What I've been reading in March... - Reading List

What I've been reading in March...

Monday, April 10, 2017


Quick Lit Reviews

Oh my... March zoomed by me... for various reasons I just could not get this post put together on time for the life of me.  I mean it was crazy.

Anyway, how was your March?  Can you even remember it now that we are solidly into April?

I want it to feel like Spring, and it's going to, but as I write this we are getting snow! Yes, a full week into April, and I had to shovel, and pull out all my kids snow gear for school.  Craziness!

Do you guys have to deal with crazy weather?

What I've been reading... quick book reviews

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow... how in the world did I not read this sooner?

I know that there is a lot of thoughts and reviews on this one, and that it isn't new by any means... but I am in love with SJM now. So I'll go on a bit about the writing styles... if you want more on the actual plot, you might have to wait until I post my main review...

So many authors today seem to focus on one character - developing that character completely and then not really go too far into detail with supporting characters. Yet, SJM found a way to develop a solid cast of characters in this book while telling the entire story through on point of view - it is marvelous. She attaches feelings of the reader to the character in a way most current authors just cannot seem to do. I am in honestly in awe with her ability, and it's very inspiring.

If this book is on your TBR this year, I highly recommend bumping it up to the top of your list. Even if it's just to experience the writing style.

I will be writing more on this book and series for sure, but first I have to get to reading ACOMAF!!

Oh and feel free to gush with me over this one if you want!

View all my reviews

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

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I thought I loved A Court of Roses and Thorns, but wow.... I was wrong...

Sarah J Maas knows how to craft a story... her character development is crazy good.

I had my favorites picked from ACOTAR, and now, after ACOMAF it's all changed around.

In this sequel, we get to know more about Feyre, now that she has gone through such an adventure- I refuse to put up spoilers here - so if you want to gush about the details, find me on Instagram ( Marissa Writes ), and I will gush on this like no one's business....

Anyway... Feyre's response to the adventure in ACOTAR is amazing - all her emotions, and Tamlin's response shocked me....

As a result, we get immersed into more of the Fae and how their courts deal with the day-to-day.... in the process Feyre starts to realize she has more free will than she ever expected. As a result, her courage takes her into more of an adventure than I could have ever guessed.

Mostly, if you haven't read ACOTAR, read it... but make sure you have this book on standby because you are going to want to move straight into this... luckily you won't have to wait long for ACOWAR since it comes out in less than a month (May 2 cannot get here soon enough!)

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

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Beast by Serena Valentino

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's PrinceThe Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince by Serena Valentino
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh my... I should have listened to those of you on here who were warning against this one... ugh

What an abysmal failure Disney... so sad.

Alright, let me start by saying, I had low expectations on this one because of the reviews I'd read. But I love Beauty and the Beast - and I so want more of a story for the Beast because seriously, it's obvious that he had one serious story before Belle shows up at his castle... and that little blurb in the beginning of the movie is not all...

So I was willing to give it a chance.... no, I should not have done so.

The writing was horrible - the POV was a jumbled mess of thoughts and vantages... it was so hard to keep up with it. I mean I can forgive the crazy evil witch sisters and their awful plot, but seriously, put a little more thought into it. And what was this Circe character? Was she supposed to be good just heartbroken? Ummm never clearly knew...

And why in the world do books written for younger audiences have to write poorly? That is my biggest critique - a name like Disney comes with expectations, one of which is that the best in the field will be working on their products - this is not the case in this book.

While I could go on and critique the story or details, or characters, too many other great people have done so, I'll just end with, I am disappointed in what this could have been...

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

As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale (A Twisted Tale, #3)As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alright - so who else is looking at this because they are just huge fans of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale?

I am a huge fan of the original french fairy tale... so I put up with the Disney versions (alright they are lovely versions... but you get what I'm saying). So, of course, I picked up a ton of BatB reimaginings this year since the new movie was released, and promised to have more nods to the original fairy tale (and it did... sort of... nods...).

But this book... well... I was under impressed.

There are no major flaws for me to complain about, which is why it's three stars... and for many readers, it will be a fabulous read.

But for me, I just wasn't into it.

This is most certainly an MG (middle grade) level read - the chapters are paced to keep advanced MG readers challenged, yet engaged... but for more advanced readers, it's boring. I'm sorry - it was for me.

The ideas were fun, I just wish it was different....

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

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

WintersongWintersong by S. Jae-Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I totally fell in love with the idea of a fairy tale that spun its magic through music, the writing and playing of it... I didn't care if it was a retelling (sort of, vaguely) of a cult-classic 80's movie. I just had to know what the story was about.... And when I got the chance to check it out, I devoured it...

This is the kind of story that will stand out to readers because it isn't like the other books in the Fantasy world right now. Sure it's another fairy tale, and sure it deals with a darker, Brothers Grimm-like magic, but the writing style and the characters are different unique.

Seriously, if you are slightly curious, get your hands on a copy and read!

Story Overview

Elizabeth, or Liesl, has spent her life in the shadow of her little brother's (Josef) musical talent, or next to her gorgeous younger sister (Kathe). She has pushed her own desire to compose music down so that she could be a dutiful daughter and sister. But when Kathe is lured into the Underground by the Goblin King, Liesl decides that saving her sister is worth giving up everything, including the tiny dream she still clings to of writing music that will be heard around the world.

While most of the story happening in Goblin King's underground realm, there is a long build up and introduction that is focused on the family dynamic. It is slow, but steady, and full of hints at the magic that allows for the changing of the seasons. Yet it's only a myth for the longest time.

The story if full of darkness, magic, family love, sacrificial love, and hope for more. Mostly, this is a story that is unlike any other that are on the shelves today.

Personal Likes

I fell in love with the music of this story. Liesl writes and plays the piano, while her brother and father play the violin. The technical points of music are spot on, and advanced, so it's nice to know that Jae-Jones did her homework, or is writing from her own wealth of knowledge (I probably should have found that out...) I found it fascinating that the Goblin King holds so tightly to his music, even when the power of the Lord of Mischief seems to have nothing to do with the beauty of song.

I enjoyed Elisabeth greatly. She is not your typical female protagonist. She is plain, maybe even bordering on ugly at times, and she doesn't try to climb over people to elevate her status in life. She is simply focused on helping her family get the best out of life as they possibly can. Yet, she still longs for more - doesn't that just sound like a normal person?

And I want to know more about the Goblin King... even by the end of the book, I have more questions about him than answers... and I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with David Bowie.

Personal Dislikes

The beginning was way too long. It was slow, and hard to really get into. Granted there were enough hints at what was to come that I kept reading, but compared to the second half, it was boring. I am not sure how to make it better, maybe a little less exposition in the first half, and more action?

I would have liked to have known more about Kathe. Since the first half of the book was all about Liesl's family, I wished Kathe would have been a more complex character.

**I was given the opportunity to review this book after receiving an eARC from netgalley, but this is an honest review.

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

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2)Still Life by Dani Pettrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once Avery realized she was attracted to her boss, Parker, she discreetly found a way to quit her job. Her past was too muddled and dirty to allow it to spread over to Parker's life. Before she knows it she is trying to walk the line of keeping her life on track while still connected to friends from her previous life... if they are actually friends. When her best friend is suddenly missing from a modeling break, she fears the worst. And of course, Parker is pulled into the case.

The large cast of Cold Shot all appears in this story, but the journey of Avery and Parker are the focus. After we met them shortly in the first book, it is more than refreshing to see where their lives are now heading.

Parker's attachment to Jenna continues to haunt him. He is faced again and again with the need to decide between his past and his future. When a crazed killer threatens a possible future for him, he knows he has to decide and act quickly.

My biggest like is Pettrey's pacing in these stories. While the cast is quite large, she does a good job of focusing the story on just part of the cast, while letting the reader know a bit about the entire group. While it can be hard to get a grasp on the characters when you first enter this world, the writing is clear enough to allow you jump and get acquainted quickly. Then the pace of the whole mystery will sweep you up completely.

I also am glad that Pettrey doesn't fall into the hook of quick romance... her characters have pasts, histories, and falling in love is not a split second decision. They know life is hard, rough, and unfair, and are not willing to just jump in head first. The relationships are slow, more realistic in their formations which allow for more back story and character development.

Stop by my book blog Marissa Writes, for more of my thoughts on this book.

*** I was give a copy from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a good review.

View all my reviews

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

Bible Trivia, Jokes, & Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt

Bible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for KidsBible Trivia, Jokes, and Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is full of fun jokes, riddles, and word games that are perfect for kids who need to engage their brains, yet want to have some fun.

While it certainly has a ton of Biblical references, it isn't a bible study or scriptural type book. This is a book for fun. It starts with knock-knock jokes, perfect for a middle graders sense of humor. There are some silly biblical quizzes and fill in the blank knowledge tests that will really exercise their minds and memories. Later in the book, there is a section called Bible Banter which is a fun series of silly jokes like statements that are sure to keep you smiling, if not laughing aloud.

Overall, this small book is the perfect tool to add to your arsenal for combating those inevitable summer boredom complaints.

Why We Like It

I really appreciated how age appropriate this book is. And that it will appeal to boys- which let's be honest, tend to be left behind in the book department once they reach middle grades. This is for those kids who are solid readers, as there are complex sentences structures and words throughout. However, an older sibling could certainly entertain a primary school kid or even a kindergartner with the silliness in these pages.

My kids were great big fans of the knock knock jokes.

View all my reviews

If you want more on this book, check out my review.

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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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  1. I always love to read your reviews because of your honesty. I liked the comments you made about Disney in the Beast Within. I guess their position in the culture war could account for some of their confusion and the inevitable underwhelming outputs. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, it is hard to please everyone when you have such a vast audience like Disney... and they do care what the audience thinks... I'm glad you liked my reviews this month. Thank you for stopping over.

  2. Marissa you are the first book reviewer I have read and I loved how you went to such length in this post. I liked your honesty and that you reviewed enough without giving away too much. I'm going to keep your recommended reads in mind.

    1. Thank you Allie - that is such a great compliment. My goal is to give honest reviews, on a variety of books.

  3. Based on your reviews, I am going to have to try Sarah J Maas! You do great book reviews. Very thorough without giving away the story. Keep it up!

    1. I'm always looking for good authors, I'm glad you enjoy the reviews. I hope my honesty helps you pick books and authors you will enjoy - there are just so many options


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