Blogtober Day Twenty-Eight: Five-Star Predictions

Hello! We’re back for another round of five-star predictions. We will be back with a wrap up during Blogmas. We’ve both gotten some new books since the last time we did one of these.

Amanda’s Predictions

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun
Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Antonia’s Predictions

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
The Choice by Nora Roberts
Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima

Check back in December to see our thoughts! Have you read any of these? If not, read them with us!

Blogtober Day Seventeen: Completed Series to Marathon for Spooky Season

Hey, lovelies! I thought that it would be fun to come up with a list of series you could marathon for spooky season if that’s something you like to do. I’ve done a few of these posts without a theme. So, obviously, I had to do a themed one too.

The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger, & The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco

Furthermore & Whichwood by Taherah Mafi

The Devouring Grey & The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

For a Muse of Fire, A Kingdom for a Stage, & On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig

The Inheritance Games, The Hawthorne Legacy, & The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A Good Girls Guide to Murder, Good Girl Bad Blood, & As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

For the Wolf & For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

A Spindle Splintered & A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

These are some completed series that I think are perfect for October reading. Do you have any that you would include?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Ten: Amanda’s Favorite Horror Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! In the last two years, I’ve gotten into the horror genre. I’ve read some really great books that I was surprised to love. I’m excited that I gave horror a chance because I’ve found some really amazing stories to love. I’ve also chosen to DNF quite a bit of horror. I’m definitely learning what kinds of things I can and can’t read about when it comes to horror. I’m not super into gruesome and graphic horror, but I can read a bit of it if it’s relevant to the rest of the story.

Middle Grade

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Young Adult

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Adult

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Sundial by Catriona Ward

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

I didn’t realize how much more adult horror I’ve read until making this list. I definitely added some new middle-grade horror to my tbr. For YA, I read a fair bit, but often they have endings that ruin things. Do you have any favorite horror novels?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Seven: October 2022 Anticipated Releases

October 4, 2022
The Wolves are Watching by Natalie Lund
“The night little Madison disappears from her crib, Luce sees a pair of eyes–two points of gold deep in the forest behind her house–and feels certain they belong to a wolf. Her town, Picnic, Illinois, is the kind of place where everyone knows one another and no one locks their doors. It’s not the kind of place where a toddler goes missing without a trace, where wolves lurk in the shadows. In town, people are quick to blame Madison’s mom. But when Luce’s English teacher shares an original script about the disappearance of another little girl in Picnic back in 1870, Luce begins to notice similarities that she can’t ignore. Certain that something deeper is going on, Luce tracks the wolf she saw into the woods and uncovers the truth about her town: magical animal-women, who have remained hidden in shadows for centuries, have taken her cousin for their own purposes–and they have no intention of bringing her back.”

October 4, 2022
Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
“Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea. Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé. But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?”

October 4, 2022
The Last Hope in Hopetown by Maria Tureaud
“Twelve-year-old human Sophie Dawes lives a good life in Hopetown. There, vampires and humans live in harmony and Sophie and her adoptive vampire moms are living (or unliving) proof. There are a lot of rules that vampires must follow to keep the humans they live around feeling safe, but if regular visits from child protective services and abiding by a nightly curfew keeps their family together, Sophie will do anything to stay with her loving vampire parents. But then, normal, law-abiding vampires begin to go rogue. After Sophie’s own mother— the sweetest person she knows— goes rogue, Sophie decides it’s up to her to find a cure. But taking matters into her own hands might be way more than she bargained for if it means braving a secret council of vampires, executing epic heists, and facing the true bad guys head on. With her best friend by her side, Sophie will fight for hope, freedom and a family bonded by a love that’s thicker than blood.”

October 4, 2022
The Lords of Night by J.C. Cervantes
“Fourteen-year-old Renata Santiago is the most powerful godborn of them all, a bruja with the ability to manipulate shadows and a magical rope that controls time. Ren is also a girl with ordinary hopes and dreams. She’s always been convinced that there’s a connection between aliens and the Maya civilization, and she wishes her blog about extraterrestrial activity would garner more respect. When Ren receives an email about a possible alien sighting in Kansas, she thinks it could be her chance to prove her theory. It could also mean that the cinco—five renegade godborns—are up to no good. Soon Ren finds herself embroiled in a quest to prevent the troublemakers from awakening the nine Aztec Lords of Night and overthrowing the Maya gods. None of Ren’s usual friends are available to help, including her bestie Ah Puch, the god of death, so Ren has no choice but to team up with two strangers: Edison, a teen demon hybrid, and Montero, an eleven-year-old Aztec hunter. Will this oddball trio have what it takes to succeed? This isn’t just another challenge. It could well be an impossible one that leaves Ren questioning her very existence.”

October 4, 2022
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
“Rumors begin to spread of a species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus that may have developed its own language and culture. Marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen, who has spent her life researching cephalopod intelligence, will do anything for the chance to study them. The transnational tech corporation DIANIMA has sealed the remote Con Dao Archipelago, where the octopuses were discovered, off from the world. Dr. Nguyen joins DIANIMA’s team on the islands: a battle-scarred security agent and the world’s first android. The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence. The stakes are high: there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of the octopuses’ advancements, and as Dr. Nguyen struggles to communicate with the newly discovered species, forces larger than DIANIMA close in to seize the octopuses for themselves. But no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.
A near-future thriller about the nature of consciousness, Ray Nayler’s The Mountain in the Sea is a dazzling literary debut and a mind-blowing dive into the treasure and wreckage of humankind’s legacy.”

October 11, 2022
Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman
“Eliot is grieving Babung, her paternal grandmother who just passed away, and she feels like she’s the only one. She’s less than excited to move to her new house, which smells like lemons and deception, and is searching for a sign, any sign, that ghosts are real. Because if ghosts are real, it means she can find a way back to Babung. When Eliot chases the promise of paranormal activity to the presumably haunted Honeyfield Hall, she finds her proof of spirits. But these ghosts are losing their memory, stuck between this world and the next, waiting to cross over. With the help of Hazel, the granddaughter of Honeyfield’s owner (and Eliot’s new crush), she attempts to uncover the mystery behind Honeyfield Hall and the ghosts residing within. And as Eliot fits the pieces together, she may just be able to help the spirits remember their pasts, and hold on to her grandmother’s memory.”

October 11, 2022 
Ithaca by Claire North
“Seventeen years ago, King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca have been left behind to run the kingdom. Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door. No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne—not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.
This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women—and their goddesses— that will change the course of the world.”

October 11, 2022 
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
“Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.”

October 11, 2022 
Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
“When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup—it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom—the hot, older woman Cassie slept with. Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement—how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?—she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night. What should have been a one-time fling quickly proves impossible to ignore, and soon Cassie and Erin are sneaking around. Worst of all, they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?”

October 11, 2022 
The River of Silver: Tales from the Deavabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
“Now together in one place, these stories of Daevabad enrich a world already teeming with magic and wonder. Explore this magical kingdom, hidden from human eyes. A place where djinn live and thrive, fight and love. A world where princes question their power, and powerful demons can help you…or destroy you.
A prospective new queen joins a court whose lethal history may overwhelm her own political savvy…An imprisoned royal from a fallen dynasty and a young woman wrenched from her home cross paths in an enchanted garden…A pair of scouts stumble upon a secret in a cursed winter wood that will turn over their world…
From Manizheh’s first steps towards rebellion to adventures that take place after The Empire of Gold, this is a must-have collection for those who can’t get enough of Nahri, Ali, and Dara and all that unfolded around them.”

October 18, 2022 
Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai
“Indian Matchmaking meets Date Night in this fun, romantic adventure in which a match-made couple about to be engaged gets caught up in a caper that puts their future—and lives—in danger. At thirty-five, with a stable job as an accountant, Mira Chaudhary wants nothing more than to find a boring man to spend the rest of her life with. Having had enough excitement in her younger days and desperately trying to escape her dysfunctional past, she turns to a matching app specializing in Indian American singles to help her find someone to settle down with. Enter Naveen Desai. An English professor with an uneventful, normal, and—dare she say it, boring—life, Naveen is perfect. But just when things are going well, Mira receives news that her aunt has died. Suddenly a trip to Las Vegas to settle her aunt’s affairs turns into a mad dash to escape kidnappers, evade art thieves, and consorting with hackers who can decipher just what it was Mira’s aunt was involved with. Mira just hopes that Naveen isn’t chased away by the very same life of “excitement” that she’s been trying to get away from. But maybe, over the course of one wild night, Mira and Naveen will find the love connection that neither expected.”

October 18, 2022 
Built to Last by Erin Hahn
“Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs — the one who got away. Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but come on board. There’s something in it for everyone — almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for “Homemade” and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn.”

October 25, 2022 
The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke
“It’s been a wild year for Sideways Pike. After forming a coven with the three most popular girls in school and developing a huge crush on a mysterious stranger named Madeline, Sideways’ Halloween was ruined by finding out that Madeline wasn’t trying to make out with her, but to steal Sideways’ specter, the force that gives witches the ability to cast magic spells. From Madeline’s perspective, it’s not her fault: after a doomed relationship with one of the creepy near-identical Chantry Boys turned into a witch hunt, they took her specter, so, really, she’s only borrowing Sideways’ until she can recover her own and punish the Chantrys. The specter-less Sideways is in a horrid, distracted mood, unable to do magic and with part of her consciousness tied to Madeline’s, on the lam as she uses Sideways’ specter to hunt Chantrys. The other Scapegracers are much jollier, heading into the winter holidays having set up shop as curse crafters for girls in their school who’ve been done wrong by guys. When Sideways—through Madeline—gets a flash of how to track down both her foes at once, she asks the Scapegracers to help entrap them, only to be told her plan is unsafe and unwise. So if she’s going to find Madeline, her only ally is Mr. Scratch, the inky book demon currently inhabiting her as life support until she gets her spectre back. Sideways is used to being an outcast loner, and is desperate to do magic again, so she’s not going to let little barriers like facing an betraying crush and a family of six demented witch hunters practically alone stop her. But she and her trusty stolen bike are in for a bumpy ride…”

October 25, 2022 
The Atlas Paradox by Olive Blake
“Six magicians. Two rivalries. One researcher. And a man who can walk through dreams. All must pick a side: do they wish to preserve the world—or destroy it? In this electric sequel to the viral sensation, The Atlas Six, the society of Alexandrians is revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way. But the cost of knowledge is steep, and as the price of power demands each character choose a side, which alliances will hold and which will see their enmity deepen?”

These are the books releasing this month that I’m very much looking forward to reading. I have Partners in Crime preordered and quite a few of these as eARCs (that I’ll hopefully have read by now). What new books have you excited this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Three: Amanda’s October TBR

Hello, lovelies! Welcome to the first day of Blogtober! It’s the third day of the month, I know, but I don’t post on the weekends anymore. This month I have some fun things planned. I have today a list of the books I’m likely to be choosing from to read for spooky season. I’m pretty behind with my NetGalley tbr, so I want to work on that. But I have some books on my physical tbr here too that piqued my interest for the reading mood I’m looking for this month.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
The Yosemite Six by Tess Sharpe
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
The High House by Jessie Greengrass

NetGalley TBR

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
The River of Silver: Tales from the Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
Little Eve by Catriona Ward
Built to Last by Erin Hahn
The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke

I will definitely not manage to read all of these as I’m planning to do some prep work for NaNoWriMo next month. But I’m feeling the itch to read again, and my husband will be gone for a bit this month so, I’ll have more time to myself. What spooky books are you reading this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

Hello, lovelies! It’s the end of another month and what a month it’s been. I read some great books and some not so great. But I’m happy with what I read.

What I Read

Physical Books
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi – 5 stars
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 5 stars
Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee – 5 stars
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool – 5 stars
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle – 4.5 stars

eBooks
Cazadora by Romina Garber – 3.75 stars
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – 3.75 stars
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood – 3 stars
The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 4 stars
The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee – 3 stars
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith – 3.5 stars
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 4 stars
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen – 5 stars
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – 5 stars

Audiobooks
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young – 4 stars
The Bones Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – 4 stars
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – 3.5 stars
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – 3 stars
My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – 3.5 stars
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis – 3 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #4

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Book Review)

Why Everyone Should Read Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (Book Review)

Amanda’s Autumn Book Recommendations

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten (Book Review)

Amanda’s October Anticipated Releases

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Book Review)

Series to Finish in 2021

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Book Review)

If You Liked This, Then Read That

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Book Review)

17 Audiobooks to Read in October

Underrated October Recommendations

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (Book Review)

Spooky Book Covers

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (Book Review)

6 Fall Romance Recommendations

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (Book Review)

Other Blog Posts I Loved

Top Ten Spooky Reads from Alyssa @ Read Em’ And Weep

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl from The Elven Warrior

Top Six / Spooky Books Releasing In 2022 / Top Ten Tuesday from Vee_Bookish

Queer Latinx YA Recs from Gabi’s Book Reviews

My Friend Blurbs Books Based on Book Covers from Charvi @ Not Just Fiction

SciFi Month 2021 TBR from Caitlin @ Realms of my Mind

Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Ryka Aoki, Author of Light from Uncommon Stars – On Inspiration, Learning the Violin, and the Magic of Queerness in Speculative Fiction from Skye @ The Quiet Pond

Spooky Season Post #5 | 25+ Young Adult Horror: 2021 Book Releases from Sofii @ A Book. A Thought.

Well, that’s all I have for you this month. How’d you do for reading and blogging?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Summary:
What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Book Cover

Review:
Here are five things I liked about Home Before Dark:

  1. I really liked that the story was told in alternating chapters. We follow Maggie, present day, but we also get excerpts from her father’s book (which is heavily talked about by Maggie in the present-day chapters). I thought this was a creative and interesting way to tell the story. I think it worked right up until the big reveal about the book.
  2. Along with how the story is told in both the present and the past, I thought it was really interesting how things that were happening to Maggie and Maggie’s actions were mirroring and reflecting many of the things that had already happened (or were claimed to happen in her dad’s book) in the past.
  3. I was surprised to find that I actually sort of liked that I had no idea what was the truth and what wasn’t. I don’t usually like books where I don’t actually know what’s going on. But Sager did an excellent job keeping up the mystery and the suspense until the big reveal. I spent most of the book flip-flopping between firmly believing that the ghosts were real or that they were definitely all made up.
  4. I listened to the audiobook which has two narrators. I liked both narrators. The male narrator that read Maggie’s father’s book did a great job and I will absolutely be seeking out more book narrated by him. I liked the narrator for Maggie as well. I think she did a great job telling the story and keeping up the emotion and suspense.
  5. The big reveal. I liked it because like I said above, I went back and forth for the entire book between believing and not believing that the ghosts were real. So, to finally have confirmation one way or another was almost a relief. I liked how things all played out to put it vaguely so that I don’t spoil anything.

Overall, I really liked this book. I’m not surprised since I’ve liked all of Sager’s other books I’ve read. I also discovered (partially because of this book) that I really like the ‘but are the ghosts real or not’ trope for horror and mystery books. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for this one to any audiobook fans, but I’m sure the physical or digital book was just as good.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Summary:
After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

Book Cover

Review:
I’m going to make this a list review because I’m once again feeling a bit burnt out on reviews. But I really loved this book. So, I still want to get a review posted for it. Here are five things I liked about The Night Swim.

  1. I really liked the audiobook. We got a few sound effects and such for the chapters where Rachel was narrating her podcast. There was also more than one narrator. I think the audio was just all around well done and did a great job keeping me engaged in the story.
  2. This book covers some series topics like rape and sexual assault. I think it did those things really thoughtfully and kindly. But it also did them realistically, which was heart breaking at times.
  3. I really loved how the past of Hannah telling her sister’s story and the story of the present were woven together. I think this worked really well as a storytelling device. It’s not always a good way to tell a story, but it really worked for this book.
  4. I liked Rachel. She loved creating her podcast, but she didn’t love the fame that came with her success. I thought her desire for anonymity was really interesting compared with how well her podcast did. I liked her as a character as well. She wasn’t really the focus of the story, but it’s told through her perspective so we got to know her and a bit about her past.
  5. The pace of this story was excellent. I think because it’s about tough topics, I was immediately sucked in. But it was the way the story was told with the characters and the two different timelines that really made it feel fast paced. I listened to the audiobook in one sitting.

Overall, I would (and already have) definitely recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for just spooky season either. I think this would be a compelling and interesting story any time of year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Nine: Amanda’s Gothtober Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! I know that there’s still a few days left in October. But I’ve managed to finish all of the books I was planning to read for Gothtober and I wanted to share that with you all! I had to change a few of my choices for the prompts because I DNF’d some of the books that were on my original TBR (you can find that here.)

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
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Classics
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

BIPOC Representation
The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

Disability Representation
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

I’m pretty proud of myself for actually managing to complete all these prompts. I DNF’d two of my original choices, so it’s not identical to the TBR I shared at the beginning of the month. But I managed to read books for all the prompts and I think that’s what counts. How did you do?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Eight: Blogger Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! I feel like I haven’t done one of these in forever, so to close out one of the last few days of Blogtober 2021 I want to shout out some bloggers that I love.

Tea Cups and Torn Pages

Bookish Valhalla

Functionally Fictional

Howling Libraries

Vee_Bookish

Evelyn Reads

Journey Into Books

Jessticulates

A Book. A Thought.

The Quiet Pond

Books in the Skye

Way Too Fantasy

Reader Voracious

The Wordy Habitat

What Vicky Read

Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Seven: WWW Wednesday

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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 Vampire Hearts & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston. I’m listening to the audiobook Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis. I’m also diligently working on clearing my NetGalley shelf, so I’m reading The Boy With Fire by Aparna Verma.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao and I loved it so much. Please read it right now.

Antonia- I most recently read The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.

What will you read next?

Amanda- I have a few things I could read next, but I don’t have anything specific picked out because my November TBR is huge and I don’t want to be in the middle of anything when October is over.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Winterkeep by Kristen Cashore.

What have you been reading recently?

Blogtober Day Twenty-Six (Part Two): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Spooky Season Show/Movie Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is halloween freebie. I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the things I’ve watched for spooky season.

Lucifer – Season 6
This final season was released in September and I quickly devoured it.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Parts 3 & 4
I watched the first two parts last year in October, but the final two parts weren’t out yet and I waited for spooky season to finish the show. I really love this show. I love the actress that played Sabrina and I loved the fun cameo from Aunt Hilda & Zelda from the other show. This show is a perfect example of the kind of stuff I like to watch for spooky season.

The Haunting of Hill House
This show is actually pretty scary and I wasn’t expecting that. There were a fair bit of jump scares and just all around creepiness. I ended up watching most of this show during the day. I thought they told this story in a really compelling way. I loved that we saw what happened, but then we went further and focused on each sibling, seeing some parts of the story again and again through a new point of view each time. I’m a baby about scary things, so this was a day time show. But I really enjoyed it.

The Haunting of Bly Manor
I really liked this show. It wasn’t as scary as Hill House and I think it had a more interesting plot. It definitely was still creepy and haunting, but there weren’t jump scares like there were in Hill House. I liked getting to see some of the same actors too and seeing how they did with different roles.

Things Heard & Seen
This wasn’t on any of my original watch lists, but a friend and I watched it together. I was intrigued because it was based on a book and from the preview it looked like it had Home Before Dark by Riley Sager vibes. She really liked it until the ending but I’m not sure that I liked it at all. Both of the main adults in the movie were so beyond unlikable that it was hard to really care at all about what happened to them. It wasn’t creepy or spooky how I was wanting, but it was certainly weird as hell.

Fear Street Part One: 1994
I liked this. It’s definitely a teen slasher movie. But I liked it. There was emotional depth with the characters (also it was gay, so that’s always a plus). It wasn’t so much scary with jump scares, but it was definitely suspenseful and gory.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978
I love summer camp stuff, usually. I wasn’t sure how this would translate to slasher movies since that’s not a form of media I often consume. But I actually had fun watching this one. I really liked how it wasn’t a standalone movie. It connected to the first one. It was cool seeing the other things that had been briefly mentioned in the first part and learning more about the things that were purposefully left out of part one.

Fear Street Part Three: 1666
This one follows the infamous Sarah Fier. I loved learning about her backstory and how she was wronged. I wasn’t at all surprised to find that Sarah Fier was the victim, as was historically common in those times. I really loved that they recycled some of the actors. Seeing them play different sorts of roles, but also still in a slasher kind of movie was fun for me. Part three was the creepiest of all three of these movies. I think it might even have been my favorite.

Till Death
This only caught my eye because it’s a new movie with Megan Fox in it and I haven’t seen her in anything new in so long. I actually really liked this. The suspense was really good. The build up of the story and the ‘what the heck is going on’ feeling was really well done. The only complaint I have is that there was no aftercare. We are left to assume that she survived without actual confirmation. I was left with so many questions about what would have happened after the police arrived. But overall, I still enjoyed the movie.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
I watch this movie every year and I love it even more now that I get to watch it with my daughter. She actually sat and watched it with me this year and it was so adorable.

Did you watch anything for spooky season this year?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Six (Part One): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is Halloween Freebie. This week I’m going to pick my top ten characters I would bring back from the dead. *Spoiler alert: by sheer definition of this topic, this post has some serious spoilers for all the books listed so if you don’t like spoilers, stop reading.

Matthias from Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Danica from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Everyone from Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Shadow from The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Idalia from When Darkness Falls by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The Thirteen from Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Lee Scoresby and Hester from The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Max from Year One by Nora Roberts

Tristan from The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Alaska from Looking for Alaska by John Green

What characters would you bring back from the dead if you had the power?

Blogtober Day Twenty-Five: 6 Fall Romance Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! I am usually a summer romance reader, but while I was browsing my ‘read’ books for Blogtober ideas, I saw Well Met and thought to myself how perfect that book is for the autumn. I couldn’t help but wonder what other romances I read in the summer that would be perfect to read in the fall. So, these aren’t all books that take place in the autumn season, just books that I think have a fall vibe.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca
“All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.”

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Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
“With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that. This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows. When reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.”

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
“Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born. She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild. Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.”

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The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morganthaler
“When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way… Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.”

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The Next Always by Nora Roberts
“The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen. After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it. With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour – one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new – and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .”

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You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
“Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him. Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare. But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.”

These are six romance novels that I think have some fall vibes in them. Some of them just have fall settings and others actually have fall events like Thanksgiving and what not. What do you think of my choices?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.