Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

Each week The Broke and Bookish hosts a Top Ten Tuesday based on a chosen literary topic. This week’s topic is “Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book”! As I began to think about this topic I realised that I have become very picky with what I choose to read, especially regarding books that instantly grab my attention. I just feel like there are too many books I want to read and I may never get a chance to get through them all in one lifetime!

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1. A Great Synopsis – This is kind of a no-brainer but if I pick up a book and the synopsis has already hooked me then I am sure to continue reading. The only time this becomes an issue is if something in the synopsis gets me excited but reviewers indicate that it doesn’t actually occur in the novel, that is always so disappointing!

2. The Author – I definitely have a few favourite authors and if they put something out I will read it. Doesn’t matter what it is, if they are trying out a new genre, or the synopsis is different I will read anything from my select few favourite writers.

3. Recommendations Online – If any of my wonderful goodread friends recommend something to me I can almost guarantee I will read it. I have some very thoughtful followers that have very similar tastes to me and if they give something 5 stars, it makes me want to read it too!

4. Recommendations from my Friends/Family – I have quite a few people in my life that read as much as me and I love getting recommendations from them. In particular, if my fiance’s mum and sister tell me to read something (or even better buy me books for my birthday/holidays) I will read it and most likely enjoy it!

5. Romance Novels where the hero is described as a “sweetheart” – Lately I have been drawn to romance novels (in any genre; YA, NA, Fantasy, Sci-fi etc.) where the hero is a complete and utter sweetheart. I have been getting a little sick of the whole “alpha male” thing in romance novels and if the hero is sweet I will read that in a heartbeat!

6. Canadian Authors – I have been trying to read more Canadian authors and novels set in Canada. Unless the synopsis is really bad I have been picking up more by Canadians.

7. Space Opera Genre – I have been OBSESSED with reading novels in the space opera genre and so far I have not turned away from one! Give me galactic space, fast romance and spicy drama, please!

8. Beautiful Prose – if my Goodreads friends or other reviewers online have indicated that the novel has amazing prose then I am pretty much guaranteed to read it. Even if the genre/synopsis doesnt intrigue me at first, I know the writing will suck me in.

9. Hype – This doesn’t always guarantee that I will read it but generally if I have heard a ton of buzz around a book I will try to read it (unless the synopsis is something I really dislike).

10. The Cover – I put this last on the list because although a great cover will draw me to the book if the synopsis isn’t interesting I may not read it. As silly as it sounds a great cover design is still important to me and can draw me into a book.

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I want to hear your thoughts! What things make you pick up a book? How do you decide what to read next?

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Book Review – City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

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TITLE: 
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PAGES:  725 pages
PUBLISHED: May 27th 2014
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban-Fantasy

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

This is the long-awaited and final epic instalment of the Mortal Instruments series, which first began with City of Bones, published in 2007.

Sebastian Morgenstern, Clary’s brother, is using the Infernal Cup to create evil Shadowhunters, known as his Endarkened army, that do his bidding and threatened the lives of everyone around him. No one can stop Sebastian and when the ultimate betrayal is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon and Alex must find a way to stop Sebastian before he tears the world apart.

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MY REVIEW

In the words of Frodo Baggins “It’s done. It’s over.”

I put off reading the final book of the Mortal Instrument series because I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing series and as time went on I forgot some of the characters and the plot of the previous books. Although I find the TV series is pretty bad, watching a few episodes actually helped me remember a lot. It is always difficult when a series spans five years to recall every detail and character but Cassandra Clare did a great job of drawing me back in even after all this time.

I still think the third book is the best. I think this book was way too long and I admit I was bored at a few points. I also didn’t like how everything with Sebastian turned out. I was expecting more, you know? And it was so disappointing that even after everything the Clave had been through they literally did not learn a single thing. Peace is obviously not going to last very long in this world…

And Simon’s fate was really heartbreaking but I am really looking forward to reading Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy and also Emma’s story in Lady Midnight.

Overall this has truly been a great series! I definitely will re-read it at some point (at least the first three) and although I don’t think this was the strongest ending, especially if you compare it to The Infernal Devices ending, it is a fantastic series and I would recommend to anyone!

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Book Review – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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TITLE: The Hating Game
AUTHOR: Sally Thorne
PAGES:  384 pages
PUBLISHED: August 9th 2016
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Enemies to Lovers, Chick-lit, Rom-Com, Humour

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with our heroine Lucy Hutton pestering Joshua Templeman. Her mortal enemy at work. She hates him more than anyone and they constantly play passive aggressive “games” to irritate one another while sitting one desk away. Joshua thinks Lucy is annoying and too quirky with her colourful clothes. Lucy thinks Joshua is an uptight jerk.

When a new promotion at work threatens to unbalance the careful hatred Lucy and Joshua have, they both up the game. But at what cost? Especially when the games become confusing and the hatred changes to something more.

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MY REVIEW:

I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. There are many 5 star reviews but the words “chick-lit” “rom-com” and “cheesy” got to me. It was also a GR Best Romance book finalist. I was caught between expecting a lot and expecting nothing.

What I found was a book that made a laugh out loud, made me crave Josh and Lucy’s interactions (both crazy and sweet), and the amount of “cheese” was just perfect. The author really captured that wild obsessive-like behaviour you get when you first start dating someone and start to fall for them. It really put a big smile on my face and reminded me of those good ol’ days. I loved how much they were all over each other from day one, using “games” as a way to keep their infatuation with one another, whether it be mentally noting the shirt colour choices or staring into each other’s eyes (the “Staring Game”) for long periods of time.

The chemistry between Lucy and Josh was wonderful. Some of the best I have read in a while. When Lucy stands up for him against (view spoiler) I just wanted to cheer. Josh was so endearing and the character development we get from the beginning of the novel was very well written. At first he is just an asshole who most likely has a crush on Lucy. No, the reader’s aren’t fooled. He is like the little boy on the playground who pulls on the girl’s pigtails to show her that he likes her. But then we really get to know him, as Lucy does, and we learn about this shy sweetheart who is sometimes hurt, sometimes lonely, and he becomes so real. Their highly witty hateful banter becomes even better sexual tension that was so much fun to read. I actually really enjoyed their banter in the beginning. I know some other readers saw it as childish, and it was, but it was also so hilarious. I loved all of Lucy’s jabs where she insinuates that Josh is the devil, and lives “close to earth’s core”.

Yes, this is chick-lit. Yes, it is predictable, it is sometimes cheesy and sometimes silly, but I loved it. I had a big smile on my face at the ending.

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ARC Book Review – Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally

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TITLE: Coming Up For Air
AUTHOR: Miranda Kenneally
PAGES:  320 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: July 1st 2017
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Sports, Contemporary

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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MY REVIEW & SUMMARY:

Guys, this was so good.

Like really, adorably, amazingly good!

I wasn’t a huge fan of Catching Jordan, Miranda Kenneally’s first novel in the Hundred Oaks series. When I received this from Netgalley I wasn’t sure what to expect. As someone who absolutely loves swimming, I was hoping this would entice more than football does and I just could not put it down! I seriously read this in one sitting! Although the romance was perfect (who else loves the “best friends to something more” trope?), I was absolutely enthralled with Maggie’s competitive swimming world.

Maggie is trying to qualify for the Olympics. Her entire life is eating and swimming. Her only free time involves hanging out at the local burger place on Friday night with her three closest friends, Georgia, Hunter and Levi. Levi is her best friend and the most understanding of her schedule as he is a competitive swimmer as well. As Maggie lives vicariously through her friend’s lives she realises that she may be missing out of the quintessential high school “experience”. After a disastrous hook-up Maggie decides to ask Levi to help her gain some experience before heading off to college. After he hesitantly agrees the line between friendship and something more becomes blurry.

The healthy sex attitude in the novel blew me away. The way the characters, and especially one of the teachers, approached sex was really well done. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of. It wasn’t this crazy secretive thing. No one pretended that teenagers don’t want to experiment and have sex. It was realistic and healthy and just normal. A real breath of fresh air in the YA world and I have to applaud Kenneally for that.

Even if you didn’t love Kenneally’s other novels, I would still recommend this. Kenneally does an amazing job of showing us Maggie’s intense routine and it was hard not to admire Maggie’s passion and determination. It really does amaze me that there are people out there this dedicated to their sport.

Now I am going to have to go back and read the rest of the Hundred Oak series!

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review – For Finlay

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**ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

TITLE: For Finlay
AUTHOR: J. Nathan
PAGES:  214 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 30, 2017
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Sports

MY RATING: 4/5 birds

Rating - 4 Bird

SUMMARY:

Finlay lived her entire life in the shadow of her older brother, football star Cole Thatcher. She hates always being referred to as Cole’s little sister and always craved an identity of her own. This causes her to push her older brother away, a mistake she regrets every day when her brother suddenly dies.

Two years later, moving to a new town to work for the Alabama college football team she is trying to live her brother’s dream. Even if it means working beside the new quarterback Caden Brooks. She has reasons to hate him for taking her brother’s place on the Alabama team but soon hatred turns into sexual tension as neither of them can deny the strong attraction they feel.

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MY REVIEW:

This was a very sweet NA book that reminded me a lot of the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy. I am glad I picked this up, even though I really have no interest in football because it was very enjoyable! Both Finlay and Caden are great characters. I like how the mistake and the whole reason that Finlay hated Caden as much as she did before even meeting him was very realistic and this book had no drama just for drama’s sake. The conflict was well written and interesting.

The only issues I had was that I could have done without Caden’s POV entirely! I felt like it didn’t really add much to the plot for me and it would have been interesting getting to know Finlay better and learning more about what she wanted to do in life, like picking a major, future plans, her relationship with her parents etc.

I also found some of the scene changes in the novel disorientating. For example, Caden and Grady get into a fist fight and instead of continuing that storyline and finding out what happened, it starts the next scene with Finlay swimming at 4 am. The author could have easily started the new paragraph in Caden’s POV. Where did the rest of the day go? We obviously learn what happened when Caden comes to where Finlay is swimming but I would have rather followed the story closer…or why have Caden’s POV at all?

The epilogue was very sweet and we definitely get a HEA, although I was a bit disappointed that Caden never resolved his issues with his dad because I felt like his dad’s new wife had a point when she spoke to Caden at the hospital when he was sleeping beside Finlay.

Overall this was a very fun and entertaining read but it goes beyond the typical NA novel by talking about dealing with death. If you enjoyed The Deal by Elle Kennedy or Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock I would definitely recommend this!

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review – Flawed

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**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

TITLE: Flawed (Ethan Frost #4)
AUTHOR: Tracy Wolff
PAGES:  255 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 17, 2017
PUBLISHER: Loveswept
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, My Best Friend’s Brother Romance

MY RATING: 3/5 birds

Rating - 3 Bird

SUMMARY:

The novel begins with our heroine and socialite, Tori Reed, on an exceedingly horrible blind date. The night keeps going from bad to worse until Tori is out on the streets and disowned from her family due to her past relationship ending up in the press. This means no more trust fund, car, clothes, and even shoes! Barefoot and wearing last night dress Tori lifts her head high and plans to hide out at her best friend’s house unless the media dies down only to find it is already occupied by her bff’s older brother Miles Girard, whom she hates with a passion. Soon the passion for destruction turns into another kind of passion but can Miles deal with Tori’s behaviour and help her when she has lost it all?

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MY REVIEW:

I wasn’t crazy about this book but it wasn’t terrible either. There were elements I liked and I did read it quite quickly but overall the book fell flat and there were elements of the story that really irritated me. Maybe people who have read the series from the beginning might feel differently and have more loyalty to the characters? I have to say the author did a great job with making me feel like I wasn’t missing anything even though I am reading the series out of order.

I really enjoyed the “enemies to lovers” aspect of the novel. I really like these types of books and the sexual tension between Tori and Miles was explosive! Unfortunately the characters were sorely lacking depth which was disappointing. Tori was incredibly hard to relate to. She is a whiny socialite who basically had everything handed to her through her trust-fund, and while I like reading strong and sometimes loud personalities, she just took her bitchy attitude to another level and was so mean to Miles for absolutely no reason. The book felt like a rollercoaster to crazy-town…the fights between her and Miles felt manufactured to create drama just to have drama.

It is also fun sometimes to read about rich people (I mean the billionaire genre trope exists for a reason in romance novels) but I found this just did not work for me. There was no redeeming or relatable quality to Tori as she is an adult but doesn’t work, has a nice apartment her trust fund paid for, car, multiple credit cards, and so when her father kicked her out I did feel a little bad for her because it was so dramatic (I mean, not even letting her get changed? Or get shoes?) but it was still hard to muster up total sympathy for the stereotypical “poor little rich girl”.

I also feel like the author could have taken the topic of revenge porn, sex tapes, and rape further. She spent many pages going over it in both Miles and Tori’s perspective but it felt incredibly shallow. The inner monologues were very repetitive. It was also very convenient that Miles was this mega-genius and he essentially [caught Alexander for a sexual assault he committed years ago (hide spoiler)]. I just felt like it was so over the top. It kind of throws it in the face of real rape victims (like the real case the author mentioned in the novel) who have to deal with the terrible reality that their perpetrators may never go to jail and there may never be justice. Unfortunately that is the reality of life today. But suddenly here comes the hero…it’s just another version of the damsel in distress and how the Hero saved the day. Tori did a lot of talking about how she wanted to be more independent in her life and maybe even speak out about her experience and help others, but then she didn’t actually do anything but rehashed the same arguments with Miles over and over again.

I was especially confused because in Chapter 20 Tori says she has an interview tomorrow afternoon at a local TV station but then we don’t hear anything about it? She gets mad at Miles and runs away to Chloe’s house, does she just blow off the interview?

I thought the author had the perfect opportunity in the epilogue to say something about Tori become a spokesperson or advocate but it just focused on their romance. It was cute and we got the HEA but still….very shallow.

Speaking of the romance…yikes. The insta-love was crazy in this novel. It really just killed the novel for me. ? I would have been completely fine with Miles and Tori just committing to a real relationship than saying “I love you” after four days together.

As for Miles I didn’t dislike him as much as Tori but she kind of rubbed off on him because I had to wonder what he saw in Tori? He goes and does nice things for her and she repays him by screaming in his face, calling him names and just acting like a huge immature brat. If I was Miles I would have seen all of this as huge red flags and realised I don’t have to be with someone who throws temper tantrums at every turn but when confronted immediately plays the victim role.

In terms of the steamy scenes which I know many of us read these novels basically for that, as I said above the sexual tension was very well done and the first sex scene was very steamy but then it really tapered off for me. In particular the kissing was over-described and I really did not enjoy how much he licks her gums…haha it was just weird but to each their own!

Also very minor but did anyone else notice what Ethan said about the blind dates he and Chloe set Tori up on?! I thought it was so horrible that her best friend and husband intentionally set her up on horrible dates because they “hoped that she would get together with Miles”! That some crazy manipulative shit! If my friends did that to me I would be so pissed off.

All in all I think if you don’t mind very loud, brash personalities then Tori won’t bother you and if you want to read something a little more on the shallow side and just for the romance then I would recommend this. Other than that I think it was a decent read but I am not tempted to read the rest of this series.

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Book Review -The Way I Used to Be

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TITLE: The Way I Used To Be
AUTHOR: Amber Smith
PAGES:  367 pages
PUBLISHED: March 22nd 2016
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sad Topic(s)

MY RATING: 5/5 birds

Rating - 5 Bird

SUMMARY:

This is the debut novel by Amber Smith that explores one young woman’s struggles as one act affected her entire life. Eden’s world is forever changed when her brother’s best friend rapes her. We get to see Eden’s life from freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year and see the profound effects of her trauma.

An immensely complex and thought-provoking novel that demonstrates unbelievable pain, heartbreak, friendship, and the importance of survival.

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MY REVIEW:

Well, this book really hit me hard. Eden reminded me a little too much of myself…the self-destructive behaviour and I don’t want to put too much of myself out there but some of it reminded me of stuff I did when I was younger. I have never been raped but I still related to Eden in so many ways.

The books that really hit you are always the hardest to review! But besides my own personal connection to Eden, one of the things I really liked about the novel was how the author showed how not only the main character Eden was affected, but how that one single action changed the lives of so many other people around her. It makes you step back and think. Everyone is always so quick to judge. Let’s be honest, if you were or are still in high school and heard about all the things about this girl Eden did you probably won’t have a good impression of her right? The author does a great job of exposing slut shaming, not only by her peers but also by her own self-labelling as she struggled to figure herself out. It was wonderful to get to hear Eden’s side of the story, all of her shame, fear, guilt and suddenly we are less judgemental. As a reader, I mostly just wanted to hug Eden and tell her everything was going to be okay. It’s a good reminder to step back and realise that everyone around us is fighting some sort of battle.

I wish the novel had focused a bit more on Eden’s relationship with her parents though. That felt really lacking. I was really curious when Eden started calling her parents by their first name and not Mom and Dad and why/how that all happened. I was also a bit disappointed with the ending, as it felt really abrupt. Eden finally spoke about her rape and we don’t even get to see her go through telling her parents. I think that was critical because her mom was the first person she could have told and didn’t. I was really curious to read her parents reaction and see Eden go through her emotions of coming to terms with the sexual abuse.

This was also by no means a romance in any form but I just wanted to add that I really liked Josh. I thought he was very well written and in the end I was glad that the author didn’t have Eden rely on him too much and she realised that she needed to come to terms with herself on her own. I still hope that in the future, someday they get back together because I love the way Josh treats Eden. He was a complete sweetheart and I could see them being very good together.

Even though there was something a bit lacking in the story it still gets 5 stars from me because it made me cry in the end and it’s fairly rare for me to cry while reading a book. To invoke that strong of an emotion just makes it that much better.

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