Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Book Festivals

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 Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday. This is going to be a short one for me because there’s only a few I’d like to go to.

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BookCon (in New York). I had serious FOMO last year when I saw all my friends at this event last year. I’d like to go eventually, but obviously, that won’t happen this year.

YallWest I love the west coast and I’d love to attend this one.

ALA Conference I could have gone to this one last year and I’m sad that I didn’t.

Baltimore Book Festival is one I missed last year too. But I’m hoping it will still happen for 2020.

Apollycon is run by one of my favorite authors and I keep convincing myself not to go because of the ticket prices.

These are the book festivals I’d love to go to. I’m sure there are more I’d like to go to, but these are the well-known ones. Which ones are on your list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

 

 

Artemis by Andy Weir

GoodReads Summary:
Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
ArtemisReview:
After reading and loving The Martian, I was really excited to pick up the other Andy Weir book I already owned. I’m glad I’ve finally read Weir’s books that I own because I loved them both.
We follow Jazz, who is a criminal. She’s smuggling things into her home on the moon when the opportunity of a lifetime arises. She can make a million slugs off one job, though it’s a rather dangerous one. Murphy’s Law is in full effect, even on the moon. Anything that could have gone wrong for Jazz, did. I loved Jazz as a character. We get her backstory in bits and pieces. There were emails from her pen pal on Earth and we learn a lot from him, which I really liked. I thought the emails were an interesting way to give us more information. Jazz was a real firecracker. She’s sassy, says what’s on her find, even if it’s vulgar and completely inappropriate. I totally loved it.
The plot of this book took a little while to get to. At first, we’re led to believe that the plot is going to center on Jazz doing this job and what will happen after she succeeds. But there ends up being so much more to the story. There are some murders, a bit of chloroform, and a whole lot of action.
Overall, I really loved this book. It was sassy and unapologetic about that sassiness. There was action and adventure, friendship and love, and of course, walking on the moon. I absolutely look forward to reading more of Andy Weir’s writing.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

GoodReads Summary:
Making it up the aisle was the easy part: After marrying the heir to the throne, Rebecca “Bex” Porter must survive her own scandals as she adjusts to life in the glamorous British royal family, in this “highly anticipated” follow-up to The Royal We, the “fun and dishy” bestseller and NYT Summer Reading List pick inspired by Will and Kate’s romance (People).
After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca “Bex” Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world’s judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.
But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they’d placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick’s brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten — nor forgiven.
The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. The issues I had with this book were much the same as the ones I had with the first book. It was entirely too long. This was an almost 500-page book that just didn’t need to be. I wanted a fun royalty romance, but that’s not at all that this was. This book made me cry several times. It was heartbreaking and sad, but also full of friends and family and so much love. I loved the relationships. They’re complex and messy like most real relationships are. I think that’s what I liked most about this book. The relationships, though most aren’t anything like what royalty must deal with, had real and serious problems.
This book covered real issues like miscarriages and infertility, which I really liked. I’ve never dealt with either of these, but from an outside perspective, I thought they were handled well. I thought they were thoughtful and full of emotion. I cried several times while reading this story.
Overall, while the story was long, there were so many different and interesting plotlines that I was engaged and entertained for the whole story. I enjoyed this one more than I did the first book, but I still think it was too long.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

GoodReads Summary:
American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
The Royal We (Royal We, #1)Review:
This book was entirely too long. Honestly, the only reason I read it at all was that I made the mistake of a late-night NetGalley request binge and didn’t realize that this book existed when I requested its sequel.
I didn’t hate this book it was just way too long. I enjoyed parts of it and others just seemed completely unneeded. While I did really liked Nick and Bex together, I don’t think we needed to follow eight years of their lives.
Usually, when I don’t like a book I have so much to say why I didn’t like it. But that’s not the case this time. I don’t know why I didn’t like this aside from the fact that there was so much to the story that could have been taken out.
There were some things I did like. I did find myself invested in Bex and Nick’s relationship. I also really loved their friend group. I loved that they included Bex into their circle so easily. The characters were the best part of this story. The drama that surrounds these characters was nothing short of ridiculous. I get that Nick is the future king, but I was over it after they graduated college. As for Bex’s twin sister Lacey, I loved her at first but quickly grew to hate her. I don’t understand how a sibling could be so selfish.
Overall, this story was very long but entertaining. I liked the antics of the characters in college, but as they grew older it got a little played out. I think this could have been a really fun book had it been a bit shorter.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

GoodReads Summary:
After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy.
The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts.
But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love. In a novel as hilarious as it is heartwarming, debut author Rachel Winters proves that sometimes real life is better than the movies–and that the best kind of meet-cutes happen when you least expect them.
Would Like to MeetReview:
This book pulled me in with its cover. I was very happy that I liked the book inside as much as I like the cover. I thought the whole concept of the book was so cute. I only liked Evie most of the time with this book. She really wasn’t a very good friend and that really annoyed me. But her friends were incredibly forgiving and I liked them a lot. They were great supporting characters and added excellent banter to the story. But Evie was not the friend she should have been to them. I think that was in part because she put so much of her time and effort into her job that was completely not worth said time and effort. I was a little annoyed at times that she neglected literally everything else in her life for such a crappy job. Now, on a more positive note. I had so much fun with the meet-cutes that Evie had to do. They were taken right out of some great romantic comedy movies and they were definitely one of the better parts of this book.
I really hated Ezra. He was a huge asshole and I just really hated him. He was the stereotype of people in the movie industry and I totally predicted what he was doing with the stories of Evie’s meet-cutes like right away. I hated him, and yet, I still sort of believed him when he pulls the crap he pulls in this book. This was the part where I almost DNF’d this one. But everything came around to exactly where I wanted it to be in the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Evie was interesting and annoying, but also really learned a lot about herself and how to stand up for herself. I really liked the outcome of this story. I was really happy with the conclusion and it was a funny and entertaining read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

GoodReads Summary:
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts— even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
An Enchantment of RavensReview:
Absolutely everyone in the book community raves about this book. So, after reading her other novel (Sorcery of Thorns) and really enjoying it, I thought I’d finally give this book a try. I liked this book well enough.
I thought the characters were interesting. I liked that Isobel absolutely did not want to become a faerie. I think so many books are out there where the main character is human but wants to be anything but. So, Isobel is one of the few that doesn’t want that for herself, even after she fell in love with the autumn prince. I really thought it was interesting.
Sadly, I didn’t feel like I really connected with the characters as much as I could have. I liked them all well enough and I liked the romance well enough, but I wasn’t overly invested. I was happy with the overall outcome and things were exciting and action-filled, but I just wasn’t super attached to the story or the characters.
Overall, this book was fun. I enjoyed it even though I didn’t love it. I can completely understand why so many people love it, but I just wasn’t as invested in the story or characters as much as I wanted to be. I do also have to mention that the writing in this book was absolutely stunning. It was beautiful without being overly flowery. That was definitely one of my favorite things.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

GoodReads Summary:
Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)Review:
Huge thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that I 100% requested this book because of the cover and the comparison to Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series. I didn’t really have very high expectations going into this book. I think that’s because the summary of the book really doesn’t cover the awesomeness inside. It’s interesting because it does cover all the things that make this book wonderful, but it’s a case of the summary telling and the book showing these things that really makes the difference.
This book follows Nick, who is a queer boy in high school that has ADHD. I absolutely loved him right from the start. I have people very close to me in my life that have ADHD, so it was really interesting to see Nick’s experiences with it and get his thoughts and feelings. He manages to get in trouble in and out of school very often. Nick doesn’t have it easy, but he really tries so hard and I think that’s what I liked so much about him. He really makes the effort to do and be better. I thought the portrayal of his ADHD was really thoughtful. He also takes medication to help him, which I thought was a great addition. While Nick is the most cinnamon-y of all the cinnamon rolls out there, he was also quite oblivious. He really had a problem getting stuck in his head and hyper-focusing on his problems. So, I totally predicted the end of this book around the 50% mark, but I had the secret identities mixed around.
Nick’s friend group was the best. He is a misfit, as are his friends. Seth and Nick have been best friends since elementary school. Gibby joined them in middle school. She’s a lesbian and will literally kick your ass. I loved Gibby. She calls Nick out when he needs it, but is a loyal friend to Seth at the same time. Then there’s Jaz, Gibby’s girlfriend. She was last to the friend group, but no less loved. I really enjoyed getting the history of their friendships and their banter and interactions literally had me laughing out loud.
I laughed so hard during this book, but this author didn’t hesitate to turn it all around. I also balled my eyes out once or twice. Another really great part of the story was Nick’s dad. The relationship that these two have was nothing short of wonderful. But it’s also realistic. It’s hard to be a single dad and Nick’s dad was certainly not perfect. But it was clear how much he loved Nick and how hard he was trying. I can’t imagine trying to grieve the death of my wife while also still having a child to take care of. I loved how accepting his dad was, but also their open communication. They talked about Nick’s sexuality. They talked about his ADHD. His dad was there for him as much as he could be as a cop that had to work nights. Nick and his dad also made me laugh so much.
Overall, this book surpassed all expectations I had for it. The writing was fantastic. The characters were incredible and I love each of them so very much (even the villain). The world was really interesting (with a history I’m dying to know more of). And the book left of leaving me wanting so much more. I’m so glad this is a series, but so sad I will have to wait who knows how long for the next book. Please do yourself a favor and read this fabulously queer and heartwarming book.

Quotes:

“Sometimes, people do things just because they can. There doesn’t have to be a reason. It’s all chaos.”

“Nick knew the power of words. He knew that sometimes when they landed, they exploded with the force of a carelessly tossed grenade.”

“We’re teenagers. Everything is unnecessarily complicated. We’re told that we have to be a certain way, even if we know it’s wrong. We’re not taken seriously. Our ideas are cast aside as though they’re without merit. Sometimes we need to act out so that people pay attention to us. So that people know we mean what we say. That we’re capable. That we shouldn’t be dismissed.”

“They’re brave,” Mary said. “But we are too. Because while they’re out there, saving the world, we’re the ones they come home to. And it may not always be fair, and there are times when you know they’re in harm’s way, but they’ll always fight like the dickens to get back where they belong.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
MayhemReview:
Thank you to Sarah Bonamino with St. Martin’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to like this book. I was immediately interested after reading the summary. Magic and the 80s? Sign me the hell up. Sadly, this book was a miss for me. I really liked it at the beginning, but the further I read the less I liked it. There were some aspects that I really liked, but the things I didn’t care about outweighed those things.
We follow Mayhem as she and her mother, Roxy, return to Roxy’s hometown of Santa Maria. Mayhem and Roxy are running from Roxy’s husband who is abusive. I liked how this book covered hard topics. The abuse was hard to read about but realistic. Roxy was also addicted to drugs. This was a topic that was covered well. It was discussed thoughtfully and with care. This isn’t always the case, so it was something that I appreciated.
The magic in this book was so interesting. It follows the Brayburn bloodline, mostly. It stems from an ancestor. Their powers come from water that isn’t water in a cave that most people will never be able to find. I thought the magic was chaotic and horrifying and wonderful. This was probably my favorite part of the story. Learning about the history of the family, how the magic came to be, and how the adopted children of Mayhem’s aunt, Elle, came to have the Brayburn magic.
But these adopted cousins that Mayhem has just met were part of my problem with this book. Jason, Neve, and Kidd are wonderful at first. Neve immediately decides that she and Mayhem are going to be best friends. This wasn’t really believable to me because Neve was hot and cold with her. Keeping secrets and leaving her out of things, but acting like this isn’t between them when it suits her. Then Neve takes things too far and I just really didn’t like it. I guess things came around in the end, but I just didn’t care for Neve. Then there’s the romantic relationship that kindles between Jason and Mayhem which I just couldn’t find it in myself to care about.
Finally, the ending was just so unsatisfying. There are talks about healing Mayhem’s cousins from the magic, but there was no follow through with that and that just made me mad.
Overall, I enjoyed parts of this book. I read it very quickly. It was a captivating story, but there were too many things that I just didn’t care for. Also, I read other reviews that said parts of this story were almost word for word from the two stories it was inspired from. I haven’t read or watched them so I cannot say but there were more than a handful of reviews that mentioned this. I think there will definitely be some people that love this book, but it was a miss for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Smile

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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 a list of ten books that make me smile and why.

The Obsidian Mountain Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
This is an easy one for me- one of my all time favorites. Even though the end can still make me cry after nearly a dozen rereads, it’s like meeting an old friend every time I pick them up.


His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman
Another old favorite. This is the first series that ever made me cry. To become so invested in the characters and story that I sobbed like a baby when it was over.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Do I even need to explain this one?

It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn
The first book of Quinn’s I ever read. It’s laugh out loud funny.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
What bookworm wouldn’t love the idea of being able to read their favorite characters into reality?

Beastly by Alex Flinn
This will forever be my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
love these characters! I was invested in their stories almost instantly and liked the supporting characters just as much.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
This was the first book I ever read that explained my anxiety in a way that made perfect sense to me. I could relate to Aza so well.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
I. Want. To. Fly. SO. BAD. Seriously, can someone do genetic experiments on me so I can fly? These kids are amazing and funny despite all the trauma they’ve experienced.

The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts
I love these women and the friendship/family they’ve made. They’re strong and independent as individual women but as a group they’re unstoppable.

 

I absolutely loved this prompt! What books make you smile?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Make Me Smile

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 that make me smile. I’m going to do recently read books for this week.

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Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

The Martian by Andy Weir

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

These are just some books I’ve read so far in 2020 that have really put a  smile on my face. Some made me laugh out loud and others warmed my cold little heart. What books made your list this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

GoodReads Summary:
Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.
The Friend ZoneReview:
I’ve heard many mixed reviews about The Friend Zone. I am in the upper half. I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I didn’t love, one of which Kristen coming uncomfortable close to cheating on her boyfriend who is in the Marine Corps (I’m a military wife and we don’t support cheating or almost cheating in this house.) Despite that, I was pulled into the story. I really enjoyed Josh and Kristen becoming really good friends before anything even remotely romantic happened. I liked that their friendship was most of the story.
I don’t like the secret-keeping or miscommunication tropes. So, when Kristen chooses not to tell Josh about her infertility issues, I was annoyed. I spent most of the book screaming in my head at Kristen to just tell Josh the truth. I thought the characters were realistic and interesting. There were more issues Kristen had than just ‘wanting to protect Josh’s future.’ Her own personal issues were a big part of why she wouldn’t let herself actually be in a relationship with him. I thought their issues went on a little bit too long, but they were solved in the end and I was happy with how their story played out.
Now, the supporting characters. I adored Kristen’s best friend Sloan and she did not deserve to be done as dirty as she was by the author. Though the author’s next book is Sloan’s story so I’m interested to read that one. I loved Sloan and Kristen’s friendship. I also loved Josh and Brandon’s relationship. The supporting characters were some of my favorite parts of the story.
Overall, this was a fun story but also completely devastating. The author takes ‘kill your babies’ seriously and I hate her a little for it. But I had fun reading this book. The characters were realistic with issues that should be talked about more.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

GoodReads Summary:
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness, #1)Review:
There Will Come a Darkness became a new favorite book of mine immediately after I finished it. I am blown away by all of the different aspects of this story.
Let’s start with the world, which leads to the plot. A hundred years ago, the Prophets disappeared. This is something I still want to know more about. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? Will they be coming back? They left behind one final (secret) prophecy that tells of the Age of Darkness. This prophecy is what brings our five characters together. I loved the magic system and the concept of the Graces. I thought it was unique and interesting. I have to say, I am in awe of Katy Rose Pool’s ability to tell this story in five different perspectives and still give each of them a very distinct voice and personality.
The Pale Hand or Ephyra is a mysterious killer that leaves behind the mark of a pale hand on her victims. We learn why she is killing people and it makes me feel for her. She has a younger sister, Beru, that is sick. So Ephyra kills terrible people for their esha and gives it to Beru to heal her. This moral gray aspect of her story made her that much more interesting. I went back and forth between hating her and feeling bad for her and the struggles she’s faced.
Beru is horrified by her sister’s actions to keep her alive. She’s at the point where she’s just ready to die. I was blown away by the secret that these sisters are keeping and what that secret means for the world. I loved the inclusion of the sibling relationship, especially since it was a complex and morally grey one.
Hassan was probably the character I cared about the least, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him. I just loved all the others so much that he takes the bottom spot. Hassan is the heir to a kingdom taken over by a terrible, terrible person. He wants to take action to save his kingdom from the Hierophant (who is trying to rid the world of the Graced.) When he is convinced that he is the last Prophet that was named in the secret prophecy, things start to speed up. He gathers an army to take back their country and this is when things go wrong. I won’t go into detail about what exactly goes wrong, but it was exciting and full of action. The stakes were high and I loved every page of the climax of this story.
Now, for my favorite character, Anton. Anton is my little bean. He is running from his older brother, who was horribly cruel to him in their childhood. He lives life on the run, never getting close to anyone. He also can’t seem to use his Grace without being taken back to the moment when his brother tried to drown him (which is when he left home and has been running ever since.) I loved the mystery that surrounded Anton. We’re not sure why he’s running or what the problem is with using his Grace for quite a while. He teams up with the Pale Hand because she thinks Anton can find an object that will save Beru. His involvement with these two is how he gets dragged into everything else going on with Jude and Hassan. When Ephyra and Anton get arrested, Jude comes to save the day, sort of.
Jude was my second favorite. Jude is the Keeper of the Word, meaning it is his duty to protect the Last Prophet and help them prevent the Age of Darkness. Jude struggles with the duty he knows he has to fulfill and his doubting his ability to do this duty. I loved Jude. I was a little mad at him a few times when he did things that I really didn’t want him to do. But he came back around in the end and saved the Last Prophet. I loved Jude and his journey to figuring out what really mattered.
The characters were really what made this story. But the plot was exciting and surprising. There were several different times where I said out loud to myself, “WHAT” because Katy Rose Pool made me care and believe in all of these characters (even the bad ones) so I was floored by the betrayals and screaming with happiness for the characters that I so easily fell in love with. The development of each of these characters was so well done. The world was creative and so interesting. I’m left with questions, a fierce desire to want more, but not so many questions that I’m upset with a lack of answers. We were given enough to be satisfying but also left craving more of the world, more answers, more character interactions. I’m so invested in the romantic relationships and the friendships. I loved this interesting world and the diverse cast of characters.
Overall, this is a new favorite and I cannot wait for the second book in September. I will be picking it up immediately and devouring it because I need more of this world and the characters that live in it.

Quotes:

“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”

“There was nothing to be frightened of when you were the most dangerous thing that stalked the streets”

“Those who abused their power would only continue the cycle, rewarding the ones who enabled them.”

“I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know about duty and purpose. But I know what people want. You may think you’re different, that you live by some special code that sets you apart, but everyone wants something Jude. Even you.”

“You can spend your entire life looking over your shoulder, waiting for your past to catch up to you. Or you can stop running and finally face it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Inebriated by Katey Taylor

GoodReads Summary:
Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco’s party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.
When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she’s introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.
But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?
Katey Taylor’s heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait’s life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.
InebriatedReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Inebriated is a story that follows Cait. She’s just started the summer before her senior year of high school. I was really excited by the synopsis of this book because I was Cait in the summer before my senior year. I’m also going to add here that I’m going to talk spoilers in this review so if you don’t want to see those you can skip to the last paragraph where I give my overall thoughts or pass on this review.
Sadly, Cait’s story was pretty unrealistic and I didn’t end up liking it very much. The story was fast-paced and non-stop drama. Those were the good things. We start the story off with Cait waking up somewhere in San Francisco with no memory of how she ended up there. She just casually gets a cab back to the small town she lives in. I think my biggest issue with this book was that I also grew up in a small town filled with underage drinking. I drank so much when I was in high school, to the point where I was barely 21 and an alcoholic. Despite my past with alcohol I still love to read stories about teens struggling with drinking. This story wasn’t about Cait’s struggle. This story was about Cait not thinking at all. There was so much that was unrealistic about this story. Let’s start with the amount that she and her friends, Allie and Steph, drink. They pregame, which was fine and totally something many people do, but they pregame by taking four or five shots then get to their destination minutes away and take five or six more shots. Ten or eleven shots in less than an hour? There’s no way their bodies would tolerate that without either very quickly blacking out and then passing out or vomiting. I say this with the full authority of someone who has literally done this many times. The (unbelievable) excessive drinking continues throughout the story. Some of Cait’s friends start doing coke and one party Steph does so much coke she literally passes out, but no one seemed concerned for her well being at all??? I’m honestly just a little horrified by this book.
Then we get into the relationship. Cait meets Aiden, a very popular musician, and they start a relationship. Which was fine if you ignore the fact that he’s in his mid-20s and she’s 17. On top of that, Aiden struggles with heroin addiction. That’s nothing against him, except for the fact that he seems to be placing Cait at the center of his sobriety. Also, most addicts should be sober from everything. Getting blackout drunk all the time Is not a great way to get a handle on your drug addiction. It’s just substituting one substance for another.
Let’s get to the best (read: worst) part of this book. Cait goes to a music festival that Aiden is playing at. She invites her best friends and they ditch her to do coke with allies boyfriend. Fine, whatever. Cait goes to see Aiden play and he’s relapsed. She finds him after the show getting a blow job while he’s shooting up. After making her very high on coke friends leave and drive home they get into a car accident and Steph dies. The first issue with this is that there was no emotion with her death. It all happened incredibly fast but Cait wasn’t feeling anything strongly enough for me to actually care. Then her solution is to continue drinking profusely. I wanted to scream at her. The only good decision Cait made was to move with her mom to San Diego. Days before she’s supposed to leave she makes another hugely stupid choice and goes to see Aiden because, surprise, he wrote her a song. She gets blackout drunk again. I just couldn’t with Cait. Her actions and feelings were unrealistic. I’ve been a teenage alcoholic and I’ve had friends die because of drugs or driving under the influence so I know what it feels like. I just really didn’t like her.
There were some good things about this book that I really wish had been delved into further. There was so much promise with the issue of Cait’s past with Allie’s boyfriend, Keith. Instead, he just caused problems with Allie and Cait where they’d ignore each other than a week later act like nothing happened. Also, Cait’s parents have just decided to get divorced. I think her relationship with her parents was the best part of the book, except all the times she lied to them through her teeth. There were a lot of issues that could have been elaborated on there too but weren’t.
Overall, I didn’t care for this book. The amount of liquor these girls drank each time they got together to party was just wildly unrealistic. There is no way their bodies would have been able to handle that much booze. Along with that, I didn’t really feel like Cait’s emotions came through. She told us what she was feeling or that she was feeling nothing, but I didn’t believe any of it. I also hated her relationship with Aiden. It was toxic and I was happy when it ended. I wanted more of a resolution from this book. Cait only realized that she should probably stop drinking in the last few chapters of the book and that just blew me away after everything she’d gotten herself into. Some people have left favorable reviews for this book so maybe I feel this way because I was a teenager that drank too much in high school so I know what it was like. Don’t let my dislike stop you from reading it if this still sounds interesting to you. It’s definitely a book I read very quickly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

GoodReads Summary:
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem. Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleReview:
This book was an absolutely wild ride. We follow Aiden Bishop as he’s placed in the mind of eight different guests. He has eight days to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Each of the eight days, Aiden is in the mind and body of a different guest. I don’t know how to explain the experience that was this book. We didn’t know who the next guest would be, but at the same time, Aiden was still in the mind of his previous hosts. Anything he did in the present host could potentially affect the things he had already accomplished. This book was beyond complicated and confusing. Each new day we learn a little bit more, and the mystery unfolds a little bit at a time. This author did an incredible job of keeping the reader in suspense and giving enough answers to keep the story going at a good pace.
When we find out what’s really going on, I was blown away. I’m not going to spoil anything, so I’m going to keep this review short. The intricacy that was this book is honestly amazing. I am blown away by Stuart Turton’s brain and his capability to make this story what it is. There were so many details and connections.
My only complaint is that I still had a few questions when I finished the story. I felt like there were one or two things that weren’t answered or weren’t clarified enough for me.
Overall, I will absolutely be reading this author’s next book. I was captivated by this story. It sucked me in and wouldn’t let go until the mystery was solved.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

GoodReads Summary:
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.
On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.
Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.
The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.
Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.
Say You Still Love MeReview:
After hearing nothing but good things about K.A. Tucker I decided to give her books a try. I was so pleased when I started this book because I didn’t know anything about it and I totally love books set in summer camps. This story alternates between the past and the present.
In the past, Piper is sent to work at the Wawa summer camp to work as a counselor for eight weeks. I absolutely adored this setting. It was so much fun and I felt like I got to vicariously live through Piper to live my dream of being a summer camp counselor. I really enjoyed the young love romance that she finds with Kyle. It had a ‘lust at first sight’ aspect, but their falling in love took time and didn’t move too fast. I liked that it covered good topics, like having sex for the first time and not moving too fast. There was a bit of underage drinking. But I really enjoyed these chapters. There was a mystery aspect because there was some big issue that happened in the second to last week of camp and we wait for most of the book to finally find out what happened. I liked this because it was suspenseful and interesting.
Then there’s the storyline in the present. Piper is about to take over the company her father owns. Don’t ask me to tell you what this company does because I honestly have no idea. But, she’s a woman in a corporate world so she deals with some idiot men that continually underestimate her. I did like that not all of the men were like that, but the drama with one specific man that kept going over her head to her father was great. Seeing Piper figure out how to take him down a peg was really interesting. I liked the father/daughter aspect of the story too. She’s working out how to get her father to stop trying to fight her battles and stop letting the problem character go to him instead of her. Then there’s Kyle in the present. He has secrets, but we don’t know that until Piper learns them. I liked their relationship. They’re trying to figure out if they can get back what they had. I thought it was well done and I really enjoyed it.
Overall, this was such a great book. I’m very excited to read more by this author. The characters were ones I was invested in and really cared about. The story had mystery and suspense. I just loved this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.