This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books were all books I received for review and surprised me when I finally read them.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker
Narrator: Alexender Cendese, Stephanie Rose, Tim Paige
Series: Seer #1
Published by Inc on May 19, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
“Not to be Chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making.”
Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—would end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.
But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. The whispers contradict everything she’s been told; yet they resonate deep within.
Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, but she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.
I got this book for review years ago and I really don’t know exactly what happened or why I never got around to reading it. Better late than never? I’m kicking myself for how long it took, because The Choosing was quite good and I’ve already checked out which of my libraries have the second and third book to continue the series.
I really liked the plot/world – it’s definitely what propelled me forward and kept me reading. If you like The Handmaid’s Tale (tv show, I haven’t read the book), the feel is similar. It’s not as violent of a society, but the way women are treated and the way religion dictates society have a very similar tenor. I felt the anger at the injustice and had trouble putting it down, worrying about the characters.
However, I think the characters could have been better developed. Besides Carrington and Remko, I really don’t feel like we got to know the other characters well enough. I would have liked to know their families better and I wish we knew the Authority members, the Lints, and especially Aaron much better.
The ending wrapped things up pretty well – it feels like an almost HEA, but is also open enough that I was glad to see there are more books. I’m hoping that the trilogy resolves with a removal of The Authority — but we shall see!
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dying to Meet You by Rich Amooi
Narrator: Tim Paige, Stephanie Rose
Published by Tantor Audio on March 16, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 7 hours 9 minutes
Liz Parker doesn’t like surprises, but winning the lottery isn’t something she would complain about. Before she has time to think about how to spend her new fortune, she’s hit with an even bigger shock than unexpected wealth. She has three months to live unless she finds a one-in-a-million bone marrow donor.
While her medical team scrambles to locate her miracle, Liz throws together a bucket list, charters a private jet, and takes off to see the world. The journey of a lifetime holds even more surprises, including the hunky pilot she’s falling for at the most inconvenient time.
Will Liz die before she can realize her happily-ever-after, or will the universe come through for her one more time? Find out in this humorous tale of true love and adventure!
This was an unexpected story for me. I know I read the blurb back when I requested it for review, but it’s been a little bit and I forgot what it was about. Ultimately, a quick fun love story with a bit of humor and a lot of good luck!
The characters are really just incredibly good people and so it’s hard not to love them. I enjoyed watching Liz travel the world fulfilling her bucket list, meanwhile just bringing and spreading her goodness all over the world basically. I also loved that these characters were older (50), already married and divorced or widowed. I enjoy reading young love, but there’s something different and special about older love – they’ve seen the best and worst of life and falling in love has a different look. And an unexpected addition to the book was a bit of LGTB romance. Very little and it’s side characters, but I loved seeing it and, even more, loved that it was just naturally incorporated into the book (because these are good people who don’t think twice about their friends and siblings loving who they love!). I’m enjoying seeing this natural incorporation into more and more books.
The plot is a little less practical. But really, can you expect practical when the story is about someone winning the lottery? And then to top it off, having 3 months to live unless she gets miraculously lucky again? It’s a feel good book about being a good person when you have nothing but time (not a job, not lack of finances) to hold you back from really experiencing life.
The narration was really good for the most part. I did have one slight irritation – despite delivering a pretty good French accent (for my admittedly untrained ear), some pretty standard words were mispronounced (e.g., Seine). But other than that I enjoyed both Tim Paige and Stephanie Rose’s narration and thought they complemented each other well. I read through this at my standard 2x speed, but it felt much faster. I will likely pickup more books from Rich Amooi!
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Single Dad Seeks Juliet by Max Monroe
Narrator: Stephanie Rose, Alexender Cendese
Published by Tantor Audio on March 9, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes
Dear Internet: Am I a horrible person for wanting to sabotage my work assignment—completely wreck a dating contest—because I hate the idea of love?
I know it sounds bad, but just hear me out, okay?
I (33F) work at a local paper, and two months ago, my editor assigned me a huge project—run the upcoming, highly anticipated Bachelor Anonymous contest.
In essence, I’m supposed to help a reader-nominated bachelor find his special someone, and while I should be excited to handle something of this magnitude solo, I can’t help but get queasy over how gross it feels.
Like, how cheesy could this thing get?
Not to mention, I’m the last person who should be involved in this—my dating and relationship history is a cluster. Generally, the person in charge of these things shouldn’t fantasize about lighting the whole three-ring dating circus on fire.
Anyway, men from all over Southern California, vying for the coveted bachelor role, submitted their personal ads to my paper. The readers voted, and Single Dad Seeks Juliet won by a landslide.
Enter Mr. Bachelor Anonymous (40M), the single dad Romeo seeking his Juliet.
Blah, blah, blah, right? Wrong.
You guys—and I cannot stress this enough—this guy is the ultimate man in a six-foot-three, chiseled-muscle, freaking Adonis package with aquamarine eyes that would haunt the dreams of an insomniac.
He’s a former Navy SEAL, successful business owner, motocross-riding, charming, supportive, funny-as-heck single dad, and the more time I spend with him, the more I want to bring this contest thing crumbling to the ground for an entirely different reason.
Real talk: I think I’m falling for him.
Me, the woman who despises love, might be falling for the completely off-limits Bachelor who I’m ironically assigned to help find love, while five other women think they’re the only contestants competing for his heart.
So, Internet. Am I scum? Or is all fair in love and war?
It’s very rare that I give a contemporary romance 5 stars. I guess I usually need something a bit MORE to push it into that 5 star category. But despite the truly awful cover, this book had me laughing so hard and made me fall in love with all the characters that I can’t cut it short. It’s 5 stars.
I think the number one thing you have to know about this book is that it is HILARIOUS. I didn’t just internally chuckle. I laughed out loud and there were times where I could not stop laughing because it was one hilarious moment after another. The doctor’s office scene was absolutely the best, followed in close second by the text messages from Holly’s dad. What a riot!
But underneath the nonstop laughs are some really great, genuine characters. Holly is juggling the task of reporting on this Bachelor Anonymous competition (newspaper modified version of the Bachelor) while personally being deeply hurt by her cheating ex-fiance and really not believing in love anymore. Watching her deal with her self-confidence and healing, while also just being such an incredibly genuine person was great. Then you have Jake, the Bachelor. He’s a single dad and ex-navy seal who has built his life around raising his daughter after her mother died in childbirth. Heart melting yet? If not, read the book and get to know him fully. It will melt. There are a few secondary characters – like a good friend Garret and Jake’s daughter – that only make the book better.
The actual plot is predictable – typical HEA Contemporary Romance. But the characters and the humor made it a stand out. I would not hesitate to read another Max Monroe book and wish I had more on my shelf already.
The narration was just okay. I really enjoyed the female narrator, Stephanie Rose, but Alexander Cendese took some getting used to. He wasn’t a bad narrator by any means, but maybe a bit too intense? I think maybe I wouldn’t have had any trouble if it were just Stephanie Rose or just Alexander Cendese. But they were so very different, the transition between them was a bit jarring. Obviously it didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the book and I would listen to both again. I just would have preferred a different pairing