Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefactor offers her a life-changing opportunity—a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. Eager to start over somewhere new, Jacaranda leaps at the chance. She pours her heart out in emails to the benefactor she’s never met.
Suddenly she’s swept up in a world of privilege where the competition is fierce and the talent is next level. As Jacaranda—Jackie to her new friends—tries to find her place, a charming boy from this world of wealth catches her eye. She begins to fall for him, but can he accept her for who she really is?
Love, JacarandaReview:
Love, Jacaranda was sent to me by the author as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I love most of Flinn’s contemporary novels. This one was pretty good, but not a favorite. I’m a sucker for boarding school stories. It’s a topic that will always catch my interest. But I didn’t love the way this story was told. I think it was interesting. This story is told via emails. We follow Jacaranda as she’s given a full ride by an anonymous benefactor to a well-known musical school. This story is told via the emails she sends to this anonymous benefactor. That in itself was sort of weird to me. I probably would have sent a few emails full of gratitude for the opportunity they had allowed me, but Jacaranda’s emails turned into almost a diary-like sort of thing. She never gets a response, but it’s obvious that someone is reading them because her contact person, Vanessa, always calls her after any important questions or concerning comments. So, this felt sort of weird for me because this is a teenage girl treating emails to what we’re supposed to assume is a grown man, like her own personal diary. Despite my issue with this aspect, I did enjoy the story. I liked reading how much Jacaranda was enjoying her new classes. I liked seeing her make new friends and experience new things. She’s a girl that’s struggled most of her life. Her mother is in jail, and in the past hasn’t dated the best people. So, when her life changes the way it does, she feels like she shouldn’t reveal her past. This sort of made me sad, but I liked it when Jacaranda made friends with another scholarship kid who knew who she really was. I liked that there was someone she could be honest with.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t love the ending, but I thought things were sufficiently wrapped up. I definitely had my issues with this story, but I still had a good time reading it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Two: Series on my TBR

Hello, bookworms! For one of last year’s Blogmas posts (find it here) Amanda talked about series that she owned and needed to finish. In August, she finally finished the last series on that list. So, drawing inspiration from that success we decided for one of this year’s Blogtober posts we would make a list of new series that we’ve started and not yet finished. This post will double as Blogtober content and as a way to keep us accountable to finish these series before the end of the year! We’re planning to do a follow up post for Blogmas. This list is only for series that are completed, not series that are sill being published.

Amanda’s Series To Finish

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand: I read the first two books of this series in August for Tome Topple. It’s for sure going to make the list for my 2020 favorites. The final book comes out October 13th and I’m very eager to get my hands on it.

The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn: I’ve been working on reading my physical TBR this year and Alex Flinn’s books have been high on that list. I’ve read a few of them, so some have been rereads. But I’ve never finished this series, so I’m looking forward to finally getting back into this series. Especially since it’s a favorite of Antonia’s.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I started this series years and years ago. It was actually Antonia’s mom that recommended it to me and let me borrow her copy. But I made it to the fourth book and then lost said book. I never did find it, so I bought Antonia’s mom a new copy (she was rereading the series) and then never managed to finish it.

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson: This is one that I plan to pick up this month. The graphic novel series follows twelve Gods who reincarnate into humans every ninety years. This series is dark as hell and I fucking love it. It’s only gotten more bizarre with each installment and I’m excited to read the five volumes I have left.

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout: This is actually a reread. I reread the first two books this past spring because of Armentrout’s new series, The Harbinger, which is set in the same world. I just have the third book left and they’re pretty quick reads. So, I think I’ll probably pick it up this month.

The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa: This is another reread. It was announced earlier this year that Kagawa is writing more books set in this world. Puck is finally going to get his own story and I’m so excited for it. I also only have the final book in this series to read, but then I’m going to read the Call of the Forgotten series which is also set in the same world. Hopefully by then, The Iron Raven will be released.

Antonia’s Series To Finish

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa: This is going to be my next read after I finish the book I’m on now. I’ve been so excited for this one and Amanda hasn’t been helping- she’s told me multiple times the ending is going to tear my heart out and I can’t wait.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand: Amanda recommended this one, it’s probably a little overambitious for me to try to read the whole series before the end of the year given how big my TBR list is but I want to at least start it.

The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova: I read the first three books forever ago after Amanda’s insistence but the end of the third book made me so sad and angry that I couldn’t make myself continue. I’m hoping to get back into it soon.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini: Amanda and I were buddy reading this series last year and then life got in the way and I never got around to finishing the last one (it’s a reread). I really want to actually finish it finally.

Feverwake by Victoria Lee: Another series Amanda recommended that I’m really excited to start.

What series are you hoping to finish up before 2020 ends?

Blogtober Book Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start… bewitching.
Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)Review:
I’ve been working my way through Flinn’s backlist that I haven’t read yet. So, Bewitching was next up on the list. I really liked parts of this story and not so much some other parts. I think going into this, I assumed it was going to more of Kendra’s story. We do get a bit of Kendra’s history at the beginning, and tidbits of things she’s done in the past, but I wanted more I guess.
The story mostly follows Emma. She lives with her mom and her step-father. Her parents married when she was three, so her step-dad is really the only father she’s ever known and she loves him dearly. But it turns out that he has another daughter around Emma’s age. Lisette’s mom dies and so Lisette comes to live with Emma. Emma is excited to gain a sister, but her mom puts doubts in her head about Lisette’s intentions. And Emma starts to realize that her mom was right all along. I really liked Emma. She was so excited to have a sister. She wanted someone to share things with and really tried to give Lisette the benefit of the doubt until that just wasn’t possible anymore. I liked how her story ended too. She never stooped to Lisette’s level.
Lisette on the other hand was completely horrible. She’s the Cinderella in this retelling, but instead of being kind and sweet, she was conniving and devious. She took away everything from Emma one piece at a time. I understood her backstory, it was sad, but no excuse to be the terrible girl she was.
There were also three stories outside of Emma’s story. In the beginning, we get a bit of Kendra’s story, her family, when she learned she was a witch, and all that. But we also get two stories aside from Emma’s (and a brief mention of Beastly) where Kendra intervened to help people. One is a retelling of The Princess and the Pea and the other was The Little Mermaid and I just didn’t care about either if them at all. They really completely took me out of my enjoyment of Emma’s story. I almost DNF’d this book because the little mermaid story was almost 100 pages and I just didn’t care about it at all.
I’m still going to push through and try to finish this series because I do enjoy Flinn’s fairytale retellings and Kendra is still a pretty interesting character.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

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GoodReads Summary:
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.
Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.
CloakedReview:
I’ve been trying to reread all of Alex Flynn’s retellings. It’s been a while since I’ve read a few of them and there are definitely some that I haven’t read. Cloaked is one that I haven’t read, though I thought I’d read it already for some reason.
Cloaked follows Johnny, who runs the shoe repair business that’s been in his family for many years. It’s located in a well-known hotel, which is how he ends up meeting a princess. This princess asks him to find her brother, who has been turned into a frog. So, it’s a princess and the frog retelling. But one of my favorite things about this book was that there were a bunch of lesser-known fairytales included. I thought they were done well and didn’t overwhelm the overall story.
I also really liked the conclusion of the story. The only thing I didn’t really like was that the princess was trying to motivate Johnny to help her with offering to marry him. There’s something that just didn’t sit right about using marriage as a motivator with a bunch of teenagers. So, I was happy to see the conclusion and how that was handled.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. I liked the character growth and thought it was well done. There were definitely some dumb teenage boy moments. But they were actually pretty funny and helped (eventually) Johnny figure out what he really wanted. If you’re a fan of retellings, I think this is one you’ll like.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Talia fell under a spell…
Jack broke the curse.
I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic…
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.
I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels…The good news: My parents will freak!
Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?
A Kiss in TimeReview:
Somehow, I hadn’t read this book by Alex Flinn. I’ve read almost all of her books, and actually thought I’d read this one already. The highlight of this story was the character development. At the beginning of the story, Jack and Talia are both pretty awful, but as the story progresses, they teach and learn from one another about what’s really important. They each help the other become better versions of themselves.
I liked the concept of this story. It’s a Snow White retelling, but Flinn’s twist is that the whole kingdom falls asleep with Talia. This was a fun twist because after they sleep for 300 years, they awake in the 21st century and that is more than culture shock for them. I thought this was a really fun way to tell this story and I really liked how Jack’s father came in to help Talia’s kingdom figure out how to function in this new strange world.
Overall, this was a fun retelling with incredible character growth. I went from really disliking Jack and Talia both to being really invested in their relationship.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Girls of July by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
Four girls. One unforgettable July.
Britta is the bubbly drama queen. She needs to get away—and a peaceful cabin in the woods sounds like the perfect escape.
Meredith is the overachiever. She’s spent her entire life preparing for college, but at what cost? Now she’s wondering if that’s all there is.
Kate is the reluctant socialite. She’s searching for a reason to begin again after fleeing her small Georgia town—and a shameful family secret.
Spider is the quiet intellectual. She’s struggling with pain that has isolated her from her peers for much of her life.
When these four very different young women stay together for a month in the mountains, they discover that sometimes getting away from it all can only bring you back to who you really are.
Girls of JulyReview:
Alex Flinn has been an auto-buy author for me for years. She’s one of Antonia’s absolute favorite authors. So, when I saw she was coming out with a new contemporary novel, you could say I was excited. This was the first book I picked up for the Litha Witch-A-Thon because I just had to get into it as soon as possible.
In Girls of July, we follow four girls that are growing up and trying to figure out who they are and what they really want from life. They find themselves together in a cabin in the mountains. At first, they were all pretty unlikable characters except for Ruthie, the grandmother. The four girls, Britta, Kate, Meredith, and Spider, are all at points in their lives where they need change, even if they don’t know that they need it.
I really enjoyed seeing the four of them figure out how to live together and be around each other 24 hours a day. As the story progressed, they learned more about one another and became more likable characters. I really liked that they all had their own distinct voices. There was no confusion when going between the four perspectives.
We have Meredith, the Brainiac who’s not sure if she’s chasing her own dreams or her parent’s dreams. She finds romance and a new appreciation for nature. She learns that the things she thought she wanted may not have been her own dreams. The only thing I didn’t like about Meredith was that she gets a little lost in her romance. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the romance. But I thought it was going to be more of the girls being friends together.
Then there’s Kate. Southern belle, comes from a wealthy family, just trying to live up to her parents’ expectations. Except, she doesn’t want to live the future that they have planned for her. Instead, she spends the summer babysitting a little boy, giving help to someone that doesn’t want to accept it. Kate learns that sometimes asking for help is okay. I think Kate was the most likable at the beginning. She has a big heart and loves pretty freely. She struggles with family issues but comes out on top. I think she really learned the most this summer.
Britta, our Cuban firecracker. I loved that her culture was included in this story. We see her trying to teach the other girls (Spider) how to cook. She doesn’t shy away from who she is even if that is a loud and enthusiastic girl that not everyone likes. She grew the least I think. She learns that she needs to be honest with her mother. As much as I liked Britta, I was a little disappointed with the ending of her story. I would have liked a little more resolution with her mom.
Finally, Spider. She was the most unlikable. She’s the one that put the ad for roommates at her family’s cabin. But she was so grumpy and negative the first chunk of the book I wondered why she even bothered. But that question was answered. Spider is an aspiring filmmaker which is incorporated into the story. Her and Britta spend most of their time working on a short movie project and the two really bond. Spider lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. I think her story was such a good one. It really showed how strong she was and that she wasn’t just her illness. Spider has goals and dreams and I really grew to like her.
Overall, I liked this book just as much as I thought I would. Four girls that don’t know each other go into a cabin for a month and come out as lifelong friends. I think this story was so good. There were a diverse group of characters some rich, some not, some of color, some not, and one struggling with a lifelong illness. I also want to vaguely mention that there is talk of a female/female relationship but I can’t give too many details without spoiling anything. I love that these girls had adventures and learned things. I enjoyed reading this story so much. It’s almost five hundred pages and I read it all in one day. I would certainly recommend this to anyone that loves contemporary books. Plus, it has an absolutely stunning cover.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

GoodReads Summary:
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
Beastly (Beastly, #1; Kendra Chronicles, #1)Review:
Beauty and the Beast has never been one of my favorite fairytales. Despite this, I always still seem to buy the newest B&tB retellings. Now, this retelling isn’t a new one but it is one of Antonia’s favorites. So, a few months ago I ended up buying all of the books by Alex Flinn that were available on Bookoutlet. I’ve been meaning to pick Beastly up for a while. I read it (part of it anyway) years ago. But the copy I had bought had a printing error and didn’t have all of the correct pages in it. So, I never ended up reading the full story.
Now that I have read the whole story, I’m glad that I did. Our main character Kyle is the most unlikable character. But as the story progresses, he learns the error of his ways. I think this was really well done. It wasn’t all of sudden Kyle was a nice guy now that he was a beast. He still struggled with doing the right things and not lashing out when he was upset. I think his development was done well.
I think the romance was done well also. Especially since this whole story is based on a girl being kidnapped. I think it wasn’t terribly cringey but also did it’s best to stay true to the original story.
Overall, this was a fun and quick read. I ended up really enjoying the romance even though I didn’t particularly like Kyle in the beginning.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Book Tag – Book Blogger Confessions

Yes bookworms, another book tag. We found this one posted by Sionna at Books in her Eyes, so go check out her answers to these fun questions.

The Rules – 

Answer the questions truthfully.

Tag five book bloggers to answer these questions next.

Which book did you most recently DNF?

Amanda- I make a point to not DNF books. So the closest I’ve come would be I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman which you can see my review here.

Antonia- Tequila and Tea Bags by Laura Barnard. I was really excited for this one but absolutely could not connect with the protagonist and couldn’t manage to get past about 30% because of it.

What book is your guilty pleasure?

Amanda- This has to be any of the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands. They’re creative but filthy and I love it when the new ones come out. Who doesn’t love a sexy vampire romance?

Antonia- I probably would have chosen the same as Amanda but in an effort to be different I’ll pick The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sexy immortals and greek mythology? Yes please.

Which book do you love to hate?

Amanda- This is a tough one because I don’t have one that comes immediately to mind. After looking at my GoodReads list of books that I’ve read, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (review here) is definitely a book that I dislike (I don’t really hate any books) but I liked the second one a bunch, so love to hate I guess?

Antonia- I always think this questions a little weird. Usually I just love it or hate it, there’s not much in between for me.

Which book would you throw into the sea? 

Amanda- What bookworm in their right mind would throw a perfectly good book (or even a perfectly terrible book) into the ocean?

Antonia- Yeah, I agree entirely with Amanda.

Which book have you read the most? 

Amanda- Looking for Alaska by John Green. My favorite book in the world. I’ve reread it so many times it’s ridiculous. Check out my review here.

Antonia- A lot. If I had to guess though, I’d say The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. I read it at least once a year and it’s been over ten years since I first picked it up.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Amanda- Well, I wouldn’t hate to receive any books for free. But I much prefer when gift givers ask me specifically what books I need or want.

Antonia- Nothing specifically. I mostly agree with Amanda; I’d rather be able to pick out my own books with the exception of a few people who know my tastes well enough.

Which book could you not live without?

Amanda- All of them? Seriously, I’m supposed to pick just one book?

Harry Potter (all of them) by J.K. Rowling

Looking for Alaska by John Green

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Antonia- The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Beastly by Alex Flinn

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

And like 5,000 others.

Which book made you the angriest?

Amanda- The Young Elites series by Marie Lu (reviewed here.) The main character of this series is absolutely infuriating, but like I also totally loved her. She just made me mad like 90% of the time.

Antonia- I’ve talked about this one before but I have to choose Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. She killed off one of my favorite characters from the previous series and I couldn’t handle it. To the point where I refused to finish it for the longest time.

Which book made you cry the most?

Amanda- I feel like I’ve mentioned this a million times at this point but, The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova made me cry for like an hour. My husband just hugged me and asked me if I was okay like a hundred times. He definitely thought I was never going to stop crying.

Antonia- All of them. Not literally of course but there’s a lot and almost always, if a book made me cry once, it’ll make me cry every time. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman has always been one of the worst. Most recently is probably Year One by Nora Roberts. A character dies suddenly which would be tragic enough but he has the same name as my husband so I found it harder to read than I might otherwise.

Which book cover do you hate the most?

Amanda- I just talked about this with someone the other day. I don’t have any specific book covers that I hate, but I don’t particularly love book covers with faces on them. The faces that their making are always so awkward and I just think they could have done better with something other than a random face.

Antonia- I also hate the awkward face covers. Especially when half the face is cut off. It just doesn’t look appealing to me in any way.

Tags – 

Danielle at YAAllegience 

Sara at Bookish Traveling Wife

Jess & Teagan at Fiction No Chaser

Ashley at Thrifty Bibliophile

Alana at The Bookish Chick

Feel free to complete this tag even if we didn’t tag you specifically and link back to our page! Thanks for reading bookworms.

Book Tag – Halsey

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Hi lovelies!

Back at it again with another book tag. I love Halsey so when I saw this book tag done on Downright Dystopian’s page I knew I had to play too! This tag is originally created by Paper Riot. Now, onto the book tag!

castle

Amanda- Aelin Galathynius for sure. She’s from Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. She’s kickass and doesn’t take anything from anyone. She even has the choice to not become queen and abandon her throne but steps up and shows the world that she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Antonia- Definitely Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. I just loved watching her grow throughout this series.

coming down

Amanda- I’m going to say all of the scenes written by Lynsay Sands. Sexy vampires from Atlantis? Yes please.

Antonia- Hmm… this is a tough one because I read a TON of romance. I’ll say anything by Julia Quinn because her love stories are just the best.

control

Amanda- The Darkling, for sure. He’s from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. I don’t know what it is, but momma loves some Darkling.

Antonia- Queen Savilla from The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. She’s the queen of the endarkened (demons) and is simply evil. I just love that she has no redeeming qualities. She’s terrifying and awful and makes a fantastic villain.

drive

Amanda- This was the hardest one for me out of all of these questions. I’ve decided to go with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Our main character is forever trapped in a love triangle between the (mostly) marriage material  Joe Morelli and the sexiest man alive, Ranger. I wouldn’t say that there’s a lack of communication, more like a stalemate. They communicate but not enough for Stephanie to be able to actually make a decision between the two. (Though I don’t think I ever want her to actually make that final choice.)

Antonia- Kvothe and Denna from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I really enjoy them together and wouldn’t mind seeing them actually get together in the future but they keep so many secrets and they’re both so mysterious that it gets in the way of them ever actually having a relationship.

empty gold

Amanda- Tamlin and Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I talk about this in my reviews for this series, linked here. Though I’m sure many people feel this way. This is the couple that popped into my head as soon as I read the question. I loved them so much in the first book and then Tamlin just, ugh.

Antonia- Ember and Riley from The Talon Series by Julie Kagawa. I wanted them to be together for the first couple books so bad then somehow I ended up loving Garret so much that I stopped wanting her to be with Riley. (I still love Riley though.) And me changing my mind about characters that drastically really doesn’t happen often.

ghost

Amanda- This may be biased because of my pregnancy hormones. But when I read the breakup scene in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova I literally spent a solid hour crying. To the point where my husband wasn’t sure what to do with me and just hugged me while I cried for an hour. I’m pretty sure he thought I was never going to stop.

Antonia- For me, this will always be Lyra and Will’s breakup at the end of The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I was around twelve when I first read it and cried for days. I still cry hysterically every time I reread it.

haunting

Amanda- Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. Every once in a while I say to myself, “you know what was a good book, Love Letters to the Dead. I should read that again.” I have recently bought it on my Kindle (I got it from the library the first time.) and I’m planning to reread it soon.

Antonia- All of them. This is actually a huge problem for me because I continue to think about books long after I’ve read them; it actually keeps me up at night. It’s why I reread so many books over and over again.

hold me down

Amanda- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I’m super not sorry about this either. The whole series is being written and released from Christian’s perspective. I have the first two and am waiting for the third to be released. While I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, I will absolutely be buying and reading the third so I have all six books.

Antonia- Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I actually need to catch up on this one but since I first discovered these books I’ve been a little obsessed with them even though there’s now 29 books in the series and Kenyon’s still writing.

hurricane

Amanda- If you read my posts on a regular basis you should already know the answer to this question. Looking for Alaska by John Green. If you haven’t read it read my review here.

Antonia- Beastly by Alex Flinn. This will forever be my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptation. I reread it at least once a year and it always just gives me this light, happy feeling inside.

is there somewhere

Amanda- Every and all of the couples we find in The Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest. This is a 50+ book series that spans over a ridiculous amount of years, several generations, and many worlds. Every couple we meet and read about has to go through some (usually life-threatening) struggle before they get their happy ending.

Antonia- Adrian and Sydney from The Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. One of my favorite book couples but they struggle so much to keep their relationship going when both vampires and humans judge them for it. At one point Sydney’s actually institutionalized by her family for it.

new americana

Amanda- I try not to use the same book over and over when I do these tags, but I can’t help it for this. I would LOVE to be part of the Night Court squad from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, reviewed here. It’s from the ACOTAR series, but we don’t get to meet them until the second book, so I’m using that one.

Antonia- The Demigods from The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Awesome magical powers? Check. Funny and amazing and need to be my best friends? Double check.

roman holiday

Amanda- Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in our Stars by John Green. See my review here to get a more detailed post of my thoughts on this book. I love Hazel and Gus together because they’re both just kids that had to grow up too fast and spent too much time thinking about death. Then they found each other and had a bright spot in their lives, a reason to live if you will.

Antonia- Amanda and Chris from Beheld by Alex Flinn. I talked about them in my review (here) and I just loved them together so much I think I actually squealed while reading it.

strange love

Amanda- Chaol from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is a good one for this I think. So many people hate him after certain events in the series. I understand why he did what he did and still love him even though it cost him his relationship with Celaena.

Antonia- Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I’ve read quite a few reviews from people who didn’t like her which kind of astounds me because I adore her.

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Amanda- Rose and Mason from the Rose Gardner Investigations by Denise Grover Swank. I wanted to put them for an OTP with obstacles, but honestly I don’t think they’ll end up together no matter how much I want them to be.

Antonia- None. Toxic relationships are pretty much an instant DNF for me. I’ve read about a lot of flawed relationships (e.g. Quentin and Margo from Paper Towns by John Green) but nothing that I would actually consider toxic. Even with examples like Quentin and Margo, I enjoyed reading about them but still didn’t ship them.

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Amanda- Shadows of the Immortals by Marina Finlayson. This series is a super interesting twist on the Gods (from all different cultures) which is a topic I really like. I couldn’t put this series down once I started it.

Antonia- Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. This is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and is still one of the most unique fairytale retellings I’ve read.

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Amanda- This one is easy. Lyss and Hal from Cinda Williams Chima’s Shadowcaster (reviewed here) are both totally falling in love (if they’re not already in love) with one another. But neither will admit it.

Antonia- Hazel and Frank from Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. They get together later on in the series but for pretty much this entire book, they both are secretly pining for the other. It was adorable.

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Amanda- Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites series by Marie Lu, reviewed here. I hate to even say this because I love her but I also really hate her. I guess I love to hate her. Okay, I lied. I don’t hate to say it. She’s totally my favorite destructive character.

Antonia- Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. He’s so focused on his revenge the entire time that he ignores the chance to make a better life for himself but at the same time, his revenge plot is absolutely insane and amazing at the same time.

 

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Travel Bug

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week’s topic is – Top Ten Books That Awaken the Travel Bug in me. I had trouble with this one because most of the books I read don’t take place in the real world. So I came up with five books I’d want to travel to and five books I don’t.

TTT

 

Places that Awaken the Travel Bug in Me

 
1. Beastly by Alex Flinn- This is the only book that’s ever made me want to visit New York City even though it barely even takes place there. (The characters rarely leave the house.)
2. Paper Towns by John Green- ROAD TRIP. Their crazy, headlong trip up the East Coast (including pit stops timed to the second) just seemed like so much fun.
3. Friday Harbor series by Lisa Kleypas- I immediately wanted to visit this cute little island off the coast of Washington. I actually now live on another cute little island off the coast of Washington so I plan to visit Friday Harbor sometime soon. (It’s just a ferry ride away.)
4. Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts- Ireland has always been at the top of my travel list but I’d love to visit almost all the settings from Nora’s books.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- Yes, I know this takes place in the past. However, the regency era books are the ones that always made me want to visit England.

Places that Don’t Awaken the Travel Bug in Me

 
1. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout- I loved this series but most of it takes place in West Virginia which, no offense, but I have no interest in going to.
2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead- I also loved this series but I’m definitely more of a beach girl. The desert just sounds awful.
3. Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts- This one takes place in Montana and I have never in my life thought to myself, “I’d like to go there”. (Again, no offense to Montana.)
4. Year One by Nora Roberts- Fantastic book. However, I could really do without two-thirds of the world’s population dying.
5. Maximum Ride by James Patterson- For me, this one’s mostly included because so many negative things happen to the characters that it skewed the way I thought of all the places they went to.

 

Well these are my answers for this week. I’d love to hear what everyone else came up with. Thanks for reading!

-Antonia

Beheld by Alex Flinn

Summary:Featuring retellings of favorite fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and “The Ugly Duckling,” Kendra’s adventures in Beheld are filled with fresh fairy-tale fun from beginning to end.

Since she first beheld James over three hundred years ago, Kendra has tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as German bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks.

But her powers have limits, and immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she met centuries ago.

With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love—and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way.

Review:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I love Alex Flinn’s books.
They can be quirky, funny, sad, frustrating but mostly they’re just really unique twists on fairytales. This book (like her previous book titled Bewitching) mostly consist of a few different stories narrated by the immortal witch, Kendra. In this case it’s Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. Between these stories, you see Kendra’s struggles over the course of three centuries to reconnect with her lost love James (also immortal).

First, let me talk about Kendra. She first appeared in the book Beastly (one of my all-time favorites) and I immediately loved her character. Beheld is the fourth book she’s appeared in and I only love her more. Yes, she’s a badass witch and completely unapologetic about it, but I think what I like about her most is that she’s also deeply flawed. You see it most in some of the stories in Bewitching but one of the main points throughout these books is that Kendra tries to use her magic to help but magic rarely works the way you want it to. She’s failed- alot. She’s vain and a little impulsive and things don’t always go the way she plans. I just really love seeing a character, especially an immortal one, who’s allowed to have flaws and it’s not the end of the world. No one’s perfect and she’s not trying to be. I was also really excited that after seeing her helping others find happy endings for so long that she finally got her own love story.

Next I’ll talk about each of the stories individually. I can honestly say the first is probably the most unique version of Little Red Riding Hood I’ve ever read. One, it takes place during the Salem Witch Trials. Wait, what? Yeah. Growing up in Massachusetts I’ve heard A LOT about the witch trials but have never seen them tied to a fairy tale. Flinn managed to keep a lot of the historical accuracy while twisting it with Little Red Riding Hood in a way that I thought worked very well.

Rumplestiltskin was always a story that intrigued me though I can’t say this version was my absolute favorite. Don’t get me wrong it was still enjoyable to read, I simply didn’t love all the characters. The prince Cornelia falls in love with pretty much just fit that stereotypical playboy-noble-messing-around-with-farmgirls mold. I liked Cornelia except where it concerned the prince. I mostly just sat here the whole time like “You know he’s a jerk right?”. Rumplestiltskin I DID like. He was sweet and had a cute little backstory that I enjoyed learning about. Overall this story was good but fell fairly close to the original fairytale.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales. Maybe because it’s not one I ever heard growing up so it always feels so different to me. I really liked the way Flinn went about this one, tying the setting into World War II. I liked the story and the characters; my only complaint would be that I would’ve liked to have seen more of them as this story seemed a bit shorter than the rest.

Finally we have The Ugly Duckling. I would have been happy with a book just about this one. It’s about Chris and Amanda, two awkward kids who become friends in kindergarten and eventually fall in love. I know, it’s been done a thousand times. Usually I’m really sick of this trope and I was even a little annoyed when I thought that’s where it might be going; until I wasn’t. For once I didn’t feel like I’d read this story before. The characters and their friendship were so fun and unique to me that this ended up being my favorite part of this entire book. It wasn’t just this weird foreshadowing to the romantic side of things, it was an actual, healthy, well-rounded friendship that you get to see evolve over the years.

Overall, this book was an entertaining, quick read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes fairytale retellings or YA in general.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

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What are you currently reading? 

Amanda- I’m currently reading nothing sadly. I am in between books and honestly haven’t decided what I want to read next because I have so many new books. I’m torn between Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth or rereading Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. But that might change because I’m getting a delivery of books when my parents come to visit this weekend.

Antonia- I’m reading Master of Magic by Linsey Hall. It’s the fifth and final book in her Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie series. There are three series previous to this one that all connect and I really love seeing Bree’s story finally.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I finished reading A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas a few days ago. The review will be available as soon as I post the reviews for the books that come before it in the series.

Antonia- I just finished Beheld by Alex Flinn. I absolutely loved this book and will be posting my review of it tomorrow. (Review here.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

Amanda- Next I’ll be reading whatever I decide to pick up. Like I said above, I’m super torn between what I want to invest my time in next. I recently got my book collection back from being in storage  after moving all over. So it’s like having a whole new collection of books. I also bought a few new released as well as more books that are coming to me this weekend that were new when I bought them and just haven’t read yet. Someone come choose what to read for me because I just can’t make up my mind!

Antonia- Next I’ll be rereading Talon by Julie Kagawa. I read the first three books in this series years ago and now that books four and five are out I’ll be reading and reviewing all of them.

 

Tell us your answers to these questions and as always, thanks for visiting our blog.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Beach Reads

I’m not really big on “beach reads” For me a beach read is usually just whatever I’m currently reading (as long as it’s not super depressing because I don’t need to cry in public). So I’m just going to try to direct my list more towards lighthearted reads that go well with beautiful summer days.

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  1. Anything by Julia Quinn- Forget her story lines. Forget her strong, witty characters. What I love most about Quinn is how funny her books are. Like laugh-out-loud-and-make-strangers-stare-at-you funny. It’s fantastic.
  2. Beastly by Alex Flinn- This one isn’t the most lighthearted book but it’s a pretty fast read that you could probably finish in one sitting. And it’s my favorite so I always recommend it.
  3. The Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts- This is one of her series’ that revolves a great deal around the friendships between her main characters. I just love how Nora can take romance novels and make them more about badass women being badasses together than about love.
  4. The Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts- This is the second book in her Guardians Trilogy which comes out June 14. This series has a little bit of everything; magic, a treasure hunt, even a mermaid. To me it’s a perfect beach read.
  5. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson- I read this one years ago and would love to read it again. It’s a great coming of age, summer adventure story.
  6. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson- I didn’t even know this book existed until about an hour ago and I would absolutely love to see where the story goes next.
  7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- These aren’t lighthearted or beachy in any way. They’re just amazing books and I highly recommend them.
  8. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh- This is another book I learned about very recently but immediately decided I want to read. It’s not often you find books based on A Thousand and One Nights.
  9. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss– I’m not really sure this fits into what people normally consider a beach read but I’ve recently had several people recommend it to me and I’d like to finally get around to reading it.

Sorry there’s only nine this week. I managed to delete my entire post after I’d already written most of it out so I lost a lot of my motivation the second time around. Anyway, these are some of the books I plan to read this summer or just think you should read. Thanks for reading and let me know what your top ten are in the comments.

-Antonia

 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

WWWWWhat are you currently reading?

Amanda- Technically I’m not currently reading anything. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m going to start Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith tomorrow. It’s the third in the Cormoran Strike series. I loved the first two, so I have high hopes for the third.

Antonia- I’m currently in the middle of two books. Beastly by Alex Flinn is one of my all time favorites. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it and I never get sick of it. It’s an amazing modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. You can read my review of it here. The other book I’m reading is Soundless by Richelle Mead. Mead is one of my favorite authors and her newest book is unlike any of her others. I fully expect this one to be a new favorite of mine.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently read Zeroes co written by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. You can read my review HERE. I really enjoyed this book. I’m still very upset I have to wait until September for the next to be released.

Antonia- I just finished reading A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn for the second or third time. As you can tell, she’s one of my favorite authors. This one is an adorable, unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Amanda- Honestly, I haven’t thought that far ahead. I keep looking at my shelf trying to decide. Im torn between a few different choices; The newest Stephanie Plum, Tricky Twenty Two, by Janet Evanovich, The Heir by Kiera Cass, or rereading one of my favorites, The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks.

Antonia- I’m not sure yet because I never really decide until I pick one up and start reading it. But I recently read the first book in J.D. Robb’s In Death series and I can’t wait to find out what happens to the characters next.

What are your answers?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Rewind

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week we post our Top Ten for the weeks topic. This week’s is a rewind so we get to pick a topic we missed or wanted to revisit. I chose to do my top ten book I wish I could read again for the first time. Antonia chose a different topic, but also liked this one so her top ten is here along with mine. We hope you enjoy!
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Amanda’s Top Ten:

1)Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– I’d like to be able to re read this whole series for the first time because well, it’s Harry Potter and I love them.

2)Looking for Alaska by John Green– This is my all time favorite book ever. I would love to be able to read this for the first time again. It was an amazing book and I’m going to try to put it on as many Top Ten’s as I can.

3)Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn– I read this book when my older brother was in school and he had to read it for one of his classes. I’m really glad I got to read this book and it’s one that I’ll keep rereading forever.

4)Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich– I would like to read this book for the first time again for purely x rated reasons. This is one of my favorite books in the now twenty book series.

5)Exit Here by Jason Myers– This is another book that has made it to my favorites list. I’d love to read this again for the first time so that I can fall in love with the story all over again.

6)Burned by Ellen Hopkins– Ellen Hopkins needs to be on this list somewhere. Burned is my favorite of her books.

7)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This book was amazing. I did just recently read The Book Thief, but I’d love to read it again and again.

8)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I know, haha. I put Twilight on this list because this saga was a huge part of my younger years and I read it so many times I could almost recite it to you. If I could read these books over for the first time, I wonder how I would feel about them.

9)Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith– I put this on this list mainly because I would love to be able to sit down with all of the books and just go crazy reading the whole series for the first time.

10)The House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast– This is also on the list because now that the whole series is out I would love to be able to have all of them and read them all for the first time. I think I lost interest in this series because I couldn’t keep waiting for the next one to come out.

Antonia’s Top Ten:

1)The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory– This is a given for me. It’s my favorite series of all time and I wish I could meet the characters all over again.

2)The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima– These books made me feel so many different emotions. I wish I could experience that all over again.

3)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I wish I could love this series like I did when I was fifteen before the movie and all the twihards ruined it for me.

4)The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis– I wish I could feel all the feelings these books made me feel before they ruined my childhood by ending.

5)The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks– It’s one of my favorite love stories ever. I wish I could read it again without knowing how it ends.

6)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I wish I could fall in love with Dimitri again without knowing what happens to him.

7)The Shack by William Paul Young– This book literally ripped my heart out, stomped on it with steel toe boots and shoved it back into my body. As masochistic as it sounds, I wish that could happen again.

8)The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling– I shouldn’t have to explain this one to anyone.

9)The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini– I wish I could read all four of these books consecutively for the first time. So much time passed between the release dates that I ended up forgetting too many details between reading them.

10)The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout– I only wish I could read all of these consecutively for the first time, after the last book comes out this summer. I had so many feelings for all of these books.

These are our top ten books we’d love to read again for the first time. What are yours?