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.

Amanda’s Underrated Black Authors Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! It’s the first day of February, which also means that it’s the first day of Black History Month. So, I thought I would stop by with some book recommendations of books written by black authors. Now, I’m going to preface by saying that I would recommend these books any time of year, so they are not specifically for Black History Month, but many people specifically read books by black authors in February. With that in mind, I wanted to share books and authors that I think are underrated so that they might get some of the attention that they rightly deserve. These are all books I don’t see recommended very often or at all.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Reynolds is an author that I don’t see talked about or recommended very often, which is such a shame. His books are contemporary with a science fiction twist. I gave both of these books five stars and I hope you will too when you read them.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Philippe is another author that I very rarely see recommended, but his books are so good. They talk about important things in a way that goes straight to the heart. I also had the pleasure of meeting him and talking to him at the NoVaTeen Book Festival a few years ago.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

So, I do see some people talking about Ancrum’s books, especially since her 2021 release is a Peter Pan thriller/retelling. But there are still so many people that haven’t read The Wicker King, which is just a damn shame. Ancrum writes characters that you can’t help but root for, even if you disagree with the choices they make.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
I listened to the audiobook for this book toward the end of 2020 and the only reason I found this recommendation was because of #SciFiMonth. I have only ever seen one person talk about it and I think that should change. This is an incredible science fiction story filled with diversity of all kinds. I highly recommend this one.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Johnson’s 2020 debut is a book that I have seen people say they want to read it, but they haven’t yet. I’m here to say that you should add this book to the top of your TBR list. This was one of my favorite books of 2020. I really hope that the people that have bought this one actually read it soon.

That’s all I have for you today. Eight books that I think more people should be talking about. I know that Blackathon is going on this month, but I’m not super familiar with all of the prompts, so hopefully these might fit for some (or any) of them because all of these books deserve more love. I do have quite a few books by black authors on my TBR shelf that I plan to read and will hopefully be able to add to this list after I read them. What are some underrated books by black authors would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Adult Books of 2020

Hello, lovelies! I’m here with my final age rage favorites list. Today will be my favorite adult books that I read in 2020 (not just 2020 releases). I would recommend these books to anyone. They are a variety of genres, but they’re all excellent books. I will have a few that were on my first list of my 10 favorite reads of 2020, so don’t be surprised if you think you’ve seen these on a list before. Let’s go!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

That’s all I’ve got friends. Fifteen of my favorite adult books that I read in 2020. I already can’t wait to reread some of them in 2021. What adult books were your favorite last year?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Audiobooks of 2020

Hi, lovelies! I read 85 audiobooks in 2020. Some of them were absolutely incredible and I knew I needed to make a separate list of favorite audiobooks so that I could share and recommend them to you all. Some of them may be on a list I’ve already posted or on one that’s coming later this month, but being on more than one of my lists is how you know it was just that good. Now, I am pretty pick about what kinds of audiobooks I like. I prefer narrators that do different voices for different characters. My favorite thing is full cast audiobooks. But I do sometimes find audiobooks that just have one narrator that does an incredible job telling the story. This list is a combination of those.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Internment by Samira Ahmed

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

There we have it, friends. These are all of my favorite audiobooks that I listened to in 2020. Now, I did reread a few series via audio but I didn’t include those on here. What audiobooks did you listen to in 2020 that really blew you away?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Young Adult Books of 2020

Hey, lovelies! If you’re new here, welcome! We’re talking about my favorite books that I read in 2020 by age range. Today it’s young adult books that I read and really loved. There’s a whole mix of genres on this list that stuck with me for a variety of reasons. Now, in my last list I included some of the books that made my overall favorites list, but this one won’t. I have too many I want to add to this list so, check out my 10 favorites of 2020 to see the young adult titles not included on this list.

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

A Million Junes by Emily Henry

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

There you have it, fifteen young adult books that I loved so much I had to make this list for them. What young adult books made your favorites list this year?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s 2020 Favorites: Blogging

Hello, lovelies! Today is a different sort of favorites list. I want to share some of my favorite posts that I wrote this year. I do mostly reviews, but I have a few posts from theme’d events that I am particularly proud of and I want to highlight them here today.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
I’m proud of this review because I think I managed to get my thoughts down in a descriptive way that really showed how I felt about the book. This was one of my favorite books of 2020, so I’m happy that I was able to write a review that I am proud of.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
This was another favorite of last year and again I was able to accurately get my thoughts down. But for this one, there were so many smaller things that really made this book was it was and I feel like I was able to convey that in a way that would make sense to those that haven’t read it.

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
This is the second book in the Empirium trilogy and I put the first book on my favorites list, but the second book was devastating and I literally wrote most of my review while I was still listening to the last hour or so of the book. I’m proud of it because I think I was really able to put my emotions into words and show how I was feeling about the book.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
I’m adding this one to the list because I really think this book was incredible and I’m confident that I shared all of the reasons why in my review. There were so many things that made this book as excellent as it was and I feel like I shared all of them.

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
I’m putting this one on the list because it opened me up to a genre I’d previously written off: Horror. I’ve read like three horror books in 2021 and it’s thanks to this book. I don’t know that I really was able to get all my feelings down on the page, but I think I did a great job of explaining the story and the ways it made me react.

If You Liked This, Then Read That (Blogtober)
I wanted to try new posts for Blogtober and Blogmas this year. I didn’t want to just recycle the same posts I did in 2019. So, this was one of the new things I came up with. This is obviously not a brand new concept, but it was something I’d never done before and I was excited to give it a try. I’m really proud of this post because I think I gave some really good recommendations based on similar books.

Favorite Tropes in Science Fiction (SciFi Month)
This was a new topic for me because I don’t usually talk about tropes (aside from pointing them out in book reviews) unless it’s a topic for Top Ten Tuesday. I am really proud of this post all around. It looks pleasing with how I formatted and set it up. I also am happy with all of the recommendations that I shared.

If You Liked This, Then Read That (SciFi Month)
I had so much fun with this sort of post when I did it for Blogtober that I was beyond excited to do it again for SciFi Month (science fiction is my favorite genre). Like my Blogtober post, I’m really proud of the comparisons and my recommendations. I got to share books I really love and compare them to other books that I really love so that hopefully new readers will love them too.

Books & Baking – The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh
Books & Baking is a newish feature on the blog, and I’ve definitely slacked a bit. But this was such a fun recipe to make that came from a book I really loved. I am really pleased about how this post looks. I think the pictures I took of my baked goods came out great. I always have fun with this blog feature and I really liked this one.

That’s all I have today friends. These are just a few posts that I wanted to highlight because I’m really proud of them. Let me know what you think!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2020

Hi, lovelies! As I said in my top ten favorite books of 2020 post (find that here), I’m going to have a few lists other than that one. Today’s list is my favorite middle-grade books that I read last year. These are not all only 2020 releases, just books I read in 2020. I cannot stop thinking about these books or they really touched me on an emotional level, which is why they’ve made this list. I do also want to mention that there may be repeats on this list from my first favorites post, but it’s just because I really loved them.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Looking at this list, I realize I’ve mostly just read all of the books from the Rick Riordan Presents publishing imprint. I do not have a problem with that at all because they’re amazing books and I would shout about them from the rooftops if I could. So, go to your local library, borrow them from a friend, buy the ebooks, however you like to get books, get these and read them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s 10 Favorite Books of 2020

Hello, lovelies! Today, as you can see from the title of this post, I am here to share with you all 10 of my favorite books that I read in 2020. I will be doing my favorites a bit differently than I did last year. Last year, I made a few lists of my favorite books organized by genre. This year, I’m going to make a few lists but they will be my favorites organized by age range. So, today’s post will be my top twenty favorite (but not in any specific order because I’m a creature filled with indecision), and then over the next few weeks I’ll have more posts with my favorite books for each age range (middle-grade, young adult, and adult) and maybe some based on format (like audiobooks and graphic novels). Let’s get into today’s post! I’ll be linking my reviews, if I have one, so feel free to click through and see my full (spoiler free!) review of my favorite books.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand

These are my top ten favorite books of 2020. Now, these are not all 2020 releases, but I read them all in 2020. These are some of the books that I just can’t stop thinking about even though I read them forever ago. Also, these are by no means my only favorite books I read last year, which is why I have more lists coming for each age range that I read. What books were your favorites of 2020?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Three: National Poetry Day

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Hi, lovelies! Today is national poetry day. So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite poems with you all.

“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Fire and Ice has been my favorite poem for the longest time. There’s something about it that really just pleases me. Anything about the world ending really is my jam. Along with the rhymes and alliteration. I will adore this poem forever. I (also) hold with those who favor fire.

“A Tale of Two Sisters” by Nikita Gil

In the beginning, there was oblivion.
A vastness, and an abyss compromised
of darkness and nothingness.
…until there were two sisters.

One was made from interconnectedness
of all things, a precipice of stories,
a treasury of all things gone and things to come.
Her name was Cosmos.

The other was made from the tricorn
of darkness, black magic waiting to be born,
inkwells of feral power and rebel thoughts.
Her name was Chaos.

Before they had floated into the abyss,
as all celestial beings were left to do in the end,
their father told them to be a binary system,
to never let go of each other.

He warned them that together they could
build everything, but apart, nothing could exist.
So the two came together and imagined a tapestry
of moving, living stars that inhaled around each other.

They pictured impossible things like planets
that help thousands of different beings
and balls of fire to keep them warm
and whole atmospheres to help them breathe.

And this was how the love of two sisters
wrote the first ever eternal poem into magical
loving existence. A single poem
they christened, “The Uni-verse.’

I found Nikita Gil because of twitter. I am so glad that I did because her poetry is so great. This one, in particular, is just beautiful. I love the language she uses. The story of these sisters is one that has stuck with me.

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Of course, I had to include something from the wonderful and horrifying Poe. Annabel Lee has been another poem that’s stuck with me for years. There’s something wistful about it, but also dark. I thought it’d be perfect for a spooky addition for this post.

What are your favorite poems or poets? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

GoodReads Summary:
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryReview:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January might just end up being my favorite book of 2019. I got about 40% into the ARC for this one (Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!) and I just could not put it down. I stayed up entirely too late last night finishing this one.
The main character, January, is sheltered enough to have nice things and travel in style, but not so privileged that she doesn’t know that she is different. She is half black and half white. She thinks of herself as an in-between girl, which is more accurate than she realizes. I really liked January’s character. I sympathized with her when she was struggling and admired her when she was at her fiercest. She really made this story what it was. This book is told in a way that January is telling us a story after it has all happened. I really enjoyed the story being told this way because it felt like we were right alongside her on her adventures. She’s brave without being totally reckless. She’s smart without being annoying about it. She’s loving and loyal, while sometimes having doubts.
There was a handful of supporting characters. I really just loved them all. Samuel was sweet and determined to be a part of January’s life. I loved his perseverance and dedication to her. Then there’s Jane, who I adored also. Her story was a tough one and I just loved the way things were wrapped up for her. I loved that she’s kickass and tough, even though everyone seems to doubt her. Mr. Locke was someone I was unsure about for most of the book. I wanted to love him because he took January in and cared for her like she was his own daughter. But something just didn’t sit right with me about him. His backstory was fascinating. Finally, her father, Julian. I really wanted to love him despite his constantly leaving January for work. I’m a sucker for a good father/daughter relationship. Though this one wasn’t the best, the end result was so wholesome and heartwarming.
Overall, I adored everything about this book. I loved that we got two different stories within one. We get the backstory that January learned as we did. I thought this was a really interesting way to tell the story. The Ten Thousand Doors of January was everything I wanted and more. It was detailed, full of strong characters and adventure, and I just could not get enough. I will be raving about this book for the foreseeable future. Go get it, read it, and love it, so we can rave about it together.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Summary:
The boy king. The war hero. The prince with a demon curled inside his heart. Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. The people of Ravka don’t know what he endured in their bloody civil war and he intends to keep it that way. Yet with each day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built.
Zoya Nazyalensky has devoted her life to honoring her deadly talents and rebuilding the Grisha army. Despite their magical gifts, Zoya knows the Grisha cannot survive without Ravka as a place of sanctuary- and Ravka cannot survive a weakened king. Zoya will stop at nothing to help Nikolai secure the throne, but she also has new enemies to conquer in the battle to come.
Far north, Nina Zenik wages her own kind of war against the people who would see the Grisha wiped from the earth forever. Burdened by grief and a terrifying power, Nina must face the pain of her past if she has any hope of defeating the dangers that await her on the ice.
Ravka’s king. Ravka’s general. Ravka’s spy. They will journey past the boundaries of science and superstition, of magic and faith, and risk everything to save a broken nation. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried, and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)Review:
I loved this book from the first page to the last. There are so many mixed reviews out there and I don’t understand how people didn’t like this. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I loved being back in this world. I loved being back with these characters. I have not a single bad word to say about King of Scars.

“You do not use it. You are it. The storm is in your bones.”

I adored getting to spend more time with these characters. Nina was, as always, fierce and fabulous. She was full of passion and a desire to fight for what’s right even if it’s hard. She doesn’t respect authority, probably from all her time in Ketterdam. I loved hearing her inner monologue, her mentions of our favorite Dregs and our dear, dear Mathias. I love Nina and all her sass and I can’t wait to see what happens with her next.

“All fuels burn differently. Some faster, some hotter. Hate is one kind of fuel. But hate that began as devotion? That makes another kind of flame.”

Then there’s the equally fierce but mostly terrifying Zoya. I seriously loved getting chapters from her perspective. This was something I wanted from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Getting to see Zoya reflect on things from the past was really interesting. Additionally, her point of view opposite that of Nikolai was a perfect balance. She isn’t a pessimist perse, but she’s a voice of reason and keeps things based in reality. I really liked getting to know her better and I’m dying to know what she does next.

“Most of us can hide our greatest hurt and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the  pain isn’t there, that we are  made of scars instead of  wounds.”

Finally, the King of Scars, Nikolai. I adore him just as much as ever. I think his character gets only more interesting and complex the more we learn about him. I liked getting to learn about the darkness within him and his battles with keeping it at bay.

“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world.”

The world of the Grisha is one that draws me right in until the very last page and then never fails to leave me wanting more. I wanted to start the book from the beginning as soon as I was finished. The world building that Bardugo does is intricate and incredible. The Grishaverse is one of my favorite places to be and I love it even more with each visit I make.

“They would build a new world together. But first they had to  burn the old one down.”

Last to talk about is the plot. I hate to say it, but the twist in the final pages of King of Scars was a smidge predictable. I think this was the intention because it was heavily foreshadowed throughout the book. I don’t think this is a bad thing, just something that I thought I’d mention because I’m usually pretty back at predicting things. I thought the writing was compelling and just added that much more to the atmosphere of the story. I think the different perspectives are going to bring some interesting things to the next book and I just cannot wait to see what Leigh will come out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)Review:
I officially have a new favorite book. I won’t say favorite series until I read The Devil’s Thief, BUT, I completely adored The Last Magician. I’m sad that it’s been sitting unread on my shelf for so damn long.
I loved literally everything about this book. I cannot think of a single thing that I didn’t like. The magic system was intricate and interesting. I’m still not sure I totally get it but I’m excited to learn more about it in the second book. The writing was great. Not too simple but not filled with words I didn’t know attempting to sound smarter than necessary. The story was well paced. Nothing felt like it was dragging on or rushed to be wrapped up. The characters were well crafted and just incredible. I cared about them. They had me invested in their stories and I genuinely cared about what happened to them. There were parts that had me holding my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen. Other parts had me smiling to myself, or even swooning here and there. Things felt realistic with a modern girl going into the past where the culture was different. The difference in the times was mentioned and acknowledged.
I feel like I could go on and on and on. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you that if you like fantasy​ if you like historical fiction, or slow burn romance, or time travel or magic, or all of the above then you need to read this book. That is all. I need to go find out what happens in book two.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

GoodReads Summary:
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
Daisy Jones & The SixReview:
There were so many things I loved about Daisy Jones and the Six that I honestly don’t even know where to start. Taylor Jenkins Reid is so incredibly talented. I can only hope to be as skilled as she is one day. I listened to the audiobook for this story and I’m very glad I did. I’ll talk about that first. This audiobook was narrated by a full cast. Each character had its own narrator which is one of my favorite things. I adore audiobooks with full casts. Each narrator bought life and personality to their character. I loved the interview formatting of the story as well. Bringing up an event or time period and then letting each of the characters tell the story of that event the way they remembered it was so complex and captivating. Which brings me to one of the things that really fascinated me about this story. Because it was the memories of all seven of the band members, plus a few other characters, no one characters told the same story. They each told things they were they remembered so the experiences varied from character to character. I think that added so much complexity to the story. It really made you think about how no two people have the same memories or experiences of the same events. Another thing that Taylor Jenkins Reid does really well is writing a story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until she’s finished. After reading this book, it was hard not to think that these were all real people and a totally true story. The fact that Reid can make me think, “wait this didn’t happen?” really just blows me away.
I’m not going to talk about each character because there were entirely too many and that would make this review way too long. The characters each had their own personality and their own voice which I appreciate. They were distinct and vibrant, each in their own ways. They all had different goals and motivations which really made for a great story. They brought such fun and excitement and life into the story. I think the character were really what made Daisy Jones and the Six was it was. The story was all about the characters and their experiences and their feelings. There wasn’t really a specific plot outside of following the band members and other miscellaneous people as they rose to fame and then eventually fell apart. I think this story was written beautifully. I loved the whole experience. I cannot wait to see what Taylor Jenkins Reid comes up with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Deathcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Summary:
A splintered allegiance.
Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf line.
An ancient danger.
In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms…as well as the enemies within the castle.
The deadly cost of peace.
Master storyteller Cinda Williams Chima delivers spellbinding action, bittersweet reunions, and dazzling revelations in this indispensable conclusion to the Shattered Realms series.
Deathcaster (Shattered Realms, #4)Review:
I’m honestly a little sad to be writing this review. I cannot believe that this series has been concluded. After eight books and two series and more character deaths than I’d like to remember. I have loved the world of the Seven Realms for many years. They are the books that got me into loving fantasy as much as I do. (Read my review for the first series here.) So, I’m sad to see my time in this world come to an end (in terms of reading for the first time anyway). Okay, enough sadness. Time for the real review.

“She told me that love is not measured by the amount of time you spend together, it’s how that time is spent.”

No surprise here but I loved this book. Deathcaster was my most anticipated release of 2019 and I procrastinated reading it for an entire month because I didn’t want my time with these characters to be over. I still don’t feel like I got enough of their story. I loved this conclusion. I loved the way these characters ended their stories. I loved every single page.

“He said that all we can do is make the best decision  possible in that moment. Then move on. Because we can’t know how a different choice would play out, it makes no sense to beat ourselves up over what looks like a bad choice in retrospect.”

There are entirely to many characters to get into the details for each one of them. I love all of the characters that play a part in the chaos happening in the world. With princesses turned Queens, soldiers turned Kings, missing Princes reuniting with loved ones, pirates with powers, soldiers of all sorts, there really is not a dull moment in the almost 650 pages of this conclusion. I laughed, I cried, I squealed, I did all of the things. I have been on such a journey with Lyss, Ash, Hal, Destin, Evan, Talbot, Jenna, Lila, and so many others. I have loved them all, even the ones I have lost. I loved that each character had their own distinct personality, which I think is impressive with the large amount of characters. It’s a testament to Chima’s talent that each one of these people have their own personality and voice, they each play a vital part in this series. I do want to mention the dragons. I absolutely adored meeting more dragon’s after Cas. Cas raising the fledgling dragons was one of my favorite parts of Deathcaster. They were sassy and smart. They had me laughing every time they were on the page. I loved seeing the other characters learn about and interact with them.

“That’s how they get you-hope. That’s how they break you’re heart.”

The world of the Seven Realms is one that I will miss dearly and I will very likely revisit again before the end of this year. It has become such a well-loved story and I just cannot stop shouting about them from the rooftops about them. I think every lover of fantasy needs to read these books (starting with The Demon King). The world that Chima has built is incredibly intricate and complex. The history, the different cultures, the places we visit, its so in depth and fully envelops you into the story.

“I learned a long time ago  that it’s not our fault if our parents are monsters. We can’t take responsibility for that, or we’re twice damaged. All we can do is try to go forward in a different way.”

Overall, I loved this conclusion. I don’t know that it was my favorite of the Shattered Realms. I probably won’t be able to decide which is my favorite until I reread all of them together. But the characters that reunite. Winning the war on several different fronts. This book has everything I wanted. If you haven’t read these, you need to and that is all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
A single choice can change everything.
Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.
Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.
Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.
For what she let happen.
With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?
If There's No TomorrowReview:
I loved everything about this book. Jennifer Armentrout has done it again. I have not read a single book by this author that I didn’t love. I don’t know why I took so long to read this because it’s no secret that I love her books.

“Waiting is too risky. There’s no bad time to tell someone you love them.”

If There’s No Tomorrow is the book I didn’t know I needed. It’s actually pretty similar to the book that I am currently writing. This book tackles the hard topic of underage drinking as well as drinking and driving. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart because of some personal experiences. I cried on and off for the last 60% of this story. It really hit me in the feels.

“One choice has altered the course of what  we were all supposed to become.”

We follow Lena as she’s going to school and dealing with the aftermath of her dad leaving, loving her best friend and not having those feelings returned, and summer ending. Then it happens. One night changes everything. The rest of the book we follow Lena as she’s trying to live with the aftermath. She’s dealing with loss and acceptance and feelings that she doesn’t know what to do with. I felt so hard for Lena because I have been where she was. I knew what this poor girl was going through. She made her own life harder, pushing away her loved ones and isolating herself. She’s so deep inside her own despair and turmoil of emotions that she let the rest of her life fall apart. Watching her pull herself out of the hole of depression was hard but rewarding. Seeing her talk to a therapist and open up to him and to her friends was the best part of this story. It was so good to see her do better for herself.

“What does waiting do? None  of us are promised a tomorrow. We learned that didn’t we? We don’t always get a later.”

I really loved the friend group that Lena was a part of. The four girls reminded me very much of my friends. I thought they were realistic and fun. But when things got hard, they were still realistic. They fought and some pushed away while others tried to pull closer. I really liked the friend group.

“Blame isn’t about making someone feel terrible about their actions, and it’s not about hurting the person’s feelings. Actions and inactions have consequences. If we did not accept 

Then there’s Sebastian. Lena’s next-door neighbor/best friend/secret love. I’m a total sucker for the friends to lovers trope. Probably because it’s my real life. I married my best friend. We are a real-life friends to lovers trope and it’s wonderful. So yes, it’s one of my favorites. It was so well done in this book. I loved Sebastian. He was an amazing friend to Lena, even when she pushed all her friends away. I really appreciated him because he was loyal and honest and pushed Lena to be the best version of herself.

“I’m not leaving. You can get mad. You can get upset, but I’m staying right here, becasue whether you realize it or not, you shouldn’t be alone. I’m not going anywhere.”

I overall adored everything about this book. The characters, the story, the writing. If There’s No Tomorrow will be going down as a new favorite book of mine. I definitely think this is a book that should be more talked about because it covers an important topic that sometimes gets over shadowed by the more hard-hitting books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.