Amanda’s 2019 Fantasy Favorites

I have one last favorites post for you all, lovelies. Let’s talk about fantasy favorites. I had a very up and down relationship with the fantasy genre this year. I really couldn’t get into any fantasy that I picked up until about halfway through the year. So, these are the books that actually caught my attention and managed to make my favorites.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Deathcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Vortex Visions by Elise Kova

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Roar by Cora Carmack

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

What fantasy books did you read in 2019 that I need to add to my TBR? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s YA Favorites of 2019

Helllo, lovelies! I’m back again today with another favorites list. Today’s list is going to be my 19 favorite YA books that I read in 2019. I’m excited and anxious to make this list. It’s always hard to narrow  down favorites. This list won’t be in order of how much I liked them becasue they are all such different books and I don’t feel like I could even decide an order, but they will be in the order that I read them becasue I’m pulling them from my GoodReads.

How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Anger is a Gift  by Mark Oshiro

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

The  Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

These are my nineteen favorite YA reads of 2019. Some are backlist and some are new releases. What books made your favorites list for young adult books this year?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s Favorite Graphic Novels of 2019

Heyyy, lovelies! Today’s list, as you can see from the title is my favorite graphic novels that I read in 2019. I read my first ever graphic novels this year, so this is a list I’ve never been able to make before. This list is in no particular order, just a list of the graphic novels I loved this year.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savannah Ganucheau

This was so sweet and wholesome. I will love my bakery boys forever and ever.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

Witchy and gay. What more could a girl ask for?

Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect by Zander Cannon

I adored the monsters in this story. I recently bought the second volume and plan to pick it up in early 2020.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

I loved the art and Raven’s backstory. I seriously cannot wait for the next book they come out with for Beast Boy.

Spell on Wheels by Kath Leth & Megan Levens

This was so fun. And perfect for the spooky season. I loved the friendship, the art, and the story.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

This one had my heart so full. I loved the art and the colors. The story was so sweet and wholesome and I loved everything about it.

Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Hockey is one of the things that brought my husband and I together in high school, so I love all things related to hockey. This was no different except my love was only amplified by Bitty’s love for baking pies.

The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

This was an impulse buy when I was at my local comic store. I am so glad I did. I adored this. The twist on the Gods and the darkness were everything I never knew I needed.

The Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland

I love Westerfeld in general. After hearing him talk about the process of writing this story, I wanted to read it. I’m glad I did becasue I loved it. The images and colors were stunning and the story was captivating and mysterious.

So, that’s all I have for you today. My 2019 favorites, graphic novel edition. Leave me a comment with your favorites from last year! I’m always looking for  new graphic novels to read, so please spam me with recommendations.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda’s 19 Favorites of 2019

Hellllo, lovelies! It is officially 2020 meaning that this is the start of all of the ‘best of 2019’ bookish lists. Yes folks, I will be participating in that as well. I’m going to have this overall list of favorites be 19 for 2019, but I also have a few other lists up my sleeve. These books are in no particular order becasue I don’t want to have to  choose the order.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

King of Fools by Amanda Foody

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

The Disasters by M.K. England

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

These are nineteen of my favorite books of 2019. I’ve linked all  their reviews for you’re reading pleasure, also to share why I loved these books. Link me your favorites lists so I can see what books you loved last year!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Twenty-Two: Favorite Booktubers

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Hi, lovelies! It’s now day seven of Blogtober and I’m here with another post that is all about people in our fabulous bookish community. Today’s post is all about those that are braver and more tech-savvy than I. They all have YouTube channels! I don’t have cable, just streaming services and YouTube. So, I often just watch these BookTubers instead of T.V. and boy do they know how to entertain. If you aren’t subscribed, you should be.

Alexandra Roselyn

Heathur @ Aphrodite Reads

Rocky @ Blonde with a Book

Brittany the Bibliophile

Chami

Chandler Ainsley

Chelsea Palmer

Chelsea Dolling Reads

Spencer @ Common Spence

Rihannon @ Crescent Moon Reads

Emily @ Em Likes Books

Emmma Books

Daria @ Full of Lit

G-Swizzle Books

Hailey in Bookland

HelloKatryna

Hey Olivia Reads

Jesse The Reader

Jessica C Reads

Jessica Nicole Dickerson

Karli’s Books

Katie’s Book Nook

Kerri the Book Belle

Library of Alexa

Caz @ Little Book Owl

Melanie @ Meltotheany

Michelle Reads YA

Natasha @ myreadingisodd

Kat @ Paperback Dreams

Regan @ Peruse Project

Peyton Reads

Piera Ford

Pierina Reads

Christine @ polandbananasBOOKS

Madison Mary @ Princess of Paperback

Read by Zoe

Read with Cindy

Hannah @ Snow White Reader

Sophie @ Sophiesticated Books

Kelly @ Struggling Bookaholic

Solomon @ The Bookish King

Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes

Victoria Schaz

XCatherineReads

Danielle @ YA Allegiance

Zoe @ yerabooknerdzoe

I could go on and on with this list. But I will stop here. These are just a few of my absolute favorites that I make a point to watch their videos as soon as they give me new content to watch. If you’re a BookTube lover, these are people that you definitely need to subscribe to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Summary:
The Carls just appeared. Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship – like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor – April and her best friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life.  News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world – from Beijing to Buenos Aires – and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. All eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how social media is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold a
Review:
I’m going to start off by saying that I am without a doubt 100% (probably more) a total fangirl when it comes to the Green Brothers. Whether it be Hank or John, I will read ALL their books and watch ALL their videos. I have been watching VlogBrothers since they were Brotherhood 2.0 only communicating to one another via YouTube videos. So when I found out that Hank Green was writing/had written a book, I quite literally screamed out loud. I knew I would buy it and love it. I even preordered it through Waterstones (which is in the UK and I live in the US) because they were the first that I saw to announce they had signed copies). I ALSO bought the Barnes and Nobel special edition because I participated in the book club where this book was chosen. To read about that click here!
Okay, now to talk about the actual book. This is considered an ‘adult contemporary’ novel, but it definitely has some science-fictiony aspects to it. I’m not going to say anything more about that for fear of giving spoilers. I knew I would like this story, but I actually surprised myself by absolutely loving it. It had me laughing out loud and even shedding a tear or two.
April May is our main character and our narrator. She’s telling us the story in the first person as if she’s actually speaking to us and telling us the story. (This is one of my favorite kinds of narrators.) So we get the story as April May experienced it with little tidbits of what she knows or how she feels now. April was honestly so fricking relatable. There were definitely some times where I said, woooah what did you do that for? But more often than not I found myself saying, yup I’ve been there I understand where that’s coming from. She’s a character with countless flaws but she recognizes each and every one of said flaws. She knows she’s not perfect but keeps moving forward anyway. She’s very critical of herself, something that most people can relate to. With a tendency toward self-destructive behavior, she acknowledges what she could or should have done differently but knows she can’t change the past. Even when she got a bit too intense I liked her because she’s also funny and genuinely entertaining. She was a relatable kind of girl and I love characters I can relate to.

I Have No Idea Why I Can’t Ever Shut The Fuck Up: The April May Story.”

Andy was a great supporting character. I came to see him as April May’s sidekick of sorts that after a certain point was just along for the ride. He was a better friend than April might have deserved. He was there when she needed him even when she was kind of being a jerk. I liked how down to earth and just genuinely excited Andy got about everything happening.

“Just because someone has power over you doesn’t mean they’re going to use it to hurt you.”

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was such an interesting and unique story I couldn’t put it down. I actually waited until a month after it was released to read it because I needed to make sure I could read it in one sitting and not be disturbed by my newborn baby. So after putting the baby to sleep, I spent five hours on my couch fllyyying through this story. I loved the perspective because I feel like it was almost like we were getting to know what Hank goes through being a well known YouTuber. (Obviously not to the extent of April May, but a sense of what his life is like.) I could just feel how parts of this story came right from Hanks real life experiences. I thought that was awesome. It’s such a unique perspective, one that so few people have, so it was cool to learn about it.

“The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and frightened and weak is amazing.”

One of the best things about this book was all of the serious and relevant topics it hit on. Now, I’m going to say right now that I’m a straight white female that grew up in a middle-class family so, I am not the right person to be judging if these portrayals were accurate, but I mention them anyway because they were certainly thought-provoking to me. There’s discussion about race, sexuality and sexual preference, terrorism, cyberbullying, so many things that are constantly being discussed in today’s world. Hank’s characters were diverse and interesting. They were flawed and so realistic. They talked about real-world problems in real ways that made me seriously think about these issues.

“This is what humanity is, solidarity in the face of fear. Hope in the face of destruction.”

The last thing I want to mention is that while yes this is technically an adult novel. I definitely think some readers on the high end of young adults could read this and enjoy it. Those readers that are about to enter adulthood could definitely read and learn from this book because the worse thing is really the extensive swearing (but cmon what 15-18-year-old doesn’t swear, I know I did.)
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a new favorite of mine for sure. I will be reading this book many times in the future. I loved everything about this story. I loved all the twists and turns. I loved every surprise. This was a well written, creative and funny story that I would love to recommend to anyone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

GoodReads Summary:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Review:
I have been on a science fiction reading spree. I’ve also been trying to catch up on the books that have been super hyped up that I’ve learned about through Bookstagram. It seems that I’ve missed out on a ton of great reads. This one is included. This series seems to almost have a cult following and I’m starting to understand why.

“You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who’ll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back.”

Illuminae is written in an interesting format. Rather than being written in the traditional style of a novel, this story is told through a series of interviews, instant messages, emails, transcribed video surveillance and materials retrieved from inside the artificial intelligence that ran the Alexander spacecraft. I think this is a really inventive way to tell this story. It shakes up the story and definitely kept me enthralled in the story. I think this formatting also gives the illusion (or maybe it’s not an illusion) that I’m reading the book faster. I feel like I flew through this story trying to get to the ending.

The way this story is told I think also allows the readers to get to know the characters in a unique way. Traditionally the reader is inside the characters head learning who they are, but with Illuminae we get to know Katy, Ezra and gang through their actions and how they treat one another rather from any inner thoughts or ideas. I loved Katy. She’s a fierce female lead and I loved that she was brainy and nerdy but also had a sensitive, vulnerable side that she let us see here and there. Ezra is totally my newest book boyfriend. I love how things turned out with him because I definitely almost cried at certain points in his story. I liked Ezra because he complimented Katy in an interesting way. They both push one another to do the best thing for the most amount of people, even if that means sacrificing themselves. I’m interested to see where Ezra’s story goes especially with the ending of the book.

AIDAN is the artificial intelligence that pilots and runs the Alexander spacecraft adds a very interesting aspect to our story. I was totally creeped out by AIDAN for many reasons.

“But what I do is not murder. It is mercy.”

Alright, you psycho computer. Having artificial intelligence turn evil and take over the world is honestly one of my biggest irrational fears of how humanity / the world will end. So AIDAN’s role in story totally added a creepy and dark aspect to this otherwise thrilling book. I’m incredibly impressed by these authors because by the end of the book I didn’t totally hate AIDAN. Somehow they gave this computer some unimaginable character development. Somehow AIDAN grows and learns and loves Katy. I grew to like AIDAN and get excited for what he (it?) might do next.

Overall this story absolutely lived up to all the hype that I’ve heard from the bookish community. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second and third books in the series. I adored Katy and Ezra and even AIDAN. There were also some wonderful supporting characters that added so much to the story. This book was full of action and adventure, suspense and mystery, menace and intrigue. There were characters to love and also characters to hate. I recommend this to any and all lovers of science fiction. This will for sure be a book that I will read again. I might even have to go out and buy the series so I don’t have to wait to get it from the library every time I want to read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Summary: Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide.

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Review: This book was amazing, as all of Nora’s are. She’s been an auto-buy author of mine since the first time I picked up one of her books and I’ve never been disappointed. This book was suspenseful, heart-wrenching, funny, and romantic.
I especially loved that it followed these characters over a fourteen year period. It starts with the mall shooting, then shows glimpses of the survivors over the years as they learn to cope with what happened to them, until it reaches present day when most of the story takes place. It was amazing to see the way these characters grew over the years and the different ways they handled (or didn’t) the trauma.
Simone was an awesome character. She goes from a teenager who’s life is ruined because she got dumped to a strong-willed, confident woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She tried to bury her feelings after the shooting; if she kept it locked up, it didn’t happen. I enjoyed watching her slowly open up and actually confront what had happened to her. She definitely has flaws but that only made her more relatable. I also loved how she dealt with her emotions through her art. Being a sculptor, she had a unique perspective that I found very interesting.
Reed is the best kind of male MC; he’s sexy, funny, romantic, tough and not afraid of his sensitive side. He’s perfectly comfortable going from the badass cop to chatting about art with Simone and CiCi. I really hate the super macho guys who think if they’re sensitive that makes them less of a man. Reed doesn’t have that hold-up and it made me love him even more.
CiCi is my favorite. She’s Simone’s grandmother, also an artist, and she’s basically the grandma we all wish we could have. She doesn’t act her age and is unapologetic about who she is. She was so quirky and fun that her character was definitely the highlight of the book for me.
The plot was intricate without being confusing. Since we got to follow the villain, Patricia’s, POV as well, we got to see both sides of the conflict. I like when a story does this because I still get the mystery and suspense that I want without being confused because I only have one side of the story. Patricia made an excellent villain. She was cold, violent, intelligent and psychotic, the kind of villain I adore but who still keeps me up at night.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery or romance. Nora blends the different themes perfectly in this book to make an amazing rollercoaster of a read.
I’d love to know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – back to school/learning freebie. So for this, I’m going to choose my top ten favorite books that take place in or at a school. In no specific order here’s my top ten for this week.
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1. Looking for Alaska by John Green – A book that kickstarted my secret desire to go to a boarding school or live in a dorm of some sort (something I never got to do.) Even though this book 1000% broke my heart into a million pieces, I loved the unique experience these characters had living away from their parents, making friends and the adventures.
2. The Seven Realms & The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – Oden’s Ford, the school in these two series was a really interesting one. It trained everyone from all of the realms, warriors, wizards, and healers alike, regardless of the war going on around them. It’s a place of peace and learning in a tumultuous time.
3. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – Featuring a school that trains girls how to be upper-class ladies so that they may find husbands and work on developing the new world into a proper society.
4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Another boarding school adventure. But this one is a murder mystery. Everything about this school intrigued me. They give their students the freedom to study what they want, for no cost at all.
5. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor by Bella Forrest – This was a fantastic series that featured several different schools. Not always good at teaching their students and some of them were pretty twisted, but it made for a really good story.
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Am I even a real bookworm if I don’t have this book/series on this list?
7. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Good old St. Vlad’s.
8. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – This heartfelt story follows Laurel through her first year of high school where she’s trying to figure out who she is without her sister and what her place in this seemingly foreign world. I love this book very much.
9. Evernight by Claudia Gray – I’m putting this in here for a throwback. An oldie, but goodie. Evernight Academy was such a creative idea, a place for vampires to figure out how to really blend in with the rest of the world. I still think, years after reading this series, which was a great twist on the vampire craze.
10. First Year by Rachel E. Carter – With a choice of working a trade or attempting to earn an apprenticeship as a soldier, mage or knight Ryiah always dreamed of becoming a mage. This series follows her through her incredible journey during her schooling.

Here’s my top ten for this week’s school-related freebie topic. What books do you think I should have included in my list? Let me know your top ten in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Websites

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Every week there’s a new topic where we get to choose our top ten and write about it. This week’s topic is top ten favorite book blogs or bookish websites. I’m wicked excited to share all my favorite book bloggers and book websites with you all! I’m going to do a few bookish websites that I love and frequently use, a few bookish blogs that I follow and love the girls that run them and a few booktubers that I love to watch.

top t t

1. Book Outlet If you haven’t heard of this website then click the link and go have your life changed and your bank account emptied.
2. Net Galley I have used a few different websites that give books for reviews and this is by far my favorite.
3. GoodReads I love how simple and user-friendly this website is. I have the app on my phone and I have my Kindle connected to update as I’m reading.
4. Alana @ The Bookish Chick Alana is my bookish twinny to the point where it’s getting a little weird so if you follow me & like what I post, then you will love her page too.
5. Erin Eliza @ Undercover Binge Reader I love Erin’s post and she’s always showing love to my posts!
6. Sara @ Bookish Traveling Wife Sara is the sweetest bookworm with a great taste in books. Check out her Instagram too because she takes some awesome pictures!
7. Ashley Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile She posts some great reviews as well as other bookish posts!
8. Piera Ford Piera keeps me laughing with her videos. I love watching her bookish rants about the books I love.
9. Emma @ Emmma Books Emma is just the cutest. She has a fabulous sense of style. Her makeup is always on point. She reads the best books and loves The Mortal Instruments more than any other human being.
10. Peter @ Peter Likes Books I love Peter! He’s sassy and funny and his videos are great!

These are a few of my favorite bookworms and bookish websites! Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know who your favorite book bloggers are in the comments.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Summary: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Review: Once again, I hardly know where to start. I have so many thoughts and feelings about this story and characters that I’m overwhelmed by it. In a good way. As soon as I finished I knew I had to get A Court of Frost and Starlight, and I never read novellas. My love for these characters is so great that I’ll take any chance to read more about them.
Let’s start with Feyre. I’ve liked her from the start but that’s somehow continued to increase throughout the books. First from her selfless bravery, then from the way she grew throughout the second book, and now because she’s an absolute badass. I spent the first few chapters just cheering her on while she spied on/ sabotaged Tamlin and the spring court. Later, when she was finally able to be High Lady of the Night Court, I only admired her more. She’s become confident in herself, her love, and her court and I loved watching her interactions with pretty much everyone. (Note: Unless you’ve read at least some of these books, you probably won’t understand what it really means that Feyre has become a High Lady; take it from me, it’s a really big deal.)
I still don’t like Tamlin. Some people think his actions by the end of the book are enough to redeem him at least a little but not for me. I think he’s a complete jerk who builds a “poor me” bubble around himself and how could anyone possibly believe the worst of him? How? Because you literally did everything possible to make everyone think you were the enemy. I don’t know how he could be surprised that people treated him as such.
Rhys is still my favorite book boyfriend. I adore his and Feyre’s relationship. They’re a team; they treat each other as equals and even when one of them goes off on their own or makes a mistake, they respect each others decisions whether they agree with them or not. Their love is what I think everyone should aspire to have.
Mor is amazing. She’s tough and fun and has the most tragic backstory. The one thing I didn’t like is the secret she’s kept from the group for hundreds of years. (Don’t worry, it’s not something that really affects the main storyline.) It just seems like, because the group is so close, that she should trust them not to judge her or to let it change the group’s dynamic. The fact that she doesn’t bothers me a little.
Cassian and Azriel are also fantastic. They have fairly opposite personalities; Cassian’s more in-your-face about pretty much everything while Azriel hides in his shadows and doesn’t really let anyone in. Getting glimpses of the softer side of Azriel is the best though. I just want to wrap him up in a bubble and protect him forever.
Amren is probably my favorite of the Inner Circle. She’s an all powerful being from another world trapped in a High Fae body. Her powers are limited in her current form but you frequently get glimpses of what she is by the way others behave around her. The fact that this tiny little person terrifies everyone she meets just makes me so happy.

**MINOR SPOILER ALERT**

What I don’t get is how anyone can believe Amren would betray them at the end. After seeing the way this family interacts throughout books two and three, I had no doubt that she had a plan and wasn’t actually betraying Feyre. Anyone who thought she would actually do that isn’t giving her enough credit.

**SPOILER ENDED**

I still can’t believe Hybern turned Elain and Nesta into High Fae. Elain just made me sad throughout the entire book. She’s like a tiny puppy being kicked. I really liked Nesta however. She’s still prickly and a little annoying and just mean to everyone but that’s just the shield she wears constantly. I think she grew a lot during this book and is one of the main reasons I want to read ACOFAS, to see how she’s doing after the war.
Lucien I really loved for the first half of this book. Then he disappears on his mission and you don’t see him until the end. I found this part irritating. It felt almost like Maas sent him on a wild goose chase so she wouldn’t have to figure out where he fit in with the rest of the Inner Circle. I would have liked to have seen more of him.
Overall I loved this book to the point where this series is definitely a new favorite of mine. It has the best characters and a really intricate plot. The final battle was intense, bloody and literally had me screaming at my husband to stop interrupting me. I’d recommend this series to everyone. The first book is a little more YA romance but the other two are far more complex and action-based. Tell me what you think in the comments because I could talk about this book for days. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Review: As much as I loved the first book, I loved this one more. I read it in about a day even though it’s over 600 pages long and I was a little overwhelmed when I was done. Not necessarily in a bad way, it’s just that so much happened and I had so many feelings that I was a bit lost when it was over.
In my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I talked about how I liked the fact that Feyre isn’t your typical hero; she does what she has to to protect those she loves even if it’s not “the right thing”. Some of these actions from the first book have resulted in her having PTSD. Partly because of the awful things that were done to her or that she saw in Amarantha’s court Under The Mountain, but a huge part of it is the things she herself did Under The Mountain. Even if we completely ignore the fact she’s been turned into High Fae (she’s literally not even human anymore and that’s an insane adjustment for anyone), everything that’s happened since the beginning of ACOTAR has been traumatizing. She’s trying, and failing, to cope as she comes to terms with who she’s become. This book had some of the best character development for her, particularly because it doesn’t happen overnight. Throughout this entire book she’s changing, growing, learning who she is and who she wants to be. A huge part of that growth is influence by Tamlin and Rhysand in vastly different ways but I’ll go into more detail about that later.
I slowly hated Tamlin more and more throughout this book. This seems to be the source of some contention for fans. Readers seem to either think his personality in ACOMAF is completely different from ACOTAR and that Maas forced it that way to make room for Rhys to be with Feyre; OR readers think it’s simply an extension of Tamlin’s personality that we didn’t see in ACOTAR but that was sort of amplified by the trauma of Under The Mountain. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think but it seems to fall somewhere in the middle for me. His change in ACOMAF definitely felt just a little forced but I’m also not surprised by it. As much as I loved him in ACOTAR, I definitely got that sense that he was a little controlling, a little possessive. Part of the problem might be that in the first book, that’s what Feyre wanted. She wanted to feel protected for once in her life, not have to do the protecting but after Under The Mountain she needed some semblance of control of her own life and Tamlin wouldn’t let her have that. I understand he watched her die and doesn’t know how to deal with that but even months later after Feyre’s tried telling him what she needs, after he’s promised to be better about it, he only gets more and more controlling. All that said, I still felt a little sorry for him right up until that last scene. I won’t spoil it for anyone but his actions at the end were the final straw for me. In my mind, there’s no excuse for what he did and I won’t forgive him for it.
Rhysand. Is. Perfect. Not that he doesn’t have flaws; of course he does. His flaws just made me love him more. Everything about Rhys’s story gave me all the emotions. It’s tragic and beautiful and funny. For me though, the main reason he’s my new favorite book boyfriend is for the way he interacts with Feyre. He works so hard to give her what she needs to deal with her trauma and he listens to her and respects what she says whether he agrees with her or not. He never tries to control her and actively gives her the freedom to act for herself to the point where, if there’s danger, he lets her handle it; he might step in when necessary but he never tries to fight her battles for her. This more than anything helps Feyre grow because she finally has the freedom to do what she needs to do for her own well-being. Rhys never treats Feyre as anything less than his equal and I absolutely adore that.
Rhys’s Inner Circle was one of my favorite parts of this book. Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren are such unique, complex, lovable characters. I love that they, including Rhys and later Feyre, are a family first and the Night Court second. I’m beyond excited to see more of them in the next book.
Overall, this is one of my new favorite books. It had everything I want from a story; romance, friendship, complex character development, action, heart-wrenching moments, laugh-out-loud scenes, and an ending that just about killed me. I recommend this to everyone. Seriously. Just read this book.
I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday – Sensory Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books with sensory reading memories. These are the books that are linked to very specific memories for you: where you were, what time of year it was, who you were with, what you were eating, what you were feeling, what you were seeing, etc.

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I’m actually really excited for this topic because books almost always leave me with sensory memories; usually just a feeling or really vivid memory but it happens to me a lot. It’s one of the main reasons why I reread books so often.

I’m going to try not to list all the same books as Amanda but there will probably still be a couple. With that being said, here are my top ten for this week:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – I had a huge book that included all seven of the Narnia books in one. I remember carrying it around with me in sixth grade and having to leave it on top of my desk because it wouldn’t fit in the little cubby underneath. I’d have not only students but teachers asking me why I was reading such a big book.

2. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – It felt like I waited forever for the last book in this series to come out and when it did I’d just started my first semester of college so it took awhile for me to get it. Every time I think of this book, it feels like I’m back in my sister’s apartment, crying over the bittersweet ending while my sister and her boyfriend stared at me in confusion.

3. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer – This is going to be a long one: It was Amanda’s birthday and we’d had a giant, all-night party so I was exhausted that day. Amanda and another friend of ours received their pre-ordered books that day but mine was late and I was devastated. Luckily my family rented cottages for summer vacations and the girl staying there had already finished her copy and was nice enough to lend it to me. Like Amanda, I fell asleep reading it and woke up to my sister reading it several chapters ahead of me. I stayed in touch with that girl for several years.

4. Redwall by Brian Jacques – This series is the one that gives me the most sensory memories. Picking out the first one from the school library in 4th grade, telling my brother I was reading it and him being so excited because they were his favorite books as a child, always being so hungry because the descriptions of the giant feasts were amazing, the stuffed animal my brother made me to look like one of the more ridiculous characters, etc. I could go on forever about these books.

5. Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks – This was my first Sparks novel and before this I’d had no idea how devastating a book could be. Right up until the very end it seems happy then BOOM. I cried myself to sleep for days. I remember climbing out on my roof and just crying at like 4 in the morning and refusing to read the last few pages.

6. The Witches by Roald Dahl – Now technically numbers 6 and 7 were not books I read but books that were read to me but I still think they count. This one my third grade teacher read out loud to our class and it’s what got me started on Dahl’s books. I can still feel myself sitting in those tiny desks, listening to his voice bring the book alive.

7. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – This one was read by my fifth grade teacher. He’d read many books to us that year but when it was time for this one he announced that it was kind of sad and that when we got to that part he was going to have to stop for the day and that he was going to cry. And he did. We all did. Just a class of ten year olds and their teacher crying over a book.

8. 10 Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn – All of Quinn’s books are funny but this one the most. I remember laying on a beach towel next to Amanda at the pond near my house. I wouldn’t stop laughing and trying to read parts out loud to her while she tried to read her own book. It got so bad she actually got mad at me.

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – I remember reading this on a hot summer night. We didn’t have AC so all my windows were open and the crickets were insane. I remember pacing around my room crying in the middle of the night for pretty much the last third of the book.

10. Eragon by Christopher Paolini – I know, I know. I’m repeating authors but I have so many memories for this one. The ten thousand times I read it, being absolutely disgusted by the movie, reading it out loud with my mom every night (keep in mind I was not a child when we did this). Everything about this book gives me happy memories.

 

Well that’s my top ten this week. I’d love to hear your own answers.

-Antonia

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Novellas

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten of my favorite novellas or short stories. I’m going to be listing my favorite novellas because I don’t frequently read short stories unless they’re for college (and those aren’t usually too fun.) I’m not sure that I will have a full ten, but I’m going to do my best.

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1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – If any of you even slightly follow my posts then this one is obvious. I’m obsessed with the ACOTAR series and not sorry about it in the slightest.
2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer – I read this forever ago, but I remember really liking it because it gave us a different point of view of the villain from this series.
3. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling – I went a little crazy after my last HP reread and bought all of the novellas on my Kindle.
4. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling – I loved the little inside details that were within these novellas.
5. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling – Again, from my novella buying spree on my Kindle.
6. Dorothy Must Die novellas (0.1-0.9) by Danielle Paige – I bought these novellas on my Kindle after my last reread of this series once the final book was released. I really enjoyed getting some more background on these characters.
7. Stephanie Plum novellas by Janet Evanovich – There are quite a few different novellas in this series that are holiday themed, from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas. They’re all fun little additions to the series.
8. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare – A book full of novellas? Yes, please.
9. Tales from the Shadowhunter’s Academy by Cassandra Clare – I’m not sure if this counts as another book of novellas but I loved reading about Simon.
10. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – Okay so I haven’t actually read this book. I just finally got around to buying it last week and I will for sure be rereading the whole Throne of Glass series (starting with this book) before the last book is released this fall.

These are my top ten favorite novellas! Do you have any favorites that I didn’t include in this list? Let me know what your favorites are below in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Summary: Imagine it were possible to bring the characters from a book to life. Not like when someone reads a book with such enchantment that the characters seem to jump off the pages and into your bedroom…but for real. Imagine they could actually climb out of the pages and into our world.
Then, imagine if those characters brought their world into ours.
One cruel night, young Meggie’s father, Mo, reads aloud from Inkheart and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.
Somehow, Meggie and Mo must learn to harness the magic that conjured this nightmare. Somehow they must change the course of the story that has changed their lives forever.
This is Inkheart, a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life.
Dare to read it aloud.

Review: This is a book that I can honestly say I liked every part of. The plot was well-rounded and fast-paced; even slower parts kept my attention so I was never bored. The characters were complex and even the villains were enjoyable to read about. I also didn’t really feel like I was reading a children’s book. Certainly some darker topics were skirted around and parts that were more from Meggie’s POV had a more child-like tone but she is a child and that’s to be expected.
One of my favorite things about this book were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter from all sorts of different books, mostly classics, some that I knew and some I’d never heard of. It just added to everything else that makes this the perfect book for bookworms.
Another thing I loved is simply the way the characters talk about books. I’ve quoted this book before in a Top Ten Tuesday from years ago and even highlighted some of my favorite ones in the book itself. Here are just a few:

“Stacks of books were piled high all over the house – not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There were books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and books in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fell over them.” Inkheart, Chapter 1- A Stranger in the Night

“They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful, friends – daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide.” Inkheart, Chapter 2- Secrets

“Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly.” Inkheart, Chapter 47- Alone

Now to the plot itself. The idea of characters literally coming out of their books to interact with us is a thought that every bookworm has had. We wish desperately to have adventures with our favorite characters, to become best friends with the protagonists, to defeat the villains and become heroes. This is what happens to Meggie and her father, Mo, but they realize quickly that adventures aren’t as fun in real life as they are to read about. Villains are wonderful on paper but being face-to-face with them is terrifying. I loved the storyline overall. It was relatively realistic (excluding the fantasy aspects, obviously) and had excellent detail without the tediously long descriptions I hate.
The characters were wonderful. Meggie is strong-willed and kind. Thanks to her father, she’s already an avid reader at the age of twelve and I loved all her little bookish quirks. I really admired the way she handled all the traumatic events throughout the story. She’s young and terrified but kept pushing past her fear to try to get through each situation. I also loved her relationship with Mo. They’re friends as well as parent/child and it’s always been just the two of them so they’re constantly looking after one another.
Mo was great, too. He lost his wife when Meggie was just three and has had to cope with that while raising Meggie by herself. He’s compassionate and always tries to do the right thing for everyone.
Dustfinger has always been my favorite. He’s so lost in the real world even after nine years and only ever wants to get back home. He does some less than admirable things to try to get there but I think he steps up enough when it counts. I can’t wait to read more about him in the next books because I just want him to get a happy ending.
Overall this book was amazing. It’s fast-paced, fun, suspenseful, and even a little sad at times. I’d recommend it to all bookworms who love getting lost in the adventures they read about. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

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