Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Book Tag – Cookies!

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

Chocolate Chip – A classic book you love or really enjoyed

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

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

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

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

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

Shortbread – An author you can’t get enough of

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

Antonia: I literally never get sick of Nora Roberts.

Samoas – An emotional rollercoaster

Amanda: Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Antonia: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snickerdoodles – A book you may never stop loving or rereading

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

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

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Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Book Tag – Back to School

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

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

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

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

Math – A book that made you frustrated

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

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

Science – A book that made you think or question things

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

Antonia- The Shack by William P. Young.

History – Your favorite book from a different time period

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

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

Art – Your favorite book with pictures

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

Antonia- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bus Ride Home – A book or author that is relaxing

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
Review:
I found this book available as an ebook from my library. I’ve been getting ebooks from my library on my phone ever since I had a baby because reading on my phone is the best for those late night breastfeeding sessions. I was planning to spend time with my Kindle, but it’s a bit hard to hold while trying to keep the baby in the right position to feed so I mostly read on my phone. Because of this, I have found a few new books that weren’t on my TBR list. The Magicians was one of those. I did want to read this eventually because I wanted to read it before I watched the Netflix show. I’m excited to watch the show now that I’ve read the book and see what the differences are.
This book is totally not what I expected. It was way more detailed and the story was way more in-depth and involved than I was anticipating. The Magicians follows our main character, Quentin, on his journey to find happiness. On this journey, he finds magic, love, and some interesting adventures. Much of this book focuses on a book series that has stuck with Quentin for his whole life. It’s a series that reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia in a few ways. He dreams of visiting this far off world one day and going on a quest to save the world. Quentin ends up on several different adventures of his own, though none of them are what he expected at all. The storyline of this book was a little bizarre to me. We spent so much time following Quentin through his schooling and the copious amount of time he spent drinking and not nearly as much time on the crazy situations that he finds himself in. I spent more than half of the book wondering where the story was going and what the real plot of the story was. I definitely didn’t predict what ended up happening in any way.
As for Quentin, he annoyed me many times. He’s so stuck in his depression that anytime he gets what he thinks will make him happy it never lasts long. He finds out he’s a magician and that’s not enough to keep him happy despite the fact that he’s learning new things every day and he’s found himself in this incredible new part of the world that he never knew existed. He finds a good group of friends that he has fun with and that’s not enough to keep him happy. He somehow manages to get a girlfriend who is smart and caring and loves him but still, that’s not enough. It was honestly just annoying. Instead of doing something or trying to figure out why he’s never happy he just accepts that he’s not meant to be satisfied or happy no matter what he has in his life. It was an interesting addition to the story, the whole idea that maybe magicians aren’t meant to be happy and all that (there’s more to this idea). But Quentin was just a little annoying in his misery.
The supporting characters added a little extra to the story. While they could have been a little further developed with more backstory and maybe their own personal development aside from being students with Quentin and learning magic. I liked their personalities but they were a little shallow as their own characters. They had personalities, but they weren’t fully developed. I think they could have been done better.
Overall, this story was totally not what I was expecting. I liked the story well enough. It was certainly interesting; though I think certain parts of the story could have been done a little differently it was a great read for sure. I would have liked more development for the supporting characters and a little less of Quentin complaining about being unhappy. The storyline was creative and kept my interest.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything

Book Tag – The Summer Tag

I found this book tag over on Boston Book Reader who has all the fun book tags! I thought this would be a fun one now that summer is coming to an end.

What book cover makes you think of summer?

Amanda- Meant to be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow.

Antonia- Island of Glass by Nora Roberts

What book has brightened your day?

Amanda- The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. This series never fails to make me laugh.

Antonia- How am I supposed to choose? Books from my childhood are usually the ones that make me happiest.

Find a book cover with yellow on it.

Amanda- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Strong Larsson.

Antonia- Warrior Rising by P.C. Cast.

What is your favorite summer beach read?

Amanda- Pretty much anything by Nora Roberts or Janet Evanovich.

Antonia- I love reading Julia Quinn’s books at the beach. They make me laugh so hard.

What action book had you running to the ice cream man for some snacks?

Amanda- Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts for sure had me running for snacks to keep my hands as busy as my brain was.

Antonia- Hmm… I pretty much always have snacks no matter what so I can’t really answer this.

What book has left you with a bad or painful ending like a summer sunburn?

Amanda- Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. The events that occurred in this book were not okay.

Antonia- Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I loved this series but the ending killed me.

What book gave you happy feelings at the ending like a sunset at the end of a wonderful day?

Amanda- Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. This book was too good and I totally loved the ending.

Antonia- Beheld by Alex Flinn. This book had me grinning like a lunatic.

What book cover reminds you of a sunset?

Amanda- Come Sundown by Nora Roberts. It actually has a sunset on the cover.

Antonia- If I Should Die by Amy Plum. It also has a sunset on the cover.

What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

Amanda- The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin. Summer is basically over at this point so my hope of reading this series is quickly dwindling.

Antonia- I’d like to finish the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova.

Antonia's Antics · Everything & Anything

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Summary: Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide.

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Review: This book was amazing, as all of Nora’s are. She’s been an auto-buy author of mine since the first time I picked up one of her books and I’ve never been disappointed. This book was suspenseful, heart-wrenching, funny, and romantic.
I especially loved that it followed these characters over a fourteen year period. It starts with the mall shooting, then shows glimpses of the survivors over the years as they learn to cope with what happened to them, until it reaches present day when most of the story takes place. It was amazing to see the way these characters grew over the years and the different ways they handled (or didn’t) the trauma.
Simone was an awesome character. She goes from a teenager who’s life is ruined because she got dumped to a strong-willed, confident woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She tried to bury her feelings after the shooting; if she kept it locked up, it didn’t happen. I enjoyed watching her slowly open up and actually confront what had happened to her. She definitely has flaws but that only made her more relatable. I also loved how she dealt with her emotions through her art. Being a sculptor, she had a unique perspective that I found very interesting.
Reed is the best kind of male MC; he’s sexy, funny, romantic, tough and not afraid of his sensitive side. He’s perfectly comfortable going from the badass cop to chatting about art with Simone and CiCi. I really hate the super macho guys who think if they’re sensitive that makes them less of a man. Reed doesn’t have that hold-up and it made me love him even more.
CiCi is my favorite. She’s Simone’s grandmother, also an artist, and she’s basically the grandma we all wish we could have. She doesn’t act her age and is unapologetic about who she is. She was so quirky and fun that her character was definitely the highlight of the book for me.
The plot was intricate without being confusing. Since we got to follow the villain, Patricia’s, POV as well, we got to see both sides of the conflict. I like when a story does this because I still get the mystery and suspense that I want without being confused because I only have one side of the story. Patricia made an excellent villain. She was cold, violent, intelligent and psychotic, the kind of villain I adore but who still keeps me up at night.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery or romance. Nora blends the different themes perfectly in this book to make an amazing rollercoaster of a read.
I’d love to know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything · Top Ten Tuesday

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Hidden Gems

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 top ten – Hidden Gems books that haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that I think deserve some recognition.
ttt1. Flamecaster (The Shattered Realms series) by Cinda Williams Chima – I love this series and this author. I just feel like I don’t really see her books advertised anywhere. I don’t see other bloggers talking about her books like I do. I definitely think she should be a more widely read author with the incredible worlds shes built full of diverse and loveable characters.
2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – This one I feel is always overlooked in favor of Vampire Academy. Because they’re part of the same world everyone turns to VA instead of talking about these books.
3. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest – I found this series on my Kindle but it’s definitely one that I think more readers should try. The reviews vary but I think Forrest has built quite the reading adventure with this 50+ book series.
4. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum – Buxbaum’s debut novel was so excellent. I thought I would hear more about it from my fellow bloggers. It makes me sad that I don’t hear more about it.
5. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel – I listened to this audiobook at the recommendation of a BookTuber (Thoughts on Tomes) but aside from the brief mention as one of her top audiobooks I haven’t hear others talk about this series. This is a mistake because Sleeping Giants was insane and amazing.
6. Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World) by P.C. Cast – I found this series outside of the blogging world. I haven’t heard a single blogger talk or write about this book/series. It’s a shame because they’re super interesting books with unique storylines and great character development. I can’t wait for the third to be released later this year.
7. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – An older book, but still great. Creative and full of mystery. I don’t know why more people don’t talk about this story.
8. Talon by Julie Kagawa – While I see that her other series, The Iron Fey, get attention I never see bloggers reading this series.
9. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – See above comment.
10. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, and Margo Lanagan – With the superhero obsession that’s been going on the last few years I’m unsure how this series hasn’t made a bigger splash in the reading world.

What books do you love that you think deserve more attention?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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