Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2016

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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The Crown and the Arrow (The Wrath and the Dawn 0.5) by Renee Ahdieh. Read March 3. 3 Stars.

This works as a nice deleted scene to The Wrath and the Dawn. I wish it was a little longer, though.

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Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik. Read March 6. 3.5 Stars

A pretty decent Pride and Prejudice re-telling with likable main characters. Super cute and a quick read.

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Chasing Jane by Noelle Adams. Read March 5-6. 3 Stars.

A cute, fast, romantic read. I liked the premise of the Jane Austen/Jane Eyre tour of England and wish the book would’ve been long enough to really explore that, though.

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Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes. Read March 3-6. 4 stars.

It’s probably wrong how much I love Joe. He is one crazy, messed up, scary guy. But I couldn’t stop rooting for him. Kepnes writes him in such a way that I am SO in his head that his craziness almost makes sense. I thought the book was a little too drawn out and the ending was left a little too open to be completely satisfying, but it was overall a compulsively readable, enjoyable book.

Last First Kiss (Brightwater, #1)

Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by Lila Riley. Read March 9-11. 3 Stars.

This was a pretty average romance, but mostly enjoyable. I liked Sawyer. He was very sweet. Occasionally I thought he was a little TOO into Annie too fast (a couple times I almost found him creepy), but overall he was likable.

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The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright. Read March 17-19. 3 Stars.

A solid mix of adorable and cheesy. It’s a shame the synopsis basically gives everything away, though (not the author’s fault, though). We know Edmund is a prince so it’s not as fun as it should’ve been waiting for Evie to figure it out. We know who Evie’s mother was well before the 100+ pages it took for Evie to confirm it.

It’s also a bit of a mix of Princess Diaries and Anna and the French Kiss, but doesn’t quite live up to either. (Evie even says once, “I’d felt like I was in a bad remake of The Princess Diaries.”) The “quest” letters from her mother didn’t play as big a role as I thought it would.

Overall, though, it was pretty cute. I liked Evie, though she did have some moments where she “stuck up for herself” which just made her sound bratty and immature. And Edmund was SO SWEET. I just loved him. He did a few dumb things, of course, but he’s definitely book boyfriend material.

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Married ’til Monday (Chapel Springs #4) by Denise Hunter. Read March 20-21. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. My hold came in at the library and I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to read it, but decided to give it a try and couldn’t put it down. I really liked the characters, Ryan especially. I liked that it involved two of my favorite romance tropes: The Fake Relationship and The Second-Chance Romance. I liked that Abby finally realized she had some issues and worked on them instead of just jumping back into a relationship and let a guy “fix” her. I thought it did run just a tad long, though. Overall, I really liked it and I’ll be going back to read the first books in the series.

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Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) by Denise Hunter. Read March 26-27. 3 stars.

This book brought me out of a book slump, but it ended up being just ok for me. I liked it to start with, but I thought it just dragged on a little too long. A lot of repetition. And this is the first book in a series and I’ve already read the last book in the series and there are some continuity issues with the character who the last book focuses on which annoyed me a little.
Overall, though, it was a sweet romance with likable characters and a good message woven in.

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RE-READS

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The Lynburn Legacy: Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. I completely adore this series and I love it just as much every time I read it. I really thought I was finally going to get a review written for Unmade, but it still didn’t happen. Maybe next time.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh. I wanted to re-read this before the next book comes out. I enjoyed it, but I found myself skimming parts of it, too.

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2015

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads

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After the Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo. Read July 14-17. 3.5 stars.

I enjoy this series and did enjoy this book, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite of the group. The main mystery felt pretty predictable and didn’t really contain any surprises (except for *SPOILER* a guy who we’ve only seen in a wheelchair, doesn’t actually need it. I still don’t understand what the purpose of that was. Why would he need to fake a stroke or whatever? For thirty years no one suspected him of anything *END OF SPOILER*). There were some exciting scenes with Kate and an unknown shooter that kept the book interesting, though.

On the personal relationship front, I was kind of annoyed at the new development. Tomasetti and Kate both learn something about themselves that bode well for the future, though, so I guess it’s ok. Tomasetti had a few moments where he got to be part of the investigation(s), but mostly his role was just Kate’s boyfriend – which isn’t a bad role, but I miss seeing him be more front and center.

Overall, After the Storm, is a good installment to the Kate Burkholder series and I look forward to the next one.

The First Wife

The First Wife by Erica Spindler. Read July 18-19. 3 stars.

So this is basically a Lifetime movie. And like most Lifetime movies, I felt oddly compelled to finish it, no matter how corny things are along the way. The writing left a lot to be desired, the characters weren’t really ones I connected with or rooted for. The resolution of the mystery seemed so blatantly obvious that I knew it couldn’t be right and I wanted to find out the twist. Though a lot of the book was drawn out and repetitive, it did do a good job of keeping me guessing. I suspected nearly everybody at one point or another and there was a couple of twists that surprised me.

I generally enjoyed the book, though I won’t be running out to read anything else by this author in the near future. I think fans of Lifetime mysteries would enjoy it.

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun. Read July 25-26. 3 stars.

I’m not sure if this would have been a book I tried if I hadn’t won it in a giveaway, so I’m glad that I did!

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Japan before, so the setting was definitely interesting. I enjoyed learning a little bit about the culture. One thing that always bugs me about multi-cultural books is when they say things in a different language and they don’t explain what it is. I was looking up a bunch of terms as I was reading and it wasn’t until I was almost done (I was actually counting the remaining pages last night so I could decide between going to bed or finishing the book)when I discovered there was a glossary in the back of the book! While I would rather terms be explained in context (and to be fair, some of them were), I definitely appreciate having a glossary.

I’m also really glad that I got to have an actual hard copy of this book. There’s illustrations throughout (and it’s always iffy how they turn out in my simple e-reader) and even a couple of instances where there were some doodles on the side of several pages that end up being like a flip book animation, which was cool.

The story itself was enjoyable. I thought that the explanation of the Kami could have been a little better done, as I was left a little confused through most of the book. The characters were likable and the two main characters, Katie and Tomohiro, were well developed. I knew Jun was going to play a bigger part in the story and thought it was fairly obvious what that would be, but I was ok with that.

I’m interested to see what will happen next and am looking forward to the next book!

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Audio Book/Re-read

I've Got Your Number

A few weeks ago I went to Canada for the first time to visit my sister and brother-in-law and my meet my new baby niece! The drive is about ten hours and I get really bad motion sickness if I try to read in the car, so I browsed the library for available audio books and downloaded I’ve Got Your Number, which is one of my favorite chick lit books. This was the first audio book I’ve ever listened to the whole way through and I really enjoyed it. I liked the narrator, too. The real kicker, though, was that I talked my parents into listening to it during the drive and they both really enjoyed it!

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RE-READS

The first half of July was the month of the Re-read. I’m not going to go into great detail, but I enjoyed all these just as much as the first time.

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)  Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)  Just One of the Guys  Definitely, Maybe in Love (Definitely Maybe, #1)  Someday Maybe (Definitely Maybe, #2)

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Just one of the Guys by Kristan Higgns
Definitely, Maybe in Love (Definitely Maybe #1) by Ophelia London
Someday Maybe (Definitely Maybe #2) by Ophelia London

Totally Didn’t Book Tag

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

Since I am completely blocked in writing reviews lately I went on a search for fun book tags. I saw this one over on Inspired by the Page and decided to give it a try.

1. Totally didn’t need to have a sequel/sequels!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

The Mortal Instruments after the initial trilogy. It really should have ended after book 3 and even then it felt drawn out…

2. Totally didn’t need to have more than one point of view!

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Untold (The Lyburn Legacy #2). I’m generally a big fan of multiple POV and I didn’t really mind it in this book, either. My main problem was the POVs that we got in addition to the MC – Holly and Ash when all I wanted was Jared’s.

3. Totally didn’t need to change cover art through the middle of a series!

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The Dark Elements by JLA. Not that I don’t think this series didn’t needs a cover change, but it definitely didn’t need THIS cover change. Like, it’s really no better.

4. Totally didn’t need a love triangle!

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Ummmm, pretty much every book ever. But I’ll go with a love triangle that I thought was one of the most horribly done ones – Requiem (Delirium #3). Don’t even get me started on how this series ended.

5. Totally didn’t need this book to be included in this series!

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4). Ughhh. This book was the biggest waste of time. Just page after page of whiney, heartbroken Rose.

6. Totally didn’t need a cliffhanger!

Boy Band

Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. I’m not sure if it can technically be considered a cliffhanger, but I was expecting the book to be a standalone and it definitely wasn’t! I am looking forward to the next book, though.

7. Totally didn’t need to have just one point of view!

Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver. Oliver’s POV would have added SO MUCH to this story. Especially since Emmy often rubbed me the wrong way.

8. Totally didn’t need that much hype!

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen. And also, Emmy & Oliver again.  Sorry, not sorry.

9. Totally didn’t need a relative book reference! (e.g. Hunger Games fan would love Divergent.)

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans. It referenced Gillian Flynn and this book is good enough it doesn’t need it.

10. Totally didn’t deserve my time!

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

There are many books that I end up not being impressed by, but there are just a few that I very actively dislike and I think Allegiant takes the cake. I just like to forget that this book exists.

Feel free to tag yourself if you like!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows. I’ve already done this topic twice (here and here) so I’ll try to come up with new answers.

BOOKS AS MOVIES

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Dangerous Girls by Abigal Haas

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China by MatthewReilly

Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

BOOKS AS TV SHOWS

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)   First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

Garden Spells and First Frost (Waverly Family series) by Sarah Addison Allen

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)  Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)   Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Unspoken, Untold, Unmade (Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

WHAT BOOKS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE INTO A MOVIE OR TV SHOW? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY CHOICES?

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

See Me

See Me by Wendy Higgins. Read April 13-15. 1 Star.

While this book had some cute moments, it was not for me. I think maybe the very young spectrum of YA readers might enjoy this (though there is some mild language and some sexual situations, but it’s not graphic so it could still be ok -as an aside, I find the increasingly graphic scenes in YA is kind of alarming, but I am in the minority of that, so many people may find nothing objectionable at all for the young readers.)

I found the plot of the story pretty laughable (not in a good way) and the characters were not all that likable. I HATED the main character’s younger sister. Like every single thing she did bothered me.

I believe this is a standalone, but the ending was a little too open for me to be satisfied with it.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

While slow paced and a little silly, I enjoyed this book. The main character was really likable and I found that I appreciated how naïve she was about things, as opposed to the type of experienced characters there are in most YA novels. I was super naïve in high school myself, so I found that relatable. I was a little disappointed that this wasn’t a standalone, but I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

What I Thought Was True

What I Thought was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Read April 19-23. 1 star.

I was pretty disappointed with this book. I enjoyed My Life Next Door and was looking forward to another sweet read, but this just wasn’t it. Most of the characters weren’t very likable and I felt like it left too many storylines open.

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RE-READ

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan.

I enjoyed this book just as much the second time around. I can’t wait for the next book. September is so far away!

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut lately where noting new sounds interesting. Rainbow Rowell to the rescue! I love this book. If you haven’t read it, you should.

 

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January – February

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month (or couple months) with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

Fear the Worst

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay. Read January 18-20. 4 stars

Good mystery. Great twists. Great character development. But I could really use an epilogue there, Barclay!!!!   

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. Read Jan 24 – 26.  3 Stars

Started out intriguing, but got weird. The characters weren’t that likable, but I’ll still probably check out the 2nd book.

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. Read January 27-28. 3 stars

Overall really cute and fun. However, the end felt really rushed and the main character’s mother and her secrets were kind of silly.

Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Read February 2-9. 2 stars.

The prose was pretty, but the story was a bit disjointed and confusing to me. Overall pretty disappointing.

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2)

Be with Me by J. Lynn.  Read February 17-18. 2 stars

I liked the secondary story lines – Jase’s secret and Teresa’s roommate – better than the first book in this series, but I didn’t really get Jase and Teresa as a couple. I think the background needed to be a little more developed instead of “I loved you since I met you” and a couple years later they’re hot and heavy in an instant. Also, not enough Cam and Avery.

The Archived (The Archived, #1)

The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Read February 13-21. 2 stars

I was a little disappointed with this book after hearing such good things about it. I did enjoy the twists towards the end, but everything leading up to it was soooo slow. And not very interesting. After the first couple of trips to the Narrows, I was pretty over reading about Mac chasing Histories.

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BOOKS I STARTED AND PUT BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

I’ve decided to step away from these for now. I’m not marking them as “Did Not Finish” because I might go back to them at another time.

Endless

Endless by Amanda Gray.

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.

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RE-READS

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan. I actually just read this back in January, but I loved it and it did the trick when no other books were interesting me. See my original review of it here and my review of it’s sequel here.

Review – Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

Warning – there were be spoilers from the first book and one spoiler from this book.

Plot

Now that the lines are drawn, Kami and the gang are focused on getting more sorcerers to join their side and trying to figure out how exactly to beat Rob. And now that the link has been broken, Jared has reverted back to his reckless, bad boy default and Kami can no longer read him, this boy she’s always known as well as herself. While there are some developments and sweet moments, just not a lot happened. I felt like this book kind of fell into the sophomore slump, where it’s mostly holding pace until the third book.

*SPOILER ALERT*Also, did I miss something somewhere? Jared and Kami cannot be linked again? I thought they could. Or is that only if he makes it through the suicidal ceremony in the Crying Pools? If that’s the case, then Kami linking with Ash makes more sense because at the time I was a little bewildered why she just let Jared go out and fight and then linked with Ash. And Ash didn’t really do much with the power surge. *END OF SPOILER*

Even though the ending made me a little angry, I wasn’t entirely expecting it, so that makes up for it a little bit. I hate to be able to call everything that happens. And it guarantees that I’ll be reading the next book (out sometime this year, but no release date that I’ve seen yet).

Characters

Pretty much every character is more developed in this book and I love it. In addition to Kami’s POV, we also get Holly and Ash. While I can’t say that getting their view has endeared either of them to me any more than before, I do feel like I understand them better. Ash reminds me a lot of Tobias in Allegiant – Spends most of the book feeling sorry for himself and desperately wanting the love of his parents, even though they’re horrible people.  I also enjoyed the more we got to see of Kami’s dad, Lillian, and Rusty. I would’ve liked a little more Rob, though, just to see what the other side is up to.

Readability

Brennan’s style is still clever and witty, but I didn’t find it quite as good as the first book. I spent a long time being annoyed that we weren’t getting Jared’s POV, but after thinking about it, I think it was the smart move. Kami had always known how Jared was feeling, but now with the link gone she finds that she can’t read him. By not getting Jared’s POV, we are also like Kami, not always understanding his motivation or what he means. Though I will say, as I mentioned in my review of the first book, when it comes to Jared’s feelings for Kami I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s saying one thing and meaning another. And I was pleased that we do get some of Jared’s POV towards the end of the book.

Enjoyability

While I didn’t love this book as much as the first, I still really enjoyed it. The writing style is still unique and while I felt the plot dragged a little, the character development really helped make up for it. This is a series I would still recommend and will be anxiously waiting for the next installment.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Average: 3.75 stars