Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Underrated Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is underrated books that you’ve read in the past year. When choosing my books for this list, I decided to only include books with under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. Here are my choices with my ratings (reviews will be linked to book titles):

1.) Zora and the Greyhounds by Mark Guilliat (★ ★ ★)

Zora and the Greyhounds

Number of ratings: 9

Zora and the Greyhound is a cute, but predictable read that is perfect for younger readers. With only 9 ratings on Goodreads, it definitely is underrated!

2.) Rush by Sara Bennett Wealer (★ ★ ★)

Rush

Number of ratings: 12

Rush is, for the most part, a realistic portrayal of the rush process and the girls who go through it. However, I didn’t really care for any of the main characters and thought the book moved too slowly at some points.

3.) A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids by Shelley Tougas (★ ★ ★ ★)

A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids

Number of ratings: 22

I really enjoyed the family dynamics within A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids. However, I found the main character’s love interest annoying and irrelevant to the plot. That aside, I think as a cute contemporary for middle grade this book is underrated.

4.) The Kindness Club by Courtney Shienmel (★ ★ ★)

The Kindness Club (The Kindness Club, #1)

Number of ratings: 28

While the writing quality of The Kindness Club is above average, the plot and moral of the story is extremely common among middle grade books. However, I think Courtney Shienmel is a fantastic and underrated author and more people should pick up her books!

5.) Alterations by Stephanie Scott (★ ★ ★ ★)

Alterations

Number of ratings: 78

Alterations is a cute and predictable rom-com book. Even though some characters are slightly stereotypical, I couldn’t put this book down! I would put this book on the same level as some of Meg Cabot’s books, but with only 78 ratings, I would have to say it is extremely underrated!

6.) Game On by Michelle Smith (★ ★ ★ ★)

Game On (Lewis Creek, #2)

Game On has a lot of great character development and is a very realistic and relatable story. Even though it didn’t have the same spark as other contemporaries for me, I think it is part of a very underrated series for people interested in YA contemporaries with a sports aspect.

Number of ratings: 129

7.) The Row by J. R. Johansson (★ ★)

The Row

Number of ratings: 138

To me, The Row reminded of a lot of the bad Lifetime movies my mom watches with its predictable plot, lackluster romance, and poor detective skills. In my opinion, this book should only be considered underrated for its number of ratings on Goodreads.

8.) The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg  (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Great Shelby Holmes

Number of ratings: 164

The Great Shelby Holmes is an enjoyable middle grade book with a relatable main character and a spunky Sherlock Holmes-esque best friend. Even though the repetitiveness of the clues and slow moving middle were slightly frustrating, Elizabeth Eulberg’s writing really shined. This is definitely one of her most underrated books!

9.) The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Best Possible Answer

Number of ratings: 192

Even though the character did not particularly stand out to me, the family dynamics and relatable story did. The Best Possible Answer isn’t my favorite contemporary, but it still deserves more attention!

10.) How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington (★ ★)

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1)

Number of ratings: 672

For me, How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You was frustrating on many levels. The main character of extremely unlikable, the “humorous” situations were just ridiculous, and the plot moved incredibly slow and was filled with clichés. Like with The Row, I feel like this book is only underrated because the amount of ratings on Goodreads.

 

What underrated books would you recommend? 

Goodreads Challenge 2017

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Last year, I set a Goodreads goal of 25 books at the beginning of summer. Before I knew it, I already completed my challenge! I updated my challenge to 50 books and I still managed to complete my goal. This year, I decided to start with a high goal. Even if I don’t complete it this year, I’m excited to see how many wonderful book that I can read before the end of the year.

Here is my Goodreads Challenge 2017:

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Feel free to friend me on Goodreads here.

Happy reading!

What Light Review

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Bre is a fashion and lifestyle blogger at The Queen Bre. She is a girl from the North with a heart for Lilly Pulitzer, shopping and anything pink. She is also my twin sister.

 

Santa made a list, checked it twice, and put What Light by Jay Asher on the naughty list for its cliché plot and one-dimensional characters.

What Light follows Sierra, who feels like she leads two lives. For the majority of the year, Sierra lives in Oregon on her family’s tree farm. However, from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, her family runs a Christmas tree lot in California. While Sierra usually tries to avoid any romance while in California due to the time restrictions and her dad’s warnings, all caution goes out the window when she meets Caleb, a boy with a troubled past and bad reputation. Yet, Sierra struggles what to make of their relationship with the threat of the Christmas tree lot closing for good.

Although the book’s inside cover suggests that the plot focuses on Sierra and her problems, the book actually focuses on Caleb all. of. the. time., which ultimately makes the book feel unbalanced. By focusing only on Caleb and their relationship, the novel fails to develop several other important plot points, most importantly, the fate of the Christmas tree lot. Second, as a result, the novel glosses over any conflict, which makes any conflict resolution feel unrealistic and rushed.

Additionally, the characters feel one-dimensional and underdeveloped, especially the secondary characters. Sierra’s best friends and family fit into a simple stereotypical mold, and serve no real purpose in the novel. Unfortunately, the main characters do not fare much better.

Sierra’s personality does not really develop any further after she meets Caleb. Her only purpose in novel comes from fighting all of Caleb’s battles for him, defending his character to her parents, and abandoning her friends to spend more time with him. She acts like she understands Caleb best of all, when in actuality, she’s only known him for a few weeks.

As for Caleb, I could not get into his character.He falls into the stereotypical ‘reformed bad boy’ trap that most YA male protagonists do. Additionally, we got it after the hundredth (okay, exaggeration) reference – the boy’s got dimples and likes peppermint hot chocolate.

Last, but not least, the writing felt forced and awkward. While Asher’s writing in Thirteen Reasons Why really drew me in and kept me interested until the very end, I cannot say that I had the same experience What Light. I actually cringed at some of the awkward dialogue between characters.

Although I got really excited when I heard Jay Asher wrote a new novel, and a Christmas novel at that, I felt so disappointed when I read What Light. I actually had to force myself to finish it. For that reason, I give the novel only 2 out of 5 stars.

What did you think of What Light by Jay Asher? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant to Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is 2016 releases that I meant to read, but didn’t. These books are on my TBR list, so hopefully I can read all of them by the end of the year! Here are my choices:

1.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (The Conquerer's Saga, #1)

There was so much hype around And I Darken and the plot sounded so interesting, I added it to my TBR… and it stayed there. Hopefully, I can pick it up in 2017 during the summer when I have more time to read it (it is such a big book!). And I Darken takes the story of Vlad the Impaler, but replaces Vlad with a female lead.

2.) Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)

I wan’t that impressed with Red Queen, but I want to give the series another shot. I have Glass Sword checked out of the library, so I definitely plan on reading it this year! In Glass Sword, Mare Borrow attempts to recruit more Reds and Silvers to join her cause against the oppressive government.

3.) A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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I read An Ember in the Ashes last year and thought it was okay. Since this is a well-loved series, I really want to read the next book to see if I get the same spark as other readers. In A Torch Against the Night, Elias and Laia are on the run and are determined to free Laia’s brother from prison. Meanwhile, Helene is sent on a mission by the bloodthirsty Marcus to kill them both.

4.) The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

I loved both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime in 2016, so I can’t wait to see how the series ends! In The Winner’s Kiss, a war begins with Arin on the front lines and trying to forget about Kestrel. Meanwhile, Kestrel is a prisoner in a work camp who hopes to escape and explain everything to Arin.

5.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)

The Lunar Chronicles was one of my favorite series that I read in 2016, so I can’t wait to read additional stories set in the same world!

6.) Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins 

Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle, #3)

I LOVED Rebel Belle in 2016, and even though I was less impressed with Miss Mayhem, I really want to finish this series! In Lady Renegades, David leaves Pine Grove and starts transforming other girls into Paladins. With Harper’s Paladin powers slowing fading after David’s departure, Harper may not be able to protect herself from the dangers sure to come.

7.) P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

P.S. I Like You

In P.S. I Like You, Lilly writes song lyrics on her desk one day in class and finds a response the next day. Soon, she finds herself falling in love with the person writing back. This book sounds like a cute, light-hearted read. I think this book will be perfect to read at the end of August or the beginning of September when school rolls around!

8.) Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky 

Kill the Boy Band

Kill the Boy Band follows a group of friends who kidnap a member of their favorite boyfriend. This book sounds really funny, but also has the potential to make interesting observations about fandoms. They have this my local library’s e-library, so it’s definitely high on my TBR list.

9.) The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star takes place over one day as Natasha’s family is being deported back to Jamaica. I’ve heard so many positive reviews about this book and the plot sounds really interesting to me. I’m really excited to read this during 2017!

10.) Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato

Love and Gelato follows Lina as she spends summer in Italy and follows her mother’s journals to uncover a family secret. Love and Gelato looks like the perfect summer read! My sister got this book for Christmas, so I have no excuse to not read it in 2017.

 

What 2016 releases are on your 2017 TBR list?

My Year in Books (Goodreads Challenge 2016)

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This year, I completed my Goodreads challenge! Initially, I set my goal as 25 books. As I surpassed this goal early on in the summer, I decided to raise my goal to 50 books. At the end of the year, I have finished 67 books and have read 17,129 pages.

I really liked participating in the Goodreads challenge this year because it provided me a lot of fun and interesting statistics about my reading! I only wish there were more detailed statistics that could break down my books by genre.

Here are some of my statistics:

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Wow, I didn’t even remember that Cress was that long. Good thing it was one of my favorite books of the year!

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I’m glad that I finally read The Lightning Thief, it was one of my favorite middle grade books this year! Zora and the Greyhounds was such a cute book too! It was also my first book that I got approved for on NetGalley.

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For me, a three star rating is just an average book. It makes me happy that my average rating is above a 3 because it means that I enjoyed a lot of the books that I read this year.

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Even though most of my books read this year were recently published, I’m glad that I enjoyed some old favorites too.

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This year, most of my books were 3 and 4 stars reads, which isn’t too bad! I’m glad that on my top shelves there’s an almost equal breakdown between YA and middle grade. I hope that I can keep that ratio next year.

 

What books do you hope to read more of in 2017?

 

(All images are from Goodreads.com)

 

 

My True Love Gave to Me Review

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My True Love Gave to Me gave me twelve holiday stories, but I am only giving it a few stars.

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of 12 winter romance stories edited by Stephanie Perkins. Overall, I feel like most of the stories were average, but cute holiday stories that are perfect to read by the fireplace.

Out of the collection, I had a few favorites. I thought Midnight by Rainbow Rowell was the perfect opening. I thought the story was cute, well-written, and the perfect length. I also really enjoyed It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins because the characters jumped off the page. By the end of the story, I loved the characters so much, I wish I had a whole novel to read about them! Some of my other favorites were Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White and Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. In both stories, I loved how the families played a large role.

There were a few stories that weren’t my favorites. At first, I thought The Lady and the Fox by Holly Black was interesting. However, it fell flat at the end for me when it seemed to many ideas were thrown in at the last minute. I also didn’t care for Krampuslauf by Holly Black because I thought there was so much focus on setting up for the party than the actual party itself. The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor felt like an odd addition to me, especially at the end of the book. Since it barely related to the holidays, I felt like it should be placed earlier within the book.

Even though there were several stories that I really enjoyed, it seemed like the stories I thought we okay or didn’t really like were actually some of the longer stories. This something made reading the book slightly drag. However, I still think this a great book to read around the holidays and I would definitely read my favorites around Christmas again. I give My True Love Gave to Me three stars.

What was your favorite story in My True Love Gave to Me?

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Debuts that I’m Excited for

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New year, new authors.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is debuts that I’m looking forward to in 2017. Here are my choices:

1.) Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

In Caraval, sisters Scarlet and Tella go to an island where they act as participants in a mysterious game. When Tella is kidnapped by the game master, Scarlett must be the first to find her in order to win the game and to ensure her sister does not disappear forever.

This book sounds really interesting, so I hope it doesn’t fall into tropes typical of the genre. I love reading books about sisters who really care about each other, so I’m really interested in this book.

2.) Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Romancing the Throne

Romancing the Throne follows the two Weston sisters at a British boarding school. The more popular sister, Charlotte, falls in love with Edward. To be nice, she encourages her sister to hang out with her friends, including Edward. Much to Charlotte’s surprise, her sister and Edward hit it off. Soon, both girls fight for Edward’s heart.

This book has the potential to go really well or really bad since I’m not usually a fan of books where sisters fight over a guy, so I’m really interested to see my feelings towards this book.

3.) One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us is Lying is described as the mix between The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars, so I was immediately hooked! In One of Us is Lying, five students from different cliques walk into detention, but only four walk out.

4.) Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water

In Girl out of Water, Anise Sawyer planned to spend her summer surfing with friends. After a car wreck leaves her aunt with two broken legs, Anise packs her bags and heads to Nebraska to take care of her cousins. There, Anise meets a skateboarder and struggles with feelings towards her runaway mother.

This sounds like a good read for the summer and the plot reminds me of some Sarah Dessen books. I can’t wait to pick this one up!

5.) #famous by Jilly Gagnon#famous

#famous is described as a modern-day love story where a girl snaps a photo a cute boy and the photo goes viral. This sounds like a cute story and I’m interested to see how large of a role social media plays in this story.

6.) My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

My So-Called Bollywood Life follows Winnie Metha, a Bollywood film lover, whose recent ex-boyfriend competes with her for a spot in a student film festival. After Winnie meets a nice new guy, her old boyfriend decides he wants her back, and Winnie finds herself in a situation straight out of a Bollywood movie.

This book sounds so fun and unique that I can’t wait to read it! Looking at debuts for the new year, there doesn’t seem to be many books that focus on a humorous or fun contemporary story, so this book definitely stood out to me.

 

What 2017 debuts are you most excited for?

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

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Happy New Year!

I hope your DNF list is low and your TBR list is high! I thought the perfect way to ring in the New Year would be completing the Ringing in the New Year Book Tag. Here are my answers to the tag created by Rae at The Bookmark Chronicles:

Best Book And/Or Series that You Read in 2016

Since You've Been Gone

Morgan Matson was one of my favorite authors in 2016! This year, I read Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything and loved both of them.

Authors that You Recently Found and Would Like to Read in the New Year

Stealing Parker

Even though I wasn’t a fan of Miranda Kenneally’s Stealing Parker, I want to read more books by this author. I think I would enjoy her other books, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the relationships within this book.

Most Anticipated Book Turned Movie/TV Show

Wonder

I absolutely adored Wonder after reading it last January and I’m excited that it is going to be a movie!

Name a Character that You Wouldn’t Mind Sharing a Kiss with at Midnight

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The end of Cress comes straight of a Hollywood movie, so Thorne would be the perfect choice for a midnight kiss!

What’s on Your TBR for 2017? (Top 5 will suffice if it is an extremely long list!)

The Distance Between Us

I have A LOT of books on my January TBR, but I think I will start off the new year with something fluffy and cute. I also have never read a book by Kasie West, so it seems like a perfect way to kick off the new year. New year, new author.

How Many Books do you Hope to Read in 2017?

This year, I exceeded my original expectation of 25 books and read a little over 60! In 2017, I hope to read at least 75 books.

Will You Participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or Any Others? (Pop Sugar, Read the book you buy, etc.)

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Like last year, I will participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge! This really helped me keep track of the books I read/wanted to read last year, so I definitely plan on doing it again.

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish, blogging, otherwise)

I have a few New Year’s Resolutions, but most are not blog-related:

  • Consistently blog throughout my last semester of college
  • Graduate college
  • Get my first “real” job

 

I hope your 2017 is off to a good start! 

2016 Reading Wrap-Up

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When I set my reading goal this summer, I expected to only finish 25 books during the rest of the year. After blogging more and seeing so many wonderful book reviews, I couldn’t help but read past my goal! By the end of the summer, I increased my goal to 50 books. However, I also exceeded my new goal and read 67 books in 2016! I can’t wait to see what amazing books 2017 will bring. Here are all the books that I read in 2016 (reviews will be linked to book titles):

 

What was the best book that you read in 2017?

December Reading Wrap-Up and January TBR

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Here are the books that I read in the month of December:

  • My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins (★ ★ ★)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
  • In Between by Jenny B. Jones (★ ★ ★)
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer (★ ★ ★ ★)

 

Here are the books that I plan to read in January:

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  • What Light by Jay Asher
  • Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch