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

Amanda’s Tome Topple TBR

Hi, lovelies! Tome Topple Round Eight! This round of Tome Topple will be running from the 13th-26th. If you’re new here check out Sam, the creator of Tome Topple, in her video here. Tome Topple is a readathon where we will only be reading books that are  500 pages or more. It’s a chance to tackle those intimidating books that are huge and taking up space on our TBR shelves. This is one of my favorite readathons because I always feel super motivated to read a ton and topple those tomes! There are a few optional challenges that  I like to use to make my TBR list for each round.

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First Challenge: Read more than one tome

If I complete two or more of the following challenges I will have read more than one tome.

Second Challenge: Read a tome that has been on your TBR the longest

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Third Challenge: Read a tome that is part of a series

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Fourth Challenge: Read a tome in a genre you don’t usually read

The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell (Historical Fantasy)

Fifth Challenge: Read an adult novel

The Poppy War by R.F Kuang

Are you participating in this round of Tome  Topple? If so, let me know what you’re planning to read below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Everything & Anything

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Summary:
The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie Bell for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate Hayes Major was murdered, and though she identified his killer, her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say.
Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be with her friends, and solve the case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed the guy she’s conflicted about at all times and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s soon. But larger issues are at play. Was Hayes death really solved? Where did his murderer hideaway to? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair?
The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present. The path to the truth has more twists and turns than Stevie can imagine, and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times best-selling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel in the Truly Devious series, someone will pay for the truth with their life.
The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)Review:
Maureen Johnson can do no wrong, honestly. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read from her. This series just keeps getting better. I loved Truly Devious. (Read my review here.) I was left with so many questions at the end of the first book. The Vanishing Stair keeps on going with the questions. We got more answers than I expected​ but still were left with some questions. I honestly was a little disappointed at one of the big reveals because I didn’t think we would get it until the final book. Though there’s still more related questions that didn’t get answered, I wasn’t expecting to have the big mystery solved in book two. I hope any of that makes sense.
Stevie is still an anxious ball of mystery solving madness. She has great instincts and is just so relatable. I loved her. I didn’t get as much character interaction as I would have liked. I felt like there was a lot more inner dialogue from Stevie rather than her being with her friends. Also, David was supposed to be a huge part of the story and I feel like we only saw bits and pieces of him. He flitted in and out of the story, never really staying in focus, never the center of attention. I would have liked to see a bit more, but I think that just added to the mysteriousness of the whole book.
I love stories that are set at boarding schools and this one was no different. With all of the hidden doors and tunnels, it was the perfect place for Stevie. The school is so unusual and curious and I would love to have had the opportunity to go here. It’s such an atmospheric setting for all sorts of moods. The hidden tunnels, the dorms, the yert. I loved everything about it. There’s something about boarding school settings that really just appeal to me personally. It’s a buzzword for me for sure. I’ll almost always read and enjoy a book with a boarding setting and Ellingham Academy is unique even among boarding schools.
The final thing I want to mention is the ending. I was not happy. Mostly because it left so many questions unanswered. I was a bit confused with what exactly happened there in the final pages. I am so unhappy that I have to wait almost a year for the final book that will give me all the answers.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I love this series. I love the characters. The story is compelling and holds my interest. I cannot wait to see how Maureen Johnson is going to wrap this story up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

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!

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. I’m hoping to finish it today.

Antonia- I’m currently ready Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- the book I most recently finished was Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi and I adored it.

Antonia- I most recently finished Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next, I will read one of several options I need to read before Monday: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen for my book club, an arc of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett, or Red Sister by Mark Lawrence which is due back to the library soon.

Antonia- Next I’ll read Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. Can you tell I’m on a Throne of Glass binge?

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 · Everything & Anything

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

GoodReads Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.
The Birds, The Bees, and You and MeReview:
This new release had me hooked from the cover. Then I read what it was about. After that, I found out that the author was going to be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival that I’m going to (or probably have already been to by the time this review posts.)
I wish this book had been available to me when I was in high school. I grew up in a single parent household. My dad raised me. Now, he did his best to be everything I needed but sex was not something either of us w comfortable talking about. So, we just didn’t. I learned from books and my friends. I would have loved this book even more than I do now have I been able to read it when I really needed it in my younger years.
Our main character, Lacey is so fierce and passionate about getting the facts out there and making people move away. Her mom has taught her all the right things and she feels that it’s her responsibility to share those things with her classmates. I thought she was a great main character. Even though she didn’t have the experience she had the knowledge and she didn’t hesitate to share that knowledge with everyone and anyone that wanted it. She advocated for all the right things. She spends this book learning while also pushing the limits and standing up for what she knows is right. I really enjoyed her learning to love being a doula and all things nursing.
Then there’s her best friend, Evita, who is on the ace spectrum and isn’t afraid to share what she knows and feels. She is the president of the LGBTQIA group at their school. She was sassy and unapologetic about who she is. She spoke her mind and I really liked her. She called people on their shit, stood up for what she believed in, and stood by her friends.
Theo was honestly my least favorite of the trio. He spent the first half of the book with a girlfriend that no one liked. I did like how he was used as a tool to explain certain things and ideas within the story. Plain and simple, he was a great guy. Considerate and kind and attentive to his friends but I just preferred the girls.
I loved pretty much everything about this book. My only complaint would be that in the beginning of the story the sex-positive stuff was a little heavy-handed and clunky. There was a lot of “my mom taught me” again and again. But as the story progressed it got much better. Really only the first few chapters had a bit of info dumping with the sex conversations.
Overall, I loved the characters. They were entertaining, funny, and passionate. I loved the message the story was sharing. It’s one I really could have used in a book when I was young and learning. I loved all the parental support the kids had from their parents. I only wish this book had been longer. I would have loved to spend more time getting to know these characters and being in their world. I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Summary:
It’s been only months since Eragon first uttered “brisingr,” the ancient language term for fire. Since then, he’s not only learned to create magic with words—he’s been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
When danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices—choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimaginable sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?
Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3)Review:
I’m going to be honest here. I had a really hard time with this book. It didn’t keep my interest like the first two did. I don’t know if that’s because of the different perspectives or something else, but I kept putting it down and really had to convince myself to pick it up again. Part of me is wondering how I’m going to get through the final book.
Things I liked are as follows; I love that we’re seeing some really great character development from Eragon. He’s grown so much from the annoying boy he was in the first book. I’ve really grown to care about him and his journey. He’s making better choices and really thinking about the effects that his actions have on the world around him. I also really enjoyed the big reveals we were given. We learn a few things that pull the story together. I thought they were unexpected and I really enjoyed the plot twists. I also enjoying seeing more of the world this story takes place in. Eragon travels all over and I love seeing the world because it’s full of so many interesting characters and places. There are some great relationships that have been developed over the time line of the story and the just get better and better.
What I didn’t like; no surprise here. Roran, Eragon’s cousin. I just don’t care about him. I think I might have cared had we learned about him in another way, but when the story is in his perspective it just makes me want to put the book down. I don’t care what he thinks or says. Katrina is annoying with always worrying and him never wanting to worry her. I just don’t care about him. I don’t know what it is.
Overall, I’m still hooked enough into the story, especially since I’ve read three of the four books. So, I’ll be continuing onto the fourth book because I need to know how Eragon is going to defeat the villain. I am excited to see how this saga is concluded and what Eragon comes up with to beat the big bad.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

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!

fullsizeoutput_11bb.jpeg

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco and the audiobook for Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. Both are very good.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I just finished  The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo this morning. It was cute and disturbing at the same time.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next, I’m not sure what I’ll pick up but it will be something from my Magical Readathon TBR list for sure. Check it out if you’re interested in the options for what I’ll read next.

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 · Everything & Anything

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

GoodReads Summary:
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)Review:
I received Wicked Saints as an advanced review copy thanks to NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I finished this book earlier tonight and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
I had trouble in the beginning of the story with the world building and the two alternating perspectives. Because the two characters came from different places, they had significantly different views on the world and the politics within. So, going back and forth between the two while trying to learn about the world and which countries thought what and which terms meant what was a little confusing for me. But that wasn’t long lasting. I got the hang of the world and found myself completely immersed in the story. The other thing I want to mention with learning the world was the character names. I don’t think I could save a single one of them if my life depended on it. So I gave them all nicknames in my head, but until I did that some parts were tough.
The book starts out action packed and leaves you wanting more, but also immediately caring about the safety of the main characters. I loved this set up for the story. Things calm down for a bit as we learn about the world we’re in and how things work. This is where we really start to get to know the characters.
I immediately like Serefin even though I think we weren’t supposed to. I liked his complete distain for the things he’s ‘supposed’ to be doing.
Then there’s Nadya who does what she’s supposed to almost all the time. She was interesting. And I’m still not sure if I completely liked her. She took risks even when she knew they were risks and somehow was still surprised when it all backfired in her face. I thought her powers were incredibly interesting. I would have enjoyed seeing them used with the gods a bit more though. I’m interested to see where her story is going to go with the way this book ended.
Finally, Malachiacz. I wanted to like him. I really did. But I preferred Seferin the whole time. There was something about Malachiacz that I didn’t like and didn’t want Nadya to involve herself in.
Overall, the world and the magic systems in it were complex and interesting. I’d love to learn even more about them in the next book. I’m also hoping we get to travel a bit more and see some of Nadya’s home country. The characters were interesting and entertaining. There was some diversity which is always appreciated. I totally loved all the supporting characters. Wicked Saints was action packed and full of fun. Though the ending had me a bit confused and definitely wanting more. I’m not sure how I’m going to wait so long to see where this story goes next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.