We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

GoodReads Summary:
In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to. Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Anna-Marie McLemore.
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?
We Unleash the Merciless Storm (We Set the Dark on Fire, #2)Review:
We Unleash the Merciless Storm was a great ending for the story of Dani and Carmen and the world they live in. I realize that I didn’t really explain much in my review of the first book (read it here if you feel like it). I’m going to spoil a few things from the first book, so please don’t continue this review if you don’t want spoilers for We Set the Dark on Fire (just know I absolutely loved both books and they’re super gay and you should read them.) This story takes place in a world where the inner island and outer island are at odds. In the first book, Dani and Carmen are both just finishing school. They end up married with Dani as the Primera and Carmen as the Segunda. The man they marry is high up in Medio’s government. Which is great as both girls are working for the resistance organization that goes by La Voz. La Voz is working to bring down the Median government which basically is just run by the wealthy people on the island and leaves the rest to live in poverty. So much more happens in this story, but that was a quick overview.
One of the best things about this book was that, unlike the first book which was entirely from Dani’s perspective, this story is told by Carmen. I loved this because there was so much that was unknown about Carmen with where the first book ended. I really loved getting to know her history. Carmen also really struggled between her feelings for Dani and coming back to a home that she doesn’t totally recognize anymore. At the end of book one, Carmen is taken back to La Voz home base and that’s where this book starts. Carmen has been gone from La Voz for several years while she was deep undercover going to school to become a Segunda. So, when she comes back, she doesn’t totally recognize the La Voz that was her home before she left. Her best friend, Alex, is angry with her. And there’s someone new, someone, that is whispering into the Vulture’s ear. The Vulture is the leader of La Voz, but he isn’t acting like the leader that Carmen knows him to be. I loved the mystery of the ending which I’m not going to say anything further about because of spoilers. I also really enjoyed the conclusion in general. I would have liked to have gotten a ‘ten years later’ or something, but I was still satisfied with the ending. I really enjoyed all of the parts with Carmen and Dani reuniting, but also Carmen’s journey to get to Dani and find out what was going on was just as good. As much as I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Dani until a decent way through the story, I think the anticipation of her and Carmen reuniting is what got me through.
Overall, I loved this book and I wish more people talked about this series. The world is fascinating and diverse. The relationship is queer and I’m so obsessed with it. There are wonderful friendships and a found family. I just think this is a great book and a great series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

GoodReads Summary:
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
We Set the Dark on FireReview:
We Set the Dark on Fire totally blew me away. I bought this book as a kindle daily deal a few months ago and I’m so glad that I did. It was basically what the synopsis said the story is, but it was still so good.
The story was a bit predictable, but honestly, that made it better. The anticipation of the things I predicted happening was the best part of this story. Dani is picked to be the Primera of an up and coming politician. His family is one of the most powerful in the country. Dani was struggling with many emotions. She was trained that Primera’s don’t show those emotions. They are strong, logical, and strategic. They are equals with their husbands, there to support their careers and households. Dani was trying to pretend to be the perfect Primera when in reality she was anything but that.
Which brings us to Carmen, Dani’s rival at school. Carmen is chosen as Segunda. This was a challenge for Dani because Carmen was never very nice to Dani and now the two live together and are married to the same man, and essentially each other. They grow closer while they live together. I really loved these two getting to know one another better outside of their school rivalry.
Overall, this book was excellent. There was a female/female romance that I am totally obsessed with. They also attempt to overthrow the government. Dani is more or less forced to join the resistance and I love stories like that. Women fighting against a corrupt system is something I always want to read about.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR 2020

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 On My Fall 2020 TBR.

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Slayer by Kiersten White

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

What books are you hoping to read this fall? Share your post in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

GoodReads Summary:
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to the critically acclaimed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
Sal Vidon doesn’t want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal’s father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi’s efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
Readers who enjoyed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe will relish being back in the world of Culeco Academy and the Coral Castle along with such unforgettable characters as American Stepmom, the Gabi-Dads, Principal Torres, and the sassy entropy sweeper. With multiple Sals and Gabis in charge, it’s no wonder this sequel offers even more hilarious weirdness and love than the first book.
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #2)Review:
I absolutely adored Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (read my review here), so I was beyond excited for this sequel. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to finally pick it up, but it was everything I expected.
So, in the last book, Sal and Gabi finally let their parents in on what they’ve been doing with the holes that Sal can make in the universe. That’s one aspect I really liked about this book (and series) the parents were actually involved in what was going on, for the most part. In this sequel, Sal is definitely hiding some things from his Papi, but he did it for what he thought were the right reasons. I really also loved the school that Sal and Gabi go to. There’s such a sense of community and it’s just such a wonderful place. I can only hope to find a school like that for my child in the future.
The thing I liked best about this story was the characters. Sal is a boy that has diabetes. He doesn’t let it hinder his life, but it’s very present in the story. I really liked this aspect of the story. On top of Sal’s diabetes, he’s Cuban (as are many of the other characters in the story.) I loved that the main cast of characters was diverse and interesting.
Gabi, Sal’s best friend, is equally one of the best parts of this book. She’s such a take-charge girl and I love her so much. She has such a huge heart and does anything she can for the people in her life. I love her caring personality and I love her family. She has such an interesting and wonderful family dynamic that I loved seeing in this book. She has many dads and I love how different and loving her family is.
Overall, this book was amazing. The story was interesting and kept me wanting to read non-stop, but also want to read it slowly so that it wouldn’t be over. This story is so full of love, supportive friendships, adventure, and a whole bunch of science I could never understand. This series is one I will scream about forever.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

GoodReads Summary:
A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution – but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.
Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.
Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.
As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…
A Rogue of One's Own (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2)Review:
A Rogue of One’s Own follows Lady Lucie who spearheads a group of suffragists who are fighting for their rights as women. They are trying to fight against something being passed in the government that would essentially make women property once they got married. Lucie is very passionate about women’s rights. So passionate that it’s the reason she’s estranged from her family. I really liked Lucie. She was a fun character that cares deeply about important things. Lucie is adaptable. When obstacles find their way in her path, she paves a new one and I really liked this about her. She’s stubborn and always has a plan. But she also has wonderful friends who help her come up with new ideas when she’s at a loss for what to do next. I liked that Lucie’s friendships were just as much a part of this book as the romance.
Enter romantic interest: Tristan. Tristian was a friend of Lucie’s brother, so he was around every summer during her childhood. He played endless pranks on Lucie so she doesn’t like him much. But when he buys the other half of the publishing company she’s hoping to use to further her causes, it causes trouble.
I wouldn’t quite call this a hate-to-love romance because yes, Lucie hates Tristan, but Tristan doesn’t hate Lucie and never has. I really enjoyed the banter between the two. Lucie comes to realize her feelings was also great. The best part was Lucie coming to terms with falling in love while also still being the spearhead of a very important cause for women. She’s struggling to make both work in her life, but she realizes that she isn’t willing to give either of them up.
Overall, this story was entertaining and very enjoyable. I loved Lucie and I loved Tristan. I enjoyed the romance and the steamier scenes. I adored the friendships and family drama. If you like historical romance, you’ll love this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

GoodReads Summary:
In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip—and it’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.
Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?
She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.
Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.
The Black Veins (Dead Magic Book 1)Review:
The Black Veins was a really fun and diverse story. In this world, magic is real. But it’s a secret. There are spells to hide magical places (like Blythe’s family’s coffee shop) from those without magic. I thought the world itself was really interesting. There is a government to the magical world. But there’s also more than one. The Black Veins is one and the other is newer, the Trident Republic which is painted to be the enemy. Blythe hears a song one night, a song that leads her almost right off the edge of her roof. This is when the Black Veins steps in and decides it’s time for the Guardians to go somewhere safe. So, Blythe gets ready to leave her family and to be taken in by the Black Veins, but before that can happen her entire family is kidnapped by the Trident Republic. Blythe goes with the Black Veins when they come for her, but she has a different mission: to convince the other Guardians to help rescue her family by going to the most dangerous place for them.
The best part of this book was the characters. Each of the Guardians was so different. I really loved them all. I think a part of that was the fact that they didn’t really get along at first. None of them wanted to be there, leaving their homes and family. Some were snarky, some scared, but I loved all of them. And I grew to love them as they grew to one another.
Overall, this book was wonderful. It was diverse and full of amazing relationships. There was action and adventure, grief, and emotion, all of the best things. I cannot wait to read more of this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

GoodReads Summary:
As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.
The Gravity of UsReview:
I made the best decision ever and chose to listen to the audiobook for this story. The audiobook was incredible. There is one narrator that tells most of the story. These are the parts of Cal’s story. But there are also some interludes where we get bits and pieces of the TV show that surrounds NASA and this is narrated by several different people. It was so well done and I enjoyed it so much.
I really liked Cal. He knew what he wanted from life and he was doing his best to go get it. But also, he’s still a teenager so he has to listen to his parents. I really liked how passionate he was about being a reporter. He has a large following and pushes the limits of his life to continue giving his loyal followers content.
I also really liked how Cal’s views changed after moving. He was desperate to move back to Brooklyn as soon as he moved. But the longer he was there the more he made friends and ended up liking his new home. I think what it comes down to is Cal really showed growth. He made great new relationships (though he neglected his old one which I didn’t like.) He also eventually took the time to understand his parents more and I loved this aspect. Cal resented his dad a little for uprooting the family, but once Cal realized how important being an astronaut was to his dad, he tried to understand and be more supportive.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Cal. There were great new friendships. I loved the romance. The boys were sweet and I loved how they communicated. There was also anxiety and depression representation. I really liked this story and I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends… for the last time.
The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.
It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.
The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)Review:
Just like the first book, I loved everything about this story. If it was reasonable to just copy my review for that here, I would totally do it. The Obelisk Gate was just as much of a wild ride as The Fifth Season. The world is just so fascinating there’s no stopping being sucked into the story, dying to find out more about what’s happening.
What I really loved about this book was that for some of the chapters we get to see what’s been happening with Nassun, Essun’s daughter. The way that Jemisin connects the two stories is mind-blowing. All of the little bits and pieces we’re getting to figure out just made me want to read faster and faster, but I’m loving the world and its characters that I want to slow down so I can stay engrossed in the story for as long as possible.
I really loved seeing Essun’s past come back to her present. It was one of the best parts of the story because it gave me some of my favorite things from the first book back.
I’m typing this as fast as I can so that I can spend more time reading book three before I have to go to bed tonight. I loved this world. The magic and politics were so interesting, but there’s also the way we’re left wondering how the world got to be the way it is. Some characters seem to know more about it and I’m dying to learn more.
This story remains incredibly diverse with race and skin color, sexuality, and gender identity. I loved this aspect so much. I loved how these things were made to be normal in this world.
Overall, I loved this book. I cannot wait to finish the series. The story just goes by so quickly because it is so easy to get pulled into the world with these characters. Jemisin’s writing is incredible. If I am ever half the writer that she is, it would be a wonder. I found myself not realizing that I’d almost finished the story. This is a world I never want to leave and will definitely be returning to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been six weeks since Magnus and his friends returned from defeating Fenris Wolf and the fire giants. Magnus has adjusted to life at the Hotel Valhalla—as much as a once-homeless and previously alive kid can. As a son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of Odin’s chosen warriors, but he has a few good peeps among his hallmates on floor nineteen, and he’s been dutifully training for Ragnarok along with everyone else. His days have settled into a new kind of normal.
But Magnus should have known there’s no such thing as normal in the Nine Worlds. His friends Hearthstone and Blitzen have disappeared. A new hallmate is creating chaos. According to a very nervous goat, a certain object belonging to Thor is still missing, and the thunder god’s enemies will stop at nothing to gain control of it.
Time to summon Jack, the Sword of Summer, and take action. Too bad the only action Jack seems to be interested in is dates with other magical weapons…
The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)Review:
I have loved every single one of Riordan’s books I’ve read so far. I don’t know what it is about this series but I just don’t love it as much as his others. There are many things I do like. For example, Magnus was a homeless kid in Boston before he died and I think it’s so great that this is a thing that exists because homelessness is a topic generally avoided and Riordan didn’t do that. This series is also filled with a diverse cast of characters. The newest edition, Alex, is gender fluid. I can’t speak to the quality of the representation but I thought it was really interesting to read Magnus’s questions and Alex’s answers. I also love Samira. I love that even though she’s sucked into the world of Norse mythology, she still holds strong to her faith and beliefs. I thought this was a great part of the story.
My biggest issue with this book was that literally, everything was such high stakes. I guess I understand because it’s the second book in a series, but it was too much sometimes. Every step toward their goal was ‘complete this task or DIE’ and it just seemed a little unnecessary.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. The characters were 100% the best part. I loved the diverse cast and getting to see them learning more about one another. I plan to finish the series for sure to see how everything ends up. Also, the way this story ended had me screaming. I cannot wait for the two different groups to meet up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents…
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.
The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)Review:
I’ve been slowly working on reading all of Riordan’s books for the last year or so. Next up was the Magnus Chase series. I waited for the audiobooks to be available from my library. I almost wish I’d just decided to read it physically because I didn’t care for the narrator. But by the end of the story, I really enjoyed it. I think the narrator made it harder for me to get into the story, but Riordan’s storytelling abilities pushed through.
The book follows Magnus, a homeless teen living in Boston who is grieving his mother. I really liked that Magnus was homeless, this is something you almost never see in novels for a younger audience, but it’s something that happens all too often in the real world. I also liked the Boston setting as I grew up in Massachusetts and recognized a bunch of the places Magnus went to. Then Magnus turns sixteen and dies.
From there he’s thrown into the world of Norse mythology. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. Most of what I know of Norse myths are from Neil Gaiman’s book and from movies and tv shows. I know this story was fiction, but I also know that Riordan tries to stick to the truth of the mythology. I liked learning more about this mythology and I liked that (like all his other books) it’s turned into adventures.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m excited to continue the series. I loved that there was a diverse cast of characters. I like the friendships and found family that we learned to become a part of. Riordan did it again with a story I couldn’t get enough of.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

GoodReads Summary:
Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the “wrong” side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the girls are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And now it’s up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more.
The Weight of the Stars is the new LGBT young adult romance from K. Ancrum, written with the same style of short, micro-fiction chapters and immediacy that garnered acclaim for her debut, The Wicker King.
The Weight of the StarsReview:
The Weight of the Stars was such a wonderful story. I really adored the characters the most. We follow Ryann Bird as she tries to collect another friend into her circle of “delinquent friends.” Alexandria is the new girl at school, but more so she’s the daughter of an astronaut that caused quite a stir when she set off into space. Ryann and Alexandria grudgingly become friends because Ryann doesn’t give Alexandria much choice otherwise. They spend their nights on Alexandria’s roof trying to catch radio signals from her mom.
I loved this story. It was full of love and immediate acceptance. Ryann and her friends were just a great group. They’re all a little weird in the best ways. They’re also a really diverse group ranging from Ryann, who is Black and also the legal guardian to her brother James and James’s baby, to Ahmed who had two dads and a
mom that are all currently together. I really enjoyed these friends. They were funny and caring and all a bit odd.
The only thing I didn’t like was the chapter titles, but that’s only because I didn’t understand them. They seemed like they were supposed to specify something but I wasn’t quite sure if it was supposed to be how much time had passed since the end of the last chapter or not.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The characters were absolutely the best part. Their antics were hilarious, occasionally illegal, and they just loved one another so purely.

Quotes:

“We’re all made of the same stuff. Even if you arrange it in different ways or make puzzles of it.”

“Diversity is a flower that blooms with greater beauty and greater strength each time it is cross-pollinated.”

“They don’t want the danger, and the darkness and loneliness,” Alexandria interrupted softly. “They want the heat and the light, but they don’t want the radiation.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

GoodReads Summary:
Today, she hates him.
It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.
Tonight, she puts up with him.
When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.
As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.
Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.
Today Tonight TomorrowReview:
Why is it so much harder to talk about books that you really loved compared to books that you didn’t? Well, that’s the struggle I’m having here.
Today Tonight Tomorrow follows Rowan during the last day of her senior year. The story opens with an introduction of her rival, Neil (aka McNightmare). There’s just something about rivals to lovers that is so great. Rowan goes to school for her final day of high school. She’s waiting on the news of whether she has won valedictorian or if Neil has won. Valedictorian is her last competition with Neil. It’s the last thing she can win. When she loses, she realizes there is one more competition for them: Howl. Howl is a game that combines assassin with a scavenger hunt. After she overhears some of her classmates plotting to target her and Neil (and saying some really hurtful shit related to her being Jewish) she decides to get Neil to team up with her and take the win from him at the last minute.
I really loved that this book took place over one day. I am fascinated by Solomon’s ability to write such a heartfelt and wonderful story that was only one day of these characters lives. In the beginning of the story, we really get a feel from Rowan’s perspective how fierce this rivalry is. But as the night goes on, Rowan realizes how little she actually knows about Neil. Over their high school career, Rowan has made a lot of assumptions about Neil without ever really getting to know him. So, they manage to get to know one another better while seeing the sights of Seattle. This includes dinner with Rowan’s family, meeting Neil’s mom, and seeing his room (in which he has a very specific romance novel!!) They share intimate details and I loved seeing them really develop a friendship. Rowan realizes that their rivalry might not be what she thought it was. I just really loved how naturally their friendship grew. The conflicts that got in their way were interesting and I liked that they were relatable issues. Rowan was scared and she let that get in the way. But she made amends and I ship this relationship so hard.
I also enjoyed Rowan’s friends. They were straight shooters that didn’t just let Rowan get away with her crappy behavior. I liked that they let her deal with how her actions were making them feel, while also letting her know that they still love her.
Overall, I just loved this book. Rowan just wanted to succeed, but she also learned from what those around her were telling her and tried to do better. She was imperfect, but did her best to work on the issues her loved once were addressing with her. I also really enjoyed going from thinking of Neil as someone that Rowan needs to completely obliterate to friendship to more. It was so well done and I just loved them. The last thing I want to mention is that both Neil and Rowan are Jewish. This comes up at a few different points in the story and I really enjoyed the moments surrounding those traditions that were included. While it was a really fun story, it also covered more serious topics like Rowan worrying about leaving Seattle and her future. Rowan also fights the good romance fight, constantly standing up for why it’s a valid form of literature (which it obviously is and this shouldn’t even be a debate anymore). I loved all of these things about this book.

Quotes:

“Neil McNair has become my alarm clock, if alarm clocks had
freckles and knew all your insecurities.”

“You wrote a fucking book. Do you know how many people
wish they could do that, or how many people talk about doing it
and never do?”

“Maybe that’s the definition of nostalgia: getting sappy about things that are supposed to be insignificant.”

“The love that I wanted so desperately: this isn’t what I thought it would feel like. It’s made me dizzy and it’s grounded me. It’s made me laugh when nothing is funny. It shimmers and it sparks, but it can be comfortable, too, a sleepy smile and a soft touch and a quiet, steady breath. Of course this boy—my rival, my alarm clock, my unexpected ally—is at the center of it. And somehow, it’s even better than I imagined.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

H2O by Virginia Bergin

GoodReads Summary:
.27 IS A NUMBER RUBY HATES.
It’s a number that marks the percentage of the population that survived. It’s a number that means she’s one of the “lucky” few still standing. And it’s a number that says her father is probably dead.
Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning “It’s in the rain. It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out. Ruby’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father–If he’s even still alive.
H2O (The Rain, #1)Review:
My biggest issue with this book was that the main character, Ruby, was honestly so annoying. There’s literally no way she should have survived. She only did because of her step-dad who she was a huge jerk to until the world was ending. If Ruby had been a more likable main character, I probably would have really loved this book. It had all of the things I love: the world ending via spooky alien things, acid rain (it’s not really acid but whatever), nerdy boys who take in children. There were so many good things that were overshadowed by Ruby being the one telling the story. She’s just so rude and selfish. She also continually made really poor choices. I wanted to love this book, but Ruby made that hard.
So, I didn’t love it. I read reviews for the second book that said this aspect of the story (Ruby) is much better in the second book, so, I’m going to check out the ebook from my library and give it a go.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite 2020 Covers

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 Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art). I’m going to show my favorite covers of 2020 (for books I’ve already read.)

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Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller

Belle Révolte

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

We Unleash the Merciless Storm (We Set the Dark on Fire, #2)

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Bonds of Brass by Emily Strutskie

Bonds of Brass (The Bloodright Trilogy #1)

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (Pandava Quartet #3)

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

The Deck of Omens (The Devouring Gray, #2)

Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

You Should See Me in a Crown

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

What book covers did you put on your list this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)Review:
The Fifth Season was an absolutely wild ride and I loved every page. I definitely spent most of this book confused, but that’s really nothing new when it comes to my reading fantasy or science fiction that’s really in-depth like this. I really loved the way Jemisin wove this world. We follow Essun as she’s trying to follow her husband and her daughter while the world is ending. I was immediately gripped by this story. I am blown away by Jemisin’s ability to pull me into a story so quickly. Especially since I really had no idea what was going on most of the time. We also follow two other perspectives, Damaya and Syenite. The twist that involved these two characters really blew me away. I had started to suspect that these two points of view were in a different timeline than the one of Essun (because for Essun the world was ending and that wasn’t happening for the other two girls). But Jemisin went even further and that took this story to a whole new level of greatness.
The world this story takes place in was fascinating. The culture and politics were pretty terrible to those with abilities. I liked that we got to see the way they are raised in Yumenes. But I also really enjoyed getting to see how hard it was for Essun to live free and undiscovered. What I really want to know is whether or not this is happening on Earth in several hundred years. I suspect this is the case, but I didn’t see any concrete evidence in the actual story.
Overall, I am trying to type like the wind so that I can immediately go and pick up the second book. We were definitely left on a cliff hanger, but I’m not even mad about it. I loved this book. I loved its characters and their complexities. I am just fascinated by every aspect of this story. I cannot wait to continue on with this world and the people in it. I also want to mention how incredibly diverse The Fifth Season is. We see several transgender characters, there are many different races and skin colors, we even get a wonderful polyamorous relationship (that I would die for). I loved all of the representation we got.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.