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!!

A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog, she’s awesome!). Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to participate.

ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

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I don’t think I entirely understand this question. So, I’m going with a book opening that has “once upon a time” with a twist. The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is set in Ketterdam. Yes, it’s fictional. But it’s kind of Russian inspired, right?

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

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All of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are really well done, but I think Cress (Rapunzel re-telling) is my favorite book of the series.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

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I am usually the one that forces people to read books. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is one that I read and then bugged and bugged my sister to read. When she finally did she loved it,  so much she started working for one of the major HG fansites, and so then my parents and brother all decided to read it too.

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

My favorite Disney fairy tale movie is beauty and the beast because it's one of the rare times a prince gets saved:

Beauty and the Beast, like all good bookworms. Of course there is the relatable factor of Belle being a book lover. But I guess I also like the idea that physical attraction doesn’t play a role in them falling in love. And I never really realized it until I was searching for a picture to use and found the above one, but Belle is one of the most feminist characters which is cool.

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my new favorites.

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I love a good workplace comedy. I honestly haven’t read many of them, but I always enjoy them when I do. I would’ve liked to see just a little more of the workplace satire and more of their co-workers, but there still were several things that made me laugh and relate. I also appreciated that the setting for the majority of the book was set at the office with Lucy and Josh. It’s so different from so many contemporary/romance books and I think it helped set it apart a bit.

I thought we were going to get both POVs in this book, but we only get Lucy’s 1st Person POV. This actually ended up really working for me. I really felt like I got to know her well and I felt a connection to her. I thought she was a likable character, but I did get a little frustrated with her from time to time. While I was initially a little disappointed not getting Josh’s POV, I think it’s better that we didn’t. It would have taken away a lot of the romantic tension if we knew what he was thinking. Though, I have to say, I thought it was pretty obvious what he was thinking the majority of the time. But not to poor Lucy, though.

The humor in this book was fantastic. There are so, so many quotable moments. I wish I would’ve bookmarked them so I could share some. I love banter in books and there was A LOT of it in this book. Thorne’s writing is really sharp and unique. It’s kind of quirky. Though this is her debut novel, I have no doubt going forward that when I pick up a book by her, I’ll know it by her writing style.

The romance was also really well done. It followed the “Hate to Love” trope and was definitely a slow burn romance. I was shipping them so hard and loved seeing even the smallest steps forward. I hate using the word “swoony”, but I have to admit it could get pretty swoony. Josh is definitely one of my new favorite leading men. He was a perfect mix of sarcastic and sweet. One thing, though, that I didn’t love was it ended up being a lot more romance-novely than I was expecting. And by that I mean there was more sex talk and sex scenes than I generally care to read. It never got super graphic, though, so I can kind of look past it.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Hating Game. It had great humor and great romance and it was just so fun to read. I know that this is going to become one of my go-to books to revisit when I’m feeling book-slumpy. I look forward to reading more from Thorne in the future

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Books On My Fall TBR List.

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1. Yes, it’s on every list today, but I’m so excited for Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo! It’s out today, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to buy it when I go to a book signing!!

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2. Roseblood by A.G. Howard. I’ve had this on my TBR forever and I got approved for an ARC of it yesterday and I’m so excited! It’s a Phantom and the Opera re-telling and I don’t think I’ve ever read one of those before.

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3. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle. This is going to be the show that will fill the Pretty Little Liars void this spring on Freeform, so I thought I’d read it before then to see if I want to watch the show.

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4. The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8) by Karin Slaughter. I have been waiting for a new Will Trent book for-ev-er! And I have to wait a little while longer until my library hold comes in.

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5. The Power (Titan #2) by Jennifer Armentrout. This book has FINALLY came to the library so hopefully my hold will come in soon.

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6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This book is getting amazing reviews.

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7. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. No, I do not expect this to be great, but I’m really excited to read it.

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8. Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt. This series is the definition of Guilty Pleasure Read.

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9. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham. I love Lauren Graham (and Gilmore Girls).

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10. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Every friend I have on Good Reads that’s read this adores it. Yet another library wait list I’m crossing my fingers will come in soon.

WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS FALL?