Amanda Reads – May 2017

I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! Or something, haha. I’ve been traveling SO MUCH this month already, and I haven’t had the chance to sit down and write about all the books I read in May until now. But now I’m here! And I’m about to get started, because there were some GEMS last month! And a couple of DNFs too.

A reminder of the rating scale:

  • 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.

Let’s go!

Tobacco Sun by Lorna Hollifield

Today is Tobacco Sun’s launch day! Hurray, and welcome to the world, little book!

This is southern fiction like I’ve never experienced it before, although I should probably admit that I have very little experience with southern fiction. It’s rooted in the relationship between two sisters, but there is also a wonderful relationship between two best friends who have always loved each other. I don’t want to spoil it, but trust me—it’s good stuff. Check it out, and happy book birthday, Lorna!

Rating: 4 dogs petted. It’s not my first choice in genre, but it really delivers in the end.

Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

Ugh. I couldn’t get through this book. I just couldn’t. The premise of the story didn’t make sense to me, and it was too much for me to get past.

So it’s about this high school girl (Delilah) who is running her dad’s diner while he’s away on vacation in Mongolia or something. She’s underwater, but she just keeps it going. Her one best friend doesn’t understand her (in part because Delilah is a lesbian, which is why I thought I’d love this book) and they’re drifting apart, and it’s in large part because she has a new best friend named Charlie. Charlie is the worst. I couldn’t stand him from the very first page. I finally gave up when he stalked this much older woman that he thinks he’s in love with to her parents’ house, and then when her father doesn’t let him in, Charlie punches him in the face.

I  C A N ‘ T.

Rating: 0 dogs petted. DNF at 24%.

River by Shayne Ford

Rock star romance! What a wonderful palate cleanse after the last one.

River is the lead singer of a rock band. He also sleeps with any girl who is willing, basically. But something changes when his childhood friend (whom he believed was gay – she’d been dating a woman for many years) professes her love to him. They have a weekend together before she runs to make up with her girlfriend, and then River is lost. Sort of. He’d already met Layla, an innocent photographer. After having his heart broken, Layla is exactly what he needs.

Okay, so this is just a fun romp. You’re not going to learn rocket science or anything reading it, but I enjoyed the quick distraction. I’ll eventually get around to writing a full review, but things have been a little hectic lately – apologies to the author!

Rating: 2 dogs petted. The story wasn’t bad, but the manuscript could have used a good edit. Errors kept taking me out of the story.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake


Grace is in the summer before her senior year of high school, and all she wants is to get away from her tiny coastal town. When she returns from piano camp, she realizes her mother has moved in with another guy, except this time, it’s her ex-boyfriend’s dad. The ex who humiliated her in front of the entire school by sharing their sexts online. She thinks her summer is going to be miserable. That is, until she meets Eva, who was forced to move to her town after her single mother died. Eva is living with Grace’s best friend Luca, whose mother was Eva’s mother’s best friend. Things with Eva heat up fast—and Grace admits her bisexuality, and Eva has been out for years. It’s a love story like none I’ve ever read, intensified by Eva’s grief and the many issues Grace has with her unstable mother. There were so many things to love that I can’t even name them all. Eva is biracial, and Luca is such a great best friend, and Luca’s mother is just the best. This book was wonderful. Is wonderful. I’ll be reading it again.

Rating: 4+ dogs petted. SO GOOD.

The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring

It could have been that my expectations were too high when I started this book. I wanted something game-changing about a girl who wants to play football despite what everyone says or thinks. That’s… not what this is.

First of all, Tessa and Caleb are about to start high school. That means that they’re what? Fourteen? The premise of the book is that Tessa wants to play football, but also wants to date Caleb, and he doesn’t think she should play football. I wanted her to learn to be strong and fierce and to do what she wants, no matter what any boy tells her. But hindsight tells me that a) these characters are too young for that type of story, and b) this just wasn’t the book for me.

Rating: 0 dogs petted. DNF at 17%.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

After the last one, I knew I needed another gem, so I picked up a book that everyone has been talking about—and I was not disappointed.

Jordan Sun is at a fancy arts boarding school in upstate New York, and she’s specializing in theater. Only she’s never been cast in anything, because her voice is too deep for the girl parts. Her Chinese immigrant parents don’t think she should be doing arts stuff in the first place, so she know she has to figure out a way to be successful at her school. So what does she do? She takes her too-deep voice and auditions for an all-boy a capella group… dressed as a boy she named Julian Zhang. And that’s where things start to get complicated.

Rating: 3 dogs petted. This book was so good, and I loved the characters of the guys in the a capella group SO MUCH. My only quibble is in the marketing—they were saying this book was about a person who is gender queer or nonbinary, but that is not at all what Jordan is. She was cross-dressing, plain and simple. So. The book itself was wonderful, but the way it’s being advertised is incredibly misleading and potentially hurtful.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

I’m putting these two together for ease.

Did I know that a graphic novel trilogy was what I needed to read over Memorial Day weekend? No. But it was. It was exactly what I needed. These books need no introduction. They document the life and tale of John Lewis, one of the most well-known Civil Rights activists in his day, and one of the few who is still alive. The first book starts with his early life on a farm in Alabama and goes through the passing of the Voting Rights Act, detailing all of the terrible and tragic happenings in between. It is so well-told, and the art is out of this world. I didn’t know a lot of it—my education failed me. I learned. I cried. And I felt the need to get out of my chair and DO something.

I felt the need to march.

Rating: 4+ dogs petted. Everyone should be reading these. (I finished the third one in the first few days of June, so that will be coming next month.)

There was May for you! I didn’t get as much read as I intended, but I think I did okay. What was your favorite book that you read in May?

Happy reading!


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