Amanda's Adventures · B&N Book Club · Everything & Anything

B&N Book Club – October

Hi book friends, Amanda here.

Today I’m going to share with you my first Barnes and Nobel Book Club adventure!

This month’s book club book is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. When I found out this was the book I knew I had to participate because I’m a die-hard fan of the Green brothers.

I also decided to participate because I’ve recently moved and I’m interested in attempting to make some bookish friends that I can hang out with in real life instead of just over the internet. In a perfect world, all my internet friends would live close to me, but we sadly don’t live in a perfect world.

So I’m writing this post the morning before book club and I will add more after I have attended the meetup tonight at seven pm! I binge read the book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (AART), last night because I let myself get distracted all month. I’m a huge procrastinator so this is pretty typical for me. I was mostly waiting for a solid block of time to spend with the story and characters.

Here are a few thoughts I had while reading this book:

“Wow, hitting on all the relevant topics.”
“I can’t stop reading parts in Hank’s voice because I totally adore him.”
“I love that April can recognize that she is flawed and imperfect. She acknowledges that sometimes her motivations were selfish and shitty.”
“Yaaas, NaNoWriMo!”
“I wonder if April May talking about writing and book events are ideas that he asked John about or learned while booktouring with John.”
“WHAT WAS THAT ENDING. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US HANK?!”

I wrote down quite a few more thoughts, but those will likely be included in my review which I will write after the book club meet up!

So, I’m super excited for my first time attending a book club. I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I’m happy to be doing something I’ve never done before.

The Next Day – 

Hi Friends! It’s now Thursday and I was too sleepy to finish this post last night. So I’m here with some coffee and ready to tell you all about the wonderful time I had last night.

Driving to book club, I was super nervous and anxious mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried that I would be the only younger person there. I was also worried that I would be the only one to show up.

All of these worries were washed away as soon as I sat down in the circle of chairs that had been set up for the meeting. I showed up early (because I hate being the one that shows up late.) I made sure to have time to walk around and maybe pick out a few new books to take home. (I did. I bought Pillow Thoughts Pillow Thoughts II by Courtney Peppernell and Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo.) Then I walked over to the B&N Cafe (it’s NOT Starbucks!) and ordered a ridiculous Starbucks coffee (I’m a Dunkin’ Donuts girl.) I even asked the cashier if he could spell my name wrong to complete the experience (he didn’t.) I asked him for directions to where book club was happening.

Making my way through the stacks with my coffee and my new books I started to get more excited. As the circle of chairs came into my line of sight I saw that three or four of them already had people in them. So I found an empty chair and took my seat.

There was an awkward silence here and there, nothing too unusual. The B&N employee (I’m so sorry, but I can’t remember her name.) showed up and we all had some casual conversation while we waited for it to be 7pm. We wanted to allow a little bit of time for any last minute stragglers. (Good thing we did because there was a handful of people that came right at or right after seven.)

We all introduced ourselves and added whether or not we enjoyed the book. I think I liked it the best out of everyone. Some didn’t like it at all, some thought it was alright, and some just liked it. I was definitely a little disappointed that the others didn’t love it as much as I did but to each their own.

It didn’t take long for us to get right into it. Barnes and Nobel provided us with some interesting discussion questions that we mostly disregarded after they were read to us and went off on our own tangents. Most of this meeting was spent with the four younger (ish) members explaining various things about social media and being YouTube famous and things like this. It was interesting seeing the difference in knowledge and understanding between the age differences. We spent a lot of time answering questions about the difference between traditionally famous people (sports players, actors/actresses, etc.) and internet famous people. (READ- famous for doing a job vs. famous for being themselves was what we decided the difference was.)

Overall, I had SO much fun. I laughed a lot. I talked a lot. I learned a lot. I will definitely be continuing to participate in this book club. I’m actually going to try to find another one because sadly the B&N book club isn’t as regular as I’d like.

The things I didn’t like:

  1. I left without finding out what the next book choice is going to be (not because I left early, but because there isn’t a specifically determined time for the next book/meeting.)
  2. (See above) – There is not an announced time for the next meeting or even a book chosen. WHY BARNES AND NOBEL WHY? (Supposedly because of the holidays, but I think the holidays are some of my favorite times to read. So lame excuse B&N.)
  3. This isn’t a regular thing. I guess I just assumed that this was a monthly book club. But they have had three meetings since May. So disappointing.

This is all I’ve got for things I didn’t like. Basically, I didn’t like that this doesn’t happen more frequently. Other than this I loved it. I had so much fun talking about a book I enjoyed by an author I love with people I didn’t know.

I am definitely looking forward to whatever book is chosen next! Did anyone else join the Barnes and Nobel Book Club? What did you think of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…
#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.
Review:
The Darkest Star was a book that I received from NetGalley as an ARC. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s first book in the Lux series, Obsidian, is actually the book that inspired myself and Antonia to create this book review blog in the first place. So when I saw that Armentrout was coming out with another installment in the same world featuring some of the characters we’ve grown to love very much I knew that I had to have it. When NetGalley approved me for this I think I actually shrieked out loud.
I tore through this story like no body’s business. I totally loved Evie. She’s a nice girl that gets her entire world shaken to its core. She was a realistic reaction to everything she goes through. Having a minor meltdown but still trying to keep it together. Talking about her problems with her friends. Even the ending was great. Nothing completely resolved, she acknowledges that she needs to take time to figure out who she really is, but is willing to do that surrounded by those that care about her. I liked Evie. She was a realistic and likable character.
Luc is a total book boyfriend babe. He’s our typical mysterious, protective, I-know-everything macho male main character. But I loved every second of it. He was just trying to look out for Evie because she didn’t really even know the whole story. Luc is a guy with a dark past. He is our ‘darkest star’ as the title tells us. I liked that with the mysterious vibe he gives there was actual darkness within him instead of just being mysterious because we didn’t know his history. He has a dark history and has dealt with hardships, done things he’d rather forget. I really loved Luc.

“We were all stars, but Luc … he was the darkest.”

This book was super quotable. I’m a bookworm that loves books that have memorable quotes. This one has a couple that I really love. It’s a wonderfully written story with characters that I love and can’t wait to read more about. The book was fast paced and exciting, giving us a little bit of information at a time, just enough to keep the reader interested and needing to know more.
I would recommend this to all the lovers of the Lux series for sure. And to those who don’t know about the Lux series, go look them up now and read them and love them.

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!

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.

Everything & Anything · I Heart Characters!

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 you’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 you and others can blog hop and share the character love.

i heart characters.jpg

This weeks topic is Favorite Stephen King Character (A character from Stephen King’s creative mind that you love! It can be based upon ANY of his adaptions… Let’s prepare for the Halloween season!)

Amanda

I have only read one novel by Stephen King. Horror is a genre that I tend to stay away from. I don’t like to be scared. This goes for books and movies and everything else. So the character I have for this week’s topic is Carrie. She’s a little out there and definitely crazy. I read the book and then watched the movie and the book was SO much more detailed. I was so surprised by her story and how much I liked it. Carrie was a socially awkward girl that could move things with her mind and got picked on by her peers. But in the end, she sure showed them that she was a not a girl to be trifled with. Check out my review of Carrie here to see my thoughts about the whole book.

Antonia

I also avoid the horror genre like the plague to the point where I’ve never read any of King’s books or watched the movie adaptations. Not that I have anything against King particularly; in the past I’ve thought some of his books sounded really interesting but I’m way too much of a scaredy-cat.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

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!

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

GoodReads Summary:
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
Review:
I realize as I’m writing this that I have been on a science fiction kick. With this book and the Themis Files and others that are up next on my TBR list. This was a book I found while I was browsing suggestions from my library on my ebook/audiobook library app. They have a list of books that are / will be made into movies and Annihilation was on that list. It sounded super interesting so I thought I’d give it a try.
I’m glad I did give it a try because I enjoyed it immensely. I read this ebook in two days. Lately, I’ve been reading much slower because I have a baby to take care of and I’m trying to make sure school is my priority before I let myself get lost in books. I’ve been super good about it too. But I let myself read at night when my baby wakes me up for feedings.
I almost had to stop reading last night while I was feeding because the story got a little bit spooky for me to be reading in the dark in the middle of the night. There were certainly some creepy parts and a few that just gave me the chills. The author did a great job of portraying how our narrator was feeling. I really enjoyed how this book was written. For this story, we’re reading the journal of a biologist that is venturing into Area X on the twelfth expedition. The only information we get is from this biologist, in her journal which is full of only what she learns or decides to share with us. I liked this, but it’s also frustrating because the reader is barely getting any of the big pictures, we only know as much as our narrator/main character knows (which isn’t all that much in this case).
The only thing I didn’t like was this lack of information. I liked the setup and how the story was told, I just wish that our narrator had learned more and had the supplies and opportunity to figure out more of the situation. The book ended and I still have many questions.
I liked the narrator. I really liked that we’re reading her journal because it feels like we’re really getting to know who she is. I know there are two more books but I think they are told from other perspectives. I’m hoping that we will meet the biologist once again in these later books.
This story was certainly mysterious and interesting. My questions kept me interested, wondering what the biologist was going to do/learn next. Overall, I liked the characters though we really only saw development from our narrator. I loved the idea behind the story. It’s creative and kept me wanting more. I’m excited to read the next book!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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.