What I've Been Reading... Holiday Season 2016 - Reading List

What I've Been Reading... Holiday Season 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

What I've Been Reading

 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!  

Quick Lit Reviews Holiday Season 2016

There is nothing quite like curling up with a great book and a cup of hot cocoa after a long week, right?

I am totally selfish in claiming time every. single. day. to read a book I enjoy.  Granted, I also read about three to five kids books aloud each day too, which is its own kind of therapy.  And let's be honest, around the holidays, we need to find ways to calm our kids and our own minds down each day.

With the holidays my own reading pace slowed a bit.  And I'm thinking that with the colder winter days ahead - read that as the period of the year when parents have to come up with a million indoor activities to wear out the kids- I doubt I will be reading much for the next few months.  But here's my list of recently finished books and my quick reviews.  

Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3)Twisted Palace by Erin Watt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book series is most certainly in the guilty pleasure reading category. The whole series is off the wall extreme, and yet once you start you cannot put it down. And because of that, I am sure it has a specific audience, you either love it, or you hate it.

And I was more of the love it kind of reader. I read book one and book two quickly, and waiting for book three was difficult. This whole series is like watching a train wreck, you cannot look away, and yet...

So this story continues to follow Ella Harper as she finds her place in the world - and for that reason, I understand why it's billed as a YA, typical coming-of-age plot... But I am not sure this is something high school kids need to be reading. Now, as I mentioned in the other reviews, yes this book takes it to extremes with the money, parties, and behaviors, but when you are in high school with the extremely wealthy, this isn't that far off.

Now this third book, it turns more into crazy soap opera territory in most of the action scenes. But I am so invested in what happens with Reed Royal, I didn't care.

And side note- the big twist... wasn't too much of surprise, but still totally fun!

Now, I do not recommend this book to high schoolers, and I also want to give fair warning that the language in this book is crude and raunchy. There are serious romance scenes, and adult behavior going on with these high school kids, so fair warning. But still, it was fun. So if Contemporary Romance is your thing, you will probably love these, as they are super quick reads, and simply fun.

I have to give this book a 4.5 rating... I wish there would have been less in the soap opera and extreme language/romance, but overall I enjoyed it. It was a fun look at what happens with too much money and no morals.

View all my reviews

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

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast (Steampunk Proper Romance #1)Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In response to a tag on Instagram, I picked up three Steampunk books randomly. And this was by far the most out of left field for me, and to be honest, the best in the bunch!

I was skeptical. Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts are not my thing. Stories with them tend to be obvious and quickly stale for me... granted I would have said the opposite about six or seven years ago... but that's neither here, nor there...

I plunged ahead with this book strictly because of the tag line: Jane Austen meets Beauty and the Beast.

And yes... it is... there is no better way to describe it quickly.

Lucy is a strong female, quite a surprise for the era (well not for steampunk...) but for the setting in the story yes... She has a high sense of morality and desire to care for her family. She is smart and thoughtful... both of which cause problems early on for her. As her intellect causes her to take leaps on people's character after only a few minor details... not even a first impression, and she has another person all figured out and categorized. Lord Miles is every bit of what a fan of the Beauty and the Beast tales would want. Dark, mysterious, not quite proper, yet knows how society works - he is a wonderfully complicated character to run parallel to Lucy.

Overall, the plot, characters, and setting are well developed and quickly capture you. There is no way you can escape the need to keep turning the page to see what happens next. I fly through this book, ignoring a ton of my responsibilities just to know what happened!

I would recommend this to any fans of the steampunk genre for sure, but also, this is a great pick for fans of fairy tales (especially Beauty and the Beast) and it certainly has a Halloween-y creepy like feel with all the mystical aspects.

All that said, this is not a clean book... it is a romance, and there are a few scenes that probably just push it outside of the clean romance territory... And there is violence... I mean there are vengeful ghosts, and vampires, as well as a ton of guilty driven activities- oh and some very creepy graveyard scenes late at night. But it is all necessary for the plot advancements, and never overdone.

So maybe this isn't for the teen steampunk group... but a more mature audience totally.

I really loved this one, and hope there are more like it coming out.

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

A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson 

A Lady of High Regard (Ladies of Liberty, #1)A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mia Stanley is used to the comfortable life as a daughter of a successful businessman. Yet, unlike her peers, she does not dream of getting married and basking in the easy life. She has a heart for others, and a knack for writing, so when she takes the position as a writer for a lady's magazine, her parents are less than thrilled. When a new writing assignment puts Mia directly into the abysmal and heartbreaking reality of the seaman's wives along Philadephia's docks she refuses to walk away, even after her father convinces her to stop her position at the magazine.

All the while, Mia is trying to find the perfect match for her big-brother-like next door neighbor, Garrett. She has successfully matched up a few of her friends and knows that Garrett would make a wonderful husband and father, so she sets her sights on eligible women for him. Of course, her focus on other women for him, get her own feelings stirred up. All the while Garrett is running the family business, watching his father succumb to illness and dreaming of his true love finally noticing him.

Overall, I was disappointed. This is a slow moving story with very little action to drive the plot. Even the words slow the pace, and the dialogue drags in an attempt to show the time period. I realize this isn't the quick paced genre like some, but why can't there be a little more push from the characters to do and act. The overabundant use of passive voice screamed at me through the entire book, and as an editor minded person, that is just never a good thing.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Christian fiction cannot stuff the Bible and God at people in superficial ways. Throwing in a few prayers or comments about faith will not move a person to seek out the God of the Bible. It comes across false. If only there were a way to create a character who would really wrestle with an idea or characteristic of God throughout the story, similar to how so many contemporary character wrestle with a societal worldview...

View all my reviews
For more on this one, check out my sneak peek or get my full review here

The Wrong Prince by C K Brooke

The Wrong PrinceThe Wrong Prince by C.K. Brooke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lucie is in love with the prince, but as a daughter of a Baron, she knows she will never be allowed to be with him. To make matters worse, as the story opens, she finds out she has become engaged to a man according to her father, and she is obedient to her father. So she makes the heartbreaking decision to cut ties with the prince whom she has given her heart to.

Meanwhile, said prince, Geo, and his older brother, Dmitri, are in a battle when they both shoot arrows at the enemy, one specific Llewesian. Of course, the poor solider turns out to be the crowned prince of Llewes, the only heir, and the mourning king of Llewes becomes an even more poignant enemy to Tybiria.

Right after the battle, the King and Queen of Tybiria host an engagement announcement party for their crowned prince, Dmitri. And you've guessed it, Lucie is the lucky girl. Before Geo can even fully realize what happened - his love is not engaged to his brother - the Llewesian army sweeps in and kidnaps Dmitri. And of course, the adventure begins...

And why I gave this only three stars when I actually enjoyed the story...

I understand that the romance between Lucie and Geo early in the book was there so we would know just how much they loved each other. But the scenes are bit too explicit for the style of the writing. The intimate moments between these two reads like a mature YA book, yet the rest of the story, plotting, and adventure reads like a teen book. I simply wish there would have been a way to leave out some of the details of their need to sneak around to meet...

Also, later in the book, there is a point where they enter a brothel to find some assistance in the ongoing battle of the two kingdoms, and again, for just this scene the terms used are more mature than the rest of the book. Overall this is very much a fairy tale story, that should be a fun read for young teens, but some topics, in the detail described, are simply not necessary.

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For even more on this book, check out my sneak peek, or my full review here.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

My Lady JaneMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I probably would have never picked up this book, as the genre has never really captured my interest if it wasn't for OwlCrate sending this during the summer.

And of course, it sat on my bookshelf for a while... I should have read it right away.

This is a fun book. You will laugh out loud at different parts, so maybe take into consideration where you read this one...

While there is very little in this one that is historically accurate, it is still so much fun to read. I am sure anyone who enjoys reading will like this one. And for anyone who is a fan of rom-com in general... this is probably worth the time to read. You are sure to be taken to a wonderfully different England where Lady Jane is not beheaded and the conflict between religions is also replaced with magical powers that truly make so many one-liners possible.

Jane is a fun heroine to be sure. A well-bred lady, who has read enough books to be as educated as any man - who wouldn't want to follow that character? Then she finds herself in an arranged marriage to a man who holds a seriously surprising secret about what he does during the day... go ahead think up any crazy option here, and you will still be surprised!

While the first few chapters of King Edward were boring to me... he came off as a spoiled rich child king who didn't care a lick for his kingdom (oh wait... that is exactly how he was supposed to sound??) that changed around the halfway point and he quickly because just as compelling a character as the others.

Overall I would highly recommend this to YA fans, it is completely appropriate for teenagers as well as adults who are looking for a lighthearted and fun read.

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

Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell

Moonlight Masquerade (London Encounters, #1)Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Yes, I know the stars are a bit harsh... But hear me out...

I wanted something else... maybe I need to stop picking up Regency Romance type books...

Lady Celine, as a spy, truly intrigued me. I wanted to see what this plot line would unravel. Add in an agent sent to find out if she really is a spy... and well it sounded like it would be full of action, and force me to keep reading. I had to force myself to keep picking up the book to try. I wanted to know what would happen because I had high hopes, that never were met.

The romance between Celine and Rees was just full of crazy tension, and a bunch of inner dialogues for each character, but never much actually happened. They barely held conversations that were anything of substance. Even when he was healing (not really a spoiler... you will want to find out why... right?)

But then to add to my frustration over the characters, Rees seems to have a few chapters of a faith crisis about his interest in Celine... but then it disappears... was it resolved? I couldn't figure it out. It was crazy.

For me, this was a fail. But I see there are plenty of fans, and that is why I am so glad there are so many options for us fiction fans to try out.

I would suggest this to fans of the regency era fiction. It's clean and acceptable for any age readers (that would be interested in the genre of course).

Maybe I will take a break from this genre for a bit...

View all my reviews

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

Quick Lit Reviews Holiday Season 2016

Check out what I read this holiday season & 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? Or even better, what do you want to get for Christmas to read??? 

Marissa @ Reading List

**While some of these books I received from the publishers to review, all opinions are my own. 
*** Also, there are no affiliate links on this page, but once you click to my other pages to see more of the book you will find my affiliate links.  Since using affiliate links will not cost you more, but they help me out tremendously, please consider clicking through and helping out another book fanatic! TIA

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