10 Popular YA Books on Amanda’s Physical TBR

Hey, lovelies! Today I’m going to talk about 10 books that are on my TBR of books that I already own. I’ve said this many times already, but if you’re new here, 2021 is the year that I’m going to get my owned TBR down to about 20-25 books. So, making lists like these, where I get to talk about books I’m excited to read are helpful because I can look back on them and appreciate how much progress I’ve made with reading them, or see how many I haven’t read and kick my butt into gear to get them read. So, let’s talk about 10 books on my owned TBR that I’ll hopefully read today.

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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
“Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.”

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Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
“A strange darkness grows in Allward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea. She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.”

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
“When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school. But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life. At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.”

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The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
“Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her. In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return. Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.”

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Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson
“Two girls. One night. Zero phones.
Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong? Well. Kind of a lot? They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore. Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future. That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.”

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They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
“In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems. Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on. Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it. But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.”

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The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
“In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything. That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost. But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.”

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Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout
“Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger. Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options—and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome. As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain—nothing will ever be the same.”

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The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
“After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson. Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer. But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case. Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders. But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.”

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Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
“Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him. Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them. When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive. What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?”

These are ten books I own, both physically and as eBooks that I’m really hoping to read before 2021 is over. I’ve heard good things about all of these, which is probably the reason I bought them in the first place. So, check in later in the year and maybe I’ll do an update for this post about whether I’ve read these or not. Have you read any of these? Which should I start with?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia

Summary:
There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.
Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.

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Review:
After reading and loving books by both Mejia and McLemore, I knew I needed to give Miss Meteor a try. The cover is stunning and the summary makes the book sound so enjoyable. I was not wrong at all. I really loved this book.
We follow Chicky and Lita in alternating points of view. The two used to be best friends, but Chicky doesn’t feel like she can be honest about who she is and Lita was bullied and is ashamed of it. So, the two stopped being friends. But now Lita is being returned to the stars (it’s not mentioned in the synopsis, but Lita and her mother figure are aliens that came here on a meteor. This aspect of the story is a mix of both science fiction and magical realism, which I completely loved). Lita has decided that if she’s being returned to the stars, one of the last things she’d like to do is try to win the Miss Meteor beauty pageant. While this is happening, Chicky is being bullied by a mean girl named Kendra. Chicky decides that she needs to do something that will cause Kendra to lose. The best way for that to happen is for Chicky and Lita (and Chicky’s sisters) to team up and make sure that Lita wins Miss Meteor.
While this story is about an unlikely girl winning a beauty pageant, it’s also about so much more than that. Both Chicky and Lita experience racism and prejudice. Chicky is pansexual. Lita is plus sized. Both are Latinx. There is also a side character, Cole (Kendra’s brother) who is friends with both girls. Cole is trans. There is so much representation in this book and the way that things like racism and fatphobia were talked about was really excellent.
It was so easy to love both Chicky and Lita. Chicky is really struggling. She’s working on accepting herself and being able to proudly claim the label of pansexual. But she’s often bullied at school for being a lesbian, even though she isn’t one. So, she’s pushed away her best friend, but this pageant is a chance for her to mend things with Lita. We also get to see a lot of Chicky’s sisters which I loved. I loved all of them. They’re all so full of personality and different from one another. Seeing them all work together to help Lita was the perfect comedic relief from the more serious parts of this story. Lita is being taken back to the stars. Parts of her body are literally turning into stars. This aspect was magical and whimsical, but also suspenseful because Lita realized she can prevent her changing, but she’s failing to do so. Seeing the whole group together, Chicky, Lita, Chicky’s sisters, and also Cole and Junior, was so much fun. I loved this group of friends so much. I loved seeing their growth and supporting one another.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Yes, it is about two ex-best friends trying to win a beauty pageant, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about friendship, standing up for those you love, trying to create change, and most of all, loving yourself. There are so many positive things about this book. The characters were my favorite, but I also have to say that the writing was stunning. It was lyrical and beautiful without being overly descriptive. I will continue to pick up and love both McLemore and Mejia’s books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Summary:
Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Once used solely by the Councilors and magicians, other powerful factions are now vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal. If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and be swept out by the tide.

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Review:
Sea Glass is the second book in the Glass trilogy but the fifth book in the World of Ixia. I’ve grown to love the world and most of the characters and I think this has allowed me to overlook some things about this book that I wouldn’t normally overlook.
I have to say that I did really enjoy this book while I was reading it. But now that I’m finished, I can’t help but ask, “what the hell was Opal thinking?” And obviously we see much of what Opal was thinking and I still have no idea why she thought her ideas were good ones. I think I’m having a hard time because much of what Opal’s gotten herself into is her own fault. So, I guess that says good things about how much of an active protagonist she is. But she also makes some really poor choices that I just don’t really understand. She continually trusts the wrong people, she doesn’t confide in anyone she can actually trust, and those she does trust and confide in often get caught in the crossfire trying to help her.
I think the plot was interesting but I feel like I don’t know where it’s going. A big thing happened at the end of this story and I’m not sure how it’s going to affect where I thought the plot was going. I would say it was a pretty good plot twist, but I won’t be able to say that confidently until I see where things will go in the third book.
I will say that Opal has grown so much in this book. She’s not the timid girl that says yes to everyone and allows herself to get walked all over. She listens to others but ultimately does what she thinks is best. I liked the character development.
Overall, it was a sort of all over the place story. I did enjoy it while I was reading but I feel like I’ve just been left wondering what the heck just happened. I’m going to continue onto the next book and see if things get better for Opal (but honestly, they’ll probably get worse, at least for a little while).

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Info Dump Bookish Tag

Hello, friends! It’s been a while since we’ve done a booktag. We saw this one over on Way Too Fantasy and thought it would be a good way for our readers to get to know us a little bit better. We thought these were some great questions. This tag was originally created by Books & Chocaholic over on YouTube, check out their video! Let’s get right into the questions.

1. How many books on average do you read per month?

Amanda- My average for 2020 was 31 books per month. But I have to add that I’m a stay at home mom, so, I’m home all the time and between physical books, eBooks, and audiobooks I’m reading almost constantly. So, please don’t compare you’re reading habits with mine.

Antonia- Recently my average has been around 4, but it can vary greatly month to month depending on my schedule.

2. How many books are on your TBR?

Amanda- My GoodReads ‘want to read’ shelf has 485 books on it. But the books I own and haven’t read yet is 107 with my physical books, eBooks, and my graphic novels.

Antonia- I don’t keep an actual TBR list, just kind of keep track of what I want to read in my head. I’d say I usually have around ten that I want to read at any given time.

3. How are your books organized on your shelves?

Amanda- At the moment, they’re alphabetical. But I’ve been itching to rearrange them again. I’m not sure if I’ll do it by genre or if I’ll go it by age range.

Antonia- I used to organize by genre then author. When I downsized my shelves I switched to just author. Since I moved last, I never took the time to actually organize so right now they’re just chaos.

4. Which genres do you read the most from?

Amanda- According to my 2020 statistics post, I read the most YA fantasy with adult romance as second.

Antonia- Definitely fantasy, either adult or young adult.

5. Which genres do you own the most of?

Amanda- This is probably also fantasy again.

Antonia- It’s probably fantasy tied with romance.

6. Which is your preferred format of reading (eBook, physical, audiobook)?

Amanda- I will always prefer physical books. But I also think eBooks and audiobooks have their times where they shine.

Antonia- Physical books, then ebooks with audiobooks way in last place.

7. Who is your most owned author?

Amanda- Probably Nora Roberts. I haven’t counted. But Nora Roberts, Rick Riordan, or Janet Evanovich are probably my top three. With maybe Cassandra Clare coming in close too.

Antonia- Definitely Nora Roberts since I own most of what she’s written.

8. Describe your favorite writing style.

Amanda- I like a writing style that’s pretty and lyrical without being overly so. I don’t want purple prose so flowery that the story gets lost, but I do still love beautiful writing.

Antonia- I don’t think I have a favorite, I just need a fast-placed plot.

9. Which literary devices do you like/dislike?

Amanda- Ohhh, I think imagery and flashbacks are tied here, but only if they’re done well.

Antonia- A clever plot twist. Something that you don’t see coming but once it happens all these little things from earlier in the book just suddenly make sense.

10. Which character archetypes do you enjoy?

Amanda- I like a lot of them. But the jester is probably my favorite. I always find myself loving the character that brings the comedic relief.

Antonia- I have to agree with Amanda on this one. Bonus points when that character is really snarky or sarcastic.

11. What are your favorite book settings?

Amanda- Honestly, settings are one of the least important thing to me. But if the world building is done well, I love any well built world. It’s described well enough for me to picture is a rare occurrence.

Antonia-I don’t pay too much attention to setting but I love when an author can help me see the setting without spending a page describing it.

12. What are your favorite tropes?

Amanda- I love childhood friends to lovers. It’s my real life love story. So, I love to read about it too.

Antonia- Antiheroes. I just think it adds so much more dimension to the characters. No one is wholly good or wholly bad.

These are all of the questions! We’re not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you feel like doing this tag, let us know!

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Summary:
Award-winning author Maria V. Snyder brings readers into a world of molten magic, where storms can be captured within a glass orb and a magician’s powers can remain hidden…until challenged by enemy forces. 
As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan understands trial by fire. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it from happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic. Yet the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control her powers…powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

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Review:
Storm Glass starts somewhere we’re familiar with. We’re following Opal at the magicians keep. Opal is the only glass magician. You might remember her from the Study series because she helped Yelena defeat the big bad and still get her happy ending. But in this series we focus on Opal.
I thought that the concept of Opal’s magic was really interesting. She can create glass messengers and only magicians can see the spark inside her glass pieces. But while she’s visiting the storm dancers with one of the master magicians, she does something knew. She’s still learning about her magic. All of Sitia is learning that magic might not always take the forms that they’ve grown used to expecting. So, Opal is allowed to take time outside of her regular classes to see what other things she might be able to do. But it turns out to be more than she bargained for when she realizes her new ability can be seen as a threat.
I liked Opal. She was a little annoying at times because she was lonely, but it was her own fault that she was lonely even if she didn’t realize that at first. But Opal does her best to stay positive and focus on the mission.
I think the plot was interesting for this one. It felt a bit more coherent than the previous series. It felt like things progressed naturally and Opal wasn’t kidnapped ten times. And she wasn’t think super strong, highly trained person. She relied on her intelligence to get her out of bad situations and I liked that. She didn’t have magic to just rescue her from the trouble she found.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. I’m excited to see where the rest of the series goes as some of the series plot lines were clear. I didn’t feel strongly over the romance, but the twist that involved one of the romantic interests totally took me by surprise. I definitely preferred one love interest over the other and I’m really hoping this doesn’t turn into a love triangle thing because it was clear that Opal also preferred one of them over the other. So far, I think I like the Study series better, but this book was interesting and enjoyable. We got to see more of Sitia and new kinds of magic which was pretty cool.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’ve finally gotten back to my one physical book, one eBook, and one audiobook method. So, I’m reading Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones physically. I’m reading an eARC of A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow and I’m listening to We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal.

Antonia- I’m currently reading The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones and it was excellent.

Antonia- I most recently read Come Sundown by Nora Roberts.

What will you read next?

Amanda- I’m not sure what I’m going to pick up next. Something from my June TBR Jar Picks probably. I’m a mood reader, so it’ll be whatever speaks to me from that list.

Antonia- Next I’ll read Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi.

What are your W’s this week?

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wanted More Of

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them. I’m going to keep mine pretty general- books I wanted more of the same genre or author, etc.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Martian by Andy Weir

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

What books make you wish for more?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Wanted More Of

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is the ten books I loved that made me want to find similar books. This kind of reminds me of my ‘if you liked this, then read that’ posts. So, I’ll probably borrow from those.

If you liked All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace, you should try Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen.

If you liked Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, you might like The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa.

If you liked A Million Junes by Emily Henry, you might like We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund.

If you liked Dune by Frank Herbert, you will probably like Mirage by Somaiya Daud.

If you liked The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, you might like For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig.

If you liked Sadie by Courtney Summers, you should try I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan.

If you liked The Final Six by Alexandra Monir, you will probably like Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh.

If you liked The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, you might like Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor.

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, you should try The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

If you liked These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Stirling, you will probably like The Ravens by Danielle Paige & Kass Morgan.

What books did you have on your list this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s May Book Haul

Hey, lovelies! May was an unreasonably large haul for me, especially considering that I’m still supposed to be on a book buying ban. But! In my defense, much of these books were gifts. My in-laws came to visit, now that we’re all vaccinated, and they really spoiled me while they were here. I also went a bit overboard with buying books I haven’t read yet. I’ve curbed my buying a bit by limiting myself to books I’ve read and loved, but don’t own yet. So, that didn’t really happen this month. I did buy some books I’ve already read, but I bought or was gifted more that I haven’t read. I will link my reviews for those that I’ve read and reviewed. And then my little to no reasonable rational for why I bought the ones I haven’t read. Let’s get into it!

Books I’ve Already Read

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

New Books on my Owned TBR

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
This was another preorder because I wanted to support the donations that the author was running with the preorder incentive.

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Thank you to my in-laws for this one. It was an impulse target pick.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson
Another gift from my husband’s amazing parents, that I impulsively picked.

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
My final impulse pick/gift from my in-laws. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one. But I could say the same about Red Queen and I really liked those books.

I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry by Halsey
I barely read poetry so I have no excuse for this other than I have a small infatuation with Halsey.

Share Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace
Seriously, why did I buy this? I have four other collections by Lovelace and I’ve read maybe two of them.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
This one is legitimate because this is my June book club book with my local ladies.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Last month, I bought some of Bailey’s other books and this was the only one I was missing.

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
I love this series and I’ve been meaning to buy this newest installment since it came out.

Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
I didn’t even know this exisisted. I thought I owned all all published books (just the books though, not the novellas) in this series. But now I do, just in time for the release of the final book later this year.

These are the books that I bought or were gifted to me in May. Quite a few of them are on my TBR list for June. So, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to add many of these to my ‘read’ list pretty quickly. Did you buy any books in May? Are any of these books you’ve read or want to read? Let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Summary:
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before…
Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

Book Cover

Review:
I absolutely love this series. Yelena is such an interesting main character. I mentioned in my review for the second book that it felt like the overarching series plot was getting a little lost, it felt a bit slow. But Fire Study really pulled it all together. There were a few things I didn’t totally love, like Yelena has gone through all this stuff. But she doesn’t seem to learn anything or improve until the final third of this book. It’s been almost three books, she should have grown and developed some right? It felt like she regressed in book two and so in this book she worked to get all that back. And then, we didn’t really even get to see that growth because it all happened so quickly. I still love her though. My other issue with Yelena was that she didn’t take the time to feel things. At one point, someone she loves dies and we don’t see or feel any of that grief. I get that she’s just pushing it all away because there’s a lot of other things going on at the same time, but it would have been nice to see her take a moment for herself to feel that loss.
That’s really all that I didn’t like. I loved the revealing of all the secrets. I said this in my review for the first book, but some of the plot twists were predictable and others took me by surprise. I don’t mind this as I always feel smart when I predict things that are going to happen. I think the finale of this series was pulled together so nicely with all of the bits and pieces wrapped up in a satisfying way. I really enjoyed the world and seeing people from both Ixia and Sitia come together to overcome the big bad. I felt like we got more of the characters I love from the first book which made me happy.
Overall, this was an enjoyable conclusion. I love this world. I think the magic system is complex and fascinating. Yelena is a main character I could get behind (most of the time since she runs full on into danger entirely too often). I loved the romance and would have loved to get more of that. I think the world is compelling and I’m excited to read the companion series that follows someone we met in book two. I absolutely recommend this series to any fantasy lovers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Summary:
You know your life is complicated when you miss your days as a poison taster…
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be united with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But although she has gained her freedom, she once again finds herself alone – separated from her lover Valek and suspected as a spy for her reluctance to conform to Sitian ways.
Despite the turmoil, she’s eager to start her magic training – especially as she’s been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes embroiled in a plot to reclaim Ixia’s throne for a lost prince – and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with her new enemies.

Book Cover

Review:
Magic Study is very similar to the first book. It follows the same sort of journey as Poison Study. Yelena is now in Sitia where she’s come to the magicians keep to be trained in magic. Yelena is reunited with her family that she was taken from as a child. She has a lot to deal with emotionally. She’s meeting a family she doesn’t know. She’s now living in a territory she doesn’t remember. She must learn to control her magic. She’s always adjusting to a completely different culture than what she’s grown up knowing.
But then, because it’s Yelena, several someone’s want to kill her. So, she’s still not fully trained and once again on edge constantly looking over her shoulder. But she’s growing. She working on trusting others and not just taking matters into her own hands. She’s not always succeeding at this, but she’s trying. She’s trying to see the bigger picture, starting to think about what the future can hold for her.
The characters are really what made this story. We get to see characters we loved from the first book like Valek, Ari, and Janco. I loved getting to see Ari and Janco again. They are such good friends to Yelena. I liked seeing them outside of Ixia. But we also have some new characters like, Leif, Dax, and Irys. Irys we met in the last book, but we get to know her a little bit better in this one. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, I feel like we didn’t ever actually learn anything about her. Not like we did with the Commander in the first book anyway. I really liked Dax. His was a bit of a superficial friendship, but he added some humor and levity to the story which I liked. Leif was a really interesting character and the more we learned about him the more I wanted to learn even more. I’m already very excited to see him again in the third book.
Overall, this story was similar to Poison Study because it follows the same plot line of Yelena learning something knew and getting taught about that as well as training and learning to ride horses. Side note, Kiki was absolutely my favorite character in this series. But once she’s learning magic, she realizes there are political things going on around her that she just can’t help but get involved in. So, there’s lots of issues in the world and Yelena always manages to make it her problem. But she learns a lot about herself and her abilities. I liked that we got to see a bit of her and Valek together again. I’m also very intrigued to read the third book and see where this is all going. So far, the first two books have had their own contained plots with mysteries to be solved. But the overarching series plot seems a bit slow so I’m interested to see where all of this is going.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s June TBR Jar Picks

Hi, lovelies! Last month was pretty successful for my first attempt with my TBR jar. I did well enough that I’m going for it again. I think the idea of the TBR jar is such a fun one that I’m willing myself to do just as well this month. So, I will pick five slips from my jar and then pick books that fit the categories I’ve picked for this month. I will also be including a few books I want to read this month that aren’t a part of my TBR jar picks. I have some eARCs I need to make sure to read this month. Let’s see what I’m hoping to read this month!

Adult
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
I absolutely loved both The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine. I’m confident I’ll love this one too.

First in a Series
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one. I was actually asked to add this to my TBR so I can let a friend know if it’s as good as it sounds.

Standalone
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
This one I found as a local used book sale. I liked Big Little Lies the novel and the tv show. I’m interested to see if I like this one too as I’ve heard good things.

New Release
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
I absolutely loved Beach Read so, I’m very excited to pick up Henry’s newest release.

Favorite of a Friend
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
My friend, Alana, has been raving about this book for literal years. So, hopefully I’ll manage to finally pick this one up.

These are the books that I’ve picked to go with my TBR jar categories. I’m hopeful that I’ll manage to read all of them. I’m excited about quite a few of these, so I think I’ll actually be able to do that this month. I’m also participating in a readathon on Twitter this month. The Clear Your Shit Readathon was wicked fun to do last year and I am in need of clearing more shit off my TBR. So, I’m joining this month long mini-round. There’s a bingo board and all that, but I’m just going to list the prompts.

Candles: a book with a white or black cover
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
I’ve owned this forever but never pick it up. I figure it’ll be good to have something pretty short on this list.

Athame: a book in a genre you don’t normally read
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
I got this one because I’ve heard incredible things about it. It’s horror and that’s far from my usual genre.

Cauldron: a book featuring a magical object
We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
I’ve actually already started this one. I’m only about 100 pages into it. But I really want to finish it as soon as I can. So, here it is on this TBR list.

Bells: a comfort read
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
I tried to share books from my TBR jar picks and this bingo board so that I didn’t have a huge list to read.

Free Space
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
This is my June bookclub book. I’m excited for this one because I adored Beartown. I’ve seen people hauling this one, but not many reviewing it. Also, I couldn’t fit it in any of the other squares.

Ancient Grimoire: a book that’s 400 pages or more
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Another borrow from my TBR jar picks, but I have a lot of new romance I want to read and most of those aren’t over 400 pages.

Bag of Teeth: a creepy book
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
I’ve heard incredible things about this one and I’ve been eager to pick it up since I bought it.

Incense: a book in your favorite genre
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
So, technically science fiction is my favorite genre. But romance is a really close second and I don’t have any sci-fi on my physical TBR that I’m really excited about.

Chalice: a book with something elemental
Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi
This is my audiobook choice. I love the audio for this series. I also just love this series. Last month, I finished rereading the first three so I’m excited to dive into this one.

I do have a few other books on my TBR list. They’re mostly eARC’s that I really need to get to. I’ve been slacking a bit on my NetGalley arc’s since binging like 10 of them in April.

Off the Record by Camryn Garrett
I have an eARC of this one that I plan to read this month.

Better Together by Christine Riccio
Another eARC that I need to make sure to read this month.

Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin
There are a few NetGalley arc’s I need to read in June and this queer Thelma & Louise is one I’m excited for.

So, this is a much longer list than last month. But I did well enough with my May TBR jar picks. I read three of the five books that I picked. The only reason I didn’t read all five was because I didn’t read that many audiobooks last month and those two were both books I planned to listen to. So, I’m happy with my results from last month and I’m excited to push myself to stick to this TBR for June. What are you thinking of reading this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson

Summary:
Weeks ago, Andre Cobb received a much-needed liver transplant.
He’s ready for his life to finally begin, until one night, when he passes out and wakes up somewhere totally unexpected…in 1969, where he connects with a magnetic boy named Michael.
And then, just as suddenly as he arrived, he slips back to present-day Boston, where the family of his donor is waiting to explain that his new liver came with a side effect—the ability to time travel. And they’ve tasked their youngest son, Blake, with teaching Andre how to use his unexpected new gift.
Andre splits his time bouncing between the past and future. Between Michael and Blake. Michael is everything Andre wishes he could be, and Blake, still reeling from the death of his brother, Andre’s donor, keeps him at arm’s length despite their obvious attraction to each other.
Torn between two boys, one in the past and one in the present, Andre has to figure out where he belongs—and more importantly who he wants to be—before the consequences of jumping in time catch up to him and change his future for good.

Yesterday Is History

Review:
Yesterday is History follows Andre Cobb. Andre has survived cancer, but needed a liver transplant to do so. But his new liver comes with a secret, time travel. Obviously, Andre is not expecting to travel back to 1969 when he tries to lay down in his bed. It’s then that he meets Michael. Andre and Michael quickly develop feelings for one another. I think this was the downfall of this book. The concept was a really interesting one, but I just think it fell short. The romance between Andre and Michael felt really under developed. They’re supposed to be super in love, but they’ve only spent a totally of less than a week together. I get that it was more time than that to Michael, but only saw things from Andre’s point of view. We only saw a few days. But I was really invested in Andre’s romance with Blake. Blake was kind of an asshole, but Andre called him on it every time, going as far as explaining how to give an acceptable apology. I liked how their characters both developed both as individuals and as a couple.
I think the time travel love triangle was a really interesting concept. But I think it fell flat for me because it felt under developed. I wanted to see more. It all happened too fast. I think if we had gotten more time to see Michael and Andre together, I could have been invested. The potential was there for me to really love this, but there just wasn’t enough of the story to get me there.
Overall, I think this story was a quick and fun read. I just wanted more from it. I liked Andre a lot. He was quick to call out problematic things that others said to him or around him. But he also made it clear that it wasn’t his responsibility to educate them on their wrong doings. I liked the concept, but the execution fell a bit flat for me. I will be checking out Jackson’s future books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal and Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi.

Antonia- I’m currently ready The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished Off the Record by Camryn Garrett.

Antonia- I most recently read Come Sundown by Nora Roberts.

What will you read next?

Amanda- Next, I think I’ll pick up People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. I’m really excited for this one.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi.

Share what your answers are in the comments!

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is Freebie (choose any past topic, or come up with you own). This week I chose Top Ten favorite books from each of the past ten years.

2020: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

2019: Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

2018: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

2017: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

2016: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

2015: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

2014: House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

2013: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

2012: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

2011: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

What books have you loved over the years?