Amanda’s Birthday Book Haul!

Hi, lovelies! My birthday was in August and I usually end up with a decent amount of books gifted to me. So, this is also sort of my August book haul, but I didn’t buy any of these because they were all birthday gifts. My lovely best friend, Antonia, bought me quite a few books for my birthday so thank you very much babe!

New Books I’ve Read

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

That Weekend by Kara Thomas

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

New Books for my TBR

Ace of Spades by by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

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

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

The Push by Ashley Audrain

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

I think I’ve read a good amount of these new books and I have plans to immediately read some of the others. Did you buy any books in August?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Summary:
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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Review:
One Last Stop was another birthday gift (Thanks, Avhlee!). I don’t know if I’m going to be able to really explain my feelings about this book. This book is probably going to make my favorites of 2021 list. It just felt like a deeply personal story to me and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to portray that in this review. So, instead of writing a review in my normal format I’m going to share 5 things I loved about One Last Stop.

  1. I love the way that the past connected with the present. We see it again and again with Jane and August. One example being the pancake diner.
  2. Jane and August meet on the subway and they spend most of their time together on the subway. So, a fun thing that McQuiston added into this book was little blurbs and snippets from various ‘missed connections’ pages. They’re all about Jane because she’s been on the subway for literally years. I thought this was a really fun extra that we got in the story.
  3. The sex scenes were everything I wanted them to be. I give them an enthusiastic chef’s kiss.
  4. I really loved the way that McQuiston included LGBTQIA history. We see it through Jane’s eyes who was a lesbian in the 70s. We also see it with the inclusion of the UpStairs Lounge fire that happened in 1973 (and this connects to another part of the story).
  5. August’s three roommates, Niko, Myla, and Wes, are the found family of my dreams. They’re weird and quirky, but they accept one another and love one another. I love how they came together to help August find a way to be with Jane.

Overall, this book reached into my soul and made a home there. I was constantly laughing out loud and couldn’t stop myself from reading bits and pieces aloud to Antonia. I loved this book with my whole heart and soul and I already cannot wait to reread it in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s September TBR Jar Picks

Hey, lovelies! It’s September which means I’m going to be starting my ‘spooky season’ reading. I love to read thrillers, mysteries, and other stories like that during the fall/Halloween season. So, I will be picking five categories from my TBR jar and trying to match them with what I really want to read for spooky season.

Gifted to You
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
Thanks mom! This was a birthday gift from my mom and I’m super excited to read it.

New Release
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
I’ve had this tentatively on my TBR for the last several months since I bought it and I’m dying to read it.

Sequel
Cazadora by Romina Garber
I have an eARC of this that I’m behind on reading. I want to reread the first book, which I think I’m going to do via audio. So, hopefully I’ll be able to read both of these in September.

LGBTQIA+
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
It’s finally the perfect time of year to read this! I’ve been waiting for spooky season for this one because when I bought it last year it ended up being backordered at the indie bookstore I got it from.

5-Star Prediction
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Antonia and I did a five star prediction back in April. We honestly probably won’t wrap that one up and predict more until next month, but this book is on that list for me and I think it’ll be a good spooky season read.

As usual, I have a few books I want to read outside of what I’ve picked for my TBR jar. Some of these are NetGalley arc’s and some are just books I’m hoping to read in September.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochran

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

These are the books I’m hoping to read in September. What’s on your TBR this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Magical Readathon: Orilium – The Novice Path TBR

Hi, lovelies! G has returned to us with a brand new version of The Magical Readathon! I’m honestly beyond excited about this because I loved the Magical Readathon in the past years when I did it. But with the author of the series that inspired the readathon being hugely transphobic, G has recreated this readathon with a brand new world of her own creation. I’m in awe of the amount of time and effort that it must have taken to think up and plan and organize everything for this. You can check out G’s announcement video with all of the details and stuff you need to know here!

Above is the ‘Novice Path’ which is the path I must take if I want to make it to Orilium and attend the academy there. To successfully venture on the Novice Path, I must complete two prompts, but I’m going to go for all seven. Each prompt must have their own book. So, here are the books I’m planning to read to complete the Novice Path and make it to Orilium.

The Novice Path Entrance: read a book with a map

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Ashthorn Tree: a book that keeps tempting you (or the book on top of your TBR)

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Mist of Solitude: read a standalone

The Twin Paradox by Charles Wachter

Ruin of the Skye: read a book featuring ghosts/haunted house, or other supernatural elements

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Obsidian Falls: read a thriller or mystery book

Holdout by Jeffery Kluger

Tower of Rumination: read a five star prediction

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Orilium Academy Arc: a book with a school setting

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

There are also a few prompts that have to so with creating my character (which I plan to use in future rounds of this readathon) so, I am planning to attempt these prompts as well this month.

Background

Wildling: read a book largely set in a forest/outside

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Province

Irtheria: read a book that features fae or elven characters

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Heritage

Earthling: read a book with elemental magic or an element work in the book/series title (air, fire, earth, or water)

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

So, these are all of the prompts that I am hoping to complete this month (if you read my TBR jar post, you may have noticed that I definitely borrowed from that list too. What are you reading this September?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Summary:
A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers.
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you, NetGalley for this review copy. Here is my honest review for The Book of Accidents. This story follows Nathan, Maddie, and Oliver, a family. They are moving back to Nathan’s childhood home because it’s a financially smart choice to make. But things are not alright in this town they’ve moved to. There is something dark living in this town.
Now, I have to start off by saying that this book was weird. I wasn’t sure if the ‘why’ behind it all was supposed to be magical or scientific for way too long. I guess the mystery of ‘why’ was done really well because I was left guessing. This was a dark, creepy story. There were definitely some more gruesome moments than I was expecting. This is a slow and wandering story. There are definitely moments of action and twists and suspense, but this is a slow story that takes its time getting to where things need to go. I liked that at times, and I didn’t like it at other times. I think because it took me so long to read this one, I was only sometimes in the mood for a slow story.
I think the characters were all really well developed. We really get to know them, their histories and the why behind who they are. I liked that we got to know the whole family.
Overall, I think I liked this one. It was definitely a bit weirder than what I usually read, but it was a gripping and well written story. I liked all of the characters. I liked the setting of a small town with a dark history. The magic was bizarre and fascinating. I still don’t know that I totally get it. I definitely think this would be a good one for horror fans.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Boarding School Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! I’ve been starting to plan my TBR for spooky season and I realized that I’ve been reading boarding school stories recently. I thought that was funny since it wasn’t planned. I have a few more I want to read during spooky season, so maybe I’ll talk about those in my wrap up.

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
“Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game. Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.  The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.”

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Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
“Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way. Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins. A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations.”

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
“Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires—the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them. After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by. Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…”

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Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better. Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?”

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Love Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
“Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefactor offers her a life-changing opportunity—a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. Eager to start over somewhere new, Jacaranda leaps at the chance. She pours her heart out in emails to the benefactor she’s never met. Suddenly she’s swept up in a world of privilege where the competition is fierce and the talent is next level. As Jacaranda—Jackie to her new friends—tries to find her place, a charming boy from this world of wealth catches her eye. She begins to fall for him, but can he accept her for who she really is?

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Looking for Alaska by John Green
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.”

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
“The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar. From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.”

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The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
“When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students. On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too. Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.”

Well, this is it friends. These are some books that have a boarding school setting that I enjoyed reading. Boarding school is a buzz word for me. I love to read about boarding schools, so hopefully you’ll enjoy some of these recommendations.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Summary:
Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be, anyway. Now, Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with 10 years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.
Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippie. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous – yet surprisingly helpful – assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

Book Cover

Review:
Love Her or Lose Her is the second book in the Hot & Hammered series. I really enjoyed Fix Her Up so I was very excited to read the sequel. We follow Rosie and Dominic who are high school sweethearts. The story starts and Rosie is finally leaving Dominic. She doesn’t feel like they have a salvageable relationship, but Dominic doesn’t want to give up and agrees to therapy (which surprises Rosie). I don’t know what it is, but I really love romance novels about already married couples and this one continued that trend. I really liked Rosie. She has goals and dreams that she’s actively working on making reality. She has things that she wants and she’s not going to wait to get them any longer. But when things between her and Dominic start to get better, Rosie’s not sure if leaving him is the right thing to do anymore.
I loved this book. I think it’s my favorite in the series. I loved seeing Rosie and Dominic find their way back to one another emotionally. I think the book was totally steamy, just like the first one. I was easily invested in the chahracters and the romance. I rooted for them and felt the ups and downs alongside them.
Overall, I loved this one. I will be reading move from Tessa Bailey as soon as I get the chance.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Poetry Collection

Hi, lovelies! I’ve been feeling guilty about all the poetry collections I own and haven’t read anything from yet. My friend, Ari, has gifted me quite a few of these. I love poetry. I found out that I had an undiscovered love for poetry while I was in college. I had to take some poetry writing and reading courses and I focused a bit on modern poetry, which is when I realized that I had all the wrong ideas about poetry. Knowing more about it, and writing some of my own showed me that it’s a form of writing that I do love. So, I started collecting books of poetry while I was in college.

Recently, I unhauled a few collections that I’d owned for a few years and still had yet to pick up even once. I’m trying to get my book collection just to books that I really really love. And that includes the poetry I own. So, I’m hoping to read a few of these before the end of 2021, maybe half of them if I include the ones I’ve started and not finished. I think that’s pretty realistic for me. So, I’m going to list all the titles and authors below and share whether I’ve read them or not.

Selected Poems by Robert Frost
I love Robert Frost. Fire and Ice is one of my all time favorite poems.

Wild Embers by Nikita Gil
I haven’t read this one, but I can’t wait to give it a try. I’ve loved Gil’s other works.

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gil
I’m obsessed with this collection. I’ve read the whole thing.

Great Goddesses by Nikita Gil
I’ve read a few poems in this one, but not the whole book.

I Would Leave Me If I Could by Halsey
This is my newest purchase. I love Halsey’s music, so I’m excited to read this one.

Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert
I used this one for one of my college classes. I’ve reread quite a few of the poems in this one and they’re all really hard hitting.

Women Are Some Kind of Magic trilogy by Amanda Lovelace
I’m grouping all three of these together. I’ve read the first two in this series and have started the third. I might reread a few of the poems from the first two before try the third to see if I still like them.

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace
I made it about half way through this one and then put it down for some reason.

Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace
This was a complete impulse buy. I’ve seen mixed reviews on this one.

The Day is Ready for You by Alison Malee
Thanks, Ari, for gifting me this one! I follow this author on instagram and I love their stuff.

American Primitive by Mary Oliver
I’ve heard amazing things about this author.

Felicity by Mary Oliver
Same as above. I bought a few by Oliver. But I have actually read this one.

Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
I’ve read a few poems from this one, but not the whole thing.

Pillow Thoughts & Pillow Thoughts II by Courtney Peppernell
I bought these in the early stages of my poetry collecting. I still have yet to pick them up though…

Ordinary Beast by Nicole Sealey
This is one is my favorite collections. I used this one in my college classes as well and I ended up reading the whole thing.

So, this is the entirety of my poetry collection. I’ve read some completely and others I’ve just read a poem or two f rom. But I’m hoping to read them all soon so I have a smaller collection filled with poems I really love. Do you love poetry? Who are some of your favorite lesser known poets?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Summary:
When MacKayla’s sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death, a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed – a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho…while at the same time, the ruthless V’lane – an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women – closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book – because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands.

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Review:
I’ve had Darkfever on my TBR list for a super long time. So, I finally managed to pick it up thanks to my TBR Jar. I read this one for ‘favorite of a friend’ since my friend Ari loves this series. I’m so glad I finally read this one because I absolutely flew through the story.
Darkfever follows Mac, who has just found out her sister died in Ireland. After finding a weird voicemail on her phone, Mac decides she must travel to Ireland and do some investigating herself, since the police haven’t found anything. But Mac finds herself way in over her head. Enter Jericho. Owner of a bookshop, he helps her with her mission of finding the truth of what happened to her sister. But there are others that pop in and out of the story as well.
I think the mystery really stood out in this story. I went into this book thinking it was going to be a fun paranormal romance (which it sort of was), but the mystery was a huge part of the plot. The plot was actually what kept me interested in the story, more than the romance. This is a slow burn romance for sure as the couple that I anticipate being the romantic focus didn’t even kiss. I am
Overall, I really can’t wait to continue this series. I think it’s going to be a wild ride. the world that Moning has created is a dark and eerie once, but a fascinating one as well. I loved Mac and Jericho and I’m excited to see where things will go next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.  

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Summary:
After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.
Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”
Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

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Review:
Fix Her Up follows Georgie and Travis. Travis is a baseball player whose career ended early due to an injury (though I don’t ever remember being told what the injury was and he never really talked about it). He’s a player, nicknamed ‘Two Bats’ (yes, this is about his penis. Yes, this is a stupid nickname.) But when a new job opportunity arises, he must shed the ‘play boy’ image and show that he can be wholesome and family network approved. Enter Georgie. Georgie has had a huge crush on Travis her whole life. He’s her older brother’s best friend. So, she’s always been Stephen’s kid sister. This is an image she’s trying to shed. She feels like no one takes her seriously (which I mean, she’s a professional clown so…). She and Travis ‘fake date’ to make Travis seem more wholesome and to get people to stop thinking of Georgie as a kid.
I liked Georgie. I could relate to her with her family dynamic. My dad owns his own business and it’s always been planned to be passed on to my older brother. So, I was sort of left to wonder what the heck I wanted to do since my life wasn’t planned for me since birth. I was left to make my own way, like Georgie. Though, I didn’t become a professional clown. I liked how Georgie was persistent and stubborn. She was determined to help Travis at the beginning and she really did help him.
Travis was interesting because we see him pretty down at the beginning of the story. But we also see things turn around for him. His character growth was really enjoyable. I loved being in his head while he can’t seem to stop thinking about Georgie. I thought the struggle of ‘but she’s my best friend’s sister’ was a good one. Especially since he couldn’t ever really manage to stay away from her.
Now, I have to mention this. If you like romance without explicit sex scenes, this series is not for you. Because these books are hot. They’re explicit and incredibly steamy. I loved it. I loved the positive talk about masturbation. I also loved the communication between the two whiles being intimate. Some reviewers have said there’s too much talking, but damn that dirty talk was absolutely excellent.
Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this book. The sex scenes were steamy and the romance was one that I could get behind. I liked the growth and development of the two main characters. I also liked the growth of the side relationships. Georgie betters her relationship with her sister and makes a new friend, Rosie, and I loved these three women together. The only thing that I would have liked to be different was that I wanted more of Georgie expanding her entertainment business. We see her talk a bit about getting more performers, but the story focuses more on the romance and on Travis’s future than Georgie bettering her business.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

Summary:
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you NetGalley and the published for an early copy of this book, here is my honest review. A Psalm for the Wild Built follows a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who is traveling through Panga to all the towns and villages. Tea monks are there to lend an ear, to be a comfort to people. I loved the concept of this world. Years and years ago, robots gained consciousness and left the world of humans. They decided they wanted to go live in nature, not to be disturbed, and that’s what they did. Many people in the present time think of robots as more legend than actual history. This is also a super diverse world. The monks are referred to as Brother, Sister, and Sibling depending on whether they are male, female or non-binary. The monk we follow, Dex, is non-binary. Dex changed careers early in the story. We see them work really hard to be an excellent tea monk and they really succeed. But being a tea monk doesn’t make them happy. So, in pursuit to feel better, Dex goes on a journey to find a lost monastery in hopes that it will give them the feeling of satisfaction that they’re craving. But as they start their journey, Dex is met by Mosscap, a robot. The two end up traveling together to the monastery and learning about one another on the journey.
I loved this book. I loved Sibling Dex. I adored Mosscap. I loved everything about it. The concept of robots fleeing the human world to live free in the woods is such an excellent one. I loved learning about how the robots have been living since leaving. Mosscap always had the most insightful things to say. I loved all of the wisdom it shared with Dex. Dex was a compelling character too. They are doing something they’re really good at, and yet, they’re still not satisfied with their life. I totally relate to this and I loved following Dex’s emotional journey.
Overall, this was a beautiful slice of life story that followed two characters that will hold a place in my heart for a long time. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in the series and I hope that we will get more from this series. I definitely recommend this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s August TBR Jar Picks

Hey, lovelies! It’s a new month, which means we have five new picks from my TBR Jar. First, let’s talk about how I did last month. Out of the five books I picked, I read three of them. I think that’s pretty good considering I didn’t read much of anything for most of the month. And the two that I didn’t read were fantasy and the third in a series I think I want to reread before I jump into the new one. I’m happy with how I did for the prompts. I also managed to read my book club book and way more NetGalley arc’s than I planned for. So, let’s talk about what prompts I picked for August! I’ll be on vacation for most of the month, so I’m not keeping my hopes up that I’ll be reading a ton of books.

5 Star Prediction
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
I love John Green and I have the audiobook borrowed from my library. I haven’t listened to his podcast of the same name, and I’m glad for that now that this book is out. I fully anticipate loving this book.

Reread
Key of Light by Nora Roberts
This is the perfect prompt because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. Roberts is a go-to for me when I’m in a reading slump.

Most Recent Purchase
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
I found this second book in the series for like $2 at a local used bookstore in July. I really enjoyed the first one and I’m excited to continue the series.

Middle Grade
Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I’m so excited for this sequel and I’m glad that I have a prompt for this eARC since I need to read it this month either way.

LBGTQIA
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
This one was gifted to me for my birthday and I’m incredibly excited to read it.

I have more NetGalley arc’s I need to read than usual for the month of August. But I’ve stopped putting pressure on myself to read them as fast as possible. I have a system and I just keep working with that and I slowly make progress. So, these are all eARC’s that I have that will be published in August. Are there any on your TBR?

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Holdout by Jeffery Kluger

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Cazadora by Romina Garber

The Boy with Fire by Aparna Verma

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

Summary:
Two girls. One night. Zero phones.
Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?
Well. Kind of a lot?
They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.
Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.
That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

Book Cover

Review:
Matson’s books have been really hit or miss for me. I totally loved Save the Date, but some of her other books were just average for me. I liked Take Me Home Tonight more than average, but less than Save the Date. I had one big issue with this book and it was the weird timeline with Teri. The story follows Kat and Stevie when they say they’re sleeping over their friend Teri’s house, but instead they go off to New York City for a best friend adventure. We follow both Kat and Stevie because, of course, nothing goes as planned and they get separated. But we also follow Teri here and there. And Teri’s storyline was just completely bizarre. I would have loved this book had it not had Teri’s weird story branch.
Now, I did really enjoy both Stevie and Kat’s parts of the story. The two go off into the city together, but Kat has ulterior motives for going to the city. This news causes a huge fight between the two. Then Stevie’s phone breaks and the two get separated accidentally and there’s lots of incorrect assumptions. So, instead of a fun best friend adventure in the city, the two both end up having their own adventures.
I really liked Stevie’s storyline. I come from a blended family and I have half and step siblings, so I really enjoyed following Stevie as she finally takes the time to get to know her new (ish) step-siblings. She ends up having a really great night with them. I just loved the growth of the family relationships. It was wholesome as hell.
Kat had a more romantic plot line. She faces a lot of disappointment regarding the ulterior motives that she came to New York for in the first place. Nothing is going as planned and its one major disappointment after another. Her idol turns out to be a jerk and her best friend seemingly leaves her stranded in the city. But she meets a cute boy that swoops in and saves her night.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. But the Teri plotline totally came out of nowhere and it completely took me out of the story. I would have preferred it just have been about Stevie and Kat. I loved the friendship struggles and family issues being resolved. Most of all, I loved following the pair as they really learning more about themselves.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s July Wrap Up

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

What I Read

Physical Books
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – 4 stars
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – 3 stars
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth – 4.5 stars
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer – 4.5 stars
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – 3.5 stars
Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 5 stars

eBooks
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – 4 stars
The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt – 2 stars
A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart – 4 stars
What We Devour by Linsey Miller – 4 stars
A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers – 4.5 stars
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendigi – 3.5 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s Favorite Retellings

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Book Review)

10 Popular YA Books on Amanda’s Physical TBR

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Amanda’s Summertime Book Recommendations

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

5 Books Featuring Grief Amanda Recommends

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

Other Bloggers I’m Loving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Summary:
A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.
Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.
Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.
Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.
Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

Book Cover

Review:
Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun was provided to me vie NetGalley so that I could read it and write an honest review. This book follows Julain Luna, a teenager that’s in the midst of applying to colleges, his last year of high school, and counting down to the day he leaves Texas so that he can be himself, finally. Julian is gay, but he feels like he can’t tell anyone because of his abusive father. His father knows in that way that isn’t talked about, but he lays hands on Julian, yells at him when Julian does ‘unmanly’ things. The parts of this story where Julian is suffering his fathers verbal and sometimes physical abuse were hard to read. It’s the reality for so many people, but I can’t help but wish that everyone struggling through this would just be loved and accepted by their family. One night, after getting incredibly drunk via the peer pressure of his friends, he comes out on his personal Twitter. This brings a new set of challenges. He’s treated differently at school and by his fellow players on the soccer team. But Julian has a great group of friends on his side and he has his sister. There’s also Mat, the very handsome boy that DM’d Julian after he came out.
I really liked this book. It’s full of heartfelt moments between friends. It’s a lovely story about moving on from high school. But it’s also Julian’s story about coming out and falling in love for the first time. I loved following him as he got to know Mat and then eventually got to meet him. I liked the tense moments of whether or not Julian was going to be able to go to college in California. I absolutely loved the sincere moments between Julian and his sister.
Overall, I really loved this story. I can see how important this story will be to so many people. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s sex positive. It’s gay. It has so many good things that I think will really speak to so many teenagers. I absolutely recommend this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.