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.