5 Awesome and Mediocre Books (and the first time I stopped reading a book at 80%!)

Listed below are five books I’ve read over the last few months. Some rocked, some were mediocre, and one I finished at the 80% mark! Nuts, huh?

The Great Hunt

View Synopsis

Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Ehhh.. Somewhere between 2 and 3 stars—I can’t decide yet.

It certainly wasn’t bad, but I didn’t FEEL much of anything. The whole book just wasn’t what I expected, based on the tone of Wendy’s previous books. It was a bit stuffy and hollow. The tone of the book didn’t really click with me. The whole thing sounded a bit… proper? That, and I just never got into any of the relationships or romance.

Cool story, but didn’t really pull me in. I had higher hopes. 🙁

The White Rose (The Lone City #2) (DNF)

View Synopsis

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

I actually stopped reading this book at 80%. What a place to DNF, huh?

I actually kind of liked the first part of this book. I struggled a little because I didn’t remember much, but I did sloooowly get back into it.

But by the time I got to 80%, I realized my heart wasn’t in it any more. I realized that I didn’t care and that was kind of a sad thing to realize.

I was no longer invested in the book and nothing was driving me to finish. So I didn’t.

I wouldn’t say it was a bad book, I just stopped caring about it. Maybe it was a “me” problem.

Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2)

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It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

  • I liked it, but was a little indifferent about some parts.
  • I’d forgotten EVERYTHING about the previous book. I didn’t feel like this book recapped things very well.
  • Mather’s chapters bored me (sigh). Some definite skimming happened here.
  • A tad slow at times, there was some skimming (even during the non-Mather chapters).
  • The end felt a tad anti-climactic to me for some reason. I feel like maybe it was SUPPOSED to be epic but it didn’t feel that way to me? I was just like, “Okay, it’s over.”
  • I liked some of the new characters and seeing other kingdoms.

  • Passenger

    View Synopsis

    passage, n.
    i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
    ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
    iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

    In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

    Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

    Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

    Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

    • I loved the romance!
    • The time travelling and whole story behind that was pretty awesome.
    • There were definitely some mind-boggling time travelling parts. I read the BEA ARC though and I heard there are some major adjustments in the final version.
    • Somehow the ending felt anti-climactic to me… which is weird when you consider what happened.
    • It was a good ending, and if you just layout the actions of what happened then it sounds epic, but it didn’t really read epic. My feels weren’t triggered, you know? It just kind of happened, and that was it. I guess it felt a bit shallow.

    The Martian

    View Synopsis

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

    Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

    After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

    Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

    But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

    The Martian by Andy Weir

    Totally fucking awesome is what The Martian is!

    • I LOVED all the science. A lot of it went over my head but it made the whole book feel SO LEGIT.
    • The MC was a total badass. He didn’t let anything bring him down.
    • This was one of those books I didn’t want to end. Ever. I was never going to be ready for an ending. It was THAT GOOD!

    I have a few long plane rides coming up and I’m hoping to dive into Winter next!

    Tell me about a book you read recently!

    Did it rock or suck?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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    1. I’m glad the narration was awesome! It sucks when a book is great but the narrator isn’t (I haven’t experienced this myself, but have heard about it from other readers).

    1. Seriously, it would have sucked if I didn’t like it, haha. But it was AMAZEBALLS! I wouldn’t shut up about it to Coding God. And I can’t wait to watch the movie!

  1. Its great to finally see a few reviews after so long, Ashley! I missed them 🙂 I remember LOVING Snow Like Ashes, but I’ve heard all over that the sequel was more or less meh and sort of a bridge more than an actual book; hopefully the third will be brilliant, so I can read both of them in one sitting. I just finished reading The Book of Ivy, which I absolutely LOVED, and I’m hunting for the second book as we speak 🙂 Hopefully you’ll have many more wonderful reads like the Martian (must check that out; it sounds very intriguing)

    Madiha @ Paper Skies recently posted: How much does design matter to you?
    1. I know, it’s been a while! I’ve been reading a little but just wasn’t in the mood to write reviews. Then I had enough to do a few quick reviews all together. 🙂

      I loved Snow Like Ashes too! Sooo much!! But the second one was definitely a bridge. Bleh.

      OMG I’m glad you loved The Book of Ivy! I hope the second book is just as good. I haven’t read it yet.

  2. I felt the same way about The Martian! I just kind of nodded and accepted the science as it was told, but I LOVED Mark Watney. If you’re going to strand any guy on Mars, it should be a guy with a great sense of humour. And I saw the movie last week and it was really faithful to the book. ^_^

    1. Yeah so much of it went way over my head but it all sounded so legit so I rolled with it! Haha!

      I can’t wait to watch the movie! 🙂

  3. I absolutely LOVED The Martian. It was absolutely my favorite book I have read this year. The audiobook is awesome too! I even was able to get my husband to read it and he is not a reader. It has been added to my all time favorites list.

    1. Same here!! It’s the first five star I’ve awarded in quite a while.

      I think my husband would love the book too. He’s not a reader but he’s very techy like I am and I think he’d really appreciate that part of the book.

      1. Do what I did and get him the audiobook version. My hubby loved it. At first he’d just listen on the way to work, then I caught him carrying his phone around the house listening to it as he got ready for work. The narration is great and captures Mark very well.

  4. I agree about Ice Like Fire. I thought it suffered from really bad middle book syndrome. Nothing really happened to advance the plot and I really didn’t like Mather’s chapters. Like you, I found them to be boring and the change of POV from 1st person present to 3rd person past was too jarring for me. Especially because the events were happening at the same time?

    So excited you’re going to be reading Winter!! So intense and awesome. Enjoy!

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer
  5. So glad you liked The Martian. It is my favorite book this year. I recommend watching the movie too. I thought Matt Damon did a good job as Mark Watney. The movie wasn’t as good as the book, but I thought they did a good job. I went into it with the idea that if it was half as good as the book, I would be happy. It exceeded my expectations.

    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted: Hungry Like The Wolf Audiobook by Paige Tyler (REVIEW)
    1. I definitely want to see the movie! I think I’m just waiting until it’s out of theatres lol.

    1. I hope you still like it Harvey. 🙂 As I said, I think a big chunk of it was a ‘me’ problem rather than a problem with the book. I think I just fell out of sync with it for whatever reason.

  6. I loved The Martian, too, and also didn’t want it to end. Ever. It really was that great! I’m going to get Passenger, but I’m bummed it doesn’t come out until January… I need something great now!

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  7. I’m not even going to try The White Rose after I diiiied at The Jewel. xD And omg I’m glad you like The Martian because I’m SO curious about that one!! The hype around it has been unreal (and I’m a curious sucker, so I’ll definitely check it out, hehe). I didn’t even realise Passenger was out yet. Gawsh. I feel like I’ve been a bit out of the loop with new releases lately. I’ve been eating older library books and LOVIN’ them. Just wish I had time for all the books of ever <— the eternal bookworm cry. XD

  8. Great post- I can relate! I’m calling 2015 my year of bipolar reading because I DNFed more books than I ever had but also found some amazing reads. At the Water’s Edge sucked but The Royal We and Infinite Home rocked.

    I never used to quit a book, but as others have noted- life is too short!

    Catherine recently posted: The Improbability of Love
  9. Ice like fire: I was first unsure whether I wanted to read it or not, because I was not a fan of the first book. Seeing that it’s hard to follow what is going on (and I have zero interest in re-reading the first one), I think it’s good I decided to place it on my lost-interest shelf.
    Passenger: I was first afraid you didn’t like it, because there is so much buzz and I look forward to it. Great to see you enjoyed it! I’m curious about the ending now.

    I’m currently reading The martian 🙂

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Fairytale News | Unknown retellings 2015.
  10. Passenger is one book that I want to get my hands on. It usually isn’t the book I normally pick up, but it just sounds so intriguing!

    That’s a shame you DNF’d at 80%. I hate having to DNF a book, but like a lot of people say… There’s not enough time to read a book you don’t enjoy!

    Erica @ Novel Ink recently posted: I NEED SOME HELP!
  11. I think any place in a book, if you realize you don’t care anymore, is a good place to DNF, Ashley! You read on your free time, and you should be able to enjoy that time, you know?
    I’m excited that you gave five stars to The Martian, as I recently bought that one myself 😀

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: The Sunday Post #59

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