Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Reasons I Love Jeff Zentner

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 Reasons Why I Love [insert your favorite book title, genre, author, etc. here]

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“I’ve made books my life because they let me escape this world of cruelty and savagery.”

“I’m glad things end, though. It forces you to love them ferociously while you have them. There’s nothing worth having that doesn’t die.”

“I sometimes look at my bookshelf now and think about how someday I’m going to die without ever reading a lot of the books there. And one might be life-changingly good and I’ll never know.”

“So when I watch trains, it makes me think about how much movement there is in the world. How every train has dozens of cars and every car has hundreds of parts, and all those parts and cars work day after day. And then there are all these other motions. People are born and die. Seasons change. Rivers flow to the sea. Earth circles the sun and the moon circles Earth. Everything whirring and spinning toward something. And I get to be part of it for a little while, the way I get to watch a train for a minute or two, and then it’s gone.”

“Grief is weird. It seems to come in these waves out of nowhere. One minute I’m standing in the ocean, fine. The next minute I’m drowning.”

“It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to be excellent to not be completely forgotten.”

“We live in a series of moments and seasons and sense memories, strung end to end to form a sort of story.”

“Weird how we’re programmed to get pleasure from destroying ourselves.”

“For a long time I shined my light for someone other than me. But not anymore. Now I shine bright for me. You can create light even when everyone’s left you behind because that’s what you do. It’s what I do.”

“For the most part, you don’t hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

This week I wanted to give reasons why I love Jeff Zentner and his books. I think these quotes are a great example of his writing and why his books speak to me. What did you do for this week’s top ten Tuesday?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

GoodReads Summary:
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)Review:
Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a book that I’ve seen all over twitter being raved about. So, when I saw it sitting on the new releases shelf, I had to pick it up. I’m glad that I did because shortly after I grabbed it the whole world closed down. I’ve been on a romance binge since all of the virus stuff started. I just want to read happy books. This book was perfect for that. As with most romance, there was conflict and unhappy parts, but I just enjoyed this story so damn much.
We follow Chloe Brown who has a chronic illness. I thought it was wonderful to have that representation because it’s not something I see very often. I mostly liked Chloe. She didn’t want to need help from anyone. She was strong despite the pain she felt every day. I also totally adored her sisters. I loved that they were included in this because sibling relationships are totally my jam. Chloe was stubborn but sensitive. Not that she ever let people see that sensitive side.
Enter the love interest, Red. I loved him too. He’s struggling to heal after a damaging relationship. He’s trying to get back into painting. But he keeps thinking that he needs to become who he was before his terrible relationship rather than letting himself become someone new. This was an interesting battle because everyone goes through periods of growth so I thought it was interesting that he didn’t see it that way and instead tried to find his old self.
These two were so good for one another. They pushed the boundaries of the other, they made each other better (even if the characters didn’t realize that’s what was going on.) I thought their conflicts were natural and well done as well as their resolutions.
Overall, I totally adored this book and I’m beyond excited for the next one in the series that will be coming out later this year. If you’re a romance lover, this is definitely a book you should pick up. You will not be disappointed.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers give him grief for his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery MacTavish….
Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation — and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.
As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of BoonsBoro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected — and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last.
The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, #2)Review:
In the second book of the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, we follow Avery and Owen. They’re life long friends and we get my favorite trope of friends to lovers. Part of my feels like this had second book syndrome and another part of me really enjoyed it. It was a totally character-driven story with minimal plot. It felt like not much happened, but there was growth for all the characters, especially Owen and Avery. They grew together while figuring out how to be with one another as more.
I really liked Avery. She’s got mommy issues which I can’t relate to. But she also is stubborn and determined. She works hard at anything she sets her mind to and doesn’t take no for an answer. She’s thoughtful and kind, but doesn’t take anyone’s crap and stands up for what she thinks is right.
Owen felt like we didn’t really get to go deeper than the surface. We get that he’s a really neat and organized guy (maybe overly so). He loves his family, his mother, and his brothers. I love the family man aspect but I didn’t feel like we really got to know him. His fears and hopes and dreams.
Overall, I had fun reading this but it didn’t blow me away. I adore all of the scenes with the Inn and its ghost, Lizzy. I really love the small-town setting and the tight-knit community.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

GoodReads Summary:
The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian fighting to keep their identities secret. While the battle rages on between their alter egos and their allies, there is a darker threat shrouding Gatlon City.
The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.
Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.
Supernova (Renegades, #3)Review:
I have to start this by saying that I listened to the audiobook and somehow I managed to listen to all seventeen hours in less than two days. This may make it seem like I really loved the story, which isn’t completely true. I really enjoy the characters and the conflicts and the things going on, but I had issues. I was annoyed quite a bit but I was definitely gripped by the story.
Supernova was the finale book in the Renegades trilogy. It’s a series I was determined to finish this year (because 2020 is the year of finishing series I’ve gotten behind on.) Superficially, I had fun with this book but I spent most of the time yelling in my head “JUST TELL THE TRUTH ALREADY!” I thought this in the direction of several characters.
So, there’s Nova. She’s a complex character. I really loved her as a whole because of her inner struggle, between loyalty to the villain family that raised her or the heroes that she’s struggling not to agree with. This inner battle was honestly fascinating. Her journey was the only reason I kept going in this series, to see how her choices fell and her story ended.
Adrian was interesting too, but he just irritated me. He had a great life. Though it’s sad he lost his mother, he had two wonderful adoptive dads and brother. He had powers to draw things that come to life. But that wasn’t enough for him. He had something to prove. Enter his alter ego, who is a vigilante and plays outside the rules that his dads enforce for all Renegades. I just wanted him to tell his parents and Nova the whole book.
Between Nova’s secret identity and Adrian’s, I was just annoyed. I really hate the secret-keeping trope when if Nova had just told the truth the plot twist (which I should have seen coming but totally didn’t) would have come out earlier and maybe she could have become a hero sooner.
Overall, this story was action-packed and full of interesting and diverse characters. I loved all the supporting characters and their stories. I loved that Nova and Adrian were both morally gray. The audiobook was super well done and kept me engaged, but there were just too many moments that really annoyed me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

GoodReads Summary:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)Review:
Okay, I just honestly am not sure where to begin or what to say. Also, I’m a fair bit into book three while writing this, so I’m going to do my best to keep them separate.
I’m honestly a bit over it. I think that’s because half the book Elias and Laia weren’t even together. If Elias had just stayed none of the bad shit would have happened with Laia and those who have read this know who. I’m so mad that he left. I am just mad at him in general. He’s a huge idiot. I liked the forest that he finds that I can’t remember the name of right this minute. I thought it was a very interesting place and the girl he meets there challenged him. I really enjoyed the interactions between them.
Now, Laia. I honestly liked her with Keenan until I found out the truth. Despite that, I find myself annoyed with Laia. She’s on the way to rescue her brother and manages to find herself in a stupid love triangle, like why Laia, why. I did enjoy the relationships she created with the Tribes people and I’m interested to see what direction that will go in the next book. I also am very intrigued by her mysterious ability and am wondering where it came from and why that was not explained. Maybe we’re left to assume it’s the same as where Helene’s came from?
Helene’s parts of this book were so sad. I felt so bad for her. She does not deserve any of the things she has to do or see in this book. I really hope there is some good for her somewhere in the rest of this series because it’s clear that she wants to be a good person, but she’s being controlled by a monster and has to play the games of those around her, no matter how horrible.
Overall, I didn’t love this, but I still plan to continue the series. I liked the characters. The story was interesting. Things were slow here and there, but that’s with most fantasy books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

GoodReads Summary:
When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?
Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.
Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.
Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.
Cracked Up to BeReview:
In the new introduction that Courtney Summers added when this book was published again, she mentions that Parker is a hugely unlikeable character. This is so true. She’s self-destructive and beyond unlikeable. She was pretty relatable because I was pretty self-destructive when I was her age. I liked that she had friends (sort of) that were there and tried to keep her accountable.
This book was almost hard to read, but the mystery and suspense of the flashbacks (which led up to why Parker went from head bitch to almost drop out) kept me interested. I really wanted to know what Parker went through to cause this change. I was a little disappointed with the reveal. It was a terrible thing, but really, she did a terrible thing. She didn’t look out for her friend and that just made me mad. It made me angry with an already unlikable character.
Overall, this was a pretty quick read. If you like Courtney Summer’s other books, you’ll probably like this one too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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 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 The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan and listening to Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan.

Antonia- I’m currently reading This is How You Lose the Time War by  Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- The last book I finished was China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.

Antonia- I most recently read The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- I honestly have no idea what I’ll read next. I might continue The Kane Chronicles or maybe I’ll start my reread of Outlander, or maybe neither. It all depends on what makes me excited when I’m picking out my next book.

Antonia- I’m not sure. I’ll definitely pick another from my winter TBR that I’ve slowly been working through.

Thanks for reading. Let us know what your answers are in the comments!