What I've been Reading... {January 2017 Edition} - Reading List

What I've been Reading... {January 2017 Edition}

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What I've Been Reading

 Quick Lit Reviews

So... My quick reviews have been lacking recently.  I keep reading and writing them on Goodreads, but I haven't had the time to sit down and formulate this collection. And to be honest, that makes me sad.  I love these posts, and hearing from you all!  So here's my list from the last few weeks. I hope you can find a book or two to add to your list!!

What I've been reading January 2017 edition

I don't know about you all, but January was a crazy month!  With school starting again, and sports... well I am glad I have my calendar on an app on my phone that reminds me each day what is coming the next day, and then reminds me with enough heads up for drive times, because wow... life can get chaotic!  All that said, I blew through books this month and last as I spent a lot of time waiting in the car for my kids to get picked up and such.

Forgetting Yesterday by Ava Wood

Forgetting Yesterday (Broken by the Sea, #1)Forgetting Yesterday by Ava Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very raw story, and I appreciated that honest look into the life so many keep hidden behind closed doors. Missy is in a horrible situation, one that no child should ever have to be in, yet this world is not always the sunshining happy place we hope for. And yet, she continues to try. And isn't that all we can ask for?

I enjoyed the characters tremendously. Missy was well developed, as well as Adam. While the story is told from Missy's perspective, there is still quite a bit of Adam's personality revealed. I am hoping that the second book in the series gives us more on his life, as there is clearly more happening.

While the story itself started slow, the opening scene of Missy's mother's death forces you to attach yourself to her and hope for the best. There are many scenes that follow where I questioned when the story would pick up, but it does. And for a YA romance, it was actually quite sweet, and a wonderful set up for a series... rumor is there will be three?

I do feel it is necessary to caution people that the story could be a trigger for those who are sensitive to alcoholism, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and the like. While Ava Wood did a very good job of making a realistic story, that could be an issue for some readers. And as far as audience, I would recommend this to more mature teenagers, simply because the subject matter is heavy. While this can be a sensitive subject, literature, and fiction is an excellent way to develop empathy, and such a story is a wonderful place to start.

**While I received a copy of this book as part of a book tour through YA Bound Books, my thoughts and this review are my own opinion.

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If you are still curious, check out my sneak peek and my full review

Return to Yesterday by Ava Wood

Return to Yesterday (Broken by the Sea, #2)Return to Yesterday by Ava Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my... I just loved this series... and this is a hard review for me to write without giving away a ton of spoilers since I moved straight into book three after reading this... like the same day.

That being said... I'll give it a try...

So Missy is crushed over Adam's decision that they should not be together while he is away at college. With her home life so messed up, she quickly decides to bury herself in earning money to hopefully get away from this life that has pulled so deep into depression she doesn't even know that is what it is.

In the process of getting a job, she starts "seeing" Marco. He helps her forget. He is not the gentleman most parents want their kids bringing home... and her friend Jennie tried, not very well, to warn her.

So without going into spoiler details... it's easy to see how Missy get so far off track with her life as her heart is broken yet again by someone she thought loved her. And as the one reading it, I often wanted to reach through the book and comfort her... maybe that's just the mother in me... but still, you cannot read this book and not want to help her.

And that, the ability to have empathy for someone's life, is what fiction is all about, in my opinion. We do not read about the vast difference between people, we will never try to open our eyes and see the pain behind the eyes of the people we see every day.

Seriously, though, if you are at all a fan of the Hallmark-esque love story, you will enjoy these books!

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

Remnants of Yesterday by Ava Wood

Remnants of Yesterday (Broken by the Sea, #3)Remnants of Yesterday by Ava Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is certainly a YA Contemporary Romance. I would say it perfectly suited for those over sixteen, as there are serious life issues at the core of the book - drinking, abuse, neglect, romantic relationships, illness, death. The social & family issues in this book take most out their comfort zone to experience the life of one who was dealt a horrible hand in the family lottery. So for those who know the horrible reality of alcoholics, maybe this book would trigger too much. For those who do not know, this book will shine a light on what might be going on behind closed doors and give readers a glimpse of how much love kids have for their parents, even if it is not deserved.

That being said, this is the kind of book that parents should be aware of so that they might be available to talk about the issues with their teens. The real tough conversations are important to have with our kids, and books like this are wonderful tools to get the ball rolling.

Overall, I really enjoyed the reality of the time needed for Melissa to get a grip on her life. Growing up in such an abusive house with no idea of what actual healthy love was would result in some serious damage. The fact that such a life would need professional assistance, as well as a loving support system, was well done throughout the book. I really enjoyed how Mrs. Miller's own past helped to create such a safe haven for Missy.

And while it was annoying at times to read, the reality of the green monster of jealousy sneaking into long distance relationships was nice to see. The mind games and the struggle are real, so the fact that Ava went there, and allowed the reader into the mental process of listening to the green monster, was good.

Of course, the fact that I was already invested in Missy and Adam was a huge reason why I enjoyed this book, but honestly, if you read the first book, you will become invested in the story of the broken girl who still longs to get somewhere in life and the boy that falls in love with her during her journey.

I am always up for a good coming of age, love story - the kind that follows two people through the struggles of life and the journey to love. But I am not always a fan of trilogies just for trilogy sake. And, to me, this was a long three books. Yes, there are clear plot lines that are unique to each book, while all three are important to the overall ending, yet there was a good chunk of book two and three that dragged on and on while we wait for Missy and Adam to simply do some aging.

And well, the little subplot with Missy's aunt was really annoying and over the top. I am thinking it was there to fill out the final book. And by that point, I was ready for the end... again, just me... and pretty minor when you think about it.

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For more on this one, check out me full review.

The Black Key by Amy Ewing

The Black Key (The Lone City, #3)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clearly, if you are checking out a review for book three in a series, you have already read the rest of the series... no? Well if you haven't, stop reading this review and go back to the first book, The Jewel and check that one out.

If you have been reading this series, then I am guessing you are feeling a bit invested in Violet and Garnet and the rest of the characters... because I sure was!

I had to know what was going to happen.

While the second book dragged at points as Ewing set up more of the world and the discontentment of the people, this third book dove right into the chaos that results in a revolution. I was pleased with the pace and action... but I do understand why some are saying this isn't much new in this book. It is very much a typical dystopian trilogy with a strong female protagonist.

But there is nothing wrong with that. It fits the genre you expect it to fit in.

I am also pleased with how serious Ewing took the wrap up portion of this story. She spent so long setting it up, so the ending matter... and she did it justice.

While the covers on these books are gorgeous, I am not sure I will end up owning them because the story, for me, is a one time read through... and of course I can always get them from my library if I want to read them again. But that being said, if you are a dystopian fan, you should pick these up...

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

A Fantastic Mess of Everything by Beck Medina

A Fantastic Mess of EverythingA Fantastic Mess of Everything by Beck Medina
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book... the reviews and comments on here gave me great hope for it.

The thing is, this is clearly an early work for Medina. And all writers are going to have early works... we grow from somewhere. But some of those earlier works are just that early... not ready for the reading of the masses. It doesn't mean the idea was bad or that the writer sharing should stop writing... but this one only gives a small glimpse of what could be.

I could not finish this book because it needed more editing and polishing. After getting through 30% through it was a jumbled mess... while the setting and ages of the characters make this a NA, the voices of the characters read more like a MG book.

Overall I have great hope though for future books from Medina just hope that more time is spent on editing and polishing.

***I received a copy of this book for a book tour and an honest review.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What is wrong with me guys???

How did I not start reading this series long ago??? Maybe becuase I knew it was going to be an epic series and didn't want to have to wait for books to get published??? That would have been smart, but I think I just didn't ever notice it!

But thank you to my wonderful bookish friends on Instagram I fell to peer-pressure and picked this one up....

Guys, there are not words!!!

SJM is my new favorite author (partly because of this book, but mostly because of ACOTAR... more on that another time...), because she has such an amazing talent of telling stories full of details, and politics, and action, and characters who are so complex, while keeping the reader engaged and really transporting you... AMAZING!

This story follows Celaena Sardothien if like me you haven't known about this book before... and she is one seriously impressive female character. While she has strength and courage, she is also feminine and soft. She wants to be loved and to give love. But she doesn't know how to put her heart into words most of the time (doesn't that sound like every girl you know??? umm... it sounds like me... well the words part...) Then we meet Dorian Havilliard and Chaol Westfall... and while I guess that makes this a love triangle... it doesn't read like your typical love triangle at all... seriously you have to trust me.

Oh, and there is a ton of action because the plot follows Celaena as she tries to become the next king's Champion... it's not quite as dorky as that sounds...

Seriously, if you are fantasy fan, you want to try these books... I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!

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

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As James says in her acknowledgments, this is a British book… there is slang I have only ever heard from British friends, and yet, it was a ton of fun to be fully immersed in this new setting for me… just a side note…

So this England belongs to Equals, a small part of the population who has magical gifts and has become the ruling body over the rest of the people. Oh and the rest of the people, the normal ones… with no real power are forced to sacrifice a decade of their lives to serve (read that as become the slaves of) the Equals.

Abi Hadley has worked incredibly hard to ensure her entire family can spend their slave-days serving the Jardines, the Founding Family, at their over the top family palace (or house… or estate… think crazy lavish even for British royalty). And yet, there is a gigantic hiccup when her brother Luke is sent, at the last possible moment, to Millmoor – a slave town.

The story then follows the Hadley’s as they begin their slave days, and we slowly start to see that even inside the powerful Equals there are disagreements on what society needs to be like. And of course, there is the challenge of reuniting the Hadleys… if that can even be done…

I am in love with James’ writing style. She has developed an amazing cast of characters who are so complex and exciting, it didn’t matter whose perspective was given each chapter because everyone was unique and engaging. (The story is told through different perspectives to help give fuller experience to the reader because there is a ton happening in each sector of the story.)

As a result of the writing style, I loved the pace. This book starts off at a sprint and never slows. This is one that is hard to put down because you just have to know what happens next. And how does the Jardine world mix with the Slave-town Millmoor?? Trust me, you won’t be doing the dusting when you could be reading this book instead.

This is certainly a book for the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian fans out there. If you enjoy any part of that genre, this book is for you – put it on your TBR list… like right now, go do it! If you are into stories of how one oppressed group finds a way to change the world for the better, or at least attempt to, then you will most likely enjoy this one as well. Now be warned there is some violence in many different forms as the book does an exceptional job of showing the brutality of slavery – both physically and mentally – because there is some odd brainwashing going on when one people group decides to enslave another just because they think they are superior. That being said, age-wise, this book is probably great for teens.

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

What I've been reading January 2017 edition

Check out what I read this January & 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?  Seriously, I want to know!!!

Marissa @ Reading List

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