Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

GoodReads Review:
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic, #1)Review:
Rin Chupeco became an auto-buy author for me after I read the first two books of the Bone Witch series. I didn’t love the first book in that series, but I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read since. So, when I didn’t love this, I was a bit disappointed. I want to say that I did enjoy this book, but I felt similarly about this that I did with The Bone Witch.
For the first 50-100 pages, the story pretty much dumps history and world-building into the story. I understood little because we’re coming into this story many years after the Kingdom of Avalon was encased in ice. So, there’s so much the reader needs to know before we can actually get to the part of the book where the characters try to get their kingdom back. But it was a bit too much for me. The backstory was just dumped in there and left me a little confused rather than over informing me. The confusing part of this story was that while it’s sort of set in modern times, it’s not set in the world as we know it. In this world, all the fairytales exist in the world in their own kingdoms. Every story from Snow White to Alice in Wonderland. I thought this was really creative and interesting, but it was a bit confusing at first.
Despite my trouble with the start of the book, I pushed through and was really here for the characters. Our main character Tala was the best. She has the ability to negate magic and I thought that was so freaking cool. I liked watching her develop and test her ability, including the times she accidentally negated magic and it had negative effects.
Then there’s the crown prince, Alex. I didn’t like him very much. I did at first, but after they leave Arizona, he’s kind of a dick to everyone around him and I really didn’t appreciate that. I guess we will wait and see if he’s better in the second book.
Then there are the bandersnatches. I’m not going to name them all but they were the friend group/guards of this story. I loved them. They added diversity and excellence to the story. They have unique abilities and personalities. Their histories are different, but some of them went to the same school. I really loved them as a group.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book by Chupeco (that honor goes to The Never Tilting World) but I still enjoyed it enough that I’ll be continuing the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

GoodReads Summary:
Some people ARE illegal.
Lobizonas do NOT exist.
Both of these statements are false.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal…it’s her entire existence.
Lobizona (Wolves of No World, #1)Review:
What a wild ride this story was. Thank you to NetGalley and Alexis Neuville with St. Martin’s Press for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I completely fell in love with this story within the first chapter. Manu’s struggle of being undocumented in the U.S. was heartbreaking. It’s something that happens to people every single day in this country and it’s absolutely horrible. Manu struggles with this, but loves her mother and respects her mother’s wishes. I loved Manu’s relationship with her mother. They were very close, despite the secrets between them. I was a little sad we didn’t get to see them together after they were separated when ICE took Manu’s mother away. But their love for one another was so obvious, it warmed my heart.
After ICE takes Manu’s mother, Manu finds herself in a world that was supposed to only be a myth. She lies her way into a school for Septimus. After becoming roommates with the headmistress’s daughter, Cata. Cata’s best friend, Saysa, decides Manu is going to be in their friend group. Saysa’s brother, Tiago (who I couldn’t figure out for way too long if he was Saysa’s brother or Cata’s brother) is a part of that group too. He’s the alpha of the pack and takes Manu under his wing. This romance was clear from the start and I really didn’t care for it because at their school everyone knows that Tiago and Cata are end game (but we find out some things that made this untrue and made me okay with their relationship). Though things weren’t kittens and rainbows when Manu first arrived, the four of them developed and really solid relationship, and I absolutely loved it. I loved that Manu finally felt like she had found the place she belonged. Sadly, this didn’t last long before she learned that once again, she was something that wasn’t supposed to exist, wasn’t allowed. I really liked that this book point blank discussed that immigration issues within the U.S. but it also talks about the struggle within a fantastical world. The world of the Septimus is a backward one. Men are werewolves and women are witches, there’s no room for discussion of changing these gender roles what so ever. Those in charge of Septimus are very strict in their thinking and the last person that tried to change the ways of the Septimus was Manu’s father, who Manu believed to be dead until she heard the rumors at her new school. I really liked the full circle of Manu trying to become the change right where her father left off.
Many people had issues with the fantasy world, but I really loved it. I really loved the comparison to Harry Potter and that the author had Manu be a fierce lover of the story so that Manu made the comparisons before the reader could. I thought it was an interesting world, hidden within the world we know today.
Overall, this book was heartbreaking but also incredibly fun. The found family was so wonderful, but there were also strong family values and I loved those too. The conversation this story brings to the table is a hard one but a necessary one. I really hope that so many other people will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Quotes:

“Deep down, we would rather be dreaming than awake.”

“You’re the spark we’re been waiting for—if you ignite, we will fan your flames. Otherwise, you’ll be alone in the dark forever.”

“But why settle for being a son of the system, when you can be the mother of a movement?”

“Plant your new garden with seeds of equality, water it with tolerance and empathy, and warm it with the temperate heat of truth.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)Review:
How am I supposed to explain how much I loved this book? I wasn’t going to read this because of all of the negative or average reviews. All I have to say is, what is wrong with you people?? This book has been (wrongly) compared to Six of Crows. I slightly understand the comparison, but this story was so different.
We follow several different characters who all have different goals, but they’ve become a family of sorts and I loved every single one of them. I’ll start with Severin. He’s our damaged boy. I adored him. He’s supposed to have inherited his parent’s ring and become the patriarch of his family, but that right was stolen from him. His goal is to change that and reinstate his family, to become the patriarch that he was always supposed to be. After his parents died and his birthright was stolen from him, he was moved from home to home until he came into his monetary inheritance. I really liked the bits and pieces we got about each of his foster fathers. He also has a brother, Tristan.
Tristan is an awkward nerdy kid and I freaking loved him. He has this horrifying pet spider that he loves dearly. I don’t like spiders, but I loved Tristan. He’s like the little brother of everyone in the group. I adored how much everyone loves him. He’s a sweet little bean and I would die for him.
Laila is from India. She’s a dancer and loves to bake. That’s my kind of lady. She has an interesting history that I won’t specify because I thought learning about her was a part of the journey that is this book. She has a really interesting ability that is to be able to see the history of any object. I thought this was really cool, but also, I’m still curious about whether or not she can do the same with living things. Laila’s goal is to find a book that helped create her. I’m very intrigued by this book and I think it has something to do with the events of the next book.
Enrique is biracial (Filipino and Spanish). He’s a historian that loves to learn about the past. I thought his internal struggle with appearing more Spanish than Filipino was really interesting. I really thought he brought an interesting point of view to the story. He’s also bisexual, though the word is never used he says that he’s interested in both men and women. I really liked Enrique. He was the comedic relief of this friend group and I’m always a sucker for the funny guy. I also totally ship him with Zofia.
Zofia was a little science nerd and I love her. She’s Jewish which I thought was nice because I don’t see all that much representation for Jewish people out there. She’s also Polish and moved away from her sister to go to school. I believe that Zofia is somewhere on the Autism spectrum but I don’t know whether that’s been confirmed anywhere. She has issues with certain social cues, clothing materials, and I loved her so much. She’s incredibly smart and is the mad scientist and mathematician of the bunch. She loves to create but was not treated well when she tried to go to traditional schools.
Then there’s Hypnos, who isn’t a part of this found family at the beginning of the story. He manages to worm his way in though. I didn’t know whether or not we could trust him, but I grew to love him. He’s the patriarch of one of the last two recognized Houses. He hires the group to steal something from the other House. Obviously shit hits the fan and nothing goes as planned. I liked Hypnos. He was flirty and fun, but never quite trustworthy for most of the story. I’m definitely interested to see where his story goes in the next book.
Overall, I adored this book. I love Roshani’s writing. It’s just absolutely beautiful. She built a fascinating world with characters I would die for. Please read this book right now.

Quotes:

“Nothing but a symbol? People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”

“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”

“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‘Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”

“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’d stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

The Mall by Megan McCafferty

GoodReads Summary:
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…
Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.
The MallReview:
I was excited when NetGalley approved me for this book (in exchange for an honest review of course). I’m a 90’s kid, so I thought I was really going to love this book, but I very sadly did not. It was hard for me to place what exactly I didn’t like about this book. I read it fairly quickly. It was an easy book to binge. I loved the mystery of the treasure. I also loved Cassie’s journey of figuring herself out. But there was just something I didn’t love about this book.
After reading some GoodReads reviews, I figured it out. Many others had the same problem that I did. Apparently, this book was written in cooperation with an entertainment company. So, it’s not clear if the concept of this book came from them or if the book was mostly written by them. As the reviews on GoodReads said, this story was missing heart. And that was my problem. I don’t know how to explain what that means to me. But I just didn’t love this story. It was a fun read, but mostly forgettable. I didn’t hate it by any means, I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

GoodReads Summary:
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
The Darkest Part of the ForestReview:
The Darkest Part of the Forest takes place in the same world as the Folk of the Air trilogy. Many were disappointed by the finale of that series and to those people I say, READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. The Darkest Part of the Forest was everything I wanted from the Folk of the Air series. There were interesting and complex sibling relationships. There were romantic relationships that I was quickly invested in. Plus, there was all the fae drama that I loved from her other series, but more interesting.
The fae aspect of this story was so fascinating. This story takes place in the town of Fairfold where the fae come out to play with tourists. I loved this aspect of the story. The concept of magic in the world as I know it is so interesting to me. The fae in town don’t mess with the locals, only the tourists that come to see the horned boy in the glass coffin. The horned boy’s coffin is also the local’s party spot. This hit me in the high school feels because I totally partied in the woods during my high school years, so, I could totally see my friends in the party scenes with the horned boy.
When the coffin is found shattered and the horned boy awakes, life in Fairfold changes. I loved the relationship between Hazel and Ben. I really enjoyed getting to see their history. When they were children, they hunted fae with Ben using his musical ability and Hazel fighting them. There were some hard to read parts with these parts, but it just made the story that much better. Their relationship was so complicated and tangled, there were a lot of issues between them but I loved seeing them work through these issues and develop their relationships.
The romances were wonderful. I’m not going to specify who is with who because the wondering (for me) was a great part of the book. Both siblings find romance in these pages. Ben is gay and his romance was everything I wanted and more. The way his path led in this story was everything I wanted from Jude and Cardan. Hazel’s romance was also right up my alley. It was my favorite romance trope and I love how things turned out for them.
Overall, this book was so freaking good. I don’t know why more people haven’t read this. To all of the people that read and loved The Cruel Prince, please read this book because you will love this even more. The supporting characters were amazing. The mix of real-world and fae was great. I just loved everything about this book.

 

Quotes:

“Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.”

“Every child needs a tragedy to become truly interesting.”

“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.”

“There don’t have to be first dates and second dates. We’re not normal. We can do this anyway you want. A relationship can be whatever you want it to be. We get to make this part up. We get to tell our own story.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Crave by Tracy Wolff

GoodReads Summary:
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
Crave (Crave, #1)Review:
Everyone and their brother have been talking about this book. So, of course, I was curious to see what the hype was about. Sadly, I didn’t love this. It was definitely fun and it was definitely entertaining, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
We’re following Grace as she is forced to move to Alaska and attend the boarding school that her Uncle is the headmaster of. Her parents died in a car crash and she’s feeling a bit lost. But she has her cousin, Macy, and I loved their relationship. They quickly become friends, as they share a room. The only thing that I didn’t like about their relationship was that Macy was a terrible liar. Grace has found herself in a school full of supernatural creatures except she doesn’t know that fact. So, Macy lies to her at the direction of her father. Macy is a terrible liar and I really don’t understand how Grace didn’t see right through her. That was my biggest issue with this book. It was so glaringly obvious that Grace was surrounded by supernaturals but somehow, she didn’t see it. I couldn’t tell if the author made it so obvious on purpose or not, but I didn’t like that.
Aside from that part, I thought the creativity of the supernatural creatures in this story was interesting. A school filled with witches, shapeshifting wolves and dragons, and vampires. This is the kind of thing I live for. I loved the politics between the species and the drama, oh the high school drama. The drama and politics were so entertaining. This was the part that really kept the story going.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by this book but it was definitely a fun read. I will probably read the second book but this one won’t be making my favorites list.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Year They Fell by David Kreizman

GoodReads Summary:
When a horrible tragedy unites five very different high school seniors, they discover the worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are in the powerful YA novel, The Year They Fell.
Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they’re basically strangers to each other.
Until they’re pulled back together when their parents die in a plane crash. These former friends are suddenly on their own. And they’re the only people who can really understand how that feels.
To survive, the group must face the issues that drove them apart, reveal secrets they’ve kept since childhood, and discover who they’re meant to be. And in the face of public scrutiny, they’ll confront mysteries their parents left behind–betrayals that threaten to break the friendships apart again.
A new family is forged in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising book from award-winning storyteller David Kreizman. It’s a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.
The Year They FellReview:
I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book when I was researching 2019 releases last year. The cover is what pulled me in first because it’s stunning, but then the concept of the story is when I knew I had to read it.
The Year They Fell was devastating, but also somehow uplifting. We follow ‘the sunnies’ who are a group of friends that all went to preschool together. They drifted apart over the years and are no longer really friends at all. Their parents are all still friends though, and when they’re headed to vacation together, their plane crashes killing everyone that was on it. Only Daya’s parents survive because they never made it on the plane.
These five kids are going through something terrible, and you’d think they’d try to do it together since they’re all dealing with the same thing, but that’s not really how it happens. I liked that their story wasn’t predictable. I liked that it was different and heart-wrenching.
Each character gets their own perspective, which is tough to do and be able to give them each a distinct and different personality and voice. I think the author did well with this with one exception. Archie and Harrison. I had a hard time remembering which was which. One was an only child and had severe anxiety, thought all of them were anxious at one point or another. The other was adopted and had a younger brother. Both were a little nerdy. I liked all of the characters. I liked the journey from who they had become into who they were going to be now after this devastating loss.
Overall, this story was wonderfully diverse. There were all sorts of different relationship dynamics at play and I loved them all, friendships and romances. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

GoodReads Summary:
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts— even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
An Enchantment of RavensReview:
Absolutely everyone in the book community raves about this book. So, after reading her other novel (Sorcery of Thorns) and really enjoying it, I thought I’d finally give this book a try. I liked this book well enough.
I thought the characters were interesting. I liked that Isobel absolutely did not want to become a faerie. I think so many books are out there where the main character is human but wants to be anything but. So, Isobel is one of the few that doesn’t want that for herself, even after she fell in love with the autumn prince. I really thought it was interesting.
Sadly, I didn’t feel like I really connected with the characters as much as I could have. I liked them all well enough and I liked the romance well enough, but I wasn’t overly invested. I was happy with the overall outcome and things were exciting and action-filled, but I just wasn’t super attached to the story or the characters.
Overall, this book was fun. I enjoyed it even though I didn’t love it. I can completely understand why so many people love it, but I just wasn’t as invested in the story or characters as much as I wanted to be. I do also have to mention that the writing in this book was absolutely stunning. It was beautiful without being overly flowery. That was definitely one of my favorite things.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

GoodReads Summary:
Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)Review:
Huge thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that I 100% requested this book because of the cover and the comparison to Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series. I didn’t really have very high expectations going into this book. I think that’s because the summary of the book really doesn’t cover the awesomeness inside. It’s interesting because it does cover all the things that make this book wonderful, but it’s a case of the summary telling and the book showing these things that really makes the difference.
This book follows Nick, who is a queer boy in high school that has ADHD. I absolutely loved him right from the start. I have people very close to me in my life that have ADHD, so it was really interesting to see Nick’s experiences with it and get his thoughts and feelings. He manages to get in trouble in and out of school very often. Nick doesn’t have it easy, but he really tries so hard and I think that’s what I liked so much about him. He really makes the effort to do and be better. I thought the portrayal of his ADHD was really thoughtful. He also takes medication to help him, which I thought was a great addition. While Nick is the most cinnamon-y of all the cinnamon rolls out there, he was also quite oblivious. He really had a problem getting stuck in his head and hyper-focusing on his problems. So, I totally predicted the end of this book around the 50% mark, but I had the secret identities mixed around.
Nick’s friend group was the best. He is a misfit, as are his friends. Seth and Nick have been best friends since elementary school. Gibby joined them in middle school. She’s a lesbian and will literally kick your ass. I loved Gibby. She calls Nick out when he needs it, but is a loyal friend to Seth at the same time. Then there’s Jaz, Gibby’s girlfriend. She was last to the friend group, but no less loved. I really enjoyed getting the history of their friendships and their banter and interactions literally had me laughing out loud.
I laughed so hard during this book, but this author didn’t hesitate to turn it all around. I also balled my eyes out once or twice. Another really great part of the story was Nick’s dad. The relationship that these two have was nothing short of wonderful. But it’s also realistic. It’s hard to be a single dad and Nick’s dad was certainly not perfect. But it was clear how much he loved Nick and how hard he was trying. I can’t imagine trying to grieve the death of my wife while also still having a child to take care of. I loved how accepting his dad was, but also their open communication. They talked about Nick’s sexuality. They talked about his ADHD. His dad was there for him as much as he could be as a cop that had to work nights. Nick and his dad also made me laugh so much.
Overall, this book surpassed all expectations I had for it. The writing was fantastic. The characters were incredible and I love each of them so very much (even the villain). The world was really interesting (with a history I’m dying to know more of). And the book left of leaving me wanting so much more. I’m so glad this is a series, but so sad I will have to wait who knows how long for the next book. Please do yourself a favor and read this fabulously queer and heartwarming book.

Quotes:

“Sometimes, people do things just because they can. There doesn’t have to be a reason. It’s all chaos.”

“Nick knew the power of words. He knew that sometimes when they landed, they exploded with the force of a carelessly tossed grenade.”

“We’re teenagers. Everything is unnecessarily complicated. We’re told that we have to be a certain way, even if we know it’s wrong. We’re not taken seriously. Our ideas are cast aside as though they’re without merit. Sometimes we need to act out so that people pay attention to us. So that people know we mean what we say. That we’re capable. That we shouldn’t be dismissed.”

“They’re brave,” Mary said. “But we are too. Because while they’re out there, saving the world, we’re the ones they come home to. And it may not always be fair, and there are times when you know they’re in harm’s way, but they’ll always fight like the dickens to get back where they belong.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
MayhemReview:
Thank you to Sarah Bonamino with St. Martin’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to like this book. I was immediately interested after reading the summary. Magic and the 80s? Sign me the hell up. Sadly, this book was a miss for me. I really liked it at the beginning, but the further I read the less I liked it. There were some aspects that I really liked, but the things I didn’t care about outweighed those things.
We follow Mayhem as she and her mother, Roxy, return to Roxy’s hometown of Santa Maria. Mayhem and Roxy are running from Roxy’s husband who is abusive. I liked how this book covered hard topics. The abuse was hard to read about but realistic. Roxy was also addicted to drugs. This was a topic that was covered well. It was discussed thoughtfully and with care. This isn’t always the case, so it was something that I appreciated.
The magic in this book was so interesting. It follows the Brayburn bloodline, mostly. It stems from an ancestor. Their powers come from water that isn’t water in a cave that most people will never be able to find. I thought the magic was chaotic and horrifying and wonderful. This was probably my favorite part of the story. Learning about the history of the family, how the magic came to be, and how the adopted children of Mayhem’s aunt, Elle, came to have the Brayburn magic.
But these adopted cousins that Mayhem has just met were part of my problem with this book. Jason, Neve, and Kidd are wonderful at first. Neve immediately decides that she and Mayhem are going to be best friends. This wasn’t really believable to me because Neve was hot and cold with her. Keeping secrets and leaving her out of things, but acting like this isn’t between them when it suits her. Then Neve takes things too far and I just really didn’t like it. I guess things came around in the end, but I just didn’t care for Neve. Then there’s the romantic relationship that kindles between Jason and Mayhem which I just couldn’t find it in myself to care about.
Finally, the ending was just so unsatisfying. There are talks about healing Mayhem’s cousins from the magic, but there was no follow through with that and that just made me mad.
Overall, I enjoyed parts of this book. I read it very quickly. It was a captivating story, but there were too many things that I just didn’t care for. Also, I read other reviews that said parts of this story were almost word for word from the two stories it was inspired from. I haven’t read or watched them so I cannot say but there were more than a handful of reviews that mentioned this. I think there will definitely be some people that love this book, but it was a miss for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

GoodReads Summary:
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness, #1)Review:
There Will Come a Darkness became a new favorite book of mine immediately after I finished it. I am blown away by all of the different aspects of this story.
Let’s start with the world, which leads to the plot. A hundred years ago, the Prophets disappeared. This is something I still want to know more about. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? Will they be coming back? They left behind one final (secret) prophecy that tells of the Age of Darkness. This prophecy is what brings our five characters together. I loved the magic system and the concept of the Graces. I thought it was unique and interesting. I have to say, I am in awe of Katy Rose Pool’s ability to tell this story in five different perspectives and still give each of them a very distinct voice and personality.
The Pale Hand or Ephyra is a mysterious killer that leaves behind the mark of a pale hand on her victims. We learn why she is killing people and it makes me feel for her. She has a younger sister, Beru, that is sick. So Ephyra kills terrible people for their esha and gives it to Beru to heal her. This moral gray aspect of her story made her that much more interesting. I went back and forth between hating her and feeling bad for her and the struggles she’s faced.
Beru is horrified by her sister’s actions to keep her alive. She’s at the point where she’s just ready to die. I was blown away by the secret that these sisters are keeping and what that secret means for the world. I loved the inclusion of the sibling relationship, especially since it was a complex and morally grey one.
Hassan was probably the character I cared about the least, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him. I just loved all the others so much that he takes the bottom spot. Hassan is the heir to a kingdom taken over by a terrible, terrible person. He wants to take action to save his kingdom from the Hierophant (who is trying to rid the world of the Graced.) When he is convinced that he is the last Prophet that was named in the secret prophecy, things start to speed up. He gathers an army to take back their country and this is when things go wrong. I won’t go into detail about what exactly goes wrong, but it was exciting and full of action. The stakes were high and I loved every page of the climax of this story.
Now, for my favorite character, Anton. Anton is my little bean. He is running from his older brother, who was horribly cruel to him in their childhood. He lives life on the run, never getting close to anyone. He also can’t seem to use his Grace without being taken back to the moment when his brother tried to drown him (which is when he left home and has been running ever since.) I loved the mystery that surrounded Anton. We’re not sure why he’s running or what the problem is with using his Grace for quite a while. He teams up with the Pale Hand because she thinks Anton can find an object that will save Beru. His involvement with these two is how he gets dragged into everything else going on with Jude and Hassan. When Ephyra and Anton get arrested, Jude comes to save the day, sort of.
Jude was my second favorite. Jude is the Keeper of the Word, meaning it is his duty to protect the Last Prophet and help them prevent the Age of Darkness. Jude struggles with the duty he knows he has to fulfill and his doubting his ability to do this duty. I loved Jude. I was a little mad at him a few times when he did things that I really didn’t want him to do. But he came back around in the end and saved the Last Prophet. I loved Jude and his journey to figuring out what really mattered.
The characters were really what made this story. But the plot was exciting and surprising. There were several different times where I said out loud to myself, “WHAT” because Katy Rose Pool made me care and believe in all of these characters (even the bad ones) so I was floored by the betrayals and screaming with happiness for the characters that I so easily fell in love with. The development of each of these characters was so well done. The world was creative and so interesting. I’m left with questions, a fierce desire to want more, but not so many questions that I’m upset with a lack of answers. We were given enough to be satisfying but also left craving more of the world, more answers, more character interactions. I’m so invested in the romantic relationships and the friendships. I loved this interesting world and the diverse cast of characters.
Overall, this is a new favorite and I cannot wait for the second book in September. I will be picking it up immediately and devouring it because I need more of this world and the characters that live in it.

Quotes:

“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”

“There was nothing to be frightened of when you were the most dangerous thing that stalked the streets”

“Those who abused their power would only continue the cycle, rewarding the ones who enabled them.”

“I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know about duty and purpose. But I know what people want. You may think you’re different, that you live by some special code that sets you apart, but everyone wants something Jude. Even you.”

“You can spend your entire life looking over your shoulder, waiting for your past to catch up to you. Or you can stop running and finally face it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Inebriated by Katey Taylor

GoodReads Summary:
Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco’s party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.
When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she’s introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.
But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?
Katey Taylor’s heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait’s life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.
InebriatedReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Inebriated is a story that follows Cait. She’s just started the summer before her senior year of high school. I was really excited by the synopsis of this book because I was Cait in the summer before my senior year. I’m also going to add here that I’m going to talk spoilers in this review so if you don’t want to see those you can skip to the last paragraph where I give my overall thoughts or pass on this review.
Sadly, Cait’s story was pretty unrealistic and I didn’t end up liking it very much. The story was fast-paced and non-stop drama. Those were the good things. We start the story off with Cait waking up somewhere in San Francisco with no memory of how she ended up there. She just casually gets a cab back to the small town she lives in. I think my biggest issue with this book was that I also grew up in a small town filled with underage drinking. I drank so much when I was in high school, to the point where I was barely 21 and an alcoholic. Despite my past with alcohol I still love to read stories about teens struggling with drinking. This story wasn’t about Cait’s struggle. This story was about Cait not thinking at all. There was so much that was unrealistic about this story. Let’s start with the amount that she and her friends, Allie and Steph, drink. They pregame, which was fine and totally something many people do, but they pregame by taking four or five shots then get to their destination minutes away and take five or six more shots. Ten or eleven shots in less than an hour? There’s no way their bodies would tolerate that without either very quickly blacking out and then passing out or vomiting. I say this with the full authority of someone who has literally done this many times. The (unbelievable) excessive drinking continues throughout the story. Some of Cait’s friends start doing coke and one party Steph does so much coke she literally passes out, but no one seemed concerned for her well being at all??? I’m honestly just a little horrified by this book.
Then we get into the relationship. Cait meets Aiden, a very popular musician, and they start a relationship. Which was fine if you ignore the fact that he’s in his mid-20s and she’s 17. On top of that, Aiden struggles with heroin addiction. That’s nothing against him, except for the fact that he seems to be placing Cait at the center of his sobriety. Also, most addicts should be sober from everything. Getting blackout drunk all the time Is not a great way to get a handle on your drug addiction. It’s just substituting one substance for another.
Let’s get to the best (read: worst) part of this book. Cait goes to a music festival that Aiden is playing at. She invites her best friends and they ditch her to do coke with allies boyfriend. Fine, whatever. Cait goes to see Aiden play and he’s relapsed. She finds him after the show getting a blow job while he’s shooting up. After making her very high on coke friends leave and drive home they get into a car accident and Steph dies. The first issue with this is that there was no emotion with her death. It all happened incredibly fast but Cait wasn’t feeling anything strongly enough for me to actually care. Then her solution is to continue drinking profusely. I wanted to scream at her. The only good decision Cait made was to move with her mom to San Diego. Days before she’s supposed to leave she makes another hugely stupid choice and goes to see Aiden because, surprise, he wrote her a song. She gets blackout drunk again. I just couldn’t with Cait. Her actions and feelings were unrealistic. I’ve been a teenage alcoholic and I’ve had friends die because of drugs or driving under the influence so I know what it feels like. I just really didn’t like her.
There were some good things about this book that I really wish had been delved into further. There was so much promise with the issue of Cait’s past with Allie’s boyfriend, Keith. Instead, he just caused problems with Allie and Cait where they’d ignore each other than a week later act like nothing happened. Also, Cait’s parents have just decided to get divorced. I think her relationship with her parents was the best part of the book, except all the times she lied to them through her teeth. There were a lot of issues that could have been elaborated on there too but weren’t.
Overall, I didn’t care for this book. The amount of liquor these girls drank each time they got together to party was just wildly unrealistic. There is no way their bodies would have been able to handle that much booze. Along with that, I didn’t really feel like Cait’s emotions came through. She told us what she was feeling or that she was feeling nothing, but I didn’t believe any of it. I also hated her relationship with Aiden. It was toxic and I was happy when it ended. I wanted more of a resolution from this book. Cait only realized that she should probably stop drinking in the last few chapters of the book and that just blew me away after everything she’d gotten herself into. Some people have left favorable reviews for this book so maybe I feel this way because I was a teenager that drank too much in high school so I know what it was like. Don’t let my dislike stop you from reading it if this still sounds interesting to you. It’s definitely a book I read very quickly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing.
Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her.
But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself.
As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare – because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.
Shatter City (Impostors #2)Review:
As I’ve mentioned with literally all the other books that take place in this world, this book was full of action and excitement. We’re still following Frey like we were in the first book, but when the story starts, she’s back to pretending to be her sister. This was one of the things I didn’t like about this book. There were so many instances where the twins had to or chose to pretend to be the other. I honestly felt bad for Frey because she just wanted to be herself, for once, but so many things were preventing that. I just wanted her to be herself like she wished so badly. Despite not liking this aspect, I still liked Frey. She was strong and determined. She made choices that maybe weren’t always the right ones, but she made them with her head and her heart.
We get to see so much more of the world in Shatter City as the characters travel all over. I liked seeing the familiar places, like Diego, as much as I liked getting to discover new ones. Along with seeing the world, the plot was complex and interesting. There were so many different storylines being brought together. Some were resolved in this book, which I liked, and some left for the next one.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book but I still liked it. It was an exciting story with characters that I cared about. I’m eagerly awaiting book threes release. Also, I just have to add that I swear to god if we don’t get to see Tally in this series I’m going to be so mad.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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.

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey’s very existence is a secret.
Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.
When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor-as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.
With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies.
ImpostorsReview:
I have been waiting to read this book until I managed to reread the entire Uglies series and I’m so glad I did. Impostors takes place around fifteen years after the end of Specials. Like with Extras, I really enjoyed getting to see the aftermath of Tally’s actions and to see how the world was changed by her revolution. I also really enjoyed getting to see a different part of this world that I’ve loved for so many years. This was such a different book from Extras and I really enjoyed that.
We follow Fray as she’s sent to a neighboring city as a hostage. She’s the extra daughter. The body double for her twin sister, Rafia. The world doesn’t even know she exists. I thought she was such a complicated and interesting character. Her struggle of loving her sister but hating her father was so interesting. I loved her strength and how out of place she felt. It was fascinating to see her in a situation she wasn’t comfortable in (pretending to be Rafia full time) but then becoming herself again (after her father does some terrible things) and showing who she really is. I liked that it didn’t take very long for her to share her secret because I hate the secret keeping trope. I loved the sister relationship because I’m a sucker for siblings in books, but I have a bad feeling about Rafia for some reason.
Then there’s Col. I totally liked him from the start. I thought he was interesting despite his “boring” reputation. He loves his family and his people. He’s a natural leader and just a really good friend. I’m so excited and anxious about how this book ended with Fray and Col so I’ve borrowed book two from the library while I wait for the paperback edition to be published (to match the rest of the series).
Overall, like most of Westerfeld’s books, this was full of action and adventure. It was a fast-paced story and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I’ve quickly become so invested in these characters and their storylines. I cannot wait to continue the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.