Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Typographic Book Covers

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

What book covers did you pick this week?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2022 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 On My Fall 2022 To-Read List

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

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 on your Fall TBR?

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: School Freebies

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 School Freebie. I’m choosing books with schools/ training programs.

The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Alta by Mercedes Lackey

The Awakening by Nora Roberts

Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

What books with schools do you love?

Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen

Summary:
A siege is laid against the last resistance to the Senate’s rule. As the battle rages, a commander, a soldier, and a rebel will decide how far they are willing to go for victory.
THE COMMANDER
Marcus is forced to choose between destroying the rebel forces and liberating his legion. He must face the true cost of being a leader. And an oppressor.
THE SOLDIER
Agrippa sets his sights on glory to fill the deepening void within him. He discovers that the price of fame might not just be paid in blood, it might be paid by his heart.
THE REBEL
Silvara joins the rebel forces to fight against the legions who would see her family dead. While she dreams of being a warrior, she finds her sharpest weapon is seduction. But to defeat the Empire, she’ll have to betray the young man who now has her heart.
DEFIANCE IS TREASON. TREASON IS DEATH.
Inspired by the harsh world of ancient Rome, readers are obsessed with this martial tale of fiery romance, friendship, and enmity. Told from three points of view, Tarnished Empire is filled with twists you’ll never see coming but will keep you turning the pages all night.
Tarnished Empire is set in the world of Danielle L. Jensen’s Dark Shores. But readers new to the world can begin here.

Review:
Tarnished Empire is a prequel to my beloved Dark Shores series. This follows Marcus, who we meet in the first book and Agrippa who I won’t get into specifics about.
I enjoyed this book. It’s written in the Danielle Jensen fashion where the story is full of action and excitement, but there’s an emotional upheaval and resolution to the story as well. We get all of those things in this book.
I was happy to read this and get new content set in one of my favorite worlds.
I don’t know that it added all that much extra to the overall story, but I had fun while reading it and I definitely enjoyed my time spend reading.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis

Summary:
Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.
Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.
With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents? 

Review:
The Last Laugh picks up right where The Initial Insult ends, but honestly this book felt like it didn’t need to be a whole book.
Things are not looking good for Tress when this story opens. But this book felt like it was essentially following Tress into madness. Maybe that was the point, but it wasn’t super enjoyable for me.
Overall, I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t have much to say. McGinnis does a great job setting the scene and making this story feel atmospheric. But I was left wondering what the point was if Felicity’s death was the big thing, it happened too soon.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s NetGalley Shelf #7

Hi, lovelies! I’m back with another NetGalley shelf update. I’ve read some good ones and some not-so-good ones. Let me know if you’ve read any of these!

As I always do with these posts, I’m going to share my NetGalley statistics for transparencies sake. Mostly because this looks like a large number of books, but I read them all and my numbers show that. I have 234 approved with feedback sent for 204 books. This gives me a feedback ratio of 87%, which I’m pretty proud of.

Approvals I’ve Read

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
Publication date: March 22, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. It was a lot darker than I was anticipating. I loved all the characters that we followed. Their development was compelling and the story was engaging.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
Publication date: March 22, 2022
I think I might not be smart enough for this story. I still had so many questions when I finished and now I remember nothing.

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
Publication date: March 29, 2022
I very surprisingly DNF’d this book. I read about 25% and had no clue what was going on. So I restarted and then DNF’d at 10%. I couldn’t stand the main character’s boyfriend.

The Button Box by Bridget Hodder, Fawzia Gilani-Williams, & Harshad Marathe (Illustrator)
Publication date: April 1, 2022
I thought this was middle grade, but it’s more like a chapter book. I liked it. I thought it was a cute time travel fantasy that follows diverse characters.

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I DNF’d this around 15%. I think Power’s books might just not be for me.

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead
Publication date: April 5, 2022
This is a second chance romance (one of my favorite tropes) with a hot mess main character and the ex that she cheated on. I loved the main character, Lee. She’s a hot mess in the best kinds of ways. This book had me laughing out loud quite a few times while reading.

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters
Publication date: April 5, 2022
This is my favorite book in the series so far. I laughed out loud so many times and just really had fun reading this one.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Huchu
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I liked the first book in this series, but I just didn’t care about this one. I read about 30% of the eARC and then found the audiobook from my library after the book’s release. I DNF’d at 84% and when I still didn’t care while the big reveals were going on I wasn’t going to listen to another two hours.

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I sadly DNF’d this one. I read 8% of the eARC and then restarted the story via the audiobook from my library. I just had no idea what was going on.

Very Bad People by Kit Frick
Publication date: April 5, 2022
I already remember little to nothing about this book. So, that’s not a good sign. What I do remember is not really liking the main character. This one just wasn’t for me.

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum
Publication date: April 12, 2022
I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it. It was an enjoyable and fun YA contemporary. I liked the main character. There were some moments that made me smile. But I don’t think it’s one that will stick with me.

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
Publication date: April 19, 2022
This was too slow for my liking. I ended up listening to the finished audiobook. I felt like the suspense and build-up were lacking and I didn’t like the twist at the end.

The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee
Publication date: April 30, 2022
This felt weirdly unrelated to the rest of the books. I didn’t really like the main character very much.

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I had a good time reading this book but it’s not a series that I think I will want to reread again and again. I do think there were some things at the ending that maybe hinted at another installment of this series which I would read. This book is diverse and full of action.

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
Publication date: May 3, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked Middlegame a bit more, but only because it was a total mindfuck. I still really enjoyed this one. The seasonal magic was interesting to learn about and I really liked the two main characters.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin
Publication date: May 24, 2022
I think this author nailed the horror aspects of this book. Definitely do not read this if you have any sort of issues with bugs. And while I liked the summer camp setting, I really wish the plot had gone a different way.

Hide by Kiersten White
Publication date: May 24, 2022
This is White’s adult debut and I’m incredibly sad to say that I didn’t love this book. I loved the first half, but then things got a little too fantastical for me. I wanted to love it but there were too many character points of view and I didn’t like the way things were wrapped up.

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper
Publication date: May 31, 2022
This was the most wholesome and heartwarming book I’ve read in a long time. A young gay boy comes out to his parents and they try to plan a pride parade so that he feels loved and welcomed in the small town he lives in and loves.

Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White
Publication date: June 7, 2022
I had a good time reading this one. I liked that the siblings could depend on one another. But they were also distinct and I really liked getting to know them all. I love a good sibling story and this one definitely covered that aspect. I also think White did a great job making it obvious that something was wrong at the park. The setting was weird and creepy, unsettling more than anything really scary. I thought she did well with that part of this book.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler 
Publication date: June 7, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. I’m not a huge football fan, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. I really liked that this wasn’t a sad story about the two main characters dealing with homophobia, but it also wasn’t a totally happy story. It had the realities that queer teens face all over the world, but it was also filled with joy and love.

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I don’t usually read novellas but I love science fiction. This was an odd book in the sense that I didn’t expect it to be so sad. I should have expected it since most near-future sci-fi’s are sad. I still liked it. It was a good story and the format was creative. I can’t say that I had a good time reading it because it wasn’t a happy story. But I would recommend it in specific genre lists.

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I know everyone is calling this a self-insert Outlander story, but I thought it was pretty different from the Outlander books. There was a lot more magic. It wasn’t anything that blew me away but I had fun while I was reading it. The characters were a bit predictable and surface-level, but sometimes that’s fun.

Beneath the Starlit Sea by Nicole Bea
Publication date: June 14, 2022
Dnf’d @ 33% She fell in insta-love with her captor. Sorry, the writing is really beautiful but I’m not here for it.

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
Publication date: June 14, 2022
I really enjoyed this one. I loved seeing Zinnia again. I loved the romance. I loved all of it. I just wanted more.

What Moves the Dark by T. Kingfisher
Publication date: July 12, 2022
I think this was a good and creepy read. It’s quick and atmospheric and gave me the creepy crawlies a little bit. There was a little bit of gore when the character cut open a hare, but nothing worse than that.

Helltown by Casey Sherman
Publication date: July 12, 2022
I dnf’d at 8%. The book was incredibly graphic with describing the murders. No thank you.

Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
Publication date: July 19, 2022
This is a sapphic romance. I really liked the two main characters. They had vibrant and bold personalities. Their attraction to one another was believable. I love second-chance romances, and this one was a good one. I really liked how the story concluded.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Publication date: September 13, 2022
I was incredibly confused this entire book. I’m sorry but I don’t think this ever delivered on what it was trying to do.

Approvals on my TBR

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

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
Publication date: July 26, 2022
The synopsis sounds right up my alley. But also, this cover is stunning and I couldn’t help myself.

For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
Publication date: July 26, 2022
I just couldn’t say no to the pun in the title. I’ve seen some friends on Twitter enjoy this one.

The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon
Publication date: August 2, 2022
I liked the first two in this series. So, I’m excited to be approved for the third.

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

Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie
Publication date: August 23, 2022
This thriller sounds super good.

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
Publication date: September 13, 2022
Chupeco is an auto-buy author for me. I hit that request button so fast.

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

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

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

Built to Last by Erin Hahn
Publication date: October 18, 2022
I’ve liked some of Hahn’s YA romance, so I’m excited to try her adult romance debut.

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

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales
Publication date: December 6, 2022
A book where the main character goes on a reality dating show and falls in love with one of the fellow contestants? Yes fucking please.

What books are on your tbr?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

Summary:
Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.
The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.
Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.
Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved Adler’s Cool for the Summer, so I was excited to read another one of her books.
Home Field Advantage follows Jack and Amber, who both get their own chapters. Amber is a cheerleader in a small town. She has hopes to become captain next year when she’s a senior. Enter Jack, and she transfers in to be the school’s new quarterback. Now as if the fact that she’s a girl isn’t going to make things hard enough, the last quarterback died and their fellow students practically worship his memory.
So, obviously, the cheerleader and the quarterback get romantically involved. But Amber’s not out, so there are lots of complications. I liked the characters because they were real. They made mistakes and didn’t always consider possible consequences, but they make amends and they do their best to be better in the future. The friendships were easy to root for. I love small queer friend groups that turn into found family.
I’m not super into sports, so that was lost on me. Though I do want to mention that Jack’s love for the game really showed through. She uprooted half her family and changed everything for this thing that she loves. Adler did a great job showing the reader that passion.
If you like sports romance, this book is for you. If you like sapphic books, this book is for you. If you like both of those things, then you should definitely add this one to your list.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Wish Had an Epilogue

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is ten books I wish had an epilogue. I’m not good with remembering which books had them already or not, so I’m just going to share ten books that I would love to read an extra novella of fluff. By fluff I mean, we get to see them go grocery shopping and silly stuff. Being happy after whatever conflict was in their book.

From Luke With Love by Mariana Zapata

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

What books are on your list this week?

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.

The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.
But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.
Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.
Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.
Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined… 

Review:
The Serpent’s Curse is the third book in the Last Magician series. I’ve loved this series since it first came out, but honestly I’ve lost a little interest having to wait so long for the books. This third book was an enjoyable one.
I’m going to be honest. It wasn’t an overly memorable story. But I enjoyed it. Esta and Harte had adventures, both together and apart. Things were incredibly serious, but everyone was alright in the end.
I think I’ll finish this series since the final installment is out later this year, but I don’t think things needed to drag on as long as they have.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Summary:
Alyssa Farshot never wanted to rule the empire. But to honor her uncle’s dying wish, she participated in the crownchase, a race across the empire’s 1,001 planets to find the royal seal and win the throne. Alyssa tried to help her friend, Coy, win the crownchase, but just as victory was within their grasp, Edgar Voles killed Coy—and claimed the seal for himself.
Broken-hearted over her friend’s death, Alyssa is hell-bent on revenge. But Edgar is well protected in the kingship. Alyssa will have to rally rivals, friends, and foes from across the empire to take him down and change the course of the galaxy. 

Review:
Thronebreakers is the sequel and conclusion to Crownchasers. Things are left pretty up in the air in the final pages of the first book. So, we open to Alyssa and Hellmouth a few weeks (maybe days, I don’t remember), later and they’re on their way to enact the first step of their plan to avenge their friend and save the empire.
Without going into much detail about the plot, I can say that this book has the same action-filled and exciting plot. It was fast-paced and the stakes were high making the whole story a tense experience. I liked Alyssa. She felt like a real character. She was hurting and maybe not making the best decisions. But that made things more fun.
The best part was the romance with Hellmouth. I just loved them both together so much.
Overall, I highly recommend this duology. The whole and politics were interesting. I loved the competition to find their new leader and the repercussions of that competition. I loved the characters and their relationships. They were hurt and that hurt was shown, which I appreciated. I highly recommend these two books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

Summary:
Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.
To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.
As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.
This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I ended up reading this book via the finished audiobook instead of the eARC I was provided.
I think that This May End Badly was a fun and enjoyable YA contemporary. I liked the prank wars between the schools. I liked the romance between the main couple. I think the fake dating was silly but still made me smile. I liked the main character. Overall, I had a fun time listening to this book. It made me smile a few times. I was really engaged by the audiobook. But this wasn’t a new favorite or one that will likely stick with me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin

Summary:
Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways.
Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Primal Animals follows Arlee who is being dropped off at the same summer camp that her mother went to when she was Arlee’s age. Her mother hopes that Arlee will make some life long connections, but Arlee is just hoping to survive her extreme bug phobia since she will be spending the summer in the woods. This summer camp is full of secrets and we follow Arlee as she reveals them and wishes she hadn’t.
I think this author nailed the horror aspects of this book. Definitely do not read this if you have any sort of issues with bugs. And while I liked the summer camp setting, I really wish the plot had gone a different way. I think the story would have been way better had the plot leaned into Arlee’s phobia of bugs. Things just escalated very quickly plot-wise. Also, I could really relate to Arlee, but I actually didn’t like her very much.
Overall, definitely, an atmospheric horror novel that involves a fear of bugs. The rich kid summer camp was a really engaging setting. I just wasn’t very compelled by the plot sadly. I also absolutely hated the ending. It had an ending similar to Wilder Girls by Rory Power or Horrid by Katrina Leno which is my least favorite kind of endings for books. I definitely think some people will really love this, but I’m not one of them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Summary:
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

Review:
I’m going to preface this review with the fact that I listened to this book and wrote this review mostly while taking care of my six-week-old baby, so it’ll probably be a little more disorganized than my usual reviews. I’m not really sure if I have the brain space to write this review, but I really loved this book so I want to share that love and recommend it.
Crownchasers follows a group of characters that are racing around space on what was essentially a scavenger hunt for the ability to become the next ruler. That’s an incredibly simplified explanation of this book, but I don’t think I could coherently explain it all in more detail without spoilers.
I really enjoyed the universe. It was explained well and easy to understand despite the characters jumping around to a handful of different planets.
I thought the politics and plot were compelling. I was very interested to see what was going to happen next. The author did a great job of raising the stakes, leaving the reader in real fear for some of the characters and real anger at others.
I really grew to love the romance with one of the main characters. It felt really realistic and I felt my feelings for him growing alongside hers.
Overall, I highly recommend this book and I’m very eagerly awaiting my library hold for the second book. I listened to the audiobook and I really loved the narrator. She did a great job telling this story in a way that kept me interested. I’ll definitely be recommending this book on lists in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

P.S. I Love You by Kasie West

Summary:
While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!
Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Review:
I read P.S. I Like You at the recommendation of a friend for the 12 Challenge that went around social media in January. I hadn’t previously read anything by West and I will definitely be reading more by her in the future.
This book follows Lily, who loves music and playing the guitar, and writing songs. She writes one of her favorite song lyrics on a desk at school and a few days later notices that someone has continued the song. She’s surprised because she doesn’t know many people that know her favorite band. This leads to the pair passing notes back and forth, hidden under the desk they share in the same class, but during different periods.
I liked Lily. She comes from a big family and I really liked her family. I have lots of siblings, so I could really relate to her in this aspect. Having lots of siblings brings many challenges, but there’s also something great about coming from a big family. I really loved the different dynamics with the siblings and I loved all of the family antics.
Now, I will say that I absolutely predicted the identity of this mysterious person that she was passing notes with. But I’m very pleased to say that things didn’t play out how I anticipated. I was rolling my eyes at what I thought was going to happen with the romance, but I’m happy that West really surprised me.
Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. I loved that the friendship between Lily and her best friend didn’t suffer because of the romance. I also loved the way that the romance played out despite the challenges set up for them. I will definitely be reading more books by West.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.