Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

GoodReads Summary:
You mustn’t go into the Darkwood, children. Not even to get your ball. Leave it. That ball belongs to the Witches and the Beasties, now. Those wicked Witches. Stealing your ball. Magic is forbidden in Myrsina, along with various other abominations, such as girls doing maths. This is bad news for Gretel Mudd, who doesn’t perform magic, but does know a lot of maths. When her clever inventions prompt the sinister masked Huntsmen who run the country to accuse her of Witchcraft, she is forced to flee into the neighboring Darkwood, where all the Witches and Monsters dwell. There, she happens upon Buttercup, a Witch who can’t help turning things into gingerbread, Jack Trott, who can make plants grow at will, the White Knight with her band of Dwarves and a talking spider called Trevor. These aren’t the terrifying villains she’s been warned about all her life. They’re actually quite nice. Well… most of them. With the Huntsmen on the warpath, Gretel must act fast to help the Witches save both the Darkwood and her home village, while unraveling​ the rhetoric and lies that have demonized magical beings for far too long.
Darkwood (The Darkwood Series)Review:
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The only reason I requested this book was because Heathur @ Aphrodite Reads raved about it. I sadly, do not share that opinion. When adding this to my ‘currently reading’ shelf on GoodReads, I was very surprised to see that it’s a middle-grade fantasy. I’d only gotten about 10% into it before adding it on GoodReads, but it didn’t seem like a middle-grade​ story to me.
My first issue with this being middle grade is the language. There were a handful of words that I didn’t know the meaning of and others that I know but younger readers would likely struggle with. If you’re going to write a middle-grade​ book, you should make sure the intended audience won’t have to look up words every few pages.
The next issue was the writing style. The story jumped all over the place. It was told through the perspective of a bunch of​ different characters but there wasn’t really any warning when the perspective changed. It would have been different if these changes had been confined to their own chapters. But there were POV changes mid-chapter, more than once.
As for the story itself, I think there was some real potential here. There were a combination of fairytale characters that were a part of this world. The Darkwood also reminded me a bit of The Wood from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. I was excited to see where the story was going in the first half, but the ending seemed rushed and so many things left as loose ends. I assume there is going to be a ​sequel, but too many things were left unresolved for my liking.
Overall, I thought this story had a lot of potential, but I didn’t love the execution. Though others have really enjoyed this story, so take my review with a grain of salt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

GoodReads Review:
After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.
Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.
In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
Serious MoonlightReview:
I was provided an ARC of Serious Moonlight through the always wonderful NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Like the other books that Jenn Bennett has written, I totally enjoyed this book. It had me smiling and laughing all over the place. I wouldn’t call it a new favorite, but I definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it to my friends without hesitation. The story was fun and held my interest the entire time. I enjoyed the whole overall story, the romance and all the other pieces. I could totally picture the Seattle setting and thought it was so fun.
I think my favorite part of the story was the diversity of the characters. Our main character Birdie might have narcolepsy and I thought this was so freaking interesting. It was fascinating to learn about this condition and what it’s like to live with it. There’s also another character with depression. There was a conversation about suicide and teen pregnancy. I thought this book had all the right conversations and did it in the best way possible.
I loved the characters. They were all quirky in their own ways. They made me laugh and smile and feel all of the emotions.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was such a fun and quick read. I just didn’t want it to end. I think this is a book most people will enjoy, so go pick it up today!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.


In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

GoodReads Summary:
Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.
When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.
As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?
In Another LifeReview:
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley to read and review. I requested this book because I’m a fan of other books by this author. I was interested to see what else she was writing. In Another Life is scheduled to publish on March 26th, 2019. I also was drawn in by the cover. I’m a huge fan of simple but colorful book covers.
So, the actual storyline was super interesting. Chloe discovers who her biological parents may be and the big mystery is to figure out if she is the girl that went missing all those years ago. I thought this was really intriguing. It was paced well, slowly giving us all the answers. Creating suspense, but not in an annoying way.
I liked Chloe a lot. A girl with too many responsibilities. Her mom has just gone through cancer treatments and has finally been deemed cancer free. Her parents went through an awful divorce. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders. And she holds it up pretty damn well. She’s funny. She stands up for what she thinks is right. She does the best she can each day.
I didn’t love her relationship with her mom. I understand her mom is going through a lot but she should have gotten her shit together way sooner. She’s constantly badmouthing Chloe’s dad which is totally unacceptable. As a child of divorce, this really upset me because that’s a huge no-no. She also can’t seem to make it out of bed most days. She makes promise after promise to Chloe and doesn’t follow through with any of them. This means that Chloe ends up parenting her mother most of the time. I liked her after she got her shit together but it never should have gotten to the point that it did.
I really liked Chloe’s dad. He was pretty shitty at the beginning. Not really being the best dad he could, but he did his best to be better. I liked that he made the effort over and over even when Chloe wasn’t being receptive. He knows that he messed up, but he doesn’t want that to mean he loses his little girl. I’m a total sucker for Daddie/daughter relationships.
Now…Cash. I totally didn’t like him at first. He was weird and even a little creepy in the way that he got himself involved with Chloe. I understand why he did it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I thought we were going to have a case of extremely unnecessary secret keeping but Cash told Chloe the truth pretty quickly which I was happy about. I ended up really liking their relationship. They help one another to be better. They were really good for each other, both pushing the other to try to move out of their comfort zone. They just worked really well together.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a little cheesy at times, but I liked the story. The characters kept me interested and entertained. I’m definitely going to be buying this once it is released.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.


The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson

GoodReads Summary:
The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she, or didn’t she?
The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.
The Trial of Lizzie BordenReview:
I received this book as an ARC thanks to NetGalley. I was very excited to read this because I am actually distantly related to Lizzie Borden. So, I was really interested in reading a book about her history. Sadly, this book was a bit hard for me to get through. I found the material dry because it was filled with a majority of direct quotes from research and not a lot of storytelling. I thought I was going to get more of a true crime novel in a storytelling format, but instead, I got a whole lot of info dumping via quotes and dialogue. I was also disappointed with the “new information” that wasn’t really anything solid. I thought there was going to be this big reveal when really, we were just told that there’s more information out there but we don’t know what it is and will likely never have access to it. Overall, I feel like I learned a lot while reading, but I didn’t enjoy the reading experience.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.
Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.
A Danger to Herself and OthersReview:
This book was so good. I totally enjoyed it. It surprised me. It hit me in the feels. A Danger to Herself and Others tells the story of a girl in an institution. The story is told from our main characters perspective. She is totally an unreliable narrator, and we learn things as she learns them. She doesn’t always believe the things she’s being told. As the reader, I almost don’t believe the things she’s being told.
Hannah is complex and fascinating. At first, she’s arrogant and goes on and on about how she was the perfect kid and she’s so good at everything. But as the story progresses, she learns that her life is not what she’s always thought it was. It really brought her down a peg or two. The realizations she’s learned about herself really made it so I was able to sympathize with her. The world is taken out from under her feet and I totally felt for her. By the end of the story I really liked her.
Overall, A Danger to Herself and Others was a wild ride. Everything I thought I knew in the beginning was challenged and I felt like I didn’t know anything by the end, which is exactly how Hannah felt. I really enjoyed this. Thanks to NetGalley for providing this eARC for me to read and review. I will definitely be buying this when it’s released.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…
#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.
The Darkest Star was a book that I received from NetGalley as an ARC. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s first book in the Lux series, Obsidian, is actually the book that inspired myself and Antonia to create this book review blog in the first place. So when I saw that Armentrout was coming out with another installment in the same world featuring some of the characters we’ve grown to love very much I knew that I had to have it. When NetGalley approved me for this I think I actually shrieked out loud.
I tore through this story like no body’s business. I totally loved Evie. She’s a nice girl that gets her entire world shaken to its core. She was a realistic reaction to everything she goes through. Having a minor meltdown but still trying to keep it together. Talking about her problems with her friends. Even the ending was great. Nothing completely resolved, she acknowledges that she needs to take time to figure out who she really is, but is willing to do that surrounded by those that care about her. I liked Evie. She was a realistic and likable character.
Luc is a total book boyfriend babe. He’s our typical mysterious, protective, I-know-everything macho male main character. But I loved every second of it. He was just trying to look out for Evie because she didn’t really even know the whole story. Luc is a guy with a dark past. He is our ‘darkest star’ as the title tells us. I liked that with the mysterious vibe he gives there was actual darkness within him instead of just being mysterious because we didn’t know his history. He has a dark history and has dealt with hardships, done things he’d rather forget. I really loved Luc.

“We were all stars, but Luc … he was the darkest.”

This book was super quotable. I’m a bookworm that loves books that have memorable quotes. This one has a couple that I really love. It’s a wonderfully written story with characters that I love and can’t wait to read more about. The book was fast paced and exciting, giving us a little bit of information at a time, just enough to keep the reader interested and needing to know more.
I would recommend this to all the lovers of the Lux series for sure. And to those who don’t know about the Lux series, go look them up now and read them and love them.

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!

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.