Top Five Books of 2016!

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The end of the year is upon us! I picked my favorite books for 2016 and I'm excited to share them with you! 

Check out my favorites from 2016!




Top Five Beauty Products of 2016!

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The end of the year is upon us! I've curated my favorite beauty finds of the year, and I'm so excited to share them with you all! 

Check out my favorites from 2016! 


How to Stay Sane This Holiday Season // Winter Essentials

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Holidays are a double edged sword. It's a time for family, great Christmas decoration and sharing time with loved times. At the same time, it can be stressful, and for me personally, without the constant grind of school and work, I get restless with so much leisure time. 

Here are some my favorite things and essentials to keep sane this holiday season!


Book Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

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Title: Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★1/2
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On the floating city, you can be anything you dream - a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker... Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There's only one rule: you don't approach THE EDGE. If you do, it's already over.

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her at home: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.
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My Review: 


Winter 2016 Playlist

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Music is one of my favorite things on the planet, and it's probably yours too. I'm always on the hunt for amazing music and in the past month, I've discovered and listened to some amazing artists and records. I wanted to share my discoveries with you so that you can enjoy something new too!


Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

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Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill 
Release Date: July 3rd 2014 
Publisher: Quercus
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.


Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.


But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..

And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .
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Minimalism: How To Organize Any Junk Drawer

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Easy tips and tricks to clean out your space and embrace minimal living! 

Book Review: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

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Title: Outside In (Insiders #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: March 1st 2011 
Publisher: Harlequin 
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★1/2
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Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.
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My Review: 


Travel Adventures: Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg

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Traveling is a passion of mine, I love the idea of hopping on a plane and in a few hours be in an entirely different world. Now, it's easier than ever to travel, and I wanted to share with you my new and favorite places, so it might inspire you to go somewhere you've never been before. 


Book Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

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Title: Inside Out (Insiders #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: April 1st 2010 
Publisher: Harlequin 
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.
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My Review: 


Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

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Title: Champion (Legend #3)
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. 

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

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My Review: 



Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

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Title: Prodigy (Legend #2)
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
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Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

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Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29th 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
+Add to Goodreads


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What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

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My Review: 



Book Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

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Title: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★1/2
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Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has... 

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My Review: 


Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush Review

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Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick is a new foundation stick from Hourglass that promises to have "the full coverage of a concealer, fluid texture like that of a liquid, and weightless feel like a powder." 


Autumn 2016 Playlist

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Music is one of my favorite things on the planet, and it's probably yours too. I'm always on the hunt for amazing music and in the past month, I've discovered and listened to some amazing artists and records. I wanted to share my discoveries with you so that you can enjoy something new too!


Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

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Title: The Girls
Author: Emma Cline
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Publisher: Random House
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★1/2
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Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

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My Review: 


Author Interview: Jeanne Ryan

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Here at Reads By Amanda, we love authors. How could you not? From our favorite series, books, moments, scenes and characters, there's a writer who created all those moments and decided it had to be written down and shared with the world.

Click on to read my interview with Jeanne Ryan! 



Travel Adventures: The Best Art Museum Ever

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Traveling is a passion of mine, I love the idea of hopping on a plane and in a few hours be in an entirely different world. Now, it's easier than ever to travel, and I wanted to share with you my new and favorite places, so it might inspire you to go somewhere you've never been before. 

Nerve Book + Movie Comparison Review

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Title: Nerve
Director: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Screenplay by: Jessica Sharzer
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★★★★ (9/10)

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From IMDB



A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers."



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My Review: 


Book Review: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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Title: Nerve
Author:  Jeanne Ryan
Release Date: September 13th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin)
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
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A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

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My Review: 


Author Interview: Amy Engel

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Here at Reads By Amanda, we love authors. How could you not? From our favorite series, books, moments, scenes and characters, there's a writer who created all those moments and decided it had to be written down and shared with the world.


Click on to read my interview with Amy Engel! 



Book Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

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Title: The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2)
Author: Amy Engel 
Release Date: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
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Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

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My Review: 



Book Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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Title: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
Author: Amy Engel 
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★
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After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 


My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 


But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.


Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

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My Review: 



Travel Adventures: Central America

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Traveling is a passion of mine, I love the idea of hopping on a plane and in a few hours be in an entirely different world. Now, it's easier than ever to travel, and I wanted to share with you my new and favorite places, so it might inspire you to go somewhere you've never been before. 

Book Review: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

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Title: Zero Day 
Author: Jan Gangsei 
Release Date: January 12th 2016 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★1/2
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Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the Oval Office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold…but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the administration who find her timely return suspicious.


When a national security advisor approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn’t know what to think. How could the girl he’s missed for all these years be a threat to the United States? Still, at the risk of having his own secrets exposed, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.


He soon realizes that his old friend is much more than the traumatized victim of a political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission…but will she choose to complete it?

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My Review: 



Summer 2016 Playlist

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Music is one of my favorite things on the planet, and it's probably yours too. I'm always on the hunt for amazing music and in the past month, I've discovered and listened to some amazing artists and records. I wanted to share my discoveries with you so that you can enjoy something new too!

Book Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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Title: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) 
Author: Robin LaFevers
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads


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I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight's soul. Let go, it cries, I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling, I will catch you, it whistles seductively.

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

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Book Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) 
Author: Robin LaFevers
Release Date: April 3rd 2012
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads


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Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? 

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My Review: 



Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
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Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

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My Review: 


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