Books I’ve Read with the Highest Average Ratings on Goodreads

Last week I took a look at the lowest average rated books on my Read shelf on Goodreads and compared them to my own reviews. This week I decided to take a look at the books from my Read shelf with the highest average rating. I usually disagree with hype, so I’m actually really surprised that I rated most of these highly, as well.

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1.  A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Goodreads Rating: 4.64 Stars
My Rating:  3.5 Stars

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2. Awaken by Priscilla Shirer
Goodreads Rating: 4.62 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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3. An Echo in the Darkness (Mark of the Lion #2) by Francine Rivers
Goodreads Rating: 4.62 Stars
My Rating: 3 Stars

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4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Goodreads Rating: 4.6 Stars
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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5. Fallen Crest Forever (Fallen Crest High #7) by Tijan
Goodreads Rating: 4.58
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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6. A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers
Goodreads Rating: 4.56 Stars
My Rating: 5 Stars
(*Note this is one of the few books I rated 5 stars from my pre-blogging days)

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7.  Gemina (Illuminae #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Goodreads Rating: 4.51 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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8. The Crushing Depths (Coastal Guardians #2) by Dani Pettrey
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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9. Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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10. Oblivion (Lux #1.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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11. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Where the Lost Wander will be published on April 28, 2020. 

While I used to read a lot of it, Historical Fiction hasn’t been my genre of choice for awhile. That made me a little hesitant going into Where the Lost Wander, but Amy Harmon’s beautiful writing definitely made me a fan again.

I may be dating myself here, but who remembers playing Oregon Trail as a kid? Where you cheered if your wagon made it across a river without capsizing or losing an oxen and you hoped the character named after you wouldn’t die from dysentery. It was a fun, supposedly educational game, but it wasn’t more than that. This book made those aspects of the game we laughed at feel real and horrifying. How easily sickness could spread through a group and kill multiple people. How if a wagon capsized while crossing water, everything a family owned could be lost. Harmon does an excellent job of painting a vivid picture of what life on the trail looked like.

That said, the story felt extremely slow paced, as it focused mostly on the day-to-day tasks on the trail or with a Native American tribe. Don’t get me wrong, I was deeply invested in the characters and their journey. Harmon’s writing is just as beautiful as it always is and that kept me reading. It just took me a little longer to read this book than I would expect for a book this size. The pace was slow and not a lot really happened for much of it, but I think it’s a testament to Harmon that those things didn’t really lessen my enjoyment of the story.

The story is told through dual POVs of Naomi and John and I thought it was used very effectively. I absolutely loved John. I found Naomi a little frustrating at times, but I did like her overall, as well as her family. I liked Chief Washakie and his friendship with John. And, of course, I really shipped the romance between John and Naomi. It wouldn’t be any Amy Harmon book without an epic romance and she definitely delivered.

Overall, I enjoyed Where the Lost Wander. Though it was a little slower paced than I like, I really loved the characters and the writing. I am impressed by how much research Harmon did for this book and how she really made the Oregon trail come alive. I definitely recommend this one to fans of Historical Fiction.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2020

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. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Carpool (Milford College #1) by Noelle Adams. Read January 31-February 2. 3.5 Stars. 

Jennifer frustrated me sometimes, but I did ship her and Marcus. I liked the small town setting and would’ve liked to have seen even more of that. Overall, this was a cute romance. I got it as a free e-book deal and I’m not sure if it’s still available for free, but definitely worth checking into if you’re a Romance reader.

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Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning. Read February 4-6. 3.5 Stars. 

This had a few issues, but it was cute. I liked Liv’s family and how close she was with her brother. I liked how quickly the football team accepted her, even if it felt a little unrealistic. I thought the romance with Liv and Grey was pretty adorable, too.

There were some things that didn’t really work for me, though. I thought Liv picked up football way too quickly. We’re basically supposed to believe that she’s never played before, but she has a savant level spiral and is a good athlete and it takes her no time at all to be basically their best player. There’s also obviously a big dramatic moment with the romance and I thought it was resolved a little too easily. I read the part where things are supposed to be explained and afterwards I honestly had to re-read it because there was nothing in it that seemed worthy of a resolution to me. There were a few other nitpicky things here and there, but overall this was enjoyable.

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Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan. Read February 14-15. 4 Stars. 

I loved this so much! It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, it ended up being much more. Summer was pretty quirky, which doesn’t always work for me, but I found her likable. I thought most of the characters were pretty likable and the angst and drama were on the low side, which was nice. I absolutely adored Caden and Summer together. It was kind of an enemies-to-friends-to-more story and I was here for it. I loved their friendship and it was kind of a slow burn to them getting together. I appreciated the “fade to black” love scenes. It really focused more on their relationship and feelings and it was so sweet and I just loved it. I’ve been disappointed by a lot of books lately, but this one totally broke me out of my slump.

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Ryan’s Bed by Tijan. Read February 15-16. 3 Stars. 

I had a hard time getting into this one. It was a pretty depressing read, mostly exploring grief. I think there were some very realistic emotions, but I wish that more attention would have been drawn to how Mackenzie’s coping methods were pretty unhealthy. And even though I liked the relationship between her and Ryan, I couldn’t help feeling like Ryan kind of took advantage of her.

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A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. Read February 16-18. 3 Stars. 

I thought this was ok, but not anything special. I’m kind of bummed I wasted one of YA BOTM credits on it. I liked Pip and Ravi, though Pip’s behavior did annoy me sometimes. There were several things I rolled my eyes at, but for the most part I thought the evolution of the mystery was pretty well done. It felt a little too long, though, and I lost interest well before the end of the book. And there were a couple scenes that felt completely lifted from tv shows I’ve watched.

*****DNF*****

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My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer. DNF-ed at 15%. Just couldn’t get into this one.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel – 2 Stars

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben – 4 Stars

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson – 4 Stars