Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Autumn Vibes

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 top ten – Books that give off Autumn Vibes. (Colors on the cover, atmosphere, etc.)

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
This one is perfect for fall or winter. It’s full of spooky atmosphere. Suspense and mystery, perfect for the fall season.

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Another spooky mystery/thriller. This one filled with suspense and questions totally meant to be read in the fall.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry
This takes place from fall going into winter. The cover has all the best fall colors, yellows, and reds.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
I don’t know that this actually takes place in the fall, maybe at the start of Autumn. But it has a perfect atmosphere, ghosts, and mystery and kids finding themselves.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
A touch of yellow on the cover, but it’s the inside that makes it the perfect fall story.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
The pop of orange on the cover is the perfect shade for fall and inside there’s a bit of a mystery too.

The Rogue Hunter by Lynsay Sands
The cover has all the right colors, reds and yellow, plus the fall is the perfect time to read some vampire romance.

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
This cover is the perfect color of the leaves as they’re right about to fall off the trees.

Lean, Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
Hilarious mystery, plus all the right colors on the cover.

The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Beautiful fall colors, plus an incredible fantasy story.

What books give you all the autumn vibes? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Series Review)

GoodReads Summary:
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Review:
I loved Vampire Academy just as much as I did the first time I read it. I love everything about it. I love the vampire lore, the characters, literally everything. I know this isn’t a perfect book. But it’s nostalgic and it’s perfect.
I love Rose. She’s kickass, loyal as hell, and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. I love how much she loves Lissa. I also really enjoyed the fact that she learned she was wrong, accepted it, and tried to make amends for it. Rose is just one of my favorite fierce females.
Lissa was more complex. She’s got some serious issues, and Rose is the only reason she gets through them. I don’t know why I’d completely forgotten about the self-harming aspect of this story, but it’s there and it really showed the severity of Lissa’s issues.
Then there’s my favorite, Dimitri. My favorite book boyfriend. I love him. He’s strong and powerful, plus really hot. I love that he looked out for and mentors Rose.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite books. I’m interested to see how well the rest of the series holds up. I loved this first book, and I’m excited to continue on with the next.

But wait! There’s more! — So, I managed to finish the rest of the series on audiobook while I was on vacation and didn’t really have time to give a review for each book. So, I’m going to do a series review for the rest of the book. There are potential spoilers for all the books after the first one. So, if you’ve only read the first and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP HERE.

I love everything about this series. The second and third books, Frostbite and Shadowkiss, are my favorite and I honestly believe they could have ended Rose and Lissa’s story right there. Rose had so much incredible character development. She really grew into herself. But then book four comes around and her life goes to shit and she regresses. I understand that parts of that were Rose taking spirit’s effect from Lissa, but it just made me mad. I also absolutely HATED the fact that they made Dimitri a Strigoi. I understand the reasoning behind everything in books four, five, and six. But I just don’t know that it was needed. I think Richelle Mead could have made VA a trilogy and then had another trilogy with other characters. That’s complicated and probably over convoluted though. If that was the case, I’d probably be complaining that I hadn’t gotten enough of Rose and Lissa and the gang.
The gang was definitely my favorite part of this series. I loved Mason and he deserved better. I loved Eddie (and I’m still loving him in Bloodlines). I even adored Christian. I hated it when he and Lissa weren’t together. I adored Adrian as well. I love the bond they all form and how they become their own little family.
I really really didn’t like Rose and Adrian together. I felt like this was added just to have a love triangle. It wasn’t fair to Adrian for Rose to do him dirty the way she did. I really feel for the guy because everyone in the world (not really, like at all) knew that Rose and Dimitri were endgame. I just feel bad for him.
Overall, this is still an all-time favorite series of mine and I’m really glad it’s held up so well over the years.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
We Speak in StormsReview:
We Speak in Storms was a book I picked up at the recommendation of Alana @ The Bookish Chick. I’m forever grateful for all of the book recommendations she sends my way. I loved this book. The cover pulls you in first, the colors of the storm contrasting with the colors in the field. I’m obsessed with this cover.
Then you open it up and the story sucks you right in. We follow three characters, the outsiders. Brenna is Latina in a small town that finds her too different. But her family considers her not Latina enough. She considers herself an in-between girl and hides herself among the other kids in her school that purposefully make themselves seem different. I really liked Brenna and her journey to accepting herself. Dot really helped Brenna see that she needed to embrace what makes her different and to get back to doing the things she loves.
Joshua was my favorite though. He’s a fat, queer kid that used to be bullied, but since coming out is more invisible than anything else. He has a mostly good relationship with his mom and sister and a not so good relationship with his stepdad. It was really heartwarming to see the changes in his confidence and the rest of his life with the help of Luke. I found Joshua and Luke’s interactions the ones I wanted more of. I didn’t think there was enough. Luke mostly just told him to not let anyone get him down.
Then, Callie. Her mom is dying and Callie might as well be dying too with the way she is acting. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t interact with her friends. She’s going through the motions in an attempt to not feel the huge emotions that revolve around knowing her mother will die soon. Enter Ellie. She’s a wise older woman that knows just how to help Callie deal with the loss she’s about to go through.
The way these visitors came back to mentor the three main characters was honestly so heartwarming. I loved the mystery at the beginning of the tornado and who these new people were. I loved Callie, Joshua, and Brenna coming together and forming an unlikely friendship. I loved the atmosphere of the small town they lived in. Their problems were huge and real. This was a book about the ‘different’ kids learning how to be happy with what made them different and I loved every page of it. There was a mystery and a little bit of spookiness and it was perfect.

Quotes:

“Did death scare him? Had he been afraid of how much he wanted to live?”

“Mistakes help us figure out who we are becoming.”

“It was comforting to think the universe was so big that Brenna could find a place where she didn’t have to wear her shell, where she didn’t have to perform, or shut off parts of herself.”

“There’s such sweetness is ordinary, in the calm before a storm.”

“But our stories, our coming out, they belong to us.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Samhain Witch-A-Thon Wrap Up

Hiii, lovelies! I’m a little late with this, but today I’m stopping by to share my wrap up for the most recent round of the Witch-A-Thon! I read some new favorites, some old favorites, and even DNF’d a book! Let’s get into it.

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Samhain is a time for honoring your ancestors… so once again, pick a book that features your heritage

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

I really enjoyed this one. I feel like I learned a lot about my ancestors after they left Salem, but also I’m not sure what was true and what wasn’t, hah!

This Sabbat is a time when the veil is thinnest, pick a book that features communing with the dead… (ghosts or mediumship or necromancy)

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

This might be a bit of a stretch, but Iona has visions of her ancestors in a witchy way.

We are heading into the darkest part of the year…Pick a book that promises to be dark & twisted

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Definitely dark and twisted, sadly I did not finish this book. I’m still making my way through it. I’m a little over halfway and loving it.

Witches often make offerings to spirit guides or gods…Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities

The Wicked & The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I loved this graphic novel so much that I went out and bought the next three editions as soon as I finished it.

Dancing around the bonfire is a Samhain tradition…Pick a book that has fire on the cover

The Wicked & The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Same book as above, but I just loved it. I loved the unique story of Gods and Goddesses coming back every 100 years or so and only staying for a certain number of years before dying again.

Many celebrate the Sabbat as Halloween and dress up, post a picture of your costume and tag the readathon

I wore a pumpkin shirt to match my daughter, but didn’t get a picture without her (I don’t post my kids pictures on the internet yet.) but trust me, we were adorable and had tons of fun.

Read the group book

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Sadly, I DNF’d this book after about 20%. I just couldn’t get through it. There were so many unanswered questions. I’ve been really iffy with fantasy lately, so had a feeling I wouldn’t do well with this anyway.

These are all the books I did (and didn’t) read for the Witch-A-Thon! Let me know how you did in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

GoodReads Summary:
Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.
During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.
Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
Twice in a Blue MoonReview:
Twice in a Blue Moon is a novel that I was generously provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I always expect that I’m going to like Christina Lauren’s books more than I do. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this one, because did. I just didn’t love it.
I really enjoyed the first half of Tate’s story when she was young. I felt like this was a good way for the reader to get to know her. I liked that we saw her younger and then flashing forward to her present. I think we got to know less about Tate in the second half, aside from her issues with her father.
I also really liked Sam. But he felt kind of generic. I feel this way about most of the characters. They have like one or two personal details, unless they’re Tate or her family.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was quick and fun to read, but didn’t blow me away.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Bite Me If You Can by Lynsay Sands

GoodReads Summary:
One minute Leigh is walking home in the early hours of the morning, and the next a vampire is sinking his teeth into her neck. Turns out it was a rogue vampire marked for termination, but it does Leigh little good because the damage’s already been done. She’s become one of them.
Lucian Argeneau, hunter of rogue vampires, has been alive for over two thousand years, and there’s very little to excite him anymore. Food has become tasteless, sex is ordinary. The Leigh drops into his life. Suddenly he finds himself craving coffee…and imagining the sassy brunette atop the black satin sheets on his nice big bed. It’s Lucian’s job now to enlighten Leigh on the inner workings of being immortal…and tutoring her is igniting a fire in him that hasn’t burned in centuries.
But until they stop a renegade bloodsucker from destroying the human race, passion will have to wait!
Bite Me If You Can (Argeneau #6)Review:
So, I know I said Bastien’s story was my favorite in the series so far, but that has officially been bumped to second place by Bite Me if You Can. I couldn’t put this one down even though it was almost two am and the right thing to do would have been to go to sleep. I didn’t. I stayed up way too late reading this installment of the Argeneau series.
Lucian is a grumpy immortal that is thousands of years old. He’s had his lifemate and children but lost them long ago. He’s focused on protecting the rest of his extended family. He’s abrupt almost to the point of rudeness but he’s so old that he just really doesn’t care. But when he meets Leigh, a potential new lifemate, he finds that he’s scared at the possibility of having love and losing it again.
Leigh finds herself in a sticky situation and it’s a grumpy Lucian that comes and saves her. Circumstances see to it that it’s Lucian that looks over her while she turns and teaches (sort of) her about what this new change means. She’s wary of the idea of lifemates because of her abusive ex-husband. I really liked Leigh. She had a real can-do attitude and faces her new life as a vampire with a great attitude. I loved her. She saw through Lucian’s grouchy outside and into his marshmallow center.
My favorite parts were when the rest of the family came around. Rachel, who previously had very much disliked Lucian, was now able to read his mind, as could all Lucian’s other nieces and nephews. This enabled quite a bit of hilarity with the direction of Lucian’s thoughts. I was cracking up so much throughout this one.
Overall, Bite Me If You Can is my favorite of the series so far, but who knows what the next installments will bring. I love these characters. I love this series. I love the vampire lore that’s based in science. I love the writing. I just love Lynsay Sands.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirty-One: Amanda’s Spooktober Wrap Up

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Hi, lovelies! For my final blogtober post I shall be wrapping up all of the books I read this month! I managed quite a few and I’m happy with how many I read. As usual, I read some good and some not so good books as well as some in-between books. Let’s talk about what I read this month!

Physical Books
Road to Oz by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young
We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Rage by Cora Carmack
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

eBooks
Love Bites by Lynsay Sands
Single, White Vampire by Lynsay Sands
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Tall, Dark & Hungry by Lynsay Sands
A Bite to Remember by Lynsay Sands
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Bite Me If You Can by Lynsay Sands
The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro
A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro
Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry
Talon by Julie Kagawa
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
American Royals by Katharine McGee
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
The Accidental Vampire by Lynsay Sands
Vampires are Forever by Lynsay Sands
Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Vampire, Interrupted by Lynsay Sands

Audiobooks
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Somehow…I read thirty-eight books in the month of October. It sounds completely ridiculous to be able to say that. Like, obviously I have no life. Read this many books is partially due to being obsessed with the Vampire Academy Bloodlines series because I flew through the audiobooks. I also read a handful of graphic novels which are usually one-sitting reads for me.

How many books did you read for the spooky month? Did we read any of the same books? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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