Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately {2.28.18}

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 with 5 comments

I don't know about you, but I had a great reading month! As short as it was, I still managed to read 34 books in February. That puts me at 64 books for the year already, 25 ahead of schedule on my goal of 250, which is 26% of my GR challenge...and we're only two months into the year! That seems kind of crazy, but some contributing factors are the new Audible Romance Package and the fact that I've taken on one of the most tedious projects at work in preparation for our office move next year, and it gives me a lot of time to listen to audiobooks. Which, if you know me at all, is another reason I'm able to squeeze in so much reading time. =)

I did a lot of re-reading/listening this month, some in preparation for new installments in favorite series, some just because I was in the mood for them. I also took full advantage of that Romance Package, trying out a variety of authors and styles before returning to my beloved historical romance. Not much in the way of young adult this month and no new favorites there, either. I don't think I've completely outgrown YA yet, but I definitely see myself reading less and less of it in the year to come.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

The Hazel Wood* - This book was not what I expected...and yet it kind of was. Visually, it was very pleasing. The cover is gorgeous. The imagery was almost magical. But I never got lost in the story the way I wanted to. It felt intense and nonsensical, the way you'd expect an Alice retelling to feel, but the connection wasn't there. I had an ARC of this novel, but I kept putting it off until I was really in the mood for it. My bestie read it and absolutely adored it. And yet I continued to put it off. I briefly, briefly glanced at some reviews on GR just to gauge others' reactions, and I think that's what finally made me decide to wait for the audio. Because yes, there were those gushing over this book, but there were also just some mediocre receptions. And from the beginning, I'd feared I would be one of the latter, with lukewarm feelings toward this story...which is indeed how I feel. Even with the audiobook being narrated by Rebecca Soler. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Brightly Woven - If I had read this novel when it was first released, I probably would have loved it. But reading it now, it's very obvious this was Bracken's debut. I liked the premise of Brightly Woven, but it just seemed a bit essential and non-essential elements were missing that would've made the story feel more complete, more coherent. And the tone felt all over the place, as well. Her writing, however, has come a long way from this first attempt, and her The Darkest Minds series even graces my favorites shelf. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Just Friends* - I don't know if I liked this book or not. I expected this fluffy contemporary, but I definitely wouldn't call it that now, having read it. The main character reminded me a lot of myself in high school: distant, finding it hard to connect with others, and lacking experience, which didn't matter to me...until it did. This book reads like my senior year because of it. Which is to say, it was problematic, but it had it's moments. I'm not gonna lie, I was here for kissing on trampolines, and there's just not that much in the way of that, unfortunately. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.

T H E   C L A S S I C S

None this month. :*(

R E - R E A D S

Letters to the Lost - Even as a re-read via audio, this is still such a powerful, thought-provoking story. (You can check out my original review here.) I know I didn't have to re-read in order to start Rev's story in More Than We Can Tell, but I wanted to. I'm just so dang glad that kid gets his own book...I loved him to pieces in this one. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Devil in Winter - Gawd, I just love Evie and Sebastian's story so much! And it was even sweeter, having read the previous books first this time around, seeing how the characters were prior to the events of this book. I can't wait to read Scandal in Spring finally and then start my re-read of The Ravenels series. Lisa Kleypas is, without a doubt, my favorite historical romance author. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Duchess Deal - I read this for review last year, but I love Tessa Dare's books on audio, and my library had it available, so I decided to re-read it that way. I still love the surly duke and his Monster of Mayfair persona and the horrible pet names Emma gives him. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Attachments - I've really been wanting to read another office romance a la The Hating Game, and I remembered really enjoying Attachments when I read it several years ago. It was still cute, but it didn't give me the giddy happiness that The Hating Game did. So...I went to Barnes & Noble and bought a paperback copy of THG so I can read my favorite passages whenever I want. =) ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Daughter of the Pirate King - Prepping to read Daughter of the Siren Queen finally, and even though I've already read this twice, I thought a third read before starting the sequel couldn't hurt. So fun. So full of banter. So many heart eyes for Riden. I can't wait to see where this adventure leads us next! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Veronica Mars #1 & #2 - My bestie was in town last weekend and we rewatched our favorite episodes -- mostly the ones featuring LoVe -- and that still wasn't enough VMars for me so I decided to download the audiobooks for the books that came after the movie and experience them again in their full glory...even if Mr. Kiss and Tell isn't narrated by Kristen Bell. :( I still want more. I need more, dammit! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Rebel of the Sands/Traitor to the Throne - Finally ready to read Hero at the Fall with my bestest buddy, so I'm re-reading the first two books in preparation. I still love them just as much as the first time, but I'm kind of afraid of what the finale will bring... ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Ravenels (books #1-3) - Re-reading The Ravenels after The Wallflowers while waiting for Hello Stranger and after also being told that I need to read The Hathaways. I'm definitely getting my Lisa Kleypas fix this month. :D ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Lady Sherlock #1 & #2 - GIMME BOOK THREE NOW!!! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


It Happened One Autumn - So, this book was about Lillian and Marcus and they were adorable in their obstinacy when it came to their feelings for one another. But honestly? I was really here for St. Vincent. I had forgotten about the kidnapping mentioned in the beginning of Devil in Winter, the only book in this series I'd read prior to this week, and I only remembered St. Vincent fondly from that book. I loved the glimpses -- albeit skewed -- I got of his chivalrous nature in this book. But I also liked seeing him expose himself as a right bastard there in the end. God help me, I think it made me like his character that much more. He's just got such depth...I love exploring a character like that. And I liked reading about his exploits before Evie, but you'd better believe I've already started re-reading his misadventures with Evie because even now, I still think Devil in Winter is my favorite book in this series. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Scandal in Spring - Daisy finally gets her day! I did hope we'd get to see one Mr. Rohan in this story, but alas, I think Daisy would have been disowned and disinherited had that pairing been made. Though never unfriended...the wallflowers have stuck with each other through thick and thin. And even though some didn't particularly care for the charms of Mr. Swift, the girls rallied behind Daisy, as usual. I think this might have been the sweetest of the four wallflowers' romances, but that doesn't mean it was any less passionate. What Daisy believes to be hatred for the man who she will most assuredly be forced to marry turns into something else entirely, and what blossoms between the couple is truly sweet. I'm going to miss the wallflowers and their misadventures. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Ready to Run - I read an excerpt from the second book in the I Do, I Don't series at the end of An Ex For Christmas, and it intrigued me, despite the fact that I loathe The Bachelor and its ilk. The story was cute but it's another one of those that I just felt no connection to and basically ended up listening to just for the sake of listening. I still may end up reading Runaway Groom, though, since it's the one I was actually interested in to begin with. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Amaryllis - I've almost read all of Georgette Heyer's novels, at least that my library/Hoopla offers, and I've really been in the mood for regency romance lately, so when these books were recommended by the Audible Romance package, I decided to give them a try. And I quite like them! They're short and humorous and the narrators have been great so far. I think there's eight in the Ladies in Love series but this author has many, many more works under her belt, and I can't wait to check them out. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Polly - I didn't like this one as much as Amaryllis, which is funny to me because this is the first book of the series and the other was the last, and usually I don't like the later books in a series so much. But Polly was a social climber of the highest order and sooooo naive and I think she was supposed to be unlikable but maybe not that unlikable? ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Ginny - Hmmm. I'm guessing unlikable characters are Marion Chesney's thing? I don't normally mind them, but I can't read several stories featuring them back-to-back. I think I'm going to take a break from this series for a bit and see what else the Romance Package has to offer. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Fortunate Ones - So, whenever my sister or I was going through a break-up, my dad had a habit of saying, "The right one will come along when you least expect it." The Fortunate Ones was fun and funny -- as much as any other R.S. Grey novel I've read -- but it felt like the main character was fighting those wise words from my dad. She wasn't looking for a commitment, and so when a supremely right guy came along, it freaked her out. I get it, but also, did it have to take her soooo long to realize the error of her ways? It was entertaining but not my favorite of this author's. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The Heir - Lack of communication is one of my pet peeves in a story. Sure, misunderstandings happen and things need to be cleared up at times, but to take the entire book to resolve those issues, especially in a romance where the lack of communication means that the couple doesn't realize the other's true feelings...well, that's almost unpardonable. Yeah, there were other things going on, like kidnapping attempts and miraculous medical recoveries, but still. I don't even know if I can say I liked the couple in this one because of all the shenanigans. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

The One That Got Away - What an unexpected surprise, especially considering I just picked it up on a whim. I did not expect to feel the depth of emotions I did reading this. I teared up at my desk at such loss. I lol'd in the car because witty banter. I wanted to smack both the characters upside their heads for their failure to communicate what was so freaking obvious to everyone but them. This was just such a funny, realistic, and genuine take on love and life and all the mistakes that come with it, and I was utterly charmed by it. I can't wait to read my next Bethany Chase novel. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Tilly - This is more my style: an innocent young girl schemes to make her marriage of convenience one of love and is nearly murdered in the process. :) I kind of missed Tilly's tomboyish ways by the end of the book, but there was no tamping down that spirit. I don't know if I'll continue past this series, as far as this author's work goes -- and there's a lot of them -- but they're short and sweet and mildly entertaining. And they've put me well ahead of my GR goal already. ;) ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Susie - Wow. I think this book had more drama and more would-be affairs than most contemporary stuff I read. What a strange little story. Somehow, Marion Chesney's books are never what I expect after reading the summary... ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Wanderlust - This was my first Lauren Blakely novel, and it was sweet. But I honestly expected to enjoy it more, especially with Richard Armitage narrating the love interest's perspective. Maybe he just wasn't as dark and intensely brooding as I've come to expect. :P It was a very lovely story, but it only ever felt surface level for me. I adore stories set in Paris, in spite of never having been...or because of that fact. Either way, the setting did hold a certain magic, but only as a backdrop, not like I was actually there with the characters, like I've felt with other stories set in this locale. It definitely had its moments and I'm intrigued enough by Blakely's writing style that I'll definitely consider picking up her other titles, but Wanderlust was just missing that certain je ne sais quoi. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

My Lady, My Lord - I picked this title up on impulse through the Audible Romance Package and found it to be highly entertaining. I do so love when an unrepentant rake falls for a feisty spinster but even more so when the story is so uniquely clever. The twist is admittedly a little far-fetched, but since it enables the characters to see sides of the other that they wouldn't have otherwise known, I can overlook it. Especially as the twist lent itself to some hilarity in the process. I'm definitely looking forward to reading further novels from this author. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Burning Bright - This story was slow and intense and full of battle scenes and superpowers and I completely loved it. The romance is also a slow-burn...almost to the point of non-existence, but it's just lovely. I really love the idea of giving Regency-era ladies X-Men-like powers and seeing what they do with them, especially in a time where women were considered inferior in every way. I've always loved those characters in historical fiction who flout the rules of society, consequences be damned, and Elinor is no different. I loved this book so much that I immediately downloaded the next book from the library. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Wondering Sight - I wasn't quite as captivated by this companion novel, but I still found it delightful. You've still got the X-Men-like powers -- though this time it's focused on the gift of seeing events in the past, present, or future -- and another headstrong main character, though Sophia is hellbent on revenge and not escape like Elinor. And this book was more of a mystery novel a la Sherlock Holmes, while Burning Bright was a tale set on the high seas in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean. Still, tons of fun to be had. If my library had the third book, I'd be continuing the series, but alas, it does not. :( ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Tempting the Bride - When I snagged this via the Audible Romance Package weeks ago -- and promptly forgot it in favor of several re-reads -- I didn't realize it was part of a series. I likely would have attempted to start at the beginning first, but I was already on a Thomas binge, re-reading the Lady Sherlock books the last two days, when I finished A Conspiracy in Belgravia while at a stoplight on my way home, so I just clicked on the next one in my queue. And here we are. I must say, Sherry Thomas can do no wrong in my eyes. Even though I haven't read the previous books in the Fitzhugh trilogy, I got a great sense of the family and their closeness in this book. And Helena's utter stupidity when it came to Mr. Martin. Thomas writes a great hate-to-love romance in this one, especially considering the romance gets a second chance after the heroine suffers a bout of amnesia. And though Hastings was a proper ass to her for the first half of the book, it was clear how much he'd pined for Helena once he was given that second chance. That said, I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of not loving anything Sherry Thomas writes. If she can make me appreciate a douchecanoe of the first order, she must be doing something right. Do I wanna go out on this high or continue my Thomas binge into March? Decisions, decisions... ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!


  1. I am so wanting to read more of Lisa Kleypas,I like the looks of the Sherry Thomas book also. What a nice month for you!!

  2. I think I have that Lady Sherlock series on my wishlist. I really should inquire that series on my local bookstore. Nic to know you had a great month! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Reader

  3. I loved the first Lady Sherlock book - I totally need to get to the sequel!

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