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

Amanda’s Zodiacathon Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! Let’s talk about how I did for the Zodiacathon! I have all the information for this readathon on my TBR post, so if you want to know more, feel free to check that out. Today I’m just going to go over what the challenges were and what I managed to read for each of them. Let’s get into it!

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Moon Sign: Capricorn

Buddy read a book with someone (there’s ten of us!) who shares your moon sign.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Capricorn: Read a magical realism/speculative fiction book.

Moonstruck Volume One: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, & Kate Leth

Sun Sign: Leo

Leo: Read a library book.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry

Rising Sign: Gemini

Gemini: Read a sequel.

Sadly, I failed this challenge. I didn’t manage to read a sequel.

I managed to read four books (I also read The Disasters by M.K. England) and completed three of the four reading prompts based on my zodiac information. I adored all four books that I read between the 4th and the 8th which is amazing. Did you participate in Zodiacathon? What did you read? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

GoodReads Summary:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Review:
My latest library audiobook find was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’ve heard so many good things about this story so I couldn’t believe that it was available on my Libby app! I snapped it up and listened to this twelve-hour audiobook in two days. I could not stop listening to this book.
First off, the narrators (there were a few) did an excellent job. I liked that the different characters had their own narrators. I love audiobooks with a cast narration, they’re my favorite. They did such a great job with this book.
The story itself was written in an interesting way too. It was written as a back and forth between Evelyn and our main character Monique. Every now and then there were news articles or blog posts talking about current events or discussion events that were happening in Evelyn’s life at the point of her life she was telling us about.
I thought it was really great the different kinds of characters, there was certainly a diverse cast. Monique was biracial with a white mom and an African American father. Evelyn was Cuban American. There were also characters of all sorts of sexual orientations, gay men, lesbians, bisexual characters. I thought the variety of the players in this book just made it that much better.
There was a story being told within a story and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed getting to know Monique her life and the struggles she’s facing. Enter Evelyn, a major complication. She propositions Monique in a way that may cause her to lose her job, but ultimately make millions of dollars writing a book.
The story just got more and more in-depth and complicated. I seriously could not stop listening. I was dying to know what was going to happen in Evelyn’s story next. Evelyn was a famous actress starting in the 50s through the 80s. She pushed boundaries and did whatever she needed to get what she wanted. She was determined and ruthless. I liked that she was a kick-ass lady in a time that wasn’t always accepting of kick-ass ladies. She had so many crazy adventures and I felt as if I was having them alongside her as the story was being read to me.
I loved everything about this book. I think everyone should read it. It’s definitely going to make a few of my favorites for 2018 lists that will be coming up in the next few months.
Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

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 · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength not only to fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this third book in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.
Review:
There was so much to this story. The chapters alternate between a few different characters that are critical to the story. Now that these characters are spread out all over the world, each playing their own important part of the story, we get to follow each of them instead of just Celaena. I really am a fan of multiple perspective books as long as they’re done in the right way. Heir of Fire does it the right way. Right as things are getting exciting or intense for one character we get a cool down period and check on another. I just like this up and down of the story. I also like the idea that all of this is happening at the same time, so we get to know everything. I was really happy to get to see more of this world with the varying perspectives and the traveling characters. Maas has built an incredible and complex world.
My lovely wonderful Celaena. She’s just as crazy as ever. She’s finally doing the right thing, even if it’s only to keep a promise she made to Nehmia. I’ve noticed that she tends to avoid her problems until she just can’t avoid them anymore. This was interesting because she does her best to avoid things until the last minute and then at the last minute she comes up with a plan so insane it just might work. I also noticed in this book that she is just so desperate for a friend, for someone to love her. I think this is because that she has had her family taken from her, been betrayed by so many that she thought cared for her. I feel back for her, but it was actually a little annoying once I realized this. She dated TWO of our main characters in the first book. Continued dating one in the second before turning on him and ruining that. And now this new character (who I’m totally here for and it my absolute fav.) I definitely think she developed so much in this book. She’s finally accepted who she is and the responsibilities that includes. I’m proud of her for stepping up to the plate instead of running again.

“She would not let that light go out. She would fill the world with it, with her light-her gift. She would light up the darkness, so brightly that all who were lost or wounded or broken would find their way to it, a beacon for those who still dwelled in that abyss. It would not take a monster to destroy a mother-but light, light to drive out the darkness.”

Rowan. The ultimate book boyfriend. But only at the end of the book. As this was a reread for me, I didn’t realize how much I had forgotten. What I mean by this is how I forgot just how vicious and aggressive he was toward Celaena at first. I think this is due to the world he lives in. Maeve’s fae are just that. They’re trained to be vicious and lethal. I really enjoyed watching his relationship with Celaena change as they both decided to open up and become friends.

“For a long moment, he said nothing. But his brows narrowed slightly. “To whatever end?””

Chaol, oh Chaol. He’s still just a really good dude. He fights the good fight for Celaena since he sent her away. He does what he can to help her and her mission even though he’s still undecided about who he’s really fighting for and what side he’s going to end up on. This next quote is one I think perfectly sums up Chaol.

“”Damn,” the general said, then shook his head. “I didn’t think that kind of honor still existed in Adarlan.””

Dorian really gets the shit end of the stick in this series. He keeps losing girl after girl, all because he’s the Crown Prince. You would think that would give him an advantage, but it doesn’t. He has a really hard time throughout this book, but toward the end finally had a handle on his problems and has found a girl that accepts him for who he is, problems, crown, and all.

“When Dorian had spoken, it hadn’t been a prince who looked at him. It had been a king.”

Aedion is super smart and clever. He has been deceiving the king for years and really just impressed me. His loyalty to Aelin is unlike any other. I honestly feel bad for the surprise that he gets in the next book. I love his dedication and determination to do what he can to get Aelin supporters.

“Cousin-that had been his most beloved title. Cousin, kin, protector. Those were the secret names he harbored deep within, the names he whispered to himself when the northern wind was shrieking through the Staghorns.”

Manon. I literally wrote “MANON SLAAAY.” in my notes for this book. I loved her. Even though she’s kind of psychotic and might actually be a serial killer. I’m totally here for it. She is totally HBIC (head bitch in charge) even if she technically isn’t. She takes no shit from anyone other than her grandmother (who is actually HBIC). She makes sure that everyone knows their place. She just really doesn’t fuck around, she will absolutely claw your frigging eyes out. Her relationship with her wyvern is probably my favorite part of this book. She ends up picking Abraxos, a former bait beast that shows he’s a survivor. The extreme opposites that they are, make for some excellent entertainment. Claw your eyes out, eat your children Manon picks bait beast Abraxos who literally rolled around on the ground sniffing and playing with flowers instead of hunting. It was excellent and I loved it.

“Abraxos continued to lie in the sun, vain and indulgent as a cat, “Warrior heart indeed.””

Overall, I loved this book. The further into this series I get the more involved it is. There is SO much to this plot and to these characters. If you’re going to read these books prepare yourself to get complete invested and have your soul thoroughly punched. I really loved getting to explore this world further. It’s created to intricately and in enough detail to allow the reader to see what’s going on but not so much detail that it bogs the story down. I absolutely adore these characters and though they’ve been beaten down and seemingly defeated I’m so excited to see where the next book goes. (Though I already know because I’ve read them all but the final book.)

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

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

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become the King’s Champion. But she is far from loyal to the crown. Though she hides her secret vigilantly, her deadly charade becomes difficult when she realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. No one is above questioning her allegiance-not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captian of the Guard; not even her best friend Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then, one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is willing to fight for.
Review:
I always forget how much I really enjoy these books until I’m toward the end of each one. Each book begins with so much build up and drama that when the base drops (plot twists) it’s mind-blowing and heartbreaking but you just beg for more with the next book. This is a reread for me, of the series before I get to the conclusion, Kingdom of Ash (that finally came in the mail!) check out my review for the last book here.
The plot twists in this book were excellent. While I knew they were coming because this was a reread for me I still remember the first time I read the series and how utterly shocked I was to learn certain things revealed to us in Crown of Midnight. The plot twists still totally hit me in the feels like a punch in the stomach. I just really enjoyed this book. It’s not my favorite of the series, but I definitely liked it more than Throne of Glass. There is action and drama and romance and betrayal. Really it’s everything you could ever want.

Celaena is still kick ass. Doesn’t take anything from anyone. She’s a very independent individual. She definitely lets the readers see that she has a heart more and more. She does things that could get her killed because not doing them would weigh on her conscience. She has a short fuse when it comes to her temper and it kind of hurts her more than anything. She doesn’t sit around to listen to the whole story. She just gets pissed and goes off in a rage. I love her though. She’s doing so much in this book and I’m so excited for all the things she’ll do in the next one.

“She had a flicker of a memory from a time when, just for a moment, she’d been free; when the world has been wide open and she’s been about to enter it with Sam at her side. It was a freedom that she was still working for because even though she’d tasted it for only a heartbeat, it had been the most exquisite heartbeat she’d ever experienced.”

Dorian honestly just annoyed me the first half of this book. Jealous Dorian is super annoying. I was glad when he finally decided to move on. I liked that Dorian got his own side story as well. He has his own struggles that sort of meet up at the end. But he’s alone in this struggle. I like that he bad Celaena become friends again because they need one another.

“Dorian nodded, looking at her with kindness she couldn’t stand. “Then you will always have a place here.”

Chaol is just as honorable as ever. Always with his duty to the king and the crown. Always doing his job, loyalty and all that. Chaol has a few moments that just show his humanity, that he’s vulnerable. I really liked this because with everything going on with everyone else it was nice to see just how human Chaol is.

“He took a step toward her, but she held her ground. “Believe me Celaena,” he snarled, his eyes flashing, “I know you can look after yourself. But I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful because I will always care what happens.”

Nehemia is still one of my favorite characters. Thought I wish she had put more trust in Celaena and told her more of the story. I understand why she didn’t because it probably would have backfired but still. I loved her. She was a great friend to Celaena when she wasn’t hiding things.

“I promise,” she whispered again. “On my name, on my life, even if it takes until my last breath, I promise I will see Eyllwe freed.”

Mort is one of my absolute favorite parts of this story. He should totally get a little novella – the life and creation of Mort.
Overall the story really heated up in this book. Filled with betrayal and murder, love and romance, action and adventure – and of course a quest. I love all the characters. Even the ones I didn’t like. I’m going to stop writing now because I’m dying to start Heir of Fire.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

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

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Summary:
In a world without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the vicious king who rules from his throne of glass but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she will be released from prison to serve s the King’s Champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captian of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a faraway land will befriend her. But something evil dwells in the castle-it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival-and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Review:
Laying in bed, trying to gather my thoughts and form them into words, sentences, opinions about this story – I don’t want to tell you how much I loved this book, I just want to continue on with the series and pick up the second book. After (FINALLY) getting around to reading The Assassin’s Blade – reviewed here – I couldn’t help myself but pick up Throne of Glass for the third (fourth?) time and reread the whole series in anticipation of the final book’s release.
Kingdom of Ash is being released today (today – the day I wrote this review, not the day the review posted.) But I likely won’t get my preordered copy until Thursday (the 25th). So what better way to get hyped for this 900+ page conclusion then to reread the first seven books in the series.

“Libraries were full of ideas-perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

So because this is a reread, but a new review, I’m going to try to mostly write it like a new review. Let’s start with the characters.
Celaena Sardothien; kick-ass, sassy af, a girl that could kill you a hundred different ways before you even knew what hit you. But she’s a multifaceted kind of girl. She loves her some pretty underthings and fancy dresses. She is easily excited by a bag full of candy the morning of Yulemas. She’s been through so much but is still able to be happy about the little things. It’s so pure. She’s also loyal to the death. She has a soft side that she doesn’t want to admit that she has, but it pushes her to do the right thing even when it may not be the easy thing. Also, she spends SO much of her time in this book reading. What bookworm doesn’t like to read about another bookworm?

“Elena took a step toward her. “You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it too. That’s what scares you more.””

Chaol Westfall; All the best friend feels. I don’t ship him and Celaena (mostly because I already know who she ends up with later on) but also because they’re great friends. They have excellent banter that is hilarious and so entertaining. And I don’t want to see that ruined by things getting weird and lovey. Chaol is a stand-up guy. Loyal to his friends and other loved ones. Will sacrifice anything for those he feels deserve it. Loves with his whole heart. Duty over everything, he really tries to play by the rules. He may not be totally okay with the status quo, but what can he do about it? I’m excited to read his backstory (again) because we only got a few bits and pieces in Throne of Glass.

“What’s the point in having a mind if you don’t use it to make judgments? What’s the point in having a heart if you don’t use it to spare others the harsh judgments of your mind?”

Dorian Havilliard; Our lovely crown prince. I’m trying to stay impartial here with the things I already know happen in the future. But I really just, ugh. Dorian is a fun loving prince that craves adventure and chaos. He wants to do better for his kingdom than what his father is doing but also knows better than to push his father too far. It was interesting to see him press those boundaries. His relationship with Celaena was one of those pushes. He befriended her and spent more time than was proper with her ensuring the jealousy of other girls. Dorian is a little naive (thesaurus this). He wants the best, but I don’t think he really understands the seriousness of a lot of things going on around him.

“We all bear scars, Dorian. Mine just happen to be more visible than most.”

Nehemiah; She’s probably my favorite character of all. Intelligent and mischievous. She fools everyone around her into thinking she’s something she isn’t. She becomes a good friend to Celaena which I loved. I love the relationship between these two girls. I think they make the best of friends.
The King & Duke Perrington; I hate them both. They’re excellent villains. I love to hate them because they’re so clearly awful. They care for nothing but their own agendas time and time again.
Kaltain; Celaena said it perfectly the first time she met Kaltain. Why do girls have to be so desperate for the attention of men that they feel the need to betray other females? This is so true and something so relevant even in today’s world. Us females should be sticking together, not fighting one another.
As for the story itself, I loved every page. While it wasn’t an overly complex book to read there was definitely a lot to the plot and story. With a few different things going on all at once (this gets even worse in the later books) it was interesting to see them all unfold together. I like the creativity of making this assassin a hero of sorts. The story wasn’t boring or too slow or rushed. It was paced nicely, giving us information when and as we needed it. I’m excited to see things speed up just a little bit in the next books.
The last thing I want to mention is the writing. While I did say that it wasn’t overly complicated it is beautiful. There are tons and tons of imagery that I could picture easily and well. For example, when Celaena meets the king, “It was a voice she had heard before, deep and raspy. It made her bones crack and splinter, made her feel the astonishing cold of a winter long since last.” I feel as if I could experience what she’s feeling in this moment. It’s all just written so well.
As a whole, I loved this book. Not a huge surprise with the excellent characters we were given and the interesting, in-depth, chaotic story that the characters go through in these pages. Maas really knows how to give us some characters that we can’t get enough of. Go read these now!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Antonia's Antics · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Summary:
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim-their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend-changed everything.
One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft-the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing their secrets, crushes, plans to change the world-hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. She suspects that her friends know much more than they ever let on.
But as the night plays out in a haze of awkward jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.
Then night fades to morning, a thunderstorm rages, and a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.
Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers…and at life. And so begins the Neverworld Wake.
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Night Film and Special Topics in Calamity Physics Marissa Pessl creates a vivid and unsettling realm in this atmospheric and absorbing psychological suspense novel sure to keep readers breathless until the riveting conclusion.
Review:
I went into Neverworld Wake expecting a mystery/thriller that would satisfy my desire for a spooky Halloween read on the last day of Spooktober.
I was rewarded with so much more. This story was complex and creative, involved and intricate, intense and entertaining. I’ve heard some good things about this book, but it surpassed all of my expectations for sure.
I totally thought I had guessed the ending. I was two-thirds of my way through and I was certain I knew what the ending looked like. Oh, boy was I wrong. It was unpredictable and funny. Mysterious and interesting. I loved the Groundhog Day esq. vibe. I think it was a really interesting idea that was done well.
I liked the characters. Some of them were a little shitty personality-wise, but I think that made them more real. People are shitty right? I liked that though this friend group was currently fractured and has been for a while, we got to see bits and pieces of how they used to function together in the past before their friend died.
Neverworld Wake takes place in Rhode Island! Which, for those who don’t know is part of the US called ‘New England’ and I was super excited to read this because that’s where I grew up, which is about an hour or two away from the different places in this book. I loved reading about a few different places that I’d been to before. I always enjoy books set in areas I’m familiar with.
I totally forgot to make sure to save where I liked certain quotes and parts because I was way too into the story and just needed to finish. But Neverworld Wake was full of excellent quotes and little insightful tidbits about death and the human condition. This will for sure be another favorite of mine for 2018 and I recommend it to everyone!

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 · Everything & Anything

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
The year is 2059. Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant-and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, kidnapped, and drugged, Paige is transported to Oxford-a city kept secret for two hundred years, governed by an otherworldly race called the Rephaim who seek to control clairvoyants for their own purposes. Paige is assigned to the care of Warden, a powerful Rephaite. He is her captor. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, she will have to get close to him, to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine, a young woman discovering her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut
Review:
The Bone Season has been super hyped up. Everyone has been talking about this series because the third book was recently released. I enjoyed it for sure. I don’t have a whole lot to say because I’m writing this and falling asleep at the same time.
I loved the unique idea behind the story. Things sort of taking place in London. But not really. It’s London, just not as we know it today. Shannon created an incredible world in these pages. The world building was great. We weren’t overwhelmed with information and we weren’t lacking any either. There were no description dumps trying to tell us about the world. We learned about how things worked at a nice pace that flowed with the progression of the story. I loved learning about how their society works and the differences from the real world. It was creative and interesting and I’m definitely intrigued to see what’s going to happen in the next book.
Shannon’s writing was very good. It wasn’t overly detailed and complicated, but it wasn’t simple either. The setting was written well with good imagery. I don’t know how accurate the London and Ireland parts of the story were because I’ve never been there, but I’m interested to know if it resembles current London at all.
The characters were another interesting aspect. Complex and flawed, they were relatable and captivating. Paige is a complicated girl. There is almost a “chosen one” kind of trope, but it’s avoided with the fact that she’s not “chosen” just a special girl with a rare ability. Now that I think about it, there was a “discovering my magical powers” trope, but it wasn’t specific to Paige. It was something that happened to lots of people all over. Regardless, I liked Paige. She was mostly afraid of her power and only tried to hone it because of her boss. Paige had some great character development throughout the book. By the end, she was better able to use her ability, but also to stand up for herself and for what she believed in.
I liked our supporting characters, but their stories were left kind of vague. I hope we get to know more about them in the next book. We learned little bits and pieces, but I’m interested in their actual backstories, specifically the Warden. I know he’s not what we thought he was at first, but man I’d love to know his motivations. Also, Jax, I can’t wait to learn more about him.
I liked these characters well enough. They’ve gotten me invested enough that I’m excited to read the next story. I love the world that Shannon has created. I can’t wait to see what happens next with the way The Bone Season ended. Hello, cliffhanger. I think this is a great fantasy story in the middle to lower end of the scale. Maybe a good read for those who are interested in trying a story with a little more fantasy than the minimum.

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.