Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

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. This week’s topic is books with bookish characters.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Becoming by Nora Roberts

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Beastly by Alex Flinn

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

What bookish characters do you love?

Amanda’s Favorite Springtime Book Covers

Hi, lovelies! I haven’t done a post about book covers in quite a while. I thought it would be fun for me to share some book covers that scream spring to me. I’m going to share some covers in two parts. The first part will be books that I’ve read (and they’re on this list because I recommend them!) and the second will be books I have not read yet, but want to. There are so many great covers out there and I really had fun finding some that reminded me of spring.

Books I’ve Read

I was not surprised to find quite a few romance novels that had covers that would work for this post. I really enjoyed all three of these. They were all really fun stories.

These fantasy covers feel a little obvious with all the flowers, but they’re just so stunning that I had to include them.

Full Flight and You’ve Reached Sam are both books that you’re going to need to have some tissues while you read. The Nature of Witches was a magical and emotional story. I just love the colors and nature elements of these covers.

Books on my TBR

I love book covers that have plants or creepy nature on them.

I love a good illustrated cover and these three are all stunning.

I don’t usually like faces on book covers but I actually love these. There’s something about the flowers that add to the mystery of the story inside with maybe a hint of magic.

Do you have a preference for book covers? Do you like illustrated covers or more realistic ones?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Summary:
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.
Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.
Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

Review:
It Happened One Summer tells Piper’s story. She had just been dumped and arrested. But her stepfather isn’t feeling sympathetic. He cuts her off and sends her away from L.A. She’s sent to Westport, the small town she grew up in before her father died. It’s here that she meets Brendan and falls for more than just Westport.
I really didn’t think I was going to like Piper. I thought she was going to be a really spoiled and unlikable rich girl. Piper was some of those things. She’s spoiled, but she quickly showed that she’s willing to work for what she wants. She starts fixing up the bar that they technically own. She didn’t annoy me like I thought she was going to.
Brendan also surprised me because I thought he was going to be mean to Piper and he ended up being a total marshmallow.
I loved the two of them together. They were an easy couple to love. I’m excited to read Hannah’s story and see more of Westport.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe

Summary:
If a magical button and a mysterious cat could transport you to the past…would you save the future?
After Jewish fifth-grader Ava and her Muslim cousin Nadeem are called hateful names at school, Granny Buena rummages in her closet and pulls out a glittering crystal button box. It’s packed with buttons that generations of their Sephardic ancestors have cherished. With the help of Granny’s mysterious cat Sheba, Ava and Nadeem discover that a button from the Button Box will whisk them back in time. Suddenly, they find themselves in ancient Morocco, where Nadeem’s ancestor, Prince Abdur Rahman, is running for his life. Can Ava and Nadeem help the prince escape to Spain and fulfill his destiny, creating a legendary Golden Age for Muslims, Jews and Christians?

Review:
The Button Box was a fun and adventurous time travel fantasy. I thought this was a middle-grade novel, but it’s more of a chapter book. I think it was a short, but satisfying story. It had character development, world-building, and a fast-paced plot. I would definitely buy this for any chapter book readers in my life. It shared knowledge about Ava being Jewish and Nadeem being Muslim in an easy-to-understand way that felt like a part of the story instead of info-dumping.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s April 2022 Book Haul

Hey, lovelies! I went a little overboard last month with book buying. But I had some visitors and we went to the bookstore for the first time since just after Christmas. So, some of these were gifts and some of these were to restock my romance TBR.

New to my TBR List

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
If You Ask Me by Libby Hubscher
The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Genesis Wars by Akemi Dawn Bowman

New Books I’ve Read

Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Skyward Flight: The Collection by Brandon Sanderson & Janci Patterson
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon
The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

Did you buy any new books in April?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Messengers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Summary:
As book three of the Greystone Secrets series opens, the Greystone kids have their mother back from the evil alternate world, and so does their friend Natalie. But no one believes the danger is past.
Then mysterious coins begin falling from unexpected places. They are inscribed with codes that look just like what the Greystones’ father was working on before he died. And with the right touch, those symbols transform into words: PLEASE LISTEN. And FIND US, SEE US, HELP US. . . .
The coins are messengers, telling the Greystones and their allies that their friends in the alternate world are under attack—and that the cruel, mind-controlling forces are now invading the better world, too.
After another spinning, sliding journey across worlds, the Greystone kids must solve mysteries that have haunted them since the beginning: what happened when the Gustanos were kidnapped, what created the alternate world, and how a group of mismatched kids can triumph once and for all against an evil force that seems to have total control.

Review:
The Messengers is the third and final book in the Greystone Secrets trilogy. I really liked the first two books and I actually reread them before finishing the series with this conclusion. 
We are still following the three Greystone siblings, Chess, Emma, and Finn. They tell us about how their mom’s double knocks on their door with her three kids that were just like Chess, Emma, and Finn, but maybe they actually weren’t. The two families work together to change things for the better before the mayor takes over both worlds.
I really loved this book and this whole series. I’m glad I reread the first two before this one because the series as one long story is a good one, but also each book is its own great adventure. This finale was no different. The kids faced tough challenges and had to think quickly and cleverly.
Overall, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more new books by Haddix and probably even rereading some of her backlist.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions to share you’re weekly reading update!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m in the middle of a few things at the moment. I’ve had a bit of trouble finding something to get into audiobook wise, so I’ve been jumping back and forth between a few of them depending on my mood when I have time to listen. I’m listening to The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m also reading Hide by Kiersten White and The Suite Spot by Trish Doller.

Antonia- I’m currently reading The Cursed Carnival by Rick Riordan and others.

What did you most recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished From Luke With Love by Mariana Zapata. I really enjoyed it with one to two things I didn’t like. Keep an eye out for that review which should be coming soon.

Antonia- I just finished Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez.

What will you be reading next?

Amanda- Next, I’m going to try to stay on task and read my TBR from my May TBR Jar Picks post. I think I’m going to pick up Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper for my next eARC.

Antonia- Next I’m going to try to go back to my physical TBR that’s been sitting around for a few months now.

Thanks for reading this weekly reading update! Share your answers or your post in the comments below!

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: One Word Reviews

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. This week’s topic is One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read (submitted by Susan @ Bloggin’ ’bout Books)

Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi – Frustrating

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia – Disappointing

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan – Bittersweet

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – Unexpected

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas – Scream-inducing (that’s one word right?)

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez – Delightful

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers – Beautiful

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas – Familiar

The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan – Satisfying

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan – Heartbreaking

It was surprisingly hard for me to come up with just one word to describe these books but I had a lot of fun with it. What word would you use to describe them?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – One Word Reviews

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 one word reviews for the last ten books I’ve read.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers – confusing

The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee – unrelated

Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld – dizzying

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld – suspenseful

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow – heartwarming

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld – exciting

Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen – familiar

The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell – expansive

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum – cute

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – disappointing

These are my one-word reviews. What books did you review this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s May TBR Jar Picks

Hi, lovelies! Happy May! Last month, I actually did pretty well with my TBR jar picks. I’m not pushing myself to focus only on these TBR books, because I’m just trying to read steadily so I don’t get into a reading slump. So, these are books that I want to read this month, but might possibly completely ignore.

Gifted to You
The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

Reread
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Middle Grade
The Weeping Tide by Amanda Foody

Romance
From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata

Standalone
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

As usual, I also have some NetGalley books to read for this month.

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Hide by Kiersten White
Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin
Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

What books are you hoping to read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Summary:
Eileen, newly single and about to turn eighty, would like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Then in bustling London, Eileen’s twentysomething, overachieving granddaughter Leena is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work.
Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen will live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will rest and take care of things in rural Yorkshire.
But trading places isn’t as easy as either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find love?

Review:
The Switch follows grandmother, Eileen, and granddaughter, Leena. The two are both at tumultuous places in their lives, so they switch places. Leena moves into her grandmother’s house in a small town. Eileen moves into Lena’s London apartment with roommates and all. Both struggle with the change but ultimately figure out something important. I listened to the audiobook and the two narrators did a great job with this story.
Leena is going through some stuff with her job and she’s still grieving the death of her sister. She takes time off from her job and takes over her grandmother’s duties around town, like driving some of the residents around town. She slows down from what she’s used to and gets to know the people in this small town.
Eileen is doing the opposite and she’s trying new things left and right. She’s signed up for online dating and she’s enjoying it. She has managed to change some things in the apartment building and befriended all the neighbors.
I enjoyed both stories individually, but I also really enjoyed them when they intertwined. I thought there was going to be a twist in the story that I really didn’t like, but the author managed to spin it in a way that I didn’t mind. I liked that they both got a happily ever after sort of ending.
Overall, I really liked this book and I will definitely be reading more from O’Leary.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Summary:
When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.
But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.
As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. But I did actually end up listening to the finished audiobook that I borrowed from my local library.
I didn’t love this book like I thought it was going to. I thought that it was lacking in a few of my favorite things about mystery/thrillers. There was a real lack of suspense and little to no stakes for the story to just go “ha ha no one did it?” It felt like nothing happened the whole book. A murder mystery should have the stakes slowly raised and I feel like that didn’t happen. It felt like we just did a character-by-character investigation with a backstory with each of the characters. I honestly could have gone for a little info-dumping over the oversharing that I feel like we got with this story.
I still liked the idea of a competitive scrabble community. I’m sure this is something that exists out there and I love it. Really niche hobbies like this are really interesting to me. I really liked how the main character had turned her love for scrabble into an incredible vocabulary.
I did like Najwa. The way that she thought was really engaging for the story. She’s the reason that I finished the book even though I didn’t really love the story. I did I love the casual mention of putting her hijab on and things like that which we get a few times in the book.
While I didn’t love this one, I think it was an issue with my reading lately, and not the fault of the story. I will still be recommending this one in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s April 2022 Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! I honestly cannot believe that April is already over. I am a day early, but know what I will and won’t be finishing within the next day. I think I did a little better reading-wise this month. That is helped with my new baby slowly sleeping in longer stretches, so some of my brainpower is coming back. Let’s get into what I read this past month and how I read it.

Physical Books
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake – 4 stars
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto – 3 stars
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey – 3 stars
The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell – 4 stars

eBooks
Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead – 4.5 stars
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller – 2.5 stars
To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters – 4.5 stars
The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe – 3.5 stars
Very Bad People by Kit Frick – 2 stars
A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow – 3.5 stars
The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee – 2 stars
I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers – 2 stars

Audiobooks
Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer – 4.5 stars
Mickey7 by Edward Ashton – 2 stars
Yearbook by Seth Rogan
The Switch by Beth O’Leary – 4 stars
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman – 4 stars
The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis – 4 stars
The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis – 2 stars
Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi – 4 stars
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – 2 stars
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum – 3 stars
Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Hucho – 2 stars
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum – 3 stars
Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen – 3.5 stars
Impostors by Scott Westerfeld – 4 stars
Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld – 3 stars
Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld – 3.75 stars

These are all the books that I read in April. What book did you enjoy most in April?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Summary:
Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.
That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.
Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic–from NYC and all the way to Spain–for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me.
Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister’s wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie?
Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.

Review:
After seeing so many people online rave about this book, I selected it as the book for the subscription I have.
The Spanish Love Deception follows Catalina who is looking for a date to her sisters wedding. Her coworker, Aaron, quickly volunteers when he overhears Catalina talking about it. When Catalina can find no other option, she agrees to take him with her to the wedding.
I think the story had minimal plot outside of Catalina and Aaron flirting and getting to know one another before they travel to another country together. But I didn’t really mind that. I liked the slow burn. I liked seeing them get to know one another. But some of the story just felt a little over the top. It felt like it tried to use as many tropes as possible. I can totally see why so many people live this book, but for me it was a little corny.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions to share you’re weekly reading update!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld. I’m also in the middle of The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon and Very Bad People by Kit Frick, but I haven’t picked them up in a few days since I’ve been hooked on audiobooks this week.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi.

What did you most recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished reading Impostors by Scott Westerfeld.

Antonia- I most recently read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

What will you be reading next?

Amanda- Next, I’m planning to read Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez.

Thanks for reading another weekly reading update! Share your answers or your post in the comments below!