Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to her mysterious power of a soul-stealing kiss. Suddenly, the Warden clan that has always protected her is keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the forbidden demon prince who understood her in ways no one else ever could.
Rock bottom is only the beginning once Layla’s powers finally start to evolve. She’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden, finally getting what she has always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count piling up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing or able to pay.
Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)Review:
I will love Jennifer Armentrout and her books forever, but Stone Cold Touch has me seriously rolling my eyes so hard. So, we left off and Roth is gone back to hell and Layla doesn’t think he’s ever coming back. So, she’s grieving him but also getting even closer with Zayne. I just wanted to yell at her to get away from him and wait for Roth to come back (because I know how it ends as I’ve read these books before.)
I found it hard to really like Layla and Zayne becoming closer in a context different from the relationship they’ve always had. I think this is because I liked Roth so much in the last book. But I think it’s also because Layla was so insecure about Zayne when he was telling her how he felt and she was still doubting it. I get that there would have been obstacles to overcome but she ruined it before it could even be anything.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite. But it was full of angst and action. I’m excited to finish the series and maybe even reread the companion series before the newest book comes out.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman

GoodReads Summary:
Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.
When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.
But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?
How the Light Gets InReview:
I read this book because the author will be at the NoVaTeen book festival this year and I try to read as many of the authors that I know will be there. Katy Upperman is one of them. I didn’t manage to read any of her books last year but I found this one at my local library.
I’m glad I picked this up because I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed it. I liked Callie immediately. The book opens with her being caught smoking weed which was honestly so relatable I laughed a little. She’s dealing with the death of her sister, and not so well. So, she goes to spend the summer with her aunt. I loved the little town she goes to spend the summer in. She makes new friends and heals old wounds. She grew so much and her growth was so well done.
The part that surprised me about this book what the paranormal aspect. There are ghosts and I loved it. It was a little spooky here and there but in the best way.
Overall, I was happy to be surprised to enjoy this book so much. I didn’t have many expectations, probably because I’d not heard much about it. But I find that I enjoy books more when I try to go into them without expectations. This is one I’d definitely recommend for contemporary lovers.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

GoodReads Summary:
Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…
Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.
A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?
Echoes Between UsReview:
What to say about Echoes Between Us? We follow two characters, Veronica and Sawyer. I really liked that both of them showed us that what others think does not dictate who we really are. Both have secrets and both are more than their reputations.
I honestly don’t know how to explain the characters. Veronica is feisty and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is unapologetically herself and dares others to say something about it. She has a loyal group of friends, though they sadly aren’t in school with her. I loved her and her friend group.
Then there’s sawyer who is seen as the rich popular kid, but there’s so much more to his story. He’s an adrenaline junkie but is filled with so much guilt when he gives in. He takes care of his sister and his mother in more ways than he ever should have to. I really felt for him because I have family members that struggle with drinking.
This book was filled with tough topics and strong emotions. I think the author covered these topics, addiction, illness, and the like, so well. She really succeeded in making me feel all the things. I definitely will be picking up more books by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

GoodReads Summary:
Be careful of the dark, dark wood…
Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.
Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.
But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.
For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.
WinterwoodReview:
After completely loving Ernshaw’s first novel, I knew that Winterwood would be on my anticipated releases list for 2019. It was everything I wanted from it. Sort of opposite from her first novel in the sense of seasons and types of paranormal.
Winterwood follows the story of Nora, a forest witch, as she finds a boy in her woods. There is a mystery surrounding him (which was so well done), and Nora is trying to find the truth. I was so drawn into the story, into Nora and her family’s history. I liked Nora right away. She was happy with her life. Magic and forest and seclusion. She was strong and independent and I thought that was shown to the reader very well.
Then she finds Oliver in the woods and her life begins to change. Oliver is one of the boys that is living in the camp for troubled boys. He was mysterious. Filled with secrets that I could never really tell what he actually knew or didn’t. I wanted to like Oliver because Nora liked him but I never really trusted him. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that Nora and Oliver’s relationship was a little weird. She loved this boy that she barely knew and that seemed a bit suspect to me. Though I was really happy with the ending.
Overall, I loved this book jst like I did her first novel. It was atmospheric and mysterious as hell. The writing and the story drew me in and made me want to live in this world. I adored the little in-between chapter bits about Nora’s ancestors. I loved the way the story unfolded and I will absolutely be looking forward to Ernshaw’s next release.

Quotes:

“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadow than August sunlight.”

“She’s not weak, she’s not frail or breakable or scared of much. She is the storm that tears away roofs and knocks over trees.”

“I’m certain that love can be a wound, deep and saw-toothed and filled with salt. But sometimes it’s worth it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

GoodReads Summary:
After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.
When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.
The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)Review:
The much-anticipated finale of the Folk of the Air trilogy was…disappointing. I’m not going to say I didn’t like it, because I did. I very much enjoyed being back in the world with Jude and Cardan, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
Jude was not Jude for the first half of this book. Instead of scheming her way back into power, she seems to have accepted her exile and I hated that. Accepting her fate is not something that Jude from the first two books would have done. She finds herself again when she makes her way back into Faerie, but right around then is when a certain event happened that completely made the first half of the book pointless as well as the ending to The Wicked King. I don’t know why this is a trend that keeps happening in YA books, but I’m over authors completely undoing things from their previous books. It just makes me not care at all. I liked it when Jude found herself again though.
I also really liked how all the siblings finally came together for once to work together on the same side. I don’t like siblings betraying one another.
Cardan also wasn’t quite himself. I’m all for a happily ever after and romance and all that, but he’s supposed to be a cruel prince and a wicked king and in this book, he is none of those things. I did like him and Jude finally figuring things out, but I just wanted more.
That about sums up everything. I just wanted more from this book. It’s a short 300 pages, and it was clear in the book. The story dragged in the first half but then we were rushed through the end. I don’t understand why more time couldn’t have been spent to make this book better. Had more things been developed, it would have been an incredible finale.
I still liked The Queen of Nothing, I just wanted more.

Quotes:

“He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.”

“Wondering if some part of him is cold inside, a kind of cold that can never be warmed, like a shard of ice through the heart. Wondering if I have a shard like that, too.”

“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”

“Plunge a heated sword into oil and any small flaw will turn into a crack. But quenched in blood as you were, none of you broke. You were only hardened.”

“Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.
Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.
When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.
Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter…
The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)Review:
The final book in this series, The Ruby Circle, was not my favorite. Honestly, I think things could have ended at book four with a great happily ever after. I still enjoyed it because I’m obsessed with these characters.
I’m going to start here and say like I did in my last review that if you haven’t read any of the books in this series you should stop reading now. I would write this without spoilers but that’s pretty much impossible at this point. So, if you don’t want to be spoiled please stop reading here.
Sydney really started to stand up for herself and I loved that. She asked for help when she needed it. She made deals where she saw they would benefit her and her loved ones. I just really love her. She’s brave and stubborn and does whatever it takes to reach her goals and protect those she cares about.
Adrian was honestly kind of losing it in this book. Spirit is starting to take over and I hated that. I hated that he let it get to this point, but I loved the way things ended. He proves again and again how strong he is, and that he won’t let spirit win.
The part of this book that I didn’t like about this book was Jill. She’s been kidnapped at the end of Silver Shadows and while it’s obviously a big deal, they basically do nothing about it until the end of The Ruby Circle. I just didn’t feel like it was a big of a deal as it was supposed to be. Everything else kept getting in the way. I think maybe this was because Sydney and Adrian weren’t allowed to help, so we didn’t get to see the start of others looking for Jill.
Overall, I still enjoyed this book. This series is one of my favorites and I’m really glad they have withstood time, unlike many other books. Richelle Mead is an incredible writer. She’s created such a loveable group of friends that manage to work past their differences and care about each other anyway. Also, Richelle, when are we going to get a series about Declan as an adult? Because I would make some serious sacrifices to the gods for another series in this world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.
For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .
Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)Review:
Man am I a sucker for a forbidden love. I’m just going to go ahead and say that if you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series or any of the books in the Bloodlines series you should stop reading this review now. It’s practically impossible for me to say anything about this book without spoiling things in the previous books. So, stop reading now and come back when you’ve read the books.
Sydney really broke my heart in this one. Not because of anything she did, but because of the things she had to deal with. She’s been taken by the Alchemists and sent to reeducation, a place that is basically the worst nightmare of the Alchemists. She endures it to the best of her ability. She’s stubborn and determined to help anyone that she can that happens to cross her path. Despite literally being tortured, she still manages to help her fellow Alchemists that have been sent to reeducation. I just love her more and more in each book.
Then there’s Adrian, who does not handle things as well at Sydney does. He basically loses his shit and I really had a hard time with his chapters. I was so mad at him that I didn’t even want to listen. I was so glad when he finally pulled his life together and came up with a plan to save Sydney.
As always, I adore all of the supporting characters. They’re such a tight-knit group of friends and I just really love them.
Overall, this one was probably my least favorite in the series, but that’s not to say it was bad. It was a four-star read, but I just didn’t love it because Sydney and Adrian were apart for most of the book. I did however absolutely adore the turn their relationship took after Sydney was away from reeducation. The end of this book was terrible. I just want them all to be safe and happy already. Richelle Mead really has a way of ending a book leaving me shrieking into the void. I’m actually listening to the final book in the series as I type this review because I just couldn’t wait.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

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GoodReads Review:
On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…
Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.
When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?
The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray, #1)Review:
Can my review for this book just say, “I loved this book” five hundred times? I don’t know why I took so long to pick up The Devouring Gray. I started this late last night and couldn’t put it down until I reached the last page. I am so beyond excited for the sequel.
I would die for Violet and Harper. Violet’s story was full of grief. She’s lost her father and her sister and losing her sister is not something she’s handling well. She and her mom move back to the town her mom grew up in, but her mom doesn’t remember the truth about this small town, Four Paths. So, Violet has to figure it out alone. I admired her strength and courage. She’s thrown into an age-old battle between good and evil with barely any knowledge, but she, with the help of some new friends, manages to figure out her powers.
Harper is my favorite and I would die for her as well. Harper lost her hand in The Gray. She was performing her ritual when things went very wrong. But the secrets of what really happened that night is horrifying. I hated and loved learning the truth. Despite the things Harper has had to deal with, she powers through and helps take care of her many siblings. Harper is brave and stubborn and I loved her.
Then there’s Isaac, the fandom favorite. I loved him, but not as much as everyone else seems to. There’s something about his poor little damaged soul that just makes me want to give him a hug. He’s unflinchingly loyal, to a point that may be damaging him more. I really liked his new friendship with Violet. My two little damages babies becoming friends was so sweet.
Finally, there’s the Hawthorne siblings, Justin and May. At the beginning of the story, I hated one and loved the other, but by the end of the book, my feelings flipped. I loved the one I first hated and hated the one I first loved. Talk about mommy issues with these two. Their mother was a nightmare. She was horrible and drunk on her power, convinced she was doing the right thing for the town. But she has her kids trained to follow her orders without questions until Violet comes to town. Violet changes everything. I liked seeing Justin learn that there was more going on than what he first knew. I’m very interested to see how things develop with the siblings in the next book.
Overall, I’m obsessed with this book. I want to reread it again right now. I loved the characters. I loved the town. It was atmospheric and creepy. I loved the mystery and suspense. I loved the diversity of the characters, the friendships they made, and even the weird love square. We don’t know love triangles in this book, it’s a square of unrequited love, which made for lots of great drama. I loved everything about this book so please go read it right now.

Quotes:

“People could hurt each other without being monsters. And they could love each other without being saints.”

“This was hurt it would never understand. This was hurt made from love. And she immersed herself in grief, embraced it, the parts of her that had been so lost and broken, so long her enemy, were now her savior.”

“She thought about heroes, and villains, and legends, and monsters. And decided that whoever told the story was more powerful than all of them. Harper would never let someone else tell her story again.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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GoodReads Summary:
Deserter. Traitor. Rogue.
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant.
Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.
A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
Rogue (Talon, #2)Review:
I just am having a really hard time WANTING to read these books. I remember loving them when I first read them. But I’m just over it. Antonia said that they get really good in this book and the next one. While I didn’t hate Ember in this one as much as I did in the last one, I still didn’t love her for most of the book.
Ember is now a rogue dragon. But instead of helping Riley figure out who the mole in his system is or literally doing anything useful, she is determined to rescue Garret, who is going to die because he spared her life. I get that she loves him, and in any real situation I probably would do the same thing, but I just hate him. Aside from that, Ember does and experiences things that really affect her. It was nice to see her trying to work through these issues rather than just glossing over it like too many stories do.
I love Riley. He is the end game I want and if I don’t get it I’m going to be very upset with Julie. We get bits and pieces of his backstory and the events that led to him going rogue and I really enjoyed that. I just love Riley.
Garret is okay, I guess. I mostly just want him to go away. I don’t hate him only because he does anything in his abilities to protect Ember. I just wish Ember had never gotten involved with him.
Overall, Ember did grow and become less annoying in the second half of Rogue. I’m interested to see what the gang does next. I am going to do my best to finish this series, but if I’m not enjoying the next book I might just have to give up on it. There’s no shame in DNF’ing friends.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the wolds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her…
But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.
Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Review:
I’ve been rereading the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series via audiobook over the last month and I’m just so happy that I still love these books just as much as I did when I first read them. It really had been so much fun getting sucked back into the incredible world that Richelle Mead has created. I can’t help but love these characters with my whole heart and feel like I’m just a part of the gang.
The Fiery Heart might be my favorite of the series (we’ll find out after I finish the last two books), because everything for Sydney is just perfect, right up until it isn’t. Mead has a way of pulling you into the story with her writing and not letting you go until the very last page. And even then, those last pages are always filled with things that leave you screaming and rushing to pick up the next book. I’d forgotten about this talent of Mead’s until I needed to stop listening to write this review before starting the next book.
Sydney has really grown and it’s clear in this story. She’s accepted that she might not agree with all of the things the Alchemists believe and that while she still agrees with some of the things, she was taught growing up, she knows that so much of the ideas and values instilled in her are wrong. I just adored this confident and clever Sydney that is finally starting to put herself and her wants first.
But then her sister Zoe is assigned to live with Sydney in her dorm and assist on the assignment of protecting Jill. Zoe complicates things because she still firmly believes in every Alchemist value and has a burning desire to please their father. This causes a bit of conflict now and again when Zoe unknowing rats on Sydney for doing things that aren’t entirely in her job description. I really wanted to like Zoe, but what she did in the last chapters of this book were unforgivable. I don’t remember anything that happens in the next books, so I’m interested to see whether or not the Sage sisters can fix their relationship.
Adrian is amazing. I love him. I will forever love him. He’s doing his best to stay away from drinking and smoking cigarettes. He tries to limit his Spirit use, and he even goes to therapy. He and Sydney are relationship goals. I was sad for them having to sneak around so much after Zoe comes to live with Sydney, but also very happy at the times they did get to spend together. They are just such a good team. They really bring out the best in one another and I adore them so much. My heart broke for Adrian with the cliff hanger in the ending.
The rest of the gang is as loveable as ever. Eddie is a forever favorite. He’s honorable and brave. Jill is finally starting to fit in. I would like to see a bit more interaction between her and Lissa, but I have a feeling that’s coming. Angeline was hilarious. She just adds the perfect amount of comedy to this series. She says ridiculous things and acts without thinking. Or with her own sort of thought process. The newcomer, Neil, was kind of bland, though I think that was intentional.
Overall, I would die any day of the week for every single one of these characters. Richelle Mead’s writing is so well done. Her characters are well developed and all around loveable. I cannot wait to dive into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken… A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss. Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle. Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…
Shadow Spell (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #2)Review:
In the second installment of the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, we follow two more of the six that this series follows. We already know them all from the first book, but we get to know Connor and Meara a bit better. They’re known one another their whole lives, and after a brush with Cabhan, Meara finds herself unable to resist her lust for Connor after she thought him dead. I liked that this book was sort of the opposite of the first. In the first Iona is new to the area and the people, but with Connor and Meara there’s history. There’s a past there.
Connor is the guy that’s friends with everyone. He’s a loveable flirt. But his loyalty knows no bounds. I love his relationship with his sister and cousin, but I also love the brotherhood he shares with Fin and Boyle.
Meara is the tough girl that you don’t want to mess with. But she has a heart of gold she doesn’t let many see. She fears that she is like her father and finds it hard to let herself be loved. I loved seeing the growth she goes through in working through this issue. I also loved her ferocity when up against Cabhan.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not a favorite, but it was fun. There was action and romance, friendship and growth. I will always love Nora’s books and this one was no different.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

GoodReads Summary:
Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.
She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.
When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.
And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab returns to the spooky and heart-pounding world of City of Ghosts, delivering thrilling new adventures and an unforgettable spin on friendship. (Because sometimes, even psychic ghost best friends have secrets. . .)
Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2)Review:
Another buddy read on the books! I love buddy reading with Alana, Rae, & Books in the Skye. We always have such fun conversations about the books we read, even when we all have very different opinions.
While I had fun with the story, much like the first book, I just didn’t love it. Cassidy is brave and I really admired that. She even makes a Spiderman reference when her best friend Jacob tries to convince her that this particular ghost really isn’t their problem. “With great power comes great responsibility.” There was actually quite a bit of pop culture references, mostly Harry Potter, which made me smile.
Jacob honestly just annoyed me for most of the book. He didn’t want Cassidy to help the ghost she found, but he came around eventually. We got to learn a bit of his back story toward the end of the book and I liked that.
I wanted more of Lara, the friend she made in the previous book. She was the wise mentor that Cassidy called when she needed help. But it was only over the phone, and I want them to team up again.
I adored the Paris setting. Seeing all the haunted areas of Paris was really interesting. I think it was a great choice for this second book.
Overall, this was an average read for me. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I’m still undecided whether I’ll continue the series because both books have been pretty average. But they are great reads for the spooky season.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
Ireland.
County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.
When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)Review:
I am forever a fan of Nora Roberts. I always love her books and Dark Witch was no different. While there were flaws in the story, I still really enjoyed it. I absolutely adored the Ireland setting and would love to know how accurate it was. I loved all the characters and really just everything about it.
We follow Iona as she picks up her whole life and moves to Ireland to find her cousins. I think I liked her so much because really all she wanted was to find where she belonged. She just wanted to be loved. And that’s something I can relate to myself. I liked that things worked out so easily for her. I know some people might not, but I liked it. She found exactly what she was looking for and just needed to figure out how she now fit into this new dynamic.
Boyle was the big manly man. He was a little bit of a stereotypical tough guy but I didn’t mind that at all. I liked his development with his new relationship with Iona. I think they two are really well matched and good for one another.
I am obsessed with the cousins, Branna and Connor. I hope Connor’s book is next, but I wouldn’t mind if it was Branna’s. Branna is the know it all responsible one. There’s a love/hate relationship with Fin and I frigging loved it. I can’t wait to see how they make amends and reconnect. Connor is the flirty, friends with everyone guy. I adore him. He’s open with his affection and I loved it. Finally, Meara. I loved her from the moment Iona met her in the barn. I love this group of six with my whole heart. I think they’re a fascinating team filled with love and conflict.
I would have liked a bit more explanation of the big bad. We see him in the first chapter but his origins are never really explained. We’re sort of just thrown into the story and sort of stumble along piecing things together. I managed but was still left with questions about the big bad by the end of the story.
Overall, no surprise that I really enjoyed this one. I love Nora’s writing and I probably always will. I definitely suggest this one. I read it at the end of October and it was the perfect mood for Spooktober.

Quotes:

“What’s an adventure if you know all the steps before you take them?”

“Emotions are a magick of their own, aren’t they? Love and hate the strongest and most powerful.”

“You can’t just hope for happy endings. You have to believe in them. Then do the work, take the risks.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

GoodReads Summary:
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
These Witches Don't Burn (These Witches Don't Burn, #1)Review:
Hello, I loved every single thing about this book. That is all. Goodbye.
Just kidding, friends. The cover is what drew me to this book. Then I saw the synopsis. Salem and witches? Sign me the F up. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this one because it was everything I wanted and more.
I loved the magic that Sterling has created. It was very clear and had well defined limits. I really love a well explained magic system and that’s what we were given in this one. I also really loved that there isn’t just one kind of magic. I thought that was really interesting. I loved the family aspect of the magic and of course, the setting. I would have liked to see a bit more of Salem, aside from the woods and the store Hannah works in, but it’s not the end of the world. Just something I hope to see more of in the next book.
Hannah was an interesting main character. She’s not really afraid to speak her mind which is something I want in all my main characters. She stands up for herself when her ex-girlfriend, Veronica, continues to try to get her back. This part was really relatable for me because I’ve been with people like Veronica and it was nice to see Hannah stand up for herself.
Gemma, Hannah’s best friend, was adorable. I adored her. She’s a dancer (which I’m super jealous of) and meet’s Morgan when she moves to town. She introduces Morgan to Hannah, as a good best friend does. I really liked Gemma. She’s was everything a best friend was supposed to be. Supportive when Hannah wanted to rant about her ex. But not letting Hannah do something she might regret later on. I’m really glad certain things were revealed, and I’m interested to see what kind of a role she will play in the next book.
Morgan was the new girl. I was pretty suspicious of her at first, but once Morgan shared her secrets, I was really happy for the two to be together. I really enjoyed seeing their new love blossom despite all the craziness going on around them. Morgan also brings a whole new aspect to the story with her secret. I’m interested to learn more about her.
The mystery in this book was one that had me guessing. I thought I knew who the big bad was several different times, but each time I thought I had it figured out someone else became even more suspicious. Toward the end of the book enough hints were dropped that I had a good feeling of who the big bad was before it was revealed.
Overall, I loved this book. It challenged characters when they did or said shitty thigns. There were a wide cast of diverse characters. The magic was well defined and fascinating. I just loved it.

Quotes:

“It’s hard when the people we loved move on without us.”

“What must it be like, to pray to a god you believe can hear you, a god who could answer your prayers is only you tried hard enough?”

“Would you want to be constantly punished for something your creator did thousands of years ago?”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Series Review)

GoodReads Summary:
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Review:
I loved Vampire Academy just as much as I did the first time I read it. I love everything about it. I love the vampire lore, the characters, literally everything. I know this isn’t a perfect book. But it’s nostalgic and it’s perfect.
I love Rose. She’s kickass, loyal as hell, and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. I love how much she loves Lissa. I also really enjoyed the fact that she learned she was wrong, accepted it, and tried to make amends for it. Rose is just one of my favorite fierce females.
Lissa was more complex. She’s got some serious issues, and Rose is the only reason she gets through them. I don’t know why I’d completely forgotten about the self-harming aspect of this story, but it’s there and it really showed the severity of Lissa’s issues.
Then there’s my favorite, Dimitri. My favorite book boyfriend. I love him. He’s strong and powerful, plus really hot. I love that he looked out for and mentors Rose.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite books. I’m interested to see how well the rest of the series holds up. I loved this first book, and I’m excited to continue on with the next.

But wait! There’s more! — So, I managed to finish the rest of the series on audiobook while I was on vacation and didn’t really have time to give a review for each book. So, I’m going to do a series review for the rest of the book. There are potential spoilers for all the books after the first one. So, if you’ve only read the first and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP HERE.

I love everything about this series. The second and third books, Frostbite and Shadowkiss, are my favorite and I honestly believe they could have ended Rose and Lissa’s story right there. Rose had so much incredible character development. She really grew into herself. But then book four comes around and her life goes to shit and she regresses. I understand that parts of that were Rose taking spirit’s effect from Lissa, but it just made me mad. I also absolutely HATED the fact that they made Dimitri a Strigoi. I understand the reasoning behind everything in books four, five, and six. But I just don’t know that it was needed. I think Richelle Mead could have made VA a trilogy and then had another trilogy with other characters. That’s complicated and probably over convoluted though. If that was the case, I’d probably be complaining that I hadn’t gotten enough of Rose and Lissa and the gang.
The gang was definitely my favorite part of this series. I loved Mason and he deserved better. I loved Eddie (and I’m still loving him in Bloodlines). I even adored Christian. I hated it when he and Lissa weren’t together. I adored Adrian as well. I love the bond they all form and how they become their own little family.
I really really didn’t like Rose and Adrian together. I felt like this was added just to have a love triangle. It wasn’t fair to Adrian for Rose to do him dirty the way she did. I really feel for the guy because everyone in the world (not really, like at all) knew that Rose and Dimitri were endgame. I just feel bad for him.
Overall, this is still an all-time favorite series of mine and I’m really glad it’s held up so well over the years.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.