Amanda's Book Reviews

Nightbitch: A Novel By Rachel Yoder Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: April 13, 2023

Let's get weird, y'all! An artist turned stay-at-home mom believes she's turning into a dog. Yep, that's right. She heads to the library to research her condition and if there's possible a cure for this curse. There, she meets an enigmatic group of women involved in some bizarre multi-level marketing scheme who seem eager to welcome her into their fold. Darkly funny with some of the most energetic writing I've read in quite some time, Nightbitch is a wry look at the isolating and animalist qualities of motherhood wrapped up in a weird, speculative package. 

The Atlas Six (Atlas Series #1) By Olivie Blake Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: October 19, 2022

Need a dark academia fix? Every decade, the Alexandrian Society allows six magicians to compete for membership. For the period of a year, they will live at the library, using its vast resources to hone their magical talents. But when the year is up, only five will be allowed entry. A wonderful, ensemble cast with dangerous magic and deadly ambition.

Squad By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Lisa Sterle (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: October 19, 2022

You get me by combining a feminist revenge story with werewolves and you keep me by building supportive friendships between badass young women. New girl Becca didn't expect to make friends so quickly, especially not with the most popular girls on campus. But when a full moon hits, her friends reveal themselves to be werewolves with a taste for punishing terrible boys and men. As the bodies pile up, suspicion mounts against the clique and Becca will fight, tooth and nail, for the community she's found. 

Noodle and the No Bones Day (Noodle and Jonathan) By Jonathan Graziano, Dan Tavis (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: September 22, 2022

If you haven't seen this adorable TikTok sweetheart - an elderly pug by the name of Noodle - please pause and do a quick Google. It's okay, I'll wait. Despite it being time for Noodle's walk, he instead is having a "no bones day." Noodle has no desire to leave his comfy bed, though he will except plenty of cuddles and treats. A charmingly illustrated picture book about needing to check in with yourself and take some time for rest and relaxation. 

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words By Eddie Robson Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: September 22, 2022

A quirky sci-fi, locked room mystery! Poised as a playful, genre mashup set in a futuristic NYC, Lydia works as a mediocre translator assigned to the Logi diplomat named Fitz. The Logi are a telepathic alien race and the act of translating their communications often makes people feel...well, drunk. When Fitz is found dead and the investigation begins to flounder, Lydia wonders if she's the only one who can figure out what happened to her dear friend.

Reluctant Immortals By Gwendolyn Kiste Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: August 25, 2022

Two wronged literary women finally get revenge on the dangerous, toxic men who wronged them! Lucy Westnera of Dracula and Bertha Mason of Jane Eyre are trying to live their best immortal lives in 1960s Los Angeles. When Dracula and Mr. Rochester come to town, the pair of women forge a plot to run them off for good. A Gothic feminist story with bite that'll transition you right into spooky season!

I'm Glad My Mom Died By Jennette McCurdy Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: August 25, 2022

I rarely staff pick hardcovers, but this is a must-read and is worthy all of the hype it's getting. Jennette McCurdy tackles her struggles with being a child Nickelodeon star and contending with an abusive stage mother. It's an incredibly painful, though compelling read that exemplifies McCurdy's resilience. I don't think I'm alone in hoping writing was a cathartic process for her and hope she achieves the healing and recovery she so deserves. Definitely a book for anyone with #MommyIssues.

The Sun Down Motel By Simone St. James Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: July 27, 2022

If you love twisty thrillers with a touch of the supernatural, please familiarize yourself with Simone St. James! A young woman takes a job as a night receptionist at a mysterious, seedy motel. It's the same job her aunt had right before she disappeared, a case that still hasn't been solved. Tense, tightly-plotted, and full of dark, unexpected secrets! 

Nettle & Bone By T. Kingfisher Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: June 22, 2022

Raised in a convent, Marra is the youngest of three sisters who becomes increasingly worried that her middle sibling will meet the same mysterious fate as the eldest: dead while in the care of power-hungry prince. Marra leaves the home she's known for the past decade to save her sister, assembles a ragtag group (including a necromancied skeleton dog!), and sets off on her mission. A feminist revenge tale with a motley crew. 

Love in the Library By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Yas Imamura (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: June 22, 2022

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is a force to be reckoned with, as I've read and loved her backlist, which spans a variety of genres. This picture book is based on the true story of how her grandparents met and fell in love in an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. Yas Imamura's illustrations are wonderfully detailed and always worth a second look. Painful, poignant, and like all of Tokuda-Hall's books: full of hope.

Laziness Does Not Exist By Devon Price, Ph.D. Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: May 25, 2022

In a world of hustle culture, it's inevitable to feel like we aren't doing enough. Are we being productive? Are we making enough money? Are we doing what we need to further our career? Often a "no" answer makes use feel like we're being lazy, but Dr. Price argues that our downtime is just as valuable as the time we spend elsewhere. This is a radical journey to breaking harmful habits, being gentler with ourselves, and finding healthier ways to measure our self-worth. 

Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel #1) By Zen Cho Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: April 21, 2022

Get swept away in this feminist, historical fantasy romance! Zacharias, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers, must journey to the border England shares with Fairyland to find out why their magical reserves are drying up. What starts off as a fantasy adventure turns into magical romance when Zacharias encounters a fearsome sorceress who makes him question everything he knows about magic and who gets to wield it. Great if you want some Bridgerton vibes with some extra oomph. 

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