Books & Baking – Kiss My Cupcake

Hi, lovelies! I read the cutest book that was filled with cupcakes and I knew I just had to try one of them out. I flipped through the book to find all the options where the cupcakes were actually described from the cupcake to the frosting and I came up with five options. Then I showed my partner the options and he chose the ones that I made. So, here are my cupcakes from Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting.

Book: Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

Read my full review here!

This is a romance novel that follows Blaire and Ronan, two business owners that are next to one another. They start off as rivals but decide to team up and host events when a bigger threat comes onto their street. It was a funny and fun story about two bars that are very different but both interesting. I enjoyed it. There were fun pranks, delicious sounding cupcakes, creative events, and a romance I could root for.

“You may have started the war, but I’ll be the one taking you down, one sweet treat at a time.”

“But I think I’d rather have someone to miss than never have the opportunity to witness that kind of devotion.”

Baking: Lemon Drop Cupcakes

Find the full recipe here!

I was torn between the death by chocolate cupcakes and the lemon drop, but my husband asked for the lemon drop ones. So, that’s what I attempted.

“The lemon drop cupcake is a featured special today if you’d like to give it a try.”
“Hmm. Is it sour?” The like you is clearly intimated, though unspoken.
“It has some pucker power, if that’s what you mean. It’s a good balance of sweet and tart.”

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups lemon curd
lemon-cream frosting

Lemon Curd Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Lemon-Cream Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese frosting, room temperature
1 cup bakers sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Cupcake Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
With an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, on medium/low. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mix, then half of the milk, and all the sour cream. Add the next 1/3 of the flour mix and the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour mix. Mix until just combined.
Divide the batter into the cupcake tin (about 1/3 cup in each). Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Let them completely cool before decorating.

Lemon Curd Instructions
In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs. Add the butter and cook over low heat. Stir continuously until the first bubble appears and the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk, about 6 minutes.
Strain lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer if you don’t want lemon zest in the curd. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold.

Frosting Instructions
With an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the lemon curd and mix until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Assembly Instructions
Once cupcakes are fully cooled, scoop small hole out of each cupcake (the recipe said to use a melon baller, but I just used a knife to cut a bit of the top out). Fill each hole with a scoop of lemon curd. Frost cupcakes (the recipe says to use a pastry bag with all the fancy tips, but I used a small ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner). Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.

And here’s a better picture of my final product. I really liked these. They were, as Blaire said, the perfect combination of sweet and bitter. I think the frosting was absolute perfection and the curd was delicious, but there was something about the actual cupcake was a little bit too bitter. I think I zested a bit too much of the lemon. But I would definitely make these again and I highly recommend you make them too if you think you’ll like them. They were pretty easy to make too. I made these yesterday and they’re already gone, so definitely a hit in my house. Let me know if you try to make these!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Books & Baking – The Lightning Thief

Hi, lovelies! I chose to do a rather easy one for this installment of Books & Baking just to keep the momentum going for this feature. I tend to forget about things if I don’t do them regularly. So, I think this one will be a fan favorite (because it’s a very beloved book). For this edition, I’ve decided to bake something from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I’ve always wanted to make a blue food for this blog feature since I first had the idea.

Book: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Read my full review here!

If you don’t know what the Percy Jackson series is about, you must be living under a rock. We follow Percy as he finds out that he’s actually a Demi-god. Lots of wild antics and quests ensue. I really enjoyed this book, and the rest of the series. I love Percy and Annabeth and Grover. I love all of the characters we meet. And I love the representation this story gives.

“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.”

“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.”

“Look, I didnt want to be a half-blood. If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom and dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life. Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful nasty ways. If you’re a normal kid, reading this because you think it’s fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe none of this ever happened. But if you recognize yourself in these pages-if you feel something stirring inside- stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it’s only a matter of time before THEY sense it too, and they’ll come for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Baking: Chocolate Chip Cookies (but they’re blue!)

So, for this one I actually used my mother-in-laws recipe for chocolate chip cookies and I’m actually not going to share that with you all.

“I guess I should explain the blue food. See, Gabe had once told my mom there was no such thing. They had this fight, which seemed like a really small thing at the time. But ever since, my mom went out of her way to eat blue. She baked blue birthday cakes. She mixed blueberry smoothies. She bought blue-corn tortilla chips and brought home blue candy from the shop. ”

Okay, so here is where I’d usually put the ingredients and baking instructions. But as I said above, I’m not sharing my MIL’s recipe. So, find a chocolate chip cookie recipe of your choice and literally, all I did was add blue food coloring to the dough once it was all mixed together. I’m just going to add some more pictures I took in place of the usual ingredients and instructions.

I got some pictures when they came right out of the oven that really show how blue they are. It seemed when they cooled they lost a bit of the color. But they were not good pictures so I will not be adding them here. I also just have to say that I think these are the best batch I’ve made and I think it’s because of a brown sugar issue where I had to make my own. Have you ever made any blue food in honor of Percy Jackson? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookish Party

fullsizeoutput_26e4

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.

fullsizeoutput_11ba

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.

Twitter
GoodReads

Blogtober Book Review: Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

fullsizeoutput_20a2

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.

81i8kbmikhl

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.

fullsizeoutput_11ba

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.)

img_6238

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.’

img_6238

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

49N0APW3Tj6+X7C5gO99OA

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

xdWJJU1bRXSSV9WpV92WtA

 

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

 

 

7+PLqCEgQsykNhT9E9KYvQ

 

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

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