When Sparks Fly

Summary:
Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.
But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.
Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

Review:
When Sparks Fly follows Avery and Declan in alternating chapters. I liked that we got to see points of view from both of the love interests instead of just from Avery’s point of view. Avery gets into a car accident when Declan proves to be unreliable and Avery has to drive herself. She ends up with a few serious injuries. Declan is filled with guilt, feeling like all of this was his fault. So, he talks to his job about working from home, sets up their apartment, and becomes Avery’s at-home nurse.
These two are best friends. They’ve been best friends since college. They’re roommates. I love the friends-to-lovers trope, so I was very excited to follow them as things moved from platonic to romantic. I liked the romance. It was fun and silly and Avery and Declan’s friendship remained strong. I really liked the friends-to-lovers aspect of the story. I think Hunting did a great job making it believable.
Overall, I really had a great time reading this one. I loved the romance. I didn’t love the third act break up, but it was believable and true to the characters, I think. Outside of that, there were some great sibling moments between Avery and her sisters. I’m excited to read more about the sisters in the next books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Seasonal TBR Still on my TBR

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. This week’s topic is Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer).

Set Fire to the Gods by Kristen Simmons and Sara Rauschenberg

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

What books are still hanging around your TBR?

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire

Summary:
Melanie has a destiny, though it isn’t the one everyone assumes it to be. She’s delicate; she’s fragile; she’s dying. Now, truly, is the winter of her soul.
Harry doesn’t want to believe in destiny, because that means accepting the loss of the one person who gives his life meaning, who brings summer to his world.
So, when a new road is laid out in front of them—a road that will lead through untold dangers toward a possible lifetime together—walking down it seems to be the only option.
But others are following behind, with violence in their hearts.
It looks like Destiny has a plan for them, after all….

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Seasonal Fears is the sequel to Middlegame (which I read and loved last year). It’s set in the same world but follows new characters. We get to know Melanie and Harry. Melanie was created by alchemist parents. Her mother died while giving birth, along with Melanie’s twin sister. Harry is a local boy, one that Melanie has loved from childhood, and Harry loves Melanie just as much. But when the ruling Winter and Summer die, Mel and Harry are in for a big surprise.
I had a total blast reading this book. I feel like this one was a bit simpler than the first book only because the differences between the seasonal magic and whatever Roger and Dodger are, are many. Also, because of certain plot reasons, Harry just really struggles to understand what the hell is going on, so things are explained several times in a few different ways.
I really liked following Melanie and Harry. They were a really sweet young couple and their love was wholesome until it wasn’t. Their relationship progressed with the changes going on around them. They were both more mature than the other kids their age because Melanie was likely to die soon, so the pair knows how to deal with heavy things. But learning magic is real, and the lengths they need to go to in order to survive and stay together will take things down a darker path.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the surprises and twists. I loved the world of alchemy. I loved the characters. I highly recommend both this and Middlegame.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s June 2022 Book Haul

Hi, lovelies! I’m sure you’re thinking, “Really, Amanda? A book haul? Aren’t you moving in like a month? Well, yes. Yes, I am. So, most of these I’ve made sure to read right away or they are books I bought and have already read.

New Books I’ve Read

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
Nightwork by Nora Roberts

New to my TBR

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mathers
Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey
The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh
When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Off the Grid by Tess Sharpe
The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe

Did you buy any books last month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda Recommends Books With Magical Libraries

Hey, lovelies! I love a good magical library or otherwise bookish book. And I know lots of other readers love those things in their stories as well. I wanted to share a list of some of my favorite books that have magical libraries in some sort of way (and one with a magical book).

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
“The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.”

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
“Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.”

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.”

The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu
“When a child goes missing in Edinburgh’s darkest streets, young Ropa investigates. She’ll need to call on Zimbabwean magic as well as her Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. But as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?
When ghosts talk, she will listen…
Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children–leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world. She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan…), discovering an occult library and a taste for hidden magic. She’ll also experience dark times. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets, and Ropa’s gonna hunt them all down.”

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
“All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
(This is a magical book, but I’m including it anyway.)
“In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.”

This list isn’t as long as I’d like it to be. There are quite a few books with magical libraries that are on my TBR list, so I’ll be sure to do a part two of this list once I read some of those. What books with magical libraries or other bookish themes do you love?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s June 2022 TBR Jar Picks & Clear Your Sht Readathon TBR

Hello, lovelies! We have officially made it to the halfway point of 2022. Hopefully, the second half is as good as I’m expecting it to be! I hope 2022 has been treating everyone well and we’re all about to read some great books this month.

Romance
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Favorite Author
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Reread
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Young Adult
The Genesis Wars by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Most Recent Purchase
Book Lovers by Emily Henry

As usual, I’m going to share the books I need to read this month to try to keep up with my NetGalley eARCs.

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco
Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper
Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler
Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White
Breaking Time by Sasha Aslberg
January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky

Clear Your Shit

Walkman // a book you’ve been avoiding the longest
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Breakfast Club // read a book with food themes or items
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Love & Food edited by Elsie Chapman

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun // read a book with multiple POVs
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

NES // read a sci-fi, or a book with technology in it
The Genesis Wars by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Polaroids // read a book with characters on the cover
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Care Bears // read a comforting book
Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Manic Monday // read a book you can finish over the weekend to avoid a manic monday
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Rainbow Brite // read a book with LGBTQIA+ representation
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

I’m definitely being a little bit ambitious with this TBR, but I think if I get some of the audiobooks from the library I can manage it. What are you hoping to read this month?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s May 2022 Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! May is somehow already over. I had a great start to the month and tried to stay strong. Here are all the things I read this month!

Physical Books
From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata – 4 stars
The Suite Spot by Trish Doller – 2 stars
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – 5 stars
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – 5 stars
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – 5 stars

eBooks
Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin – 2 stars
Hide by Kiersten White – 2 stars

Audiobooks
Youngbloods by Scott Westerfeld – 2 stars
The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell – 3 stars
Book of Night by Holly Black – 3 stars
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – 3.75 stars
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – 5 stars
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars

What was your favorite book you read in May?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s April 2022 Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! I honestly cannot believe that April is already over. I am a day early, but know what I will and won’t be finishing within the next day. I think I did a little better reading-wise this month. That is helped with my new baby slowly sleeping in longer stretches, so some of my brainpower is coming back. Let’s get into what I read this past month and how I read it.

Physical Books
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake – 4 stars
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto – 3 stars
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey – 3 stars
The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell – 4 stars

eBooks
Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead – 4.5 stars
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller – 2.5 stars
To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters – 4.5 stars
The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe – 3.5 stars
Very Bad People by Kit Frick – 2 stars
A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow – 3.5 stars
The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee – 2 stars
I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers – 2 stars

Audiobooks
Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer – 4.5 stars
Mickey7 by Edward Ashton – 2 stars
Yearbook by Seth Rogan
The Switch by Beth O’Leary – 4 stars
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman – 4 stars
The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis – 4 stars
The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis – 2 stars
Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi – 4 stars
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – 2 stars
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum – 3 stars
Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Hucho – 2 stars
This May End Badly by Samantha Markum – 3 stars
Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen – 3.5 stars
Impostors by Scott Westerfeld – 4 stars
Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld – 3 stars
Mirror’s Edge by Scott Westerfeld – 3.75 stars

These are all the books that I read in April. What book did you enjoy most in April?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books With X on the Cover

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. This week’s topic is Books with [___] On the Cover (Pick a thing (a color, an item, a place, an animal, a scripty font, a sexy person, etc.) and share covers that have that thing on the cover.) I’ve decided to do books with stars on the cover.

What do you love to see on book covers?

Amanda’s Climate Change Science Fiction Recommendations

Hello, lovelies! Happy Earth Day! I thought it would be fitting today to talk about some books I enjoyed that involve climate change. Now, I read a lot of science fiction, so many of these books the world has passed the tipping point, and the world as we know it is ending because of climate change.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
I highly recommend the audiobook for this one. There’s a full cast of narrators and they tell the story so well. We follow a ministry that’s set up by the governments of the world with the goal of battling the damage that people are doing to the Earth. I thought this story was a really interesting way to talk about climate change.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
The world as we know it is ending. In this book, the world is suffering from extreme and frequent natural disasters. But six kids are selected to explore another planet for a new potential place for humans. Climate change isn’t the focus of the book, but I liked seeing this author’s version of the end of the world.

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
This is a romance novel. But the two love interests are ex’s reuniting to work together on getting support for a bill that would switch all of Texas’ public transportation to electric vehicles. So, it still sort of works for this topic and I really loved it so much that I wanted to include it.

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson
I’m not going to say too much, but I definitely recommend this one. I think it’s going to land on my end-of-the-year favorites.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
I don’t know that the world ‘ended’ via climate change. But there’s definitely some funky stuff going on with our dear Mother Earth in this one.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
This follows a witch at a magical school. But the twist that Griffin put into the story with involving the magic with the Earth was incredibly interesting.

Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
What happens when California runs out of water? I loved this book so much. I will recommend it forever.

Do you have any favorite books that involve climate change?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Middle-Grade March Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! I’m a little late with this list, but I didn’t even think of making a recommendation post for Middle-Grade March until a few days ago. But I love middle-grade books and I’ve read some really great ones that I really want to share. So, if you’re looking for something to read for the last few days of March and you want to read a middle-grade book, look no further.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi
“It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found. It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it. Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?”

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
“Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community. Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan! Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it? As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.”

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody
“The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure. Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts. To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers. But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.”

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
“Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?”

Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
“Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.
Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.
They live on the same street. They live in different worlds.
On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures. And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.”

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
“Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . .Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.”

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

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
“When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in this mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.”

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
“Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.”

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
“THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD MIN comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.”

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
“When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing. Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?”

These are some middle-grade books that I love and will recommend without hesitation. Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your TBR?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Series Amanda’s Wants to Start in 2022

Hello, lovelies! There are so many incredible books out in the world and I will very sadly never read them all in my lifetime. But I do have a running list of series that I’ve started to purchase and am really excited to read. So, I thought I would share some series that I’m planning to start (and hopefully finish) in 2022. I think this post will be a good way to keep me accountable and I can check back on this list later to see my progress. I’ll be sharing the first book of each series with their synopsis below.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
“Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised. Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins. Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.

The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
“Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will. Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls. What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?”

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
“Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides. Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.”

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
“In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.”

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
“The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.”

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
“Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.”

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
“In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.”

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
“For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Then Kelsier reveals his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot. But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.”

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
“The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?”

What new series are you hoping to start in 2022?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Thirty-One: Amanda’s October Wrap Up

Hello, lovelies! It’s the end of another month and what a month it’s been. I read some great books and some not so great. But I’m happy with what I read.

What I Read

Physical Books
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi – 5 stars
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 5 stars
Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee – 5 stars
Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool – 5 stars
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle – 4.5 stars

eBooks
Cazadora by Romina Garber – 3.75 stars
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – 3.75 stars
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood – 3 stars
The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 4 stars
The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee – 3 stars
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith – 3.5 stars
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 4 stars
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen – 5 stars
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – 5 stars

Audiobooks
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young – 4 stars
The Bones Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – 4 stars
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – 3.5 stars
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – 3 stars
My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – 3.5 stars
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis – 3 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #4

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Book Review)

Why Everyone Should Read Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (Book Review)

Amanda’s Autumn Book Recommendations

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten (Book Review)

Amanda’s October Anticipated Releases

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Book Review)

Series to Finish in 2021

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Book Review)

If You Liked This, Then Read That

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Book Review)

17 Audiobooks to Read in October

Underrated October Recommendations

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (Book Review)

Spooky Book Covers

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (Book Review)

6 Fall Romance Recommendations

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (Book Review)

Other Blog Posts I Loved

Top Ten Spooky Reads from Alyssa @ Read Em’ And Weep

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl from The Elven Warrior

Top Six / Spooky Books Releasing In 2022 / Top Ten Tuesday from Vee_Bookish

Queer Latinx YA Recs from Gabi’s Book Reviews

My Friend Blurbs Books Based on Book Covers from Charvi @ Not Just Fiction

SciFi Month 2021 TBR from Caitlin @ Realms of my Mind

Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Ryka Aoki, Author of Light from Uncommon Stars – On Inspiration, Learning the Violin, and the Magic of Queerness in Speculative Fiction from Skye @ The Quiet Pond

Spooky Season Post #5 | 25+ Young Adult Horror: 2021 Book Releases from Sofii @ A Book. A Thought.

Well, that’s all I have for you this month. How’d you do for reading and blogging?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

WWW Wednesday

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_3273.jpeg
Hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer the three questions!

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently rereading A Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’m also trying to quickly finish up A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee.

Antonia- I’m currently reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

What did you read most recently?

Amanda- I most recently finished A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The Anthropocine Reviewed by John Green.

Antonia- I most recently read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

What will you read next?

Amanda- I haven’t decided what my first read of spooky season will be yet. But if you want to check out my Magical Readathon TBR for the options, you can find that here.

Antonia- Next I think I’ll read Artemis by Andy Weir.

Answer the three W’s in the comments today or share your post with us!

Amanda’s July Wrap Up

Hey, lovelies! July was a much better reading month for me than June was. I’m really proud of how well I did working on my physical TBR and getting it down to a lower number. I also read some really great blog posts this month. I did better at regularly checking my feed to read stuff from the people I follow. So, lets get into it!

What I Read

Physical Books
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – 4 stars
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – 3 stars
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth – 4.5 stars
The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer – 4.5 stars
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – 4 stars
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – 3.5 stars
Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout – 5 stars

eBooks
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – 4 stars
The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt – 2 stars
A Season of Sinister Dreams by Tracy Banghart – 4 stars
What We Devour by Linsey Miller – 4 stars
A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers – 4.5 stars
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendigi – 3.5 stars

Blogging Highlights

Amanda’s Favorite Retellings

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Book Review)

10 Popular YA Books on Amanda’s Physical TBR

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (Book Review)

Amanda’s Summertime Book Recommendations

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi (Book Review)

5 Books Featuring Grief Amanda Recommends

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia (Book Review)

Other Bloggers I’m Loving

Thoughts on Prologues and Epilogues (Let’s Talk Bookish) from Briana @ Pages Unbound
I thought this was a really interesting discussion post!

Summerween TBR Time! from Destiny @ Howling Pages
Check out some spooky books that Destiny is going to read in July.

My 2021 Goals | Mid-Year Check-In from Jess @ Jessticulates
Come see how Jess is doing for their 2021 goals! I think you’re killing it Jess!

Our Friend is Here! A Discussion with Ryan Douglass, Author of The Taking of Jake Livingston – On Why We Need Radical YA Books from Skye @ The Quiet Pond
I love everything that comes from the Quiet Pond, but this post in particular was a great read.

Discover A Reader’s Book Buying Process from Kal @ Reader Voracious
See the how and why behind Kal’s book buying habits!

Book Drop // Library Book Haul from Book Loaner
Check out this library haul!

100 Books By Trans and Non-Binary Authors from Vee @ Vee Bookish
Some great recommendations here. I love the idea of collaboration to come up with ha huge list of recommendations.

Book Recommendations: Pride Month Edition – 10 Books with Bisexual and Pansexual Rep to Read During Pride Month! from CW @ The Quiet Pond
There are some really great recommendations on this list!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.