Blogtober Book Review: The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

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GoodReads Summary:
The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.
Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.
May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.
Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.
With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.
But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast…
The Deck of Omens (The Devouring Gray, #2)Review:
The Deck of Omens was everything I wanted it to be. Check out my review which talks about how much I loved the first book here. In this second book, the Gray has started to corrupt the rest of Four Paths. Some really weird stuff is going on and no one seems to have noticed other than May. May is a troubled girl. She’s under her mother’s thumb, mostly because there is nothing more May wants than her mother’s approval and praise. Despite that, she’s starting to do things that she knows her mother wouldn’t like. One of those things is to call her father. He comes to town to help May, but there’s so much about May and Justin’s father that we (and they) don’t know. I thought the addition of the Hawthorne dad was a really interesting twist, especially when we learn all of his secrets.
I would still die for Violet and Harper. I thought Harper’s challenge of learning how to manage her abilities was a good one. She is pulled between Violet’s mom and Justin’s mom because they both want to train her. I loved the stand that Harper took in this situation. She made it clear that she was in control of her own life and her own abilities and I really appreciated that. Violet is still my favorite. She’s finally trusting her mom and they have a good relationship. But the more she learns about the history of the town and her ancestors, the more she realizes that she still doesn’t know the whole truth. I loved that Violet and Isaac spent more time together. Seeing Isaac open up to Violet literally set my heart on fire. I loved everything about their relationship. Isaac has had some really terrible things happen in his life. But he’s finally working toward doing better for himself, getting what he actually deserves rather than punishing himself for the past. But his brother, Gideon, comes back to town and that brings up all sorts of emotions for him. I liked seeing Isaac and Gideon because we get a new perspective on Isaac’s past from Gideon that we didn’t have before. I think Isaac had some tremendous character growth and I am so proud of him. I just really didn’t care about Justin at all. Christine Lynn Herman really hurt him, but I still couldn’t find it in myself to care.
Overall, I loved this story. I think it was a great conclusion to this duology. I loved these characters with my whole heart. They all grew so much and ended in a way where they made the best choices for themselves and I thought that was amazing. Please read this and love it as much as I do.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Seventeen: Audiobook Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I was running out of ideas for Blogtober posts and then an idea hit me: audiobooks that are perfect for the spooky season. I am a huge fan of audiobooks and I’ve listened to some really great ones recently. So, let’s get right into it and talk about some books that are creepy and I would absolutely recommend they be listened to this October.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power: This is a book about a girl who runs away from her mother to find her grandmother. She arrived at her grandmothers and the longer she’s there the more she realizes there are secrets that she needs to uncover. Here family has been hiding things from her and she’s determined to learn the truth. I was gifted this audiobook for my birthday and it was wonderfully creepy. I seriously couldn’t listen to it too late at night or I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. The story itself is pretty creepy and weird, but the narrator does an incredible job of adding to the suspense and emotion of the story.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust: An incredible fantasy story that’s based on Persian mythology and various fairytales. The story follows a princess that is poisonous to the touch. She is determined to find a cure which leads her to working with a Div that’s been captured. There’s romance and mystery and horrifyingly wonderful monsters. The narrator for this book did a wonderful job. I really enjoyed the narration. Between the accents and the emotion the narrator gave the characters, this book is a great one for October. It’s a story full of monsters, but also one of love and self discovery.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin: If you like retellings that are set in modern times, you’ll probably like this one. We follow Cleveland as she moves to a new town, the town where her best friend lives. Her best friend, Henry, has dated a lot of girls. The weird part? Two of them are dead now. This story was great. The mystery of what really happened to these girls was excellent. The characters are very lovable even while you’re suspecting them of murder. I really enjoyed the audiobook of this story.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: I have to say the narrator for this series (Kate Rudd) is one of my all time favorites. So, please go read this series on audio. This is a boarding school mystery. It’s not your typical boarding school. Years ago the founders wife and daughter were kidnapped and are now presumed dead. Our main character, Stevie, now attends the school and is obsessed with solving the murders and to find out what really happened. This is the perfect series for the spooky season.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: I don’t even want to explain what this book is about because it’s been so hyped up on the bookish internet places. This audiobook is incredible. We follow Sadie as she goes out to investigate what happened after her younger sister is found dead. We also follow Sadie in a podcast. We get alternating perspectives from Sadie and also from the Podcast. The audioboook is incredible because it’s actually narrated like a podcast. I cannot recommend this enough.

These are five audiobooks I think would be perfect choices to listen to in October. They’re all creepy and mysterious. They’re all filled characters that are fascinating. Secrets and mysteries are what these stories are about and their narrators really bring life to them. What audiobooks are you planning to listen to for the spooky season?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling

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GoodReads Summary:
Hannah Walsh just wants a normal life. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever.
When Hannah learns the Hunters have gone nationwide, armed with a serum capable of taking out entire covens at once, she’s desperate to help. Now, with witches across the country losing the most important thing they have—their power—Hannah could be their best shot at finally defeating the Hunters. After all, she’s one of the only witches to escape a Hunter with her magic intact.
Or so everyone believes. Because as good as she is at faking it, doing even the smallest bit of magic leaves her in agony. The only person who can bring her comfort, who can make her power flourish, is Morgan. But Morgan’s magic is on the line, too, and if Hannah can’t figure out how to save her—and the rest of the Witches—she’ll lose everything she’s ever known. And as the Hunters get dangerously close to their final target, will all the Witches in Salem be enough to stop an enemy determined to destroy magic for good?
This Coven Won't Break (These Witches Don't Burn, #2)Review:
My job opened back up when I found that my library had this audiobook. So, basically, I listened to it while I was working (which I’m not supposed to do) and listened to it in almost one shift.
I really enjoyed this book. Probably my favorite part about this book was all of the kissing. Morgan and Hannah’s relationship was the best. They were sweet and new, but also made progress to become a more serious relationship. I liked that their relationship also helped others see how the other witches can use their magic together.
Hannah was very brave. She feels a little responsible for what’s going on and she wants to be a part of the team of agents that are working to take the Hunters down. I really liked how Hannah’s grief over her father was present in the story. She lost her father which is part of her motivation to help, but she also let herself feel that grief. I liked that she ended up being a key part of taking down the Hunters. It was nice to see the adults listening to her ideas.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the first one better, but this one was still good. There was a diverse cast with different sexualities and a trans character. I loved the diversity. I loved, even more, the way the story concluded with the three different types of witches learning that they can use their magic together.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Fifteen: Bookish Halloween Costumes

Hey, lovelies! Since having a child, I spend a lot more time thinking about Halloween costumes than ever before. So, I thought this would be a fun post. I certainly had fun picking out books and thinking about how to make the costumes relatively easy, but still identifiable as the characters or bookish whatever.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: For this one I would mostly just get some cool ass face tattoos. Obviously, I couldn’t make them spin and stuff but I think it would be super fun.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green: I would totally love to dress up as a Carl. I would probably go low budget and make something out of cardboard, but I would have a really fun time doing it.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir: This one is easy. Twenty-four teens get chosen to train as astronauts. The final six will be sent on a mission to terraform one of Jupiter’s moons. I freaking love this book and I also wanted to (briefly) be an astronaut when I was a kid, so this one would be fun.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca: Antonia used to get all kinds of dressed up every year for our local Renaissance Faire and I was always so jealous becasue she looked so amazing. I’d love to dress up as any of the characters we get to meet at this RenFaire.

My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows: This one’s easy too. I have two options: Calamity Jane, or Annie Oakley. Both would be fun. A revolver toting western girl in a dress, or a woman dressed like a cowboy with a whip as her accessory.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Another easy one. Just some robes and I could decorate them at home depending on which Scythe I decided on. I don’t think anyone would get it though.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: There are so many options for this one, but I think I would most enjoy copying Mirabel’s Max costume. The first time Zachary Ezra Rawlins meets Mirabel, she’s dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I really loved her costume and it’s an easy enough one to replicate.

These are my ideas for bookish Halloween costumes. I tried to pick easier ones that wouldn’t be super expensive to create. It was really fun for me to think about how I would go about making these. My only complaint is that most people probably wouldn’t recognize the costumes, but I would have fun making and wearing any of these ideas. What bookish characters would you want to dress up as for Halloween?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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GoodReads Summary:
The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.
Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.
Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….
The Loneliest Girl in the UniverseReview:
I buddy read this book with one of my favorites, Alana @ The Bookish Chick. I think we both felt similarly. This book was a wild ride.
We’re following Romy as she’s traveling alone through space. She was born in outer space to two astronauts that were on a mission to go to a planet thought to be able to support human life. But some mysterious something happened and Romy ended up alone. I think the suspense was done really well. For the first half of the book, I was really interested to find out what had happened to Romy’s parents and the rest of the astronauts on the mission. Sadly, the further into the book I read the less I liked it. I thought the mystery of Romy’s parents and the other astronauts was great, I also liked the representation of anxiety that we get from Romy. But I just really didn’t like the last third of the book.
So, for this last third of the story, we are anticipating another ship joining with Romy’s. Earth has sent another space ship to help her so that she isn’t alone when arriving on the planet she’s headed for. J is the astronaut from the other ship. J and Romy exchange messages while they’re waiting to meet. I liked this at first, but then it sort of felt icky. Romy is only sixteen and she’s falling in love with a 20-something-year-old. It just got worse when they finally met. I won’t go into too much detail because of spoilers, but I didn’t like it.
Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I did. I think Romy was a great representation of anxiety, but that and the mystery of how Romy ended up alone were the only things I liked about the story and they weren’t the main focus of the book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

GoodReads Summary:
A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the “innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling” (Mira Grant, Nebula Award–winning author) The Twisted Ones.
Pray they are hungry.
Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.
With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.
The Hollow PlacesReview:
Thank you NetGalley and publishers for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I adored this book and every single minute I spend reading it was a ride.
The Hollow Places follows Kara (or Carrot) after she moves into the spare room of her Uncle Earl’s Wonder Museum. She’s gotten divorced from her husband and doesn’t want to move in with her mother. When her Uncle offers his spare room, she accepts. The Wonder Museum is a place full of bizarre things like taxidermized animals (read: otters, bears, mice), knick-knacks from around the world (some authentic and some with ‘made in china’ stickers), and of course, Wonder Museum memorabilia. But Kara grew up in this museum, so she’s not afraid or creeped out by any of these oddities. But one day, Kara finds a hole in the wall so she enlists the barista from the coffee shop next door, Simon, to help her fix it. This is when they discover that there’s something weird about what’s on the other side of this hole. They find themselves in a world that is not our own. Simon and Kara can’t help but explore, but they find more than they wanted to.
This story was delightfully creepy and suspenseful. Certain parts of the story had me gripping my Kindle so hard and my whole body tense. The writing was nothing short of incredible. I felt transported into this story. Kingfisher made this world come to life. It was so atmospheric. I was scared while Simon and Kara were in this other world, holding my breath when they did, but I just couldn’t get enough. I really loved that there was a ‘why’ to all of this. There was a reason this had happened and while it wasn’t wholly explained, there was enough to satisfy me.
Kara and Simon were characters I really enjoyed. At first, Kara is upset about her divorce. She’s disappointed that her life isn’t what she wants it to be, but once she finds another world, a horrifying one, it really puts things in perspective for her. I loved that the creatures of the museum love and protect Kara (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get to this part of the story). Simon is gay. He’s the barista at the coffee shop his sister owns. He’s full of wild stories that you almost don’t believe. I loved that Kara and Simon went from acquaintances to friends. They bonded through their shared experiences of the horrors of the willow world and I really enjoyed their friendship.
Overall, I loved this book. It was perfect for the spooky season. The atmospheric setting with the horror of the things Kara and Simon encounter made for a spectacularly spooky reading experience. I loved everything about this story and I will definitely be picking up more books by Kingfisher.

Quotes:

“Do objects that are loved know that they are loved?”

“I did not look at the words on the wall. If I didn’t look at them, they didn’t matter. Words are meaningless until you read them.”

“The Wonder Museum, for all its strangeness, was never haunted. If there were ghosts, they were benevolent ones. But perhaps skin and bones have a little memory to them, even after the soul is gone to greater things. And the bones in this museum had spent decade after decade marinating in my uncle’s fierce, befuddled kindness.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirteen (Part Two): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Super Long Titles

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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 books with super long titles.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Glasdtone & Amal El-Mohtar

Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

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

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

The Secret of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

What’s the longest book title you’ve ever read?

Blogtober Day Thirteen (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Super Long Book Titles

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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. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is super long book titles.

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Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moria Fowley-Doyle

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twelve: On My Watchlist

Hello, lovelies! Today I want to talk about some book to movie (or tv!) adaptations. I have some that I’ve already watched that I think are great for the spooky season and some that I want to watch as a more general watchlist for the fall. There are also some where I’ve read the book and some where I haven’t. I will specify forr each what I’ve read or watched and haven’t. I’m going to start with some spooky/creepy choices that are perfect for this time of year.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer: I read the book and didn’t love. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the movie either. But they were both weird and sort of freaky. I think both the movie and the book are read to read or watch for spooky season.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry: I haven’t read the book. I didn’t even know it was a book until I was searching for adaptations for this post. But I did watch the Netflix movie and really enjoyed it. It was creepy and wonderful. Something I highly recommend you watch during spooky season.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell: This is another one that I haven’t read the book for. I also probably won’t ever read it. But I liked the movie because I’m a sucker for anything with Blake Lively in it.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: I actually DNF’d this book. My book club read it together and I just couldn’t get through it. There’s something about books with footnotes that I can’t handle. But I was waiting to watch the show until I could read the book. So, this might be a show that I start soon. I love weird fantasy shows like this in the fall and winter time.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: For this one I’ve actually managed to read the book and watch the show. I mostly liked the book. It wasn’t anything crazy, but I had a good time reading it. But I totally loved the show. It’s full of drama and suspense and actresses I love.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: I read the first two books in this series and just couldn’t continue. They were dramatic and totally over the top. So, I think I’ll much prefer the movie because that’s totally the type of movie I love.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I haven’t read the book for this one. But I really want to. I’ve been on hold forever for the audiobook and even managed to start it a few times. But I haven’t finished it. I’m hoping to do that soon so that I can watch the show. Mostly becasue I love Reese Witherspoon.

Outlander by Diana Gabldon: I read the first few books in this series years and years ago. I want to reread them so that I can watch the show. Though, I’ve heard mixed things about both of them.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I love this series. I always will. There hasn’t been an announced release date for the Netflix show that’s been filmed. But rumors are for late 2020, and I’m really hoping they’re right.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: I haven’t read this series, but I really would like to. I’d also like to watch the show. I’ve heard such good things about both of them. I think this is the perfect time of year to start them.

These are some shows and movies that were originally books. Some I’ve read and some I haven’t (but want to!) and same for their adaptations. I’ve seen some and want to watch others. What book to move adaptations do you think are perfect to watch during spooky season?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

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GoodReads Summary:
For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.
Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.
As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.
A Million JunesReview:
This book really surprised me. I actually almost unhauled it two different times. But I’ve since read Emily Henry’s adult romance novel and the novel she co-wrote with Brittany Cavallaro. So, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on A Million Junes. I am so glad I held myself back from unhauling because I gave this book five stars on GoodReads.
We follow June. She goes to the local carnival with her best friend, Hannah. This is when June see’s Saul Angert for the first time in three years. He left town with little explanation and now he’s back. June’s family has one rule, and it’s to stay away from the Angert family. No surprise here that she doesn’t. June finds that she’s sort of attracted to Saul. But Hannah has had a crush on him forever and June wants to respect Hannah’s feelings. I really appreciated this aspect of the story. The fact that June was so thoughtful of her best friend’s feelings really made me love their friendship. I also loved that even when she got Hannah’s okay to act on her feelings for Saul, June didn’t just blow Hannah off. I don’t love girls that blow of their friends once they get interested in a guy.
Now, for the romance. I really liked Saul and June together. I loved the forbidden aspect of their friendship. It definitely led to some funny parts of the story where the pair were trying to keep Saul’s identity a secret. I thought the things that they experienced, the losses that they had in common, were a beautiful part of this story. I also really enjoyed the two sharing their family stories and trying to get to the truth of the two versions.
Overall, this story was beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s a story of grief and love and figuring out how to continue living after losing those close to you. I loved the magical aspects of the story. They were beautifully written and the magic was beyond fascinating. I am now a huge fan of Emily Henry and I’ve bought her other backlist titles. If you like magical realism and stories filled with emotion, this is the book for you.

Quotes:

“Letting go is not forgetting. It’s opening your eyes to the good that grew from the bad, the life that blooms from decay.”

“Grief is an unfillable hole in your body. It should be weightless, but it’s heavy. Should be cold, but it burns. Should, over time, close up, but instead it deepens.”

“When people pity you, it’s like they don’t realize that the exact same thing is coming for them. And then I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable and have to pity them, because, like, do you not realize that it’s always someone’s turn? You haven’t noticed everyone gets a few blows that seem so big you can’t survive them?”

“Maybe for some people, falling in love is an explosion, fireworks against a black sky and tremors rumbling through the earth. One blazing moment. For me, it’s been happening for months, as quietly as a seed sprouting. Love sneaked through me, spreading roots around my heart, until, in the blink of an eye, the green of it broke the dirt: hidden one moment, there the next.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eleven: Graphic Novel’s TBR

Hello, lovelies! Today I want to talk about graphic novels that I own. I’m all about (unsuccessfully) getting my physical TBR to a more manageable level this year. So, making lists like these where I have books im excited about all in one place is great for me to look back on once I’ve read a few and made some progress. So, hopefully you enjoy them as much as I do. Here are some of the graphic novels I’m hoping to read this month on my physical TBR.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Spectacle, Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

Middlewest, Book One by Skottie Young Jorge Corona

W.I.T.C.H. Part 1: The Twelve Portals by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, & Barbara Canepa

These are some of the graphic novels that have been on my physical TBR for way too long. I’m excited to get to them and I think they’ll be great reads for spooky season. What graphic novels have been on your TBR too long?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

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GoodReads Summary:
Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.
Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…
HideawayReview:
I will always love Nora Roberts. Hideaway was no different. I really loved that we got to follow most of Cate’s life. We follow Cate starting when she’s a child at her great-grandfather’s celebration of life. She gets kidnapped late into the afternoon. This follows her for the rest of her life. I really liked how this was worked into the story. It’s something that Cate experienced, but she doesn’t let it dictate the rest of her life. I also have to point out that Cate comes from a very wealthy Hollywood family, but she acknowledges the privilege that comes with this, which I appreciated. I also liked the diversity I’ve been seeing in Nora’s novels in the last few years. There’s a biracial relationship, there are LGBTQ+ side characters.
I really liked Cate. She really takes charge of her life and doesn’t let her childhood trauma define her. She goes after what she wants. She takes time to figure out what exactly she wants when she feels like she’s lost her direction. I also totally loved that she becomes a voice actress later on in her life.
Now, Dillon Cooper was amazing. He’s the ultimate gentleman. He’s a family man, raised by women. His dream to take over the family farm never changes. But he respects the women who raised him and goes to college at their suggestion. I liked that we got to see Dillon grow up as well.
I loved the romances that we got to see. As this book takes place over many years, we see Cate in a few different relationships. I really enjoyed them all but I was always sure that Dillon and Cate would be end game.
Overall, this was a wonderful mystery/romance novel. I liked that we knew what was going on (mostly) the whole time. There were a few details we didn’t know, but I liked that we knew most of the story. The only thing I didn’t like was that the ending seemed a little sudden. I felt like there was room for more of a conclusion, but we just didn’t get that. I still really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait for Nora’s new release later this year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

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GoodReads Summary:
Fried Green Tomatoes and “Steel Magnolias” meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.
But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresReview:
I read this book for my local book club. It’s not something I probably would have picked up otherwise. This book was really something else. I didn’t love the overly grotesque parts of the book (but that’s just why I don’t generally read horror.) But I was fascinated by the dynamics of the women we read about. Their relationships with one another and their relationships with their husbands. This book really made a strong statement about how the world was in the late 80s and early 90s and it honestly just made my heart sad.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. The twists and turns, the way the author had me back and forth believing the main character and then not believing her. I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t have all that much to say about it. But, dude this book was a ride I don’t think I’d ride again.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Nine: Amanda’s ARC TBR

Hey, lovelies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really like making lists. Lists help me keep myself accountable. So, today for Blogtober I have another list for you. I’m going to list all of the eARCs I’ve gotten (thanks, NetGalley!) and need to read. I’ve really been slacking on my ebook reading, so hopefully this will give me motivation to pick them up.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – Release Date: October 13th, 2020

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee – Release Date: October 20th, 2020

The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White – Release Date: November 10th, 2020

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Release Date: November 17th, 2020

Ten Rules for Faking It by Sophie Sullivan – Release Date: January 5th, 2021

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper – Release Date: February 9th, 2021

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft – Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel – Release Date: March 2nd, 2021

Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein – Release Date: April 27th, 2021

These are all of the ARC’s I currently have that I need to read. I went on a bit of a requesting spree, so hopefully I can finish most of these before I potentially get approved for any others.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eight: Halloween Creatures Book Tag

It’s been a while since we’ve done a book tag here, but Blogtober is the perfect opportunity for a new and fun one. There are a bunch of great ones out there for Halloween but we liked this one the best. Let’s get right into it!

Rules

  1. Answer all prompts.
  2. Answer honestly.
  3. Tag 1-13 people.
  4. Link back to this post.
  5. Remember to credit the creator. (Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward)
  6. Have fun!

Witch: A magical character or book

Amanda- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I read this in August and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It was so many stories within one story that all connected to one another. The writing was beautiful. Plus, it’s about a magic library world.

Antonia- The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts. We all know how much I love Nora, particularly when she gets into magic. I love how in depth this book gets into the magic aspect.

Werewolf: The perfect book to read at night

Amanda- Literally any book. I don’t save specific books only to read a certain time. It’s more about format for me. Ebooks and audiobooks at night in bed and physical reading during the day.

Antonia- I also don’t have specific books that I read during different situations.

Frankenstein: A book that truly shocked you

Amanda- Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power. The twist at the end was wild. I know some saw it coming, but it was way weirder than what I predicted.

Antonia- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I had many problems with this book but the twist at the end was so good. I couldn’t believe it.

The Devil: A dark or evil character

Amanda- Lada from The Conquerer’s Saga by Kiersten White. She’s not evil, but she will do literally anything to reach her goals and I love her for it.

Antonia- The Darkling from The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. He’s one of the villains we love to hate. He’s just so well written throughout the entire series.

Grim Reaper: A character that shouldn’t have died

Amanda- Without spoiling anything, I will say that a certain adult from These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling didn’t have to die and I’m still seriously mad about it.

Antonia- The thirteen from Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. This scene killed me. Even the second time I read it, I bawled like a baby.

Zombie: A book that made you hungry for more

Amanda- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. I read this trilogy in like four days because I just needed to know the whole story.

Antonia- I always want more of my favorite characters. The Age of X series by Richelle Mead is a big one for me though because she never continued the series after book two.

Gargoyle: A character you would protect at all costs

Amanda- All of my babies from The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman except Justin. I literally don’t care about him.

Antonia- Blue from This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Not that she needs protecting from anyone but I just love her so much.

Vampire: A book that sucked the life out of you

Amanda- Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. This story sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go until I got to the end. I got lost in this story, so deeply invested in the characters and their goals.

Antonia- Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa. This series pulled me in so hard and gave me so many feelings. I can’t wait to read the last book.

Ghost: A book that still haunts you

Amanda- For this one, I tried to make sure to pick a book that I read before 2020 because I’ve read some great books this year that I can’t stop thinking about. So, I have a few. Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin, Ashlords by Scott Reintgen, and Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro are some from last year that I still have on my mind often.

Antonia- Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I vaguely remember finishing this book but can’t make myself read the rest of the series because I still can’t get over what happened at the beginning. I’m devastated.

Demon: A book that really scared you

Amanda- The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. There were many moments that had me nail biting and gripping the pages in fear for the characters.

Antonia- I don’t read many spooky books because I’m a wuss but when we were teenagers Amanda and I read The Devouring by Simon Holt and that series gave me nightmares.

Skeleton: A character you have a bone to pick with

Amanda- Dara, freaking Dara, from the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. He was one of my favorites in the first book, but by book three he was not on that list anymore. I was happy with how his story ended, but I wanted more from him.

Antonia- Evie’s mom from The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I mean come on! Every choice she made just caused so many problems.

Mummy: A book you would preserve through time

Amanda- I hate to repeat books on these things, but I have to say The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern again. I think this book will be loved for many years to come.

Antonia- Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. Honestly these books are just so well written, especially for children’s books. I love everything about them.

Creepy Doll: A cover too scary to look at

Amanda- There are two books and neither of them are out yet. Horrid by Katrina Leno and Blessed Monsters by Emily A. Duncan.

Antonia- Since I don’t read anything remotely close to horror, I don’t have any book covers that creep me out.

The Monster Mash – It’s fun to be with friends on Halloween! Tag your friends here:

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Avhlee @ Tea Cups and Torn Pages

Ari @ Bookish Valhalla