A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

Summary:
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you NetGalley and the published for an early copy of this book, here is my honest review. A Psalm for the Wild Built follows a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who is traveling through Panga to all the towns and villages. Tea monks are there to lend an ear, to be a comfort to people. I loved the concept of this world. Years and years ago, robots gained consciousness and left the world of humans. They decided they wanted to go live in nature, not to be disturbed, and that’s what they did. Many people in the present time think of robots as more legend than actual history. This is also a super diverse world. The monks are referred to as Brother, Sister, and Sibling depending on whether they are male, female or non-binary. The monk we follow, Dex, is non-binary. Dex changed careers early in the story. We see them work really hard to be an excellent tea monk and they really succeed. But being a tea monk doesn’t make them happy. So, in pursuit to feel better, Dex goes on a journey to find a lost monastery in hopes that it will give them the feeling of satisfaction that they’re craving. But as they start their journey, Dex is met by Mosscap, a robot. The two end up traveling together to the monastery and learning about one another on the journey.
I loved this book. I loved Sibling Dex. I adored Mosscap. I loved everything about it. The concept of robots fleeing the human world to live free in the woods is such an excellent one. I loved learning about how the robots have been living since leaving. Mosscap always had the most insightful things to say. I loved all of the wisdom it shared with Dex. Dex was a compelling character too. They are doing something they’re really good at, and yet, they’re still not satisfied with their life. I totally relate to this and I loved following Dex’s emotional journey.
Overall, this was a beautiful slice of life story that followed two characters that will hold a place in my heart for a long time. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in the series and I hope that we will get more from this series. I definitely recommend this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

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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 Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts and Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia. I’m also listening to The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished Key of Light by Nora Roberts.

Antonia- I most recently read The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi.

What will you read next?

Amanda- Next, I’m planning to read a few things. I have the audio of The Antropocene Reviewed by John Green borrowed from my library. I’m also planning to read Key of Valor by Nora Roberts to finish the trilogy.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

What’s everyone currently reading?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Title or Cover Buys

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 book titles or covers that made me want to read a book. I am definitely a sucker for book covers. So, these were all cover buys.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffen

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen

I’m a sucker for a good cover and these ones are really great.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s August TBR Jar Picks

Hey, lovelies! It’s a new month, which means we have five new picks from my TBR Jar. First, let’s talk about how I did last month. Out of the five books I picked, I read three of them. I think that’s pretty good considering I didn’t read much of anything for most of the month. And the two that I didn’t read were fantasy and the third in a series I think I want to reread before I jump into the new one. I’m happy with how I did for the prompts. I also managed to read my book club book and way more NetGalley arc’s than I planned for. So, let’s talk about what prompts I picked for August! I’ll be on vacation for most of the month, so I’m not keeping my hopes up that I’ll be reading a ton of books.

5 Star Prediction
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
I love John Green and I have the audiobook borrowed from my library. I haven’t listened to his podcast of the same name, and I’m glad for that now that this book is out. I fully anticipate loving this book.

Reread
Key of Light by Nora Roberts
This is the perfect prompt because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. Roberts is a go-to for me when I’m in a reading slump.

Most Recent Purchase
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
I found this second book in the series for like $2 at a local used bookstore in July. I really enjoyed the first one and I’m excited to continue the series.

Middle Grade
Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I’m so excited for this sequel and I’m glad that I have a prompt for this eARC since I need to read it this month either way.

LBGTQIA
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
This one was gifted to me for my birthday and I’m incredibly excited to read it.

I have more NetGalley arc’s I need to read than usual for the month of August. But I’ve stopped putting pressure on myself to read them as fast as possible. I have a system and I just keep working with that and I slowly make progress. So, these are all eARC’s that I have that will be published in August. Are there any on your TBR?

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Holdout by Jeffery Kluger

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Cazadora by Romina Garber

The Boy with Fire by Aparna Verma

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

Summary:
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.

Book Cover

Review:
Matson’s books have been really hit or miss for me. I totally loved Save the Date, but some of her other books were just average for me. I liked Take Me Home Tonight more than average, but less than Save the Date. I had one big issue with this book and it was the weird timeline with Teri. The story follows Kat and Stevie when they say they’re sleeping over their friend Teri’s house, but instead they go off to New York City for a best friend adventure. We follow both Kat and Stevie because, of course, nothing goes as planned and they get separated. But we also follow Teri here and there. And Teri’s storyline was just completely bizarre. I would have loved this book had it not had Teri’s weird story branch.
Now, I did really enjoy both Stevie and Kat’s parts of the story. The two go off into the city together, but Kat has ulterior motives for going to the city. This news causes a huge fight between the two. Then Stevie’s phone breaks and the two get separated accidentally and there’s lots of incorrect assumptions. So, instead of a fun best friend adventure in the city, the two both end up having their own adventures.
I really liked Stevie’s storyline. I come from a blended family and I have half and step siblings, so I really enjoyed following Stevie as she finally takes the time to get to know her new (ish) step-siblings. She ends up having a really great night with them. I just loved the growth of the family relationships. It was wholesome as hell.
Kat had a more romantic plot line. She faces a lot of disappointment regarding the ulterior motives that she came to New York for in the first place. Nothing is going as planned and its one major disappointment after another. Her idol turns out to be a jerk and her best friend seemingly leaves her stranded in the city. But she meets a cute boy that swoops in and saves her night.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. But the Teri plotline totally came out of nowhere and it completely took me out of the story. I would have preferred it just have been about Stevie and Kat. I loved the friendship struggles and family issues being resolved. Most of all, I loved following the pair as they really learning more about themselves.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart

Summary:
Furyborn meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this courtly feminist fantasy from Grace and Fury author Tracy Banghart.
Annalise may be cousin to the prince, but her past isn’t what she claims, and she possesses a magic so powerful it takes all her strength to control it. Evra is a country girl, and has watched as each friend and family member came into their own magic, while hers remains dormant. But everything changes after Annalise loses control of herself and Evra begins experiencing the debilitating visions of a once-in-a-generation clairvoyant meant to serve the crown.
Thrown together at court, Evra and Annalise find that they have the same goal: to protect their kingdom from the powerful men who are slowly destroying it. But neither is quick to trust the other — Evra’s visions suggest a threat to royal rule, and Annalise worries that her darkest secrets will be revealed. Their magic at odds, the young women circle each other, until the truth must come out.
Full of intrigue, romance, and shocking twists, this gorgeously immersive fantasy will keep readers spellbound until the very last page.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an early copy of this book. I love Tracy Banghart. I’ve met her at an author event and we spent like an hour talking, so I love to read and support her work.
A Season of Sinister Dreams follows two main characters, Annalise and Evra. Annalise is the grandniece to the King and cousin to the prince. But she has secrets that she would do anything to protect. Evra is a country girl. She’s worried that she’ll never have any magic and the people in her town are starting to treat her differently. But Evra starts having visions that mean the kingdom is in danger. She’s this generations Clearsee. The Clearsee’s only appear once in a generation, and only when the kingdom is in danger. Evra must travel to court to meet with the king and inform him that she has been revealed as this generations Clearsee.
Evra and Annalise meet at court. But since we’re seeing things from both points of view, we know things that the other characters don’t. I think this fact made the story infinitely better. Knowing that there were secrets to be revealed and knowing what those secrets were kept me engaged into the story. Wondering how each of the characters were going to react when the truth finally came out was a really great way to add some suspense to the story.
Now, I really loved Evra. She’s a girl that loves her family. She loves her kingdom. And she’s willing to do her duty as Clearsee despite the fact that she disagrees with many of the things the king has ordered for the people. She’s taking her responsibility seriously and she does her best to make the right choices, the choices that will help the most people. The author really did her dirty with some of the things that happen, but I really loved Evra.
Annalise was a fascinating character. I wanted to hate her so badly, but I just couldn’t. I liked her. Her backstory pulled on my heartstrings. Because we got to see things from her point of view, we know that some events were complete accidents. We get to see the other side of the story which made it easier to sympathize with Annalise, even though she was in the wrong. I didn’t want to like Annalise at all, but I couldn’t help it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a short, political fantasy that follows two strong women. I liked the politics. I liked the bits of romance we got. I liked the different kinds of magic there was to see. I just genuinely enjoyed this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s July Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! July was a much better reading month for me than June was. I’m really proud of how well I did working on my physical TBR and getting it down to a lower number. I also read some really great blog posts this month. I did better at regularly checking my feed to read stuff from the people I follow. So, lets get into it!

What I Read

Physical Books
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – 4 stars
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – 3 stars
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth – 4.5 stars
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer – 4.5 stars
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – 3.5 stars

eBooks
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – 4 stars
The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt – 2 stars
A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart – 4 stars
What We Devour by Linsey Miller – 4 stars
A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers – 4.5 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s Favorite Retellings

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Book Review)

10 Popular YA Books on Amanda’s Physical TBR

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Amanda’s Summertime Book Recommendations

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi (Book Review)

5 Books Featuring Grief Amanda Recommends

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia (Book Review)

Other Bloggers I’m Loving

Thoughts on Prologues and Epilogues (Let’s Talk Bookish) from Briana @ Pages Unbound
I thought this was a really interesting discussion post!

Summerween TBR Time! from Destiny @ Howling Pages
Check out some spooky books that Destiny is going to read in July.

My 2021 Goals | Mid-Year Check-In from Jess @ Jessticulates
Come see how Jess is doing for their 2021 goals! I think you’re killing it Jess!

Our Friend is Here! A Discussion with Ryan Douglass, Author of The Taking of Jake Livingston – On Why We Need Radical YA Books from Skye @ The Quiet Pond
I love everything that comes from the Quiet Pond, but this post in particular was a great read.

Discover A Reader’s Book Buying Process from Kal @ Reader Voracious
See the how and why behind Kal’s book buying habits!

Book Drop // Library Book Haul from Book Loaner
Check out this library haul!

100 Books By Trans and Non-Binary Authors from Vee @ Vee Bookish
Some great recommendations here. I love the idea of collaboration to come up with ha huge list of recommendations.

Book Recommendations: Pride Month Edition – 10 Books with Bisexual and Pansexual Rep to Read During Pride Month! from CW @ The Quiet Pond
There are some really great recommendations on this list!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Summary:
Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.
But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.
The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the chance to read an early copy of this book. This is my honest review.
What We Devour follows Lorena Adler as her life is changed. She’s spent her whole life hiding her abilities. But when her father figure is about to be arrested, she reveals herself to make a bargain for his life. The Vile crown prince gets Lorena to travel to the capital with him and join his team of researching ways to prevent the Door from opening. This is where I want to talk about the world building. It was complex and interesting, but still easy to understand for me. I loved the concept of the magic of the vilewroughts and the nobelwroughts. I also loved the conversation of corruption. So much of this book focuses on how unfairly the lower class is treated and I thought that was a really great part of the plot.
Lorena was a fascinating character to follow. She’s incredibly clever and smart. She’s managed to hide from the crown for all this time. The only reason she’s found out is because she chose to do the thing that would protect someone she cared about. I really admired her character.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was dark and twisty. The magic was compelling and I was really interested by seeing the different ways people worked with their wroughts. I loved Lorena and all of the side characters. I think thing was a really fun and well told story. I definitely recommend it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

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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 in the middle of a few books. I’ve started and paused a few stories because I’m saving some for when I go on vacation. So, I’m reading The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’m listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon but I’ve also started The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.

Antonia- I’m currently reading The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey.

Antonia- I most recently read Starsight by Brandon Sanderson.

What will you read next?

Amanda- Next, I’m planning to pick up The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson.

Antonia- Next I’ll read The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi.

What are you reading this week?

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Bring to a Deserted Island

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’d Want With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island.

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams China

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

House of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas

What books would you have to have on a deserted island?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’d Bring to a Deserted Island

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 would want with me if I were stranded on a deserted island.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This Mortal Coil trilogy by Emilly Suvada

All of Nora Roberts books.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

So, I cheated a little with this one and included a few series. I think the Throne of Glass series and The Broken Earth trilogy would be excellent selections because I could read them over and over and notice new things with each new read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #3

Hello, lovelies! I’m back with another NetGalley update. Since April, I’ve read a fair bit, but no where near as much as I did in the month of April. Basically, I’ve been trying to keep up with the eARC’s I have that are soon to be published (aside from a few that I’ve fallen behind on that I will get to eventually).

Approvals I’ve Read

Book Cover

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
Publication date: May 4, 2021
Another Rick Riordan Presents title and they never disappoint. This one is about an adopted Korean-American girl that just wants to have the same magic as the rest of her family. So, she and her sister cast something to make that happen and obviously things don’t go as planned. I really loved this one. I loved the sibling relationship and I thought the Korean mythology/folklore was so fascinating.

Off the Record by Camryn Garrett
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
I got this one because I attended a virtual event with Camryn Garrett, Victoria Lee, and Elizabeth Lim. I really enjoyed this one. It covers some pretty tough topics (like sexual assault) and I think it did it very thoughtfully.

Better Together by Christine Riccio
Publication date: June 1, 2021
I really wanted to like this book. I almost DNF’d it in the first 25%, but I pushed through. The writing was really jarring at times and there were a lot of ‘quirky’ things about the characters that I think just didn’t work. I had a good time reading this after a bit, but I wouldn’t say that this was a good book.

Book Cover

Trouble Girls by Julie Lynn Rubin
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A queer YA reimagining of Thelma & Louise, but I just couldn’t get behind it. I didn’t love the romance. I didn’t understand why they just kept running instead of trying to figure out how to fix the problem. I also didn’t like how we got nothing about the after.

A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A Song Below Water was one of my favorite books that I read in 2020. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this one because it follows Naema. I didn’t like her at all in the first book, but I really grew to love her in this story. I think this was an excellent sequel.

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa
Publication date: June 8, 2021
This is the story of a young man that impulsively comes out, nine months before graduation and has to deal with living in a small town filled with expectations that represses his true self. I really enjoyed this story. Julian was a character I had no issues caring about. Getting to follow him as he fell in love for the first time and moved off to college. I really loved Julian and all of his friends.

Book Cover

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi
Publication date: June 15, 2021
This is a middle grade story that follows Rea as her whole world changes. Her brother goes missing and Rea is determined to find him, but she finds way more than what she planned. I really loved this one. I think it’s a really great middle grade story. We get to see Rea gain new friends and learn some really important lessons.

A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart
Publication date: June 22, 2021
I really liked this one. All of the characters were absolutely fascinating, even the one that I wasn’t supposed to like. I loved that Banghart was able to make me feel things for the characters that do terrible things. I thought the magic was really interesting and the politics were absolutely compelling.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller
Publication date: July 6, 2021
This dark and magical fantasy was excellent. I loved Lorena and the prince. I think the concept of the magic was really interesting and pretty well explained. I was sucked into the story right from the start and I didn’t want to put it down until the very end.

Flash Fire by T.J. Klune
Publication date: July 13, 2021
I loved the first book in this series. But sadly, I didn’t love this one. I ended DNF’ing it at about 25%.

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A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers
Publication date: July 13, 2021
Robots abandoned humanity and escaped into the woods. They agreed to come check in, but when they do, the question of ‘what do people need?’ isn’t an easy one to answer. But it must be answered before the robots can return to the woods. I devoured this book. I didn’t realize that it was a novella, so less than 200 pages. I flew through it and I wished that it was a full length novel. I loved everything about this story. It’s diverse and wholesome as hell. I highly recommend.

Approvals on my TBR

We Are Meridians by S. Ghali
Publication date: August 27, 2019
I don’t know why I was approved for this book over a year after it’s publication, but it sounds super good. So, I’m planning to read it soon. It’s about a group of humans that left Earth and traveled into space hundreds of years ago. But now they need to return for something. The people of Earth think that it’s an alien invasion and so obviously it doesn’t go well.

The Twin Paradox by Charles Wachter
Publication Date: August 27, 2020
I got an email from NetGalley with a ‘read now’ option for this one. But I didn’t know this book had already been published. It’s a sci-fi thriller and I’m excited to read it.

Book Cover

Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Publication date: November 1, 2020
I was a part of the blog tour for this book. Find my spotlight post here. I shared a bit of a blurb and other information about the book. Since this has already been released I’ll probably just read it on Kindle Unlimited and share that I read the finished copy in my review. Check out my spotlight post for the full synopsis.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Publication date: November 17, 2020
The only reason I haven’t picked this one up is because I’m scared. It’s a Romeo & Juliet retelling, so there is definitely going to be character deaths and I’m scared. I also have seen so many good things about this book, so I think all of the hype has intimidated me a bit. But I’m planning to read this one this month.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
I honestly don’t know anything about this one except that I’ve heard amazing things about Suri’s books.

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The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Publication date: July 20, 2021
I honestly don’t really know much about this book except something about a spooky house.

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Publication date: August 3, 2021
The second book in the Paola Santiago series and I cannot wait for another adventure with Paola and her friends.

Holdout by Jeffery Kluger
Publication date: August 3, 2021
From the summary, this sounds like a science fiction thriller, which is a sub-genre I’ve recently discovered I really love.

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee
Publication date: August 3, 2021
This is a romance novel by an author I’ve liked before. The romance in this one starts with a game of truth or dare and I’m here for that.

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The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Publication date: August 3, 2021
A debut novel about ghosts in a small town, things you don’t want to meet in a dark corner, and finding a home. I’m excited for this debut novel. I think it’s going to somehow be both spooky and heartwarming.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication date: August 17, 2021
I don’t know what this is about but I’ve really enjoyed her books in the past, so I think I’ll probably like this one too.

Cazadora by Romina Garber
Publication date: August 17, 2021
Magical werewolves. I loved the first book and this is the sequel.

The Boy with Fire by Aparna Verma
Publication date: August 31, 2021
I honestly don’t know anything about this book but it was up for ‘read now’ on NetGalley. I’ve also seen a few people that really loved this.

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The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
I don’t know anything about this other than the comp titles are Red, White, & Royal Blue and One to Watch which I enjoyed both very much.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Publication date: September 21, 2021
I read ‘giant transforming robots’ in the synopsis and that’s honestly all I needed to know.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Publication date: September 21, 2021
I really liked some of his previous books and I’m hopeful that I’ll like this one too.

Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I love this series. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next for Tristan.

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A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I can’t tell if this is actually a Sleeping Beauty retelling or not, but Harrow is one of my favorite authors.

I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin
Publication date: October 12, 2021
This seems like it’s going to be a summer camp sort of story but with peopple going missing and maybe some murder.

Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis
Publication date: October 12, 2021
I had absolutely no business requesting this book. I own the first book, but I haven’t read it. So, requesting an early copy of the second book was not a smart move. But I did it anyway, so hopefully I like the first book.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Publication date: October 19, 2021
Anther one that I don’t know much about aside from it’s a gothic horror (which is something I’m trying to dip my toes into) and some friends have read and loves it that I share a similar reading taste to.

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You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Publication date: November 2, 2021
Julie and her boyfriend, Sam, have plans for the future, for their future together. But then Sam dies and Julie tries to act like he never existed so she can move on. But then things take a sci-fi twist when she calls Sam and instead of his voicemail, he answers the phone.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Publication date: November 9, 2021
The synopsis tagline is that this is an Ethiopian inspired Jane Eyre retelling. It’s also the authors debut fantasy novel.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
I really liked both Foody’s and Herman’s books. So, I’m interested to see what they’ve come up with together. I’ve seen bits and pieces from their social medias and I’m excited for it.

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If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
This is another ‘read now’ that I got in an email from NetGalley. It’s about a boy band on tour and I think it will be excellent.

Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher
Publication date: January 1, 2022
I honestly don’t know what this is about. But I really enjoyed Schumacher’s debut. Also, this cover is totally stunning and I am a sucker sometimes.

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
Publication date: January 11, 2022
The buzz words ‘survival’, ‘found family’, and ‘bond with a wolf’ totally got me.

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The One True Me and You by Remi K. England
Publication date: March 1, 2022
I’ve loved all of England’s books so far, so I have high hopes for this one too.

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
Publication date: March 8, 2022
I liked Saft’s first book and this one sounds right up my alley. Mythical creatures and an ancient magic secret? Yes, please.

These are all of the books that I have coming up on my NetGalley TBR for the foreseeable future. I’m really excited for most of these books and I hope to get my ratio percentage up closer to 100%. Do you use NetGalley? Do you read any advanced copies?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt

Summary:
West Finch is one hurricane away from falling into the sea.
Yet sixteen-year-old Harlow Prout is determined to save her small Maine hometown. If only she could stop getting in her own way and find someone, anyone, willing to help. But her best friend Ellis MacQueen “fixes” problems by running away from them―including his broken relationship with his twin brother, Tommy. And Tommy’s depression has hit a new low, so he’s not up for fixing anything.
In the wake of the town’s latest devastating storm, Tommy goes out for a swim that he doesn’t intend to survive. It’s his unexpected return that sets into motion a sea change between these three teens. One that tests old loyalties, sparks new romance, and uncovers painful secrets. And nothing stays secret in West Finch for long.

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Summary:
The Sea is Salt and So Am I is an advanced copy that I was given via NetGalley so that I could read and review it. Thank you for that NetGalley and the publishers.
This story follows three points of view, Tommy, Ellis, and Harlow. Tommy and Ellis are twin brothers who both have their issues. The book starts off with Tommy attempting suicide. This is a big focus of the story. Everyone is doing their best to make sure that Tommy is okay after his failed attempt. Harlow and Ellis are best friends. They’ve been best friends since they were kids. So, Tommy is depressed. Ellis is an amputee. And Harlow focuses on all the wrong things to ‘fix’ and just creates more problems for herself.
I had a few problems with this book. The biggest one was that I just genuinely didn’t like any of the characters. I think the depression and amputee representation was a great thing. But I didn’t like Harlow and Ellis was sort of an asshole for most of the book. Harlow starts dating Tommy so that she can make sure he doesn’t try to kill himself again. Like, what? More than one person thought that this was okay for these characters? I just didn’t get it. I understood that eventually there were genuine feelings. But Harlow overall, she just wasn’t a character I could get behind. I didn’t root for her. It doesn’t happen often but I actively didn’t like her and the same goes for Ellis. He couldn’t sympathize with the reasons behind his actions and the more I read about him the less I liked him.
Overall, I just didn’t love this book. I loved the environmental topics. There’s mention of the Piping Plovers which are something that I knew lots about from my hometown, so I definitely laughed about their mention. But I also really liked the topic of erosion and the ocean washing away West Finch. I think this was a really great topic. I also think the author did a great job of showing us the story, the relationships, the settings, and not just telling us. There were things that I liked, but my dislike for the characters really put a damper on those things.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Summary:
A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.
Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.
Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.
Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.
Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

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Review:
Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun was provided to me vie NetGalley so that I could read it and write an honest review. This book follows Julain Luna, a teenager that’s in the midst of applying to colleges, his last year of high school, and counting down to the day he leaves Texas so that he can be himself, finally. Julian is gay, but he feels like he can’t tell anyone because of his abusive father. His father knows in that way that isn’t talked about, but he lays hands on Julian, yells at him when Julian does ‘unmanly’ things. The parts of this story where Julian is suffering his fathers verbal and sometimes physical abuse were hard to read. It’s the reality for so many people, but I can’t help but wish that everyone struggling through this would just be loved and accepted by their family. One night, after getting incredibly drunk via the peer pressure of his friends, he comes out on his personal Twitter. This brings a new set of challenges. He’s treated differently at school and by his fellow players on the soccer team. But Julian has a great group of friends on his side and he has his sister. There’s also Mat, the very handsome boy that DM’d Julian after he came out.
I really liked this book. It’s full of heartfelt moments between friends. It’s a lovely story about moving on from high school. But it’s also Julian’s story about coming out and falling in love for the first time. I loved following him as he got to know Mat and then eventually got to meet him. I liked the tense moments of whether or not Julian was going to be able to go to college in California. I absolutely loved the sincere moments between Julian and his sister.
Overall, I really loved this story. I can see how important this story will be to so many people. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s sex positive. It’s gay. It has so many good things that I think will really speak to so many teenagers. I absolutely recommend this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Tropes

Hi, lovelies! I think the concept of tropes is such an interesting one. There are things that have been used in stories so many times that they’ve become a thing. I didn’t really think that I had any favorite tropes, but the more I read, the more I realize that I absolutely do have some favorites. Now, some are general story ones and some are specific events in stories. Let’s get to it!

Friends to lovers

This is my personal favorite trope in romance. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s my real life trope with my husband.

Only one bed

The tension that stems from the ‘only one bed’ trope is just unlike anything else.

Forbidden love

As a teen, I was a big supporter of doing things I wasn’t supposed to do, so the whole people loving people they ‘shouldn’t’ because it creates such excellent drama and conflict.

Second chance romance

This is another real life trope for me. So, it totally checks out why I love this one.

Forced proximity

I think this one is another great one just because of the tension that’s created from the trope. I love to see characters that are trapped somewhere together that they don’t want to be.

Reluctant hero

The chosen one trope was really popular and still is, but I love me some reluctant heroes. A main characters that doesn’t particularly want to save the whatever, but they will because they’re the hero.

Fake dating

This one is incredibly popular. I like it, too. It’s fun watching a couple that’s totally in denial about their feelings for one another slowly realize they do actually love each other.

These are some of my favorite tropes. What are some of yours?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.