker. Read March 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. I think I enjoyed it more than the first book, actually. It’s extremely character-driven and not a lot really happens and if I was in a different mood, I could see where this might not have worked for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing Calla and Jonah work on starting a life together. There were lots of sweet moments between them and Jonah could be far more romantic than I remember him being. However, he still did lots of stupid things that made me frustrated with him, too. I liked the new location and the new characters, especially Toby and Roy. One negative thing, though, I thought there were a few too many sex scenes. None of them were that detailed and some were even more “fade to black”, but it just seemed a little excessive.

I would love a third Calla and Jonah book. I think I’m going to go back and re-read the first book now just because I don’t feel like being done with them quite yet.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Read March 8-10. 2.5 Stars. 

I think I was way too hyped for this. Everyone I know that read this gave it 4 or 5 stars and I had really high expectations. I found it really lackluster, though. I didn’t really like the main character, I didn’t buy the romance, and wasn’t really impressed with the writing. There were a couple of cute or funny moments, but I just didn’t enjoy this one.

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Bennett Mafia by Tijan. Read March 22-24. 3.5 Stars

When I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, this one kept my attention. It was crazy and sometimes ridiculous, but addicting, which is what I expect from a Tijan book. It was just a little too long, though. Just when I felt like the story was coming to an end, the plot completely shifted. I almost felt like this could have been broken into two different books.

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. Read March 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I don’t know what all these lukewarm reviews are about because I really enjoyed this! I liked the home renovation show vibes and the slow burn romance. The two main characters were likable (except when James did a couple of super dumb things) and the “villains” were more of the love-to-hate variety. I could’ve used an epilogue, but this was a cute, fast read and I’m kind of sad that I finished it so quickly.

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The Assist (Smart Jocks #1) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read March 26-27. 3.5 Stars.

A little cliched, but after a rough start I started to enjoy this. I liked Blaire and Wes (Bless) and I liked that we got both of their POVs. I’ll probably give the rest of this series a try before my KU subscription ends.

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Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy. Read March 28-29. 3.5 Stars

This was one of those crazy Romances where high school kids act like adults and everything is 100x more dramatic than it needs to be, but I was into it. I liked both Nico and Demi and I shipped them. I will probably check out some of this author’s other books while I still have KU.

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

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. I liked this just as much the second time around – maybe even more.

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

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I didn’t make it past the prologue. Just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction. I’ll try it again, though.

*****DNF*****

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet. DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on a book, but I couldn’t even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I’m also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more.

Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen. DNF @ 7%. Whenever I sign up for Kindle Unlimted, I try a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever read and this book definitely fell into that category. I’ve seen so many great reviews of LJ Shen books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I think it’s safe to say this author isn’t for me.

Doughn’t Let Me Go by Teagan Hunter. DNF @ 21%. Nope. Just can’t do this. I don’t really like either of the characters. Porter is way more skeezy than I can appreciate and I’m just rolling my eyes at Dory and her whole Pretty Woman “sex is fine, but no kissing” thing. I also am not a fan of the Single Dad / Nanny trope. I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author, but this one just isn’t for me.

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

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What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – 2 Stars

The First Date by Zara Stoneley – 3.5 Stars

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – 2.5 Stars

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett – 3.5 Stars

Admission by Julie Buxbaum – 2 Stars

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell – 3.5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Kindle Unlimited Books of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is about books you hope to find under your Christmas tree, but I decided to change it up and do My top ten favorite Kindle Unlimited Books I read in 2019. I’ve had 3 different 2-3 month subscriptions of KU this year. I only sign up for it when I can get a good deal on it (they’ve ranged from 2 months for free to 3 months for $1.99) and that is usually when I get all my cheesy or angsty contemporaries in – but sometimes I come across a book I really enjoyed and that’s what this list is for.

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1., 2., & 3. R.S. Grey is the big Kindle Unlimited winner for me. I’ve read several of her books through KU, but these three are the ones that really stood out to me: Hotshot DocNot So Nice GuyThe Allure of Julian LeFray.

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4. Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne

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5. The Stand-in Boyfriend by Emma Doherty

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6. Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter. This was actually a re-read for me – and that’s how much I love it!

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7. & 8.  Girl at Heart by Kelly Oram and One of the Girls by Robin Daniels. 2 authors, 1 series, and some seriously adorable YA romance.

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9. A Killer’s Mind by Mike Omer.

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10. Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd.

Have you uncovered any gems in Kindle Unlimted?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 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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I Knead You Tonight (Slice Series #2) by Teagan Hunter. Read November 3-4. 3 Stars. 

This was compulsively readable, had some sweet romantic moments, and some good banter, but it ended up being just ok for me. The characters were a little more crass than I generally like and it kind of brought down my overall enjoyment. I also didn’t really like Drew. I felt like she was never called out for her reverse snobbery when it came to why she “hated” Winston and she didn’t really take responsibility for the fact that he was only mean to her in response to her being mean to him. While I did like the sweet moments between them, they were mostly a dysfunctional couple and were a little hard to root for. However, by the end they both grew a lot and I liked that.

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Engaging Mr. Darcy by Rachel John. Read October 31 – November 10. 3 Stars. 

Pretty cheesy, but had some cute moments. Not bad for a KU pick, but not one I would want to read again.

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Girl at Heart by Kelly Oram. Read November November 14-15. 3.5 Stars

This was so cute! And also a little cheesy. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, there were a few things that kept me from giving it a full four stars. Charlie was likable enough, but I thought she talked a little too much about how rich she was. And what an amazing athlete she was. And while she did have insecurities about her appearance, once she had her make-over she started using words like “gorgeous” to describe herself. She just seemed really full of herself sometimes and had zero self-awareness about it. But other than that, the story was cute (reminded me of On the Fence by Kasie West sometimes) and Jace was the absolutely sweetest character I’ve ever read. I completely adored him and his romance with Charlie. I’m going to try and read more books from this author while I still have my KU subscription.

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Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh. Read November 12-18. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. It wasn’t quite as suspenseful as I had anticipated, but it was a good court room procedural with some surprises. I thought the angle with the serial killer was interesting and the story was well plotted. This is the fourth book in the series, but it’s the first one I read and I found it worked well as a standalone. There was a few relationship histories that I felt I was missing out on, but nothing that left me confused. I’m definitely going to check out more from this author.

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The Whisper Man by Alex North. Read November 18-22. 3 Stars. 

This was decent, but I don’t really get the hype for it. There were a couple of ok surprises, but wasn’t really much a of thriller. Is “Men’s Fiction” a genre? Because this read a lot like Women’s Fiction to me, except about men. It’s a multi-generational tale of fathers and sons and it really focuses on family and emotions more than anything else.

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One of the Girls by Robin Daniels. Read November 24-26. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute, if slightly unrealistic. I adored Nick, though. There was some fun banter and I shipped the romance. 

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

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Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1)  by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the prologue for this and didn’t get farther than that. I just really wasn’t in the mood for this story, but I will definitely try it later. I might wait until the other two books are published first so I don’t have to wait.