Blogtober Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Summary:
The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore, for readers of The Song of Achilles and Uprooted.
Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals.
It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan God of Death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City–and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Prehispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.

Book Cover

Review:
Gods of Jade and Shadow follows Casiopea, a young woman who lives in her mother’s childhood home. She’s treated like a servant, tasked with cleaning the house, attending to her grandfather and her cousin, Martin. Everyone, aside from her mother, treat her as less than because of who her father was. He wasn’t ‘good enough’ for Casiopea’s mother, so she is treated like she isn’t good enough for her family. All Casiopea dreams of is escaping the small town she’s stuck in and then suddenly, one night, she must leave. She pricks her hand on a bone shard she finds in her grandfather’s room. A bone shard that turned out to be Hun-Kame, a Mayan death god that was trapped, and now needs Casiopea’s help in reclaiming his throne from his brother.
This really was a beautiful story. The writing was beautiful and almost melodic. The pace of the story wasn’t so slow that I lost focus, but it also wasn’t a super-fast paced story either. I really liked the pacing of the story. It allowed me to feel like I was really getting to know the characters which was good because I could have easily felt left outside this beautiful story because of the world building and mythology. But it’s written in a way that I really felt like I got to know Casiopea, her dreams and wants, and how those things change the more time she spends with Hun-Kame. Casiopea was an incredibly courageous character. She does things that she’s afraid to do, but she does them anyway because she believes they’re the right thing to do. Doing what you believe is the right thing is usually the hard thing to do. I really liked the development of the relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kame. I feel like we didn’t get to know him as well as we did Casiopea, but I liked him all the same.
The world building and mythology was just as good as the characters. The Mayan mythology was lush and fascinating. It’s not a mythology I know much about, so it felt like a whole new fantastical world for me, but it was incredibly interesting to be immersed in. Moreno-Garcia paints an incredibly vivid picture of all the magic and myths in the story. I just couldn’t get enough.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I had a great time getting to know the characters and getting invested in them and their journey. I really loved the settings and the mythology. I would definitely recommend this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eight: Series to Finish in 2021

Hey, friends! Last year, we did a post where we talked about series that we’ve started but haven’t finished. This was really helpful for Amanda to keep her accountable to eventually finish those series. We thought it would be fun to see what series are still on this list or are new to the list. Find our first list here! We did actually do a wrap up for this post last year, which you can find here.

Amanda’s Series to Finish

Age of Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m actually pleasantly surprised to see that I only have three series on this list. I’ve been much better than previous years with reading series finales when they come out. So, the series that are on my TBR are ones that haven’t been completely published or series that I haven’t started yet. I also don’t think I’ll finish Outlander but I felt silly just having two series on this list.

Antonia’s Series to Finish

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

I’m almost definitely overestimating my reading time with these but I’m really excited for all of these books and am hoping to get through at least two of them before the end of the year.

These are the series that we’re hoping to finish before the end of 2021. Do you have any series you want to wrap up before the end of the year?

Blogtober Day Seven: Amanda’s September Book Haul

Hello, lovelies! No huge surprise really, but I bought more books in September. I’m happy with what I bought and how many of them I’ve already read. Some were belated birthday gifts, some were given from others that don’t hoard books like I do, and the rest were absolutely impulse buys.

Books I’ve Read

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Books New to my TBR

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore

I bought a few of these so that I could reread them. And I’m incredibly excited to read the ones new to my TBR. Some of them are on my TBR for October, so hopefully I’ll have them read by the end of the month. Did you buy any new books last month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Six: WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi. I’m listening to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I’m also reading an eARC of The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling.

Antonia- I just started The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I finished Cazadora by Romina Garner earlier this week.

Antonia- Most recently I read Legacy by Nora Roberts.

What will you read next?

Amanda- I’m planning to pick up Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool after I finish Chokshi’s book.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

What are your answers this week?

Blogtober Day Four: October Anticipated Releases

Hello, friends! We thought it would be fun to share all of the October book releases that we are excited for! As always, you can find our full list of 2021 anticipated releases here.

October 5, 2021
Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

October 5, 2021
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

October 5, 2021
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow

October 5, 2021
Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond

October 5, 2021
Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley

October 5, 2021
Luminous by Mara Rutherford

October 12, 2021
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone

October 12, 2021
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

October 12, 2021
I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin

October 19, 2021
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout

October 19, 2021
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

October 19, 2021
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn

October 19, 2021
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

October 19, 2021
Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu

What October releases are you excited for? Any that are on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Blogtober Book Review: The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Summary:
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.
Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

Book Cover

Review:
The Nature of Witches is, for sure, going to make my list of 2021 favorite books. I have to admit that I bought this book because it has a stunning cover and it has a beautiful design under the dust jacket. I was also influenced by a friend of mine really loving it. I’m so glad that I gave in to my desires to buy this one because I really loved it.
The story follows Clara, and Everwitch (which means that she has the magic of all four seasons). The way the magic works in this world was one of my favorite kinds of magic systems I’ve ever read about. Witches have seasonal magic. So, they have magic all year round, but it’s significantly diminished outside of their season. I really liked this sense of balance that was a part of this world because there’s no one season of witches that’s most powerful, they all excel at different things, and they each get their turn to be ‘the most powerful.’ But Clara as an Everwitch, her magic changes as the seasons change. But being an Everwitch, there’s more responsibility on her, but also, there hasn’t been an Everwitch in so long that there is little to nothing really known about how they’re really supposed to help others. One of the downsides of the magic of an Everwitch is that their magic attacks those that they love. So, Clara killed her parents and her best friend. This was obviously traumatic, but it’s caused Clara to plan to obliterate her magic with the upcoming solar eclipse. Her plans are in place, so obviously something has to come in and shake things up and that’s when the story gets even better.
I really liked Clara. It could have been easy for her to be a ‘woe is me’ character that just pities herself, complains, and does nothing about it. But she wants things to change and has a plan to make that happen. I really enjoyed following her growth and development. I loved learning her backstory and what’s made her so fearful and cautious. I especially loved seeing Clara test the limits of her powers. I thought the concept of her personality changing with her magic (as the seasons change) was really interesting.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the setting of a school for witches. I loved that the witches are what keeps natural disasters in check. I even loved the conversations about how humans are killing the Earth. I thought the romance (both past and present) was one I could easily care about. I will absolutely be recommending this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Summary:
Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. She is barely speaking to her best friends, Dante and Emma, and what’s worse, her mom has a totally annoying boyfriend. Even with her chupacabra puppy, Bruto, around, Pao can’t escape the feeling that she’s all alone in the world.
Pao has no one to tell that she’s having nightmares again, this time set in a terrifying forest. Even more troubling? At their center is her estranged father, an enigma of a man she barely remembers. And when Dante’s abuela falls mysteriously ill, it seems that the dad Pao never knew just might be the key to healing the eccentric old woman.
Pao’s search for her father will send her far from home, where she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?
Once again Tehlor Kay Mejia draws on her Mexican heritage to tell a wild and wondrous story that combines creatures from folklore with modern-day challenges.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an early copy to read and review. I read this what feels like 100 years ago and forgot to write my review. So, this is going to be short and to the point. I really enjoyed this book. There’s really no surprise there. I loved all of Mejia’s other books and I’ve really enjoyed all of the Rick Riordan Presents books.
Paola is really struggling in this second book, so when she thinks that she needs to find her father, she gets the gang back together again.
I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book was that there was so much conflict between the three friends. Dante was just plain mean to Paola at times for reasons that we never got to see. All of the conflict happened off the page after the end of the first book and before this book started. I would have liked to have gotten to see that conflict rather than been told about it because it takes such a large amount of this book for Paola to work through these issues with her friends. So, this book was really missing the wonderful friendship aspect that we got from the first book.
Aside from that, I really liked this. Paola must stand up and face danger and adventure on her own this time. We get to see some familiar faces from the first book, which is always fun. I love the mythology and the world building that we get to see. I don’t know much about Mexican folklore, so all of the monsters and creatures were unique to me and so interesting to read about. I will absolutely be continuing this series and recommending it to others.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day One: Amanda’s October TBR Jar Picks & Gothtober Readathon TBR

Hello, lovelies! Once again, it’s a new month. It’s actually one of my favorite months, October! For me, spooky season starts in September, so I’ve been reading all the books I’ve saved for spooky season for the last month, but I’m excited to share what I’ve planned for this month. I’m going to keep this first Blogtober post as my TBR jar picks because I’ve really been enjoying picking books off my TBR shelf this way. I’m also doing a readathon which I’ll mention later in the post. I have lots of Blogtober content that I’m very excited to share with you all.

Fantasy
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Backlist Book
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Thriller
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Most Recent Purchase
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Young Adult
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young

I’m a bit behind on my eARC’s from NetGalley, so I have a few I want to read this month, as usual. These are just the ones that I couldn’t fit into TBR prompts for this month.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

I’m also participating in the Gothtober Readathon (find all their information here on Twitter) again this year. This year it’s Angels vs. Demons (or vs. Death if you don’t want to be on a team). I’m going for Team Demon, which should surprise zero people. The prompts are listed in the graphic below, but I’m also sharing each prompt with my book selection.

Mythology
Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Omens
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

Found Family
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Dark Romance
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout

LGBTQ+ Representation
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Murder
I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin

Classics
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

BIPOC Representation
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Disability Representation
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

What will you be reading this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirty-One: Amanda’s October Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! It’s time for one final Blogtober post. Today I’m here to talk to you about all of the books I read during the month of October.

Physical Books
Horrid by Katrina Leno
Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part II by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
Slayer by Kiersten White
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 8: Old is the New New by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
Mirrored by Alex Flinn
The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin
Beheld by Alex Flinn
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
Queen of Fury by Tracy Banghart
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack
Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

eBooks
The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
The Castle School by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Lightbringer by Claire Legrand

Audiobooks
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
The First 7 by Laura Pohl
Golden Son by Pierce Brown

These are all of the books I read in the month of October. It’s spooky season so they’re mostly books I’ve been saving and collecting all year to read during this wonderful time of year. What books did you read in October?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirty: Gothtober Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! I wanted to wrap up the books that I managed to read for Gothtober (see my TBR here for more details about the readathon) because I’m pretty pleased with what I managed to read!

LGBTQ+

Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

BIPOC Author

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

Disability Rep

The Castle School by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Lies

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Female Protagonist 

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Foreign Country

Slayer by Kiersten White

Modern Retelling

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Bones

The Wicked +The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Oldest Purchased 

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Red

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Undead Character

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Grey Morality 

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Dark Academia

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

These are all the books I managed to read for Gothtober! I think I did pretty well for this readathon with sticking to my TBR (something I almost never manage to do hah!) I definitely switched some books for different prompts, but I still count that as reading books on my TBR. Did you do any readathons this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?
Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.
But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.
Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.
Bright We Burn (The Conqueror's Saga, #3)Review:
Wow, this finale was a wild ride. Like the second book, Lada somehow managed to be even more savage. If you read this, the scene where she’s meeting with all the boyars and that’s all I have to say about it. I still loved her. She was fierce and absolutely apologetic about it. Though, I was very sad about all of her friends. I mentioned in my review for book two that her friends and fellow soldiers were some of the best parts of her chapters and that was slowly lost in this book. Knowing Lada as well as we do in this book, I wasn’t surprised by her choices but they definitely made me sad for her.
Radu is the best soft boy there ever was. He really struggles with the choices he’s made in the past, but he’s working toward being better and making more choices for himself rather than for others. I really loved the way that Radu’s story ended. He did the best he could with what he had and he managed to make a beautiful family from it. I’m not sure that I mentioned it in my previous reviews, but Radu is gay. This is something he struggles with within the first two books. But he manages to find another love, after finally making the choice to move on from his feelings for Mehmed. He married a woman who was a lesbian and the three of them lived together, but when Radu’s love finally came to him I was so happy. Radu deserves all the happiness in the world.
Overall, I loved this book and I loved this series. I thought this was a mostly satisfying conclusion to such an incredible series. I’m left with questions that are mostly to do with how Lada’s story played out and the in-between bits we didn’t get to see before jumping to the epilogue, but as a whole, this was an incredible conclusion. I cannot recommend this series enough.

Quotes:

“That is the thing with giving your heart. You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it.”

“Lada had always known exactly what shape she would take. She had never let it be determined by the people around her. But Radu could not escape the need for love, the need for people in his life to help him see what he should—and could—be. Lada shaped herself in spite of her environment. Radu shaped himself because of it.”

“She drummed her fingers on the arms of the throne, looking out at the empty room. She was not stupid enough to think men would stop trying to take it from her. They would always be there, waiting for weakness, waiting for her to fall. They wanted what she had because she had it. And one day, eventually, someone would defeat her. But until that day she would fight with tooth and nail, with all the fire and blood that had formed her into who she was. She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all.”

“There was something to be said for having his heart broken so many times. Broken things healed thicker and stronger than they were before. Assuming one survived long enough to heal.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Nine: Amanda’s October Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hello, lovelies! I’ve really been slacking on my graphic novel reading this year. I was doing okay at first, but as the year progressed I started focusing more and more on my physical TBR for just my novels. I wanted to change that this October because I had quite a few graphic novels that were perfect for the spooky season. So, let’s talk about what I read and how I felt about it.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase, Part I by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I’ve been really wanting to finish this series now that it’s complete and I own all of them. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to actually pick them up and read them, but everytime I actually do I’m reminded how much I enjoy this series. The story follows Gods who are reincarnated, but only for two years. Things have gotten pretty wild in this volume of the series. We have new Gods who might not really even be Gods? I thought the addition of magazine like interviews with some of the Gods was an interesting addition. It was a great way to remind myself what was going on in the story and actually helped me remember each God a bit better. As always, the art is absolutely stunning and perfectly gruesome. The characters are diverse, interesting, and complex. The conversations that this story brought up were interesting and important. I found myself liking characters that I was annoyed with or disliked in previous volumes. I was also super happy to get to see and read more about Lucifer who is absolutely my favorite character in this story. I’m definitely still a huge fan of this series and I’m planning to pick the next one up soon.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 6: Imperial Phase, Part II by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

I have mostly the same thoughts about this volume in the series as I did in my mini-review of the last volume above. There were really great conversations about sexuality. There were diverse characters. The art was stunning (and still perfectly gruesome). I think the twists in this volume were absolutely excellent and I want to immediately pick up the next volume to see what will happen next. The tension rose dramatically in the final pages of this book and I’m eager to continue.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 7: Mothering Invention by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Holy shit what did I just read. In this volume, we learn so much history of how the gods came to be how they are. We learn how and why they rerun every hundred years. We learn Ananke’s motivations and I’m so here for it. I was captivated by this volume. There’s still the usual gore and secret keeping, but the readers are learning things that only Ananke knows and it was fascinating. This series is full of characters with some seriously grey morals. They do terrible things and try to excuse them. Some of them straight up admit they’re basically villains. I loved this volume so much. The art was stunning. There were some pages that were so interestingly put together that I had to read a few times to get the full effect of what they were saying. This series really just gets better and better. It always covers tough topics in the best way possible. It acknowledges these topics and has productive conversation about them. I just can’t say enough great things. This volume might be my new favorite.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 8: Old is the New New by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

Okay, so I didn’t know but this is a special collection volume. This is a few stories that were previously published separately, now put into one collection. I thought it was really interesting to see a story I was familiar with shown in a different art style. It had things in common (like murder) but the art was different and interesting. I had a bit of trouble, because some of these stories were about how pantheons in the past ended, keeping the characters straight. There were some of the same gods, but they were in different bodies (often different genders) which made it hard for me to remember which character was which. This was something I struggled with in the first few volumes of this series because there’s just so many characters. I was still really into the stories though. Getting to know a bit about the characters past and the history of this world with gods. Though this whole volume left me wondering, do the gods remember their previous times on Earth? Because if so, I’ve got some questions for Lucifer.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: Okay by Kieran Golden, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson

This was the finale volume of The Wicked + The Divine and I’m honestly sad to see it over. This was such a fun series that was full of murder, mystery, drama, but also really important conversations about sexuality, abortion, and many other topics. I’m pretty happy with this final volume. The characters all finally learned the secrets that were revealed to the reader in the last few volumes and I was satisfied with how everything played out. I will definitely miss these characters and their utter chaos, but I had such a great time with this series. It’s definitely one I will recommend. The characters were all so complex and diverse. There was excellent gore and murder mystery. Finally, my favorite thing is that this final installment was narrated by Laura just like the first volume was and I really enjoyed the full circle aspect of that. I’m sad that the series is over but I’m definitely interested in reading other works from these creators.

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

This story follows Anna, who works at a traveling circus along with her twin sister. When her twin, Kat, is found murdered, Anna is tasked with figuring out who the murderer is. Circus stories seem to be hit or miss for me and this one was a miss. I didn’t like how some of the circus members treated others. I also really didn’t like that we didn’t figure out how the murderer was. I assume this mystery is drawn out through the series, but I wanted to know who did it. I think this was a good story to read in October, there are ghosts and a murder mystery, and Anna’s narrator did a good job of making things seem a bit spooky. She questioned everything. This was a quick read, but I don’t know that I’ll continue the series.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

This was creepy. I know that Sabrina is supposed to be a horror story but I grew up watching the fun animated show and the other one with Melissa Joan Hart. Which were both family friendly and full of goodness. This was not at all that, which I knew going into it, but it still totally creeped me out. Sabrina wasn’t so creepy, but her Aunt Hilda and Zelda were both basically cannibals and all the magic stemmed from worshipping the devil. This is the perfect graphic novel to read if you want something creepy for October. Even the art style was super creepy. The facial expressions of the characters did a really good job supporting the horror of the storyline and dialogue. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series. I want to see if my library has it, because it’s not my usual kind of thing to read so I don’t think I want to buy them. But I liked it well enough. I’m excited to see how it was adapted on Netflix.

These are all the graphic novels I read in October and my thoughts on them! I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing the WicDiv series (finally) and reading the others that I’d been saving all yeah for October. Did you read any graphic novels this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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GoodReads Summary:
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)Review:
Where to start? If I thought Lada was savage and fierce in the first book, she is ten times that in this second book. She basically kills her way to the throne and I loved every single page of it. I love her friends and fellow soldiers that she takes with her on her path back to the Wallachian throne. I love that, while she is their leader, she listens to them and considers them friends. She takes their advice into consideration. She really cares about them and them about her. They make her more likable because it’s clear that she loves them all.
Radu is off in a completely different part of the world than his sister and with his own mission. Radu’s part of the story honestly just made me sad. Both siblings struggle with their feelings for their childhood friend, Mehmed. But with Radu, it’s worse because he’s doing things he never would have if not for Mehmed, while Lada has proven, again and again, she’ll do anything to get her throne. Radu does things he is very ashamed of but continues doing them all because of his love for Mehmed. It made me sad because of the life that he could have had. But he made his choices. It’s made very clear that everything he does is a choice that he’s thought about.
I thought it was very interesting to see how the siblings both handled the struggle that was their love for Mehmed. Honestly, I was hoping Mehmed would die most of the book so they could both be free. I also liked that we got both Radu’s and Lada’s stories even though they were both in different countries. Though it did make me sad they weren’t together. I’m hoping they get to reunite in the final book.
Overall, just like book one, I was blown away by Kiersten White’s writing. The history was fascinating, but the way that White brought these characters to life, made me care about them even though they’re both pretty terrible was amazing. I’m typing this on my phone so that I can continue on to the final book right now and not worry about mixing details up for whichever book. Please go read this series if you like historical fiction, savage female leads, and soft boys doing terrible things for love.

Quotes:

“Hold hands with the devil until you are both over the bridge. Or kill the devil and burn the bridge so no one can get to you.”

“I cannot imagine a god who hates anything that is love, any way we find to take tender care of each other. I want you to find that same love, and I never want you to hate yourself for any love that is in you.”

“I think if you had been born a boy, perhaps you would have been satisfied with what the world offered you. That is how we are alike. We saw everything that was not ours, and we hungered. Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

“He was no longer a lost little boy in a strange new city. Now he was a lost man in a broken old city, and no amount of prayers and kindness could undo what had been done.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

GoodReads Summary:
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
The Woman in Cabin 10Review:
Ware’s books have been pretty hit or miss for me, but I enjoyed this one. It was interestingly formatted. The story starts with our main character, Lo, experiencing a break-in and assault (she’s hit by the intruder with her bedroom door) in her own apartment. This leaves her really unsettled. Her significant other is out of town and she doesn’t really have any other sort of support system. So, she’s obviously struggling after this event, but just days later she sets off for a week on a luxury cruise for her job. She’s not as excited about this cruise as she should be. Especially when she hasn’t slept more than a few hours at a time since the break-in.
The first night she spends aboard this luxury (but small!) cruise ship, she thinks she hears the guest in the next room (that she met before dinner) thrown overboard sometime during the night. She calls the head of security and they work together to try and figure out who went overboard. But when all the staff and guests are accounted for, the mystery remains. Instead of doing the job Lo was sent on this cruise to do, she becomes a little obsessed with solving the mystery of what she heard and saw.
While this story progresses following Lo, we also get a bit of outside information in the form of emails sent to Lo that she never received. We also, once the story gets going, start getting news articles that up the suspense of the story and bits and pieces of social media from Lo’s loved ones. I really liked this method of storytelling. We’re getting the beginning of the story and what we think is the end of Lo’s story, but the middle is a mystery. I think telling the story this way was a really effective way of keeping the reader in suspense and really wanting to know what was going to happen next.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was mysterious and suspenseful. The main character was one that I had a lot of empathy for. I really enjoyed the creativity of the story too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Eight: WWW Wednesday

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Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that is hosted 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.

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore and listening to Morning Star by Pierce Brown.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I most recently finished Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack.

Antonia- I most recently read A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- I don’t know what I’ll pick up next. I’ve been mood reading lately.

Antonia- Next I’ll read House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you’re reading in the comments!