Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What I've Been Reading: Vol. 1

I mentioned in my last post that I have set a goal to read 50 books in 2016! There have been weeks where I'll read 2 or 3 books, and then weeks where I don't read at all, and that's fine. It has all seemed to balance out so far! I was thinking that I'd like to write about what I've been reading, but I really don't want to give plot reviews. I feel like it's really easy to look up what a book is about and I don't want to take the time to reiterate the plot, so I will probably only talk about my opinion of the books and briefly touch on parts of the plot. Eventually, I may break it down into fiction/non-fiction or something, but I will probably continue to only blog about 5-10 books at a time or so, instead of reviewing each book individually, so that I'm not writing about books every week! 
I've been keeping track of what I've been reading on Goodreads, which I like for organizing and also keeping track of books I'd like to read!  
  • At the beginning of this year, I finished up the Matched series, with Reached. My 14 year old sister actually gave me Matched to read while we were visiting at Thanksgiving and I kept reading the series. It was good, but I did think that Reached drug on too long. It could have been shortened by at least 100 pages and been really good!  I would recommend the entire series. Though it is young adult (I won't lie, young adult fiction is sometimes my guilty pleasure!), the whole concept of the series was really intriguing! 
  • The next book I read was called The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser. This historical fiction novel takes place during the great depression. It was really interesting to see world's collide in this book. For some reason it took me about 100 pages to get into it (I almost stopped reading), but once I did, I ended up LOVING it! It was such a sweet story about friendship and faith and I would totally recommend it. 
  • The 3rd book of the year was Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins and let me just say, good luck putting this down! I think I read it in less than a day. This woman is going through a really hard time and trying to decide if she wants to be in a medical trial that involves brain surgery. It is SO good and I honestly couldn't figure out what exactly was going to happen right up until the end! Five stars! 
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I had heard a lot about this book so I decided to give it a read. I had mixed feelings about it. The plot was interesting. It basically follows 3 different kindergarten moms and their lives. There was quite a bit of language and some vulgarity that I didn't care for, but the book itself was interesting. I remember in the beginning thinking it was kind of hard to keep all of the characters straight, but once you get to know them and figure it out, the book takes off. It covered a lot of intense topics but in general wasn't a very "deep" book and was a really easy read. 
  • The Husbands Secret was next. Honestly this book mostly just annoyed me. I kept waiting for something suspenseful or interesting to happen, but the things that were supposed to be cliff hangers just weren't. I'm not sure if it was just how it was written or what, but I definitely didn't think this book lived up to its hype.
  • Another Brandilyn Collins book, Gone to Ground. Again, can't put this one down. I think I read this one in a day or two again. The basis of it is that there are murders happening in a small town and 3 different women in town all think they know who the killer is. SO suspenseful! And not really too scary. I'm not a horror fan or anything and this didn't scare me. I pretty much decided by the end of this book that I want to read all of Collins' books! I love them! 
  • Hold Tight by Harlan Coben was also really good! Another very suspenseful, but not scary book. A good one when thinking of computers and technology and all that we share online and how it can be tracked and traced and used against us! There were a few storylines in this one and it was interesting to read the book from different people's perspectives. 
  • Another Collins book! I told you I'm going to read them all! This one was Deceit. I think I liked this one slightly less than her first two that I read, but it was still really good! This one was a little more "creepy" than the other ones. Lots of cliffhangers and suspense! 
  • Last year I read pretty much the entire Baxter family series from Karen Kingsbury and was obsessed with them! I loved their family and stories! I didn't realize that the Above the Line books had Baxter characters in them so I accidentally skipped over these. I was a little disappointed because I know how some of the characters' stories are going to end since I read the next series not knowing I skipped this one, but there are a lot of new characters in this one as well. The book is Take One  and if you have read any Kingsbury stories before and enjoyed them, you would love this one as well! There are 3 more in this series that I'm sure I will get to this year. I love a good series!
  • The Kitchen House. Whew. So many feelings about this book. It was really, really intense. So many horrible things happened. But at the same time, it may be a real depiction of what life was like for slaves on plantations. I'm not really sure how accurate the story line is. It is definitely a very sad but engaging story that takes place over more than a decade. I would recommend it, if you are up for a heart wrencher!
  • Orphan Train. Another heart wrencher, BUT with a happy ending! This one was so interesting to me. It takes place from the perspective of two girls, decades apart. The present day character is a teen in foster care, and with us doing foster care right now, this engaged me immediately. The other character is living during the great depression era and is an Irish immigrant who becomes orphaned and is sent across the country on an orphan train. I loved watching this story come together and thought it was a really interesting, though heart breaking read.
  • Most recent was The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard. The Selection was another one that my sister gave me, and became another guilty pleasure. It was like a mix between The Bachelor and some of the dystopian YA novels out there right now. This particular book is two shorter stories based from the perspective of 2 men in the series. I would definitely recommend reading the other books first, so nothing is given away, but I did enjoy this quick read. 
Right now I have a couple of non-fiction books I'm working through: Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson, and Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. I'm only a few chapters into each as I feel like non-fiction are usually slower moving. I'm also working through a fiction series right now as well.
What good books have you read lately? I think my favorite of this year so far was Gone to Ground, but I've read a lot of good ones already!  
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