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

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

I wasn’t really interested in today’s Top 5 Wednesday prompt, so I decided to borrow a topic I missed from when I was on hiatus. So for me, today’s topic is: Favorite Romance Novels. Straight up romance novels aren’t usually ones I reach for very often, but there are a few that I love.

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1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I love almost everything about this book. It’s so funny and cute.

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2. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren. Can you tell I like Hate-to-Love stories?

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3. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. Honestly, I could list pretty much every Lauren Layne book I’ve read. They’re always so cute.

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4. Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk. This book reminded me so much a Hallmark Christmas movie.

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5. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. Kristan Higgins is my definite go-to for romance novels and this is just one of my many favorites by her. She appears to be shifting her focus over to Women’s Fiction, which at first really annoyed me, even though they’re just as good as her romances. I’m coming around to it, though.

What are some of your favorite romance novels?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love Ships

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Goodreads Group page) is : Hate to Love Ships.

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1. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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2. Lucy and Josh – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

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3. Evie and Carter – Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren.

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4. Jane and G – My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies.

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5. Vaugh and Oakley – When It’s Real by Erin Watt.

What are some of your favorite Hate to Love ships?

Review: Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

I had so much fun reading this book! It was so cute and funny. I was smiling my way throughout almost the whole thing.

Ok, first I need to talk about the part I found really relatable. Evie is 33, single, child-less, does not own her own home, and feels like she’s behind on life. Other than the fact that she has an actual career and not a dead-end job she hates, ahem, it was like she was describing all of my inner life panic. I loved this passage, which is basically all things I have thought at one point or another:

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.”

I loved all the characters in this book. Evie and Carter were great main characters and I really enjoyed all of their friends and family, as well.  I loved that the story was told in alternating 1st Person POV between Evie and Carter. I thought each voice was well done and really felt a connection to both of them. I thought they had great chemistry and I shipped them right away. This wasn’t really the Hate-to-Love story I was expecting. It was more Insta-Love-to-Hate-to-Love and I have to say it worked for me. While I loved Carter – Loved him – he did have several moments of great dickdom, so I was able to hate him when Evie did. But he was also so sweet and charming that I could easily fall back in love with him later.

As anyone who reads many of my reviews knows, I am not a fan of lots of graphic sexual content. I’ve only read one other book by this author duo before and based on that I knew going in that there was going to be some scenes like that. I think because I anticipated it (and was enjoying all the other aspects of the book), I found I didn’t mind it as much. There was actually less than I thought there was going to be.

The one thing (besides the graphic stuff) that kind of bothered me, though, is that I was expecting more behind-the-scenes information on Hollywood and working as an agent. Other than the mention of some actors and making big deals, there wasn’t really a lot of details. I felt like this could have been set in any other type of industry and the story would have come out the same. There is one scandalous work thing with Carter that happens towards the end of the book and I did not understand why it was such a big deal. I felt like it was something that only people in that business would understand and by that point in the book I should’ve been able to understand it, but I didn’t. I think my favorite thing when it came to the work atmosphere, though, is how Evie deals with sexism. It’s a real problem that many of us face and I thought for the most part Evie handled it with strength and class.

Overall, I really loved Hating You / Dating You. I loved the characters and the romance, and the relatability of being 33 and behind on life. Even though there are quite a bit of differences, it reminded me a lot of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which I adored, and I think if you liked that one, you will like this one as well. I had pretty high expectations going into this and I’m really happy to say that they were met. I can see myself re-reading this a lot in the future. I definitely recommend this one to Romance fans!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

2016 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and is always so much better than the end of year posts I try to make up for myself. Though I originally wanted to not use the same book for more than one or two answers, I decided just to go with the most honest answer, despite how many recurrences. Fair warning: this survey could also be called The Red Rising Survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 136 (as of 12/26/16)
Number of Re-Reads: 19
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I gave five books 4.5 Stars and while I could narrow it down to maybe my top 2 or 3, I think I’ll just name the 5 – in order I read them.

1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

2. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, et al.

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

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, but the conclusion to the series just really underwhelmed me.

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

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I thought it would be really light and cutesy and was definitely surprised by the great character development and the major ups and downs they went through. It was a good surprise.

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

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While it could have *possibly* been because I read it the month before the final book came out, I’m totally taking credit for at least a couple people I know reading and loving it after I read/loved/hyped/talked endlessly about it. 🙂

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ok, we all know the answer to this one. SorryNotSorry

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Started: Red Rising

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Sequel: Golden Son

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Ender: Morning Star

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Pierce Brown, obviously.

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

I’m a broken record and I know it. But I don’t really read sci-fi and the Red Rising trilogy is amazing.

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

Golden Son. The pace was so, so fast and there were so many surprises!

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Such a cute, quick read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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This Adventure Ends

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker will always be one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved him just as much in Crooked Kingdom as I did in Six of Crows.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

There isn’t really a book that stands out for this one. Though I think I described Pierce Brown’s writing as both beautiful and brutal in one of my reviews.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, after reading this I am pretty positive I am OCD. I understand so many things about my life now that never made sense before. Mental Health Awareness, guys. It’s important!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Red Rising, yet again

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I’m awful at these questions. I don’t have one.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh – 9 pages

Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Golden Son. It had so, so many little twists and turns. I think the reason it was my favorite of the series is because it just continually surprised me when not many books can these days.

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

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

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game.

Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sloane and her friends from This Adventure Ends (though there is one romantic part to that, it focuses more on the friendship)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

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I had zero interest in My Lady Jane but all the hype made me read it and I LOVED it. I rarely agree with hype, but I really thought this one deserved it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

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Garret Graham from The Deal. Even though he’s the kind of guy I usually hate in books – and in life.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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

Red Rising

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

My Lady Jane! So funny!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner made me ugly cry at a few parts.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I discovered Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series this year and it’s one of my favorite chick lit series ever.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to go with The Serpent King again.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy’s behavior absolutely INFURIATED me.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I love you all!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I am usually very disappointed with how my reviews come out, but it always makes my day when someone says they want to read the book based on my review. So the most recent review where that happened is for My Lady Jane.

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

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner. I talked about my very strict rating system and how I’ve loosened up slightly from when I first started. But through the comments I also learned a lot about other reviewer’s rating criteria and as a result I am far less angry when I see 5 star reviews for books that I don’t think deserve it.

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

I went to 3 author events this year and they were all great (Linda Castillo, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer)! I also got to finally meet my long-time-online-book-world-friend, Amanda!

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5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I would probably go with getting my Six of Crows duology signed and meeting Leigh Bardugo (as stated above).

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

There seemed to be frequent reading slumps where NOTHING sounded good. Though I was often disappointed with the number of posts I had done at the end of most months, I am happy that I didn’t pressure myself to do posts I didn’t care about just to fill the days.

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

By views since I don’t know how to look it up by comments: Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) is the most viewed post of the year. The most viewed post that I actually wrote this year was my 3 Year Blogaversary Giveaway.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any reviews, really. Even though I’m sure it reads like I just throw them together, reviews take me so long to write so when some of them – especially on books I really loved – get really low views, it’s sad.

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

Book Outlet! Though I wish they had more of the books that I was looking for, I got most of my Christmas book shopping done during their Black Friday sale. It’s definitely a site I will be re-visiting.

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

The only challenge/goal I do is on Good Reads. I had reasons to go really conservative at 75 books, but as of 12/26/16 I’ve read 136 books (181% of my goal).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

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I’m not sure if it will be the first book I read, but I really need to read Twisted Palace by Erin Watt!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t really think of anything. I always seem to be the last to find out about good debuts.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

There are a couple sequels I can think of, but neither are ones I’m super interested in.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Go to more author events!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

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The Young Wives Club and Still Life are my two favorite 2017 releases I’ve read so far.

The Jingle Bell Tag

Land of EnCRAFTment: Jingle Bell Shaker Box Invites!:

I saw this tag over on A Novel Glimpse and thought it looked fun, so I decided to steal it. Feel free to steal it yourself if your blog is in need of a little holiday book cheer.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” | What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. This was one of my favorite books of the year and probably my favorite cover of the year. I definitely need a copy to go on my shelf!

“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time…” | What book that you have read this year have you enjoyed the most?

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I’ve enjoyed so many books this year so to narrow it down I’m following Deanna’s example and picking my most recent most enjoyable read, which is My Lady Jane.

Elf | What book unleashes your inner child?

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I don’t know about my inner child, but reading the Backstage Pass series made me really nostalgic for the boy bands of my early teen years.

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” | Which book has  the most festive look to it?

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I’ve been really into holiday romances this year and I think Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk is just like a Hallmark Christmas movie – even the cover of it – which is one of my favorite things about this time of year.

The Grinch | Your favorite villain…

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Joe from the You series by Caroline Kepnes is more an anti-hero than villain, but there is no denying this guy does totally villainous, messed up things. But I still root for him the whole time.

The Holiday | Name your favorite TWO couples…

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Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Red Rising of course! Everyone needs to read this series!!