Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry

GoodReads Summary:
There are many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A supereruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.
Despite Ellis’s anxiety—about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of the ones she loves—the two girls become fast friends. But time is ticking down, and as Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, their search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Let's Call It a DoomsdayReview:
After absolutely adoring Heretics Anonymous, I knew I had to pick up Katie Henry’s new release, Let’s Call It a Doomsday. I’m so so glad that I did because it was even better than I expected it to be.
We follow Ellis as she struggles to keep her anxiety under control. She has intrusive thoughts, some that we get to see on the page. Her biggest worry is that the world is going to end. So, when she meets Hannah at her therapist’s office and then sees her again at school, she’s interested. Especially when Hannah tells her she knows when the world is going to end.
I loved Ellis. She was realistic and thoughtful and I just enjoyed her character. She battled her anxiety every day. She’s Mormon and despite lots of factors, she says true to her faith which was inspiring. Being able to believe so fiercely in something is admirable to me because I don’t have that same faith. Her journey of self-discovery, learning about her sexuality and how to handle her anxiety.
Then there’s Hannah, who is quirky and eccentric. I really liked her at first, but the more I learned about her the more I wanted her to just leave Ellis alone. She was the cause of pretty much all of the conflict in the story and every single one of her motivations were selfish. Despite that, she managed to push Ellis out of her comfort zone, to try new things and of course, she introduced her to Sam, Tal, and Theo.
These three boys were one of my favorite parts. Pot smoking, deep conversation having, ‘five-word-book-title’ guessing kind of friends. I love that they just immediately accepted Ellis into their group. They never pressured her to do anything that they were doing. They were just a funny group of kids.
I really really loved Tal. I loved the conversations about religion they would have. I also loved how he helped her see that there’s more to sexuality than she thought. I thought he brought so much goodness to the story. I 10000% ship them with my whole heart.
Overall, this book was funny, and heartfelt, and just wholesome. It showed anxiety in a realistic way. It talked about religion in a thoughtful way. Sexuality was talked about by several different characters in an honest way. I think this book did just about everything right. It’s one I plan to recommend again and again.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
We Speak in StormsReview:
We Speak in Storms was a book I picked up at the recommendation of Alana @ The Bookish Chick. I’m forever grateful for all of the book recommendations she sends my way. I loved this book. The cover pulls you in first, the colors of the storm contrasting with the colors in the field. I’m obsessed with this cover.
Then you open it up and the story sucks you right in. We follow three characters, the outsiders. Brenna is Latina in a small town that finds her too different. But her family considers her not Latina enough. She considers herself an in-between girl and hides herself among the other kids in her school that purposefully make themselves seem different. I really liked Brenna and her journey to accepting herself. Dot really helped Brenna see that she needed to embrace what makes her different and to get back to doing the things she loves.
Joshua was my favorite though. He’s a fat, queer kid that used to be bullied, but since coming out is more invisible than anything else. He has a mostly good relationship with his mom and sister and a not so good relationship with his stepdad. It was really heartwarming to see the changes in his confidence and the rest of his life with the help of Luke. I found Joshua and Luke’s interactions the ones I wanted more of. I didn’t think there was enough. Luke mostly just told him to not let anyone get him down.
Then, Callie. Her mom is dying and Callie might as well be dying too with the way she is acting. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t interact with her friends. She’s going through the motions in an attempt to not feel the huge emotions that revolve around knowing her mother will die soon. Enter Ellie. She’s a wise older woman that knows just how to help Callie deal with the loss she’s about to go through.
The way these visitors came back to mentor the three main characters was honestly so heartwarming. I loved the mystery at the beginning of the tornado and who these new people were. I loved Callie, Joshua, and Brenna coming together and forming an unlikely friendship. I loved the atmosphere of the small town they lived in. Their problems were huge and real. This was a book about the ‘different’ kids learning how to be happy with what made them different and I loved every page of it. There was a mystery and a little bit of spookiness and it was perfect.

Quotes:

“Did death scare him? Had he been afraid of how much he wanted to live?”

“Mistakes help us figure out who we are becoming.”

“It was comforting to think the universe was so big that Brenna could find a place where she didn’t have to wear her shell, where she didn’t have to perform, or shut off parts of herself.”

“There’s such sweetness is ordinary, in the calm before a storm.”

“But our stories, our coming out, they belong to us.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

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GoodReads Summary:
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her Oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.
But suddenly there’s a fork in the road in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, and her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it. Why does he act like he knows her so well—too well—when she doesn’t know him at all?
Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending the chapter of another: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule, or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac.
Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.
This Darkness MineReview:
This Darkness Mine was interesting in the sense that I couldn’t put it down and read it in just a few hours. But…that doesn’t mean that it was good. I have loved every Mindy McGinnis book that I have read so far, until this one.
While the story was compelling, it was also kind of screwed up and I hated everything about it when I finished the final pages. I never really like Sasha at any point in the book. She was cocky and not in a good way. She clearly had issues. I also didn’t like how she was to her family. She was stuck up and I just generally didn’t like her.
The one person I did like was Issac. I liked that he was the ‘bad boy’ but he really wasn’t. There was so much more to him than that. I hated how Sasha treated him, like a piece of meat. I also mostly liked Sasha’s friends. Though I don’t even remember their names so they obviously weren’t memorable enough.
I’m going to keep this short because even though this book was a pretty wild ride, I just didn’t like it. It didn’t sit well with me. Sasha was crazy and not in a good way. I don’t like to use that word to describe people, but she was honestly kind of a sociopath and I ended up hating her. I’m unhauling this book and I’m hopefully never going to think about it again.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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GoodReads Summary:
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.
A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)Review:
I picked this one up as a part of my Contemporaryathon TBR. I’m beyond glad I finally got into this series. I cannot wait to pick up the next book. A Study in Charlotte turned out to be a little bit darker than I had anticipated, but I think all the heavy topics that are mentioned are discussed well and used wisely.
I really was surprised to realize that this book is told from Jamie’s point of view. I really enjoyed that. I thought it was interesting to be in his mind. I thought he was kind of annoying at first, but he mostly grew on me.
I completely adore Charlotte. She has problems and issues and she admits to them and accepts them. But she’s also always right. Seeing her and Jamie meet and grow together was the best part of this book. They have all this family history and are basically bound to one another regardless of what they want.
Overall, this was a captivating mystery with characters to die for. I thought the story was paced well and the writing was interesting. I am very eager to pick up the next book in the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

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Summary:
A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?
Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.
Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?
This Heart of MineReview:
I loved everything about this. This Heart of Mine was so sweet and heart wrenching all at the same time. I really loved just everything about it. We follow a girl that needs a heart transplant which is a tough story in itself. But when we see her get the heart of the twin to the boy she likes. Things get complicated.
The search for whoever killed Matt’s twin Eric. I totally called who the killer was after like 50 pages. But knowing didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the mystery and the suspense of Matt and Leah trying to figure out what happened. These two were so sweet together. I just adored them. They were both a little insecure, but not annoyingly so. They’re in high school so a little insecurity was understandable. I loved their relationship and the growth they go through together.
I also really loved Leah’s relationship with her best friend Brandy was my favorite. All too often, girls get boyfriends and ditch their friends. This didn’t happen. I loved how supportive Brandy was even when she was uncomfortable with all of the medical stuff.
Overall, I don’t know why people aren’t talking about this book. I loved every page. This was a fantastic young adult novel that talked about really important things. If you like contemporary books, this is one you need to read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I loosely participated in this round of Contemporaryathon. I say loosely because I was (and still am) on vacation, visiting with some friends and family. So, I didn’t really plan to read every book on my TBR list, but I did want to have options. Let’s get into what I managed to read this week and what challenges I completed.

Read a 2019 release

The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu

Read a contemporary with yellow on the cover

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Read a diverse contemporary (aim for something outside of your own experience)

Moonstruck Vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle

Read a contemporary that is beloved by a member of the book community (and shout out the creator!)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Shout Out: Rocky @ Blonde With a Book

I read about three and a half of the challenges this round (I’m not quite done with The Liars of Mariposa Island. Though I didn’t manage to read a ton, I had fun with the prompts this round. Have you managed to read books from your physical TBR like I did for this one? Let me know below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary:
Melinda Sordino’s freshman year is off to a horrible start. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends—and even strangers—all hate her. Months pass and things aren’t getting better. She’s a pariah. The lowest of the low. Avoided by everyone. But eventually, she’ll reveal what happened at the party. And when she finally speaks the truth, everything will change.
SpeakReview:
I read Speak years ago when I was in high school. So, when the author recently released a new book, Shout, I knew I wanted to reread this before getting into Shout. I borrowed the audiobook from my library and started listening a few hours before I knew I’d be in the car for a few hours. It’s a short audiobook so I knew I’d be able to listen to it quickly.
Speak was, at times, really hard to listen to. The content of the story was tough. It follows a girl who was raped at a party just before the start of her freshman year of high school. We get to see the effect this has on Melinda as she tries to navigate her new school. She’s lost all of her friends because she called the police at the end of the summer party. It was really hard to listen to this without screaming that she should just tell someone what happened. But when she finally does, she isn’t believed. The hardest part of this story was knowing that things like this happen every day in real life.
I really loved the way Anderson ended this book. Melinda finally finds her voice and stands up for herself. I also listened to the anniversary edition of the audiobook so I got to listen to a Q&A with the author at the end. She talks about the importance of consent and parents teaching their children about these topics, no matter how hard and uncomfortable they can be. There was also a short message from Jason Reynolds. He tells a story of his mother sitting him down and teaching him about consent. “Women are not furniture for you to sit upon when you want.” I really enjoyed Speak and all of the extra content that came along with this edition. If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.