Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween Freebie

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 top ten – Halloween Freebie. I will be listing ten books I want to read on Halloween night.

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Vol 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Devouring by Simon Holt

The Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

These are just some of the choices I have to read for my Halloween Readathon! This year I’ll be taking my little girl trick or treating for the first time, so we shall see what I end up getting to read.  What books would you pick to read on Halloween? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Book Review: Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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GoodReads Summary: In this prequel to Ella Enchanted, which can stand on its own, young healer Evie is transformed into an ogre by the meddling fairy Lucinda. She’ll turn back only if someone proposes and she accepts!

Returning to the land and many of the characters from her beloved Newbery Honor–winning Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine has written a delightful tale about a clever and endearing heroine who is determined to defy expectations.

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.

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Review: First off, thanks to Emily at Wunderkind PR for sending me a finished copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s not something I usually do, especially because I hardly write reviews anymore but I’ve loved Levine’s books in the past and I just had to say yes to this one.

Unfortunately, I ended up being really disappointed by the ending. I’m going to give some general thoughts first and then go into the things I had issues with at the end so anyone who wants to avoid spoilers can skip that part.

Overall I enjoyed the characters. Evie is smart and kind and I loved the fact that the main character is basically a monster for most of the book. Yes, she’s still human inside but her ogre side takes over sometimes. She finds herself suddenly thinking humans might taste pretty good and she frequently has to resist the urge to eat her friends. She’s constantly hungry and isn’t too picky about what she eats as long as it’s meat. She smells terrible and the other characters comment on it a lot. She’s angry all the time about tiny things. They’re such unique traits to give a heroine and I enjoyed watching how she deals with these obstacles to try to break the curse and even just survive. Evie is a strong, brave young woman and I liked getting to see her learn more about herself throughout this adventure.

I liked Wormy as well though he wasn’t there for a big chunk of the book. I would have liked to have seen more of him especially because the change he makes by the end seemed a little unrealistic but that’s probably because I wasn’t able to see him actually go through the change. He was just suddenly different when he comes back into the storyline later on.

Eleanor was probably my favorite character (another reason the ending made me so angry). She was fun, kind and the most amazing friend to Evie.

The fairy Lucinda is obviously very annoying. If you’ve read Ella Enchanted (or even seen the movie) you know she just buts into everyone’s business randomly and ruins their lives because she can. I think the most annoying part is that in her twisted mind she honestly thinks she’s helping people. I get that she’s super powerful but it still astounds me that no one even tries to do anything about her, they just sort of let it happen.

The plot was decent. It’s exactly what you expect from a story inspired by fairy tales. Now that I’m older I find I don’t have as much patience for how unrealistic stories like this can be. Don’t get me wrong, I love the magic and mythical creatures but wish the characters didn’t act so ridiculous sometimes. However, given that this book is middle-grade it’s kind of to be expected.

**Now is where I’ll talk about the spoilers for the ending so please stop reading if you want to be surprised.

I’m not sure why I expected anything different but when I first read the description for this book I was like, “Finally! A girl who doesn’t want to get married at fifteen. Who has a guy friend she doesn’t fall in love with. This is great!” Guess what happens by the end of the book? They have a long engagement (which was something they said at the beginning Lucinda wouldn’t let them do so I don’t understand what changed) but they’re still engaged at sixteen and married at eighteen which is something we seriously need to stop portraying in books and film. I’m so sick of this trope of girls falling in love with their best friend. Just because he loves her does not mean she has to reciprocate.

Eleanor’s fate is what upset me the most though. Before everyone finds out he’s the villain, Eleanor gets engaged to Sir Peter and, of course, Lucinda shows up. Her “gift” is basically that Eleanor can’t back out of marrying Peter which she obviously doesn’t mind at the time. However, once everyone found out he was a traitor I assumed they’d figure something out, most likely that the king would execute him for treason (yes it’s middle-grade but there were ogres literally eating people). Nope. They all agree that they’ll pardon him for poor Eleanor’s sake and send him off to be a travelling merchant. As though being married to someone she hates is in any way a good thing. The part that really got to me though is that in the epilogue she’s pregnant. Why was that necessary? Their baby is Ella from Ella Enchanted so she had to exist somehow but since Eleanor hates Peter I’m trying really hard not to imagine how that baby was made.

**End spoilers.

Long story short: sorry guys. I really wanted to like this book but the ending absolutely ruined it for me. I’ve liked Levine’s work in the past so if you enjoy middle-grade and fairytales you should still give it a try. Thanks for reading.

-Antonia.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Book Titles

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 top ten – Extraordinary Book Titles. I’m just going to pick a handful of my favorites.

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We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

What book titles do you think are extraordinary? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Intimidating TBR

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 top ten – Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why (maybe you’re scared of it, worried it won’t live up to the hype, etc.)

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read this yet. I think the hype is what makes me hesitant to pick it up.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
There’s literally no reason why I haven’t read this one yet.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This is another that I’ve put off because of the hype that surrounds it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I read Strange the Dreamer and didn’t love it, so I’m hesitant to pick up another of her books.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Superhero books are really hit or miss for me. I love Leigh, so I don’t want to read this and not like it.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Eight hundred twenty-seven pages. That’s all I have to say.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
I know I’m going to love this. I really don’t know why I haven’t picked it up.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Something about starting a new series is just intimidating.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Another book that is so well-loved that I’m scared of not liking.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Something about historical fiction, it seems to be a rare mood for me. Because of this, I don’t pick it up very often despite almost always loving the books I read in the genre.

What books do you have on your TBR that you just haven’t managed to pick up? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s Zodiac-A-Thon TBR

Hi, lovelies! This month I’m sticking to one short readathon for September. August was a little overwhelming with all the group reading I did. So I want to take it easy and do some mood reading before the spooky readathons start. This round of the Zodiacathon will start today, September 4th, and end on September 8th. Just a short four days! For the challenges, there are prompts for everyone’s sun, moon, and rising signs.

Moon Sign: Capricorn

Buddy read a book with someone (there’s ten of us!) who shares your moon sign.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Capricorn: Read a magical realism/speculative fiction book.

Moonstruck Volume One: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, & Kate Leth

Sun Sign: Leo

Leo: Read a library book.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry

Rising Sign: Gemini

Gemini: Read a sequel.

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

I’m excited to read these ones! What are you planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Comfort Zone

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 top ten – Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone (i.e., a genre you don’t typically read or subject matter you’re not usually drawn to). This is a tough one for me because I read a huge variety of books and I wouldn’t say that I have a ‘comfort zone.’

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Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
Science Fiction Graphic Novel

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Non-Fiction

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect by Zander Cannon
Fantasy Graphic Novel

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Non-Fiction

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanah Ganucheau
Contemporary Graphic Novel

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Adult Contemporary

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Science Fiction

The Recovering:  Intoxication and  its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison
Non-Fiction/Memoir

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Historical Fiction

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Non-Fiction/Memoir

These are the books I came up with for books that I enjoyed that were outside of my comfort zone. I’ve recently started reading graphic novels, so the ones I’ve enjoyed made this list because they’re still new for me. I also have a fair bit of non-fiction because it’s not something I usually read. Most on this list I only read because of book club. What books made your Top Ten Tuesday list this week? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s August Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I had the best reading month I’ve ever had. I’ve been reading like mad this month, everything from graphic novels to new releases. I don’t have too much to say, so I’ll get right into what I read in August.

Physical Books
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Under the Moon: Catwoman by Lauren Myracle
The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige
Kaijimax Season One: Terror and Respect by Zander Cannon
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti
Nexus by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti
Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth, Megan Levens, & Marissa Louise
Henchgirl by Kristen Gudsnuk

eBooks
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons
Chosen Champion by Elise Kova
Failed Future by Elise Kova
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray
This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Audiobooks
Stepsister Jennifer Donnelly

Friends, I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to read fourty-one books in the month of August. Some good, some not so good, but I’m beyond pleased with myself for having a record-breaking month. I don’t know that I’ll ever read this many books in one month again. Tell me in the comments what books or how many you read in August.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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