Blogmas · Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Blogmas Book Tag – Christmas Spirit

We found this book tag over at Words & Stitches. We thought this was a super fun book tag for this time of year. Great to get into the holiday spirit. Feel free to participate, but don’t forget to tag back to Words & Stitches!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer // A book you love, even though it’s not perfect

Amanda – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, there’s so much hate on this series. Some I understand and some I don’t at all.

Antonia – Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’ve also heard a lot of hate for this one but I’ll never stop loving it.

Frosty the Snowman // A book that melts your heart

Amanda – My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows. Full of laughter and lots of “awe’s”

Antonia – A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Nothing melts my heart like animals.

The Grinch // A book about a sympathetic villain

Amanda – I have to go with Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo for this. The Darkling is life. He’s such an interesting villain, getting to know his story really solidified my love for him.

Antonia – The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. We go into the book believing Khalid is a monster and slowly feel more sympathy for him as you learn more of his secrets.

The Christmas Prince // A guilty pleasure book

Amanda – The Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands

Antonia – The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Naughty List // Three books you can never forgive

Amanda –

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

(But also, Looking for Alaska by John Green.)

Antonia –

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Nice List // Three books you can’t be mad at

Amanda –

Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

Anything written by Nora Roberts

The ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas

Antonia –

Also anything by Nora Roberts

The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn

Blade of Empire by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Eggnog // A book you’re saving as a holiday treat

Amanda – The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. I’ve heard great things but I’m waiting to read it until it’s a little closer to Christmas.

Antonia – Any of the books Amanda sent. I want to know which ones they are so bad!

We’re going to tag // Alana @ The Bookish Chick, Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile, and Jess @ Kisses From Jess

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Amanda's Adventures · Blogmas · Everything & Anything

Blogmas Book Review – Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X–a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization–has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.
John Rodríguez (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery, he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.
In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Area X’s most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.
Review:
I found this series through my library. They have categories that I can search through and I found this one in books that were being turned into movies. I really enjoyed the first book, read my review HERE. So I expected to also like this book a lot.
You should never assume, so I don’t know why I’m surprised (probably because I didn’t read any GoodReads reviews before reading the book.) I thought maybe id get some answers to the many questions I was left with at the end of books one. Sadly, even by the last page of Authority, all I had was more questions that went unanswered. I’m going to continue the series because there’s one more book and I’d really like to get some answers.
We follow a different character than the first book, though we do see the biologist play a part in this book. We follow Control or John (he has a bunch of names apparently) who seems to be a pretty weird guy. He’s got a lot of personal issues with his mom and we learned about him and his life intermittently. The story goes back and forth between his past and present day.
The story was a little confusing at times because it jumped around so much, but also because Control’s thoughts were really complicated and confusing. I think this was because he was just presenting us with more questions instead of answering them. We learned a lot but nothing that was really solid or super super important.
Overall this story was a little weird to me. It was longer than the first book so it felt like it took me forever to read it when in reality it was only a few days. I’m interested to find the answers to all the questions I’m left with, so I’m going to start the third and final book 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 – Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erelia’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.
After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Irene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Ararlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need-and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Irene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.
In the sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Irene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of the mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary runs, long awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival-or doom them all…
Review:
Once again, Sarah J. Maas has completely blown me away. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, I am rereading this series because the final book, Kingdom of Ash has recently been released and once a series is complete I really like to read the whole series over so I’m not forgetting any details. I’m super glad I chose to do this because there were SO many things that surprised me in Tower of Dawn that I had completely forgotten about. Like HUGE details and plot twists that I didn’t remember in the least.

“I stood on the the wrong side of the line for too damn long, and it cost me everything.”

So, I loved this book. It honestly makes me sad that there are so many negative opinions about this book because I really just loved it so much. I understand that Chaol is not the most well loved character in this series, but I still love him. He may have not reacted to some things with Aelin in the best ways, but he’s only human and people make mistakes. This book had so much character development for Chaol. He really started to realize that he’s kind of been a jackass and maybe he should have done things a little differently. He is still always trying to be the honorable Chaol that we knew in the first book, but doesn’t always succeed. I think that was the only thing I didn’t like about this book. He made promised to Nesryn and didn’t follow through with them and I didn’t care for that.

“And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.”

Nesryn was excellent in Tower of Dawn. I adored getting to see her with her relatives. It was clear how happy she was to be in Antica. I loved seeing her get to know and experience all of the things that are different from the life she’s used to, especially her adventures with Sartaq. I’m very interested to see where her story ends up at the end of this series.

“You must enter where you fear to tread.”

There were so many new things introduced in this book. It takes place on the Southern Continent, Antica. So we’re reading about a completely new place with a host of new faces. I loved Antica. Its traditions and customs are so different from life in the North so it was really interesting to learn about how life on the Southern Continent works and how life came to be that way. Antica is rich with history and I really loved the stories of how the khaganate became what it is today.

“But I also told him that the woman I love now plans to head into war. And I intend to follow her.”

Along with this new place were the new faces. First, Irene Towers (only sort of a new face) I was super excited to see her story mix with the characters we already knew. I am so satisfied with where Yrene was at the end of Tower of Dawn. I really couldn’t think of a better way for her story to end. I also cannot wait to see what’s going to happen with her in Kingdom of Ash.

“For wherever you need to go-and then some. The world needs more healers.”

The royal family was an interesting one. I don’t know how much I liked them because I love close knit families and I wouldn’t qualify them as one. Because of the way that succession works, it really doesn’t allow for the siblings to be close to one another. Don’t get me wrong, its clear that they love one another, just maybe not in the most traditional way. Again, I’m interested to see these characters interact with the characters we love that were absent from this story. I think the siblings each played an interesting part in this story, some more than others, and I’m still not totally sure if I liked them or not.

“Nothing valuable comes without a cost, boy.”

The story itself was great, full of character development. The characters learned much about themselves but they also learned much about the impending fight. The plot twists were super crazy. We learned some really important things and I’m amazed that I didn’t pick up the final book and stay up all night reading it. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of spoilers, but some of the things we learned had my jaw dropping even though I’ve read Tower of Dawn before. So, to those haters of Chaol, this book is still important to the series and you might just find yourself liking him by the last pages, so give it a try.

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 · Everything & Anything · WWW Wednesday

Blogmas Day Nineteen – WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I am currently reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson and City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.

Antonia- I’m currently reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- Yesterday, I finished reading Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.

Antonia- I just finished Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. (It was amazing.)

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next is a mystery. I have so many books to choose from, so it all depends on my mood when I finish Skyward. 

Antonia- Next I think I’ll continue The Kane Chronicles with Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan.

Thanks for reading our W’s this week. What are yours? Leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.

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

Blogmas Book Review – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she wants to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Review:
How did I  forget how much I loved this book? I’m writing a paper for my popular culture class this term and I’ve decided to choose The Hunger Games trilogy as my topic. This series is an excellent example of popular culture because the books became movies and are still super popular today similar to the way Harry Potter blew up. So with this project, when I saw the audiobooks available I thought id reread the series to have it fresh in my mind.
The narrator did SUCH a good job telling this story. Each character had their own distinct voice and personality. I’m excited to continue listening to this narrator.
The story overall was still great, even better than I remember. Katniss is a strong-willed girl that fought tooth and nail to stay alive. Peeta is a boy resigned to his fate, in love with a girl he’ll never have. The supporting characters are lovable, relatable, and solid. They each played an important part in the story that made me love them, even Haymitch.
I actually could picture scenes from the movies in my head as I was listening to this story. Usually, I can’t reread a book after I’ve seen the movie but that was totally not the case here. I think because the movies were pretty well done and close enough to the story. But I’ll definitely rewatch the movies after I finish rereading all the books.
Overall, I still love this book 100%. Katniss kicks ass and does whatever she needs to in order to stay alive. The world she lives in is horrible, but so well built. It’s believable and terrible but also somehow I could see how our world may end up turning into the world in this book. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games where have you been? Go read them!

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

Blogmas Day Sixteen – BookTube Edition

So, we talked about my favorite bloggers now we need to talk about my favorite BookTuber’s. I’m going to recommend some people that make me laugh, some that I love their recommendations, some that talk about stuff other than books, some big BookTubers and some small Booktubers.

Alexandra Roselyn – Adorable and funny. Her videos are always so well done!

Brittany the Bibliophile – I love her book talks,  her hauls, wrap-ups, and rambling reading vlogs. She’s just relatable and entertaining and we have such similar taste in books!

Chandler Ainsley – Even though she hates pretty much everything I love, she’s so funny and in your face. Her bookbangs are my favorite.

Hailey in Bookland – Writing vlogs, reading vlogs, forever behind on new releases. I love her videos. Her NaNoWriMo vlogs get me so motivated.

Is That Chami – A little ball of Australian sass. I love her videos. They’re all so different and fun.

Jesse the Reader – Jesse is the best. He loves all the same books that I do and makes super interesting and different videos. I’m always super excited when he posts a new video.

Little Book Owl – I love Caz. Her videos are all great. I just love everything about her channel. Especially when she does collabs with the next BookTuber on the list.

Piera Ford – She was the first BookTuber that I really really enjoyed. I love her videos. Her intro is the cutest too.

PolandBananasBOOKS – Christine is hilarious. She talks about books and movies and other whatnots. She just wrote a book too!

Sophiesticated Books – Sophie is an incredible BookTuber. She’s so well spoken and put together for someone so young. Her videos are awesome, even when she’s hating on books I love.

Thoughts on Tomes – Sam created the wonderful Tome Topple reading challenge. Her videos are great, especially her gushes and rants.

yerabooknerdzoe – I just found Zoe, but I love the videos I’ve seen so far. She’s funny and edits her videos super creatively. She’s always doing different things to keep her videos interesting.

These are some of my favorite BookTubers. Is there any you love and think are someone I must watch?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Blogmas

Blogmas Book Review – Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

GoodReads Summary:
It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
Review:
This book is the companion novel to the currently very popular book Dumplin’ that was recently made into a Netflix original movie. I listened to the audio for Dumplin’ not too long ago (read my thoughts here.) I liked it well enough so I requested Pudding’ from my library. When it became available, I wasn’t all that excited because I didn’t totally love the first book. I listened to this story in two days.
I listened to most of this book in one day while making dinner and baking Christmas treats. While baking I was literally laughing out loud causing my husband to ask me if I was okay and what was I laughing at because he couldn’t see my headphones in my ears listening to my book.
I loved learning more about Millie, I also loved getting to see the dynamics between the friend group of Ellen, Willowdean, Amanda, and Hannah. I also really enjoyed seeing how Callie was going to fit into this group. These girls had me laughing and crying, saying what the hell are you doing but also go girl! I loved the characters.
My favorite part about Puddin’ was all of the topics it touches on. All of the different characters experience different struggles from their weight to their race, being bullied and being the bully. This was an inspiring story that leaves you with the message of always chasing after your dreams and not letting anything (least of all societal expectations) get in you way.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Please go read it now. Or listen to it because that’s what I did. I listened to the audio which has two narrators, much to my surprise. I love books with multiple narrators, so I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the narrators both did an excellent job telling the stories of Millie and Callie. Okay, now go read this book and come back and tell me you loved it too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Click on the book cover! It’s an affiliate link so we will make a small percentage from your purchase, feel free to support us!