Blogmas Day Twenty-Five: Bookish People to Follow

Hello, lovelies! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Today I just want to spread some love to some others on this day of family and friends. So, today I will be sharing a list, with links, to a few BookTubers and Bloggers whose content that I really enjoy.

Bloggers

Avhlee @ Tea Cups and Torn Pages

Kal @ Reader Voracious

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Ari @ Bookish Valhalla

Jess @ Jessticulates

Books in the Skye

Jess @ Fiction No Chaser

Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads

Sol @ The Bookish King

BookTubers

Michelle @ Michelle Reads YA

Em @ Em Likes Books

Jessica Nicole Dickerson

Heathur @ Aphrodite Reads

Madison Mary @ Princess of Paperback

Riley Marie

Zoe @ Zoe’s All Booked

These arer a handful of bookish content creators that I really enjoy following. I hope you’ll consider checking them out!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? Lester’s demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester’s final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? These questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.
The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo, #5)Review:
The Tower of Nero is the finale of the Trials of Apollo series. I just have to say, wow, how far we have come with this series. In the first and second book, I really didn’t like Apollo. He was vain and completely annoying. It was my biggest problem with the first two books. I loved everything else, but I really didn’t like Apollo. I’m so glad to say that the Apollo in this final book is completely different from who he was in the previous books. His growth is so well done and I’m so happy about that.
In this book, Apollo has one final challenge to complete: defeat Nero. But that’s not as easy as it seems. I really cannot say enough good things about this world that Riordan has created. And this series really solidifies that because we get to see the characters we love from his previous books. Between the mythology that he has brought to life and the characters he’s gotten us invested in, there was no way I wasn’t going to love this book.
I’m going to keep this review short so I don’t just repeat everything from my previous reviews. I loved Apollo’s growth. I loved his friendship with Meg. I especially loved that Meg had her own challenges to face in this book. I think it was just such a well rounded story, filled with loveable characters that learn and grow from one another.
Overall, the audiobook was super good. I was very happy with the way this series ended but it made my heart ache because there’s no news about what books might be coming next. I also just have to say that the last few chapters (or maybe it was the epilogue) were exactly what I wanted. I was so happy to get to see Apollo visit with everyone after the dust settled. I loved this book. I loved this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Four: Series on my 2020 TBR Wrap Up

Hi, friends! Back in October, we did a post talking about series we wanted to finish before the end of the year. I thought it would be perfect, now that December is almost over, which means that 2020 is also almost over, we could talk about how we did with our goal of trying to finish some series that were on our TBR lists.

Amanda’s Series Wrap Up

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand
I did successfully finish this series. I managed to read this entire series in 2020 and it is officially on my list of favorite series. The world, the magic, the characters, it was all incredible and I highly recommend it. 

The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn
I managed to finish this series too! I liked most of the books and didn’t like some. I’m relieved to have finally finished the series.  

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I didn’t finish this one. I did reread the first two books, and I’m a a little ways into the third. So, progress I guess?

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
I finally finished this graphic novel series! I love this series. It’s diverse and dark and I loved it.

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I didn’t finish rereading the third book for this one. I’m in the middle of reading it now and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. I still like this series, but it’s not my favorite by her. I am planning to pick up her spin off series of this world in the new year.

The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
I didn’t manage to finish my reread of the fourth book in this series. But I’m not too worried about it because I want to reread the Call of the Forgotten companion series too, so I didn’t really expect to finish this one.

Antonia’s Series Wrap Up

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
I did finish this series and it was absolutely amazing!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand
I unfortunately was not able to start this series but it’s still on my TBR for next year.

The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova
I still haven’t read the last two books but hope to get to them soon.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
This is a reread for me and I’ve been trying to focus on new reads so I wasn’t able to get to this one.

Feverwake by Victoria Lee
I also wasn’t able to start this one but will definitely read it in 2021.

These are the series we hoped to finish before the end of 2020. I think we did pretty good, even if we didn’t manage to finish all the series on our lists. Did you finish any series before the end of this year?

Blogmas Book Review: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
A Betrayal…
Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.
A Choice…
Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.
A Secret…
But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, #2)Review:
Is this a new favorite series of mine? Yes. Was Armentrout already a favorite author of mine? Yes. So, was this totally a surprise? No, not really.
I’m not going to go too deep into a summary like I do in some reviews because this is the second book in a series and I don’t want to spoil anything. So, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire follows Poppy and Casteel as Poppy has had the world she knows completely upended. She’s learned things about the kingdom she grew up in that are horrifying and change everything for her. That’s about all you’re getting because most of the details of this are spoilers for book one.
Poppy is my queen. I love her with my whole heart. She’s been hurt many times. In her childhood, she witnessed her parents killed. She learned to fight so that she would never be defenseless again. This was a huge asset in this book because she proves again and again that she’s not someone to be fucked with. I want to reread this book again just to count how many times she stabbed Casteel or threatened to stab him. I thought it was really interesting that Poppy escaped the confinement of being the Maiden only to find herself confined once again in a completely different situation. I loved the development of her new confinement. She proved herself a useful ally and I loved seeing Poppy finally take her life into her own hands. Seeing her finally get to make choices for herself and what she wanted made me so happy.
Now, Casteel. I love him. I understand why Poppy is so mad at him, but I love him. I think it was really interesting that Armentrout used the secret keeping trope (which I usually hate) to create a huge conflict between Poppy and Casteel and then have them work through the lies and the deceptions. I was fascinated seeing Poppy figure out how to trust Casteel again after the lies he told her. I loved how determined Casteel was. He wanted Poppy. He wanted to save his brother. He wanted to save his kingdom. But his plans all change when he actually meets Poppy. He figures out a potential way to get all of the things that he wants. And I think that really spoke to who Casteel is as a person and a leader. I just love him with my whole heart.
Overall, I’m obsessed with this series. I think the world building is so well done and Armentrout has built a world that I’m infatuated with. I think this history of the world and how that history has been changed in the minds of the people is so interesting. I think the Gods are also very interesting. The fact that they’re all ‘sleeping’ is so intriguing and I cannot deal with how this story ended. I also have to mention there are a handful of steamy sex scenes and they were exactly what I wanted them to be. I think it was all around an excellent book and as I said in my review for the first book, if you like fantasy romance you will love this.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Three: WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Merciful Crown by Margaret Owen, and I’m listening to Red Skies Falling by Alex London.

Antonia- I’m currently still reading The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished reading The Awakening by Nora Roberts.

Antonia- I recently finished House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- I don’t know what I’ll pick up next. Probably something I get for Christmas.

Antonia- Next, I’ll continue with my winter TBR.

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

Blogmas Book Review: Well Played by Jen DeLuca

GoodReads Summary:
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
Well Played (Well Met, #2)Review:
I went into this book with pretty low expectations because when it was first released (not too long ago) all I saw were negative reviews. This was upsetting because I adored the first book in this series, but I knew I was going to read it anyway. I’m actually glad I went into the book this way because I think it made me enjoy it even more. I really liked Well Played.
The story follows Stacey who has lived in Willow Creek for her whole life, except for a short period of time for college. She always planned to leave and live somewhere else. She had goals and dreams. She even had a plan and a job lined up, but then her mother got sick. Stacey returned home to help care for her mother. Even though her mother is doing much better, Stacey is still scared that something will happen if she leaves again. But that doesn’t stop her from wanting more than Willow Creek. She is happiest during Faire season. For the past few summers, she’s had a fling with Dex, one of the members of The Dueling Kilts (a band that comes to the Faire every summer). After Simon and Emily get engaged, Stacey can’t help but feel lonely, like she wants more. The theme of this book is really just Stacey wanting more from her life, more than Willow Creek, more in her love life, just more. So, we follow her as she tries to find that more.
I didn’t love the catfishing aspect of the story, but I think it was better that the reader knew Stacey wasn’t really emailing and texting with Dex. I think it would have been more upsetting if the reader had been surprised alongside Stacey. I also think it was super obvious who it was that Stacey was really talking to and, again, I liked this. I think it was a good way to get the reader invested because we knew who it was that she was really falling for. It gave the reader a chance to get invested in their relationship, even though there were secrets. I usually don’t like the secret keeping trope, but I didn’t mind it so much in this book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am so excited to read the third book (Mitch!!) when it comes out. I enjoyed the ups and downs of Stacey’s romance. I liked how her friendship with Emily, Simon, and Mitch were included. I liked that we got to see the family dynamics with her parents. I also absolutely loved the sex scenes. They were super good. I basically liked everything about this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Two (Part Two): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want From Santa

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is a list of books I’m hoping Santa brings.

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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
The Awakening by Nora Roberts
The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

What books are you hoping to get this Christmas?

Blogmas Day Twenty-Two (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Want From Santa

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is Books I Hope Santa Brings.

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Chosen by Kiersten White

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich

Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

What books are you hoping to get for the holidays?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
A Maiden…
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
A Duty…
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
A Kingdom…
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1)Review:
How am I supposed to succinctly explain why and how much I loved this book? Armentrout is one of my favorite authors and has been for many years. So, I bought this immediately after it came out, but waited until the second book came out so I could binge read them.
From Blood and Ash follows Poppy. Poppy is the Maiden, which means there are many restrictions on the things she’s allowed to do. This includes who she’s allowed to speak to, touch, and many other medieval ideas. Poppy does her best to follow all of the rules set for her, but she wants more from her life. She has wants and desires. One of the biggest is that she wants to help defend herr kingdom. One of her guards, Vikter, has spent years teaching her how to fight. When Poppy was a child her parents were killed and she never wants to be defenseless like that again. So, she learns to fight and she can’t always stop herself from doing things she probably shouldn’t. When her close friend and guard is killed defending her, she gets a new guard, Hawke. The time she spends with Hawke and the things they talk about lead Poppy to start questioning he role as Maiden and her whole life.
I’m going to stop my summary there because things get pretty complicated after Poppy and Hawke meet. I loved this book. I adored Poppy and I want to reread this book already. Poppy is a fighter. She fights for others before she will fight for herself. She accepts punishments she doesn’t deserve so that others she cares for won’t face punishments. She has a huge heart despite having been treated so poorly by so many people. I love Poppy so much. I also love Hawke. I thought the secrets he was keeping were so interesting. I just wanted to know more about what he knew. Hawke was just all around a fascinating character. There were so many clues about who he really was and I think Armentrout did such a great job of giving us clues and slowly revealing the truth.
Overall, this world and its politics were absolutely fascinating. I just wanted to learn more. I loved the characters. I think Armentrout did such a great job of giving the reader characters we could easily be invested in, and developing relationships, both platonic and romantic, that we would die for. I am very excited to have read this book and I immediately jumped into the second book, so I will have a review for the second book shortly. I also am eagerly awaiting book three. If you like fantasy romance, this will not disappoint.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-One: 2020 Blogging Wrap Up

Hi, friends! Today we are here to do a sort of year-in-review kind of thing. 2020 is coming to a close and we thought it would be interesting to have a quick chat about general thoughts of how we think 2020 went for us in terms of blogging and what our goals might be for next year. We think it’s always good to check in with one another and ourselves to make sure were still enjoying this, because honestly we’re just here to do something fun together. So, let’s chat!

Amanda’s Thoughts:
I’m really happy with blogging this year. I had a baby in 2018, so blogging and reading have become sort of my ‘me time’ and I really enjoy being able to share reviews and lists with people that have the same interest as me. Also, Antonia and I have been FaceTiming to work on Blogtober, Blogmas, and Top Ten Tuesday posts and I’ve really been loving that. I love that even after all these years we still have this connecting us (we’re best friends and that’s never going to change, but I honestly didn’t think we’d still be blogging together). I really enjoy making lists, so getting to spend time with my best friend, talking about something we both love, is always the highlight of my week. Sometimes we even just FaceTime and read together. I just miss her a lot and blogging sometimes feels like a tangible connection to her, now that we don’t live seven minutes down the road from one another.
Going into 2021 one of my goals is to chill a little. Toward the end of this year I was posting reviews literally everyday. I think we’re currently on a 180+ day streak of posting on here. I want to calm down and not get so anxious about making sure I write reviews. Not every book I read needs to be reviewed. I definitely stressed myself a bit and I don’t want to continue that in 2021. I do want to incorporate more non-review posts year round in the new year, instead of saving them all for themed months (Blogtober, SciFi Month, Blogmas). I think Antonia and I have a few planned already that we’re excited about. Honestly, I just want to have fun in 2021. Blogging became a bit too much for me at times this year, so next year I just want it to be all fun again.

Antonia’s Thoughts:
I think this year has been fairly productive for me as far as blogging goes. I still haven’t gone back to writing book reviews but I’ve been a lot more involved with the other posts than I have in recent years, especially the last few months. Like Amanda said, FaceTiming regularly to work on blog stuff has been super fun and helps keep us connected when distance and our busy lives can make that so difficult. One of my struggles in the past has been trying to make time a few days a week to fill out posts right before they’re ready to publish but this way we prepare most of our posts weeks ahead of time. Once a week or two, I can take a couple hours with Amanda to get all the posts ready at once and I find it significantly less stressful.
My main goal for 2021 is to read more. It’s been my goal for the past several years because ever since I got married and moved away from home, I’ve struggled to keep reading a regular part of my routine. To make it even harder, this year I moved from Washington to Virginia and the huge change messed with my already terrible routine. I’d like to get back into the habit of picking up a book to settle down before bed instead of turning on the TV; or keeping my kindle charged so I can keep it in my bag in case I have the chance to pick it up. The fact that I read less than thirty books this year is heartbreaking to me when, for a long time, I’d read at least a hundred without even trying. I’d like to continue being more involved with the blog as I have been recently but also try to start writing the occasional review again as well. I think I’ve finally settled into my new life here enough that I’m excited to be a better book blogger and reader next year.

What are you’re thoughts on this past year of blogging? Do you have any specific plans for 2021?

Blogmas Book Review: Dark Age by Pierce Brown

GoodReads Summary:
For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?
Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.
But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.
On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?
Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.
Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.
As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.
Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)Review:
I listened to the audiobook for Dark Age like I have for most of this series. As there are more perspectives in this book, there were some new narrators (and some for characters that were in the last book that had different narrators I think). I really ended up liking all of the narrators. I think they all did a great job of reading the story and filling their narration with emotion.
I’m going to keep this review shorter than my reviews for the previous books. I don’t want to keep saying the same things about each book. I think so far, this was my least favorite of the series. I think a big part of that was the confusion that followed me of a significant amount of the story. In Red Rising, we learn of the Golds that ae Olympic Knights. There are several of them. But book four and this fifth book take place thirty years after book three, so there are no Olympic Knights in Darrow and Mustang’s new government, but in the two opposing governments there are. So, these two opposing governments both have their own sets of Knights, all of which go by their actual names as well as which Knight they are. One of the Knights (I think it’s the Fear Knight) plays a large role in certain parts of this story. I had a really hard time when they were talking about him because I couldn’t remember his name, but also couldn’t quite tell if the name I thought was his was correct. There are just so many newer characters that I’ve had to learn in this book that it got a bit confusing for me. I also didn’t love the way the points of view were. Usually when there’s multiple character perspectives, the chapters will alternate every few chapters between the different characters. That wasn’t the case in this book (which was weird to me because Brown did this well in the previous book.) I felt like the story would follow one character for an unreasonable amount of time. Also, sort of on the same topic as that, it seemed to take forever for Lyria’s point of view to come into the book for the first time. This was upsetting because she’s definitely my favorite. Thought I will say that Mustang finally got her own chapters and I adored them.
Overall, I still feel all of the good things that I’ve said in previous reviews. I loved most of the characters, the world and politics are fascinating, the action scenes are completely intense and leave me on the edge of my seat. This book was a really good one. I highly recommend this series with my whole heart.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty: 10 Most Anticipated Releases of 2021

Hi, bookworms! We talked a little bit about some new books we’re anticipating that come out in January, but today we want to talk about the books we’re most excited about for the whole of 2021. So, without further delay, here are 10 books that we’re most excited about in 2021.

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman – Release Date: February 9th, 2021

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas – Release Date: February 16, 2021

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman – Release Date: April 6th, 2021

Legacy by Nora Roberts – Release Date: May 25, 2021

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner – Release Date: August 10th, 2021

The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clark – Release Date: September 14th, 2021

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune – Release Date: September 21st, 2021

Crescent City #2 (Untitled) by Sarah J. Maas – Release Date: November 2, 2021

Well Matched by Jen Deluca – Release Date: Unknown Date

Nowhere by Brandon Sanderson – Release Date: Unknown Date

Blogmas Book Review: These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

GoodReads Summary:
Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.
Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.
Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.
But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?
These Vengeful HeartsReview:
Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC of These Vengeful Hearts in exchange for an honest review. This story follows Ember Williams on a quest for revenge. She attends Heller High (called Hell High by the students), where instead of popular students ‘ruling’ the school, there is a ‘secret’ society (secret is in quotes because many of the students know it exists and have asked for favors, but other truly believe it to be a myth which seemed a little far-fetched after seeing some of the things that the Red Court did) that runs Hell High. The Red Court (sort of based on Alice and Wonderland) is led by the Queen of Hearts and everything is done through playing cards. This society is full of only female members that, at the synopsis accurately put it, deal out favors and social ruin in equal measure. Ember has been trying to become a member of the Red Court since she started high school. She wants revenge, to dismantle the Red Court forever. Two years ago, her sister, April, was in an accident orchestrated by the Red Court that left her paralyzed. Since then, Ember was plotted to join the society and ruin it.
The story starts right before Ember gets invited to be a member of the Red Court. I thought this was a great way to get to know Ember a bit before she joined. I mention that because one of my favorite things about this book was the way Ember changed and developed throughout the story. After joining the Red Court and completing her first mission, she realized two things: that this take down wasn’t going to be easy and that she actually kind of liked the manipulation she was tasked to complete. Things definitely got a little muddy, morally speaking, for Ember as this story progressed, which in my opinion was the best part of the story. Ember was an interesting character. She finds herself in over her head, lying to all of those she’s closest to, and crushing on someone she was specifically warned to stay away from. I loved it all.
Overall, this book was fast paced, suspenseful, and full of drama and secrets. I liked Ember. I liked her best friend Gideon (who is gay). I liked Embers partner in the Red Court, Amber (who is also gay). I liked how the relationships developed. It was exactly what I wanted it to be when I read ‘secret society in high school’ in the synopsis. Also, with that ending I’m really hoping there will be a sequel or companion story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from New York Timesbestselling author Kiersten White, exploring the nature of self, the inevitable cost of progress, and, of course, magic and romance and betrayal so epic Queen Guinevere remains the most famous queen who never lived.
EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.
Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.
When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?
The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising, #2)Review:
Big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. The Camelot Betrayal is the second book in the Camelot Rising trilogy. I loved this book just as much as I loved the first (find my review here!) As I said in the review for the first book, this is a retelling of the myth of King Arthur and Camelot, but it is focused instead on Guinevere. I still know little to nothing about the original mythology, but this was fun for me. I think it was more fun for me because I didn’t know anything about the mythology. I didn’t have anything to compare it to other than the vague idea of the story that Arthur claimed Excalibur.
We follow Guinevere after the events of the first book. She’s trying to figure out who she is. She has little to no memories of her childhood and she’s confused. She’s supposed to be playing the part of Guinevere the Queen and finally feels like she might be figuring out how to do that. I really liked that Guinevere was trying to figure things out for herself. I think this made for a really interesting emotional journey. She has several important relationships, with her lady’s maid, her knight, and with Arthur. Relationships are always changing and growing, and that’s clear in this story. I liked this aspect of the story too. Guinevere’s still trying to figure out the right thing for her and for the people around her. She becomes more aware throughout the story that she might not be doing what’s best for her friends and she tries to change that. I liked Guinevere. She’s kind, but strong. She wants to do the right thing, and tries to, and feels guilt when there are consequences from her actions that she did not expect. I just really liked her.
I also really liked the development of her and Arthur’s relationship. It’s slow and sweet. They both want similar things, but Arthur feels guilt for how and why Guinevere came be to in Camelot. I liked seeing their relationship change from the first book. I don’t like the love triangle aspect. I’m team Arthur all the way, though the other choice is certainly intriguing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the series so far. I’m very excited for the conclusion. I love all the character, main and supporting. I think my favorite part of the story though is the intrigue of the secrets that Guinevere thinks she is figuring out. I can’t tell what’s true and what isn’t. There’s so much that she doesn’t know and it really kept me wanting more. I loved how little pieces were tied together through the characters. I’m very eager to get all of the answers to the questions that I have from this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Nineteen: Unread 2020 Releases

Hello, bookworms! It’s the last few days of blogmas, so today we’re going to talk about the 2020 releases that we bought this year and haven’t read yet. Amanda tries to stay on top of the many new releases (buying or borrowing and eventually, reading them) and Antonia has a list of specific releases to buy and read. But we both are imperfect people, so neither of us read all of the books we buy as quickly as we would like. So, we have here for you a list of our unread 2020 releases (that we already own.)

Amanda’s Unread 2020 Releases

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee
Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia
Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Antonia’s Unread 2020 Releases

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

These are all of the books released this year that we haven’t managed to read yet. But most are high priority for early 2021, so hopefully soon. What 2020 releases did you buy this year, but haven’t picked up and read yet?