Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Read March 29-31. 4 Stars.

So I technically read this one in March, but it was after I posted my Reviewing the Unreviwed for the month.

I really liked this book. The pace is pretty slow, but it’s a very intensely character driven story and I really cared about all of them. I really liked Alice and I loved Nick (and then hated him a little and then loved him and then got just as mixed up as Alice). I loved their kids and their whole slightly dysfunctional family.
I feel like people who are married and have kids (or are trying to have kids) would be able to relate a little more to the story than I did, but I still found a lot of the themes relatable.

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The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta. Read April 12. 4 Stars.

I love this series so much! Leotta writes such realistic characters and intense situations that keep me glued to the pages. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint me. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Wishing Season (Chapel Springs #3) by Denise Hunter. Read April 13-17. 3.5 Stars.

I liked this one. Both PJ and Cole were likable characters and the story didn’t drag like some of the other books in this series does. I thought the premise was a little unrealistic, but it worked well enough. Overall an enjoyable read with a slow-burn, cute romance.

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The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik. Read April 19-21. 2.5 Stars.

I didn’t really care for this one. The characters were unlikable, spoiled, and shallow. I didn’t like the casual drug use or how the clothing of EVERY character was described in EVERY scene. There were a few cute moments, though, and a few of the parallels to Persuasion were well done enough to keep me reading.

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Cure for the Common Breakup (Black Dog Bay #1) by Beth Kendrick. Read April 21-23. 3 Stars.

I didn’t like this one as much as the other book I’ve read by this author, but it was still ok. My favorite thing was the relationship between Summer and Ingrid. I never felt like we got to know Dutch enough for me to ever really buy into the romance. I mostly liked Summer, though I found her hard to relate to most of the time. Overall, a quick, easy read that had some funny and cute moments.

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Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Springs #2) by Denise Hunter. Read April 23-24. 3.5 Stars.

I really liked Daniel. He was so sweet. Jade was a little selfish and is probably my least favorite of all the McKinley kids, but she grew on me by the end. A cute, quick read.

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read April 25-28. 3 Stars.

After completely falling in love with Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series, I was so looking forward to reading more from her, but I found myself pretty disappointed with this book. The quick-witted humor and banter that I had come to expect from Brennan was missing. Perhaps I would have liked this better if I had read A Tale of Two Cities?

The one thing that made me keep reading was Carwyn. In the beginning he reminded me a bit of Jared Lynburn and was the only one with the humor I was expecting. But as the story went on, his character really developed and I just love him. There were several chapters in the middle of the book where he wasn’t involved and it almost made me stop reading, but I am glad I kept on. He’s the reason I’m rating this 3 stars and not something lower.

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RE-READS

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The first three Raven Cycle books in order to gear up for the release of The Raven King. You can see thoughts on my re-read HERE.

Review: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.”

When I think of The Raven Cycle, I think of two things: 1) Some of my favorite characters that I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot) and 2) One of the most confusing and strange storylines I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot). The Raven King is no exception.

I was really going to try to write this without any spoilers, but it proved to be unavoidable. They won’t be super descriptive spoilers, but if you want to read this without any idea what happens, I would stop reading here (and feel free to come back later!).

***BEWARE OF SPOILERS***

-I was hoping that things would finally all come together and make sense in this final installment, but it did not. There were a few revelations that were interesting and did make sense of a couple things, but there was a lot more that was just confusing. And strange.

-Henry Cheng, who had a few moments with our Raven Boys in the previous book, joined the gang in this book. At first I was slightly annoyed that there was a new character introduced so late in the game and I think the role he played could have probably been taken on by an existing character, but he is a character from the mind of Maggie Stiefvater, a character that Blue and the Raven Boys have come to know and like, so I obviously came to like him, too. I loved his sense of humor and he was a good addition to the team. I found myself a little sad that he wasn’t around much before.

-Ships. Gansey and Blue finally stop hiding their relationship (though it wasn’t exactly a surprise to anyone) and for those of you who don’t like romantic storylines, don’t worry, because it doesn’t really change the dynamic of any of the relationships. There are a few cute moments between them, though. Ronan and Adam shippers will be quite happy, I think. I’ve never really shipped them (I’m still not sure if I can buy into it to be honest), but I must admit there were a few good shippable moments between them.

-The end of the search for Glendower was quite disappointing. I was surprised that after all the build up, it was so anti-climactic. Of course, there were other things going on, other reasons for Gansey to be where he needed to be, but I felt like the storyline switched it up too much at the end. Of course, the storyline has never made sense to me anyways, so…I guess it’s ok?

-I didn’t really understand what was up with Noah. He wasn’t in the book as much as I would have liked, but he did have one big moment/revelation that was good (though I had to read it a couple times to understand what was happening – and I’m still a bit confused!).

-Artemus’ backstory was kind of…different? Blue’s part tree? Kind of? I’m choosing to just kind of ignore this part of the story…

-So we’ve known since book one that Gansey is supposed to die. We’ve all had theories about it. I’ll just say your theory about what goes down is probably close to right.

-I didn’t like that there was nothing in the Epilogue about Maura, Calla, and the rest of the Fox Way women, Artemus, or Mr. Grey.

-I love the core characters and I feel good about how we leave each of them in this finale. We don’t get definitive “this is what she/he does in the future” scenarios, but we get a glimpse of what’s next for them and hope for their future. All of these characters have grown so much since the beginning of the series and I’m really going to miss them!

Overall, this was a good ending to the series. It disappointed me just a little that it still didn’t make much sense to me, but it stays true to the books that came before it and really, I read this series for the characters and there were tons of great character development throughout the whole thing. I’m sad to see the series end and it will be one that I will re-read many times in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

The Raven Cycle 1-3 Re-Read

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It seems like we’ve been waiting for the last book of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater for a very long time. In the mean time I’ve been singing the series’ praises and slightly forgetting all of the details of the story thus far. To gear up for the release of The Raven King on April 26th, I decided a series re-read was in order.

Stiefvater's latest drawing of the raven boys:

To see my original reviews, click on the links below:

The Raven Boys

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

(For some reason I never reviewed The Dream Thieves, but this link will take you to it’s Good Reads page.)

Some Thoughts from the Re-Read

*I originally rated the first two books as 3 stars and later decided I was probably too harsh with those ratings. However, after re-reading them I think I stand by my rating. While I could talk all day long about how much I love the characters, most of the actual plot is not really my cup of tea – and it’s a little confusing.

*Each book in the series is better than the one before. The characters become more developed, the stakes become higher.

*I completely forgot about how very much I ship Gansey and Blue! I’ve always loved them, of course, but I forgot about all the super cute moments they have throughout the series. I love that it’s such a slow burn romance and that it’s only a part of their relationship and not all encompassing.

*While I love the way Ronan and Adam’s friendship has developed, I’ve never really shipped them. Previously, I thought people shipping them were crazy because it seemed completely one-sided to me. While I still don’t ship them, I did notice a lot of moments between them that I see could give shippers hope than I did the first time around. And I apologize for the number of times I said “ship” in this paragraph.

*I thought that I would understand all the confusing parts of the story better the second time around, but I did not and it really annoyed me. While I still strongly maintain the characters make this series worth the read, I found how confusing it was to be a little intolerable at times. Am I the only one that doesn’t really understand Cabeswater and all the magic and Adam’s Cabeswater connection and most of what happened in the cave at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue?

*I LOVE THE CHARACTERS IN THIS SERIES. I adore them all just as much the second time around. I even enjoy some of the villains – Kavinsky and Colin in particular. I love the relationship between the core group – Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, and Blue. When they are all together are definitely my favorite parts of the series. They are each so unique and well-developed and I wish I came up with them.

*While I didn’t completely enjoy the re-read as much as I thought I would, I still really do love and recommend this series. The characters are some of the best that I’ve ever read and Stiefvater is definitely a gifted writer. I’m really looking forward to see how it all turns out in The Raven King.

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