The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends… for the last time.
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.
For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.
The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)Review:
I really don’t know how to explain my feelings for this series. I think I do it better in my first two reviews because I liked the first two books better. That’s not me saying that I didn’t like this book, because I still gave it five stars on GoodReads.
But there were a few things I didn’t like about this ending. We get parts of the story that follow Hoa, one of the stone eaters. I definitely thought getting this history was interesting but I feel like adding this made it so the conclusion was really fast. I wanted more from Nassun and Essun’s reunion. I thought it all happened too fast.
Despite not liking this aspect, I still really enjoyed this book. I loved getting Hoa’s history. I thought it was fascinating to learn about how the current world came about. I also really enjoyed the different journeys of all of the different characters.
Overall, this series was full of incredible characters that I couldn’t help but love and a fascinating world that I loved learning more and more about. I’ve already ordered all of Jemisin’s other books and I cannot wait to love them just as much as I did this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

GoodReads Summary:
In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to. Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Anna-Marie McLemore.
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?
We Unleash the Merciless Storm (We Set the Dark on Fire, #2)Review:
We Unleash the Merciless Storm was a great ending for the story of Dani and Carmen and the world they live in. I realize that I didn’t really explain much in my review of the first book (read it here if you feel like it). I’m going to spoil a few things from the first book, so please don’t continue this review if you don’t want spoilers for We Set the Dark on Fire (just know I absolutely loved both books and they’re super gay and you should read them.) This story takes place in a world where the inner island and outer island are at odds. In the first book, Dani and Carmen are both just finishing school. They end up married with Dani as the Primera and Carmen as the Segunda. The man they marry is high up in Medio’s government. Which is great as both girls are working for the resistance organization that goes by La Voz. La Voz is working to bring down the Median government which basically is just run by the wealthy people on the island and leaves the rest to live in poverty. So much more happens in this story, but that was a quick overview.
One of the best things about this book was that, unlike the first book which was entirely from Dani’s perspective, this story is told by Carmen. I loved this because there was so much that was unknown about Carmen with where the first book ended. I really loved getting to know her history. Carmen also really struggled between her feelings for Dani and coming back to a home that she doesn’t totally recognize anymore. At the end of book one, Carmen is taken back to La Voz home base and that’s where this book starts. Carmen has been gone from La Voz for several years while she was deep undercover going to school to become a Segunda. So, when she comes back, she doesn’t totally recognize the La Voz that was her home before she left. Her best friend, Alex, is angry with her. And there’s someone new, someone, that is whispering into the Vulture’s ear. The Vulture is the leader of La Voz, but he isn’t acting like the leader that Carmen knows him to be. I loved the mystery of the ending which I’m not going to say anything further about because of spoilers. I also really enjoyed the conclusion in general. I would have liked to have gotten a ‘ten years later’ or something, but I was still satisfied with the ending. I really enjoyed all of the parts with Carmen and Dani reuniting, but also Carmen’s journey to get to Dani and find out what was going on was just as good. As much as I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Dani until a decent way through the story, I think the anticipation of her and Carmen reuniting is what got me through.
Overall, I loved this book and I wish more people talked about this series. The world is fascinating and diverse. The relationship is queer and I’m so obsessed with it. There are wonderful friendships and a found family. I just think this is a great book and a great series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

GoodReads Summary:
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
We Set the Dark on FireReview:
We Set the Dark on Fire totally blew me away. I bought this book as a kindle daily deal a few months ago and I’m so glad that I did. It was basically what the synopsis said the story is, but it was still so good.
The story was a bit predictable, but honestly, that made it better. The anticipation of the things I predicted happening was the best part of this story. Dani is picked to be the Primera of an up and coming politician. His family is one of the most powerful in the country. Dani was struggling with many emotions. She was trained that Primera’s don’t show those emotions. They are strong, logical, and strategic. They are equals with their husbands, there to support their careers and households. Dani was trying to pretend to be the perfect Primera when in reality she was anything but that.
Which brings us to Carmen, Dani’s rival at school. Carmen is chosen as Segunda. This was a challenge for Dani because Carmen was never very nice to Dani and now the two live together and are married to the same man, and essentially each other. They grow closer while they live together. I really loved these two getting to know one another better outside of their school rivalry.
Overall, this book was excellent. There was a female/female romance that I am totally obsessed with. They also attempt to overthrow the government. Dani is more or less forced to join the resistance and I love stories like that. Women fighting against a corrupt system is something I always want to read about.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

GoodReads Summary:
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to the critically acclaimed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
Sal Vidon doesn’t want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal’s father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi’s efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
Readers who enjoyed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe will relish being back in the world of Culeco Academy and the Coral Castle along with such unforgettable characters as American Stepmom, the Gabi-Dads, Principal Torres, and the sassy entropy sweeper. With multiple Sals and Gabis in charge, it’s no wonder this sequel offers even more hilarious weirdness and love than the first book.
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #2)Review:
I absolutely adored Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (read my review here), so I was beyond excited for this sequel. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to finally pick it up, but it was everything I expected.
So, in the last book, Sal and Gabi finally let their parents in on what they’ve been doing with the holes that Sal can make in the universe. That’s one aspect I really liked about this book (and series) the parents were actually involved in what was going on, for the most part. In this sequel, Sal is definitely hiding some things from his Papi, but he did it for what he thought were the right reasons. I really also loved the school that Sal and Gabi go to. There’s such a sense of community and it’s just such a wonderful place. I can only hope to find a school like that for my child in the future.
The thing I liked best about this story was the characters. Sal is a boy that has diabetes. He doesn’t let it hinder his life, but it’s very present in the story. I really liked this aspect of the story. On top of Sal’s diabetes, he’s Cuban (as are many of the other characters in the story.) I loved that the main cast of characters was diverse and interesting.
Gabi, Sal’s best friend, is equally one of the best parts of this book. She’s such a take-charge girl and I love her so much. She has such a huge heart and does anything she can for the people in her life. I love her caring personality and I love her family. She has such an interesting and wonderful family dynamic that I loved seeing in this book. She has many dads and I love how different and loving her family is.
Overall, this book was amazing. The story was interesting and kept me wanting to read non-stop, but also want to read it slowly so that it wouldn’t be over. This story is so full of love, supportive friendships, adventure, and a whole bunch of science I could never understand. This series is one I will scream about forever.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

GoodReads Summary:
In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip—and it’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.
Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?
She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.
Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.
The Black Veins (Dead Magic Book 1)Review:
The Black Veins was a really fun and diverse story. In this world, magic is real. But it’s a secret. There are spells to hide magical places (like Blythe’s family’s coffee shop) from those without magic. I thought the world itself was really interesting. There is a government to the magical world. But there’s also more than one. The Black Veins is one and the other is newer, the Trident Republic which is painted to be the enemy. Blythe hears a song one night, a song that leads her almost right off the edge of her roof. This is when the Black Veins steps in and decides it’s time for the Guardians to go somewhere safe. So, Blythe gets ready to leave her family and to be taken in by the Black Veins, but before that can happen her entire family is kidnapped by the Trident Republic. Blythe goes with the Black Veins when they come for her, but she has a different mission: to convince the other Guardians to help rescue her family by going to the most dangerous place for them.
The best part of this book was the characters. Each of the Guardians was so different. I really loved them all. I think a part of that was the fact that they didn’t really get along at first. None of them wanted to be there, leaving their homes and family. Some were snarky, some scared, but I loved all of them. And I grew to love them as they grew to one another.
Overall, this book was wonderful. It was diverse and full of amazing relationships. There was action and adventure, grief, and emotion, all of the best things. I cannot wait to read more of this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends… for the last time.
The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.
It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.
The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)Review:
Just like the first book, I loved everything about this story. If it was reasonable to just copy my review for that here, I would totally do it. The Obelisk Gate was just as much of a wild ride as The Fifth Season. The world is just so fascinating there’s no stopping being sucked into the story, dying to find out more about what’s happening.
What I really loved about this book was that for some of the chapters we get to see what’s been happening with Nassun, Essun’s daughter. The way that Jemisin connects the two stories is mind-blowing. All of the little bits and pieces we’re getting to figure out just made me want to read faster and faster, but I’m loving the world and its characters that I want to slow down so I can stay engrossed in the story for as long as possible.
I really loved seeing Essun’s past come back to her present. It was one of the best parts of the story because it gave me some of my favorite things from the first book back.
I’m typing this as fast as I can so that I can spend more time reading book three before I have to go to bed tonight. I loved this world. The magic and politics were so interesting, but there’s also the way we’re left wondering how the world got to be the way it is. Some characters seem to know more about it and I’m dying to learn more.
This story remains incredibly diverse with race and skin color, sexuality, and gender identity. I loved this aspect so much. I loved how these things were made to be normal in this world.
Overall, I loved this book. I cannot wait to finish the series. The story just goes by so quickly because it is so easy to get pulled into the world with these characters. Jemisin’s writing is incredible. If I am ever half the writer that she is, it would be a wonder. I found myself not realizing that I’d almost finished the story. This is a world I never want to leave and will definitely be returning to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been six weeks since Magnus and his friends returned from defeating Fenris Wolf and the fire giants. Magnus has adjusted to life at the Hotel Valhalla—as much as a once-homeless and previously alive kid can. As a son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of Odin’s chosen warriors, but he has a few good peeps among his hallmates on floor nineteen, and he’s been dutifully training for Ragnarok along with everyone else. His days have settled into a new kind of normal.
But Magnus should have known there’s no such thing as normal in the Nine Worlds. His friends Hearthstone and Blitzen have disappeared. A new hallmate is creating chaos. According to a very nervous goat, a certain object belonging to Thor is still missing, and the thunder god’s enemies will stop at nothing to gain control of it.
Time to summon Jack, the Sword of Summer, and take action. Too bad the only action Jack seems to be interested in is dates with other magical weapons…
The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)Review:
I have loved every single one of Riordan’s books I’ve read so far. I don’t know what it is about this series but I just don’t love it as much as his others. There are many things I do like. For example, Magnus was a homeless kid in Boston before he died and I think it’s so great that this is a thing that exists because homelessness is a topic generally avoided and Riordan didn’t do that. This series is also filled with a diverse cast of characters. The newest edition, Alex, is gender fluid. I can’t speak to the quality of the representation but I thought it was really interesting to read Magnus’s questions and Alex’s answers. I also love Samira. I love that even though she’s sucked into the world of Norse mythology, she still holds strong to her faith and beliefs. I thought this was a great part of the story.
My biggest issue with this book was that literally, everything was such high stakes. I guess I understand because it’s the second book in a series, but it was too much sometimes. Every step toward their goal was ‘complete this task or DIE’ and it just seemed a little unnecessary.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. The characters were 100% the best part. I loved the diverse cast and getting to see them learning more about one another. I plan to finish the series for sure to see how everything ends up. Also, the way this story ended had me screaming. I cannot wait for the two different groups to meet up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

GoodReads Summary:
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)Review:
The Fifth Season was an absolutely wild ride and I loved every page. I definitely spent most of this book confused, but that’s really nothing new when it comes to my reading fantasy or science fiction that’s really in-depth like this. I really loved the way Jemisin wove this world. We follow Essun as she’s trying to follow her husband and her daughter while the world is ending. I was immediately gripped by this story. I am blown away by Jemisin’s ability to pull me into a story so quickly. Especially since I really had no idea what was going on most of the time. We also follow two other perspectives, Damaya and Syenite. The twist that involved these two characters really blew me away. I had started to suspect that these two points of view were in a different timeline than the one of Essun (because for Essun the world was ending and that wasn’t happening for the other two girls). But Jemisin went even further and that took this story to a whole new level of greatness.
The world this story takes place in was fascinating. The culture and politics were pretty terrible to those with abilities. I liked that we got to see the way they are raised in Yumenes. But I also really enjoyed getting to see how hard it was for Essun to live free and undiscovered. What I really want to know is whether or not this is happening on Earth in several hundred years. I suspect this is the case, but I didn’t see any concrete evidence in the actual story.
Overall, I am trying to type like the wind so that I can immediately go and pick up the second book. We were definitely left on a cliff hanger, but I’m not even mad about it. I loved this book. I loved its characters and their complexities. I am just fascinated by every aspect of this story. I cannot wait to continue on with this world and the people in it. I also want to mention how incredibly diverse The Fifth Season is. We see several transgender characters, there are many different races and skin colors, we even get a wonderful polyamorous relationship (that I would die for). I loved all of the representation we got.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Kingdom for a Stage by Heidi Heilig

GoodReads Summary:
Jetta is a prisoner. A prisoner of the armee, a prisoner of fate, and a prisoner of her own madness. Held captive in Hell’s Court—now the workshop of Theodora, the armee engineer and future queen of Chakrana—Jetta knows she needs to escape. But Theodora has the most tempting bait—a daily dose of a medication that treats Jetta’s madness.
But the cost is high. In exchange, Jetta must use her power over dead spirits to trap their souls into flying machines—ones armed with enough firepower to destroy every village in Chakrana. And Theodora and her armee also control Le Trépas—a terrifying necromancer who once had all of Chakrana under his thumb, and Jetta’s biological father. Jetta fears the more she uses her powers, the more she will be like Le Trépas—especially now that she has brought her brother, Akra, back from the dead.
Jetta knows Le Trépas can’t be trusted. But when Akra teams up with Leo, the handsome smuggler who abandoned her, to pull off an incredible escape, they insist on bringing the necromancer along. The rebels are eager to use Le Trépas’s and Jetta’s combined magic against the invading colonists. Soon Jetta will face the choice between saving all of Chakrana or becoming like her father, and she isn’t sure which she’ll choose.
Acclaimed author Heidi Heilig creates a rich world inspired by Southeast Asian cultures and French colonialism. Her characters are equally complex and nuanced, including a bipolar heroine and biracial love interest. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts, and ephemera such as songs, maps, and letters, A Kingdom for a Stage is a vivid, fast-paced journey that weaves magic, simmering romance, and the deep bonds of family with the high stakes of epic adventure. It will thrill fans of Stephanie Garber, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir.
A Kingdom for a Stage (For a Muse of Fire #2)Review:
I fucking love this series. Can that be my whole review? Because really, I just loved everything about this book. Jetta is really coming into her own. She’s still really worried about her madness and that’s prevalent for most of the book. But I think she does really well with it. She’s strong and brave. She uses her abilities to keep her family safe, and that might just mean siding with the rebels. I loved the complexities of the choices she had to make. She learns new things, but also sometimes from people she doesn’t trust and deals with unexpected consequences. Jetta is a complex and fascinating girl. I’d also love to know more about her parent’s history in this world’s past.
Then there’s her brother, Akra. She’s brought him back from the dead and he’s still trying to figure out what that means. I loved how close Jetta and Akra are in this book. It was clear in the last book that Jetta really loved her brother, but in this one, we get to see it and I’m always here for good sibling relationships.
Leo was an interesting character. He’s invested in helping the rebels, but doing that means he’s against his brother and sister. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of the story and I really enjoyed all the complications it brought.
There are so many other characters I could talk about, but there are just too many. I loved them all. They each brought something unique to the story.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the way it was written and the story itself. I loved the world and all its complications. I love each and every one of the characters. I just loved this book. I cannot wait for the next (and I think the last) book in the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

GoodReads Summary:
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
The House in the Cerulean SeaReview:
T.J. Klune has quickly become a new favorite author of mine. This is only my second book written by him that I’ve read, but it was nothing short of incredible.
The story follows Linus Baker at his job with the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). He starts off as this incredibly boring man. One that does his job and goes home to his cat. A good man, he’s fair and kind, but he does his part for DICOMY and nothing more. That is until Extremely Upper Management sends him to check on an orphanage unlike any he’s been to before.
I immediately liked all of the inhabitants of the island. The children were unique and fascinating, which Linus agreed with, but he also knew that they were still just children. I really appreciated that fact because even though they were potentially very dangerous, they were still just children that wanted love and adventure. I really grew to love the children right alongside Linus. I thought the mystery of Arthur was well done. It was clear that there was something different about him, but we didn’t know what for a while. I liked that the mystery was drawn out, but not overly so. The way that Klune tells the story is just indescribable. He draws you into the world, makes you care about Arthur, Linus, and the children in a way that you just can’t help.
This whole world and all of its characters made this story perfect. It shares a message of love and acceptance. The characters are so full of life and love. They made me laugh and smile, and occasionally made my heart hurt. I think this is a story that so many people will love. I would recommend this to anyone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

GoodReads Summary:
Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.
The Starless SeaReview:
I feel like I start all of my reviews for books that I really love the same way. And I’m going to do it again. I don’t know what to say about The Starless Sea. It was such an incredible story and I just don’t know how to convert my love and emotions into words. So, if you take one thing from this review, it’s that I loved this book and every single thing about it. It might have just become my new favorite book, definitely a favorite, but maybe even the number one favorite.
The Starless Sea follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins when he finds a door as a boy. He’s fascinated by the door, but for some reason, he doesn’t open it. When he realizes his mistake the next day and goes back to try to open the door, it’s no longer there. The story goes forward many years, and Zachary finds a mysterious book in the library. Little does he know; this is his key to finding another door (sort of). This book tells stories of the Starless Sea (an underground world that few find their way to. It’s home to stories, with many different moving parts which we get to learn all about.) After he’s read the book several times, he starts to do some research to try and figure out if he can find out more about what the book really is. It leads him down a rabbit hole of secret societies and many, many questions. I had so many questions throughout the story, and that’s something that usually drives me crazy because not many authors can slowly give the answers I want quick enough for me, but Morgenstern did it wonderfully. Just as I was getting frustrated with being so confused, I’d get a few pieces to the puzzle. This book was a story for all of the people out there that wished to escape into a world of stories. I dreamed of finding a place like the Starless Sea so many times when I was younger. I mostly liked Zachary. I liked that though he was so interested in finding the hidden world he missed out on when he first found the door, he was still skeptical. He asked questions and only sometimes let himself get pushed into stuff he wasn’t sure about. I loved all of the characters that Zachary met along the way. Dorian and Max were so different, but both made the story better.
I have to talk about the writing. It was nothing short of stunning on every single page. While we’re following Zachary, we also get other stories in between chapters. We learn about a pirate who is in love with a girl. We learn about Simon and Elenore who fall in love out of time. We get several fairytale-like stories that were beautiful and thought-provoking. But the best part was that every single one of these stories was relevant and added so much to the overall plotline. I loved how we didn’t know this, but while reading and putting the pieces together and thinks started clicking, that ‘aha!’ moment was fabulous. I loved how connected this story was. It was a beautiful way to learn the history of the characters (in a roundabout way).
Overall, I loved literally every single thing about The Starless Sea. It was pure perfection. I think I said it already, but this book may have bumped all other books out of their places for favorites. I loved all of the characters. I loved the in-between stories and how they were related to the rest of the story. The way the author managed to weave all of the stories and characters together I am blown away by the beauty of this story. It very quickly found its way into my heart and it will not be leaving any time soon. Please read this beautiful, stunning masterpiece so you can love it as much as I do.

Quotes:

“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.”

“But the world is strange and endings are not truly endings no matter how the stars might wish it so.”

“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”

“Be brave,’ she says. ‘Be bold. Be loud. Never change for anyone but yourself. Any soul worth their star-stuff will take the whole package as is and however it grows. Don’t waste your time on anyone who doesn’t believe you when you tell them how you feel.”

“For a while I was looking for a person but I didn’t find them and after that I was looking for myself. Now that I’ve found me I’m back to exploring, which is what I was doing in the first place before I was doing anything else and I think I was supposed to be exploring all along.”

“Once, very long ago, Time fell in love with Fate. This, as you might imagine, proved problematic. Their romance disrupted the flow of time. It tangled the strings of fortune into knots. The stars watched from the heavens nervously, worrying what might occur. What might happen to the days and nights were time to suffer a broken heart? What catastrophes might result if the same fate awaited Fate itself?”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

GoodReads Summary:
Return to the City of Sin, where the final game is about to begin…and winning will demand the ultimate sacrifice.
Only days after a corrupt election and brutal street war, one last bloodthirsty game has begun. The players? The twenty-two most powerful, notorious people in New Reynes.
After realizing they have no choice but to play, Enne Scordata and Levi Glaisyer are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But while Levi offers false smiles and an even falser peace to the city’s politicians, Enne must face a world where her true Mizer identity has been revealed…and any misstep could turn deadly.
Meanwhile, a far more dangerous opponent has appeared on the board, one plucked right from the most gruesome legends of New Reynes. As the game takes its final, vicious turn, Levi and Enne must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies.
Because in a game for survival, there are only losers…
And monsters.
Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game, #3)Review:
Thank you to HarperCollins for letting me be a part of this blog tour. The finale to the Shadow Game series was one of my most anticipated releases, so I was beyond excited to be able to read an eARC (thanks NetGalley!).
Queen of Volts is the conclusion of this series, so I don’t think I’ll be going into too much detail about the plot because I want you to read this series and not be spoiled. I love the world this story takes place in. New Reynes is chaotic and the characters I love so much are doing their best to make it a better place, a place no longer filled with violence and people being thought of in a specific way because of their abilities. I would love to live in the City of Sin. It’s such a fascinating place, filled with so much history and so much potential. I would read so many more books set in this world just because I love the politics. I think that’s what I liked the most about this book. It was more political than the others. Well, we get more of the actual government rather than the mobsters we get to know in books one and two. We still deal with some of the same families, but they’re working with the government now. There are so many different players in the story. I was impressed that Foody managed to give them all distinct and unique voices.
Enne is really struggling with her identity. She learns that most of her life was a lie and she created a new persona that is more fitting for the City of Sin. But it’s led her to make some choices and do some things that haunt her. Haunted, that’s a great word for Enne. She’s trying to work through her guilt while losing too many of the people that she cares about. By the end of the story though, she’s grown so much and I was so proud to see it.
Levi, my poor, sweet, Levi. He’s lost so much. And he loses more in Queen of Volts. But he accomplishes dreams he never thought he would, but also realizes his dreams were not what they used to be. Levi also really struggles with his feelings for Enne. She’s not the same girl he fell in love with and she’s done things he doesn’t know if he can accept. I loved how adaptable Levi was. He takes life in stride and always has another plan, even when it looks like there’s no way out. I just love him.
There are honestly too many characters to talk about. Lola’s perspective made me sad. She learned important information but lost so much. I loved how her story was resolved though. Grace, my poor little Grace. She did not deserve how Foody did her dirty. I love Grace with my whole heart.
Overall, I’m sad to see this series end. I loved being in this world. It’s a dark and gritty place. It’s a place where you kill or be killed and I loved every minute I spent in it. I loved these characters so much. They changed and grew so much in these pages. They loved one another and they lost friends along the way. I cannot recommend this series enough. Also, all three of these covers are freaking stunning.

Quotes:

“Lola wouldn’t throw her life away to become a legend—she’d die to make sure the legends were finished.”

“Everything in his life was a performance, but if he had, in fact, come here to die today, then he would die a gangster or a king?”

“That was the problem with loving someone. Once you let someone into your heart, they could take a sledgehammer to it.”

“The City of Sin was a game, and you couldn’t win if you played nice.”

“But Sophia had come to realize that she was the type of girl who some respected but few liked—like a shot of something bitter and strong. And she’d always clung to those who’d been willing to tolerate the burn.”

“It was the sort of power that made her broken throne feel sturdy enough to support her. Whatever her mistakes, whatever her story, she would not fall.”

“It felt as though the City of Sin was out there, and them in here. Or maybe it was the other way around. New Reynes wasn’t lights and cards and debauchery—it was the blurry line between friends and enemies, the smile of someone you used to know, the ghost of a victim gone, the dagger edge of a legend.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

As the Shadow Rises by Katy Rose Pool

GoodReads Summary:
The Last Prophet has been found, yet he sees destruction ahead.
In this sequel to the critically-acclaimed There Will Come a Darkness, kingdoms have begun to fall to a doomsday cult, the magical Graced are being persecuted, and an ancient power threatens to break free. But with the world hurtling toward its prophesized end, Anton’s haunting vision reveals the dangerous beginnings of a plan to stop the Age of Darkness.
As Jude, Keeper of the Order of the Last Light, returns home in disgrace, his quest to aid the Prophet is complicated by his growing feelings for Anton. Meanwhile, the assassin known as the Pale Hand will stop at nothing to find her undead sister before she dies for good, even if it means letting the world burn. And in Nazirah, Hassan, the kingdom-less Prince, forms a risky pact to try to regain his throne. When the forces of light and darkness collide in the City of Mercy, old wounds are reopened, new alliances are tested, and the end of the world begins.
As the Shadow Rises (The Age of Darkness, #2)Review:
How can I put my love for this series into words? I really don’t know. I’m going to read my review for the first book (which I’m pretty happy with so I’m going to link that here) and try to sort out my thoughts from there. Also, I want to mention that I won an eARC of this book through Katy Rose Pool’s newsletter giveaway (via NetGalley) so here is my honest review in exchange.
I mentioned the world in my review of book one so I’m going to start there for this one too. This world is run on the belief in the Prophets. They disappeared long ago but left one last prophecy that predicted the end of the world. But there would be one more Prophet, one who has the potential to save the world from ending. We learn more about the lost Prophets and what happened to them and boy were they twisty. I really loved the way Katy Rose Pool told this story. There were things I expected to happen, but also some stuff that totally surprised me. I just really loved this story. It was written well with fast-paced action scenes and just enough drama, but not constant. There were slower scenes for traveling where I really loved getting to know the characters even better.
Ephyra was hard for me. She was still the morally grey girl I loved from the first book, but without Beru, she seemed a bit lost. I definitely thought her storyline was interesting, especially with what we knew from Beru’s perspective. There were definitely some things she did that were super unexpected. But with the way the book ended, I’m really excited to see where her story ends in the final book.
Beru is one of my favorite characters. She’s such a little bean, but she’s also really not. She’s fierce and determined. She knows what she wants for herself and she’s going to get it, even if it kills her. I loved Beru in the first book because of the strong sister relationship and how she brought the good in Ephyra out. But in this book, we get to see her stand on her own and I really loved that.
Hassan was hard for me. I really loved him in the first book. But in this book, he’s a bit all over the place. He failed in his mission in the first book, and he’s trying to figure out what his next steps are. So, when he finds a rebel group, he thinks they’re perfect to help him take back his city. As per usual, things aren’t always that easy. I didn’t love the way his story played out, but I didn’t totally hate it either. I really hope I like the way his story plays out in the next book.
Anton, my sweet baby Anton. He has grown so much. I’m honestly so proud of him. He starting to really give a shit about the world and might have figured out how to stop its end. I loved every page of Anton’s chapters. I will protect him at all costs. I really loved his character development and the way that he pushes the characters around him to grow as well.
For Jude, all this book was for him was character development. He’s struggling with who he is after certain events in the previous book. His whole identity is based on being the Keeper, but things are different. Nothing is going according to plan, so Jude is basically just trying to make sure Anton stays alive. I loved the relationship between the two. They push one another. Anton gets Jude out of his comfort zone and that’s when we really see him develop and get to know him even better.
Overall, I loved this book. The more of this series I read, the more it’s solidified as a new all-time favorite. I’m blown away by Katy Rose Pool’s ability to have five different points of view and make them each so distinct. They’re all loveable and chaotic in their own ways, but they are so very different from one another. I loved this book and you will too.

Quotes:

“Because as far as I can tell, power is madness.”

“As far as he could tell, home was just whatever hurt most when you left it behind.”

“Kissing him felt like waving a hand through fire, wanting and wanting not to be burned. Like diving off the top of a lighthouse, without hope or sight of safe landing. Like sinking to the bottom of the sea, knowing he would surely drown.”

“They’ve spent their whole lives trying to uphold the rules. The natural law of life and death. But you’re more powerful than they are. And you don’t follow their rules. That’s what separates the powerful from the weak. The powerful get to make the rules, and the weak have to follow them.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

GoodReads Summary:
Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.
As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.
In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.
Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)Review:
I have put off writing this review for so long. It’s time for me to suck it up and attempt to get my thoughts into mostly coherent sentences and be done with it. I listened to the audiobook for Ruthless Gods. It had two narrators. One female for Nadya and Katya and a male for Serefin and Malachiasz. I really didn’t like the male narrator sadly. It made listening hard because I couldn’t always focus on the boy’s chapters and found myself relistening to whole chapters because I had no idea what was going on. Despite this struggle, I ended up really liking this book.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. These monstrous babies really live up to the hype. I’m really struggling to explain my thoughts so I’m going to keep it brief. All of these characters are dealing with so much, emotionally, politically, and occasionally even physically. Nadya in particular is one that I felt for. She’s confused about her faith in the Gods that spoke to her most of her life. But now she’s not sure what to believe and the more that the characters learn, the less sure she is.
Overall, this story was a wild ride. It blows me away that Emily Duncan wrote this story without outlining or planning. The characters get separated and find themselves on opposing paths (again) but their journeys back to one another were complex and fascinating and dark. I loved every minute of this story. The ending completely slayed me and I cannot wait to read the series finale.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

GoodReads Summary:
He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.
The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, #3)Review:
This series was so incredible. This final book is the final battle against the chaos that was released at the end of the first book. I loved this story so much. Carter and Sadie are once again narrating their experiences to us. They’ve both grown so much since the start of the series. But they still have their faults. Though they face much responsibility, they still have teenage problems. I really liked this because they weren’t teenagers acting like adults. They were realistic. I liked that they had regular problems along with attempting to stop the literal end of the world.
The mythology was definitely my favorite part of this series. The Egyptian gods and goddesses are so interesting. We get to meet so many of them, some good and some bad. I liked that they weren’t totally idolized, but shown to have good and bad sides. They have their own motivations and I thought that was really interesting and added complexity to the story.
Overall, I loved this conclusion. The ending was really satisfying, but also the way Riordan left us with the possibility that these characters will potentially meet up with the characters from his other series has me so freaking excited. I would die to see Carter and Sadie meet up with Percy and gang. That would be a literal dream. I don’t think Riordan could write anything I don’t love. If you haven’t read this series, I would recommend it a million times.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.