Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

GoodReads Summary:
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
WanderersReview:
Where to even start with this review? So much happens in this book with so many different characters, because of that I’m not going to talk about specific characters too much.
I think this book was incredible. There were so many little things introduced in the beginning that managed to connect in the end. The mystery and suspense of the purpose of the Sleepwalkers was so well done. For a while, I wasn’t sure if it would be a scientific explanation or a magical one. This was interesting for me because I was reading another book of the same genre, at the same time that I was listening to the audiobook for this one. That book was more magical while this one was more science-based. I liked that there was a science behind what was happening.
I also really liked the combination of all the different characters. One was just an ordinary girl following her sleepwalker sister. There were really interesting plotlines for these two with their mom and dad. I loved Benji the CDC doctor. His insatiable desire to help and figure out what was going on was really compelling. But the most interesting character to me personally was Pastor Matthew. His story was the most complicated. He finds himself in over his head with a group of white supremacists. He tries to get out but instead becomes a prisoner and a tool to further their agenda. I thought this was the most interesting because I really hated Matthew for a large portion of this book, but by the end of it, I just felt bad for him and then I was proud of him for managing to do the right thing.
This book was full of political conversations. Military versus scientific intervention for the sleepwalkers. The presidential race between a woman and a man that is a huge bigot. What it means for the world to end and the things people will do when faced with that being the reality.
I don’t want to say I loved or enjoyed this book because it was wild and horrifying. But I did. I was engrossed in the story each time I started listening. I was dying to know what was going to happen, the secrets the characters were keeping from one another, and how things were going to play out. It was an incredible book full of hard topics and discussions. If you’re someone that likes dystopian books, this is one you might want to pick up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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GoodReads Summary:
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless, she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.
Caraval (Caraval, #1)Review:
In an attempt to read all of the GoodReads Choice Awards Nominees, I am having to catch up on a few series that I have fallen behind on. Caraval is one of those series. I read this when it first came out in 2017. But never managed to pick up the second book when it came out. So, now the series is complete and the third and final book is a nominee, so I’m playing catch up.
I enjoyed this one. I don’t know how much of that was due to my love of the narrator and how much was actually due to the story. My all-time favorite narrator, Rebecca Soler, is really what brings life to this story. I was actually tearing up at one point because of the emotions she portrays.
Garber has created some really interesting characters in this story. Scarlett is annoying, but also, I couldn’t help but feel for her. She comes from a family that is not great. Her dad is abusive, her mother left, and her grandmother died. She’s planning to marry a stranger to escape her father. The one thing she wants most in the world is to protect her younger sister, Tella.
Tella is reckless and just wants to have fun. She doesn’t totally understand what kind of man her father is. I thought she was kind of selfish. I get choosing your own happiness, but at the expense of your sister? A sister that has done nothing but protect you her entire life? That’s selfish. I’ve heard the next book is more focused on her, so we will see if my opinion of her changes.
I really don’t even want to talk about the men. They’re all liars. They’re conniving and, dare I say, evil. I still kind of liked them though. The twist with Julian and Legend was a great one. I wanted to hate them, but…somehow couldn’t?
Overall, I enjoyed this. Though there were somethings I didn’t like, it was still a fun story. I would have liked to know a bit more about the world and the magic. The world wasn’t explained outside of Scarlett’s hometown and the island where Caraval happens. The magic was very undefined. There didn’t seem to be too many limitations and I was just left wanting to know more. I liked the characters well enough, even the ones I didn’t like really made me feel something. I had fun listening to the audiobook and I’m interested to see what’s going to happen next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half-blood​” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment.
In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.
The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)Review:
I don’t know how Riordan does it. I adored this story. Even during the times that I thought Percy was annoying and was doing/saying things I didn’t like I was still so interested and invested in the story. There is so much done right by this author that I don’t know I’ll remember to cover it all.
The characters are interesting and entertaining and learn things during​ their adventures. I loved Percy, even when I didn’t like him. I still love Annabeth. She’s smart and clever and manages to get them out of trouble even when it seems like the worst may happen. I loved Grover’s part in this story. I thought it was super funny. I even kind of liked Clarise. She’s basically the literal worst, but Riordan still managed to make me care about her and root for her to succeed. The only one I don’t like is Luke. He’s annoying and I just want Percy to beat him already.
The story was fun. These characters get into such wild messes and it’s always an exciting time when they try to get out of them. I loved the sea of monsters and the mythological aspects of the story. I thought seeing Circe was so interesting.
I listened to the audiobook for this story and I couldn’t stop listening. I just enjoyed the whole story so much. I’m sad that I didn’t read these when I was growing up because I​ know they would easily have become an absolute favorite of mine. I’m anxious to see what will happen next in the cards for these characters so I will be reading the third sooner rather than later.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Review:
I have been wanting to reread this series for years. I remember reading these books years ago when they first came out but it’s been so long, I barely remember anything from them. The audiobooks have been repeatedly recommended to me so I thought I’d give them a try. Cinder is the book I chose to fill the spot for Ancient Runes – Retelling in the Magical Readathon (read my whole TBR here.)
I really enjoyed the audiobook version of this story. I think the narrator did an excellent job of telling the story. The characters were easily identifiable, their voice was enjoyable. I thought it was a great listening experience over all.
As for the story itself, I remembered a few of the bigger plot twists so the story seemed almost predictable but that was just because I’d read it before. Regardless, this didn’t take away from the story at all, in my opinion. I think a science fiction Cinderella retelling is one of the more creative things I’ve heard of. I also think that the retelling aspect of the story is pretty good. Cinder’s backstory is the typical father figure dying and being left with awful stepmother/sisters. I really liked that in this retelling Cinder is actually friends with one of her stepsisters.
There was so much going on in this book, but I think it was paced well and each new aspect of the mystery and plot were introduced nicely and without seeming rushed or too much. Knowing the little bit that I know about the series already; it was interesting to see how some of the ideas shared in this book were going to play a part in later books in the series.
I really liked Cinder. She was sassy but awkward. She was extremely insecure about her cyborg parts which was sad but makes me excited to see her grow more confident and happier with who she is. There’s so much potential for character growth and I know it’s coming after learning what we did in the minutes of the book. The things we learned about Cinder have me so excited to finish rereading the series.
Overall, I had a fun time with this audiobook. I’m happy to have found another series that I like the audiobooks for. I can easily get sucked into this series and I can’t wait to reread the rest of the books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Summary:
Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water.
An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.
A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.
The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the first five hundred really going?
PacificaReview:
This is the second book by Kristen Simmons that I have tried because she is going to be at an event I am also going to be at. Sadly, I am once again disappointed. I liked Pacifica more than her other novel, but I don’t think I’ll be trying any other books by her.
I have the same issues with this story that I did with ARTICLE 5. The setting was incredible. A dystopian California full of political drama and ruined by natural disasters along with other human causes. The world was interesting and chaotic and filled with all the things I like (read: pirates, futuristic messed up America, hate to love).
Despite the potential this story had with the setting, I just didn’t care about the characters. They were alright. They weren’t anything special. The typical misunderstood poor girl and privileged boy from the nice side of town. One teaches the other how messed up the world really is and all the things that the rich people are doing wrong. I just didn’t care about any of it. I really wish I did because it could have been a story I really like but I just wasn’t invested in these characters.
I wish I had liked this story more, but I didn’t. It had all of the elements of a story I would like, but the characters just fell flat for me.

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.

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

GoodReads Summary:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.
Article 5 (Article 5, #1)Review:
I’m going to keep this review short and sweet because I do not have the best feelings about this book. I am meeting this author at the end of the month so when I saw the audiobook, I thought I would give it a listen to see if I was interested in buying a copy and getting it signed. I am not in fact interested in that.
The only thing I liked about this story was the world. I thought the dystopian setting was really unique and interesting. I really enjoyed the Hunger Games esq idea of a totalitarian government.
I didn’t like the characters. Ember was immature and annoying. For a girl that lives in this wild setting, she really has absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. Then there’s Chase. He’s the typical brooding guy that keeps secrets because it’s “what’s best” for Ember.
The whole plot of this book was finding Ember’s mother and rescuing her. Which we find out is pointless in the last 25% of the story and I almost just stopped listening there, but I had such a short amount of time left I just powered through.
I will not be continuing this series sadly, but I am giving this author another try with a different book. I own a copy of a different book written by Kristen Simmons that I will be reading before I meet her. So hopefully I like the characters better in this other book.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Audiobooks

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 top ten – Audio Freebie (Any audio goes: audiobooks, music, podcasts, you name it.) I’m going to share my top ten favorite audiobooks.

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The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

Sadie by Courtney Summers

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One of Us is Lying  by Karen M. McManus

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

What are your favorite audiobook books?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So, when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whoever this new Simon might be.
Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten moving and hilarious short stories, each with an accompanying illustration, give a satisfying epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide tantalizing glimpses into the Dark Artifices.
Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyReview:
I absolutely adored these novellas. I think they are so well done and add so much to the overall Shadowhunter world. I don’t understand how people can skip reading these novella bind ups because there are so many HUGE details they will be missing out on. I prefer Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy over The Bane Chronicles but only because Simon is my all-time favorite character in this universe. He’s overcome so much as at first just a regular mundane and then dealt with becoming a vampire, then the daylighter, saving the world, and losing his memories. Simon really doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves until this book. I loved every page. I laughed. I cried. I was surprised. I had my ice-cold heart warmed. We really got new insight into Simon. Seeing the challenges he faced at Shadowhunter Academy was great, but even more, we see his personal challenges while dealing with his memory loss and trying to figure out who he is after everything. There were so many familiar faces we got to see that I was happy about. Clary and Isabelle obviously, but we also got to see Caterina in more depth and I enjoyed her parts. We also saw more of Tessa which I liked. The characters that came to visit shared stories we didn’t know about characters we knew in the past. I thought these stories were just as interesting as Simon’s experiences. I loved the story about the Lightwood’s dad (I can’t remember his name) and him sharing about his time in the circle. Then there were the secrets we learned. I think it was so interesting and creatively done that the events in TMI were connected to too various things in TDA. I think this was exactly as the synopsis says, “A satisfying epilogue to the Mortal Instruments and a tantalizing glimpse into the Dark Artifices.” But there are also connections made to the Infernal Devices and it somehow warmed and broke my heart at the same time.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary:
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours her frustration onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself life prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.
When she is invited to join her schools slam poetry club, she knows that she could never get around Mami’s rules to attend, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about preforming her poems.
Because in spite of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
The Poet XReview:
The Poet X has been recommended to me again and again since it was published, especially the audiobook. I’ve put it on several TBR lists, but it hasn’t stuck until this round of the contemporaryathon. I found it available as an audiobook from my library and I had a fair bit of driving to do today so I thought this short audiobook would be perfect. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this story but I was given so much more.
I delighted in this story. Xiomara was fierce and fabulous, full of love and passion. I adored absolutely everything about her. She’s strong and unafraid. I loved her voice in this story, questioning everything despite the consequences she knew were inevitable. She wanted everything out of life, even though she knew her Mami wouldn’t approve. She loved her twin brother with her whole heart and soul and I loved his part in the story. I have three brothers, so I relate to the love she had for her sibling. It made me sad that he didn’t stick up for her more even though she made it clear that she was the strong one, she was the fighter, she was the one to tell the world to back off.
This story tells of a girl being pressured to live the life her mother couldn’t. I think there should be more stories that tell of the goals and aspirations that parents put on their children. I think it’s so important to talk about, so important for kids to know that their goals and dreams don’t have to be their parent’s goals and dreams. All too often people have children and push those children to live the lives they themselves didn’t manage to live. I think it’s especially prevalent in the culture that these characters are a part of. Additionally, the religion that is focused on in this book I think it a part of the culture of the characters as well. The Poet X tells us how her Dominican mother pushes her love for God onto her daughter even though Xiomara has questions and wants to explore her own path.
I really appreciated that Xiomara found an outlet in writing. This was most definitely my favorite part of the story. I can completely relate to this because writing is my outlet too. When it feels like everything is going wrong, I can find my footing in putting words on a page. I’ve recently found my own passion for poetry so I loved hearing the things that Xiomara wrote.
This brings me to the final thing I want to mention. The writing in The Poet X was absolutely incredible. It’s so obvious (aside from the book being written in verse) that Acevedo is a poet. Her words were lyrical and clearly carefully chosen. They fell together beautifully. I will without a doubt be finding and reading more work written by Elizabeth Acevedo. Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I really loved this book. I totally understand why so many have loved it because I am now on that list of people. I recommend this book to all lovers of contemporary. I also highly recommend the audiobook, it was a quick but impactful listen.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Summary:
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school where the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with the sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ‘90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
MoxieReview:
Moxie was the chosen book for the Fierce Female Readathon in February. It was the absolute perfect book to celebrate Fierce Female Reads February. Moxie was jam packed full of feminism in all the best ways. I’ve read a fair bit of young adult fiction that is sprinkled with feminism and none of them come close to this story. It was fun and empowering and relatable in all the right ways.
Vivian Carter is a girl that many young girls should emulate. She grows so much in this book from the start. Trying to be more like her mother was growing up, she starts a movement that rollercoasters into something bigger than she’d ever imagined.
I think the friendships and other various relationships that we learn and love in this book are wonderful. They’re real and relatable. Most girls wouldn’t just automatically jump on the Moxie Girl bandwagon. Some might not want to get in trouble and some might just want to get through the days and escape the small town they live in. All of these girls are in this story. I think that’s what I like most. Even though we follow one characters perspective, we still see so many different characters that every reader of Moxie will find someone they can relate to.
The messages share within these pages were so important. Taking place in a small town in Texas where the football team seems to be the only thing anyone in town cares about, so many injustices get looked over. Moxie tells us that we shouldn’t let things like this go without action. It tells us that female revolutions are important and sometimes necessary when the adults aren’t doing their jobs to protect us. It tells us that the ladies need to stick together and stick up for our rights and fair treatment.
Overall, this story was fun and frustrating and rewarding. It was full of girl power and feminism the way it should be done. Girls banding together to fight inequality and sexism. I loved every minute of this story. I also listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fantastic job. She made the story just that much better and I felt like I finished it in no time at all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary:
When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he’s not convinced there’s a story there; girls go missing all the time. But as soon as West’s boss discovers Sadie fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister, Mattie, he sees the makings of something big and orders West to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened.
Sadie has no idea that her story will soon become the subject of a blockbuster podcast. She just wants revenge. Armed with a switchblade, Sadie follows a meager set of clues hoping they’ll lead to the man who took Mattie’s life because she’s determined to make him pay for it with his own. But as West traces her journey to the darkest, most dangerous corners of big cities and small towns, a deeply unsettling mystery begins to unfold-one that’s bigger than them both. Can he find Sadie before it’s too late?
Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie, is a breathless thriller about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love and the high price we pay when we can’t. It will haunt you long after you reach the final page.
Review:
After hearing the endless hype for Sadie, I finally bought the book when it was on sale for black Friday. Shortly after buying it, my library informed me that they went ahead and bought the audiobook at my request. So, this led me to wait for the audiobook to be available instead of reading the physical book because I have heard nothing but good things about the audiobook. None of those things I heard were wrong. The audiobook and the story were so so much more than I ever expected.
This story follows two alternating perspectives. The first we follow is Sadie. We follow Sadie as she’s trying to deal with losing her sister, the one person she lived for. Sadie spent her life doing everything for Mattie. Taking care of her sister was her life’s purpose. I think I really related to Sadie because my own mother is one that struggles with addiction and wasn’t around for much of my life. So I know how Sadie feels toward her mother and I could understand those feelings. I cannot imagine what it wo0uld be like to lose a sibling like she did, in such a gruesome manner. I would be inconsolable and would likely attempt revenge, just like Sadie. Following Sadie on this mission was hard because it took Sadie to some dark places both physically and mentally. She had some dark thoughts, including but not limited to murder. I think that was one of the things I liked about this book. It was a mystery/thriller but the darker themes within it really made it just that much more exciting.
The second perspective we follow is West McCray who is a reporter, I think. I thought this was a very interesting way to tell this story. His chapters were so perfectly placed. Every time we switched away from Sadie it was always at the perfect place to just add that much more suspense. I really liked that we get to see into the process of West making the podcast instead of just the podcast episodes. I thought it was cool that we got to see how Sadie’s story was affecting West and the impact this project was having on him. I also really enjoyed the interview parts of the story that were included in the podcast. I feel like they really allowed the reader more insight into all the different pieces of the story.
I think my favorite part was the parallels in the storytelling. What I mean by this is that one chapter will be following Sadie going to a specific place or telling us about something and the next chapter will be the podcast where West is learning about the same things. I thought it was really interesting to see how Sadie saw or thought things and then seeing those same things from the perspective of another.
Finally, I have to mention the audiobook. It was freaking amazing. I absolutely adore audiobooks that are read by a cast of narrators. I think they make the story experience so much better and they’re my favorite kind of audiobooks. I actually waited to read this book despite owning the physical copy so that I could experience the audiobook because I’ve heard such good things. I was not disappointed in the least. I think this is even more important because the one thing I never see mentioned in the reviews I’ve seen is that Sadie has a serious stutter. I don’t know how that is portrayed in the book, but the audiobook you heard the stutter and felt the anxiety and anger that Sadie felt about it. I think the narrators for this story were absolutely incredible. They drew me into this book and spit me out in the last pages all used up and emotionally ruined.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to. If you’re not reading this book because of all the hype, don’t be silly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of a nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.
The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris-but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim has ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee-even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…
Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the world in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments.
Review:
This was an excellent conclusion to The Mortal Instruments. The story was wrapped up just enough to be satisfying, but with enough loose ends to know that we will be getting more from these characters. If I were reading this before all the other books were out in this world, I would be dying for more, but knowing what happens in later books I think this was a perfect ending because it leaves all the right loose ends that will be answered in The Dark Artifices. This was a reread for me. Check out my review for the previous book here.
I’m not going to ramble too much in this review. if you want more of my thoughts of this story check out my reviews of the previous books in the series. I feel as if I’ve talked about these characters enough that I don’t need to write too much about them.
Overall I loved all the characters. I’m very invested in them at this point. I think Clary really grew and I think she and Jace grew together as a couple. I liked seeing this development with them because they were honestly so annoying when they were younger. I loved the supporting characters as I’ve mentioned before. Alex and Magnus are the absolute best and I loved their struggles and developments and seeing them figure out who they are together despite their differences was great. Simon is still a million percent my favorite character in this series and I really thought Cassandra Clare was going to do him dirty like that, but she saved herself and I’m excited to read about him in the later books. I also totally ship Simon and Isabelle so hard. I think they’re so good for one another.
There are two new characters (well several but two that need mentioning.) that are introduced in the beginning of this book (which I didn’t like but I’ll talk about that later) Emma and Julian are two characters that I know will be important in TDA, but I didn’t like the way they were introduced. I didn’t like that this book started with them. I would have preferred the story start with Clary and Jace and squad instead of new characters that had me wondering WTF was going on. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Emma and Julian, I just didn’t like that we started Heavenly Fire with their point of view. I liked how it ended though because it left all the perfect loose ends to lead into TDA with these characters.
City of Heavenly Fire probably would have gotten five stars from me on GoodReads had it not been for the narrator. For some reason that I can’t think of because it just makes no sense to me, the narrator was changed. The narrator of this final book was different from the last book and I really didn’t like that. I may have liked the narrator more had I been listening to something else, but the change in narrators really bothered me so I noticed quite a few things I didn’t like. First, the narrator has an English accent. This isn’t something that usually bothers me except that these characters live and grew up in New York. None of them are English in any sense. Along with that, some of the characters were narrated without an English accent and some with it. For example, Clary was read without an accent but her mother, Jocelyn, had one and this just really bothered me because it was totally different from the previous book. There were a few other voices that were weirdly accented and it just really bothered me. I couldn’t forget about it through the whole thing. I think this really affected my enjoyment of the story sadly, but I still liked the book and I would like to try to find something else with this narrator and give her another try.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Book Review – Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Summary:
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Review:
Dumplin’ has been talked about in the bookish community, so when I saw the audiobook available through my library I took the chance. This was really not what I expected. From the synopsis, you think most of the book will be able Willadean participating in the pageant when in reality we don’t even hear her consider doing it until like halfway into the book.
I’m going to keep this review short because I just really don’t have that much to say. It was an okay book. I liked Will at first but the way she changed really annoyed me. I liked all of her friends. They were interesting characters.
The narrator, Eileen Stevens, really brought this story to life. She did an excellent job telling this story, giving each character a voice of their own.
As a whole, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. But not because it was bad, there’s just so many books that I would recommend first.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Review – City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one.
When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
Review:
Once again, I’m underwhelmed by this book. I honestly remember loving these books so much. I thought I would start to enjoy them more now that it wasn’t icky for Jace and Clary to love one another. That was not the case. Clary was still as annoying as ever and Jace joined her ranks in this book. It was one of my least favorite tropes where a character keeps information from another character ‘for their own good.’ But it’s NOT for her own good. It just causes drama and makes me annoyed at the characters I’m supposed to love. It honestly seemed like Clary developed more in City of Fallen Angels and Jace regressed into an insecure teenage boy. This was annoying because I previously liked Jace a lot.
I listened to the audiobook for this one and I think I will continue to do so with the rest of the series. I liked the alternating narrators. The only complaint was that the male narrator read a little bit faster than the female, so listening on 1.5 speed was perfect for the female narrator and just a smidge too fast for the male narrator.
I enjoyed seeing Clary develop further into her role as a Shadowhunter. I liked seeing her  finally come into this world she so desperately wants to be a part of. The fact that she is being trained in this story was something I enjoyed because all too often characters just are suddenly good at things, but that wasn’t the case here. She was taught things like fighting and languages and other essential knowledge.
Once again, I love the supporting characters. Alec and Magnus are goals, even when they’re fighting they’re still more interesting than Clary and Jace. Isabell is still a kick ass girl that exudes confidence and fearlessness and takes no shit. Simon is honestly my favorite. His story arc is the most interesting to me out of all the characters. He just wants to be a normal guy and can’t seem to catch a break.
The villain in this book is similar, but still different from the first books. He is such a hated villain. He’s honestly just pure evil and he’s up there with Voldemort for most hated in my opinion.
Overall, I didn’t love this book. I liked it, didn’t love it. I’m hoping I like the next books better or I might just lose faith in the reader I used to be.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.