Amanda Reads – February 2017

Here I am! I’m a day late, but I’m here, back on my regular blogging schedule (mostly). And what does that mean for you, dear readers? It means you get the recap of what I read last month! It was a pretty good month for reading, especially if you consider the quality of books that I had in front of me. So! A little reminder of my fluffer of a rating system, and then I’ll get right into it.

  • 0 dogs petted: DNF. I couldn’t get through the book. It’s not a good day.
  • 1 dog petted: It was an okay day. I mean, I got to pet a dog. But it could have been better.
  • 2 dogs petted: A solid effort. May recommend.
  • 3 dogs petted: A really good day, tbh. Would recommend willingly to friends and family.
  • 4 or more dogs petted: Best day. Will be recommending to all the people. Pet all the dogs.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I did two rereads this month, and this was the first of them. I’d been listening to Delirium on audiobook while running, and it made me remember why I stopped with the series after this book in the first place. I think I was frustrated. I shipped Lena and Alex pretty hard in that first book, especially the first time I listened to it (although I found myself shipping them the second time too, even though I knew what was going to happen to them). I don’t want to give anything away, for those of you who haven’t read this one yet, but I will say my heart was in about a million pieces when it ended. But the last several paragraphs did jar me in that it was something I needed in the present. I even made a little graphic of it.


Sorry, I HAVEN’T EVEN SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE PLOT YET. Okay. So. Lena is our main character, and she lives in a dystopian future America where love is considered a deadly disease. When children turn 18, they have a procedure that cuts part of their brain out so they don’t get “sick” with the love disease. In the months leading up to her procedure, Lena meets Alex. You can probably see where this is going. He makes her feel things. She feels all the things. And then… well. It’s a trilogy, so again, you can probably see where this is going.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes. Especially on audio—I love Sarah Drew’s voice for this story. Was it the best book I’ve ever read, or even the best in this genre? Nope. I’m still pretty die-hard about The Hunger Games, even all these years later. But it was enjoyable enough that I bought the rest of the trilogy on audio and am nearly done with the second one now.

Rating: 3 dogs petted. I’d recommend it to people who like the dystopian YA genre.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

This was another NetGalley book, a collection of short stories about the experiences of refugees from Vietnam after the war. And it was incredibly real and moving—you can tell that it’s #ownvoices when you’re reading it. I wrote a full review over here and here. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No, but that’s partly subjective. I don’t usually seek out collections of short stories, simply because I enjoy novels. I like the depth you get in a full-length novel. But maybe that’s just me.

Rating: 3 dogs petted. I’d recommend it to people seeking out diverse books or books about the refugee experience.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

THIS BOOK, Y’ALL. It’s probably not going to be the first time I say something like that, because words! I’m failing at words! I am SO happy Labyrinth Lost is the first in a trilogy, because I need more brujas and magic and Zoraida. Always more. I have a review planned for this week (I’ve gotten a little behind in full-length reviews across the board), so I’ll post the links once I have them. But here’s the quick breakdown!

Alex (Alejandra) is the middle sister in a family of brujas, and her deathday ceremony is approaching. The only problem is that she doesn’t want to be a bruja—she thinks her powers will only bring bad things unto her family. So she tries to do a canto that will give away her powers to Los Lagos… but something goes terribly wrong and her whole family disappears. So she embarks on a journey into another world to try to get her family back. Action! Adventure! A fully diverse cast of characters! Bisexuality! There’s so much to love.

Like I said, that was probably confusing and I’ll get into it more in my full-length reviews—but it’s SO GOOD. Read this book. Seriously, from now on, if anyone ever wants a YA book, I’ll be recommending something by Zoraida Córdova, because they’re ALL so good!

Rating: 4 dogs petted! Recommend to everyone!

Things We Lost in the Fire by Ariana Enriquez

This is another one where the full reviews are still coming. Life got a little bit too busy, but I’m working on it! Short breakdown—this collection of short stories was translated from Spanish after relative success in Argentina. They are dark, sometimes grotesque, and I had trouble reading them at night. On top of that, the first story didn’t sit right with me—the word “transvestite” was used many MANY times, and I just couldn’t get past it. Come on, translator! You can do better! All of this influenced how I felt about the collection as a whole. I’ll be honest—I wasn’t a huge fan, but I think it had a lot more to do with personal taste than a single problematic word. The horror genre might just not be for me, even if I’d like it to be.

Rating: 2 dogs petted. For those who like horror, especially with a dark Latin American vibe, this might be the perfect collection for you.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

This was another reread, for two reasons—I wanted a refresher before the sequel came out, and I wanted to make sure it was truly my favorite book of 2016. SPOILER ALERT—IT WAS STILL MY FAVORITE. Oh my gosh, the feels. I did a decent review of this back in my July 2016 roundup, and I wrote a full review for Fangirlish. So. All you need to know is WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW I still love this so much.

OH. And I met Brittany Cavallaro at the North Texas Teen Book Festival and she is just as lovely and witty and smart as I imagined she would be.

Rating: 5 dogs petted. MAYBE MORE.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

This is the sequel that I was talking about, which was released on February 14th of this year. I read it in just a couple of days and was so wrecked that I still haven’t finished another book since. SO WRECKED. I’ve got a full review in the works for Fangirlish that I’ll post the link to once I’m done, but know this:

  • It’s darker than A Study in Charlotte.
  • It takes place entirely in Europe, mostly concentrated in Berlin.
  • A lot more characters are introduced, including the mysterious August Moriarty.
  • It contains the following quotes that destroyed me on their own:

“Before they’d even exchanged a word, it was clear that they had done something to each other, broken each other, maybe, or distilled each other like liquor, until all that was left was hard and strong and spare.”

“I tended to spend too much time with my favorite things, loved them too hard until I wore them down. After a while, they became more like a shorthand for who I was and less like things I actually enjoyed.”


Full review to come, when I actually find words and stop sobbing on the inside.

I also want to note—usually the second book in a trilogy is my least favorite. A great example of this is the Divergent trilogy (which wasn’t top notch anyway), where Insurgent was by far the worst of the bunch. All action, hardly any character development or plot, etc. etc. The Last of August is the second book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, and while there was a lot of action, there was also some amazing character development and plot. I can’t even begin to imagine how it’s all going to end, after the turn it took. Is it 2018 yet?!

Rating: 5+ dogs petted, because I am so invested now that I can hardly think of anything else.

As I stated last month, all I can really say about this year so far is that I’ve been really good at reading and not great at keeping up with everything else. It’s okay. Reading is relaxing to me, and I need a little more of that in my life in general.

How was your February?


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