The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Schusterman

Summary:
Not every child who dies goes on to the afterlife. Some are caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
Allie and Nick don’t survive the car crash, and end up in Everlost, where coins are more valuable than anyone knows, fortune cookies tell the truth, monsters are real, and the queen of lost souls lives in a once-beloved tower. Nick and Allie have to learn to survive in a world with different rules, and figure out who they can trust – and who they must oppose at all costs. At stake is nothing less than the fate of Everlost and the living world they have left behind.
In this gripping trilogy, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

Book Cover

Review:
The Skinjacker Trilogy is one of Schusterman’s series that I read years and years ago and remember nothing about. Honestly, I think I only ever read the first book. But I’m glad that I reread it and finished the trilogy. I’m going to review the whole trilogy in this one long post because I read them all back-to-back, so I’d rather just talk about it all overall. I managed to reread this whole trilogy over Mother’s Day weekend because it was super interesting and I just needed to know how everything ended. I made notes for each book, so I’ll briefly mention them before I talk about the series as a whole. The first book, Everlost, was interesting mostly because of the concept of this in-between place for lost souls. I liked the characters well enough, but I thought the plot was lacking. It felt like the first book was just world building and set up for the rest of the series. The second book, Everwild, is where things started to get really interesting plot wise. The story moves slowly, but it’s very clear that Shusterman placed building blocks, little bits and pieces, that would come back into the story later. This goes for the third book, Everfound, too. Some of the things we see and learn about in books one and two come back into play for book three. I loved this aspect where we get to see things come full circle. Everwild is where we really see the characters grow and we see what they’re made of. Oh boy, does Schusterman make his characters suffer in this series. I still loved them all though.
There were a few different romances in this series, I liked all but one of them. I just couldn’t get behind Nick and Mary as romantic interests for one another. I think this was really the only thing I didn’t like about the series. It was there through all three books and I just didn’t find it believable. I did, however, really like Allie and Mikey together, as well as the other couples we see get together. I also want to mention the historical sites that are mentioned and some that play a part in this story. In Everlost, we see the Twin Towers, the Hindenburg airship, In Everwild the characters leave the East Coast and move west across the United States. We get to see the World’s Fair in Chicago and Graceland. The final book we get to see the Alamo and the Trinity Vortex (the site of the first atomic bomb). I think the way that Shusterman included these bits and pieces of history was fascinating and thoughtful. I just overall had a fun time reading this series. It was silly and occasionally ridiculous, but it was also way more serious than I anticipated. There were some really dark plotlines that I was not expecting, but then there were things like Nick being named the ‘chocolate ogre’ so the serious and sometimes dark parts of the story were balanced with a bit of silliness and I liked that.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.  

Amanda Recommends Completed Series

Hi, lovelies! I was talking with a new friend, sharing series that I love with them. But so many of the series that I love aren’t fully published yet. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to share some series that are completed that I love. I don’t know about you, but I love to be able to binge read a series, reading all the books in a row. That’s not really possible with a series that isn’t finished. Today, I have for you a list of series that you can binge because it’s completed.

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand
Furyborn, Kingsbane, & Lightbringer
“When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.”

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, & The Stone Sky
“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 Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)

The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, & The Crimson Crown (series review here)
“Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off. One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her… The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.”

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass, The Kingdom of Copper, & The Empire of Gold
“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…”

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)

The Never Tilting World Duology by Rin Chupeco
The Never Tilting World & The Ever Cruel Kingdom
“Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn. Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun. While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal. But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.”

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

Shadow of the Fox Trilogy by Julie Kagawa
Shadow of the Fox, Soul of the Sword, & Night of the Dragon
“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil, #1)

This Mortal Coil Trilogy by Emily Suvada
This Mortal Coil, This Cruel Design, & This Vicious Cure
“When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine. Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back. There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.”

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Scythe, Thunderhead, & The Toll
“A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, & A Conjuring of Light
“Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.”

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)

Themis Files Trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, & Only Human
“A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown. But some can never stop searching for answers. Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?”

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)

The Shadow Game Trilogy by Amanda Foody
Ace of Shades, King of Fools, & Queen of Volts
“Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam,1 so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…And she’ll need to play.”

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)

The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger, & The Shadowglass
“Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.”

Fable (Fable, #1)

Fable Duology by Adrienne Young
Fable & Namesake
“For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.”

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth, #1)

All the Stars and Teeth Duology by Adalyn Grace
All the Stars and Teeth & All the Tides of Fate
“Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice. She will reign. As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.”

There you have it. These are all series that I’ve read and absolutely loved (with my reviews linked!) They are all completed series, with all the installments published. The summaries I’ve shared are all for the first book in each of the series. I will recommend these series over and over again until the whole world had read and loved them. Have you read any of these? What completed series would you recommend to binge read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.
In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)Review:
I honestly don’t even know where to start for this review. I loved this book so much. I was scared about two-thirds of the way through that so much was happening that the ending would be rushed, but that was not the case at all. Everything just came together for a perfect ending. What do I even say about this book?
There is so much going on in this story, so many pieces that need to come together. I’m beyond happy to be able to say that Neal brought these pieces together flawlessly. All the storylines slowly made their way toward one another and the suspense almost killed me. I was dying to know what was going on with the characters I wasn’t reading about, but I also couldn’t get enough of whoever I was currently reading about. I just couldn’t get enough period.
I loved Citra and the way her story played out. I loved seeing her fulfill the role that the Thunderhead shared with her. She was hugely influential and blew the lid off some very well-hidden information.
Then there’s Rowan, I really didn’t care about him in this book. He has captured the whole book and went from one group to another, being told what told to do and taken by someone else where they told him what to do too. I just didn’t care about any of it.
Greyson Tolliver was the second most interesting storyline. After becoming this hugely important symbol to the world, he’s realized that some things are not as important as he used to think. He’s made relationships and realized which ones he wants to keep and not. I think Greyson’s growth was the most significant and the most interesting.
My favorite parts of this book were the parts with Faraday on the islands. I was dying to get back to his parts to see what was going on in the blind spot. The suspense of only getting tiny bits of what was going on there killed me.
I am so impressed with Neal’s ability to create characters. Our villain, Goddard, was horrible and awful in every way, but I still found myself agreeing with some of his ideas. If I lived in this world, I think I could easily have been swayed to Goddard’s side of things even though he’s a horrible man.
Finally, Jerico. I think Jeri was my favorite character. They were just so casual in their gender fluidity and I loved it. I thought the way they identified was beautiful and poetic and exactly what the real world should be like. I loved the addition of Jeri to the story.
Overall, I loved this book and everything about it. They writing was incredible. The messages it sends and the conversations it invites are just such important ones. It brings up the morality of mortality. The conversation of what it means to take a life. Artificial intelligence and how much power they should have. I just loved this book and the entire series.

Quotes:

“We never know what choices will lead to defining moments in our lives.”

“It was not exactly circular logic. More like spiral. An accepted lie that spun in upon itself until truth and fiction disappeared into a singularity of who the hell cares, as long as I’m happy?”

“But the truth is, power for power’s sake is a consuming addiction. He would devour the world whole, and still be unsatisfied.”

“Important work often loses the spotlight to important people.”

“The tales we hear as children—the stories we then pass on—have happened, are happening, or will happen soon enough. If not, then the stories would not exist. They resonate in our hearts because they are true. Even the ones that begin as lies.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.
A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.
As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.
Will the Thunderhead intervene?
Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Review:
I AM SO MAD AT NEAL SHUSTERMAN FOR THE FINAL PAGES OF THIS BOOK.
Okay, now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about Thunderhead. As I mentioned in my review for Scythe, I am rereading the first two books before picking up the final book that has recently come out, The Toll. It’s taking everything in me to actually sit and write this review before picking it up. Especially with the way Thunderhead ended.
Let’s get into the review. I really liked that we get to see so many of the different characters and all of the things they are doing. There is a certain character that I can’t name that spends a bit of time at the reconstructed Library of Alexandria and those were some of my favorite parts. The mystery they are trying to solve was fascinating. Then there’s Citra who is now Scythe Anastasia. I really enjoyed seeing her gleaning method and standing up to the other scythes when confronted. I think her journey into going from Citra to accepting herself at Scythe Anastasia was very compelling. Then there’s Rowan. I liked the first part of his storyline in this book. But then things get weird. I did not like the twist. But that’s more because this particular villain is just despicable and I hate him.
The world is still being built up and I enjoyed learning more about it. I liked that things were explained as what they used to be. Places like Washington, DC, the St. Louis Arch, are all named and how they came to be what they are now was beyond interesting to me.
Finally, the Thunderhead. In the first book, we’re given scythe journal excerpts in between chapters, but this time we head from the Thunderhead. I really liked that because it gave this AI a personality, and even some almost human qualities. Seeing it watch over the world and watching the scythes, but unable to intervene, was fascinating. But it was also mildly terrifying. When it finds out what the character I cannot name is up to, it gets almost…angry and that is really what I’m excited to see play out in the final book.
Overall, I loved this book. The various characters were well written to the point where I either really liked or respected them or absolutely hated them. There were even some that I was torn about because I could see that they were not always okay with their own actions. This story brings up so many compelling ideas. What would it mean to have an AI in control of everything outside of life and death? What would it mean for a person to be the hand of death? What would it mean for a shunned scythe to take justice into their own hands? I was absolutely fascinated with this story and I cannot wait to read the finale.

Quotes:

“The world is a flower I hold in my palm. I would end my own existence rather than crush it.”

“I know them intimately, and yet they can never truly know me. There is tragedy in that.”

“A sense of humor, no matter how dark, is always a good thing.”

“The simple pleasure of being good at what you do is very different from finding joy in the taking of life.”

“Should evil people be allowed the freedom to be evil, without any safety nets?”

“We leave justice to the universe. And what rings out always echoes back.”

“If we were judged by the things we most regret, no human being would be worthy to sweep the floor.”

“That’s exactly what the scythedom is: high school with murder.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Review:
I don’t know why I read books that aren’t dystopian. I almost always end up with new favorite books when I read new things from the dystopian genre. Though with Scythe, I was actually rereading and falling in love all over again. I don’t know why or how I forgot how much I really loved this series. I’m rereading in preparation for the final book, which was just released on November the Fifth. I’m also lucky enough to be able to go one of his tour events with a friend of mine.
I loved the world that Schusterman has built. It’s so well explained, and never with any information dumps. We slowly learn more about how things are and why they are this way. It’s such an elaborate and well thought out world. I also really liked that there was still a resemblance to the world we know today. It made it mildly terrifying to think of this story as a possible future.
Now, our main characters, Citra and Rowan. I liked them both as individuals but I didn’t really care about their romantic relationship because it seemed like an afterthought. There was so much focus on their Scythe training and both trying to be the best apprentices they could be. There’s one event that happens about a third of the way into the story that infuriated me. If you’ve read this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But we get some resolution to that particular issue and I was very happy about that.
My favorite thing about this book is the way that Schusterman makes you think. His books all have elements of this. Scythe really makes you think about mortality and the things we may lose if/when we attain immortality. The characters talk about how there really are no new things created now that the Thunderhead knows all. They look at art from the Age of Mortality and the emotions that clearly shine through and how nothing like that has been created since beating death. Then there’s the Scythedom. It really makes the reader think about what it means to be in control of whether others live or die. What it means to literally be the hand of death and what kind of person should or should not be that hand. It was just a really thought-provoking story.
Overall, I absolutely love this book. I cannot wait to reread Thunderhead (which I’ll be doing as soon as I schedule this review). I love this story and I am dying to know how it ends.

Quotes:

“But remember that good intentions pave many roads. Not all of them lead to hell.”

“Isn’t it good to know that we are all safe from the threat of the inferno? Except, of course, when we’re not.”

“You see, there are some who seek celebrity to change the world, and others who seek it to ensnare the world.”

“Martyrs testify far more effectively than the living.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Summary:
Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Mariana’s Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by thee thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.
A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deepis a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.
Review:
I was unsure about this book at first. Honestly, it took me about a week before actually getting further than ten pages into it and that was mostly thanks to the audiobook. I ended up listening to the audio from my library because I really wanted to get into the story. Also because I was doing my Christmas baking and I needed an audiobook to listen to. The audiobook sucked me in so quickly. The narrator did everything right in this story.

“The things I feel cannot be put into words, or if they can bem the words are in no language anyone can understand. My emotions are talking in tongues. Joy spins into anger spins into fear them into amused irony, like leaping from a plane, arms wide, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can fly, then discovering you can’t, and not only don’t you have a parachute, but you don’t have any clothes on, and the people below all have binoculars and are laughing as you plummet to a highly embarassing doom.”

I had a hard time with this book in the beginning because I couldn’t tell what was actually going on. I didn’t know if Caden was actually on a ship or if that was a metaphor for something or what the hell was going on. After a while, I figured out what was going on and I think this confusion was likely intentional.

“We always look for the signs we missed when something does wrong. We become like detectives trying to solve a murder, because maybe if we uncover the clues, it gives us some control. Sure, we can’t change what happened, but if we can string together enough clues, we can prove that whtever nightmare has befallen us, we could have stopped it, if only we had been smart enough. I suppose it is better to believe that all the clues in the world wouldn’t have changes a thing.” 

Challenger Deep was honestly such an incredible story once I figured out what was going on. Once I realized what the story was actually about. It was really hard hitting. The things Caden feels and experiences and thinks were just so powerful. I’m definitely still reeling from the last hour or so of the audiobook. I went back and forth between the audio and the book.

“We are, however, creatures of containment. We want all things in life packed into boxes that we can label. But just because we have the ability to label is, doesn’t mean we really know what’s in the box.”

I really am not even sure how to form my thoughts about this book into real sentences. I think this was such an important story that everyone should read. This talks about mental illness in such a raw and interesting way. This was made even more powerful when I learned that this story was widely based on Neal’s experience with his son. To the point where his son’s artwork is inserted into the pages periodically.

“Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug.”

I just think everyone should read this book and that is all, goodbye.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas Book Review – Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Summary:
Everyone’s going to remember where they were when the taps went dry.
The drought-or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it-has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.
Suddenly Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a war zone of desperation; neighbors and families turning against one another in the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return, and she and her brother are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
Critically acclaimed author Neal Shusterman teams up with Jarrod Shusterman in this story of survival, when the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions.
Review:
Dry was one of my most anticipated released of this year. I’m a sucker for any sort of dystopian. I’m also a sucker for books that take place in settings I’m familiar with. I lived in San Diego for a few years where the reality of the drought is slowly creeping up on people and its all too real. I also was so easily able to picture this story happening because I was familiar with the area the story happens in. I love stories like this, or ones with vague-ish settings so I can fill in the blanks with places I know.

“People can be monsters. Whether it’s just their actions, or whether it’s who they really are, it doesn’t matter. The result is the same.”

This story is told through a few different perspectives. I really enjoyed this because we got to see into the minds of all the players in our story. So we got to see what was going through their heads before/during/after some of the seriously crazy things that happened. We also occasionally had some updates from around the city from helicopter pilots, power plant employees, other minor characters we meet in the story, truck drivers transporting water, and various news outlets. All of these various snippets ended up being tied into other important parts of the story and I liked how creatively this was done.

“But there’s that moment when you realize they’re not superheroes, or villains. They’re painfully, unforgivably human. The question is, can you forgive them for being human anyway?

I liked Alyssa, the first character we meet. She’s just trying to protect her little brother. Even though she mostly has no idea what’s going on, she quickly realizes that things are just going to get worse and worse. She tries to stay positive for Garrett (her brother) even when things were pretty much consistently falling apart and I liked that about her. Being able to put on a brave face for her brother though she knew nothing good was coming is admirable. Her little brother Garrett was a little trouble maker. He kept disappearing which sometimes complicated things and sometimes ended up helping things. I liked him because he made me relate to Alyssa more. (I have two little brothers and a little sister. They’re all older than Garrett, though I’d want to protect them no matter their age.)

“Why don’t they do something about it instead if spending time blaming people?”

Kelton, the neighbor, was a character that grew on me. I feel like he had the most development. He went from putting up a front, acting like he was a big bad tough guy that knew everything to a kid that has seen some real bad shit and might actually be that tough guy. I felt really bad for Kelton. He got the shittiest end of the stick in this story. Though his family was the most prepared for the Tap-Out, the worst befalls them.

“Tomorrow is going to have to take care of itself for a while,” Alyssa says. Then she adds, “Yesterday, too.”

Jaqui was our designated bad girl. Independent, sassy, reckless, and a little wild. I think I wanted to like her more than I did, until the end. She didn’t want to get attached to anyone at any point. But in the end, UGH. I can’t even talk about it. She redeemed herself and that’s all I’m going to say.

“Wasn’t it Jacqui who told us the human body is sixty percent water? Well, now I know what the rest is. The rest is dust, the rest is ash, it’s sorrow and it’s grief…But above all that, in spite of all that, binding us together…is hope. And joy. And a wellspring of all the things that still might be.”

Henry is trash. 100% nothing but trash. Every time I started to like him, he would screw things up again. He was self serving and screwed up a really good thing. He could have been part of the squad, but instead messed shit up over and over again.

“The worst part of doing something inexcusable is that you can never take it back. It’s like breaking a glass. It can’t unbreak. The best you can do is sweep it up, and hope you don’t step on the slivers you left behind.”

Overall, Dry was one of my most anticipated released of the year and it absolutely did not disappoint me. I love a good dystopian and this was exactly that. Set in the distant-ish future, but realistic to really bring some fears to the surface. It’s a story about how quickly people can and will shed their humanity in the face of disaster. A story that touches on fears that are all too real. This is an incredible story that is so much more than it seems. Written by a father/son duo, the Shusterman’s have outdone themselves with this, one of my new favorites without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

ABC Book Challenge |C|

It’s that day of the week again bookworms. This week our letter is C. For those of you that are new here, we’re going to talk about our most memorable books with the letter C and books with this letter that are sadly still living on our TBR lists.

Read last week’s post here.

This weeks letter – C.

Most Memorable Books

Amanda-

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – This whole series is super memorable to me. I’ve recently purchased all of the books again and plan to start rereading them to get excited for the final book to be released this fall.

Cross Roads by William Paul Young – I’m not a religious person, but this book (and the others by this same author) are such powerful stories.

Antonia-

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – It’s such a unique and wonderful story. I adored the characters especially and this series has become one of my absolute favorites.

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor – This was such a cute little love story which isn’t necessarily special except that it’s one of the only books where I really paid attention to the setting. Friday Harbor was instantly somewhere I wanted to go and now that I live close to the real Friday Harbor I plan to visit soon.

 

 

Books Still on my TBR List

Amanda-

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – I’m planning on reading this at some point this month (hopefully). I’ve heard really good things about it.

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins – I read another of her adult novels and really enjoyed it. So I’m hoping this one is good too.

Antonia-

Celtic Magic by Linsey Hall – This is the next book in the Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series and I’m so excited to see where the story takes me next. I’ve loved all her books that I’ve read so far so I have high hopes for this one.

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts – I surprisingly enough don’t have much on my TBR that start with C so this one’s actually a reread. It’s one of her books that I read years ago and have been thinking of picking up again recently.

 

 

 

 

These are our picks for this weeks letter. What books are memorable to you that start with C? Any that are still waiting to be picked next from your TBR list?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Best of 2018

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 best books I’ve read in 2018 (so far). I’m excited about this one because I have a post on other social media where I post the best book I read each month. I’m obviously only through June so here I can add a few more! Here’s my list of the ten best books I’ve read so far this year.

top t t

1. Air Awakens by Elise Kova – I found this as a boxed set on my Kindle so it was like reading one giant book even though it was five books. This series made me laugh and cry and It’s only been a few months since I read it and I already want to read it again.
2. Moon Chosen & Sun Warrior by P.C. Cast – It honestly took me forever to actually read these but they were AMAZING and I can’t wait until Windrider comes out in October.
3. Scythe & Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – This was an incredibly creative story. I’m excited to see where the third book takes these characters.
4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer – Superheros, duh!
5. The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg – I loved all of these books, even the fourth that has different characters in the same word. The world is so interesting and well thought out and just incredible.
6. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson – I found this book in the ‘popular books’ section of my Kindle Unlimited subscription and thought it sounded interesting. Boy was it. The plot in this story was so confusing and funny and heart wrenching all at the same time somehow.
7. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – The newest book (novella) in my favorite series, so yeah, it obviously makes this list.
8. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – It was such an emotional and just all around powerful story. I didn’t think I was going to like this book nearly as much as I did.
9. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was so surprised by this book. I thought this was one that was overly hyped and it wasn’t really ever on my TBR list. But I found it at the library and said why not. I’m glad I gave it a chance because this story blew me away.
10. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts – My first audiobook ever. I’ve been super excited for this book to be released because Nora is an auto-buy author for me. I honestly hadn’t even read the synopsis. So when I started listening and the mall shooting happened, I balled my eyes out for the first like half an hour that I was listening.

These are the top ten books that are my favorites for the year so far. I chose to only list books that I read for the first time this year, otherwise, my favorite series would overtake this list. What books are your favorites for 2018 so far?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s June Book Haul

Hi, lovelies!

So this month I went a liiiittle crazy buying books. Between Book Outlet’s fabulous sale where I bought 20+ new books and the discovery of the magic that is a local used bookstore (there’s three within fifteen minutes of my house!), I ended up with quite the book haul for this month.

I’ve never done a book haul post before so this is what we’re going to do. I’m going to put some pictures below of all of my new pretty books. I’m not going to talk about every single book because that would make this post entirely too long, but I am going to mention a few that I’m most excited to read in the upcoming month.

Let’s get down to it, here are all my new shiny pretty babies.

 

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser – The summary of this book sounds so interesting I couldn’t help but buy it. It’s high on my TBR list for July. I’m excited to get into the story. It’s a book that’s been translated from German which I think is super interesting.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow – This was a Target find for me. I’ve seen several bookish friends read this and give it rave reviews. I’m excited to sink my teeth into it. I haven’t read enough realistic books lately.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – Shusterman is an author that I love more and more everytime I read another one of his books. I managed to pick up this book with the Book Outlet sale. It’s won a few awards and sounds like a really powerful story.

 

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – I found the whole series (except for book seven) at one of the local bookstores I found around my town recently. I stupidly sold my full series set before I moved a few years ago and have regretted it since. So when I found the (almost) full set all matching and hardcover I just couldn’t resist.

The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin – I have heard so many good things about this trilogy. I’m super duper excited to read these books and will for sure be getting to them in July. When I found the boxed set on sale at Book Outlet I knew I had to have them.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – This series is one that a few bookish friends I know have started to read for the first time (Yes I’m talking about you Ebru @ EBS and Her Reads) so again, when I saw the boxed set on Book Outlet I knew I had to buy it and add it to my TBR for a reread soon.

This is my haul for the month of June! What did you haul this month? Did we buy any of the same books? What books don’t you see that I definitely should have bought?

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments and as always,

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we have a different topic that we write our top ten about. This weeks topic is top ten books on my winter to be read list. I haven’t quite thought about what I need to read that I haven’t yet. So, this list might be all over the place. Here’s what I came up with.

1)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich– I’m totally obsessed with this series. They don’t have to be read in any specific order, and they’re all freaking hilarious.

2)Delirium by Lauren Oliver– I’ve heard a lot of really good things about this series. Its been on my TBR list for a while, but I’ve been slacking on my library visits.

3)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This is another that’s been on my list for a while because there’s a movie of it coming out. Every time I go to the book store I always pick it up, read the back, then put it back down. So I’m thinking it’ll be another I get from the library.

4)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins– I haven’t read this trilogy in too long. I’d really enjoy reading them again. So, maybe if I actually put it on a list I’ll get to it eventually.

5)The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey– This book looks really interesting. I read another by Rick Yancey and loved it. So I figure this could also be a great book.

6)Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley– I found this book while looking through the list of Printz awards. It sounds like it has potential to be seriously good. Along with the fact that it won two awards, so there’s probably a reason for that.

7)Unstrung by Neal Shusterman– I need to have this. The first three were amazing. I know the fourth will be just as wonderful.

8)The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn– This just came out, and I adore Julia Quinn’s books. So it’s a must.

9)The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle– I just adore Lauren Myracle. This also sounds really cute.

10)Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, &Lauren Myracle– I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. Also, John Green.

These are the books that I’ll hopefully get to spend my winter reading. What’s on your list for this winter?