Blogmas Day Twenty-Nine: Books I DNF’d

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Hi, lovelies! I want to talk about making the choice to put down a book and never pick it up again. I’ve been DNF’ing books left and right this year and it’s such a freeing feeling. Being able to say, “I’m done with this book. I’m not enjoying it.” and then putting it in the unhaul pile, or returning it to the library unfinished and moving on to another book I’m more excited about reading is such a great feeling. It puts less pressure on me to read books I don’t like. So, here are all the books that I chose to DNF in 2019.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Unleashed by Diana Palmer

Henry V by William Shakespeare

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

For some reason I feel like I am forgetting some, but if I can’t remember them there’s probably a reason for that. Tell me in the comments if you DNF’d any books this year and what books they were!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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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 Day Twenty-Seven: Books & Baking – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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I’m back with another installment of Books & Baking, lovelies! For this edition, I went with a book that is beloved by many, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I have been reading the illustrated editions to my daughter before bed each night. I’m having so much fun sharing my love for this series with her, though she’s not quite old enough to really listen yet.

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Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 

I don’t think I really need to explain anything about this book. But I will say that I read them growing up and I remember getting the final book and bringing it to summer camp with me and letting all the girls in my cabin read it once I was done. This series holds so much nostalgia for me, so getting to read them to my daughter just brings joy to my little heart.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

Baking: Rock Cakes

Find the full recipe here!

“The rock cakes were shapeless lumps with raisins that almost broke their teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to be enjoying them as they told Hagrid all about their first lessons.”

Ingredients

Butter
White sugar
Milk
Flour
Raisins
Baking powder
Vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix this with butter until crumbly. Pour in the milk, then add raisins and vanilla. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on the tray in tablespoons. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

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I thought these turned out so well. They were sort of like a shortbread kind of texture. I think they would have been incredible with chocolate chips instead of raisins. My husband and daughter really enjoyed these. I definitely plan to make them again in the future.

Will you try to make these or have you made them in the past? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Twenty-Four: Books I HAD to Buy

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Hello, lovelies! Today I want to talk about those books that I just had to buy but then never ended up reading. I could probably list all of the books on my physical unread book shelf, but I’ll just list a few that really fit this post.

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Wind Rider by P.C. Cast

The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

These are some of the books on my bookshelf that I just had to buy and for some unknown reason still haven’t managed to read yet.

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 Day Twenty-Two: Amanda’s End of Yearathon TBR

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Hello, lovelies! I am more than excited to share with you the books I’m planning to read in the final days of 2019. I have been thinking about what books to include since Vicky and I started talking about the prompts for this round. Let’s talk about what books I plan to read (but will probably change a million times.) This readathon will be going on starting December 26th (at midnight in your time zone) until December 31st (right up until the ball drops!)

Prompts:

Read a 2019 release

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Read a book with a red cover

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Read a book from a series you haven’t finished

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Read a book under 300 pages

Life is Strange: Dust by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi, & Andrea Izzo

Read a book released before 2019

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead

Read a diverse book

The Wicked + The Divine: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

I picked books that I’m really excited about, but for some reason just haven’t picked them up yet. Knowing how I am though, I’m sure I’ll change my mind and end up reading different books that fit the prompts. You’ll have to wait for my wrap up to find out!

Let me know what you plan to read for this readathon in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

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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 Day Twenty: Unfinished Series

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Hey, lovelies. Today I want to talk about series that I have yet to finish. I’m not going to be talking about series that are still releasing books, only the series that are completed and all books are published. I have managed to finish quite a few series that I’ve fallen behind on, but a readers job is never done.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I’ve only managed to read the first book in this series…twice. I keep meaning to pick up book two, but I just keep finding other books I’m more excited about. I’ll get to it hopefully in 2020 now that the whole series is finished.

Stream Raiders series by Sara Raasch

I read and loved the first book. So I thought I’d pick up book two immediately when it came out. I just didn’t though. I’m still hoping to get to it before the end of the year.

Tales of a New World by P.C. Cast

I absolutely adored books one and two, but need to reread them before being able to finish the series up with book three. It’s been too long for me to just jump into the finale.

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

Again, I loved books one and two, but need to reread before being able to start book three to finish out the series. I hope to do this in 2020.

The Talon Series by Julie Kagawa

I may or may not end up DNFing this series. Antonia says the main character gets better and I love Kagawa’s writing. She tells incredible stories, so I do want to finish this one.

The Glittering Court trilogy by Richelle Mead

This is another series where I read and loved the first two, but want to reread them before reading the finale when it was finally published. But it’s not almost two years later and I have not reread or managed to pick up the third book.

Well, that’s all I have for this post. I’m impressed that there are not more on this list, but as I said above, I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to get to the finales of series I’ve been slacking on finishing. Hopefully, I can get to all of these in 2020. What unfinished series are on your TBR list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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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 Day Sixteen: Black Friday Book Haul

Hellllo, lovelies! I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for those Black Friday sales. There were two sales in particular that I hit up this year: Book Outlet & Barnes and Nobel. Both were impulse purchases. I originally went to Barnes and Nobel to pick up two specific books, a new release and a gift for Antonia. I ended up spending $100 on random books I found and a few books for my daughter. Book Outlet was 100% a middle of the night feeding session shopping spree. It’s always those late night baby feeds when it’s dark and I’m vulnerable that get me to make that Book Outlet order I don’t need. But! Some of the books I got were gifts. So, in this post I’m only going to include the books I bought for myself.

Barnes & Nobel

The Matchmakers List by Sonya Lalli

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.S. Fletcher

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

Book Outlet

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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I plan to wrap a few of these to put under the Christmas tree from Santa. I’m pretty proud of myself for not going overboard like I did last year. While I did buy these for myself, I also bought books for Antonia, my daughter, and another friend. I’m excited to get these books for Christmas, but I’m more excited about the books I’m gifting for the holiday.

What did you buy for Black Friday? Anything for yourself? Any gifts for your loved ones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Fifteen: Christmas Spirit Book Tag

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We found this book tag over at Words & Stitches. We did this tag last year and thought it was a super fun book tag for the time of year. It’s great to get into the holiday spirit. So, we decided to do it again! Feel free to participate, but don’t forget to tag back to Words & Stitches!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer // A book you love, even though it’s not perfect

Amanda – The Art of Losing by Lizzie Mason

Antonia – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Frosty the Snowman // A book that melts your heart

Amanda – Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Antonia – A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

The Grinch // A book about a sympathetic villain

Amanda – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Antonia – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Christmas Prince // A guilty pleasure book

Amanda – I don’t like calling books ‘guilty pleasure’ but Nora Roberts can always get me out of a reading slump.

Antonia – I agree with Amanda but would probably choose Julia Quinn. They’re so silly but always make me laugh out loud.

Naughty List // Three books you can never forgive

Amanda –

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi (because of the ending)
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (also because of the ending)
Beartown by Fredrik Backman (for all the tears)

Antonia –

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Earth’s End by Elise Kova
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Nice List // Three books you can’t be mad at

Amanda –

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
The Disasters by M.K. England
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Antonia –

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Eggnog // A book you’re saving as a holiday treat

Amanda – The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. It’s my only ‘Christmas book’ and I’m saving it for the last week before the holiday.

Antonia – Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

We tag you! Yes, you reading this! Feel free to play too!

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 Day Nine: Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag

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Hello bookish people! Blogmas is one of the best times of the year for book tags because there are just so many fun Christmas and holiday themed ones to do. So, of course we had to do the Harry Potter Christmas Tag. This tag was created last year by Charleigh @ Charleigh Writes. There are a few rules she’s created to go along with this tag, so let’s go over them before we get into the questions.

Rules:
1. Link back to Charleigh so she can read your answers!
2. You can’t choose Harry Potter for any of the answers.
3. Tag however many people at the end
4. Have fun!

It’s your first Christmas at Hogwarts. What’s one book you’ve asked for this year?

Amanda- The collectors edition of Crooked Kingdom. It’s stunning.

Antonia- Starsight by Brandon Sanderson.

You spot Hagrid hauling the Christmas tree through the grounds. What is the longest (or heaviest!) book you own?

Amanda- Without looking, I’d guess The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

Antonia- I think it’s my copy of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. It’s the entire series in one book.

It’s time for the famous Great Hall feast. What’s one book you can’t read without snacks?

Amanda- All books. I love to snack while I read.

Antonia- I’m also always snacking.

Well done, you’ve brewed your first Polyjuice Potion. What’s one book you’d change the cover of?

Amanda- The Vampire Academy series. I hate book covers with faces on them.

Antonia- Ooh, there’s so many. I’ll choose the Bloodlines series because I agree with Amanda.

You receive a brand new Firebolt for Christmas. What’s one book you read super quickly?

Amanda- All of Lynsay Sands Argeneau romance novels. They’re so fun and I can never stop until I’ve read it in one sitting.

Antonia- I really don’t read very fast. I guess I tend to go through Nora Roberts’ books quickly though. Even when rereading I get so invested in her characters.

You join Harry for his first proper Christmas. What’s one book you’d love to receive this year?

Amanda- Honestly, I’d love for someone to surprise me with a book they loved that I’ve never heard of.

Antonia- I like Amanda’s idea. Surprise presents are the best way to find books outside your usual niche.

You get hit by one of Fred and George’s flying snowballs. What’s a book you wanted to throw across the room?

Amanda- The Dragon Republic becasue it used addiction as a plot device and I was pissed.

Antonia- Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so disappointed by a book ending.

You’ve just visited Hogsmead for the first time. What’s one popular book you haven’t read yet?

Amanda- Lots? But I’m going to list a graphic novel for this one, Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman.

Antonia- Oh wow. So many. Divergent by Veronica Roth comes to mind.

Congratulations! You’ve been invited to the Yule Ball. What book about Christmas do you love?

Amanda- If I was allowed to use the Harry Potter books for this book tag, I would use them here. But since I can’t, instead I’ll name The Polar Express. 

Antonia- Hmm, I don’t read a lot of Christmas books.

You find Ron’s deluminator. What’s one book that’s helped you through dark times?

Amanda- Looking for Alaska by John Green. It’s a book that came to me right when I needed the message it shared.

Antonia- The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.

We tag:

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Kelly @ Struggling Bookaholic

Blogmas Day Eight: Debut Authors

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

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

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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

The Disasters by M.K. England

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

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

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

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Stirling

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

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

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

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

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

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

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

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

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

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

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

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogmas Day Six: New to Me Authors

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

Helena Hunting
Meet Cute & The Good Luck Charm

S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass

Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray

Brittany Cavallaro
The Charlotte Holmes Series

Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

M.K. England
The Disasters

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

Amanda Foody
The Shadow Game Series

Mark Lawrence
Book of the Ancestor series

Roshani Chokshi
Aru Shah and the End of Time

Lisa Maxwell
The Last Magician

Jeff Zentner
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Courtney Summers
Sadie

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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