Inebriated by Katey Taylor

GoodReads Summary:
Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco’s party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.
When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she’s introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.
But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?
Katey Taylor’s heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait’s life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.
InebriatedReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Inebriated is a story that follows Cait. She’s just started the summer before her senior year of high school. I was really excited by the synopsis of this book because I was Cait in the summer before my senior year. I’m also going to add here that I’m going to talk spoilers in this review so if you don’t want to see those you can skip to the last paragraph where I give my overall thoughts or pass on this review.
Sadly, Cait’s story was pretty unrealistic and I didn’t end up liking it very much. The story was fast-paced and non-stop drama. Those were the good things. We start the story off with Cait waking up somewhere in San Francisco with no memory of how she ended up there. She just casually gets a cab back to the small town she lives in. I think my biggest issue with this book was that I also grew up in a small town filled with underage drinking. I drank so much when I was in high school, to the point where I was barely 21 and an alcoholic. Despite my past with alcohol I still love to read stories about teens struggling with drinking. This story wasn’t about Cait’s struggle. This story was about Cait not thinking at all. There was so much that was unrealistic about this story. Let’s start with the amount that she and her friends, Allie and Steph, drink. They pregame, which was fine and totally something many people do, but they pregame by taking four or five shots then get to their destination minutes away and take five or six more shots. Ten or eleven shots in less than an hour? There’s no way their bodies would tolerate that without either very quickly blacking out and then passing out or vomiting. I say this with the full authority of someone who has literally done this many times. The (unbelievable) excessive drinking continues throughout the story. Some of Cait’s friends start doing coke and one party Steph does so much coke she literally passes out, but no one seemed concerned for her well being at all??? I’m honestly just a little horrified by this book.
Then we get into the relationship. Cait meets Aiden, a very popular musician, and they start a relationship. Which was fine if you ignore the fact that he’s in his mid-20s and she’s 17. On top of that, Aiden struggles with heroin addiction. That’s nothing against him, except for the fact that he seems to be placing Cait at the center of his sobriety. Also, most addicts should be sober from everything. Getting blackout drunk all the time Is not a great way to get a handle on your drug addiction. It’s just substituting one substance for another.
Let’s get to the best (read: worst) part of this book. Cait goes to a music festival that Aiden is playing at. She invites her best friends and they ditch her to do coke with allies boyfriend. Fine, whatever. Cait goes to see Aiden play and he’s relapsed. She finds him after the show getting a blow job while he’s shooting up. After making her very high on coke friends leave and drive home they get into a car accident and Steph dies. The first issue with this is that there was no emotion with her death. It all happened incredibly fast but Cait wasn’t feeling anything strongly enough for me to actually care. Then her solution is to continue drinking profusely. I wanted to scream at her. The only good decision Cait made was to move with her mom to San Diego. Days before she’s supposed to leave she makes another hugely stupid choice and goes to see Aiden because, surprise, he wrote her a song. She gets blackout drunk again. I just couldn’t with Cait. Her actions and feelings were unrealistic. I’ve been a teenage alcoholic and I’ve had friends die because of drugs or driving under the influence so I know what it feels like. I just really didn’t like her.
There were some good things about this book that I really wish had been delved into further. There was so much promise with the issue of Cait’s past with Allie’s boyfriend, Keith. Instead, he just caused problems with Allie and Cait where they’d ignore each other than a week later act like nothing happened. Also, Cait’s parents have just decided to get divorced. I think her relationship with her parents was the best part of the book, except all the times she lied to them through her teeth. There were a lot of issues that could have been elaborated on there too but weren’t.
Overall, I didn’t care for this book. The amount of liquor these girls drank each time they got together to party was just wildly unrealistic. There is no way their bodies would have been able to handle that much booze. Along with that, I didn’t really feel like Cait’s emotions came through. She told us what she was feeling or that she was feeling nothing, but I didn’t believe any of it. I also hated her relationship with Aiden. It was toxic and I was happy when it ended. I wanted more of a resolution from this book. Cait only realized that she should probably stop drinking in the last few chapters of the book and that just blew me away after everything she’d gotten herself into. Some people have left favorable reviews for this book so maybe I feel this way because I was a teenager that drank too much in high school so I know what it was like. Don’t let my dislike stop you from reading it if this still sounds interesting to you. It’s definitely a book I read very quickly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

GoodReads Summary:
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem. Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleReview:
This book was an absolutely wild ride. We follow Aiden Bishop as he’s placed in the mind of eight different guests. He has eight days to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Each of the eight days, Aiden is in the mind and body of a different guest. I don’t know how to explain the experience that was this book. We didn’t know who the next guest would be, but at the same time, Aiden was still in the mind of his previous hosts. Anything he did in the present host could potentially affect the things he had already accomplished. This book was beyond complicated and confusing. Each new day we learn a little bit more, and the mystery unfolds a little bit at a time. This author did an incredible job of keeping the reader in suspense and giving enough answers to keep the story going at a good pace.
When we find out what’s really going on, I was blown away. I’m not going to spoil anything, so I’m going to keep this review short. The intricacy that was this book is honestly amazing. I am blown away by Stuart Turton’s brain and his capability to make this story what it is. There were so many details and connections.
My only complaint is that I still had a few questions when I finished the story. I felt like there were one or two things that weren’t answered or weren’t clarified enough for me.
Overall, I will absolutely be reading this author’s next book. I was captivated by this story. It sucked me in and wouldn’t let go until the mystery was solved.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

GoodReads Summary:
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.
On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.
Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.
The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.
Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.
Say You Still Love MeReview:
After hearing nothing but good things about K.A. Tucker I decided to give her books a try. I was so pleased when I started this book because I didn’t know anything about it and I totally love books set in summer camps. This story alternates between the past and the present.
In the past, Piper is sent to work at the Wawa summer camp to work as a counselor for eight weeks. I absolutely adored this setting. It was so much fun and I felt like I got to vicariously live through Piper to live my dream of being a summer camp counselor. I really enjoyed the young love romance that she finds with Kyle. It had a ‘lust at first sight’ aspect, but their falling in love took time and didn’t move too fast. I liked that it covered good topics, like having sex for the first time and not moving too fast. There was a bit of underage drinking. But I really enjoyed these chapters. There was a mystery aspect because there was some big issue that happened in the second to last week of camp and we wait for most of the book to finally find out what happened. I liked this because it was suspenseful and interesting.
Then there’s the storyline in the present. Piper is about to take over the company her father owns. Don’t ask me to tell you what this company does because I honestly have no idea. But, she’s a woman in a corporate world so she deals with some idiot men that continually underestimate her. I did like that not all of the men were like that, but the drama with one specific man that kept going over her head to her father was great. Seeing Piper figure out how to take him down a peg was really interesting. I liked the father/daughter aspect of the story too. She’s working out how to get her father to stop trying to fight her battles and stop letting the problem character go to him instead of her. Then there’s Kyle in the present. He has secrets, but we don’t know that until Piper learns them. I liked their relationship. They’re trying to figure out if they can get back what they had. I thought it was well done and I really enjoyed it.
Overall, this was such a great book. I’m very excited to read more by this author. The characters were ones I was invested in and really cared about. The story had mystery and suspense. I just loved this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

GoodReads Summary:
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands… no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1)Review:
I used to read Lisa Kleypas in high school. But it’s been many years since I’ve read any of her books. After reading some newer historical romance I decided I wanted to try some of the historical romance that I loved in my younger years. This was one of those.
I thought this story was fun. It was definitely entertaining. I love the concept of the wallflowers befriending one another and coming together to help each other catch husbands. The friendships of these four girls was most definitely my favorite part of the story. These girls are hilarious and outgoing and they make each other more confident. I’m continuing this series 100% for the friendship of the wallflowers.
The romance was actually pretty good in this book too. It’s an enemies to lovers story that follows Annabelle as she’s in her last season and desperate to get a husband to hopefully pull her family out of financial ruin. I think that’s what made me not hate her motivations. She’s only doing this for her mother and her brother. But the romance was pretty good. It was well developed and I really enjoyed seeing the couple fall in love even though they both really didn’t want to. I also enjoyed seeing Annabelle end up in a marriage that is very different from what she’d planned for her entire life. Simon Hunt is a businessman and not a part of the peerage. So, he doesn’t run in the circles that Annabelle’s hoping to become a part of. This was an adjustment for her and I think made the book that much better.
Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. I liked the romance and the friendships were excellent. There were some great steamy scenes and I just all around had a good time reading this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

GoodReads Summary:
If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…
If I Never Met YouReview:
This author is new to me. This is only the second book I’ve read by Mhairi McFarlane, but I enjoyed all I’ve read so far. This is the author’s newest release and I enjoyed it so much. I think I prefer this one over the other that I’ve read. Mostly because this has tropes that I adore (read: fake dating and ‘there’s only one bed’).
One of the things I love about Mhairi’s books is that while they are technically a romance, there’s so much more to the story than that. The romance seems to take a back seat to the character development. Laurie has just been broken up with by her partner of more than ten years, the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. I can only imagine how she felt, but the author does a really good job of showing the emotional effect of this breakup. Laurie doesn’t let this break her. She lets herself mourn and then decides that she’s going to do something about it. At first, her goal is to win her ex back (which was a little annoying because he sucks.) But she eventually realizes that he isn’t worth the gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. Enter Jamie. He’s the stereotypical womanizer (or is he??) and they get trapped in an elevator together. They come up with a fake dating plan that is supposed to benefit them both. And hilarity ensues. They pose for Instagram and go on fake dates, but end up creating a really wonderful friendship. I really liked their friendship. It was well developed and seemed to develop naturally rather than being insta-love.
The friendships in this story were also wonderful. That’s something that this story has in common with the other book by this author that I read. The main character is learning about herself but has an excellent support system in her friendships.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and heartwarming, but also deep and thoughtful. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Martian by Andy Weir

GoodReads Summary:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
The MartianReview:
I absolutely loved this book. I bought it a few months ago after Antonia read it and loved it. But I couldn’t seem to pick it up until the Bookclub I’m in with a few local friends pick this one for March’s book. I read this book on the best day, it was warm and sunny so I got to sit outside and imagine myself on Mars.
Mark Watney was such a great character. He’s trapped on Mars after his crew left him behind thinking he didn’t survive after getting hit by a piece of equipment during a dust storm. The best part of this book was Mark. Despite facing what is likely imminent death he has such a positive attitude. He really excelled at focusing on one problem at a time. He has a really great mindset of “well I’ll worry about starving later because I won’t be able to worry about starving if I can’t solve problem x right now.” I think this was one of the best parts of the book.
Once we get to see what’s going on back at NASA the story really gains momentum. Things seem to move fast even though time isn’t actually moving fast, but we only get updates from Mark every few days. But the whole book was high stakes and full of excitement even if Mark made the situation seem funnier than it was.
Overall, this book was funny and exciting. Sometimes it felt like I was right there with him trying to work through the problems that he needed to solve for his survival. I loved everything about this story and I am beyond excited to read more books by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing.
Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her.
But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself.
As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare – because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.
Shatter City (Impostors #2)Review:
As I’ve mentioned with literally all the other books that take place in this world, this book was full of action and excitement. We’re still following Frey like we were in the first book, but when the story starts, she’s back to pretending to be her sister. This was one of the things I didn’t like about this book. There were so many instances where the twins had to or chose to pretend to be the other. I honestly felt bad for Frey because she just wanted to be herself, for once, but so many things were preventing that. I just wanted her to be herself like she wished so badly. Despite not liking this aspect, I still liked Frey. She was strong and determined. She made choices that maybe weren’t always the right ones, but she made them with her head and her heart.
We get to see so much more of the world in Shatter City as the characters travel all over. I liked seeing the familiar places, like Diego, as much as I liked getting to discover new ones. Along with seeing the world, the plot was complex and interesting. There were so many different storylines being brought together. Some were resolved in this book, which I liked, and some left for the next one.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book but I still liked it. It was an exciting story with characters that I cared about. I’m eagerly awaiting book threes release. Also, I just have to add that I swear to god if we don’t get to see Tally in this series I’m going to be so mad.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

GoodReads Summary:
You always remember your first love… don’t you?
If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat… what more could a girl really need?
Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth… or a second chance with the one that got away?
Don't You Forget About MeReview:
I’ve been reading so much romance lately that I’ve been searching for new authors to read. Mhairi McFarlane came up in my search so I picked up two of her books from my local independent bookstore. I’m glad I did because though these are romance books in an assumed way, they’re more character-driven by the main character learning more about themselves.
I loved this book because I related so hard to Georgina. She’s been bouncing around different jobs in the food industry. Her family looks down on her for her lack of stability. I just could relate to her not yet finding her place in the world in a working sense. I really enjoyed her finding a new place to work that she just loved and felt at home. But (gasp) her first love is one of the brothers that owns the bar. And (gasp again) he doesn’t remember her. I love their budding friendship and eventual reconciliation about the past. I thought this book was so well done. There were hard topics covered and in a thoughtful way.
Overall, I didn’t know what to expect from this story but there was such great character development. There were great friendships and learning moments. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to her mysterious power of a soul-stealing kiss. Suddenly, the Warden clan that has always protected her is keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the forbidden demon prince who understood her in ways no one else ever could.
Rock bottom is only the beginning once Layla’s powers finally start to evolve. She’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden, finally getting what she has always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count piling up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing or able to pay.
Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)Review:
I will love Jennifer Armentrout and her books forever, but Stone Cold Touch has me seriously rolling my eyes so hard. So, we left off and Roth is gone back to hell and Layla doesn’t think he’s ever coming back. So, she’s grieving him but also getting even closer with Zayne. I just wanted to yell at her to get away from him and wait for Roth to come back (because I know how it ends as I’ve read these books before.)
I found it hard to really like Layla and Zayne becoming closer in a context different from the relationship they’ve always had. I think this is because I liked Roth so much in the last book. But I think it’s also because Layla was so insecure about Zayne when he was telling her how he felt and she was still doubting it. I get that there would have been obstacles to overcome but she ruined it before it could even be anything.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite. But it was full of angst and action. I’m excited to finish the series and maybe even reread the companion series before the newest book comes out.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey’s very existence is a secret.
Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.
When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor-as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.
With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies.
ImpostorsReview:
I have been waiting to read this book until I managed to reread the entire Uglies series and I’m so glad I did. Impostors takes place around fifteen years after the end of Specials. Like with Extras, I really enjoyed getting to see the aftermath of Tally’s actions and to see how the world was changed by her revolution. I also really enjoyed getting to see a different part of this world that I’ve loved for so many years. This was such a different book from Extras and I really enjoyed that.
We follow Fray as she’s sent to a neighboring city as a hostage. She’s the extra daughter. The body double for her twin sister, Rafia. The world doesn’t even know she exists. I thought she was such a complicated and interesting character. Her struggle of loving her sister but hating her father was so interesting. I loved her strength and how out of place she felt. It was fascinating to see her in a situation she wasn’t comfortable in (pretending to be Rafia full time) but then becoming herself again (after her father does some terrible things) and showing who she really is. I liked that it didn’t take very long for her to share her secret because I hate the secret keeping trope. I loved the sister relationship because I’m a sucker for siblings in books, but I have a bad feeling about Rafia for some reason.
Then there’s Col. I totally liked him from the start. I thought he was interesting despite his “boring” reputation. He loves his family and his people. He’s a natural leader and just a really good friend. I’m so excited and anxious about how this book ended with Fray and Col so I’ve borrowed book two from the library while I wait for the paperback edition to be published (to match the rest of the series).
Overall, like most of Westerfeld’s books, this was full of action and adventure. It was a fast-paced story and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I’ve quickly become so invested in these characters and their storylines. I cannot wait to continue the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
A few years after rebel Tally Youngblood takes down the Specials regime, a cultural renaissance sweeps the world. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. Popularity rules, and everyone craves fame.
Fifteen-year-old Aya Fuse is no exception. But Aya’s face rank is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. Her only chance at stardom is to kick a wild and unexpected story.
Then she stumbles upon a big secret. Aya knows she is on the cusp of celebrity. But the information she is about to disclose will change both her fate…and that of the brave new world.
Extras (Uglies, #4)Review:
Part of me remembers not liking this book the first time I read it. I think that’s because I really loved the first three books so much that getting a fourth book that takes place in a different city with totally different characters (for the first half) was annoying to me. But rereading it years later, I actually really enjoyed it.
Extras takes place about three years after the ending of Specials. So the world is working on figuring out how to continue, but it’s been enough time to see what Aya’s city has become. There’s nothing but freedom. So, everyone looks different based on what interests them. I thought that this book taking place in a different city was wonderful. We got to see a different part of the world we knew and how it’s changed since the “mind rain.” I thought this book was really interesting in the sense that it says a lot about social media (in a form different from what we know today) and people’s desire to chase fame.
We follow Aya who is fifteen and just wants a story big enough to boost her ranking. I liked Aya, though she could be a little annoying at times with her fierce desire to be well known. Despite that, she really learned a lot about herself and grew as the book went on, which I appreciated. I liked that her brother was a big part of the story because I’m always here for good sibling relationships.
Like the other books in this series, the story was fast-paced and full of action. I also really like the suspense and mystery of what the characters were trying to uncover. It was a compelling plot.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m very excited to continue in this world with the Imposters series, which I believe is set in the same world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she’s one of them. A Special. A super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn’t better than anything she’s ever known. Tally still has memories of something else.
Still, it’s easy to tune that out—until she’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.
Specials (Uglies, #3)Review:
My issues with this book are pretty much the same as they were with the previous book. I didn’t like the group of “new” specials that Shay created. They centered around self-harm, specifically cutting, and I really didn’t like that. I did like how Tally stood up and stopped cutting because she knew it wasn’t right, despite that sometimes it made her feel good.
Tally kind of annoyed me in this book, but it wasn’t really her fault. It was more than at the beginning of each book Tally was having to go through everything she’d just succeeded in the previous book. It was a little repetitive and just annoying. All her progress was lost at the end of each book and she had to go through it all over again. Despite this, I still liked Tally. She’s been through some shit at this point. I loved her and Zane together and was sad that we didn’t really get that in this book (I’m also just mad in general about Zane’s storyline).
I did really like how Shay and Tally we’re together again in Specials. They didn’t really have a very healthy relationship because of their past betrayals. I liked how their relationship was left. I think their forgiving one another and reconciliation was satisfying.
Overall, like the first two books, Specials was action-packed, fast-paced, and exciting. I know the fourth book doesn’t really follow the same characters but I’m still excited to see what’s going on in this world next. I really liked getting to see more of the world and the other cities in it. I thought it was interesting how things were all brought together from Tally’s various adventures. I also remember being really mad about the ending of this book when I read it the first time years ago, but I actually kind of liked it. I think it was a fitting end to who Tally has shown herself to be. I also appreciated that the romance between her and David wasn’t just immediately resumed. I’m going to stop now so I can read Extras.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
Pretties (Uglies, #2)Review:
Sadly, I liked Pretties less than the first book. My feelings were much the same as the first. The story was action-packed with high stakes and interesting characters. But those characters that I loved so much from the first book just weren’t the same.
Tally, the main character, made similar mistakes. She kept secrets which led to damaging her relationship with Shay. Her friendship with Shay was one of my favorite things about the first book and Shay became a sort of villain in this book. I guess it’s more of collateral damage than a villain, but I really didn’t like her. Tally was the same, fearless and fighting for what she believed to be right.
The parts with Shay toward the end were hard for me. Shay and a group of friends start cutting themselves and I really didn’t like that. I think there were definitely other ways the plot could have gone.
Then there’s Zane. I wasn’t really sold on Tally and David’s romance so I was happy to see Zane. I thought his history was interesting and brought complex plot lines to the story. I totally loved his romance with Tally. They made each other better and were mostly honest with one another. There were no big secrets aside from things they’d done in the past.
Overall, I definitely preferred the first book but I still had fun reading this. We see more of this bizarre futuristic world. I’m wondering what, if any, part that will play in future books. The storyline gets more complex with higher stakes. I was engaged the whole time I was reading and definitely left with a fierce desire to immediately pick up the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever.
Uglies (Uglies, #1)Review:
I have been wanting to reread this series forever. I read it so many times when it first came out and in my later years of high school. I’ve always been a lover of dystopian books. So, after meeting Scott Westerfeld last year and hearing all about how the fan art for this series inspired and changed his writing, I really wanted to reread it. Also, he’s continuing the series and I want to read those too.
I genuinely enjoyed Uglies. I was worried it wouldn’t hold up, but it did. There were a few tropes that I don’t particularly care for, but overall it was action-packed and I flew through the story. There was secret-keeping (the part I don’t care for) but the characters were so well developed and I grew to love them so much that I understood the motivations for the secrets. I really loved Tally. She was a girl beyond excited to turn pretty. But her world gets turned upside down. Everything she’s grown up knowing has been shown to be a lie. She handled the challenges really well and did her best to make better choices. I also totally adored her friendship with Shay. I loved that they were fast friends. Their adventures leading up to their birthday were the best.
Shay was an interesting supporting character. She and Tally fight (over a boy, eye roll) but there’s so much more to their relationship. I’m interested to see how things will continue in book two. I liked that Shay was so sure of what she wanted and so sure about Tally that she wanted her to join.
I’m not sold on David in the romantic sense. Their romance seemed a bit fast, but I liked him as a character. He’s unique in this world of ‘uglies’ raised to believe certain things. I liked his history and his strong morals.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m really hoping that continues for the rest of the series. I’m currently typing this review on my phone so I can go get and start Pretties as soon as I’m done.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

GoodReads Summary:
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
Review:
How do I even talk about this book? I’m undecided about whether or not I want to talk spoilers, so I shall start off spoiler-free and if I feel like I can’t get my thoughts across well enough I will clearly label when/if I start to talk about spoilers.
To start off, the world this is set in was a little confusing. It was unclear if it was supposed to be Earth in 15k years, and if it is Earth, are all of the continents in the same place? I was just a bit confused with the combination of fantasy with modern elements. Despite this, I really enjoyed the combination of fantasy and modern society. I thought it was really interesting to see modern technology within this fantasy world.
Let’s get into the characters. I loved Bryce. She’s a girl that presents herself in one way, a party girl. Everyone so easily believes that of her, underestimates her and I loved it. I loved her proving them all wrong. She loved fiercely and having lost her best friend, she’s just not okay. I adored her relationship with Danika. I loved the fledgling relationship with Connor and was totally devastated at their outcome. I loved how Danika’s journey was brought full circle.
Now, Hunt. He’s an interesting one. I feel like we didn’t get all of his history. We learned about his role in the Angel rebellion and I’m totally here for a man that fights for the right thing. I liked that he’s not perfect. Maas manages to write wonderfully damaged men that are so easy to love. I really enjoyed Bryce and Hunt getting to know one another past the party girl and the governor’s henchman.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I have a feeling the series is only going to get better (it seems to be the trend with Maas’s books.) I’m hoping she doesn’t follow the trend of changing the love interest because I really like Hunt and Bryce together. I thought the world was interesting and I’m excited to learn more about it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.