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

Amanda’s July Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I’m here with a very belated wrap up for the month of July. I’ve been a bit lazy with setting up my blog posts which is why this wrap up is so late. But! I’m here and I’m sharing all of the wonderful (or not so wonderful) things that I read in the month of July. Without any further delay (because I’ve delayed enough with my laziness) here are the things I read.

Physical Books
Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

eBooks
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Darkwood by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
All Our Broken Pieces L.D. Crichton
The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Moon Cakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu
Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Audiobooks
Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I managed to read twenty books in July. Not my best month, but still one that I’m very happy with. Tell me what you read last month!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Antonia's Antics · Everything & Anything

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads Summary:

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.91shyghsqsl

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

 

Once again I couldn’t wait to start this book after the suspense-filled ending of Siege and Storm (you can read my review of it here). The Darkling finally made his move; the Second Army has been destroyed, the palace taken over, the king, queen, and prince are possibly dead, and Alina is hiding underground without her powers.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. At the beginning, it felt like there was no hope for Alina and her friends to be able to defeat the Darkling. He simply has too much power and experience for the ragtag group of rebels to make much difference. To change this, Alina and her friends go on a nearly impossible quest to try to find the firebird. The third of Morozova’s amplifiers could make Alina powerful enough to face the Darkling once and for all but the firebird is a legend they’re not sure even exists. I really enjoyed this quest; the interactions between this group of misfits were fun and it was nice to get away from the politics of the second book. The twist involving the firebird, the third amplifier, and Mal wasn’t much of a plot twist for me. Usually I like little subtle hints in books that make you go “Ohh” when you eventually figure it out but I thought these ones were pretty obvious. I’d guessed this outcome back in the second book but it wasn’t revealed until two-thirds of the way through this one.
Alina is still my favorite character. She’s strong and brave but also very flawed. Despite everything though, she always tries to be a good leader first and foremost. I loved watching her continue to grow throughout this book.
I’m also glad I started to like Mal again. My opinion of him has sort of been a rollercoaster throughout the series but he managed to redeem himself by the end. He hasn’t always been there for Alina the way he should but he stepped up when it mattered and I ended up admiring the person he becomes.
Nikolai is also one of my favorites. He’s still the dashing, witty pirate we met in the last book but behind that he’s intelligent and kind. I was more devastated by what happens to him than by any other event from these books so that should tell you how much I love him.
I don’t have much to say about the Darkling that I haven’t already said in my previous reviews because his part in this book is mostly from a distance. His unpredictability makes him an exceptional villain and I liked the way Bardugo ended things for his character.
Overall this way an amazing conclusion to the series and I highly recommend it to everyone who likes YA and fantasy. As always, thanks for reading and I’d love to know what you think in the comments.

-Antonia

Antonia's Antics · Everything & Anything

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads Summary: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.91wvknclkul

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

 

After almost a year, I finally got around to finishing this series. I did reread the first book but, since my thoughts on it remain the same, I won’t write another review for it. You can read my review of Shadow and Bone here.

I loved this book. After the whirlwind ending of the first book, it seemed like this one might start slow, but it picked up almost immediately and the whirlwind started again. That’s one of the things I love about this series; it’s so fast paced that I read each book in only a day or two. Even during slower moments there’s so much underlying suspense that you can’t wait to see what happens next.

The setting is amazing. As I said in my review of the first book, I struggle a lot with visualizing settings, especially fantasy settings. Bardugo describes the places and people in her books so well though that I found it easy to see everything. Even with the war, this is a world I think I could live in.

Alina is a character I continue to admire. She’s gone through so much in her life and the events of the last book have left her shaken. Terrible things have happened to her and she’s done terrible things as well. She barely knows who she is anymore and she’s fighting so hard to separate her actions from those of the Darkling. No matter what she does she always keeps fighting to be a good person and I love that about her. I think she really stepped up in this book to try to be a good leader even if she still makes mistakes sometimes.

Mal started to annoy me again in this book. He annoyed me in the beginning, then I loved him by the end of the first book and the beginning of this one, then he started to annoy me again, but I feel like it wasn’t so much his fault. Mal and Alina start this book in a really good place in their relationship. Sure, they’ve got problems, but most of them stem from the war and their terror of the Darkling. Then, suddenly, the relationship’s broken and Mal’s acting like a jerk and Alina won’t just talk to him. It didn’t feel like a natural progression to the relationship. It felt like Bardugo just created problems in the relationship to add more tension to the plot and not because that’s where the relationship was going. It’s the only serious problem I had with this book. I would have understood them having a little trouble because their entire lives are made up of stressful situations and that would wear on any relationship, but the complete 180 seemed forced to me.

I absolutely love Sturmhond. It seemed like every time I turned a page there was a new facet to his personality that made me love him more. Even the negative traits just made him more interesting. I won’t give away too much about him but he’s definitely one of the more unique characters I’ve read about recently.

The Darkling is still an awesome villain even though we don’t see him quite as much in this book. The affects the end of the first book had on him have somehow made him more twisted and it was difficult to figure out what he might do next. Also, (sorry everyone) I still don’t love him.

Overall this was an amazing sequel that I highly recommend to everyone who enjoys YA and fantasy. It has the romance and magic that you expect from this genre with a heavy dose of darkness and what people are capable of under pressure thrown in. I’d love to hear your own thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

-Antonia

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

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Rainy Day Reads

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The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

Shadow and Bone by Leigh  Bardugo

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Dry by Neal  & Jarrod Shusterman

The Mortal Instruments by  Cassandra Clare

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Graceling by Kristen Cashore

These are all books I can pick up to forget the rainy weather outside. What books do you like to pick up on a rainy day?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Amanda's Adventures · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Amanda’s March Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! It’s April fools day but its no joke that I managed to read twenty-four books in the month of March. I was motivated by the NoVaTeen Book Festival to read books by a handful of new authors before I got the chance to meet them. Because of that, I read a large number of eBooks from my library (and I found a few new favorites!) So, without further delay here, are all the things (good and bad) that I read in March.

Physical Books
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
Deathcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

EBooks
The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
A Long way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
The Clouds Beyond Us by Rahf Alrashidi
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Audiobooks
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

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What did you read this month? Did we read any of the same books? Did you find any new favorite books or authors like I did?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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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 · TBR Lists & Wrap Ups

Amanda’s Fierce Female Readathon Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! I’m here (again) to share with you my wrap up for the Fierce Female Readathon! This month I and a few others had tons of fun sharing all kinds of fierce females. There was also this readathon! There were five challenges and a group book and two weeks for reading! Here’s how I did.

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Read the group book

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Read a book with girl/female/woman in the title

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (I’m stretching this one a bit)

Read a book written by a woman of color

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Read a fierce female recommendation from the book community

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Read a nonfiction book written by or featuring a fierce female
OR
read a book based off a woman in history

The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson (not pictured)

Read a book with a fierce female leading a resistance 

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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These are the books I read for the Fierce Female Readathon. What books did you read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t forget to use the hashtags #FierceFemaleReadathon #FierceFemaleReadsFebruary and #FierceFemaleFridays and tag Ashley and me in your posts! 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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