Blogmas Day Eight: Debut Authors

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Hi, lovelies! Today I want to talk about the books I read this year by debut authors. I read quite a few debut novels and absolutely adored them. So, I want to let you know which books they were and give you a few reasons why you should go by them, or add them to your christmas wishlist.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This book was so good. It got me out of my fantasy slump, which I’m so glad for because I’ve read some great books since this one. This has a Narnia type feel with traveling through magic doors, but more, so much more. I adore the main character and the friends she makes along the way.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book was hilarious and sweet in all the best ways. A prince and the son of the president falling in love, what could go wrong? I was literally laughing out loud while reading this book, and I know you will too.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

While the main character can be pretty unlikable, most teenagers have their moments where they can be punks. I know I was a punk when I was in high school. I loved Norris’s story of moving away from the life he knew to Texas and trying to figure out where he fit in there. Plus, I met the author and I thought he was super awesome.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

If the tag line of ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses Retelling’ doesn’t immediately make you want to read this, let me tell you a bit. Murder, dancing, magic, and falling in love. This book was atmospheric as hell and I loved every page.

The Disasters by M.K. England

Looking for diverse science fiction? Look no further. This is the unlikeliest squad of strrangers you’ll ever encounter. They have to save the universe becasue well, everyone else that knows what’s going on is dead.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

Ghosts and tornados. Do you need anything else? If so, this follows three outsiders, the kids that just don’t fit in at school. They end up finding each other and when a tornado hits on the anniversary of a tornado that killed most of those in attendance at the local drive in more than fifty years ago, they meet on the side of the road and realise that there may be something spooky going on.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Stirling

Queer Witches, yes please. This was full of mystery and teenage angst and I loved it. There was heart break and loss, but also growth and of course, magic.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

A diverse cast of kids with magical abilities, also they’re trying to fight a scary ass monster. The small town drama and grudges were some of my favorite parts of this. Seeing these kids try to work through their personal and family histories in order to keep their town safe was the best. It was spooky and fun at the same time.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this book. It covers important mental health topics, but also is full of summertime fun and a bit of a mystery about the main characters ancestors. I flew through this book and loved every page of it.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Renasance Faire romance, sign me the hell up. This was a dislike to love romance, full of small town feels, great new friends, and making sister relationships stronger. I read this in one sitting and loved to with my whole heart.

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

This book was really important to me personally. It follows the story of a girl who’s sister is in the hospital after getting in the car with a drunk driver. It talks about so many different themes that are so very important to think and talk about in the teenage years. Please go read it.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Love, mistakes, and a little bit of time travel. A sort of Groundhog Day story where the main character tries over and over to get that happy ending and learns so much along the way.

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

A fun story about the importance of safe sex. If I had read this book when I was in high school, my life would have been very different probably. I also got to meet the author and she was just amazing. Plus, she has the same name as my daughter.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Are you looking for a book that is going to make you scream with rage but also cry your eyeballs out? Look no further, you have found it. I swear I cried for half of this book. I cannot recommend it enough.

Have you read any of these debut novels? If not, get shopping or to your local library right now! Let me know if any of these books are on your radar in the comments.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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

Quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Blogmas Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Six: New to Me Authors

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Hello bookish friends! Last year, our first year of Blogmas, we talked about authors we discovered during the year. I thought this was super fun and wanted to do it again this year. (Check out last years list here.) Let’s talk new to me (Amanda) authors!

Helena Hunting
Meet Cute & The Good Luck Charm

S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass

Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray

Brittany Cavallaro
The Charlotte Holmes Series

Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

M.K. England
The Disasters

Katie Henry
Heretics Anonymous & Let’s Call it a Doomsday

Amanda Foody
The Shadow Game Series

Mark Lawrence
Book of the Ancestor series

Roshani Chokshi
Aru Shah and the End of Time

Lisa Maxwell
The Last Magician

Jeff Zentner
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Courtney Summers
Sadie

These are some of the authors who’s books I picked up for the first time in 2019 and loved. I am looking forward to reading more of their work. I also hope that 2020 is filled with just as many new to me authors!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Five: Anticipated 2020 Releases

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Hello all! For today’s blogmas post we will be talking about the books we are excited for their release in the upcoming year. As there are so many books that come out each year, we will just be listing a few that we are the most excited about. We do already have a page with all of our anticipated 2020 release, so click here to see the full list.

Amanda’s Anticipated Releases

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence
My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Lobizona by Romina Garber
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

Antonia’s Anticipated Releases

Hideaway by Nora Roberts
First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn

Leave us a comment and let us know some of your most anticipated 2020 releases that we might not know about!

Blogmas Day Four: End of the Year Book Tag

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Hello bookish friends! Blogmas, of course, means getting a few book tag posts up for the month. They’re always a fun time, especially the end of the year ones. This tag was originally created by Ariel Bissett, but we found it on Bookbinder Way. Let’s get into it!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Amanda- I have picked up, read a few pages, and put down a couple books. I don’t know that I’m planning to read them before the end of the year but I’ll list a couple. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon,

Antonia- Definitely a few. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini is the main one. I got several chapters into it and just haven’t been able to convince myself to pick it up since.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

Amanda- Nothing specific. I tend to read a lot of romance going into the holiday season. I’m all about those feel-good reads.

Antonia- Not really, I bounce around between genres so much. I’m currently reading a scifi series, an adult dystopian series, and a children’s fantasy series.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Amanda- Waiting to release, no. Waiting to buy/arrive in the mail, yes. The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson are the two highest on my priority list at the moment.

Antonia- I’m also (im)patiently waiting for Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. I made the mistake of putting it on my Christmas list so now I’ll have to wait for the holiday to read it.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Amanda-

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Antonia-

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Amanda- It’s a very likely possibility. There are tons of potential five star reads on my TBR.

Antonia- I definitely have very high hopes for The Rise of Magicks and Starsight but I wouldn’t say they’d shock me because I fully expect to love them both.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Amanda- Yes. In 2020, I want to focus on my physical TBR and take a step back from social media. Not the blog, but twitter and Instagram and the like.

Antonia- No. I barely have an actual plan for reaching my book goal by the end of the year.

We tag anyone that feels like doing this one!

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, and I’m listening to the audiobook for Divergent by Veronica Roth. Oh, and I’m doing a buddy read of Starsight by Brandon Sanderson.

Antonia- I’m currently in the middle of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished reading The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands. I’ve been flying through the Argeneau series as I reread them. They’re so fun. I also recently finished The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts, which is what I ended up reading next after last weeks post.

Antonia- I just finished Year One by Nora Roberts.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next, I’m still not sure what I’m going to pick up. I might try to get a head start on my 2020 ARCs that are waiting for me.

Antonia- Next I’ll continue with the four series I’ve been bouncing between recently.

Thanks for reading our W’s this week. What are yours? Leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.