Blogtober Day Twelve: On My Watchlist

Hello, lovelies! Today I want to talk about some book to movie (or tv!) adaptations. I have some that I’ve already watched that I think are great for the spooky season and some that I want to watch as a more general watchlist for the fall. There are also some where I’ve read the book and some where I haven’t. I will specify forr each what I’ve read or watched and haven’t. I’m going to start with some spooky/creepy choices that are perfect for this time of year.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer: I read the book and didn’t love. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the movie either. But they were both weird and sort of freaky. I think both the movie and the book are read to read or watch for spooky season.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry: I haven’t read the book. I didn’t even know it was a book until I was searching for adaptations for this post. But I did watch the Netflix movie and really enjoyed it. It was creepy and wonderful. Something I highly recommend you watch during spooky season.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell: This is another one that I haven’t read the book for. I also probably won’t ever read it. But I liked the movie because I’m a sucker for anything with Blake Lively in it.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: I actually DNF’d this book. My book club read it together and I just couldn’t get through it. There’s something about books with footnotes that I can’t handle. But I was waiting to watch the show until I could read the book. So, this might be a show that I start soon. I love weird fantasy shows like this in the fall and winter time.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: For this one I’ve actually managed to read the book and watch the show. I mostly liked the book. It wasn’t anything crazy, but I had a good time reading it. But I totally loved the show. It’s full of drama and suspense and actresses I love.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: I read the first two books in this series and just couldn’t continue. They were dramatic and totally over the top. So, I think I’ll much prefer the movie because that’s totally the type of movie I love.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I haven’t read the book for this one. But I really want to. I’ve been on hold forever for the audiobook and even managed to start it a few times. But I haven’t finished it. I’m hoping to do that soon so that I can watch the show. Mostly becasue I love Reese Witherspoon.

Outlander by Diana Gabldon: I read the first few books in this series years and years ago. I want to reread them so that I can watch the show. Though, I’ve heard mixed things about both of them.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I love this series. I always will. There hasn’t been an announced release date for the Netflix show that’s been filmed. But rumors are for late 2020, and I’m really hoping they’re right.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: I haven’t read this series, but I really would like to. I’d also like to watch the show. I’ve heard such good things about both of them. I think this is the perfect time of year to start them.

These are some shows and movies that were originally books. Some I’ve read and some I haven’t (but want to!) and same for their adaptations. I’ve seen some and want to watch others. What book to move adaptations do you think are perfect to watch during spooky season?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

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GoodReads Summary:
For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.
Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.
As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.
A Million JunesReview:
This book really surprised me. I actually almost unhauled it two different times. But I’ve since read Emily Henry’s adult romance novel and the novel she co-wrote with Brittany Cavallaro. So, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on A Million Junes. I am so glad I held myself back from unhauling because I gave this book five stars on GoodReads.
We follow June. She goes to the local carnival with her best friend, Hannah. This is when June see’s Saul Angert for the first time in three years. He left town with little explanation and now he’s back. June’s family has one rule, and it’s to stay away from the Angert family. No surprise here that she doesn’t. June finds that she’s sort of attracted to Saul. But Hannah has had a crush on him forever and June wants to respect Hannah’s feelings. I really appreciated this aspect of the story. The fact that June was so thoughtful of her best friend’s feelings really made me love their friendship. I also loved that even when she got Hannah’s okay to act on her feelings for Saul, June didn’t just blow Hannah off. I don’t love girls that blow of their friends once they get interested in a guy.
Now, for the romance. I really liked Saul and June together. I loved the forbidden aspect of their friendship. It definitely led to some funny parts of the story where the pair were trying to keep Saul’s identity a secret. I thought the things that they experienced, the losses that they had in common, were a beautiful part of this story. I also really enjoyed the two sharing their family stories and trying to get to the truth of the two versions.
Overall, this story was beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s a story of grief and love and figuring out how to continue living after losing those close to you. I loved the magical aspects of the story. They were beautifully written and the magic was beyond fascinating. I am now a huge fan of Emily Henry and I’ve bought her other backlist titles. If you like magical realism and stories filled with emotion, this is the book for you.

Quotes:

“Letting go is not forgetting. It’s opening your eyes to the good that grew from the bad, the life that blooms from decay.”

“Grief is an unfillable hole in your body. It should be weightless, but it’s heavy. Should be cold, but it burns. Should, over time, close up, but instead it deepens.”

“When people pity you, it’s like they don’t realize that the exact same thing is coming for them. And then I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable and have to pity them, because, like, do you not realize that it’s always someone’s turn? You haven’t noticed everyone gets a few blows that seem so big you can’t survive them?”

“Maybe for some people, falling in love is an explosion, fireworks against a black sky and tremors rumbling through the earth. One blazing moment. For me, it’s been happening for months, as quietly as a seed sprouting. Love sneaked through me, spreading roots around my heart, until, in the blink of an eye, the green of it broke the dirt: hidden one moment, there the next.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

GoodReads Summary:
When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.
August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
The Wicker King by K. AncrumReview:
The Wicker King was incredible and I’m not really sure how to explain why I feel that way. The writing was the first thing that caught my attention that I liked. It wasn’t quite a stream of consciousness but sort of reminded me of that style. I really liked the writing style. It made the story really easy to devour. This was not an easy story to read. We follow August’s perspective as his best friend, Jack, lets his hallucinations get worse and worse. At first, the story seemed like a fun not quite fantastical story where the two boys were going to quest for whatever it was Jack’s other world needed to be saved. But as things got more serious it was clear that the pair were in over their heads, even if they didn’t want to admit it. Both come from not great home lives. August’s mom has depression and he takes care of her more than she does him. Jack’s parents are basically nonexistent. Both Jack and August are basically just doing the best they can.
Despite their struggles, it was really hard not to like both of them. The relationship they share is clearly incredibly special to them both even though it isn’t always a super healthy relationship. I also really enjoyed the side characters (the twins were my favorite). All of the side characters added something important to the story and I liked them all.
Overall, this story blew me away. This review is short and that is intentional because there isn’t a whole lot I can say without spoiling things. I especially liked the color formatting that was done as the story and the character’s progress. I definitely will be reading all of Ancrum’s books in the future.

Quotes:

“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”

“Where we are, there is light.” The wind blew hard from the east and the trees rustled their branches. “From where I’m standing… it is warm enough.”

“You deserve to heal and grow, too. You deserve to have someone to talk to about your problem; you deserve unconditional support; you deserve care and safety and all the things you need to thrive. Just because you may not have them doesn’t mean you don’t deserve them.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start… bewitching.
Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)Review:
I’ve been working my way through Flinn’s backlist that I haven’t read yet. So, Bewitching was next up on the list. I really liked parts of this story and not so much some other parts. I think going into this, I assumed it was going to more of Kendra’s story. We do get a bit of Kendra’s history at the beginning, and tidbits of things she’s done in the past, but I wanted more I guess.
The story mostly follows Emma. She lives with her mom and her step-father. Her parents married when she was three, so her step-dad is really the only father she’s ever known and she loves him dearly. But it turns out that he has another daughter around Emma’s age. Lisette’s mom dies and so Lisette comes to live with Emma. Emma is excited to gain a sister, but her mom puts doubts in her head about Lisette’s intentions. And Emma starts to realize that her mom was right all along. I really liked Emma. She was so excited to have a sister. She wanted someone to share things with and really tried to give Lisette the benefit of the doubt until that just wasn’t possible anymore. I liked how her story ended too. She never stooped to Lisette’s level.
Lisette on the other hand was completely horrible. She’s the Cinderella in this retelling, but instead of being kind and sweet, she was conniving and devious. She took away everything from Emma one piece at a time. I understood her backstory, it was sad, but no excuse to be the terrible girl she was.
There were also three stories outside of Emma’s story. In the beginning, we get a bit of Kendra’s story, her family, when she learned she was a witch, and all that. But we also get two stories aside from Emma’s (and a brief mention of Beastly) where Kendra intervened to help people. One is a retelling of The Princess and the Pea and the other was The Little Mermaid and I just didn’t care about either if them at all. They really completely took me out of my enjoyment of Emma’s story. I almost DNF’d this book because the little mermaid story was almost 100 pages and I just didn’t care about it at all.
I’m still going to push through and try to finish this series because I do enjoy Flinn’s fairytale retellings and Kendra is still a pretty interesting character.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

GoodReads Summary:
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
Final GirlsReview:
Final Girls follows Quincy who is the most recent ‘final girl.’ Ten years later, she mostly has her life under control, but she still doesn’t remember most of what happened the night her closest friends were murdered. She currently works from home, baking for her popular blog (yes you can expect a Books & Baking post from this book). She lives with her boyfriend, Jeff. She has a pretty good life. But when Lisa, the first final girl, is found dead things start to change. Sam (final girl number two) shows up on Quincy’s doorstep and upends her life.
I liked Quincy for the most part. It was clear that she wasn’t actually okay and Sam brought out the worst parts of her. I liked that she had coping mechanisms, but they’re not working. I also wasn’t totally invested in her relationship with Jeff. He was mostly supportive but I just didn’t care about them. When Quincy starts to remember bits and pieces of what happened that night is when the story really gets interesting.
Overall, this story was a wild ride. Quincy does things that she probably never would have without Sam’s influence, but it also teaches her about herself. She learns that she is not as alright about her past as she thought she was. She’s also remembering what really happened that night, remembering things that changes everything. The ending of this book is not one that I saw coming (though I think others might have). I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. This is a great one for the spooky season because it’s a little bit confusing, but also pretty dark.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

GoodReads Summary:
There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.
An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians, #1)Review:
This book is one I discovered from the bookish community on Twitter. It’s been raved about by so many people that I bought it. I bought it forever ago and it’s been on several TBR’s, but I finally picked it up because my library had the audiobook. I didn’t totally love the audiobook, but I liked it enough to listen to the whole story. I’m really picky about audiobooks, so this says a lot.
An Unkindness of Magicians was a bit confusing at first. There are a handful of characters introduced right from the beginning of the story and it was a little confusing between who was who and when we switched to a new character’s story. I think the audio did a great job of making it clear which was which (I started reading this physically before switching to the audio.)
I ended up really enjoying this story. The characters were diverse and interesting. This was a way darker story than I was anticipating and I loved it. The characters we follow are all dealing with different things, from planning to change everything about the magical world to attempting to keep a hold on power. I really liked the political complexities of the world and that there was more than one character trying to change the way the magical world was run. I liked the way the magic was written about as well. The author used vivid imagery whenever the characters were actively doing magic and I enjoyed that. I also liked that there were physical consequences for magic use and the big goal of the story was to change the fact that some of the more powerful houses had found a terrible way around these consequences.
Overall, this story was way darker than I thought it was going to be, but I still enjoyed it. I ended up really liking that there were so many characters that we followed. It felt like we really got to see all the different aspects of this magical world. The ending was sort of heartbreaking, but I think I’m alright with it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Ten: Bookish Monsters

Hey, lovelies! Last year I did a bookish monsters post and I had a lot of fun thinking about the terrifying beasts I’d read about (read it here!) so I thought I would do it again this year. Since I did it last year, I’m only going to be talking about bookish monsters I read about in 2020 (with maybe one or two from November and December of last year.)

Reverie by Ryan La Sala
I read this at the very beginning of 2020 and I still get the creeps thinking about the freaky spider things that Kane runs into at the start of the story.

The Never Tilting World by Ron Chupeco
The are so many monsters in this book. They’re all terrifying and our two main ladies are infiinately braver than me. Despite the scary monsters, I loved this book and you should go read it right now before the final book comes out.

The Life Below by Alexandra Monir
This is in the synopsis for this book so I don’t think it’s a spoiler. Also, it’s more aliens than monsters, but I think it still counts. The aliens this crew meets on Europa are completely terrifyiing and I never want to travel to a potentially inhabited planet.

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
So. Many. Demons. Hard pass.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
The vampire is less scary and more disgusting.

Dune by Frank Herbert
The worms are a hard no from me. The fact that some people on this planet figured out to ride them is just too much for me.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Parvaneh the div and the other (I can’t find his name anywhere and I listened to the audio) who is some sort of snake-like monster? They’re both terrifying but also like, sort of attractive.

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Literally everything that isn’t a person is absolutely terrifying in this story. There are guardians who I think were supposed to be nice, but they still sounded scary. Also, if you let your guilt fester it will literally turn into a creature and that is my worst nightmare.

Here are some of the monsters that I’ve read about (and have haunted me a bit) so far in 2020. There were definitely more, but I couldn’t remember or find their names, so I didn’t include them. What bookish monsters do you love or hate that you’ve read about?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

GoodReads Summary:
Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.
Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . .
Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Paola Santiago #1)Review:
Tehlor Kay Mejia is very quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I read her YA fantasy duology this year and I’ve already preordered her co-written book that comes out soon. If that’s not clear, I loved this book.
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears follows Paola (or Pao) as she tries to find her best friend. Emma was supposed to meet Pao and Dante at the river to test out Pao’s new telescope, but Emma never arrives. This leads Paola and Dante on a wild ride to find their best friend. First, the pair go home and try to call Emma because maybe she was still at home? But when they talk to her parents and learn she’s not home they go to the police. I really liked that this was included in the story. When Pao and Dante go to the police station to wait for Emma’s parents they are treated unfairly because they are Latinx. I really liked the way this story showed this reality that many deal with daily. I think it’s a really important thing to showcase in books for younger audiences. When Paola realizes that the police are not going to be helpful, she decides that she’s going to go to the river and find out what happened and try to save Emma. This is where mythology comes in. I never learned much about Mexican folklore or mythology so this was so much fun for me. I’d heard of some, like the Chupacabras, but didn’t really know much else. I had so much fun with all of the mythological aspects of this book. It was spectacularly spooky and honestly warms my heart to think of the kids that will see themselves and their culture represented in this story. I think this story is the perfect one for October (but still great year-round) because there are ghosts and all kinds of other monsters that Paola and Dante encounter.
Paola was a character I really loved. She struggles with her relationship with her mother. Her mother is very superstitious and Paola doesn’t care for that. She doesn’t believe in any of the things her mother tries to instill in her. She is a huge science nerd and I loved that. She tries to solve her problems with facts and logic and I loved the representation of a young girl interested in STEM. I really related to Pao’s issues with her mom and their rocky relationship. I really enjoyed that it was clear she loved her mom, but that they didn’t have a perfect relationship. Paola is a character I found myself rooting for the whole time.
Dante was interesting because we only see him from Paola’s perspective. I really wanted to like him, and I did. But I also felt bad because he was getting older and finding new things that interested him and Pao sort of resented him for that. Despite Paola not always being kind to him, he stood by her and protected her when he had the chance. He went with her to search for Emma even though he didn’t really want to. He was a real friend and I ended up really liking him.
There are so many other wonderful characters in this story. I loved them all. I think this was an incredible story. The world was so well built and beautifully written. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series.
I do also want to mention that I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did such a great job telling this story. I will absolutely continue the series via the audiobooks if the next one has the same narrator.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

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GoodReads Summary:
Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.
Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…
HideawayReview:
I will always love Nora Roberts. Hideaway was no different. I really loved that we got to follow most of Cate’s life. We follow Cate starting when she’s a child at her great-grandfather’s celebration of life. She gets kidnapped late into the afternoon. This follows her for the rest of her life. I really liked how this was worked into the story. It’s something that Cate experienced, but she doesn’t let it dictate the rest of her life. I also have to point out that Cate comes from a very wealthy Hollywood family, but she acknowledges the privilege that comes with this, which I appreciated. I also liked the diversity I’ve been seeing in Nora’s novels in the last few years. There’s a biracial relationship, there are LGBTQ+ side characters.
I really liked Cate. She really takes charge of her life and doesn’t let her childhood trauma define her. She goes after what she wants. She takes time to figure out what exactly she wants when she feels like she’s lost her direction. I also totally loved that she becomes a voice actress later on in her life.
Now, Dillon Cooper was amazing. He’s the ultimate gentleman. He’s a family man, raised by women. His dream to take over the family farm never changes. But he respects the women who raised him and goes to college at their suggestion. I liked that we got to see Dillon grow up as well.
I loved the romances that we got to see. As this book takes place over many years, we see Cate in a few different relationships. I really enjoyed them all but I was always sure that Dillon and Cate would be end game.
Overall, this was a wonderful mystery/romance novel. I liked that we knew what was going on (mostly) the whole time. There were a few details we didn’t know, but I liked that we knew most of the story. The only thing I didn’t like was that the ending seemed a little sudden. I felt like there was room for more of a conclusion, but we just didn’t get that. I still really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait for Nora’s new release later this year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

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GoodReads Summary:
Fried Green Tomatoes and “Steel Magnolias” meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.
But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresReview:
I read this book for my local book club. It’s not something I probably would have picked up otherwise. This book was really something else. I didn’t love the overly grotesque parts of the book (but that’s just why I don’t generally read horror.) But I was fascinated by the dynamics of the women we read about. Their relationships with one another and their relationships with their husbands. This book really made a strong statement about how the world was in the late 80s and early 90s and it honestly just made my heart sad.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. The twists and turns, the way the author had me back and forth believing the main character and then not believing her. I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t have all that much to say about it. But, dude this book was a ride I don’t think I’d ride again.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Nine: Amanda’s ARC TBR

Hey, lovelies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really like making lists. Lists help me keep myself accountable. So, today for Blogtober I have another list for you. I’m going to list all of the eARCs I’ve gotten (thanks, NetGalley!) and need to read. I’ve really been slacking on my ebook reading, so hopefully this will give me motivation to pick them up.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – Release Date: October 13th, 2020

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee – Release Date: October 20th, 2020

The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White – Release Date: November 10th, 2020

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Release Date: November 17th, 2020

Ten Rules for Faking It by Sophie Sullivan – Release Date: January 5th, 2021

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper – Release Date: February 9th, 2021

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft – Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel – Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein – Release Date: April 27th, 2021

These are all of the ARC’s I currently have that I need to read. I went on a bit of a requesting spree, so hopefully I can finish most of these before I potentially get approved for any others.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

GoodReads Summary:
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.
The Death of Mrs. WestawayReview:
The Death of Mrs. Westaway is one of the last couple of mystery/thrillers that was on my TBR. I’ve been on a thriller kick this October so that I can clear out the books that have been sitting on my shelves for entirely too long (and so that I can start collecting new ones for 2021 spooky season). Ware’s books have been hit or miss for me, so I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy this or not despite being pretty interested in the synopsis.
I will start by saying that I totally guessed a part of this story pretty early on. I developed lots of theories and dismissed them just as often. This story was a really great one to guess what the truth really was. I liked Hal. I could understand the choices she made and why she made them. I probably would have done the same thing in her position. But I did find myself wanting her to just tell her new family members the truth. She did eventually tell the truth, which is when things got a little wild.
Overall, this story wasn’t super fast paced, but the suspense made it enjoyable. The desire to get answers to the questions that I had pushed me through the slower parts of the story. I think the ending was completely unexpected and a big part of the reason why I enjoyed this story so much. I never could have guessed the truth behind what was really going on. I thought this was a pretty good mystery and I would definitely recommend it for an October read.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

GoodReads Summary:
An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.
Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.
Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?
Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.
The Scapegracers (Scapegracers, #1)Review:
This is a review that if I could, I would love to just write ‘I loved this book’ a hundred million times. I bought this book because I saw two people that I follow on Twitter that just would not stop talking about how much they loved it. Then I read the synopsis and made it as far as ‘teenage lesbian witch’ and knew I had to have it. I am so happy with my decision because this series (which I didn’t know it was a series until the end of the book, but it’s totally okay because I loved it so much that I’m ecstatic to have two more books to look forward to) might just become one of my new all-time favorites. The story was full of teens that are stuffed full of emotions and trying to figure out who they are. I loved everything about this book.
We follow Sideways while she’s setting up a spell that she’s been paid to perform at the first Halloween party of the season. When things get weird at the party because of her spell she finds herself in with the three most popular girls in the school, Yates, Daisy, and Jing. The three become a foursome after they pull in Sideways. They want to figure out what happened, but they also want to learn how to use magic like Sideways does. While I loved everything about this story, from the magic to the things they do with said magic, and the plot, the characters, and their developing friendships were absolutely the best part of the story. The way that Sideways changes her perception of these girls as well as herself after she gets to know them better was wonderful. I also liked that this was a diverse group of friends. They live in a small town, but they’re still diverse in several ways. There was also a really great discussion about sexuality and some characters not really being ready to share their identities. But what I liked most was that these weren’t nice girls. They are girls that are filled with anger and fire. They are teenage girls who talk about how they aren’t supposed to be powerful and they find a way to change that. I really loved all of these characters.
Overall, I think more people need to read this so they can love it as much as I do. I loved that it was full of angry teen girls wanting to make something change. They want power but also happiness. I loved that they fought for what they wanted. I loved that they loved who they were and one another. I also loved the magic. It wasn’t based on a specific magic spell, but with intent. There were words spoken, but it was about feelings and following what felt right and I really liked that. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Please go read it.

Quotes:

“I used to underline passages in my English books, because certain lines crawled off the page, because those lines were magic and they meant something on a cosmic scale.”

“I guess my point is that teenage girls aren’t supposed to be powerful, you know? Everybody hates teenage girls. They hate our bodies and hate us if we want to change them. They hate the things we’re supposed to like but hate it when we like other things even more because that means we’re ruining their things. Were somehow this great corrupting influence, even though we’ve barely got legal agency of our own. But the three of us the four of us, counting you were powerful.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?
WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)Review:
I’m honestly not sure how to put into words how much I loved this book. I fell so head over heels in love with these characters and their stories. I really don’t know how I’m going to explain my feelings.
Let’s start with Lila. She’s my new all-time favorite female character. She’s pretty morally grey and I loved every minute of it. She’s selfish with her happiness and does literally whatever she can to grab it and keep it. I absolutely loved her and Kell together.
Kell really solidified his place in my heart in this book. He’s really struggling with the battle of his own happiness versus doing what’s best for the crown. He feels like a piece of property more than a person. But he really works through this in this book and it was so good. I love Kell and I’m sad we didn’t get to learn more about his past.
Like book two, we got to see more of Rhy and I loved it. I really loved his conflict of emptiness. I’m leaving this vague because of spoilers. But his struggle was interesting and heart wrenching. I love him so much. Most of Rhy’s parts were filled with his bravery and passion to be the best leader for his people that he can. He dealt with so much loss, my heart really hurt for him.
Then there’s Alucard. My wonderful pirate. I loved him so much. He’s made to be this all-knowing guy, but he’s so much more than that. He’s complex and caring. He has so much love in him, but he can’t show it. He plays many roles (much like Lila) and I loved all of them. I also totally loved his relationship with Rhy. They have a complicated history, but that just made it even better.
Now for my favorite, Holland. There’s just something about Holland that I really loved. I thought he was so fascinating. I don’t know what it was, but I looked forward to the parts of the story he was in. I especially loved the flashbacks that we got. I thought his story was such a good one and came to a beautiful conclusion.
Overall, I loved this book so much. The world is incredible. The link between all the Londons. The very complicated relationship between the three Antari was so interesting. I just genuinely loved everything about this story. I’m excited to read more in this world as I’ve heard she’s writing more and we will get these characters again. Excuse me while I scream.

Quotes:

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

“Magic made everything feel so impermanent, it was easy to forget that some things, once changed, could never be undone. That not everything was either changeable or infinite. Some roads kept going, and others had an end.”

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

“Myths do not happen all at once. They do not spring forth whole into the world. They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth, until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own. But all stories start somewhere, and that night, as Rhy Maresh walked through the streets of London, a new myth was taking shape.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

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GoodReads Summary:
In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true-crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.
I Hope You're ListeningReview:
I Hope You’re Listening was provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was a ride. I totally thought I had everything figured about what was going on, but boy was I wrong. This story follows Dee ten years after she witnessed her best friend, Sibby, get kidnapped. She was just a child, and powerless to stop her best friend being taken away. In an attempt to try to make a difference in the world (after being unable to help save or find Sibby) she creates a podcast, Radio Silent, that talks about missing persons cases and utilizes the public to help try and solve them. I loved the concept of this podcast. A real-life, true-crime podcast. I thought it was a fascinating idea. I just liked Dee. She never really got over what happened with Sibby. She goes to school and tries to keep a low profile. She has her best friend, Burke, and that’s about it. I liked Burke. He seemed like a good friend to her even though Dee wasn’t always the best to him in this book. I’m happy with how they worked things out toward the end of the book. Now, the romance in the story wasn’t totally necessary. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it. I did like Sarah and Dee together. But I feel like we didn’t get to know Sarah as well as we could have. It was also a bit of insta-love which isn’t my favorite.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It took turns that I wasn’t expecting. It had characters that I was interested to know more about. I think this was a great thriller.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.