Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Freebie

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 – Freebie. I’m goig to talk about ten books I bought at the recommendation of others and still haven’t read.

fullsizeoutput_11ba

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

These are just a few of the books I’ve bought at the recommendation of those I trust in the online bookish community, but for some reason still haven’t read. What did you do for top ten tuesday this week? What books have you bought and haven’t read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Twitter
GoodReads

Blogmas Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)Review:
I have nothing but good things to say about The Kiss Quotient. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick this one up but I’m so glad that I did. It was sweet. It was funny. It was sexy. It was all of the things that I wanted from a romance novel and I’m so glad I finally picked it up.
I really loved Stella. She was so sure of herself and nothing but heart. I loved how thoughtful she was and I just thought she was wonderful. I loved having this story be focused on her. The fake dating trope is one of my favorites and it was so well done in this book.
Michael was a little annoying in the sense that there were things he wasn’t sharing. I understand why he didn’t, but it comes to a certain point where you just have to spill your secrets for the sake of your relationship. Other than that though, I really loved him. He adored his family and was endlessly patient with Stella.
I just really loved this book. It was sexy and sweet at the same time. I will definitely be reading more from this author and I cannot wait to get into her next novel. This is one I will be recommending for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Nine: Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag

fullsizeoutput_258e

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

fullsizeoutput_258e

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.

Twitter
GoodReads

Blogmas Book Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julie Drake

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.
But wrecks seem to run in the family. Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.
Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece – the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.
She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.
The Last True Poets of the SeaReview:
I have to thank Chelsea Dolling for hyping this book up. I was intrigued by the cover before even knowing what it was about. So, I bought it when it was on sale. I am so glad that I did because it was way better than I was anticipating. I thought I was going to like it, but boy I loved it so much.
We follow Violet as she’s sent to spend the summer in Maine with her uncle. Violet has spent the past year drinking, partying, and sleeping around. But everything changes when her brother Sam tries to kill himself. Sam is sent to a treatment facility and Violet is sent to Maine. She thinks she and her whole family are cursed, that wrecks are something that happens to them.
Violet makes friends with Orion at the aquarium she’s working at for the summer. Orion introduces her to the rest of his friends, Liv, Mariah, and Felix. I absolutely adored this group of friends. They were such a fun bunch. I liked that Orion just genuinely cared about people. This friend group reminded me of my own friends and that’s why I liked them so much.
Violet and Liv decide to start searching for the shipwreck that Violet’s great-great-grandmother survived. I really liked that the girls had something they were passionate about and a goal to work toward. I think Violet definitely used the shipwreck search to avoid her problems, but I still loved the outcome of their search.
During this time, Violet is remembering and regretting the way she treated her brother. I think this part of the story was captivating. I thought their complicated relationship was interesting and the mental health aspect of it all was well handled and talked about in a thoughtful way.
This book tackled so many complicated issues like mental health, sexuality, underage drinking and substance use, promiscuity, and cigarette smoking. I think it discussed all very well. The bad things were challenged and the good things were addressed thoughtfully. I think this is a new favorite of mine.

Quotes:

“Orion cared in a way that made my chest ache: For music, for fish, for friends. For the moon and the ocean, for these forces that knit us together.”

“I didn’t think it was possible to be blindsided by a truth you’ve always suspected, but there you have it. As it turns out, it’s devastating.”

“Maybe there is no right thing. Maybe there are just things, plural, and you have to try them all.”

“That night, it didn’t matter what had come before and what was going to come after. In that moment, we were the last true poets of the sea, and what mattered more than anything else was our quest.”

“No one could fix us, because no one thing was wrong. The fixing would be in keeping going, in trying. Survival was its own quest: we need to choose to survive over and over again. We had to wash up on shore, and we had to choose to keep washing up every single day.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Blogmas Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the wolds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her…
But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.
Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Review:
I’ve been rereading the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series via audiobook over the last month and I’m just so happy that I still love these books just as much as I did when I first read them. It really had been so much fun getting sucked back into the incredible world that Richelle Mead has created. I can’t help but love these characters with my whole heart and feel like I’m just a part of the gang.
The Fiery Heart might be my favorite of the series (we’ll find out after I finish the last two books), because everything for Sydney is just perfect, right up until it isn’t. Mead has a way of pulling you into the story with her writing and not letting you go until the very last page. And even then, those last pages are always filled with things that leave you screaming and rushing to pick up the next book. I’d forgotten about this talent of Mead’s until I needed to stop listening to write this review before starting the next book.
Sydney has really grown and it’s clear in this story. She’s accepted that she might not agree with all of the things the Alchemists believe and that while she still agrees with some of the things, she was taught growing up, she knows that so much of the ideas and values instilled in her are wrong. I just adored this confident and clever Sydney that is finally starting to put herself and her wants first.
But then her sister Zoe is assigned to live with Sydney in her dorm and assist on the assignment of protecting Jill. Zoe complicates things because she still firmly believes in every Alchemist value and has a burning desire to please their father. This causes a bit of conflict now and again when Zoe unknowing rats on Sydney for doing things that aren’t entirely in her job description. I really wanted to like Zoe, but what she did in the last chapters of this book were unforgivable. I don’t remember anything that happens in the next books, so I’m interested to see whether or not the Sage sisters can fix their relationship.
Adrian is amazing. I love him. I will forever love him. He’s doing his best to stay away from drinking and smoking cigarettes. He tries to limit his Spirit use, and he even goes to therapy. He and Sydney are relationship goals. I was sad for them having to sneak around so much after Zoe comes to live with Sydney, but also very happy at the times they did get to spend together. They are just such a good team. They really bring out the best in one another and I adore them so much. My heart broke for Adrian with the cliff hanger in the ending.
The rest of the gang is as loveable as ever. Eddie is a forever favorite. He’s honorable and brave. Jill is finally starting to fit in. I would like to see a bit more interaction between her and Lissa, but I have a feeling that’s coming. Angeline was hilarious. She just adds the perfect amount of comedy to this series. She says ridiculous things and acts without thinking. Or with her own sort of thought process. The newcomer, Neil, was kind of bland, though I think that was intentional.
Overall, I would die any day of the week for every single one of these characters. Richelle Mead’s writing is so well done. Her characters are well developed and all around loveable. I cannot wait to dive into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Six: New to Me Authors

fullsizeoutput_258e

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.

Twitter
GoodReads