Blogtober Day Twenty-One: Underrated October Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I’ve done a few ‘underrated recommendations’ posts and I always love to share books that don’t get the hype that others do. My definition of an ‘underrated’ book is one that has less than 5 thousand ratings on GoodReads. While I definitely thing that GoodReads is an imperfect reader resource, many people still use it for recommendations and other things. I usually keep these kinds of lists strictly backlist books, but some of these are new releases that I haven’t really seen anyone talking about.

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The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig
“The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.”

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Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
“One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about. Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets. When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found…”

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The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.
Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.”

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The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
“Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape. For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…”

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The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney
“Rose Colter is almost home, but she can’t go back there yet. When her car breaks down in the Nevada desert, the silence of the night is broken by a radio broadcast of a voicemail message from her best friend, Gaby. A message Rose has listened to countless times over the past year. The last one Gaby left before she died. So Rose follows the lights from the closest radio tower to Lotus Valley, a small town where prophets are a dime a dozen, secrets lurk in every shadow, and the diner pie is legendary. And according to Cassie Cyrene, the town’s third most accurate prophet, they’ve been waiting for her. Because Rose’s arrival is part of a looming prophecy, one that says a flood will destroy Lotus Valley in just three days’ time. Rose believes if the prophecy comes true then it will confirm her worst fear–the PTSD she was diagnosed with after Gaby’s death has changed her in ways she can’t face. So with help from new friends, Rose sets out to stop the flood, but her connection to it, and to this strange little town, runs deeper than she could’ve imagined.”

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The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis
Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.
Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack. But she’ll have to. Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.”

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What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo
“Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds. Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her. Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.”

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The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her perfectly. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Along with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home. But when Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child—one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months—the teens find themselves on the frontlines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through 750,000 acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone. But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single, missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.”

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They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman
“Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life, and she won’t let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course. The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers’ lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can’t help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie’s been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong–she’s someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she’d never be: distracted. With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won’t let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.”

There you have it, nine underrated books that I would recommend you read during the spooky season. What books do you think are missing from this list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Nineteen: Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Online Resources for Book Lovers

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 the ten online resources I use to make my reading life better.

StoryGraph
I love this app to track my reading. It’s still pretty new so it doesn’t have all the features I like from GoodReads, but I think eventually it’ll be the way better option.

GoodReads
I still use this to track my reading. But I also use it to track new releases and upcoming releases since StoryGraph isn’t as specific as GoodReads with publication dates.

NetGalley
I’m not sure if this counts. But I read a lot of my anticipated releases via NetGalley and then review them here and on GoodReads.

Libib
I use this app on my phone to track what books I own. This is great for the books I’m collecting slowly and sometimes for series I don’t always buy in order.

Libby
This is one of a few apps that my library uses for ebooks and audiobooks. I use this one for both.

Hoopla
Another library app. This one has options for movies and music as well as ebooks and audiobooks. I use Hoopla mostly for audiobooks, but also for graphic novels.

WordPress
I love scrolling through my reader to catch up on blog posts from the other bloggers that I follow. Blog posts are a huge resource for recommendations and other bookish content.

YouTube
BookTube is a sub-community on YouTube that I love to watch. Now that I’ve watched for a while, I mostly watch for specific people rather than for specific topics, but it’s still a great place for recommendations and the like.

These are all the online resources that I personally use to enhance my reading. I’m sure there’s most out there, but these are the ones I use. What about you?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Cazadora by Romina Garber

Summary:
In Cazadora, Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be illegal in a timely, intimate, and emotionally powerful narrative.
Werewolves. Witches. Romance. Resistance.
Enter a world straight out of Argentine folklore…
Following the events of Lobizona, Manu and her friends cross the mystical border into Kerana–a cursed realm in Argentina–searching for allies and a hiding place. As they chase down leads about the Coven–a mythical resistance manada that might not even exist–the Cazadores chase down leads about Manu, setting up traps to capture and arrest her.
Just as it seems the Cazadores have Manu and her friends cornered, the Coven answers their call for help. As Manu catches her breath among these non-conforming Septimus, she discovers they need a revolution as much as she does.
But is she the right one to lead them? After all, hybrids aren’t just outlawed. They’re feared and reviled. What happens when the Coven learns of Manu’s dual heritage? Will they still protect her? Or will they betray her?
And after running this far, for this long–how much farther can Manu go before her feet get tired, and she stops to take a stand?

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Review:
Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. Cazadora starts off not long after Lobizona ends, which I liked (find my review here!) I prefer books that start right after the events of previous books. I don’t like when books jump a bunch of time and things supposedly happen in that time that the reader is just told about. I also really liked how the author refreshed the readers memory about events from the previous book. I was going to try to read Lobizona again, but I ended up deciding to just jump into Cazadora and see what happened. Garber reminded me of things from the previous book without dumping a bunch of information into the story.
We still follow Manu and friends, but they’re on the run and trying to figure out a plan for what comes next. It felt like there was a bit of aimlessness for the characters where they sort of just ran because they didn’t know what else to do. But when they find the Coven things picked up and I really liked that. Once the friends have a goal and a plan, the story was excellent again. I think once a plan was made the pace really picked up and stayed steady for the rest of the book.
I still liked all of the characters like I did from the first book. Manu, while still uncertain of who she really is, was brave and admirable. She’s had so many titles, but is still trying to figure out who the real Manu is. I liked this part of the story. I also liked that her friends had their own parts of the plot too. Some of them are struggling with their magic and others are working through relationship issues. I liked that they all had their own part to play in the story instead of just being there to support Manu.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I want more from this world and these characters. I’m sad to see that this is only a duology. But I’m hoping that this series does well enough that Garber will write more books set in this same world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Summary:
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

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Review:
For the Wolf was chosen by my book club for September. I’m so glad that we ended up reading this book because it’s going to be one of my 2021 favorites. This story really pulled me in and spit me out in a way that a book hasn’t in a while. I alternated between the eBook and the audiobook because I just could not story reading this story. I needed to know how it ended. I stayed up until way later than I should have so that I could finish.
There are two daughters. The first, Neve, will become Queen, in time. And the second, Redarys, was to be given over to the Wilderwood, and the Wolf that lived there. There hasn’t been a second daughter in many years, so when it’s finally time for Red to be given to the Wolf, the people hope that the Wolf will finally return their kings to them. But there’s so much in the legends of the Wilderwood that just isn’t true. That’s what the heart of this story really is, learning the truths behind the tales and how to right the wrongs that have been done.
The world really fascinated me. There was just so much of it that it was hard to get a handle on at times. The kings from legend, the ones supposedly trapped by the Wolf, brought all of the kingdoms together under one ruler, the first daughter. So, there are quite a few different places mentioned and once I just sort of ignored everywhere other than the Wilderwood and Red’s home, it was less confusing. This world felt vast, so narrowing it down felt necessary for me to enjoy it rather than get lost in trying to remember all the names that didn’t really need remembering. So, the Wilderwood is incredibly mysterious, but also endlessly fascinating. I was filled with so many questions. I think Whitten did a good job creating suspense and mystery by not answering questions, but I think some of those questions could have been answered a bit sooner and still had the same or a similar effect on the story. But the setting of the Wilderwood was stunning. I could picture it and I’m not usually very good at picturing settings, especially in fantasy stories.
The characters were ones that were easy to love. Red is a fierce woman that willingly goes into the Wilderwood to meet the Wolf because she has magic that she’s kept hidden, a magic that she’s terrified will hurt her sister if she cannot control it. But when she learns the truth of the Wolf, she falls for him, slowly. He tries to protect her, Eammon. But his protection is in the form of keeping secrets (one of my least favorite tropes). I think their romance was a little bit insta-lovey which I don’t usually love. But I think the way that it was set up worked for this story. I still liked them both individually and grew to love them together. By the end, I was definitely invested in their romance. I think the lack of clarity with the way the Wilderwood’s magic worked honestly just added to the story. I usually like well explained magic, but it somehow worked for this story.
Overall, I loved this book even with the few things that I didn’t like. I also might have died a little reading the preview we got of book two. I am beyond excited to learn more about the kings and what will end up happening with Neve. Plus, man is that book cover to die for and the cover for book two is just as stunning. I cannot wait to read more from Whitten in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twelve (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Book Settings

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 my ten favorite book settings.

Boarding scools

Small towns

On a boat

At the beach

In outer space

In the woods

That’s all I’ve got for this week’s topic. What did you pick?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Summary:
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

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Review:
Cemetery Boys follows Yadriel, a brujo that just wants to prove to his family that he’s a real brujo. He’s transgender and his very traditional family hasn’t really done their best to accept that. His family members are brujos and brujas, the men summoning and banishing ghosts and the women doing healing magic. But Yadriel is determined to prove that he’s a real brujo, so he performs the correct ceremony with his cousin (who is truly my favorite character in the book) and is granted his brujo powers from Lady Death. But then he accidentally summons Julian Diaz while he’s attempting to find out what happened to another cousin that was murdered. But this is a YA book, so obviously things don’t go as planned.
I really liked Yadriel and Julian. I also liked Yadriel’s cousin. I thought that Yadriel’s goal was one I could easily get behind, but it felt like it took forever to do what he needed to. I didn’t really understand why he kept going to school when there were such serious and time sensitive things going on around him. I understand having strict parents. I was raised by a single dad that was incredibly strict. There was a sense of urgency that was talked about, but it wasn’t shown with the character’s behaviors.
I loved the magic. I really liked how the Latinx culture was included and how it was turned magical. I’ve heard of things like the day of the dead, but I really liked the magical elements that were added.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I can absolutely see why so many people have raved about this book. I did the audiobook and the physical copy. So, I liked the narrator, but around halfway found myself losing focus (I think this was me and not the narrator though). Once I picked up the physical copy, I flew through the rest of the story. I’m not sure if I had read the whole thing physically that I still would have felt that sense of urgency from the characters lacking. But overall, I had a great time with the magic and these characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Summary:
The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore, for readers of The Song of Achilles and Uprooted.
Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals.
It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan God of Death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City–and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Prehispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.

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Review:
Gods of Jade and Shadow follows Casiopea, a young woman who lives in her mother’s childhood home. She’s treated like a servant, tasked with cleaning the house, attending to her grandfather and her cousin, Martin. Everyone, aside from her mother, treat her as less than because of who her father was. He wasn’t ‘good enough’ for Casiopea’s mother, so she is treated like she isn’t good enough for her family. All Casiopea dreams of is escaping the small town she’s stuck in and then suddenly, one night, she must leave. She pricks her hand on a bone shard she finds in her grandfather’s room. A bone shard that turned out to be Hun-Kame, a Mayan death god that was trapped, and now needs Casiopea’s help in reclaiming his throne from his brother.
This really was a beautiful story. The writing was beautiful and almost melodic. The pace of the story wasn’t so slow that I lost focus, but it also wasn’t a super-fast paced story either. I really liked the pacing of the story. It allowed me to feel like I was really getting to know the characters which was good because I could have easily felt left outside this beautiful story because of the world building and mythology. But it’s written in a way that I really felt like I got to know Casiopea, her dreams and wants, and how those things change the more time she spends with Hun-Kame. Casiopea was an incredibly courageous character. She does things that she’s afraid to do, but she does them anyway because she believes they’re the right thing to do. Doing what you believe is the right thing is usually the hard thing to do. I really liked the development of the relationship between Casiopea and Hun-Kame. I feel like we didn’t get to know him as well as we did Casiopea, but I liked him all the same.
The world building and mythology was just as good as the characters. The Mayan mythology was lush and fascinating. It’s not a mythology I know much about, so it felt like a whole new fantastical world for me, but it was incredibly interesting to be immersed in. Moreno-Garcia paints an incredibly vivid picture of all the magic and myths in the story. I just couldn’t get enough.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I had a great time getting to know the characters and getting invested in them and their journey. I really loved the settings and the mythology. I would definitely recommend this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eight: Series to Finish in 2021

Hey, friends! Last year, we did a post where we talked about series that we’ve started but haven’t finished. This was really helpful for Amanda to keep her accountable to eventually finish those series. We thought it would be fun to see what series are still on this list or are new to the list. Find our first list here! We did actually do a wrap up for this post last year, which you can find here.

Amanda’s Series to Finish

Age of Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m actually pleasantly surprised to see that I only have three series on this list. I’ve been much better than previous years with reading series finales when they come out. So, the series that are on my TBR are ones that haven’t been completely published or series that I haven’t started yet. I also don’t think I’ll finish Outlander but I felt silly just having two series on this list.

Antonia’s Series to Finish

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

I’m almost definitely overestimating my reading time with these but I’m really excited for all of these books and am hoping to get through at least two of them before the end of the year.

These are the series that we’re hoping to finish before the end of 2021. Do you have any series you want to wrap up before the end of the year?

Blogtober Day One: Amanda’s October TBR Jar Picks & Gothtober Readathon TBR

Hello, lovelies! Once again, it’s a new month. It’s actually one of my favorite months, October! For me, spooky season starts in September, so I’ve been reading all the books I’ve saved for spooky season for the last month, but I’m excited to share what I’ve planned for this month. I’m going to keep this first Blogtober post as my TBR jar picks because I’ve really been enjoying picking books off my TBR shelf this way. I’m also doing a readathon which I’ll mention later in the post. I have lots of Blogtober content that I’m very excited to share with you all.

Fantasy
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Backlist Book
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Thriller
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Most Recent Purchase
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Young Adult
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young

I’m a bit behind on my eARC’s from NetGalley, so I have a few I want to read this month, as usual. These are just the ones that I couldn’t fit into TBR prompts for this month.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

I’m also participating in the Gothtober Readathon (find all their information here on Twitter) again this year. This year it’s Angels vs. Demons (or vs. Death if you don’t want to be on a team). I’m going for Team Demon, which should surprise zero people. The prompts are listed in the graphic below, but I’m also sharing each prompt with my book selection.

Mythology
Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Omens
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

Found Family
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi

Dark Romance
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout

LGBTQ+ Representation
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool

Murder
I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin

Classics
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

BIPOC Representation
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Disability Representation
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

What will you be reading this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s September Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I really cannot believe that September is over. But I’m very excited for October to get here because I have lots of fun Blogtober content planned. I also just love the spooky season.

What I Read

Physical Books
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee – 3 stars
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin – 5 stars
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto – 4 stars

eBooks
Holdout by Jeffery Kluger – 3.5 stars
The Twin Paradox by Charles Wachter – 3.5 stars
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 4 stars
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao – 3 stars
The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 4 stars

Audiobooks
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – 4 stars
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – 5 stars
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman – 4 stars
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – 4 stars
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole – 2 stars
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – 3.5 stars
One by One by Ruth Ware – 2 stars
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – 4 stars
Recursion by Blake Crouch – 3 stars
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe – 4 stars
The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl – 4 stars
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James – 3.75 stars
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – 2 stars

Audiobooks
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – 4 stars
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – 5 stars
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman – 4 stars
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – 4 stars
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole – 2 stars
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – 3.5 stars
One by One by Ruth Ware – 2 stars
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – 4 stars
Recursion by Blake Crouch – 3 stars
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe – 4 stars
The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl – 4 stars
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James – 3.75 stars
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – 2 stars
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He – 2.5 stars
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides – 2.5 stars

Blogging Highlights

A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart (Book Review)

Amanda’s Poetry Collection

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth (Book Review)

Five Fantasy Adaptations Amanda Would Watch

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (Book Review)

10 Backlist Books on Amanda’s TBR List

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers (Book Review)

Amanda’s Boarding School Recommendation

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (Book Review)

Other Blogger I’m Loving

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – audiobook review! from Evelyn Reads
Check out Evelyn’s review of one of my favorite audiobooks!

October TBR from Books in the Skye
See what Steph is reading for spooky season!

New Young Adult Book Releases This Week / 27th September from Vee Bookish
Vee talks about new releases. Some of these are perfect for the upcoming month of spooky reading!

Autumn Reads from Journey into Books
Michaela recommends some great books for the Autumn season.

Ranking Riley Sager Books from Falling Down the Book Hole
Ashley ranks all of Sager’s books. This was a fun one as I’ve recently read a few of their newer books.

Book Recommendations – 8 Latine Science-Fiction/Fantasy & Magical Realism from CW @ The Quiet Pond
As usual, some great recommendations from CW and just in time to get ready for sci-fi month in November!

How was September for you with reading and blogging?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Birthday Book Haul!

Hi, lovelies! My birthday was in August and I usually end up with a decent amount of books gifted to me. So, this is also sort of my August book haul, but I didn’t buy any of these because they were all birthday gifts. My lovely best friend, Antonia, bought me quite a few books for my birthday so thank you very much babe!

New Books I’ve Read

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

That Weekend by Kara Thomas

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

New Books for my TBR

Ace of Spades by by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

My Contrary Mary by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, & Cynthia Hand

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

The Push by Ashley Audrain

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

I think I’ve read a good amount of these new books and I have plans to immediately read some of the others. Did you buy any books in August?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Summary:
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.

Book Cover

Review:
One Last Stop was another birthday gift (Thanks, Avhlee!). I don’t know if I’m going to be able to really explain my feelings about this book. This book is probably going to make my favorites of 2021 list. It just felt like a deeply personal story to me and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to portray that in this review. So, instead of writing a review in my normal format I’m going to share 5 things I loved about One Last Stop.

  1. I love the way that the past connected with the present. We see it again and again with Jane and August. One example being the pancake diner.
  2. Jane and August meet on the subway and they spend most of their time together on the subway. So, a fun thing that McQuiston added into this book was little blurbs and snippets from various ‘missed connections’ pages. They’re all about Jane because she’s been on the subway for literally years. I thought this was a really fun extra that we got in the story.
  3. The sex scenes were everything I wanted them to be. I give them an enthusiastic chef’s kiss.
  4. I really loved the way that McQuiston included LGBTQIA history. We see it through Jane’s eyes who was a lesbian in the 70s. We also see it with the inclusion of the UpStairs Lounge fire that happened in 1973 (and this connects to another part of the story).
  5. August’s three roommates, Niko, Myla, and Wes, are the found family of my dreams. They’re weird and quirky, but they accept one another and love one another. I love how they came together to help August find a way to be with Jane.

Overall, this book reached into my soul and made a home there. I was constantly laughing out loud and couldn’t stop myself from reading bits and pieces aloud to Antonia. I loved this book with my whole heart and soul and I already cannot wait to reread it in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s September TBR Jar Picks

Hey, lovelies! It’s September which means I’m going to be starting my ‘spooky season’ reading. I love to read thrillers, mysteries, and other stories like that during the fall/Halloween season. So, I will be picking five categories from my TBR jar and trying to match them with what I really want to read for spooky season.

Gifted to You
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
Thanks mom! This was a birthday gift from my mom and I’m super excited to read it.

New Release
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
I’ve had this tentatively on my TBR for the last several months since I bought it and I’m dying to read it.

Sequel
Cazadora by Romina Garber
I have an eARC of this that I’m behind on reading. I want to reread the first book, which I think I’m going to do via audio. So, hopefully I’ll be able to read both of these in September.

LGBTQIA+
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
It’s finally the perfect time of year to read this! I’ve been waiting for spooky season for this one because when I bought it last year it ended up being backordered at the indie bookstore I got it from.

5-Star Prediction
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Antonia and I did a five star prediction back in April. We honestly probably won’t wrap that one up and predict more until next month, but this book is on that list for me and I think it’ll be a good spooky season read.

As usual, I have a few books I want to read outside of what I’ve picked for my TBR jar. Some of these are NetGalley arc’s and some are just books I’m hoping to read in September.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochran

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

These are the books I’m hoping to read in September. What’s on your TBR this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Magical Readathon: Orilium – The Novice Path TBR

Hi, lovelies! G has returned to us with a brand new version of The Magical Readathon! I’m honestly beyond excited about this because I loved the Magical Readathon in the past years when I did it. But with the author of the series that inspired the readathon being hugely transphobic, G has recreated this readathon with a brand new world of her own creation. I’m in awe of the amount of time and effort that it must have taken to think up and plan and organize everything for this. You can check out G’s announcement video with all of the details and stuff you need to know here!

Above is the ‘Novice Path’ which is the path I must take if I want to make it to Orilium and attend the academy there. To successfully venture on the Novice Path, I must complete two prompts, but I’m going to go for all seven. Each prompt must have their own book. So, here are the books I’m planning to read to complete the Novice Path and make it to Orilium.

The Novice Path Entrance: read a book with a map

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Ashthorn Tree: a book that keeps tempting you (or the book on top of your TBR)

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Mist of Solitude: read a standalone

The Twin Paradox by Charles Wachter

Ruin of the Skye: read a book featuring ghosts/haunted house, or other supernatural elements

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Obsidian Falls: read a thriller or mystery book

Holdout by Jeffery Kluger

Tower of Rumination: read a five star prediction

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Orilium Academy Arc: a book with a school setting

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

There are also a few prompts that have to so with creating my character (which I plan to use in future rounds of this readathon) so, I am planning to attempt these prompts as well this month.

Background

Wildling: read a book largely set in a forest/outside

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Province

Irtheria: read a book that features fae or elven characters

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Heritage

Earthling: read a book with elemental magic or an element work in the book/series title (air, fire, earth, or water)

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

So, these are all of the prompts that I am hoping to complete this month (if you read my TBR jar post, you may have noticed that I definitely borrowed from that list too. What are you reading this September?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Summary:
A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers.
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you, NetGalley for this review copy. Here is my honest review for The Book of Accidents. This story follows Nathan, Maddie, and Oliver, a family. They are moving back to Nathan’s childhood home because it’s a financially smart choice to make. But things are not alright in this town they’ve moved to. There is something dark living in this town.
Now, I have to start off by saying that this book was weird. I wasn’t sure if the ‘why’ behind it all was supposed to be magical or scientific for way too long. I guess the mystery of ‘why’ was done really well because I was left guessing. This was a dark, creepy story. There were definitely some more gruesome moments than I was expecting. This is a slow and wandering story. There are definitely moments of action and twists and suspense, but this is a slow story that takes its time getting to where things need to go. I liked that at times, and I didn’t like it at other times. I think because it took me so long to read this one, I was only sometimes in the mood for a slow story.
I think the characters were all really well developed. We really get to know them, their histories and the why behind who they are. I liked that we got to know the whole family.
Overall, I think I liked this one. It was definitely a bit weirder than what I usually read, but it was a gripping and well written story. I liked all of the characters. I liked the setting of a small town with a dark history. The magic was bizarre and fascinating. I still don’t know that I totally get it. I definitely think this would be a good one for horror fans.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.