Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

GoodReads Summary:
Nate never imagined that he would be attacked by his best friend, Cam.
Now, Nate is being called to deliver a sworn statement that will get Cam convicted. The problem is, the real story isn’t that easy or convenient—just like Nate and Cam’s friendship. Cam challenged Nate on every level from the day the boys met. He pushed him to break the rules, to dream, and to accept himself. But Nate—armed with a fierce moral code and conflicted by his own beliefs—started to push back. With each push, Nate and Cam moved closer to each other—but also spiraled closer to their breaking points.
Deposing NathanReview:
I picked this book up because the author will be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival in March, which will likely have already happened by the time this review is posted.
I read this book so quickly. I honestly just couldn’t put it down. I was sucked into the story of the friendship between Nate and Cam. The wondering of how these two best friends ended up fighting to the point of a stabbing and ensuing court drama almost killed me. I had to know what happened. The suspense was so well done. The story flashes back and forth between the present, where Nate is giving a deposition, and the past, which is the story that he is telling for the deposition. We also get bits in between where Cam and Nate talk a few times in the present.
I was completely blown away by the plot twist at the end with what really happened that night. I will absolutely be reading more books by this author when he publishes them. The conversation of sexuality and religion was captivating and horrifying at the same time. I thought it discussed these ideas in a well thought out way. It wasn’t condemning religion or any sexuality.
I loved Cam and Nate as friends. I totally held out hope for them even though their relationship turned pretty toxic. I really loved the way things ended in the final pages.
Overall, I don’t know why people aren’t talking about this book because it’s absolutely one that should be shouted about. It’s full of conflict and mystery. It pulls at the heartstrings while also managing to infuriate. I loved every page.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

GoodReads Summary:
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)Review:
As I’ve mentioned (mostly on Twitter) I’ve been having some trouble with the fantasy genre lately. I haven’t been able to get into any of the ones I’ve tried to pick up. But for Tome Topple I went in trying to force myself to read some of my backlist books and love them. I’m happy to say that it worked.
The City of Brass was amazing. I immediately was interested in the world. I liked Nahri as soon as I started. She was funny and clever and in over her head. I loved that she was strong and stubborn even if she was taking a stand against something she knew was good for her. I loved it. It was a great step up for hilarity. Little did she know what she was in for. I liked seeing her learn about who she really was. I am dying to know how things will play out in the next book.
Dara was my favorite. I just wanted him to spill all his secrets. I loved his relationship with Nahri and how protective he was. He did what was best for her even if it wasn’t the best thing for him. He was always scheming and I just wanted a better ending for him. I hope we learn more about him in the next book.
Ali, I could never tell with him whether we were supposed to like him or not? I liked that he tried to fight for his beliefs. His storyline was the most compelling in the sense of his inner conflict between fighting for what he believed in and supporting his family loyalties. I loved his relationships with his siblings. They didn’t always (or ever) get along but their love for one another still shown through.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the world, the magic, the setting. I adored the characters and conflicts. I enjoyed the relationships and the drama between them. I cannot wait to get into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Jackpot by Nic Stone

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?
Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.
JackpotReview:
I loved Stone’s other novel, Dear Martin, so I was excited to read Jackpot when I picked it up at Target. Sadly, I didn’t love it. I liked it well enough, but there were some things that I didn’t enjoy.
Overall, I just really didn’t like Rico. I understand what it’s like to be poor, but she just complained about it and made Zan out to be a bad guy because his parents have money. Sure he doesn’t really get what she’s going through, but there are lots of poor people that don’t automatically dislike people with money just because they have money. She was really judgmental and I just didn’t like her very much.
I did, however, totally adored her little brother. He was so happy all the time despite the fact that his family was poor. He always had a smile on, even when he was sick.
Zan was definitely a little savior-ish, but he had good intentions and that was clear. I liked him right up until the big reveal about the missing lottery ticket. That really made me mad.
I enjoyed reading this book while I was reading it, but there were some things I didn’t like. I did like the diversity in this book. I liked the overarching theme, but Rico annoyed me and so did the ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

GoodReads Summary:
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)Review:
After a long week of my husband being away at a wedding and taking care of my daughter without him, I was due for some much-needed self-care. So, I picked up The Bride Test and settled into a glorious bubble bath.
While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved The Kiss Quotient, I still really enjoyed it. I liked that Khai, while super-hot, wasn’t your usual male love interest. Nothing about this book was the usual. Khai was annoying at times. I just wanted to shake him. But I think that also made me like him even more.
I felt the same about Esme. At times, mostly in the beginning, I just wanted to shake her. But by the end of the book, I adored her. I really enjoyed how she made a plan to stay in the States that didn’t have to do with Khai. She was going to earn her way and not depend on a man to get the things she wanted. I just loved it. I loved how smart she was and her enthusiasm to just enjoy her time in America.
I really loved the way these two eventually came together. I loved that this wasn’t your typical romance. It still followed the same formula for the most part but the characters and the story was unique and I really enjoyed it. I think any romance lover would enjoy this fun story with a diverse cast of characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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.

Amanda’s September Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hi, lovelies! I really enjoyed the post I made last month with mini-reviews of all the graphic novels I read in August (check it out here), so I think I am going to continue doing that each month for all the graphic novels I read. So, this post will be mini-reviews for all the graphic novels I read in the month of September.

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

This was the perfect graphic novel to start of the spooky season. There is magic and mystery and a wide cast of characters. I just adored the characters. There are some werewolves, centaurs, magicians, ghosts, and seers. This cast of characters was beyond diverse, too. There is representation for fat, POC, non-binary, and queer characters. There is a female/female romance that was so sweet. I loved the mystery and the friendships that we were given. I think Cass (the seer) was my favorite character. She was the perfect amount of weird. Overall, this graphic novel was everything I wanted it to be.

Oz: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young

I enjoy this one the most out of this graphic novel series so far. It would have been a five star read for me, but I felt like it lingered on just a bit too much at the end. The gang finds themselves falling to the center of the earth after a series of massive earthquakes. I thought this was a really interesting story. I really enjoyed all the weird communities they found down there and all the ways they managed to get themselves out of trouble. It was a fun and quick story.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

I completely adored The Prince and the Dressmaker. I found this one through one of my library apps and I’m glad I decided to try it. I thought the art was vivid and absolutely stunning. I also really loved the story. Everyone getting a happy ending made my little heart warm. I also really like the way the story was told. There were only words when the art couldn’t tell the story on its own. I just loved this one and will definitely be recommending it in the future.

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

I really like the art in this series, but I’m having a little trouble with the plot. The story was kind of all over the place, but I enjoyed the characters well enough. I was a bit sad to not get as much Cass as the previous volume. She was definitely the most interesting character to me. Moonstruck is a diverse story, that was filled with fun characters on sometimes confusing adventures.

These are all the graphic novels I managed to read in September! Have you read any of these? Or any that are similar? Let me know below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Summary:
Zane Obispo spends every day exploring the sleeping volcano in his backyard. “The Beast,” as he calls it, is the one place where he can escape other kids, who make fun of him because he has a limp and walks with a cane.
After a twin-engine plane crashes into the Beast, a mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane’s doorstep insisting that they meet at the volcano, where she will reveal a terrible secret. Zane agrees, mostly because beautiful girls like her don’t usually talk to him. Brooks tells him that the volcano is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane’s.
No way, Zane thinks. He’s just a thirteen-year-old nobody, and destiny or no destiny, he wants nothing to do with any of it, especially some god of death. But Brooks opens his eyes to the truth: magic, monsters, and gods are real, and Zane is at the center of an ancient prophecy that could mean the destruction of the world. Suddenly finding himself entangled in a web of dangerous secrets, Zane embarks on a quest that will take him far from home and test him to the very core.
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner, #1)Review:
The Storm Runner is a book that follows an unlikely hero on a quest to save the world. Where have I heard that one before? There were things I liked about this book and I wouldn’t say that there were things I didn’t like; I just think that this book didn’t hit the mark for me.
I liked the mythology that we learned about in this story. I thought it was the most interest part of the story. I would have liked to have more vivid and descriptive settings though. Zane finds himself in some pretty interesting places, but I think they could have been built up a little more.
I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as much as I have with some of the others I’ve read that are middle-grade books. I’m not sure if that’s due to my reading so many middle-grade books that focus on mythology or that I’ve really loved the others that I’ve read.
I don’t want to say that there was anything wrong with The Storm Runner because there certainly wasn’t. It was fun to read. It was fast-paced, but not too much so. There was adventure and mystery. I just didn’t connect to the story in the way I expected to.
Overall, this was a fun story but it was average for me. I think it’s definitely worth reading. The mythology was fascinating and we follow the main character who has a physical disability. I liked this book and will be continuing the series without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.