Blogtober Day Thirty-One: Amanda’s October Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! It’s time for one final Blogtober post. Today I’m here to talk to you about all of the books I read during the month of October.

Physical Books
Horrid by Katrina Leno
Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part II by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
Slayer by Kiersten White
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 8: Old is the New New by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
Mirrored by Alex Flinn
The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin
Beheld by Alex Flinn
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
Queen of Fury by Tracy Banghart
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack
Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

eBooks
The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
The Castle School by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Lightbringer by Claire Legrand

Audiobooks
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
The First 7 by Laura Pohl
Golden Son by Pierce Brown

These are all of the books I read in the month of October. It’s spooky season so they’re mostly books I’ve been saving and collecting all year to read during this wonderful time of year. What books did you read in October?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirty: Gothtober Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! I wanted to wrap up the books that I managed to read for Gothtober (see my TBR here for more details about the readathon) because I’m pretty pleased with what I managed to read!

LGBTQ+

Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

BIPOC Author

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

Disability Rep

The Castle School by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Lies

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Female Protagonist 

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Foreign Country

Slayer by Kiersten White

Modern Retelling

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Bones

The Wicked +The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Oldest Purchased 

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Red

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Undead Character

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Grey Morality 

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Dark Academia

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

These are all the books I managed to read for Gothtober! I think I did pretty well for this readathon with sticking to my TBR (something I almost never manage to do hah!) I definitely switched some books for different prompts, but I still count that as reading books on my TBR. Did you do any readathons this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?
Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.
But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.
Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.
Bright We Burn (The Conqueror's Saga, #3)Review:
Wow, this finale was a wild ride. Like the second book, Lada somehow managed to be even more savage. If you read this, the scene where she’s meeting with all the boyars and that’s all I have to say about it. I still loved her. She was fierce and absolutely apologetic about it. Though, I was very sad about all of her friends. I mentioned in my review for book two that her friends and fellow soldiers were some of the best parts of her chapters and that was slowly lost in this book. Knowing Lada as well as we do in this book, I wasn’t surprised by her choices but they definitely made me sad for her.
Radu is the best soft boy there ever was. He really struggles with the choices he’s made in the past, but he’s working toward being better and making more choices for himself rather than for others. I really loved the way that Radu’s story ended. He did the best he could with what he had and he managed to make a beautiful family from it. I’m not sure that I mentioned it in my previous reviews, but Radu is gay. This is something he struggles with within the first two books. But he manages to find another love, after finally making the choice to move on from his feelings for Mehmed. He married a woman who was a lesbian and the three of them lived together, but when Radu’s love finally came to him I was so happy. Radu deserves all the happiness in the world.
Overall, I loved this book and I loved this series. I thought this was a mostly satisfying conclusion to such an incredible series. I’m left with questions that are mostly to do with how Lada’s story played out and the in-between bits we didn’t get to see before jumping to the epilogue, but as a whole, this was an incredible conclusion. I cannot recommend this series enough.

Quotes:

“That is the thing with giving your heart. You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it.”

“Lada had always known exactly what shape she would take. She had never let it be determined by the people around her. But Radu could not escape the need for love, the need for people in his life to help him see what he should—and could—be. Lada shaped herself in spite of her environment. Radu shaped himself because of it.”

“She drummed her fingers on the arms of the throne, looking out at the empty room. She was not stupid enough to think men would stop trying to take it from her. They would always be there, waiting for weakness, waiting for her to fall. They wanted what she had because she had it. And one day, eventually, someone would defeat her. But until that day she would fight with tooth and nail, with all the fire and blood that had formed her into who she was. She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all.”

“There was something to be said for having his heart broken so many times. Broken things healed thicker and stronger than they were before. Assuming one survived long enough to heal.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Nine: Amanda’s October Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! I’ve really been slacking on my graphic novel reading this year. I was doing okay at first, but as the year progressed I started focusing more and more on my physical TBR for just my novels. I wanted to change that this October because I had quite a few graphic novels that were perfect for the spooky season. So, let’s talk about what I read and how I felt about it.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I’ve been really wanting to finish this series now that it’s complete and I own all of them. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to actually pick them up and read them, but everytime I actually do I’m reminded how much I enjoy this series. The story follows Gods who are reincarnated, but only for two years. Things have gotten pretty wild in this volume of the series. We have new Gods who might not really even be Gods? I thought the addition of magazine like interviews with some of the Gods was an interesting addition. It was a great way to remind myself what was going on in the story and actually helped me remember each God a bit better. As always, the art is absolutely stunning and perfectly gruesome. The characters are diverse, interesting, and complex. The conversations that this story brought up were interesting and important. I found myself liking characters that I was annoyed with or disliked in previous volumes. I was also super happy to get to see and read more about Lucifer who is absolutely my favorite character in this story. I’m definitely still a huge fan of this series and I’m planning to pick the next one up soon.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part II by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I have mostly the same thoughts about this volume in the series as I did in my mini-review of the last volume above. There were really great conversations about sexuality. There were diverse characters. The art was stunning (and still perfectly gruesome). I think the twists in this volume were absolutely excellent and I want to immediately pick up the next volume to see what will happen next. The tension rose dramatically in the final pages of this book and I’m eager to continue.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Holy shit what did I just read. In this volume, we learn so much history of how the gods came to be how they are. We learn how and why they rerun every hundred years. We learn Ananke’s motivations and I’m so here for it. I was captivated by this volume. There’s still the usual gore and secret keeping, but the readers are learning things that only Ananke knows and it was fascinating. This series is full of characters with some seriously grey morals. They do terrible things and try to excuse them. Some of them straight up admit they’re basically villains. I loved this volume so much. The art was stunning. There were some pages that were so interestingly put together that I had to read a few times to get the full effect of what they were saying. This series really just gets better and better. It always covers tough topics in the best way possible. It acknowledges these topics and has productive conversation about them. I just can’t say enough great things. This volume might be my new favorite.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 8: Old is the New New by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Okay, so I didn’t know but this is a special collection volume. This is a few stories that were previously published separately, now put into one collection. I thought it was really interesting to see a story I was familiar with shown in a different art style. It had things in common (like murder) but the art was different and interesting. I had a bit of trouble, because some of these stories were about how pantheons in the past ended, keeping the characters straight. There were some of the same gods, but they were in different bodies (often different genders) which made it hard for me to remember which character was which. This was something I struggled with in the first few volumes of this series because there’s just so many characters. I was still really into the stories though. Getting to know a bit about the characters past and the history of this world with gods. Though this whole volume left me wondering, do the gods remember their previous times on Earth? Because if so, I’ve got some questions for Lucifer.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

This was the finale volume of The Wicked + The Divine and I’m honestly sad to see it over. This was such a fun series that was full of murder, mystery, drama, but also really important conversations about sexuality, abortion, and many other topics. I’m pretty happy with this final volume. The characters all finally learned the secrets that were revealed to the reader in the last few volumes and I was satisfied with how everything played out. I will definitely miss these characters and their utter chaos, but I had such a great time with this series. It’s definitely one I will recommend. The characters were all so complex and diverse. There was excellent gore and murder mystery. Finally, my favorite thing is that this final installment was narrated by Laura just like the first volume was and I really enjoyed the full circle aspect of that. I’m sad that the series is over but I’m definitely interested in reading other works from these creators.

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

This story follows Anna, who works at a traveling circus along with her twin sister. When her twin, Kat, is found murdered, Anna is tasked with figuring out who the murderer is. Circus stories seem to be hit or miss for me and this one was a miss. I didn’t like how some of the circus members treated others. I also really didn’t like that we didn’t figure out how the murderer was. I assume this mystery is drawn out through the series, but I wanted to know who did it. I think this was a good story to read in October, there are ghosts and a murder mystery, and Anna’s narrator did a good job of making things seem a bit spooky. She questioned everything. This was a quick read, but I don’t know that I’ll continue the series.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

This was creepy. I know that Sabrina is supposed to be a horror story but I grew up watching the fun animated show and the other one with Melissa Joan Hart. Which were both family friendly and full of goodness. This was not at all that, which I knew going into it, but it still totally creeped me out. Sabrina wasn’t so creepy, but her Aunt Hilda and Zelda were both basically cannibals and all the magic stemmed from worshipping the devil. This is the perfect graphic novel to read if you want something creepy for October. Even the art style was super creepy. The facial expressions of the characters did a really good job supporting the horror of the storyline and dialogue. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series. I want to see if my library has it, because it’s not my usual kind of thing to read so I don’t think I want to buy them. But I liked it well enough. I’m excited to see how it was adapted on Netflix.

These are all the graphic novels I read in October and my thoughts on them! I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing the WicDiv series (finally) and reading the others that I’d been saving all yeah for October. Did you read any graphic novels this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)Review:
Where to start? If I thought Lada was savage and fierce in the first book, she is ten times that in this second book. She basically kills her way to the throne and I loved every single page of it. I love her friends and fellow soldiers that she takes with her on her path back to the Wallachian throne. I love that, while she is their leader, she listens to them and considers them friends. She takes their advice into consideration. She really cares about them and them about her. They make her more likable because it’s clear that she loves them all.
Radu is off in a completely different part of the world than his sister and with his own mission. Radu’s part of the story honestly just made me sad. Both siblings struggle with their feelings for their childhood friend, Mehmed. But with Radu, it’s worse because he’s doing things he never would have if not for Mehmed, while Lada has proven, again and again, she’ll do anything to get her throne. Radu does things he is very ashamed of but continues doing them all because of his love for Mehmed. It made me sad because of the life that he could have had. But he made his choices. It’s made very clear that everything he does is a choice that he’s thought about.
I thought it was very interesting to see how the siblings both handled the struggle that was their love for Mehmed. Honestly, I was hoping Mehmed would die most of the book so they could both be free. I also liked that we got both Radu’s and Lada’s stories even though they were both in different countries. Though it did make me sad they weren’t together. I’m hoping they get to reunite in the final book.
Overall, just like book one, I was blown away by Kiersten White’s writing. The history was fascinating, but the way that White brought these characters to life, made me care about them even though they’re both pretty terrible was amazing. I’m typing this on my phone so that I can continue on to the final book right now and not worry about mixing details up for whichever book. Please go read this series if you like historical fiction, savage female leads, and soft boys doing terrible things for love.

Quotes:

“Hold hands with the devil until you are both over the bridge. Or kill the devil and burn the bridge so no one can get to you.”

“I cannot imagine a god who hates anything that is love, any way we find to take tender care of each other. I want you to find that same love, and I never want you to hate yourself for any love that is in you.”

“I think if you had been born a boy, perhaps you would have been satisfied with what the world offered you. That is how we are alike. We saw everything that was not ours, and we hungered. Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

“He was no longer a lost little boy in a strange new city. Now he was a lost man in a broken old city, and no amount of prayers and kindness could undo what had been done.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

GoodReads Summary:
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
The Woman in Cabin 10Review:
Ware’s books have been pretty hit or miss for me, but I enjoyed this one. It was interestingly formatted. The story starts with our main character, Lo, experiencing a break-in and assault (she’s hit by the intruder with her bedroom door) in her own apartment. This leaves her really unsettled. Her significant other is out of town and she doesn’t really have any other sort of support system. So, she’s obviously struggling after this event, but just days later she sets off for a week on a luxury cruise for her job. She’s not as excited about this cruise as she should be. Especially when she hasn’t slept more than a few hours at a time since the break-in.
The first night she spends aboard this luxury (but small!) cruise ship, she thinks she hears the guest in the next room (that she met before dinner) thrown overboard sometime during the night. She calls the head of security and they work together to try and figure out who went overboard. But when all the staff and guests are accounted for, the mystery remains. Instead of doing the job Lo was sent on this cruise to do, she becomes a little obsessed with solving the mystery of what she heard and saw.
While this story progresses following Lo, we also get a bit of outside information in the form of emails sent to Lo that she never received. We also, once the story gets going, start getting news articles that up the suspense of the story and bits and pieces of social media from Lo’s loved ones. I really liked this method of storytelling. We’re getting the beginning of the story and what we think is the end of Lo’s story, but the middle is a mystery. I think telling the story this way was a really effective way of keeping the reader in suspense and really wanting to know what was going to happen next.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was mysterious and suspenseful. The main character was one that I had a lot of empathy for. I really enjoyed the creativity of the story too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Eight: WWW Wednesday

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Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next, and have read recently.

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore and listening to Morning Star by Pierce Brown.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack.

Antonia- I most recently read A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- I don’t know what I’ll pick up next. I’ve been mood reading lately.

Antonia- Next I’ll read House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you’re reading in the comments!

Blogtober Day Twenty-Seven (Part Two): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For this freebie I’m going with Top Ten Villains in honor of spooky season.

The King of Hybern from A Court of Thorns and Roses  by Sarah J. Maas

Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

King Leck from Graceling  by Kristin Cashore

The Darkling from The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Capricorn from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Queen Savilla from The Obsidian Mountain trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Gavan Bayar from The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Jared Sage from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

The Dragon King from The Last Namsara by Kristin Ciccarelli

The Chandrian from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

What villains did you love or hate?

Blogtober Day Twenty-Seven (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween Freebie

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is a Halloween Freebie! The topic I chose was books I would reread during spooky season.

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The Belgariad The Malloreon by David Eddings

The Alchemyst by Micheal Scott

The Cellar by Natasha Preston

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle

Ancient Magic by Linsey Hall

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler

Most of these are books that I borrowed from others or books I discovered after signing up for Kindle Unlimited and binging so many books. What books made your list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Six: The Nightmare Before Christmas Book Tag

Hey, bookworms. Today we have another book tag for your enjoyment. We found this Nightmare Before Christmas one over at Erica Robyn Reads while searching for a fun one. This definitely fits that. This tag was created by The Butterfly Reader. Check out her post here!

Jack Skellington
Jack – A book character who longs for more

Amanda: Zachary Ezra Rawlins from The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. He misses his chance for more when he was a kid and it lingers into his adulthood.

Antonia: Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. She spends her whole life stuck by herself floating in the middle of space and just wants to see the world and meet people.

Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas
Sally – A book character who loves someone so much and actually gets them in the end

Amanda: Amani from the Mirage duology by Somaiya Daud. Forbidden love that ends with a happy ending is always a good time for me.

Antonia: Alina from The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. She’s loved Mal for so long and even though I kind of hated him for most of the first book, I ended up being so happy they got together.

Nightmare Before Christmas Zero & Jack
Zero – A book with a loyal sidekick

Amanda: Lehaba from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. She’s literally just fire. I adored her.

Antonia: The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Not only is Shalkan the most sarcastic, hilarious best friend but he’s also a freaking unicorn. Like literally. It’s amazing.

Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie Boogie
Oogie Boogie – A book with one hell of a wicked villain

Amanda: The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. The villain is trying to retake her city, a place her ancestors used to rule. She was complex and interesting, but took things too far.

Antonia: The Dragon King from The Last Namsara by Kristin Ciccarelli. Seriously, he was just awful.

Halloween Town – A book that’s creepy or has a scary theme

Amanda: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher. I read this in September and it was creepy and suspenseful and everything I wanted for Spooktober.

Antonia: I never read scary books because I will definitely give myself nightmares.

Christmas Town – A book that left you feeling warm and fuzzy inside

Amanda: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. A man goes to an orphanage filled with some of the more dangerous supernaturals. He isn’t sure what to expect. He finds a family and I loved every page of this book.

Antonia: Anything by Julia Quinn. Her books are just so funny and I always love the romance.

What’s This? – A book that took you by surprise

Amanda: Furyborn by Claire Legrand. I actually pulled this book out of my ‘to be unhauled’ pile and it was a 5 star read for me.

Antonia: The Martian by Andy Weir. I watched the movie first and really enjoyed it but it’s outside of my normal book genre so I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. Mark’s voice is just amazing. I really felt like I could hear him while reading this.

That’s all the questions! Feel free to consider yourself tagged if this looks like fun to you! Happy Spooktober!

Blogtober Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)Review:
This is an alternate historical fiction retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler. In Kiersten White’s story, Vlad is a girl named Lada. And damn is she fierce. She is vicious and unforgiving. She cares for no one and nothing except for her home country Wallachia (and sometimes her younger brother, Radu). But being a girl in the 1400s her father doesn’t care much about her at all. She lives to prove her worth and to get his attention. Her life changes forever when her father leaves Lada and Radu with the Ottoman Empire as a sort of collateral to ensure that he sticks to their treaty.
This story was tough because it follows Lada from her birth to her later teenage years. So, there are slower parts of the story and more fast-paced parts. But throughout, you can’t help but like Lada because she doesn’t want to be just another girl to be used to secure a politically advantageous marriage. She wants to be a ruler. She will be in charge of her life. I liked that she was supposed to be unlikable and ugly. I’m definitely excited to see where the next book in the series will go for her.
Now, sweet Radu. I loved and pitied him. It wasn’t hard to feel sorry for him for the first 100 pages or so. He was horribly bullied for being small and sensitive. Lada and her childhood friend were pretty horrible to him, but Lada occasionally stuck up for him against others. It was a confusing relationship. I liked the sibling aspect of the story even though it was certainly not a traditional sibling dynamic. I really enjoyed Radu’s story once he learned more about Islam. I thought that was a great addition to the story as we got to learn a bit about it alongside him. And it’s obvious how he changes after finding faith.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were diverse characters, Radu is in love with his and Lada’s closest friend in the Ottoman Empire (but Lada loves him too which makes it a little weird) and there is another character that’s friends with Radu that mentions being with both genders. There is also a lesbian couple (in hiding because it’s the 1400s, but it’s there). I liked that even though it’s not a time period that these things were generally accepted, White still included them. These relationships would have existed whether out in the open or not. The story was well written and interesting. The characters were both likable and unlikable at the same time (which was weird for me to flip back and forth so many times). I cannot wait to continue onto the next book in the series.

Quotes:

“The last time she was up here, she had been… staring up at the sky and dreaming of stars. Now, she looked down and plotted flames.”

“So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice? What will you let be taken away so that you, too, can have power?”

“And that is why you become a dealer of death. You feed death as many people as you can to keep it full and content so its eye stays off you.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

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GoodReads Summary:
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
Girl, Serpent, ThornReview:
I have to shout a huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced audio copy of Girl, Serpent, Thorn. It was my first advanced audiobook and I really enjoyed being able to listen to it via the new NetGalley app.
This story, I really don’t even know how to put my thoughts into words. I was a bit disappointed by the last book I read by this author, but this synopsis sounded too good to pass up. So, I didn’t have super high hopes about loving this one. I definitely thought I would enjoy it, but I liked it way more than that.
The story follows Soraya as she’s trying to figure out a way to rid herself of the curse she’s had since she was a baby. She is poisonous. Her skin has the power to kill. Her family hides her away. Her only happiness is when her mother visits and her gardens. But this year, when her family arrives, they bring a demon with them and keep her in the dungeons. This is when Soraya’s life starts to change. She meets a soldier that comes into town with her brother and they become friends. She opens up to him in a way she’s never been able to before. He helps her go to visit the demon, then to figure out how to get rid of her curse.
There’s so much I can’t talk about because I don’t want to give anything away. So, I’ll say that I really loved this soldier. He’s a very complex character and I thought he was a great addition to the story. But even more, I loved how dark the story was. A poisonous girl? Hell yes. A poisonous girl falling in love with a demon? Even more hell yes. I loved the mythology and the Persian folklore. The author talks a bit about the stories she drew inspiration from and the things that she changed in an author’s note after the story ends and I really enjoyed getting to know more about the inspiration.
Overall, I loved this book. The narrator was incredible. She really inserted emotion into the characters and told the story beautifully. This story was dark and twisted and complex. There were characters that had so much love for others, but were also extremely selfish which I thought was just fascinating. I’m sorry that this review is sort of nonsense, but as I said at the beginning, I really don’t know how to put my thoughts for this story into words other than saying that I loved it.

Quotes:

“Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.”

“I was always afraid the poison would make me a monster, but what if trying to get rid of it makes me more of a monster than I was before?”

“She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same. She had been alone long enough to know which one she was.”

“Beautiful yet deadly, he had called her. Somehow, he made one sound as sweet as the other.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Four: Five Star Predictions

Hello, bookworms! Today we are here with a fun topic: books we think will be 5 star reads. We both have so many great sounding books oon our TBR’s so we thought it would be fun to list a few that we think will be five stars. We’re thinking that when Blogmas comes around we will do a wrap up post where we talk about what the actual ratings of these predictions are and maybe even predict a few more!

Amanda’s Predictions

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Antonia’s Predictions

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

Rules for Being a Girl by Candice Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

These are the books we think we will love (that we plan to read relatively soon). What books on your TBR do you predict to be new favorites?

Blogtober Book Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

GoodReads Summary:
What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected–and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
I Killed Zoe SpanosReview:
If you need a mystery/thriller for spooky season, this is the one you need to pick up. This book is almost 400 pages but I had to keep reading until it was finished. I needed to know what really happened and how the story ended. I didn’t love how it concluded, but I loved everything else.
I Killed Zoe Spanos follows a few different perspectives. We get to see ‘now’ and ‘then’ chapters. The story starts with our main character Anna in a juvenile detention center. But then we go back and see her spending her summer in Herron Mills working as a nanny. I think this was of storytelling was so effective. We get to know a bit of the present and a bit of the past and are left wondering the details of what happened in the middle. Frick did an amazing job of giving little bits of the relevant details here and there, just enough to leave the reader wanting more. I don’t usually come up with theories or predictions, but with this book, I had so many that were constantly changing. My first theory that I was so sure was right was completely wrong, but I did have a second one that turned out to be true.
I really liked Anna. She’s a girl that’s let her life get a little out of control. She parties too much and has more nights that she can’t remember than she would like to admit. This is something I can relate to because parts of high school were like this for me as well. So, she moves to Herron Mills for the summer to try to get away from it all. She needs a break and this is her chance. But while she’s there she gets a weird sense of déjà vu, like she’s remembering things that she shouldn’t know. I thought she was an interesting character. She wanted to do the right thing, which led her to get arrested for Zoe’s murder.
We also sort of follow Martina who is best friends with Zoe’s younger sister, Aster. Martina has a podcast all about what happened to Zoe. We get some chapters that are transcripts of the podcast, which I really enjoyed. Martina interviewed people and gave a new perspective to the mystery of what really happened to Zoe. I liked Martina too. She’s Aster’s best friend, but they have issues about the podcast, especially in the later episodes. We also get to see Martina and Aster in the past when they meet Anna for the first time and hang out with her at other points.
Overall, I liked this book so much. It was so good. The different aspects of the story kept me sucked in. I also thought it was interesting that the story for Anna’s ‘then’ chapters were in the first person, but all of the chapters for ‘now’ were in the third person (until the past catches up with the present of course. I am just so impressed by this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Three: Backlist Book Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! This list is all books that I’ve been wanting to recommend but couldn’t manage to find a way to include them in any of the other recommendations posts so far this month. There are quite a few books on this list, so I’m not going into overly long descriptions or reasons why you should read them. I just want to do a quick list post with maybe a sentence for two for each book.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – Confusing and magical and a love story to literature.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Dark and gritty. Yale but with magic.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw – A girl that lives near a creepy, maybe magical, forrest.

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver – Did they murder their best friend? Or is there something else going on?

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, but make it sort of horror.

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black – Interesting twist on vampires. Also sort of dystopian.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter – Summer camp for supernaturals.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Jane Eyre but with ghosts.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl – A girl meets with old friends and they all die.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – Four family’s with supernatural powers basically fail at protecting their town.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Unreliable narrator with memory loss and something about a fire.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – An evil rock, queer girls, and creepy legends.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry – Maybe aliens have arrived on Earth? Let’s YouTube it.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes – A girl in denial about her mother’s death and a boy who may or may not fail out of school adventure to find out truths about the past.

So, these are some books that I think would be perfect to read this October but couldn’t figure out how to put them in any other list. These are all books that I really enjoyed and have read during past spooky seasons. Just making this list makes me want to reread them all. What backlist books are on your list for spooky season recommendations?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.