Blogmas Day Nine: Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag

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Hello bookish people! Blogmas is one of the best times of the year for book tags because there are just so many fun Christmas and holiday themed ones to do. So, of course we had to do the Harry Potter Christmas Tag. This tag was created last year by Charleigh @ Charleigh Writes. There are a few rules she’s created to go along with this tag, so let’s go over them before we get into the questions.

Rules:
1. Link back to Charleigh so she can read your answers!
2. You can’t choose Harry Potter for any of the answers.
3. Tag however many people at the end
4. Have fun!

It’s your first Christmas at Hogwarts. What’s one book you’ve asked for this year?

Amanda- The collectors edition of Crooked Kingdom. It’s stunning.

Antonia- Starsight by Brandon Sanderson.

You spot Hagrid hauling the Christmas tree through the grounds. What is the longest (or heaviest!) book you own?

Amanda- Without looking, I’d guess The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

Antonia- I think it’s my copy of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It’s the entire series in one book.

It’s time for the famous Great Hall feast. What’s one book you can’t read without snacks?

Amanda- All books. I love to snack while I read.

Antonia- I’m also always snacking.

Well done, you’ve brewed your first Polyjuice Potion. What’s one book you’d change the cover of?

Amanda- The Vampire Academy series. I hate book covers with faces on them.

Antonia- Ooh, there’s so many. I’ll choose the Bloodlines series because I agree with Amanda.

You receive a brand new Firebolt for Christmas. What’s one book you read super quickly?

Amanda- All of Lynsay Sands Argeneau romance novels. They’re so fun and I can never stop until I’ve read it in one sitting.

Antonia- I really don’t read very fast. I guess I tend to go through Nora Roberts’ books quickly though. Even when rereading I get so invested in her characters.

You join Harry for his first proper Christmas. What’s one book you’d love to receive this year?

Amanda- Honestly, I’d love for someone to surprise me with a book they loved that I’ve never heard of.

Antonia- I like Amanda’s idea. Surprise presents are the best way to find books outside your usual niche.

You get hit by one of Fred and George’s flying snowballs. What’s a book you wanted to throw across the room?

Amanda- The Dragon Republic becasue it used addiction as a plot device and I was pissed.

Antonia- Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so disappointed by a book ending.

You’ve just visited Hogsmead for the first time. What’s one popular book you haven’t read yet?

Amanda- Lots? But I’m going to list a graphic novel for this one, Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman.

Antonia- Oh wow. So many. Divergent by Veronica Roth comes to mind.

Congratulations! You’ve been invited to the Yule Ball. What book about Christmas do you love?

Amanda- If I was allowed to use the Harry Potter books for this book tag, I would use them here. But since I can’t, instead I’ll name The Polar Express. 

Antonia- Hmm, I don’t read a lot of Christmas books.

You find Ron’s deluminator. What’s one book that’s helped you through dark times?

Amanda- Looking for Alaska by John Green. It’s a book that came to me right when I needed the message it shared.

Antonia- The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.

We tag:

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Kelly @ Struggling Bookaholic

Blogmas Day Eight: Debut Authors

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Hi, lovelies! Today I want to talk about the books I read this year by debut authors. I read quite a few debut novels and absolutely adored them. So, I want to let you know which books they were and give you a few reasons why you should go by them, or add them to your christmas wishlist.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This book was so good. It got me out of my fantasy slump, which I’m so glad for because I’ve read some great books since this one. This has a Narnia type feel with traveling through magic doors, but more, so much more. I adore the main character and the friends she makes along the way.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book was hilarious and sweet in all the best ways. A prince and the son of the president falling in love, what could go wrong? I was literally laughing out loud while reading this book, and I know you will too.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

While the main character can be pretty unlikable, most teenagers have their moments where they can be punks. I know I was a punk when I was in high school. I loved Norris’s story of moving away from the life he knew to Texas and trying to figure out where he fit in there. Plus, I met the author and I thought he was super awesome.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

If the tag line of ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses Retelling’ doesn’t immediately make you want to read this, let me tell you a bit. Murder, dancing, magic, and falling in love. This book was atmospheric as hell and I loved every page.

The Disasters by M.K. England

Looking for diverse science fiction? Look no further. This is the unlikeliest squad of strrangers you’ll ever encounter. They have to save the universe becasue well, everyone else that knows what’s going on is dead.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

Ghosts and tornados. Do you need anything else? If so, this follows three outsiders, the kids that just don’t fit in at school. They end up finding each other and when a tornado hits on the anniversary of a tornado that killed most of those in attendance at the local drive in more than fifty years ago, they meet on the side of the road and realise that there may be something spooky going on.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Stirling

Queer Witches, yes please. This was full of mystery and teenage angst and I loved it. There was heart break and loss, but also growth and of course, magic.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

A diverse cast of kids with magical abilities, also they’re trying to fight a scary ass monster. The small town drama and grudges were some of my favorite parts of this. Seeing these kids try to work through their personal and family histories in order to keep their town safe was the best. It was spooky and fun at the same time.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this book. It covers important mental health topics, but also is full of summertime fun and a bit of a mystery about the main characters ancestors. I flew through this book and loved every page of it.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Renasance Faire romance, sign me the hell up. This was a dislike to love romance, full of small town feels, great new friends, and making sister relationships stronger. I read this in one sitting and loved to with my whole heart.

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

This book was really important to me personally. It follows the story of a girl who’s sister is in the hospital after getting in the car with a drunk driver. It talks about so many different themes that are so very important to think and talk about in the teenage years. Please go read it.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Love, mistakes, and a little bit of time travel. A sort of Groundhog Day story where the main character tries over and over to get that happy ending and learns so much along the way.

The Birds, The Bees, & You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

A fun story about the importance of safe sex. If I had read this book when I was in high school, my life would have been very different probably. I also got to meet the author and she was just amazing. Plus, she has the same name as my daughter.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Are you looking for a book that is going to make you scream with rage but also cry your eyeballs out? Look no further, you have found it. I swear I cried for half of this book. I cannot recommend it enough.

Have you read any of these debut novels? If not, get shopping or to your local library right now! Let me know if any of these books are on your radar in the comments.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Six: New to Me Authors

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Hello bookish friends! Last year, our first year of Blogmas, we talked about authors we discovered during the year. I thought this was super fun and wanted to do it again this year. (Check out last years list here.) Let’s talk new to me (Amanda) authors!

Helena Hunting
Meet Cute & The Good Luck Charm

S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass

Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray

Brittany Cavallaro
The Charlotte Holmes Series

Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

M.K. England
The Disasters

Katie Henry
Heretics Anonymous & Let’s Call it a Doomsday

Amanda Foody
The Shadow Game Series

Mark Lawrence
Book of the Ancestor series

Roshani Chokshi
Aru Shah and the End of Time

Lisa Maxwell
The Last Magician

Jeff Zentner
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Courtney Summers
Sadie

These are some of the authors who’s books I picked up for the first time in 2019 and loved. I am looking forward to reading more of their work. I also hope that 2020 is filled with just as many new to me authors!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Five: Anticipated 2020 Releases

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Hello all! For today’s blogmas post we will be talking about the books we are excited for their release in the upcoming year. As there are so many books that come out each year, we will just be listing a few that we are the most excited about. We do already have a page with all of our anticipated 2020 release, so click here to see the full list.

Amanda’s Anticipated Releases

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence
My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Lobizona by Romina Garber
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

Antonia’s Anticipated Releases

Hideaway by Nora Roberts
First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn

Leave us a comment and let us know some of your most anticipated 2020 releases that we might not know about!

Blogmas Day Four: End of the Year Book Tag

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Hello bookish friends! Blogmas, of course, means getting a few book tag posts up for the month. They’re always a fun time, especially the end of the year ones. This tag was originally created by Ariel Bissett, but we found it on Bookbinder Way. Let’s get into it!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Amanda- I have picked up, read a few pages, and put down a couple books. I don’t know that I’m planning to read them before the end of the year but I’ll list a couple. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon,

Antonia- Definitely a few. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini is the main one. I got several chapters into it and just haven’t been able to convince myself to pick it up since.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

Amanda- Nothing specific. I tend to read a lot of romance going into the holiday season. I’m all about those feel-good reads.

Antonia- Not really, I bounce around between genres so much. I’m currently reading a scifi series, an adult dystopian series, and a children’s fantasy series.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Amanda- Waiting to release, no. Waiting to buy/arrive in the mail, yes. The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson are the two highest on my priority list at the moment.

Antonia- I’m also (im)patiently waiting for Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. I made the mistake of putting it on my Christmas list so now I’ll have to wait for the holiday to read it.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Amanda-

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Antonia-

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Amanda- It’s a very likely possibility. There are tons of potential five star reads on my TBR.

Antonia- I definitely have very high hopes for The Rise of Magicks and Starsight but I wouldn’t say they’d shock me because I fully expect to love them both.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Amanda- Yes. In 2020, I want to focus on my physical TBR and take a step back from social media. Not the blog, but twitter and Instagram and the like.

Antonia- No. I barely have an actual plan for reaching my book goal by the end of the year.

We tag anyone that feels like doing this one!

Blogmas Day Two: Books & Baking – Blood Magick

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for another edition of Books & Baking! For this latest edition, we’re going in the direction of adult romance with one of my favorite authors. An author I am sure will make another appearance on this blog feature, the ever wonderful, Nora Roberts. I started this trilogy (though it’s one I’ve read before) in October and I knew the third book would be perfect for Books & Baking.

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Book: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

Read my full review here!

This series follows six characters as they attempt to win an age-old battle. This is the third and final installment in the Cousin’s O’Dwyer Trilogy that follows my favorite pairing, Branna and Fin. I would die for Finbar Burke and Branna is a lady I would wife the hell out of. Branna creates incredible things in this book. From food and desserts to handsoaps, candles, and lotions. These are my favorite characters of the six we get to know. With an Irish setting and a magical cast of characters, I really couldn’t ask for more.

“I’m so angry it feels my blood’s on fire. If I didn’t bank it with calm, I might burn the place to the ground.”

“Love can fade and die. I’ve seen it. It can grow and build as well. I think when it’s real and meant, it can only grow bigger and stronger.”

“We’re a superstitious breed, we Irish, and wise enough to build around a faerie hill without disturbing it, to leave a stone dance where it stands. And to keep back from a place where the dark still thrums.”

Baking: Ginger Biscuits 

Find the recipe here!

When I saw these mentioned in the book, I knew they had to be my next creation for Books & Baking because they were perfect to bring to my family as a Thanksgiving treat!

“After donning a white apron, she made her ginger biscuits first because it pleased her. While they cooled and their scent filled the air, she gathered what she needed to make the candle sets on the new list Eileen had given her.”

Ingredients

Plain flour
Ground ginger
Baking soda
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Salt
Margarine or butter, softened
White sugar
One egg
Water
Molasses or golden syrup
White sugar (for rolling)

Instructions

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then water and molasses. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, letting each addition combine fully before adding more.

Form dough into one in balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Bake eight to ten minutes, then cool.

I will admit that I sampled more than a few before packing them up to bring with me to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My husband had some too. Honestly, between the two of us we probably ate a whole batch. So, I’m glad this recipe made more than enough for us to sample and still share for the holiday. I thought they were delicious. I might even make them again when I start my Christmas baking.

Do these sounds yummy or what? Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think! The recipe was fairly easy too!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day One: Amanda’s December TBR

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Hello, lovelies! We just managed to complete Blogtober, which means that it’s time to challenge ourselves to manage Blogmas in the same year! So, for the first day of Blogmas (I hope you sang that like I did while typing it) I have a TBR list for you! I’m just going to share a few things I think I want to read and it will not include my TBR for the End of Yearathon because that will be coming later this month.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

These are the titles I’ve added to my TBR with a brief glance through my physical TBR. I don’t know how many, if any, I will actually pick up. But these are the titles that jumped out at me when thinking of what I might want to read in December.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Twenty Five – Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday

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

I’m going to be honest here. I hope the only books under my Christmas tree are the ones I’ve personally picked out and wrapped for myself and for my daughter. There are very few people I would trust to buy books for me without me telling them specific books I want. So I’m going to treat this as a wishlist sort of thing.

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

Year One Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Air Awakens (Series) by Elise Kova

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

What books would you love to see under the Christmas tree this year?

End of Yearathon – TBR List

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Who else is as ready for Christmas as I am? As it’s my first Christmas with my daughter, it’s going to be a special one for sure. After Christmas, I am co-hosting a read-a-thon with Vicky from the 26th of December to the 1st of January. We hope to help ourselves and others get those final books read in 2018. Whether you need to catch up to your GoodReads goal, or if you just have books you want to read before the year is over, this is the read-a-thon for you!

 

We have come up with a few challenges to help to pick out books for a TBR list! Feel free to play with the challenges, or not! You can read with us the whole time or just one day! I am going to pick a book for each of the challenges so that I have some books to choose from depending on what mood I’m in.

Read a book released in 2018

Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Read a book with Christmas colors on the cover (Red, Green, Gold, or all three!) 

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

Read a book that is a part of a series

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Read a book that is 400 pages or more

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Read a book that was released before 2018

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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Are you going to join us for this readathon? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to tag me in your TBR lists for the readathon, I’d love to know what you’re last minute read for the year are! Follow on twitter (Amanda’s Twitter & Vicky’s Twitter) to stay up to date with the latest info & reading sprints!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Blogmas Book Review – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Summary:
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.
Review:
Mockingjay once again destroyed my soul. I knew what was coming for the most part, there were certain events that I had forgotten about, and even the parts I remembered destroyed my soul.
The conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy was thrilling and exciting and absolutely crazy. I almost don’t even know what to say about it. I loved all the characters. Finnick, Gale, Haymitch, the whole gang is entertaining, while also breaking my heart.
The trauma that these characters have endured during the war that’s going on, is just awful. I liked how the characters really experienced things though. They didn’t just get over the trauma and torture they’ve been put through. They are recovering, in whatever ways work for them. This made it all the more realistic.
Katniss was really just a hot mess in this book and it only got worse. The things she lost, the people she loved, she endured more than one person should ever have to. And on top of this, the one person that’s been with her through this story has been turned against her. It was so sad to watch her struggle with this. Peeta gets the worst of it, honestly. It felt awful to know what Peeta was being put through by the Capitol. All to get to Katniss.
I was pretty happy with the ending. It’s exactly what Katniss wanted. It leaves us with a sense of putting the world back together, though she is mostly just trying to put herself back together. After so much loss, fighting, and persevering through the hardest times of her lives, she needs time to put the pieces of herself back together. She needs time to figure out how she is going to move forward and live her life.
I love this series and I always will. It will live forever as one of my favorite series. If you haven’t read this series you definitely need to stop reading this and go pick up The Hunger Games and get your heart broken, too. I’m going to go binge watch the movies now!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Review – Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
The Final Battle is here.
Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together, at last, all must fight is Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself-and the promise of a better world.
Review:

If you’re looking for a series to completely and utterly destroy your soul, look no further. This conclusion to the Throne of Glass series was one of the most emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever ridden. This 900+ page BRICK had me laughing, crying, yelling, whirling through all of the emotions ever. I honestly am not even sure how I’m going to write this review. I think I’m just going to keep it short and to the point. There were things I liked, things I loved and things I didn’t like.

Things I liked:

The alternating perspectives. I liked getting to see everything that was happening all over the world. All of the pieces we’d seen put in motion were coming together little by little and it was great. I’m a huge fan of having multiple perspectives in fantasy stories. While many thought it was too many perspectives, I liked it. I liked following the story from all the different characters I’ve come to love so much.

The pacing. I think the story was paced in a realistic way. All too often crazy things happen in stories and somehow it all takes place in one day or week. Months have gone by since the ending of Empire of Storms/ Tower of Dawn and many more go by before the ending of the book. I liked this because it’s realistic and makes sense. It takes time for armies to move across oceans and continents. Wars aren’t won or lost overnight.

Things I loved:

Aelin, the whole time. She was strong when she needed to stay strong and she broke down when it was (mostly) a good time for her to lose her shit. And yes, it was absolutely heartbreaking seeing her lose her shit in the way that she did. I loved that she was suffering from PTSD and sorting through her emotions and mostly just kind of trying to keep her shit together. This was realistic and it’s (thankfully) becoming more common to talk about and show the characters dealing with their trauma instead of just suddenly being okay again. Aelin has grown so much throughout this series. It was interesting seeing her (mostly) fully developed character making the tough decisions, doing what’s best not for herself but for her kingdom.

Fenrys. I loved getting to know him further. I adored his relationship with Aelin. They supported one another through their own versions of the same trauma. We see him go through some really hard shit at the same time that Aelin is going through her own really hard shit, but they do their best to support one another through it in whatever way they can. They also support each other after they’ve escaped because they know what happened and don’t need to talk about it to support the other.

Rowan was another character that I love. It was almost just as hard to see him dealing with losing Aelin than it was to see Aelin going through what Maeve did to her. After they find one another again I liked that he didn’t push her. He knows she’s been through something unimaginable and he gives her space to process but makes sure she knows that he’s here when she’s ready.

Dorian was an actual savage. He’s changed probably the most in these books. He was a (mostly) carefree Prince that slept with girls and did whatever he wanted to in the first book and now he’s a King with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He really goes above and beyond to do his part in this book. I’m happy we got so many Dorian chapters. There were definitely a few places that had me yelling at him. (Or texting The Bookish Chick saying shit like, “EW DORIAN,” and “OH SHIT DORIAN. SLICK AF.”) But I loved Dorian the most in this final book.

Things I didn’t like:

Okay, I’m going to try to be intentionally super vague because I don’t want to give too much away about specific events. There were several characters that cared for another in previous books and still love them, but due to one action or choice made by the one, they love there is conflict. There is more than one character that tells their love interest that they’ve done something unforgivable, ending their fledgling relationship. This happened with more than one couple. Various characters are harsh and mean, sometimes too harsh in my opinion, to their love interest until said love interest finds themselves in serious danger. Suddenly the characters realize that the unforgivable action might actually be forgivable because they actually do still love their love interest. I hope this makes sense. It likely will to those that have already finished reading Kingdom of Ash, but I’m sorry if it’s confusing. I didn’t like this because it seemed like a cop-out. the character that did something wrong didn’t earn trust back, they did nothing to deserve forgiveness. It was a fast way to have some resolution before the big climax before the end of the book.

I also am very very sad to say that I didn’t like Aedion in this final book. He was mostly an asshole until close to the end of the story and I didn’t like his chapters. I liked him a little bit by the end, but only because of his actions during the war. Honestly, I’m super salty that I didn’t like him so I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.

The really really heartbreaking parts. They were horrible. I can understand some heartbreak that has a point. Like, sure destroy me, but do it with a purpose. The heartbreak that occurred in this book I feel was weak. I’m not sure how to explain why without spoilers so I’m not going to. I’m just going to say that I think what Sarah did to us was NOT needed and could have been avoided.

Finally, I didn’t like the very end. Again, I’m going to be vague so I don’t give too much away. There wasn’t anything wrong with the ending perse. I just would have preferred an epilogue with a ‘ten years later’ kind of idea. I want to know where our characters end up instead of the ending we were left with. It was an okay ending, left us with a sense of everyone getting ready to heal themselves and rebuild the world, but I’m a girl that wants a ‘ten years later’ blurb.

So overall, I loved this book. As I mentioned above, it a 900+ page BRICK and I somehow read it in TWO DAYS. I FLEW through the story. I just couldn’t get enough. Because I put off reading this conclusion for a month when I finally decided I was ready for Sarah to destroy my soul I just couldn’t stop reading until I was completely deceased. Part of me is really glad this series is finally over, so these characters can come to a close but also so Sarah can write other things and destroy us in other ways. But I’m sad because my journey with these characters that I’ve become so invested in and grew to love so much (even the ones I didn’t love) is really actually finally coming to an end.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Tag – Christmas Characters!

Hello book friends! Back with another book tag. The seasonal ones are just too fun! We found this one through Fable Hunter but was created by Anthony @ Keeping Reading Forward. The rules are as follows: answers all the questions and answer them honestly, tag friends at the end, link to the one that tagged you, link to the tag’s creator and have fun of course!

Santa Clause // A gift you received or want this year

Amanda- I think my favorite gift that I received this year was a book my best friend Colleen bought for me. It was a book that she loves very much and I ended up really loving it too. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. This historical fiction surprised me with how much I loved it.

Mrs. Clause // A favorite holiday treat you have every year

Amanda- My grandma makes these rice crispy treats with mini m&m’s in them and she gives each of the grandkids their own bag of them because they’re so damn good.

Ghost of Christmas Past // A holiday memory from your past

Amanda- I remember the year I got my bicycle so vividly. It was the first year that I made my parents coffee. I went downstairs, made coffee, explored the wrapped packages under the tree. I found my new bike that mostly just had wrapping paper draped over it. I still remember how excited I was.

Buddy the Elf // A holiday song you like to sing each holiday season
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is to sing loud for all to hear.

Amanda- I actually hate Christmas music. A side effect of working in retail for so long.

Antonia- Amanda’s answer is hilarious because I’ve worked in retail just as long as she has and I ADORE Christmas music. My favorite to sing is “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. It just cracks me up every time.

Misfit Toys // An unpopular toy you really wanted to get

Amanda- Books hahah.

The Grinch // A moment when your heart grew three sizes

Amanda- The day my daughter was born. And each time we do something new with her. Decorating our first Christmas tree had my heart bursting with love for my little family.

Jack Frost // A tradition you like to do every winter

Amanda- The first time it gets cold enough that I need to wear my winter coat is when I start drinking hot tea. I like tea all year round, but I drink it everyday starting when it’s finally really cold.

Hero Boy // A moment you believed in a holiday wish

Amanda- This is going to sound horrible because when I was young enough to believe in holiday wishes, I wished for stuff that never would have happened.

Cindy Lou Who // A favorite holiday tradition

Amanda- Baking Christmas cookies! This is the first year we are not traveling, so I am the one left with all the baking duties and I’m super okay with it.

Frosty the Snowman // A memory involving snow

Amanda- When I was a kid (like thirteen or fourteen) my dad made a bet with me, my brother and my step sister that we wouldn’t run to the lightpost and back without any socks or shoes or winter gear. (This was about 300 feet away from the front door.) He made this bet because we were in the middle of a blizzard and there was three+ feet of snow on the ground. My brother did it first, with my step sister close behind. I stayed inside because I’m the smart one.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer // A holiday activity you enjoy

Amanda- Decorating the tree and all the Christmas movies!

Ebenezer Scrooge // A favorite holiday saying or quote
“Bah, Humbug!”

Amanda- “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Spreading the holiday cheer, we tag – 

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Jess @ Kisses From Jess

Blogmas Book Review – Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it—the Southern Reach—has collapsed on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.
Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X—what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X—and who may have been corrupted by it?
In this last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may be solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.
Review:
This conclusion was so unsatisfying. Check out my review here for my thoughts on the second book in this trilogy. I really hoped the story was going to get better with some epic conclusion.
Again I’m left with more questions than answers. The story just ended. The ends were not tied up. My questions were not all answered. (Some were answered but I was also left to ask other questions from those answers.)
I really thought I was going to love this because it alternates between the perspectives of all the characters that could have given me the answers I needed. But they didn’t do that. Some of them just disappeared and some left me with more stupid questions. I’m so frustrated about this.
This story really has potential but I was very disappointed. That is all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Review – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

GoodReads Summary:
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.
Review:
I feel like I have nothing new to say in this review. I continued listening to the audio for Catching Fire and it was amazing. I loved the narrator. She did an excellent job telling this story, giving it life. I was hooked, listening at every free moment.
I love the characters. Katniss, Gale, Peeta, Haymitch, Prim. I enjoyed getting to know all the older victors and seeing them come together to start a revolution.
The plot twists were just so good. I knew they were coming but they still surprised me. That’s how you know it’s a good book, when you’ve read it so many times but it still surprises you.
Check out my review for The Hunger Games here for more of my thoughts on these characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Tag – Christmas Spirit

We found this book tag over at Words & Stitches. We thought this was a super fun book tag for this time of year. Great to get into the holiday spirit. 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 – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, there’s so much hate on this series. Some I understand and some I don’t at all.

Antonia – Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’ve also heard a lot of hate for this one but I’ll never stop loving it.

Frosty the Snowman // A book that melts your heart

Amanda – My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows. Full of laughter and lots of “awe’s”

Antonia – A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Nothing melts my heart like animals.

The Grinch // A book about a sympathetic villain

Amanda – I have to go with Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo for this. The Darkling is life. He’s such an interesting villain, getting to know his story really solidified my love for him.

Antonia – The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. We go into the book believing Khalid is a monster and slowly feel more sympathy for him as you learn more of his secrets.

The Christmas Prince // A guilty pleasure book

Amanda – The Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands

Antonia – The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Naughty List // Three books you can never forgive

Amanda –

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

(But also, Looking for Alaska by John Green.)

Antonia –

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

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

Amanda –

Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

Anything written by Nora Roberts

The ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas

Antonia –

Also anything by Nora Roberts

The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn

Blade of Empire by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

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

Amanda – The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. I’ve heard great things but I’m waiting to read it until it’s a little closer to Christmas.

Antonia – Any of the books Amanda sent. I want to know which ones they are so bad!

We’re going to tag // Alana @ The Bookish Chick, Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile, and Jess @ Kisses From Jess