Blogmas Book Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

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GoodReads Summary:
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.
The Good Luck CharmReview:
I’ve been loving romance novels this holiday season. There’s just something about a good romance during December. I read another Helena Hunting novel a few weeks ago and had to pick this one up when I saw it in the book store. I’m glad I did.
I really enjoyed this. I love the theme of exes or people with history reconnecting and working out their differences. Helena Hunting does a really good job with this trope.
I liked Lilah. I liked that she didn’t just fall right back into her relationship with Ethan. I really liked that she had a plan for her future and that when that plan started to get seriously derailed, she took a stand and didn’t let herself get lost in her relationship. She’s a girl with educational goals and isn’t going to let the man she loves stand in the way of those goals.
Ethan was likable enough too. He doesn’t realize how much he hurt Lilah in the past and is trying to make up for it in the present. He pushes the limits of respecting her wishes but realizes that he could lose her again if he doesn’t.
I liked the pair together. Their history was well explained and I could totally understand the feelings between them. I liked that they communicated pretty well and took time apart when Lilah needed it. I thought it was a realistic relationship and I’m happy that everything worked out for them.
There was an interesting twist there at the end and I hope we get another book with Lilah’s sister and Dr. Lovely. I thought this was an unnecessary addition to the story, but I still appreciated it because it did relate to the root of some of Lilah’s issues.
Overall, I had fun reading this story. It’s one I definitely recommend.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

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GoodReads Summary:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.
Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.
But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.
Starsight (Skyward, #2)Review:
Starsight was everything I never knew I needed from this sequel. I went into this book without reading the synopsis so I really didn’t know what to expect from the story aside from Spensa being her sassy headstrong self. I was given so much that I never could have imagined.
I am in awe of Sanderson’s writing. It’s fast paced, but not rushed. The suspense and build up before finally giving us answers is so well done. We’re kept on the edge of our seat right up until the very end.
In this second book, Spensa goes on a spy mission. I really loved getting a chance to see more of the world (well universe) that this series takes place in. We’ve left the planet where Spensa’s people are being contained. A prison of sorts. She takes the place of another and goes to the Krell to train as a pilot for them. Her mission is to find something that will save her people. But she realizes that everything is not what she thought it was.
I’m going to try to do this without too many spoilers, but I will say that if you haven’t read the first book, you should read the review for that here, instead of this review.
With Spensa on Starsight, she meets all sorts of new alien species. She forms a new flight crew. I loved them. But I found myself missing her human squad from the first book. Though, I did really like the few chapters we got that let us know what was going on back on Demetrius. I thought her new flight crew were beyond interesting. She was learning about new alien species as well as how the Krell work and trying to find their secrets to take back to her people. Spensa’s whole view of the world has changed. She doesn’t know what’s true or who to trust, aside from M-Bot of course.
I love M-Bot, though I wish we’d gotten a bit more of him. I thought the conversation of whether or not he was ‘alive’ was really interesting. I’m also still so curious about why certain things are hidden from him. There are gaps in his memory and I’m dying to know what they are and why he wasn’t allowed to remember them.
Now that I’ve had a little time to gather my thoughts about this book, I’ve realized that there was no mention of certain events after a certain crash landing and I’m a bit upset about that. I’m so curious about the person who’s place Spensa took. We’re given so little information about her and what’s happening while Spensa is on her spy mission.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. There was action and politics, suspense and secrets. I loved it and Spensa and all the new characters we met. That ending is going to drive me wild though especially with a release date of 2021 for book three.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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GoodReads Summary:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Sorcery of ThornsReview:
I have been seeing everyone and their brother absolutely raving about this book. Now that my fantasy slump is over, I thought I’d give it a try.
I adored this book. It was so atmospheric. I adored the library setting and the idea of books being alive in a sense. I only wished we got more of the library.
I adored Elisabeth. She knew she was different, but didn’t care. She didn’t fret over her parents that gave her up. She was a child of the library and I loved it. She had a strong sense of right versus wrong and despite not being a sorcerer, she’s determined to take down the man that is creating dangerous grimoires and killing directors.
With the help of Nathaniel Thorn, the pair team up and I adored their relationship. She sees the darkness he thinks is within him and does not run from it.
I even loved Silas. He was Nathaniel’s demon and continually told Elisabeth not to trust him. But he was so unique and interesting, I couldn’t help my love for him.
I wish I knew what else to say about this book. The writing was beautiful. The characters were complicated and loveable. The world was interesting and unique. I just could not put this book down.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

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GoodReads Summary:
Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?
The Anatomical Shape of a HeartReview:
If you’ve been following me for a while, this will be no surprise to you because I’ve read, reviewed, and loved all of Jenn Bennett’s other books. The Anatomical Shape of a Heat was sweet and wholesome, but also realistic and included important things.
I love Bennett’s books because the characters are always incredibly interesting and unique. Bex is trying to win a contest so she can go to school to make art for medical textbooks and such. She goes to a local college and spends time drawing medical cadavers. This was beyond interesting. I loved that it wasn’t just something easy for Bex to do. It was harder than she thought it was going to be.
Then she meets Jack. I adored Jack. He was kind and caring. He was mysterious and I loved it. I loved his family background and the struggles they’d been through.
I thought this pair was so cute together. They encouraged one another and I totally adored their relationship.
Overall, this was such a fun book. The characters were loveable and interesting. Their families were complex and compelling. The story was enjoyable and quick to read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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GoodReads Summary:
In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
The Way I Used to BeReview:
I really thought I was going to rate this book five stars when I first started it, but the longer I read it, the less I liked it. There were a lot of things I liked about this book though, so I’ll start with those.
Eden, though I’ve never experienced what she went through, was very relatable. I saw a lot of myself in her with her destructive behaviors, like smoking and drinking. I was a reckless teenager and did a lot of the same things she did. But Eden was mean. She was lashing out at anyone that showed her attention, anyone that was kind to her. It made her really unlikeable, but at the same time, with the things she went through her behavior was understandable.
I thought the writing was excellent. I also thought the characters and interactions were well done. The relationships between the characters were interesting too.
The thing that really bothered me was the pacing. This book follows Eden through all four years of high school. This was an interesting way to tell the story in theory, but for me personally, it made me feel like huge chunks of the story were missing. At the end of Sophomore year, it’s Christmas time and then suddenly it’s her junior year and the same in the transition between Junior and Senior year. It really bothered me. Also, when Senior year comes around things are obviously different. Eden has started calling her mom and dad by their names, which is not explained at all. The reader is just left to figure that out.
This was my biggest issue with the book. But aside from that, I really liked the characters, even Eden. The relationships and the disagreements were realistic and compelling. It was hard not to feel sorry for Eden, but it was equally hard not to want to yell at her for her behavior. This would have been a five star book for me had it not been for the bizarre pacing and time jumps.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Summary:
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.
Review:
Mockingjay once again destroyed my soul. I knew what was coming for the most part, there were certain events that I had forgotten about, and even the parts I remembered destroyed my soul.
The conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy was thrilling and exciting and absolutely crazy. I almost don’t even know what to say about it. I loved all the characters. Finnick, Gale, Haymitch, the whole gang is entertaining, while also breaking my heart.
The trauma that these characters have endured during the war that’s going on, is just awful. I liked how the characters really experienced things though. They didn’t just get over the trauma and torture they’ve been put through. They are recovering, in whatever ways work for them. This made it all the more realistic.
Katniss was really just a hot mess in this book and it only got worse. The things she lost, the people she loved, she endured more than one person should ever have to. And on top of this, the one person that’s been with her through this story has been turned against her. It was so sad to watch her struggle with this. Peeta gets the worst of it, honestly. It felt awful to know what Peeta was being put through by the Capitol. All to get to Katniss.
I was pretty happy with the ending. It’s exactly what Katniss wanted. It leaves us with a sense of putting the world back together, though she is mostly just trying to put herself back together. After so much loss, fighting, and persevering through the hardest times of her lives, she needs time to put the pieces of herself back together. She needs time to figure out how she is going to move forward and live her life.
I love this series and I always will. It will live forever as one of my favorite series. If you haven’t read this series you definitely need to stop reading this and go pick up The Hunger Games and get your heart broken, too. I’m going to go binge watch the movies now!

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 – Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
The Final Battle is here.
Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together, at last, all must fight is Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself-and the promise of a better world.
Review:

If you’re looking for a series to completely and utterly destroy your soul, look no further. This conclusion to the Throne of Glass series was one of the most emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever ridden. This 900+ page BRICK had me laughing, crying, yelling, whirling through all of the emotions ever. I honestly am not even sure how I’m going to write this review. I think I’m just going to keep it short and to the point. There were things I liked, things I loved and things I didn’t like.

Things I liked:

The alternating perspectives. I liked getting to see everything that was happening all over the world. All of the pieces we’d seen put in motion were coming together little by little and it was great. I’m a huge fan of having multiple perspectives in fantasy stories. While many thought it was too many perspectives, I liked it. I liked following the story from all the different characters I’ve come to love so much.

The pacing. I think the story was paced in a realistic way. All too often crazy things happen in stories and somehow it all takes place in one day or week. Months have gone by since the ending of Empire of Storms/ Tower of Dawn and many more go by before the ending of the book. I liked this because it’s realistic and makes sense. It takes time for armies to move across oceans and continents. Wars aren’t won or lost overnight.

Things I loved:

Aelin, the whole time. She was strong when she needed to stay strong and she broke down when it was (mostly) a good time for her to lose her shit. And yes, it was absolutely heartbreaking seeing her lose her shit in the way that she did. I loved that she was suffering from PTSD and sorting through her emotions and mostly just kind of trying to keep her shit together. This was realistic and it’s (thankfully) becoming more common to talk about and show the characters dealing with their trauma instead of just suddenly being okay again. Aelin has grown so much throughout this series. It was interesting seeing her (mostly) fully developed character making the tough decisions, doing what’s best not for herself but for her kingdom.

Fenrys. I loved getting to know him further. I adored his relationship with Aelin. They supported one another through their own versions of the same trauma. We see him go through some really hard shit at the same time that Aelin is going through her own really hard shit, but they do their best to support one another through it in whatever way they can. They also support each other after they’ve escaped because they know what happened and don’t need to talk about it to support the other.

Rowan was another character that I love. It was almost just as hard to see him dealing with losing Aelin than it was to see Aelin going through what Maeve did to her. After they find one another again I liked that he didn’t push her. He knows she’s been through something unimaginable and he gives her space to process but makes sure she knows that he’s here when she’s ready.

Dorian was an actual savage. He’s changed probably the most in these books. He was a (mostly) carefree Prince that slept with girls and did whatever he wanted to in the first book and now he’s a King with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He really goes above and beyond to do his part in this book. I’m happy we got so many Dorian chapters. There were definitely a few places that had me yelling at him. (Or texting The Bookish Chick saying shit like, “EW DORIAN,” and “OH SHIT DORIAN. SLICK AF.”) But I loved Dorian the most in this final book.

Things I didn’t like:

Okay, I’m going to try to be intentionally super vague because I don’t want to give too much away about specific events. There were several characters that cared for another in previous books and still love them, but due to one action or choice made by the one, they love there is conflict. There is more than one character that tells their love interest that they’ve done something unforgivable, ending their fledgling relationship. This happened with more than one couple. Various characters are harsh and mean, sometimes too harsh in my opinion, to their love interest until said love interest finds themselves in serious danger. Suddenly the characters realize that the unforgivable action might actually be forgivable because they actually do still love their love interest. I hope this makes sense. It likely will to those that have already finished reading Kingdom of Ash, but I’m sorry if it’s confusing. I didn’t like this because it seemed like a cop-out. the character that did something wrong didn’t earn trust back, they did nothing to deserve forgiveness. It was a fast way to have some resolution before the big climax before the end of the book.

I also am very very sad to say that I didn’t like Aedion in this final book. He was mostly an asshole until close to the end of the story and I didn’t like his chapters. I liked him a little bit by the end, but only because of his actions during the war. Honestly, I’m super salty that I didn’t like him so I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.

The really really heartbreaking parts. They were horrible. I can understand some heartbreak that has a point. Like, sure destroy me, but do it with a purpose. The heartbreak that occurred in this book I feel was weak. I’m not sure how to explain why without spoilers so I’m not going to. I’m just going to say that I think what Sarah did to us was NOT needed and could have been avoided.

Finally, I didn’t like the very end. Again, I’m going to be vague so I don’t give too much away. There wasn’t anything wrong with the ending perse. I just would have preferred an epilogue with a ‘ten years later’ kind of idea. I want to know where our characters end up instead of the ending we were left with. It was an okay ending, left us with a sense of everyone getting ready to heal themselves and rebuild the world, but I’m a girl that wants a ‘ten years later’ blurb.

So overall, I loved this book. As I mentioned above, it a 900+ page BRICK and I somehow read it in TWO DAYS. I FLEW through the story. I just couldn’t get enough. Because I put off reading this conclusion for a month when I finally decided I was ready for Sarah to destroy my soul I just couldn’t stop reading until I was completely deceased. Part of me is really glad this series is finally over, so these characters can come to a close but also so Sarah can write other things and destroy us in other ways. But I’m sad because my journey with these characters that I’ve become so invested in and grew to love so much (even the ones I didn’t love) is really actually finally coming to an end.

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 – Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it—the Southern Reach—has collapsed on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.
Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X—what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X—and who may have been corrupted by it?
In this last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may be solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.
Review:
This conclusion was so unsatisfying. Check out my review here for my thoughts on the second book in this trilogy. I really hoped the story was going to get better with some epic conclusion.
Again I’m left with more questions than answers. The story just ended. The ends were not tied up. My questions were not all answered. (Some were answered but I was also left to ask other questions from those answers.)
I really thought I was going to love this because it alternates between the perspectives of all the characters that could have given me the answers I needed. But they didn’t do that. Some of them just disappeared and some left me with more stupid questions. I’m so frustrated about this.
This story really has potential but I was very disappointed. That is all.

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 – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

GoodReads Summary:
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.
Review:
I feel like I have nothing new to say in this review. I continued listening to the audio for Catching Fire and it was amazing. I loved the narrator. She did an excellent job telling this story, giving it life. I was hooked, listening at every free moment.
I love the characters. Katniss, Gale, Peeta, Haymitch, Prim. I enjoyed getting to know all the older victors and seeing them come together to start a revolution.
The plot twists were just so good. I knew they were coming but they still surprised me. That’s how you know it’s a good book, when you’ve read it so many times but it still surprises you.
Check out my review for The Hunger Games here for more of my thoughts on these characters.

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 – Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X–a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization–has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.
John Rodríguez (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery, he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.
In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Area X’s most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.
Review:
I found this series through my library. They have categories that I can search through and I found this one in books that were being turned into movies. I really enjoyed the first book, read my review HERE. So I expected to also like this book a lot.
You should never assume, so I don’t know why I’m surprised (probably because I didn’t read any GoodReads reviews before reading the book.) I thought maybe id get some answers to the many questions I was left with at the end of books one. Sadly, even by the last page of Authority, all I had was more questions that went unanswered. I’m going to continue the series because there’s one more book and I’d really like to get some answers.
We follow a different character than the first book, though we do see the biologist play a part in this book. We follow Control or John (he has a bunch of names apparently) who seems to be a pretty weird guy. He’s got a lot of personal issues with his mom and we learned about him and his life intermittently. The story goes back and forth between his past and present day.
The story was a little confusing at times because it jumped around so much, but also because Control’s thoughts were really complicated and confusing. I think this was because he was just presenting us with more questions instead of answering them. We learned a lot but nothing that was really solid or super super important.
Overall this story was a little weird to me. It was longer than the first book so it felt like it took me forever to read it when in reality it was only a few days. I’m interested to find the answers to all the questions I’m left with, so I’m going to start the third and final book now.

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 – Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erelia’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.
After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Irene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Ararlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need-and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Irene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.
In the sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Irene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of the mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary runs, long awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival-or doom them all…
Review:
Once again, Sarah J. Maas has completely blown me away. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, I am rereading this series because the final book, Kingdom of Ash has recently been released and once a series is complete I really like to read the whole series over so I’m not forgetting any details. I’m super glad I chose to do this because there were SO many things that surprised me in Tower of Dawn that I had completely forgotten about. Like HUGE details and plot twists that I didn’t remember in the least.

“I stood on the the wrong side of the line for too damn long, and it cost me everything.”

So, I loved this book. It honestly makes me sad that there are so many negative opinions about this book because I really just loved it so much. I understand that Chaol is not the most well loved character in this series, but I still love him. He may have not reacted to some things with Aelin in the best ways, but he’s only human and people make mistakes. This book had so much character development for Chaol. He really started to realize that he’s kind of been a jackass and maybe he should have done things a little differently. He is still always trying to be the honorable Chaol that we knew in the first book, but doesn’t always succeed. I think that was the only thing I didn’t like about this book. He made promised to Nesryn and didn’t follow through with them and I didn’t care for that.

“And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.”

Nesryn was excellent in Tower of Dawn. I adored getting to see her with her relatives. It was clear how happy she was to be in Antica. I loved seeing her get to know and experience all of the things that are different from the life she’s used to, especially her adventures with Sartaq. I’m very interested to see where her story ends up at the end of this series.

“You must enter where you fear to tread.”

There were so many new things introduced in this book. It takes place on the Southern Continent, Antica. So we’re reading about a completely new place with a host of new faces. I loved Antica. Its traditions and customs are so different from life in the North so it was really interesting to learn about how life on the Southern Continent works and how life came to be that way. Antica is rich with history and I really loved the stories of how the khaganate became what it is today.

“But I also told him that the woman I love now plans to head into war. And I intend to follow her.”

Along with this new place were the new faces. First, Irene Towers (only sort of a new face) I was super excited to see her story mix with the characters we already knew. I am so satisfied with where Yrene was at the end of Tower of Dawn. I really couldn’t think of a better way for her story to end. I also cannot wait to see what’s going to happen with her in Kingdom of Ash.

“For wherever you need to go-and then some. The world needs more healers.”

The royal family was an interesting one. I don’t know how much I liked them because I love close knit families and I wouldn’t qualify them as one. Because of the way that succession works, it really doesn’t allow for the siblings to be close to one another. Don’t get me wrong, its clear that they love one another, just maybe not in the most traditional way. Again, I’m interested to see these characters interact with the characters we love that were absent from this story. I think the siblings each played an interesting part in this story, some more than others, and I’m still not totally sure if I liked them or not.

“Nothing valuable comes without a cost, boy.”

The story itself was great, full of character development. The characters learned much about themselves but they also learned much about the impending fight. The plot twists were super crazy. We learned some really important things and I’m amazed that I didn’t pick up the final book and stay up all night reading it. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of spoilers, but some of the things we learned had my jaw dropping even though I’ve read Tower of Dawn before. So, to those haters of Chaol, this book is still important to the series and you might just find yourself liking him by the last pages, so give it a try.

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 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she wants to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Review:
How did I  forget how much I loved this book? I’m writing a paper for my popular culture class this term and I’ve decided to choose The Hunger Games trilogy as my topic. This series is an excellent example of popular culture because the books became movies and are still super popular today similar to the way Harry Potter blew up. So with this project, when I saw the audiobooks available I thought id reread the series to have it fresh in my mind.
The narrator did SUCH a good job telling this story. Each character had their own distinct voice and personality. I’m excited to continue listening to this narrator.
The story overall was still great, even better than I remember. Katniss is a strong-willed girl that fought tooth and nail to stay alive. Peeta is a boy resigned to his fate, in love with a girl he’ll never have. The supporting characters are lovable, relatable, and solid. They each played an important part in the story that made me love them, even Haymitch.
I actually could picture scenes from the movies in my head as I was listening to this story. Usually, I can’t reread a book after I’ve seen the movie but that was totally not the case here. I think because the movies were pretty well done and close enough to the story. But I’ll definitely rewatch the movies after I finish rereading all the books.
Overall, I still love this book 100%. Katniss kicks ass and does whatever she needs to in order to stay alive. The world she lives in is horrible, but so well built. It’s believable and terrible but also somehow I could see how our world may end up turning into the world in this book. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games where have you been? Go read them!

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 – Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

GoodReads Summary:
It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
Review:
This book is the companion novel to the currently very popular book Dumplin’ that was recently made into a Netflix original movie. I listened to the audio for Dumplin’ not too long ago (read my thoughts here.) I liked it well enough so I requested Pudding’ from my library. When it became available, I wasn’t all that excited because I didn’t totally love the first book. I listened to this story in two days.
I listened to most of this book in one day while making dinner and baking Christmas treats. While baking I was literally laughing out loud causing my husband to ask me if I was okay and what was I laughing at because he couldn’t see my headphones in my ears listening to my book.
I loved learning more about Millie, I also loved getting to see the dynamics between the friend group of Ellen, Willowdean, Amanda, and Hannah. I also really enjoyed seeing how Callie was going to fit into this group. These girls had me laughing and crying, saying what the hell are you doing but also go girl! I loved the characters.
My favorite part about Puddin’ was all of the topics it touches on. All of the different characters experience different struggles from their weight to their race, being bullied and being the bully. This was an inspiring story that leaves you with the message of always chasing after your dreams and not letting anything (least of all societal expectations) get in you way.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Please go read it now. Or listen to it because that’s what I did. I listened to the audio which has two narrators, much to my surprise. I love books with multiple narrators, so I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the narrators both did an excellent job telling the stories of Millie and Callie. Okay, now go read this book and come back and tell me you loved it too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Book Review – The Recovering: Intoxication and It’s Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Summary:
By the New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams, an exploration of addiction, and the stories we tell about it, that reinvents the traditional recovery memoir.
With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction–both her own and others’–and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us.
All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Raymond Carver, Billie Holiday, David Foster Wallace, and Denis Johnson, as well as brilliant figures lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here.
For the power of her striking language and the sharpness of her piercing observations, Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. Yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.
Review:
I borrowed this as an audiobook from my local library. I’m always looking for new audiobooks to listen to because I’m pretty picky about which ones I like. I tend to really enjoy non-fiction and not so much fantasy. So I found this one through the recommendation of a BookTuber, I sadly don’t remember which one it was though.
This book was insightful and informative. Though it was very long, part of me felt that I couldn’t listen to it for long periods of time like I can with some stories. As an alcoholic myself, I love listening to stories written by others that struggle with the same things that I do. This story was so relatable. The shame, the desire, it was all there exactly how I feel it. On top of this, there was a whole other level. Leslie Jamison writes about what it is like to be a writer with a drinking problem. I am exactly that. The struggles of being a writer in today’s world, with all of the history between drinking and being an author, it so well portrayed in The Recovering.
This story was so well written. As the author says in the book, she didn’t want to write ‘just another story of an alcoholic that gets better.’ It is not that at all. This story talks about the stories of many other writers with drinking problems, alongside the author’s own story. I loved the combination of the past, the history of writing and drinking, the struggles of writers that came before us. I loved following the author’s journey to learn about these people, the places they went, while she was overcoming (and sometimes failing) her own personal struggles.
For anyone that likes non-fiction, this is for sure a book I recommend. It was thought-provoking, insightful, and I really just enjoyed every minute.

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 – My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Summary:
Jane has endured years of hardship and misery and is ready to embark on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. She’s rather poor. She’s rather plain. Also, she has terrible taste in men.
Charlotte is an aspiring novelist. (Yes, she’s that Charlotte.) And she’s determined to capture her friend Jane’s story even if it means worming her way into the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.
Alexander is an agent of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. He’s about to discover something very disturbing going on at a little place called Thornfield…
Reader, there will be murder. Mayhem. Conspiracy. And, of course, romance. Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, and a certain gentleman Mr. Rochester is hiding more than skeletons in his closet
Review:
This is the second installment in The Lady Janies series. I absolutely adored the first book, My Lady Jane, you can read my review here. Because I enjoyed the first book I totally thought I would adore this book too. Especially because my bookish twinny (The Bookish Chick) loved it and is the reason I picked up the series in the first place.
I am very sad to say that I didn’t adore this book as much as I did the first. Maybe because this was a retelling rather than historical fiction, I’m not really sure what exactly it was, maybe a few different things.
First, it was a little confusing at times. I started reading this book under the impression that the story was about Jane Eyre. But by the end of the story, I felt like the book was actually more about Charlotte Bronte. I think another reason I didn’t love it was that I ended up preferring Charlotte’s chapters. Jane was almost annoying until closer to the end of the book. She was so determined to just be a governess and it was honestly so annoying. I think part of my annoyance may be due to the fact that I haven’t actually read the original Jane Eyre so I don’t really even know what the story was trying to imitate from that book and what they changed.
I loved Charlotte. She was funny and curious and really just didn’t take no for an answer. She’s a girl with goals and won’t let anyone stand in her way of achieving them. Her part of the love stories seems the more realistic of the two. It seemed to happen more naturally and just was better than Jane’s.
Alexander was interesting. He made me laugh with all of his denials. He was so bent on solving his own personal mystery he couldn’t let anything distract him from that. He didn’t realize the things in his life that really mattered until they were almost lost to him.
I enjoyed the characters interacting with one another, Their personalities were all so different it was funny to see them be around one another all so strong-willed and determined to get their own way.
I think the pace of the story was another thing that wasn’t my favorite. The story didn’t really pull me into where I couldn’t stop until closer to the end of the book. There were definitely interesting parts right from the beginning, but nothing that really sucked me into where I just couldn’t stop reading.
Overall, I liked the story. I liked the characters. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it like so many others did. I’m definitely going to continue the series when the third is finally released. But I definitely preferred the first book of this series.

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.