Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookish Party

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic for a list of ten things I’d have at my bookish party. (Choose ten things: items, accessories, food, people (real or fictional), decorations, activities, etc.) I’m going to do Top Ten People I’d want at my bookish party. My list will be a mix of characters and authors.

 

1. Nora Roberts- Nora is easily one of my favorite authors. I’ve read more than a hundred of her books and reread them many times. I’d be ecstatic to get to hang out with her.

2. Kendra from The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn- If we’re gonna have a party we definitely need a witch there to make some magic.

3. Julia Quinn- She’s hysterical. I can’t help laughing out loud when reading her books even when I’m in public so I’m sure she’d have everyone dying laughing.

4. Alaska from Looking For Alaska by John Green- She’s the life of the party. I could never throw a bookish one without inviting her.

5. John and Hank Green- If you’ve ever watched any of the many vlogbrothers videos they have, you know these guys are highly entertaining.

6. Aelin from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas- I’m sure she would cause tons of trouble but that’s half her charm, right?

7. Adrian from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead- He’s got to be on everyone’s bookish party list. He was the first character to pop into my head when I looked at this prompt.

8. Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir- He had me laughing through the whole book. His humor is infectious.

9. Morrigan from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas- Maas knows how to write seriously badass women. I would absolutely love to raise hell with Mor.

10. Hermione from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- Confession time: Amanda and I were texting while I made this post and when I mentioned Hermione she joked about how Hermione and I would be off in the corner reading. Honestly? She’s probably 100% right and I’m not ashamed of that.

I had so much fun with this week’s prompt. Tell me all about the bookish party you would throw! Thanks for reading.

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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Amanda’s Barnes & Nobel Book Haul!

Hi, lovelies! I’m just stopping by this evening to share with you all the things I got this weekend at the Barnes & Nobel Book Haul Blowout! I have been looking forward to this all weekend! I think I picked up quite a few books that I’m really excited about. So, expect to see them in any of my TBR’s in the near future.

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I picked up a few that I was missing from the always wonderful Rick Riordan. I was very excited to see these on sale because I never see his books on sale!

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

I also grabbed a few that I’ve seen so many others talking about. I wanted to get them so I could understand why everyone is talking about them!

Furyborn Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

There were a few that I’ve seen before but I haven’t really heard anything about them aside from what they’re about.

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody

And finally, I picked up two books by the same author that I’ve never heard of but the synopsis sounded pretty interesting for both of them.

H2O by Virginia Bergin

The XY by Virginia Bergin

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The next book is the one full-price book I bought and I’m blaming entirely on Heathur from Aphrodite Reads because she does nothing but sing its praises. It’s going to be a buddy read for the upcoming round of ZodiacAThon.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

 

 

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The graphic novel was an impulse buy. I went over to the graphic novel section to look for the next volume of a series I started recently but instead, I found something I never knew I needed. I don’t play video games pretty much ever, but a friend of mine got me into Life is Strange and I’m so glad.

Life is Strange: Dust by Emma Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi, & Andrea Izzo

 

 

So, there you have it. These are all of the books I picked up today on my trip to Barnes and Nobel. I have to thank my dad because this haul was a belated birthday gift from him. I cannot wait to dive into these new books, but for now, they have found a new home on my TBR bookshelves.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s July Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I’m here with a very belated wrap up for the month of July. I’ve been a bit lazy with setting up my blog posts which is why this wrap up is so late. But! I’m here and I’m sharing all of the wonderful (or not so wonderful) things that I read in the month of July. Without any further delay (because I’ve delayed enough with my laziness) here are the things I read.

Physical Books
Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

eBooks
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
All Our Broken Pieces L.D. Crichton
The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Moon Cakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Audiobooks
Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I managed to read twenty books in July. Not my best month, but still one that I’m very happy with. Tell me what you read last month!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s BiblioGames Wrap Up

Hi lovelies. June has come to an end and we are officially in the second half of 2019! Where has the year gone? Today I’m sharing with you the things I planned to (and successfully) read in the month of June. Check out my TBR post here to get all the details on the BiblioGames. I read a total of 13,096 pages in the month of June (which includes the 50 bous pages I got for each TBR challenge I completed). Without further delay, here is what I read for this readathon in June.

Main Classes

Homeroom – Group Book

Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Gym – A Book in Format You don’t Typically Read

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau

Lunch – A Book with a Satisfying Ending

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Super Villain Classes

Mad Science – Science Fiction Book

Record of a Space Born Few by Becky Chambers

Archery 101 – A Book with Badass Main Character

Vortex Visions by Elise Kova

Wold Domination – Buddy Read with a Team Member

Roar by Cora Carmack

What did you read in June? Did you participate in the BiblioGames?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s June Wrap Up

Hi lovelies! Can you believe it’s already July? I had an excellent month for June. I did pretty well in my college classes. I read a ton of books. I got to spend some fun days by the pool with my cousins. All in all, June was good to me. I read a total of twenty-seven books. Some great, some not  so great. But, most of them were on my physical TBR of books I already own which I’m happy to be making progress on.

Physical
Roar by Cora Carmack
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
Ozma of Oz by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young
Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanah Ganucheau
Girls of July by Alex Flinn
The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

eBooks
Vortex Visions by Elise Kova
Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Audiobooks
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

How many books did you read in June? Did you find any new favorites? Did we read any of the same books?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads Summary:

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.91shyghsqsl

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

 

Once again I couldn’t wait to start this book after the suspense-filled ending of Siege and Storm (you can read my review of it here). The Darkling finally made his move; the Second Army has been destroyed, the palace taken over, the king, queen, and prince are possibly dead, and Alina is hiding underground without her powers.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. At the beginning, it felt like there was no hope for Alina and her friends to be able to defeat the Darkling. He simply has too much power and experience for the ragtag group of rebels to make much difference. To change this, Alina and her friends go on a nearly impossible quest to try to find the firebird. The third of Morozova’s amplifiers could make Alina powerful enough to face the Darkling once and for all but the firebird is a legend they’re not sure even exists. I really enjoyed this quest; the interactions between this group of misfits were fun and it was nice to get away from the politics of the second book. The twist involving the firebird, the third amplifier, and Mal wasn’t much of a plot twist for me. Usually I like little subtle hints in books that make you go “Ohh” when you eventually figure it out but I thought these ones were pretty obvious. I’d guessed this outcome back in the second book but it wasn’t revealed until two-thirds of the way through this one.
Alina is still my favorite character. She’s strong and brave but also very flawed. Despite everything though, she always tries to be a good leader first and foremost. I loved watching her continue to grow throughout this book.
I’m also glad I started to like Mal again. My opinion of him has sort of been a rollercoaster throughout the series but he managed to redeem himself by the end. He hasn’t always been there for Alina the way he should but he stepped up when it mattered and I ended up admiring the person he becomes.
Nikolai is also one of my favorites. He’s still the dashing, witty pirate we met in the last book but behind that he’s intelligent and kind. I was more devastated by what happens to him than by any other event from these books so that should tell you how much I love him.
I don’t have much to say about the Darkling that I haven’t already said in my previous reviews because his part in this book is mostly from a distance. His unpredictability makes him an exceptional villain and I liked the way Bardugo ended things for his character.
Overall this way an amazing conclusion to the series and I highly recommend it to everyone who likes YA and fantasy. As always, thanks for reading and I’d love to know what you think in the comments.

-Antonia

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads Summary: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.91wvknclkul

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

 

After almost a year, I finally got around to finishing this series. I did reread the first book but, since my thoughts on it remain the same, I won’t write another review for it. You can read my review of Shadow and Bone here.

I loved this book. After the whirlwind ending of the first book, it seemed like this one might start slow, but it picked up almost immediately and the whirlwind started again. That’s one of the things I love about this series; it’s so fast paced that I read each book in only a day or two. Even during slower moments there’s so much underlying suspense that you can’t wait to see what happens next.

The setting is amazing. As I said in my review of the first book, I struggle a lot with visualizing settings, especially fantasy settings. Bardugo describes the places and people in her books so well though that I found it easy to see everything. Even with the war, this is a world I think I could live in.

Alina is a character I continue to admire. She’s gone through so much in her life and the events of the last book have left her shaken. Terrible things have happened to her and she’s done terrible things as well. She barely knows who she is anymore and she’s fighting so hard to separate her actions from those of the Darkling. No matter what she does she always keeps fighting to be a good person and I love that about her. I think she really stepped up in this book to try to be a good leader even if she still makes mistakes sometimes.

Mal started to annoy me again in this book. He annoyed me in the beginning, then I loved him by the end of the first book and the beginning of this one, then he started to annoy me again, but I feel like it wasn’t so much his fault. Mal and Alina start this book in a really good place in their relationship. Sure, they’ve got problems, but most of them stem from the war and their terror of the Darkling. Then, suddenly, the relationship’s broken and Mal’s acting like a jerk and Alina won’t just talk to him. It didn’t feel like a natural progression to the relationship. It felt like Bardugo just created problems in the relationship to add more tension to the plot and not because that’s where the relationship was going. It’s the only serious problem I had with this book. I would have understood them having a little trouble because their entire lives are made up of stressful situations and that would wear on any relationship, but the complete 180 seemed forced to me.

I absolutely love Sturmhond. It seemed like every time I turned a page there was a new facet to his personality that made me love him more. Even the negative traits just made him more interesting. I won’t give away too much about him but he’s definitely one of the more unique characters I’ve read about recently.

The Darkling is still an awesome villain even though we don’t see him quite as much in this book. The affects the end of the first book had on him have somehow made him more twisted and it was difficult to figure out what he might do next. Also, (sorry everyone) I still don’t love him.

Overall this was an amazing sequel that I highly recommend to everyone who enjoys YA and fantasy. It has the romance and magic that you expect from this genre with a heavy dose of darkness and what people are capable of under pressure thrown in. I’d love to hear your own thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

-Antonia

Circe by Madeline Miller

GoodReads Summary:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
CirceReview:
I read this book for the BookTube SFF Awards. I wasn’t surprised to see it on the list on nominees after hearing everyone and their siblings talking about it. The wait to borrow it from my library was about a million years. So, I put a hold on the audiobook and waited.
I finally got the book from my library. I really enjoyed the narrator. She had a nice voice and didn’t go too fast or too slow. I just enjoyed her voice and her accent.
As for the actual story itself. I really just feel like I don’t even know what happened. I read this whole book and I learned all about Circe and her life and her feelings but I feel like so much happened but also nothing happened.
I don’t know if this is making any sense or if anyone understands what I mean, but I didn’t love it like everyone else did. I enjoyed it while I was listening and then it was over and I didn’t care anymore. I think this is about as coherent as my thoughts are going to get so I’ll just end things here.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.