Five Blogging Tips Amanda Relies On

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

Schedule Your Posts

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

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

Choose a Set Posting Schedule

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

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

Plan Your Content

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

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

Choose Topics That Interest You

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2022 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

What books are on your Fall TBR?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Fall 2022 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is books on my fall 2022 TBR list.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu

The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco

When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke

The Scratch Daughters by Hannah Abigail Clarke

These are some of what I’m hoping to read this fall. Whats on your list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Beach Read Recommendations

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

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
“With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that. This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows. When reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

Summary:
The First Daughter is for the Throne
The Second Daughter is for the Wolf…

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.
Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. For the Wolf was one of my top favorite books last year, so I immediately requested this sequel when it came up on NetGalley. Yes, I absolutely screamed a little when I got the approval email.
For the Throne was everything I wanted it to be and more. We follow the same characters from the first book and more. There wasn’t a strict pattern of POV changes that I noticed. Each character made an appearance as it made sense for the story. The story starts off shortly after the events in the final pages for For The Wolf. All of our characters end up going on a journey, which eventually all leads them together.
The sisters, Neve and Redarys. I love them even more after I finished this book. There was such beauty to their relationship but it was a monstrous sort of love at times. I only wish we’d gotten more time of them together.
Red and Eammon are now one of my all-time favorite couples after this book. There were a few really excellent sex scenes for them and I just love their love.
Neve and Solmir going from enemies to lovers were excellent. I don’t usually like this trope. But I really loved seeing Neve start to feel bad for Solmir as she got to know him. We love monster men over here. Solmir was definitely not a super great guy, but I loved the way his story played out. Neve was a character I was rather excited to follow. Neve is at fault for basically everything that happened at the climax of the first book. So, I was very interested to see her deal with the emotions and consequences of that. I think Whitten did an excellent job making me love these people that have done some pretty horrible things. And oh man, I really love them all.
Overall, this series will hold a special place in my heart. I will reread these books again and again. I feel invested in these characters in a way that I found in a book for a long time. I hope this review doesn’t sound like nonsense and if it does, just know that I loved this book and the first one. Please go read them both.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #7

Hi, lovelies! I’m back with another NetGalley shelf update. I’ve read some good ones and some not-so-good ones. Let me know if you’ve read any of these!

As I always do with these posts, I’m going to share my NetGalley statistics for transparencies sake. Mostly because this looks like a large number of books, but I read them all and my numbers show that. I have 234 approved with feedback sent for 204 books. This gives me a feedback ratio of 87%, which I’m pretty proud of.

Approvals I’ve Read

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
Publication date: March 22, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. It was a lot darker than I was anticipating. I loved all the characters that we followed. Their development was compelling and the story was engaging.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
Publication date: March 22, 2022
I think I might not be smart enough for this story. I still had so many questions when I finished and now I remember nothing.

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
Publication date: March 29, 2022
I very surprisingly DNF’d this book. I read about 25% and had no clue what was going on. So I restarted and then DNF’d at 10%. I couldn’t stand the main character’s boyfriend.

The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe (Illustrator)
Publication date: April 1, 2022
I thought this was middle grade, but it’s more like a chapter book. I liked it. I thought it was a cute time travel fantasy that follows diverse characters.

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I DNF’d this around 15%. I think Power’s books might just not be for me.

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
Publication date: April 5, 2022
This is a second chance romance (one of my favorite tropes) with a hot mess main character and the ex that she cheated on. I loved the main character, Lee. She’s a hot mess in the best kinds of ways. This book had me laughing out loud quite a few times while reading.

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters
Publication date: April 5, 2022
This is my favorite book in the series so far. I laughed out loud so many times and just really had fun reading this one.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Huchu
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I liked the first book in this series, but I just didn’t care about this one. I read about 30% of the eARC and then found the audiobook from my library after the book’s release. I DNF’d at 84% and when I still didn’t care while the big reveals were going on I wasn’t going to listen to another two hours.

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I sadly DNF’d this one. I read 8% of the eARC and then restarted the story via the audiobook from my library. I just had no idea what was going on.

Very Bad People by Kit Frick
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I already remember little to nothing about this book. So, that’s not a good sign. What I do remember is not really liking the main character. This one just wasn’t for me.

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum
Publication date: April 12, 2022
I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it. It was an enjoyable and fun YA contemporary. I liked the main character. There were some moments that made me smile. But I don’t think it’s one that will stick with me.

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
Publication date: April 19, 2022
This was too slow for my liking. I ended up listening to the finished audiobook. I felt like the suspense and build-up were lacking and I didn’t like the twist at the end.

The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee
Publication date: April 30, 2022
This felt weirdly unrelated to the rest of the books. I didn’t really like the main character very much.

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I had a good time reading this book but it’s not a series that I think I will want to reread again and again. I do think there were some things at the ending that maybe hinted at another installment of this series which I would read. This book is diverse and full of action.

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked Middlegame a bit more, but only because it was a total mindfuck. I still really enjoyed this one. The seasonal magic was interesting to learn about and I really liked the two main characters.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin
Publication date: May 24, 2022
I think this author nailed the horror aspects of this book. Definitely do not read this if you have any sort of issues with bugs. And while I liked the summer camp setting, I really wish the plot had gone a different way.

Hide by Kiersten White
Publication date: May 24, 2022
This is White’s adult debut and I’m incredibly sad to say that I didn’t love this book. I loved the first half, but then things got a little too fantastical for me. I wanted to love it but there were too many character points of view and I didn’t like the way things were wrapped up.

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper
Publication date: May 31, 2022
This was the most wholesome and heartwarming book I’ve read in a long time. A young gay boy comes out to his parents and they try to plan a pride parade so that he feels loved and welcomed in the small town he lives in and loves.

Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White
Publication date: June 7, 2022
I had a good time reading this one. I liked that the siblings could depend on one another. But they were also distinct and I really liked getting to know them all. I love a good sibling story and this one definitely covered that aspect. I also think White did a great job making it obvious that something was wrong at the park. The setting was weird and creepy, unsettling more than anything really scary. I thought she did well with that part of this book.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler 
Publication date: June 7, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. I’m not a huge football fan, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. I really liked that this wasn’t a sad story about the two main characters dealing with homophobia, but it also wasn’t a totally happy story. It had the realities that queer teens face all over the world, but it was also filled with joy and love.

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I don’t usually read novellas but I love science fiction. This was an odd book in the sense that I didn’t expect it to be so sad. I should have expected it since most near-future sci-fi’s are sad. I still liked it. It was a good story and the format was creative. I can’t say that I had a good time reading it because it wasn’t a happy story. But I would recommend it in specific genre lists.

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I know everyone is calling this a self-insert Outlander story, but I thought it was pretty different from the Outlander books. There was a lot more magic. It wasn’t anything that blew me away but I had fun while I was reading it. The characters were a bit predictable and surface-level, but sometimes that’s fun.

Beneath the Starlit Sea by Nicole Bea
Publication date: June 14, 2022
Dnf’d @ 33% She fell in insta-love with her captor. Sorry, the writing is really beautiful but I’m not here for it.

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. I loved seeing Zinnia again. I loved the romance. I loved all of it. I just wanted more.

What Moves the Dark by T. Kingfisher
Publication date: July 12, 2022
I think this was a good and creepy read. It’s quick and atmospheric and gave me the creepy crawlies a little bit. There was a little bit of gore when the character cut open a hare, but nothing worse than that.

Helltown by Casey Sherman
Publication date: July 12, 2022
I dnf’d at 8%. The book was incredibly graphic with describing the murders. No thank you.

Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
Publication date: July 19, 2022
This is a sapphic romance. I really liked the two main characters. They had vibrant and bold personalities. Their attraction to one another was believable. I love second-chance romances, and this one was a good one. I really liked how the story concluded.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Publication date: September 13, 2022
I was incredibly confused this entire book. I’m sorry but I don’t think this ever delivered on what it was trying to do.

Approvals on my TBR

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Publication date: May 17, 2022
I’ve seen this cover all over Twitter. So, I couldn’t help myself when I requested this one. But it sounds pretty good.

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
Publication date: July 26, 2022
The synopsis sounds right up my alley. But also, this cover is stunning and I couldn’t help myself.

For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
Publication date: July 26, 2022
I just couldn’t say no to the pun in the title. I’ve seen some friends on Twitter enjoy this one.

The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon
Publication date: August 2, 2022
I liked the first two in this series. So, I’m excited to be approved for the third.

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin
Publication date: August 9, 2022
I really loved Night Swim by this author. So, I thought I’d request her new release to see if I like more of her work.

Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie
Publication date: August 23, 2022
This thriller sounds super good.

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
Publication date: September 13, 2022
Chupeco is an auto-buy author for me. I hit that request button so fast.

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
Publication date: September 27, 2022
I am beyond excited for Young’s adult debut. A spooky magical island? Yes, please.

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Publication date: October 4, 2022
Hogle has become an auto-buy author for me. So, I absolutely requested this holiday romance when I saw it.

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
Publication date: October 11, 2022
A queer rom-com where the main character hooks up with her best friend’s mom. How was I supposed to say no to that?

Built to Last by Erin Hahn
Publication date: October 18, 2022
I’ve liked some of Hahn’s YA romance, so I’m excited to try her adult romance debut.

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
Publication date: November 15, 2022
This was a cover request for me. The cover is stunning and then I read that it was about people with magical abilities and that is right up my alley.

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales
Publication date: December 6, 2022
A book where the main character goes on a reality dating show and falls in love with one of the fellow contestants? Yes fucking please.

What books are on your tbr?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

Summary:
Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.
Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path? 

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Mirror Mended follows Zinnia, who we know and love from the first book. The story starts off with her telling us about some of the adventures she’s been on since we last heard from her and how she’s burnt out on happy endings. But then, she’s pulled out of her story and into the story of Snow White. The evil queen is asking for her help. What ensues is funny and heartwarming.
I loved with my whole heart that we got to see Zinnia get a happy ending. Even though it wasn’t a traditional happily ever after, I really loved the way it felt right for her after all the growth and learning her character had done.
I absolutely loved the romance. That shriek you heard? That what me squealing when I realized this book was sapphic. The banter had me smiling to myself and laughing. I really loved the two of them together.
The only complaint I have is just that I wanted more! I wanted to see Zinnia on all of the adventures she talks about at the beginning of the book. I wanted more banter and wild antics from Zinnia and the queen.
Overall, I loved this. I will definitely be recommending both this and the first novella. I think Harrow’s writing was beautiful and lyrical as always. I just love the way that she writes. I loved the main character and I was happy to see Charm again. You don’t want to miss out on this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Summary:
War is only the beginning…
From the desperation of golden crowns…
Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.
And born of mortal flesh…Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.
A great primal power rises…Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.
As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction.

Review:
The War of Two Queens has created some controversy in the book community. I certainly have some thoughts, but I think the best way for me to write this review is going to be to do my what I liked/what I didn’t like kind of review. I think that I am going to talk spoilers for this review because there are some things that really impacted my thoughts of this book that I can’t talk about without spoilers. So, if you don’t want to read spoilers about this book, stop reading here.

What I Liked:

I liked Poppy. Poppy is powerful as hell and only continues to gain power as she completes the Culling. I absolutely loved seeing Poppy lose control and lose her shit on those that test her. But I also really liked seeing her able to pull back and control her abilities when she needed to. Poppy is a Queen in this book and since she and Casteel are separated, Poppy must stand as a queen on her own, and damn did she succeed. I also really loved seeing Poppy hold her own when she came up against Isbeth.

I really liked seeing the ties between the Blood and Ash series and the Flesh and Fire series. I liked that we got hints of what is to come for the next book in the Flesh and Fire series. I think seeing how deep the deception and misinformation about the Gods and the history of their world was fascinating. It’s kind of unbelievable that none of these people know the actual history of their own world.

Millicent. I honestly love her so much. I liked her in the last book, but I loved learning her secrets. I am incredibly eager to see what will happen next in regards to Millicent. I loved her connections to Poppy and I even liked the connections with Malik. There were so many things that Millie was a part of that were left open-ended for future books. I am very excited to see what she does next.

I loved the ending. Isbeth absolutely got what she deserved and I was screaming when she met her end. I was definitely surprised by a few things that happened at the end of the book, but I predicted early on that Kolis was the True King that Isbeth was talking about. But the way that Isbeth went about waking him really surprised me. Guessing the secret about Kolis didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story because I didn’t know all of the details of what needed to happen for him to return. This also is where a lot of the tie-ins come into play from A Shadow in the Ember and I really loved seeing things revealed about the Consort.

The joining. Okay, so, I liked that the joining happened, but I didn’t like the joining itself. I’ll explain that in the next section. I was always pro-joining, and I definitely think that there was foreshadowing leading up to the joining actually happening. I am happy that Kieran and Casteel are connected through Poppy so we will need to worry less about them dying since Poppy is practically impossible to kill.

What I Didn’t Like:

I’ll just dive right in and explain what I didn’t like about the joining. It was messy as hell. For someone that seems to write some really great sex scenes, this threesome was not good. Poppy basically has no idea what’s going on at all. She’s literally talking about how she doesn’t know whose penis is inside her and who is touching her where, like Poppy, open your eyes and look? The whole scene was just messy and I think it could have been much better.

The side characters that we’ve come to know and love felt like they were barely in this book. We’ve been missing Tawny for several books and once again, she was barely in this book. The same goes for Vonetta and Delano and so many others that I’ve really enjoyed seeing. I wish they’d played more of a role that we got to see in this book.

The dual points of view were not my favorite thing. We got back and forth between Poppy and Casteel and I just didn’t care for some reason. Every time we were in a Casteel chapter, I just wanted to see what Poppy was doing. I don’t know why that is, but I didn’t care for the alternating perspectives.

So, this issue is one that I didn’t actually notice until I read some of the reviews after I finished the book. But this might be why I didn’t really care about Casteel’s chapters. Casteel is such a flat character whose only personality trait is loving Poppy. He feels like he’s only in the story to be Poppy’s hype man and that’s such a difference from the first book. He just slowly lost any sort of purpose outside of loving Poppy.

I didn’t really like the repetition either. The countless jokes about Poppy asking questions, Poppy being stabby, and a few other things are jokes that are just getting a little old at this point. They feel a bit overdone.

Overall:

I’m still total trash for this series and I will be continuing on. I’m still very interested to see how things are going to play out. But I will probably be lowering my expectations for future books. I’m sure there are other things that I could talk about, but these are the highlights of my thoughts. I had a great time while I was reading, but it’s definitely not passing The Dark Elements as my favorite series by Armentrout.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #6

Hello, lovelies! I’m back with another NetGalley Shelf update! This is my first update of 2022 and since I did manage to catch up on all of the eARC’s that I’d gotten behind on last year, all of the ARC’s I’ve read and been approved for are 2022 releases.

Now, I’ll share my stats from NetGalley like I have for all the previous posts. My ratio is currently at 81% with 218 titles approved and 176 with feedback sent. I was approved for quite a few new books in the last two weeks, so I have some reading to do for sure.

Approvals I’ve Read

The Kindred by Alechia Dow
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I really loved The Sound of Stars by this author and I’m happy to say that I really loved The Kindred too. I was surprised and so pleased to learn that The Kindred has bits and pieces intertwined with The Sound of Stars. I think this universe was fascinating. The characters were easy to love. The story was engaging. I absolutely recommend this one.

Love At First Spite by Anna E. Collins
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I had so much fun reading this one. The main character and some of her friends buy a property to build a “spite house” to get back at her ex-fiancé that cheated on her. Meanwhile she’s having a fling (read: falling in love), with someone helping building the house. This was an engaging and enjoyable rom-com that I will definitely be recommending in the future.

Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I loved Dragon Pearl. I didn’t love this one nearly as much, but it was still an engaging and enjoyable middle-grade story. It follows a non-binary main character!

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen
Publication date: January 25, 2022
Chen’s books have been hit or miss for me. This one falls right in the middle of that. I was expecting a little more science fiction and a little less family drama, but I still really enjoyed it. Chen did an excellent job creating these characters. I would totally recommend this one for anyone trying to get into sci-fi or those that don’t like hard sci-fi.

Seven Mercies by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May
Publication date: January 25, 2022
This is the sequel to Seven Devils which I read and absolutely loved last year. I happy to report that I also really loved this conclusion. It was full of all the same characters (who I still adore) and the story was full of action and high stakes. I cannot recommend this duology enough.

The Broken Tower by Kelly Braffet
Publication date: January 25, 2022
I did a silly thing and requested this one not knowing it was a sequel. But I did manage to listen to the first audiobook and this eARC before the publication date. I felt similarly about both the first book and this sequel. Both were very character-focused and so it felt like not much happened plotwise. I didn’t mind that so much with the first book, but it was a little annoying for this sequel because there wasn’t much pushing the story forward. It felt like this was all build-up for a big conclusion.

Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen
Publication date: February 1, 2022
I am just genuinely not smart enough for this series.

The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa
Publication date: February 1, 2022
I really loved how the first book was from Puck’s point of view, so I was a little bummed that this one didn’t continue that. But I did really enjoy where this story went. We got a lot of new world-building and adventures with the same characters that I love with my whole heart.

Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher
Publication date: February 22, 2022
I was absolutely not the right audience for this book. Much of the story focuses on marching band (which my school didn’t have and it’s not something I’ve ever been interested in) and a small religious town (I’m not really religious at all). But also, the romance felt like insta-love and when I was finally invested in their relationship one of them dies, so I’m very upset with that choice.

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
Publication date: February 22, 2022
I DNF’d this one at 20%. That’s completely a me thing and not the fault of the book. It’s very gory and gruesome and while I can handle a bit of gore sometimes, this one was just too much for me.

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
Publication date: February 22, 2022
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was creepy and mysterious. It was very “eat the rich” and I was absolutely living for it. I really enjoyed all of the plant knowledge that the main character had. I also just plain liked the main character, Lena. I will absolutely be recommending this in the future.

The One True Me and You by Remi K. England
Publication date: March 1, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. It has a nice balance with one character who knows exactly who she is and goes after what she wants and another that is still figuring themself out. The contrast of the beauty pageant plot points and fandom convention plot points was also super engaging.

Sundial by Catriona Ward
Publication date: March 1, 2022
This was an incredibly twisty story that I never once predicted what might happen next correctly. The characters were engaging and the story was hard to put down. I definitely recommend this one, but not if you have a tough time reading about animal death.

Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli
Publication date: March 1, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. I liked how the fae element of the story was portrayed. I especially liked the romance between the main character and the love interest. I will absolutely recommend this one.

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
Publication date: March 8, 2022
I just couldn’t get into this one. Nothing about it was keeping my attention. I wasn’t finding the world compelling and I didn’t particularly care about either of the main characters.

Last Exit by Max Gladstone
Publication date: March 8, 2022
This book was weird as hell and I genuinely loved every page. The prose was vivid and sometimes a bit flowery. I felt like I flew through the book trying to find out what was going to happen, but I also read it so slowly because I didn’t want it to end.

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy
Publication date: March 22, 2022
This was less of a romance and more of a story about Savvy Sheldon finding her best self after a bad breakup. I absolutely enjoyed every page of this book. I loved all the vivid food descriptions and the friendships were the best part, but there was also a romance and it was one that I easily rooted for.

Approvals on my TBR

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
Publication date: March 22, 2022
Honestly, this one was a cover request. The cover is beautiful, but also, it’s labeled at adult gothic fantasy and that’s absolutely something I want in my life.

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
Publication date: March 22, 2022
This is Sim’s first adult fantasy, which I’ve been looking for more adult SFF books, so I’m excited to try this one out.

The Jade Setter oof Janloon by Fonda Lee
Publication date: April 2022
I just honestly don’t have self-control. I didn’t end up loving this series, but I’m still going to read this one.

The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe (Illustrator)
Publication date: April 1, 2022
This was a random request. I thought it was middle grade, but I think it might be for an even younger audience. Either way, it sounds cute.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Huchu
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I liked the first book in this series, so I’m interested to see what will happen next.

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
Publication date: April 5, 2022
This is the third and final romance that I’m on a blog tour team for. Once again, I don’t know much about it but I love finding new romance.

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen next.

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I didn’t really love Power’s previous two books. But this one sounds pretty different, so I’m going to give it a try. 

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I was sent an eARC of this one like I was for the first two books in the series. These are fun Regency romances, so I expect the same from this one.

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum
Publication date: April 12, 2022
The tagline for this book is “When a high stakes boarding school prank war leads to a fake dating scheme, two teens must decide if they are ready to take the ultimate risk — falling in love.” How could I not hit request after reading that?

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
Publication date: April 19, 2022
All I needed to know was ‘competitive Scrabble’ and I was sold on this one.

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I’ve loved most of Chupeco’s books. I liked the first book in this series and so I’m curious to see how the series will play out.

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I absolutely loved Middlegame so I am very eager to see what’s going to happen in this next book. I don’t think it’s a direct sequel, but I have high hopes that I’ll enjoy it anyway.

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Publication date: May 17, 2022
I’ve seen this cover all over Twitter. So, I couldn’t help myself when I requested this one. But it sounds pretty good.

Hide by Kiersten White
Publication date: May 24, 2022
This is White’s adult debut and I’m incredibly excited about it just from what I’ve seen her share on Twitter. Hide and seek but deadly set in an amusement park? Oh heck yeah.

Primal Animal by Julia Lynn Rubin
Publication date: May 24, 2022
YA horror is hit or miss for me, but this one is set at a summer camp and I’m totally here for that.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler 
Publication date: June 7, 2022
I saw this on NetGalley and wasn’t going to request it. But then I got an unsolicited email from someone at the publishers with a NetGalley widget. I loved Cool for the Summer so I figure I’d give this book a try too. 

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I really loved the first book so I immediately requested this sequel when I saw it come up on NetGalley.

Silk Fire by Zabé Ellor
Publication date: July 1, 2022
I really have to stop requesting books that I don’t know anything about. I just keep seeing this cover on social media and tweets talking about how it’s not a YA book.

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I genuinely don’t know why I requested this. But I was approved, so here goes nothing.

What Moves the Dark by T. Kingfisher
Publication date: July 12, 2022
I really loved The Hollow Places by this author, so I’m excited to try something else by them.

Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
Publication date: July 19, 2022
A sapphic second chance romance? Sign me up, please.

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin
Publication date: August 9, 2022
I really loved Night Swim by this author. So, I thought I’d request her new release to see if I like more of her work.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Publication date: September 13, 2022
Honestly, I’ll read anything by Summers. So, I don’t really even know what this is about. But I do remember reading the synopsis at some point and thinking it sounded good.

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
Publication date: September 27, 2022
I am beyond excited for Young’s adult debut. A spooky magical island? Yes, please.

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Publication date: October 4, 2022
Hogle has become an auto-buy author for me. So, I absolutely requested this holiday romance when I saw it.

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner
Publication date: October 11, 2022
A queer rom-com where the main character hooks up with her best friend’s mom. How was I supposed to say no to that?

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
Publication date: November 15, 2022
This was a cover request for me. The cover is stunning and then I read that it was about people with magical abilities and that is right up my alley.

Do you read books from NetGalley? Do we have any that you’ve been approved for too? Are any of these on your TBR?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blog Tour: Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy

Summary:
Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around the cracks in her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma—who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. But when Savvy’s world starts to crash down around her, she knows it’s time for some renovations.
Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her relationship with her body, her work–life balance (or lack thereof) and, last but not least, her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of friends. But as any home-reno-show junkie can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations. First, Savvy passes out during hot yoga. Then it turns out that the contractor she hires is the same sexy stranger she unintentionally offended by judging based on appearances. Worst of all, Savvy can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over her ex and his latest “upgrade.” Savvy begins to realize that maybe she should’ve started her renovations the other way around: beginning with how she sees herself before building a love that lasts.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for a review. I am a part of the blog tour team for this book.
This story follows Savvy Sheldon, who has just been dumped by her boyfriend of several years. He tells her that she’s let herself go and says some pretty hurtful things as he’s breaking her heart. So, Savvy decides she is going to get herself a revenge body. She’s going to get herself back into shape and start doing the things she loves again so that he will see what he’s just lost.
This book is pitched as a rom-com and I sort of don’t think that’s accurate. It’s less a rom-com and more a story about Savvy finding herself. She’s rediscovering the things that make her happy. She’s doing only good things for herself. I enjoyed this journey so much. I really loved following Savvy as she rekindled her love for tennis and spent more time with her best friends. Honestly, Savvy and her friends were one of the best parts of this book. They were an absolute riot. I loved every page where the three friends were together.
There is a romance in this story too. It was one that I had no problems rooting for. I really liked how they took things slowly since Savvy had just gotten out of a relationship. They had some really believable chemistry. But also I couldn’t stop laughing at how Savyy thought he was homeless when she first met him.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved seeing Savvy find her happiness, happiness that didn’t depend on a man. I loved the food and cooking aspects of the story. I liked the romance. The friendships were hilarious and my favorite. I even liked the workout parts of the story. I definitely think this one will be well-loved by readers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist

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

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The story follows Lena as she’s just arriving back in Boston. She took a break from medical school and went to work with her Aunt in Italy working with plants that have medicinal purposes. But she’s returned to help her parents who are having financial issues. This leads to Lena getting a job as a doctors assistant for a very wealthy family. Lena finds herself entirely too involved with the family, and that’s she’s in completely over her head. But when she realizes the connections between the family she’s employed by and the downfall of her own family, she decides to take things into her own hands and seek revenge.
I really liked Lena right from the start. You could tell that she was super smart and passionate about certain things (like the work with plants she was doing with her Aunt). Her sudden idea and decision to position the man that employed her seemed a little rash for what bwe were shown was an otherwise thoughtful character. Lena seemed to try to think things through before making reckless choices, but the choice to attempt to poison Martin was a snap decision that felt like it took hold of her rather than her actually making the decision. Aside from that, I liked Lena. I didn’t totally understand why she was so enamored by Audrey and Jonathan, as neither of them were very likable characters.
Overall, this was an absolutely wild ride and I really enjoyed it. While I didn’t like all of the characters, I liked Lena. The writing of this story was absolutely beautiful. Mayquist’s prose was lyrical and mysterious, with beautifully described settings. I will be looking forward to whatever work Mayquist writes in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

Summary:
Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.
Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.
Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.
The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.
To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

Review:
Cytonic is the third installment in the Skyward series. So, I won’t go into too much detail with the summary considering that there would be major spoilers for the first two books.
We’re once again following Spensa, who sort of disappeared at the end of the Starsight. We follow her to where she disappeared and in this place, we discover lots of secrets. Considering this is the third book in the series, it felt like it was mostly a build-up for the fourth and final book. While we did get to see Spensa reappear, and we got to see some familiar faces while she was disappeared, it felt like this book was a fact-finding mission all to work toward the final whatever it may be in the final book. I’m certainly not upset about that, but I still missed the crew from the first book being all together. Spensa is mainly on her own, aside from M-Bot (who I still love with my whole heart even though he was mildly annoying in this book), while she’s on her mission. I definitely think there was so much character growth for her in this story because of the things she experienced. Part of that is also absolutely because she’s on this particular mission by herself. She learns more about her cytonic abilities as well as details about the enemy, but most of all, she really dives deep at times and learns more about who she is and what kind of person she wants to be.
Overall, this was another stellar installment of this series. I love Spensa and M-Bot. I love Doomslug. I liked the new characters well enough, but like I said above, I miss the original Skyward Flightcrew being all together. Even though this book felt like it was all leading up to the big resolution that has to be coming to the conclusion, I really appreciated the way this story took the time to develop Spensa on her own as a character. I think because her mission was solo, it really allowed for some focused character development. But I’m incredibly eager to see the team back together again in book four.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books too Good to Review

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is ten books that were too good to review. I make a point to review as many books as I can, so this list will be more of a list of book reviews that I don’t think did the book justice.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (review)

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (review)

Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (review)

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (review)

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman (review)

Rules for Being a Girl by Katie Cootugno & Candace Bushnell (review)

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin (review)

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke (review)

Mirage by Somaiya Daud (review)

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig (review)

These are all books I loved so much, but I don’t feel like I properly explained why in my reviews. What books made your list this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Summary:
A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.

Book Cover

Review:
Despite my trouble with YA books (most specifically YA fantasy) lately, Realm Breaker really had the potential to blow me away. I really liked most of the characters right away. I thought the world was interesting and I was excited to learn more about its history Amanda how things were in the present day. But then the book went on for almost 600 pages and Perry much nothing happened until the final pages of the story.
We follow a wide cast of characters. So many that for the first 200 pages I had trouble remembering who they all were. Things got easier once the whole group was together but the story is multi-perspective, so it took me a bit longer than I’d usually like. I thought the characters were interesting. They were absolutely the best part of this book. A ragtag group of people that have no business saving the world together makes for an interesting story. Except that they didn’t do anything. They traveled and found more people for almost the entire book.
The world was the other thing I liked. I think it’s obvious that Aveyard spent ample time building this world and all its various kingdoms. The settings were interesting. Each kingdom they visited was unique and interesting. I’d love to learn more about the history of this world. I’d also love to know more about these other worlds that are mentioned as bad places. There are a few other worlds mentioned that have to do with the plot that I thought had the potential to be incredibly fascinating.
Overall, this didn’t hit the mark for me. While I liked the characters and I thought the world was interesting, the plot leaves a lot to be desired. When I’m reading a story about an unlikely group of heroes saving the world, I’d like to actually see them do some world-saving.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Becoming by Nora Roberts

Summary:
The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two–including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.
But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

Book Cover

Review:
Roberts will always be one of my favorite authors. I think her books are amazing and The Becoming is no different. This is the second book in the series, so I’ll keep my summary a bit vague. In this sequel, we follow the same character, but there are some new players. The story played out in much the same way that the first book did. Breen is still training with Keegan every day to work on fighting. She’s also still training with her Nan to work on her magical abilities. That’s honestly what most of this book was about. It’s a really character-focused story but the world is interesting and the characters are so easy to love.
I think if you’re going into this story expecting something brand new and totally different from Roberts, you’ll be disappointed. This book has the same feel as her previous romance trilogies. But this is mostly set in a fantastical world. That’s the biggest difference. But it still has the same feel as her older series. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that, at all. I really enjoyed that even though it was a story I was reading for the first time, it still felt familiar. I think the world-building is well done. The world is detailed and complex, but not ever confusing or unclear. I like that there’s a huge variety of different magical species and the small bits we learn about the other worlds are incredibly interesting. We get a bigger view into the politics of this world for this book.
The biggest draw for me was the characters. Marco, Breen’s childhood best friend, played a much bigger role in this story and I’m incredibly happy about that. Marco is black and gay. I was really worried he was going to be used as a “token diverse character” but I absolutely don’t think that was the case. Marco was way more of an active member of this story and I loved it. He gets his own romance and he just brings so much joy to the story. I also really loved seeing his friendship with Breen. The love they have for one another is so clear and they’re some of my favorite friends. Breen is really growing into herself in this book. She’s shed her past of being out down and made out as less than and is doing everything in her power to train and learn. But she also still makes time for writing and family. I loved the balance of “I need to save the world” with her other passions.
Overall, I can’t wait for the conclusion to this series. I love these characters and I love the world they’re fighting to protect. I absolutely have some theories about things that will happen in the future, but I guess we’ll find out later this year when the third book is published.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.