Amanda’s July Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! July was a much better reading month for me than June was. I’m really proud of how well I did working on my physical TBR and getting it down to a lower number. I also read some really great blog posts this month. I did better at regularly checking my feed to read stuff from the people I follow. So, lets get into it!

What I Read

Physical Books
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – 4 stars
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – 3 stars
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth – 4.5 stars
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer – 4.5 stars
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – 3.5 stars

eBooks
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – 4 stars
The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt – 2 stars
A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart – 4 stars
What We Devour by Linsey Miller – 4 stars
A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers – 4.5 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s Favorite Retellings

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Book Review)

10 Popular YA Books on Amanda’s Physical TBR

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Amanda’s Summertime Book Recommendations

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi (Book Review)

5 Books Featuring Grief Amanda Recommends

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia (Book Review)

Other Bloggers I’m Loving

Thoughts on Prologues and Epilogues (Let’s Talk Bookish) from Briana @ Pages Unbound
I thought this was a really interesting discussion post!

Summerween TBR Time! from Destiny @ Howling Pages
Check out some spooky books that Destiny is going to read in July.

My 2021 Goals | Mid-Year Check-In from Jess @ Jessticulates
Come see how Jess is doing for their 2021 goals! I think you’re killing it Jess!

Our Friend is Here! A Discussion with Ryan Douglass, Author of The Taking of Jake Livingston – On Why We Need Radical YA Books from Skye @ The Quiet Pond
I love everything that comes from the Quiet Pond, but this post in particular was a great read.

Discover A Reader’s Book Buying Process from Kal @ Reader Voracious
See the how and why behind Kal’s book buying habits!

Book Drop // Library Book Haul from Book Loaner
Check out this library haul!

100 Books By Trans and Non-Binary Authors from Vee @ Vee Bookish
Some great recommendations here. I love the idea of collaboration to come up with ha huge list of recommendations.

Book Recommendations: Pride Month Edition – 10 Books with Bisexual and Pansexual Rep to Read During Pride Month! from CW @ The Quiet Pond
There are some really great recommendations on this list!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Bring to a Deserted Island

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. This week’s topic is Books I’d Want With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island.

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams China

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

House of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas

What books would you have to have on a deserted island?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’d Bring to a Deserted Island

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 the ten books I would want with me if I were stranded on a deserted island.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This Mortal Coil trilogy by Emilly Suvada

All of Nora Roberts books.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

So, I cheated a little with this one and included a few series. I think the Throne of Glass series and The Broken Earth trilogy would be excellent selections because I could read them over and over and notice new things with each new read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Tropes

Hi, lovelies! I think the concept of tropes is such an interesting one. There are things that have been used in stories so many times that they’ve become a thing. I didn’t really think that I had any favorite tropes, but the more I read, the more I realize that I absolutely do have some favorites. Now, some are general story ones and some are specific events in stories. Let’s get to it!

Friends to lovers

This is my personal favorite trope in romance. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s my real life trope with my husband.

Only one bed

The tension that stems from the ‘only one bed’ trope is just unlike anything else.

Forbidden love

As a teen, I was a big supporter of doing things I wasn’t supposed to do, so the whole people loving people they ‘shouldn’t’ because it creates such excellent drama and conflict.

Second chance romance

This is another real life trope for me. So, it totally checks out why I love this one.

Forced proximity

I think this one is another great one just because of the tension that’s created from the trope. I love to see characters that are trapped somewhere together that they don’t want to be.

Reluctant hero

The chosen one trope was really popular and still is, but I love me some reluctant heroes. A main characters that doesn’t particularly want to save the whatever, but they will because they’re the hero.

Fake dating

This one is incredibly popular. I like it, too. It’s fun watching a couple that’s totally in denial about their feelings for one another slowly realize they do actually love each other.

These are some of my favorite tropes. What are some of yours?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in One Sitting

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. This week’s topic is Books I Read In One Sitting (or would have if I had the time). I hardly ever do this anymore because I work so much but I came up with five books I was so invested in that I read them really quickly.

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam

These are my top five picks of the week. What books could you just not put down?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Read in One Sitting

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 the ten books I read in one sitting.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

The Year They Fell by David Kreizman

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

There are definitely more books I could add, but these are some that I’ve read in one sitting in the last year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Book Titles That are Questions

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 ten books that have titles phrased as questions.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Ain’t She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

Farewell to the M.B.R.C? by K.M. Shea

That’s all I have this week. This one was tougher than I thought it would be.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Favorite Time Travel Books

Hi, lovelies! I recently watched Soleil’s video from The Little Readers Corner where she talks about time travel books that she recommends. Watch it here. Her video inspired me to make a list of my favorite time travel books. So, here are some of my favorite books that have time travel.

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Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
“Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142. Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late. Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember. Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process. A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.”

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Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynold
“When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.”

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Vortex Visions by Elise Kova
“A desperate princess, a magical traveler, and a watch that binds them together with the fate of a dying world. Vi Solaris is the heir to an Empire she’s barely seen. Her parents sacrificed a life with her to quell a rebellion and secure peace with a political alliance. Now, three years past when her wardship should’ve ended, Vi will do anything to be reunited with her family. The Empire is faltering beneath the burden of political infighting and a deadly plague. Yet, Vi can’t help but wonder if her inability to control her magic is the true reason her parents haven’t brought her home. Suspicion becomes reality when she unleashes powers she’s not supposed to have. Powers that might well cost her the throne. As Vi fights to get her magic under control, a mysterious stranger appears from across the world. He holds the keys to unlocking her full potential, but the knowledge has an unspeakable price — some truths, once seen, cannot be ignored. All eyes are on her and Vi must make the hardest choice of her life: Play by the rules and claim her throne. Or, break them and save the world.”

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This is How You Lose the Time War by Amir El-Motar & Max Gladstone
“Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.”

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The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
“Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear.”

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Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
“Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet. Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.”

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The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
They said the war would turn us into light.
I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world.
The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat. Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on. Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference. A worthy successor to classic stories like Downbelow StationStarship Troopers, and The Forever War, The Light Brigade is award-winning author Kameron Hurley’s gritty time-bending take on the future of war.”

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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
“Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.
For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.”

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The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.
In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

These are my favorite time travel stories. Some of them are time loop stories, some have magical reasons for the time travel, and some are more unexplained. I love them all. What time travel stories are your favorites?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Book Tag – Mid-Year Check-In Book Tag

Hey, bookworms! We’re back with Amanda’s favorite tag of the year. It’s July, so a bit past mid-year, but we’re here to share some best and worsts of 2021 so far.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021 – 

Amanda: I can never pick just one, so Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler and The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman are both pretty high up there.

Antonia: Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam. This book was seriously amazing. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021 – 

Amanda:  Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. It was just so good.

Antonia: Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. These books just get better and better.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to – 

Amanda: The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore. I’ve loved all of McLemore’s books and I’m itching to get to thhis one.

Antonia: Legacy by Nora Roberts.

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2021 – 
(See our full list of anticipated releases here)

Amanda: Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool and The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi. Two series finales to favorite series of mine. I can’t wait to finish both of these series.

Antonia: The Becoming by Nora Roberts coming out in November.

Biggest disappointment – 

Amanda: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Everyone raved about this book and I let the hype get to me because I wasn’t impressed.

Antonia: Luckily I haven’t been disappointed by any books so far this year.

Biggest Surprise – 

Amanda: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. As a rule, I don’t like horror. But now, maybe I do? I loved this book and that surprised the heck out of me.

Antonia: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. I’d been putting off reading this one for such a long time because I was worried I wouldn’t like Apollo as a narrator but I ended up completely loving it.

Favorite new author – 

Amanda: Akemi Dawn Bowman and Adrienne Young. I still have more of their backlists to read, but I’m hoping to catch up before the end of 2021.

Antonia: Roshani Chokshi for sure. The Aru Shah series has been amazing and I can’t wait to pick up her other books too.

Newest fictional crush – 

Amanda: Casteel from The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I would die for both him and Poppy.

Antonia: Not really a new crush because I loved him from A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I have to pick Cassian from A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas.

Newest favorite character – 

Amanda: Rocky from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I loved him so much.

Antonia: Aru Shah from Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. She is definitely one of the funniest narrators I’ve ever read about.

Book that made you cry – 

Amanda: Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield. This book has some really tough subject matter so check out the content warnings before picking this one up.

Antonia: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas.

Book that made you happy – 

Amanda: Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler. I wish I had this book in high school. It really spoke to my soul in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Antonia: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’ve loved the movie for years and even though the book obviously had differences, it was still so nice to see all my favorite characters again.

Favorite book to movie adaptation this year – 

Amanda: I’m sure everyones answer is this one but Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo that was adapted by Netflix. I had some issues with it, but I really did enjoy it.

Antonia: I have to agree with Amanda about Shadow and Bone. I think they did a really good job overall.

Favorite review you wrote this year – 

Amanda: Probably my review for Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. I feel like I came across as clear and said what I wanted to say.

Antonia: I haven’t written any reviews this year.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year – 

Amanda: Ohhh, probably a tie between The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He and the Fable duology by Adrienne Young (put them side by side and they are stunning.)

Antonia: I’ve been really good about not buying books this year.

What books do you NEED to read before the end of the year – 

Amanda:

Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Antonia: So many. I’m way behind on my reading so I still have a lot from my winter TBR that I haven’t read and a bunch still coming out this year that I’m excited about. I’m definitely going to try to focus on books I already have before buying new though.

Anyone reading this that thinks it would be fun to do, consider yourself tagged, and feel free to tag us in your post.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I Love Reading

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. This week’s topic is Reasons Why I Love Reading.

One. Exploring new worlds. Not even just the amazing sci-fi and fantasy ones but being able to see different parts of the world that I don’t have the means to travel to is so much fun.

Two. Escape. I think this is probably a reason we all have. No matter what’s going on in your life, we all need to escape from the real world sometimes.

Three. Books are so much better than TV. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching TV but I feel like it takes some of the imagination out of it. Everything’s just shown to you whereas with books, you get to imagine most of it yourself.

Four. Memories. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading. Most of my favorite memories revolve around books.

Five. The people. Book lovers are just plain awesome.

Six. The characters. I’m a complete introvert so I don’t socialize a lot and books let me meet so many different kinds of people.

Seven. Reading makes me happy, sad, angry. Books can make you feel anything and it’s amazing.

That’s all I could come up with this week. What do you love about reading?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Why I Love Reading

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 ten reasons I love reading.

One. Escapism is the biggest reason that I love reading. I’ve been reading to escape the world around me for as long as I can remember.

Two. More recently, (in the last five years or so), I’ve started actively reading to broaden my perspective. I’ve always loved to read so I can learn about the experiences of others. But in more recent years, I’ve purposefully sought out books by people that are different from me and I really enjoy experiencing new things via fiction that I wouldn’t encounter in my every day life.

Three. This one is aimed specifically at reading romance. I love to see a happy ending. So, I always love to pick up a romance novel when I need a pick me up.

Four. I love reading because the concept that reading words that came from someones brain and have been printed onto paper is sort of a mind fuck. I love that these words can make me feel so many emotions and really have an effect on me.

Five. This is a newer reason. I love reading because when I’m doing it, I feel like I’m setting a good example for my daughter. She’s almost three now and because she sees me reading so often, she also loves to grab a book and come sit with me so we can read together. I can only hope I’m creating another lifelong bookworm like myself.

Six. I read for nostalgia. What I mean by that is that part of the reason that I’m such a bookworm is because when I was a kid, I would go to my mom’s house for the weekend and my mom, my nana, and I would all sit outside (weather permitting) and read together while my brothers rode bikes or whatever. So, I will always love reading for the fond memories of sharing books with my mom and my nana.

Seven. This sort of goes hand in hand with number six, but, I love reading because of the memories it creates. This one is more about memories with specific books rather than people. Looking for Alaska by John Green will forever be one of my all time favorite books because I read it in high school at a time when I really needed it. I genuinely think that this book saved my life. I have a few books that have some really sentimental meaning like this for me.

Eight. The people that reading brings together is another big reason I love reading. So, similar to my answer for number six, Antonia and I are friends because we bonded over Twilight by Stephenie Meyer when we were 14 years old. I have also made countless friends online that have become so much more than just online friends all because we love reading. I think the connections that fellow readers create is definitely one of my favorite things that I love about reading.

Nine. I love reading because while I’m lost in a book, I can travel to places I likely won’t get to see in my regular life, but I also will be to see places that aren’t real.

Ten. Honestly, when it comes down to it, I love reading because it makes me feel. Sometimes good, sometimes sad, but I can always find a book for what I’m needed at the time.

Why do you love reading?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s July TBR Jar Picks

Hi, lovelies! We’ve made it through another month of 2021. So, I’m back with five more picks from my TBR jar! I did really great with last month’s picks. I read all but one of them. I did start that last book, but a reading slump hit me in the end of June, so I didn’t manage to finish it. Despite the reading slump, I’m pushing through and picking five more books that I hope to read in July.

1st in a Series

We Set the Dark on Fire by Sara Raasch & Kristin Simmons

Standalone

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

LGBTQIA+

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

Middle Grade

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Favorite of a Friend

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

I’m also planning to participate in the next round oof Pop Culture Readathon (find all the information for this readathon on their Twitter). I’m not really going to make a specific TBR for that though. There are so many prompts that I’m just going to fill them in as I read. I do, however, have some NetGalley ARCs that I need to read. So, I’ll add those below with a few books that I want to read in July.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
This was one of the books I didn’t get to last month, but it’s been chosen as the bookclub book for this month. So, I’ve got to actually pick it up this time.

The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart

That’s all I have this month. I’m trying to keep it smaller this month so that I don’t fall back into the reading slump that came for me in June. What are you planning to read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Releases 2021

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. This week’s topic is Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021.

August 3
Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

August 10
Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

August 17
The Endless Skies by Shannon Price

September 21
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

October 12
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

October 19
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn

November 2
Gilded by Marissa Meyer

November 2
The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

November 11
Nowhere by Brandon Sanderson

November 23
The Becoming by Nora Roberts

What books are you looking forward to coming out this year?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – 2021 Anticipated Releases

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 the ten books I’m anticipating in the second half of 2021.

22 June
My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

29 June
That Weekend by Kara Thomas

27 July
Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

10 August
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

24 August 
Vampires, Hearts, & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston

14 September 
The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke

21 September 
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

21 September 
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

2 November 
The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

7 December 
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling

What books are you excited for in the second half of 2021?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s June Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hey, lovelies! I finallly picked up a few of my graphic novels this month! There was a readathon that I’ve done before called GraphicsAThon (find them on Twitter here). I felt motivated to try to read one or two graphic novels that I already own. Reading books I own is the theme for 2021 and I’m doing my best to stay on brand.

Middlewest Book One by Scottie Young, Jorge Corona, & Mike Huddleston

I’ve loved what I’ve read of Skottie Young’s graphic novels. So, this was my reasoning for purchasing this one. I have to say before you get into this one, there is a scene where the dad hits his son, Abel (who is our main character). And Abel’s dad definitely has anger issues, so it’s not a super healthy relationship. The story starts with Abel waking up late to his job of delivering newspapers. His dad is screaming at him. One thing lead to another and he and his dad are screaming at each other in the front yard. His dad turns into a giant wind monster and Abel flees for his life. But while he’s running away (with his best friend, a talking fox) he’s hit by the wind monster and this leaves a strange mark on his chest. After escaping, Abel searches for answers about what happened and how to heal this strange mark he now has. So, I enjoyed this. I think the art style was really interesting. There were lots of colors and each panel’s colors did a great job of portraying the mood of the pages. As for the story, I enjoyed it. I have quite a few questions about this world that I feel like weren’t answered. The art shows this world as a steam punk-ish kind of world. There’s lots of machinery with weird jars of green stuff that could be fuel of some sort. But there’s also things like regular doctors and hospitals, so it was unclear if this was supposed to be a realistic world like the one we live in or a fantasy world. There’s magic and many animals that can talk (like Abel’s fox sidekick), so there are definitely some fantasy elements (most of this book is about a wind monster, so). I’m not holding out hope that I will have my questions answered about the world building because it’s mostly shown through the artwork. But I’m still very interesting in reading the next book.

Middlewest Book Two by Scottie Young & Jorge Corona

So, this second volume of the series actually did answer some of my questions that I had. I believe that this is a fantasy world. It’s called Middlewest and there are all sorts of fantasy towns. But there are some elements that are similar to the world we know. We did learn a small detail about the green stuff in jars that seemed to be fuel. There’s also little bits of this worlds history mentioned, like the Great Plain Wars. I liked this second volume. The art was just as good as the first volume. We get to see some mythological and magical creatures that I thought were really cool. We also meet Abel’s grandfather who is a snow monster. I think the theme of controlling your feelings and emotions was a compelling one. We see a bit of Abel’s dad’s history when we meet the grandfather. I liked getting this character backstory. We also see Abel’s dad traveling in search of Abel and he’s having some really great realizations. I still wouldn’t say that I like him, but getting to see the character growth was interesting. Abel is still searching for a way to get rid of the mark, which we learned is called the Heart of a Storm. It’s seeming like there’s no way to actually get rid of it and Abel’s not happy with that. He’s still struggling with his anger and he takes it out on Fox. I loved Fox. He’s such a fun sidekick. Overall, I’m enjoying this series and I’m very interested to see where things go in the third volume. So far, both volumes have left off on a pretty compelling cliffhanger, which leaves me wanting to jump right into the next volume.

Middlewest Book Three by Scottie Young, Jorge Corona, & Jean-François Beaulieu

This is the conclusion to this series. I didn’t know there were only three volumes, but I didn’t mind that much. It was nice that I didn’t have to wait for anymore installments to be released. So, in this final volume, Abel and many other kids have been taken and put to work at an Ethol farm (ethol is the weird green stuff in bottles that we see in the first two volumes). This farm is run by a super not nice guy. Most of this book we are watching Abel and his friends try to figure out a way to escape the farm. But we also get to see other characters, like Maggie and Jeb, as well as Abel’s dad again. We follow what they’re doing as well. Everyone is trying to find Abel, basically. I enjoyed this conclusion. I think it was really fast paced and action packed. The stakes were high for Abel to keep his wind monster powers in check and he mostly succeeded. I think there could definitely be more created from this world, and I hope that we get to see that some day. I liked that there was a reunion between Abel and his father. I think it was really important for Abel to get to say his piece to his dad, finally. Abel’s dad’s growth was really good. I still didn’t like him, but I could appreciate him learning just how wrong he had been. Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It has a great message of breaking patterns, acknowledging and managing your emotions, and found families.

That’s all I read for graphic novels this month. I’m glad I managed to start and finish this series. It was a really enjoyable one with stunning artwork and important themes. What graphic novels did you read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.