Everything & Anything · Top Ten Tuesday

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books With Few Ratings

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.

How She Died, How I Lived By Mary Crockett

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia

Robbergirl by S.T. Gibson

Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

A Danger Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Lawless by Tarah Brenner

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

What books did you love with under 2,000 ratings on GoodReads?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Amanda’s Contemporary-A-Thon Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! As you all know, we just had round four of Contemporaryathon! This wonderful readathon was hosted by Chelsea Dolling ReadsNatasha @ My Reading is OddJulie @ Pens and Pages, and Melanie @ Mel to the Any. This readathon happened on Monday, February 11th through Sunday, February 17th. There were seven challenges prepared for us, and I managed to read six books! Staying on brand, I didn’t really stick to my TBR. I read a few from it, but I added a few too.

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Read the most recent contemporary book you purchased/acquired

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Read a book with blurple (blue or purple lol) on the cover

Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Read a diverse contemporary (keeping in mind that it is Black History Month!)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Read a dark/emotional/hard-hitting contemporary

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Not pictured)

Read a contemporary that you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Written in verse, listened to the audio)

Read a contemporary with some sort of picture on the spine

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

These are all the books I read this week! I even managed to read some of the books that were on my TBR list, its a miracle! What did you read this week? Have you read any of these books? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Summary:
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Beautiful and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.
Sawkill GirlsReview:
I read this book because I’m Team Ketterdam for the BookTube Games this month. Sawkill Girls is the group book picked by the wonderful Katie and Liv. I was super excited because this is a book I’d heard some good things about, but hadn’t picked it up yet. I wish I had read this book back in October because it was the perfect spooky season book. It was so atmospheric and creepy and suspenseful.

“Nobody can change me without my  consent.”

I loved the girls. Marion was sweet and clearly so full of love for those around her. She’s had a tough time lately and she’s just hoping for life to calm down but sadly gets the opposite. Her whole life is turned upside down the minute she lands on Sawkill Rock. Despite the world seems to be against her, she stands up and fights over and over. I really liked her because when any normal person would have given up, she stood up, brushed herself off and kept on going. Then there’s Zoey, who was totally my favorite. She’s fierce and determined and unapologetic about who she is. She loves and she loves HARD. She’s determined to find out what happened to her best friend. Zoey is smart and clever. She’s the only one on the island that really figures out what’s going on in the world. I loved that she was able to put aside her feelings to do what she knew was the right thing. Last, there’s Val. She’s the Queen B in this story, the head Bitch. I didn’t like the girl on girl hate that happened here because this was a super feminist book so it just seemed out of place here. Val was a likable ‘villain’ she didn’t want to be involved in the horror that was happening on Sawkill Rock, but she was born into it. The horror was her legacy. She had no choice until she did. Val had the most character growth and I loved seeing her change.

“You must keep fighting. You must never stop fighting. You must light the path for others to find their footing. You must.”

The side characters were also good. I liked Zoey’s best friend Grayson. He was a really good friend to her. He accepted her no matter what she told him and I really loved that about him. He was a little over the top with the ‘anti-men’ stuff, but aside from that he really stuck by Zoey’s side and loved her even when she thought he shouldn’t. Then there’s Zoey’s dad. I didn’t know what was going on with him at some points, but it was all brought together at the end. I wouldn’t have liked to see a bit more of their relationship before all the craziness that happened in the book. Next is Marion’s mom, she was this fragile thing that’s lost half her family. But she really steps up at the end and she was a great part of the story. Finally, Val’s mother. I don’t even remember her name that’s how much I care about her. She was horrible and awful and seemed to have no feelings at all. Where Val wanted to stop what her family was doing, her mother had no problem and really believed that she was doing her duty to her family.

“Hope, she thought, breathing with the tide, was a choice that only those with resolute hearts dared to make.”

Overall, I liked this book. It was thrilling and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. The story was creative and suspenseful, surprising and compelling. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that the feminist messages were a little too much here and there. There was a nice overall message of feminism but there were a few scenes that were more anti-men than feminist and I didn’t like that. I definitely recommend this for the spooky season or if you’re looking for a suspenseful book filled with girl power.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Summary:
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that. stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total desolation.
The RoadReview:
I read this for my Popular and Contemporary Fiction course at school. I read it years ago when I was in high school and I remember totally loving it. But I didn’t love it this time. I didn’t enjoy the rule breaking the author does. He doesn’t use quotations of any sort. He does mostly telling and little showing. I think he pushed the limits and it worked for many people.
It was certainly a compelling story. Post-apocalyptic America due to some sort of world ending event that is never specified, is interesting for sure. All of the different kinds of people that come out in this sort of scenario. The man and the boy encounter all sorts, good and bad.
Overall, I thought this story was interesting and fast paced. Every page was filled with urgency to find out the fate of the man and the boy. There was so much symbolism and underlying messages within the story. I actually have to write a paper on this book and The Hunger Games based on the theme of survival, hope in the face of hopeless situations, and the power of family bonds. I definitely think this is an interesting read with many important themes within.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Tessa Gray should be happy –aren’t all brides happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army if pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan.
He needs Tessa.
Charlotte Branwell, head of the Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are engaged, Will is still in love with her.
The last words of a dying Shadowhunter provide the clue that might lead Tessa and her friends to Mortmain. But their small group cannot stand alone, and the powerful Consul doubts that Mortmain is coming. Deserted by allies, the Shadowhunters find themselves trapped when Mortmain seizes the medicine that keeps Jem alive. With his best friend at death’s door, Will must risk everything to save the girl they both love.
To buy Will time, the warlock Magnus Bane joins with Henry Branwell to create a device that could help defeat Mortmain. As they all work to save Tessa and the future of the Shadowhunters that resides with her, Tessa realizes that the one person who can save her is herself—for, in the discovery of her own true nature, Tessa could become more powerful than she ever dreamed possible. But can a lone girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Review:
Guys, I’m FINALLY finished with this freaking series. I’m so happy to have finally finished these books. I’m over this story. I’m over these characters. I’m over the horrible and terrifying robot clockwork creatures. The first half of Clockwork Princess was painful. There was so much running around trying to figure out what to do next, trying to deal with political drama, trying to plan their next move against Mortmain. Which is all well and good, usually I love that kind of stuff in fantasy books, but I don’t like the time period. I don’t like the mindset that is put onto the women in this series. I hate the Consul because he’s a sexist jackass and causes so much unnecessary conflict and I wanted to punch him. I did like how Charlotte did her best to combat this attitude and Tessa comes around also trying to defy these kinds of expectations.
The people that die in this book are not okay. I’m not okay with it and I never will be. Like, I hated one of them anyway, but that didn’t mean I wanted them to die. And the other was a death I was expected. It was talked about as something inevitable so I wasn’t too worried about it. I just had to mention these because I had completely forgotten about one of them.
I liked Tessa more in this book than the others. Aside from the whole love triangle, I liked Tessa by herself. I think she grew a great amount throughout the series and I love me some character growth. I really enjoyed finally learning about who and what she was. I also totally wasn’t mad about the ending that gave us a view into the rest of her life until ‘present day.’ Jem is still and will forever be a soft boy and that’s all I’m going to say about him. Will is still annoying. I wasn’t really invested until his sister came around. I absolutely adored his relationship with his sister. They made me laugh. I love sibling relationships is books almost every time. Gabriel and Gideon were another sibling pair that I loved. I totally loved their conflict with each other. They had some really great character growth. I also absolutely adored both of their love interests. And then my favorite, Charlotte and Henry. They are really my absolute favorites. I love them to pieces.
No surprise here, but I liked the supporting characters more than the main characters. This is something that seems to be a trend with Cassandra Clare’s books. The same thing happened when I was rereading The Mortal Instruments books. Overall, I don’t want to say that I didn’t like this series because there were some things I didn’t like and some things that I did. I think the ending of this final book really brought everything together for me. My absolute favorite was all of the connections made toward the end of this books (READ: The Ghost of the London Institute & Cortana & “That’s a story for another day about a different set of Lightwood’s and Heronale’s). I totally loved all the little tidbits that nodded toward the other series in the Shadowhunter worlds. It’s just incredible how complex and connected these books all are. Cassandra Clare is an incredible author and I’m so excited to keep going with the books in this world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Amanda’s Fierce Female Reads TBR List

Hi, lovelies! I’m here today to share my second TBR list for this month. I’m participating/hosting in Fierce Female Reads February and with that, there is the Fierce Female Readathon. We have come up with a few fun challenges to create TBR’s filled with fierce females.

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Read the group book

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Read a book with girl/female/woman in the title

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Read a book written by a woman of color

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Read a fierce female recommendation from the book community

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Read a nonfiction book written by or featuring a fierce female
OR
read a book based off a woman in history

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Read a book with a fierce female leading a resistance 

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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These are the books I’m going to be reading for the Fierce Female Readathon. What books are you going to read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtags #FierceFemaleReadathon #FierceFemaleReadsFebruary and #FierceFemaleFridays and tag Ashley and me in your posts! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Summary:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Review:
I’ve been rereading so many of the books I’ve read and loved over the years, but don’t remember every detail about. Six of Crows is one of those. I haven’t read this duology since the second book came out in 2016. I thought now would be the perfect time to reread these books before I got my hands on King of Scars at the end of January.

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every  monstrous thing.”

Rereading this book was exciting and wonderful. I loved being back inside this world with these characters. Ketterdam is one of my favorite fictional worlds. It’s. complex and dark, filled with corners you really should stay out of and all the scheming you could imagine. I love the world of Grisha. It has the ability to suck me in, chew me up, and spit me out at the final page. I was so engrossed in this story that I didn’t want to put it down. I spent several nights staying up later than I should to read more pages.

“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”

The characters were equally as good as the setting. They were complex and dark, each with their own story to tell. Kaz Brekker, our fearless leader, has such an interesting backstory. Dark and gritty, he does whatever he needs in order to reach his goals. Getting to learn his backstory definitely humanized him as the story went on. He wants everyone to think he’s the big bad, but he cares more than he’s willing to admit.

“Better terrible truths than kind lies.”

Inej, the Wraith, is another character that will do what she needs to as long as it brings her closer to her goals. Sold into slavery, then into the Dregs, she does what she must to survive while trying to keep her conscious clear, not always successfully. She sees the best in her friends even when they don’t deserve it. Nina is probably my favorite though. She’s sassy and fierce, loyal and caring. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit and she stands up for what she believes in. I’m so excited to see where Nina’s story goes in King of Scars.
Jesper was the comedic relief of the group. He turns everything into a joke because he can’t stop and take time to think about what his life has become. He is impulsive and it’s not always a good thing. Then there’s Wylan, sweet and soft Wylan. A merchant’s son, he joins the Dregs to escape a life that seems better than it is. He’s constantly trying to prove himself and that he is worthy to be a part of the team. I think he’s my favorite. I love a good soft boy. Then there’s Matthias, the opposite of a soft boy. He’s full of nothing but conflict and a need for revenge. I think Matthias has the best character arc and development. He’s fighting to decide between the girl he’s grown to care for and the things he’s always known and believed in.

“Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.”

These characters all together create the most interesting and conflicted squad, which makes for interesting times as they sail to another country to kidnap someone, a mission that is very likely to fail. All of the different personalities combining in the adventures they go on is guaranteed to be a good time full of laughs, danger, and maybe even a little death. This is still one of my favorite books. It’s just so good. Leigh Bardugo will forever be my Queen. If you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.