Legacy by Nora Roberts

Summary:
Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her—before her mother, Lina, stepped in.
Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend—and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.
A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial—as long as neither crosses the other.
But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving—the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins… 

Legacy

Review:
Thank you NetGalley and publishers for an eARC of Legacy in exchange for an honest review.
This story follows Adrian, who is a fitness/lifestyle influencer. When she was a child, her father showed up to her house and tried to kill her and her mother. He was the one that died instead. This is where the story starts. We follow Adrian as she grows into an adult and eventually come to present day where she’s working from her grandparents’ home and running a successful company that’s under the umbrella of her mother’s fitness company.
Roberts is a comfort author of mine. I think that’s because her stories lean toward predictable and are a bit formulaic. I found myself being reminded of her past books while reading Legacy with the way certain characters speak and just the overall way the story is told. I don’t want this to be taken as a negative thing because Roberts is a comfort author for me, so sometimes I just need those books where I know everything will be okay and there will be lovable characters along the way.
The characters are really what stand out in this book. I don’t know that I actually like Adrian, but she was so well developed and we got to see that development happen so it was hard not to be invested in her story. But there were many great characters. We follow them for such a long period of time, that it’s hard not to care for them. But because we started the story so early in Adrian’s life, the ending felt a bit rushed. The romantic relationship didn’t feel like there was enough time to be as in love as they were.
Overall, I enjoyed this book while I was reading it. The story was well written and interesting. The characters were well developed and lovable. But the plot felt a bit missing. I will always love Roberts books. But this one just fell a bit flat for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Summary:
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

Project Hail Mary

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I loved Weir’s previous two novels, The Martian and Artemis, so it’s no surprise that I also loved Project Hail Mary.
This story follows Ryland Grace. He’s just woken up with no memory of where he is or what the heck is going on. He quickly realizes that he’s in outer space but doesn’t know why. As he starts to explore the spaceship, he starts to regain his memories. He can’t even remember his own name at first, but somehow has all sort of scientific knowledge. I thought this was a really interesting way to tell the story. I enjoy a good flashback, but only if it’s done well and I think that it was in this story. We learn relevant information alongside Grace and there was a mood of suspense with the reader left wondering exactly how a middle school teacher ended up on a last ditch space mission. Both timelines were compelling. We learn small things about Grace at first. Things like his job, and eventually how he came to be on this space mission. But I think I was more interested in the present timeline. It’s not really a life or death mission. Those sent on the Hail Mary knew the risks.
The science of this story was really interesting. There was definitely a bit that went way over my head, but I liked that the most important bits were summarized in a way that the reader could understand. It was heavy on the science but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. I managed to follow along even if I didn’t always actually understand it. It’s the problem solving that I think was the most interesting. There are tons of problems that pop up, but Grace (with help from someone I can’t say anything about) managed to figure out solutions.
Overall, I was completely sucked into this story. I stayed up entirely too late because I just couldn’t stop reading. I needed to know how this story was going to end. As for the actual ending, I liked that it had a full circle kind of storyline, but I would have liked to get some more definitive answers about what happened on Earth. I think science fiction fans with absolutely devour this one, just like I did. I honestly want to pick it up and reread it already.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Summary:
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.
But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina—and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

The Beautiful Ones

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Beautiful Ones follows Antonina or Nina during her debut Grand Season. I believe this is set in a fictional city, but I honestly couldn’t say for sure as its all written so realistically. The settings are perfectly described to set each scene. Antonina falls in love with Hector, but what she doesn’t know is that Hector is only back in town to see Valerie. Valerie is Nina’s cousin through marriage. Nina doesn’t know if Valerie and Hector’s past together, so when Hector isn’t showing that he reciprocates her feelings, she’s unsure what to do. When she finds out about their past, it breaks her heart. The story then jumps forward a year to the next Grand Season where things get interesting once again.
I really liked Nina and literally no one else in this book. Nina is an unusual girl. She collects beetle and butterfly specimens. She is an outdoorsy girl, which isn’t something that’s acceptable for a lady. She also displays telekinetic powers (again, not something acceptable for a lady). What I liked the most about her was that she didn’t really care that much about what was deemed okay or not by society. She was often hurt by others speaking badly of her, but not enough to change for them. I liked that about her. I thought Luc was a very bland character (but I think that was on purpose? It felt like that was on purpose because of plot things.) I honestly hated Valerie and was very satisfied with the way the story ended for her. She deserved way worse. I could understand why she did some of the things that she did, but the author made it so easy to hate her. Finally, Hector. I honestly didn’t like him for most of the book. I think Hector as a character speaks to Moreno-Garcia’s writing abilities in such a positive way. He’s only in town because he loves Valerie and dreadfully hurts Nina. But he learns from that experience and grows. Even though this was a relatively short book, that growth is shown so well. We get to see the two become friends again and see things go from there. It didn’t feel rushed or forced. The author made it all feel natural and organic.
The writing of this book is what saved it for me. I explained the characters above. But honestly the strength of these feelings is pretty weak. I don’t know that I’ll even be thinking of them still in a few weeks. But they writing in this book is beautiful. It’s lyrical without being flowery. The settings are so well described without taking away from the plot or the characters.
Overall, I liked this book. It was an average read for me. It won’t be making any favorites lists from me. But I enjoyed it while I was reading it. It is absolutely a romance story but I think it really tells a story about wealth and how having it or lacking it can change people. I think this will be a huge hit for many people, it just didn’t completely hit the mark for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf

Hey, lovelies! We’re a month into 2021 and I keep getting approved for eARC’s for 2021 releases that I’m beyond excited for. So, this list will be to share those titles (almost like another version of my 2021 anticipated releases, hah!) in part to hold myself accountable. But also, because I think it’s a fun way to share some of the books that I plan to read in the near future. I currently have a 72% for my feedback ratio with 122 books approved and 88 books with feedback already sent. I share this with you all so that I am being transparent. My feedback ratio is usually at or above 80%, which is part of the reason I’ve been approved for many of these titles. I have 22 books that are on my ‘give feedback’ shelf. So, this list will be all of those books.

We Are Meridians by S. Ghali
Publication date: August 27, 2019
I don’t know why I was approved for this book over a year after it’s publication, but it sounds super good. So, I’m planning to read it soon. It’s about a group of humans that left Earth and traveled into space hundreds of years ago. But now they need to return for something. The people of Earth think that it’s an alien invasion and so obviously it doesn’t go well.

Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Publication date: November 1, 2020
I was a part of the blog tour for this book. Find my spotlight post here. I shared a bit of a blurb and other information about the book. Since this has already been released I’ll probably just read it on Kindle Unlimited and share that I read the finished copy in my review. Check out my spotlight post for the full synopsis.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Publication date: November 17, 2020
The only reason I haven’t picked this one up is because I’m scared. It’s a Romeo & Juliet retelling, so there is definitely going to be character deaths and I’m scared. I also have seen so many good things about this book, so I think all of the hype has intimidated me a bit. But I’m planning to read this one this month.

Blood Sworn (Ashlords, #2)

Blood Sworn by Scott Reintgen
Publication date: February 16, 2021
I’m currently read this one, so will probably have read it already when this posts. But this is the sequel to Ashlords (read my review for that here), which follows three characters during The Races, which is an annual event with phoenix horses. There are all sorts of fascinating politics and character dynamics. The world building and mythology is incredible. We learn more about the world in the second book and I’m already loving it so much.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Publication date: February 23, 2021
This is one of my anticipate releases that I am so excited for. It’s about a woman that gets married while drunk and in Las Vegas, something that is completely out of the norm for her. Feeling pressure because of outside expectations she flees to New York where her new wife lives. This sounds like it’s going to be fun and really enjoyable. I’m very excited to pick this one up. It’s definitely on my TBR for this month.

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Publication date: March 2, 2021
A romantic fantasy about magic and a creepy mansion. Sign me the heck up. My town is supposed to get some snow this weekend, so I think I’m actually going to try to read this one while it’s snowing. I think it would be the perfect atmosphere for this story.

Namesake by Adrienne Young
Publication date: March 16, 2021
I absolutely adored Fable (review here). So this is a sequel that I am very excited to read. This is a sequel, so the first book follows Fable as she tries to earn enough money to escape the island her father abandoned her on years ago. She wants to find him again and claim her place at his side. But things don’t go as she expects and her plans have to change quickly. I loved the found family in this story. I loved the world building. I’m very excited for this sequel.

Lost in the Never Woods

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
Publication date: March 23, 2021
I absolutely screamed a little when I got the approval email for this one. This sounds like it’s going to be a mysterious story about a small town and the children that go missing in its woods. I don’t know anything else about it and I’ve been keeping myself away from reading or watching any reviews. I want to go into this one knowing as little as possible.

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody
Publication date: March 30, 2021
Amanda Foody is one of my favorite authors, so I’m very excited for her middle grade debut that follows a boy who breaks the one rule in his town. Breaking this rule leads him on an adventure to undo his mistake, but on this adventure he must decide whether he actually wants to undo his mistake or if he wants to continue his adventure.

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publication date: April 6, 2021
I’m just going to share the tagline for this book because it perfectly explains why I am so excited for this story. “Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.”

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
Publication date: April 6, 2021
I love historical romance. So, this historical romance is one I’m excited to read in probably one sitting. I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one too.

Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
Publication date: April 13, 2021
This is a story about a human clone of an alien set during an intergalactic war. Anders’ books have been hit or miss for me, but I’m still excited for this one.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
Publication date: April 20, 2021
This is the final book in the Wayfarer’s series. In this installment, the story focuses on a planet that is essentially a truck stop in space. But when all traffic on and off planet is halted, three characters are thrown together to wait until travel is restored. I love this series so I am eager to get into this one.

Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein
Publication date: April 27, 2021
I am excited for this one because I’m a sucker for books with boarding school settings. I think this one is going to be enjoyable. It’s a young adult contemporary with a bit of romance. The synopsis says its “a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up” and I am absolutely here for that.

Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3)

Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen
Publication date: April 27, 2021
I literally don’t even know how to explain this book. This is the third in a series, so I’m honestly not even going to try to explain. See my review for the first book, here. Please read this series. It’s so good.

Counting Down with You by Tashi Bhuiyan
Publication date: May 4, 2021
This is in the synopsis, “A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.” I’ve now heard some mixed reviews about this one and some of the representation inside of it. So, I’m still going to read this, but I am going into it hesitantly.

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Publication date: May 11, 2021
The cover is what sold me. But also this book is about a bisexual girl figuring out why she can’t stop thinking about a girl she spent the night with. She’s confused because she’s finally gotten the interest of the boy she’s had a crush on forever. I’m excited for this one because it seems like it’s going to be a great story of self discovery and I love books like that.

Trouble Girls by Julie Lynn Rubin
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A queer YA reimagining of Thelma & Louise is all I need to know about this one.

A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2)

A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A Song Below Water was one of my favorite books that I read in 2020. So, I’m very excited for this sequel that follows Naema, who we met in the first book.

Better Together by Christine Riccio
Publication date: June 1, 2021
This is a story about sisters that don’t know about one another, think of Parent Trap. I love sibling relationships. So, I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy this one even though I didn’t love Riccio’s debut.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Publication date: August 3, 2021
A debut novel about ghosts in a small town, things you don’t want to meet in a dark corner, and finding a home. I’m excited for this debut novel. I think it’s going to somehow be both spooky and heartwarming.

Okay, there are all of the books that I need to read in the foreseeable future. All of these eARCs are books that I am very excited to get into. I’m thinking that I will do a check in for this list later on in the year to see what my progress looks like and how my ratios have changed. Are any of these books on your anticipated releases list? Let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.