Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Summary:
Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.
A murder… A tragic accident… Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
Review:
Big Little Lies has been on my TBR list for well over a year. It has been calling to me, begging for me to pick it up and read it for so long. I honestly don’t know what took me so long to pick this up, but I am sure glad that I did. I started this book a few days ago at the beach and made it about fifty pages in. I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I spent most of my birthday reading and made it more than halfway through. I had to finish the book the next day.
I loved everything about this story. It had me laughing out loud – which certainly caused a few funny looks from my husband. These characters kept me laughing. The story kept me on my toes. I was never really sure what to expect. It was written with the perfect amount of suspense. My questions were slowly answered in an acceptable pace. So many mysteries like this don’t answer my questions until the end all in a rush. We were given just enough information to keep the reader wondering what was going to happen next. I like books like this that give me answers as we go along. This was a murder mystery and we didn’t even find out who was killed until the last hundred pages of the book.
The characters are what really made this story. Madeline was hilarious. She stood up for what she felt was right. She didn’t take crap from anyone and stuck to her guns. I really liked Madeline the best. I really felt for her. I think because I am a kid from a family of divorce with half-siblings and step-parents and a complicated situation. I feel for her and the struggle she goes through with her older daughter Abigail. Madeline was a super relatable character and I really enjoyed her inner conversation. She had me laughing out loud quite a bit.
Jane, our young single mother, is one we get to know slowly. She’s just trying to do the best she can for her kid. Doing the best she can to leave the past where it belongs and raise her son to be a good human. Jane had the most plot twists following her and they each more than surprised me. I liked Jane and really felt that she deserved all the good things that she found once she moved to the little beach town this story takes place in.
Celeste is the one that I pitied. She lived what everyone thought was a perfect life, but in reality, was living in her own sort of hell. I admired her strength but I also felt super bad for her when she fell into the stereotype of her situation. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her and others I was sitting there cheering her on.
The relationship that these three women had was my absolute favorite. They stuck up for one another and supported each other. They had me laughing and almost crying through the whole book. Between the relationship between these three and the dynamic of all the other school mothers, this story was excellent.
There were plot twists galore that I didn’t see coming in any way shape or form. The characters were fabulous. They made me feel all of the emotions but mostly made me laugh my butt off. I loved every page of this book and I can’t wait to read more stuff by Liane Moriarty.

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!

I Heart Characters!

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and we’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so we can all blog hop and share the character love.

i heart characters

This weeks topic is – A Creature You’d Want to Adopt (An animal or creature character you’d want as a companion.)

Amanda- I’m going to choose Bryaxis from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. This is one of my absolute favorite series and there are so many different creatures. Bryaxis was one of my favorite creatures that I’ve read about in quite a while. So terrifying that Cassian won’t even describe what it looks like to anyone else, so old that the only thing it desires is someone to talk to and a window to see the stars. I would love to talk to Bryaxis and learn the things that it has seen through its life and get it to share some of its knowledge with me. I don’t know that I would want Bryaxis as a traveling companion or anything similar but I would love to be the person to spend time in the library fulfilling the agreement made with it for someone to talk to. I’m so intrigued to see where this part of the ACOTAR story goes once the next book/series comes out.

Antonia- For me, this will always and forever be Shalkan from The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. He’s a unicorn; you’re probably thinking pure, fluffy being of joy and goodness, right? Well you got the fluffy part right. Shalkan is sarcastic AF, stubborn, badass, and all-around not what you’d expect from a unicorn. I love him so much.

Thanks for reading bookworms! What creature would you choose for this week’s topic? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s Update

I’m here to give an update on my progress for the readathon that I’m doing this month! For those of you that missed my TBR post for this reading challenge (find it here) here’s the deal. A YouTuber by the name of Book Roast created this awesome reading challenge. We read books that meet certain requirements for each of the classes that you could take an O.W.L. exam for. I chose a book for each of the provided courses but definitely don’t plan to read them all. Just as many as I can so that I have more options to take when I decide to do the N.E.W.T. Exam reading challenge.

owls update

So I’m going to go over the books I’ve read and those that I still have left now that I’m just about two weeks into this reading challenge. I’ve had fun with all my choices for my TBR list so far. Without further delay here’s my update!

O.W.L. Exams Completed

Divination – A book featuring prophecies

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ebook)

shadow of the fox

History of Magic – A historical fiction novel

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton (print book)

my lady jane

Muggle Studies – A muggle non-fiction novel

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook)

yes please

Potions – A book with or about alchemy 

Allies by Bella Forrest (ebook)

allies

Transfiguration – A book with transfiguration / shapeshifting or a book with a cat on the cover

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (audiobook)

paranormalcy

O.W.L. Exams In-Progress

Defense Against the Dark Arts – A book about or with a secret society or club

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (print book)

city of bones

Herbology – A book with a nature-related word in the title

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (ebook)

air awakens

O.W.L. Exams Still TBR

Ancient Runes – A book with a symbol on the cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (print book)

the wicked deep

Arithmacy – A book with a number on the cover or in the title

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, & Margo Lanagan (print book)

zeroes

Astronomy – A science fiction novel

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (print book)

this mortal coil

Care of Magical Creatures – A book that includes magical creatures or features magical creatures on the cover

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (print book)

hp - sorcerers stone

Charms – A fantasy novel

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (print book)

ADSOM

Pass

Outstanding – sit and pass at least 5 OWLs
Exceeded Expectations – sit and pass at least 3 OWLs
Acceptable – sit and pass at least 2 OWLs

Fail

Poor – sit only one OWL
Dreadful – start but not finish any OWLs tasks
Troll – do not show up at your OWLs examinations

So according to our grading scale for these exams, I will already be receiving an O for Outstanding. I still have until the 29th to finish the books I’m currently reading and get to the ones that are still on my TBR list. I’ll see you readers in two more weeks for my final update of the Magical Readathon!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Websites

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. Every week there’s a new topic where we get to choose our top ten and write about it. This week’s topic is top ten favorite book blogs or bookish websites. I’m wicked excited to share all my favorite book bloggers and book websites with you all! I’m going to do a few bookish websites that I love and frequently use, a few bookish blogs that I follow and love the girls that run them and a few booktubers that I love to watch.

top t t

1. Book Outlet If you haven’t heard of this website then click the link and go have your life changed and your bank account emptied.
2. Net Galley I have used a few different websites that give books for reviews and this is by far my favorite.
3. GoodReads I love how simple and user-friendly this website is. I have the app on my phone and I have my Kindle connected to update as I’m reading.
4. Alana @ The Bookish Chick Alana is my bookish twinny to the point where it’s getting a little weird so if you follow me & like what I post, then you will love her page too.
5. Erin Eliza @ Undercover Binge Reader I love Erin’s post and she’s always showing love to my posts!
6. Sara @ Bookish Traveling Wife Sara is the sweetest bookworm with a great taste in books. Check out her Instagram too because she takes some awesome pictures!
7. Ashley Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile She posts some great reviews as well as other bookish posts!
8. Piera Ford Piera keeps me laughing with her videos. I love watching her bookish rants about the books I love.
9. Emma @ Emmma Books Emma is just the cutest. She has a fabulous sense of style. Her makeup is always on point. She reads the best books and loves The Mortal Instruments more than any other human being.
10. Peter @ Peter Likes Books I love Peter! He’s sassy and funny and his videos are great!

These are a few of my favorite bookworms and bookish websites! Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know who your favorite book bloggers are in the comments.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

I Heart Characters!

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and we’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so we can all blog hop and share the character love.

i heart characters

This week’s topic is A Brainiac (A super smart character. They could be clever, sly, book smart, manipulative if they apply their brain power it counts.)

Amanda- I really put some thought into this week’s character selection. When I first saw this topic there were so many characters that ran through my mind. A few stereotypical nerdy ones, a few clever and manipulative, a few just smart. Looking at my bookshelves I saw many choices until my eyes settled on one series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (reviewed here). One of the main characters, Lisbeth Salander, is an amazing woman. She’s insanely smart to the point where she’s an outcast, but mostly by her own choice. She’s also a total kick-ass human being who doesn’t take lip from anyone. She’s not afraid to put you in your place if you’ve wronged her. Lisbeth is also basically a super hacker who does what she wants because she’s just that good. Also, covered in tattoos and piercings, she’s just the coolest brainiac I could have picked.

Antonia- I have so many I could use for this one. The trouble is that all the characters I can think of are smart in such different ways. Thinking about it though, I have to choose Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Kvothe is such a complex character with so many different masks that he wears it can be hard to know exactly who he is. From the beginning, he’s always been intelligent; as a child he was this sponge that took in all the knowledge he could without ever seeming to fill up. Up until adulthood he remains that way but adds street smarts, cleverness, and a stubborn will to achieve his goals through any means. He becomes manipulative (though not an evil character by any means) to the point where sometimes his schemes are so convoluted that they cause him even more problems. He’s such a fascinating character that I recommend this book to people for that reason alone.

Thanks for reading bookworms! What character would you choose for this week’s topic? Who’s the coolest brainiac you’ve read about? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Summary:
You can spot the girls who have it easy.
And then there is me.
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough not to care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Review:
This book was beyond powerful. I really enjoy books that talk about powerful and real topics like this. Topics like self-harm, addiction, and mental illness are ones that need to be more widely talked about. While this story is entirely fiction, the events that occur within its pages that are things that happen in the real world all too often. I’m someone that has firsthand experience with addiction because I am an alcoholic. I’ve been to rock bottom and lived there. I think that gives me a different perspective when reading books like this one. I think maybe that gives me a better view of what this world is really like. Because of this, I can say that this story was very realistic. This is something I appreciate about books of this subject matter. It’s not just some story. It’s real life. It’s hard and dirty and sometimes horrible, but it’s real. The other side of this was the predictability of the story. I could see most of the plot coming from a mile away. I don’t know if this is because I’ve been in part of this world or because of something else, but the direction of the story was super obvious to me.
Charlie, our main character, is a girl who you want to root for. She’s a likable girl that the world seems set on beating down with one awful thing after another. She seems to be let down by everyone in her life again and again. Those that are supposed to be there to care for her continually prove that they’re not up for the task. Charlie seems like she wants better for herself. She knows she can do better and be better, but she doesn’t always make the best decisions to support that. Including the friends that she makes.
Mikey is one of them. He seems to want to be able to help Charlie and rescue her until he realizes her feelings for him. I loved but also hated Mikey. Read the book and you’ll understand why. He’s got all of these opinions about Charlie’s life and what she should be doing, who she should or shouldn’t be friends with, but he’s not actually there to support her because his job requires him to leave on music tours. I think he has good intentions and poor execution.
Riley, oh Riley. I couldn’t help but love him even though it’s obvious that he’s pretty much trash. He’s everything that Charlie doesn’t need to complicate her life any further but down the rabbit hole she goes.
There are a few others that Charlie meets that I don’t want to mention specifically as to not spoil anything. But there are quite a few good eggs in this story that pick Charlie up when she’s drowning at rock bottom. The world needs more people like these characters. The ones that look out for the broken and the beaten down, people that throw kindness around like confetti. These characters made the story just that much better.
The ending was excellent. I really enjoyed the realistic ending. It was a mostly happy ending, but there were lessons in it. It was open-ended but doesn’t leave you hanging. Charlie leaves us on a good note, that she’s taking the right steps (finally) to make a better life for herself. Other characters (hint: Riley) also work on getting their lives together. It’s not a ‘happily ever after’ but the characters are going after their own fresh starts.
Girl in Pieces was written in an interesting way. It’s almost as if each chapter was a journal entry of Charlie’s. It’s written in first person point of view following Charlie after a suicide attempt. There are times when it gets a little confusing because it’s written almost as if we’re reading Charlie’s stream of thoughts, but I think that just made the story better and more authentic. I really enjoyed the formatting of the story.
I loved this book. It was real and powerful and thought-provoking. It’s filled with characters that you will love and hate and that will make you laugh and scream. I couldn’t put this book down. I finished reading it in less than a day. I’d recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading about these difficult subjects, but forewarn anyone that struggles with similar issues because this book does not hide anything.

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!

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Summary:
Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help¬ing the others out of theirs.

Review:
I was mostly underwhelmed by this story. This was my latest audiobook choice from my library. I picked it because I’ve read other books by Gayle Forman and enjoyed them. The description sounded interesting enough and I’ve heard some good things from those in the book blogging community that has read it already. I think maybe my opinion would have been different if I was reading this book instead of listening to it, but I listened to it.
This story follows three characters that have all ‘lost their way.’ The first being Freya who has lost her voice and is unsure that she will ever get it back. She’s unsure where her life can go from here. The second is Nathaniel who has lost everything that matters in his life and arrives in New York with a backpack and a destination until he runs into Freya that is. Our third main character is Harun who is letting life take him in a direction that he doesn’t really want to take. He’s letting others make choices for him so that he can hide from his problems and his true self for just a little longer. While I liked the characters, these people who are deeply flawed, just trying to figure out who they are and what their next step is in their lives, it was confusing having three different main characters. We’re following the story where the three characters meet and their stories intertwine with one another, but at the same time, we’re alternating between the three characters getting to know their histories and how they got to where they are now. So I was confused from time to time when we would switch from someone’s backstory back to the present day where the three characters were together. There was just a lot going on that was a little hard to follow in a few places.
As for the story itself, I found it pretty uneventful and unexciting. There were quite a few moments that made me think, “Hm, what an interesting connection.” But there wasn’t actually much action, the characters didn’t really do much. The majority of the plot was our characters learning things about themselves through their conversations and interactions with one another. I don’t mean to say this is a bad thing, it just wasn’t my favorite thing. I love when there’s a bit of both, self-realization but also a little bit of craziness.
I did enjoy the narrators of the audiobook. There were three different narrators and I think they did a great job reading the story and keeping me interested where the plot failed.
Overall I was underwhelmed by this story. I’m not really sure what I was expecting with this book, but I guess it was more than what I was given. I don’t think it was a bad book, not bad enough for me to DNF it, though I did consider it when I was about halfway through listening. I might recommend this to those that prefer more thought-provoking stories rather than one full of adventure and action alongside the thought-provoking aspects.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*We recently have become Amazon Affiliates. 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 |E|

Hello, Bookworms!

This week we will be talking about books with the letter E. For those of you that are new here – here’s the deal, each week we post about books beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet starting with A and ending once we’ve gone all the way to Z. We’re going to mention one or sometimes a few books that were super memorable with the letter of the week and also books that are still living on our TBR lists. So without further ado.

Read last week’s post here.

This week’s letter is – E.

Most Memorable Books 

Amanda

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – This book was absolutely incredible. The way that it ended was just mindblowing and heartbreaking at the same time. I might even say it was my favorite of the series, but I could change my mind when I do my reread this fall in anticipation of the final book.

Earth’s End by Elise Kova – Book three in a five book series that I read as a boxed set on my Kindle. This whole series was incredible and probably one of my top ten new reads of the year (you’ll see it pop up all over with the other book tags and bookish lists I post.)

Antonia

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’ve loved her books ever since I picked up Obsidian on a whim. This one is the last book in The Dark Elements series. It has a really well done angels vs. demons theme and the most swoon-worthy bad boy.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – This was one of the first books I really obsessed over. The end of the series was so bittersweet and a little devastating but I’ll always have such pleasant memories of this book. (No one even think about mentioning the movie.)

 

Books Still on Our TBR Lists

Amanda

(An) Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – I’ve read this book before but I honestly don’t remember anything about it. The third book came out recently so the whole series is on my TBR list with the first two books as a reread.

(The) Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead – The third and final book in the Glittering Court Trilogy and I am beyond ready and excited to see what’s going to happen in this series conclusion.

Antonia

Everneath by Brodi Ashton – I just got all three books in this series and am really excited to see how the Orpheus/ Eurydice myth ties into it.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I saw the movie trailer and thought it was interesting before I ever knew it was a book. After Amanda’s review of it, I knew it had to go on my TBR list.

 

This is what we’ve come up with for this weeks letter! Do you have any memorable books that start with the letter E? What about books that you haven’t managed to read yet? Feel free to answer in the comments and thanks for reading!

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Summary:
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile nations. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire-a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynria’s formidable warhorses-and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine-called Mare-the sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms-and each other.
Review:
I picked this book up from my local library the last time I went for a visit. I found this on the ‘Pride Month’ feature (which yes I know, was last month but I’m forever a step behind on everything.) I’m super glad I picked this book up. It was incredible and made me realize that I don’t read enough LBGTQ books. I think the thing I liked the most about this book was that it didn’t scream “HEY THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT GIRLS FALLING IN LOVE.” It told the story and just let the romance unfold and I really enjoyed that.
The first thing I thought while only a few pages into the story was that all of the characters have really weird but interesting names. I’m not mentioning this because it was bad; I mention it because it took me a minute to figure out how to say the names. I liked the unique names. It’s something that will make the story memorable to me. With the interesting and unique names, I thought it was a little odd that the descriptions in the story were so minimal. There was enough to set the scene but still left a fair amount to the imagination. With a fantasy story like this one, it was a little surprising to me. Most fantasy that I’ve read are teeming with descriptions and world building. This book had them but still left much for the reader to fill in with their own imaginations. I actually didn’t mind this at all. I tend to not read fantasy because of the amount of world building and setting descriptions, so this book was the perfect amount for me. There was also some odd language used that I didn’t like at first, but it grew on me throughout the story. Instead of hours, the characters referred to “sunlengths” and little things like this.
As for our characters, there are a ton that I could mention, but I’m just going to talk about our princesses. Mare and Denna are just about as opposite as you can get aside from their determination and drive. Mare does her best to be the farthest thing from a princess as she can. She spends her days dressed as a peasant drinking in bars trying to collect information. She is constantly underestimated by her father and her brother. Mare is desperate to find the freedom she craves so badly. Denna, on the other hand, has been raised her whole life to do the right thing, to be the proper princess, to do her duty to the kingdoms. Denna is a girl dedicated to her duty, the one she was assigned in childhood, to become a queen. She’s educated and clever, but lets herself get bossed around rather than standing up and saying, “Hey I have this great idea that you should all probably listen to.” So when she and Mare start to bond and Mare starts to listen to Denna’s thoughts and ideas, the not so proper feelings start. I enjoyed every page of watching these girls realize that the love they’d both been looking for their whole lives was right there in front of them. I’m a total sucker for the forbidden love trope. I love that this love was forbidden, but not because it’s love between two women because one of the women is already engaged to be married.
Overall I loved this book. Between the two female main characters that I just couldn’t get enough of as they figured out who they are and what exactly they want from life and one another. The forbidden love aspect had me hooked from the beginning. And the world the story takes place in was interesting enough to leave me pining for the next book that doesn’t come out until next year. I’m dying to know what’s going to happen in this world that frowns upon magic, which may just lead to the end of the world. This book had a great ending for our two princesses but definitely left me wanting more. This was a great young adult fantasy and I would recommend it to anyone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*We recently have become Amazon Affiliates. 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!

Book Tag – This or That?

Another week, another book tag. I found this one done by Bentley over at Book Bastion. I thought it looked like fun! I love the idea of the this or that book tag so I had to do it when I saw this one.

Reading in bed or on the couch? 

Amanda– Both, but generally on the couch during the day and in bed at night before I go to sleep.

Antonia– On the couch most of the time. I have trouble sleeping so I’ve been trying not to do other things in bed; reading, watching t.v., playing games, etc.

Male main character or Female main character?

Amanda– Again both. I love a strong female lead, especially in today’s world. But being a female, I do also enjoy reading books from a male point of view because it’s often so different from my own.

Antonia– Definitely both. I love really well written characters and when characters are written really well, their gender doesn’t matter all that much to me.

Sweet or salty snacks while reading? 

Amanda– It depends on what I’m in the mood for, I’m always going back and forth between salty and sweet.

Antonia– Ooh. I do have a crazy sweet tooth. I love chips and stuff too but I think sweet has to win.

Trilogies or Quartets? 

Amanda– Trilogies for sure.

Antonia– Either? It really just depends on the series. As long as the story isn’t dragged out too long, I’m good.

First person or third person POV?

Amanda– First person if it’s a book from on perspective but third person if there are alternating perspectives.

Antonia– I mostly agree with Amanda on this one. I also think certain genres and plots work better with one or the other.

Reading at night or in the morning? 

Amanda– At night. If I’m reading in the morning I can find some excuse or reason to keep reading for the rest of the day and I end up doing nothing but reading (but is that really a problem?)

Antonia– Afternoon? I need time to wake up before I can focus on anything and if I read at night I have to stop for sleep so I don’t get to read as much.

Libraries or bookstores?

Amanda– Libraries, because they’re still there to support my addiction even when I’m poor.

Antonia– Both. For places that both hold shelves and shelves of books they have such different feels to them.

Books that make you laugh or cry? 

Amanda– Laugh for sure. These days I cry at literally everything because pregnancy hormones are no joke so I’d rather laugh than cry even more.

Antonia– Definitely laugh. I get way too overemotional when books make me cry.

Black or white book covers?

Amanda– Black book covers. White ones get dirty and icky too quickly.

Antonia– Black. ^Amanda’s so smart.

Character driven or plot driven?

Amanda– A story is nothing without its characters.

Antonia– Ahhh! What kind of question is this? They’re both so important. I have to pick both. I love amazing, well-rounded characters but I also love complex, intricate plots.

That’s all we have for today’s tag bookworms!

I’m going to tag –

Danielle at YAAllegience

Alana at The Bookish Chick

Ashley at Thrifty Bibliophile

To participate in this fun tag if they feel like it!

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Summary:
Witnessing the fallout from the poor choices their parents make, three teens are clinging to the last remnants of the secure and familiar world in which they’ve grown up. But what was once clear is now confused. Everything is tilting.
Mikayla is sure she’s found the love her parents lost, but is suddenly weighing nearly impossible choices. Shane has come out, but finds himself struggling to keep it all under control in the face of first love and a horrific loss. Harley, a good girl just seeking new experiences, never expects to hurtle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is. Ellen Hopkins crafts a wrenching story that explores the ways we each find the strength we need to hold on when our world’s been tilted completely off its axis.

Review:
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins is a sort of companion novel to her adult novel Triangles (you can find my review for Triangles here.) I really enjoyed that book and was super excited to read this one and get the story from the perspective of the children. Hopkins once again did not disappoint.
This story starts off right where Triangles does. It’s the beginning of summer break and that’s the best time of year for any kid. The time with no responsibilities, the time for the beach and camping and all the fun summer activities, which yes, usually involves doing things our parents wouldn’t want us to. I know I sure went a little crazy in the summertime when I was younger.
I really liked this book better than Triangles. I’ve spent all day thinking about why this is and I think I’ve settled on the fact that I have a much easier time relating to the characters within Tilt. I’ve been the girl that sneaks out of her house. I’ve been the girl who goes to her mom’s house because I could get away with murder there rather than have to follow the ruled at my dad’s house. I’ve been the girl who drinks and smokes even though it’s not the best or right way to deal with my problems or emotions. These characters are going through things that I understand and can completely relate to. That’s something that will immediately make me love a book, reading about a character that I can relate to or have similar experiences too. Like my review for Triangles, I’m not going to go into the details of each character, but I really loved them all. They’re just kids trying to figure out what their place is in this crazy world while also fighting seemingly insurmountable struggles.
This story, Tilt, talks about so many subjects that are normally shied away from. One character struggles with being a pregnant teenager and what that means for her future. She struggles with the decision of abortion versus adoption versus keeping the baby. Another character struggles with being gay and having a boyfriend that’s infected with HIV. Then his sister dies and he falls down the depression hole and uses drinking and drugs to try to cope with his feelings. The third deals with how she views herself versus how she thinks others view her. She does things and makes choices that she knows she probably shouldn’t but does them anyway because she craves attention and mostly just wants to be loved. Even though I’m almost 25, I remember what it was like to feel similarly to these characters and deal with these struggles.
I preferred Tilt over Triangles for one other reason. I’m not sure what it is that makes me feel this way, but the young characters in Tilt seem to have such a better awareness of those around them. They’re most considerate of how their loved ones are feeling and (for the most part) how their actions will affect those that they care about. In Triangles, that seems to be something lacking from the adults. You would think it would be the other way around where the adults would be overly concerned about how the results of their actions on their children, but the children, Shane, Mikayla, and Harley are always thinking about how their parents would feel if they did this or that. It was something I liked and I thought it showed an interesting maturity in them.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. It’s another book from Hopkins that hits close to home and makes you think about topics that people usually avoid. This book makes you take a hard look at choices that some teens have to make. Tilt talks about things that should be talked about rather than shied away from. With relatable characters and a story so interesting I just couldn’t put the book down until I finished every last page. I recommend this book to every reader out there for sure. Hopkins is an incredible writer and I’m just blown away by her talent every time I read another of her books. If you haven’t read any of Ellen Hopkins works stop what you’re doing and go read any of them right now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Summary:
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
one small thingReview:
I received this book from NetGalley as an ARC (though I think the book was released last month). I was super excited to get this book because I read the Royals series also by Erin Watt and I really enjoyed it. The synopsis of this story was really intriguing to me. I really enjoy reading about characters going through some trauma or awful life event and coming out better on the other side. There’s always just really great character development in books like this. One Small Thing was no different.
I knew I was going to like Beth within the first few pages because of one specific line. She’s told by her mother to clean the area for her stuff in their mudroom and while she’s doing so she’s telling us what she has there. One of the things she moves around and cleans is “a stack of Sarah J. Maas books that I’m reading for the eightieth time.” Right there I knew I liked her because I absolutely adore a main character that reads, though this was really the only mention of books, that’s okay. I really enjoyed reading about Beth and her struggle to deal with her feelings of grief and frustration that come with the death of a loved one. It was really interestingly written in a way that she wasn’t really able to properly grieve because she was so upset about so many other things in her life, such as her parents and their suffocating and unbearable rules. Because of her parents’ behavior, she starts to rebel and just finds herself in more and more trouble.
I understand that her parents are grieving the loss of their firstborn daughter and they want to protect the daughter that they do still have left, but I think they went overboard. It was to the point where if I were Beth I would have absolutely run away and stayed somewhere else away from them. I would not have been able to deal with them and just take the crap they were throwing at Beth.
I absolutely adored Chase. I was right alongside Beth falling in love with him even though everyone thought it was wrong. This is a guy that Beth was supposed to hate, but she finds herself attracted to him before she knows who he is. Then after she finds out who she is she deals with the shame and guilt because all of these people are telling her how she should be feeling, but she’s still drawn to him, still attracted to him. Let me just say, I LOVE FORBIDDEN LOVE. In this book, it has more frowned upon love than actually forbidden, but the feels are still the same. I honestly could not get enough of Beth and Chase together. They were just so good for one another even though they both tried to fight it. They were both what the other needed. Chase has no problem telling Beth she was being a spoiled ass brat and she needed to think about her actions and how she was treating people. This really had an effect on Beth. This wasn’t the only thing that Chase set her straight about either. I think that’s why I liked them so much because neither was afraid to tell the other how things really are and they need to get over themselves and do better. They’re just two people that were different parts of a horrible life event that were trying to figure out how to move forward and continue living their best lives. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to do that together.
There were a few side characters that I just have to mention. Jeff was garbage and I hate him. That’s all I’m going to say about him or else I will rant and I don’t want to do that. Beth’s best friend Scarlett is one that I mostly liked. They fight like typical high school girls and it was sad and horrible and made me really happy that I don’t have to deal with that petty drama anymore. Fighting about boys and not listening to your friends who are almost always right, it was super relatable but also made me mad because I’m out of that phase of life. There were a few members of staff at Beth’s high school that I just really loved. I think the high school did an excellent job of trying to support Beth and checking in with her even though she’s a high schooler that doesn’t want to talk about her feelings with any adults. I think it was a nice touch to the story.
Overall, I was pleased with this book. It was a really interesting read about two characters trying to deal with the same traumatic event where one is the victim and the other caused it. There was such a fascinating dynamic to this story and I loved every second of the forbidden love aspect. I also liked the tie-in with the title of the book. The idea is that you just need ‘one small thing’ to get you through each day. It was a really nice input into the story and it was something that I could really relate to within my own life. The writing wasn’t overly fancy or complicated so it made for an easy read of a story I really enjoyed. I liked most of the characters well enough but adored our two main characters. This was a nice quick read with a great story.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Summary:
Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.
The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.
But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

shelter in place
Review:
I’m going to start this review off by mentioning that I did not actually read this book. I’ve joined the world of audio books and this was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to. So I listened to this book rather than reading the physical copy. I wasn’t sure how that was going to go since I’d never listened to one before. But I recently have been watching a few booktubers and one suggested that even if you don’t think you like it listen anyway; listen all the way through one audiobook and then decide. So that’s what I did with Nora Robert’s newest standalone novel, Shelter in Place. I also want to mention that I didn’t even bother to read the book’s synopsis before I chose this one. I love everything Nora writes and knew this would be no different.
I was balling my little eyes out within the first ten minutes of listening to this. This story is about a hot topic with today’s current events and it was so hard to listen to. I’m also eight months pregnant and everything makes me cry these days and I think listening to it rather than reading it had an effect for sure. I would like to mention that listening to a book is such a different experience for me than reading a book is. I think (with the right narrator) the book can really come alive. Not that the stories don’t come alive when I read them, it’s just different.
Anywho, this story was incredible. I knew it would be because Nora is an incredible author and one of my auto-buy authors. I don’t even need to know what the book is about before getting it (which is what I did with this.) This was a story about a really sensitive topic that will stick with me for a long time. I think Nora did a wonderful job talking about such a hard serious topic in such an interesting way.
The characters in this story were like no others. We got to read a few different perspectives to follow in this book. It was a little bit confusing with the audiobook because there would be a slight pause and then the story would take a completely different direction. I got used to that after a little bit and anticipated it more, definitely something that will probably keep happening with multi-perspective stories that I listen to instead of reading, but only for the first little bit of the story. I really enjoyed the way the book was written. I loved that we got to follow the characters through their lives and see how this monumental and traumatizing even affected each character in different ways.
I thought the characters were so well developed in this story. Part of that was that we followed them for so many years of their lives and we got to follow them as they dealt with their feelings (or avoided said feelings in some cases). We got to follow the development step by step and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed that we followed the villain of the story alongside the victims. I think it was a fascinating aspect of the story. Seeing into the mind of the person that planned the mall shooting and never got caught, it was such a provocative aspect to the book and the other characters.
This was all around an incredibly powerful story. I think everyone should read this story. It’s one that will certainly stick with me for a long time. It was so unlike some of her fun and crazy love stories and I could not stop listening. I literally listened to this book in like three days (the audiobook was like fourteen or fifteen hours long). As for the audiobook aspect of it, I thought the narrator did a fabulous job reading the story. She did different voices for all the different characters and I just loved it. I was really skeptical going into the audiobook but January (the narrator) really made the characters distinct and come alive. I completely surprised myself by really liking the audiobook experience and I’m actually already in the middle of another one.
So yeah, read this book. Listen to this book. Whatever. Just love these words as much as I do and let them make you feel all the feels.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Book Tag – Reader’s Problems

We’ve become obsessed with book tags and we’re not sorry about it. We found the Reader’s Problems Book Tag posted by Linda at Linda’s Little Library! She has some great posts over there, so go check out her page. We saw this tag and thought it looked like fun.

You have 20,000 books on your TBR list. How in the world do you decide which book to read next? 

Amanda- This is actually a real life, everyday problem. One that I’m currently facing. I have at least twenty books on my TBR and I almost dread finishing a book because I don’t want to have to think about what I’m going to read next. But when I do finally decide, it’s usually based off whatever mood I’m in. I may want something quick and fun to read or I may be ready to get invested and lose a piece of my soul in some new series.

Antonia- Like Amanda, it mostly depends on my mood. I think more often than not it’s the book I’ve been thinking about longest or the new book I’ve been waiting for. Usually when I can’t decide between a bunch I’ll read the synopsis of each (even if I’ve read it a million times) and that’s how I figure out what I’m in the mood for.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it, do you quit or are you committed? 

Amanda- I’m committed. I’m not someone that is capable of not finishing a book unless I’m less than fifty pages into the book. This recently happened to me with The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (check out my review here) I finished the entire book and still really just didn’t love it. But the person that I am, I still read the second book, The Heart Forger (review here), and I ended up really enjoying it. I’m excited for the third to come out. So, yeah, I have to finish a book once I’m halfway because I’m pretty invested, even if I finish it and don’t like it, that’s okay.

Antonia- I’m not afraid to DNF but I try not to. Like Amanda, I’ve definitely read books I didn’t like but loved the rest of the series so I always try to keep that in mind when I don’t like something. I really only DNF when I either REALLY hate the main character or dislike the writing style so much that I have to keep rereading sentences because I can’t stay focused.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, yet still so far away from your reading goal on GoodReads. Do you try to catch up and how? 

Amanda- Wow, I love this book tag. This literally happened to me New Years Eve ’17. I spent half the night reading (even though I was at a friends house with a big group of my friends) because I needed to try to make it to 300 books for the year. I finished a book that night but only made it to 299 books for the year. Better luck next year I guess.

Antonia- It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to reach my yearly goals so I don’t worry about it too much anymore. I usually have so much going on in December that it’s unfortunately not very high on my list.

The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope? 

Amanda- Depending on the series I will not care or I will buy more copies of said books to make sure I have a matching set. For example, I own every book in the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich but I’ve bought them slowly over the years from yard sales and library sales and a few new hardcovers here and there – so not one book in this series matches. But my favorite series A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas all have to be the same or I will lose my mind. It would bother me so much that I didn’t have a matching series (I do though, so it’s fine.)

Antonia- It’s definitely an unpopular opinion but I really don’t care. Sure it’s nice when they look all pretty stacked together but that frequently means having to buy hardcover copies and that means less money for other books.

Everyone and their mother really loves a book that you really didn’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? 

Amanda- Antonia, duh. Mostly because she doesn’t read half of the books that I do. We both read our own kinds of books, so generally if I’m reading something popular that everyone loves (in certain genres) she hasn’t read it and I can complain to her. But I mean, I can complain to her even if she read it and liked it. So, Antonia is my answer regardless of what book it is.

Antonia- Amanda, duh. For literally the same reasons.

You’re reading a book in public and it’s going to make you cry. How do you deal? 

Amanda- I’m okay with that. I’m one of those crazy bookworms that you may see in public hysterically laughing at whatever is in my book. The same goes for crying. If the book’s going to make me cry, it doesn’t matter where I am.

Antonia- Unlike Amanda I really don’t like crying in public so I’ll usually just take a few deep breaths and hold back the tears or if that’s not possible, I’ll put the book away.

A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you reread the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on GoodReads? Just cry in frustration?!

Amanda- I will reread the book. This is another real-life situation for me. I’m actually doing this now. I’m reading Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima (which I reviewed here when it came out a few years ago.) So even though I read and reviewed it, I know I’ve forgotten important details. So I’m going to reread it along with the second book, Shadowcaster, now that the third has recently been released.

Antonia- Definitely reread. I love rereading books. If it’s been recently enough that I remember a lot of it then I might find a summary and that’ll help me remember the rest.

You do not want anyone, ANYONE, borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask? 

Amanda- This is actually really easy when you don’t have any friends (HAH, it’s true though.) And the friends I do have live hundreds of miles away from me. Also any friends that live close don’t read or aren’t comfortable asking to borrow my books (because I’m smart enough to not offer for them to borrow, which is something I used to stupidly do all the time.)

Antonia- I also don’t have friends so there’s no one to ask me. The few people I’m close to who read (like Amanda, husband, mom, sister) I know are trustworthy with books and will give them back. Anyone else I usually just make up some excuse not to.

Reading ADD, you’ve picked up and put down five books in the last month. How do you get out of your reading slump? 

Amanda- When this happens to me I tend to pick one of my go-to authors that write easy, fun, lighthearted books. This happened to me a few weeks ago and I got out of the slump by reading Come Sundown by Nora Roberts (reviewed here) and it was a quick read that got me out of my slump. Janet Evanovich, Linsay Sands, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips are other authors that I can read their books any time, but especially when I find myself in a slump.

Antonia- Again, my answer is very similar to Amanda’s. (Are we the same person?) Nora Roberts is always my go to when I can’t get into any books because I’ve literally never had that problem with any of her books (and I’ve read at least a hundred of them).

There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Amanda- All of them. What kind of question is this?

Antonia- I wish I could say all of them. Unfortunately money’s often an issue for me. I’ll buy the 2 or 3 that I can’t live without then either wait for the others or try to find them at the library.

After you’ve bought all of the new books that you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them? 

Amanda- Um…About this. A long time. But only because I have to reread some books before I can get to the new ones. And because more new books keep coming out and I have to get to those too and read some of them first.

Antonia- I’ve gotten better about this since I don’t often buy a ton at one time but occasionally one still waits for too long.

 

Okay, so we had a ton of fun with this Reader’s Problems Book Tag, mostly because many of these are real struggles we face as bookworms. So if you’re reading this and think it sounds fun, consider yourself tagged!

Overdrive by Dawn Ius

Summary:
Jules Parish has screwed up.
After three years of boosting cars, she got caught. She’s too good to get caught, but she lets her (ex)-boyfriend talk her into a questionable job. Now she and her little sister, Emma, will be kicked out of their foster home, left to survive on the unforgiving streets of Las Vegas alone.
Unless…
Eccentric, wealthy Roger Montgomery wants to open up his mansion to Jules and Emma. The only catch? Jules must steal seven of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars in the world…in seven weeks. Even worse, she’s forced to put her trust in three complete strangers to help her do it.
First, there’s Chelsea, the gorgeous redhead with a sharp tongue and skill for picking locks. Then there’s Mat, who hasn’t met a system he couldn’t hack. And finally, there’s the impossibly sexy car thief Nick, whose bad attitude and mysterious past drive Jules crazy.
With nothing in common and everything to lose, can Jules and her amateur crew pull off what could be the biggest car heist in history? Or will things spin out of control faster than Nevada dust devil?

Review:
I found Overdrive by Dawn Ius at the library when I went to sign up at my new local library. I’ve mentioned in our new feature (Library Book Haul) that each time I visit the library I will be picking one book based on the authors last name – choosing a letter that we don’t have any reviews for on our master review list. This book was that selection for my most recent library trip.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book. It was a random find that I thought sounded a bit interesting. I ended up reading the entire book in four hours (whoops). This story is told in the first person point of view, which is my favorite. I like stories that are told like stories by the main character. Our main character Jules was interesting. I didn’t like her at first. She was overly paranoid to the point where it was annoying. She was constantly afraid that everyone else was out to get her and lying to her. She’s a young girl that’s taken to breaking the law so that she can support her sister and try to help them have a better life. It made her relatable, yes she’s doing the wrong thing, but for good reasons. She’s doing what she needs to for those that she loves, that’s something that most people can relate to. The only thing I didn’t like was that Jules was so easily offended and super defensive about everything. I get that she’s had a hard life and doesn’t trust easily, but you’d think that would give her thicker skin and she’d let stuff just roll off her back instead of taking offense to every little thing.
Once we’re introduced to the rest of the characters in our story we start to see their relationships developing. This was probably my favorite part of this book. The character development was phenomenal. Each character played a role in the main story – boosting seven cars in seven weeks for their foster father – but they also each had their own story that was being revealed as we learned about them and they learned about one another. The development of these characters was written very well. We’re given just enough information to understand that they’re just a group of kids that have made some bad choices and are trying to be better and get away from their past mistakes. As we learn the stories of the secondary characters, Chelsea, Mat, and Nick, we also get to see them learning more about themselves from one another. Throughout the pages of this story, they become a family, albeit a dysfunctional one. The group is a well-functioning machine, each member playing an important part toward their end goals. But regardless of their individual end goals that each member is working toward, they all come together to do what’s best for Emma, Jules’ little sister. Emma becomes the surrogate little sister to everyone and they all want to look out for what’s best for her. I liked this aspect of the story. These big bad rebellious teenagers all seem to have a soft spot for a little girl. It’s just a nice touch.
The opening and the climax of Overdrive seemed like they were rushed. I liked them well enough, but I just think they could have been written a bit better, maybe with more detail. The opening scene is when Jules is getting caught boosting a car. It was alright but left the impression that it was a filler scene – something that needed to happen for the story to go to where it needed to. That the author was just giving us the necessary information to keep things moving forward. The climax, however, appeared rushed. Ius told us what was happening rather than showing us (this is something I’m working on myself having recently learned about it in my college writing courses). I liked how she ended the story, I just didn’t love the way that it was written. The idea behind the conclusion was solid, but the writing was not. I feel the same way about the “six months later” epilogue at the end of the book. I definitely could have read more about where they all ended up. I’m not saying it was bad, just that it could have been better.
Ultimately, I liked Overdrive by Dawn Ius. I liked the storyline, it was interesting and unique. I adored the characters, they had excellent character development. This was a good, fun, quick read.

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!