What I Read… 2017 vol.1

Yes, I started one of these books in early December and finished them both in January. Yes, there are only two books here (December was a hectic month). Yes, I’m proud because I polished off one in three days (which is good for me, OK?! ).

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Last year I organized these posts by month, but since I’m linking up with Jana and Steph on the second Tuesday of each month for Show Us Your Books I think I’m going to numerically categorize them, thus the wonky title. Alright, let’s do this…

Book Rating

FYI: Above is how I rate the books. Below I’ll include a brief summary, why I picked up the book, and what I thought. Then I give my oh-so-valuable opinion on whether or not you should read it and why. Like I said, there are two in the queue for this month. Images link to their GoodReads page (let’s be friends!).

The One by Kiera Cass || ★★★/5 what_i_read
Summary: Down to the last four girls, it’s time for America to decide what she wants and how hard she’s going to fight to get it. With a former love still in the palace and rebels trying to get in, the decisions facing America, Maxon, and the remaining girls aren’t easy ones.  | Why I Read It: Slowly but surely making my way through the series. Here are my thoughts on books one & two. | What I Thought: I was happy when this book ended. (This book wasn’t a 2 star but it wasn’t 3 either… call it 2.5) Love triangles, lack of honesty, and neatly tied endings tend to irritate me. I like America’s tenacity and I’m a fan of her & Maxon as a couple, but I could feel her creating problem where there were none (or avoiding things that should be resolved). I don’t know- that just annoyed me. Also, the ending was so neat & tidy with certain people dying, “true love” saving the day, and all shady debts instantly forgiven. (I think I’m being vague enough that’s not a spoiler.) Maybe it’s the YA-ness that I can’t get past. Whatever. I’ll be going for the fourth book since the story line is changing.
You Should Read It Because… you’re working on the series and it brings closure to Maxon’s round of the selection.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan || ★★★★★/5 what_i_read2
Summary: A story of four Chinese mothers and their four Chinese-American daughters. | Why I Read It: My friend Amanda recommended it, then I used it as a pick for the #SCWBC16. | What I Thought: To be honest, I was halfway through the book and almost stopped. It’s challenging to keep the women straight and that frustrated me. That said, if I’d have read it in a shorter amount of time I think I’d have been fine. Or if I’d have kept a literary journal. Regardless, every story told was captivating and I felt empathy for both the moms and the daughters. And then the last page made me cry; that’s when I knew this was getting five stars. The book is divided into four sections, with four stories in each. POV switches between mothers and daughters and we get a look at their lives both through their own eyes and the eyes of their mom/daughter. All of the moms suffered hardships in their lives and all of the daughters struggled with being raised under Chinese expectations in an American culture. I ended up liking and disliking characters at different times, but in the end I understood why they all were the way they were.
You Should Read It Because… you’re looking for a book filled with stories of “how it used to be” and how that comes to affect future generations.

So way back I started on Megan’s #SCWBC16. Here’s how I’m doing:
|5 points| Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long: The One by Kiera Cass
|10 points| Read a 2016 finalist for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
|10 points| Read a brand-new release: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
|15 points| Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
|15 points| Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
|20 points| Read a modern retelling of a classic: Winter by Marissa Meyer
|25 points| Read a book with an alcoholic beverage: The Whiskey Affair by Raymond Armstrong
|30 points| Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name: Tender Grace by Jackina Stark
|30 points| Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects: Etta Place by Gail Drago & Etta by Gerald Kolpan
|40 points| Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book: After Alice by Gregory Maguire & The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory.

So I have 35 out of 200. I think I’ll finish at least one, maybe two, more before this challenge ends.

Additionally, this is the first month for Erin’s Book Challenge (#MyFav)…
| 5 points | Freebie: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
| 10 points | Starts with the letter “W”: Winter by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Six words in the title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
| 15 points | Has a (mostly) green cover: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | A homonym in the title: The One by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | By your favorite author: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
| 25 points | Set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
| 30 points | A “Rory Gilmore” book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
| 30 points | From a genre that you’ve never read/rarely read (*thriller*): The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
| 35 points | With time travel: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

20 out of 200 points. I’m determined to finish this challenge this time. Currently I’m reading Winter and The Magician’s Nephew.

Now I’m off to see what you’ve read this time around! Linking up with Steph and Jana!

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Life According to Steph
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32 thoughts on “What I Read… 2017 vol.1

  1. I think I rated The Selection Series as mostly 4 stars, but in hindsight they’d be 3s. Like you said, annoying love triangles and creating extra problems when there didn’t need to be any. Just the epitome of YA and without the depth or world building in some of the other YA books. We know there’s unrest and the society is horrible uneven, but then we just ignore it when it’s convenient for the happy ending.

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    1. Yeah… I knew what I was getting into with the YA. And it held my attention enough that I didn’t dick around with procrastinating to finish it. Just… you know… not my fav.

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  2. Three days to polish off a book! Awesome! I love when I can polish a book off in a couple of days, it’s such a satisfying feeling. Usually, I take about a week since I probably only read about 50 pages an hour or something. I think that is pretty slow.

    I have the selection on my Kindle (pretty sure I picked it up on the cheap one month) but haven’t god around to reading it yet. I’m not sure when I will, I have a bunch of others that I am more interested in at the moment, but one day, I will at least read the first couple of chapters and see if it interests me.

    It feels like the kind of book I would read alongside something a little heavier.

    I have added The Lunar Chronicles to my 2017 must-get-to book list, when I have added Cinder haha.

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    1. I take forever. Sometimes on purpose (right now I’m reading the final book in a series and intentionally taking it slow), sometimes because I just don’t read fast anymore and I can’t get through it quickly. Meh.

      The Selection series is fluffy. Nothing too deep or challenging. It’s not modern romantic fluff, but it’s fluffy. The Lunar Chronicles are a little heavier and much more world-building.

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  3. YAY! I’m glad that you enjoyed both of these and finished up the original part of the Selection Series. It’s fun. 🙂 I would love to read anything by Amy Tan! I haven’t read much of anything, so I linked up my best of 2016 since I missed that. Whatever works right?! Hope you enjoy Winter and The Magician’s Nephew. I really liked both! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. Ha. I started this year with two books finished but I’m slowing down now. Maybe just because I’m working on three at the moment. I just need some slow, stress-free nights. (HA.)
      The Joy Luck Club wasn’t something I’d pick up for myself typically, but a college friend suggested it and it fit a category on a challenge 🙂

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  4. I have heard SO many good things about Joy Luck Club, I think I first heard about it from my mom and sister, but I’ve always shied away from books like this. I might give it a try when I’m in need of a book that makes me cry since you liked it SO much.

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    1. I honestly didn’t cry until the last page, but something clicked and I just loved it. Keep pen and paper as your bookmark just so you can keep them all straight 😉

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  5. The Joy Luck Club is a classic isn’t it? I loved the movie. I should read the book – we know they are 99.9% always better 😉

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  6. a book in 3 days is awesome! and yes seriously, december was hectic. i only finish books quickly when i have like a whole day with nothing to do and i can make a huge dent in it, which basically didn’t happen in december. i’m bummed you didn’t love the one, i freaking gobbled up the first 3 of that series. i didn’t like 4 because of the change of story line, and i haven’t read 5 yet. i had a hard time with the joy luck club as well, but i ended up liking it. it was hard to keep everyone straight.

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    1. I don’t know the last time I finished a book so quickly. I was happy with myself 🙂 (Too bad the trend hasn’t continued… ha.) The One was ok… but I was over the whole selection by the time I started. I’m hoping #4 will feel fresh. Haha.
      I really didn’t think I’d end up liking The Joy Luck Club, but about halfway through my attitude changed and I really started to love it and understand it.

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    1. It’s not really action-packed or anything. Just good storytelling and heartwarming in the end 🙂 (But it also makes you think, which was probably the whole point… ha.)

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  7. So I think I read the first book of that Keira Cass series a long time ago, but it’s been so long I don’t remember. I may reread the first one to start the series again. Joy Luck Club sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. The Selection series is pretty fluffy and “fun.” It’s kind of funny that I disliked it so much since it was pretty light. Lol. Hopefully the 4th one will be a little more refreshing 🙂

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  8. I saw The Joy Luck Club before I read the book, which may have actually helped because I could see how it could be confusing and frustrating. I really loved both the movie and book and I’m glad you stuck with it! I looked at The Selection but it hit too many of my dislikes, especially love triangles. I hate them with a deep passion! LOL! Winter is a fantastic conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles and highly recommend Stars Above too. I generally don’t like short stories but Meyers does them very well. Plus, the last story takes place a couple years after the events of Winter and is a must-read in my opinion.

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    1. I had no idea The Joy Luck Club was a movie. Now I’ll have to check it out. I’m sure it’s a little easier to keep track of everyone in the film 🙂
      I’ve been reading some of the short stories as I’ve gone- mainly the ones recommended by the author and when she says to read them- but I’m definitely going to get Stars Above once I finish up Winter 🙂

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    1. Thank you!

      I think it’s considered a “classic” right? Or a least a women’s lit. “must read”? Either way, until my friend suggested it I had no clue about it.

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  9. The Joy Luck Club feels like one of those books I think I “should” read, but never picked it up. So many books to read, if I’m not feeling the urge, it’s worth passing on, even if I can’t explain why I’m passing it up

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