Amanda's Adventures · Blogmas · Everything & Anything · Top Ten Tuesday

Blogmas Day Twenty Five – Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday

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 hope to see under my Christmas Tree.

I’m going to be honest here. I hope the only books under my Christmas tree are the ones I’ve personally picked out and wrapped for myself and for my daughter. There are very few people I would trust to buy books for me without me telling them specific books I want. So I’m going to treat this as a wishlist sort of thing.

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

Year One Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Air Awakens (Series) by Elise Kova

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

What books would you love to see under the Christmas tree this year?

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

End of Yearathon – TBR List

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Who else is as ready for Christmas as I am? As it’s my first Christmas with my daughter, it’s going to be a special one for sure. After Christmas, I am co-hosting a read-a-thon with Vicky from the 26th of December to the 1st of January. We hope to help ourselves and others get those final books read in 2018. Whether you need to catch up to your GoodReads goal, or if you just have books you want to read before the year is over, this is the read-a-thon for you!

 

We have come up with a few challenges to help to pick out books for a TBR list! Feel free to play with the challenges, or not! You can read with us the whole time or just one day! I am going to pick a book for each of the challenges so that I have some books to choose from depending on what mood I’m in.

Read a book released in 2018

Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Read a book with Christmas colors on the cover (Red, Green, Gold, or all three!) 

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

Read a book that is a part of a series

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Read a book that is 400 pages or more

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Read a book that was released before 2018

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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Are you going to join us for this readathon? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to tag me in your TBR lists for the readathon, I’d love to know what you’re last minute read for the year are! Follow on twitter (Amanda’s Twitter & Vicky’s Twitter) to stay up to date with the latest info & reading sprints!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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 · Blogmas · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Blogmas Book Review – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Summary:
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.
Review:
Mockingjay once again destroyed my soul. I knew what was coming for the most part, there were certain events that I had forgotten about, and even the parts I remembered destroyed my soul.
The conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy was thrilling and exciting and absolutely crazy. I almost don’t even know what to say about it. I loved all the characters. Finnick, Gale, Haymitch, the whole gang is entertaining, while also breaking my heart.
The trauma that these characters have endured during the war that’s going on, is just awful. I liked how the characters really experienced things though. They didn’t just get over the trauma and torture they’ve been put through. They are recovering, in whatever ways work for them. This made it all the more realistic.
Katniss was really just a hot mess in this book and it only got worse. The things she lost, the people she loved, she endured more than one person should ever have to. And on top of this, the one person that’s been with her through this story has been turned against her. It was so sad to watch her struggle with this. Peeta gets the worst of it, honestly. It felt awful to know what Peeta was being put through by the Capitol. All to get to Katniss.
I was pretty happy with the ending. It’s exactly what Katniss wanted. It leaves us with a sense of putting the world back together, though she is mostly just trying to put herself back together. After so much loss, fighting, and persevering through the hardest times of her lives, she needs time to put the pieces of herself back together. She needs time to figure out how she is going to move forward and live her life.
I love this series and I always will. It will live forever as one of my favorite series. If you haven’t read this series you definitely need to stop reading this and go pick up The Hunger Games and get your heart broken, too. I’m going to go binge watch the movies now!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

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

Blogmas Book Review – Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
The Final Battle is here.
Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together, at last, all must fight is Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself-and the promise of a better world.
Review:

If you’re looking for a series to completely and utterly destroy your soul, look no further. This conclusion to the Throne of Glass series was one of the most emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever ridden. This 900+ page BRICK had me laughing, crying, yelling, whirling through all of the emotions ever. I honestly am not even sure how I’m going to write this review. I think I’m just going to keep it short and to the point. There were things I liked, things I loved and things I didn’t like.

Things I liked:

The alternating perspectives. I liked getting to see everything that was happening all over the world. All of the pieces we’d seen put in motion were coming together little by little and it was great. I’m a huge fan of having multiple perspectives in fantasy stories. While many thought it was too many perspectives, I liked it. I liked following the story from all the different characters I’ve come to love so much.

The pacing. I think the story was paced in a realistic way. All too often crazy things happen in stories and somehow it all takes place in one day or week. Months have gone by since the ending of Empire of Storms/ Tower of Dawn and many more go by before the ending of the book. I liked this because it’s realistic and makes sense. It takes time for armies to move across oceans and continents. Wars aren’t won or lost overnight.

Things I loved:

Aelin, the whole time. She was strong when she needed to stay strong and she broke down when it was (mostly) a good time for her to lose her shit. And yes, it was absolutely heartbreaking seeing her lose her shit in the way that she did. I loved that she was suffering from PTSD and sorting through her emotions and mostly just kind of trying to keep her shit together. This was realistic and it’s (thankfully) becoming more common to talk about and show the characters dealing with their trauma instead of just suddenly being okay again. Aelin has grown so much throughout this series. It was interesting seeing her (mostly) fully developed character making the tough decisions, doing what’s best not for herself but for her kingdom.

Fenrys. I loved getting to know him further. I adored his relationship with Aelin. They supported one another through their own versions of the same trauma. We see him go through some really hard shit at the same time that Aelin is going through her own really hard shit, but they do their best to support one another through it in whatever way they can. They also support each other after they’ve escaped because they know what happened and don’t need to talk about it to support the other.

Rowan was another character that I love. It was almost just as hard to see him dealing with losing Aelin than it was to see Aelin going through what Maeve did to her. After they find one another again I liked that he didn’t push her. He knows she’s been through something unimaginable and he gives her space to process but makes sure she knows that he’s here when she’s ready.

Dorian was an actual savage. He’s changed probably the most in these books. He was a (mostly) carefree Prince that slept with girls and did whatever he wanted to in the first book and now he’s a King with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He really goes above and beyond to do his part in this book. I’m happy we got so many Dorian chapters. There were definitely a few places that had me yelling at him. (Or texting The Bookish Chick saying shit like, “EW DORIAN,” and “OH SHIT DORIAN. SLICK AF.”) But I loved Dorian the most in this final book.

Things I didn’t like:

Okay, I’m going to try to be intentionally super vague because I don’t want to give too much away about specific events. There were several characters that cared for another in previous books and still love them, but due to one action or choice made by the one, they love there is conflict. There is more than one character that tells their love interest that they’ve done something unforgivable, ending their fledgling relationship. This happened with more than one couple. Various characters are harsh and mean, sometimes too harsh in my opinion, to their love interest until said love interest finds themselves in serious danger. Suddenly the characters realize that the unforgivable action might actually be forgivable because they actually do still love their love interest. I hope this makes sense. It likely will to those that have already finished reading Kingdom of Ash, but I’m sorry if it’s confusing. I didn’t like this because it seemed like a cop-out. the character that did something wrong didn’t earn trust back, they did nothing to deserve forgiveness. It was a fast way to have some resolution before the big climax before the end of the book.

I also am very very sad to say that I didn’t like Aedion in this final book. He was mostly an asshole until close to the end of the story and I didn’t like his chapters. I liked him a little bit by the end, but only because of his actions during the war. Honestly, I’m super salty that I didn’t like him so I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.

The really really heartbreaking parts. They were horrible. I can understand some heartbreak that has a point. Like, sure destroy me, but do it with a purpose. The heartbreak that occurred in this book I feel was weak. I’m not sure how to explain why without spoilers so I’m not going to. I’m just going to say that I think what Sarah did to us was NOT needed and could have been avoided.

Finally, I didn’t like the very end. Again, I’m going to be vague so I don’t give too much away. There wasn’t anything wrong with the ending perse. I just would have preferred an epilogue with a ‘ten years later’ kind of idea. I want to know where our characters end up instead of the ending we were left with. It was an okay ending, left us with a sense of everyone getting ready to heal themselves and rebuild the world, but I’m a girl that wants a ‘ten years later’ blurb.

So overall, I loved this book. As I mentioned above, it a 900+ page BRICK and I somehow read it in TWO DAYS. I FLEW through the story. I just couldn’t get enough. Because I put off reading this conclusion for a month when I finally decided I was ready for Sarah to destroy my soul I just couldn’t stop reading until I was completely deceased. Part of me is really glad this series is finally over, so these characters can come to a close but also so Sarah can write other things and destroy us in other ways. But I’m sad because my journey with these characters that I’ve become so invested in and grew to love so much (even the ones I didn’t love) is really actually finally coming to an end.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

Blogmas · Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Blogmas Book Tag – Christmas Characters!

Hello book friends! Back with another book tag. The seasonal ones are just too fun! We found this one through Fable Hunter but was created by Anthony @ Keeping Reading Forward. The rules are as follows: answers all the questions and answer them honestly, tag friends at the end, link to the one that tagged you, link to the tag’s creator and have fun of course!

Santa Clause // A gift you received or want this year

Amanda- I think my favorite gift that I received this year was a book my best friend Colleen bought for me. It was a book that she loves very much and I ended up really loving it too. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. This historical fiction surprised me with how much I loved it.

Mrs. Clause // A favorite holiday treat you have every year

Amanda- My grandma makes these rice crispy treats with mini m&m’s in them and she gives each of the grandkids their own bag of them because they’re so damn good.

Ghost of Christmas Past // A holiday memory from your past

Amanda- I remember the year I got my bicycle so vividly. It was the first year that I made my parents coffee. I went downstairs, made coffee, explored the wrapped packages under the tree. I found my new bike that mostly just had wrapping paper draped over it. I still remember how excited I was.

Buddy the Elf // A holiday song you like to sing each holiday season
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is to sing loud for all to hear.

Amanda- I actually hate Christmas music. A side effect of working in retail for so long.

Antonia- Amanda’s answer is hilarious because I’ve worked in retail just as long as she has and I ADORE Christmas music. My favorite to sing is “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. It just cracks me up every time.

Misfit Toys // An unpopular toy you really wanted to get

Amanda- Books hahah.

The Grinch // A moment when your heart grew three sizes

Amanda- The day my daughter was born. And each time we do something new with her. Decorating our first Christmas tree had my heart bursting with love for my little family.

Jack Frost // A tradition you like to do every winter

Amanda- The first time it gets cold enough that I need to wear my winter coat is when I start drinking hot tea. I like tea all year round, but I drink it everyday starting when it’s finally really cold.

Hero Boy // A moment you believed in a holiday wish

Amanda- This is going to sound horrible because when I was young enough to believe in holiday wishes, I wished for stuff that never would have happened.

Cindy Lou Who // A favorite holiday tradition

Amanda- Baking Christmas cookies! This is the first year we are not traveling, so I am the one left with all the baking duties and I’m super okay with it.

Frosty the Snowman // A memory involving snow

Amanda- When I was a kid (like thirteen or fourteen) my dad made a bet with me, my brother and my step sister that we wouldn’t run to the lightpost and back without any socks or shoes or winter gear. (This was about 300 feet away from the front door.) He made this bet because we were in the middle of a blizzard and there was three+ feet of snow on the ground. My brother did it first, with my step sister close behind. I stayed inside because I’m the smart one.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer // A holiday activity you enjoy

Amanda- Decorating the tree and all the Christmas movies!

Ebenezer Scrooge // A favorite holiday saying or quote
“Bah, Humbug!”

Amanda- “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Spreading the holiday cheer, we tag – 

Alana @ The Bookish Chick

Jess @ Kisses From Jess

Amanda's Adventures · Blogmas · Everything & Anything

Blogmas Book Review – Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it—the Southern Reach—has collapsed on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.
Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X—what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X—and who may have been corrupted by it?
In this last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may be solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.
Review:
This conclusion was so unsatisfying. Check out my review here for my thoughts on the second book in this trilogy. I really hoped the story was going to get better with some epic conclusion.
Again I’m left with more questions than answers. The story just ended. The ends were not tied up. My questions were not all answered. (Some were answered but I was also left to ask other questions from those answers.)
I really thought I was going to love this because it alternates between the perspectives of all the characters that could have given me the answers I needed. But they didn’t do that. Some of them just disappeared and some left me with more stupid questions. I’m so frustrated about this.
This story really has potential but I was very disappointed. That is all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.

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

Blogmas Book Review – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

GoodReads Summary:
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.
Review:
I feel like I have nothing new to say in this review. I continued listening to the audio for Catching Fire and it was amazing. I loved the narrator. She did an excellent job telling this story, giving it life. I was hooked, listening at every free moment.
I love the characters. Katniss, Gale, Peeta, Haymitch, Prim. I enjoyed getting to know all the older victors and seeing them come together to start a revolution.
The plot twists were just so good. I knew they were coming but they still surprised me. That’s how you know it’s a good book, when you’ve read it so many times but it still surprises you.
Check out my review for The Hunger Games here for more of my thoughts on these characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Just click the image of the book cover! As Amazon Affiliates we will get a percentage of any purchase, feel free to support us.