Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Book Tag – Cookies!

I saw this tag posted by Boston Book Reader and thought it looked like fun! I hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed writing!

Chocolate Chip – A classic book you love or really enjoyed

Amanda: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Antonia: The Count of Monte Cristo is my new favorite classic.

Thin Mints – A fandom that you really want to join and/or a hyped up book you want to read

Amanda: The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin. I have this on my shelves and I’m DYINGG to read it.

Antonia: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas.

Shortbread – An author you can’t get enough of

Amanda: John Green forever, but also Sarah J. Maas.

Antonia: I literally never get sick of Nora Roberts.

Samoas – An emotional rollercoaster

Amanda: Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Antonia: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.

Oreos – A book whose cover was better than the story or whose story was better than the cover

Amanda: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco i didn’t like this story as much as i thought i would but the cover is to die for.

Antonia: I absolutely love the cover for The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey but didn’t love the story quite as much.

Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties) – A book that wasn’t what you expected

Amanda: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I didnt expect to learn so much about the French Revolution and enjoy it.

Antonia: I really wasnt expecting much from The Dragon’s Gift series by Linsey Hall but ended up absolutely loving all the subseries.

Snickerdoodles – A book you may never stop loving or rereading

Amanda: I’m going to have to say A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (but only because i already answered a question with Looking for Alaska)

Antonia: The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory will forever be my favorite.

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Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Book Tag – Back to School

It’s that time of year bookworms! Back to school is an exciting time of year. New pens, pencils, and markers. New notebooks and planners. Back to school shopping was always my favorite kind of shopping! This tag originally comes from a YouTuber named Jenny Unscripted.

English/Language Arts – Name your favorite author or books’ writing style

Amanda- John Green is my favorite author. But Ellen Hopkins is my favorite writing style. The way she writes her books in such a poetic way is incredible.

Antonia- I really love the way Patrick Rothfuss writes in The Kingkiller Chronicles. It’s as though the main character is telling the story directly to you and it adds so much depth to his character.

Math – A book that made you frustrated

Amanda- The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. I just wanted to get some answers. I almost dnf’d it.

Antonia- Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I character I loved from the previous series died in this one and I’m still so mad about it. (Note: I resent the fact that this one is for math because math was always my favorite subject.)

Science – A book that made you think or question things

Amanda- Any book by John Green. Also The Alchemist by Paul Coelho.

Antonia- The Shack by William P. Young.

History – Your favorite book from a different time period

Amanda: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows for a historical fiction. And The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien for a book that’s actually from a different time period.

Antonia- I love any of the regency romance novels by Julia Quinn.

Art – Your favorite book with pictures

Amanda- Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. This book (and the second one) have actual pages with pictures in them rather than just cute little pictures with the chapter headings.

Antonia- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

Drama – A book you would love to see adapted to a movie or TV show

Amanda- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas would be excellent to see as a tv show for sure.

Antonia- I totally agree with Amanda but to choose my own, I think The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory would make amazing movies.

Music – Name a character you think would have the same musical taste as you

Amanda- I think Charlie from Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow has potential to have the same musical taste as me. Likely some moody alternative music but also sometimes some poppin’ rap/hiphop.

Antonia- Simone from Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts. She mentions what music she’s listening to often and I loved all her choices.

Lunch – A food you would love to try from a book

Amanda- I’m going to be basic on this one but I’d love to try butterbeer or any of the candies from the Harry Potter books.

Antonia- I always wanted to try all the foods from the epic feasts in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.

Bus Ride Home – A book or author that is relaxing

Amanda- I’d have to say the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. Reading this series is like hanging out with an old friend. Always a good time guaranteed to have some laughs.

Antonia- Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’ve read it so many times at this point that it’s like hanging out with an old friend.

Extra Credit – A book someone else told you to read and you ended up enjoying it

Amanda- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. My step sister told me to read this and I’m glad she did. It was super good.

Antonia- Most of the books Amanda yells at me to read. Most recently was the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

GoodReads Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
Review:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is a well-known book in a series that is loved by many readers. I am one of those readers that loves this series. I read this book for the first time years and years ago. Since then I have read all of Clare’s other books as well. I’ve also had to get rid of my books and recollected the entire series once again. Since completing my recollection, along with the upcoming release of the newest book (Queen of Air and Darkness), I knew I wanted to reread all of her books so that the stories are fresh in my mind but also so that I can finally take the time to review them all.
I’m really glad that I decided to do this reread because I found that I had forgotten more than I thought I had. I remembered the basic storyline. Shadowhunters (created by the angels) keep the downworlders (werewolves, vampires, fairies, etc.) accountable for their actions and make sure they’re following the laws. They also hunt demons that manage to find their way into our world. The story is set in a realistic world with the fictitious world belonging to the shadowhunters skillfully interwoven with our own. Clare builds an incredible world that is somehow hidden alongside the real world. The world is believable and almost makes me question whether or not something like that could really exist, hidden from most people.
The characters that make up this story are something else. Clary is our main character. A girl who finds out that her mother has been hiding her true heritage from her to keep her safe from her psychotic father. Clary will always have a special place in my heart, but during this reread she kind of annoyed me a few times. When she finds out that there’s this whole other world out there she doesn’t hesitate for a second before involving herself in as much crap as she can. I understand one of her loved ones disappears, but she does this even before that happens. She gets herself into situations that she’s completely unprepared for and with this, puts the other’s she’s with in danger to appease what she wants. Other than this, Clary is determined and strong. Being thrown into the insanity that is the shadowhunter world, she does pretty well for herself. She’s smart and clever with a tendency to find herself in ridiculous situations but also to get herself out of these situations. She’s fiercely loyal and just a little reckless. All of these things combine for a very interesting girl.
Our love interest, Jace Wayland. He’s everything you want from a book boyfriend. Attractive but also standoffish and a little bit of a jerk. Dangerous and full of secrets. Mysterious but also makes himself vulnerable to Clary with his horrible past that’s left him a little damaged. I liked learning about Jace and seeing him open up to Clary throughout these pages. I’m excited to reread the rest of the books and read more about him to see what else I’ve forgotten.
There are too many supporting characters for me to name them all but I want to point out that there here. They each have such distinct personalities that we see shine through the background. They all play their own parts and add so much fun and craziness to the story. I loved that they are all fully developed and each has their own dramas going on outside of the main storyline. We get to see these characters grow and overcome their own personal struggles and I loved that.
The plot twists in this story were crazy. I knew what they were because I’ve read this before but they still snuck up on me. There were a few minor ones I’d forgotten too. Cassandra Clare is an excellent writer. I’m excited to continue the series.
If you haven’t read any of The Mortal Instruments books you are truly missing out. I had the pleasure of reading the 10th-anniversary edition and the illustrations were beautiful. I liked having this special edition because it just added that much more to the story. Overall, everyone should read these books. They take place in an amazing world with wonderful main characters and even better supporting characters. I’d recommend to anyone for sure.

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

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Goodreads summary:
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Review:
Okay, I totally loved this story. I borrowed this book as an audiobook from my library because I liked the look of the cover. Then I read the book summary and thought it could be something I would like. I had doubts at first because I was really annoyed listening to the narrator reading the email addresses over and over and I almost DNF’d the book about 20% in. But I didn’t and I’m glad I didn’t.
I LOVED Jessie. She’s a girl who’s trying to find herself. Her mom died and she’s trying to figure out how to continue living without the one woman that’s supposed to be there for her whole life. On top of all of this her dad has married a new woman, a complete stranger, and totally changed her life by making her move across the country. So this poor girl is still trying to figure out how to keep on living without her mother and also going to a new school where she doesn’t know anyone, living in a new house that doesn’t feel like her own, trying to figure out how to accept all these changes and be happy. I admire the crap out of Jessie for the strength she shows because I would have lost my freaking mind trying to deal with all of that at sixteen.
Enter “Somebody, Nobody.” This mysterious person who starts emailing Jessie with the advice of who to befriend, who to avoid, and how to survive at this crazy new school. I loved the idea of SN keeping an eye out for Jessie and helping her navigate this new school. Though about halfway through the story I just wanted to yell at him to TELL JESSIE WHO HE IS ALREADY. (We sadly don’t find out who SN is until Jessie does.) We are left guessing at the identity of SN for most of the book. I liked this a little because I spent most of the book arguing in my head with Jessie about whom she thinks SN is. That’s all I will say about SN except that I totally knew who it was and I’m SO HAPPY that SN is who I thought they were.
I think the family dynamic was written really well. I come from a pretty dysfunctional family. I have step parents and siblings and know how hard it is to adjust to having a new family living in one house and learning how all the different people work together and around one another. The family dynamic was written and portrayed accurately and I really liked that. I feel like there aren’t enough books that have stepfamilies and crazy broken, makeshift families that are outside of the norm of a mom and a dad or a single parent home.
I ended up really loving this book way more than I thought I was going to. I thought I would like it well enough, but I definitely loved it. There really is nothing negative to say about it aside from the annoyingness of reading the email addresses, but that’s only because it’s an audiobook. I adored the characters. They all played their own parts very well and each added something to the story. I loved the message that the story gave. Jessie learned so much about herself, but she also learned so much about how she treats others and what she deserves from life. I think this is an excellent young adult story and should be read by anyone and everyone.

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

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

GoodReads Summary:
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now, discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
A storm is coming….
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path.

Review:
This review is almost painful for me to write. I have so many different thoughts on this story, but also not that many. How that even makes sense, I’m unsure. I’ve recently dived into the world of audiobooks from my library. So I get the audiobook for two weeks on the app my library uses. Let me just tell you. This book was so long and so, just, so much that I could only listen to it at certain times and in small doses. Because of this, I had to renew (which meant that I had to put it on hold, again, and wait another two weeks to get the book back because it’s popular and many others were requesting to borrow the audiobook as well) this audiobook FOUR TIMES. This book is a twenty-hour long audiobook because it’s the anniversary edition, so we get a bunch of extra tidbits from the author in the beginning and the end. I feel like I invested so much more than twenty hours into listening to this book.
Okay, now to my thoughts on the actual story. First of all, I loved that we were given a few tidbits actually read by the author. It was a nice touch to this book. Second, the narrators did an AMAZING job reading this book. There were SO many different characters and so many different things all going on at the same time in different places. I think the narrators did an excellent job of giving each of the characters a different voice and really showing the personality that Gaiman wrote for them.
I am having a hard time thinking of the words I’d like to use to describe American Gods. It was such a complex story with so many details and plotlines and characters. It was just on the border of being too much. There were definitely a few times I asked myself what was going on and what the relevance to the story of our main character was, but everything was always brought back together and connected. I found myself saying, “No waaay.” And “Oh my god, shut up,” quite a few times when Gaiman caught me by surprise with the direction of the story and some details here and there.
As I mentioned, American Gods is full of different characters so I’m not going to talk about them like I usually do in my reviews. I will, however, talk about the characters overall. They were incredibly written. Each character had such a distinct personality. Some funny, some terrifying, some annoying. Each character played an important part in the plot and brought something unique to the story being told. The characters were well written and I felt like I really knew them by the end of the book. I mourned some and was glad to lose others. I admired all of them.
The story itself was astounding in all the best ways. Right, when I thought I knew what was going on Gaiman said, “HAHA, YOU THOUGHT.” And totally changed the direction of the story. This happened a few times before we had enough of the pieces to actually understand the story. I can only hope to be as excellent of a writer as Neil Gaiman someday. The way he led us around on this wild ride wondering where the hell we were going and why we got in the car in the first place. There were so many aspects and elements to American Gods, but not so much that it was hard to keep them straight, instead of leaving the reader wondering what the hell was actually going on. I found myself asking that frequently in the first half of listening to this book. “What the hell is even happening right now, I just don’t get it.” Now, on the other side of the book, having learned what was actually going on I’m still a bit blown away and processing the crazy words that make up this adventure.
To keep it simple, this book was awesome. It was an investment, of my time and emotions. The characters were wonderfully written and the story was incredibly complex. If you like mythology stories, you’ll love this book. Just make sure you have the time and mental wherewithal to handle the craziness that is American Gods.

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 link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

ABC book challenge · Everything & Anything

ABC Book Challenge |J|

Hello, Bookworms! This week we are talking about books with the letter J.

For those of you that are new here – each week we post about books beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet starting with A all the way through Z. We’re going to mention one or sometimes a few books that were memorable with the letter of the week and also books that are sadly still living on our TBR lists. So without further ado.

Read last week’s post here.

This week’s letter is – J

Most Memorable Books

Amanda

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore – I was so excited for Cashore to come out with another book. I absolutely adored the Graceling books (once Antonia finally bugged me enough that I read them). So I was excited to see what she was going to come up with next. I liked it well enough, but not nearly as much as her other books.

Antonia

Joust by Mercedes Lackey – This is the first in her Dragon Jousters series. It’s one of my favorites. Dragons are pretty much an autobuy topic for me and I absolutely love the way Lackey portrayed them in this series; more like really intelligent animals that can be domesticated. I highly recommend this one to any fantasy lovers.

Books Still on Our TBR Lists

Amanda

(A) Jungle of Rogues by Bella Forrest – This is the fourth book in the newest season of Forrest’s A Shade of Vampire series. I haven’t read any of the books in this season yet because I hate waiting for the next one to come out. I also have a ridiculous TBR list, so I’m fine waiting and being able to binge read the whole series in a few days.

Antonia

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – I’ve read Around the World in 80 Days and loved it so I’ve been wanting to read more of Verne’s books.

 

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

Review:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is a book that I read years ago when the whole series was first released. I remember liking this book so much more than I did this time. Though last time I read the books and this time I listened to the audiobook via my library.
I loved the audiobook honestly. I loved the narrator. She did a great job differentiating between the various characters. She was an excellent voice for Evie. She really kept me interested in the story even when Evie’s actions and some of the things she said had me rolling my eyes.
The story and plot was super interesting. I liked the uniqueness of the paranormals characters. This wasn’t just another supernatural story with the same old characters. There were obviously the usual vampire and werewolves, but they weren’t the typical beautiful vampires and big macho wolves. I like that White made these popular kinds of characters unique and different.
I adored our love interest, Lend. He’s a shapeshifter so he can be whatever hunk we want him to be. He’s also fiercely loyal to those that are part of his circle. He’s funny and sarcastic and sweet. I just loved Lend. I loved how he wanted to look out for Evie and do everything he could to help her in whatever way she wanted, even if that way was getting to spend a day in high school.
As for our main character, Evie.  Honestly, she annoyed me a little. She’s kind of super immature and I can’t remember if that changes in the next books, but I’m hoping that it does. She was super boy crazy until she met Lend. Then she was Lend crazy. She was so focused on wanting to have a ‘normal teenage life’ getting to go to high school and prom and all of the things she would see on her favorite high school drama TV show. I understand it a bit because she’s never had a normal life. She craves the normalcy that she sees on her favorite show, but she just talks and thinks about it to the point where it’s a little annoying. Even after her situation changes, but she’s still getting new information that could help with the craziness that’s part of the story, she doesn’t do anything to help or share her information at first. She tries to just pretend she’s not a part of it anymore and give up any sort of responsibility. She drove me a little nuts for a decent amount of this book, but she got a bit better at the end. She made the right choices and accepted responsibility, her part in all of everything going on.
Overall, I really liked the unique plot. I liked the interesting twists on the typical paranormal sorts of characters. I loved Lend and I grew to love Evie. I’m excited to see where the second book goes. This book was one that I picked for the Transfiguration (a book with a shapeshifter) requirement during the Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s.

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 link (just click on the book cover) to support us!