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 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.

Five Blogging Tips Amanda Relies On

Hey, lovelies! I’ve been thinking about writing a ‘blogging tips’ post forever. But I never felt like someone that was qualified to talk about that. I realized that my tips are just things that work for me. Not everything that helps me succeed will work the same for you, but I want to share the things I’ve found really work for me after 7 years of blogging.

Schedule Your Posts

This is honestly the biggest thing that helps me post continuous content. I work on blog posts and reviews when I have free time, but I’m usually working a month ahead. So, since it’s September. I’m currently working on Blogtober posts and maybe even some things for #SciFiMonth in November.

I like to work ahead. It’s really great if I don’t end up having time (my kids certainly keep me busy), for a week or more to work on the blog, I usually have plenty of posts scheduled ahead of time to allow me that time.

Choose a Set Posting Schedule

I think it’s a great idea for anyone who blogs to have a consistent posting schedule. I post every day Monday through Friday, which is more than usual, I think. Each week here on the blog, we share Top Ten Tuesday, WWW Wednesday, a book review on Thursday (usually), and Monday & Friday I share recommendations or TBRs or other list-like posts.

Having this plan makes it easy to know what I’m going to post each week. I have what I call ‘post skeletons’ saved to my computer so once a month or so, I can copy that skeleton and just paste it as a new post for WWW Wednesday and Top Ten Tuesday. Then Antonia and I can just add in our book selections as needed.

Plan Your Content

This sounds really similar to the above information, but since we know what kinds of things we will post M-F, I have a list of post ideas that I add to whenever I have a new idea. I keep this in my notes app, so I can add to it anywhere. This running list is really useful when I work on my Monday and Friday posts because often I’ll have made my entire list already (deciding which books to include in each post is what takes the longest for me), and then I just have to add the covers and descriptions.

I also want to talk about the recurring weekly posts we do. Top Ten Tuesday and WWW Wednesday are two read posts to participate in each week. Top Ten Tuesday gives us some of our highest number of views. These posts are great for any blogger, but I think especially for any new bloggers or anyone struggling to come up with bookish content to share.

Choose Topics That Interest You

This feels like it should be obvious but write and talk about the books and genres and things that interest you. It definitely comes across when I’m blogging just to get posts out compared to when I work really hard on posts I’m interested in and excited about sharing with the world.

Don’t buy and read only the popular books unless that’s what you’re really interested in reading and writing about. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like I can tell when someone is only reading popular books because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do, but they’re consistently not enjoying those books.

Read and write about things you’re interested in and passionate about. If you don’t, blogging will become another chore you have to check off your to-do list.

These are my few simple tips for anyone that wants to read them. I feel like I’ve been a blogger for so long that I should have more to say, but that’s all folks.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Autumn Book Recommendations

Hello, lovelies! Since my favorite season (summer) is coming to an end, I thought I would kick Autumn off with a list of books that give me all the fall feels. Though, I don’t have any of those at the moment because it’s still 90 degrees out every day where I live. So, as usual, don’t ask me to explain why, but these books are ones I think give off that mood I want for Autumn. A warm hug, snuggling with a loved one, or a nice hot apple cider, you know what I mean if you’ve ever lived where it gets cold.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
“Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend. Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?”

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
“Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in the London Borough of Ealing after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries. Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home. When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list… hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.”

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
“Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston’s most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it—no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description. By day, she is assistant to the family doctor and his charge, Jonathan, the sickly, poetic, drunken heir to the family empire, who is as difficult as his illness is mysterious. By night, Lena discovers the more sinister side of the family, as she works overtime at their lavish parties, helping to hide their self-destructive tendencies . . . and trying not to fall for Jonathan’s alluring sister, Audrey. But when she stumbles upon the knowledge that the Verdeau patriarch is the one responsible for the ruin of her own family, Lena vows to get revenge—a poison-filled quest that leads her further into this hedonistic world than she ever bargained for, forcing her to decide how much—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice for payback.”

Fresh by Margot Wood
“Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.”

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
“Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.”

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
“Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.”

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.”

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.”

These are just some that jumped out at me. I think these would all give me the same feeling that I’m looking for this Autumn. Do you read seasonally at all?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda Recommends Tropes: Second Chance Romance

Hello, lovelies! I had so much fun writing my ‘friends to lovers’ trope recommendations. Before I was even finished writing that post (find it here!) I was already drafting this one in my head. Second-chance romances are one of my favorite tropes. I really love a romance story that has its characters reuniting after years apart. I think this probably stems from the fact that my real-life romance trope is a second chance romance (as well as friends to lovers). Can you tell why these are my favorite tropes yet?

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
“The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”

Blood Magick by Nora Roberts 
“County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch. Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love… She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion. Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.”

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
“Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day. Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life. The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name. Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.”

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.”

Beach Read by Emily Henry
“Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.”

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
“Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran quite literally into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner. The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?”

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
“Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:
– Nude pics are by invitation only
– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice
– Protect your heart
Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears. Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…”

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters
“Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since. Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent. Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?”

The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
“Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again. Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that. Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.”

Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
“Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest. Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away. When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?”

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
“Lee Stone is a twenty-first-century woman: she kicks butt at her job as a communications director at a women-run electric car company (that’s better than Tesla, thank you) and after work she is “Stoner,” drinking guys under the table and never letting any of them get too comfortable in her bed…That’s because Lee’s learned one big lesson: never trust love. After four major heartbreaks set her straight, from her father cheating on her mom all the way to Ben Laderman in grad school—who wasn’t actually cheating, but she could have sworn he was, so she reciprocated in kind. Then Ben shows up five years later, working as a policy expert for the most liberal governor in Texas history, just as Lee is trying to get a clean energy bill rolling. Things get complicated—and competitive as Lee and Ben are forced to work together. Tension builds just as old sparks reignite, fanning the flames for a romantic dustup the size of Texas.”

These are some books that have a second chance romance in them that I really enjoyed. Do you have any recommendations for this trope that I don’t have on my list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Beach Read Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! Summertime means going to the beach and reading on the beach is my favorite thing. I have a few books on my tbr that I’m saving for beach days this summer. I thought I’d share some books I’ve enjoyed on the beach in past summers.

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.”

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
“Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face. Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.”

Fresh by Margot Wood
“Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.”

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
“Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start. Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future. Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.”

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
“Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?”

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
“When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!“—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?”

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
“For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all. Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.”

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
“Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?”

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
“Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life. Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers. Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?”

Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
“The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club. Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochran
“Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star. Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off. As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.”

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
“Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television? Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it. But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale.”

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
“One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…”

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
“Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day. Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life. The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.”

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
“Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge. There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute. Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.”

These are some books that I’ve personally read on the beach or that I think are fun and light-hearted enough to be a beach read. What kinds of books do you like to read on the beach?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

When Sparks Fly

Summary:
Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.
But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.
Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

Review:
When Sparks Fly follows Avery and Declan in alternating chapters. I liked that we got to see points of view from both of the love interests instead of just from Avery’s point of view. Avery gets into a car accident when Declan proves to be unreliable and Avery has to drive herself. She ends up with a few serious injuries. Declan is filled with guilt, feeling like all of this was his fault. So, he talks to his job about working from home, sets up their apartment, and becomes Avery’s at-home nurse.
These two are best friends. They’ve been best friends since college. They’re roommates. I love the friends-to-lovers trope, so I was very excited to follow them as things moved from platonic to romantic. I liked the romance. It was fun and silly and Avery and Declan’s friendship remained strong. I really liked the friends-to-lovers aspect of the story. I think Hunting did a great job making it believable.
Overall, I really had a great time reading this one. I loved the romance. I didn’t love the third act break up, but it was believable and true to the characters, I think. Outside of that, there were some great sibling moments between Avery and her sisters. I’m excited to read more about the sisters in the next books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Seasonal TBR Still on my TBR

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 Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer).

Set Fire to the Gods by Kristen Simmons and Sara Rauschenberg

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

What books are still hanging around your TBR?

Amanda’s June 2022 Book Haul

Hi, lovelies! I’m sure you’re thinking, “Really, Amanda? A book haul? Aren’t you moving in like a month? Well, yes. Yes, I am. So, most of these I’ve made sure to read right away or they are books I bought and have already read.

New Books I’ve Read

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
Nightwork by Nora Roberts

New to my TBR

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mathers
Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey
The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh
When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Off the Grid by Tess Sharpe
The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe

Did you buy any books last month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Anticipated Releases 2022

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 ten books I’m anticipating in the second half of 2022.

July 12 
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

August 2 
Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

August 30 
The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

September 1 
The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart

October 4
The Last Hope in Hopetown by Maria Tureaud

November 1 
Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare

November 22 
The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke

November 22 
The Choice by Nora Roberts

November 29 
A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

December 6 
Lightbringer by Pierce Brown

What books did you have on your list this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Traveling Library: Physical TBR

Hey, lovelies! I’m back with another traveling library post. I’ve been absolutely devouring books lately. Part of that is a renewed attempt to read as much of my physical tbr as I can before we move. Another part of that is that I’ve been rereading some favorites, so I’m flying through my rereads. Let’s talk about what I’m going to read instead of what I have been reading.

So, I’m currently rereading The Emperium Trilogy by Claire Legrand. I am buddy reading Furyborn with Books in the Skye this month and then I’m continuing the series.

From my physical tbr, I have a few books I want to make a priority to read before everything gets packed up. Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May, and The Lost World by Michael Crichton are a few that I have my eye on to pack with me if I don’t read them before I leave.

I know I said this was a physical tbr but, I also have my NetGalley arc’s that I need to read as well. I’m not going to look at the publication date for any of these while I’m on my road trip. I’m just going to read whichever books I’m in the mood for. A few approvals that I have and am eager to get to are Built to Last by Erin Hahn, Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner, and Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young.

I’m going to leave myself enough options to have a variety to choose from, but not so many options that I don’t know which book to pick. I think because I have two or three for each format that I read, I’ll be all set. These books are in addition to whatever mmy monthly tbr books will be in August. I obviously haven’t picked those yet, so some of these might make it on there, but I’ll probably have more books to bring.

Do you plan out books to read ahead of time when you’re going on a trip?

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.

On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig

Summary:
Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war.
Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos.
The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.

On This Unworthy Scaffold (Shadow Players, #3)

Review:
I want to start by saying a huge thank you to Heilig’s publicity team that reached out to me to see if I was interested in reading an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. On This Unworthy Scaffold is one of my most anticipated releases in 2021 and I literally screamed a little when I got the email asking if I was interested.
On This Unworthy Scaffold is the third and final book in the Shadow Players series. I won’t go too much into a summary of the book because there is a summary above and also this is the third book in a series. If you haven’t read the first two books you can read my reviews for For a Muse of Fire and A Kingdom for a Stage. This series follows Jetta, her family, and the friends she makes along the way. I’ve come to really love all of the side characters that make up the main group. Jetta and the rebels have a plan. But as things usually go, nothing goes according to plan. The plot of this story was really compelling. Jetta and Theodora go off on one mission. With this we finally get to see Aquitan. I liked this part of the story. We get to see Jetta think on her feet. She’s still often worried that her malheur. I liked that there was talk of her taking the elixir, a version of modern-day medication. I liked that she was aware of it and questioned herself sometimes to wonder if she was making good choices or not. I also really liked Jetta’s problem solving. She’s not afraid to stand up to those in power. I thought it was really clever the way that she brought things full circle when she finally performed in Aquitan. I just genuinely enjoyed seeing her in her own element, making choices on the fly to get herself out of the situation that she found herself in. I also loved Theodora. She’s an engineer/inventor. I feel like I didn’t get to see as much of her as I would have liked, but I still liked what we did see. She’s smart and unafraid to say what she thinks. Jetta and Theodora working together was really fun to read.
The other team is the Tiger, Leo, Akra, Cheeky, and Tia. Cheeky and Tia are absolutely the comedic relief of the story. But they bring good conversations to the table. They are sex workers and it’s always talked about in a positive way, never with any shame. I also still love Akra. He and Jetta have their ups and downs that come from her bringing him back from the dead, but I loved their relationship. And my dear sweet Leo. I hate the way his story ended. No, I don’t hate it. I hate how fitting it was for his part of this story to end that way. Leo has tried so hard to do good and be loved. He faces his own challenges through this series, but he never lets anything get him down for long. His love for Jetta is so clear. Jetta and Leo lift one another up and I couldn’t help but root for them.
Overall, this was a beautiful and heartbreaking finale to a series that I will reread and love for years to come. I love these characters. I love this story. It includes a lot of important things, like colonialism and bipolar. It’s filled with diverse and queer characters. It’s also written in a unique format, with sheet music, play scripts, myths, and prose. I cannot recommend this series enough.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

GoodReads Summary:
Two star-crossed magicians engage in a deadly game of cunning in The Night Circus, the spellbinding bestseller that has captured the world’s imagination. 
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
Review:
When I started this book it was as an audiobook that I got from my library. I found with the audiobook that I had a really hard time focusing and noticed that I had to rewind and listen again because I would lose focus and miss important details. About twenty percent into The Night Circus I decided to see if the ebook version was available from my library and it was, so I made the switch. I had a much more enjoyable time once I switch to the ebook.
I ate this story up. The Night Circus is a book that I heard about through the bookstagram world (thank god for the bookish community.) I honestly didn’t even read the summary of the book until after I’d already started the audiobook. But by then my attention had already been caught, so it didn’t really matter what the book summary said.
By then I had already started to become attached to Celia after seeing her meet her father as a little girl and have no idea what her father was signing her up for. After watching her train herself and learn more about her abilities and how far she can take them. I only grew more attached as I read instead of listened to the story. I fell more in love as she became a young woman who learned how to stand up to her father, while still learning the things he wants her to. I love Celia. She’s intelligent, caring, clever, and mysterious all at the same time.
While falling in love with Celia I was also learning to love Marco. Adopted as an orphan for the sole purpose of being trained for this challenge, but never being given the full story, he was a very compelling character. I so enjoyed watching him try to figure things out on his own and the way he learned to teach himself and take care of himself because he knew that no one else would. I liked Marco most of the time. There were a  few moments that had me shaking my head wondering why he thought that was the best course of action  (it wasn’t). Regardless, I enjoyed Marco especially once he and Celia started interacting directly rather than just through the circus.
There were some excellent supporting characters in this story. Many others that got their own side story that only added interest to The Night Circus as a whole, like the clockmaker and the fortune-teller. I love when authors give me supporting characters that have stories to tell. I think it makes the book just that much better overall. This was one thing that made it hard for me to listen to this as an audiobook. There were so many different stories being told within this one book that listening to it had them blending together and it wasn’t always clear when we were moving to a new perspective. I really like books with multiple perspectives, especially when they’re complex like this one. I just might not recommend the audiobook over the ebook or paper version unless you know you’ll be able to focus.
Another thing I really liked was that this story was set in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Over the period of many years. Too many stories have timelines that just aren’t realistic or don’t make sense. This book didn’t do that. We read through many many years of our characters lives. I think that just gives the reader a feeling of really knowing the characters and as if we’ve been on this journey with them. I also have to compliment the author on her writing skills because I don’t think I would be able to write a multi-perspective book with this complex story.
As a whole, I liked The Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern is a very talented writer and I hope to be able to write a story like this one day. This book was complex and interesting. Extremely detailed and involved but not to the point where it was hard to get through, just enough to hold my attention and keep me dying to know what’s going to happen. I loved that while it was romantic, with forbidden love (my favorite), there were also some pretty dark aspects to this story. This was a nice touch because what’s life without a little darkness?

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!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
Review:
I found this book available as an ebook from my library. I’ve been getting ebooks from my library on my phone ever since I had a baby because reading on my phone is the best for those late night breastfeeding sessions. I was planning to spend time with my Kindle, but it’s a bit hard to hold while trying to keep the baby in the right position to feed so I mostly read on my phone. Because of this, I have found a few new books that weren’t on my TBR list. The Magicians was one of those. I did want to read this eventually because I wanted to read it before I watched the Netflix show. I’m excited to watch the show now that I’ve read the book and see what the differences are.
This book is totally not what I expected. It was way more detailed and the story was way more in-depth and involved than I was anticipating. The Magicians follows our main character, Quentin, on his journey to find happiness. On this journey, he finds magic, love, and some interesting adventures. Much of this book focuses on a book series that has stuck with Quentin for his whole life. It’s a series that reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia in a few ways. He dreams of visiting this far off world one day and going on a quest to save the world. Quentin ends up on several different adventures of his own, though none of them are what he expected at all. The storyline of this book was a little bizarre to me. We spent so much time following Quentin through his schooling and the copious amount of time he spent drinking and not nearly as much time on the crazy situations that he finds himself in. I spent more than half of the book wondering where the story was going and what the real plot of the story was. I definitely didn’t predict what ended up happening in any way.
As for Quentin, he annoyed me many times. He’s so stuck in his depression that anytime he gets what he thinks will make him happy it never lasts long. He finds out he’s a magician and that’s not enough to keep him happy despite the fact that he’s learning new things every day and he’s found himself in this incredible new part of the world that he never knew existed. He finds a good group of friends that he has fun with and that’s not enough to keep him happy. He somehow manages to get a girlfriend who is smart and caring and loves him but still, that’s not enough. It was honestly just annoying. Instead of doing something or trying to figure out why he’s never happy he just accepts that he’s not meant to be satisfied or happy no matter what he has in his life. It was an interesting addition to the story, the whole idea that maybe magicians aren’t meant to be happy and all that (there’s more to this idea). But Quentin was just a little annoying in his misery.
The supporting characters added a little extra to the story. While they could have been a little further developed with more backstory and maybe their own personal development aside from being students with Quentin and learning magic. I liked their personalities but they were a little shallow as their own characters. They had personalities, but they weren’t fully developed. I think they could have been done better.
Overall, this story was totally not what I was expecting. I liked the story well enough. It was certainly interesting; though I think certain parts of the story could have been done a little differently it was a great read for sure. I would have liked more development for the supporting characters and a little less of Quentin complaining about being unhappy. The storyline was creative and kept my interest.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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