Top Ten Tuesday: YA Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Hidden Gems (Young Adult Edition)

Emmy & Oliver | Robin Benway
This one has plenty of good ratings on GoodReads, but it still seems like it came and went without much fanfare. 
Time Between Us | Tamara Ireland Stone
I rarely ever see anyone mention this duology but I enjoyed Anna and Bennett's unique story so much.
The Summer I Found You | Jolene Perry
#SorryNotSorry if you're sick of me talking about this one, but I'll never stop singing its praises. With only 1,800 ratings on GR, this one is truly a hidden gem that deserves so much more attention. 
The Things You Kiss Goodbye | Leslie Connor
To this day I'm still unsure how I feel about the ending of this one. But even so, it was a moving and emotional coming of age story.
Off the Ice | Julie Cross
This one doesn't necessarily offer up anything new and different, but I totally fell for the characters. With less than 400 GR ratings (how can that be?!) I definitely consider this a hidden gem.
A Girl Named Digit | Annabel Monaghan
This duology is nonstop fun. Math genius Farrah (aka Digit) unwittingly cracks a terror group's code and finds herself working with a hot FBI agent. Loved this one!
Me Since You | Laura Wiess
Powerful, beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking.
(Sam @ We Live and Breathe Books, here's another grief book for you!)
The Edge of Juniper | Lora Richardson
This gem totally took me by surprise and does not get the attention it deserves.
Glass Houses | Rachel Caine
I know the series ended several years ago, but even then I don't remember seeing much talk about the Morganville Vampires. I don't typically go for uber long series (this one consists of 15 books) but this was totally addictive. I even got my husband to read them. :)
Audrey, Wait | Robin Benway
Another by Robin Benway. Why does she not get more attention? Maybe that will change with her new release in October. This one was funny and and entertaining and just an all around good read.

Do you have a favorite hidden gem to recommend?

The Sunday Post #70

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • If any of you are in Texas I hope you fared well with Hurricane Harvey.

  • New music from Taylor Swift this week... but I'm not loving the first single. What do you think about "Look What You Made Me Do?"

  • The Husband and I are headed out for a mini-getaway in a few days and I am ridiculously excited about it. I am so ready to check out of regular life for a couple days of R&R.

  • I'm in love with my newest notebook/journal. Because I so needed another notebook. (Ahem.) This one is from June Arbor Designs on etsy. She has gorgeous notebooks, totes, mugs and more. 

Tuesday, August 22
Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Edition
Favorite YA Novels with a School Setting

Wednesday, August 23
Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Friday, August 25
Short Take Reviews: The Assassin Edition
Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski and Aim by LP Dover


Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't #1) - Lauren Layne
Aim (Circle of Justice #3) - LP Dover

Mercury Striking (Scorpius Syndrome #1) - Rebecca Zanetti
Rowdy (AUDIO Re-Read) - Jay Crownover

Not a physical book, not a Kindle book, not an ARC... nothing.
Who am I?!

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

Short Take Reviews: The Assassin Edition

Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers #1) by J.A. Redmerski

Read: July 2016
GoodReads | Amazon

Sarai was only 14 when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don't go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

Killing Sarai is one that had been on my shelf for ages and by the time I read it all I could think was, "Why did I wait so long?" Because Killing Sarai was an exciting, gritty, slightly dark, and entertaining ride.

Sarai and Victor were both characters who had been denied a normal childhood and had to adjust and adapt to their situations. Both were desensitized to the violence that was part of their lives and it made them truly unique characters. Sarai constantly surprised me with her ability to cope and carry on. She was equal parts vulnerable and completely kick-ass. Victor was a total enigma. As a killer for hire, he was almost without emotion - but with Sarai he found himself straying from his instincts and helping her, putting him in a precarious position with the organization he worked for.  

Killing Sarai is not a romance novel and Victor and Sarai's relationship is proof of that. There was no sweet talk, no swoony moments, no typical romance tropes. An attraction slowly builds but these are two damaged people who have no history of kindness or compassion and no reason to trust. Overall, Killing Sarai was truly a wild ride filled with action, suspense, and characters that broke the mold. And I can't wait to continue the series.

Aim (Circle of Justice #3) by L.P. Dover

Read: August 2017
GoodReads | Amazon

When someone asks what I do for a living, I answer it plain and simple... I'm a hunter. I hunt the dregs of society and I'm very damn good at it.

Do I like to kill people? No, but it's part of my job.

I'm Ian Chandler, FBI agent and a member of the Circle of Justice, an organization of justice seeking vigilantes. My mission is to solve a string of "accidental" hiking deaths occurring around my Wyoming town. When Grace Myers - a woman who's been missing for days - shows up on my land, it turns out she's the key to it all. Someone is hunting her, and I make it my duty to keep her safe.

However, the deeper I get into the case, the more dangerous it becomes; especially now that I've fallen for the woman I have to protect. If hunting is the game, I won't fail. I always hit my mark.

As much as I wanted to sit back and enjoy this romantic suspense featuring an FBI agent/assassin, it just didn't work for me. While Aim is the third entry in a new-to-me series, that isn't even what posed an issue. I'm sure reading the first two books would have provided more insight into the secondary characters and their history, but I had no problem understanding the dynamics between everyone and how they interacted. Instead, it was the believability factor that was seriously lacking.

I actually liked the overall premise and the sinister ploy behind Grace's abduction. There were some seriously twisted bad guys at work here. Unfortunately it was in the execution where it fell apart for me. So much of what happened seemed so implausible. I tried and tried to get past the unlikely events (and even unlikelier reactions) and just go with it... but I couldn't do it. After being abducted and facing a life-threatening situation, Grace seemed to bounce back in the blink of an eye and suffer zero after-effects. (Wouldn't everyone play a truth or dare card game the next day where the loser has to strip? Seems reasonable, right?)  The "investigation" into the disappearances progressed all too easily and there was never a misstep or dead-end. Everything just fell into place with relative ease. Lastly, the relationship between Grace and Ian seemed to come out of nowhere. There was no build-up, just *bam* instant relationship. It left me confused and wondering if I had somehow skipped several chapters and missed all the development. I was unable to feel any connection at all between them.

I will say that I am decidedly in the minority in my feelings for Aim. It has a 4.6 rating at Amazon and 4.39 at GoodReads so clearly most people are loving this one. Unfortunately it just didn't work for me.

2.5/5 STARS

Are you a fan of romantic suspense?

Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Series: I Do, I Don't #1

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 22, 2017

Format: eARC

Source: Provided by Publisher

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she's finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who's left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan's emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It's not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly... except for Luke, who's more intense - and way hotter - than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan's everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes' book club. Annoyingly, everyone is Lucky Hollow seems to like her - and deep down, she's starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

How does Lauren Layne do it? She consistently creates characters I love, witty banter, swoony heroes, steamy connections, and happily ever afters that keep me coming back again and again. Ready to Run is no exception.

Jordan has landed in Lucky Hollow, Montana to convince the local hot firefighter to star in a new reality dating show. Too bad for her, Luke Elliott wants no part of it and does his best to send her packing. Jordan's not one to take no for an answer and proceeds to make friends and charm everyone in the small town all while continuing to try and get past Luke's defenses. She thinks he's stubborn, he thinks she's pushy - but neither one can deny the sparks that fly every time they're together.

I was completely charmed by every character in Ready to Run. Not just Jordan and Luke but every side character as well. How often does that happen? From Jordan's best friend Simon (can he be my best friend, too?), to the ladies (including Luke's exes) that befriend Jordan, to Luke's firefighter buddies... I loved them all. I'm not typically a fan of small town settings but I found myself wanting to take up residence in Lucky Hollow and call these people my friends.

Admittedly, the plot may be a little formulaic, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment one bit. Cute, funny, sweet and sexy, and low on angst, Ready to Run totally hits the mark.


Note: I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
My favorite YA novels with a school setting

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda | Becky Albertalli
Tell Me Three Things | Julie Buxbaum
Eleanor & Park | Rainbow Rowell
Pushing the Limits | Katie McGarry
A List of Cages | Robin Roe
The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay
Sloppy Firsts | Megan McCafferty
P.S. I Like You | Kasie West
Slammed | Colleen Hoover
Letters to the Lost | Brigid Kemmerer

Do you have a favorite back to school memory or tradition?

The Sunday Post #69

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Back with three posts this week after only managing one last week. #crushingit

  • I've spent much of the weekend convincing myself that I don't need the leopard print ankle boots I saw online. I'm weakening, though...

  • Still chugging along on the stack of ARCs that are coming due and feeling pretty pleased with my progress. 

  • Am I the only one not caught up in solar eclipse fever??

Tuesday, August 15
Top Ten Tuesday:
Recommendations for Those Who Love Stand-Alones

Thursday, August 17
Short Take Reviews:
Until Friday Night and Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

Friday, August 18
Review + Excerpt:
Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino


After the Game (The Field Party #3) - Abbi Glines
Nash (audiobook re-read) - Jay Crownover

Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't #1) - Lauren Layne


Wish You Were Here - Renee Carlino
Trust - Kylie Scott

I'm desperate to have a physical copy of Kylie Scott's Trust with the original cover. I thought I'd found one through a seller in Barnes & Noble's Marketplace but when the package arrived a few days ago... it was the new cover. *sigh* 

Deception So Deadly - Clara Kensie
Mr. Everything - Emily Bishop
Finding Passion - Tiffani Lynn

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)