Blogtober Day Twenty-Four: Five Star Predictions

Hello, bookworms! Today we are here with a fun topic: books we think will be 5 star reads. We both have so many great sounding books oon our TBR’s so we thought it would be fun to list a few that we think will be five stars. We’re thinking that when Blogmas comes around we will do a wrap up post where we talk about what the actual ratings of these predictions are and maybe even predict a few more!

Amanda’s Predictions

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Antonia’s Predictions

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

Rules for Being a Girl by Candice Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

These are the books we think we will love (that we plan to read relatively soon). What books on your TBR do you predict to be new favorites?

Blogtober Book Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

GoodReads Summary:
What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected–and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
I Killed Zoe SpanosReview:
If you need a mystery/thriller for spooky season, this is the one you need to pick up. This book is almost 400 pages but I had to keep reading until it was finished. I needed to know what really happened and how the story ended. I didn’t love how it concluded, but I loved everything else.
I Killed Zoe Spanos follows a few different perspectives. We get to see ‘now’ and ‘then’ chapters. The story starts with our main character Anna in a juvenile detention center. But then we go back and see her spending her summer in Herron Mills working as a nanny. I think this was of storytelling was so effective. We get to know a bit of the present and a bit of the past and are left wondering the details of what happened in the middle. Frick did an amazing job of giving little bits of the relevant details here and there, just enough to leave the reader wanting more. I don’t usually come up with theories or predictions, but with this book, I had so many that were constantly changing. My first theory that I was so sure was right was completely wrong, but I did have a second one that turned out to be true.
I really liked Anna. She’s a girl that’s let her life get a little out of control. She parties too much and has more nights that she can’t remember than she would like to admit. This is something I can relate to because parts of high school were like this for me as well. So, she moves to Herron Mills for the summer to try to get away from it all. She needs a break and this is her chance. But while she’s there she gets a weird sense of déjà vu, like she’s remembering things that she shouldn’t know. I thought she was an interesting character. She wanted to do the right thing, which led her to get arrested for Zoe’s murder.
We also sort of follow Martina who is best friends with Zoe’s younger sister, Aster. Martina has a podcast all about what happened to Zoe. We get some chapters that are transcripts of the podcast, which I really enjoyed. Martina interviewed people and gave a new perspective to the mystery of what really happened to Zoe. I liked Martina too. She’s Aster’s best friend, but they have issues about the podcast, especially in the later episodes. We also get to see Martina and Aster in the past when they meet Anna for the first time and hang out with her at other points.
Overall, I liked this book so much. It was so good. The different aspects of the story kept me sucked in. I also thought it was interesting that the story for Anna’s ‘then’ chapters were in the first person, but all of the chapters for ‘now’ were in the third person (until the past catches up with the present of course. I am just so impressed by this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Three: Backlist Book Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! This list is all books that I’ve been wanting to recommend but couldn’t manage to find a way to include them in any of the other recommendations posts so far this month. There are quite a few books on this list, so I’m not going into overly long descriptions or reasons why you should read them. I just want to do a quick list post with maybe a sentence for two for each book.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – Confusing and magical and a love story to literature.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Dark and gritty. Yale but with magic.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw – A girl that lives near a creepy, maybe magical, forrest.

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver – Did they murder their best friend? Or is there something else going on?

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, but make it sort of horror.

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black – Interesting twist on vampires. Also sort of dystopian.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter – Summer camp for supernaturals.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Jane Eyre but with ghosts.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl – A girl meets with old friends and they all die.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – Four family’s with supernatural powers basically fail at protecting their town.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Unreliable narrator with memory loss and something about a fire.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – An evil rock, queer girls, and creepy legends.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry – Maybe aliens have arrived on Earth? Let’s YouTube it.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes – A girl in denial about her mother’s death and a boy who may or may not fail out of school adventure to find out truths about the past.

So, these are some books that I think would be perfect to read this October but couldn’t figure out how to put them in any other list. These are all books that I really enjoyed and have read during past spooky seasons. Just making this list makes me want to reread them all. What backlist books are on your list for spooky season recommendations?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

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GoodReads Summary:
Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.
In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.
Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.
When the Sky Fell on SplendorReview:
I am officially a huge fan of Emily Henry’s books. I’ve read three of her books now, and one that she co-wrote with Brittany Cavallaro. When the Sky Fell on Splendor is a story that may or may not be about aliens, but it also might be about ghosts and I still really don’t even know. So, if you’ve read this, please let me know. We follow The Ordinary while they investigate small town things like ghost stories and legends. I loved this premise. The Ordinary’s are a weird found family. They’re 100% dysfunctional and not always in a good way. I think that’s what I liked most about them though. Franny and her brother have a complicated relationship. Their older brother is in a coma and their mother walked out on them. Their dad isn’t really a dad, just an adult that lives with them. So, they’ve been through some hard things. But the love they have for one another is so obvious. The rest of the gang has also each been through their own hardships. I’m not going to get into the details of each of them, but this is a found family for a reason. They’ve all had their share of grief, and that’s what keeps them together but not in a way where they talk about their past. They are a family that avoids, which was so relatable.
What I loved about this story was that I really had no idea what was going on most of the time. Something crashes nearby while The Ordinary’s are working on their next ghost story documentary for their YouTube channel. Obviously, they go to investigate. They encounter something weird and electrical and wake up with several missing hours. Things sort of just get weirder from here. There are some ghost story mysteries, but also maybe some alien intervention. There’s also a murderous neighbor that gave the story a thriller vibe. It really just kept me guessing and once I got to end and everything was revealed it was sad and wonderful.
Overall, I’m very excited to read the one last book by Emily Henry that I haven’t gotten to. I loved the characters. I loved how bizarre this story was. I loved the dysfunctional and hurting found family. There was such a heartwarming talk about grief and what it means to lose people, whether they die or just leave. I loved this book.

Quotes:

“How many billions of things had to happen just right to give me this ordinary life.”

“There were still pieces of us we so badly wished each other could see and yet couldn’t make ourselves ask for, and there was anger and resentment and it still all hurt, but right now, we were here, and if we stayed long enough, things might start to heal, even a little bit.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
Slayer (Slayer, #1)Review:
I’ve really enjoyed most of White’s books, but I was never a huge Buffy fangirl. I’ve watched and liked it well enough, but I’m not wild for it like some people are. So, I wasn’t super excited about this book when it was released like some people were. I definitely wanted to read it (obviously, because I bought it). I actually really enjoyed this book.
The story follows Nina. She’s training to be a medic for the Watchers. The supernatural world isn’t what it once was. Buffy has done something that has eliminated magic, and also changed the way that Slayers come into their power. There’s a rift between the Slayers and the Watchers, so when Nina realizes that she is the last Slayer that will ever be chosen, she really struggles with it. Nina’s dad was Buffy’s first Watcher. He died, and Nina really holds a grudge against Buffy for it. She doesn’t particularly care for any of the Slayers. So, when she learns that she is one, she has some really mixed feelings. She’s impressed and excited about her new abilities, but she doesn’t want to be a Slayer.
Eventually, Nina realizes that it isn’t about what she wants. It’s about what she’s supposed to do. There are complications in the form of Nina’s relationships. Her mother has been trying to keep Nina from realizing that she’s a potential Slayer for Nina’s entire life. Nina’s twin, Artemis, is also a complication because they’ve always been close but Artemis has always been the one to look out for Nina and protect her. But Nina doesn’t need protection anymore and this changes their relationship dynamic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were really interesting and complicated relationships. There were demons and monsters. There were teenagers doing their best to save the world. And there were also some moments where we got to see Buffy. I sort of hope she makes an appearance in the second book, even if it’s just for a minute. I loved the action, but most of all, I loved the characters and their friendships.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

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GoodReads Summary:
Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.
But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.
Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?
The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.
Burn Our Bodies DownReview:
First, I want to say a huge thank you to my wonderful friend over at Books in the Skye for gifting me the audiobook for Burn Our Bodies Down for my birthday. I found a new narrator that I really enjoy and this story was wonderfully weird. The story follows Margot as she’s searching for answers. She lives with her mother and has never known any other family. She wants to know who her family is and what her mother is hiding. She absolutely gets more than she bargained for.
Margot was a really interesting character. Her drive was just to find her family, to find someone that would show that they loved her. She just wanted her mother to choose her. I don’t think I really understood her though. When she finds and goes to her grandmother, she gets almost the same treatment as she did when she was with her mother. Her mother and grandmother both lied and hid things from her. I understood her desire to ferret out the secrets that she knew were hiding in her grandmother’s home, but I personally would have gotten the hell out of there and written off the whole family.
Overall, this book was spectacularly creepy. I didn’t see the end coming and it was absolutely disturbing. The mystery and suspense kept me going. I loved that Margot was a lesbian, but there wasn’t really any romance in the story. She made a friend, but there wasn’t a romance plotline and I appreciated that. I definitely cannot wait to see what Rory Power comes out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Two: Series on my TBR

Hello, bookworms! For one of last year’s Blogmas posts (find it here) Amanda talked about series that she owned and needed to finish. In August, she finally finished the last series on that list. So, drawing inspiration from that success we decided for one of this year’s Blogtober posts we would make a list of new series that we’ve started and not yet finished. This post will double as Blogtober content and as a way to keep us accountable to finish these series before the end of the year! We’re planning to do a follow up post for Blogmas. This list is only for series that are completed, not series that are sill being published.

Amanda’s Series To Finish

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand: I read the first two books of this series in August for Tome Topple. It’s for sure going to make the list for my 2020 favorites. The final book comes out October 13th and I’m very eager to get my hands on it.

The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn: I’ve been working on reading my physical TBR this year and Alex Flinn’s books have been high on that list. I’ve read a few of them, so some have been rereads. But I’ve never finished this series, so I’m looking forward to finally getting back into this series. Especially since it’s a favorite of Antonia’s.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I started this series years and years ago. It was actually Antonia’s mom that recommended it to me and let me borrow her copy. But I made it to the fourth book and then lost said book. I never did find it, so I bought Antonia’s mom a new copy (she was rereading the series) and then never managed to finish it.

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson: This is one that I plan to pick up this month. The graphic novel series follows twelve Gods who reincarnate into humans every ninety years. This series is dark as hell and I fucking love it. It’s only gotten more bizarre with each installment and I’m excited to read the five volumes I have left.

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout: This is actually a reread. I reread the first two books this past spring because of Armentrout’s new series, The Harbinger, which is set in the same world. I just have the third book left and they’re pretty quick reads. So, I think I’ll probably pick it up this month.

The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa: This is another reread. It was announced earlier this year that Kagawa is writing more books set in this world. Puck is finally going to get his own story and I’m so excited for it. I also only have the final book in this series to read, but then I’m going to read the Call of the Forgotten series which is also set in the same world. Hopefully by then, The Iron Raven will be released.

Antonia’s Series To Finish

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa: This is going to be my next read after I finish the book I’m on now. I’ve been so excited for this one and Amanda hasn’t been helping- she’s told me multiple times the ending is going to tear my heart out and I can’t wait.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand: Amanda recommended this one, it’s probably a little overambitious for me to try to read the whole series before the end of the year given how big my TBR list is but I want to at least start it.

The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova: I read the first three books forever ago after Amanda’s insistence but the end of the third book made me so sad and angry that I couldn’t make myself continue. I’m hoping to get back into it soon.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini: Amanda and I were buddy reading this series last year and then life got in the way and I never got around to finishing the last one (it’s a reread). I really want to actually finish it finally.

Feverwake by Victoria Lee: Another series Amanda recommended that I’m really excited to start.

What series are you hoping to finish up before 2020 ends?

Blogtober Book Review: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

GoodReads Summary:
In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.
When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?
Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?
The Night Olivia FellReview:
I’m having a hard time while thinking about this book. I don’t think I would say that I enjoyed it, but I really needed to know what happened. I think the author did a good job writing this story. The twists and turns were not ones I predicted. I think I would have liked this book if Olivia had just died. But her being in the hospital with no brain activity, but being kept alive because she was pregnant made me uncomfortable. I think that’s because I have a daughter and since having her, I have a tough time with bad things happening to kids.
I liked that the story went back and forth between Olivia’s perspective in the past and Abi’s perspective in the present. I thought this was a good way to create more suspense. We follow Abi as she tries to figure out what happened to Olivia, but we also get to see the events from Olivia’s point of view leading up to that night.
Overall, this was a well written and interesting story. Certain parts didn’t sit well with me, but that’s a personal thing for me. The book was suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down until I knew exactly what had happened. I was also really happy with the ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-One: WWW Wednesday

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Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next, and have read recently.

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Lightbringer by Claire Legrand.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished The Last 8 & The First 7 by Laura Pohl. The audiobooks were so good please read them.

Antonia- I most recently read A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next, I’m going to try to read the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown via the audiobooks.

Antonia- Next I’ll read House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you’re reading in the comments!

Blogtober Day Twenty (Part Two): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recommended to Me

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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 a list of books I read because someone recommended them to me (and who recommended them!)

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakroborty

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Rules for Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Rinn Solomon

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

These are all the books Amanda recommended for me. What recent recommendations have you gotten?

Blogtober Day Twenty (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books Recommended to Me

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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 Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me (tell us who recommended them, if you want!)

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
My good friend Adrianna recommended this over and over and I’m so glad that she did. You can find her on twitter here!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
I loved this book so so much. I’m so glad that I watched one of Riley Marie’s vlogs (watch here!) where she read this book and loved it.

Rules for Being a Girl by Candice Bushnell & Katie Cotugno
Forever thankfully to my Twinny for coming at me with the best recommendations. Check out her blog, The Bookish Chick, for some great reviews.

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Paige (find her on Twitter here!) raved about this book. I’d previously read and enjoyed one of Heilig’s books and I bought this one to get signed at an event I saw her at. But Paige is the reason I actually picked it up.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I was at the point of almost unhauling this before even reading it (while trying to cull my physical TBR to a less overwhelming number) but the way that Heathur from Aphrodite Reads absolutely raved about it had me rethinking that. I’m so glad I kept and read it because it was incredible.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
My best bean got this book for me and I am eternally grateful. Check out Avhlee @ Tea Cups and Torn Pages, you won’t regret it. This, so far, hold the space for my favorite book of 2020.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
This one was fabulous and I liked Thorne’s second book even better. Big thanks to Chelseadollingreads.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
This is a wonderful book that is horrifyingly underrated. I wish more people knew about this series. It’s basically Percy Jackson but with Chinese Folklore and every second was nothing but enjoyable. Also, I listened to the audiobooks which I highly recommend. The only other person who I’ve seen talk about this series (and she’s why I discovered the second book was out) is Books in the Skye.

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller
Another amazing book that I only read because of my dear friend, Avhlee.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
My wonderful friend Rae (find her at Novels & Notions) bought this book for me and I am so so glad because this trilogy earned a place in my all-time favorites list.

What books have you read because of someone else and ended up loving them? I’d love to see your post this week!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

GoodReads Summary:
The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.
The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.
But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.
Blanca & RojaReview:
This is the first of McLemore’s books that I’ve read and let me assure you, it won’t be the last. I am eager to read more of their books. Their writing is nothing short of stunning and I was so awed by this story. Blanca & Roja follows two sisters, Blanca and Roja, and then two others, Page and Yearling. I loved all four of these characters. The sisters are part of a family that has been cursed. There are conflicting stories about where it started, but every generation there are two daughters and one of them is chosen by the swans to become one of them and leave their family.
Blanca is a fierce protector of her younger sister, the one everyone thinks will be chosen by the swans. Blanca is the fairer sister, the sweeter sister, the nicer sister. But Blanca isn’t going to just let the swans take Roja. She loves her sister and will do anything, including making a deal so that the swans will take her instead of Roja. But she keeps a secret and this changes their relationship.
Roja is fiery. I adored Roja, always the other sibling. Her hair is dark brown with red in it, she is darker than Blanca. She is full of fire and anger. I loved every second I got to spend with Roja. She’s always expected to be the ones that the swans chose, despite what Blanca tries to tell her. She loves her sister dearly. But she realizes that Blanca is keeping a secret and things sour. But these two girls love each other so much that they are both willing to sacrifice themselves to the swans to save the other.
Then come Page and Yearling. The two boys disappear into the woods one day and aren’t seen again until the swans come for either Blanca or Roja. They are an unlikely set of best friends. They both have issues with their family’s but different sorts of issues. Yearling comes from a wealthy family, but he really doesn’t like how his family acquired that wealth and he wants to get the truth out to the public. Yearling is another person that has anger inside him. He gets in fights often. He’s a conflicted young man. He’s changed after he comes out of the woods. He’s having to figure a lot of things out and I liked his story. Page is a genderqueer boy that uses he/she pronouns but prefers male-gendered language. I loved Page. He was so soft and sweet and full of love. He was struggling with his family because he wasn’t sure they could give him what he needed.
I adored the relationships. The sisters were full of love but complex and interesting. I loved how much they loved one another. Both girls find themselves with feelings for the boys that came to them from the woods. Blanca and Page’s relationship was so sweet, much like the characters. They are both full of softness and love. Yearling and Roja are the opposite, full of spit and fire. Both couples find something of themselves in the other, someone that understands the things they feel.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The writing was beautiful. The characters were wonderful. The plot was slow and quiet, but there was so much emotion and love within these pages. There was magic and romance, sacrifice, and mystery. I cannot wait to pick up another one of McLemore’s books.

Quotes:

“I was a girl who would never exist in a fairy tale, not just because of the brown of my body but because of my heart, neither pure enough to be good nor cruel enough to be evil. I was a girl lost in the deep, narrow space between the two forms girls were allowed to take.”

“We find what is beautiful in what is broken. We find what is heartening in what is terrifying. We find the stars in the woods’ deepest shadows.”

“My sister and I had been born fair and dark, her looking like a girl in a fairy tale who would grow up sweet, a princess, and me like one who would grow into a cruel witch. I had seen the pictures in storybooks. I knew what I was, with my bloodstained hair. Girls like me were marked for the swans. How could they ever take a girl like Blanca?”

“Page set her hand on the small of my back. She did it like it was only to guide me around rocks or fallen pinecones. But when she did it, I was that glass jar with a candle set inside. The heart of me was as soft as the wax of the tea light.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Nineteen: Books With Witches

Hello, lovelies! Who doesn’t love witches around Halloween? That’s today’s topic: witches. I want to talk about some books I really loved that feature witches. Some of them are maybe not called witches, but they are all books with people that do magic. There were entirely too many to choose from, so I tried to stick to the more traditional idea of magic.

Year One by Nora Roberts: This is an ‘end of the world’ sort of story, so if you’re feeling overly anxious in the world’s current state, maybe skip this one. But this trilogy is incredible. A plague spreads through the world, some die, but others awaken with magical powers or identities. I loved the creativity of this story and what the world could look like in a situation like this. I also sort of loved how dark this story was. Nora Robert’s series are usually romantic and dramatic, but this was the opposite. The series was dark and gritty and I loved every page of all three books.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: What a sweet summer story. I know this is a list for October books, which this one would still be good for. It’s a story of family and self discovery. The women in this family all have magic, but it’s nearing Georgina’s eighteenth birthday and she still doesn’t have her magic. The twin sisters were my favorite. I loved the family dynamics and the tight knit community.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer: I read this one recently and it was everything I wanted it to be. The setting was stunning and the characters were fascinating. The story follows two covens that have to come together to prevent three brothers bringing something back to life. There was OCD representation and one of the main characters is bisexual. I highly recommend this one.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moria Fowley-Doyle: This one is less witches and more someone casts a spell from a mysterious spell book they find and it affects everyone in town. It was full of mystery and incredible characters. The relationship dynamics between all the different character were what made this story so great. There were friendships and romantic relationships that I was easily invested in. I also loved the representation. Two of the characters we follow are bisexual.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: Gay witches. That’s all I want to say. This book takes place in Salem, MA (I just love books that take place in my home state). There are all sorts of witches for all the elements. I really liked that the rules oof magic are very clearly defined which is something I always appreciate. There were really great family dynamics too. I just all around loved it.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: Ceony has just graduated from magic school and as an apprentice must learn from a master magician. She was hoping to be assigned to a metal magician, but instead she gets paper. She will bond with paper forever. What I loved about this book was the creativity of the magic. Magic works with materials, metal, paper, and glass, among others. I really enjoyed getting to see Ceony learn this type of magic (called folding). It was such a fun and enjoyable story.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Sideways is a witch and a lesbian. When she is hired by the three most popular girls at her school to cast a spell at their first Halloween party of the year. Things don’t go quite as Sideways planned and she somehow ends up absorbed into their friendship. I loved these girls. They’re fierce, they’re angry, and they don’t take shit from a gods damned soul. I loved literally every page and I am so happy it’s a trilogy. I loved that Sideways barely knew what she was doing, but still took the time to teach her new friends what she knew and let them learn new things along with her. They’re my all time favorite girl gang.

That’s all I have for you today. These are a few books with witches or magicians that I really enjoyed and I hope you will too! What books with witches did I leave out that I should know about? Please leave me some recommendations below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eighteen: If You Liked This, Then Read That

Hey, lovelies! I want to start by saying a big thank you to my favorite human, Alana (find her here!), for helping think of this post idea. Today I am going to be recommending some books that are all great for October. I thought it would be fun to recommend books based off of other books. So, this will be a ‘if you liked this book, try that book’ kind of post, but they’re all books that would be great to read during the spooky season.

If you liked Sadie by Courtney Summers then you should try I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan. Sadie is a girl that is trying to find out what happened to her younger sister. At the same time, we get chapters that are written in the format of a podcast (which is why the audiobook is so great). The podcast is several months after Sadie’s chapters and it’s trying to find out what happened to her. I Hope You’re Listening follows Dee. Ten years ago, she saw her best friend abducted. In the present timeline, a new family moved into her best friends old house and the young girl that lives there is kidnapped. Dee is equally horrified and fascinated. One of the thing’s Dee did to move on from seeing her best friend kidnapped was to start a podcast that focuses on current kidnapping cases. She brings awareness to current cases and directs the internet to see if they can find anything that might help solve these cases. These two books both follow young girls that have dealt with loss. They both also have taken to trying to find the truth themselves or with the help of others. Also, both have podcasts. I really enjoyed both of these books and I think you will too.

If you liked Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power you might like The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Burn Our Bodies Down follows Margot, who has always been desperate for family outside of her mother. So, when she finds out that she has a grandmother she travels to meet her. Things get weird at her grandmothers house. Margot realizes that she is surrounded by secrets and she’s desperate to get to the truth. The Roanoke Girls is about Lane moving in with her grandparents after her mother commits suicide. The women in this family have either left and not been heard from again or they’re dead. This family is full of secrets and Lane can’t help but run when she learns the truth. But she returns when she hears here cousin, Allegra, is now missing. These two books are both full of family secrets and young girls that are determined to learn the truth, but the truths they discover might be more than they bargained for. I loved Burn Our Bodies Down and mostly liked The Roanoke Girls but they definitely have some common elements.

If you liked Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson you will probably like A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. Truly Devious follows Stevie after she’s been accepted to the famous Ellingham Academy in Vermont. Stevie is determined to solve the schools cold case. The founders wife and daughter were kidnapped shortly after the school opened. While she’s working on that, one of her fellow students is murdered. There is more going on at this school that Stevie realizes. A Study in Charlotte is a Sherlock Holmes retelling of sorts. It follows Charlotte and Jamie who are descendants of Holmes and Watson. They end up going to the same boarding school where they are being framed for murder. These two books obviously have the boarding school in common. But they also both are filled with diverse characters and murders that aren’t quite what they seem. They also both have complicated romances that I absolutely adore.

If you liked Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus you should try Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. Two Can Keep a Secret is the story of Ellery moving to her mother’s home town to live with her grandmother. Her aunt went missing years and years ago and five years ago, the homecoming queen was killed. Someone is making threats. Threats that say this will be the most dangerous homecoming season in five years. The threats aren’t taken seriously until a girl goes missing. There are all kinds of secrets in this town and they’re all going to come to light. Little Monsters follows Kacey after she moves to a new town to live with her dad and his new family. She suddenly has a stepmother, a stepbrother, and a half sister. She almost doesn’t trust the calm when she settles into her new life and makes friends with Jade and Bailey. Then Bailey disappears, and everyone is looking to Kacey for answers. She doesn’t know if there is anyone she can trust anymore. So, these two stories both follow girls that have not so great mothers that cause them to move to new towns. In those new towns, things are probably not as perfect as they seem at first look. I liked both of these, but I cannot recommend Little Monsters enough and I wish more people talked about it.

If you liked A Million Junes by Emily Henry you might like We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund. A Million Junes follows June who is dealing with the grief of losing her father. The one rule that’s been instilled in her is to stay away from the Angerts. But when Saul comes back to town, there’s just something about him that she can’t stay away from. The two join together to figure out what the truth behind their family feud is. They find magic, ghosts, and secrets. We Speak in Storms is the story of three characters, Joshua, Brenna, and Callie. It’s been 50 years since the tornado that destroyed the drive-in movie theatre, and on it’s fiftieth anniversary another tornado comes. The three main characters are all outsiders and they’ve been brought together when they don’t know that they need it. They work together to solve their problems and the problems of the past. I chose these two together because they both involve ghosts and history that needs to be righted.

These are the ten books I’ve chosen for my first attempt at ‘if you like this book then try that one’. I hope you agree with my choices because I had so much fun picking out comparisons for some of the more well known books. I tried to highlight books that I don’t often see anyone talking about. I enjoyed these books very much and I hope you will too. Do you have any books that you think would work for these comparisons?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

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GoodReads Summary:
The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.
Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.
May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.
Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.
With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.
But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast…
The Deck of Omens (The Devouring Gray, #2)Review:
The Deck of Omens was everything I wanted it to be. Check out my review which talks about how much I loved the first book here. In this second book, the Gray has started to corrupt the rest of Four Paths. Some really weird stuff is going on and no one seems to have noticed other than May. May is a troubled girl. She’s under her mother’s thumb, mostly because there is nothing more May wants than her mother’s approval and praise. Despite that, she’s starting to do things that she knows her mother wouldn’t like. One of those things is to call her father. He comes to town to help May, but there’s so much about May and Justin’s father that we (and they) don’t know. I thought the addition of the Hawthorne dad was a really interesting twist, especially when we learn all of his secrets.
I would still die for Violet and Harper. I thought Harper’s challenge of learning how to manage her abilities was a good one. She is pulled between Violet’s mom and Justin’s mom because they both want to train her. I loved the stand that Harper took in this situation. She made it clear that she was in control of her own life and her own abilities and I really appreciated that. Violet is still my favorite. She’s finally trusting her mom and they have a good relationship. But the more she learns about the history of the town and her ancestors, the more she realizes that she still doesn’t know the whole truth. I loved that Violet and Isaac spent more time together. Seeing Isaac open up to Violet literally set my heart on fire. I loved everything about their relationship. Isaac has had some really terrible things happen in his life. But he’s finally working toward doing better for himself, getting what he actually deserves rather than punishing himself for the past. But his brother, Gideon, comes back to town and that brings up all sorts of emotions for him. I liked seeing Isaac and Gideon because we get a new perspective on Isaac’s past from Gideon that we didn’t have before. I think Isaac had some tremendous character growth and I am so proud of him. I just really didn’t care about Justin at all. Christine Lynn Herman really hurt him, but I still couldn’t find it in myself to care.
Overall, I loved this story. I think it was a great conclusion to this duology. I loved these characters with my whole heart. They all grew so much and ended in a way where they made the best choices for themselves and I thought that was amazing. Please read this and love it as much as I do.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.