What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!


Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.





Decked with Holly

Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

About In A Sentence-ish: While on a cruise during Christmas with her grandpa (her world) and her cousins and aunt (who are the worst), Holly finds herself seasick and miserable and in what she thinks is an unoccupied, open suite. But actually in that suite is a gorgeous guy who happens to be a drummer of a popular band she loves….as she finds out when she goes to leave and there are screaming fans. Rumors are started and damage control needs to be done so Holly fakes being Nick’s girlfriend for the duration of the cruise.

Thoughts: OH YOU GUYS THIS WAS SO CUTE AND DELIGHTFUL. I read it Christmas Eve and finished it in a couple hours. Even though it’s set around Christmas…you can TOTALLY read it outside because it wasn’t all that Christmas-y. This was basically all that I loved about watching things like Mary Kate and Ashley movies or Disney Channel movies back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. It was just sooooo adorable and I giggled so many times. It’s hella funny. And the characters are so endearing. And I always love the faux gf/bf romance storyline. If you are in need of a book that’s cute, quick and will put a smile on your face….THIS BOOK! It’s just one big bundle of CUTENESS.




The Rose Society

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

About In A Sentence-ish: Book 2 of The Young Elites so go read that if you haven’t!! TAKES PLACE AFTER ALL THE THINGS.

Thoughts: I was OBSESSED with The Rose Society last year. Like LOVED IT. I was chomping at the bit to get this sequel because the ending was shocking and crazy. I will be honest. I struggled for the first 30-40% to get back into this story but then after that I was super invested again and really couldn’t put it down. I loved how Adelina has always not quite been a hero but not quite a villain because we do know her history and heart despite what she does sometimes. In this book? Adelina is an even darker place after everything that happened in book 1 and you can feel the turmoil and fury and guilt she has within her now and it definitely drives all her actions in this book to make her definitely the villain even though you still root for her. I think she’s such a complex character and I really enjoyed an even stronger character arc. I felt for her but I also worry for her with the path she’s taking. It got action-packed in the second half – that sort of WOAH WOAH WOAH WHAT IS HAPPENING feeling where you can’t peel your eyes away from it. When I was having a hard time with this in the beginning 30-40% I thought this one was suffering from the second book syndrome but Marie brought it home at the end for me and it ended being AMAZING. I neeeeeed book 3 asap. I gave my rating as really liked it because my troubles reconnecting to the story but truthfully it’s in between REALLY LIKE and LOVED IT.






Have you read any of these? What did you think?!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I really need to read The Young Elites soon, I’ve been meaning to do so all year last year! AGH AND NOW THAT THE ROSE SOCIETY IS OUT AND EVERYONE IS SQEUALING ABOUT IT, I FEEL LEFT OUT! 😂

  2. I read Decked with Holly in December, too! I honestly didn’t think I would see this one pop up on another blog, LOL! It was SO ADORABLE! I completely agree with you. It totally had a Mary Kate and Ashley vibe. It was just such a silly, feel good story.

    Panic was a weird one for me, too. I always seem to have issues with Lauren Oliver’s stories, but I continually keep reading them because I like her writing SO much. I started off listening to the audiobook for Panic, and I kind of wish I kept it that way, because I enjoyed listeing to it much more than reading it.

    • SOOOO ADORABLE. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt the MKA vibes! It was just a purely fun read! I loved that!

      And omg I so agree with you..there is something about her writing that I love! I really enjoyed Delirium and Pandemonium but did not like Requiem at all. I read her adult title, Rooms, and liked that but it wasn’t amazing. Still need to read Before I Fall. I’ve owned it since it came out!

  3. I keep hearing mixed things about Panic. I bought it on release day and still haven’t read it because I’ve heard the characterization is lacking. Booo

    I AM FOREVER THE DECKED WITH HOLLY BLACK SHEEP. It gave me so much rage issues.

    The Rose Society is everything to me. Such an excellent sequel and all the darkness I needed.

    • It really is! I was sooo disappointed. 🙁

      Awwww re: Decked with Holly! I’m so curious what made you rage!! (I’m not like OMG FAVE BOOK so I won’t be offended hehe).

      YASSS The Rose Society. I loved the Legend series but I just LOOOOOVE Adelina and how you root for her but she’s not super noble and heroic always. I love villainy type characters.

  4. What a shame about Panic. It’s always so disapointing when a good idea just isn’t executed all that well. I’m glad you enjoyed the other two books, though.

  5. I can’t wait to read The Rose Society! I mean I guess I wasn’t completely obsessed with The Young Elite, but I do want to know what happens next!!

    • It was a little dragging for me in the beginning but I was so intrigued by the direction it went!! Especially because, as you know from the end of TYE, that she is NOT friendly with them anymore!

  6. Love The Rose Society. I do agree that I had a hard time getting back into the story initially and maybe it’s because I should have re-read the first book to refresh by memory. I loved Magiano sooo much. I need Adelina to love him too.

    • I’m glad it wasn’t just me!! I’m like IS IT THE BOOK or is it because I haven’t been in this world in a year?? Omg I’m soooo with you I LOVE MAGIANO!

  7. Panic was so disappointing. The characters weren’t well crafted, certain situations and conversations felt stilted and contrived, and the challenges were so inconsistent – some were merely creepy, while others were potentially deadly, and none of the participants seemed at all bothered by that? It was such a good premise for a story, but not very well executed.

    • YESSSSS YESSS everything you said. You should have just written my mini review for me!!! The challenge thing for sure…I didn’t get the whole goal of it with such inconsistent challenges. And I mean, like, PUTTING A LOADED GUN UP TO YOUR HEAD AND PULLING THE TRIGGER??? That is not a challenge..that is a death wish.

  8. DECKED WITH HOLLY was so cute! I read it a few years ago because I’m always looking for Christmas books around Christmas time and it was a great pick. Glad you liked it too!

  9. Catherine says:

    I’m a little late to the party on this post, but I had to comment. I couldn’t even get through Panic! I loved Lauren Oliver’s other books and I was so very disappointed with this one. As everyone else mentioned, it just seemed too forced and I couldn’t get into it. It makes me feel better to see that I am not the only one who felt that way.

    • I felt so much better after posting this knowing I wasn’t the only one!! I love LO but WTF happened with this book? GAH. Especially because it was a cool concept!