What I've Been Reading {July Edition} - Reading List

What I've Been Reading {July Edition}

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

What I've Been Reading

July 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!  

What I have been reading... July  Quick Lit Reviews on Reading List

Summer has been a great season for me.  I have been able to really fly through more books than I expected, which means more fun reads for me.  This month will have a few more in depth reviews, but I also wanted to share a few that won't be in depth.  Maybe, once school starts back up, a few of these will reappear on here in the form of reflection posts. We will have to wait and see.

But for now, here is a collection of the books I've finished recently, and my quick opinions on them.  Feel free to ask any questions about a particular book that sparks your interest, because I love talking about books!  Just leave your questions, thoughts in the comments below (if you are reading this on a mobile device, please click over to the web version to leave comments).

The Winner's Curse  by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiHave you heard of the phrase "winner's curse"?  This first book of three dives right into the curse of winning a bet that cost too much. The irony is that Kestral, the general's daughter, did not even mean to make this purchase at the auction, and she has no idea how much this one mistake will change the course of her life.

For an introductory book to a series, I'll admit, this one starts off slow.  There is a world to build, a deep conflict to allude to, as well as characters to develop. Rutkoski does a marvelous job of bringing the main characters of Kestrel and Arin to life. If you can make it through the first half of the book you will be hooked.  So you might want to grab all three in the series from the library if you are going to give one a go.   I would recommend this book to fans of dystopian battle stories (Divergent, Pivot Point, Delirium) ages 14 and up.  This first book deals mostly with military strategy, slavery, and social classes.  This has a love story, so there are some romantic scenes, but nothing too shocking for the mid-teen audience.

I would give this book four hearts. I really enjoyed this one, but compared to the rest of the series it is slow...
For more on this one, check out my sneak peek.    

The Winner's Crime  by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime  by Marie Rutkoski
The second book of the Winner's Kiss trilogy picks up soon after the first finishes which is so good because if you made it through that first book, your heart will be shattered for both Kestrel and Arin.

I do not want to give away any majors spoilers, so I'm going to be generic here.  This second book demands more strategy from most Kestrel and Arin as they battle to play the hand they each have been dealt.  Since this is a more strategic look at the world of war and conflict it moves slowly.  That is not the fashionable style of fantasy and dystopian books right now, but trust me, this is an amazingly well-written series.

Again, I recommend this series to those who are fans of fantasy, almost dystopian like stories. Even those who are into historical fiction set during any war could get into this one.  I give this book a five heart rating because I simply fell in love.  This series will be finding its way onto my bookshelf in the near future.

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

The Winner's Kiss  by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
The final book of Kestrel and Arin is by far my favorite. I was so worried for Kestrel and heartbroken over Arin that waiting two weeks to get my hands on this one was excruciating. I just had to know what happened!

Oh man, I was not disappointed. This is one of those books where I wanted to know what happened, but at the same time, I didn't want it to end.  Rutkoski is a fabulous writer. If you are looking for a book that takes you into a new world this is it.

This story takes place during the heat of war that results from the rebellion in book one. And the fallout of the decisions Kestrel makes in book two results in long chapters in this final book for Arin. I loved that Arin was by no means a one-note male lead. He had hopes, dreams, and a history that jaded his vantage of the present. But then his heart also made decisions that did not always jive with what his head was planning. With a wonderfully complex female lead like Kestrel, it could have been easy to make Arin a one-note love interest, and he is not.

This final book did not disappoint. I am giving it a five heart rating. If you made it through the firs two, then please pick this one up!

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

Bridge of Snow  by Marie Rutkoski

Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski
This short story is a wonderful addition to the Winner's Curse saga.  It gives the reader a quick glimpse into Arin's childhood.  While you could totally read this before finishing the series, I would recommend at least reading The Winner's Curse first.

We learn early on in the series that Arin was not born a slave, he clearly has memories of living the comfortable life. But that doesn't mean his childhood was perfect. And this sweet reflection on his family will add so much to his character, you will have no choice but to love him.

I give this short story a five heart rating simply because I love Rutkoski and Arin... I might be a little too biased now... 

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Have you read anything by Cecelia Ahern?  I hadn't either. To be honest, only after reading this book did I realize how many books she has out, and what a large following she has.  That being said, this book is vastly different from her others.  This is a YA dystopian novel to a tee. The perfect melting of The Scarlet Letter and modern dystopian lit has taken the form of Flawed.

Celestine is the stereotypical type-A teenager. She knows all the rules and expectations and has no problem following them. She is extremely logical and analytical. If there is a problem to solve, she is all about finding the correct answer. The culture she is living in has laws as well as societal rules, and when one of those rules goes past human logic Celestine makes a decision that sets her on a path she never dreamed of.

I was floored by this book, it is timely, and yet could easily become a classic like The Scarlet Letter. If you only read one piece of fiction this year, I highly recommend this one, even if it isn't really your genre. If you read The Scarlet Letter and the truths in it still resonate, then this is one you need to pick up.

I give this a five heart rating. I'm trying to decide if I should buy it now or wait until the series is complete and get a fancy set... decisions...   As far as the age range, really if your child is old enough to read The Scarlet Letter than this is a fine read. Yes, there are adult topics, and yes there is violence, but it is important to be exposed to the reality of the world in a controlled environment like fiction before it seems into a person's reality.

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

Stars Above  by Marissa Meyer

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
This is a collection of short stories surrounding the Lunar Chronicles that has made Marissa Meyer one of the most popular authors in YA fiction. I'll be honest, this is for the Lunar fanatics because it is not really a stellar book on its own. If you have read the Lunar Chronicles and want more about the characters, then pick this up, maybe from the library.

These are super short stories, maybe a collection of scenes from each character is a better description. There are a couple of real gems hidden inside, like The Little Android, but for the most part, this is fan-fiction at it's most basic.

Granted, I really enjoyed it. It was fun. It was a quick read. I can only give it 3 and a half hearts. As far as the age, if you are reading the Lunar Chronicles, this will be fine.  If you haven't read the Lunar Chronicles, don't start with this one.

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

Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Fervent  by Priscilla Shirer
In case you missed it, I did Shirer's Armor of God study earlier this year and loved it. Since the study was to go along with the movie War Room, I figured I would grab all the other books that were put out with it. So this was one of those picks.

This is what you want to pick up if you are doing some personal study on prayer.  More specifically, if you are looking into the power of deliberate, focused prayer, this book will be interesting. However, please keep in mind that when it comes to prayer there is an element that often gets glossed over in today's politically correct Christianity, spiritual warfare. This is truly a book on spiritual warfare and the power we have in prayer.

Overall I was completely disappointed. After the group study on the Armor of God, I was ready for that level of power. But it is really just another reiteration of the study, the movie, etc. I can only give this one three hearts.  Also, while new Christians could benefit from a ton in this book, the book is probably better for the more seasoned Christian. I still recommend the study over this book. 

If you want more on this book, check out my sneak peek

Check out what I read in July & let me know what you're reading! #Bookfanatics @Reading_List1

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

Marissa @ Reading List

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