What I've Been Reading... August Edition - Reading List

What I've Been Reading... August Edition

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quick Reviews on Reading List - What I've been reading...

Quick Lit Reviews

Quick and short reviews are my new favorite - one because they are easy to skim and get an idea of the book - two because they are easy to write!  So while my new hope is that as soon as I finish a book I will at least put a short and sweet review up on Goodreads right away.

I guess there are some that are calling these tweet reviews... but I'm not going to limit myself to the twitter character counts...

Then maybe I'll jump back and leave longer reviews on Goodreads, or over here on the blog...

In the meantime, here's a quick glimpse of some of the books I've read recently!

Quick Reviews on Reading List - What I've been reading...

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was suggested to me by a lovely bookstagrammer, because we spent an afternoon discussing Charles Dickens, and how his books have been shoved aside in literature anymore and no one knows the value of his stories...

Now, I'm not going to say that this book is a retelling of a Tale of Two Cities, but after I finished this first book of the trilogy, I could see why this certain bookstagrammer mentioned it. Probably because of the London setting...

The magic in this book is what makes it worth reading. There are so many great stories that use magic and as a result, they are hard to believe. Sure they can be fun escapes, but then after you finish you move on with reality. This book has enough parallels to reality, although a more historical feel, that the magic only enhances the story, and allows the reader to experience good and evil in a way that lingers even after you have finished the story.

While there are many great reviews on Goodreads that will answer your basic story questions, I am not going to rehash all that... But I will add, that even though this is the first book in the series, it doesn't end on such a cliffhanger that you must pick up book two right away. And for that, I am so grateful. I still want to know what happens to Kell, and then there is Lila... and not to mention the fates of Red London, White London, and Grey London... and did Black London really end???

Either way, this is a fun fantasy book that hints just enough to a historical fiction, that I would suggest this one to both fans of fantasy and historical fiction.

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Quick Reviews on Reading List - What I've been reading...

Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is exactly what I would have expected from a middle book in a YA dystopian series.

The characters continue to spiral on their own arcs... only tiny steps were actually taken in the plot by the time the book is over - yet you keep on turning the pages because there are enough hurdles and questions throughout the middle that you aren't completely sure the MC will make it to the end... I mean you know, but still... maybe...

Cassia starts to grow a backbone though as a result of the end of Matched - and that is nice. She has a desire to push through and reach her goal... and of course, it isn't nearly as easy or quick as she had originally thought.

I do appreciate Ky in this book, and series, because he is his own person. He doesn't get bogged down with the definitions of the society, and he simply wants to have a life free of the regulations of an overbearing society.

I won't say too much, as this is a middle book, and you need to start at the beginning with this series... but it was worth a reach for sure!

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Reached by Ally Condie

Reached (Matched, #3)Reached by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started these as audio books after they sat on my TBR for too long... and I'm glad I read them (listened to them) because they are an interesting addition to the dystopian YA collection that was so popular for a while.

But over all... they fit the exact mold of the Hunger Games and Divergent... I mean there is even a perfect little love triangle that through the twists of disease and death, gets cleaned up perfectly so the book ends with the happy ending of a society that is looking forward to change and a future with hope and unjaded eyes.

Over all it was fun. But I'm glad I didn't spend extra time on this series - audio books fill in the gaps for me... driving, cooking... but if I had picked these up and read them all (and if I start a series it's very rare that I don't finish) I probably would have given it a lower rating because it is just so cliche. Then again, cliche stories that are told by a new author have a place in a world that values art.... and in a strange way, I think that is the point the author is making.

I still stand by the fact that Xander and Ki made the story... Cassia is just the iconic female protagonist that this genre needs... although she might just be the most naive version of her stereotype I've read so far...

I appreciated the focus on illness and the need for teams of caregivers and scientists to come up with medical care and cures. That was probably the only detail that made this series stand out... but you would never have guessed that in book one. At least the story grew in complexity throughout the series, and that's a good thing.

Overall this is perfect for those who like the genre, but I don't see it pull in new fans.

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Falling for Forever by Melissa Chambers

Falling for Forever (Before Forever, #2)Falling for Forever by Melissa Chambers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't read the first book in this series and was delighted that this isn't the kind of series where you need to read them in order - more of a series with the same few characters as we follow their lives on their own paths...

Jenna Quigley made it to the top ten in America's Newest Sensation and now she wants to move to LA and make it big, even if she doesn't have her high school diploma yet. Her father has other plans, and gets her into a prestigious fine arts high school, and she has to find a way to stand out among all these shining stars suddenly. But when she realizes that the annual talent show at the new school gives out a $25,000 cash prize, she sees her ticket to LA.

Miles Cleveland has been the top of the class in his high school for the past three years, so when he lost his spot on America's Newest Sensation he refused to tell anyone who didn't need to know at his school. He never imagined the reason would walk into his school at the beginning of Senior year. Especially when this was the year he could win the money to allow him to finally get the opportunity to live his dream after high school ended.

My likes:
I enjoyed the concept of this story- girl gets into the top ten of a nationally broadcast talent competition, but the has to finish high school... Oh and she somehow manages to get into very prestigious fine art high school now. She has to find a way to stand out and earn her keep in a group that is all talented. So often we hear the beginning of a teenager's story on some TV show, but then they go back to their lives, and what happens? This story was a fun contemporary of that idea. So win!

I also appreciated the competitive nature of the students in this school They were all talented, yet had different niche areas they excelled in. It made for an interesting dynamic that felt believable. I especially loved all the tension between Miles and Shane over all the competition... and how a girl naturally ends up getting in the mix just makes this story fit in the YA/NA category.

And I was pleased with the presence of parents and teachers in this story. So often those adults are just MIA in these stories. It was nice to have some parents who were stepping in and parenting the main characters.

Stop by the blog to see my dislikes, and more!

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

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy  OliverEmmy Oliver by Robin Benway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet YA contemporary books make my summers happy - so I try to read a few, no matter how long they have been out, each summer. And this was just a last minute grab for me, and it was my favorite all summer!

I absolutely adored Emmy. Her innocence and sweet vantage over the world was refreshing for a high schooler. So often stories today show tortured teens that grew up way too soon as result of the world. And while those stories have a place, there are still just as many teens that stay in their little bubble and simply love life. To top it off Emmy didn't have the perfect life, she had a fairly normal life, but choose to be happy as much as possible.

And then there is Oliver- his story is the catalyst for everything in this story, so I won't go into too much besides. Yes, he was technically kidnapped by his father, and the real story only begins with he finally is returned to his mother as a teenager... but it's not the tortured little kid story you might be thinking. His view of the world is interesting, and his experiences help Emmy to see that her little bubble isn't the only reality she must accept.

The story is a quick and fun read, perfect for those who want a story similar to Hallmark movies. This is simply an adorably fun read.

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alright... this re-read falls into #bookstagrammademedoit

A few of my closest bookstagram buddies love this series, and they pushed me to give it another try... so I tried it on audio... and the audio helped. Will Patton narrates it, and while he has never reminded me of Peter Falk before, this audiobook kept reminding me of The Princess Bride and how the grandfather read the story... so you know I had to give it an honest try...

And I'm just so confused... I have read the entire book, or rather listened to it... and what in the world????

(view spoiler)

Alright, so if you love this series, or have even read this series... do I keep reading it???? PLEASE let me know!!

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Quick Reviews on Reading List - What I've been reading...

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

Marissa @ Reading List

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  1. I'm glad you read YA. I used to feel like I needed to keep it a secret, like I should be reading exclusively adult literary fiction. But I don't care what people think about what I read anymore lol

    1. Seriously, adults can read whatever we want! And to be honest, there are many YA books that are shelved over by kids books that should never be picked up by a teenager because the topics are very mature and the scenes are very graphic. And besides, publishers have figured out that for the most part, YA books will turn a bigger profit and are trying to call more and more adult books YA... read on friend!


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