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.