Blogtober Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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Summary:
Magneto and Professor X.
Superman and Lex Luthor.
Sydney and Serena Clarke.
Victor Vale and Eli Ever.
Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous Eos, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.
With Marcella’s ride, new enmities create opportunities—and the stage of Merit will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
Vengeful (Villains, #2)Review:
Let’s talk about disappointment. I loved the first book, Vicious, but this sequel was not what I wanted. I didn’t like the ending at all. But let’s back up and start with the things I did like about the book.
I loved the fast pace that never slowed. I wanted to fly through this story. I ate it up, dying to know how things were going to end. I loved the way that the chapters were set up. They go back and forth between years ago, months ago, weeks ago, and hours ago. I think this was a really interesting way to tell the story. We get the characters history and learn more about them. Though, I wanted to learn more about Victor.
I really liked the insight we got into Eli’s past. We learn how he became the way that he is. I thought that was a great addition to the story. It added some humanity to this villain. Then there’s our newest villain, Marcella. She was a lady I could get behind. She’s got big dreams and doesn’t give a damn who tries to stand in her way. Of course, there’s the original crew, Victor and Sydney and Mitch. Sydney is my favorite and I hope to see big things from her in the future. I think she is constantly underestimated. Mitch is a big softie and I love him. But he’s also the brains which makes me adore him even more. Victor was a little annoying because he’s on a search for something, but never manages to find it.
Now, the ending. I did not like this. It was left so open ended and nothing was concluded. It wasn’t until I finished this book and checked GoodReads that I realized there was going to be another book in the series. So, I was sad not to have all of the loose ends tied up.
Overall, I still enjoyed reading this. I mostly just wanted Victor and Eli to make up and be best friends again the whole time. I cannot wait to see what will happen in the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Thirteen: Graphic Novel Edition

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Hiii, lovelies! This year I’ve been trying all kinds of new things when it comes to reading. Graphic novels are the newest on that list. I’ve recently found out how much I love them. I’ve managed to read quite a few in the last several months. Today, let’s talk about some that are perfect to read during the spooky season.

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth
Witchy, diverse, and mysterious. What more could you need?

Moonstruck Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis
Diverse as hell. Werewolves, centaurs, seers, witches, vampires? Yes, please!

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
I know superheroes are not usually spooky, but Raven’s powers are more on the magical spectrum and this is a pretty spooky mystery.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
I adored this one. Witches and werewolves, mystery, and a female/female romance? Sign me up.

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
This one was on the lower end of the star rating scale for me, but I know so many others that loved it. It’s a bit fantastical and a bit witchy. Great for this time of year.

Are there any graphic novels that aren’t on this list that you think should be? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for new graphic novels to pick up, so leave me some recommendations, please.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Summary:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)Review:
Aurora Rising is the latest science fiction release from the wonderful and talented writing duo, Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I have been living for science fiction lately and I don’t know why it took me so long to get to this new release. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews from friends that I trust so I was a little nervous going into it.
I’m happy to say that I fall somewhere in the middle of the mix. I really had fun with this. I flew through it, holding my breath, and gripping the pages. I was frustrated at first because none of my questions were being answered. I was so confused about what the hell was going on. We got a sufficient amount of answers for my liking and that’s where the story took a direction I did not see coming. I cannot wait to see what will happen in book number two.
This squad has been dubbed as ‘not the heroes we wanted, but they’re the ones we got’ and that right there had me very intrigued. I think there was not enough development to some of the characters. There was an uneven distribution between the alternating chapters.
The Alpha, Tyler. I really liked him. He’s a great leader and follows his instincts. I really enjoyed seeing him fight with himself between doing what he’s ‘supposed’ to do and what he feels inside to be right. He was what pulled the squad together. Without him, they would have failed.
The Diplomat, Scarlett. Tyler’s twin sister. She was totally my favorite. She’s sassy and fierce and takes no shit from anyone. She always knows the right thing to say and trusts her brother completely even when she’s not sure what he’s thinking. I enjoyed the brother/sister relationship between them.
The Scientist, Zila. She’s one that I wished had a bit more development. We know that she’s weird and incredibly smart. But that’s about it. Oh, and she’s awfully fond of her gun. I would have liked to know more about her, her past, what makes her who she is.
The Gearhead, Finian. I adored him. He’s bisexual (I think) and shoots his shot whenever the opportunity shows itself. He’s also incredibly smart. I loved that despite having a physical disability, he has a fully developed personality. He wasn’t just his disability or just his sexual identity. He was the comedic relief of the squad and I loved him.
The Warrior, Kal. I also loved Kal. He’s fighting a battle with himself. I would have liked to learn more about him outside of who he is as a part of his culture. He’s part of an alien race that’s currently at war and we learned a lot about him in that context, but I want to know more about him in general.
The Pilot, Cat. I really didn’t like Cat for most of the book. I really thought she would betray the squad at the first chance she got. She joined this squad to support her best friend, Tyler, who she’s in love with. She’s a negative Nancy and I didn’t care for it. But she’s really good at her job which I liked. I came to like her a little more by the end of the book and that’s completely due to actions that I cannot talk about without spoilers.
The Mystery Girl, Aurora or Auri. Auri was my favorite. A girl that was frozen for over 200 years and is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. She’s a wild card because she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and she doesn’t know much. What she does know seems to be surrounded by mystery and secrets. I wish we’d gotten to learn a bit more about her abilities and what those abilities mean.
Overall, I enjoyed Aurora Rising but I didn’t love it. I really liked it because it was unique, complex, and fast-paced. I loved the mystery and suspense. The world was interesting and I just wanted to know more about it. I will be anxiously awaiting the next book and not so patiently waiting to find out what the heroes we were given will get up to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twelve: Books & Baking – Heartless

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for round two of the newest blog feature here at Classy x Book Reviews: Books & Baking. This edition we will be focusing on the book Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

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Book: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Read my full review here!

I listened to this one on audio. It was actually a reread for me as well. I still really enjoyed it. The narrator, as I mention in my review, is my all-time favorite. Rebecca Soler is just an incredible audiobook narrator. The story itself is a fun time with whimsy and nonsense until it finds it’s way to a darker ending. I think getting a prequel for the Queen of Hearts really was a great way to instill some humanity and sympathy to the character.

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

“When pleased, I beat like a drum. When sad, I break like glass. Once stolen, I can never be taken back. What am I?”

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

Baking: Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater Chocolate Bars

I found this fabulous graphic when I was searching for things that Cath made in this book. I was beyond excited that Marissa Meyer (or her marketing team) made this one so easy for me.

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This recipe was fairly easy to make as long as you make sure to have all the ingredients. It also tastes delicious if I do say so myself. I think the final product turned out about as well as I expected. I have some pictures below!

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These are the perfect recipe for the fall. My husband even said, “They’re alright.” Which is a huge compliment because he basically detests anything pumpkin flavored. The chocolate chips make them a little sweet and the chopped pecans give it a bit of a crunch. I think these are the perfect November treat.

Are these a desert you might make? Let me know if you try it and what you thought!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Summary:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Vicious (Villains, #1)Review:
I’m down to my final two books for the BookTube SFF Awards and they are Vicious and Vengeful. After finishing Vicious, I’m extremely excited to read the sequel and see where things end up for these characters.
I enjoyed this book so much more than I was expecting to. I’ve heard quite a few vague synopses and I’m glad that it was left vague. I’m glad I didn’t know anything going into the story. The plot was fast paced and exciting. I was dying with the suspense between knowing what was going to happen and finding out what had happened in the past. I really think Schwab did an incredible job with the flashbacks and alternating chapters in this book.
The characters were my favorite part. Victor was fascinating. Dark and mysterious, with a past we waited to learn. His only motivation was revenge. He was darker than I expected. His powers, his motivations, but he also had a kind heart. You could tell by the strays that he acquired. He was compelling and though we learned most of his history I feel like we could have learned more through other interactions, but we learned what was necessary to the story. I would have liked to see what he was like around his parents or something like that.
Mitch was the big lump. He was the one that everyone assumed was the muscle when he was actually the brains. I loved this. He defied the stereotype of being big and dumb, though being smart didn’t seem to keep him out of trouble. He also has a huge heart and I just adored him, especially his interactions with Sydney.
Then there’s Sydney. I wasn’t sure of her role in the story for a while, but it made sense once we learned her history. I wished that she had played a bigger role aside from her ability because I really liked her.
Our Villain, Eli, was so likable at first and then so hateable by the end. That’s really it, I don’t want to say more. I hated him. I also hated Serena, Sydney’s sister.
Overall, I enjoyed this way more than I anticipated and I cannot wait to get into the next book to see where things end up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eleven: Villains

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Hi, lovelies. Today for Blogtober the topic is villains. I love me a good villain. Especially one that started as a good guy, and lets life beat them down until they turn bad. I love the other way too, villains that somehow manage to redeem themselves. Let’s talk villains.

Victor Vale & Eli Ever from Vicious by V.E. Schwab
These two, man, what to say about them. This is not a pretty story. It’s full of betrayal and murder. Victor is the main character and he’s not a great guy. His mission is to end the life of his best friend, Eli Ever. Eli got him sent to jail, but he’s also murdering other E.O.’s. So, he’s also not a great guy. Their motivations are so interesting and the storylines are complex, but you can’t help but to feel for and understand both of them.

Kate & August from This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
What is up with Schwab with these horrible but still somehow lovable characters? Kate and August are both painted as bad, but August is battling to keep his humanity and Kate (after she gives up on pleasing her father) tries to do right by fighting monsters. I couldn’t get enough of these two.

Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites by Marie Lu
This was the series that really turned me onto my love for villains. Adelina starts as a confused girl in need of guidance. But she ends up on the wrong side, all in the hope of saving her family. She’s a fascinating character with an unbelievable journey.

Vianca Augustine from Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Vianca is only sort of a villain, which is why I like her so much. She does the wrong things, but in her mind, is doing them for the right reasons. It’s kind of a lesser of two evils situation. I really enjoyed her story in this series.

The Darkling from The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardguo
Is this even a list of villains without the Darkling? He’s dark and broody and all of the things I love in a villain. With his tragic backstory, you can’t help but feel for him just a little.

Empress Celestine from The Shattered Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
Celestine was honestly pretty horrible. But before you learn her true motivations you can’t help but respect her and even sort of like her because she just wants to find and gather her family. She’s fierce and ruthless. While she was pretty terrible, she was a great villain.

Haikaimono from Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Haikaimono is ruthless and bent on revenge. But also, he mostly just wants to survive. His existence is so complicated with so much to it. I hated him at the end of this book and for most of book two. But by the end of Soul of the Sword, you could almost feel for him.

Tea from The Bone Witch trilogy by Rin Chupeco
This whole series I flopped back and forth h between being one hundred percent sure she was the villain and equally sure that she was doing the right thing. I loved her the whole time, even when I thought she was doing the wrong thing. She had her reasons, ones too complicated for me to elaborate on here, but she was a complex character that was extremely intelligent and did nothing without specific reasons.

The Sleeper from Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
This book showed me a new love for middle-grade books. I cannot get enough of them and it’s all because of Aru. The Sleeper is the big bad in this series, but there’s more to him than we know at first. I think he’s an interesting villain, one that I can’t wait to learn more about in the next book.

Serefin & Malachiacz from Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
What to say, what to say, about these two men? They’re bad, but how bad? Their stories are full of twists and turns and they lead them to the complicated ending of this book. They are both a product of their environments and their complex backstories. But I love them both and I’m dying to find out the next part of their story.

Maven from the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
He’s one of my all-time favorite villains. His story is one that you can’t help but feel bad for him. He might have been the hero had he grown up differently. Instead, he is a product of his parentage and his childhood. He made so many wrong choices, but somehow I loved him right up until the end.

That’s all I have for you today. Share with me in the comments who your favorite villains are. Are they truly evil or could they have been completely different had their upbringing or other events had gone differently? Tell me your villains below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

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GoodReads Summary:
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie LovettReview:
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett was on my Spooky Season TBR because I thought it was going to be another interesting mystery/thriller. While there was some mystery and even some paranormal aspects, it was more a story about a girl finding herself.
Hawthorn is an outsider. She has one friend. When she hears about Lizzie Lovett going missing, she comes up with some pretty wild theories of what happened to her. But the one she sticks with is that Lizzie is a werewolf. I thought it was interesting at first, but it just gets kind of bizarre. After a while, I stopped liking Hawthorn. She was shitty to her brother, shitty to her best friend, and sometimes to her parents. She grew though and I ended up liking her again.
Overall, this story is not at all what I expected. It was good enough to keep my interest. But I will be unhauling it because I didn’t like it enough to want to reread it in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.