Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Summary:
It’s been five years since Mia and Brynn murdered Summer Marks, their best friend, in the woods.
Increasingly obsessed with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn and with their fan-fiction imagining of its sequel, the girls were drawn by an undertow of fantasy into the magical world they’d created. But eventually, their delusions turned sick, and the Shadow, Lovelorn’s central evil, began to haunt them.
Or so the story goes. The only thing is: They didn’t do it.
Brynn and Mia have both found different ways to hide from their notoriety, seeking refuge from a world that hates them—a world that will never feel magical, or safe, ever again.
On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as past and present, fiction and reality begin again to intertwine, Brynn and Mia must confront painful truths they tired for so long to bury—and face the long shadow of memory that has, all this time, been waiting.
In this engrossing, twisty novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver weaves an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale of exquisite obsession, spoiled innocence, and impossible friendships.
Broken ThingsReview:
Broken Things has been sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read, for entirely to long. This was such an interesting but also bizarre story. It ended up being way darker than I was anticipating (yes, I did know it was a murder mystery).
As with any book, there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I’ll mention the few things I didn’t like first. There were quite a few things that I think should be warned about in this book. There’s a pretty descriptive part that involved animal cruelty. And also just all around violence. But my issue with the story was that for most of the book I struggled to remember who was who. Mia and Brynn had such similar voiced I couldn’t remember who was who and which chapter I was in.
Despite that, I did really end up liking the characters. They were diverse in size, sexuality, smart, all the ways that matter. They were flawed and a realistic cast of characters. Each dealing with their own issues, but all tied together through Summer. Summer reminded me a bit of Alison DiLaurentus from Pretty Little Liars, but only in the sense that she was the thing the characters had in common and that she was dead.
I really liked the inclusion of the story the girls love and ended up writing their own fan fiction of. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of the story. A bunch of outsiders bonding through their desire to escape to the fictional world. Though the author ending the book on an unfinished sentence bugged me for a decent chunk of the book.
Overall, this book was darker than I thought it was going to be, but I still really enjoyed it. I didn’t predict the killer but after finding out their identity it seemed obvious to me with the hints that were left. I thought this was a fun story and definitely would be good for a Spooktober TBR.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Summary:
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, The Brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, The Beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, The Criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, The Athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, The Outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
One of Us Is LyingReview:
I chose to listen to this book on audiobook because I was on sort of a time crunch to read it before the end of February. So, when I saw it available from my library, I knew I could fly through it while doing other things. I’ve heard mixed reviews about One of Us is Lying, but I ended up enjoying it. I was expecting it to be more of a thriller, but it was mostly just mystery. I enjoyed the up and down of the story with a surprise here, a reveal there. I think the pace of the story was well done. It was fast enough where I was interested in the mystery and figuring out what happened but slow enough where I felt like I really got to know the characters and feel their struggles.
The characters are really what made this story for me. I really enjoyed the idea of each of them having a label and then learning that they might not be exactly what they’re labeled as. I enjoyed getting to know each character and learning more about them. Bronwyn is the smart girl, but she’s also a sister and a friend, determined and fiercely loyal. Addy is the princess, but only because of the influence of others. She realizes that and really takes time to figure out who she is and wants to be. Nate may do criminal things, but it’s because he has no other choice. Cooper plays baseball and is good at it, but there’s so much more to him than that. And Simon is an outcast, but it seems that he made things that way himself.
I think the audiobook made this book ten times better. If I read the book physically, I think I may have been bored or not as invested in the story. The four narrators did an incredible job bringing life and personality into their characters and the rest of the story.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the story, but I enjoyed the experience of reading it. I didn’t predict any of the twists or reveals, but there weren’t any jaw dropping moments. I really adored the characters and their interactions most of all. I recommend the audiobook for sure if you’re interested in reading this story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

GoodReads Summary:
Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So, when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried.
When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.
As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?
Monday's Not ComingReview:
I was gifted this book by my wonderful secret Santa this past Christmas. I thought the Fierce Females Readathon would be the perfect opportunity to dive into this story. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews so I was interested to see what it was all about.
I’m not going to go into too much detail because this is technically a mystery. So, I don’t want to give anything away. This review will be pretty brief. Overall, I enjoyed the story. Parts of it were pretty slow because we were getting the history of the main character and her best friend. The first half of the book kind of dragged because of this. There was so much we needed to learn about Claudia and Monday so there was a lot of storytelling and backstory so it was a bit slow going to begin with. Along with this, was the one thing I didn’t like about the book. Though I don’t know how it could have been done differently. The story jumps all over the place. It alternates between several different time periods. Though they are clearly labeled, it was still a little annoying that it jumps all over the place. I still enjoyed the overall story. I was totally shocked by the ending, there were some parts that I predicted but the plot twist still had me saying, “What the F?” This is a story that’s going to stick with me for a while. I will definitely be recommending it in the future.

Keep  on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Summary:
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Beautiful and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.
Sawkill GirlsReview:
I read this book because I’m Team Ketterdam for the BookTube Games this month. Sawkill Girls is the group book picked by the wonderful Katie and Liv. I was super excited because this is a book I’d heard some good things about, but hadn’t picked it up yet. I wish I had read this book back in October because it was the perfect spooky season book. It was so atmospheric and creepy and suspenseful.

“Nobody can change me without my  consent.”

I loved the girls. Marion was sweet and clearly so full of love for those around her. She’s had a tough time lately and she’s just hoping for life to calm down but sadly gets the opposite. Her whole life is turned upside down the minute she lands on Sawkill Rock. Despite the world seems to be against her, she stands up and fights over and over. I really liked her because when any normal person would have given up, she stood up, brushed herself off and kept on going. Then there’s Zoey, who was totally my favorite. She’s fierce and determined and unapologetic about who she is. She loves and she loves HARD. She’s determined to find out what happened to her best friend. Zoey is smart and clever. She’s the only one on the island that really figures out what’s going on in the world. I loved that she was able to put aside her feelings to do what she knew was the right thing. Last, there’s Val. She’s the Queen B in this story, the head Bitch. I didn’t like the girl on girl hate that happened here because this was a super feminist book so it just seemed out of place here. Val was a likable ‘villain’ she didn’t want to be involved in the horror that was happening on Sawkill Rock, but she was born into it. The horror was her legacy. She had no choice until she did. Val had the most character growth and I loved seeing her change.

“You must keep fighting. You must never stop fighting. You must light the path for others to find their footing. You must.”

The side characters were also good. I liked Zoey’s best friend Grayson. He was a really good friend to her. He accepted her no matter what she told him and I really loved that about him. He was a little over the top with the ‘anti-men’ stuff, but aside from that he really stuck by Zoey’s side and loved her even when she thought he shouldn’t. Then there’s Zoey’s dad. I didn’t know what was going on with him at some points, but it was all brought together at the end. I wouldn’t have liked to see a bit more of their relationship before all the craziness that happened in the book. Next is Marion’s mom, she was this fragile thing that’s lost half her family. But she really steps up at the end and she was a great part of the story. Finally, Val’s mother. I don’t even remember her name that’s how much I care about her. She was horrible and awful and seemed to have no feelings at all. Where Val wanted to stop what her family was doing, her mother had no problem and really believed that she was doing her duty to her family.

“Hope, she thought, breathing with the tide, was a choice that only those with resolute hearts dared to make.”

Overall, I liked this book. It was thrilling and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. The story was creative and suspenseful, surprising and compelling. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that the feminist messages were a little too much here and there. There was a nice overall message of feminism but there were a few scenes that were more anti-men than feminist and I didn’t like that. I definitely recommend this for the spooky season or if you’re looking for a suspenseful book filled with girl power.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda's Adventures · Book Tags & Challenges · Everything & Anything · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Contemporary January TBR List – Mystery Edition

Hi, lovelies! I am back one last time to share with you the books left of my TBR list when it comes to those fitting the genre of mystery and thriller. I know that these are really their own genre, BUT there are many contemporaries that only have a bit of mystery and  I felt they merited their own post, so here we are.

Contemp Jan

Adult Mystery/Thriller

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
The Girl Who Takes an Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz

Young Adult Mystery/Thriller

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

These are the books on my TBR list! I don’t know why I haven’t picked them up yet. I know I’ll fly through them once I start becasue I always get through thrillers so fast. So hopefully this month I’ll read at least a handful of these! Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your TBR list too? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything

Contemporary January Recommendations – Mystery Edition

Hi, lovelies. Sadly, I am here with my last recommendation post for this Contemporary January that has just gone by too fast. I’m going to separate this week’s recommendations into adult and young adult books. These will be a mix of mystery and thrillers that I really enjoyed.

Check out Alana’s post here.

Contemp Jan

Adult Mystery

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Full of twists and turns and never really sure where the story is going, you won’t be able to put it down until the final pages.

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
Forever one of my favorite adult series. Stephanie is always getting into some sort of trouble. Blowing up cars, going missing. And the men, swoonworthy!

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
This is one that even my husband loves and he’s not much of a reader.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
You need to stop what you’re doing and go read this book right now.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity
My first Liane Moriarty book and it sure was a good one. Never really knowing what was really going on until the last page.

Young Adult Mystery

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A cute summery mystery full of questions and suspense.

Sadie by Courtney Summers
One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The story was incredible and so were the narrators.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
This was one that caught my eye because of the cover, but the pages inside were just as beautiful.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
A very atmospheric and suspenseful summertime read.

Jane Unlimited by Kristen Cashore
A book that leaves you with questions right up until the end of the book before revealing its secrets. This story sure was a wild ride.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
One of my absolute favorite mysteries. With all sorts of side plots going on, I couldn’t put it down until the end. The cover is freaking beautiful too which doesn’t hurt.

These are some of my favorite mysteries and thrillers. Let me know if you enjoyed any of these too! Tell me your favorites in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContemporaryJanuary and tag me & Alana if you’re joining in! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and/or GoodReads to keep up to date with any announcements and see what I’m reading!

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Amanda's Adventures · Everything & Anything · The Readers Favorites

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary:
When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he’s not convinced there’s a story there; girls go missing all the time. But as soon as West’s boss discovers Sadie fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister, Mattie, he sees the makings of something big and orders West to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened.
Sadie has no idea that her story will soon become the subject of a blockbuster podcast. She just wants revenge. Armed with a switchblade, Sadie follows a meager set of clues hoping they’ll lead to the man who took Mattie’s life because she’s determined to make him pay for it with his own. But as West traces her journey to the darkest, most dangerous corners of big cities and small towns, a deeply unsettling mystery begins to unfold-one that’s bigger than them both. Can he find Sadie before it’s too late?
Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie, is a breathless thriller about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love and the high price we pay when we can’t. It will haunt you long after you reach the final page.
Review:
After hearing the endless hype for Sadie, I finally bought the book when it was on sale for black Friday. Shortly after buying it, my library informed me that they went ahead and bought the audiobook at my request. So, this led me to wait for the audiobook to be available instead of reading the physical book because I have heard nothing but good things about the audiobook. None of those things I heard were wrong. The audiobook and the story were so so much more than I ever expected.
This story follows two alternating perspectives. The first we follow is Sadie. We follow Sadie as she’s trying to deal with losing her sister, the one person she lived for. Sadie spent her life doing everything for Mattie. Taking care of her sister was her life’s purpose. I think I really related to Sadie because my own mother is one that struggles with addiction and wasn’t around for much of my life. So I know how Sadie feels toward her mother and I could understand those feelings. I cannot imagine what it wo0uld be like to lose a sibling like she did, in such a gruesome manner. I would be inconsolable and would likely attempt revenge, just like Sadie. Following Sadie on this mission was hard because it took Sadie to some dark places both physically and mentally. She had some dark thoughts, including but not limited to murder. I think that was one of the things I liked about this book. It was a mystery/thriller but the darker themes within it really made it just that much more exciting.
The second perspective we follow is West McCray who is a reporter, I think. I thought this was a very interesting way to tell this story. His chapters were so perfectly placed. Every time we switched away from Sadie it was always at the perfect place to just add that much more suspense. I really liked that we get to see into the process of West making the podcast instead of just the podcast episodes. I thought it was cool that we got to see how Sadie’s story was affecting West and the impact this project was having on him. I also really enjoyed the interview parts of the story that were included in the podcast. I feel like they really allowed the reader more insight into all the different pieces of the story.
I think my favorite part was the parallels in the storytelling. What I mean by this is that one chapter will be following Sadie going to a specific place or telling us about something and the next chapter will be the podcast where West is learning about the same things. I thought it was really interesting to see how Sadie saw or thought things and then seeing those same things from the perspective of another.
Finally, I have to mention the audiobook. It was freaking amazing. I absolutely adore audiobooks that are read by a cast of narrators. I think they make the story experience so much better and they’re my favorite kind of audiobooks. I actually waited to read this book despite owning the physical copy so that I could experience the audiobook because I’ve heard such good things. I was not disappointed in the least. I think this is even more important because the one thing I never see mentioned in the reviews I’ve seen is that Sadie has a serious stutter. I don’t know how that is portrayed in the book, but the audiobook you heard the stutter and felt the anxiety and anger that Sadie felt about it. I think the narrators for this story were absolutely incredible. They drew me into this book and spit me out in the last pages all used up and emotionally ruined.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to. If you’re not reading this book because of all the hype, don’t be silly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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