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Blogmas Book Review – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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

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

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

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

Things I liked:

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

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

Things I loved:

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

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

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

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

Things I didn’t like:

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

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

Amanda's Adventures · Blogmas · Everything & Anything

Blogmas Book Review – Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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Blogmas Book Review – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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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.

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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.

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.