Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #6

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

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

Approvals I’ve Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Approvals on my TBR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blog Tour: The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa

Summary:
As Evenfall nears, the stakes grow ever higher for those in Faery…
Banished from the Winter Court for daring to fall in love, Prince Ash achieved the impossible and journeyed to the End of the World to earn a soul and keep his vow to always stand beside Queen Meghan of the Iron Fey.
Now he faces even more incomprehensible odds. Their son, King Keirran of the Forgotten, is missing. Something more ancient than the courts of Faery and more evil than anything Ash has faced in a millennium is rising as Evenfall approaches. And if Ash and his allies cannot stop it, the chaos that has begun to divide the world will shatter it for eternity.

The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. This review is a part of the promotional blog tour for The Iron Sword’s release.
The Iron Sword follows Ash’s point of view. I was mistaken in my assumption (which I mentioned in my review of the first book) that this spin-off series was all going to be from Puck’s perspective. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bummed when I realized that this book wasn’t from Puck’s perspective, but I absolutely see and appreciate what Kagawa seems to be going for here with each book being from a different character’s point of view. It makes me very curious as to who we will be experiencing the third book through.
I think the plot of the story was compelling and engaging. We’re solving the mystery of “where did Kierran disappear to?” But that mystery brings up quite a few other questions and all of these things roll together into the plot of this book. I think it was engaging enough to keep my interest. But also, I had enough questions answered along the way that I never felt frustrated that getting the answers was taking too long. I do have to say, holy cliffhanger (also, like, literally, hahah.)
Overall, I thought this was a quick read and I really enjoyed being back with a cast of characters that I know and love. But, like I said in my review for the first book, I would have liked some new characters to follow and root for in this world. It felt like I was plopped right back into the original series aside from the fact that Ash emphasized that Kierran was his son, and brought up all the things they’d been through and struggled with in the previous books as reminders that this series now spans many, many years. We did get to see some other familiar faces (like Ethan and Kenzie) which was an absolute joy. I will forever love this world. So, I cannot wait to see how this trilogy will end.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White

Summary:
While journeying north toward the Dark Queen, Guinevere falls into the hands of her enemies. Behind her are Lancelot, trapped on the other side of the magical barrier they created to protect Camelot, and Arthur, who has been led away from his kingdom, chasing after false promises. But the greatest danger isn’t what lies ahead of Guinevere—it’s what’s been buried inside her.
Vowing to unravel the truth of her past with or without Merlin’s help, Guinevere joins forces with the sorceress Morgana and her son, Mordred—and faces the confusing, forbidden feelings she still harbors for him. When Guinevere makes an agonizing discovery about who she is and how she came to be, she finds herself with an impossible choice: fix a terrible crime, or help prevent war.
Guinevere is determined to set things right, whatever the cost. To defeat a rising evil. To remake a kingdom. To undo the mistakes of the past… even if it means destroying herself.
Guinevere has been a changeling, a witch, a queen—but what does it mean to be just a girl?
The gripping conclusion to the acclaimed Arthurian fantasy trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White finds Guinevere questioning everything—friends and enemies, good and evil, and, most of all, herself.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not usually one for historical fantasy or retellings like these. But I absolutely loved White’s And I Darken trilogy. So, I went into this series knowing that I’d probably like it too because White is an amazing writer. I was not wrong with that assumption at all. This is the third and final book in this series, so I won’t say too much about the actual details of the plot because I like to avoid spoilers in my reviews.
We’re following Guinevere as we have for the past two books. I was honestly a little bit annoyed at how she still hadn’t gotten any answers to the question of who she actually was because she’s been asking and searching for answers for three books at this point. It took most of this book to finally get those answers. I felt a little disappointed that so much of the story was focused on “who is Guinevere” rather than the exciting part of the story about defeating the big bad threat that the first two books were leading up to. I think that’s because I really enjoyed the magical bits that we did get when it came to the big bad threat of this series. I will say though, that I was really satisfied with how everything played out. It felt like the story had a really natural progression and the specific ways that the story unfolded felt like it made sense for the characters.
I still really liked Guinevere, but she was a little whiney in this book. I get that she felt like she was trying to do the right thing by the actual Guinevere, but when literally everyone in your life is telling you something, maybe you should listen to them? I liked how she came into her own and really started to push Arthur and make him see how unfair so many things can be for women. I think that was one of my favorite things about this story, the focus on how women are treated and how much of that treatment isn’t right. I loved the steps that Guinevere took to right those wrongs.
Most of all, I loved the writing. There were so many quotes and lines that I will come back to again and again in this story. White really is a phenomenal writer and her words just come together beautifully to tell this story.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I think it was a really great conclusion to this series. As i believe I mentioned in my review for the first book, I don’t know much about the myths and legends of Arthur and Camelot, which I think allowed me to be more easily swept away by this story and it’s characters. I would definitely recommend this series for fantasy lovers or anyone that likes retellings that have a twist.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blog Tour: Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

Summary:
Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.
Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.
When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.
The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years From Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself.

Light Years from Home by Mike Chen

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I am a part of the blog tour for this book so thank you to MIRA books for the opportunity to share my thoughts about this one!
I’ve read all of Chen’s previous novels and while they are all technically science fiction stories, they are all so different from one another that I never really know what to expect going into them. That was accurate for this story as well. I sort of thought I was getting into a hard sci-fi story full of action and adventure and space wars. But this is really the story of three siblings: Jakob, Evie, and Kass. Jakob’s disappearance fifteen years earlier fractured this family so much that when the three are finally reunited fifteen years later, it might not be possible for them to mend what’s been broken. Especially considering that Jakob has returned with stories of a war that’s raging between aliens and while Evie absolutely believes him, Kass thinks it’s more likely that Jakob is suffering from a mental illness. I definitely didn’t think this was going to turn into an “is it really aliens or is it actually mental illness” story, but the author totally had me convinced when I was reading the chapters from Kass’ perspective.
Since we get three points of view, one from each sibling, it felt like we really got the whole story. We really got to know each of these siblings. I really enjoyed that. I think having all three voices really made the story what it was because if it had just been from Jakob’s perspective it would have been a totally different story. Each sibling brought something different to the story. I liked all three of the main characters. It was interesting because when I was reading Evie’s chapters, I totally agreed with her resentment of her older sister, but when I was reading Kass’ chapters, I also totally agreed with her disdain toward her siblings. I think Chen did an excellent job with these characters.
Overall, I loved the blend of family drama with the science fiction genre. The threat of an alien war coming to earth unless Jakob can get certain information to them raised the stakes of the story and set the pace. But the characters were absolutely what made this book what it was. The family dynamics were compelling and the issues between the siblings weren’t resolved with a nice neat bow, which I appreciated. I think there will be some mixed reviews on this one from those that are expecting more of a sci-fi story. But I will definitely be continuing to recommend Chen’s work.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Summary:
Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.
There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
When You Get the Chance follows Millie, a theatre kid, who is doing quite a few things. She’s looking for her mom (after narrowing it down to three possible women), trying to convince her dad to let her go to a super-selective theatre program that she’s been accepted to (except it’s across the country), and also, she’s falling in love.
I was not a theatre kid. They didn’t have any sort of drama program at my high school, so that aspect of this story went right over my head. Though I could totally feel the energy and excitement and passion that Millie had for acting from this book. My favorite part was the mom drama. I have to say that once you get past a certain point about the mystery moms, I absolutely guessed who Millie’s mom was before it was revealed. Growing up with a single dad, I really liked this aspect of the story. Millie’s family dynamic was an interesting one. I loved Millie’s dad and it was so clear that he loved her. He obviously did his best to raise her and love her and I loved that. But I also could understand Millie’s complicated emotions about her mom. I think this part was really well done. Because it’s not that Millie is unhappy with her dad and her aunt, but there’s nothing really that can replace the mom that birthed you, even if she gave you up.
Now, the romance. I was absolutely here for the rivals to friends to lover’s romance between Oliver and Millie. I think they were so fun to follow as they figured out what a great team they can be. I liked learning about the ways that they helped one another and didn’t even know it. I think their journey from grudging respect to friends to lovers was absolutely to die for. I devoured it.
Overall, this was a fun and easy to read story about Millie who is just trying to find herself (but what else are we going to do at age seventeen), and instead finds more of a mystery, love, and possibility. I think this will be a hit among YA readers, for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.
And Sam picks up the phone.
In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
You’ve Reached Sam follows Julie during her senior year of high school. There are only a few months before graduation and she and her boyfriend, Sam, have made so many exciting plans for their future together. But then Sam dies suddenly in a car accident and Julie’s future has changed forever. But then things get a little weird and Julie calls Sam’s phone one day and he answers. So, instead of trying to move on and figure out what she’s going to do now, she spends all of her time on the phone talking to Sam.
I’ve seen basically nothing but rave reviews for this book, so I was pretty excited to read it and be emotionally destroyed by it. But that did happen for me and it’s absolutely because I think Julie was pretty terrible. The story opens with her getting rid of all of Sam’s things less than a week after he’s died. I just couldn’t reason that away in my mind. I wear a ring that belonged to my grandfather every single day and he died ten years ago. I totally understand that everyone grieves differently but that was just the first of many things that Julie did that just made me feel really disconnected from her. I couldn’t reason away her behavior or feel attached to her as a character. I will say that Julie really does the work to make up for her incredibly crappy behavior. She’s hurt most of her friends and it was really good to see her do the work to make it up to them. But my initial reaction to her just stuck with me.
I loved the concept of the story. I loved the idea that Julie was talking to Sam on the phone even though he was gone. I liked the cast of characters (except Julie). I think they absolutely made the story better and more enjoyable.
Overall, I liked this book but I didn’t love it. It’s entirely Julie’s fault that I didn’t love this book. She was kind of terrible for the beginning of this book and even though she really grew and had some great character development, I just never felt like I could really get invested in her. I can absolutely see why so many people love this book and I will definitely be recommending it in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Are Meridians by S. Ghali

Summary:
Two human Civilizations
One will rise
One will fall
300 years ago, A small group of human left behind their violent past and human counterpart on Earth to create the most advanced civilisation in history.
Until now, when mercenaries steal a deadly artefact, the meridians have no choice but to send a military expedition back to Earth to retrieve it. However, the mission is compromised upon arrival and the crew members get separated on the surface of the hostile planet Earth that has never experienced alien contact.
Elmyra Conrad, a disgraced cadet; Effra Jones, a spineless xenoanthropologist and Zayn, a dangerous Antharian prince must work together to survive and find the other survivors before their demise…

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
We Are Meridians follows a cast of characters that are trying to stop a group of criminals who have stolen a very deadly object. The story takes so long to pull itself together to get to that aspect of the plot. I think there was a bit of info-dumping at the start of the story. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t push through, but it was noticeable. There were so many characters and things that had to be introduced before the story could really get going. I feel like the author took a bit too much time letting us get to know the characters and the world before pulling the actual plot of the story into play. But somehow, at the same time, I feel like there was so much that happened and we didn’t get enough of any of it.
I’d say there were three main characters: Elmyra, Effra, and Zayn. Much of Elmyra’s story is still a mystery. We get to know her and her backstory pretty well except one big secret. And when that secret was finally revealed, it wasn’t elaborated on all that much because the person that knows all the details was dying. So, there’s answers, but still a bit of mystery surrounding that particular twist in the story. I really liked Zayn. I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn on the humans or end up deciding to truly join them and help with their mission. I think he was the best developed character and I look forward to reading more about him. Finally, Effra. I feel like we got to know him the least because he’s not really introduced until way into the story. We don’t spend that first third of the story getting to know him. So, his backstory is dumped when he’s introduced. He also spent much of the story needing to be saved, so I guess that’s all we need to know about him.
Overall, this was way more of a science fiction thriller/mystery then I thought it was going to be. I actually really enjoyed it. The author’s writing was good. It was descriptive but still easy to follow. The characters were well developed and not hard to get invested in. The world was my favorite part, I think. The world building and history of the humans that live in space was really well done. I don’t see any news about a sequel but I would definitely read it if/when one is released.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood

Summary:
Two years ago, Csorwe and Shuthmili defied the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets. The gauntlets have made Shuthmili extraordinarily powerful, but they’re beginning to take a sinister toll on her. She and Csorwe travel to a distant world to discover how to use the gauntlets safely, but when an old enemy arrives on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.
Meanwhile, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to find that Sethennai has gone missing. As well as being a wizard of unimaginable power, Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past, but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future. Throughout the worlds of the Echo Maze, fragments of an undead goddess begin to awaken, and not all confrontations can be put off forever…

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Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Thousand Eyes starts off pretty soon after The Unspoken Name, meaning that everything seems like it’s all okay for once, but everything is actually about to go to shit. And that is indeed what happens. Csorwe, Shuthmili, and Tal are living and working together. I absolutely love these three and I would do anything for them. But things quickly take a turn when the three are on a job and they wake someone that they shouldn’t have. I don’t want to go into too much detail with the summary because quite a lot happens.
The plot of the story wasn’t as slow-moving as it was in the first book. I still haven’t decided if I like that or not because I loved the slower pace of the first installment. This one had so much more action and higher stakes. But it definitely made me read the story with more urgency because I needed to know what was going to happen. I’ve had an issue recently with other stories that do weird time jumps, but The Thousand Eyes made a fifteen-year time jump feel like it was a natural progression of the story. I liked how it was handled and I felt like it made total sense for the story.
Now, the characters. I grew quickly attached to them in the first book. I was very upset when the happily ever after that Tal, Csorwe, and Shuthmili got was completely upended. Larkwood absolutely created chaos for these characters in the most painful ways possible. All three of them are tested in different ways. I really loved them. My only complaint about the characters would be that I wanted smaller-scale interaction. I grew to love them in the first book, but in this one, it felt like they spend little to no time together so we didn’t really get to see them interacting with each other, mostly with other new characters. We mostly see Tal and Csorwe as the ‘frenemies’ that we’ve known from the first book. I wanted more of their banter but I also wanted them to reconcile and actually be friends. I think this was probably because they all ended up on different paths and there were new characters that were with the three main casts and where we’re getting to know them. But my favorite parts were still with Tal, Csorwe, and Shuthmili.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it as quickly as I could, falling asleep holding my kindle most nights until I finished it. I hope that we get to see more in this series but the conclusion was pretty well wrapped up and I would say I’m really satisfied with the way the story ended both plot-wise and for the characters. But I absolutely wouldn’t be mad about a companion with some of the immortal characters. I will be recommending this series often in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen

Summary:
A mystery about a girl whose family secrets are as threatening as the desert that surrounds her—but whose quest to expose the truth may tear apart reality itself.
Rylie hasn’t been back to Twentynine Palms since her dad died. She left a lot of memories out there, buried in the sand of the Mojave Desert. Memories about her dad, her old friends Nathan and Lily, and most of all, her enigmatic grandfather, a man who cut ties with Rylie’s family before he passed away. But her mom’s new work assignment means their family has to move, and now Rylie’s in the one place she never wanted to return to, living in the house of a grandfather she barely knew.
At least her old friends are happy to welcome her home. Well, some of them, anyway. Lily is gone, vanished into the desert. And Twentynine Palms is so much stranger than Rylie remembers. There are whispers around town of a mysterious killer on the loose, but it isn’t just Twentynine Palms that feels off—there’s something wrong with Rylie, too. She’s seeing things she can’t explain. Visions of monstrous creatures that stalk the night.
Somehow, it all seems to be tied to her grandfather and the family cabin he left behind. Rylie wants the truth, but she doesn’t know if she can trust herself. Are the monsters in her head really out there? Or could it be that the deadliest thing in the desert . . . is Rylie herself?

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Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I have to say, this book was freaking weird, but in a good way, I think. The story follows Rylie just after her family has moved back to Twentynine Palms (a military base in California). Weird things are happening here and Rylie can’t be sure if she’s remembering things from the summers she spent staying with her grandfather, or if she’s just losing her mind.
I want to say that the mystery of this story was a good one, but I don’t know that it was. I was incredibly confused for most of this story and not in a fun, slowly putting the pieces together kind of way. I just genuinely had no clue what was going on. Rylie is having weird gaps in her memory, trying to remember with hypnosis, but remembering even weirder things that just don’t make any sense. I will say that when we find out what the big twist is, all of the confusion and weird puzzle pieces absolutely make sense. So, it’s a well-constructed mystery, I was just incredibly confused until the absolute last piece was revealed to the reader.
I think the setting of the desert was an interesting one. I feel like I don’t see much outside of the fantasy genre with a desert setting. But I think it worked really well for this story.
Overall, this story was absolutely bizarre. But I found myself unable to put it down until I learned what the heck was actually happening to these characters. Despite my confusion for most of the book, I was compelled to continue. The pace of the story felt quick even though things happened pretty slowly. The characters were interesting, but I didn’t feel any special attachment to them. I do think they were well developed with interesting personalities. I believe this is labeled as a horror story, but I don’t think it totally fits there. I think if anything this would be more science fiction than horror. But I want to know if anyone else has read this.  If you have, leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Twenty-Seven: Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #5

Hello, lovelies! I thought it would be fitting to do one last update for my NetGalley Shelf series this year. I’m definitely going to be continuing this series every so often next year. I’m writing this post early, so hopefully when this posts, the only eARCs that are left on my TBR section are 2022 releases. I’ve recently been approved for a bunch of exciting 2022 eARCs, so I really tried to focus on finishing up the last few 2021 eARCs that I let fall behind before going into the new year. I’m so, so pleased with the fact that I managed to read every single 2021 (and earlier) eARC that I had on my approval list. I will say that I DNF’d quite a few of these books, but I did my best to give them a fair try.

For transparency’s sake, when I did my first NetGalley Shelf post I had a feedback ratio of 72% with 122 books approved and 88 with feedback already sent. As of now, I have a ratio of 83% with 192 books approved and 159 books with feedback already sent. The difference of 10% feels like a real accomplishment and I hope to continue to keep my requests under better control in 2022.

Check out my previous updates for my NetGalley Shelf series here:
Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf
Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #2
Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #3
Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #4

Approvals I’ve Read

We Are Meridians by S. Ghali
Publication date: August 27, 2019
I was approved for this book over a year after its publication, so I didn’t really make it a huge priority to read. I’m glad I did finally read it though. It’s more of a sci-fi thriller and it was exciting. The start of the book was a bit slow but once it gets going I really flew through the story. I liked the world and history of the people we read about. I liked the characters. I would definitely read a sequel if it’s released.

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Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Publication date: November 1, 2020
I was a part of the blog tour for this book. Find my spotlight post here. I tried to read the finished copy via Kindle Unlimited but I ended up DNFing it about 50 pages in. This is a fantasy story set in a historical London setting and that can be really hit or miss for me depending on my mood. I might try to read this series again in the future, but for now it’s a DNF.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
I attempted to read this in several formats, the eARC and the audiobook from the library but I can’t seem to make it past 15%. I think this is a ‘me thing’ and doesn’t have anything to do with the book. It’s just not for me. Maybe I’ll try a different book by this author and see if that goes better.

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The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee
Publication date: August 3, 2021
I had fun reading this romance. It was a fun, tension-filled story that ended with a happily ever after. I still love the small town of Wheldon.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication date: August 17, 2021
I sadly DNF’d this book back in October. Her books have been hit or miss for me and I wasn’t really into this one after about 20% so I chose to DNF instead of struggling through it and probably rating it low.

Cazadora by Romina Garber
Publication date: August 17, 2021
I loved Lobizona, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed the sequel. It was fast-paced (though my one complaint was that the characters seemed a bit aimless at the beginning of the story). And I really loved seeing these characters again. I’m hoping that Garber will write more books set in this world.

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The Boy with Fire by Aparna Verma
Publication date: August 31, 2021
I have nothing negative to say about this book. The world-building was interesting and well explained. The characters were well developed and complex. I just couldn’t connect to the story which is my own personal issue with the fantasy genre at the moment.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
This was a fun queer romance that followed a Bachelor style reality show. It did a really great job talking about mental illness. I think this one will absolutely be a hit with romance readers.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Publication date: September 21, 2021
I DNF’d this book at 38%. The main character, Wallace, was incredibly unlikeable and I didn’t really care to read about him trying to redeem himself now that he’s literally dead. I liked the concept. I liked Hugo, Nelson, and Mei but they weren’t enough to keep me interested in this very slow story about a man that was terrible his whole life.

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Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Publication date: September 21, 2021
When I requested this, I read “giant transforming robots” in the synopsis and that’s honestly all I needed to know. So, then I actually read the book and holy shit this book was so good. It’s inspired by the only female Empress of China in history but set in another world. It’s full of fire and anger at the way things are for women. But there’s also love and romance, which I didn’t think I was going to like but actually loved. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Please go buy it and read it now.

The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
Publication date: September 28, 2021
I ended up borrowing the finished copy of the audiobook from my library for The Last Graduate. I DNF’d this book at 40%. It felt identical to the first book, which I didn’t really love. So, I don’t feel the need to continue the story if it’s just going to be a copy of the first book with different classes now that they’re seniors.

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Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I enjoyed this one. My biggest complaint was that I wanted it to be longer. I think I would have absolutely loved this if it had been a full-length novel. But it was so short I felt like I couldn’t really connect with the characters or let myself get invested in their story.

Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I love this series. This one was a bit heavier with the inclusion of bits of American history in the southern states, and Tristan felt like he’d forgotten some of his character development. But it was still an action-packed, adventure story filled with interesting myths and folklore.

Luminous by Mara Rutherford
Publication date: October 5, 2021
This was a well-written and compelling standalone fantasy. The world and the magic were really interesting. The characters were easy to care about. There’s a childhood friends to lovers romance which is one of my favorite tropes. But the villain was the star of the show. I really liked him, even more as we learned more about him.

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A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I loved this. I read it super late, so I bought and read a finished copy. It’s a really compelling twist on Sleeping Beauty with a main character that is dying. I absolutely loved this and I already cannot wait for the next book in the series. I hope Harrow does all the fairytales and not just the two that have been announced.

I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin
Publication date: October 12, 2021
Another DNF I’m afraid. I just was so incredibly confused even 20% into the story and I didn’t want to suffer through a whole book being confused. I’ve not heard good reviews about this one, so I decided to DNF instead of giving it another low rating.

Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis
Publication date: October 12, 2021
I didn’t really like this book. I enjoyed the first one but made the mistake of reading the reviews for Axiom’s End before I started Truth of the Divine. So, I couldn’t help but look for all of the things that were mentioned in the reviews for the first book. I was hopeful that Ellis had improved upon those things, but that wasn’t the case. There were some parts regarding sex and intimacy that made me uncomfortable, but I think Ellis did a great job with the conversation of “what rights would humanity give to aliens if they came to Earth?”

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The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Publication date: October 19, 2021
I loved this. It was weird and creepy and dark. The characters were excellent. The setting was perfect for October (when I read it). The magic was interesting and compelling. I’d definitely recommend this one.

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Publication date: October 19, 2021
I loved this book. I was actually a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I really loved the fantasy elements and the world-building with the Low Gods and their magic. I loved the morally grey main character, Vanja. I loved the romances and the friendship. I totally recommend this one.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Publication date: October 19, 2021
I loved most things about this book. The world and magic were fascinating. I loved learning about Andromeda’s backstory and debtera training. I loved her relationship with her mentor, Jember. But I didn’t really care for the romance.

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You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith
Publication date: November 2, 2021
I was a part of the blog tour team for this book. So, I was given an advanced copy to read via NetGalley (thanks, Inkyard Press!) I had fun reading this one. I think it’s definitely for fans of YA contemporary. It’s also definitely a love letter to Philadelphia, PA. I liked the characters and the romance.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
I am pretty bummed to say that I didn’t like this. I genuinely didn’t like most of the characters. I didn’t like how/where the story ended. I didn’t love the magic. I don’t know that I’ll be continuing on with this series.

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Publication date: November 9, 2021
I really liked the concept of the story where Julie gets to talk to her dead boyfriend on the phone and take the time that she needs to move on from his death. But I just genuinely didn’t like Julie despite the growth and development that she goes through in the story. I still had a fun time reading this, it just didn’t emotionally destroy me like I anticipated it was going to.

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The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart
Publication date: November 9, 2021
I really liked the first book and I liked this second book even more. It was really fun to see these characters gain power and try to figure out how to use that power to help their people, but also how to gain favor and alliances. The magic was fascinating and I can’t wait for the third book.

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee
Publication date: November 30, 2021
While I really didn’t care for the pacing of this story and how it spans a period of 20 years or so, I did love the characters and the latest chaos that Hilo probably caused. I think a lot of people will really love this conclusion.

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
I DNF’d this after like 10 pages. I had no business requesting this. Even when I do read YA contemporary, this doesn’t really fit into what I do read. I tend to read more hard hitting realistic fiction and not YA romance.

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A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
Publication date: December 7, 2021
I really loved this one. It’s a good one for spooky season, but I think it’s also just a solid wintertime mystery/fantasy. There’s magic, murder, and characters you can’t help but get invested in. I think Ernshaw’s adult debut was absolutely even better than her YA books (which I also loved). It still has the same magical and mysterious feel that her YA books have, the writing is beautiful, but it’s just a bit darker.

The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White
Publication date: December 7, 2021
I was really happy with this series finale. I think the story was a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I think all the loose ends were tied up and I wasn’t really left wanting for anything.

No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen
Publication date: December 7, 2021
This book was weird as heck, but I think I liked it? It was confusing right up until the big reveal and I still am not sure if I liked the weird science fiction twist. But it was written in such a compelling way that I couldn’t put it down.

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Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I loved this book. I love this series. This one follows Cora after the events of Come Tumbling Down. It’s not a happy story, much like some of the others in this series. But I loved Cora and the twists and turns of the story. I thought seeing the other school for children that had found doors was really interesting. I already cannot wait for more books in this series.

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I loved Tweet Cute and You Have a Match, so I expected to enjoy this one as well. It follows Millie who was a great main character. There’s lots of high school theatre stuff for those that like that. But I really enjoyed the searching for her mom aspect and the romance in the story. The theatre stuff mostly went over my head. I think this one will definitely be a hit like her first two books.

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
Publication date: January 11, 2022
I liked this one. The world was interesting and I think the world-building was well done. It was a well-written story with a good balance of showing and telling. I think the main character was developed nicely. I would have liked to know the supporting characters a bit better. But overall, I enjoyed this book.

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The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood
Publication date: February 15, 2022
I was approved for this right before I read The Unspoken Name for the Clear Your Shit Readathon and I’m so glad that I was. I binge-read this book the minute I finished the first one. The world is opened up more and we meet new characters. I loved it just as much as I did the first book (though I really missed Csorwe). I will definitely be reading more from this author and recommending this series to anyone and everyone.

Approvals on my TBR

Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I loved Dragon Pearl so I have high expectations that I will love this book as well. I believe it’s set in the same world but follows a different set of characters, which should be really fun.

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The Kindred by Alechia Dow
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I really loved The Sound of Stars by this author. This one sounds like it’s going to be more science fiction than the last and I’m totally here for that.

Love At First Spite by Anna E. Collins
Publication date: January 4, 2022
I’m on a blog tour for this one and a few other early 2022 romances. I honestly don’t know much about this book, but I’m always down for a good romance novel.

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen
Publication date: January 25, 2022
Chen’s books have been hit or miss for me. But this one sounds like something I’ll enjoy. It seems like it’ll have some aliens and a bit of family drama which are two things I usually like in books.

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Seven Mercies by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May
Publication date: January 25, 2022
I genuinely didn’t think I was going to get approved for this. So, I definitely screamed a little bit when I got the email saying I was approved. This is the sequel to Seven Devils which I read and absolutely loved. I have really high hopes for this sequel.

The Broken Tower by Kelly Braffet
Publication date: January 25, 2022
I seem to have an issue with requesting sequels that I have no business requesting. I haven’t read the first book in this series yet, but I have borrowed it from my library and hope to enjoy both that book and this eARC which is the sequel.

The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa
Publication date: February 1, 2022
I really loved The Iron Raven. I have no doubt that I’ll love this book too. I’ve been having issues with YA fantasy lately, but I think this series will hit all the right nostalgic notes for me to love it.

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Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen
Publication date: February 1, 2022
I did an oopsie with this one. I requested this after having it advertised in a NetGalley email to me. I quickly read the description and was interested because it’s adult science fiction. But after being approved, I went to add it to my ARC list on GoodReads and learned that this is the second book in a series, of which I have not read the first. But! Good news! My library has the first book as an eBook, so, I will read it there before I read this one.

Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher
Publication date: February 22, 2022
I honestly don’t know what this is about. But I really enjoyed Schumacher’s debut. Also, this cover is totally stunning and I am a sucker sometimes.

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Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
Publication date: February 22, 2022
The first sentence of the synopsis is “Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate” and that’s genuinely all I need to know.

The One True Me and You by Remi K. England
Publication date: March 1, 2022
I’ve loved all of England’s books so far, so I have high hopes for this one too.

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
Publication date: March 1, 2022
This is the third and final romance that I’m on a blog tour team for. Once again, I don’t know much about it but I love finding new romance.

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
Publication date: March 8, 2022
I liked Saft’s first book and this one sounds right up my alley. Mythical creatures and an ancient magic secret? Yes, please.

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Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy
Publication date: March 22, 2022
This is another one of the romances that I’m a part of the blog tour for. I don’t know much about it, but the quick blurb I read sounded good and I’m always open to new romance books.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is my final NetGalley Shelf update of 2021. Let me know if you like seeing these posts because I’ve really been enjoying creating them. It’s been a fun way to keep myself accountable and I feel like I’ve gotten to see real progress with reading and reviewing my NetGalley eARC’s.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Summary:
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

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Review:
Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for an early copy of this book, here is my honest review. A Psalm for the Wild-Built follows a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who is traveling through Panga to all the towns and villages. Tea monks are there to lend an ear, to be a comfort to people. I loved the concept of this world. Years and years ago, robots gained consciousness and left the world of humans. They decided they wanted to go live in nature, not to be disturbed, and that’s what they did. Many people in the present time think of robots as more legend than actual history. This is also a super diverse world. The monks are referred to as Brother, Sister, and Sibling depending on whether they are male, female or non-binary. The monk we follow, Dex, is non-binary. Dex changed careers early in the story. We see them work really hard to be an excellent tea monk and they really succeed. But being a tea monk doesn’t make them happy. So, in pursuit to feel better, Dex goes on a journey to find a lost monastery in hopes that it will give them the feeling of satisfaction that they’re craving. But as they start their journey, Dex is met by Mosscap, a robot. The two end up traveling together to the monastery and learning about one another on the journey.
I loved this book. I loved Sibling Dex. I adored Mosscap. I loved everything about it. The concept of robots fleeing the human world to live free in the woods is such an excellent one. I loved learning about how the robots have been living since leaving. Mosscap always had the most insightful things to say. I loved all of the wisdom it shared with Dex. Dex was a compelling character too. They are doing something they’re really good at, and yet, they’re still not satisfied with their life. I totally relate to this and I loved following Dex’s emotional journey.
Overall, this was a beautiful slice of life story that followed two characters that will hold a place in my heart for a long time. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in the series and I hope that we will get more from this series. I definitely recommend this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #2

Hey, lovelies! Back in February, I did my first post dedicated specifically to the books I have been approved for on NetGalley. You can find that post here. Today, I’m back with an update on that post and sharing what books I’ve been approved for since then. My reviews for the books that I’ve read will be linked as the titles. I’m going to keep this short and get right into it.

Approvals I’ve Read

Blood Sworn by Scott Reintgen
The story of the phoenix horses is finished in this sequel. This sequel is less about the horses and more of a political fantasy about people at war. But there’s fascinating magic. I highly recommend this one.

Honey Girl

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
I am completely obsessed with this book. It’s an accidental marriage story, but it does so many good things for the conversation of mental health. They writing is lyrical and stunning. There were so many lines of this story that really spoke to me.

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
A house that is creepy, but not magical. There’s healing magic and I liked the characters. This wasn’t a super memorable story for me aside from those details and the main character is bisexual.

Namesake by Adrienne Young
I’m in love with this series. This is the sequel to Fable which is the pirate story of my dreams. Namesake opens up the world of Fable so much more. There’s secretes revealed and so many emotional developments with the found family we’ve come to love.

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
A modern day Peter Pan retelling. This was way darker than I was anticipating and I really enjoyed it. The plot was a bit slow to start, but I think many will love this one.

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody
Middle-grade fantasy will forever be one of my favorites. This one will be on that list. This is such a great story about finding your passion. The main character hates everything about what’s happening to him, but it’s only because of the expectations that he thinks are on him.

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This one will be making my favorites list of 2021. I loved everything about this story and I don’t even know how to explain why. It’s a unique story filled with diverse characters and an incredible plot.

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
I thought this was a fun and quick read. There were a few things that I didn’t love about this, but it was still fun and fluffy to read.

Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
Anders finally makes it into the YA market with this one. I really enjoyed this story. I loved the found family. I loved the epic space adventure. The galaxy is at war and our main character might just be the last hope to save it.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
The Wayfarers series is one that I will love forever. This installment is a quieter story. It’s the story of four people that find themselves stuck together. They don’t always get along, but they talk and get to know one another. I loved this series.

Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein
This is the only ARC that I have DNF’d so far in 2021. I just couldn’t stand to read anymore about this main character.

Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores, #3)

Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen
I don’t know how I have two pirate series on one list, but Dark Shores is one of my favorite series. It follows a diverse cast, with to die for romances, and politics galore. I think it’s a fascinating series.

Counting Down with You by Tashi Bhuiyan
This was a fun story, but I had a few issues that I couldn’t help notice. These issues took away from my enjoyment of the story, sadly.

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
I have another favorite of 2021. This one hit parts of my soul that I didn’t know needed to be hit. It follows a bisexual girl that doesn’t know she’s bisexual. She’s figuring things out. But when her long time crush finally shows interest in her, all she can think about is the girl she met over the summer. I wish this book existed when I was younger.

Legacy by Nora Roberts
Roberts’ books are always comfort reads for me. This one was no different. The characters are well developed and even the ones I didn’t like, I knew well and rooted for them. It was a fun read while I was reading it, but not one that I think will stick in my mind.

Approvals on my TBR

The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1)

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
Publication date: May 4, 2021
Another Rick Riordan Presents title and they never disappoint. This one is about an adopted Korean-American girl that just wants to have the same magic as the rest of her family. So, she and her sister cast something to make that happen and obviously things don’t go as planned.

Better Together by Christine Riccio
Publication date: June 1, 2021
This is a story about sisters that don’t know about one another, think of Parent Trap. I love sibling relationships. So, I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy this one even though I didn’t love Riccio’s debut.

Trouble Girls by Julie Lynn Rubin
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A queer YA reimagining of Thelma & Louise is all I need to know about this one.

A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
Publication date: June 1, 2021
A Song Below Water was one of my favorite books that I read in 2020. So, I’m very excited for this sequel that follows Naema, who we met in the first book.

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa
Publication date: June 8, 2021
This is the story of a young man that impulsively comes out, nine months before graduation and has to deal with living in a small town filled with expectations that represses his true self. I cannot wait to read this one.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi
Publication date: June 15, 2021
One of the comparison titles is Aru Shah and the End of Time and that’s all I needed to know to be interested.

A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart
Publication date: June 22, 2021
I love Banghart as a human being. I met her at a book festival and I felt like we bonded in a way that I haven’t felt with any other author interaction. So, I will read all of her books until the end of time. The book also sounds good as hell.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller
Publication date: July 6, 2021
A powerful woman trying to keep her power a secret? Sign me up. I’ve seen lots about this book from the author’s twitter and it’s gotten me super excited for this one.

Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries #2)

Flash Fire by T.J. Klune
Publication date: July 13, 2021
I loved the first book in this series. So, I’m dying to get into the second. I loved the way Nick’s ADHD was shown. I liked the superhero aspect as well. Plus, friends to lovers is my favorite.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers
Publication date: July 13, 2021
Robots abandoned humanity and escaped into the woods. They agreed to come check in, but when they do, the question of ‘what do people need?’ isn’t an easy one to answer. But it must be answered before the robots can return to the woods.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Publication date: July 20, 2021
I honestly don’t really know much about this book except something about a spooky house.

The Dating Dare (A Sweet Mess, #2)

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee
Publication date: August 3, 2021
This is a romance novel by an author I’ve liked before. The romance in this one starts with a game of truth or dare and I’m here for that.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Publication date: August 3, 2021
A debut novel about ghosts in a small town, things you don’t want to meet in a dark corner, and finding a home. I’m excited for this debut novel. I think it’s going to somehow be both spooky and heartwarming.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication date: August 17, 2021
I don’t know what this is about but I’ve really enjoyed her books in the past, so I think I’ll probably like this one too.

Cazadora by Romina Garber
Publication date: August 17, 2021
Magical werewolves. I loved the first book and this is the sequel.

A Spindle Splintered

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: October 5, 2021
I can’t tell if this is actually a Sleeping Beauty retelling or not, but Harrow is one of my favorite authors.

I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin
Publication date: October 12, 2021
This seems like it’s going to be a summer camp sort of story but with people going missing and maybe some murder.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Publication date: October 19, 2021
Anther one that I don’t know much about aside from it’s a gothic horror (which is something I’m trying to dip my toes into) and some friends have read and loves it that I share a similar reading taste to.

You've Reached Sam

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Publication date: November 2, 2021
Julie and her boyfriend, Sam, have plans for the future, for their future together. But then Sam dies and Julie tries to act like he never existed so she can move on. But then things take a sci-fi twist when she calls Sam and instead of his voicemail, he answers the phone.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Publication date: November 9, 2021
The synopsis tagline is that this is an Ethiopian inspired Jane Eyre retelling. It’s also the authors debut fantasy novel.

So, this has been an update on my NetGalley TBR. These are the book since I’ve read since my last post about this and the books I will be reading in the near-ish future. What new books are on your TBR to read soon?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.