Amanda Recommends Completed Series

Hi, lovelies! I was talking with a new friend, sharing series that I love with them. But so many of the series that I love aren’t fully published yet. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to share some series that are completed that I love. I don’t know about you, but I love to be able to binge read a series, reading all the books in a row. That’s not really possible with a series that isn’t finished. Today, I have for you a list of series that you can binge because it’s completed.

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand
Furyborn, Kingsbane, & Lightbringer
“When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.”

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, & The Stone Sky
“This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.”

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)

The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, & The Crimson Crown (series review here)
“Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off. One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her… The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.”

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass, The Kingdom of Copper, & The Empire of Gold
“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…”

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)

The Never Tilting World Duology by Rin Chupeco
The Never Tilting World & The Ever Cruel Kingdom
“Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn. Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun. While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal. But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.”

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

Shadow of the Fox Trilogy by Julie Kagawa
Shadow of the Fox, Soul of the Sword, & Night of the Dragon
“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil, #1)

This Mortal Coil Trilogy by Emily Suvada
This Mortal Coil, This Cruel Design, & This Vicious Cure
“When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine. Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back. There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.”

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Scythe, Thunderhead, & The Toll
“A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, & A Conjuring of Light
“Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.”

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)

Themis Files Trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, & Only Human
“A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown. But some can never stop searching for answers. Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?”

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)

The Shadow Game Trilogy by Amanda Foody
Ace of Shades, King of Fools, & Queen of Volts
“Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam,1 so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…And she’ll need to play.”

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)

The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger, & The Shadowglass
“Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.”

Fable (Fable, #1)

Fable Duology by Adrienne Young
Fable & Namesake
“For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.”

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth, #1)

All the Stars and Teeth Duology by Adalyn Grace
All the Stars and Teeth & All the Tides of Fate
“Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice. She will reign. As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.”

There you have it. These are all series that I’ve read and absolutely loved (with my reviews linked!) They are all completed series, with all the installments published. The summaries I’ve shared are all for the first book in each of the series. I will recommend these series over and over again until the whole world had read and loved them. Have you read any of these? What completed series would you recommend to binge read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Auto-Buy Authors

Hi, lovelies! I have a fun post today that I’m excited about. Today, I want to share with you all my auto-buy authors. If you’re unfamiliar with this bookish term, basically these are all authors that I don’t even need to know what the book is going to be about to know that I will be buying it when it’s released. I have a few on this list that have been auto-buy authors since high school and a few that are newer. I also want to mention that there are quite a few authors I want to add to this list, but they only have one or two books out, so I can’t say for certain that they are auto-buy’s for me, yet. But I’m thinking I might do another post about these potentials another day. This list ended up being longer than I thought, so I’m going to get right into it.

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)

Roshani Chokshi
I discovered Chokshi’s books sometime in 2019 with her middle-grade debut, Aru Shah, and fell in love with her writing. I read all of the rest of the books that she currently had published in 2020 and The Gilded Wolves is tied with the Aru Shah series for my favorite book by her.

Ellen Hopkins
Hopkins is one of the authors that’s been an auto-buy for me since high school. Her novels are all written in verse and younger me thought that was the coolest thing. I have since found other authors that write incredible novels in verse, but Hopkins’ books hold a special place in my heart. I also really love that the stories she writes have deep personal meaning to her. She has a few books that have author’s notes sharing a bit of her life and the reasoning behind the topics she’s chosen to write about.

Rin Chupeco
Funnily enough, I didn’t like the first book that I read by Chupeco. I started with The Bone Witch and had so many questions when I’d finished the final pages. But I continued the series and absolutely fell in love. The Never Tilting World duology is my favorite series by Chupeco. I would recommend their work to anyone that loves diverse and compelling fantasy.

Clap When You Land

Elizabeth Acevedo
This is an author I found because of Book Twitter. Acevedo writes some of her books in verse and for those I always choose the audiobook. Acevedo has won awards for her spoken poetry performances and she narrates her own audiobooks. They are incredible. They’re full of emotion and heart.

Jennifer L Armentrout
I’ve been reading Armentrout’s books since high school. Her Lux series is actually what inspired Antonia and me to start this blog. I love all of her books and I will probably continue loving them forever. I’ve by no means read everything that she’s written, but I love that too because there’s always more of her backlist for me to discover while I’m waiting for her new releases.

Cinda Williams Chima
Chima is the author that got me to fall in love with fantasy. The Seven Realms series is one I read in high school and it’s the series that got me into high fantasy. I’ve loved it ever since.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Moira Fowley-Doyle
This author writes books that punch you in the emotions. All the Bad Apples is my favorite of her books. All her books are filled with queer characters and once I started them, I couldn’t put them down until I’d reached the end of the book.

N.K. Jemisin
I’ve read all of Jemisin’s work except for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy (but that’s on my TBR for the near future!) and I’ve either absolutely loved or really enjoyed all of her books that I’ve read. I cannot wait to continue her Great Cities series whenever the next one is released. The worlds she creates are so immersive and detailed. They’re full of diverse characters and incredibly unique worlds and magics.

Julie Kagawa
Kagawa is another long time auto-buy author. I loved her Iron Fey series and all of its companions. More recently her Shadow of the Fox series was incredible. I cannot say enough good things about her books.

Miss Meteor

Anna-Marie McLemore
Their books are so beautiful. The writing is absolutely stunning. The stories are full of family, full of love, and magic. I am glad that I still have a few of their books left before I’ve completed their backlist because I don’t know what I’m going to do once I’m caught up.

Tehlor Kay Mejia
I fell in love with Mejia’s writing with the first books I read, We Set the Dark on Fire. That love didn’t fade as I finished that duology and then started Mejia’s middle-grade series. I love the captivating world and mythology, the diverse characters, and the writing brings all these things together.

Claire Legrand
I liked Legrand’s books, right up until I read the Emperium trilogy and then I fell in love. Which I still can’t stop thinking about. So, yes I am excited to see what books this author will come out with next.

Charming as a Verb

Ben Philippe
His books are honestly just fun. He writes YA contemporary. I met him at the same event that I met Jeff Zentner and they both seem like such cool people. Philippe is also pretty hilarious on Twitter. His books are almost comfort reads, except they’re diverse and have great conversations about diversity. Specifically, racism and the experiences of black teens.

Justin Reynolds
Reynolds writes books that rip my heart from my body, stomps on it, and then puts it back while saying, “everything’s okay now!” when it certainly is not okay anymore. He writes contemporary books with a science fiction twist and I love the way he combines these two genres.

Alisha Rai
I’ve only read her Modern Love series so far, but I absolutely loved all three of the books. I’m excited that she has a good backlist for me to explore. She writes diverse romances that are fun and enjoyable, but they also cover important topics like mental health and I think they’re so well done. She’s also hilarious on Instagram.

Game Changer

Neal Shusterman
This is another author I’ve been reading since around high school. I loved the Unwind series and his newer books are just getting better and better. Scythe is an incredible series that I will recommend forever. I’m beyond excited for his newest book Roxy which he’s co-writing with his son that will be releasing later in 2021. He writes such a wide variety of books that it’s always something new and interesting with him.

Scott Westerfeld
Westerfeld drew me in with his Uglies series way back in 2005. I’ve loved all of his books since then and I actually reread that series in 2020. I would honestly say that I continue to read/buy his books more because of nostalgia than anything else. I feel transported back to being thirteen and so excited about my dad taking me to the bookstore for Westerfeld’s newest release.

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

Jeff Zentner
I love his books. Every single one of them will break your heart. But they do a really great job of talking about tough topics in thoughtful ways. Also, I’ve met Zenter and he just genuinely seems like a cool dude.

Cassandra Clare
The Shadowhunters have gone on for entirely too long, but for some reason I just can’t stop reading them. I’ve accepted my fate.

Sarah J. Maas
I’m trash for Maas and I’m okay with that.

Leigh Bardguo
I’ve been a fan of Bardugo’s books since Shadow and Bone first came out. I really enjoyed Ninth House and I’m interested to see where she goes once she moves on from the Grishaverse.

Year One (Chronicles of The One, #1)

Nora Roberts
Roberts was one of the romance authors that got me into romance. She’s one of my comfort authors that I go to when I feel a reading slump coming on or I just need to read something I know will be happy and that I’ll like.

This list ended up being way longer than I thought it was going to be. But in the last few years, I’ve found so many new authors that put incredible stories into the world. I’m sure in a year this list will be even longer than it is now.

What authors are on your auto-buy author list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Rereading Books I Loved as a Teenager – TBR

Hello, lovelies! This post idea was originally going to be me rereading books I loved in high school, but looking back through the books I read then, I realized it was mostly Twilight, City of Bones, and adult books. So, instead these will be books that I read when I was a teenager, as the title says. But there are some books that I can’t bring myself to reread (which I’ll have a list of, some with the reasons why I won’t reread). Today, I’m just going to share the books I plan to reread. I also have reread some books over the last year or so that I loved when I was a teenager that I don’t feel the need to reread again. So, I’ll be sharing those today to give some thoughts on them. This will be a TBR of sorts (I say of sorts because as I’m scheduling this post I’ve already reread some of them) but they’ll be in my wrap up post with more details. I’m just going to be naming the first book (many of these are series) but if I like it when I reread I’ll probably continue the series and give my thoughts on the whole series. Let’s get into it!

Books I Want to Reread

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Books I Won’t Be Rereading

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I have actually tried to reread this a few times over the years. I first read it in 2007 and obsessively read and reread the series until Breaking Dawn was released. But every time I’ve tried to pick it up to reread, I haven’t made it more than a few pages before I give up and end up reading something else. Also, after getting into the book Twitter community, I’ve learned more about some more of the problematic elements of the book.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I tried to reread this one a few years ago and just couldn’t do it. I think because I’ve watched the movies so many times and read the books so many times when I was a teenager, I know everything that happens pretty well and just couldn’t stay interested.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I’ve heard some pretty gross things about this author that have to do with sexual harassment. I don’t really want to support anything like that and feel no need to reread this one.

Matched by Ally Condie
I actually did try to reread this one sometime last year and DNF’d it because I couldn’t get through it and didn’t really care about anything that was happening.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
This is another that I tried to reread last year, and it just wasn’t good. So, I DNF’d it.

House of Night series by P.C. Cast
I have read some of their newer work and have no interest in revisiting this series.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I’ve reread this series (and all of the rest of the shadow hunter books) so many times that I don’t need to reread it again. Instead, I’ll just share my preferences for the series, starting with my favorite and ending with my least favorite. You can find my reviews for pretty much every book in the series on our Master Review List page under Cassandra Clare.
1. The Dark Artifices
2. The Last Hours
3. The Eldest Curses
4. The Mortal Instruments
5. The Infernal Devices

Books I’ve Already Reread

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I feel so much nostalgia for this series. I found the full series for pretty cheap at my local used bookstore. Westerfeld has started a new series set in the same world but with different characters so I wanted to reread the original before I started the new series. I think there are definitely problems with this series that I didn’t notice when I devoured this series again and again as a teen. But I think the plot and adventure holds up pretty well. My review is linked here.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
This series is still absolute perfection. I reread them via the audiobooks and couldn’t get enough. I listened to this series so quickly. I think the vampire lore and the characters are still so well done. This is really a series that has held up through the passing years. I think this series can easily find new readers that will enjoy it just as much as I did when I first read it as a teenager. I think the same goes for the spin off series, Bloodlines. The characters and story are easy to love and might even be better than the original series. You can find my review for the first book in the Vampire Academy here and my review for Bloodlines here.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I reread Beautiful Creatures via audiobook and while I did make it through the whole book, I didn’t end up continuing my reread for the rest of the series. I wouldn’t say that it’s totally bad. It was still an interesting and entertaining story, but I wasn’t invested like I was when I read it as a teenager. I think this series is another that could find new readers that will love it, but I think I’m no longer the audience for this series.

Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith
This was….not good. I listened to the audiobook to reread. I made it through the first book (probably because it’s super short) but got halfway through the second book and just didn’t care to focus on the story. I think there are some things that the t.v. show did better and some things that the book did better, but I don’t know that I would actually be able to recommend this one to others.

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
I reread this full series, plus the Call of the Forgotten series, in anticipation for Kagawa’s newest release, The Iron Raven, which is set in the same world but follows Puck. We finally are getting Puck’s story. I have a full series review for both The Iron Fey and the Call of the Forgotten series here and here. I think these series are the ultimate Fey series and absolutely top the super hyped one that I won’t name. Meghan can be a little annoying, but her growth is so so good. The creatures and Fey that we meet in the series are so fascinating. I stand by this series excellence and cannot recommend Kagawa’s work enough.

Alright. That’s what I have for you today, folks! Some books that I will be rereading in the next few weeks/months (however long it takes me). Some books that I will probably never read again. And some books that I reread before I had the idea for this post with some brief thoughts on them.

What books did you love as a teenager that you think you would still love if you read them again now? If you are a teen, what books do you love that you think you will love once you’re no longer a teen? And the other side of that, what books did you love (or do love, if you’re a teen) that you don’t think you’ll love upon rereading?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

Summary:
Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.
Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things.
Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.
But she’ll have to.
Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.
In the first book of this duology, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship… forevermore. 

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

Review:
McGinnis’ books have been hit or miss for me. I either absolutely love them or I don’t really like them very much at all. The Initial Insult was one I really, really enjoyed. It was dark and gritty. It was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and that absolutely comes through in the story. It follows Tress and Felicity in alternating chapters.
Tress and Felicity were best friends, but then Tress’s parents disappear late one night while they were giving Felicity a ride home. Felicity doesn’t remember what happened. She didn’t see anything, but vaguely remembers being carried away from the car. Since then, she’s become one of the popular girls in high school. She also has seizures that she doesn’t let anyone know about. I thought it was really interesting to see how Felicity deals with this. She uses drugs and drinks to excess. While I didn’t like Felicity for most of the book, especially after we flashback to story after story of her not handling things with Tress well, it was hard not to feel for her. She’s been pushed this way and that by her mother, her friends, even by Tress. The way her story ended was definitely shocking and I am very eager to see what will happen with her in the next book.
Tress was a very unlikable character as well. But in a different way. Her parents went missing and she was sent to live with her grandfather. Her grandfather owns an exotic animal zoo (think Tiger King). It’s certainly an adjustment for her, moving from a stable home with two parents to a trailer on land with incredible dangerous animals that she’s now been enlisted to help take care of. To say that Tress is unhappy doesn’t accurately explain her feelings. She has never gotten over her parent’s disappearance. This is what fuels Tress to trick Felicity into the basement and question her about what Felicity remembers from that night.
I think this story was a wild ride. It had so many different things going on, but it wasn’t too much. None of the plotlines took away from any of the others. I loved how dark this story was. Tress was a really dark character. She did illegal things to make money. She essentially tortures Felicity, who used to be her best friend. But also, I sort of loved her.
The way the story was told was really well done. We start in present day, leading up to the Halloween party where most of this story happens. But while Tress is questioning Felicity, we get flashbacks into the past that show us both Tress and Felicity’s points of view in these moments. I thought McGinnis did an incredible job getting me to like both of these terrible girls. They’re so different from one another, but they’re both terrible.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. I think anyone that likes dark books will like this one. I loved the way the story was told, the characters, the mood and tone of the story. I loved it all. The ending matched the rest of the story by being totally wild. Also, I just have to mention the chapters from the panther’s point of view. They were weird and I completely loved them. I definitely recommend this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s March Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! Another month of 2021 has passed and that means it’s time to once again share the books I read in that month. So, I spent the first two weeks of March moving. Which for me, meant packing a bunch of boxes and then unpacking those same boxes. This allowed me to do a lot of audiobook listening. I listened to some great audiobooks and took some time to slowly reread some old favorites physically. I’m pretty pleased with what and how much I read this month.

Physical Books
The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

eBooks
Namesake by Adrienne Young
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody
Hello Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson

Audiobooks
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Fire by Kristin Cashore
We Could be Heroes by Mike Chen
The Fiery Heart by Diana Gabaldon
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney

That’s today’s list for you all. I know March still has a few days, but I have the time to write this now and I already have something scheduled for Wednesday. What books did you read in March? Did you find any new favorites?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Tome Topple Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! Today, I just want to share with you how I did for Tome Topple round fourteen. This latest round of Tome Topple was exactly what I needed to get some big books off my TBR. If you missed my TBR post with all the details you can find it here. I’ll share the prompts below and what I read for each of them.

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Tome that’s been on my TBR the longest
I didn’t complete this prompt.

An audiobook tome
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
I really like the narrator for this series.

Tome with the most pages
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
I am honestly so over this series. But I tackled the shit out of this one.

Seasonally colored cover
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
Pretty yellow for the spring time.

Read one tome
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I’m living for this reread of the Grishaverse.

Tome by a BIPOC author
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters
I started this one, but haven’t finished it yet.

Tome in a genre I don’t usually read
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
I usually end up loving the historical fiction that I read, but it’s not a genre I often pick up.

Tome from a series I haven’t read in a while
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Literally, all of the books on this list would fit this prompt.

Tome that I started in a previous Tome Topple round
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
I think I actually read and completed this book for a previous round of Tome Topple. But I tried to start Chain of Iron and realized I needed to reread this one first.

What did you read for Tome Topple?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (Full Series Review)

Hi, lovelies! Today I have a full series review for you all. With the new Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone coming out in April, I decided that I wanted to reread all of the books in the Grishaverse. Soon after, I realized I’d never reviewed the original trilogy. So, this past week I binge read the three books in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Instead of giving each book its own review, I thought it would be easier to just review the whole series in one post. So, that’s what I have here for you. (I’ve already reviewed Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom if you want to check out those reviews when you’re done reading this one.)

Book One – Shadow and Bone

Summary:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart. 

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Review:
I enjoyed Shadow and Bone but I think because I’ve read it before it felt lackluster. There were some things I didn’t remember, but nothing that really surprised me (maybe because I haven’t waited long enough to forget). I feel like so much happened in this book but at the same time, it felt like nothing happened the whole time. There were also some things that bothered me that I don’t think I noticed the previous times I read this book. One of those things is how quickly Alina accepts her power as Sun Summoner. I think this is supposed to be because it made sense to her, but I would have liked a bit more internal conversation about her acceptance of this. She goes from disbelief to throwing herself into her new studies too quickly for my liking. Another thing is her ‘friendship’ with Marie and Nadia. We’re supposed to care about these two girls that have befriended Alina, right? Because we know next to nothing about them in this book and I didn’t care about them at all.
It was easy to read, aside from remembering what Grisha had which power. It felt like a simple story (especially compared to her other books). Alina had one goal, well two if you count finding Mal, and she didn’t reach it. Which I think that’s why it feels like nothing happened. She was trained with her ability and then ran away. But when she got her courage together and tried to do the right thing she failed. So, it’s almost like the whole story was pointless. I know there’s two more books and I am picking up the second one tonight. I don’t know, I just feel like I remember liking this series so much more than the reading experience I just had.
As for Mal and Alina, their ‘romance’ wasn’t very easy for me to get invested in. It seemed like Alina was the one that cared more. I made a note while reading that said, “Alina shows Mal a lot of loyalty, but does Mal show the same thing back?” I think maybe eventually, but I didn’t see that in this book.

Book Two – Siege and Storm

Summary:
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm. 

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2)

Review:
There were a few things that managed to surprise me in this book. I forgot about a certain plot point that happens with Genya (who I still love with my whole heart). Alina starts to gain confidence in herself and we see that when she speaks up a few times. Though, she is still in denial about that fact that she needs to save the world which was annoying.
I definitely see why everyone says this suffers from second book syndrome. Beacuse it does. They plan and plan and plan, and literally everything fails. I understand why some of the stuff needed to be in there, but I feel like there was so much unnecessary story. Mal pissed me off the whole time, they found literally nothing on the firebird and Alina almost died. I think this could have been a much shorter story. And while I understand that things needed to happen, like meeting Sturmhond (the only good part of this book), there was so much telling and barley and showing because nothing is really happening. Alina is being paraded around, and people are preparing but nothing is happening. That’s really my biggest complaint. This was almost 500 pages and almost nothing happened. But I will say, despite nothing really happening, I was, surprisingly, never bored.

Book Three – Ruin and Rising

Summary:
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3)

Review:
The first thing I want to mention about this book is the setting and the writing. I probably could have mentioned it for the previous books, but it stood out the most for me in this one. Bardugo’s writing is stunning. She really knows how to set a scene and describe the setting these characters are in. It stood out the most to me while the gang is traveling through the tunnels.
This book is my favorite out of all three. This was the book where I found myself finally invested in the relationships. Where we’re seeing all of these characters together and how they’ve grown after all the trials they’ve faced together. Zoya is my Queen and favorite. I liked that Alina and Zoya managed to find a sort of friendship when they started out hating one another. There were quite a few things that I completely forgot about in this story. I found myself surprised by twists I should have remembered more than once. I really enjoyed being surprised and I thought all of these twists were well done.
Overall, I enjoyed this one the most. There were plot twists that I’d totally forgotten about. I grew to love characters I didn’t like when I started my reread. I even ended up really liking Mal and Alina together. So many people say that he’s controlling and boring and blah blah, but I didn’t see any of that. I thought the almost constant nods to his tracking abilities were a little over the top, but after finishing the book I realize that it’s done that way on purpose. I love Nikolai with my whole heart. Genya, Zoya, David, and the twins are my favorites. I think overall this series was really well done. I know many don’t like the way this book ended, but I did. I think it was a satisfying ending that brought things to a full circle, ending where they began. Alina never wanted to be special, so I liked that she got her quiet life back.

Now, this series as a whole stands up against time, I think. I think individually each book has its issues. But if you look at all three books together, they are really great books. When I was reading the first and second books, I was considering unhauling my copies after I finished my reread. Now, that I’ve finished I remember why I loved this series so much. I may not have liked all of the choices the characters made, or even liked all of the characters, I think this was an incredible adventure. I think this series will find fans for many years to come.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Funny Book Titles

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

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

The Dead Queen’s Club by Hannah Capin

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

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

This one was harder than I expected. That’s all I’ve got for this week and honestly I don’t even think these are particularly funny titles. But that’s okay! What did you pick for this week’s topic?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Mythology/Folklore Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I have another recommendations post for you all today. I was planning to just recommend my favorite mythological retellings, but it sort of just turned into a list of books published by Rick Riordan Presents, so I expanded a bit to include books that involve folklore and mythology. Doing that allowed me to include some of the really excellent diverse stories that I’ve read recently. So, I have fourteen books that are mythological or involve folklore that I think you should add to your TBR.

Middle Grade

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
“Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?”

The Girl and the Ghost

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
“Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.”

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
“Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . . Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.”

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
“THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD MIN comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.”

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
“Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it — is that a doll? — and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?”

Young Adult

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
“Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tail and penchant for peaches. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance. “

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
“While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine. Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive. Welcome to the Sixth World. “

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
“Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire… But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.”

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
“There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl. Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free. Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?”

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
“There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story. As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison. Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.”

Adult

Circe by Madeline Miller
“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.”

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
“Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break. Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”

There are quite a few books that will fit this list once I manage to read them and get them off my TBR. I didn’t realize how many mythology/folklore books I still had on my TBR, but after writing this post I’m excited to get to them. What books would you add to this list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Tome Topple TBR

Hi, lovelies! I’ve just seen the announcement for Sam’s latest round of Tome Topple (watch the announcement video here.) You can find all of the hosts of the readathon here: Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Adri from Perpetual Page, Sam 2 from Will Read For Booze, Gaia from @lalettricesegreta on Instagram, Tori from Tori Morrow, Jocelyn from Yogi With A Book. I love this readathon because it’s a great motivator for me to finally pick up some of the bigger books that I have on my TBR. The rules for this readathon are simple: read books that are 500 pages or longer. There is a fun bingo board for this round and I will list the prompts below. This round of Tome Topple will run from March 15th-28th.

Tome that’s been on my TBR the longest
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
This has been on my TBR for so long and I’ve put it on several TBR’s for previous Tome Topple rounds. I honestly probably won’t get to this one, but I like to have options when I make TBR’s like this.

An audiobook tome
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
I’ve been rereading this series via audiobook so that I can read the newest release (Winterkeep), so this is the perfect choice for this prompt.

Tome with the most pages
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
Technically, the next book in this series is the tome with the most pages that’s on my TBR. But obviously I have to finish this one first. This one will count for several prompts too since I will probably continue the audiobook that I started the last round of Tome Topple.

Seasonally colored cover
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
Yellow is a springtime color right? I’m going with it.

Read one tome
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I’ve been working my way through a reread of all the books in the Grishaverse so that it’s all fresh in my mind for both the Netflix adaptation release in April and the publication of the second book in the Nikolai duology, which is coming in the end of March.

Tome by a BIPOC author
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters
I don’t know that I’ll get to this one, but I’ve heard incredible things about this book so I’m excited to read it.

Tome in a genre I don’t usually read
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
Historical fiction/fantasy? I read some historical fiction/fantasy, but it’s definitely one of the genres I read the least from.

Tome from a series I haven’t read in a while
Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen
This is an eARC that’s on my TBR and the only ARC I have that’s more than 500 pages. I haven’t read this series since the second book was released, so I’m excited to get back into this world.

Tome that I started in a previous Tome Topple round
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
I started this in the last Tome Topple. I’m trying really hard to finished what’s published in this series this year, but sometimes these books are just so slow. I’ve heard things pick up again toward the end of this book.

Are you going to participate in this round of Tome Topple? What’s on your TBR? If not, what books over 500 pages are you hoping to read soon?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Summary:
When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.
And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.

All the Bad Apples

Review:
Honestly, I don’t even know how to start this review. I read this book in January and it has not left my brain for a single day since then. I’m going to do my best to explain how this book made me feel but I’m apologizing in advance if this is mostly nonsensical.
All the Bad Apples follows Deena. Deena is the youngest of three sisters, Mandy and Rachel practically raised Deena, but in different ways. Rachel was the one Deena lived with and she made sure Deena went to school, had clothes that fit, fed her and helped with homework. Rachel was the responsible one and Mandy was the fun one. So, no big surprise that Mandy is the favorite. Well, Deena comes out accidentally to her father on her birthday. When Deena goes running to Mandy for comfort, Mandy enlightens Deena about the family curse. Only days later, Mandy disappears. It’s thought that she’s jumped or fallen off a cliff. But Deena doesn’t believe that Mandy is really gone. So, Deena set’s off to find Mandy and break this family curse.
This is where the story really starts. The reader is left with so many questions in those first few chapters. Questions about Mandy, the curse, and how Deena might find her. But as Deena travels, she starts finding letters. In these letters is the family history. The book alternates between following Deena and sharing the family history. I think the combination of these two was so well done. I stayed up reading this way past when I should have gone to sleep because I kept coming to a stopping point at the start of a new bit of family history and I just couldn’t stop reading. Along the way, Deena finds people to accompany her on her journey. Her best friend (who is black and bisexual), a relative that Deena didn’t know existed, and a random girl that the three found in a bar that ends up being connected to the whole story. The way this author connected the characters was so fascinating. I loved learning about why these specific characters had come together for this journey. While these three follow Mandy’s letters they learn of a horrible and devastating history. Deena’s female ancestors were treated horrifically and Deena is determined to break the family curse. She refuses to be another bad apple that’s left to rot on the ground.
Overall, I am obsessed with this book. It was written beautifully. I think Fowley-Doyle did such an amazing job weaving the past with the present in this story. I also really appreciate that this book covers some really tough topics, but it does it so well. It does it in a way that shows the horror, but also in a thoughtful way. It wasn’t for shock value or anything, it mattered to this story. I think this is a feminist masterpiece. It covers everything from being queer to getting safe and legal abortions. It was mysterious and gothic, mythological and all too real. It’s an emotional ride about soul searching and learning to speak up for yourself. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Audiobook Narrators

Hi, lovelies! Audiobooks have been keeping me afloat this year, so far. I’ve not been feeling in the mood to read any of my physical books or any of the books I have on my Kindle. So, obviously I’ve been listening non-stop to audiobooks from my library. If you’re an audiobook lover like me, I highly recommend you see what apps your local library (if you have one) has available for you to listen to books for free! I want to talk about some of my absolute favorite audiobook narrators. I have a few new ones and a few that I’ve listened to almost everything they’ve narrated. I’m going to share the books they’ve narrated that I’ve listened to and the books they’ve narrated that are still on my TBR. I will not be including books that I read in a different format, as I did learn about quite a few books I love were narrated by some of my favorite narrators. Let’s get into it.

Rebecca Soler

Books I’ve Read
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Sadie by Courtney Summers

Books Still on my TBR
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Kate Rudd

Books I’ve Read
Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Books Still on my TBR
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Bahni Turpin

Books I’ve Read
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Books Still on my TBR
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
This is my America by Kim Johnson

Kyla Garcia

Books I’ve Read
We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
The Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead

Books Still on my TBR
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia

Christine Lakin

Books I’ve Read
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Books Still on my TBR
Parasite by Mira Grant
Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Michael Crouch

Books I’ve Read
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan
Black Wings Beating by Alex London
Red Skies Falling by Alex London

Books Still on my TBR
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Shayna Small

Books I’ve Read
All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Books Still on my TBR
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Soneela Nankani

Books I’ve Read
Pandava Quartet by Roshani Chokshi
The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakroborty
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Internment by Samira Ahmed

Books Still on my TBR
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
The Mother Code by Carole Stivers

Julia Whelan

Books I’ve Read
Educated by Tara Westover
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Vox by Christina Dalcher
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Rules for Being a Girl by Candance Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Books Still on my TBR
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Muse by Brittany Cavallaro
The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkanen & Greer Hendricks

Fiona Hardingham

Books I’ve Read
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton

Books Still on my TBR
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
A Treason of Thorns by Laura Weymouth
Anna and the Apocolypse by Katharine Turner

Rasha Zamamiri

Books I’ve Read
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

Elizabeth Acevedo

Books I’ve Read
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Tim Gerard Reynolds

Books I’ve Read
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Morning Star by Pierce Brown
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
Dark Age by Pierce Brown

A.J. Beckles & Preston Butler III

Books I’ve Read
Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

These are the narrators that have read books I’ve really loved. I can absolutely say that these narrators made me love these books even more than I would have if I had read these books in another format. These are also the audiobook I hope to listen to in the near future.

Who are your favorite audiobook narrators?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire (Full Series Review)

Hello, lovelies! I don’t usually do reviews like this, but every now and then I can’t stop reading a series, even just to write a review. The Wayward Children series was one of those. I wrote these reviews for each book while I was listening to the next book in the series. I don’t know why I put off reading this series for so long. But after reading some of McGuire’s other work I found myself excited to try this series since everyone raves about it. I’m going to share the synopsis for each book and then my review of that book following the order of the series. As this series isn’t completed yet, I will add my reviews for future books to this post after I read them.

Book One – Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1)

Summary:
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
Review:
This was a slow story about kids that had found doors and traveled through them to other worlds (think Alice going to Wonderland or Dorothy going to Oz). I like the concept of this one, but found myself bored here and there. I guess it was good that this was shorter otherwise i don’t think i would have lasted. I guess my problem was that this turned into a murder mystery and i wasn’t at all expecting that when i went into the story. I also listened to the audiobook and didn’t really care for the narrator, so i think that affected my enjoyment of the book. Overall, i mostly liked this but i think everyone naming this their favorite in the series gave me higher expectations. I liked all of the characters and I’m hopeful to get more about their stories and travels in the next books. 

Book Two – Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Summary:
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
Review:
This is Jack and Jill’s story and I loved it. This is by no means a happy story. Jack and Jill are twins, but their dad wanted a son and their motherly wanted a perfect little girl. So Jack is made into their mothers idea of a perfect daughter and Jill is made into the closest idea of what their father wanted for a son. Their parents have done a number on the twins, but most of all they’ve not allowed the two to develop their own sisterly relationship. So when Jack and Jill find a staircase inside of a trunk that’s supposed to have dress up clothes in it, obviously they go down the staircase. When they arrive in the Moors they are greeted my the Master (a vampire) and promised safety for the next three days. But the Moors have a history with foundlings and the local mad scientist has claim to the newest foundling, but this time there’s two of them. This is remedied by one twin choosing to go with the scientist and one choosing to stay with the Master. I was a bit sad that the twins grew apart instead of growing together now that they were out of their parents influence, but it’s not a huge surprise because this was not a happy story by any means. I was very happy to see Jack’s relationship with her girlfriend play such a big role in the story (we love female/female representation). Overall, I liked this one way better than the first but I wanted more. I wanted to know more about these Drowned Gods and the werewolves. I think this world was fascinating and i would gladly read another book with this setting. 

Book Three – Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)

Summary:
Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world. When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.) If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests… A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do. Warning: May contain nuts.
Review:
This one is the story of Rini, who comes to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in search of her mother, Sumi. We know Sumi from the first book in this series. Rini needs her mother, but her mother died years ago. So, the gang from the school go in search of a way to bring Sumi back so that Rini doesn’t cease to exist. But this one isn’t just about Rini and Sumi. First we meet Cora, who struggles with being fat and also with anxiety. I can’t speak to the representation but I’ve seen others say that they liked it. Cora was a mermaid in her world which is talked about but I don’t know the story behind her coming to Eleanor’s. I think my favorite this about this book was that the group travels to several worlds. They visit some characters we know from the first book and we get to see Confection. This book was a bit more whimsical than the first two (probably because the first two were more logical worlds and Rini’s world is a nonsense world). As much as I liked the darkness of the first two books, I really enjoyed the silliness and nonsense that Rini brought to this book. Now, that’s not to say this story is all happiness and butterflies because it definitely has its dark moments. Overall, this was a fun and captivating story full of diverse characters who are all searching for the same thing, but work together to help others find it too. 

Book Four – In an Absent Dream

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)

Summary:
This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should. When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.
Review:
In an Absent Dream follows Lundy, a character we met in the first book at Eleanor West’s. I really enjoyed this one. We get to hear the story of Lundy finding her door and returning home, several times. I really liked the world that Lundy traveled to. It was a fascinating world of logic. I think the idea of always giving fair value for things is a really great one. I like that the Market was something sentient that will take its fair value if you think you can get around it. I think Lundy’s story wasn’t quite as dark as some of the others in this series so far, but it was filled with sadness and life lessons for Lundy. I also really loved the way that the story was told. (Jack and Jill’s story was told in this way too, but I forgot to mention it). The story is told by a narrator that chooses which parts of the story need to be shared. So, there are times when we jump forward and skip whole time periods of the story. I think it was a really captivating way to tell the story. Almost as if the details we’ve skipped aren’t deemed necessary by this narrator to get to the greater point. I am really interested to see more of Lundy now that we’ve heard her story. I almost want to go back and reread the first book over again now that I know some of the character’s backstory. It was so interesting to see Lundy find a home and friends in the Market, but eventually find happiness in her home world as well. The struggle that Lundy faces to stay at the Market or return home was a really heart wrenching one. This installment is definitely one of my favorites. 

Book Five – Come Tumbling Down

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Summary:
The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire’s award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones.
When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors. But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.
Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken.
Again.
Review:
Come Tumbling Down revisits Jack & Jill and the Moors. While I did enjoy this one, I feel like it didn’t really add anything new to the overarching story of the series. It was nice to see how things played out after the twins left Eleanor’s. I also did really enjoy seeing the whole group go on an adventure together again. But it just felt like it maybe should have been a part of their first book. I think, as usual, the writing kept me interested in the story and I loved the characters. I just wish there was more. I wish we’d gotten to see more about the Drowned Gods, instead of just a tidbit. I feel like there wasn’t anything new here, it was the same bit of the Moors that we visited previously. I guess i just thought there would be more here, but I was interested in the ending of Jack & Jill’s story. 

Book Six – Across the Green Grass Fields

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6)

Summary:
A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.
“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”
Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late. When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes. But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…
Review:
This installment follows Regan, who is intersex, starting when she is a young girl. We get to know her a little in her home world, where she deals with all her friends developing and going through puberty. She sees the cruelty that some girls are capable of. When she learns that she is intersex, she makes the mistake of telling her best friend who reacts horribly to her. Regan flees her school and while walking home, she finds a door. Through this door is the Hooflands. I think this was a really interesting world. There are centaurs and unicorns and kelpies. Regan is taken in by a family of centaurs where she lives and grows up with them. I think what I liked about this one is that it was different than the others in the series. In this one, there’s the same great world building and characters to love, but we get more time to see what is going on with Regan in a day to day sense. I felt more like a full length story when some of the others in the series have felt like they skipped parts of the story to get to the end of the story. I really liked getting to grow up alongside Regan and the centaurs. I think it’s full of great themes and I definitely recommend it. 

Now, as an overall for the series, I think Down Among the Sticks and Bones and In an Absent Dream are both in the number one spot. I just can’t decide which one I liked better, and also I don’t have to, so I won’t. I think McGuire has done an incredible thing with this series. Between the wide range of diverse characters and the themes and messages within the adventures of these children, there are so many things to love about this series. Thinking about it now that I’ve read all of the books that are currently published, I think certain types of people will like certain books in the series more than others. I think part of that goes right along with the different worlds that we get to see. There are logic worlds and nonsense worlds. I think both kinds of worlds will speak to different people. This series has a book for everyone and I finally understand why there are so many people that have nothing but good things to say about this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)

Review:
Okay, after finishing this 700+ page book, I have so many thoughts and feelings. But I think that I am going to write this review similarly to how I reviewed Kingdom of Ash. I am going to break this up into sections of things I liked and didn’t like. Then maybe a few overall thoughts. I want to start that I read this entire book within 24 hours. Once I started, I just could not put it down. I also want to say that I rated this book 4 stars. The things that I didn’t like are specifically what made me lower my rating. So, lets get into it!

What I Liked:

I loved Nesta. I would 100% die for her. I want her to turn her gaze on me and say terribly mean things. I want to sit with her, Gwyn, and Emerie and read in the House of Wind. I think her character growth was really well done. She’s full of anger and self-loathing, but we get to see her pull herself out of that with some help from the other characters.

The House of Wind was my favorite character. As much as I loved Nesta in this one, the House takes the cake for me. I couldn’t help but smile and feel comforted every time the House did or didn’t listen to Nesta. I also loved the why behind the House’s behavior.  

Gwym and Emerie are two women that, like Nesta, have been through some shit. But they don’t know all the details of Nesta’s past and they show her kindness when Nesta doesn’t feel like she deserves it. Seeing the blossoming friendship of these three was absolutely one of the best aspects of this story.

Along with the above point, I really liked that Nesta wasn’t just absorbed into the Inner Circle. She made her own friends, her own found family, her own inner circle. The love they had for one another was wholesome as fuck and I loved it.

The stairs. I feel like I have to mention the stairs. I don’t know who made 10k stairs to get into the House of Wind but it’s fucking illogical and I hate it. But I also couldn’t help but love what those stairs did for Nesta by the end of the book. They became more than the thing trapping her in the House of Wind. She made those stairs her bitch. She down them again and again, making more progress every time she tried. I think they were an interested outlet for her to not think, or to think, or to work out aggression. A friend said “Nest is the true stairmaster” and she’s damn right.

The worldbuilding was another thing I really enjoyed. We get to learn some new things about The Prison. We go back to the Middle and learn some history about that. We learn history about the creatures that were in power before they Fae. I thought all of this was done well and without just dumping new information on us.

Along with the worldbuilding, I was to specifically mention the Valkyrie. I loved the research that Gwyn was doing and how that research was incorporated into the girls’ training. I loved the idea and the history of the Valkyrie and I hope to see more about this.

Nesta’s backstory was filled in some. In the original trilogy, we learn about Nesta and Elain from Feyre’s perspective. But we don’t really learn much about what things were like before they were poor. With Nesta, we learn more about the Archeron’s mother and how horrible she was. I think this backstory for Nesta was so important to her character and really filled in details of why she behaved the way she has for so long.

I’m torn between liking and being disappointed by the fact that there wasn’t really a huge reconciliation between the three Archeron sisters. I liked that there wasn’t because that sort of forgiveness will take time to heal, time for them to figure out a new sort of relationship for them. But also, I just want everyone to love each other.

I also liked that while Feyre and Rhysand are obviously in this story, I feel like we got enough that the story didn’t feel like it was actually about them. (Aside from one thing that a friend pointed out which I will mention in the things that I didn’t like.) Their involvement in the story was mostly minimal, aside from a bit of pushing the plot forward. But these moments where they’re pushing the plot forward by giving orders and what not make sense because Nesta and Cassian are members of the Night Court, which makes Feyre and Rhysand their rulers. So, they obviously must follow the orders of their rulers.

I think the way that Maas showed Nesta struggling was done beautifully. At times, it was almost painful to read through the parts where Nesta is really struggling. At one point, her and Cassian are hiking through the woods and that scene had me sobbing for her. I think Nesta’s internal struggle was so powerful. Seeing her grow and work through all of those feelings was an honor.

Finally, Nesta and Cassian are the couple of my dreams. Maas really stepped up her game in terms of the sex scenes. I liked that they toyed with one another. I liked that at the same time, they were almost toying with themselves. They both were filled with so much lust for one another that they couldn’t control it. But despite that, they didn’t immediately have sex. The blowjob scene was excellent. There was build up to them finally having sex and I think that was done so well.

Things I Didn’t Like:

I didn’t like Rhysand. It breaks my heart to write that because I loved him with my whole heart in the first three books. But he was a bit reminiscent of Tamlin at times in this book and I really didn’t like it. There were medical concerns that he (and everyone else) kept from Feyre and that really upset me. The whole shield thing honestly just made me feel a little icky. I also think he was so horrible to Nesta for no good reason. He continues to be horrible even after he sees into her mind, experiences her trauma alongside her. I just didn’t like him and that was very upsetting.

The second thing I didn’t like had to do with the ending. Nesta does something to save someone and it was really reminiscent of another one of her characters. I didn’t like it in that book either. I’m trying not to spoil, so, I’ll just say that I didn’t think it was necessary for her to do this specific thing. I think the choice that Nesta made will have repercussions in the coming books and I’m interested to see what they are but mad about it still.

Nesta learned to train and all of that, but I feel like she never really learned about her magic. She’s filled with Silver Fire which means something but I feel like it was only briefly explained and we didn’t really get to delve into it. I sort of understand because Nesta didn’t want to use her magic. But she did lots of things she didn’t want to in this book. I would have liked to see a bit more exploration of her magic.

Now, I mentioned above about Feyre and Rhysand being involved in this book. I want to say that I didn’t like how they were essentially the only reason there was a plot. It makes sense because they’re the rulers. But I feel like it would have been better for Nesta to be doing all of the things she did for herself (after that initial push for her to train with Cassian and work in the library) but instead she only tried to scry again because Feyre and Rhysand needed her to. I feel like they were in control of everything Nesta did and I didn’t like that. The same friend that pointed this out also mentioned that it could be looked at like Nesta was doing this for her family, but at this point, Nesta didn’t give a shit about her family. She didn’t have the same motivations of protecting Elain because she felt like an outsider. So, I didn’t like that Feyre and Rhys were basically the reason that Nesta did most of the things that she did.

I also didn’t like how little we saw of Mor. Morrigan is one of my favorites and she was basically absent from this book with minimal explanation of what she was doing. I’m sure this was on purpose because I believe she’s getting her own book as well. But I need more Mor content in my life.

Overall Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. I’ve been in a reading slump, so being able to devour this book in one day felt so good. But also, it made my reading slump worse because what the hell do I read after this that can compare? I think many people were disappointed that the plot in this book was minimal, but I actually liked that. I think it was a great way to build up to whatever is going to happen in the next books. I don’t know how I would place this in my order of favorites for the series, but I definitely would die for Nesta. I love her and understand her so much better after this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud (Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza).

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

The Martian by Andy Weir

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Paper Towns by John Green

Well Met by Jen Deluca

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

What books make you laugh?