The 100 by Kass Morgan

GoodReads Summary:
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents—considered expendable by society—are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves—but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.
The 100 (The 100, #1)Review:
I have to start this review with a little backstory. I have been wanting to read this series for quite a few years because I watch (read: am obsessed with) the tv show. The final season of the 100 tv show is starting and I thought I would try to catch up with the books before I finish the show. I might even rewatch the whole show after I read the whole book series. Okay, onto the book review.
The 100 follows 100 people that are under 18 and have been arrested. The space station they grew up on is running out of air, so the higher-ups need to figure out if Earth is livable again or not. We follow four different points of view and their stories. I really enjoyed the science fiction parts of this story. The concept of the human race destroying the Earth is not out of the realm of possibilities, and I’ve always been fascinated by space. I would love to travel in space and live there as well. I didn’t love the class issues that still lingered in space. This was something that was changed in the show, there were different stations, but none were better than another.
Clarke is the first point of view we see. We get her backstory as well as where she currently is. I really liked her. She’s smart and creative. She’s good in hard situations. I thought she was strong and well developed. I thought the backstory with her parents (which is different in the book from the show) was dark but somehow fascinating.
Wells is the chancellor’s son. He’s also Clarke’s ex-boyfriend and the reason that her parents died. I thought that Wells had the hardest journey. He purposefully committed a crime so that he would be sent to Earth alongside Clarke. Was that choice worth it? He’s made to be ‘other’ because he is the son of the chancellor. He’s familiar with leadership, but when he tries to share what he knows, he’s shunned. Wells is determined and continues trying to be helpful which I liked. I’m interested to see how his story compares to the show in the next book.
Bellamy is my favorite. I love him in the book and the show. I also totally ship him with Clarke. Bellamy did whatever he needed to get onto the ship that held his sister, the one going to Earth. His sister, that he doesn’t know as well as he thinks he does, that never should have been born. Bellamy isn’t afraid of making waves or pissing people off. But he quickly proves that he’s probably the most prepared to survive on Earth. I will love him forever.
Then there’s Glass. She’s not even in the show so I was interested right from the start. Glass was supposed to be one of the 100, but snuck off the ship through the air vents to see her boyfriend, Luke. I had a love/hate relationship with her story. Her history is not pretty. She’s a part of the wealthier station and Luke is not. So, when certain events happen, she says hateful things and breaks up with him to protect him. But once she sees him again, the truth starts to come out. I’m definitely interested to see where her story goes. There are more secrets to be spilled and I thought it was an interesting choice to keep one of the perspectives on the space station.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. I’m very excited to continue the series and see what happens to these characters that I love dearly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Internment by Samira Ahmed

GoodReads Summary:
Rebellions are built on hope.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the camp’s Director and his guards.
Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.
InternmentReview:
What a horrifying potential future this story was. I cried for most of the beginning of this book. I chose to read this via audiobook and I just have to mention that it was incredibly well produced. Though there’s only one narrator, there were all sorts of interesting effects included. I don’t want to say that I enjoyed this story because it was terribly hard to listen to and it was a very hard topic, but it was a fascinating story.
We follow Layla as her family is removed from their home and forced into an internment camp. This was the hardest part of the story. Samira Ahmed did an incredible job of filling Layla’s experience and internal thoughts with emotions. I couldn’t help but cry at the things that Layla was made to see and experience. The hardest thing for me about this story was how easily this “five minutes in the future” could come to pass. As someone who was born and raised as a white girl in America, I kept saying to myself, “this could never happen because of xyz.” Then, minutes later, Layla would say the same thing to her parents. I think that was the worst part for me. Layla was born in America, she was a citizen, and yet all of these horrible things were happening to her because her family wouldn’t hide their religion.
I really loved Layla’s spirit. She refused to be beaten down while in the internment camp. Surrounded by horrible things, seeing people speak out getting taken away or literally beaten didn’t stop her from plotting a rebellion. I really liked this aspect of the story. Hope in the face of something so hopeless was the highlight. Along with this, I really liked that this wasn’t an “I hate America” story. There were guards that were on the side of those imprisoned. There were protests all over the country. The people that weren’t hateful and horribly racist stood up for the Muslims that were being taken from their homes. I liked that all of the people came together to change what was happening.
Overall, this was a hard story to read, but an important one. It’s a story sure to make you cry, but by the end of it you will see that hope and resisting those with hateful beliefs will not win.

Quotes:

“What’s that thing people always say about history? Unless we know our history, we’re doomed to repeat it? Never forget? Isn’t that the lesson? But we always forget. Forgetting is in the American grain.”

“But it’s also a reminder that being quiet doesn’t always signify weakness. Sometimes it takes great strength to find that silence. Sometimes it takes incredible strength to survive.”

“It’s not about danger. It’s about fear. People are willing to trade their freedom, even for a false sense of protection”
“Then I glance beyond the fence at the sea of people. In this place where I thought I was lost, the world has found me. Hope courses through my veins.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

GoodReads Summary:
Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.
The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.
The Iron Will of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #2)Review:
Wow, this book was an adventure. I adored this series so much. I chose to listen to this book via audiobook and I’m so glad I did. I waited for my library to order it. The narrator did such an incredible job with all the different voices for all the characters and she really made it such a fun story to listen to.
We’re following Genie after the events of the first book. She’s gained a position of power on Earth as the person in charge of the demons leftover from the last book. I thought these parts of her being the guardian were really interesting. I thought she made a good leader, if not a bit impulsive. I really loved her growth in this story. She’s grown so much from the driven and obsessively focused girl she was in the last book. She also continues to grow in this story.
My favorite parts of this book were definitely her relationship with Quentin. They have a big fight and say hurtful things to one another, but the parts where they work through that and get back to a good place were just so fantastic. My next favorite part of this book was Genie’s relationship with Guanyin. They went from a sort of awkward intimidating relationship in the first book to more equals (as much as a human and a god can be). I really enjoyed their almost sister-like relationship.
Overall, this story was action-packed and chock full of mythology. I loved the mythological parts of the story. They were so beyond interesting. I loved Genie and everything else about this series. I really don’t know why more people don’t read and talk about this series. It was diverse and so much fun.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

GoodReads Review:
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic, #1)Review:
Rin Chupeco became an auto-buy author for me after I read the first two books of the Bone Witch series. I didn’t love the first book in that series, but I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read since. So, when I didn’t love this, I was a bit disappointed. I want to say that I did enjoy this book, but I felt similarly about this that I did with The Bone Witch.
For the first 50-100 pages, the story pretty much dumps history and world-building into the story. I understood little because we’re coming into this story many years after the Kingdom of Avalon was encased in ice. So, there’s so much the reader needs to know before we can actually get to the part of the book where the characters try to get their kingdom back. But it was a bit too much for me. The backstory was just dumped in there and left me a little confused rather than over informing me. The confusing part of this story was that while it’s sort of set in modern times, it’s not set in the world as we know it. In this world, all the fairytales exist in the world in their own kingdoms. Every story from Snow White to Alice in Wonderland. I thought this was really creative and interesting, but it was a bit confusing at first.
Despite my trouble with the start of the book, I pushed through and was really here for the characters. Our main character Tala was the best. She has the ability to negate magic and I thought that was so freaking cool. I liked watching her develop and test her ability, including the times she accidentally negated magic and it had negative effects.
Then there’s the crown prince, Alex. I didn’t like him very much. I did at first, but after they leave Arizona, he’s kind of a dick to everyone around him and I really didn’t appreciate that. I guess we will wait and see if he’s better in the second book.
Then there are the bandersnatches. I’m not going to name them all but they were the friend group/guards of this story. I loved them. They added diversity and excellence to the story. They have unique abilities and personalities. Their histories are different, but some of them went to the same school. I really loved them as a group.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book by Chupeco (that honor goes to The Never Tilting World) but I still enjoyed it enough that I’ll be continuing the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

GoodReads Summary:
Some people ARE illegal.
Lobizonas do NOT exist.
Both of these statements are false.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal…it’s her entire existence.
Lobizona (Wolves of No World, #1)Review:
What a wild ride this story was. Thank you to NetGalley and Alexis Neuville with St. Martin’s Press for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I completely fell in love with this story within the first chapter. Manu’s struggle of being undocumented in the U.S. was heartbreaking. It’s something that happens to people every single day in this country and it’s absolutely horrible. Manu struggles with this, but loves her mother and respects her mother’s wishes. I loved Manu’s relationship with her mother. They were very close, despite the secrets between them. I was a little sad we didn’t get to see them together after they were separated when ICE took Manu’s mother away. But their love for one another was so obvious, it warmed my heart.
After ICE takes Manu’s mother, Manu finds herself in a world that was supposed to only be a myth. She lies her way into a school for Septimus. After becoming roommates with the headmistress’s daughter, Cata. Cata’s best friend, Saysa, decides Manu is going to be in their friend group. Saysa’s brother, Tiago (who I couldn’t figure out for way too long if he was Saysa’s brother or Cata’s brother) is a part of that group too. He’s the alpha of the pack and takes Manu under his wing. This romance was clear from the start and I really didn’t care for it because at their school everyone knows that Tiago and Cata are end game (but we find out some things that made this untrue and made me okay with their relationship). Though things weren’t kittens and rainbows when Manu first arrived, the four of them developed and really solid relationship, and I absolutely loved it. I loved that Manu finally felt like she had found the place she belonged. Sadly, this didn’t last long before she learned that once again, she was something that wasn’t supposed to exist, wasn’t allowed. I really liked that this book point blank discussed that immigration issues within the U.S. but it also talks about the struggle within a fantastical world. The world of the Septimus is a backward one. Men are werewolves and women are witches, there’s no room for discussion of changing these gender roles what so ever. Those in charge of Septimus are very strict in their thinking and the last person that tried to change the ways of the Septimus was Manu’s father, who Manu believed to be dead until she heard the rumors at her new school. I really liked the full circle of Manu trying to become the change right where her father left off.
Many people had issues with the fantasy world, but I really loved it. I really loved the comparison to Harry Potter and that the author had Manu be a fierce lover of the story so that Manu made the comparisons before the reader could. I thought it was an interesting world, hidden within the world we know today.
Overall, this book was heartbreaking but also incredibly fun. The found family was so wonderful, but there were also strong family values and I loved those too. The conversation this story brings to the table is a hard one but a necessary one. I really hope that so many other people will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Quotes:

“Deep down, we would rather be dreaming than awake.”

“You’re the spark we’re been waiting for—if you ignite, we will fan your flames. Otherwise, you’ll be alone in the dark forever.”

“But why settle for being a son of the system, when you can be the mother of a movement?”

“Plant your new garden with seeds of equality, water it with tolerance and empathy, and warm it with the temperate heat of truth.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)Review:
How am I supposed to explain how much I loved this book? I wasn’t going to read this because of all of the negative or average reviews. All I have to say is, what is wrong with you people?? This book has been (wrongly) compared to Six of Crows. I slightly understand the comparison, but this story was so different.
We follow several different characters who all have different goals, but they’ve become a family of sorts and I loved every single one of them. I’ll start with Severin. He’s our damaged boy. I adored him. He’s supposed to have inherited his parent’s ring and become the patriarch of his family, but that right was stolen from him. His goal is to change that and reinstate his family, to become the patriarch that he was always supposed to be. After his parents died and his birthright was stolen from him, he was moved from home to home until he came into his monetary inheritance. I really liked the bits and pieces we got about each of his foster fathers. He also has a brother, Tristan.
Tristan is an awkward nerdy kid and I freaking loved him. He has this horrifying pet spider that he loves dearly. I don’t like spiders, but I loved Tristan. He’s like the little brother of everyone in the group. I adored how much everyone loves him. He’s a sweet little bean and I would die for him.
Laila is from India. She’s a dancer and loves to bake. That’s my kind of lady. She has an interesting history that I won’t specify because I thought learning about her was a part of the journey that is this book. She has a really interesting ability that is to be able to see the history of any object. I thought this was really cool, but also, I’m still curious about whether or not she can do the same with living things. Laila’s goal is to find a book that helped create her. I’m very intrigued by this book and I think it has something to do with the events of the next book.
Enrique is biracial (Filipino and Spanish). He’s a historian that loves to learn about the past. I thought his internal struggle with appearing more Spanish than Filipino was really interesting. I really thought he brought an interesting point of view to the story. He’s also bisexual, though the word is never used he says that he’s interested in both men and women. I really liked Enrique. He was the comedic relief of this friend group and I’m always a sucker for the funny guy. I also totally ship him with Zofia.
Zofia was a little science nerd and I love her. She’s Jewish which I thought was nice because I don’t see all that much representation for Jewish people out there. She’s also Polish and moved away from her sister to go to school. I believe that Zofia is somewhere on the Autism spectrum but I don’t know whether that’s been confirmed anywhere. She has issues with certain social cues, clothing materials, and I loved her so much. She’s incredibly smart and is the mad scientist and mathematician of the bunch. She loves to create but was not treated well when she tried to go to traditional schools.
Then there’s Hypnos, who isn’t a part of this found family at the beginning of the story. He manages to worm his way in though. I didn’t know whether or not we could trust him, but I grew to love him. He’s the patriarch of one of the last two recognized Houses. He hires the group to steal something from the other House. Obviously shit hits the fan and nothing goes as planned. I liked Hypnos. He was flirty and fun, but never quite trustworthy for most of the story. I’m definitely interested to see where his story goes in the next book.
Overall, I adored this book. I love Roshani’s writing. It’s just absolutely beautiful. She built a fascinating world with characters I would die for. Please read this book right now.

Quotes:

“Nothing but a symbol? People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”

“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”

“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‘Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”

“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’d stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Crave by Tracy Wolff

GoodReads Summary:
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
Crave (Crave, #1)Review:
Everyone and their brother have been talking about this book. So, of course, I was curious to see what the hype was about. Sadly, I didn’t love this. It was definitely fun and it was definitely entertaining, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
We’re following Grace as she is forced to move to Alaska and attend the boarding school that her Uncle is the headmaster of. Her parents died in a car crash and she’s feeling a bit lost. But she has her cousin, Macy, and I loved their relationship. They quickly become friends, as they share a room. The only thing that I didn’t like about their relationship was that Macy was a terrible liar. Grace has found herself in a school full of supernatural creatures except she doesn’t know that fact. So, Macy lies to her at the direction of her father. Macy is a terrible liar and I really don’t understand how Grace didn’t see right through her. That was my biggest issue with this book. It was so glaringly obvious that Grace was surrounded by supernaturals but somehow, she didn’t see it. I couldn’t tell if the author made it so obvious on purpose or not, but I didn’t like that.
Aside from that part, I thought the creativity of the supernatural creatures in this story was interesting. A school filled with witches, shapeshifting wolves and dragons, and vampires. This is the kind of thing I live for. I loved the politics between the species and the drama, oh the high school drama. The drama and politics were so entertaining. This was the part that really kept the story going.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by this book but it was definitely a fun read. I will probably read the second book but this one won’t be making my favorites list.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Year They Fell by David Kreizman

GoodReads Summary:
When a horrible tragedy unites five very different high school seniors, they discover the worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are in the powerful YA novel, The Year They Fell.
Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they’re basically strangers to each other.
Until they’re pulled back together when their parents die in a plane crash. These former friends are suddenly on their own. And they’re the only people who can really understand how that feels.
To survive, the group must face the issues that drove them apart, reveal secrets they’ve kept since childhood, and discover who they’re meant to be. And in the face of public scrutiny, they’ll confront mysteries their parents left behind–betrayals that threaten to break the friendships apart again.
A new family is forged in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising book from award-winning storyteller David Kreizman. It’s a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.
The Year They FellReview:
I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book when I was researching 2019 releases last year. The cover is what pulled me in first because it’s stunning, but then the concept of the story is when I knew I had to read it.
The Year They Fell was devastating, but also somehow uplifting. We follow ‘the sunnies’ who are a group of friends that all went to preschool together. They drifted apart over the years and are no longer really friends at all. Their parents are all still friends though, and when they’re headed to vacation together, their plane crashes killing everyone that was on it. Only Daya’s parents survive because they never made it on the plane.
These five kids are going through something terrible, and you’d think they’d try to do it together since they’re all dealing with the same thing, but that’s not really how it happens. I liked that their story wasn’t predictable. I liked that it was different and heart-wrenching.
Each character gets their own perspective, which is tough to do and be able to give them each a distinct and different personality and voice. I think the author did well with this with one exception. Archie and Harrison. I had a hard time remembering which was which. One was an only child and had severe anxiety, thought all of them were anxious at one point or another. The other was adopted and had a younger brother. Both were a little nerdy. I liked all of the characters. I liked the journey from who they had become into who they were going to be now after this devastating loss.
Overall, this story was wonderfully diverse. There were all sorts of different relationship dynamics at play and I loved them all, friendships and romances. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

GoodReads Summary:
Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)Review:
Huge thanks to NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that I 100% requested this book because of the cover and the comparison to Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series. I didn’t really have very high expectations going into this book. I think that’s because the summary of the book really doesn’t cover the awesomeness inside. It’s interesting because it does cover all the things that make this book wonderful, but it’s a case of the summary telling and the book showing these things that really makes the difference.
This book follows Nick, who is a queer boy in high school that has ADHD. I absolutely loved him right from the start. I have people very close to me in my life that have ADHD, so it was really interesting to see Nick’s experiences with it and get his thoughts and feelings. He manages to get in trouble in and out of school very often. Nick doesn’t have it easy, but he really tries so hard and I think that’s what I liked so much about him. He really makes the effort to do and be better. I thought the portrayal of his ADHD was really thoughtful. He also takes medication to help him, which I thought was a great addition. While Nick is the most cinnamon-y of all the cinnamon rolls out there, he was also quite oblivious. He really had a problem getting stuck in his head and hyper-focusing on his problems. So, I totally predicted the end of this book around the 50% mark, but I had the secret identities mixed around.
Nick’s friend group was the best. He is a misfit, as are his friends. Seth and Nick have been best friends since elementary school. Gibby joined them in middle school. She’s a lesbian and will literally kick your ass. I loved Gibby. She calls Nick out when he needs it, but is a loyal friend to Seth at the same time. Then there’s Jaz, Gibby’s girlfriend. She was last to the friend group, but no less loved. I really enjoyed getting the history of their friendships and their banter and interactions literally had me laughing out loud.
I laughed so hard during this book, but this author didn’t hesitate to turn it all around. I also balled my eyes out once or twice. Another really great part of the story was Nick’s dad. The relationship that these two have was nothing short of wonderful. But it’s also realistic. It’s hard to be a single dad and Nick’s dad was certainly not perfect. But it was clear how much he loved Nick and how hard he was trying. I can’t imagine trying to grieve the death of my wife while also still having a child to take care of. I loved how accepting his dad was, but also their open communication. They talked about Nick’s sexuality. They talked about his ADHD. His dad was there for him as much as he could be as a cop that had to work nights. Nick and his dad also made me laugh so much.
Overall, this book surpassed all expectations I had for it. The writing was fantastic. The characters were incredible and I love each of them so very much (even the villain). The world was really interesting (with a history I’m dying to know more of). And the book left of leaving me wanting so much more. I’m so glad this is a series, but so sad I will have to wait who knows how long for the next book. Please do yourself a favor and read this fabulously queer and heartwarming book.

Quotes:

“Sometimes, people do things just because they can. There doesn’t have to be a reason. It’s all chaos.”

“Nick knew the power of words. He knew that sometimes when they landed, they exploded with the force of a carelessly tossed grenade.”

“We’re teenagers. Everything is unnecessarily complicated. We’re told that we have to be a certain way, even if we know it’s wrong. We’re not taken seriously. Our ideas are cast aside as though they’re without merit. Sometimes we need to act out so that people pay attention to us. So that people know we mean what we say. That we’re capable. That we shouldn’t be dismissed.”

“They’re brave,” Mary said. “But we are too. Because while they’re out there, saving the world, we’re the ones they come home to. And it may not always be fair, and there are times when you know they’re in harm’s way, but they’ll always fight like the dickens to get back where they belong.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
MayhemReview:
Thank you to Sarah Bonamino with St. Martin’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to like this book. I was immediately interested after reading the summary. Magic and the 80s? Sign me the hell up. Sadly, this book was a miss for me. I really liked it at the beginning, but the further I read the less I liked it. There were some aspects that I really liked, but the things I didn’t care about outweighed those things.
We follow Mayhem as she and her mother, Roxy, return to Roxy’s hometown of Santa Maria. Mayhem and Roxy are running from Roxy’s husband who is abusive. I liked how this book covered hard topics. The abuse was hard to read about but realistic. Roxy was also addicted to drugs. This was a topic that was covered well. It was discussed thoughtfully and with care. This isn’t always the case, so it was something that I appreciated.
The magic in this book was so interesting. It follows the Brayburn bloodline, mostly. It stems from an ancestor. Their powers come from water that isn’t water in a cave that most people will never be able to find. I thought the magic was chaotic and horrifying and wonderful. This was probably my favorite part of the story. Learning about the history of the family, how the magic came to be, and how the adopted children of Mayhem’s aunt, Elle, came to have the Brayburn magic.
But these adopted cousins that Mayhem has just met were part of my problem with this book. Jason, Neve, and Kidd are wonderful at first. Neve immediately decides that she and Mayhem are going to be best friends. This wasn’t really believable to me because Neve was hot and cold with her. Keeping secrets and leaving her out of things, but acting like this isn’t between them when it suits her. Then Neve takes things too far and I just really didn’t like it. I guess things came around in the end, but I just didn’t care for Neve. Then there’s the romantic relationship that kindles between Jason and Mayhem which I just couldn’t find it in myself to care about.
Finally, the ending was just so unsatisfying. There are talks about healing Mayhem’s cousins from the magic, but there was no follow through with that and that just made me mad.
Overall, I enjoyed parts of this book. I read it very quickly. It was a captivating story, but there were too many things that I just didn’t care for. Also, I read other reviews that said parts of this story were almost word for word from the two stories it was inspired from. I haven’t read or watched them so I cannot say but there were more than a handful of reviews that mentioned this. I think there will definitely be some people that love this book, but it was a miss for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

GoodReads Summary:
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness, #1)Review:
There Will Come a Darkness became a new favorite book of mine immediately after I finished it. I am blown away by all of the different aspects of this story.
Let’s start with the world, which leads to the plot. A hundred years ago, the Prophets disappeared. This is something I still want to know more about. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? Will they be coming back? They left behind one final (secret) prophecy that tells of the Age of Darkness. This prophecy is what brings our five characters together. I loved the magic system and the concept of the Graces. I thought it was unique and interesting. I have to say, I am in awe of Katy Rose Pool’s ability to tell this story in five different perspectives and still give each of them a very distinct voice and personality.
The Pale Hand or Ephyra is a mysterious killer that leaves behind the mark of a pale hand on her victims. We learn why she is killing people and it makes me feel for her. She has a younger sister, Beru, that is sick. So Ephyra kills terrible people for their esha and gives it to Beru to heal her. This moral gray aspect of her story made her that much more interesting. I went back and forth between hating her and feeling bad for her and the struggles she’s faced.
Beru is horrified by her sister’s actions to keep her alive. She’s at the point where she’s just ready to die. I was blown away by the secret that these sisters are keeping and what that secret means for the world. I loved the inclusion of the sibling relationship, especially since it was a complex and morally grey one.
Hassan was probably the character I cared about the least, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him. I just loved all the others so much that he takes the bottom spot. Hassan is the heir to a kingdom taken over by a terrible, terrible person. He wants to take action to save his kingdom from the Hierophant (who is trying to rid the world of the Graced.) When he is convinced that he is the last Prophet that was named in the secret prophecy, things start to speed up. He gathers an army to take back their country and this is when things go wrong. I won’t go into detail about what exactly goes wrong, but it was exciting and full of action. The stakes were high and I loved every page of the climax of this story.
Now, for my favorite character, Anton. Anton is my little bean. He is running from his older brother, who was horribly cruel to him in their childhood. He lives life on the run, never getting close to anyone. He also can’t seem to use his Grace without being taken back to the moment when his brother tried to drown him (which is when he left home and has been running ever since.) I loved the mystery that surrounded Anton. We’re not sure why he’s running or what the problem is with using his Grace for quite a while. He teams up with the Pale Hand because she thinks Anton can find an object that will save Beru. His involvement with these two is how he gets dragged into everything else going on with Jude and Hassan. When Ephyra and Anton get arrested, Jude comes to save the day, sort of.
Jude was my second favorite. Jude is the Keeper of the Word, meaning it is his duty to protect the Last Prophet and help them prevent the Age of Darkness. Jude struggles with the duty he knows he has to fulfill and his doubting his ability to do this duty. I loved Jude. I was a little mad at him a few times when he did things that I really didn’t want him to do. But he came back around in the end and saved the Last Prophet. I loved Jude and his journey to figuring out what really mattered.
The characters were really what made this story. But the plot was exciting and surprising. There were several different times where I said out loud to myself, “WHAT” because Katy Rose Pool made me care and believe in all of these characters (even the bad ones) so I was floored by the betrayals and screaming with happiness for the characters that I so easily fell in love with. The development of each of these characters was so well done. The world was creative and so interesting. I’m left with questions, a fierce desire to want more, but not so many questions that I’m upset with a lack of answers. We were given enough to be satisfying but also left craving more of the world, more answers, more character interactions. I’m so invested in the romantic relationships and the friendships. I loved this interesting world and the diverse cast of characters.
Overall, this is a new favorite and I cannot wait for the second book in September. I will be picking it up immediately and devouring it because I need more of this world and the characters that live in it.

Quotes:

“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”

“There was nothing to be frightened of when you were the most dangerous thing that stalked the streets”

“Those who abused their power would only continue the cycle, rewarding the ones who enabled them.”

“I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know about duty and purpose. But I know what people want. You may think you’re different, that you live by some special code that sets you apart, but everyone wants something Jude. Even you.”

“You can spend your entire life looking over your shoulder, waiting for your past to catch up to you. Or you can stop running and finally face it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

GoodReads Summary:
When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing.
Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her.
But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself.
As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare – because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.
Shatter City (Impostors #2)Review:
As I’ve mentioned with literally all the other books that take place in this world, this book was full of action and excitement. We’re still following Frey like we were in the first book, but when the story starts, she’s back to pretending to be her sister. This was one of the things I didn’t like about this book. There were so many instances where the twins had to or chose to pretend to be the other. I honestly felt bad for Frey because she just wanted to be herself, for once, but so many things were preventing that. I just wanted her to be herself like she wished so badly. Despite not liking this aspect, I still liked Frey. She was strong and determined. She made choices that maybe weren’t always the right ones, but she made them with her head and her heart.
We get to see so much more of the world in Shatter City as the characters travel all over. I liked seeing the familiar places, like Diego, as much as I liked getting to discover new ones. Along with seeing the world, the plot was complex and interesting. There were so many different storylines being brought together. Some were resolved in this book, which I liked, and some left for the next one.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book but I still liked it. It was an exciting story with characters that I cared about. I’m eagerly awaiting book threes release. Also, I just have to add that I swear to god if we don’t get to see Tally in this series I’m going to be so mad.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand

GoodReads Review:
A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.
Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…
Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.
But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.
Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.
The How and the WhyReview:
How do I put how much I loved this book into words? This story mostly follows Cass throughout her senior year. She’s a lover of theatre and is working on deciding where to college. She also is dealing with her mother being stuck in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. She’s since turned eighteen and has become curious about her birth mother. No one could replace her parents, but it’s hard not to wonder about the woman who gave birth to her.
In between chapters, we get to read the letter’s that Cass’s birth mother wrote while pregnant. We learn about the relationship between her birth mother and father. I really loved these. It was fascinating to read about a pregnant sixteen-year-old that lived in a school for pregnant teens. Her experiences and thoughts were interesting but also snarky and entertaining. It was realistic and honest. I loved this aspect of the book.
I also loved that we’d read most of the letters by the time that Cass even finds out they exist. I really enjoyed the adoption topic and learning at the end that the author was adopted made it even better. It was clear that this was a really personal subject for her to write about and I loved every page.
There were wonderful friendships. Cass’s best friend, Nyla, was also adopted, but that’s not why their friends. I loved that they support one another and that their friendship was so realistic. They fought and argued, but always apologized and forgave. They were really a great part of this book. I also completely loved Bastien and didn’t pick up on his secret either. I shipped him and Cass so bad.
Overall, I thought this was an incredible book and I really hope others read and love it too. I haven’t seen many people talking about it and I hope that changes. I think it was realistically diverse (not in an obnoxious way). It was a heartbreaking but also heartwarming story. The ending also totally killed me. I think everyone should read this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody

GoodReads Summary:
After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?
Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.
He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.
And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.
The Geography of Lost ThingsReview:
This book has been on my TBR for what feels like a million years. I’m glad I finally picked it up because I enjoyed it so much. I also got to read this while relaxing outside in the sunshine and it was the perfect mood.
We follow Ali and Nico as they’re stuck in a car together. Ali’s absentee father has died and left her his car. So, she’s going to sell it to save her house. She’s stuck with her ex, Nico because she doesn’t drive stick.
This book was so sweet and just genuinely funny. They learn about themselves and open up to one another, but they also have fun. Nico teaches her how to ‘trade up’ on Craigslist and that was definitely my favorite part of the story. They meet some really interesting people.
I loved that Ali learned so much about herself and managed to vulnerable enough to let these realizations change her perspective. I totally loved their adventures. Nico and Ali were so cute and I adored them. I thought it was wonderfully written and I just loved it. They both grew and opened up and managed to have fun despite the not so good situation they’re in. I think this is a definitely underhyped book and everyone should read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

GoodReads Summary:
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.
WindfallReview:
I always love Jennifer E. Smith’s books. But I was hesitant with this one because I’d heard some mixed reviews from people that loved her other books. I ended up really enjoying this one.
Alice is a girl that’s experienced some real tragedy. She lost both her parents in the period of a year. But she moved in with her aunt and uncle and was raised alongside her cousin, Leo. Leo, Alice, and Teddy were inseparable as kids. But when Alice buys Teddy a winning lottery ticket for his birthday, things start to change.
This was a story of healing and growth. These friends are all changing. It’s that time in their lives where change is inevitable. But they each learn things about themselves and help one another find what they need.
Honestly, I enjoyed this but I don’t have all that much to say about it. It was fun, but also sad and real. I love Jennifer Smith’s books and this was no different. So, read it if you like YA contemporary with a smidge of romance.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.