Blogtober Day Twenty-Seven: Books That Haunt

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Hiii, lovelies! For one of the final days in Blogtober, I want to talk about some books that are haunting me. These books are not necessarily ghostly but the messages or characters or something in them has really resonated with me. And so, they haunt me. They have stuck with me, lodged in my brain, for all of time.

Dry by Neil & Jarrod Shusterman
Date Read: 2018
An all too real portrayal of the potential near future. I want to read it again.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Date Read: 2018
This series did some serious damage to my little hormonal pregnant heart. I can’t get the story or the characters out of my head.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest
Date Read: 2017
This series is never-ending and gets weirder and more creative with every installment. I’ve taken a break from the newest books recently, but I still think about them all the time.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Date Read: 2010
My favorite book of all time. This story will be with me forever. It saved my life at a time when I didn’t really see the point. I’m always grateful for this story.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Date Read: 2014
This one haunts me like a ghost. It whispers, “Reread meeee.” and “Finish meee” because I never finished the series and it’s been so long I would need to reread all the ones I’ve read already.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Date Read: 2013
My first dip into YA dystopian and I was (and still am) obsessed.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
Date Read: 2019
A haunting story that I cried through probably 60% of the pages. This is a must-read.

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins
Date Read: 2018
An all too real conversation about guns.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Date Read: 2019
Another book that I mostly just sobbed through.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Date Read: 2018
Aliens, a conversation on social media and internet fame, plus that ending!

These are just a few books that really have stuck with me after reading. This list of books is a lot for me because I have a terrible memory. So, when a book really sticks in my mind, you know it’s a good one (in my opinion). Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what books would make your ‘haunting books’ list in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Twenty-Six: Would You Rather Book Tag

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Hello, friends! Antonia & I have been tagged by the always lovely Avhlee @ Tea Cups and Torn Pages for the Would You Rather Book Tag. This seems like a fun and easy post to add to our blogtober lineup. So, here we go!

Read only standalones or trilogies?

Amanda- At the moment, standalones. I’m having trouble getting into any fantasies I pick up, so series are mostly off the table for me right now.

Antonia- I like both for so many reasons depending on my mood.

Read only female or male authors?

Amanda- I’m all for females supporting females, but some of my favorite books are by men.

Antonia- I honestly don’t pay attention to whether an author is male or female but I do tend to pick up more female authors.

Shop at Barnes & Nobel or Amazon?

Amanda- Barnes and Nobel. I try not to use Amazon if I can help it.

Antonia- Agreed^^ Though I’ve been trying not to buy books lately.

All books become movies or T.V. shows?

Amanda- T.V. shows. I love movies, but I’m a sucker for a great t.v. adaptation.

Antonia- TV. It’s so much easier to include all the little book details I want included.

Read five pages per day or five books per week?

Amanda- Five books each week. That’s about what I read currently.

Antonia- I wish I still read five books a week but I’m definitely closer to five pages a day right now.

Be a professional reviewer or author?

Amanda- Becoming a published author is my dream.

Antonia- Author

Only read your top twenty favorite books over and over or always read new books you haven’t read before?

Amanda- Always read new books.

Antonia- Top twenty.

Be a librarian or bookseller?

Amanda- Librarian. I would love to support authors, but helping kids find books they are going to love would be so fulfilling.

Antonia- Librarian sounds like so much fun.

Only read your favorite genre or any genre except for your favorite?

Amanda- Tough…every genre but my favorite.

Antonia- Uhhh.. I’m not sure I have a favorite right now so this one’s hard. I’ll pick every genre but my favorite too.

Read only physical books or eBooks?

Amanda- Ebooks because If I  had to only read physical books I wouldn’t be able to read as much as I do.

Antonia- Much as I like eBooks, I still much prefer physical books.

That’s all for the questions today friends! Feel free to consider yourself tagged if you’d like to participate in this one! Or you can leave your answers in the comments.

Blogtober Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

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Summary:
Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.
When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.
Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.
Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.
StepsisterReview:
I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Donnelly while she was doing the book tour for Stepsister. She was honestly so inspiring. I’ve been so excited to read Stepsister since that event. I finally managed to listen to the audiobook for the NEWTs.
Stepsister is the story of Cinderella’s sisters and what happens to them after Ella marries the prince and becomes Queen. I am in awe of Donnelly with the complexities of this story. Isabelle is being guided by two characters, Fate and Chance. It took me way too long to realize the significance of Chance other than it just being his name. Chance steals Isabelle’s life map from the Fate’s, and does everything in his power to change her path.
Isabelle was a really unlikable character. Which I’m pretty sure was the intention. This wasn’t a happy story. It was a story about growth. How to find the pieces of your heart and escape the title of ‘ugly step-sister.’
I am really not sure how to explain this story. But it was one of loss and regret and learning to love yourself. The things that Isabelle and her family endure could break anyone. But she doesn’t let it. She tries and tries, again and again, to do the right things, to be a better person. But she learns that it’s not that easy. Isabelle’s path is not an easy one, but despite the forces trying to hinder her, she finds her way.
Overall, this was a fascinating story. It was filled with unlikeable characters that learned how to be better, how to change their ways before it was too late, and how to love themselves even though they may not be traditionally pretty. Fate and Chance pulled the path in countless directions, keeping things interesting. If you’re a lover of fairytales, this is the story for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Five: Bookish Monsters

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Hi, lovelies! Today I want to talk about the things that go bump in between pages. Bookish monsters are all too fitting for Blogtober. I have a few off the top of my head, but the rest will come through scouring my shelves. Let’s see what I can come up with.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The monsters that are in this book are horrifying. They’re sentient and vicious. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet any of them on a dark street.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
The beast in this story is way more beastly than any other I’ve read before. He’s actually pretty scary.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Name pretty much any character and they qualify for this list.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Same as above. Pretty much any and all of the freaky creatures in Area X belong on this list. They’re all horrifying.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This series has so many different mythological monsters, but it all starts with the Minotaur. Some are more frightening than others, but I certainly wouldn’t want to meet any of them.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Emim (or Buzzers) were hard to picture but no less terrifying because of that. As much as I enjoyed this world, I don’t want to visit is solely because of these creatures.

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
This second book is full of monsters. Specifically, Keot and Holothour. They are both creatures created from ‘The Missing’ which I’m hoping to learn more about in his next series. Keot feeds on violence, but he provides a bit of humor. Holothour, on the other hand, is horrifically terrifying.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I’m using the first book, but I’m really talking about the whole series. The demons are frightening and I’d like to stay as far away from them as possible.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Ek and Do, the hell hounds. No thanks. Hell hounds of any culture sound terrifying.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Though the dark, big bad, first appears in another book I’m going with this one because it’s in it the most. Imagine having your body taken over to murder people? Horrifying.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
The sirens are cool as shit in this story, but the mermaids are quite alarming. Vicious and cruel, a creature I never want to meet.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
The daeva in this series are supposed to be scary. But the way that Tea handles them makes me equally awed and afraid of them.

These are just some of the monsters that stand out in my mind. I’m sure I forgot some. Who are your favorite monsters? Comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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GoodReads Summary:
Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.
A distraction arises soon enough because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.
Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.
What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes, #2)Review:
I am officially obsessed with this series. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick it up. I think part of me was worried it wasn’t going to live up to the hype, but it absolutely does. The Last August was just as good as the first book in the series.
I love Charlotte Holmes. She’s flawed and so utterly human. But she’s also highly trained and is always thinking about a hundred steps ahead. I love the way her mind works and I wish we got more chapters from her point of view. She is really just a fascinating character.
Then there’s Jamie, sweet, dear Jamie. I just adore him. He’s always got something to prove. That he doesn’t need Charlotte’s training or affection. That he’s better than August. I enjoyed seeing his relationship with his dad get better over the course of the book. He finds himself in need of advice regarding the quirks of the Holmes family member, which I thought was an interesting way for them to bond.
The mystery in this book. Phew, it was a doozy. The ending was confusing and I’m honestly still not totally sure what happened. Every time I thought one thing was going on, Charlotte proved me wrong, over and over.
Overall, this was a fast-paced thrill ride with characters who have depth and real problems. I love this series and I cannot wait to continue on to the third book. If you haven’t picked up this series, what are you waiting for?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Love Bites by Lynsay Sands

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GoodReads Summary:
Etienne Argeneau’s three hundred years of bachelorhood were at an end. Either that, or he’d be forever alone. He could only “turn” one human in his lifetime, and most of his kind reserved that power for creating a life mate. If he turned the wrong woman…But what choice did he have? He had to save Rachel Garrett. He didn’t know her very well but the beautiful coroner had saved his life. To save hers he would make her immortal.
Rachel Garrett awoke surprised. All she’d wanted was to get off the night shift at the morgue; now here she was, staggering to her feet naked and in a strange place. But everything would be all right. She’d just make like a bat out of– Then she saw the man of her dreams emerging from his…coffin? And the look in his bright silver eyes said they’d be spending a lot of time together. She just hoped he tasted as good as he looked.
Love Bites (Argeneau #2)Review:
Book two in the Argeneau series, Love Bites, was one I enjoyed about the same amount as the first one (reviewed here). This is one of my favorite vampire romance series, mostly because of the twist on the vampire lore. They’re vampires created via science rather than magic and I just think that’s such a fun twist.
Rachel and Etienne are a pair that met by chance. And when Rachel is almost killed Etienne makes the choice to turn her as the one person he is ever allowed. This turns out great because they turn out to be life mates (surprise! not, hah).
I liked Etienne. He’s a video game developer that uses the truth about his race to create a hugely popular game. He also enjoyed spending time in a coffin, because it’s where he gets his best ideas. That really cracked me up. It also created some assumptions that complicated the story.
Rachel works nights in the morgue. She’s just finally gotten a job on the day shift when she’s almost killed and then turned. Upon waking, she is upset because she believes she’s now cursed to only walk the night. It was a little funny, already knowing the facts behind vampires, to see her so upset about all the things she won’t be able to do. I liked that she stood up for her beliefs with a certain situation that she’s involved in.
Overall, the second book in this series was another that I enjoyed but didn’t adore. It was fun and funny. The drama and the antics and the sex were all pretty good. This series is well written and easy to read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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GoodReads Summary:
Survive the year.
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
The Grace YearReview:
The Grace Year was recommended to me by Alana @ The Bookish Chick. She and I are always sharing book recommendations back and forth. She absolutely loved this one, so I thought I would too. While I did really enjoy this book, there were a few things I didn’t love.
I really liked the concept of the story. A girl living in a society that treats her more like an object than a person. Women have a role and they are not to stray from that role. If they do, they may potentially be burned alive, hanged, or something else equally horrifying. It honestly made me so angry. But I think that means the author was successful with her writing. She really provoked some emotions from me.
I was fascinated by the mystery of the grace year. (Also, I’d like to know exactly how many times that phrase appeared in the book.) No one talks about the grace year, despite everyone over a certain age having gone through it. Then it’s time for Tierney and the others her age to go for their grace year. The idea is that they go away and expel all of their ‘womanly magic’ so that when they return it’s time to settle down and give their husbands children.
Things got a little wild from here. All of the facts behind the grace year were actually pretty fucked up. I think the author did so well with the drama and suspense during the time the girls are on their grace year. I was confused and dying to know what was actually going on. But I was also infuriated at the actions of some of the girls. I don’t often wish characters would die, but I texted Alana several times (in all capitals) wishing death on one particular character. The characters had such interesting personalities and they were pretty well developed. There were reasons why they acted the way they did.
Let’s talk about the romance. I didn’t like it at first, but then I loved it. Two people from completely different worlds, coming together? Who doesn’t love that? I hated how it ended though. That’s all I’ll say about that. The author did our love interest dirty and I don’t appreciate it, but I understand why it was needed for the way the story ended.
The final thing I didn’t like was parts of the ending. I went into this story thinking that Tierney was going to fuck some shit up and change everything about the way her people live. But she didn’t do this. She has the chance to spill everything about the grace year, to get the truth out there. But she doesn’t. She just keeps it between herself and the other girls of her grace year. She takes her role as wife and eventually mother. This really just annoyed me because what the hell was the point of the whole story if she wasn’t going to fix her horrifying society?
Despite this, I ended up liking the ending. She finds a nice partnership with her husband and I appreciated that. She also learns some things about a side mystery that’s been going on and I really loved that part.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. I loved the characters. I loved more of the story. I really enjoyed all the ideas and conversations explored in this story. The writing was compelling and I just couldn’t get enough. I actually stayed up until almost 3am so I could finish this book in one sitting.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.