The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart

GoodReads Summary:
It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.
I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.
I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.
Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.
The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.
It’s time to set the record straight.
For my son, I‘ll find the strength.
In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.
I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.
The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs, #2)Review:
After finishing the first book in this series, I was really excited to continue the story and hear more about Troy’s story. Right from the beginning, I was interested, but also sort of annoyed. Because we got to see an outside perspective from the first book, it was a little annoying that certain aspects weren’t really shown in this book. I’ll explain what I mean in a bit.
Troy is trying to show Clarissa that he’s grown up and isn’t the teenage boy that lied to her about his age anymore. I loved this aspect of the story. I really loved that Troy was so serious about stepping up and being a father to Dante. This was one of the best parts of the book. He’s so aware of what his role is compared to what he wants it to me. I loved the parts with Clarissa and Troy coming together to be good parents for Dante.
Let’s talk about the romance. I totally love it and I’m really here for it, but…Troy is a fuckboy and I didn’t like that it wasn’t really shown. It was talked about in abundance in The Guy on the Right because Theo is making breakfast for all the girls that Troy has a one night stand with, but it’s not really addressed in The Guy on the Left. I didn’t like that I was sort of left wondering how long he kept up with his one night stands and when he stopped them because he loved Clarissa. Aside from this, I liked the scenes that were in both books. I liked that Troy and Lance seem to be sort of friends and confide in one another. I enjoyed the romance and I liked that Troy was finally standing up for himself to fight to have this relationship with his son.
Overall, I liked this book. It was enjoyable. I was entertained the whole time. The sex scenes were pretty great (read: sexting scene was totally hot). There were good friends in this book, as there was with the first. I loved Clarissa’s best friend, Parker (also I want her to get her own romance.) Troy’s friends were not as involved, but still present and I liked them too. I didn’t like this book as much as I liked the first in the series, but I still enjoyed it and I will definitely be continuing onto the third book where we learn about the mysterious Lance.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

WWW wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare in a print book. I’m doing a reread of all of Cassie’s books before Queen of Air and Darkness is released this December. I’m currently listening to Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I’ve heard so many book bloggers rant and rave about this book and I’m excited to be listening to it.

Antonia- I just started the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova. Amanda absolutely loved this series and she’s talked about it so much that I had to give it a try.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished listening to Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. It was a great listen and I will be posting my review later this month. I also recently finished Allies by Bella Forrest (book six in the Hotbloods series) and will be posting a complete series review once I’ve finished the last two books.

Antonia- I just finished Celtic Magic by Linsey Hall. I love all of these books so much and can’t wait for the next one. Expect to see a review soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- My next audiobook with be Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxaum. I started listening to this a few weeks ago and then got distracted by other stories. I will be reading Stargazers by Bella Forrest – the final book in the Hotbloods series – on my Kindle. I’m not sure what print book I’ll pick up next, but I have a small stack that I’d like to get through this month.

Antonia- I’m really not sure. I’m moving next week so all my books are currently in boxes and I’m stuck with my Kindle for a bit. I might continue the Air Awakens series or The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg.

Thanks for reading. These are our W’s for this week! What are your answers? Feel free to leave them in the comments or a link to your post.

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m still working on getting through Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa on my Kindle. I haven’t picked it up since last week, but I’ll probably finish it in the next few days. I’m listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman as I type this. I’m over halfway through and still somehow have six hours left. I’m also reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did because it’s super interesting and I’m only less than fifty pages in.

Antonia- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I cannot stop with this series. I blew through the first two books in a couple days and will probably read this last one just as quickly. I’m so glad Amanda practically threw these books at me.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I just yesterday finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’m doing a reread of the series so I can finally read the last book that came out this year.

Antonia- I just finished A Court of Mist and Fury. I read this 600-something-page book in about a day. It was amazing. Expect to see my reviews of this series soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- After I finish Big Little Lies I will probably pick up Glass Sword, the second book in the Red Queen Series. I have quite a few books on my TBR list for this month but I don’t know what order I’m going to read them yet.

Antonia- I’m not sure. I barely started listening to the audiobook for The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg but got distracted by the ACOTAR series. There’s also a couple new books in The Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series by Linsey Hall that I’m excited to read. But I still have a bunch of new books from my haul from Book Outlet that I need to read so it’ll all depend on my mood when I finish my current read.

Thanks for reading! What are your W’s this week?

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Summary:
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.
Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking-the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries-in as short a time frame-as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.
Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking-and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

Review:
The Plastic Magician is the newest book in The Paper Magician series. Holmberg is back, writing the story of this crazy unique book world, but with all new characters. A few months ago I read the first three in the series and fell in love. Holmberg does a wonderful job building this unique world. The story is based in London in the early 1900s, so it’s mostly seated in the real world. I liked this because the author found a way to insert magic into the real world making it realistic instead of creating a fantasy place for these magicians. Being from the United States, I really enjoyed reading the story taking place in Alvie’s point of view. She’s also from the U.S. and getting to travel to London (somewhere I have always wanted to travel) for the first time. So the reader gets to see the world from the fresh perspective of someone coming to London for the first time.
In The Plastic Magician, the world is full of ‘material magics’ with plastic being newly discovered. With the discovery of a new material comes enthusiastic and creative magicians. Elvie and her teacher, Magician Praff, are two people that are both incredibly excited about Polymaking and the things still to be learned. Our main character, Alvie, was someone that I really enjoyed reading about. She’s excited about this new adventure, moving across the world to study a new kind of magic with the goal of making new discoveries to better the world. Alvie is super intelligent and really tries to think outside of the box, this out of the box thinking helps her in so many ways throughout the story. She seems to be a strong independent woman that doesn’t let what others think to determine her path in life. For example, she hates wearing skirts, which is what most women wear daily because it’s the early 1900s, so she wears trousers and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone has to say about it. She’s a little awkward and a lot nerdy and I absolutely adore it. I love reading about a nerdy main character, it just makes me happy. She’s creative, with Polymaking, but also with any situation that is thrown her way. She’s also so clever which’s helps her in a few different situations that could have gone way worse had she not been a quick thinker. The only thing I didn’t like about Alvie was that she has a bit of low self-esteem when it comes to her relationship with a guy that she meets at the train station. He’s a perfect gentleman to her and gives her more chances than most would, and she can’t seem to stop doubting what they have. It’s a little bit annoying. But their whole relationship was a little annoying. Even at the end of the book, they hadn’t actually talked about their relationship or anything. They were sweet and innocent which I think it what was trying to be portrayed, but it was a smidge on the irritating side.
I liked the dynamic with Alvie and her mentor Magician Praff. I hope Holmberg is going to continue this series with our new character Alvie and her training. I like that this apprenticeship isn’t the typical one. Alvie’s traveled across the world to study under one of the leading minds in Polymaking. They work incredibly well together and I liked Praff because he’s a great teacher. Praff makes sure to take time to listen to what Alvie is thinking. They end up being a really great team and I think they could have more adventures for sure.
There is a little bit of mystery here and there throughout the story but in an obvious way. We meet our villain at the beginning of the story and to me, it was pretty obvious that he was the villain from the moment we met him. This was only reinforced every time we saw him. I thought the villain totally could have been done a bit better, maybe just made a little less obvious that he’s the villain. I actually have some suggestions that I’m not going to make because they would be spoilers. Aside from the lame villain, I liked the mystery. There were break-ins all over London, but only at the houses of Polymakers, it was an interesting feature that definitely added to the story.
The one last thing I want to mention is the question I had from the very first page, “But do we get to see the characters from the first three books?” The answer is yes. I won’t say where or when, but yes. And yes, I did squeal a little when they appeared.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and I enjoyed getting to know these new characters in a world that I already love. I’m going to end this review a little differently than most. The Plastic Magician ended with a sentence that I really just found delightful, so I’m going to leave it here for you all.

“After all, it wasn’t about the magic it was about the discovery.”

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!

The Girl Who Dared Series by Bella Forrest

Summary:
How do you fight an enemy when they’re inside your mind?
A gargantuan glass-walled tower looms over a deadly wilderness. They say it’s all that’s left.
The Tower’s survival is humanity’s survival, and each must serve it faithfully…
Twenty-year-old Liana Castell must be careful what she thinks. Her life is defined by the number on her wristband — a rating out of ten awarded based on her usefulness and loyalty to the Tower, and monitored by a device in her skull. A device that reports forbidden thoughts.
Liana is currently a four, the lowest possible acceptable score, and despite her parents’ perfect scores of ten, she struggles to increase it. Rebellious ideas come all too easily, and resentfulness seems part of her being. She is an overseer-in-training, but her future will be dark if she cannot raise her worth…
Threes require drug treatment.
Twos are isolated.
Ones disappear.
When Liana’s worst nightmare comes to pass and she drops to a three, desperation spurs her down a path few dare to tread. A chance encounter with a cocky young man whose shockingly dissident attitude toward the Tower couldn’t possibly have earned him the perfect “ten” on his wrist, sets her on a trail to save herself–even at the risk of dropping lower.
Stalking the young man seemed like a simple enough task, but after events take an unexpected twist, Liana finds herself taking a treacherous dive into the darkest depths of the Tower… and the decades’ old secrets buried within.
In a society where free thinking can make you a criminal, one girl dares to try…
An unforgettable tale brimming with suspense, mystery and romance – The Girl Who Dared to Think will thrill fans of The Gender Game , Divergent & The Hunger Games.

Review:
The last book in this series (book seven) came out recently and I’ve been putting off reading it, mostly just because I wasn’t ready for the adventure to be over. Part of me right now wishes that I hadn’t decided to read it today on this 8 hour car ride because I’m really sick of my husband asking me if I’m okay when he realizes that I’m balling my eyes out and I have to explain to him (again) that I’m crying because of this book. I’m going to review this whole series in one post because this is a series I found on my kindle while I was taking a break from writing reviews, but it’s an amazing series that everyone should read. The Girl Who Dared series is one that will make you laugh and cry. It’s full of characters that will frustrate you, but also you will have to admire them for all the things that they deal with.
Let’s start with our main character, Liana. At the beginning we see Liana struggling with life inside the tower, to the point where she has to go to medica (their version of the doctor) and essentially get medication for depression that completely changed her as a person. Living with her parents who are forever disappointed in her and wishing her brother hadn’t moved departments and left her alone with them she can’t seem to get it together and do better. But the further we get into the story we realize that Liana isn’t in the wrong like she thinks she is. We learn that life in the tower isn’t what it was meant to be and everything isn’t fine and dandy like those in charge would like you to think. When this series opens, Liana seems to get find herself in bad situations all the time. Things just seem to happen to her rather than her making things happen. Even though she is trying to do better by everyone else’s standards, she still feels like she’s failing, until she realizes some important things. Liana is my favorite because she developed the most as a character throughout these books. She went from being a girl who couldn’t seem to keep her life together and trouble just fell into her lap to a woman that’s confident and fearless and an amazing leader. Some of this is absolutely due to the people around her. We get to meet some interesting people during this story and when Liana first meets them, it’s not under the best circumstances. but regardless of all of that, they become their own sort of family.
I love this little squad so much. I’m not going to name any names because they’re not a little squad from the start and it takes some time to get to where they end up but it’s worth the wait. They all compliment one another so well. Where some aren’t skilled, the others are. Each member of their makeshift family has an essential role to play in their survival. They also just work so well together. They do their best to lift one another when they’re feeling down, they say all the right things to inspire confidence and the desire to continue on regardless of the latest setback or horrible thing. It certainly takes them a few books to get to this well-oiled machine that they are in the final book, but that’s one of the things I loved about the story, watching these characters develop into their best selves was so enjoyable. There’s realistic and hilarious and traumatizing development with all of the characters and it’s just one of the many things that made this series as great as it is.
Another thing that made this series so fantastic was the actual story. The author, Bella Forrest, has become one of my favorite authors in the last year or so since I’ve discovered her books. The Girl Who Dared series is based in a futuristic world that she’s already written another series in (The Gender Game.) The worlds basically unrecognizable because of a long-ago war. This series was another group of “survivors” in this desolate world who believe that they only survive because of the tower they live in. They’re all led to believe that life outside the tower isn’t possible. The world that Bella Forrest has created inside the tower is so incredibly intricate. I would love to get inside her head just to see what other ideas she has in there that she isn’t sharing with us (she has like four other series that she’s written / still writing). So along with the crazy story that is life inside the tower, there are the details that just make the story better. I’m going to try to explain what I mean without giving anything away. The characters in this story are essentially fighting rebels within the tower that most people don’t even know exist. Because of this, there are quite a few really screwed up things that happen (from near deaths to actual deaths to learning that everything they’ve always been told is a lie), Forrest goes the extra mile to show her characters dealing with these horrible life events and what comes after them. Too many stories have terrible things happen to their characters and then their just fine a few days later as if nothing happened. That’s not how these books work, the characters deal with their traumas and struggles realistically. Liana not being able to feel anything or focus or really have any desire to get out of bed or continue on with their mission, and if there’s no time for the characters to deal with their emotions appropriately, Forrest shows the thought process behind it and the characters supporting one another through it. I just thought this whole series was written really well with characters that were realistic in their trials and tribulations even in a world so foreign from the one we live in today.
I could honestly go on and on and on saying wonderful things about The Girl Who Dared series because it was just that good (which yes, is how I feel about all of Bella Forrest’s books.) But I’ll stop while I’m ahead because I really don’t want to give too many details away because I would like anyone and everyone to read these books. I can say that I enjoyed getting lost in this uniquely creative story that’s full of so many extra little details that just make the story that much better. Forrest has really gone the extra mile to make her story something relatable even though the world is nothing like the world we know now, but just similar enough that we could see how today’s world could end up at that point. Please, go read these books so that you understand what I’m saying. Also so that you love these characters as much as I do and cry huge ridiculous tears while reading the last book only to find out that we were lied to and tricked. So please read them and feel the emotions that I’m currently feeling and can accept that the story of these characters that I’ve fallen so in love with is actually over.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.