Amanda's Book Reviews

The Fastest Way to Fall Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: October 27, 2021

Britta works for a lifestyle website and needs to find her next big write up or else she can kiss a promotion this year goodbye. She and a coworker decide to tackle two competing fitness apps, that pair users with trainers and coaches. When Britta signs up anonymously, she immediately hits it off with her virtual trainer. What she doesn't know is that her trainer is acutally the app's CEO and he certainly doesn't know she's a reporter doing research for an upcoming review. This slow burn contemporary romance has everything: cute text message banter, smart commentary on diet culture and body diversity, and of course, an adorable and emotional happily every after.

The Ex Hex: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: September 28, 2021

Let's put some magic in your rom-coms! Years earlier and nursing a broken heart, Vivienne puts a harmless little hex on her ex. She doesn't think it actually took, until he returns to town and suffers bizarre circumstance after bizarre circumstance. He's also still incredibly charming, damn it! Erin Sterling writes young adult novels and thrillers under the name Rachel Hawkins (definitely a fan) and I loved welcoming her into the world of romance. A romantic read perfect for the emergence of witchy weather.

Ghost Cat Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: September 28, 2021

I don't think there's ever been a more perfect picture book for me as I adore both ghosts and cats. Miss Maggie is the keeper of the Port Carrick lighthouse. The townspeople assume her work is lonely, but what they don't know is she's kept company by the rambunctious Sailor Boy, an adorably ghostly feline who's always available to lend a paw. The illustrations have a touch of Tim Burton vibes and Sailor Boy is just positively precious.

When the Reckoning Comes: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: August 28, 2021

Mira, a young Black woman, returns to her segregated small town to celebrate her childhood best friend's wedding held at the mysterious Woodsman plantation. Not only is the plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves who died their many years earlier, but it's also the source of some heavy trauma for Mira due to a teenage dare gone very wrong. As an adult, though, Mira must confront the literal and figurative ghosts of her past while at the nowreinvented, resort-like Woodsman plantation. LaTanya McQueen is a wonderful new voice in horror, blending 21st century nuanced commentary on race a la Jordan Peele with Southern Gothic flair.

Kingdom of the Wicked Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: August 28, 2021

Calling all young adult fantasy lovers! If you're looking to scratch that itch for more magical, enemies to lovers romance with barbed comments and snappy banter as a form of flirting, Kingdom of the Wicked should be on your to-be-read list! Emilia and Vittoria are two twin witches, but when Vittoria is mysteriously murdered, Emilia is out for vengeance using all of the dark, forbidden magic at her disposal. When her magic puts her into the path of Wrath, a prince of hell, they realize they can use each other for mutual gain. But can Emilia trust Wrath and does he know more than he's letting on?

Cat Problems (Animal Problems) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: July 21, 2021

Cat Problems shows a day in the life of a fickle cat, who never seems satisfied. Even after meeting an outspoken squirrel who reminds them of how good they have it, the cat quickly returns to its indecisive nature, unimpressed and unfazed. For anyone familiar with the mercurial nature of a cat, this charmingly illustrated picture book will have you nodding along and saying, "Yep, that's my cat." And, as a fellow cat owner, I can agree. 

Staff Pick Badge
Nightbitch: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: July 21, 2021

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. 

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: June 24, 2021

Rory Thorne is a wonderful mashup of sci-fi adventure and fairy tale conventions. Think The Princess Bride, but in space. Rory is a princess who was given an assortment of fairy blessings, including the ability to see through false praise. When she uncovers a plot that would endanger her friends and family, Rory escapes a political marriage to race across the galaxy to save them. Grab this for a quirky, genre fiction romp! While you're at, you should pick up the follow-up - How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge - to marathon the duology on your next reading weekend. 

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (Winner Bakes All #1) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: May 26, 2021

Rosaline Palmer has a chance to turn her baking dreams into a reality when she's selected to compete on a popular baking reality show. While she thinks fellow contestant and architect, Alain, could be the man of her dreams, it's the quietly charming, blue collar Harry who keeps capturing her attention, and the producers sure love the possibility of an oncreen romance. I loved Rosaline's experiences as bisexual woman and how her own insecurities living openly as bi mirrored my own. The added bonus of detailed baked goods really triggered my sweet tooth. A yummy summer read!

Pet Cover Image

Pet

Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: April 21, 2021

Admittedly, I'm rather new to speculative fiction, but Akwaeke Emezi sets the bar pretty high with Pet. The main character, Jam, is born into a utopian society that fully believes they've eradicated monsters. So when Jam accidentally summons one, they don't think of the eponymous Pet as a monster. Jam and Pet quickly form a complicated bond in a town where Pet's existence should be a thing of the past. Eerie, emotional, and an unflinching metaphor on the identities we carve out for ourselves and the ones society determines for us.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: April 21, 2021

Finlay Donovan is a struggling novelist and single parent, but she has a plot idea that will turn everything around. When someone overhears Finlay telling her agent about her latest thriller synopsis, she's mistaken for a hitwoman. Sadly, the money is too good to pass up and Finlay sees this bizarre opportunity as research. Rompy and wonderfully absurdist!

Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema Cover Image
Reviewed by: Amanda
Posted: March 25, 2021

I can't remember the last time I've laughed so hard while reading non-fiction. If you're even just the slightest movie fan, you're going to want to go on this wild journey with Lindy, who fully believes The Fugitive is the only perfect movie made and should be used as a benchmark in registering cinema greatness. With snark and humor, West dives deep into movies that have become part of a cultural phenemon like Love, Actually. And, if you love an audiobook, I highly recommend picking this up from Libro.fm and giving it a listen.

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