Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

GoodReads Summary:
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….
With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.
Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink, #1)Review:
It seems that McGinnis’s books are hit or miss for me. I’ve absolutely loved some of them and really didn’t like others. This is one that I didn’t love. I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
Lynn was kind of horrible. I understood why, and she definitely grows by the end of the book, but she was still kind of annoying. Honestly, the best part of this book was Lynn’s character growth, but it’s still not saying much.
I just wanted more from this book. I thought it was going to be more like Dry by Neal Shusterman where the characters travel and search for water. But it really wasn’t about the water at all.
Overall, I was disappointed. I’m not sure if I’m going to read the second book, but I might because the synopsis sounds more like they’ll be traveling and I think I might like that.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

GoodReads Summary:
Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.
In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.
Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.
Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.
A Beginning at the EndReview:
After reading and completely loving Mike Chen’s first book (Here and Now and Then) I had really high hopes for A Beginning at the End and it was definitely one of my anticipated releases. Sadly, I’m really glad I got it from the library so I didn’t waste money on this book. I really didn’t love it.
Chen’s writing definitely had me drawn into the story and I felt like I was enjoying it while I was reading and actually in the story. But once I finished the final pages and closed the book I felt like I had no idea what I’d just read.
We’re in a post-apocalyptic world, one that’s managed to rebuilt (or is in the process of rebuilding anyway). There are three characters that we follow and they each have a different view on the world. I did like the characters, they were pretty much what made this book because their actions were so low stakes (in an overall sense) and I loved that they were all brought together, but their goals were just not what this book should have been about. I don’t want to complain too much because there was growth and development for each character, but I just was disappointed after how much I loved Chen’s first book.
Overall, this was a miss for me. But I love this author, so I’d definitely still recommend it because not all of us have the exact same reading taste. So, feel free to give it a try!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

GoodReads Summary:
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Review:
I read the Shatter Me series years ago when it first came out but thought it was time for a reread because I don’t remember a single thing about the series and there are more books in it now that I haven’t read.
Sadly, I didn’t really like this book. The writing was flowery and I kind of liked that. It was pretty in a world that was sort of terrible. Juliette was annoying. Her relationship with Adam wasn’t very believable. Also, the things that happen with them toward the end of the book was disappointing. She loves him so much but won’t fight for him? Not believable to me.
Warner was a subpar villain. He’s annoying bad. I just didn’t really love anything about this book. I’m told the next one is way better and I’m already about halfway through it. I may continue to book three, but I might not. I guess you all shall find out in my review of book two when I finish it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

GoodReads Summary:
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make a change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)Review:
I have to be honest here, as I am with all of my reviews. I almost chose not to finish this book because for the first twenty percent or so I was just bored. Things didn’t really get interesting until after Noam and Dara finally started talking. I loved Dara immediately. He’s precious and needs to be protected at all costs. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with him in the next book. I thought he was so complex and interesting. It was clear that there was more going on than was shown on the page and I loved learning his secrets.
Noam annoyed me a little because it was so clear who was really the villain, but also I could see things from his perspective and why he felt the way he did. I learned to love Noam and respect his choices. I’m very interested to see how things will play out with where this first book was concluded.
I really enjoyed the world-building of this futuristic America but I would have liked to see a bit more of it. We’re only told a bit about the different areas but I would have liked to actually see some of the other places.
Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. It was a little slow in the beginning but definitely picked up as the story went along. I’m definitely excited to see what is going to happen in book two, which I will be picking up in the next few days as I’m lucky enough to get an ARC.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness—if, indeed, they can be saved.
Strengthened by the bond she shares with her fellow warrior, Duncan, Fallon has already succeeded in rescuing countless shifters and elves and ordinary humans. Now she must help them heal—and rediscover the light and faith within themselves. For although from the time of her birth, she has been The One, she is still only one. And as she faces down an old nemesis, sets her sights on the enemy’s stronghold, and pursues her destiny—to finally restore the mystical shield that once protected them all—she will need an army behind her…
The Rise of Magicks (Chronicles of The One, #3)Review:
The final book in the Chronicles of The One series is one that I was eagerly anticipating to be released and then to be delivered to me. I was so excited when it came. I wanted to start it right away, but school work had to be done first. When I did finally start it, I flew through it.
In the first book, we follow a cast of characters escaping the end of the world. We still get to see these characters in the second and third books but the story is more focus on their children in book three. Specifically, ‘The One’ also named Fallon. I didn’t love this in book two, but in this finale, I came to really enjoy it. I really adored the planning and then the action that this book had. It was full of good overcoming the evil that was plaguing the world.
These characters that we met as fetuses and then follow as they grow into the adults the are in The Rise of Magicks. I thought this was really great considering that I felt the first book lacked a bit of character development. It was certainly made up for in this aspect.
But the best part of this book was the action. There were several battle scenes as those on the side of the light fought to regain control of Washington, D.C., New York City, and then the Shield where all of this madness started. There were significant losses on both sides and Nora really tore my heart out a few times.
I also really loved the magical ideas behind the end of the world as we know it today. I thought this was compelling, the idea that the Doom that killed most of the population also somehow brought out magical abilities or attributes.
All in all, Nora did an incredible job with this series. It’s different from most of the other things she’s written and I just genuinely enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of fantastical stories Nora might come up with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2)Review:
Part of me is honestly glad that I waited to read this so close to when the third book is being released. I only have to wait a few weeks for the series to conclude rather than a whole year. I found myself liking this book better than the first. While I always enjoy seeing the world end, I much preferred seeing the aftermath and years after the end of the world as we knew it.
Of Blood and Bone follows Fallon mostly, who is foretold to be The One. The descendant of someone important that I really feel like I should know where I’ve heard it before and I think it might even be from another of Nora’s series. I really liked Fallon. She starts off as a young girl and we get to see her grow and train and come to accept the responsibility that fate has bestowed upon her. She grew into this responsibility gracefully. Obviously, this wasn’t without its teenage moments and I thought that just made it all the better. Fallon was smart and determined, caring and honorable, fierce and strong. I really love her. And even more, I love the love interest that is alluded to.
We get to see the many characters we got to know in the first book and I was glad about that. I think this book gave us a bit more of the character development that was missing from Year One, but also the whole book is pretty fast-paced. It follows a time period of several years, slowing here and there. So, it felt like we didn’t get to know everyone as well as we could have. But I think this book filled in a bit that I thought was missing from the first. We also added a handful of characters, which didn’t really help this. Despite that, I still really liked getting to see the friends and found family that Lana had left behind.
I love the magic. Magical dystopias are not something I’ve read too many of. So, this one was a fun twist on the end of the world. Most I’ve read use magic to prevent the end of the world, and in this one magic came from the end of the world.
Nora leaves us in suspense, giving us only crumbs to try to piece together. I’m dying to know how this story will end. I will be waiting as patiently as I am able to for the final installment of this trilogy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Year One by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed–and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river–or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
Year One (Chronicles of The One, #1)Review:
Year One was…different from Nora’s other books. I still enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn’t her usual mystery or romance. This book follows a cast of characters as the world as we know it ends. They struggle to find safety and truth in this new world.
I really liked all of the characters we follow. They each brought something different to the story. I’m not going to go into each of them because there are just too many. I really liked all the various abilities that surfaced after The Doom. They were creative and interesting abilities.
I thought this story brought really interesting conversations about good versus bad kinds of people. After people gain abilities, just like regular people, there turn out to be good Uncannys and bad. The characters talk about how, regardless of any supernatural abilities, some people are inherently good and some are just bad.
I liked that this was s dystopian with magic. There are tons of books out there where the world ends scientifically, so the magical twist was something I enjoyed.
I really didn’t love the direction the end of this book went in. A certain character has something happen and things just went so far into left field. I felt like it kind of invalidated everything that happened previously. Though I am interested to see where things go in the next book.
I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I was going to. I enjoyed it and will definitely be continuing the series. I’m interested to see what exactly the magic is that kick-started the end of the world.

Quotes:

“You have to think of the positive, of the light, or the dark takes over.”

“Major, monumental crises bring out the best or the worst in us—sometimes both. And sometimes those major, monumental crises have no effect on certain types. Which means, no matter what the circumstances, assholes remain assholes.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.
In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)Review:
I honestly don’t even know where to start for this review. I loved this book so much. I was scared about two-thirds of the way through that so much was happening that the ending would be rushed, but that was not the case at all. Everything just came together for a perfect ending. What do I even say about this book?
There is so much going on in this story, so many pieces that need to come together. I’m beyond happy to be able to say that Neal brought these pieces together flawlessly. All the storylines slowly made their way toward one another and the suspense almost killed me. I was dying to know what was going on with the characters I wasn’t reading about, but I also couldn’t get enough of whoever I was currently reading about. I just couldn’t get enough period.
I loved Citra and the way her story played out. I loved seeing her fulfill the role that the Thunderhead shared with her. She was hugely influential and blew the lid off some very well-hidden information.
Then there’s Rowan, I really didn’t care about him in this book. He has captured the whole book and went from one group to another, being told what told to do and taken by someone else where they told him what to do too. I just didn’t care about any of it.
Greyson Tolliver was the second most interesting storyline. After becoming this hugely important symbol to the world, he’s realized that some things are not as important as he used to think. He’s made relationships and realized which ones he wants to keep and not. I think Greyson’s growth was the most significant and the most interesting.
My favorite parts of this book were the parts with Faraday on the islands. I was dying to get back to his parts to see what was going on in the blind spot. The suspense of only getting tiny bits of what was going on there killed me.
I am so impressed with Neal’s ability to create characters. Our villain, Goddard, was horrible and awful in every way, but I still found myself agreeing with some of his ideas. If I lived in this world, I think I could easily have been swayed to Goddard’s side of things even though he’s a horrible man.
Finally, Jerico. I think Jeri was my favorite character. They were just so casual in their gender fluidity and I loved it. I thought the way they identified was beautiful and poetic and exactly what the real world should be like. I loved the addition of Jeri to the story.
Overall, I loved this book and everything about it. They writing was incredible. The messages it sends and the conversations it invites are just such important ones. It brings up the morality of mortality. The conversation of what it means to take a life. Artificial intelligence and how much power they should have. I just loved this book and the entire series.

Quotes:

“We never know what choices will lead to defining moments in our lives.”

“It was not exactly circular logic. More like spiral. An accepted lie that spun in upon itself until truth and fiction disappeared into a singularity of who the hell cares, as long as I’m happy?”

“But the truth is, power for power’s sake is a consuming addiction. He would devour the world whole, and still be unsatisfied.”

“Important work often loses the spotlight to important people.”

“The tales we hear as children—the stories we then pass on—have happened, are happening, or will happen soon enough. If not, then the stories would not exist. They resonate in our hearts because they are true. Even the ones that begin as lies.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.
A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.
As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.
Will the Thunderhead intervene?
Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Review:
I AM SO MAD AT NEAL SHUSTERMAN FOR THE FINAL PAGES OF THIS BOOK.
Okay, now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about Thunderhead. As I mentioned in my review for Scythe, I am rereading the first two books before picking up the final book that has recently come out, The Toll. It’s taking everything in me to actually sit and write this review before picking it up. Especially with the way Thunderhead ended.
Let’s get into the review. I really liked that we get to see so many of the different characters and all of the things they are doing. There is a certain character that I can’t name that spends a bit of time at the reconstructed Library of Alexandria and those were some of my favorite parts. The mystery they are trying to solve was fascinating. Then there’s Citra who is now Scythe Anastasia. I really enjoyed seeing her gleaning method and standing up to the other scythes when confronted. I think her journey into going from Citra to accepting herself at Scythe Anastasia was very compelling. Then there’s Rowan. I liked the first part of his storyline in this book. But then things get weird. I did not like the twist. But that’s more because this particular villain is just despicable and I hate him.
The world is still being built up and I enjoyed learning more about it. I liked that things were explained as what they used to be. Places like Washington, DC, the St. Louis Arch, are all named and how they came to be what they are now was beyond interesting to me.
Finally, the Thunderhead. In the first book, we’re given scythe journal excerpts in between chapters, but this time we head from the Thunderhead. I really liked that because it gave this AI a personality, and even some almost human qualities. Seeing it watch over the world and watching the scythes, but unable to intervene, was fascinating. But it was also mildly terrifying. When it finds out what the character I cannot name is up to, it gets almost…angry and that is really what I’m excited to see play out in the final book.
Overall, I loved this book. The various characters were well written to the point where I either really liked or respected them or absolutely hated them. There were even some that I was torn about because I could see that they were not always okay with their own actions. This story brings up so many compelling ideas. What would it mean to have an AI in control of everything outside of life and death? What would it mean for a person to be the hand of death? What would it mean for a shunned scythe to take justice into their own hands? I was absolutely fascinated with this story and I cannot wait to read the finale.

Quotes:

“The world is a flower I hold in my palm. I would end my own existence rather than crush it.”

“I know them intimately, and yet they can never truly know me. There is tragedy in that.”

“A sense of humor, no matter how dark, is always a good thing.”

“The simple pleasure of being good at what you do is very different from finding joy in the taking of life.”

“Should evil people be allowed the freedom to be evil, without any safety nets?”

“We leave justice to the universe. And what rings out always echoes back.”

“If we were judged by the things we most regret, no human being would be worthy to sweep the floor.”

“That’s exactly what the scythedom is: high school with murder.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

GoodReads Summary:
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Review:
I don’t know why I read books that aren’t dystopian. I almost always end up with new favorite books when I read new things from the dystopian genre. Though with Scythe, I was actually rereading and falling in love all over again. I don’t know why or how I forgot how much I really loved this series. I’m rereading in preparation for the final book, which was just released on November the Fifth. I’m also lucky enough to be able to go one of his tour events with a friend of mine.
I loved the world that Schusterman has built. It’s so well explained, and never with any information dumps. We slowly learn more about how things are and why they are this way. It’s such an elaborate and well thought out world. I also really liked that there was still a resemblance to the world we know today. It made it mildly terrifying to think of this story as a possible future.
Now, our main characters, Citra and Rowan. I liked them both as individuals but I didn’t really care about their romantic relationship because it seemed like an afterthought. There was so much focus on their Scythe training and both trying to be the best apprentices they could be. There’s one event that happens about a third of the way into the story that infuriated me. If you’ve read this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But we get some resolution to that particular issue and I was very happy about that.
My favorite thing about this book is the way that Schusterman makes you think. His books all have elements of this. Scythe really makes you think about mortality and the things we may lose if/when we attain immortality. The characters talk about how there really are no new things created now that the Thunderhead knows all. They look at art from the Age of Mortality and the emotions that clearly shine through and how nothing like that has been created since beating death. Then there’s the Scythedom. It really makes the reader think about what it means to be in control of whether others live or die. What it means to literally be the hand of death and what kind of person should or should not be that hand. It was just a really thought-provoking story.
Overall, I absolutely love this book. I cannot wait to reread Thunderhead (which I’ll be doing as soon as I schedule this review). I love this story and I am dying to know how it ends.

Quotes:

“But remember that good intentions pave many roads. Not all of them lead to hell.”

“Isn’t it good to know that we are all safe from the threat of the inferno? Except, of course, when we’re not.”

“You see, there are some who seek celebrity to change the world, and others who seek it to ensnare the world.”

“Martyrs testify far more effectively than the living.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

GoodReads Summary:
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
WanderersReview:
Where to even start with this review? So much happens in this book with so many different characters, because of that I’m not going to talk about specific characters too much.
I think this book was incredible. There were so many little things introduced in the beginning that managed to connect in the end. The mystery and suspense of the purpose of the Sleepwalkers was so well done. For a while, I wasn’t sure if it would be a scientific explanation or a magical one. This was interesting for me because I was reading another book of the same genre, at the same time that I was listening to the audiobook for this one. That book was more magical while this one was more science-based. I liked that there was a science behind what was happening.
I also really liked the combination of all the different characters. One was just an ordinary girl following her sleepwalker sister. There were really interesting plotlines for these two with their mom and dad. I loved Benji the CDC doctor. His insatiable desire to help and figure out what was going on was really compelling. But the most interesting character to me personally was Pastor Matthew. His story was the most complicated. He finds himself in over his head with a group of white supremacists. He tries to get out but instead becomes a prisoner and a tool to further their agenda. I thought this was the most interesting because I really hated Matthew for a large portion of this book, but by the end of it, I just felt bad for him and then I was proud of him for managing to do the right thing.
This book was full of political conversations. Military versus scientific intervention for the sleepwalkers. The presidential race between a woman and a man that is a huge bigot. What it means for the world to end and the things people will do when faced with that being the reality.
I don’t want to say I loved or enjoyed this book because it was wild and horrifying. But I did. I was engrossed in the story each time I started listening. I was dying to know what was going to happen, the secrets the characters were keeping from one another, and how things were going to play out. It was an incredible book full of hard topics and discussions. If you’re someone that likes dystopian books, this is one you might want to pick up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

GoodReads Summary:
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
The Coldest Girl in ColdtownReview:
Honestly, I am living for all of these backlist vampire stories that I somehow never read. To those that think the vampire craze had ended, they are completely wrong and should go away. I will be obsessed with vampires forever. My husband likes to joke that I have a fetish. (Really a joke or not? We may never know).
Tana was a main character I could get behind. She’s got trauma in her past, and because of that she’s trying to the right thing for her dad and her little sister. But also, she’s beyond intrigued by Gavriel, the mysterious vampire that she rescued along with her ex-boyfriend Aidan. I liked Tana. She never gave up even when it seemed like things just could not get any worse, the did. But that didn’t stop her. She made this story what it was.
Gavriel was interesting. I really enjoyed that we got his history throughout the story. It really gave us a better understanding of who he was and how he got where he is now. I couldn’t help but like him, even though he was kind of crazy.
Adian was an idiot. He was also kind of a jerk. I just wanted him to F off. I mostly liked the rest of the supporting characters. They were well developed and added the right stuff to the story. Except Pearl. Every time I read about her I couldn’t help but shake my head. I get that she’s just a little girl, raised in a world that glamorized vampires, but she was just too much.
Overall, I really loved this book. It was perfect for October. I loved the twist on vampire lore and the way the vampires changed the modern world. The only thing I didn’t like was the final chapter. I was left with just one question. Which was better than lots of questions, but it was a pretty important question. Despite that, I still loved this book.

Quotes:

“Every hero is the villain of his own story.”

“Even from the beginning, that was the problem. People liked pretty things. People even liked pretty things that wanted to kill and eat them.”

“We labor under so many illusions about ourselves until we’re stripped bare. Being infected, being a vampire, it’s always you. Maybe it’s more you than ever before. You, distilled. You, boiled down like a sauce. But it’s you as you always were, deep down inside.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.
Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.
Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)Review:
Our Dark Duet was the perfect ending to this duology. It did such a great job of answering all the questions I was left with at the end of This Savage Song. The story is dark and gritty and full of things that you don’t really want to think or talk about. It’s full of important themes, violence and crime, what it means to kill someone, and how the lines can be blurred when it comes to murder. Schwab wrote a beautiful story about a really challenging topic.
I still adore Kate. She’s a fierce woman, a force of nature. She’s left Verity to start over somewhere new. But of course, in her mission to hunt down the monsters, she’s led right back to her home. Only, her home is nothing like it was when she left. I really enjoyed her part of the story. Her struggle to keep this new monster at bay and her desire to take down the evils she had created. I really loved Kate.
Verity was not the only thing that was almost unrecognizable. August was not the same character that we met in This Savage Song. He’s lost himself, his more human side, after the things he’s had to do. I think the dynamic between Kate and August was my favorite part. They seem to bring out the best in one another. I really liked them together as a team.
Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about this book. I enjoyed every page. The writing was beautiful. The characters were developed and likable. The story was compelling and fast-paced. It’s a new favorite for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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GoodReads Summary:
Survive the year.
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
The Grace YearReview:
The Grace Year was recommended to me by Alana @ The Bookish Chick. She and I are always sharing book recommendations back and forth. She absolutely loved this one, so I thought I would too. While I did really enjoy this book, there were a few things I didn’t love.
I really liked the concept of the story. A girl living in a society that treats her more like an object than a person. Women have a role and they are not to stray from that role. If they do, they may potentially be burned alive, hanged, or something else equally horrifying. It honestly made me so angry. But I think that means the author was successful with her writing. She really provoked some emotions from me.
I was fascinated by the mystery of the grace year. (Also, I’d like to know exactly how many times that phrase appeared in the book.) No one talks about the grace year, despite everyone over a certain age having gone through it. Then it’s time for Tierney and the others her age to go for their grace year. The idea is that they go away and expel all of their ‘womanly magic’ so that when they return it’s time to settle down and give their husbands children.
Things got a little wild from here. All of the facts behind the grace year were actually pretty fucked up. I think the author did so well with the drama and suspense during the time the girls are on their grace year. I was confused and dying to know what was actually going on. But I was also infuriated at the actions of some of the girls. I don’t often wish characters would die, but I texted Alana several times (in all capitals) wishing death on one particular character. The characters had such interesting personalities and they were pretty well developed. There were reasons why they acted the way they did.
Let’s talk about the romance. I didn’t like it at first, but then I loved it. Two people from completely different worlds, coming together? Who doesn’t love that? I hated how it ended though. That’s all I’ll say about that. The author did our love interest dirty and I don’t appreciate it, but I understand why it was needed for the way the story ended.
The final thing I didn’t like was parts of the ending. I went into this story thinking that Tierney was going to fuck some shit up and change everything about the way her people live. But she didn’t do this. She has the chance to spill everything about the grace year, to get the truth out there. But she doesn’t. She just keeps it between herself and the other girls of her grace year. She takes her role as wife and eventually mother. This really just annoyed me because what the hell was the point of the whole story if she wasn’t going to fix her horrifying society?
Despite this, I ended up liking the ending. She finds a nice partnership with her husband and I appreciated that. She also learns some things about a side mystery that’s been going on and I really loved that part.
Overall, this book was a wild ride. I loved the characters. I loved more of the story. I really enjoyed all the ideas and conversations explored in this story. The writing was compelling and I just couldn’t get enough. I actually stayed up until almost 3am so I could finish this book in one sitting.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.
This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Review:
This Savage Song was a wild ride. It was fast-paced and everything I never knew I wanted in a book. I went into the story with as little expectations as possible. I’m glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it. It would have been a five-star read aside from the questions I was left with.
Kate was everything I could have wanted in a kickass female main character. She doesn’t take shit from anyone and does whatever needs to be done to reach her goals. I loved everything about her. She’s smart and fierce. I am very interested in what she does in the next book.
Then there is August, poor sweet August. He’s one of the rarest of the monsters. But he fights his nature every day. He’s good at heart, despite what he really is. I was really intrigued by August. He’s complex with how he feels. He loves his siblings even though he knows they are not all there. He loves his mother and father, and really just wants to do whatever he can to help in the never-ending fight against the monsters.
Once Kate and August meet, things get exciting. Seeing them try to figure out how to trust one another was beyond interesting.
The only complaint I have is that I still have so many questions about the monsters. I’m still not totally sure how they are created. Are they a whole new being? Or are they the person that sinned turned monster? I’m eager to get into the next book and learn more.
Overall, I loved this book. The world was fascinating. The characters were complex and held my attention. There was so much more to this story that seems to be outside of my ability to articulate at the moment. But I loved it. That’s all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.