Amanda’s Ultimate Favorite Books List

Hello, lovelies! I thought, after my last post, it would be fitting to share a list of my favorite books. This list is honestly subject to change at any point depending on my mood, but this might give you some insight into my reading taste. Also, some of these are 100% on this list for nostalgia reasons.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
This book will always make all of my favorite book lists because it came to me at a time in my life when I needed it. I believe this book had a part in saving my younger self. So, I will always read it with love.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
This is actually a new favorite. I read it last year and then again just before the sequel was released. I loved it even more after reading it a second time. For the Throne was, somehow, even better.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
There’s something about this series that just gives me exactly the escapism that I’m searching for when diving into a story. Sanderson really brings you into the world and makes you love the characters.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
I just really, really love this series. I cannot wait until my daughter is willing to read longer books with me so that we can read this series together.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
This whole series is my favorite. I love Chokshi’s writing. I would die for these characters.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
I’m total trash for the Grishaverse but the Nikolai duology is by far my favorite of all the books in this universe.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
There’s just something about this series and these characters that live in my brain every day.

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I feel like this book just really impacted me emotionally. It’s one of the first physical books I read in one sitting after having my first child. It also made me cry.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Speaking of books that made me cry, this book destroyed me. I can’t wait to read it again.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
I got into fantasy with this series. It also still holds up as an excellent YA fantasy series (plus there’s a four-book spin-off series. That’s eight new books to add to your tbr!)

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
I love this series with my whole heart, but this is my favorite book in the series.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
I don’t talk about this series nearly as much as I should. But every time I reread it, I’m reminded of how much I love these characters and their gritty world.

Almost Favorites

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Furyborn by Claire Legrand

I also have these books, listed above as my ‘almost favorites’. These are all books that I’ve only read once, but I think upon a reread they have high potential to move their way onto my favorites list. I do plan to reread a few of these in the next few months, so maybe I’ll do an update of this toward the end of the year.

What are some of your top favorite books?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.
The mysterious Domino Programme has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim – her former enemy – at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.
As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them – and could end with them . . .

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

Review:
I just finished The Mask Falling and I feel like I need to write this review immediately (I’m writing this in the notes app on my phone because I should be going to sleep, but instead I’m going to lie here and think about the emotional harm that Samantha Shannon has just done to me with this book). Part of me wants to blurt all of my feelings into a mostly nonsensical review and another part of me has absolutely no words to explain the wild ride that I just went on while reading The Mask Falling.
Okay so, The Mask Falling picks up immediately after the ending of The Song Rising, so I’m very glad I just reread the first three books before diving into this newest installment. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you can find my non-spoiler review for The Bone Season and then come back to this review once you’ve read the first three books. Paige is in pretty dire shape as she is fleeing from London and heading to Paris for some rest and recovery. But that’s not all she will be doing in Paris. She’s been approached by a group that’s outside both the syndicate and Scion that wants her help to work against Scion. This mysterious group is present for the whole book and I’m incredibly excited to see where things with this group lead for the rest of the series. They keep Paige and the Warden (who has traveled at Paige’s side from London) in a safe house to recuperate for a few weeks before sending her on her first mission.
Paige is genuinely a force of nature. She’s grown so much and come so far from the mollisher that we got to know in book one. She knows her own mind (mostly) and she’s always scheming. The way her brain works to turn any situation in her favor was so enjoyable to follow. She will reach her goals by sheer force of will if that’s what it takes. But she’s incredibly smart and clever, always thinking ten steps ahead of where she is at the moment. It was really interesting to see her struggle with the traumas that were inflicted upon her in book three and how she handled those feelings and the PTSD that she was definitely dealing with. I thought Shannon did an excellent job showing us the ways that Paige was struggling, but that she was still strong despite those struggles. Shannon didn’t just act like Paige was never tortured, she added to who Paige had become as a character and I really think she did Paige justice with the balance of showing us what Paige was struggling with and her strengths as a leader in spite of those struggles.
Since the story is told from Paige’s point of view, we don’t get to see inside the side characters’ heads. But I think we really got to know the Warden better. Their relationship has been so up and down in the first three books. It’s absolutely a slow-burn romance and I’m living for it. I’ve always been on board for their relationship, but this one had so many good scenes of the two just spending time together. Also, how dare you rip my heart out the way you did Samantha Shannon, with the secrets and twists at the end of this book.
As for the plot of the story, I think this one was more action-packed and productive with pushing the overall story forward than any of the other books. So many things happen, but not so much that it felt like too much. The story, despite being over 500 pages, was really well-paced with action and things that needed to get done for Paige to reach her goals. But there were also a few moments of calm and time to take a breath before the next big thing happened. I loved the backdrop of Paris and seeing more of the world that Scion rules. It was really interesting to see another Scion citadel and how it was similar and also different from London. I think the politics that Paige gets herself involved in were compelling and I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen because of the events in the final pages of this book.
Overall, this was a huge book that I still felt like it was easy to fly through. Especially after binging the first three books in a reread, this one was all too easy to devour. There’s so much great character building and development with both individual characters and with character relationships. We get to meet new faces as well as see old friends (and enemies). I can’t wait to see what will happen next in this world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.
But having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.
Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
The Song Rising (The Bone Season, #3)Review:
The third book in The Bone Season series. I think I should have read this a bit sooner after finishing the second because of all the terminology. I was a smidge confused for the first few chapters because I didn’t remember what everything was. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to see where this series will go next. I’m going to say now, if you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you shouldn’t continue reading this. This is the third book in the series so, if you haven’t read books ONE and TWO, please leave and I’ll see you after you enjoy those wonderful stories.
So, in this book we follow Paige after she’s kicked ass and taken names and made herself Underqueen of the Mime Order. I loved Paige in this book because she’s fierce and full of fire. She hates being pushed around and skirts the rules and restrictions at every turn. She’s passionate and determined, she’s smart and loyal. She does what she needs to in order to protect her people. I gained so much respect for her in this book because she never once puts herself ahead of anyone. Even though she’s the leader and she could just send people to accomplish things, she insists on doing the dangerous things herself. She will not put her people at risk. I think this is so admirable. She really proves over and over the lengths she’s willing to go for the people she leads.
There’s so much going on politically in this story. There are so many pieces in play at this point that it’s hard to even explain so I’m not going to. The politics were interesting and complex and had me completely involved in the story. I felt for these people we saw suffering. I wanted to help them just as much as Paige did. I think this world is so incredibly well-built and I loved seeing more of it. We did a fair bit of traveling to places outside of London and I thought it was so interesting to see how other places had been affected.
Finally, the Warden. The slowest slow burn I’ve ever seen. I can’t even handle it. I just want them to get together already. I’m a suck for forbidden romance. I’m really intrigued to see where this relationship is going to go and how things will end up. They are already irrevocably connected and I love it. I loved their few moments where they allowed themselves to show their feelings, but I wanted more. I want them to be together forever already. I don’t want slow burn anymore.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The politics are getting serious. Paige is proving what kind of leader she is. Things are really getting thrilling. With that ending I’m dying to know where the next book is going to go. I hate that I have to wait until next year to find out.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.
Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.
Review:
This series is just getting better. More action packed and full of adventure, good intentions, and villains. This story is based in London, but it’s not any sort of London that we know today. In a world full of people with clairvoyant abilities is turmoil and lies and just all around craziness.
The Mime Order was a pretty wild ride. So much happened and I just couldn’t put it down, especially in the second half of the book.
I really like Paige, even when I don’t like her she’s still likable. She’s taken on some crazy huge responsibility and risks her life again and again to do the right thing.
There are way too many characters to talk about each of them but I really love them all, even the villains. They’re all interesting and distinct and unique.
If you’re new here, you may not know but I really love some forbidden love stories. This series already has a couple and I’m here for all of it.
I just have to say i hated the way this ended. It was written well and all that but left me knowing.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
The year is 2059. Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant-and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, kidnapped, and drugged, Paige is transported to Oxford-a city kept secret for two hundred years, governed by an otherworldly race called the Rephaim who seek to control clairvoyants for their own purposes. Paige is assigned to the care of Warden, a powerful Rephaite. He is her captor. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, she will have to get close to him, to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine, a young woman discovering her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut
Review:
The Bone Season has been super hyped up. Everyone has been talking about this series because the third book was recently released. I enjoyed it for sure. I don’t have a whole lot to say because I’m writing this and falling asleep at the same time.
I loved the unique idea behind the story. Things sort of taking place in London. But not really. It’s London, just not as we know it today. Shannon created an incredible world in these pages. The world building was great. We weren’t overwhelmed with information and we weren’t lacking any either. There were no description dumps trying to tell us about the world. We learned about how things worked at a nice pace that flowed with the progression of the story. I loved learning about how their society works and the differences from the real world. It was creative and interesting and I’m definitely intrigued to see what’s going to happen in the next book.
Shannon’s writing was very good. It wasn’t overly detailed and complicated, but it wasn’t simple either. The setting was written well with good imagery. I don’t know how accurate the London and Ireland parts of the story were because I’ve never been there, but I’m interested to know if it resembles current London at all.
The characters were another interesting aspect. Complex and flawed, they were relatable and captivating. Paige is a complicated girl. There is almost a “chosen one” kind of trope, but it’s avoided with the fact that she’s not “chosen” just a special girl with a rare ability. Now that I think about it, there was a “discovering my magical powers” trope, but it wasn’t specific to Paige. It was something that happened to lots of people all over. Regardless, I liked Paige. She was mostly afraid of her power and only tried to hone it because of her boss. Paige had some great character development throughout the book. By the end, she was better able to use her ability, but also to stand up for herself and for what she believed in.
I liked our supporting characters, but their stories were left kind of vague. I hope we get to know more about them in the next book. We learned little bits and pieces, but I’m interested in their actual backstories, specifically the Warden. I know he’s not what we thought he was at first, but man I’d love to know his motivations. Also, Jax, I can’t wait to learn more about him.
I liked these characters well enough. They’ve gotten me invested enough that I’m excited to read the next story. I love the world that Shannon has created. I can’t wait to see what happens next with the way The Bone Season ended. Hello, cliffhanger. I think this is a great fantasy story in the middle to lower end of the scale. Maybe a good read for those who are interested in trying a story with a little more fantasy than the minimum.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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