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 |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.

 

Book Tag – Unpopular Opinions

Hello, Bookworms! This book tag was created over on YouTube by The Book Archer. I love a good book discussion and I thought this unpopular opinions could really provoke some interesting thoughts from us as well as anyone that’s interested in commenting!

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?
Amanda- I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman. I listened to this recently and I just didn’t love it. I was disappointed because so many peope liked it. I had high hopes and ended up disappointed.
Antonia- Divergent by Veronica Roth. So many people love these books but I could never make myself get into them.

What is a popular book or series that everyone else seemed to hate but you loved?
Amanda- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I understand why so many people hate these books, but I love them anyway.
Antonia- The Age of X series by Richelle Mead. The ending of the second book outraged fans. (I don’t want to give anything away so this might not make much sense if you haven’t read it.) Readers were so mad about what happened that I think that’s a big part of why we haven’t seen anything about a third book. I suppose I sort of understand where people are coming from but I had absolutely no problems with this book.

What book or series had a love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with?
Amanda- Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter. I wanted Kylie to love Derek so badly. I love me some fae and I totally shipped Derek and Kylie instead of Lucas. But I guess you can’t win them all.
Antonia- I guess I’ve been really lucky in this regard. I avoid love triangles as much as I can. I’ve certainly wanted an MC to end up with someone else but I’m always at least a somewhat happy with their choice by the end of it. The most recent example is Talon by Julie Kagawa. I spent most of the series wanting Ember to end up with Riley but I loved Garret by the end of the series.

What is a popular genre that you hardly reach for?
Amanda- Horror. I do NOT like to be scared. I don’t like horror books or movies or anything scary.
Antonia- Same^. I am such a wuss when it comes to scary stuff.

What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?
Amanda- I don’t want to say that I didn’t like him because I could totally change my mind with the second book. Adrian from Renegades by Marissa Meyer was honestly so annoying.
Antonia- Jason Grace from The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan. I wouldn’t say I dislike him but he’s definitely my least favorite of the group.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?
Amanda- Holly Black, but not because I don’t like what she’s written more because I just haven’t had any strong desire to pick up any of her books and read them. Though everyone rants and raved about her books so I will likely read them eventually.
Antonia- Neil Gaiman, I’ve wanted to read his books for a long time but can’t manage to actually start one.

What is a popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?
Amanda- Insta Love. So overrated and overdone.
Antonia- In an effort to stop being a broken record, I’ll pick something different for once. (*Cough* Love Triangles.) Damsel in Distress is one that I would have thought we’d be done with at this point but that I still see way too much. Granted, a woman being saved isn’t something we can entirely avoid and I don’t think we should. People need saving sometimes, especially when there’s lots of action. I just want them to be saved by another woman, or a man needing to be saved. I’m really sick of books where you have this super strong, powerful woman who suddenly needs to be saved by the male MC. She can save herself thanks very much.

What is a popular book or series that you have no interest in reading?
Amanda- Every Day by David Levithan. Just meh.
Antonia- Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I love the show but could really care less about the books.

What is a movie or TV show adaptation of a book or series that you liked more than the books?
Amanda- The Vampire Diaries. I totally loved the books, but once I watched the show I could never go back and read the books again even though the show was super different in the end.
Antonia- This is such an impossible question for bookworms to answer. The only one I can think of is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I much preferred the ending of the movie to that of the book.

Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s Wrap Up

For those of you that missed my TBR post for this reading challenge (find it here) or my mid-readathon update (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 didn’t plan to read them all. Just as many as I can to have more options when I decide to do the N.E.W.T. Exam reading challenge.

owl.jpg

So I’m going to go over the books I read and those that I didn’t manage to get around to or finish before the readathon ended. I had fun with all my choices on my TBR list. Without further delay here’s my wrap up!

O.W.L. Exams Completed

Ancient Runes – A book with a symbol on the cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (print book)

the wicked deep

Divination – A book featuring prophecies

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ebook)

shadow of the fox

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

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 Not Completed

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

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

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (ebook)

air awakens

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 be receiving an O for Outstanding. I completed seven books during this reading challenge. This was so much fun and I look forward to taking part in the N.E.W.T.s magical readathon in the near future!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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!

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

This weeks topic is High School First Love (Pick a character you’d want for your first love! Would it last forever or be a passing relationship?!)

Amanda-  Rather than picking a smoking hot bad boy that I would have LOVED to date during high school, I’m going to pick someone that I would totally have actually dated while I was a high schooler. Ronald Bilius Weasley is absolutely my favorite character from the Harry Potter series. He is exactly the kind of person that I would have dated in high school. A little awkward. Smart but not super nerdy. Great sense of humor. A big crazy family that does all the fun family things. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for redheads.

Antonia- I was not good at dating in high school. I tended to jump into relationships too quickly then realize I wasn’t all that interested so my relationships were always really short. I’m going to choose a character that I WISH I dated in high school. Garret Xavier Sebastian from the Talon series by Julie Kagawa would have made an excellent first boyfriend. He’s mature, kind, and grounded in a way most high school boys aren’t. There’s no drama with him. He accepts Ember for who she is and gives her space when she needs it. He’s exactly the kind of guy I wish I’d dated in high school; I think he would have been a good influence on me.

 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

GoodReads Summary:
In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

Review:
I picked this audiobook to listen to purely because it fulfills the Muggle Studies – A muggle non-fiction novel O.W.L. Exam for the Magical Readathon that I am participating in this month. I don’t frequently pick up non-fiction novels on my own for pleasure reading. Generally, if I read non-fiction it’s for one of my college courses, so this was a little bit outside of my normal reading choice.
I’ve loved Amy Poehler since I first saw her while watching Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope is hilarious and Amy plays her wonderfully. So this opportunity to learn more about who she really is, not who she is as a character, was too fun.
I absolutely love that Amy is the one that reads this book. After watching so much of her on Parks & Rec I could totally picture her reading the story to me. She made it so much fun with her reading as well as the different guest stars she also had come in and read a few chapters. I loved that she made it so fun. It was more of a story than some non-fiction that I’ve read. It was actually more a collection of shorter stories throughout her life.
I learned a lot about Amy and some of it really surprised me while some of it did not. For example, I was surprised to learn that she was born and raised in Massachusetts (this is where I grew up and lived for most of my life) so all of the stories that she shared of her growing up really were some that I could relate to because I grew up similarly (even though we grew up in different times). I also loved seeing how growing up where she did affected her throughout her life – forever referencing the Boston accent she got rid of when she moved away.
I really enjoyed getting to know Amy Poehler in this book. I think I enjoyed it even more because Amy read it to us herself. It was hilarious and entertaining and I loved every minute of it.

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!

ABC Book Challenge |I|

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

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 – I

Most Memorable Books

Amanda

Identical by Ellen Hopkins – This is my second favorite book by Hopkins. The story was incredible and really shocked me with its creative plot twists. I didn’t see any of the craziness coming that happened in these pages.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – I read this book (and its sequel) years and years ago when I got it from the library. The story has stuck with me so much so that when I saw them recently at my local bookstore I just had to buy them. They’re actually also on my TBR list for a reread sometime in the future.

Antonia

It’s in His Kiss by Julia Quinn – This was the first book I read by Quinn. I was probably only 16 or so and hadn’t read too much romance yet but couldn’t find anything at the library. The title was what made me pick it up first, then the summary sounded funny and within a day she was one of my favorite authors.

(The) Immortal Hunter by Lynsay Sands – This was also my first book by Sands. Yes, it’s technically the eleventh book in the series but they can all be read by themselves. These are not books with much depth in them but they’re amazing when you just want a quick, light read.

 

Books Still on Our TBR Lists

Amanda

Inferno by Julie Kagawa – The final book in the Talon series. I will eventually get around to rereading the whole series because I don’t remember anything that happened.

Ice like Fire by Sara Raasch – I loved this series the first time I read it. I read them when I was slacking on being a book blogger. So I’m planning to reread the whole series (this is the second of three) so that I can review them for all our wonderful readers.

Antonia

Inkspell by Cornelia Funk – I want to continue this series because the first book was really good.

(The) In Death series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) – This is another series that I’ve started and would like to continue because the first was super good!

 

 

Book Tag – Courts of Prythian

Now that Antonia has finally gotten around to reading my favorite series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, we can do this fun book tag. I love all things ACOTAR related. So I’ve been dying to do this one.

img_2721

Seasonal Courts

Spring Court – High Lord Tamlin

“Beautiful, everlasting spring but with a bit of a dark side, much like its High Lord, who you might have loved when the series started and rooted for him and Feyre but now you feel completely different.”

Name a book or series that you loved in the beginning and ended up hating.

Amanda- House of Night by P.C. & Kristin Cast. I loved this series so much in the beginning, but after so many books I just couldn’t bother keeping up and finishing it.

Antonia- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I wouldn’t necessarily say hate, but I was obsessed with these books when I was fifteen and after the movies I just couldn’t do it anymore. I tried to reread them years after the movies came out and couldn’t get past the first couple chapters.

Summer Court – High Lord Tarquin

“A court that wants equality for all fae and is working on achieving that. A place that receives everyone.”

Name a book or series with the most diverse characters that you’ve read.

Amanda- Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima. (reviewed here). This is book three in the Shattered Realms series. This series is full of diverse characters from all over their world. People with powers, people without powers, dark-skinned islanders, light-skinned northerners, LBGTQ characters and dragons of course.

Antonia- Most recently I’d say Year One by Nora Roberts. It follows several characters during the apocalypse and they’re all so unique. Even the supporting characters had their own distinct personalities.

Autumn Court – High Lord Beron

“Filled with conflict and power struggles under the rule of ruthless High Lord.  Most likely where we will be going in the next books in the series.”

Name a book or series that you could not put down because you had to know what happened next.

Amanda- I’m going to choose an audiobook for this question. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I could NOT stop listening to this book. It was read by the narrator wonderfully and the story was absolutely incredible. I’m still not so patiently waiting for the second audiobook be available from my library. Read my review for this story here!

Antonia- Well I’d like to say ACOTAR but in an effort to not be too redundant I’ll pick The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. This entire series had me hooked but I absolutely could not stop with this amazing conclusion.

Winter Court – High Lord Kallias

“A beautiful and cold landscape and very hard to read people.”

Name a book or series that you picked up because of its cover and it ended up being hard to read.

Amanda- The Princess series by Alexa Riley. I found these on my Kindle and loved the pretty dresses on the covers. I’m a sucker for some pretty dresses. But these were just not good. They’re super short so I read a few, but they were just bad and hard to read.

Antonia- The Everneath series by Brodi Ashton. I absolutely love these covers and bought them immediately but now I find myself really reluctant to actually pick them up for some reason.

Solar Courts

Dawn Court – High Lord Thesan

“Healing and inventions are the core of this court.”

Name a book that lightens your mood after reading it.

Amanda- Any of the books in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. They’re funny and entertaining and never fail to make me laugh.

Antonia- Anything by Nora Roberts or Julia Quinn usually does it for me. They’re funny, have swoon-worthy romances, and fantastic characters.

Day Court – High Lord Helion

“The court of light and knowledge.”

Name a book that you found to be the most inspiring.

Amanda- A book that my aunt forced me to borrow, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. This was an incredible story of hardship and struggle and I’m super glad I read it. Check out my review here.

Antonia- The Shack by William P. Young. I first read this in high school and, especially at a time when I was trying to figure out who I was as a person, this book really made me question what my beliefs were; not specifically religious beliefs, it more made me look outside of myself and the little world I lived in. It really inspired me to form my own opinions about life instead of constantly listening to what other people told me I should think.

Night Court – High Lord Rhysand & High Lady Feyre

“With its two subcourts, it’s the perfect example of the dual nature of everything.”

Court of Nightmares 

“Just as the name states this court is full of monsters and evil intentions.”

Name a book, series, or character that you hate with a passion.

Amanda- I don’t usually hate books and if I do I certainly don’t continue reading the series. So a character that I hate with a fiery passion is Maeve from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. She’s a crazy lady that needs to be put down. I’m so psyched for the final book to come out later this year.

Antonia- Fallen by Lauren Kate. You can read my review of this one here.

Court of Dreams

“The utopic court, where we all would love to live.”

Name your favorite read of the year (so far). A book that blended everything you were looking for.

Amanda- Air Awakens by Elise Kova. Strong female lead. Crazy adventure. Hunky book boyfriend. Crazy cool magic. Five stars for sure.

Antonia- Once again, I’ll resist choosing ACOTAR. I think the Talon series by Julie Kagawa. All of the books exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend them.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Summary:
You make think you know the story. It goes like this: once upon a time, there was a sixteen-year-old girl named Jane Grey, who was forced to marry a complete stranger (Lord Guildford or Gilford or Gifford-something-or-other), and shortly thereafter found herself ruler of a country. She was queen for nine days. Then she quite literally lost her head.
We have a different tale to tell.
Pay attention. We’ve tweaked some minor details. We’ve completely rearranged major details. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, or simply because we thought a name was terrible and we liked another name better). And we’ve added a touch of magic to keep things interesting. So really anything could happen.
This is how we think Jane’s story should have gone.
Review:
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and it’s second that came out this summer (My Plain Jane). My bookish twin, The Bookish Chick (check her out she’s amazing!) ranted and raved about the audiobook and I knew I had to read it. I couldn’t wait for the audiobook to be available through my library so I bought the book when I saw it available on Book Outlet.
This story does not disappoint in the least. It’s full of hilarious and loveable characters. I knew I was going to love this book after ten pages. I was cracking up pretty much the entire book.
I adored Jane. A fellow bookworm that’s not afraid to speak her mind. She ends up in all kinds of ridiculous situations and manages to get herself out of them as well. She’s smart and clever, funny and sassy, but also kind and loving. She’s incredibly protective over those that she loves and will do anything in her power to make sure they’re safe. I adored everything about Jane.
Gifford, preferred to be called G, was entertaining, but slightly annoying. He doubted Jane for most of the story and it really bugged me. Instead of just talking to Jane and asking her about the things he was assuming, he just let himself stew and feel bad. Other than this, I liked him. He did what he thought was right. He tried to protect Jane, even if that meant causing her to be ridiculously mad at him.
Edward, King of England, was funny and infuriating. He had some really backward ideas for most of the story. Ideas about men being superior to women and such. I liked Edward only because of the wonderful development he did throughout the story. He met a girl that helped him see how wrong all of his ideas really were. I liked that we got to see this change and development. It’s really what made me like him.
Overall this book was hilarious and I just couldn’t get enough. I don’t know too much about the real story of Lady Jane Grey, but I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as this book. If you like historical fiction, you’re going to love this story. The characters were wonderful and kept me wanting to get the rest of their story. I also loved that the narrators kept chiming in with little tidbits. It just made the story that much better. I really liked that the narrators (I don’t know if it’s called the same thing as is it with the movies, but I’m going to go with it) broke the fourth wall and addressed the readers directly. It was a really interesting aspect of the story and just added that little extra. I think all different kinds of readers would love this story. I will for sure be recommending this book to many readers.

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!

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

GoodReads Summary:
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
Review:
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa is a book that I received from Net Galley as an ARC to read and review. This book is scheduled for release later this year in the beginning of October. Julie Kagawa has become an auto-buy author for me, so when I heard about this book I was wicked excited for its release. I was even more excited after I read the synopsis. This book was different from her others. When Net Galley approved me I definitely squealed more than I’m willing to admit.
Our story starts with a girl, Yumeko, who is part human and part kitsune. I loved getting to see the world through her eyes as she went on the adventure in this book. She’s been raised by monks in an isolated part of the world that Kagawa has created. She has learned everything she knows about the world from the monks that raised her. So when everything falls apart and she needs to flee the only place that she’s ever known as home and essentially go and save the world. A lot of responsibility for a girl who’s never been out into the real world, so it was funny and interesting to see the world through her fresh eyes, to learn things as she embarks on her journey. She sees the best in everyone and looks on the bright side of everything.
This brings us to our second perspective, Tatsumi. He’s the complete opposite of Yumeko. He thinks the worst of everyone. He’s been all over the world doing his samurai duty. He’s seen the worst of the worst of people and other sorts of things. He is mostly pessimistic until he starts to travel with Yumeko. She starts to break down his walls, which may not be the best thing for him.
I so loved seeing them interact. These two characters were so opposite and it made for a funny and interesting story. The story itself was fabulous. I loved the Japanese mythology aspect of it. It’s something that I haven’t really read much about so it was new and unique to me. Because of this, I had to take my time with the book. It’s not a book that could binge because there’s so much information that I needed to read slowly and make sure I didn’t miss anything. Shadow of the Fox was a fascinating story and I don’t know when the second book comes out which makes me so sad.
Kagawa has done it again with a wonderfully written and extremely entertaining story that left me wanting so much more. She built an incredible world filled with characters that made me laugh and shake my head. I took like two weeks to read this book because I just did not want it to be over. For the readers out there that like mythology, this is for sure a book to keep your eye out for when it’s released this upcoming October.

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!

Book Tag – TBR

Huge thanks to Inkish Kingdoms for tagging us in this TBR Book Tag! It looks like fun. Besides who doesn’t love talking about books that they want to read? Let’s dive right in!

How do you keep track of your TBR list?

Amanda- I mostly don’t. It’s all in my head. I have a general ‘oh I want to read that in the near future’ list that lives in my brain. But I don’t read off of any list, I look at my shelves and pick whatever looks good. I have recently started marking books on GoodReads as ‘to read’ but they’re all books that I mostly already have at home.

Antonia- It’s mostly just in my head as well. The closest I get to an actual list is books I want to get but once I actually have them it depends entirely on what I feel like reading at the time.

Is your TBR list mostly print or ebook?

Amanda- Mostly print as of now. I recently have gone a little book buying crazy. Once I read some of the books I just bought my ebook TBR list will likely be longer because I’ve been neglecting my Kindle for sure.

Antonia- Mine probably leans a little more towards print but I go through random phases where I’ll just read kindle nonstop then switch to print for awhile.

How do you determine which book from your TBR list to read next?

Amanda- I mentioned above that I mostly just look at my shelves and pick whatever looks good at the moment. I don’t do well with specific lists. One it makes it to the “official TBR list” I’m actually less likely to ever read it.

Antonia- Whatever I’m in the mood for. Usually I’ll just stare at my shelves for awhile or read a few summaries and one tends to jump out and say “You have to read me now!”.

What book has been on your TBR list the longest?

Amanda- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I bought this months and months ago (at this point it’s probably closer to a year ago) and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, but for some reason, I just can’t get myself to pick it up.

Antonia- Hmm… Probably Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I got so mad at the beginning of the book that I never managed to finish it. Now that I have the second and third books I plan on picking it up again soon.

What book have you recently added to your TBR list?

Amanda- Why do all of these book tags want just one book as an answer? I’m a bookworm and I did just say that I bought a ton of books recently. So here’s a few I’m most excited about.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Antonia- ^Same.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
The Mythean Arcana series by Linsey Hall
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

What book on your TBR list is there strictly because of the cover?

Amanda- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I love simple covers.

Antonia- Everneath by Brodi Ashton. The covers have such gorgeous dresses that I just had to get them.

What book on your TBR list do you never actually plan to read?

Amanda- The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. I bought this only because I have all of the other books in the series. It sits on my shelf and begs me to read it but I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll ever get around to it.

Antonia- I don’t think I have anything right now. A couple years ago I moved and had to get rid of most of my books so everything I have now are either favorites or ones I’ve gotten recently.

What unpublished book is on your TBR list that you’re excited for?

Amanda- Again, just one book? Really you should just go check out the whole page we have dedicated to books that are being released this year.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
Windrider by P.C. Cast

Just to name a few.

Antonia- Again, same. I’m really excited for both Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa and Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts.

What’s a book on your TBR list that basically everyone has read but you?

Amanda- Warcross by Marie Lu. I have this. It’s staring at me from my shelf as I type this, but I just haven’t read it yet.

Antonia- Probably Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve been seeing this for forever but never bothered with it until Amanda made me read A Court of Thorns and Roses which I loved so much I HAVE to read her other series.

What’s a book on your TBR list that everyone recommends?

Amanda- Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. I’ve heard amazing things about this book. I recently bought it and hope to get around to reading it soon.

Antonia- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve heard a ton of good things about this one even though a lot of people (myself included) don’t like novellas.

What’s a book on your TBR list that you’re very excited to read?

Amanda- All of them? Otherwise, they wouldn’t be on my TBR list, right?

Antonia- Definitely all of them. None stand out more than the others right now.

How many books are on your GoodReads TBR shelf?

Amanda- There are 65 books that I have labeled as ‘Want to Read’ on GoodReads. Most of which are books that I’ve bought recently and plan to attempt to read in the near future.

Antonia- I don’t use my GoodReads TBR shelf. I could never keep track of adding books and taking them off.

That’s all for this one bookworms! We’re going to tag anyone who reads this and feels like doing the book tag! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your TBR books in the comments!

ABC Book Challenge |H|

Hello, Bookworms! This week we will be talking about books with the letter H.

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 – H

Most Memorable Books 

Amanda

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – As one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite series this book is an obvious choice for this weeks letter.

(The) Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco – This one was memorable for me because the first book in the series was not one of my favorites and I was really hoping this book would redeem the series a bit and it certainly did. Check out my review here.

Antonia

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts – The fourth book in The Bride Quartet. It was such a nice ending to this series about these four women and their amazing friendship

(The) House of Hades by Rick Riordan – This one was probably my favorite of the series. All the Percabeth feels.

 

 

Books Still on our TBR List

Amanda

Heartless by Marissa Meyer – I read this book shortly after it was published, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. I’ve been hearing about how good it was recently, so I’ve had the urge to reread it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling – This book is on my August TBR list. I’m planning to read these books to my daughter after she’s born. Start on making her a bookworm and potterhead as early as I can.

Antonia

Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen – I’ve had my eye on this series for a long time but recently saw a few reviews that convinced me to finally get it. It seems like the ultimate bookworm book and I’m so excited to read it.

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This is the first in her The Covenant series and I’ve actually read it before but for some reason just never got farther into the books. I’d like to finally read them all the way through.

 

 

 

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!