What I've been reading... April 2017 Edition

Monday, May 01, 2017


What I've been reading... quick book reviews on Reading List
 

Quick Lit Reviews

What did you think of last month's quick reviews?  Were they more enjoyable?  Did you miss it? Oh, well then, check it out!  




The end of the school year is upon us... for parents with kids in school, our calendars are filling with end of the year events and shows and awards... homeschooling parents are also seeing their calendars fill up.  And then there are the warm weather sports... the chaos and the crazy reign.

Who else feels this?

As a result, I have to fight for time to read... and as a result, I am adding in some audio books during the long hours each week driving kids around.  The one plus to are advancements in technology is how cars can now play one thing in the back, in headphones for my kiddos, while the front connects to the phone and plays some audio books.  Has anyone else added audio books to their time in the car?  If you have favorite narrators let me know!



What I've been reading... quick book reviews on Reading List








Home by Eleni McKnight


HomeHome by Eleni Mcknight
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh... how to begin this.... I wanted to like this... even as I read the story, and realized the foundation of the story the author was trying to create, I want it to be good... I wanted to scream about how everyone needs to read it.... but I can't....

All because another author chose to go through a small independent publisher who did not spend a minute on actual editing and proofing. And as a result, another author is left with a published story that barely anyone will pick up. Most authors are destroyed by this, and it's so sad. Especially when it's a solid story that needs to be told!


Handmaiden Susannah Commons knows her place in society in Home. She is only a girl, and as such is inferior to the men of Home. She was raised knowing that if she was subservient, one day, Deacon would assign her as wife to a man, and she would then serve him, bringing his children into the world. It was all as the Great Master said, according to Deacon, who taught everyone in the commune how best to live and remain safe.

It is during one of her daily chores, that Susannah makes a mistake, and sees Silas Maas as he returns to his room after showering... a grave sin that could very well end with Susannah spending the rest of her days toiling in the Hard Labor Camp. Her fear swallows her and she begins a journey into learning the power of love and education. But what will happen when her brain is engaged and her desire for freedom conflict with Deacon's need for absolute power?


I decided to push through with this book strictly because of the core purpose of the story - if we, as a people, allow one person to teach us, and never learn to find the truth on our own, we will be doomed, as individuals, and as a society. It is important that we engage our minds, and seek the truth. And to recognize injustice and hate when it surfaces.

I liked that the author had a solid story that needed to be told...


The editing. This story is not finished. It reads like a draft, maybe even a rough first draft, which is a disappointment because I know writers don't just turn over stories in their rough stages. Writers seek out editors and publishers that will help them fine tune their stories and polish them up so readers have no choice but to be swept away on an adventure.

The characters, especially the side characters, were not well established, the setting was never clear, and the progression of the scenes was choppy. Just as you would expect in a draft, not in a finished book. The were more typos than I cared to count, and a few entire scenes were repeated. It was sad. And I am embarrassed for this small publishing company that claims to want to help writers get a foot up and joins the professionally published world of authors.


Oh, I really hope that Eleni decides to rework this story, and really demand a good editor and publishing group because this is a story that could really shine with the right amount of work.

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  For more on this one, check out my full review here.







Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein 


Rose Petal Graves (The Lost Clan #1)Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**I received a digital copy of the ARC from netgalley - this is my personal opinion on the story. ***

I actually really enjoyed the mixing of genres in this story. The idea that a specific, small (completely fictional) Native American tribe had been given the power to protect the world from power hungry fae was interesting. I thought Wildenstein did an excellent job of making Cat seem like a typical college student, with professional goals, while still connected to her family and small hometown.

The pace of this story was excellent. I could have easily sat all afternoon and read this straight through if only life would allow such a luxury. While Cat has just enough naivete to be believable as a college student, she also isn't dumb. She asks questions, she seeks answers, all while trying to be considerate of those she loves. She wants to trust people, to see the good in them. Yet, she has lived long enough to be a little wary of new people, and she starts meeting quite a few new people.

The entire cast of this story is incredible. Wildenstein has a great talent for bringing her characters to life, no matter how minor their role is in the story. Its fascinating, and really helps this small town seem like one you might actually know along the Great Lakes.

I would hold that this is a NA, which means it's a good choice for young adults 18+. While it isn't a heavy romance story, there are some interesting love stories starting to develop and I am guessing will play a bigger role in the next book. So for those younger, maybe hold off a bit... In this manner, I can see the reference to ACOTAR.

While this is a minor note for many, there is common swearing throughout this story as part of conversations. And it involves a ton of superstitions that some people might not care for.

For those are often into the fantasy and fae stories, this is going to be vastly different from other books you are picking up. If you are expecting a new world to escape to, this does not really have that... it's more of a story of what might happen if fae actually did walk among us today in this world.

For contemporary fans, realize that the Native American tribe that Cat is from is completely fictional. It isn't that Wildenstein is ignoring the rich history Native Americans have, it appears she is rather trying to set up a fantasy world that runs parallel to our reality and needed to have more room to play than using a historical factual tribe (for this reason I refuse to go along with those shelving this book as historical fiction...).


*** For more of my dislikes, and specifics, I have a longer more detailed review on my blog

View all my reviews


   For more on this one, check out my sneak peek, and my full review








Updrift by Errin Stevens


Updrift (The Mer Chronicles #1)Updrift by Errin Stevens
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

***After chatting with Author on Instagram for a while, I received a copy of this book as a gift from her. The following review is fully my own opinion.


The idea of a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid was very intriguing to me, especially after Errins said she pulled from the HC Andersen version, not the Disney version. I was more than excited for this concept.

And then I started reading the book... it was just not for me...

As I often say in my reviews, I need to be transported into the world through the description of the setting, I need to attach to at least a few of the characters because they are so well crafted, and I need to be swept up into a storyline that requires I keep turning the pages... and this book just did not deliver on any of these three points.

My biggest hang up was the amount of time spent on set up... it was too long. If I hadn't actually spoken to the author and known her excitement over the story, I would have put the book down at the halfway point...

In order to make it through the rest of the book, I read the book aloud with my husband. Hoping that the writing style would translate better to being spoken. Or that another brain would help me attach to this story... nothing.

I know some people are very pleased with this story. So clearly my review should not dissuade you... if you'd like to chat more about it, let me know... but if you are looking for some fantasy mermaid story for YA, you might want to give it a try... but fair warning.

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   For more on this one, check out my sneak peek.






The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning



The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt OutThe Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let's start with admitting this book is dated. There are contemporary comparisons that are not as powerful now that so much time has passed since it was originally written... but the point, the meaning, the purpose, it still very relevant. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by it.

Manning had a way of writing in a language that is more like a discussion with a loving older friend, not a pastor who has been exposed to be flawed, and yet still in love with Jesus.

For any Christian who was raised being told to do things, to earn a pass to heaven, to keep a checklist of what to do, and not to do... and now realizing that it is too much work. Or for those who feel like they will never do enough to earn the way in... you NEED to pick up this book.

Imagine sitting with a mentor, who after struggling himself for years with worldly issues, has agreed to simply share how he got to the other side and is now more in love with Jesus and certain of his ticket into Heaven.

While I did this book as a group book study with my bible study group, this is just as powerful to read on you own. All though I highly suggest having someone to talk it over with because there are going to be concepts you want to bounce off another mind.

I hope you decide to read this one!

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   For even more on this book, check out my sneak peek











Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply Amazing!

Sarah J Maas continues to reign as a fantasy writer with this book. While the Court series should not be read by teens, this series seems to fit into the YA genre perfectly, and as one would expect from queen SJM, adult audiences will be entertained enough to be interested too.

Celaena Sardothian continues to fight through her life as she finds new challenges and hurdles to keep her from reaching her destiny.

The friendship between Nehemia and Celaena has to be one of the few examples of girls being friends so that they can encourage and strengthen each other without the need for a "relationship". While I do not want this to be a discussion on same-sex relationships in fiction (which I am not against at all) the continued need for diversity has taken away the importance of same-sex friendships in too many works of fiction. There is a need for readers to see friendship as well as relationship. Just because you are friends with someone does not mean that you need to take it to another level. We all need friends, and familial love from friends, not just more intimate. (okay sorry for mini rant)

Anyway, I can't say too much because of spoilers... and I refuse to be part of the spoilers of this series... oh... there are so many. All I want to say is, if you are a fan of well-written characters with a plot that will sweep you away from reality, you want to pick up this series!

Oh and I am always ready to gush over SJM books... I'm sorry, no, I'm not... so if you want to gush some, let me know!!!

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King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard


King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I guess I can claim that I read this book because I am true book nerd... once I start a series, I have to finish it. And I just loved Red Queen when it read it a while back. It was the kind of adventure with characters that grabbed me. I wanted to know what would happen next. So of course I gobbled up the novellas... I was more than ready to see where this battle would go.

And then the novels in the series began coming out... and I have been very disappointed.

I want to love this story. I want to be attached to these characters yet...

So I know there are a ton of reviews about the actual story line - so I won't go into that.

So let's talk all those chapters spent in Mare's prison... YAWN... nothing happened. And I stopped caring after the 10th chapter of her depression and temper tantrums... I kept putting the book down, and as a result, I spent way too long read this book.

And I was not a fan of the vantage point from Cameron, who had the bulk of the rest of the chapters. She just wasn't compelling as a lead character. While her chapters could have been the driving force for action, her teenage whining killed it.

If there had been more from Cal or even Evangeline, this book could have been so much more engaging, as their few chapters were the saving grace.

Another thought is that this series needs to be aimed at younger teens, and not at all for adult audiences. Which is a shame since the adult audience for fantasy fiction is quite the powerhouse for the industry.

If anyone wants to chat about this book or the series, I'd love to! Maybe you can change my mind??

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What have you been reading?   What caught your eye above?  What should I read next?  



Marissa @ Reading List





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