What I've been reading.... July Edition - Reading List

What I've been reading.... July Edition

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quick Reviews on Reading List:  July Edition

Quick Lit Reviews

How has your July been?  I cannot believe how fast mine went... we packed if full of summer activities, and we are building a new dining room table, which is a first for us.  So needless to say, my read books from the month was a little lower. Thank goodness for audio books!

On a side note, I know that audible is super expensive, so I highly checking out your local library to see if they offer some kind of audio/digital set up. Most have Overdrive, which is amazing, but there are a few other options.  At least inquire, maybe asking will lead to your library getting it!

So onto this month's quick reviews... 

Quick Reviews on Reading List:  July Edition

The Vestige by Caroline George

The VestigeThe Vestige by Caroline George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life hasn't been easy for Julie Stryker... Yet she continues to live as the days bring healing and a new normal to her. She dreams of the future, and what life could be like while she works at a small coffeehouse. Even though he dreams of the future, she doesn't pay close attention to the details of life day to day.

When she meets a handsome guy at the coffee house one day, her eyes slowly open to the strangeness of her small town in South Carolina. Maybe life isn't as normal as she thought. After a horrible accident - or rather what she thinks is an accident- she finds out that the end of the world has already happened... and the surviving humans are completely unaware.

Everything she knows to be real changes in a blink as she finds a new purpose.

I mostly appreciated the uniqueness of this story - it's clearly science fiction. Yet there is a level to that could fit into the horror genre I mentioned earlier as the end of the world isn't pretty at all here. Caroline George has a fresh take on the YA sci-fi genre that could grab a ton of readers.

Then there is the real family of the Strykers - they were dealt some tough hits. Julie's mom and dad acted like actual people and crumbled - yet time moved forward, and healing comes with time whether we want it to or not. And in this George did an excellent job.

Another plus, there are a ton of different kinds of characters. Sure there are typical stereotypes, yet there is a more complex nature to each character which allows for the story to bloom in a way many YA sci-fi books never do.

See more of my thoughts on my site: Marissa Writes

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

Defiance by CJ Redwine

Defiance (Defiance #1)Defiance by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just want to start off being very honest, I hadn't heard about these books at all before a friend of mine recommended them as one of her favorite series. And then I knew only that she loved them, and the covers were awesome...

But now... I love these books!!!!!

Alright, so I listened to these as audiobooks which was a slight bummer because the narrator wasn't great or horrible... she was adequate for the story... I just wanted more!

So Rachel is the type of character that girls can relate to right away. She has a father who loves her, yet is often away because of his job. So he leaves her with another man, whom Rachel ends up seeing as a grandfather-like- figure in her life. She doesn't have an easy life, but it's suitable. But Rachel isn't popular because while all the other girls have moms who teach them how to sew and cook, she doesn't have a mom... and her father teaches her to hunt and run. But as soon as the story starts, Rachel finds out that her father is officially missing in the wastelands which he often crossed as part his work as a carrier for the commander. And the society's commander has given her a new protector (women in this story need a male protector... just don't go there... it is necessary for the story... honestly... it'll get better...): Logan McIntire...

Needless to say, Rachel does not accept that her father is truly missing, and gone, and comes up with a plan to find him... and of course, her plan just doesn't account for all the unknowns in this society that she never knew to consider...

Logan, who tells have the story (this is a two POV story), is mature for his 19 years because he was orphaned as a young boy and saw the hardest side of the society. Logan ends up being named as Rachel's protector because he has been an apprentice for Jared, Rachel's father, for some time. He is smarter than he ever let anyone, with the exception of Jared, and Oliver, knows.

I could honestly gush over this story all day long... I just love it. There are a million great quotes. While Rachel is naive and can be a little whiny, it fits that she would as her life was only a half truth, and finding out the missing pieces is hard. Over all, I can never recommend this book enough!

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Deception by CJ Redwine

Deception (Defiance, #2)Deception by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you haven't read book one, Defiance, don't keep reading this review... I'm going to try to keep it spoiler free, but it's hard to do with a book series where you need to read the series in order... so come back here after you read book one!!

Alright, so I loved this book as much as the first which is odd to say about a middle book in a series. I loved it mostly because of Logan - his determination to solve the problems before him was great. And he didn't change who he always had been just because he didn't think he could actually fix all the problems. Which was nice. I like when characters continue to be the same character, only advancing in their own personality, instead of an author changing them to fit the story they want to create - another reason why Redwine is one of my favorite authors!

Now the Rachel chapters were a bit harder to get through. She is suffering the beginnings of some serious depression because of the violence she saw in the first book. I am not sure she even realized how much she was spiraling for most of the book because there were obstacles she had to get past. And that felt real - depression can linger while we focus on tasks, but it doesn't really go away until we face it. (at least in my personal experiences with this horrible illness)

I loved the quotes in this book though... the characters share their wisdom as it comes to them, and that is priceless. Plus the audio for the book was well down. I really recommend this to everyone... as the actual book or audio!

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Deliverance by CJ Redwine

Deliverance (Defiance, #3)Deliverance by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my Goodness! What an ending to a series.... There are just no words...

But I'm gonna try anyway.

Alright, so Rachel and Logan might just be the cutest couple in fiction ever - they are so sweet, and yet independent. It's the kind of Cinderella story you just love... maybe their society didn't want them together, but they only help to bring about each other's best qualities. They will be in my top ships for a while... honestly, they are adorable. If you've been burned by ships, and love triangles, you might want to pick up this series because of these two.

Now, there have been a ton of twists, and I'd be glad to chat about them in the comments or on Instagram but I'm going to avoid them here to keep from spoilers... but wow... there are some scenes in these books that you just have to keep reading to know what happens. The betrayals, the battles... honestly your heart is going to break for some of these characters... I promise.

I was most impressed with how Redwine allowed Rachel to be broken, feel the sorrow, push aside the depression, only to have it sneak up on her at different times and make her face it. Depression is a hard one to capture in fiction because it hits people differently. Yet this was well done. I could see depression doing this to a person, not just a fictional person...

I could go on and on... but I rank this as one of the best series I've read this year... and I'm in a SJM binge reading, so realize if you are an SJM fan, and like dystopian, you need to pick these up. LIKE RIGHT NOW!!!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are books we pick up because they are fun and light and easy reads... similar to most tv shows... an escape from reality, yet never engage much of our brains.

Then there are books like this one...

A story that is full of mystic and wonder, full of images to pull you away from reality, and yet never spells out every detail so you have to engage your brain as more and more questions form after each page.

I might have never finished this book if I didn't have great book buddies who kept telling me to keep at it. You see this story doesn't have your typical characters and setting... it's almost backward as far as the setting and characters go, but you don't know that until almost the very end. And since the chapters jump around in timelines, and well as there simply being a ton of chapters, it's easy to put the book down and walk away.

The issue is that those questions nag at you for answers... so you go back and read some more.

So I can't say much more with out giving spoilers... but I ended the book with some questions still... but mostly a ton of quotes that I just love. So while this isn't the kind of book I'm gonna buy, I'm glad I read it!

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Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect (Flawed, #2)Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in awhile you pick up a book and it is so relevant to the society that you look deeper and start to realize there is more than you expected in the author's story. This is how Flawed, and Perfect, are... I feel like the only comparison is if The Scarlet Letter were updated with The Stepford Wives and a little Hunger Games thrown in, it might be something like this... but even that is a poor comparison...

Perfect follows where Flawed ended, which is good because what an ending! That being said you have to read Flawed first...

Celestine North continues to realize that the moral standards of her society are not as black and white as she first assumed they were. The Flawed system is clearly corrupted... but by who?

Celestine doesn't know who to trust anymore... or how to stop the abuse going on in the society...

This book was addictive... I could see many people binge reading the duology quickly just to know what happens.

While this is a YA book, and the characters' ages fit the category, some of the topics are mature... abuse of power, the ideas of modern slavery, the murky middle of right and wrong... this is certainly more for YA readers who will think about what they read. Maybe even have a friend, or adult to read with.

I think my biggest complaint is the love triangle... it felt forced, and completely unnecessary for the premise of the book. But you know, it's a YA so the love triangle is expected...

I would highly recommend these books though, I think they are perfect for starting conversations about right and wrong... and how much power authorities should have in enforcing such behavior.

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Matched by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Somehow this book series sat on my TBR for years... and then I decided to get it a try as an audio book... it's easier to fly through books on audio when you spent hours every day in a car....

So over all, this is a sweet little teen dystopian, without as much violence and death as most in the genre. And for that, I added a star. I get that dystopian books are violent, but do they always have to be over the top? Death doesn't always have to be violent... and it can still be a bad...

And since the books have been out for a while, I don't feel the need to go into details of the actual story description... there are plenty of those already.

Mostly, my words of caution on this one is that is a younger YA dystopian than some that have gained in popularity (hunger games...) over the years. And because of that, it fits the expected mold, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. The universe Condie created is interested, and more complex than it first appears, which is nice. And of course, there is a love triangle... the thing is, the guys, Ky and Xander are very interesting... they are what kept me in the story... and not because they are pining over Cassia the whole time.

Cassia is a naive teen girl who has believed what her parents and grandfather and The Society wanted her to believe her whole life. She never questioned any of it... until she starts to see some little tiny issues, and then a big problem smacks her in the face... at her Matching ceremony, she isn't matched right... and everything falls apart...

SO you know if you are into dystopian stories and want a quick read, go for this one! Or if you like dystopian books but you don't want to deal with a ton of violence, this could be a good pick too.

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Quick Reviews on Reading List:  July Edition

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

Marissa @ Reading List

Quick Reviews on Reading List:  July Edition

Don't miss some of the quick reviews I've done in the past few months!

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