Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

GoodReads Summary:
Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.
They picked the wrong girl.
Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.
Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
Foul Is FairReview:
Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I buddy read this ARC with my favorite twinny, Alana @ The Bookish Chick.
I absolutely adored this story. It was dark and gritty, murderous and magical, fast-paced and captivating. I loved Elle (or Jade). She was vengeful and I freaking loved it. I don’t even know how to explain it. She’s clever and devious in all the best ways. But I liked even more that we still got to see her when she was vulnerable. She was drugged and raped, but won’t take anyone’s bullshit. She and her coven have a plan to get their revenge.
The coven. I adored them. They were magical and loyal. I loved the dynamic between these girls. They were some serious friend goals. I loved all the scenes with the coven doing their part to scare the boys of St. Andrews.
The writing in Foul is Fair was incredible. Even during the slow points of the story, it felt like I was flying through it because of the writing. The author sucked me into the story, chewed me up, and spit me out. The writing was beautiful and dark. Never quite clear about whether the coven was actually casting spells and flying with their wings. I adored it.
Overall, this book was incredible. I loved every single murderous page. I think this one will be a hit once it’s published and I know I will be shouting about it all year.

Quotes:

“Killing hurts worse if somebody you love is holding the knife.”

“It’s beautiful. We’re beautiful. This night, dark and deadly and stained with blood, is a masterpiece too perfect for any museum in the whole world.”

“As soon as I speak they’ll never see that same girl anymore, and knowing that makes my fingernails bite into my skin because I want it so hard, to rip those boys’ faces open. Tear their hearts out and hold them, still beating, in my hands.”

“We’re magic. I can feel it right now in the dark. We’re invisible when we need to be and then so firework-bright no one can look away. We’re patience and brilliance. We never forget. We never forgive.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

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GoodReads Summary:
On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer, days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.
On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.
Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…
What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?
In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.
The Walls Around UsReview:
I’ve been on a thriller/mystery kick for the spooky season. I’ve also been attempting to make a big dent in my physical TBR, so I’ve only been choosing books I bought a million years ago. This is one of those.
I was really interested in this book for the first half. It was mysterious and suspenseful, but also a little weird. I liked that it was weird. But by the end of the book, I still had no idea what had gone on. The characters were interesting and kept up the pace of the story pretty well. The characters were mostly well developed, and I enjoyed the few different perspectives the story was told through.
I’ve waited too long to write this review. So, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I enjoyed most of this book. It was weird, I think in a good way. But it wasn’t anything that blew me away. A fun read for this time of year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Summary:
Magic passed down through generations…
Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has touched every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.
An island where strange things happen…
No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernweh’s what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.
No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.
No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.
One summer that will become legend…
When tragedy strikes, what make the Fernweh women suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.
Summer of SaltReview:
The only thing wrong with this book was that there wasn’t more of it. Summer of Salt was the group book for the Witch-A-Thon. I’ve had it on my TBR shelf ever since I saw Chelsea Dolling Reads talk about it on her channel. I didn’t really even know what it was about before I picked it up. Queer beachy and witchy? Sign me up.
So, being honest. I was slightly disappointed when I learned that most of this book centers around a bird. I know that the story is more than that. But it just seemed so silly to me. But as the story progressed and certain things happened, I came to appreciate this little bird.
I loved the characters. They were all so vibrant and interesting. The relationship between Georgina and her twin, Mary, was absolutely my favorite part of Summer of Salt. I have two sisters and sibling stories always seem to hit me in the feels. They were a realistic pair of sisters and I adored the family dynamic.
Right along with the family dynamic is the atmosphere of By-the-Sea. I want to live on this spooky and atmospheric island. Witchy and beachy is my preferred environment. I loved the way that the weather was brought into the story. I could help but smile at the tugboat scene.
Overall, I would have liked to learn more about the magic, more about the Fernweh family and their history, more about the island, just more. I also really liked the representation. Georgina acknowledged that the environment she’s in is likely more accepting than what others might experience. I liked that she was aware of the privileged she has growing up on a close-knit island with a family that isn’t totally normal themselves. I definitely will be reading more work by Katrina Leno and soon.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

GoodReads Review:
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
The Astonishing Color of AfterReview:
I read this book for many reasons. The first being that I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this debut novel. The second and more important reason is that I’m going to a book event at the end of March and Emily X.R. Pan will be there, so I wanted to have read her book so that I may buy it and get it signed when I meet her. I was expecting to enjoy the book, but there were so many unexpected things inside of it.

“Memory is a mean thing, slicing at you from the harshest angles, dipping your consciousness into the wrong  colors again and again.”

I was not expecting magical realism. I think this was so well done and was a great part of the story. The magical parts of the story were seamlessly blended with the contemporary parts of the story. I thought it was such an interesting and fun part of the story. Leigh getting to see and learn all of the things that she does in the way that she does was such a good way to tell her story. I also really loved the flashback aspects of the story. Many books cannot pull this off in the right way, but this story is told with flashbacks giving the reader a view into how Leigh got where she is and the events that unfolded on the way. The flashbacks didn’t detract from the story, instead added to it. The reader was pulled into the past at all the right moments giving vital information.

“Once you figure out what matters, you’ll figure out how to be brave.”

The Astonishing Color of After does an incredible job talking about mental health and depression. It talks about the struggle of depression and how there are ups and downs. It tells a story of how depression is never something that just gets better, it’s a constant up and down battle to stay level. I thought the book did an excellent job discussion depression and showing its effect on other family members.

“She was a sea creature and the music was her ocean. It had always belonged to her. It was in her every breath, her every movement. She was the color of home.”

Most of this story takes place in Taiwan. This was something I enjoyed because I felt like I was learning while reading. It’s about a place and culture I don’t know much about, so I was fascinated by the view into the culture and traditions that were in the book.
Finally, the writing was incredible. There were so many visual and colors mentioned. Emily X.R. Pan is an incredible writer and tells a story beautifully. There’s something about the words she uses to tell the story that brought me into it.

“Memories that tell a story, if you look hard enough. Because the purpose of memory, I would argue, is to remind us how to live.”

Overall, I loved everything about this book. I cannot wait to meet the author. I also cannot wait to see what else she writes in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Contemporary January TBR List – Magical Edition

Hi, lovelies! This week we will be talking about magical realism and retellings! I don’t have too many of these two genres on my shelves waiting to be read so I thought I would combine them into one post. I love a good retelling (key word: good) but there are so many that are just not that great. So I find myself less interested in picking them up after reading a few duds. As for magical realism, I love it. Which is why there’s only a few on my TBR because I tend to pick them up pretty quickly.

Contemp Jan

Retellings

Catwoman By Sarah J. Maas
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

Magical Realism

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
A Million Junes By Emily Henry

There are so many more for both of these lists, but for the purposes of the intention of Contemporary January, I’m only mentioning the books I own that are begging to be read from my bookshelves. Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Contemporary January Recommendations – Magical Edition

Hi, lovelies! We’re halfway through Contemporary January already! So many books to be read and so many recommendations to be made. This week we are talking about two topics that I couldn’t find enough to give them lists of their own so I will be including them in one post together for their recommendations as well as their TBR list.

Check out Alana’s recommendations this week here.

Contemp Jan

Retellings

Splintered by A.G. Howard
An Alice in Wonderland retelling. I loved this trilogy. It was so fun and twisty.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
A classic, but with zombies. What could go wrong?

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz
This was a fun cutesy romance retelling set in modern times.

Timeless Fairy Tales by K.M. Shea
This series is one I found on Kindle Unlimited. Its a whole series of retellings from The Beauty and the Beast to the Twelve Dancing Princess. They’re fun and quick to read.

Quincey Wolf’s Glass Vault by Candice Robinson
A twisted modern story that features fairytale characters here and there.

Magical Realism

The Shack by William Paul Young
A story that blew me away. I’ve loved all the books I’ve read by this author.

Teardrop by Lauren Kate
A story about a girl that can’t cry? Count me in.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
If you haven’t heard of the Night Circus then what rock have you been living under?

These are just some of the books I really enjoyed that fall under the category of magical realism or a retelling. What retellings do you love? Which books with magical realism are on your favorites list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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