Blogmas Day Thirty-One: December Wrap Up

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For the final day of Blogmas, dear lovelies I give to theeee (I hope everyone’s singing along with me) a wrap up of the books I read this monthhhh! I read lots of good stuff this month, so I’m just going to get right into it.

Physical Books
The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands
The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
The Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland
The Spill Zone: The Broken Vow by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland
Life is Strange: Dust by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi, & Andrea Izzo
The Wicked + The Divine: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada

eBooks
The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands
Hungry for You by Lynsay Sands
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Under a Vampire Moon by Lynsay Sands
Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands
Jackpot by Nic Stone
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Soldier by Julie Kagawa
Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands
Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
One Lucky Vampire by Lynsay Sands
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands
Legion by Julie Kagawa
Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts
Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich
Sovereign Sacrifice by Elise Kova
The Immortal Who Loved Me by Lynsay Sands

Audiobooks
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
Inferno by Julie Kagawa

These are all the books I read in December. I managed to read some that will be finding themselves on my favorites of 2019 lists next month. What did you read in December? Any new favorites?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Twenty-Nine: Books I DNF’d

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Hi, lovelies! I want to talk about making the choice to put down a book and never pick it up again. I’ve been DNF’ing books left and right this year and it’s such a freeing feeling. Being able to say, “I’m done with this book. I’m not enjoying it.” and then putting it in the unhaul pile, or returning it to the library unfinished and moving on to another book I’m more excited about reading is such a great feeling. It puts less pressure on me to read books I don’t like. So, here are all the books that I chose to DNF in 2019.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Unleashed by Diana Palmer

Henry V by William Shakespeare

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

For some reason I feel like I am forgetting some, but if I can’t remember them there’s probably a reason for that. Tell me in the comments if you DNF’d any books this year and what books they were!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Book Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

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GoodReads Summary:
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.
The Good Luck CharmReview:
I’ve been loving romance novels this holiday season. There’s just something about a good romance during December. I read another Helena Hunting novel a few weeks ago and had to pick this one up when I saw it in the book store. I’m glad I did.
I really enjoyed this. I love the theme of exes or people with history reconnecting and working out their differences. Helena Hunting does a really good job with this trope.
I liked Lilah. I liked that she didn’t just fall right back into her relationship with Ethan. I really liked that she had a plan for her future and that when that plan started to get seriously derailed, she took a stand and didn’t let herself get lost in her relationship. She’s a girl with educational goals and isn’t going to let the man she loves stand in the way of those goals.
Ethan was likable enough too. He doesn’t realize how much he hurt Lilah in the past and is trying to make up for it in the present. He pushes the limits of respecting her wishes but realizes that he could lose her again if he doesn’t.
I liked the pair together. Their history was well explained and I could totally understand the feelings between them. I liked that they communicated pretty well and took time apart when Lilah needed it. I thought it was a realistic relationship and I’m happy that everything worked out for them.
There was an interesting twist there at the end and I hope we get another book with Lilah’s sister and Dr. Lovely. I thought this was an unnecessary addition to the story, but I still appreciated it because it did relate to the root of some of Lilah’s issues.
Overall, I had fun reading this story. It’s one I definitely recommend.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Seven: Books & Baking – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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I’m back with another installment of Books & Baking, lovelies! For this edition, I went with a book that is beloved by many, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I have been reading the illustrated editions to my daughter before bed each night. I’m having so much fun sharing my love for this series with her, though she’s not quite old enough to really listen yet.

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Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 

I don’t think I really need to explain anything about this book. But I will say that I read them growing up and I remember getting the final book and bringing it to summer camp with me and letting all the girls in my cabin read it once I was done. This series holds so much nostalgia for me, so getting to read them to my daughter just brings joy to my little heart.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

Baking: Rock Cakes

Find the full recipe here!

“The rock cakes were shapeless lumps with raisins that almost broke their teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to be enjoying them as they told Hagrid all about their first lessons.”

Ingredients

Butter
White sugar
Milk
Flour
Raisins
Baking powder
Vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix this with butter until crumbly. Pour in the milk, then add raisins and vanilla. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on the tray in tablespoons. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

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I thought these turned out so well. They were sort of like a shortbread kind of texture. I think they would have been incredible with chocolate chips instead of raisins. My husband and daughter really enjoyed these. I definitely plan to make them again in the future.

Will you try to make these or have you made them in the past? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Twenty-Four: Books I HAD to Buy

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Hello, lovelies! Today I want to talk about those books that I just had to buy but then never ended up reading. I could probably list all of the books on my physical unread book shelf, but I’ll just list a few that really fit this post.

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Wind Rider by P.C. Cast

The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

These are some of the books on my bookshelf that I just had to buy and for some unknown reason still haven’t managed to read yet.

Keep on reading lovelies, amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

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GoodReads Summary:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.
Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.
But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.
Starsight (Skyward, #2)Review:
Starsight was everything I never knew I needed from this sequel. I went into this book without reading the synopsis so I really didn’t know what to expect from the story aside from Spensa being her sassy headstrong self. I was given so much that I never could have imagined.
I am in awe of Sanderson’s writing. It’s fast paced, but not rushed. The suspense and build up before finally giving us answers is so well done. We’re kept on the edge of our seat right up until the very end.
In this second book, Spensa goes on a spy mission. I really loved getting a chance to see more of the world (well universe) that this series takes place in. We’ve left the planet where Spensa’s people are being contained. A prison of sorts. She takes the place of another and goes to the Krell to train as a pilot for them. Her mission is to find something that will save her people. But she realizes that everything is not what she thought it was.
I’m going to try to do this without too many spoilers, but I will say that if you haven’t read the first book, you should read the review for that here, instead of this review.
With Spensa on Starsight, she meets all sorts of new alien species. She forms a new flight crew. I loved them. But I found myself missing her human squad from the first book. Though, I did really like the few chapters we got that let us know what was going on back on Demetrius. I thought her new flight crew were beyond interesting. She was learning about new alien species as well as how the Krell work and trying to find their secrets to take back to her people. Spensa’s whole view of the world has changed. She doesn’t know what’s true or who to trust, aside from M-Bot of course.
I love M-Bot, though I wish we’d gotten a bit more of him. I thought the conversation of whether or not he was ‘alive’ was really interesting. I’m also still so curious about why certain things are hidden from him. There are gaps in his memory and I’m dying to know what they are and why he wasn’t allowed to remember them.
Now that I’ve had a little time to gather my thoughts about this book, I’ve realized that there was no mention of certain events after a certain crash landing and I’m a bit upset about that. I’m so curious about the person who’s place Spensa took. We’re given so little information about her and what’s happening while Spensa is on her spy mission.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. There was action and politics, suspense and secrets. I loved it and Spensa and all the new characters we met. That ending is going to drive me wild though especially with a release date of 2021 for book three.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Two: Amanda’s End of Yearathon TBR

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Hello, lovelies! I am more than excited to share with you the books I’m planning to read in the final days of 2019. I have been thinking about what books to include since Vicky and I started talking about the prompts for this round. Let’s talk about what books I plan to read (but will probably change a million times.) This readathon will be going on starting December 26th (at midnight in your time zone) until December 31st (right up until the ball drops!)

Prompts:

Read a 2019 release

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Read a book with a red cover

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Read a book from a series you haven’t finished

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Read a book under 300 pages

Life is Strange: Dust by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi, & Andrea Izzo

Read a book released before 2019

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead

Read a diverse book

The Wicked + The Divine: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

I picked books that I’m really excited about, but for some reason just haven’t picked them up yet. Knowing how I am though, I’m sure I’ll change my mind and end up reading different books that fit the prompts. You’ll have to wait for my wrap up to find out!

Let me know what you plan to read for this readathon in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

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Blogmas Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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GoodReads Summary:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Sorcery of ThornsReview:
I have been seeing everyone and their brother absolutely raving about this book. Now that my fantasy slump is over, I thought I’d give it a try.
I adored this book. It was so atmospheric. I adored the library setting and the idea of books being alive in a sense. I only wished we got more of the library.
I adored Elisabeth. She knew she was different, but didn’t care. She didn’t fret over her parents that gave her up. She was a child of the library and I loved it. She had a strong sense of right versus wrong and despite not being a sorcerer, she’s determined to take down the man that is creating dangerous grimoires and killing directors.
With the help of Nathaniel Thorn, the pair team up and I adored their relationship. She sees the darkness he thinks is within him and does not run from it.
I even loved Silas. He was Nathaniel’s demon and continually told Elisabeth not to trust him. But he was so unique and interesting, I couldn’t help my love for him.
I wish I knew what else to say about this book. The writing was beautiful. The characters were complicated and loveable. The world was interesting and unique. I just could not put this book down.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty: Unfinished Series

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Hey, lovelies. Today I want to talk about series that I have yet to finish. I’m not going to be talking about series that are still releasing books, only the series that are completed and all books are published. I have managed to finish quite a few series that I’ve fallen behind on, but a readers job is never done.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I’ve only managed to read the first book in this series…twice. I keep meaning to pick up book two, but I just keep finding other books I’m more excited about. I’ll get to it hopefully in 2020 now that the whole series is finished.

Stream Raiders series by Sara Raasch

I read and loved the first book. So I thought I’d pick up book two immediately when it came out. I just didn’t though. I’m still hoping to get to it before the end of the year.

Tales of a New World by P.C. Cast

I absolutely adored books one and two, but need to reread them before being able to finish the series up with book three. It’s been too long for me to just jump into the finale.

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

Again, I loved books one and two, but need to reread before being able to start book three to finish out the series. I hope to do this in 2020.

The Talon Series by Julie Kagawa

I may or may not end up DNFing this series. Antonia says the main character gets better and I love Kagawa’s writing. She tells incredible stories, so I do want to finish this one.

The Glittering Court trilogy by Richelle Mead

This is another series where I read and loved the first two, but want to reread them before reading the finale when it was finally published. But it’s not almost two years later and I have not reread or managed to pick up the third book.

Well, that’s all I have for this post. I’m impressed that there are not more on this list, but as I said above, I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to get to the finales of series I’ve been slacking on finishing. Hopefully, I can get to all of these in 2020. What unfinished series are on your TBR list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Nineteen: Unread 2019 Releases

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Hellllllo, lovelies! Last week, I did a Blogmas post about the incredible amount of 2019 releases that I did manage to read this year. Previous years, I’ve had more unread than read, so I thought I could talk about the new releases that I bought and still haven’t managed to pick up and read yet. But, I do plan to make them a priority in early 2020. These are only the books that were published in 2019 that I already own, either physically or on eBook. I’m still really excited about all of these books (becasue I recently did an unhaul and these are all books that managed to keep their place on my shelf).

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Stain by A.G. Howard

The Matchmakers List by Sonya Lalli

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Test by Sylvainn Neuvel

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

Shout by Laurie Halse Andersonn

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody

Voices by David Elliott

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

The Year They Fell by David Kreizman

To be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

The End and Other Beginnings by Veronica Roth

Poemsia by Lang Leav

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand

I’m pretty happy with the fact that this my list on unread 2019 releases. That’s not to say I don’t have other backlist books that I haven’t read yet (because I certainly do). But I managed to read more than half of the new releases I bought thhis year and I’m very pleased with that. What 2019 release did you buy this year but haven’t managed to read yet? Comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Sixteen: Black Friday Book Haul

Hellllo, lovelies! I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for those Black Friday sales. There were two sales in particular that I hit up this year: Book Outlet & Barnes and Nobel. Both were impulse purchases. I originally went to Barnes and Nobel to pick up two specific books, a new release and a gift for Antonia. I ended up spending $100 on random books I found and a few books for my daughter. Book Outlet was 100% a middle of the night feeding session shopping spree. It’s always those late night baby feeds when it’s dark and I’m vulnerable that get me to make that Book Outlet order I don’t need. But! Some of the books I got were gifts. So, in this post I’m only going to include the books I bought for myself.

Barnes & Nobel

The Matchmakers List by Sonya Lalli

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.S. Fletcher

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

Book Outlet

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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I plan to wrap a few of these to put under the Christmas tree from Santa. I’m pretty proud of myself for not going overboard like I did last year. While I did buy these for myself, I also bought books for Antonia, my daughter, and another friend. I’m excited to get these books for Christmas, but I’m more excited about the books I’m gifting for the holiday.

What did you buy for Black Friday? Anything for yourself? Any gifts for your loved ones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Fifteen: Christmas Spirit Book Tag

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We found this book tag over at Words & Stitches. We did this tag last year and thought it was a super fun book tag for the time of year. It’s great to get into the holiday spirit. So, we decided to do it again! Feel free to participate, but don’t forget to tag back to Words & Stitches!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer // A book you love, even though it’s not perfect

Amanda – The Art of Losing by Lizzie Mason

Antonia – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Frosty the Snowman // A book that melts your heart

Amanda – Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Antonia – A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

The Grinch // A book about a sympathetic villain

Amanda – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Antonia – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Christmas Prince // A guilty pleasure book

Amanda – I don’t like calling books ‘guilty pleasure’ but Nora Roberts can always get me out of a reading slump.

Antonia – I agree with Amanda but would probably choose Julia Quinn. They’re so silly but always make me laugh out loud.

Naughty List // Three books you can never forgive

Amanda –

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi (because of the ending)
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (also because of the ending)
Beartown by Fredrik Backman (for all the tears)

Antonia –

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Earth’s End by Elise Kova
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Nice List // Three books you can’t be mad at

Amanda –

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
The Disasters by M.K. England
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Antonia –

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Eggnog // A book you’re saving as a holiday treat

Amanda – The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. It’s my only ‘Christmas book’ and I’m saving it for the last week before the holiday.

Antonia – Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

We tag you! Yes, you reading this! Feel free to play too!

Blogmas Day Fourteen: GoodReads Choice Awards

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Hello, lovelies! I thought it would be fun to do a final wrap up of the GoodReads Choice Awards winners and which ones were winners thanks to my vote. I’m only going to be including the categories that I voted in. Check out my last post about which books I still needed to read for the final round of voting.

Best Mystery/Thriller

My Vote: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanenn

Winner: The Silent Patient by Alex Michalides

This is not overly suprising to me with all the hype that surrounded The Silent Patient. It also, sort of, makes me want  to move this book higher up on my TBR list.

Best Historical Fiction

My Vote: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Winner: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is also not overly surprising to me. I’m glad it won. I adored the audiobook and voted for it in each round.

Fantasy

My Vote: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Winner: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Another one that’s not a surprise. There were so many great books for this category,  it was a hard choice to pick just one.

Romance

My Vote: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Winner: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This one was so deserving of the win. I did really like some of the other books I read from this category, but I’m so glad RW&RB won.

Science Fiction

My Vote: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

Winner: Recursion by Blake Crouch

The winner is one of the few books in this category that I didn’t read. I can’t say whether it deserved it, but I wish my vote won.

Graphic Novels & Comics

My Vote: Bloom by Kevin Panette & Savanah Ganucheau

Winner: Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Another non-surprise, Rainbow Rowell is such a beloved author. I personally don’t read her work, so I think any of the other books should have won.

Poetry

My Vote: Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gil

Winner: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

I love that Shout won. I have not read it yet, but it’s on my shelf. I definitely plan  to read it in 2020.

Debut Novel

My Vote: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Winner: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I think it should be a rule that books can’t win more than one category to give the other books a more fair chance. RW&RB already won the Romance category and there were several other deserving books in the Debut Novel category.

Young Adult Fiction

My Vote: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Winner: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, & Tobias Iaconis

I’m sorry, but HOW did this book win? Wasn’t this written based off of the movie? This was rigged. I don’t understand how this could have won over any of the other books for Young Adult Fiction.

Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction

My Vote: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Winner: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Is anyone surprised by this? No? Me neither.

Middle Grade & Children

My Vote: Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Winner: The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan

Insert lack of surprise here. Uncle Rick is king. But I would have liked to see one of the more diverse stories by a newer author win.

So, that’s it lovelies, the 2019 GoodReads Choice Awards have finally come to an end. It was fun trying to read all of the books so that I could vote properly. Which books were you happy to see win?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Book Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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GoodReads Summary:
In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
The Way I Used to BeReview:
I really thought I was going to rate this book five stars when I first started it, but the longer I read it, the less I liked it. There were a lot of things I liked about this book though, so I’ll start with those.
Eden, though I’ve never experienced what she went through, was very relatable. I saw a lot of myself in her with her destructive behaviors, like smoking and drinking. I was a reckless teenager and did a lot of the same things she did. But Eden was mean. She was lashing out at anyone that showed her attention, anyone that was kind to her. It made her really unlikeable, but at the same time, with the things she went through her behavior was understandable.
I thought the writing was excellent. I also thought the characters and interactions were well done. The relationships between the characters were interesting too.
The thing that really bothered me was the pacing. This book follows Eden through all four years of high school. This was an interesting way to tell the story in theory, but for me personally, it made me feel like huge chunks of the story were missing. At the end of Sophomore year, it’s Christmas time and then suddenly it’s her junior year and the same in the transition between Junior and Senior year. It really bothered me. Also, when Senior year comes around things are obviously different. Eden has started calling her mom and dad by their names, which is not explained at all. The reader is just left to figure that out.
This was my biggest issue with the book. But aside from that, I really liked the characters, even Eden. The relationships and the disagreements were realistic and compelling. It was hard not to feel sorry for Eden, but it was equally hard not to want to yell at her for her behavior. This would have been a five star book for me had it not been for the bizarre pacing and time jumps.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Thirteen: Read 2019 Releases

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For today’s blogmas post I thought it would be interesting to talk about all of the 2019 new releases that I managed to read this year. It’s always a struggle to stay on top of those new books that come out each year so going over which ones we did read seems like a good way to highlight the accomplishment that is reading those new releases, especially since I read way more new releases this year than in previous years.

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Shienmel
Robbergirl by S.T. Gibson
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
The Dysasters by P.C. & Kristen Cast
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh
Deathcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib
King of Fools by Amanda Foody
Again but Better by Christine Riccio
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta
The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
Vortex Visions by Elise Kova
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savannah Ganucheau
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Girls of July by Alex Flinn
Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Welsey Chu
All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton
The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer
100 Days of Sunlight by Abby Emmons
Chosen Champion by Elise Kova
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry
Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro
Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry
Rage by Cora Carmack
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
American Royals by Katharine McGee
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Finale by Stephanie Garber
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
Jackpot by Nic Stone
Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

 

These are all of the 2019 releases I’ve managed to read this year! I honestly didn’t think I’d read this many, so I’m rather impressed with myself. What 2019 releases did you read this year? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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